Ask the commander: Have a quality-of-life question or comment to share with fellow readers?

USAG Wiesbaden commander

 

Editor’s note: Have something you’d like to share with the commander ― questions, comments or suggestions about quality-of-life issues? Please visit the garrison’s Facebook, Twitter or Interactive Customer Evaluation pages (easy access via the garrison’s home page at www.wiesbaden.army.mil), send an email to the Public Affairs Office (army.wiesbadenpao@mail.mil) or a letter to the editor (see address below).

From the April 25, 2013, issue of the Herald Union --


Grass needs work in Crestview
C. Bland asked: I live in Crestview Housing. While I am happy there is now a sidewalk to connect the buildings and a streetlight to light up the area, I am not pleased with the way the grass was left. There are now dirt-only areas in the grass, some still having the track marks from the tractors. I would like to have a nice grass area instead of a muddy mess when it rains/snows.
Response: Thanks for bringing this to my attention. The contractor's work is not complete and the workers are required to repair all grounds damage caused by their workforce and vehicles. This area will be repaired and reseeded.


Praise for Tax Center
D. Courtney commented: Great customer service at the Tax Center. They showed concern for my wait time even though it was only a few minutes. They also ensured my additional questions about where to find other offices on this post were answered. Spc. Richburg is great.
Response: Thanks for the great feedback on the Tax Center and staff. I'm sure they appreciate the many positive comments we have received during their months of service this tax season.

Question about Clay construction
John M. asked: What specifically is going on with the parking lot next to Building 1207 on Clay Kaserne?
Response: Good question John. If you missed the March 14 issue of the Herald Union which detailed the wide range of projects in progress in the Wiesbaden military community (see www.army.mil/article/99283/Transformation_continues_to_change_face_of_Wiesbaden_military_community), I can tell you that the space you mentioned and adjacent areas are being set aside for the construction of the new Consolidated Intelligence Center and a new 500-space parking garage. A new walkway is being built to provide access to the parking garage, Strong Teams Dining Facility and Wiesbaden Fitness Center from the west side of the installation once the security fence is erected around the new future home of the CIC.


Exceptional service
M. Santiago commented: I want to comment on Lavonna Hamilton. Her attitude and demeanor were exceptional. It is rare that my children smile and laugh when having to go through the task of getting a new ID card or IACS, but Ms. Hamilton made it a great experience. I want to commend her on a job well done.
Response: Thank you for sharing this outstanding customer service experience. We'll make sure to let Ms. Hamilton and her organization know that their efforts are greatly appreciated.


Fitness Center suggestions
C. Hoover and M. Kruft asked about equipment at the Wiesbaden Fitness Center: Please fix the leg press machine. It's not fluid up and down and the wheels are rubbing on the tracks too much. Also, both rowers are old and broken. I have a combat-related injury to both legs and physical therapy requires rowing. Please purchase rowing machines.

Response: Thanks to both of you for the feedback. I am glad to report that the leg press machine was greased and now works like new, according to the fitness center staff. Regarding the rowing machines ? two new Concept 2 rowers are on order, along with parts for the older models. As soon as they arrive they will be made available for your use.

 

Thanks for moving supports
Elke W. remarked: Just wanted to shout out a big thank you to the Wiesbaden Personal Property Outbound section, especially Mr. Ghosh, who has been so helpful retrieving some of my documentation from my last move. You are the best. Greetings from Texas.

Response: Glad to hear you received excellent service and support. Thank you to the staff for continuing to help our Soldiers, civilians and families.

 

From the March 28, 2013, issue of the Herald Union --


Praise for Child Development Center
J. Smith commented: I just wanted to say how much I appreciate the services of the Child Development Center (Building 1501 on Clay Kaserne). They perform an essential mission in our community that does not get enough recognition in my opinion.
Response: Thanks for the positive feedback. And to the hardworking staff at the CDC, job well done.


Bike rack wanted
Sandra A. asked: Is there any way to put a bike rack in front of the medical/dental clinic? I try to use my bike whenever possible on Clay but sometimes finding a place to secure my bike is not easy.
Response: Sandra, the garrison is committed to increasing the use of alternative transportation and is currently in the process of creating a comprehensive transportation strategy which includes the addition of more bike racks. The Health Clinic has been identified as one of these places. We appreciate your comments and encourage you to bring to our attention any other great ideas you may have that will improve our community and truly make Wiesbaden: Your home in Germany.


Center offers ‘great service’
J. Crader noted: I have nothing but good things to say about the Arts and Crafts Center. Every time I have gone in, the staff has been extremely helpful and pleasant. I recently needed to have my husband’s guidon framed in a day. I figured there was no way they could have the time, but Jaime took on the challenge. The framed guidon looks great and Jaime even called to let me know I could pick it up two hours earlier than anticipated. I was able to present the framed guidon at his promotion ceremony. What a great service they provide our community.
Response: Glad to hear you received such outstanding service. We will certainly pass on the high praise for the support you received.


Inconsiderate neighbors
Kate C. asked: I am new to Wiesbaden and am not sure where I should go to file a complaint. We have neighbors who do not pick up their dogs’ feces and they also do not walk them on leashes. I posted a sign asking them to pick up after their pets and all they did was bag the poop and throw it all over the grass and by the entrance to the building. Tenants of our building also have a smoking station set up immediately outside the entrance to our building with a chair and a butts can. As a result, our stairwell fills with the stench of smoke and this makes our apartments smell of smoke. As a nonsmoker with an infant, I feel our health is at risk. I also feel it is unfortunate that because people are not taking care of their pets, we are unable to take advantage of the space outside our building, including the playground. If you could point me in the right direction I would be very grateful.
Response: Kate — You can check the resident’s handbook for guidance, www.wiesbaden.army.mil/sites/newcomers/housing/ResidentHandbook.pdf, and read the pet and enforcement of housing policy letters available at www.wiesbaden.army.mil/sites/commander/cp_overview.asp. Basically the guidance is to speak to your stairwell and/or building coordinator to address the issues. If after doing so this is not resolved please contact the Housing Office with the names of the individuals you contacted for further assistance.


Efficient tax help
R. Robinson commented: I would like to acknowledge the friendly, efficient and fast service that the Tax Office is offering. It was a pleasure to go there. Keep up the good services.
Response: Thanks for sharing your positive experiences at a community facility with your fellow community members. I know the staff appreciates the kind words and positive feedback.

 

From the Feb. 28, 2013, issue of the Herald Union --

 

Praise for Spin class
Carmen P. commented: We attended the second spin class with Maria Diaz yesterday in the larger room and absolutely loved it. The setup is great and I love that I can get there and still find a bike. Before, if I was not there before the class started, I was out of luck. Thank you for making the change. Maria is great — her energy is infectious, and she works us like animals.
Response: Thanks for the positive feedback, Carmen. It’s great to hear of outstanding customer service and we will certainly pass on your comments to Ms. Diaz.
 

Approved running route
Patrick D. asked: Is there an approved Army Physical Fitness Training run route on Clay Kaserne?
Response: Patrick, we will likely be adding to the “running only” routes for PT on Clay Kaserne in the near future. For now, there is one route around the airfield and you can view it on the garrison’s home page at www.wiesbaden.army.mil/sites/news/ClayRunningRoute.pdf. To view the command’s policy letters, including “Unit Physical Readiness Training,” visit http://www.wiesbaden.army.mil/sites/commander/cp_overview.asp.
 

Parking on Clay Kaserne
Sheri D. asked: I’m wondering if anyone else is having parking issues when going to Clay Kaserne? It’s crazy — especially around the food court. They should have put that big parking structure up front. Are there any plans, with all the influx of people coming in? It’s kind of scary, people are driving on one-way streets, etc.
Response: Sheri, thanks for pointing out the fact that, despite having a 1,100-capacity parking garage available on Clay Kaserne, many individuals who work or spend extended amounts of time on the installation still fail to use the parking garage to free up the limited parking available nearer to service agencies such as the food court. I ask and encourage everyone who works on Clay Kaserne to please use the garage whenever possible to make more parking available for those making quick stops and who may not be able to walk quite as far to get to facilities on Clay Kaserne. I can also tell you that construction is expected to begin this spring on another parking facility to be located close to the Fire Department and Truck Gate. It is expected to be completed by this December and will provide 300 additional parking spaces.
 

Post office hours
C. Stacy commented: Not that I’m against change, but not having a post office available until 11:30 a.m. and closing at 5:30 p.m. is a bit too much. I might be able to understand better if there were extended hours in the afternoon of say, to 6:30 p.m. I’ve honestly never run into this sort of issue with other postal services or Army garrison services, period. Services aren’t even offered on Saturdays. I find this strange and inconvenient. Perhaps there’s a reason, but I can’t fathom why.
Response: Thank you for your comment. Changes to our postal hours were necessitated by personnel and budget shortfalls. The Postal Services Center conducted a well publicized survey — both through paper surveys and online last year — and more than 50 percent of the responses indicated that the current hours were the most acceptable. We are closely monitoring waiting times and lines at the facility and making adjustments as required. Currently, due to continued budget constraints, no new hires are authorized which means the staff is doing everything they can to meet the needs of customers. Your feedback is important, and will be considered along with other suggestions as to operations at the post office. Thanks for taking the time to make your issues known.
 

Favorite Army lodge
Sarah H. commented: (The Wiesbaden Army Lodge is) my favorite lodging globally. I always enjoy my stay at the Wiesbaden Army Lodge. The staff goes above and beyond.
 

Great customer service
Fred P. commented: I felt the need to thank Herr (Wilfried) Peters for his (as always) on-time service. Without being asked, he jumped on making an information technology request in support of a special system that the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security’s Security Office required. Employees like him are the reason Wiesbaden was a Communities of Excellence winner.
Response: Thanks Fred — glad to hear you received outstanding support from one of the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden’s own. We’ll pass on the high praise.

 

From the Jan. 17, 2013, issue of the Herald Union --


Question about the Tax Center
Sarah C. asked: When exactly will the Tax Center open? I am a first-year Family Child Care provider and have a few questions about our taxes but I am not sure whom to contact.
Response: The Tax Center will open around Feb. 4, and will start scheduling appointments Jan. 28. In the meantime, stop by the Legal Assistance Office in Building 1023N on Clay Kaserne for assistance. You can also call the office at mil 337-4725 or civ (0611) 705-4725.


Praise for work order service
Ray B. commented: I had to call a work order in for a burning smell coming from a light fixture. I thought, with it being on the evening of New Year’s Eve, that we would be waiting for some time, but that was not the case. A man named Tony arrived promptly and fixed the light. Not only did he arrive quickly, he was very friendly and courteous. My wife stated that he has been here before for another issue and that he was very nice and helpful on that occasion as well. It would be great if the community had more people like him.
Response: Thank you Ray for your compliment of the service you received from the Directorate of Public Works. We have passed along your comments to his supervisor. The staff has worked hard to ensure service order personnel have a courteous and professional attitude. It’s great to hear from customers who recognize those efforts. Your feedback helps us reinforce this positive attitude.


Suggestion about hair dryers
Connie T. commented: Why not move the wall hair dryers from the Mannheim gym to the women’s dressing room area at the Wiesbaden Fitness Center? They have four of those dryers in two different areas. They make it so that your hands are free to adjust the dryer to your head.
Response: Thanks Connie for the excellent suggestion. We checked with the closing communities and were informed that this equipment will not be available until the May/June time frame. In the meantime, the Wiesbaden Fitness Center staff has assured me that hair dryers are available at the front desk for immediate use. All you have to do is ask.


Concern about empty Commissary shelves
Heather A. asked: Is there something going on at the commissary? It was out of stock of almost everything on my list. It’s a little unnerving to see the shelves clear, especially on a German holiday (Sunday, Jan. 6).
Response: Heather, I checked with the commissary manager and was told that on Sunday (Jan. 6) the store suffered a breakdown of one of their compressors which serves six cooler displays. The staff relocated most items and expected to have the coolers up and running again by the evening of Jan. 8. Added to that issue, the commissary had trouble refilling their stock list during the holidays because of the demand. That meant that rather than having the usual 12,000 items the store carries, they were out of 165 items. The manager apologized for the inconvenience and assured me that normal service would have resumed by the time this comment appears in print in the Herald Union.

 

From the Dec. 20, 2012, issue of the Herald Union --


Airport shuttle service
Danielle H. asked: Where would I find the website to the shuttle bus that runs to the Frankfurt Airport? I can’t seem to find the number anywhere.
Response: Thanks for your question Danielle. You can contact Outdoor Recreation on Clay Kaserne (next to the Tony Bass Fitness Center) at civ (0611) 705-5760. Information is also available on the garrison’s home page at http://www.wiesbaden.army.mil/sites/mwr/OutdoorRec/AirportShuttle.jpg.


Beware of roadside scam
Clara B. commented: It may be helpful to issue a warning regarding a man who preys on the sympathies of Americans. He parks his car near the entrance of Hainerberg Housing or the airfield and waves down cars claiming he and his family are stranded and need money. He scammed me once a couple of months ago and waved me down again last Wednesday, but I declined his request. My friend was scammed this morning near the entrance of Clay Kaserne. He first asks if you speak English, then he offers his ring, his watch or cell phone in exchange for money. It would be helpful to issue an official warning about this scam. (Editor’s note: Several people added similar reports to Clara’s comment on the garrison’s Facebook page.)
Response: Thank you Clara and everyone else who took the time to share stories about similar incidents in the Wiesbaden and Ramstein area. Our director of Emergency Services reported that this is a well-known scam that seems to occur from time to time on German roadsides and around military installations. People are advised to not respond to this type of approach and to report any attempts of this kind to the Military Police for further investigation. Call civ (0611) 705-5096 or 5097 to report any suspicious behavior.


Praise for Safety Day
Christine J. commented: The 5th Signal Command provided a great Safety Day Dec. 6 at the Community Activity Center. I had never seen the Jeopardy game before and I must say it was an uplifting, interactive and positive experience. I learned a lot myself. The energy and esprit de corps in the room were amazing. The Soldiers loved it, really got into it and I truly believe got the takeaway messages. It was also very good to see the critical and timely issue of distracted driving addressed.
Response: I’m glad to hear the event was a very positive and educational experience for those who participated and those who cheered on the competitors. Thanks to Joseph Michalkiewicz, 5th Signal Command’s safety manager, for regularly providing this very popular event which provides outstanding safety training in an entertaining format.


Keeping sidewalks cleared
Christina Y. asked: Now that it’s snowing, when do we shovel snow? Are there certain times, because, according to the (Housing) handbook, it states: Snow and ice removal — In snowy weather residents are responsible for the removal of snow and ice from entrance areas, steps, porches, driveways and sidewalks in the front and rear of their buildings and will clear walkways daily. Snow and ice on the entrance areas and walkways shall be removed no later than 7 a.m. Snow shovels and salt/sand are available in the Self-Help Store. Snow and ice shall be removed prior to sprinkling salt. I know sometimes these things can be outdated.
Response: Good question Christina. Residents are required to keep their sidewalks clear in housing from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more information please read the December issue of the Housing Newsletter which is available on the garrison’s home page at www.wiesbaden.army.mil/sites/newcomers/housing/HousingWebsite.htm.


Thanks for the cards
Brandy S. commented: I would like to say thank you to the Wiesbaden Post Office for displaying the many notes and cards sent from children in the States to our service men and women. It was humbling to see the love that has been shared from all over the country. I hope the spirit of the holidays continues around the base.

 

From the Dec. 6, 2012, issue of the Herald Union --
 

Fitness schedule
Debbie J. asked: Where might I find a fitness class schedule? And is there only one fitness center?
Response: Debbie, the Wiesbaden Fitness Center on Clay Kaserne, which opened in August 2005, is a state-of-the-art facility offering a wide range of sports and fitness opportunities. We have only one fitness center in the community, but it’s large and diverse enough to handle the demand. For a listing of the hours and classes please visit http://wiesbaden.armymwr.com/index.php/europe/wiesbaden/programs/clay-kaserne-fitness-center.
 

Dog park in Newman
Kimberly H. asked: Can we get a dog park in Newman? Big dogs like ours are hard to transport to the one by the commissary and with the rabbits, I can’t let them run on the farms. We have a lot of open areas to locate a dog park on. Consider it?
Response: Kimberly, that’s the first question we’ve had on that issue. While there are currently no plans for a dog park in Newman Village, we will look at the issue to see if there is indeed a demand and look at possible courses of action.
 

Outstanding service
Stephen H. commented: It was a pleasure to visit and use the (Training Support Center) photo lab today. This is probably the smoothest run operation I've seen in my 25 years in the military. Hats off to a great crew; from the management to the photographer, they all worked together as a team, and you could tell they truly love their profession.
Response: Thanks, Stephen, for that very positive feedback. It’s a pleasure to hear about true professionals who take care of our Soldiers and families on a daily basis. I will pass that on to the team at the Wiesbaden Training Support Center that runs the operations.
 

Lights on, door open
Caroline H. commented: This morning when my husband took our dog out, our stairwell door was propped open. He closed the door. When we arrived home this afternoon the door to our stairwell was propped open, the basement door was open and the basement lights were turned on. No one was in either the stairwell or the basement. We closed the stairwell and basement doors and turned off the basement lights. Again, when we arrived home this evening, the door to our stairwell was propped open and basement lights were turned on. Again, no one was in either the stairwell or the basement. The workers performing maintenance in apartment two had locked the apartment and left for the weekend. Since all of our stairwell neighbors are presently stateside, I can reasonably assume these acts of negligence were perpetrated by the workers performing maintenance in apartment two. This is unacceptable and needs to stop. It is not safe.
Response: You are absolutely right Caroline. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. Our Facilities Branch chief reported that the contract employees performing the work were contacted immediately and instructed that the entrance doors must be closed at all times for safety reasons and that lights should be turned off when work is finished to prevent energy abuse. The quality assurance inspector will do spot checks at the work sites to prevent issues like this from occurring again in the future. Again, I appreciate your diligence in bringing this to our attention for everyone’s safety.
 

From the Nov. 22, 2012, issue of the Herald Union --

Question about snow chains
Cenia S. asked: We will be shipping our privately owned vehicle to Wiesbaden this week, but I was wondering — do we need snow chains for our tires? Has anyone run into this issue? If so, is it better to get them here in the States or to wait until we get there?
Response: Good question Cenia — one that applies to all drivers on German roads. German law requires that vehicles have “adequate tires” for winter driving. That means that in Hessen, where Wiesbaden is located, drivers must have either winter or all-season tires (with the M/S label or a snowflake label). If a driver is found to be obstructing traffic or is involved in an accident during the winter without the proper tires, he or she can be fined and may not be covered by insurance. Plenty of tires are available for sale both through the Army and Air Force Exchange Service and through local host nation businesses in the area once you arrive if you decide to wait until your vehicle is shipped.


MPs to the rescue
Crystal S. commented: I would like to say thank you to three amazing MPs from 529th Military Police Company. I was driving with two of my children when my van just stopped. It wouldn’t go at all. I was scared; my kids were scared. I called my husband, but he was over an hour away. He said he would call the MPs for me. It wasn’t long after that Pvt. 2 Ryan Santare arrived. He called a tow truck for me and, more importantly, agreed to stay so I wouldn’t be alone. Not long after 2nd Lt. Keith Odom and Staff Sgt. Randall McDonald came. They stayed with my children and me for three hours. They talked to the boys and kept them entertained, kept me calm, and when the first tow truck never showed up, they called the Auto Care Center which actually saved me about $110. They even drove us to the Auto Care Shop to get our belongings and keys from the van. When I mentioned writing an ICE comment card, 2nd Lt. Odom told me that was nice but not necessary — they were just doing their job. That was an understatement. They went above the call. Their kindness meant so much to me in a situation that was scary for me as well as my kids. These three Soldiers stood in the cold for three hours total so my children and I would not be left alone. I appreciate everything they did. As a mother it meant so much to me that they didn’t treat us like we were just a boring part of the job. Instead they made us feel like we were the only ones that mattered at that moment.
Response: Crystal — thanks for taking the time out of your day to write us about several of our MP heroes. I ensured that their chain-of-command knows and I recognized them for their efforts. I’m glad everything turned out OK with your children and car. Please don’t hesitate to ask if the garrison can be of any service in the future.


Veterinary care prices
Alexandria P. asked: Why does the on-post veterinarian charge so much for typical easy tasks? Back home it costs one quarter of the price at the on-post vet than it does here.
Response: I checked with Capt. Alston, the officer in charge of the Wiesbaden Veterinary Treatment Facility, who explained that a number of factors contribute to the fees charged overseas including the wholesale price of supplies and pharmaceuticals and being located in a high-cost living area. Prices for services are constantly being reassessed to ensure only a minimal profit is being generated to keep the clinic fully operational and account for any planned improvements to the facility or equipment as well as allowing for adequate staffing. While prices may be higher than some facilities in the United States, they are still less expensive than almost all local civilian practices. Alston added, “In the rare cases where we may not be (cheaper), our standard of medicine is significantly higher.”


Question about mail service
Dawn Loree L. commented: A couple of weeks before Sandy hit, we had something shipped from the States that has not yet arrived. The stateside post office has confirmed that the item has shipped and should be here. … My question is, does the post office on post hold onto mail/packages, or are they put out immediately upon arrival?
Response: Dawn, I checked with the postal officer and was assured that the postal staff does not hang on to any mail — it is put out in the order in which it arrives on the same day.

 

From the Nov. 8, 2012, issue of the Herald Union --


Culture College praise
John F. commented: The Culture College tour was very helpful to my family. It gave us the confidence to go out and explore Germany. The program should be a requirement for all newcomers. Irmgard was fantastic and very helpful.
Response: Thanks, John, for the feedback. I recommend all newcomers take advantage of this extremely helpful orientation program to Wiesbaden, local resources, how to use the public transportation system and a host of other information and tools that can make a tour overseas one to remember for years to come. For more information on upcoming Culture College sessions please stop by Army Community Service in Hainerberg Housing (across from the Wiesbaden Entertainment Center and Army Lodge) or call civ (0611) 4080-254.


Child supervision
Danielle E. asked: Is there a policy/regulation about leaving young children unsupervised in the housing areas? I was playing with my 2-year-old son on one of the playgrounds in Hainerberg Housing. A group of about five children ages 6-8 were also playing with no adult watching the children. It shocks me that any parent would allow his or her child to be in a public area by him or herself, with no adult supervision to keep the child from getting hurt by a fall, another child or adult. I also have a 6-7 year-old and would never allow her out of my eyesight. There are monsters everywhere ― even on a military installation. We need to protect our young children; stop assuming that just because you live in the stairwell next to the playground, you can leave your little ones outside by themselves. Every month I read comments from people concerned about security on our bases and people complaining because the housing areas are not gated … the first thing we need to do to keep our children safe is to be standing next to them when they play on the playground and walk to school.
Response: Danielle thanks for contacting us and asking about the policy guidance. The Installation Management Command-Europe has issued specific guidance addressing the situation you described. Generally, children in the fifth grade and below must be supervised at all times with certain exceptions. You can view the memorandum at www.wiesbaden.army.mil/sites/services/CYSS/ArmyinEuropeChildSupervision.pdf. Should you find yourself in a similar situation in the future, please call the Military Police at civ (0611) 705-5096/5097. It is through engaged and involved community members such as yourself that we can collectively make U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden a better place to live.


Health clinic support
Cyril M. commented: I severely injured my knee during physical training hours. With the Wiesbaden Health Clinic approximately an hour from opening, my comrades transported me to the waiting area for treatment. Before the official opening time, while in the waiting area, Sgt. Lance Lisitza from physical therapy approached me and asked about my condition. He immediately recognized the severity of my injury and directed me down to physical therapy for evaluation. His immediate attention and evaluation allowed me to set up an appointment for an X-ray on Clay Kaserne and an MRI at Landstuhl that same day. His attitude and medical expertise were top-notch and reassured me that I was receiving quality care.
Response: The Wiesbaden Health Clinic has no shortage of great comments on service. My hat is off to Sgt. Lisitza and everyone at the clinic for doing the utmost to take care of Soldiers and their families in need every day.


Speeders in housing
Rachel C. asked: Is there any possibility of getting some sort of speed reducing mechanism (e.g. speed bump) placed on Arizonastrasse? Cars speed up and down our road, and the worst are the school buses. They treat Arizonastrasse like the Indy 500, and it’s dangerous. I’ve almost been hit as an adult; there are kids walking around and the bus drivers just speed up.
Response: Thank you Rachel for your observation and concern. Because the roads are city-owned, speed bumps cannot be installed. Your concerns have been shared with the Directorate of Emergency Services so that traffic enforcement will be increased in the area. I would also ask that when you witness a speeder, you note the license number and report it to the MPs at civ (0611) 705-5096 or 5097. In the case of a speeding school bus, please call the School Bus Office at civ (0611) 4080-382 to make them aware as well.
 

From the Oct. 25, 2012, issue of the Herald Union --

Traffic signs in Newman Village
James-Tatjana O. asked: Are there any plans to post speed limit and priority road signs in Newman Village? We are having a huge issue with folks speeding down these tiny streets at speeds that look to be at least 50 kilometers or so. Also, does the right before left rule apply on post? If so, I think people may need some type of reminder about that. We have come close to a collision a couple of times now.
Response: Thanks for bringing this issue to our attention. As you may have noticed there is still some construction work being done in the Newman Village area. Once this work is completed, the Directorate of Emergency Services, Safety Office and Directorate of Public Works will conduct a traffic survey of Newman Village to determine the proper signage needed to best control the flow of traffic. In the meantime, the German traffic laws do apply on the installation, and you are correct that drivers should yield to traffic approaching from the right at unmarked intersections. There is also a 30-kilometer-per-hour speed limit on the entire installation. We will start an information campaign to remind drivers that the German traffic laws apply and they should be following the rules of the road they learned when they obtained their U.S. Army Europe driver’s license. We’ll also increase the Military Police patrols in Newman Village to ensure the safety of the residents.


Slow mail service
Carissa T. commented: I have had no mail — not one single item in my mailbox — for almost two weeks. I have yet to receive packages that were shipped in August and am waiting on simple envelopes that were mailed in the middle of September. I do not believe that nothing has arrived for almost two weeks. I would bet money it’s here and simply hasn’t been put out yet. What is being done to fix this? It’s not OK that people aren’t getting their mail.
Response: Carissa, you’re right, service has been slower than usual as the Postal Service Center has been experiencing some challenges getting mail processed. Normally all first-class mail is processed within 24 hours; however, bulk mail has been slower than preferred. That should be improving in the very near future. Following the Oct. 1 change in service hours, the staff now has 22 additional work hours a week to process mail. To further mitigate the backlog, the center is hiring 15 additional personnel to serve customers during the holiday season. Volunteers are also always welcome to help out during the holiday surge. To get involved please contact Mr. Earl Small, postal services officer, at mil 337-5437 or civ (0611) 705-5437. We greatly appreciate your interest and ask for your continued patience.


Transformation information
An anonymous ICE comment: My husband and I will be moving from Heidelberg to Wiesbaden in early 2013. It is very difficult to find new transformation information on the Internet. Most of the information is out of date or has no date at all, so there is no way to tell what is relevant to our move. I have subscribed to several Facebook pages, but not much is there regarding the transformation. The Herald Post (Heidelberg newspaper) and Town Halls repeat the same old information, so it would be nice to have an up-to-date source for news.
Response: Thank you for your comment. U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden strives to provide accurate, timely information concerning all transformation issues that affect the Wiesbaden military community. The garrison manages multiple websites, social media networks and media outlets to provide the most recent updates to our Soldiers, civilians and family members. Lots of things are changing due to the move to Wiesbaden, and often that information provided in these media outlets changes daily. We strive to update that information as quickly as possible. I encourage you to visit the garrison’s home page at www.wiesbaden.army.mil and to click on the Transformation Updates link for the latest information on major projects and their impact on the community. Once there you can log onto the AKO Transformation Update Link as well. Please note that you will need an AKO account and/or CAC card to access the site. Once there you can find even more detailed information under the Transformation Update section on the left hand side. The PDF file listed as TSMO CIB is a great source of information on projects throughout the community. Other venues for information include the monthly Community Information Briefing which is held in the Community Activity Center on Clay Kaserne (the next one is Oct. 30 at 9:30 a.m. and is also streamed live on Facebook), the garrison’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/usagwiesbaden) and the Herald Union (pick up a hard copy or read it online at www.wiesbaden.army.mil/hunion/hunionupdates.htm). Again, thanks for your comment. We value feedback as we continue to transform and improve our military community in Wiesbaden.


Speeding on Clay Kaserne
Paul W. asked: Why aren’t the Military Police enforcing the speeding and other traffic violations on Clay Kaserne? Just about every day I walk to the dining facility and have to stop to wait for cars cruising through the pedestrian crosswalks, seemingly oblivious of me waiting to cross the street. Last spring I was in the middle of a crosswalk and had to jump out of the way of a speeding car to avoid getting hit. I see cars daily with both U.S. and local national drivers traveling the streets at speeds that I would estimate are far faster than 30 kilometers per hour as posted on the installation. Yet I see no MPs with radar enforcing the speed limit. I understand the MPs are busy, but perhaps more could be stationed here or Polizei allowed to set up a camera on Clay Kaserne to help slow folks down.
Response: Paul, thank you for bringing this to our attention. As you correctly stated the MPs are very busy, but there is purpose to their focus on certain areas. The MP patrols conduct traffic enforcement where there has been a higher rate of accidents or a greater potential of a catastrophic accident occurring. As you may notice in the early morning hours, some drivers approaching Clay Kaserne on the access road seem to have little regard for the speed limit or other drivers, and the current construction projects and detours increase the risk of an accident occurring which is why you see the MP patrols out there with their radars. The MPs also focus their efforts near the schools during the school day as children are less likely to look before they cross or use the available crosswalks greatly increasing the risk of an accident occurring. This does not mean, however, that the pedestrians on Clay Kaserne are any less important. The Directorate of Emergency Services will examine how to redistribute the MP patrols to provide additional enforcement on the installation.

 

From the Oct. 11, 2012, issue of the Herald Union --

Lost and found
Melinda H. asked: My 10-year-old son found a piece of jewelry near Army Lodging. What is the process for a lost and found?
Response: Melinda, thanks to you and your son for being good citizens. Please take it to the Military Police Station on Clay Kaserne where it will be inventoried and held for return to the rightful owner. The MP Station is located just inside the Main Gate on Clay Kaserne.
 

Teachers’ orientation
Donald S. commented: I wanted to compliment the garrison for the outstanding and informative event held Sept. 26 for Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Europe teachers. The orientation was very well organized, the initital briefing provided information classroom teachers never get to hear and the personnel manning the weapons simulator, flight line and Mission Command Center were all quite knowledgeable, personable and patient with our questions. This event was nothing less than a best practice example for other garrisons and bases.
Response: Donald, I appreciate your taking the time to share your positive comments about the recent teachers’ orientation. I am proud of our school liaison officer and the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security for planning and executing this great event. … and thank you for what you do to prepare our nation’s youth for the future.
 

Halloween happenings
Jasmin S. wondered: What is going on in Wiesbaden on Halloween?
Response: Jasmin, there are a host of Halloween happenings including a free admission haunted house at the Warrior Zone on Clay Kaserne Oct. 30 and 31 from 6-9 p.m., a Halloween Party in the U’r Place Bar and Grill Oct. 31 from 6-10 p.m., trick-or-treating at Army Community Service in Hainerberg Housing after school Oct. 31 and community-wide trick-or-treating in all of the Wiesbaden military community housing areas on Halloween, Oct. 31, from 5-7 p.m. See the next issue of the Herald Union for the latest Halloween happenings.
 

Security concerns
P.G. commented: I am fully aware this subject has been discussed before, but I feel I have to address it again. I have been sending my children off to school with a very uncomfortable feeling in my stomach lately. Looking at the things that are going on in the world right now, I am surely not the only one who feels that way. The gates to my housing area are open, everybody is able to walk or drive in at any time. The main street is like a race track, with German cars flying through, but that seems to be a small problem compared to the main issue there is with these open gates. In times like these, where Americans are targeted more than ever all over the world, I think it is irresponsible and frustrating for the residents here to live in a housing area that is so accessible for everybody. I understand there are issues with the city of Wiesbaden regarding the roads going through Aukamm, but as a spouse whose husband is deployed to Afghanistan I should be able to feel the Army makes it a priority that families feel safe and protected as well as possible. I cannot feel safe if my only protection is by MPs and Polizei driving through the housing areas every once in a while.
Response: P.G. I can assure you that we take your concerns very seriously and have continued to work very closely with the host nation to do everything we can to ensure the safety of all members of the Wiesbaden community — Germans and Americans. Statistics show that the rate of crime in our housing areas, whether gated or not, is no higher than the surrounding German neighborhoods and is in fact considerably lower than many areas in the United States. As always I can’t stress enough that while our U.S. military and host nation law enforcement personnel do an admirable job of watching out for our service members and families — and responding when needed — we rely on the active participation of those who live and work in the Wiesbaden military community to keep a watchful eye and to report anything out of the ordinary. I would ask that if you, or any of your neighbors, see anything suspicious to report it immediately to the Military Police at mil 337-5096/5097 or civ (0611) 5096/5097.

 

From the Sept. 13, 2012, issue of the Herald Union --


Seek fellow Army spouses
Kacy B. wants to know: We are moving to Wiesbaden in the next few weeks. Are there any spouse groups I can join on Facebook to ask questions etc.? Thanks. We are SO excited.
Response: Kacy, we’re looking forward to welcoming you here in the Wiesbaden military community. You’ll find a host of helpful programs, services and information as soon as you arrive. One of the highlights is our three-day, monthly Culture College for newcomers which offers a tour of the city, insight into the many resources available both inside and outside the garrison and a host of other information and assistance. In answer to your question, we know of two Facebook groups — Wiesbaden Army Spouses and Wiesbaden Army Wives, both of which you can find links to by clicking on the See All Likes button on the garrison’s Facebook page — www.facebook.com/usagwiesbaden.
 

Hainerberg CDC playground construction
Connica M. commented: Does anyone have information on when the playground at the Hainerberg Child Development Center will get started and finished? I think it is a shame we pay so much money and our kids don’t have the same enjoyments as at the other centers.
Response: Good question Connie. Unfortunately, there was a delay in construction, but it is expected to get started before the end of the year.
 

Vehicle registration question
James R. provided the following feedback: I just purchased a used 2001 BMW from another DoD member here on Clay Kaserne. The vehicle was just inspected by the USAG-Wiesbaden Vehicle Registration center two months ago. The vehicle passed inspection and I’ve got the certificate. I’m told I need to pay $30 for another inspection because it has been longer than 30 days. How does this policy really care for the Soldiers and civilians of USAG-Wiesbaden? I believe vehicle safety is a high priority, but if the standard of safety is set with one to two year vehicle registrations before another safety inspection is due, then why does the safety priority suddenly change to 30-plus days from past inspection upon selling of a vehicle to a fellow service member? I don’t feel this is the best way to take care of Soldiers and question the validity of these inspections of being nothing more than a financial gain and civilian job stability for the installation activity? I believe the correct answer should be if a vehicle has had a passing inspection (with certificate proof) within the last year by the USAG Wiesbaden Vehicle Registration, then the only fees a Soldier or civilian should pay is an administrative processing fee for a transfer of registration.
Response: Thanks for taking the time to point out your concerns and suggestions James. The clerk at the Vehicle Registration Office may have misspoken. All fees charged are registration fees; there is no charge for a vehicle safety inspection conducted by the vehicle inspection stations. Our director of Emergency Services has assured me he will speak with the registration clerks and make sure they are providing the correct information to customers. The standards for the frequency of vehicle safety inspections and the requirement for inspections in regards to transfer of ownership can be found in Army in Europe Regulation 190-1. These are not arbitrary standards and are not meant to be an inconvenience to Soldiers; they are set and conducted in accordance with the Supplementary Agreement to the NATO Status of Forces Agreement and apply to all U.S. Forces in Germany. Vehicle Registration Offices and inspection stations do not have the latitude to deviate from these standards. In your particular case, because the vehicle is more that 10 model years old, a new safety inspection is required within 30 days immediately before the date of the transfer and requires a safety inspection on an annual basis thereafter. In cases where the vehicle is less than 10 model years old the buyer has two options, have the vehicle inspected and apply for a one year registration or accept the seller’s inspection (unless it is within 60 days of the registration expiration date) and receive a registration with the seller’s original expiration date. If the vehicle registration is within 60 days of the expiration date, a new safety inspection is required.
 

Patriot shuttle bus sign-up
Melinda V. asked: I was wondering if anyone knows if I need to sign up for the Patriot Express shuttle bus or is it just show up at time/location with itinerary in hand?
Response: Melinda, service members are normally manifested during outprocessing, but if you still have specific questions, please send an email to imcomwiesbadencpf@eur.army.mil.

 

From the Aug. 30, 2012, issue of the Herald Union --


Construction near Newman Housing
Julie R. commented: Everyone wants to know what is being constructed around Newman Village. Also, is there a chance there will be a gas station on Clay Kaserne?
Response: Good questions Julie — a baseball field and a soccer field are being constructed in the northeast corner of Newman Village. Soon tennis and basketball courts will be constructed near the traffic circle. The basketball courts are even designed to be turned into a skating rink in the winter. There are no near-term plans for a gas station on Clay. AAFES has looked at the possibility of a new gas station/shoppette in the future.


Remembering a hero
Editor’s note: Spc. Ross A. McGinnis, a 2nd Infantry Division Soldier killed in Iraq in December 2006 while smothering a grenade with his body to protect his fellow Soldiers, was honored posthumously with the Medal of Honor in 2008 and with a street in his honor in Newman Village during the June 14, 2012, opening of the new Wiesbaden housing area.
His father Tom, sent the following email: I received your package yesterday afternoon and was absolutely flabbergasted by this beautifully made keepsake. I wish I had been able to attend this event, but your inclusion of the programs and your letter helped me to enjoy it is as much as possible from a distance. You have demonstrated once again that the U.S. Army never forgets, and that the Army folks know how to do things right. I was, of course, already as proud of Ross as a father can get, but memorials such as this add another dimension to that pride because it’s a pride that is shared with so many others who feel the same. … I hope that someday we’ll be able to visit Germany again. If we do, we will be sure to visit the U.S. Army Garrison in Wiesbaden and the Clay Kaserne which contains Newman Village and McGinnis Street.


Lay off the litter
Shannon J. commented: We arrived last week and have been without a vehicle and have chosen not to use the shuttle bus so we can get out. Upon our walking we realized that the Hainerberg casern is very much littered with trash — not so much near the housing buildings, but on the way to the PX and commissary there is trash piling up, and it’s quite disturbing.
Response: Shannon, thanks for sharing your concerns. I, too, hate the sight of trash being improperly disposed of and littering our living and working areas. I can’t understand why people would be so inconsiderate of their neighbors — both American and German. I would ask that if you see someone littering, please get a name or license number and report it to the Military Police at mil 337-5096/5097 or civ (0611) 5096/5097. Also, everyone can play a role in discouraging litterers by letting them know it’s simply unacceptable.


ICE works
Dorothy W. commented: The women’s bathroom at Vehicle Registration in Mainz-Kastel Housing was so filthy that if it wasn’t a must I never would have used it. Toilet paper was everywhere, and it smelled horrible. It appeared that this bathroom hadn’t been cleaned in a long time. It’s absolutely shameful that one of our facilities could be this way.
Response: Dorothy, thanks to your ICE submission and feedback from other community members, we were able to identify a real need and justify adjusting the cleaning contract to increase service from three times a week to once a day. Thanks for using ICE to help improve the overall quality of life in Wiesbaden: Your home in Germany.


Thanks for dog park
Sheri D. commented: I don’t know who to thank for the wonderful dog park in Hainerberg. It’s great, and thank you for listening to suggestions for a dog park. Whoo-hooo.

 

From the Aug. 16, 2012, issue of the Herald Union --
 

Great CYSS service
Connica M. commented: I would like to take this opportunity to let everyone know what great service my family and I have received from the Hainerberg School Age Center and the Hainerberg day care. When I got here I was feeling nervous about sending my newborn to a place I didn’t know. It is hard being dual military and knowing you have to miss so much of your children’s day. However both the SAC and the day care center pride themselves on being compassionate and showing they really care. They are not doing their job for a paycheck but they are doing it because they genuinely care. I wholeheartedly appreciate everything that both centers are doing to keep parents informed and taking care of my little ones. I am writing this with tears because it really is hard to trust people with your children these days. But I honestly don’t worry when I drop my two off because I have grown to know the great staff Mrs. Katherine and Mrs. Patricia have. Thanks ladies for all you do and your wonderful staff.


Concerned about security
Gene F. commented: After contacting the MPs, who thought my question was silly, I would like to know how the commander feels about the following: I am a chief warrant officer 4, living in field grade quarters in Aukamm Housing, and have observed several local nationals parking in front of my building. Two were today, July 28. I observed them parking in front of my stairwell then going outside the gate and catching a bus. What will it take for the MPs to think this is inappropriate, a bombing? In today’s world, no one should be parking in front of U.S. military housing unless they are a guest of the building, the MP’s excuse to call the Polizei, is something I find appalling after serving in the Army for more than 21 years. When I deploy, I need to know my family is safe. I do not feel that at the present.
Response: Thank you for being observant and taking notice of vehicles and personnel who do not appear to belong in the housing area. The proper action in situations like this is to notify the Military Police and report what you observed. The Military Police will then look into the matter by checking the vehicles and, in conjunction with the German Polizei, run the license plates to determine who the owners are and if they present any type of threat to the community. I assure you that we take the safety and security of our Soldiers, civilians and Family members seriously, but we are in a unique situation compared to other installations you have been stationed at in your career. The Hainerberg, Crestview and Aukamm housing areas are open and have public streets running through them that belong to the city of Wiesbaden. This means that the local laws and ordinances apply to the streets and, unless there are signs prohibiting it, on street parking is open to everyone including host nation personnel. The Directorate of Emergency Services has developed a strong working relationship with the German Polizei to ensure the safety and security of personnel living in these areas. The MPs and Polizei patrol the housing areas independently, conduct joint patrols and traffic compliance checkpoints, and conduct covert surveillance on a regular basis in order to detect and deter criminal activity. Again, thank you for taking notice of something that didn’t look right, and I encourage you to continue to remain vigilant, report anything suspicious to the Military Police (at mil 337-5096/5097 or civ 0611-5096/5097) and encourage others to do the same.

 

From the Aug. 2, 2012, issue of the Herald Union --


Security concerns
BJ F. commented — I am getting frustrated that military families who live in military housing such as Crestview, Hainerberg and Aukamm here in Wiesbaden do not feel safe. You have people breaking into cars, others going around and taking pictures of windows and such, and now you have German kids at the park in Crestview hanging out in dark clothes so you won’t be able to see them. Plus the fact that they have no respect at all and pee wherever they want to. … Supposedly you guys say we should feel safe, but how can you feel safe when anyone is allowed to come into housing anytime they want to. It’s not fair to all of us who have to live in these housing areas to have to put up with it. I was told the MPs would be patrolling every hour around housing, but I have yet to see that. I think something should be done to help the military families that have to be overseas feel safe where they live. I don’t feel safe living here. I am pretty sure there are a lot of other people who feel the same way as I do and I hope something gets done to make us feel better about living here.
Response: BJ, I am sorry that you feel that way about living overseas. I think most of us view it as a wonderful opportunity. Regardless, I want to reassure you that the host nation and U.S. military police forces are doing everything they can to keep you and your Family safe while living in Wiesbaden. Petty street crime is not unique to Germany. We have caught both Americans and Germans committing these crimes in our housing areas. We could reduce the number of cases with help from residents. We have yet to have a case where the vehicle owner did not either leave valuables in plain view or the vehicle unlocked or both. In one case a thief we caught described how it was like going shopping because the cars were unlocked and the valuables including passports, wallets with cash and credits cards inside, cameras, cell phones, iPods, navigation systems, etc. were left out and he could just scoop items out of the seats and fill up a bag full of valuables in a short span of time without breaking into a single vehicle. We have daily MP vehicle patrols, MP bike patrols, German Police patrols, plain-clothed investigators conducting surveillance, K9 (dog) patrols, horse patrols and a daily patrol by a German Police surveillance helicopter that frequently passes the U.S. areas. We continue to remind residents to please secure their belongings, but stairwell doors remain unlocked, bikes, motorcycles and other items are left unsecured and unattended and are easy targets for thieves both German and American. All residents are reminded to call the MP desk when something is happening so they can respond. To reach the MP desk call mil 337-5096/5097 or civ (0611) 705-5096/5097.
Germany comes alive
Esther V. commented: After being in Germany for a year in Heidelberg and never really knowing what was happening in the community, I was feeling very disconnected and discouraged about living in Germany. When my husband got orders to move to Wiesbaden I was not convinced it would be any better. Wow was I ever wrong. Though we currently have only been in the Wiesbaden community now for a little over 15 days, Germany has come alive to me and my family in part thanks to the wonderful people of this community and in part to the wonderful garrison Facebook page. I am so very grateful for all the updates and the wonderful job Public Affairs and MWR have done in keeping us motivated about living overseas. Also my stay at the Wiesbaden Lodging has been wonderful, as well as my experience with Housing. The staff has been very welcoming and professional, as well as willing to serve our needs to make our wait pleasant. Thank you to everyone for working so very hard to make those of us recently joining the community feel welcomed.
More museum feedback
Bonnie M. commented: I read in the latest Herald Union a complaint to the commander regarding the Harlekin Museum in Wiesbaden not being appropriate for young children. I haven’t been to the museum, but it definitely sounds like something my 8- and 11-year-olds would love. I will be taking them to see it. My complaint is the fact that something that families may very well enjoy was taken down from Things to Do simply because an individual found something in the museum objectionable. Instead of taking it down, you could easily put an asterisk that says some may find this not appropriate for young children. Personally, I have no problems answering my children’s questions, but I do not appreciate censorship because of the objections of an individual. There are people that find the showing of a square inch of skin objectionable and would love to dictate to others what they should or shouldn’t do. Germans are much more open about nudity than Americans. We are in their culture so we must deal with it. We can only control our own personal space within the home. A possible disclaimer would be the best thing to do, but I object to taking down an activity that many might find fun for families because it assaults the senses of some individual. If you are going to start that, then I guess you should be taking down lots of things. For example, there is a wonderful children’s science museum in Amsterdam called Nemo which has a large area devoted purely to sex. If I had not seen Barbie and Ken in the sexual position myself, I wouldn’t have believed it. So do my children miss out on an excellent science museum simply because of that? Would you not advertise a great science museum because you are aware there is a sex area? I hope not. I was caught unaware and it would have been nice to know beforehand, but I survived and so did my children. They also had fetuses in jars in the different stages of development. I’m sure many would find that objectionable. In any event, if something comes to your attention where there might be an activity that some might find objectionable, please make note of it but don’t keep us in the dark about potential fun activities because of the censorship of others. I would also think a disclaimer that you don’t endorse anything on the things to do and it is up to the family to decide whether or not they attend. You can’t possibly be expected to preview every activity (nor is that your responsibility) to determine what is or isn’t appropriate.
Response: Thanks Bonnie for sharing your views on the subject as well. You are right; in retrospect, we realized we might have overreacted by simply removing the entry that might indeed interest some visitors. It was included again in the most recent Things to Do newsletter with a disclaimer warning that it might not be appropriate for younger viewers. Thanks to both of you for sharing your views and helping us make the Things the Do offerings as accurate as possible.

 

From the July 19, 2012, issue of the Herald Union --


Commissary praise
Julie R. commented: Thank you to the commissary and their awesome staff. We are new to the post. We bought a lot and when we asked to call a cab, the associate volunteered to take us back to the hotel on post. I was shocked at the generous hospitality.
Museum not appropriate
Diana P. asked: I found the Harlekin Museum on the Wiesbaden Facebook website Things To Do link. I took my children because it said “The Harlekinäum is the world’s only museum of humor, located in the Wiesbaden suburb of Erbenheim. There are more than eight rooms full of an off-beat collection of humorous ideas: dancing shelves, a giant walk-in cheese and more than 1001 objects sure to make visitors laugh. Guided tours through the museum with “Clown Doctors” are on offer.” I just wanted to say that I think this museum is not for children. There are a lot of [****] items in this museum and I was totally embarrassed when I was asked by my children what things were. I don’t know if any one checks out these places before putting them in the Things To Do site or if it was changed after its input but I would like to make a suggestion. In your Things To Do please add that this museum is NOT for young children because of the [*****] contents there. Just an added note: I have always enjoyed the Things To Do site and this is the first time I have ever had a problem. Thank you for your understanding.
Response: Thanks, Diana, for letting us know that the museum in Erbenheim is not appropriate for younger visitors and sorry that your family was in for a shock. Our Public Affairs Office staff had no indication that it was not appropriate from the materials they received and the museum’s website. They have removed that entry from the Things to Do listing on the website. Again — thanks for letting us know and helping others avoid a similar unsettling experience.
Going beyond
Jaclyn S. commented: I would like to thank Pfc. Phillips at the Radiology Clinic (Wiesbaden Health Clinic) for going above and beyond to help me get digital copies of all my records, etc. to take back to the States with me. She saved me from having to drive all the way to Heidelberg to fill out a request form and facilitated the pick-up from Landstuhl since I didn’t have seven to 10 days before my PCS flight. I have been very happy with all the service from the Wiesbaden Health Clinic the two years I have been here. I have been able to use the Dental Clinic, Pharmacy, Optometry and Radiology Clinics as a spouse of a military retiree. Thank you for all your help, smiles and excellent care.

 

From the July 5, 2012, issue of the Herald Union --

Save by recycling
Commander’s comment: First off, thanks to all of you who play an active role in recycling. Your efforts are greatly appreciated. Because of your dedicated contributions to the overall effort, waste disposal costs in the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden were reduced by about €300,000 in 2011. But even that is only small change compared to the total of about €1.8 million the garrison paid for waste disposal last year. Did you know the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden could easily save half a million euros a year or more if everyone did his or her part to properly separate and recycle trash? That’s money that could be better spent on enhancing the overall quality of life in the Wiesbaden military community. Think about it — do you want your hard-earned tax dollars going straight into the trash or would you prefer they be used for things like improving playgrounds, fixing up housing or building new facilities? Please do your bit — recycle — and make the world a better place for everybody.
Housing question
Rebecca D. asks: Can I request that the housing situation be explained? We are moving to Wiesbaden this summer and are curious to know about any requirements to live on post or availability of new housing.
Response: You are not alone Rebecca. Housing seems to be on the minds of many of those getting ready to move to the Wiesbaden military community. Because of your and other comments to our Facebook page, we are featuring an article which explains the housing situation here in this issue of the Herald Union (see page 1). If you still have questions regarding housing after reading the article please don’t hesitate to contact our Housing Office by visiting their home page at www.wiesbaden.army.mil/sites/newcomers/housing/HousingWebsite.htm or by calling civ (0611) 705-7058.
Security concerns
Katlyn I. asked: We had a man somehow get into our apartment building the other night around 9 p.m. asking for a Family with young children, how long we had been living there and when the apartments were renovated. We didn’t know how he got in or why he was asking these questions so we called the MPs. We told them what was going on and they told us, ‘OK, we will put this in the report.’ Nobody has been here to talk to us and I have not heard anything else about it. … I understand the Germans own the roads and that is why there can’t be gates, but I believe there needs to be more security — even if it’s Pond’s security. … I also think Housing needs to be more accurate with the emails and phone calls when they send someone out to do maintenance on the apartments. I have never been notified when they send someone out, and I hesitate to let the men in. All I ask is that Wiesbaden be made a safer place for everyone here and that everyone be notified of what is going on.
Response: Katlyn you did exactly the right thing by notifying the Military Police of a suspicious individual in your housing area. That applies to everyone, including maintenance people who show up without notice. If you are unsure of a maintenance person’s identity — don’t let him or her in. Instead call the Directorate of Public Works Facilities Branch at mil 337-6289 or civ (0611) 705-6289 to confirm the appointment. The MPs report that several cars were broken into in the Crestview area exclusively. While crime is disconcerting to all of us, we can help protect ourselves by being vigilant to ensure our automobiles are not enticing to criminals by never leaving valuable items such as phones, GPS, etc. in plain sight and always locking car doors. After the incidents in Crestview we increased the frequency of our Military and German Police patrols. Regarding the man coming into your stairwell, I am left to conclude that either the door was not locked or the door lock may be broken. If you find the lock is not working properly, please call in a work order immediately. The German government has done an outstanding job of safeguarding Americans in this country against terrorist and criminal threats for more than 60 years including during the 1970s and 1980s when terrorist attacks were more prevalent in Germany than now. Community members can assist in keeping things this way by remaining vigilant, being aware, reporting suspicious behavior and ensuring that all doors to stairwells and vehicles are secured.

From the June 21, 2012, issue of the Herald Union --

Health Clinic appointments

Shauna F. asked: Just curious if you know why it is so hard to get an appointment at the clinic on Clay Kaserne ― especially for people who have children?
Response: Thanks for the question, Shauna. The Wiesbaden Army Health Clinic is losing one of two pediatricians due to the summer permanent change of station cycle, which has reduced the number of pediatric specific appointments. Another pediatrician is not programmed to replace the outgoing physician, but the clinic is undergoing an initiative to improve access and continuity under the Patient Centered Medical Home model. There is a four-week window that will reduce appointment access even more while the required training is accomplished June 18 through July 20. We will leverage our host nation health care partners during this time to continue providing urgent care to our community. The priority of effort remains active duty service members and active duty Family members at the clinic. Please feel free to stop by the clinic for more information and to find out about qualified host nation pediatricians.

Praise for Arts and Crafts support

Werner S. commented: On April 18, 2012, while deployed at Bagram Air Base (in Afghanistan) I contacted the Wiesbaden Arts and Crafts Center to inquire about delivery of balloons and/or birthday gifts. The staff performed above and beyond their duties by helping me send my daughter a birthday gift to her school ― Wiesbaden Middle School. The service provided by your center was exceptional and way out of their responsibility. Your customer service is excellent. I appreciate your support to deployed Soldiers.

Waiting list

Buttercup G. asked: My husband and I just got approved for command sponsorship, and from what I understand, the next big step will be to look for housing. Is the waiting list long for Wiesbaden? If we’re not picky in the least, how soon could we reasonably expect to get housing?
Response: Good question ― with our new Newman Village housing area having opening June 14, our waiting times should continue to be reduced. Earlier this year our Housing staff reported about an average 30-day waiting time for most housing. I would recommend you contact the Housing Office directly at mil 337-7058 or 337-5337 to provide your exact requirements and situation. Visit the garrison’s Housing Office website at www.wiesbaden.army.mil/sites/newcomers/housing/HousingWebsite.htm for more information.



From the June 7, 2012, issue of the Herald Union --

Offensive advertisements in housing

Several people have asked: What is the policy on posters and advertising in Army Family housing?” Some of them are in bad taste or offensive in particular those from the Europalace.

Response: Thanks for keeping a watchful eye on your surroundings and for bringing that to my attention. I too, am not happy about some of the images and ideas reflected on these posters that have been cropping up in and around the Wiesbaden military community. While the posters are solely the property of the company or organization advertised, there is no reason why our Families and children must be subjected to them in our housing areas. If you, as a resident, are offended by one of these posters, please send an email to the commander’s hotline (WiesbadenHotline@eur.army.mil), tell us where it is located and we’ll take it down. Please do not remove the posters yourself, as they remain the property of the advertiser, to be retrieved from us after we remove them.

Yard sales in Family housing

Savannah B. asked: Do we need to get permission from housing to have a yard sale?

Response: Great question Savannah. With the weather getting better every day and moving season in full swing, many people are considering different ways to get rid of used items that are no longer needed. As outlined in the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Housing Resident Handbook, residents must obtain prior approval from the Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation at mil 337-1550/335-5596 or civ (0611) 705-1350/4080-596 before beginning or advertising any sale. Residents in government quarters are the only individuals authorized to conduct yard, attic or similar sales. Such sales must be in their own yard and in an area specifically approved by the building or area coordinator.

Purchasing a dog in Germany

Josh P. asked: My wife and I have been on the hunt for a dog, but do not want to get a banned breed. What breeds are on the “banned” list for Wiesbaden’s housing communities?

Answer: Appreciate your asking before making a decision about a pet, Josh. You can find the answer to that question and other pet information on the garrison’s home page at www.wiesbaden.army.mil/sites/newcomers/pets.asp. You should be aware that the German authorities have instituted many regulations affecting owners of “fighting breeds.” Fighting breeds include American pit bull, Staffordshire bull terrier, bull terrier, Dogo Argentia, bull mastiffs, etc. Other breeds may be included in these regulations and vary depending on the state (Bavaria, Hessen, etc.). Currently, it is illegal to own a pit bull in the state of Bavaria (Aschaffenburg). In other cities there are yearly fees ($600 to $700) for owning a fighting breed. The regulations governing fighting breeds have been increasing and getting more restrictive over the past few years. Before purchasing an animal, recommend stopping by the Wiesbaden Veterinary Clinic in Building 1038 on Wiesbaden Army Airfield or calling the clinic at mil 337-6283 or civ (0611) 7056283 for additional guidance.

Sidewalk needed on WAAF

Phil G. commented: I recommend putting a sidewalk in on Theis Way on Wiesbaden Army Airfield. I see a lot of people walking along this road every day usually walking in the street with traffic.

Response: Thank you for your ICE comment. In fact, there is already a project planned to do this: a continuation of the sidewalk on the north side of the fitness center to tie into Crites Place (Old Crites Avenue). Your great idea will be implemented this summer. Thanks again for taking the time to comment.

From the May 24, 2012, issue of the Herald Union --

New housing in Wiesbaden

Mindy P. asks: We will be arriving to Wiesbaden in mid-June and I received word that the new duplex housing near the airfield will be available around June 15. I cannot see on the housing website the layouts of the new units. Do you know where we might find them? Many thanks for all the information you offer.

Response: Thanks for your interest and feedback Mindy. The pictures of the new housing area have not been posted to any website or media site as they are still under construction. The housing office is working to prepare photographs and video of all the housing areas and houses to ensure Soldiers and Families have the best information possible on their future homes. This material will be posted to the housing site of the garrison web page in the near future.  I look forward to welcoming you to Wiesbaden.

Preparing for Afghanistan mission

A V Corps spokesman commented: We're grateful for the community turnout for our colors casing ceremony May 10. Special thanks to Garrison Wiesbaden for all of their support as we prepare to deploy. Victory.

Likes the Things to Do newsletter

Jim A. comments: The new form of Things to Do in and around Wiesbaden is absolutely great.  Better format, good references and urls and much better for a little planning time. Thanks.

Response: Thank you, Jim.  I agree and my family uses the Things to Do reference to plan every weekend in and around Wiesbaden.  There is something for everyone there: sports enthusiasts, hikers, fest-lovers, restaurant goers, shoppers, etc.  For our readers, the site can be found at: PUT URL HERE.

Workers in housing

Miranda B asks: Am I wrong, or is housing not supposed to notify you if they send workers or inspectors out to your apartment? Just had two German men show up with ladders and ask for admittance into my apartment for maintenance on my fire alarm. I was not notified that they would be doing this today and since my husband is not home I certainly did not let them into my home. They acted very annoyed, but I honestly did not feel comfortable letting two strange men into my house when I was alone. Should I call housing?

Response: Great question, Miranda and I understand your concern. The Housing office staff tries to inform all residents when construction work, repairs or maintenance is taking place in housing buildings; especially when access is needed to individual apartments. However, individual organizations do not always notify the Housing Office that they need to conduct maintenance. You were right in not letting the workers in to the apartment and I would ask other readers with similar situations to do the same thing. Workers should always identify themselves and show proof of identification through ID card or ID badge. We will contact the fire department to check if they are conducting maintenance on smoke detectors. We will also assist in notifying residents. Residents can always call the Housing Office at civ (0611) 705-7058 if they have questions about work taking place in their buildings.

From the May 10, 2012, issue of the Herald Union --

Question about selling items

Amanda F. asked: Are there rules against selling used goods to Germans? It seems like I read somewhere that it is unlawful to sell items purchased in the States to the locals here. Is this the case or am I completely mistaken?

Response: Good question Amanda. U.S. ID cardholders are not allowed to sell used goods to Germans without a permit to transfer, according to Anthony Holmes, customs inspector in Wiesbaden. This also applies to yard sales in military housing areas. The Customs Office staff encourages anyone with questions to call the office at mil 337-5188/6071 or civ (0611) 705-5188/6071. You can also call that number for information about obtaining a permit to transfer.

Praise for Tax Center

Jackie F., Whitney S. and Merrill P. passed on praise for the Wiesbaden Tax Center: The staff is polite, courteous and exceedingly accommodating. They were exceptionally patient and understanding. Sgt. H. works extremely hard. His customer service is outstanding and should be recognized. If we had more people like him in the military, the world would be a better place. This is the best tax assistance I’ve had from various tax offices I’ve visited in Europe. … very knowledgeable and customer service friendly.

Motorcycle safety training

Andrew J. asked: Who or where can I go to to find out details about the motorcycle safety course? When is the next one? What equipment must I bring? And so on …

Response: Andrew, it’s great that you’re thinking about staying safe on the German roads. Please check out the last issue of the Herald Union (April 26, 2012) or the online story at www.wiesbaden.army.mil/hunion/Archive/April2612/MotorcycleSeason.htm for details on the Motorcycle Safety Foundation courses. Thanks also to fellow Facebook contributor David B. for providing the online link to the safety course schedules at www.imcom-europe.army.mil/webs/sites/staff_org/safety/atstp/index.html. Don’t hesitate to call the garrison’s Safety Office at mil 337-1670 or civ (0611) 705-1670 for additional information and assistance. (Listen to AFN-Wiesbaden, FM 98.7, for another opportunity to interact with the commander via phone calls to the studio while he is on the air or via AFN-Wiesbaden’s Facebook page.)

 

From the April 26, 2012, issue of the Herald Union --

 

Thanks for preschool support

Jose and Laura J. commented: Today was Jasmin J.’s last day in preschool. This staff has done a magnificent job taking care of our little girl while my wife and I focused on work and preparations for our departure to the states. Special thanks to Andrew Finley, Jerry Bowens, Darryl McBride and last but not least, Daniela Wilmore. Wilmore produced a journal-type book that illustrates Jasmin’s experiences in words and pictures during her time with this CDC and staff. It is well put together and we will cherish it. Thank you Mrs. Wilmore and thank you all for safeguarding our little girl. You all provide an extremely important service to our military community and family. Best of luck to all of you in your future endeavors.

Response: Jose and Laura — thank you for your feedback and safe travels as you leave the Wiesbaden community.

Question about speech pathologists

Diane J. asked: I was wondering if there are speech pathologists available on station for toddler-aged children or a place you refer people to? We are in the process of out-processing but our paperwork is held up by a referral my 16-month-old’s pediatrician made for speech delay. We were told the Army might re-station us if Wiesbaden doesn’t offer the services so I figured I would ask here while I’m waiting to hear back on his evaluation. Thanks in advance.

Answer: Please visit the Exceptional Family Member Program site on the garrison’s home page at http://www.wiesbaden.army.mil/sites/mwr/exceptional_family_member_program.asp for information and telephone contacts. The garrison also has an Educational and Developmental Intervention Services program, which provides services for children with developmental delays such as speech delays. You may contact them at mil 337-6662 or civ (0611) 705-6662.

Main Gate opening

Andrew J. commented: With all the changes to WAAF in the last year, opening the main gate during peak hours (6:30-9:30 a.m.) has to be the greatest change. It has cut my morning commute in half. Before the change I spent at least 12 minutes of my 20-minute commute trying to get through the gate and now I go from my house on Washington Strasse to my place of duty in under 10 minutes. WOW — what an impact. Whoever suggested this needs an impact award, day off, something — they earned it. Thank you and keep up the good work.

Fire station visit

Holly W. commented: Yesterday afternoon, April 13, my husband and I took our son to the Wiesbaden Army Airfield Fire Department because he is really interested in firefighters. We called first, and the personnel were very friendly. When we got there, one of the firefighters, Dominik, was very friendly and welcoming and he gave our son a tour of the fire department. He answered all of our son’s questions and even let him sit in some of the fire trucks. It was an amazing experience for my son and it completely exceeded my expectations because of how friendly everyone was and because they took time for us even though they have other things to do. I just wanted to thank everyone at the Wiesbaden Army Airfield Fire Department for not only the things they do on a daily basis, but for their heart of service to the Wiesbaden community. Thank you again.

Response: Great to hear, Holly, and thank you for your wonderful comments. We are extending this same experience to our German neighbors in the coming weeks when individuals from the Oppenheim volunteer fire department and youth program will tour our fire department.

 

From April 12, 2012 --

 

Comment: On behalf of my family as well as many other Aukamm Housing parents, I would like to thank the Military Police officers who provide safety and service before and after school. Aukamm Elementary has a program for children to safely cross the street called Safety Patrol. My child regularly acts as a safety patrol crossing guard. Due to the recent and ongoing construction rerouting traffic, the crossing zone on Hessenstrasse has been flooded with morning and after school traffic that has put children at risk due to drivers’ failure to yield and /or speeding. A special thank you to MP Christine Deloa who this morning identified the situation and the risk of harm that was readily apparent; who at one point had to literally step into the street to provide the necessary incentive for such drivers to see their wrong doing. Thank you for this amazing Soldier and all of the other Soldiers who step up during any time of need.

 

From March 29, 2012 --

 

Liz S. asked: "Does the base do an Easter Egg hunt for children?"

Answer: Yes Liz — the entire family is invited out to Wiesbaden’s annual Kinder Fest April 7 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Wiesbaden Entertainment Center in Hainerberg Housing. Enjoy sack races, face painting, crafts, sports, bowling, photos with the Easter bunny and more. The event will also feature hourly Easter egg hunts. The Wiesbaden Commissary will also feature an Easter egg hunt April 7 at 1 p.m.

Comment: "Many, many thanks to Maria Diaz and Alina Dukes for offering mini-fitness workshops to Wiesbaden High School seniors. … While other grades were taking standardized testing, we had alternate activities for the seniors, and these ladies did an outstanding job. We are so grateful for their commitment of time and certainly energy for the students. This is not an easy age group to work with and we are so grateful for their patience, understanding and persistence."

Vincent R. asked: "Can speed bumps be added in Hainerberg? The main thoroughfare to the commissary is dangerous for our kids, and with soccer about to start again on the fields, keeping traffic at the posted limits would be helpful."

Answer: Thanks for asking, Vincent. We are currently not authorized to install speed bumps on streets in Hainerberg Housing as they are still managed by the city of Wiesbaden. there is a future plan to reclaim those streets and close the Hainerberg area. In the meantime, we have received approval to construct a crosswalk between the two new soccer fields on each side of Florida Strasse and have met on-site with our city counterparts to determine the best location. We expect to have it installed this spring as the weather conditions permit.

Comment: "Mr. Ricky (Williams) has been an exceptional Child Development Center provider. He has consistently gone above and beyond to take care of our son. Our son is potty training at this time and he can be temperamental at times. Mr. Ricky has been a consistent caring provider who has been outstanding throughout the process of working with my child." (Editor’s note: Listen to AFN-Wiesbaden, FM 98.7, for another opportunity to interact with the commander via phone calls to the studio while he is on the air March 30 or via AFN-Wiesbaden’s Facebook page.)

From AFN-Wiesbaden's Facebook and call-in "Ask the Commander" feature (updated March 16, 2012) --

 

1-  Question: Stephen C.

"Does the new Exchange include a multi-plex movie theater similar to Ramstein?"

 

AAFES’ answer:   No, there are no plans for a multi-plex movie theater in conjunction with the new Hainerberg Shopping Center Complex.

 

2-  Question: James H.

3-  "Why can't Army Vets shop in the P.X.?"                                        

         

Answer: AFN already responded directly to Hazel on their face book.

 

4-  Concern:  Todd C.

" WAAF Building 1226, went to pick up clothes at dry cleaners, clothes smell like cat pee.  The whole building smells like cat. Someone has 4 bowls and a metal shelter on East side of building, place seems to be interested with cats underneath."

 

AAFES Answer: We would like to offer the opportunity to have the customer's clothes re-cleaned at no charge. Please have him contact Georgine McGhee, GM Assistant 334-2348. 

 

DPW’s answer:  There are feral cats that reside in vicinity of this building. They have been neutered and are allowed to remain. Their feeding area has been relocated to recycle center away from building and the shelter was also removed. The area around floor penetration in hallway utility closet has been closed to prevent odors from coming into building. The AAFES staff has been instructed how to use the two ventilating fans in their retail space. There did not appear to be any further odors associated with cat urine inside the facility.

 

5-  Question: Christine B.

"Can't renovations be done in facilities on Hainerberg such as the Food Court Restrooms?"

 

DPW’s answer:  DPW responded to approx. 47 repair calls during the last 12 months at the Hainerberg Food Court to maintain serviceability of facility. We will review with AAFES what repairs may still need to be made, then depending upon cost and availability of funds proceed with project. DPW is responsible for the upkeep of all buildings/facilities.

 

6-  Question: Sarah C.

“Is there a reason since we don’t live in a gated area that we don’t see more security and mp foot patrols?”

 

7-  And Dawn Loree L.

“I am very concerned about the lack of security here on post considering that the housing area is completely unprotected and as some have pointed out it leaves us quite vulnerable.  Our front door never locks and anyone has the freedom to just walk into the housing area. It would seem that especially in an overseas location that the security of the families would be of utmost importance”.

 

DES’ answer: we do take the security of the entire community seriously and have enlisted the help of our Polizei partners to ensure the safety of the residents of the housing areas. During the winter and early spring, patrols conduct walking patrol each shift on top of their required security checks and responding to incidents that happen in their patrol area.  We also have plain clothes investigators who conduct surveillance in the housing areas on a regular basis. Depending on the weather we will be starting our bicycle patrols around April 1st. There are also various Polizei assets that patrol our housing areas to include the normal road patrols, mounted patrols on horses, as well as their undercover investigators. 

 

DPW’s answer: The front doors of all buildings can be locked by the residents. There is a small switch located on the frame portion of the door lock that must be put in the correct position in order for the door to automatically lock when closed.  In the event that a resident thinks there door is not working properly a service order can be submitted or they can call the housing office. We will send someone out to check the door.

 

8-  Question: Vincent R.

“Can speed bumps be added on Hainerberg? The main thorough way to the commissary is dangerous for our kids and with soccer about to start again at the fields, keeping traffic at the posted limits would be helpful.

 

DPW’s Answer: We are not presently authorized to install speed bumps on streets in Hainerberg. We have received city of Wiesbaden approval to construct cross walk between two new soccer fields on each side of Florida Str. We have met on site with city counterparts to decide best location for this crosswalk. Expect this to be installed this spring as weather conditions allow.

 

GC answered/deterred the question about increased fees at the Gym; new AAFES/Commissary facilities; Health and Dental clinics and access to host nation services.

 

From March 15, 2012 --  

 

Samantha W. asked: “What are the DFAC’s new hours?”

 

Answer: The Wiesbaden (Victory) Dining Facility is open for breakfast Monday through Friday from 7-8:30 a.m.; for lunch weekdays from 11:30 to 1 p.m. and dinner Monday to Friday from 4:30-6 p.m. (for meal card holders only). It is also now open Satuday, Sunday and federal holidays for brunch from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and supper (for Soldiers only) from  5-6:30 p.m.

 

Mandi R. asked: “How do I get an international driver’s license to drive outside of Germany?”

 

Answer: Please visit Driver’s Testing in Building 1023W, Room 324, on Wiesbaden Army Airfield and request the form for an international driver’s license which the staff will help you fill out. Make sure you bring your U.S. Army Europe driver’s license and your ID. Then you go to the German licensing office. You will need one passport photo (there is a machine as you enter the office) and €15. Make sure you also have your stateside license too.

 

To get to the Wiesbaden Licensing Office from Wiesbaden Army Airfield, take B-455 toward Wiesbaden, exit on to A-66 toward Ruedesheim, exit on to A-643 toward Schierstein. Take the first exit off A-643 for Schierstein/Appelalle and stay in the right hand lane. Turn right at the second light onto Rheingauerstrasse and then take the mandatory right turn onto Saarstrasse after the second light. A pizza delivery service will be on the right hand corner. After going under an overpass, turn left at the first available left turn. The vehicle licensing office entrance is the second driveway on the right, adjacent to the German inspection point. The office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and until 6 p.m. on Wednesday. (Listen to AFN-Wiesbaden, FM 98.7, to hear more answers to Facebook feedback and keep visiting the garrison’s Facebook page for the latest updates and to submit your comments and questions.)