Local news translated – March 25, 2024

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

Host Nation Update, March. 25, 2024

Busy roads during the Easter holidays

The trip for a short Easter vacation could end in a long traffic jam on one or the other Baden-Württemberg’s Autobahns on the weekend. The ADAC expects heavy traffic, especially on the notorious bottlenecks in the southwest’s freeway network at the start of the vacation on Friday (March 22) and shortly before the holiday on Maundy Thursday (March 28).  “It will hardly be possible to drive without traffic jams on these days,” warned Holger Bach from the Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club (ADAC) in Stuttgart on Tuesday. Traditionally, the first big travel wave of the year starts during the Easter vacations. Last year had already shown how much people were on the move on these days. On the Wednesday before Maundy Thursday, traffic jams in Baden-Württemberg totaled 190 hours according to the ADAC and even lasted slightly longer than on Maundy Thursday itself (188 hours).  Bach said it was possible that this year some travelers were already leaving for the Easter weekend on the Wednesday before Maundy Thursday or were working from home on Maundy Thursday, which meant that there was less rush hour traffic. In his view, there should be significantly less traffic on Good Friday before the return journey begins on Easter Monday.
The Autobahn 8 is likely to become a traffic jam hotspot again in Baden-Württemberg. “In addition to the Albaufstieg, the section between Karlsruhe and the Stuttgart area will be the main focus,” said Bach. The A5 is also in the spotlight as a classic southbound route. To avoid traffic jams, the automotive experts advise, among other things, to plan your journey well. Rush hours can often be avoided if the journey starts early in the morning or later in the evening. Alternative routes should also be planned, even if they are slightly longer. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, March 22)


Planned cannabis legalization – Strobl warns against “pot tourism”

Baden-Württemberg’s Interior Minister Thomas Strobl warns of problems at the borders in view of the upcoming legalization of cannabis. “Our police must show more commitment in order to mitigate the negative consequences of the parliament’s coalition’s decision to legalize cannabis,” the CDU politician told the German Press Agency in Stuttgart. No expansion of the black market would be tolerated without action. His Ministry of the Interior is demanding that there should be significantly fewer “cannabis associations” in border regions in order to counter “cannabis tourism”. In addition, the federal police must carry out more checks at the border with France in future in order to prevent cannabis being smuggled in and out of the country.  According to Strobl’s ministry, there is a direct impact on municipalities near the border. “If legal systems that regulate the same issues in significantly different ways meet at a national border within the Schengen area, the effects are immediately noticeable in the municipalities near the border.”  For example, more restrictive legal regulations in France have led to a considerable density of gambling machines in the border town of Kehl, which are used by French cross-border commuters. “Comparable border tourism from France to Baden-Württemberg is therefore also obvious if cannabis is partially legalized in Germany.”  The mayor of Kehl, Wolfram Britz, had already predicted a high number of new cannabis clubs in the German-French border region a year ago, as these are not permitted in the neighboring country. Kehl is located not far from Strasbourg, directly on the Franco-German border. Many people from France already cross the Rhine to visit gambling halls and buy cigarettes, for example.  In Switzerland, with which Baden-Württemberg also borders, the legality of cannabis depends on the THC content and the quantity.  (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, March 25, 2024)


Weather in Baden-Württemberg – Snow in the Black Forest and on the Swabian Alb

Following the retreat of the spring weather at the weekend, it even snowed in Baden-Württemberg on Sunday night. Snow fell along the Swabian Alb and the Black Forest, a meteorologist from the German Weather Service (DWD) in Stuttgart said on Sunday. From an altitude of around 700 meters, snow also remained. The highest values were measured on Sunday morning in the Black Forest on the Feldberg (ten centimeters) and in Freudenstadt (seven centimeters), according to the meteorologist.
The DWD forecast uncomfortable temperatures with rain for Baden-Württemberg on Sunday, with maximum temperatures of around 3 degrees in the mountains and around 10 degrees on the Rhine and snow at higher altitudes, with slippery roads at night. But then it will become friendlier, with more sunshine.
On Monday, there will be showers at first, but it will remain dry during the course of the day. According to the meteorologists, the sun will then continue to prevail. Temperatures will range from 8 degrees in the mountains to 14 degrees in southern Baden. It is also expected to be windy with some strong gusts in the mountains.
On Tuesday, the DWD expects sometimes more sometimes less dense fields of cloud – with sunshine in between. The thermometer will rise to temperatures between 10 and 16 degrees. On Wednesday, it will initially be friendly towards Bavaria, then clouds and rain will spread here as well, which will then become overcast towards the evening. (Stuttgart Nachrichten, March 25, 2024)


 Action week of the Böblingen district – 16 tons of waste collected

The district administration office called for a spring clean-up – and around 2000 voluntary waste collectors took part. “The campaign was a success,” sums up Deputy District Administrator Martin Wuttke. 17 municipalities organized a clean-up and a total of 35 collection groups registered their participation with the waste management company (AWB) – including many school classes, clubs, initiatives and private groups, as well as individual companies. According to the district administration office, around 16 tons of litter were collected over the eight days of the campaign week.

The AWB coordinated the individual cleaning campaigns and also provided bin bags. “We are very pleased with the many hard-working citizens who cleaned up the streets, sidewalks and meadows,” says Wolfgang Hörmann, plant manager of the AWB, who is also extremely satisfied with the campaign week. After all, picking up litter is not always that easy: discarded rubbish is difficult to pick up and light plastic packaging often gets stuck in hard-to-reach places such as under bushes and shrubs. “And yet there are many volunteers who get involved here,” says Hörmann, praising the high level of commitment. “But it would be even better if we had no litter, and everyone disposed of their waste properly themselves.”. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, March 25, 2024)