Naples meeting focuses on trash, crime, health
Stars and Stripes May 30, 2008
NAPLES, Italy — At a town hall meeting on the Navy Support Site in Gricignano on Wednesday night, close to 100 residents of the Navy community discussed health, crime and trash — issues never far from the minds of many Naples inhabitants.
The discussion started with the health assessment under way by Navy Region Europe. Attendees were told the Navy is building a meteorological monitoring station on the base, as well as setting up nine air monitoring stations throughout the Naples region, according to Capt. Bruce Anderson, deputy of Navy Region Europe.
For water and soil sampling, the Navy is still collecting surveys from off-base residents. Completed surveys were due May 23, however only 186 were returned as of Wednesday, according to Anderson.
Surveys will be taken indefinitely, until the command has enough to constitute a valid sample of the 1,800 homes on the local economy, Anderson said.
The topic of crime, particularly in the neighborhood of Lago Patria, was next on the agenda. Last week, Capt Floyd Hehe, base commander, told the housing office to stop negotiating leases in Lago Patria.
"We had a huge spike in reported crime in the Lago area," Hehe said. "In the first 15 days we had 25 break-ins/home invasions, and we had 34 cars that were either stolen or broken into, which matched what we normally have for an entire quarter."
Crime in the area was reduced, Hehe said, following an increase in local police patrols. When one resident asked what happens when the robbers from Lago Patria come to his neighborhood, Hehe said if crime spikes occur in other areas, they would be treated the same way.
Another familiar issue discussed was trash on the base. Some residents noted that trash was being picked through by inspectors checking for recyclables, but the remaining trash was not removed.
The amount of trash collected from the base was consistent with contracts for trash removal, but Hehe said residents fell short when it came to recycling, and described those efforts as "dismally below average."
The meeting, which lasted more than two hours, was the last for Hehe, who transfers to Washington, D.C., next month. It was the first town hall for Petty Officer 1st Class Robert Ludwick, who arrived in Naples with his family last month.
"The meeting was very helpful. At least half of the discussion brought to light new things to look at, especially issues that affect my family," Ludwick said.