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October 27, 2002

Letter to the Editor

Both Steve and Trish Cimmarusti have made significant contributions to our community since they opened their fixed base operation (FBO) at the Georgetown airport in the early 1990s. My wife and I purchased our home in Garden Valley in 1990 and over the past decade enjoyed many activities at the airport that were a result of their contribution. The county government recently decided to not extend their lease which will put them out of business at our airport. My understanding of the reason for not extending their lease is that they were in arrears on the monthly payments a few times over the past decade. Trish confirmed they had financial problems at times while running the FBO and the most recent case was when the September 11th tragedy shut down all small airports for a long period while our federal government analyzed the terrorist problem. That had a severe impact on their business and cost them a considerable sum of money. However, as of last September they have paid their lease in full but our local supervisors decided to not extend their lease anyway.

I have known several FBO owners over the years and observed that it is a tough business to make a living. During the 1990s I saw both Trish and Steve at their FBO seven days a week and many times 12 hours per day. Their two kids were virtually raised right there at the airport and with considerable love and guidance. Like many kids here on the Divide that came from good homes their kids are now responsible and mature young adults.

Not only is our Board of Supervisors forcing out a Divide resident that raised his family here but a couple who have contributed significantly to the community. I would like to list a few of the contributions made by both Steve and Trish:

Advisor to Explorer Post 810

Several times I saw Steve providing leadership to a group of 15 to 20 kids (boys and girls) at the airport. The kids were taught to run the Explorer meetings themselves following the Roberts Rule of Order and were exposed to activities at the airport. He took them on field trips, gave them aircraft ground school lessons and those that earned the required points received a free flying lesson.

Organizer of Activities at the Campground

As one who worked as a volunteer at the airport campground it is clear to me we would not have a beautiful camp area with a lighted bath room, picnic tables, sprinklers and other necessities if it wasn't for both Trish and Steve. Steve organized the work parties and Trish recruited the volunteers that turned it into a first class camp area. A number of local organizations from church groups to equestrian groups benefit from using the camp ground.

Friends of the Airport and EAA

Steve has been active in these groups for years and organized activities such as the Tail Draggers Fly In - Swine Tasting and the Chili Cook Off. He and Trish organized several other activities such as Airport Appreciation Day where one day a year the local pilots would fly residents around the area based on their weight (5 cents a pound and the money went toward fuel). People who had never been in an airplane were able to get a tour of the area which usually included flying over their home to see what it looked like from the air. Trish is a supporter of Divide Businesses and many times provided free taxi service into town to people who flew into the airport. These people would eat at local restaurants in Georgetown and cater to various businesses along Main street. When an airplane crashed in the canyon during take off a few years ago, Steve was the one that lead the rescue party down the canyon and found the crashed plane. One of the two people aboard lived thanks to a quick response by those who helped.

The bottom line is that Steve and Trish have raised their family here, made many contributions to the Divide, provide employment to others at the airport and a decision by our Supervisors to terminate their business based on some late county rent payments is just unacceptable. The county has it's money (the rent is paid in full), shouldn't the community contributions be taken into consideration? The county hanger was empty for a period of time before the Cimmarusti's opened their FBO. How long will it empty again (bringing in no money to the county) before a new person can open an FBO. Perhaps we should have a list of every lessee that has been late on payments to the county and see if our Supervisors put them out of business too! Only you and I, the residents here on the Divide, can influence our local government to extend their lease and I encourage you to sign the petition to do so. It is in the FBO office at the airport. Also, it is very important that you contact our local supervisor, Penny Humphreys (530) 677-1925 (or e-mail: and express your view.

Dave Griffith
Garden Valley

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