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AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy — Car owners in Aviano who don’t use a lot of gasoline might want to take a closer look at their vehicle registration paperwork.

The computer system the base used to notify vehicle owners that their registration needed to be renewed isn’t working. It crashed several months ago shortly after the base’s computers were upgraded as part of an Air Force initiative.

“The system locked up at the end of October,” said Tech. Sgt. Angela Palazzo, noncommissioned officer in charge of pass and registration.

Reminders had been sent out in the mail as is done for car owners in places such as Germany. But registration information was lost in the crash, so no notices have been sent out for months.

It’s likely that most people whose registrations expired have found out since then as they tried to purchase new gasoline coupons at the Army and Air Force Exchange Service. Clerks there have a sheet with a year’s worth of coupons that they mark off when customers purchase their monthly allotments.

Palazzo said she can’t estimate how many people might have had their registrations expire without any notice. But she said the situation’s going to change soon.

Aviano is installing the system used by the Navy at Naval Support Activity Naples. That system features an e-mail notification system. So car owners will soon be getting electronic reminders about re-registering their vehicles.

“We’ve already put a few cars into the system,” Palazzo said. “We’re just trying to make sure we’ve got all the kinks worked out.”

She said technicians were able to retrieve much of the information from the old system, which was designed in 1997. But it’s possible that they’ll be gathering more information as people bring their cars in to register again.

The registration date is posted on the top right of the form for those who have only registered once on base. It’s included in the registration stamp for those who have had cars registered for more than a year.

Kent has filled numerous roles at Stars and Stripes including: copy editor, news editor, desk editor, reporter/photographer, web editor and overseas sports editor. Based at Aviano Air Base, Italy, he’s been TDY to countries such as Afghanistan Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia. Born in California, he’s a 1988 graduate of Humboldt State University and has been a journalist for almost 38 years.
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