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HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Chaplain Sam Rorer talks about the Base Chapel’s upcoming Vacation Bible School during the Town Hall meeting in the Minuteman Club ballroom June 28. In addition to base organizations presenting information about upcoming projects, activities and events, attendees were encouraged to ask questions or give comments on ways to make Hanscom a better place to live, work and play. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mark Wyatt)
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Hanscom community shares thoughts during town hall

Posted 6/30/2011   Updated 6/30/2011 Email story   Print story


by Sarah Olaciregui
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

6/30/2011 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Hanscom community members gathered in the ballroom of the Minuteman Club June 28 for an open forum town hall meeting, hosted by Col. Stacy L. Yike, 66th Air Base Group commander.

The forum was designed so that for the first part, attendees would gather information about some of the upcoming projects, activities and events around Hanscom. The second half of the forum was set aside for members of the community to ask questions and share their thoughts and ideas.

After welcoming remarks from Colonel Yike, several organizations gave updates. Senior Master Sgt. Shelley Barton reminded attendees to think about safety during the upcoming holiday weekend.

"It finally feels like summer," she said, "but remember to keep safety in your plans for the Fourth of July."

She advised the community about fire safety when it comes to using grills, burn pits and especially fireworks.

Tom Schluckebier, base civil engineer, briefed the crowd about some upcoming CE projects. He informed attendees that the two intersections with stoplights are going to be upgraded to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in August and September.

Colonel Yike added that the upgraded lights will include trip wires so cars are not stopped for long amounts of time before the light changes if there is no traffic.

Mr. Schluckebier also said grounds maintenance had been reduced by 35 percent and some residents and employees may notice that grass was being cut less in some areas of the base in order to save money and avoid not being able to cut the grass at all.

CE finished up by talking about some construction projects that were taking place or soon to be taking place and the energy competition.

"The Massachusetts National Guard headquarters building is going up," he said. "Soon, there will 400 to 500 guardsmen on base, so as AFRL leaves, the guard comes in."

Work will soon begin on an addition to the clinic, to include a mental health clinic, and CE is working to get funding to replace HVAC units in some buildings and make roof repairs to others.

"We also have an energy competition going on," he said. "The air base group is winning the Biggest Loser portion and ESC (Electronic Systems Center) is winning the energy intensity portion."

The competition will wrap up at the end of this month and winners will be announced soon thereafter.

Col. Parker Plante, 66th Medical Squadron commander, was up next. He talked about people, facilities and processes.

As far as people, the squadron just welcomed a new superintendent and provider. For processes, the clinic has expanded their optometry services to include dependents and retirees. They will also begin taking appointments for school physicals. He also touched base about Audionotes, a new process for patients to receive lab results.

As far as facilities, the colonel asked everyone to be patient while the roofing project was finished. He said patients may notice the tar smell or hear loud noises while visiting the clinic, but it would soon be finished.

Next on the agenda was an Air Force Office of Special Investigations special agent who spoke about a trend in youth abusing a cough suppressant medicine called Dextromethorphan, or DXM. Currently, the drug can only be sold to adults, 18 years old and older, including at base locations such as the Base Exchange.

Colonel Yike reminded attendees that representatives from organizations across the base meet quarterly during the Community Action Information Board to talk about trends such as these.

"If you see something like this, let somebody know and we can discuss it at the next CAIB," she said.

After OSI, Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Sam Rorer from the Base Chapel told the audience about upcoming Vacation Bible School. The event will take place Aug. 1 through 5 for kids ages 4 to 11. The chapel is looking for volunteers to help with VBS and hopes many will participate and invite a friend.

Up next was Vic Hayes, 66th Force Support Squadron director. He told the community about the many activities and events hosted by his squadron.

He reminded attendees the best way to find out about information and events was to visit their website at www.hanscomservices.com. He spoke about the new splash pad opening at the pool July 16. From 12 noon to 3 p.m., the community is invited to the pool for a free "Jump Into Summer" event.

Finally, Debbie Timothy, Base Exchange manager, talked about the many benefits the BX offers customers. She said there was a new mobile marketing initiative where customers could sign up to receive special offers and coupons on their mobile phones.

Military members can also go online to order name tapes or design their own uniforms, complete with ribbons and ranks, and have it shipped directly to their house. This can be accomplished by visiting shopmyexchange.com.

After all the briefings, the floor was opened up for questions.

One question was about when the fireworks, originally scheduled for Summer Bash, would be shown. Colonel Yike informed attendees that the force support squadron was looking at dates and other upcoming events and is planning to hold a fireworks show in the late summer or early fall. As soon as a date is set, it will be announced to the base.

Other questions included new school construction and new dorms and the possibility of placing bike racks in front of more buildings.

Another Marine attendee expressed his gratitude for the support of the Hanscom community for fallen heroes. He also offered suggestions for all the military services on Hanscom to pool resources to support the local community.

Colonel Yike agreed with his comment.

"Did you know that only 54 percent of the people living on base are Air Force personnel and their families?" she said. "The rest are Army, Marine, Coast Guard, Navy, retirees and civilians."

Future town hall meetings will be held on a quarterly basis. In the meantime, base employees or residents are encouraged to contact Colonel Yike via Straight Talk at hanscom.straighttalk@hanscom.af.mil or 781-377-3732.

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