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YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Area II leaders addressed residents’ concerns during a town-hall meeting broadcast on American Forces Network radio Friday morning.

Commander Col. Timothy McNulty hosted the program and asked key personnel from Morale, Welfare and Recreation, the Department of Public Works, the Department of Defense Dependents Schools, Military Police and others to join him in talking about “items of interest.”

Residents e-mailed or called the program with questions that centered mainly on quality-of-life issues such as when Yongsan Garrison is expected to close, vandalism behind family housing units, health advisories and lack of adequate on-base parking.

McNulty pointed to one question that prompted a quick fix. Someone had complained about the base clubs being closed on Memorial Day.

“In the last 20 minutes we came up with a new policy,” he said. Effective immediately, either Commiskey’s Club or the Main Post Club will be open on holidays.

As for when Yongsan is to close, McNulty said there has been no change from the announced 2008 closure. He said the agreement is undergoing a thorough review and analysis and that U.S. Forces Korea will keep the community informed.

Military police officials talked about the problem with drivers using cell phones and stressed that only a mounted hands-free system can be used while driving. They stressed that headsets with a microphone and earphone cannot be used on Yongsan. Listeners also were warned that if they pull over to take a call while driving, they must not impede traffic.

McNulty also said he had more applicants for youth hire jobs than positions for them to fill. He said that situation didn’t come about through lack of funding, but because units didn’t request summer hires.

One person wanted to know why a major training exercise, Ulchi Focus Lens, was held at the same time that kids go back to school in the fall. McNulty said he would forward the concern up the chain-of-command, but added he’s “not sure we can do much on this.”

He promised residents that “we will formulate some sort of system” to put out yellow-dust advisories before the return of the annual storms next spring. The dust, which contains heavy metals, blankets the Korean peninsula each year, leaving many with burning throats and eyes. During the worst of the storms, the very young and old are urged to stay indoors. Medical personnel said the only current method to pass the word is via its Web site.

McNulty urged “responsibility” with the issue of vandalism. Military police said they’ve increased their patrols near some of the housing areas and a bike patrol is also being used.

“We will catch them … and we’ll deal with them accordingly,” McNulty said.

Military police officials said they’re keeping an eye on illegal parking and will ticket offenders.

And McNulty said too many tickets could mean a loss in driving privileges. He said he’d signed about a dozen letters recently pulling driving privileges from base residents.


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