Town Hall Meeting Jan. 25
Published January 28, 2013
TOWN HALL MEETING ON JANUARY 25, 2013
The purpose of this feedback is to provide a record of questions asked during the initial town hall meeting to be considered as changes are implemented throughout the wing, and also to provide questions for the remaining town hall meetings should they be needed.
Question: Sometimes we can't hear what the giant voice is saying.
Question: My daughter was hired for one day of training at an AAFES Concessionaire, but was told to tear up her pay stub and that she wouldn't get paid. Tried to talk manager, no comment. Received a W-2 saying she had been paid, but still no check. Can you help?
- (Col VanHerck) We have a program called AtHoc that servicemembers can input their spouse's information for immediate updates. Ask family member/spouse to add your contact information.
Question: Do you have any information about Eagle Scout project ideas around Abilene?
- (Col VanHerck talked to AAFES manager) Hopefully the person who texted that question can follow up with you (Manager) after the meeting to get this resolved. *
Question: Would you consider blinking lights like a school zone for the youth center, so speed limits can increase when children are not present?
- (Youth Center Director) The Youth Center is open to ideas and projects, they have interacted with Eagle Scouts in the past.
- (Audience member) Dyess We Care Team has projects that Eagle Scouts could help with. For more info on the WCT, call 325-864-1286.
Question: Why does Dyess have enlisted, lieutenants and captains that deploy regularly, but commanders that have never deployed?
- (Col O'Brien) We've considered that before, but the Youth Center frequently has various activities and events occurring outside of routine hours. Because of this spontaneity, we deemed it safer to keep it at 15 mph at all times.
Question: I think the speed limit through residential neighborhoods should be 15 mph instead of 20.
- (Col VanHerck) CE's Commander is currently deployed with a team to Afghanistan right now. Commanders that go to the AOR are there for extended periods of time, 1 to 2 years. It's more of a PCS than a deployment for those individuals.
Question: I have concerns about the crosswalk at the school gate. I've started standing out there to ensure safe crossing, and need help.
- (Col VanHerck) I haven't seen any accident reports that would indicate a need to lower the speed limit, but if you are seeing something concerning, please communicate the issues. I will ask Safety to observe the area more and see if we do have a problem.
Question: Some roads have a sidewalk on one side, but not the other, so children are crossing to the other side to be safer, but if people are going 20 mph, there may not be time to stop for a crossing child.
- (Col VanHerck) Resources are limited, but we will look into it. If it's a safety issue, we want to address it.
Question from Col VanHerck to audience: What are some more indicators that traffic safety with children is a problem?
- (Col VanHerck) CE will look into how much it will cost to put a sidewalk on both sides of the roads.
Question: There have been multiple times that I have picked up my child from Dyess Elementary, and when getting back on base, there have been no ID checks.
- (Audience member) Near Delaware Gate, both parents and children are not paying attention to what's happening on the road. Children on their bikes aren't looking around. One parent actually yelled and cursed at an individual stopping their vehicle for children crossing. I've witnessed several near-accidents.
- Col VanHerck: Security Forces will immediately step up patrols in the area to prevent further incidents while we address long-term solutions to the problem. A crosswalk-volunteer program is a potential option.
- Major Bass: We are aware speeding is a problem at Dyess, we catch some, we won't catch them all. If the budget allows, we are trying to get a device that will take pictures of speeding vehicles, and those perpetrators will get a ticket.
Question: My son had an appointment and we would be late if we had been randomly inspected. What happens if we are in that situation?
- (Major Bass) We have heard about this, it will be addressed.
Question: One time, I was stopped for 45 minutes because I wouldn't be released until the next vehicle arrived.
- (Col VanHerck) One of the benefits of living on base is extra security vs. living off base. Security Forces have to do their job, and random vehicle inspections are a deterrence to unauthorized individuals attempting to get on base. If you have an emergency, definitely communicate that to Security Forces if you find yourself in that position, but I can't promise that if you're running late for an appointment, that they would make an exception.
Questions: Why are the flags not flown at ALL times at the main gate, and why are some poles not used when they are?
- (Major Bass) That's called a "stop, check, and pass". That's different than a random vehicle inspection. That's for when we are looking for a suspect. We have to make sure no one can approach the gate at a high rate of speed to get off base.
Question: Is there a get well date for provider positions being filled?
- (Col VanHerck) Flags are expensive, and they can tear easily in unfavorable weather conditions. We put them up for special events, special visitors, etc. The Flag at the roundabout we try to keep up as often as possible, but weather prevents it from being up all the time.
- (Captain Burke, Protocol) Some of the flagpoles need repair.
Question: If we call TriCare, they say our children have to be seen on base, but if we go to Tricare, they say we can go off base.
- (Col Thompson): We do have an outstanding pediatric physician, Dr. Murphy, but she is beginning to overflow with patients. We have two provider clinics available, but we haven't been able to fill the second one because it's hard to find people to fill it. We've been looking for a civilian to fill that position. We've been working hard to fully staff the clinic.
- (Col VanHerck) There is also a hiring freeze on civilians across the Air Force, so that may cause a further delay.
Question: In the older section of base housing, the rules aren't followed as much. There have been abandoned vehicles with expired stickers, boats in driveways, etc.
- (Tricare Rep) Pediatrics is currently closed to enrollments, but you can go downtown. This closure happened recently, and that may be the reason for the confusion. Additionally, if you call 1 (800) 444-5445, they may be telling you that you have to go on base so that you can get a waiver to enroll your child off-base. It may be difficult for them to keep track of the 67 installations they support, so when you bring that issue to our attention, we can let them know there was a miscommunication about what's going on at our base specifically.
Question: There are several street lamps out near mailboxes, and there's some graffiti by the big park.
- (Major Sokora) There have been issues where folks are too lenient with base housing rules, and we will do better and increase enforcement.
Question: I have a boat that's well-maintained and fits in my driveway; why do I have to pay to keep it stored off-base?
- (Col VanHerck) Thank you for telling me, we've taken note of that. We will do what we can to prevent graffiti, but we need parents to police their children as well.
Question: Some TV stations and fitness posters at the fitness center seem to be an exception to the recent focus on sexual harassment.
- (Col VanHerck) It's a little bit aesthetic value; it's a little bit of safety. That standard is not going to change.
Question: Many houses in base housing seem to have an issue with lint build up in dryer vents. Maintenance says they do them annually, but it doesn't seem to be happening.
- (Col VanHerck) I removed 3 channels last week, MTV, BET, and VH1. They're not on in the gym anymore. The IG didn't have any comments about the posters in the gym, and it was on their checklist to look for controversial items. However, we will look again.
Question: Maintenance is supposed to come every month to change vents, but I keep my gate locked for my animals. I found out they haven't been coming in a year and a half.
- (Major Sokora) This is the first we've heard of this issue, we will look into it. If there are any fire safety or communication issues, please let us know. If maintenance doesn't respond or gives you an answer you aren't happy with, the base housing office would be your next stop.
Question: Some residents have called Housing, asking what can be done about mold, and Housing has said "mold doesn't grow in Texas."
- (Col VanHerck) We'll look into that.
Question: Some members are having problems with AtHoc; who should we make aware of this?
- (Major Sokora) Telling you that "mold doesn't grow in Texas" isn't the right answer. First we've heard of it, we'll look into that.
Question: What are the rules for parking on base and can you remind people to slow down for turkeys?
- (Col VanHerck) Command Post is responsible for AtHoc. They can be reached at 696-1921.
Question: On New York, if people park on both sides of the street, it restricts traffic flow to one direction. How do we resolve this?
- (Maj Sokora) We are working on an annual publication to keep people informed. Most parking rules involve fire hydrants and being safe on narrow roads. Make sure you park on the right side of the road (with traffic).
Question: Could you clarify the rules on reflective belts?
- (Maj Sokora) For now, talking with your neighbors can reduce a lot of safety issues. We will re-examine streets and see if there are alternative solutions.
Question: How can we keep pets from getting loose in base housing?
- (Col VanHerck) If you are jogging/PT-ing in the streets, parking lots after dusk, you are required to have a reflective belt. According to AFI 91-207, reflective belts are required on base when exercising on roadways at night or in inclement weather.
Question: Some off-base dogs come through drainage pipes.
- (Col VanHerck) That responsibility belongs to the housing residents to be a good neighbor.
Question: How will budget cuts effect TriCare?
- (Col VanHerck) That may take resources, but it's a potential safety hazard and we will look into it.
Question: Can the water from hydrants get released into grass instead of the streets?
- (TriCare Rep) That's a question better suited for your local Congressman. TriCare is a law and Congress puts forth the laws.
Question: What opportunities/agencies are available to help spouses apply for education benefits such as scholarships, tuition assistance, etc.?
- (Col VanHerck) We don't really have the resources and manpower to make that a priority, although we have looked into it.
Question: Can we get more bulk-trash pick-up?
- (FSS Commander) The Education office does have some services they can offer spouses. We will look into the miscommunication. Please visit the Dyess Family Support page (www.dyess.af.mil/familyresource) or the Dyess Force Support website (www.dyessfss.com) for more information.
Question: What about a community dumpster?
- (Major Sokora) Due to resource limitations, twice a year is what we can afford to do.
Question: If you call the appointment line after 4pm for a same-day off-base appt, you have to the ER, even if an Urgent Care Clinic is open. Why?
- (Major Sokora) That method was attempted within the last three years, but we weren't able to maintain it due to residents dumping oil and environmental hazards into it.
- (Tricare Rep) You should be able to call 1-800 444-5445 and get an Urgent Care Referral unless you have an off-base PCM. If that's not what happened, please come talk to us and we can straighten out the issue.
Question: Why do we only recycle cardboard?
Question: What are the rules for using on-base recycling bins?
- (Major Sokora) It costs too much to recycle in this part of the country. Housing still gets cardboard recycled, but that's the limit with the current budget. There are two recycling stations on Buffalo Gap and across from Wal*Mart.
Question: Can we get more delivery service on base?
- (Major Sokora) For the dumpsters on base, those are just garbage cans. The only recycling is for base housing using recycling bins, and only if cardboard is in them.
*NOTES: The aforementioned question regarding a daughter not being paid was resolved before the town meeting concluded. Additionally, WCT owner was also contacted before the meeting ceased and is excited to work with the Eagle Scouts.
- (Col VanHerck) If restaurants want to deliver to Dyess and go through the proper procedures, there are no restrictions.
There is a meeting at Dyess Elementary at 1800 on Tuesday. Dyess families are strongly encouraged to attend.