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1998-08-21
Baltimore County, MD. Rite Aid's Aerial Attack

Not content with merely provoking neighborhood uproar on the ground, now the Rite Aid Corporation has taken to the unfriendly skies. Residents in the states of Maryland and Pennsylvania are fighting a counter-offensive against the attack of Rite Aid helicopters. Rite Aid Chairman and CEO Martin L. Grass has been bickering with his neigbhors in two states over his use of a helicopter to fly from his home in the Green Spring Valley, MD area, to Rite Aid HQ in Harrisburg, PA. Grass uses a $3.2 million helicopter to make his daily commute. But the noise and fumes and disruption of his lift off and landing has angered his neighbors on both ends of the trip. In Baltimore County, MD August 5th, a zoning administrator ruled that Grass can use his multi-million copter for one round trip per day. The adminstrator ruled that Grass' trip was not a "detriment to the surrounding neighborhood." "Money and influence talks," one neighbor told the Baltimore Sun. "This is the way communities are destroyed". Neighbors at the other end of the Grass' commute also are not thrilled by his whirly-bird habits. In East Pennsboro, PA, residents passed a noise ordinance limiting helicopter landings to industrial areas.The ordinance was drafted after 20 neibhbors complained that the copter was rattling windows, ruining sleep, and upsetting laying chickens. Neighbor Grass' response? He is going to Cumberland County, PA court to try and get the ordinance overturned. "Martin Grass and Rite Aid have been sensitive to the neighbor's concerns," said a company spokesman. Rite Aid called Grass "a committed neighbor in Baltimore" and used his membership on the board of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra as an example of that commitment. But neighbors in Baltimore County are not upset with the symphony -- but with the unmelodic intrusion caused by the helicopter. Grass moved to his $2 million Maryland estate in 1997, and began landing his copter in a cornfield, until angry neighbors chased him out to his present landing site on Helmore farm. The new ruling allows Grass to take off and land once a day. No more lunch trip home, Martin!

What you can do: Rite Aid calls itself "America's Neighbor Drugstore". If the company really cared about neighbors, Grass would have noticed by now that there are more cows than copters in Green Spring Valley. Why not write to Mr. Grass at: Rite Aid, Box 3165, Harrisburg, PA 17105-3165. Ask Mr.Grass if he's not willing to give up his copter, would he at least be willing to form a carpool to get to work?










 
 
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