Closing Arguments: Citizens for Quiet Skies vs Mile-Hi Skydiving

(The below are my handwritten notes while observing closing arguments in the Citizens for Quiet Skies vs Mile-Hi Skydiving “noise” case on May 6th, 2015. I am not a court-reporter and I may have missed some things said. I also have a strong opinion about the case, which is why this was posted not to my Longmont Examiner media column as I did with another article (link), but here where I could also add a bit of my own opinion about what was said, especially after having observed all of the courtroom testimony.)

*An added note, I wasn’t the only courtroom observer there for the entire case. Read the post from another courtroom observer Guest contributor Robert Yoder: Courtroom Notes – CQS vs MHS

5/18 Update: Once the judge’s ruling is issued, according to her court assistant, it will be posted online at this link: “Cases of Interest

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The courtroom is overflowing for the closing arguments in the case of Citizens for Quiet Skies vs. Mile-Hi Skydiving and Judge Judith LaBuda tells courtroom observers that they can go sit in the jury box, which is not being used for this case. A majority of those who file into it are supporters of Mile-Hi Skydiving.

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Courtroom Notes: Citizens for Quiet Skies vs Mile-Hi Skydiving

(Editor note: Below is guest contributor Robert Yoder’s transcribed notes, handwritten while observing five days of courtroom testimony in the case of Citizens for Quiet Skies vs Mile-Hi Skydiving, Inc.
Robert also has an aviation background that includes:
~1100 skydiving jumps, Parachute rigger, Private SEL & glider-aero-tow.)
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Notes from attending:

District Court, County of Boulder CO
Case 2013CV31563
Plaintiff:
Citizens for Quiet Skies
Kimberly Gibbs
Timothy Lim
Robert Yates
Suzanne Webel
John Behrens
Carla Behrens
Richard Dauer
Defendant:
Mile-Hi Skydiving, Inc.

Introduction:

This is pretty much verbatim from my hand-written notes.
There may be errors due to misunderstanding what was said, omissions,
and difficulty reading my own handwriting from two weeks ago.
The detail will likely lessen as the week dragged on and I got burned out
with taking notes.

Each section will begin with a 24-hour timestamp.

I will use parentheses to insert my own comments in the text, and will
sometimes add explanations and/or links.

I am not going to elaborate on each plaintiff witness noise complaints,
but here is a summary of the most common ones:
– Destroys enjoyment of being outdoors.
– Makes it impossible to hold conversation outdoors.
– Can be heard indoors.
– Can be heard in basement.
– Cannot concentrate on mental tasks.

Note this is a bench trial, i.e. there is no jury, just a judge.

Typical witness testimony is in 3 parts:
1. Direct – Questioned by the attorney who called them to be a witness.
2. Cross – Questioned by the opposing attorney.
3. Redirect – Questioned again by “friendly” attorney to
smooth over damage from the cross.
In rare cases, the judge asked a few questions directly of the witness,
then allowed both sides to ask followup questions.

Plaintiff witnesses were called the first 2.5 days.
Defense witnesses were called the last 2.5 days.

In the case of an *expert* witness, there would be an initial set of
questioning from both sides to establish the qualifications of the witness.
Then if the judge approved, the expert testimony would proceed.

Witness home addresses were stated in court, but have been removed here.


CQS Plaintiff & Witness locations / LMO Parachute Operations Area
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Longmont Airport Examiner: Quiet Skies group takes Longmont airport skydive company to court, seeks closure

MHS Purple Otter ribbon

Mile-Hi Skydiving Purple Otter Ribbons

(Cross-posted from Examiner.com)

In October of 2013, Gunbarrel, Colorado resident Kimberly Gibbs, who after claiming for several years that Longmont airport and city officials were doing nothing about noise from the airport, filed suit in Boulder County District Court against Mile-Hi Skydiving, which is based at Vance Brand Airport in Longmont. At the time of the court filing, Ms. Gibbs was the only named plaintiff in addition to that of an LLC filing she set up in the name of Citizens for Quiet Skies, of which she was also the registered agent. She later would add those living at four other Boulder County addresses to her own name on the list of seven total (five individuals and two married couples) as named plaintiffs (Gibbs/Timothy Lim, Robert Yates, Suzanne Webel, John Behrens/Carla Behrens, and Richard Dauer), in addition to an unknown number of people she named publicly only as “Citizens For Quiet Skies, LLC.”

On January 20, 2015, Ms. Gibbs appeared before Longmont City Council on behalf of Citizens for Quiet Skies, stating that the city needed to either adopt a comprehensive noise abatement plan that includes mandatory limits on skydiving operations and addresses other local concerns, like (airplane) touch-and-go’s, and helicopters. It was at this meeting (video of which can be found at THIS link) that she presented her other choice:

“Close the airport.” According to Ms. Gibbs, “It is an option.”

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The Longmont Years: 2012-2013 Airport Master Plan success, and plans to move

This is the final installation of the long and winding road of our activities while residing in Longmont, Colorado.  We pick up in early 2012 where we’d already talked about and even came close to moving 6 years prior, but I had one last piece of unfinished business before we left:  coming full circle back to the Vance Brand Airport, where it all began. Continue reading

The Longmont Years: 2009-2011 Breaking the Bloc

In this installment, we pick up in early 2009 after apparent local political burnout – or so I thought.  The previous two years were hectic, to say the least.  Output increased in quantity and quality, both in the written and spoken word.  By the end of ’08 I had gone back to one of my first loves: aviation.  But staying away from local politics was apparently not in the cards. Continue reading