Local news translated – Aug 17, 2023

Graphic by U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart Public Affairs Office

Host Nation Update, Aug 17, 2023


Weather in Baden-Württemberg

More thunderstorms with heavy rain are moving from France towards Baden-Württemberg. The German Weather Service (DWD) warns of “severe thunderstorms with extremely heavy rain, hail and hurricane-like gusts” for the entire state from Wednesday afternoon, according to an updated statement issued Wednesday afternoon. Previously, the severe weather warning had referred more to the northern part of Baden-Württemberg.  Especially along the Swabian Alb and in the north, there could be localized heavy rain with amounts of up to 60 liters, sometimes up to 100 liters per square meter in a few hours. Hail could also occur. In addition, gale-force winds of up to 110 kilometers per hour are to be expected.   After local early fog with visibility below 150 meters, the sun will shine frequently on Thursday. In the course of the day, however, new thunderstorms are expected. This time, especially in the area of the low mountain ranges with heavy rain and large hail. Maximum temperatures will range from 26 to 29 degrees. In the night to Friday, the thunderstorms will subside. Therefore, Friday will also begin dry and hot. The maximum temperatures range from 30 degrees in the mountains to 34 degrees in the Rhine Valley. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Aug 17)


Numerous damages after severe storm hits Bondorf and Jettingen (BB district)

Bondorf. On Wednesday afternoon, a local thunderstorm passed over the southern part of the Böblingen district. In addition to thunderstorms and heavy rain, there was also hail in Jettingen and Bondorf – here the hailstones had a diameter of up to 3 cm in some cases.  In Jettingen, numerous cars and houses were damaged by the hail, in Bondorf, numerous cellars and garages were filled with water. The fire departments from Bondorf, Mötzingen and Gäufelden were deployed to deal with numerous incidents in Bondorf. In Jettingen, too, the fire department had to respond to several incidents. (BB Kreiszeitung, Aug 17)


Legalization of cannabis

“Smoking pot makes you indifferent – I don’t care!” – is an old saying from the 1970s. And indeed, a majority of Germans do not see themselves affected by the German government’s plan to gradually legalize the sale and consumption of cannabis. According to a survey, 76 percent would still not consider smoking a joint or eating hash cookies.  However, it is clear that even prohibition has not brought a drug-free country, but rather an uncontrolled black market, in some cases even with contaminated and thus more dangerous goods. The fact that cannabis is to be released, at least partially and gradually, is therefore good news. Previous policies have criminalized millions of people. Legalization, however, could relieve the police and courts – which would then have more capacity free for truly urgent cases. Setting an age limit and requiring labeling of ingredients could also reduce health risks.  Although cannabis is not a hard drug like heroin or cocaine, it is still not harmless. According to studies, smoking pot can actually make you “indifferent” and impair your mental abilities, as in the saying that is actually meant to be funny. The drug thus has serious health effects, especially for young people – if consumed continuously, mind you.

The same applies to alcohol, to which millions of people in Germany are addicted, with immense consequential costs for the health system. Anyone who is against cannabis and calls for more health protection would therefore also have to support a ban on alcohol.  A look across the borders shows that legalization instead of stigmatization is worthwhile. In Spain, Portugal and the Czech Republic, where the possession of small amounts of cannabis has not been a punishable offense for some time, the authorities consider the liberal approach a success: contrary to what many critics initially feared, the number of users in these countries has not increased.  But the plan to allow the population to smoke pot legally in the future has pitfalls. The ministers’ plans are extensive and complicated – if only because cannabis is actually prohibited under EU law. Adults are to be allowed to possess 25 grams of the drug and to grow a maximum of three plants for personal use. In addition, cultivation and distribution in special associations will be possible – subject to strict rules. This will now be discussed by the Federal German cabinet. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Aug 16)


Stuttgart – That’s why a helicopter circled over Stuttgart – Ost

The big question was: what was going on?  Residents in the east of Stuttgart were wondering and were a bit worried as since 9 a.m., a helicopter had been circling around. “The droning of rotor blades could be heard for hours,” said a resident from Gaisburg. However, the all-clear could be given, as a training of the police helicopter squadron and the Stuttgart professional fire department was the reason for it. “This is not an operation, but an exercise,” a police spokesman said. Temporary aircraft noise had to be expected. It was not disclosed what exactly was being rehearsed. Among other things, emergency forces were apparently dropped on the steel colossus. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Aug 17)


Animal protection in the Böblingen district – Almost 500 fawns saved from death

Hunters not only shoot deer, they also save their lives. Last year and this year, the fawn rescuers from the Leonberg and Böblingen district hunters’ associations saved almost 500 fawns from being chopped up by giant lawnmowers – also with the help of drones with thermal imaging cameras.  The largest part owes its life to the hunters from the north circle, reports the Leonberger circle hunter master Bodo Sigloch on inquiry. This was made possible not only by the tireless efforts of the helpers, but also by the additional drones. For in addition to the one drone provided by the district – there were two for the much larger Böblingen association – the Leonberg district hunters’ association purchased five more drones at its own expense. After deducting the state subsidy, this left the hunters with around 25,000 euros. In this way, they were able to help out their colleagues in Böblingen when their two drones failed.  Despite the considerable additional costs, the purchase of the additional drones was a matter of the heart for the Leonberg hunters, says Bodo Sigloch. After all, when large mowing machines mow down meadows, it happens time and again that fawns are literally run under. “When such a fawn is mowed, it dies an agonizing death.” Anyone who has ever seen such a fawn – it takes all the strength,” says Sigloch, who himself has had to put such young animals out of their misery. “We want to avoid this animal suffering at all costs.”  In the meantime, fawn rescue by drone has become established in the country and has already saved many lives in the Böblingen district as well. And it works like this: Farmers responsible for preventing mowing accidents contact their hunting leaseholder, who in turn puts them in touch with the volunteer drone teams of the district hunters’ associations. On the scheduled mowing date, those involved meet directly at the meadow in question – usually as early as four o’clock in the morning. At this time, the thermal imaging cameras can still detect the fawns well. (Stgt Nachrichten, Aug 17)