Mustang Airport expansion appealed

The Sacramento County Planning Commission has cleared a controversial airport expansion for takeoff, but opponents have filed an appeal with the board of supervisors. The appeal of the proposed expansion of Mustang Airport is scheduled to be heard May 3.

“The concern is that by allowing more flights, [the county] will put birds and the public at risk,” Dan Roth, a spokesman for The Nature Conservancy, said. “The [Federal Aviation Administration] guidelines clearly allow for flights only 5,000 feet from birds, and this would violate that,” Roth said.

The Nature Conservancy, the State Lands Commission, the National Audubon Society and several others groups are fighting the proposal to expand the small airport near Elk Grove. At the center of the dispute is a neighboring wildlife sanctuary, the Cosumnes River Preserve, which is jointly managed by The Nature Conservancy and others. The preserve is home to wetlands, grasslands, thousands of birds; and provides a winter rest stop for migrating sandhill cranes.

However, the county’s environmental-impact report says that added flights will not harm local birds. Formerly a private landing strip, the airport currently has about 10 takeoffs and landings a day. Under the expansion plans, those numbers could double to 20 flights a day. (Hugh Biggar)

SN&R gets lucky

SN&R took home three first-place awards, one second-place award and several certificates of achievement as part of an annual statewide journalism contest designed to promote better newspapers. The contest was sponsored by the California Newspaper Publishers Association.

Competing in the category of weekly newspapers with circulation of 25,000 and above, SN&R won a first-place award in the public-service category for its dedication, in 2010, to getting youth voices—both in words and music—projected out into the Sacramento community. The paper’s annual Jammies program (Junior Area Music Awards); its College Essay Contest (“The most important thing you will ever write”; SN&R Feature, May 6, 2010); and “Diary of a teenage girl,” a cover package that solicited the writing of teen girls (as orchestrated by Rachel Leibrock; September 16, 2010), were the three SN&R features that brought home this award.

CNPA also recognized SN&R’s graphic-design team for its work. David Jayne won a first-place award in the front-page category, and the graphics team also received certificates of achievement for page layout and design.

SN&R also earned a first-place award for editorial commentary for the opinion piece, “Strawberry fields forever” by Kel Munger (June 24, 2010). And Peter Byrne’s look at the University of California Board of Regents and conflicts of interest, “The regents club,” (SN&R Feature; October 7, 2010) earned a second-place award for investigative/enterprise reporting. Finally, SN&R received certificates of achievement for its editorial page and for Cosmo Garvin’s “They spent our money on what?” (SN&R Feature; November 19, 2009). (H.B.)

Show me the money

A new report looking at cost of living compared to average incomes shows Californian workers aren’t getting much in return for their hard work.

The report by ranked California as one of the five worst states to make a living. Factoring in such things as food costs, state taxes, basic services and presumably $4 per gallon gas, the report found that the average annual income in California was $29,772 compared the U.S. Census Bureau’s official figure of $38,819 (as of 2009). (H.B.)