Local news translated – Oct. 31, 2022

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

Host Nation Update, Oct. 31, 2022

Full program on Halloween and Church night – Spooky night and even more

Everyone can celebrate the beginning of the dark season in their own way with Halloween, Church night: On October 31, there is something for everyone in the district – from pumpkin carving and Halloween parties to costume awards and fire spectacles. But also turnip and pumpkin ghosts light up the night, and especially children, following the Irish-American model, go from house to house on the evening before All Saints’ Day, Halloween, October 31, asking for candy. Halloween parties are also celebrated in many places in the Esslingen district. An overview of the offers, without claim to completeness: Halloween Steam: The steam railroaders from Plochingen have come up with a special end to the season. On October 31, they want to steam up for the last time this year on the Bruckenwasen in Plochingen and are offering their last driving day under the motto “Halloween Steam”. Adults and children can come dressed up from 4 p.m., if they like, and ride the train through a spooky park. The Witch’s Kitchen and Ghost Bar will offer plenty of treats to snack on. Already years ago, Protestant congregations called for a Halloween counter-movement and invented “Church night” for this purpose, which is also celebrated on October 31, Reformation Day. Church night is intended to arouse curiosity about spirituality and faith and to strengthen the evangelical identity. Lantern walk at the Esslingen parish of St. Bernhardt zum Hohenkreuz celebrates Reformation Day on Monday with a colorful hustle and bustle. A program for the whole family is planned, beginning at 5:30 p.m. with a lantern walk from the Hohenkreuz Church to Esslingen Castle. It should be exciting, when Martin Luther’s famous “Thesenanschlag” is staged in the medieval ambience of the castle illuminated by torches. Jugglers, music and fire pits await guests from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. around the Hohenkreuz Church, and physical well-being is provided with soup, sweet “Luther rolls,” popcorn, punch and drinks. Already at 7:30 p.m., a two-hour short film program will begin in the church, featuring films to make you laugh, yearn and reflect. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Oct 31)

Closure of the A 81 near Böblingen/Sindelfingen – The Mercaden traffic circle was highly affected

For hopefully the last time this year, Böblingen’s city center received a visit from highway traffic over the weekend. From Friday evening until Monday morning, the lane towards Stuttgart was closed between the Böblingen/Sindelfingen and Böblingen-Ost junctions. The diverted traffic was led via the traffic circle at the Mercaden in the direction of Smart and from there via Leibnizstraße back onto the autobahn. Böblingen was spared the huge chaos, but nevertheless it became clear that the Mercaden traffic circle in particular could not cope with the volume of traffic on Saturday. The first hurdle on the way to Stuttgart had to be taken by the road users already at the exit on the A 81. At the Böblingen/Sindelfingen exit, cars were backed up southbound all the way to Ehningen. The next bottleneck was the traffic circle at the Mercaden. On Saturday morning, the usual shopping and through traffic met the diverted freeway vehicles there. The Autobahn closure became necessary because over the weekend, traffic in the direction of Stuttgart in the area between Sindelfingen and Böblingen was diverted to a temporary lane. This makes way for the construction of the noise protection cover between the two cities, which will begin next year. The highway will also have to be closed several times again on weekends in 2023. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Oct 31)

American School returns home to its (original) installation

The assembly hall at Patch Elementary School in Stuttgart-Vaihingen is packed. Students from grades 1 to 5, as well as kindergarten children, accompanied by teachers have gathered next to the guests. They want to celebrate the official opening of the new educational facility on Patch Barracks. The former elementary school existed since 1979 on site, however, it was getting on in years and had to be demolished. As an interim solution, the school moved to Böblingen, Panzer Kaserne for a longer period of time. Since September, however, the new building has been back in use. Not only students and staff are enthusiastic. “This is a completely different thing from the (former) elementary school that I had attended myself,” enthuses Colonel Patrick Dagon, who hands over a symbolic, oversized key to Principal Sonja Rodriguez. He is particularly
taken with the approach of introducing scientific topics to children at all age levels. Environmental aspects also play an important role. The building is “LEED Silver” certified: for resource conservation and energy efficiency. A display provides real-time information on energy consumption and generation. A wind turbine and a photovoltaic system make technology tangible and understandable. Instead of small classrooms, the school comprises six areas with rooms. Movable walls allow flexible subdivision. Following the concept of the “21st Century School”, the Patch Elementary School attaches great importance to learning social togetherness and cooperation. The latter also characterized the planning and implementation of the school project. The Department of Defense Education Activity (DODEA), represented at the ceremony by Beth Schiavino-Narvaez, Bundesbau Baden-Württemberg, represented by Christian Kaiser, as well as U.S. planners and local construction companies had worked hand in hand. In this context, Colonel Matthew Ziglar, commander of the US Army Garrison, Stuttgart emphasizes the commitment of OB Frank Nopper (CDU) and stresses: “We are pleased to be part of this urban community.” Other than this, he devotes himself primarily to the young guests. “You are the best students!” he calls out to them. “You have the best teachers! Now you also have the best school building!” In the future, it will offer space for up to 500 students. Isabel Fezer, mayor for youth and education, also addresses the pupils, urging the disciplined, reluctant youngsters to cheer and starts tossing small gifts into the auditorium. Now it is clear: The number of public schools in Stuttgart has increased from 160 to 161. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Oct 30)

Weather in Stuttgart – Goodbye to “October summer”- it will be windy and colder

Daily mild temperatures of 20 degrees was unusual for October, according to the German weather forecast (DWD). “Normally, it is around five degrees at this time of year,” explains the meteorologist. However, it won't stay this nice for much longer. The week will be an up and down. Already on Tuesday, All Saints’ Day, a low pressure is expected to bring a cooling to the Stuttgart area and change the weather situation of the last few weeks. “It will be windier and colder, precipitation is also to be expected in the course of Tuesday morning,” says the DWD. However, it will not be a consistently gloomy day, with chances of sunshine high in the afternoon, it added. In the night to Wednesday, autumn returns to the region for the time being. “With a low temperature of seven degrees in the city and five degrees in the surrounding areas, fog is to be expected” Nerding predicts. Once the fog clears, the DWD predicts a mostly dry Wednesday with a high temperature of 16 degrees. Towards the end of the fall vacations (6 November), the summer temperatures will finally say goodbye. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Oct 31)

CORONA Virus Endemic

In an interview with the public broadcaster Bayerischen Rundfunk (BR) on Friday, 28 OCT 22, Thomas Mertens, head of Germany’s Standing Immunization Commission (STIKO) said that the coronavirus pandemic has entered a new phase, and the coronavirus is now considered as endemic. In a pandemic, a worldwide unknown pathogen with which people have no immunological experience breaks out in a population. With the coronavirus, he said, that is no longer the case. Mertens added that the severity of an illness is not part of the definition of a pandemic. The task now, according to Mertens, is to protect those who have a high risk of severe illness. Mertens does not see sense in regularly vaccinating the entire population every six months. He does see sense in people especially at risk wearing masks in public spaces indoors, but that is independent of a universal mandate. People should, he said, be able to decide for themselves whether to wear a mask or not. (Tagesschau/Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Oct 28)