The "Ask the Garrison Commander" program is designed as a communication tool to allow Soldiers, civilians and family members to get concerns addressed and questions answered by the garrison commander. All submitted questions go directly to the garrison commander; directorates and support staff research queries and provide responses to the commander.

Due to newspaper space limitations, only a sampling of questions are printed or broadcast on TV2, a channel available on Army installations. Generally, the garrison commander answers questions of community-wide impact.

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Several community members submitted questions to me via the Ask the Garrison Commander e-mail address, as well as at the U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii web link at <a href="http://www.garrison.hawaii.army.mil/comments/contactgc.aspx">www.garrison.hawaii.army.mil/comments/contactgc.aspx</a>. These communication tools are provided to allow you - Soldiers, family members and civilians who live and work on the installation - to get your concerns addressed and answered.

A sampling of questions I received is provided below; however, I am made aware of all of your concerns. I've selected questions that IAca,!E+believe have the most community-wide impact.

<b>Q: My family and I have been annual ticket holders supporting the Army Community Theatre for more than three years now. I'm concerned that the plays being performed in the current season are not family-friendly shows appropriate for children.

It would be nice to have one or two family-friendly shows (each) season. This may help draw the military community back to the theater.</b>

A: ACT is a wonderful option for community entertainment, both for theatergoers and aspiring actors and stagehands. Every season, ACT's theater director tries to identify shows that will be entertaining and appealing to our community. While not all shows are family-friendly, ACT does attempt to reach a variety of audiences with its selections.

Here are brief summaries for four upcoming ACT productions, to help you determine if they are age-appropriate for your children:

Aca,!AcThe season opener, "Zombie Prom," is a fun-filled poke at teenage horror/rebellion-themed movies of the 1950s, as well as a commentary on the duck-and-cover training of America as it entered the age of nuclear power. "Zombie Prom" is also a nod to the hit television series "Glee," targeting the same audience. Teenagers from the Army and civilian communities have been cast in a number of leading roles.

Aca,!Ac"Camelot," the second production of the season, recounts the legend of King Arthur and is considered a classic. While not a children's theater production, "Camelot," one of the most frequently performed musicals in the United States, is certainly family-suitable.

Aca,!AcThe third selection, "Chicago," is by no means suitable for all ages and will not be advertised as such. Theatergoers will be treated to a spicy evening of sophisticated entertainment for mature audiences only.

Aca,!AcACT's final selection for the season, "Bugsy Malone," was specifically designed to feature a cast of young actors, none older than age 15. Though its storyline includes the antics of junior gangsters and budding showgirls in a setting that echoes prohibition-era America, this charming production is safe for kids of all ages.

<b>Q: There are inconsistencies in types of identification authorized for entry at installation security checkpoints on Schofield Barracks, Fort Shafter, Fort Shafter Flats and Tripler Army Medical Center. I am a Department of the Army civilian working at Fort Shafter and I've been using my U.S. Army-Pacific identification badge for entry for the past six years without any issue. Just recently, I've been advised that the USARPAC badge was not recognized as an installation access badge, and that I have to produce other types of identification.

Can you please provide clarification on the installation access policy'</b>

A: With the transition from contract security guards to new Department of the Army Security Guards, it may seem that previous processes have changed or that there are inconsistencies in policies. The Directorate of Emergency Services, in charge of installation access, is ensuring that the same policies are being applied correctly and consistently at all access points.

A number of forms of identification are accepted in accordance with U.S. Army and garrison regulations. The most common include the Department of Defense Common Access Card, military family member ID cards, retired military ID cards, Tripler Army Medical Center ID cards, Department of Veteran Affairs ID cards, Hale Koa Hotel ID cards, and special events passes. When in doubt, defer to access control personnel instruction.

In September, access control personnel were authorized to implement modified procedures to expedite traffic flow during peak morning hours. These procedures allowed security guards to look at ID cards without doing an actual hands-on check of the card. During this modified procedure, more emphasis will be placed on verifying that each vehicle has a valid DoD decal. If not, closer scrutiny of the driver's identification will occur, or other security measures will take place.

Identification cards will be more closely scrutinized during off-peak hours.

<b>Q: My father and I were recently at the Schofield Auto Skills Center facility and were notified that, as of Oct. 1, the shop is now closed Sundays because of budget cutbacks. We realize the funding situation is serious, but to close this highly-utilized shop means that many active, retired and dependent family members will be denied (its) use on a day when most are off-duty or not working.

Is there a way that the Sunday closure can be reconsidered'</b>

A: Unfortunately, the Auto Skills Center did find it necessary to reduce staff and change days of operation as of Oct. 1. Financial losses from the center could not be sustained without negatively impacting the operation funding. Although many in our community used the center, the amount of participation was still not enough to support the level of operations that were previously in place.

Auto Skills will be open Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturdays, 9 a.m.-4 p.m; closed Sundays and Mondays. The decision to close the center Sundays was based largely on the number of community members using the facilities.

It is always difficult to make these types of changes; they impact both our community members and our garrison employees. But changes are made to provide the highest level of service possible across the garrison in multiple Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs.

<b>Ask the Garrison Commander Update</b>

In a previous edition of this column, we addressed the issue of sometimes-limited child care in Hawaii and the construction of new child development centers as a solution. One of our readers wrote to inform us that we neglected to include another very viable option: the Family Child Care program.

FCC providers are dedicated to offering affordable and quality child care. They are trained and certified, undergo background checks and have their homes inspected. FCC providers are available in both the North and South communities. For more information, contact Child, Youth and School Services at Schofield Barracks at 808-655-8373, or at Aliamanu Military Reservation, 808-837-0236.

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<b>More Information</b>

To submit an "Ask the Garrison Commander" question, send an e-mail to <a href="mailto:AskTheCommander.usaghi@us.army.mil">AskTheCommander.usaghi@us.army.mil</a>.

For more information, call Ophelia Isreal (808-655-9033) at Customer Management Services, or call Aiko Brum (808-656-3155) at U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public Affairs.

Page last updated Mon October 25th, 2010 at 15:14