Local news translated – Jan. 18, 2023

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

Host Nation Update, Jan. 18, 2023

Weather in Baden-Württemberg – Snow in the southwest – warning of slippery
road conditions

Snow-covered roadways and white landscapes on Wednesday morning: it snowed in the southwest during the night. At the Feldberg, Black Forest region, even quite a lot in some places. However, the snowfall weakens nationwide until noon and then stops completely, as a spokesman for the German Weather Service (DWD) predicts. In the southern Black Forest on the Feldberg, up to 100 centimeters of snow had fallen in some places, in the northern Black Forest about 25 centimeters. Overall, there was an average of about 15 centimeters of snow at altitudes around 1000 meters. At the Black Forest regions, there is currently a warning for slippery snow and freezing wet conditions. According to the DWD, the mountains are experiencing permafrost at minus two degrees. According to the website of the lift association Feldberg, skiing is possible there again, 4 of 39 lifts are in operation. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Jan 18)


Repair of S-Bahn damages drags on

Technicians and repairmen work around the clock at the S-Bahn plant in Plochingen In addition to the usual maintenance of the S-Bahn fleet, there are currently special tasks. The detour of traffic via the panorama route between Nordbahnhof and Vaihingen, which was intended to circumvent the closure of the city center tunnel during the past two summer vacation periods, has had serious consequences. 17 trains were subsequently no longer ready to run, ten of which are still waiting to be put back into service. The repairmen at the S-Bahn plant have to work hard. “Replacing the wheelsets on the vehicles is absolutely necessary,” says Marcus Kreutzberger. The technical business economist is head of vehicle management at S-Bahn Stuttgart. A wheelset consists of the axle, the two wheels, springs that increase ride comfort, and the drive. The component weighs one and a half tons. In order to swap old for new, the entire S-Bahn train has to be hoisted into the air. The plant in Plochingen is technically capable of doing this – which is now proving to be farsighted. Otherwise, the trains would have had to be towed to other Deutsche Bahn workshops. Because of their damage, however, this would only have been possible at limited speed. Deutsche Bahn is now drawing conclusions from the damage caused to the vehicles during the past two detour periods. “The infrastructure no longer allows the Panoramabahn to be used for the detour of the commuter trains,” says Dirk Rothenstein, the head of the Stuttgart S-Bahn. Instead, four double-decker cars and one locomotive will shuttle between the main station and Vaihingen during the next tunnel closure from July 29 to Friday, September 8. That is one more car than was used last year, when the problem with high wear and tear on the S-Bahn trains occurred for the second time in a row. With the shuttle train, for which the DB Group still has to find the right vehicles, a 30-minute interval is possible. Express buses are to be used to increase the frequency. For passengers, both options mean that they have to change trains more often and travel longer. The decision not to divert traffic via the panorama route is intended to prevent further vehicles from being damaged. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Jan 18)


Danger for poultry due to bird flu in the district of Böblingen

Order from the Ministry of Agriculture for poultry farmers in Baden-Württemberg Böblingen district. In Germany and also in Baden-Württemberg, bird flu is currently on the rise. Cases in wild animals infected with the deadly virus are accumulating. Most recently in the neighboring district of Tübingen. This also increases the danger for livestock farms in the district of Böblingen. To prevent the epidemic from spreading to farm poultry, the Ministry of Food, Rural Areas and Consumer Protection has issued a general decree that applies to every poultry farmer in Baden-Württemberg, no matter how few animals he has in his flock. Even very small poultry farms with only a few chickens, geese and ducks are affected. All poultry farmers are urged to pay meticulous attention to biosecurity measures in order to prevent the introduction of the disease into commercial poultry farms. The detailed provisions of the general decree are available on the homepage of the Veterinary Office (www.lrabb.de/Veterinaerdienst) and the homepage of the Ministry of Food, Rural Areas and Consumer Protection Baden-Württemberg (https://mlr.baden-wuerttemberg.de/). General information on bird flu, the current risk assessment, as well as instructions for biosecurity measures, even in very small holdings, can be found on the website of the Friedrich-Löffler-Institut (www.fli.de). Furthermore, all poultry farmers are requested to register their poultry holdings with the veterinary office, if they have not already done so. Hobby and small-scale poultry keepers are also required to register their poultry. Bird flu, is a viral disease that is fatal in most cases for a variety of bird species. Where it occurs, it must be controlled legitimately by rigid means to prevent its spread. There is currently no health risk to humans from bird flu. (BB.heute.de, Jan 17)


The reason why quite a few furniture stores are closed on Mondays

Closed on Mondays. This has recently been written on the doors of the Ehrmann furniture stores in the Palatinate, Baden and Trier. The reason is the increased energy costs, which have a particular financial impact in the large stores with thousands of lights and lamps. “We want to reduce our energy consumption by ten percent with the closing day, “says company boss Horst Ehrmann. This is to compensate for the extreme increase in energy prices, he says. “So that we can keep our sales prices stable.” It’s a turning point. Ehrmann knows that, too. “We hope we don’t lose any customers.” In the run-up to Monday’s launch, he says the response has been “overwhelmingly positive.” “A lot of people say they like the fact that we’re saving energy. It’s also beneficial for them to get their furniture at 2022 prices in the future,” says the company CEO. But it’s also clear that “one or two people were briefly annoyed” when they were faced with closed doors on Monday. The fact that Mondays are closed now applies consistently at all Möbel Ehrmann locations in Landau, Frankenthal, Trier, Herxheim as well as in Reilingen, Bruchsal and Rastatt (Baden-Württemberg). “We have scheduled this for now until the end of the heating season at the end of April. But we can very well imagine that it may continue after that,” says Ehrmann, whose company has around 700 employees. “The number of employees will remain stable. “Nothing else will change for them either – apart from the opening hours. ” Energy costs are causing a lot of trouble for retailers. We have retailers where energy costs have increased tenfold. That’s insane.” For not everyone, however, it makes sense to close for an entire day, he said. There are also quite a few that shorten their opening hours: “They open half an hour or an hour later and close half an hour or an hour earlier.” (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Jan 18)