ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - A special town hall meeting was held at the APG South (Edgewood) recreation center March 20 for APG South residents.

The new Director of Freestate ChalleNGe Academy, Charlie Rose, briefed the audience about the program, which recently moved from APG North to APG South. Rose said that Freestate ChalleNGe Academy cadets are high school dropouts, ages 16-18. They voluntarily come to the program because they want a second chance at an education.

Rose said that the 17-month program is operated by Maryland National Guard. For the first 22 weeks, cadets live at the academy in a residential program, a structured, disciplined, quasi-military environment. The program moved to APG South in December to align resources with the Maryland National Guard located on APG South.

"The cadets are monitored 24/7 by trained staff," he said. "Every minute of every day is accounted for," Rose said.

Rose added that during the residential phase, cadets are active in the community, and volunteer at least 40 hours before graduating from the program.

During the post-residential phase, cadets are placed into jobs, continue their education or enter the military.

Rose said that it is important to note that these cadets are drug free, and have no pending court action, probation or indictment against them when they enter the program. Also, teens with felonies on their police record will not be admitted into the program.

"This is not a boot-camp program, no one is forced to come here by a judge," said the program's case manager Kevin Covington, who also attended the program.

Covington said that that if a teen does run away, law enforcement will be notified immediately.

APG Garrison Commander Col. Gregory McClinton said that the residents can obtain a copy of the program's calendar of events by contacting Rose at 410-436-3318, or e-mailing him at rosec@mildep.org.

Rose added that he would like to hold an open house for residents in the near future, which will be advertised in the APG News, and on the installation's social media outlets.

After Rose's presentation, Chris Ferris, director of Emergency Services, briefed attendees and addressed concerns regarding post security. Ferris said although some changes will be made to consolidate resources, police officers will continue to patrol both sides of the installation 24 hours a day. He added the safety and security of our Soldiers, civilians and their families is paramount.

The Director of Public Works, Tom Kuchar, also addressed resident concerns.

Kuchar said that Picerne Military Housing responds to all reports received for brown water and partners with DPW to investigate and resolve all issues.

DPW addresses water issues outside the homes, while Picerne handles any issues inside of homes.

DPW flushes the water on a bi-weekly basis, and conducts monthly tests to monitor the pH and chlorine levels in the water.

Water is closely monitored and regular reports are sent to the state. Kuchar said DPW remains confident the water supply in APG, both North and South is safe. DPW and Picerne are committed to improving their processes and are following up on specific concerns raised at the town hall.

Residents are asked to open the faucets throughout the home after flushing to alleviate any build up of sediments in the line.

Kuchar said that APG residents are encouraged to immediately contact Picerne at 410-672-4071 or DPW at 410-436-3102 with any concern they might have regarding their water supply.

The APG community can also post live comments on the Interactive Customer Evaluation, or ICE, system, at www.ice.disa.mil.

McClinton added that APG residents are also welcome to provide feedback during quarterly installation town hall meetings, which are broadcast via video teleconference and Comcast subscribers can watch the meeting on Channel 97. For questions about viewing installation town hall meetings, contact the Garrison Public Affairs Office at usarmy.apg.imcom.mbx.apg-pao@mail.mil. Upcoming town hall dates are advertised on the APG Facebook page, www.facebook.com/APGMd, Twitter, twitter.com/USAGAPG, and the APG website, www.apg.army.mil/.