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Capt. Tilghman Payne, commander of Sasebo Naval Base, led a town hall meeting Tuesday night at the Hario Housing Village Chapel.
Capt. Tilghman Payne, commander of Sasebo Naval Base, led a town hall meeting Tuesday night at the Hario Housing Village Chapel. (Greg Tyler / S&S)

SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — Community members peppered base leaders with questions about issues from good health care to too-groovy threads to gourmet coffee during Tuesday night’s town hall meeting at Sasebo’s Hario Housing Village Chapel.

Capt. Tilghman Payne, commander of the southern Japan base, and Command Master Chief Petty Officer Marc Sibal led the meeting, one of the base’s periodic gatherings for feedback and suggestions.

“We’re here … to get your ideas about anything that can make your and your spouse’s life that much easier regarding the functions we do here at this base,” Payne told the crowd of about 50.

One Hario resident asked Cmdr. Tracy Kolosik, officer-in-charge of Sasebo’s Navy Branch Health Clinic, about how to schedule follow-up medical appointments.

Kolosik said appointments for follow-up visits in two weeks to a month from the date of an initial appointment should be scheduled the same day as the first visit. Don’t wait two weeks or more to schedule the follow-up appointment only to learn there are no open slots for the next week or 10 days, Kolosik said.

Another resident asked the clinic commander about the availability of a pediatrician in Sasebo.

“We have four family practice physicians who are qualified to treat individuals of all ages,” she said. “They’ve done the necessary residency training for pediatric care.”

Unique cases with specialized requirements could be transported to Yokosuka Naval Hospital, she added.

A Navy spouse living in Hario asked why there was not a coffee house or cafe setting at the housing village. She praised Seattle’s Best and Wolfgang Puck’s on the main base and said a similar location was needed at Hario.

Sandra Franklin, Sasebo Navy Exchange general manager, and Scott Poluhowich, Morale, Welfare and Recreation director, said that past indicators did not show such a place would have attractive enough economic potential but agreed to look at alternative ways to provide some sort of relaxing coffee spot.

One NEX shopper told Franklin that she’d noticed some clothing not allowed in the Navy’s clothing policy was on sale at the store.

Franklin said NEX buyers operate on a worldwide basis, buying what they believe is best suited to stores on Navy bases in the United States and overseas.

“That process begins months in advance, and I don’t think they were aware of certain sensitivities to the dress code we have here in Japan,” Franklin said.

“But we are pulling those items now and trying to rectify the situation through buyers,” she added.

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