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Colonel Silveria tackles Q&As during Town Hall Meeting

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- Colonel Jay Silveria, 48th Fighter Wing commander, hosted two Town Hall style meetings in April.

Below are questions covered during the afternoon and evening meetings, with current answers as of May 22.

Q: My water is freezing cold in the house, how can I get that fixed?

Ministry of Defense Regulation requires all water heaters in base housing be set at 45 degrees Celsius. If you have any issues with government housing, please contact the facility maintenance office for your location. The number can be found in the information provided to you when you moved in, or you can call 226-2000, press Option 4, and ask to be transferred to the office assigned to your area.

Q: Why isn't there any place to park in the new Liberty Village?
Liberty Village was allowed 1.5 parking spots compared to district council planning regulations which only allow British homes 1.2 parking spots.

Q: Are we ever going to get a pool?
With 14,000 people in our military community and professional swimmers such as the 56th Rescue Squadron and the 352nd Special Operations Group, I think we should have a pool. Although this is on the lower end of the priority list when compared to other critical needs, I'm doing everything I can to push it up the list and I'm already working with USAFE on it.

Q: Where can families go on the weekend if they don't want to be around alcohol?
The Page Community Center is a non-alcoholic facility that gives families a place to go and share time together without the influence of alcohol around them. If you're interested in organizing a group activity, you can even reserve time.

Q: Is there a facility on RAF Lakenheath for Scouts to meet on base?
The Scouts currently have a facility on RAF Feltwell. We continue to work with them to find a suitable location on RAF Lakenheath if one is made available.

Q: How are Quality of Life inputs tracked and managed?
While there isn't a public forum to discuss and track these inputs at the moment, the military contains this system inherent in its structure. These inputs can be up-channeled through supervisors, first sergeants, commanders and brought up through various organizations like the Liberty 56 or Top 3. We are also currently working to create a public forum.

Q: How does the Action Line Program work?
An action line is submitted to the Public Affairs office to coordinate information through the appropriate groups. Because of this process, it may take a week or two for a response. Once Public Affairs receives an answer, they forward it to me. I personally read and approve every action line response and determine whether we should respond via phone, e-mail or the Public Web site.

Q: Are the clubs on base ever going to be improved?
We have made tremendous improvements to our clubs over the last few months, such as the renovation of Rugby's Café and Eatery and the recent improvement to the Pinkerton's dining room. Additionally, a new awning is being installed on the exterior/front of the Liberty Club in May. We've also submitted for a project to rework the Liberty Club Ballroom bar, flooring and are awaiting the project award for a Great Little Pizza Place update. Finally, the Liberty Club bathrooms are on the update list and should be improved in the near future to include aesthetic changes such as paint.

Q: Why does the gym close at 8 p.m. on Fridays?
The hours for the various facilities are determined by hourly attendance surveys. Personnel go through and count the number of people in each facility and determine the best hours from there. Past surveys have shown that people aren't using the gym enough on Friday evenings to warrant it being open past 8 p.m. If the gym was at max capacity on Friday at 7 p.m., I guarantee it would be open longer, but that's just not the case.

Q: Will towels ever be returned to the gym? When will the damage in the locker rooms be repaired?
Towels have been removed from Air Force Fitness Centers world-wide and are not likely to be returned. There were two issues with fitness center damages; clothing hooks in the ladies locker room and a stain on the floor, both in the same area. All hooks have been replaced, however the stain on the tile was from a tanning solution and cannot be removed.

Q: Why isn't there hourly childcare at the CDC for families with stay-at-home moms?

Hourly child care services in 2008 were temporarily limited because of severe manning challenges. However, I am delighted to say these problems were resolved in January 2009, and hourly child care slots are currently available. Since the start of 2009, RAF Lakenheath Child Development Centers have provided over 400 hours of care to 75 families through the Hourly Child Care Program. Hourly care has been used daily at the Child Development Center West and CDC East in support of medical appointments, base in-and-out processing, respite care and house hunting. To take advantage of this excellent program, please ensure all Air Force required paperwork, to include current and up-to-date immunizations are correct and on file at the CDC prior to requesting hourly care. Hourly care slots can be arranged on a daily basis Monday through Friday at both CDC West and CDC East. For more information, call 226-3285 (CDC East) or 226-5812 (CDC West).

Q: Why can't the Child Development Center incorporate a "time sharing" program for parents - so they can manage shorter periods of child care between families?
We can "time share" a slot in a CDC between families. However, there are some guidelines and limitations that must be adhered to in these situations:

First, all children who are sharing a single slot must be the same age to correspond with our five categories of care. Young Infant, age six weeks to six months; Mobile Infant, age six months to one year; Pre-toddlers, age one to two years; Toddlers, age two to three years; Pre-schoolers, age three to five years. These guidelines must be adhered to in order to ensure the children's safety and quality of care.

Second, the "time sharing" parents must be in the same category (priority) of care or risk being bumped for a parent with a higher priority if a family comes in and needs that care.

We recommend utilizing the Hourly Child Care Program. It may be a better alternative for parents who don't want to send their children full time to a CDC.

Q: Why do I have to answer the same surveys over and over at the medical group?

The way we document medical interactions will continue to evolve with new versions of the DoD electronic medical record. Several of the redundant questions are required to be asked at every visit by our accreditation agencies: The Joint Commission and the Air Force Inspection Agency. It has been included in the Medical Group's AFSO21 initiative agenda.

Q: Will DoDDs employees be able to schedule appointments in the 48 MDG in the next six months?
Our goal is to provide quality and timely care to every authorized member of the UK community, but unfortunately we're limited by our resources at least through this year's permanent change of station season. Right now, we are severely undermanned and over tasked with mission requirements, deployments, PCS, etc. However, I'm hopeful that we will be able to open enrollment to DoDDs employees and their family members this fall.

Furthermore, we are developing a system to permit both DoDD employees and retirees who have a British General Practioner to obtain their specialty care at the 48 MDG. Specialty care available includes dermatology, general surgery, orthopedics, podiatry, OB/GYN, radiology, and urology. Again, we plan to have this process in place in the fall timeframe.

Q: Is anything going to be done about the congestion at the Nathan Gate (Gate 2)?

The 48th Security Forces Squadron in conjunction with Civil Engineering, the Safety Office and a team from AFSO21 recently completed a traffic study at the Nathan Gate regarding this topic. This study identified a speed bump adjacent to Radcliffe Road that significantly slowed traffic through the area to a near stop. The base removed the speed bump on April 3 and a subsequent review determined a 40 percent decrease in congestion. We continue to monitor this area to ensure the safety of pedestrians crossing Lord's Walk into Anglo Housing and ask all motorists to abide by the 15mph speed limit.

Q: Why isn't there a crosswalk across the road in front of Building 977?
Safety is our primary concern. British laws are very strict on the placement of crosswalks. That specific location is too close to other intersections so we cannot put a crosswalk there. Other solutions are on the table and are being considered by the traffic safety working group.

Q: Is there a history of bicyclists being run over between RAF Lakenheath and RAF Mildenhall?
(After checking with other commanders) I've been here for quite a few years and can't recall any bicycle accidents on these roads. Although the roads are dangerous, we can't restrict anyone from riding on them.

Q: Why do I have to pay for my spouse to travel with the USAFE Basketball team?
We understand the financial strain these sporting events can have on a family. So as to maximize the benefit of non-appropriated funds for the entire community, USAFE no longer funds travel. The teams were encouraged to raise funds via various fund raisers, and some of the teams reaped great benefits from doing so. The Force Support Squadron also authorized $1,200 in non-appropriated funds to go to families of the basketball team in early April. Although it's only $110 a person, we're doing everything we reasonably can to defray the costs of travel while best supporting our entire community .

Q: Is there a definitive reason as to why wrestling programs aren't allowed?
Air Force Instructions prohibit contact sports within youth programs; however, varsity wrestling programs are available through DoDDS.

If anyone has further questions, complaints, suggestions or comments and cannot resolve them through the normal chain of command, the Action Line is your direct link to the commander. Below are the various means for submitting to the action line:
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Government Distribution: 48 FW/PA
Mail: 48FW/PA, Unit 5210 Box 215 APO AE 09461-0215

People can also hand carry their Action Line to the public affairs office (Building 1063). You may remain anonymous; however, to receive a reply, please leave your name, unit, duty or home phone number and full APO mailing address. Names remain private.

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