Local news translated – Dec. 19, 2023

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

Host Nation Update, Dec. 19, 2023

Stuttgart – Gale-force winds expected at Christmas, stormy days starting soon

If you have a fir tree with fairy lights on your balcony, you should tie everything down tightly. According to the German Weather Service (DWD), Christmas trees and decorations in Baden-Württemberg could well be blown away by the wind in the coming days. “Safety precautions should be taken”, said a spokesperson on Tuesday. According to him, it will be extremely windy in the southwest for several days. According to the forecast, it will begin on Wednesday night. Initially, there will be gale-force gusts of up to 65 kilometers per hour at high altitudes and gale-force gusts of up to 85 kilometers per hour at summit locations. On Wednesday, there may then be strong and stormy gusts of wind in the lowlands such as the Rhine Valley and especially in the north-east in Hohenlohe. The wind speeds will continue to increase during the night into Thursday. On Thursday and Friday, it will blow really hard everywhere. Even in the lowlands, there will be gusts of wind, some of them severe. According to the DWD, even hurricane-force gusts cannot be ruled out in the lowlands. At an altitude of 1000 meters or more, the gale-force gusts can reach speeds of up to 130 kilometers per hour.

The wind will weaken during the nights of Saturday and Sunday – but only minimally in each case. Even on Christmas Eve, there were still stormy gusts in the lowlands and hurricane-force gusts in the Black Forest at Feldberg, said the spokesman. The situation only eased on Boxing Day. According to the DWD, a lot of rain will fall with the wind and river levels are expected to rise again. In the Black Forest, there may be continuous rain from Thursday to Saturday. A white Christmas is therefore unlikely. Only at altitudes above 1,200 meters could there be a few snowflakes mixed in with the rain. (Stgt Nachrichten, Dec 19, 2023)

Thousands of farmers protest against agricultural cuts

Thousands of farmers have protested in Berlin against the planned abolition of tax breaks. Farmers’ president Rukwied threatened “a very hot January” if the coalition government does not withdraw its plans. Thousands of farmers have mobilized against the federal government in protest against the planned abolition of tax breaks. According to organizers, 8,000 to 10,000 people took part in the demonstration at the Brandenburg Gate alone, and more than 3,000 tractors rolled into the capital. The farmers’ association had called for protests nationwide through its state associations. There were also rallies in other cities. Farmers’ president Joachim Rukwied warned in Berlin: “We will not accept this.” The government’s plans are “a declaration of war.”

Ruckwied: “Enough is enough, too much is too much “The German government wants to save around 900 million euros a year in aid for farmers. This is according to an agreement reached by Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck and Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner on the 2024 federal budget. They agreed to cancel the partial tax rebate on agricultural diesel (around 440 million euros per year) and the motor vehicle tax exemption for agricultural vehicles. If the green/red/black government coalition does not withdraw its proposals, farmers will ensure that it would be “a very hot January”: “Then, from 8 January, we will be everywhere in a way that the country has never experienced before.” The farmers’ president explained that the abolition of the regulations on agricultural diesel and the vehicle tax exemption would place an additional burden of one billion euros per year on the industry. “Enough is enough, too much is too much,” he shouted at the rally. He called on the Federal Minister of Agriculture, Cem Özdemir, who was present, to put pressure on the government on behalf of farmers and rural areas. Özdemir wants to fight for farmers. Özdemir also faced the protesting farmers at the Brandenburg Gate. The minister emphasized that he had warned the government against abolishing the tax concessions for agricultural diesel and the motor vehicle tax exemption for agricultural vehicles. “I don’t think much of the cuts on this scale,” explained the Green politician. The planned abolition of the concessions would hit agriculture much harder than other sectors. “That’s why I’m fighting in the cabinet to ensure that it doesn’t happen to this extent,” said Özdemir, whose speech was interrupted several times by whistles and shouts of “traffic lights off” (Get the traffic light coalition parties out of the government.) (Tagesschau, Dec 18, 2023)

Baden-Württemberg – Top marks for organic bread and sausage from the region

103 Bioland breads and sausages were awarded gold in the 2023 Bioland quality tests, many of which came from Baden-Württemberg. According to the Bioland association in Mainz on Tuesday, the producers were allowed to use significantly fewer additives due to the Bioland guidelines and made up for this with craftsmanship. A total of 19 companies submitted 93 test pieces for the Bioland Bread Test 2023. 63 were awarded gold, 30 silver. No bronze was awarded, all breads were better.

Of the five award-winning bakeries from the southwest, Wuschels Backstub in Deckenpfronn (Böblingen district) was the most successful, winning gold nine times and silver four times. The Scholderbeck bakery from Weilheim (Esslingen district) won four gold and one silver. Schmalegger Beck in Staig (Alb-Donau district) won three gold and two silver medals. The Eugen Hofmann bakery in Murr (Ludwigsburg district) won one gold and two silver medals, while Back Kultur Bäckerbub in Offenburg won one gold and one silver medal.  In the Bioland sausage test, twelve butchers were awarded 40 gold, 9 silver and 6 bronze medals. The variety of samples ranged from currywurst and beef salami to Bruderhahn-Mettwurst. The quality of the products submitted is improving from time to time, according to the group of inspectors. Suggestions for improvement were accepted and implemented. The Bioland guidelines only permit seven additives and auxiliary substances. Nitrite curing salt, flavor enhancers, maturing accelerators and phosphates are prohibited.

Five of the twelve award winners came from Baden-Württemberg: Bäuerliche Erzeugergemeinschaft Schwäbisch Hall AG in Wolpertshausen (Schwäbisch Hall district) won five gold awards, while the sausage and ham factory in Frankenheim, which belongs to the same producer association, won four gold and two silver awards. The Fauser organic farm in Mutlangen (Ostalbkreis) also won four gold medals and two silver medals. The Grießhaber organic butcher’s shop in Mössingen (Tübingen district) won five gold medals. The Voltz family’s organic farm in Burgstetten (Rems-Murr district) received four gold, one silver and one bronze.

Around 10,000 farms in Germany and South Tyrol belong to the Bioland association for organic farming. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Dec 19, 2023)

Christmas jazz concert in Leonberg has the whole congregation dancing

 A church that’s not just full, but overflowing: it’s not that often these days. But when Dennis Müller is there and plays music, it really does get crowded. So cramped, in fact, that some guests sit down on the steps leading up to the gallery.

The Protestant clergyman, known far beyond his Eltingen parish as the “jazzy pastor”, invites guests to his annual Christmas Jazz just before the big feast. Since last year in St. Michael’s Church, previously in front of a small audience in his living room during the coronavirus pandemic.  It is truly extraordinary what Müller, who sees music as part of his pastoral work, delivers with his band: Christmas classics, meditative passages, free improvisations. The fact that all genres inspire the audience has a lot to do with the quality of the band with which Dennis Müller has recorded his latest album “Eternal Sound”.  Mareike Rieger’s voice gets under your skin. Crystal clear, at times lost in herself, then challengingly cheerful, for example on Christmas hits such as Jingle Bells. Christoph Beck is not lagging behind in terms of virtuosity and joy of playing. He has long been a household name on the national jazz scene and also sets musical highlights at the Christmas concert in front of the altar.

Of course, no soloist can shine without a rhythmic basis. And this is excellently provided by drummer Felix Schrack, who impresses with a solo. Just like Niklas Schumacher on double bass, who is always happy to come on a musical mission from Mainz to Leonberg.  And of course the maître himself: If Dennis Müller wasn’t a pastor, he would have to tour jazz clubs as a professional musician. The 44-year-old masters the entire keyboard, from spherical excursions into piano heaven to the hopeful “Happy Day”, which has the church dancing.  For Müller, who is moving to the Friedenskirche in Ludwigsburg in March, this will be one of his last concerts in Leonberg: on December 23 at 6 p.m., Müller will give a Christmas performance in the “Brow” brewery at the train station. On January 14, he will give his farewell concert in the Eltinger Gemeindehaus. The highlight is the concert with the internationally renowned pianist Tian Jiang on January 21 in the Stadthalle. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Dec 19, 23)