Baumholder garrison holds town hall in cyberspace
April 11, 2012
BAUMHOLDER, Germany (April 11, 2012) -- The U.S. Army Garrison Baumholder added a new dimension to its quarterly community town hall by presenting the event live on Facebook, March 28, at the Rheinlander Community Club.
There were numerous questions from the record crowd at the Rheinlander and at least 15 questions came in via Facebook.
The following comments were made during the open forum:
Comment regarding speeding in housing areas: There are occasional drive patrols but I have seen no citations issued. I would like to see dismounted personnel with radar guns. Lime Street is a motor thoroughfare and I see 12-15 cars an hour speeding, especially before PT hours and from 5-9 p.m.
Answer: "We continue to enforce the speed limit in the housing area. We're trying to add speed bumps and we're trying the German way of slowing down speeders by blocking half of the road to make people slow down," said Maj. Dominique DeFrancisco, director of Emergency Services.
"We get the blotters daily and we see folks are speeding so we are working with the Military Police on this and they are working hard but they can't get everyone every time. If you can, help us out and copy the license plate number of people you see speeding," said Lt. Col. Sam McAdoo, USAG Baumholder commander.
Facebook comment regarding medical and dental appointment availability: Can anything be done to increase the availability of appointments at the medical and dental clinic, especially for family members?
Answer: "We are a no restrictions facility. There is no difference from a Soldier and a spouse or family member," said Lt. Col. Melissa Stanfa-Brew, clinic commander. "If we have appointments we give them out, if we don't, we don't give them out. We have a 24-hour advice line. You can make appointments online too through Tricare online and by calling our appointment line."
"Our requirements (at the dental clinic) are that this is a Soldier clinic," said Col. Norman Ott, acting dental clinic commander. "We have to make sure 95 percent of our Soldiers are combat ready. We are all backlogged right now trying to get kids in before PCSing. Access is available for family members on Thursday for walk-in exams (older then 11) and hygiene or routine appointments."
Ott added, that Tricare started a dental insurance plan for purchase. "You can go off post and your care is covered (to the maximum allotted) for dental and orthodontic care. Come in to the clinic to get a list of referred names of dentists and orthodontists."
Comment regarding ticketing parked cars at the clinic and Army Community Service: "The ACS and clinic parking is limited due to construction and construction workers taking up spots. Can the MPs be more considerate when handing out citations?"
Answer: "Let's use common sense by not giving out tickets to people trying to park at the clinic. As long as you aren't parking on curb or in a no parking area, no tickets should be given out. Maj. DeFrancisco will look into this," said McAdoo.
Comment removed banners: "What happened to the banners that were taken down recently? Can they be retrieved?"
Answer: "We encouraged people to take their banners down. We will research the date we told people to take them down. If banners were still up by the required end time they were removed by the MPs. If the banner was removed prior to that date, we will look into it," said McAdoo.
Comment regarding passport office appointments: Is there a way to open up later appointments after the 1:30-2:30 p.m. time period, since all family members must be at the appointment?
Answer: "It's news to me. We had to do it one day because of a shortage of people. I will make sure that it doesn't happen again. I will look into this matter because we have appointments that go all the way until 4 p.m. daily," said Chris Macri, director of Human Resources.
Comment off-post residents' disposal of hazardous waste on post: Can off-post families bring their hazardous waste on post?
Answer: "Yes they can," said McAdoo. "We can take your hazardous waste but not your own waste or trash, just hazardous waste."
Comment regarding the Exceptional Family Member process: Currently many families are having issues getting through to the EFMP process for a permanent change of station in a timely manner.
Answer: "It's a very rigorous process. We will make sure we put you in touch with the EFMP manager. Each case is different. Some can be complex and complicated. We have a lot of folks PCSing and we need to make sure we take care of our people," said McAdoo, who offered follow-up information after the forum.
Comment regarding housing and garrison restructuring: What will the impact be for on- and off-post housing due to garrison restructuring efforts?
Answer: "It will have zero impact on the community itself. Housing will be available during transitions," said McAdoo.
Facebook comment regarding Wetzel housing playgrounds: In nearly five-years time Wetzel Housing and playgrounds have been mostly unclean and unsafe. Safety concerns are huge in playgrounds especially. There is glass, broken trees, torn up cork and more in these playgrounds. Graffiti and lack of shade are also a huge issue. Trash is a constant problem. It is time that something gets done in this area. It is also completely unfair that Smith Housing is maintained and Wetzel is not.
Answer: "We do have a problem in the playground common areas. We are working with DPW to get trash cans out there. This is something we talked about six months ago. Garbage is one part of it, the other is vandalism. Kids are not behaving. We will fix the weathered items but we cannot fix the items that are damaged by children or teens. Please reach out to the MPs if you see some vandalism," said McAdoo.
Facebook comment regarding assigned parking in housing: "I was under the impression that there is no longer assigned parking on post. However, our building coordinator is now asking that no residents, even those with two vehicles, park in the open unmarked spot directly in front of the stairwell."
Answer: "Every apartment has an assigned parking spot to it. I personally went and checked each and every one on this post. Additional parking spots are trying to be created. Residents and coordinators need to work together to make sure people aren't parking in others spots. We ask that you try to leave visitor parking open for maintenance and moving companies from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., from then on it's open parking," said Sgt. 1st Class Rob Pike, Housing Office.
Comment: We are not getting consistent answers on parking issues. We just want them to do the same thing every time.
Answer: "There is no deviation from that. We will make sure our MPs are fully versed on the same things they say each time." (Editor's note: The questions received from Facebook that were not answered during the forum were forwarded to the appropriate agency for a response to be provided by a garrison official.)