Garrison takes up community issues: School, housing top meeting topics
August 12, 2010
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Back-to-school and housing issues topped those raised during a garrison town hall meeting Aug. 5 at the Solomon Center.
Garrison officials gave updates about post initiatives before initiating a question and answer session for audience questions.
Though the meeting's theme was "backto- school," dialogue revolved around a variety of topics, including child care, services for exceptional family members and housing dilemmas on and off post.
The event marked the first town hall meeting hosted by Col. James Love, who took command of the garrison in June.
"This community exchange of dialogue is extremely important," Love said. "Because it's our job to make sure all that we're doing here at Fort Jackson is what's best for the Soldiers, civilians and families who live and work here."
Keisha McCoy-Wilson, school liaison officer, led the forum with a brief overview of what Fort Jackson community members can expect when children head back to school next week.
She asked parents to be aware of what documents are required to enroll their children at both on- and off-post schools. For instance, in some school districts in the surrounding area, she said, additional proof of residence and information may be required for registration. She encouraged anyone with questions to contact her or Ann Gordon, Richland One school liaison, at 751- 6150.
Col. Ramona Fiorey, commander of Moncrief Army Community Hospital, announced that MACH has designated Friday for all Fort Jackson children to get physical examinations required for school or to participate in sports.
About 200 appointments will be available for children to be seen by one of 14 providers at the Family Health Clinic, Fiorey said. She asked that parents call 751-CARE, or 751-2273, to make an appointment, and to download the specific physical examination forms from each school's website prior to coming to the clinic.
Sean O'Brian, Fort Jackson safety director, asked all drivers to slow down, and "to expect the unexpected where children are present or may be present."
O'Brian stressed that drivers need to, as much as possible, eliminate distractions. He reminded the crowd that using electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle is not authorized at Fort Jackson.
He also encouraged parents to teach their children pedestrian safety, as well: cross at designated areas only; look left, right, then left again before crossing; walk, not run; and never walk in between cars.
Col. Ronald Taylor, director of emergency services and provost marshal, said job postings have been announced for three school crossing guards. Until those positions are filled, military police officers will stand in at the crossing sites, which are located at
Imboden and Chestnut, Imboden and Miles, and Miles and Brown. Taylor asked that any parents interested in volunteering to be a Safety Aid/School Crossing Guard should contact Byron Jones at 751-6834.
Taylor also said that police officer Lionel Brown will be the School Resource Officer for both Fort Jackson elementary schools, three officers will began teaching the D.A.R.E. program in September and the semi-annual Ident-A-Kid event is scheduled to take place again this fall.
Nancy Kessler, PX store manager, talked about upcoming sales and promotional events.
Before engaging in a question and answer session, garrison officials addressed three issues that were raised at the last town hall meeting in May.
- There is no requirement for drivers to have a special decal or sticker on their cars if they live in the housing area.
- If an on-post resident has a satellite dish that is not being used, he or she must contact Balfour Beatty to have it removed.
- If satellite or telephone wires are exposed in the housing area, contact Balfour Beatty for assistance.
Some of the questions asked by community members regarding housing concerned sand pits and lawn maintenance, retaining walls, water accumulation in homes and the housing assignment waiting list.
Emma Watson, Residential Communities Initiative director, addressed the audience members' frustrations and asked community members to understand that the housing office is going through "growing pains" as residents are relocated from older to newer housing, as well as accommodating those on the already existing housing assignment waiting list.
"We will do what we need to do to correct the process if there's a disconnect omewhere,"
Watson said. "Because the goal is, for everybody going into housing ... to treat them equally and fairly."
Other concerns included the lack of developmental pediatricians on post or in the surrounding areas; the hours of the skateboard park; and child care for children of single parents.
Following the Q&A session, a few attendees were awarded door prizes and everyone was invited to eat free pizza.
The next town hall meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m., Nov. 4 at the Solomon Center.