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Related Story: Kaiserslautern center shows signs of successDespite all the bells and whistles of the Kaiserslautern Military Community Center, some Vogelweh residents are still simmering about the closure of the Vogelweh base exchange and food court.

"You essentially cut off an entire base of people [by saying], ‘We’re going to take the BX/PX away from you and we’re not going to support you,’ " said one Vogelweh resident at a U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern town hall meeting last month.

Army and Air Force officials said they are still supporting Vogelweh. They’ve formed a working group to address the needs of Vogelweh, as well as the larger Kaiserslautern community, officials at the town hall meeting said.

"We’re trying to reach out and help the community in a more responsive manner," said Lt. Col. Kevin Hutchison, USAG Kaiserslautern commander.

The group includes military representatives from the Army and Air Force and members of agencies such as the Army and Air Force Exchange Service.

Col. Chuck Salvo, AAFES Europe and Southwest Asia Region commander, told town hall attendees that Vogelweh has grown since the initial concept of the KMCC was dreamed up more than 15 years ago.

Salvo said that, in 1991, U.S. Army Europe and U.S. Air Forces in Europe requested AAFES look at building a large shopping center to replace the outdated stores at Ramstein and Vogelweh. The AAFES board of directors approved the KMCC plan in 2000, Salvo said.

"We want to focus on how we can support Vogelweh, and the answer is not Ramstein," he said.

One improvement AAFES is already eyeing at Vogelweh, he said, is expanding the shoppette on Pulaski, a plan that would have to be approved by U.S. Army Europe.

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
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