NEGISHI, Japan — Residents of the Negishi Housing Area asked for improved care for emergencies, teeth and pets that is closer-to-home during their biannual town hall meeting Friday with their commander.

The lack of emergency services concerned Michele Gray, who recently had to drive her son to U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka for stitches in the middle of the night, she said.

“We have a scaled back medical facility, a scaled back Navy Exchange, a scaled back everything — except for a scaled-back emergency service,” said Gray. “Can something be done?”

As commanding officer of Yokosuka, Negishi and Ikego, Capt. Daniel Weed explained that in “bona fide emergencies,” residents can use local Japanese emergency services, but non life-threatening cases “can be taken care of in Yokosuka,” Weed said.

Right now, Negishi’s population numbers don’t justify the cost of maintaining a 24-hour operation, said Cmdr. Robert Amaya, who heads up Negishi’s branch medical and dental clinic. Residents have an emergency service line they can call that puts them in touch with medical professionals. U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka is also feeling the staffing strain of all of the individual augmentees needed to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan, Amaya said.

Resident Cheryl Taylor asked for more dental appointments, as currently the dentist comes to the housing area once a week. Amaya said that it was a concern of his as well and is was working with the dental staff to see what they can do, he said.

“The dental appointments are a problem everywhere,” Amaya said. “I understand the need for prevention for the children.”

Residents also asked if they could be notified when the veterinarian will be on base for appointments, and Weed said he’d work with the vet to improve scheduling.

More Negishi Q&A(M) Negishi Officer-in-Charge, Lt. Robert Moran

(W)Yokosuka Naval Base Commanding Officer Capt. Daniel Weed

(C) Negishi Housing Director Chris Churchill

Q: Can Yokosuka Middle School students ride the high school after-school activities bus?M: DODEA (Department of Defense Education Activity) doesn’t fund for middle school activities transportation...the high school bus used to be available on a Space A basis but now it's a safety issue. Do you really want a sixth grader riding with a 12th grader? If there’s a bully on the bus, there isn’t really a system in place for it.

W: Maybe it’s just a question of getting another monitor on the bus.

Q: Can we get an update on my question about better playground equipment?C: We had a consultant out here on Oct. 16 and we should have a concept plan Nov. 7.

W: We’ve done some other playground renovations. Right now, we’re in a continuing resolution status, so our budget hasn’t been set for the year, but we’re working hard to make our playgrounds as safe as and fun as possible.

Q: Can we get a high-capacity washer here?W: I’ve been checking on it, and we should be able to get one after the continuing resolution ends.

Q: Without signage saying otherwise, the DOD parking spaces outside Negishi could end up a spot to abandon cars. M: Those spaces were intended for houses that used to be there two decades ago that no longer exist. Every resident has one or two spaces and doesn’t merit the extra space off-base.

(Moran is looking at signs that will allow him to tow abandoned cars but he doesn’t want to waste resources policing that parking lot.)

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