Local news translated – May 16, 2023

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

Host Nation Update, May 16, 2023

Apple raves about Trumpf and Bosch

Apple, the iPhone manufacturer, typically refrains from disclosing the names of its suppliers. However, the company has recently made an exception by acknowledging two businesses from the Ludwigsburg district. On Wednesday, Apple, headquartered in Cupertino, identified two specific companies: the family-owned Trumpf from Ditzingen and the technology group Bosch from Gerlingen.  Apple’s report on its investments in Europe outlines approximately ten prominent suppliers. Notably, two of these suppliers are located in the Ludwigsburg district.  Trumpf’s contribution to the iPhone involves the production of lasers. One of the lasers is used in the proximity sensor, which deactivates the display when the phone is brought close to the ear. This feature prevents unintended touches and conserves battery life. Trumpf has already supplied Apple with over a billion of these small lasers and has collaborated with the company on developing new laser technologies.  Alongside Trumpf, Apple also recognizes Bosch as a supplier. Bosch, headquartered in Gerlingen within the Ludwigsburg district, is commended by Apple for exclusively using renewable energy sources, amounting to 100 percent, in its Apple production. Bosch recently joined the Supplier Clean Energy Program to further support this commitment.  Apple’s expenditures on European suppliers exceeded 20 billion euros in the previous year, marking a growth of more than 50 percent compared to five years ago, as announced by the iPhone company on Tuesday.  Since 2018, Apple’s investments in Europe have reached a total of 85 billion euros, benefiting over 4,000 companies. According to Cathy Kearney, the responsible manager, Apple recognizes Europe’s strengths in technology, automation, skilled professionals, and quality education. (Stuttgarter Zeitung 16 May 2023)

The “city center” a stage

The Kirchheimer Music Night, now in its 24th edition, is eagerly anticipated. On June 3, the event will transform the old town into a vibrant stage. Instead of introducing new concepts, the organizers are emphasizing the event’s traditional character.  François Saorine, one of the organizers of the Kirchheim Music Night, is looking forward to Saturday, June 3. This year marks the 24th edition of the event. While the event may not have the scale of other music nights, Saorine believes that it is the remarkable concentration of artists and venues that makes the Musiknacht so special. A total of 61 artists will perform at 39 locations, ranging from bars to large outdoor stages. Food and drinks will be available from food trucks and restaurants in the Old Town. The event is considered one of the largest music nights in southern Germany, with approximately 10,000 visitors last year.  Saorine highlights this year’s music night attractions, including the band “Alex im Westerland,” performing songs by Die Ärzte and Toten Hosen, as well as the Queen tribute band “Under Pressure.”   The number of visitors is a testament to its success, with approximately 10,000 attendees last year. Saorine expects at least the same number of visitors this year and hopes for favorable weather to potentially exceed last year’s turnout. (Stuttgarter Zeitung 16 May 2023)

Heavy rain and low temperatures – these are the prospects

The weather in the southwest is not showing its best side these days – and it will stay that way for the time being. The outlook:  Rain, thunderstorms and low temperatures await Baden-Württemberg on Tuesday. In the districts of Freiburg, Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald and Emmendingen, the German Weather Service (DWD) expressly warns of heavy rain with up to 15 liters per square meter in one hour. Nationwide, there is no danger of flooding, as the flood forecast center Baden-Württemberg announced on Tuesday. According to the DWD, a cold front brings cool, humid air and unsettled weather. Starting in the afternoon, strong gusts of wind with up to 60 kilometers per hour will add to the rain. (Stuttgarter Zeitung 16 May 2023)

Why is the weather in Germany so unfavorable?

While nature may rejoice in the abundant rain, many people long for sunshine and warmth. This article examines whether springtime in Germany is genuinely rainy and explores the connection between local weather and the climate phenomenon known as El Niño.  The predominant theme this spring seems to be rain—endless rain. Reports of continuous rainfall, floods, and thunderstorms are increasing. Unfortunately, the rest of May in Baden-Württemberg is expected to remain changeable, unsettled, and uncomfortable.  What’s behind the gloomy weather in May? It appears that the merry month of May will be drenched this year. Warm air from Spain, experiencing an extreme heatwave, is flowing toward the southwest, leading to locally elevated temperatures resembling summer. However, instead of a summery atmosphere, thunderstorms, accompanied by hail and heavy rain, prevail.  “When will summer truly arrive?” some may wonder, reminiscent of Rudi Carrell’s timeless catchy tune from 1975.

Is the weather truly as bad as it feels? “The objective reality of the weather and subjective perception often diverge significantly,” observes Peter Walschburger, a retired professor of biopsychology at Freie Universität Berlin. “The weather is often not as unfavorable as we perceive it to be. A seemingly rainy summer stirs up emotions.” Thus, weather becomes a convenient scapegoat when people feel unhappy or stressed. “If we have a few days of 30-degree weather, complaints arise. When temperatures drop, people complain,” notes the Berlin professor. If it rains all day, we perceive it as a “disturbing impulse” that monopolizes our attention. “This perception intensifies and lingers in our consciousness for a while.”

What does the constant rainfall in the southwest have to do with El Niño? According to a forecast from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in Geneva, the world should anticipate further temperature increases this year due to the approaching climate phenomenon known as El Niño. The WMO reports that surface water in the central and eastern Pacific is already higher than the long-term average, which correlates with higher temperatures on land.  WMO experts are certain that, in addition to climate change caused by human-generated greenhouse gases, there is now an 80 percent probability of El Niño affecting the world.  Looking ahead to 2024 and 2025, even temperature records may be shattered due to El Niño, warns WMO chief Petteri Taalas. “The development of an El Niño increases the likelihood that temperature records will be broken.”  What do El Niño and La Niña entail? El Niño and its counterpart La Niña contribute to extreme weather conditions in many regions worldwide. El Niño drives up global average temperatures, while La Niña has a cooling effect. They alternate every few years, resulting in changes in ocean and air currents across the South and Southeast Pacific.  These changes lead to increased precipitation or drought, depending on the region. Due to the historically high warming of coastal waters off Peru at the end of the year, fishermen named this phenomenon El Niño (the Christ Child).  El Niño represents a phase characterized by particularly warm water temperatures in a specific Pacific Ocean region, while La Niña denotes the notably cold phase. On average, these cycles alternate every three years.  One extreme replaces the other. Over the past three years, the global climate has been influenced by La Niña, which acted as a brake on global temperature rise, explains Taalas. Experts cannot predict the duration or severity of El Niño’s effects.  El Niño’s impact extends worldwide, influencing high- and low-pressure systems, winds, and precipitation—including in Germany. The greater energy delivered by El Niño globally may lead. (Stuttgarrter Zeitung 16 May 2023)

Traveling to France with the 49-Euro-Ticket

Discover how you can reach France using the 49-Euro-Ticket and explore the cities you can visit there.

This summer, the 49-Euro-Ticket offers an excellent opportunity for day trips or vacations, including the option to travel to France.

Two cities in France can be reached with the 49-Euro-Ticket: Wissembourg and Lauterbourg. These cities are situated not far beyond the French-German border and make for ideal day trip destinations. To reach Lauterbourg, you can travel from Berg in der Pfalz, while Wissembourg can be reached from Schweighofen. If you’re planning to travel to Schweighofen or Berg, you can also utilize the Deutschlandticket. Simply use the Deutsche Bahn route planner and select local traffic connections.

During peak vacation periods and weekends, the 49-Euro-Ticket may result in high train occupancy. Since seat reservations are limited on local trains, be prepared for the possibility of standing during the journey. If you plan to bring a bicycle, it’s essential to check the fare regulations for the specific routes, as additional charges may apply. Children can travel free of charge up to the age of 6, but older children require their own ticket. Additionally, remember that the 49-euro ticket is only available as a subscription. If you intend to use it solely for a vacation or excursion, ensure to cancel it in a timely manner. (Stuttgarter Zeitung 16 May 2023)

Minister of Baden Württemberg Kretschmann turns 75 – The last chapter is not yet written

On his 75th birthday, Winfried Kretschmann is going on the offensive: The Minister President is celebrating this Wednesday with a ceremony in the New Palace, i.e. with the greatest possible participation of the public, at least as far as it is of rank and name. There will be music and speeches. Minister of the Interior Thomas Strobl and the former Minister of Finance Edith Sitzmann will pay tribute to the jubilation, with warm words and good wishes. Frank Mastiaux, the former CEO of EnBW, also steps up to the podium. Deserving people gather to honor one of their own. To the taste of a top Green, the list of speakers contains a bit much “ex.” After all, if you ask his Christian Democratic party friends, Strobl is also walking toward the Emeriti honor gallery, possibly hand in hand with Kretschmann.  The Green civic monarch has now been in power for twelve years; he has put the battle over Stuttgart 21 behind him, the refugee crisis and the pandemic. You can see that in his face. It’s like an old tree. The tree stands heavy, wide cracks furrow the bark, the roots reach deep into the earth.   Kretschmann has entered that stage in his life as a governor when he no longer asks what he owes his party, but what the party owes him. He finds: unconditional allegiance. The fact that Kretschmann brought the Greens to power in 2011 was still due to the circumstances: the nuclear catastrophe in Fukushima; the CDU, a party that was no longer in power. He made the Greens the strongest party. That is still unique in this world that craves uniqueness, and an entry in the history books is a certainty. Kretschmann also radiates this knowledge. If he makes it through the election period, he will become the longest-serving minister president in Baden-Württemberg.  Kretschmann avoids bans like an angel avoids sin. Because bans carry the flavour of electoral defeat. Speed limit? If the FDP is against it, nothing can be done. Heating exchange? Makes no sense, there are neither heat pumps nor craftsmen for it. Wind power? Berlin is to blame, at least so far. Habeck has now delivered. Kretschmann likes to be pragmatic when it comes to controversial issues, because that doesn’t cause a stir. Half-heartedly, he supports Habeck, after all.  The last chapter of the Kretschmann era has not yet been written. Will it be short or long? He could resign at any time, Kretschmann said the other day. “Even at twelve at night.” The picture for the ancestral gallery in Villa Reitzenstein has already been painted. But actually, he keeps affirming, he wants to finish governing. “Only the good Lord knows whether that will happen.” (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, May 16)

Motorcycles from Weil der Stadt – “Hard, fast and loud”

Is it Münklingen or California? In the “Kickstartworks” workshop, it’s easy to forget which continent you’re on: Pennants and license plates of U.S. states, in between wrenches of every imaginable size and black-and-white photos of leather-jacketed men on motorcycles. Scattered on a worn workbench are metal parts, screws and springs that are hard for a layman to identify. In the background, a man sings fervently about his affair with “Mary Jane” in a scratchy voice, and the scent of motor oil and rubber fills the air. And in the middle of it all, of course: motorcycles. And the two men who are working on them.  In 2016, Jörg Ose, owner of Kickstartworks, moved his motorcycle workshop from Rutesheim to the outskirts of Münklingen. The old home had become too small; in Weil der Stadt’s second smallest suburb, land prices are still affordable. A year later, Fabrizio Fischer joined the company. The name, Kickstartworks, is derived from the name of the lever that has to be kicked hard to start the engine. At least on many older models – in the 70s, the electric starter became increasingly popular.  It is no coincidence that the workshop was named after this mechanism from the past. Because the specialty of Ose and Fischer are bikes in the style of the 50s, 60s and 70s, so-called choppers. The modified motorcycles are slimmer than their originals, often have long forks, colorful paintwork and “sissy bars”, i.e. attached backrests. Engines and transmissions are often overhauled and front fenders, the mudguard on the front wheel, are removed. “Choppers are more impractical in many ways,” Fischer explains. “But nicer,” says Ose.  Kickstartworks is actually open to all brands, but now 90 percent of the bikes brought into their workshop are Harleys, Fischer reports. In the beginning, they would have repaired everything that could be repaired. In the meantime, the two can be more selective. “We’re into the old stuff,” Fischer says. “We’ve found our niche, and that’s where we can go wild.”  True, the U.S. and California in particular are the “motherland of choppers,” as Fabrizio Fischer says. But nowadays, Europe can easily keep up in terms of motorcycle culture. Some, Fischer and Ose say, try to buy into the lifestyle, spending big bucks on a brand new Harley. “But there’s more to it than that,” Ose knows. “You have to have gas in your blood. There’s no champagne flowing at our parties.” To sleep, the sleeping bag is rolled out next to the motorcycle at parties. Parties are also held in Münklingen: Once a year, Kickstartworks invites people to the South-works Fest in the small industrial park on the outskirts of town. This year again on May 20, then the premises of the workshop will be completely emptied and part of the street will be closed. Up to 500 people are there during the day. In the evening, when there is live music and the party really gets going, another 150, estimates Ose. Many Weil der Stadt citizens would also come by. “And everything is full of motorcycles,” says the 59-year-old. There will also be prizes at the festival for the most beautiful chopper and the furthest journey. Last year, guests from Berlin made the longest trip. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, May 16)