WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD, Hawaii - In an effort to further improve the quality of life in our communities, Col. Matthew Margotta, commander, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii (USAG-HI), chaired a meeting with garrison leaders May 12.

Army Hawaii Family Housing (AHFH), the Directorate of Emergency Services (DES), and U.S. Army Garrison-Oahu (USAG-O) leadership assembled to discuss prevalent community issues and formalize roles and responsibilities in responding to AHFH residents' concerns or complaints.

This was a much needed working group; the privatization of housing has at times led to confusion as to what agency is responsible for resolving issues. More importantly, it prevented residents from receiving the very best support to which they're entitled.

The following areas/concerns summarize the results of this meeting and USAG-HI's approach to accomplishing its number one priority - customer service.

<b>Resolving community issues</b>
Garrison will resolve residents' issues via a three-pronged approach.

First, residents should initially raise issues to the attention of their AHFH community manager.

Second, if the community manager is unable to resolve appropriately, he or she will then engage the USAG-Oahu community directors.

Community directors will assess the issue and engage the involved Soldiers' chains of command and enlist their assistance in rectifying problems and shaping Soldiers'/family members' future conduct.

Finally, DES will respond to any community issues that are of a criminal, security or safety nature.

To summarize, a resident's first call should be to his/her AHFH community manager so that he/she has the opportunity to expeditiously resolve. For those issues that must be immediately addressed, residents may certainly contact the military police (MP) station during non-AHFH duty hours.

<b>Parking issues </b>
AHFH community managers will handle complaints of one resident parking in another's designated spot. DES will respond to reports of illegal parking and is stepping up its enforcement efforts going forward.

Residents are strongly encouraged to comply with posted "no parking" signs and curbs that are painted red; these are there to enhance your safety. Additionally, AHFH community managers are beginning assessments of all communities to determine other areas that need to be zoned as no parking areas (e.g., locations that interfere with resident mailbox access or within 15 feet of a fire hydrant).

Since parking is limited at times, residents are reminded of current AHFH policy - residents who have a garage or carport must use it for vehicle parking only. These areas may not be used for storage, auto repairs or any other purpose.

Parking issues are further amplified when residents store vehicles for deployed Soldiers. This is not acceptable without the written approval of your AHFH community manager. Vehicles not in compliance, or otherwise meeting the criteria of abandonment, will be towed.

Residents may contact the MP station to report abandoned vehicles in their neighborhoods, and law enforcement officers will coordinate for removal.

<b>Pet control</b>
National Dog Bite Prevention Week is May 17-23. And while this factoid may make you scratch your head, the Center for Disease Control reports that approximately 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year, with 20 percent of these requiring medical attention. Arguably, many of these could have been prevented by proactive and responsible dog owners.

Residents are encouraged to do their part by keeping their dogs under control at all times. Spaying or neutering dogs often reduces aggressive tendencies. Never leave young children alone with a dog, and properly socialize and train the animal.

Additionally, residents are reminded of the following January 2009 Army policy regarding aggressive or potentially aggressive breeds of dogs.

AHFH residents are not authorized the following breeds or mixed breeds: (1) pit bulls (American Staffordshire Terriers or English Staffordshire Terriers), (2) rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, chows, and wolf hybrids.

This prohibition also extends to other dogs that demonstrate a propensity for dominant or aggressive behavior (e.g., biting, escaping confinement or unprovoked barking).

Questions regarding this policy may be directed to James Brown, Oahu North community director, at 655-8978 or Mark Young, Oahu South community director, at 438-6996.

AHFH policies permit actions up to and including lease termination for failure to remove prohibited, aggressive or unruly dogs.

In conclusion, most dog bites don't stem from "bad dogs" but from irresponsible owners. This was the case when a young child was nearly mauled to death on Schofield Barracks this past summer.

Thanks in advance for keeping your pet under control and preventing it from being a threat or nuisance to others.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16