Local news translated – July 18, 2023

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

Host Nation Update, July 18, 2023

High chance of traffic jams this weekend in Baden Wuerttemberg

Probably the best tip for all vacation drivers for the coming weekend (July 21 to 23): If possible, don’t set off at all and start on a day during the week. This is because Auto Club Europa (ACE) and ADAC are expecting one of the most congested weekends of the season.  After schools close in Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland, the entire country will be on summer vacation except for Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg. Accordingly, it is likely to be turbulent on the roads throughout Germany, warns the ACE, which identifies Saturday in particular as the main travel day. German states on summer vacation According to ADAC, “one of the most congested weekends” is imminent

The ADAC expects the longest traffic jams on Friday afternoon, Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon. On the most important vacation freeways, it will only be possible to move at walking pace in some sections.  The ACE predicts strong travel flows from the Rhine-Main area, the Rhine-Ruhr region and, among others, also from the metropolitan areas of Berlin and Hamburg.  The coasts and the Mediterranean are targeted. But destinations in the Bavarian foothills of the Alps, the Black Forest, the Ore Mountains and the Harz Mountains are also frequently on the navigation system.  But Germany is also increasingly becoming a transit country and destination for foreign vacationers, because it is now vacation time in almost all of Europe. (Stgt Nachrichten, July 18)


Sindelfingen: Sensapolis to Welcome 80-Room Hotel

A sensational hotel with 80 rooms is set to grace the premises of the indoor leisure park Sensapolis, located on the former airfield. The planned construction is slated to commence this autumn, with the grand opening of the hotel scheduled for 2025.

According to the Sensapolis website, the ambitious new addition will occupy the current space of the “Spaceship, Slides, and Science” area, rendering it no longer a part of the leisure park. The SZ/BZ recently consulted Alexander Schreibeisen, the Managing Director of Sensapolis GmbH, to discuss the project’s details. “We are hopeful to finally begin construction on the hotel this autumn,” reveals Alexander Schreibeisen, adding, “Our plan includes around 80 rooms.” While the hotel’s construction was initially intended to start sooner, several factors caused delays. “Engineering firms also play a role in the hold-up, as they appear to be significantly preoccupied,” clarifies Alexander Schreibeisen. Notably, the hotel aims to cater not only to visitors of the indoor amusement park but also to a broader audience. “The hotel will be open to everyone,” assures Alexander Schreibeisen.  As for the hotel’s thematic concept, Alexander Schreibeisen refrains from divulging specific details at this time. “One thing is certain – the introduction of the hotel will have minimal impact on Sensapolis visitors. There will be no disruptions to our offerings. Now, we eagerly await the autumn to kickstart the project and proceed smoothly according to plan.” (SZBZ, July 17)


Five Professional Fields at High Risk

The automotive and supplier industries in the region are set to undergo significant changes, leading to the loss of many jobs, while new opportunities emerge. A study has revealed the specific professional fields that are particularly vulnerable during this transformation. The automotive industry in Baden-Württemberg is facing substantial disruptions, with 250,000 employees feeling the pressure of the shift towards e-mobility and digitalization, resulting in potential job losses. Additionally, demographic changes are predicted to cause a shortage of approximately 40,000 skilled workers by 2030. As a response, stakeholders are actively exploring ways to qualify employees for alternative positions in emerging technologies and other sectors. This effort extends across all levels of qualification, from unskilled laborers to specialists (e.g., those with a Master’s or Bachelor’s degree).  A study conducted by the Bertelsmann Foundation, commissioned by Südwestmetall and IG Metall, has identified five professional fields that are likely to experience a significant decrease in demand by 2030. This situation calls for experts in technical research (e.g., product engineers in vehicle manufacturing), specialists in automotive engineering (e.g., automotive locksmiths with a master’s degree), unskilled laborers in metal processing (e.g., operators of sheet metal presses and machinists), specialists in automation technology (e.g., machine technicians), and professionals in procurement and sales to reassess their career paths.  Oliver Barta, the Managing Director of Südwestmetall, sees a silver lining in the study’s findings, stating that the shortage of skilled workers is now becoming evident. The study provides valuable insights into managing the transition from current technologies to the new world. Larger companies have already implemented competence management systems, knowing the profiles their employees will need in the future and are capable of offering extensive further training opportunities. The next step is to support personnel development and qualification in smaller companies, which may not be as advanced. One pressing question is how to engage with company leaders, as managing further education is a leadership responsibility, not a matter of merely sending out flyers.

The report highlights successful model projects at Audi, Bosch, and Mahle. For instance, Audi in Neckarsulm is developing “career paths in IT roles” within their assembly department. At Bosch in Feuerbach, skilled workers from mechanical fields are being increasingly trained as electrical specialists due to the growing demand for electric expertise. Similarly, at Mahle in Mühlacker, machine operators are systematically being developed into mechatronics technicians in the medium term.

Considering the current labor shortages in the electrical trade, IG Metall-Bezirksleiter Roman Zitzelsberger speaks of “significant opportunities” if education and training efforts extend beyond individual companies and sectors. By effectively upskilling workers with similar expertise in the metal and electrical industries, targeted training can help fill these gaps. (SZBZ, July 17)


Fire at Siebenmuehlental (seven mill valley) – Donations needed for Eselsmuehle (donkey mill)  after the fire

The Eselsmühle in the Siebenmühlental valley in the Esslingen district is a gem and a popular destination. The ensemble with bakery, farm store, organic restaurant, beer garden and event location has many fans throughout the region.

The Eselsmühle is “a piece of an ideal world,” as the owners advertise on the Internet. But on Monday morning, a piece of this perfect world burned down.  At around 5:30 a.m., a fire was reported to the operations control center. By the time the emergency services were on the scene, the front house, which houses the farm store and the mill parlor, among other things, was ablaze. The flames have severely damaged the building. The amount of property damage is still unclear, but it is likely to be several hundred thousand euros. At least: Humans and animals remained fortunately unharmed.  Meanwhile, there is a call for donations on the Internet platform Go Fund Me. “We were shocked when we heard about the fire at Donkey Mill on the radio this morning. We immediately took the lovingly restored Donkey Mill to our hearts after a visit,” it says on the website.  And it goes on to say: “That’s why I want to do everything I can to help the operators, who presumably now have a lot to cope with in terms of organization as well as the shock”. He is thinking, for example, of the employees and damages for which probably no insurance would cover. “I hope this Go Fund Me campaign goes viral on all channels. Please share it as much as you can,” the author of the appeal writes, assuring, “100 percent of the donations (minus Go Fund Me’s fees) will go to the operator.” He wants to get in touch with him as soon as the first money rolls in.  The wave of solidarity has been great. “The employees have come, from everywhere we are offered help,” said Natalie Barthels in an interview with our newspaper. The medical doctor runs the donkey mill together with her husband Meinrad Bauer. She says that the family of four, which had its home above the mill room and is now homeless because of the fire, has already found a new place to stay for a transitional period. They are already organizing furniture and money so that the family can stock up on necessities. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, July 18)


Lake Constance district – Several hundred dead fish floating in river

Several hundred fish have died in Schussen,Lake Constance district and in the Ravensburg district. Canoeists had spotted the dead fish on Saturday near Eriskirch, as the police announced on Monday.  Already on Friday, several dead chub, barbel and catfish were floating in the water near Weißenau. According to previous findings, the current low water level of the Schussen, the high water temperatures and the heavy rainfall of the past few days could be the cause of the fish death. (Stgt Nachrichten, July 18)