Mustang Airport: cranes vs. planes

If expanded, Mustang Airport could disrupt nesting sandhill cranes.

If expanded, Mustang Airport could disrupt nesting sandhill cranes.

A private airport in south Sacramento County may expand, or may stay grounded, with the latest hearing on the issue set for January 12.

Formerly a private landing strip, the Mustang Airport has grown from three takeoffs and landings a day to 10. Those numbers could increase to 20, or 7,200 flights a year, if the airport’s expansion is ultimately approved.

Expansion plans also call for extending the airport runway to 800 feet and adding hangars. According to county documents, the planes would be small, with wing spans of less than 49 feet, and no crop dusters or jets. Most flights would take place before 9 p.m.

However, the airport on Arno Road is bordered by the Cosumnes River Preserve, which is home to wetlands, grasslands and rookeries for thousands of birds. Critics of the airport expansion, including The Nature Conservancy and the National Audubon Society, are concerned about the potential environmental impact of a bigger airport. Another group, Save Our Sandhill Cranes, is concerned winter nesting grounds for migratory sandhill cranes would be disrupted.

“This is vital riparian habitat,” said Mike Conner, project director for The Nature Conservancy. “We are also concerned about human safety, since birds and aviation do not mix well. And some of these are big birds. … Sandhill cranes weigh about 12 pounds.”

All of this now goes to the county for a board of supervisors’ hearing o January 12. Sacramento County’s planning commission already approved the project nearly a year ago, and the process has been in limbo since. The January hearing is a continuation of a meeting originally scheduled for November 2010. (Hugh Biggar)

Straight-camp chronicle makes best story list

Sacramento freelance writer and frequent SN&R contributor Ted Cox has earned a spot on one of 2010’s “best” lists for his story about his experiences in at a “reparative therapy” retreat. The popular website Give Me Something to Read chose Cox’s first-person story, “What Happened When I Went Undercover at a Christian Gay-to-Straight Conversion Camp,” as one of its best of 2010. The story was originally published on the Alternet website.

Cox’s account details his experiences at a Journey Into Manhood workshop that included some special guy-on-guy “holding” sessions and re-enactments of childhood traumas. (From Ted’s story: “The guide sat behind me, his arms wrapped around my chest. This hold was called ‘The Motorcycle.’”)

The “reparative therapy” practiced at Journey Into Manhood is based on the theory that sexual orientation or identity results from an unhealthy relationship with a same-sex parent and can be changed—a premise that has been discarded as unsound by the scientific and therapeutic communities.

Despite successfully completing the workshop, Cox remains a heterosexual. (Kel Munger)