Local news translated – Oct. 12, 2022

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

Host Nation Update, Oct. 12, 2022

Clinics in the region under stress – Increased number of COVID patients

All experts expected the number of COVID 19 patients to rise this fall. Considering that it is now only mid-October, so the really critical time is yet to come, but the numbers queried on Monday are indeed disturbing. A few examples illustrate this: In the Rems-Murr clinics, the number of COVID patients has increased eightfold from 13 to 103 people within two weeks. The Klinikverbund Südwest, which provides medical care to the districts of Böblingen and Calw, currently has 120 Covid 19 patients. Four weeks ago there were only 15, exactly one year ago just 20. Comparatively harmless itself there already the 50-percent-increase in the regional hospital-holding in the circle Ludwigsburg, from 77 to now 115 patients or the moderate increase on 25 patients in the clinical center Esslingen takes itself out.  Also in Stuttgart the tendency seems to point steeply upward. Last weekend alone, the number of COVID 19 patients requiring treatment at Robert Bosch Hospital jumped from 30 to 46. “The infection figures are about ten times higher than a year ago.” Meanwhile, the possible reasons for the explosive development of COVID patient numbers in the region are being hotly debated. At least there is agreement that the declining awareness of the need for AHA rules and the general corona fatigue in society are accelerating the spread of the virus. However, there is also the suspicion that the Cannstatt Folk Festival on the Wasen, which has just ended, has played a role in the spread of the disease. However, Stefan Ehehalt, the head of the Stuttgart health department, does not yet see this as proven. On Monday he had reported, he sees currently still no Wasen effect. Despite the high infection figures, there is not yet a mood of disaster in the clinics. This is partly because treating corona patients is now part of everyday medical practice. All clinics therefore state that they feel well prepared for the next wave and that they will activate existing corona plans if necessary.  They do, however, have respect for a wave of influenza that could possibly hit the country’s healthcare system earlier and more severely than in previous years. A first warning signal, he said, is the fact that several children have already had to be treated for seasonal flu in recent weeks at the Olgahospital of the Stuttgart Clinic, the largest children’s hospital in Germany.  (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Oct 12) 

Update to yesterday’s article Fire department started a large scale operation in Stuttgart-Ost – Ammonia leak at wholesale company”

The news initially also worried restaurant managers in the region: Is the bulk purchase of meat supplies now in danger? The reason was a large-scale operation by the fire department at “Mega” the meat and food wholesaler in Stuttgart Ost. On Tuesday at around 10:30 am, toxic ammonia had leaked from a refrigeration unit. The warning app Nina reported that all doors and windows should be kept closed within a radius of 100 meters, as a precaution.

“All operation was purely for precautionary measure,” says fire department spokesman Daniel Anand. Air measurements in the surrounding area had not revealed any levels of concern, “it’s more of an odor nuisance.” There were no injuries among the employees. Wholesale was also not affected: “There was no impact on our customers in the C&C store,” says Mega spokeswoman Tanja Mohring. However, in the meat cutting and production plant on Franz-Wachter-Strasse, on the basement of the plant, ammonia leaked from a cooling machine in the machine room. The leak was immediately detected by the automatic alarm of the safety system, she said. The gas is used as a refrigerant for the cold rooms.   The U 4 and U 9 light rail lines were also caught cold, as “Wangener/Landhausstraße” stop could not be served during the operation. Passengers had to walk to the next stop – and complained that they had not been informed of this by any announcement. (Stgt Nachrichten, Oct 12)


How Baden-Württemberg’s Fun Pools are reacting to the Energy Crisis and increase entry fees  

Many leisure pools in the southwest are starting the fall season with cold saunas, empty slides and more expensive admission tickets. Due to the energy crisis, the pools have had to limit their offerings and, in some cases, charge more for admission. High energy costs are driving up expenses: some pool managers expect their gas bills to double, others are saving in order to avoid forced closure by the cities and municipalities.  

The sauna at “Stadionbad Ludwigsburg” for example, has been closed since summer, and water temperatures are lower. According to the bath, the steps served to implement the energy-saving plan of the city of Ludwigsburg, which wants to minimize its natural gas consumption by 20 percent and thus avoid a gas shortage.   

According to a POC, visitors of Ba-Württemberg’s pools will have to get by with five to ten percent higher admission prices in most pools before the turn of the year.  

So far, the leisure pools have hardly turned the price screw. In the large water park “Rulantica” in the Ortenaukreis, according to a spokeswoman, no price increases are planned for the time being.  In the adventure pool “Fildorado” near Stuttgart the tickets became more expensive according to the management already in the spring around 50 cent. In mid-October, another increase is pending, by two euros for adults, she said. “You can’t absorb the increases in energy costs with such price increases,” said managing director Felix Schneider. Currently, one drives “on sight” and hopes for economic aid for the baths.  (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Oct 12) 


Waldenbuch (BB district) – Commemoration of crashed bomber during WW II awakens longing for peace

The memorial service for the crew members of a bomber that crashed near Waldenbuch 77 years ago has Canadians and Germans reflecting on the horrors of war, reconciliation and international understanding. And Ukraine suddenly seems very close.     

His grandmother’s tears brought Jean-Pierre Gendreau-Hétu to Waldenbuch – to the place where his great-uncle Fernand Leo Jolicoeur lost his life on January 28, 1945. Now, 77 years later, the Canadian himself has tears in his eyes as he stands here on a forest path in front of a memorial plaque recalling the story of his ancestor. His great-uncle crashed in a Lancaster bomber just a few hundred yards from here at the end of World War II.   Jean-Pierre Gendreau-Hétu is not the only one shedding tears now. Standing next to the 56-year-old Canadian is his compatriot Robert Stapleford. His father, Robert Laird Stapleford, was one of two survivors of the crash. The story of his father’s rescue has brought the 69-year-old here with his wife, Ruth, 68, on this chilly autumn Sunday: to commemorate a war that once made enemies of Germans and Canadians – and to remind them of the importance of working for peace.

The man who organized this commemoration and brought everyone together is Wolfgang Härtel. In his capacity as Waldenbuch’s home historian, the 78-year-old has worked together with Jean-Pierre Gendreau-Hétu to process and document the historical background to the crash. Since last year, a memorial plaque commemorates the event. Gendreau-Hétu had also already come to Waldenbuch for a memorial service in the summer of 2021. But that was not the end of the story. “Our main focus was initially on the five fatalities in this crash,” says Wolfgang Härtel. “But there were also two survivors – and we have now focused on them,” says the local historian, explaining how the joint research had led him and Gendreau-Hétu to Stapleford and his son.  

The survivor’s descendant, supported by a cousin, had done his own research and had become aware of Härtel and Gendreau-Hétu’s research through a newspaper article published in Canada. So the 69-year-old turned to them to tell what he knew about the crash.  Stapleford’s account shed a whole new light on the story: “My father told me they were flying normally at first and then all hell broke loose on the plane. His comrade next to him was killed, he himself took several hits and was finally ripped out of the plane,” he recalls of his father, who has since died. Apparently, the latter was lucky not to have been mangled by one of the propellers.  While the badly damaged bomber flew a few more kilometers in the direction of Waldenbuch, the Canadian, badly wounded, landed with his parachute in a field in the Fildern. “Now comes the part that’s very important to me: he’s lying there, badly wounded in the middle of the night and in the freezing cold. Then an elderly couple discovers his parachute and takes him home for the night.” According to Stapleford’s father, the couple hid him in a basement and the next morning took him in a wheelbarrow to a hospital in Esslingen, where they deposited him outside the entrance, rang the doorbell and made off. Thereupon, a doctor had received him and offered to operate on him. The operation succeeded, Stapleford survived, became a prisoner of war for a short time and was then able – as his son says – to lead a full life and pursue his passion, golf, despite being wounded. “Can they believe it?” interjects Gendreau-Hétu into the conversation. As a Canadian – he and Stapleford agree – war is a distant and abstract concept. All the more reason for the two to be fascinated by the risk the supposed German enemies took in their willingness to help. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Oct 12)