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Vogelweh Military Complex , Germany

The Vogelweh Housing Area is one of several military housing areas in the Kaiserslautern Military Community. Kaiserslautern is located approximately 50 miles from Frankfurt, in the west central section of Germany. In the Kaiserslautern suburb Vogelweh, housing buildings for more than 10,000 soldiers and their dependents were erected. Sometimes referred to as Kaiserslautern Military Community [KMC] West, this section includes the Vogelweh Community Center, the Vogelweh Military Family Housing area, Pulaski Barracks, Kapaun Air Station and Rhein Ordnance Barracks.

The Vogelweh housing area has schools, commissary, clinics, Military Police, officer's and enlisted men's clubs. It would be very easy to live there and seldom encounter a German.

Through the efforts of the 86th Services Squadron (86 SVS) staff, Ramstein, Vogelweh, and Sembach boast of one of the most active and comprehensive recreation programs in United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE).

The Skate Express located on Vogelweh offers open skating for all ages. In addition, it has a snack bar, video games and equipment sales and rental. -Skating instructions and private lessons are available upon request. The pro shop features all the latest skating equipment, skate apparel and skateboard equipment.

Vogelweh Elementary School provides an education for approximately 600 students in pre-Kindergarten through grade 5. In addition to a regular education program, the school houses a Sure Start Program and special education center for moderate to severely handicapped and pre-school handicapped students. All students are family members of military and civilian personnel supporting the United States military mission. While all branches of service are represented, over 60% of the students are from U.S. Army families. Parents come primarily from the junior enlisted and non-commissioned officer ranks, because the nearby housing area is designated for those families.

Vogelweh has a new commissary over in the baseball field near the Gym. According to a 1999 market basket and quality survey done by the Defense Support Center Philadelphia- European Region (DSCPE) and the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) Europe, the quality of the produce available at the commissary as good or better than commercial outlets, and the commissary offers a wider choice of items and - lower prices. Every working day, DSCPE selects and purchases fresh fruit and vegetables at major produce terminal markets located in Central Europe, the United Kingdom, and Italy. DSCPE puts this fresh produce on trucks to commissaries the same day. Comparing Vogelweh Commissary produce with four private sector competitors showed that commissary patrons save lots of money and have a much larger variety. In comparison with the largest chain in the German grocery business, the survey showed a 38% overall savings for commissary customers. When compared to the leading "medium-to-small" chain category, the survey reaped commissary patrons a whopping 68% savings. Commissary savings over America's leading discounter, which just entered the German market, was a respectable 31%. And compared with one of Germany's most successful and aggressive wholesaler, commissary customers still saw a 12% savings. In addition to these savings, the survey found that commissary patrons have a much wider choice of items available to them -204 items on the day of the survey at the Vogelweh commissary, while the downtown stores averaged only 60 to 90 items. The wholesaler chain had only 20 items.

Two water treatment plants serve the various sites. One plant was recently refurbished and became operational 15 months ago. While the second system is well maintained, it and the nearby reservoir are old, dating to the 1950s. They lack basic automation and rely on operators to make frequent checks. In addition, there are concerns about the integrity and security of the reservoir. Upgrades to the plant and reservoir are likely.

The quality of the treated water at both plants is generally good, although the distribution system has had historical problems with color and taste as a result of corrosion problems from an aged distribution system. In an effort to temporarily resolve this, polyphosphate is dosed into the water at the treatment plants to minimize its corrosivity. Furthermore, the Air Force, which is responsible for Vogelweh, the largest U.S. housing area in Europe, is replacing aging water lines as part of a decade-long renovation effort.

Nonetheless, some residents have filed formal complaints with their congressmen. Main complaints are rust coloration of water and high lead levels. In November 1999, water treatment for both problems was begun and has improved both iron and lead levels. Residents are notified when lead levels exceed acceptable standard. Elevated levels do not pose a major health risk if residents run their tap water for up to two minutes before drinking or cooking, especially when water has been sitting in the pipes for awhile. Officials are weighing the merits of contracting with the city of Kaiserslautern to manage their water facilities.



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