K-Town News

New programs in Germany could take some of the sting out of energy bills for military families in the KMC. The measures include a price break for both electric and natural gas power customers early next year. Read more here.
Five Guys is opening at Ramstein Air Base today. It is the first time the fast-food franchise is launching one of its restaurants on an Air Force Base. Customers already got a sneak peak taste during a Thanksgiving launch yesterday. The restaurant celebrates its ribbon cutting today at 11 a.m. 
A German state court announced today that efforts by local finance offices to tax U.S. military pay violate the NATO troop treaty, marking a groundbreaking development in a dispute that has caused financial devastation for scores of Americans over the years. Tax authorities have gone after hundreds of U.S. personnel at any one time living in the Landstuhl-Kusel district, which includes Ramstein Air Base. Read more here.
American citizens living in Germany and England with questions about U.S. taxes can get answers during a free webinar next week with Internal Revenue Service representatives. The IRS and the U.S. Consulate General Frankfurt are hosting the presentation. The topics are geared toward the U.S. military community overseas and include spousal employment, tax for military contractors, tax implications of moving expenses, real estate and more, according to consulate officials. The webinar is on Dec. 1 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Central European Time. Register here.
A Kaiserslautern woman was the victim of a theft near Apostel church. While the 54-year-old was trying to pay for her parking stub on Pfruendnerstrasse today around 12:20 p.m., the thief used the unlocked car door to grab her backpack from the passenger seat. The woman was unable to catch the man, whom she described as short with dark complexion and wearing black clothes. Kaiserslautern police are asking witnesses to the event to provide information via 0631 369-2250.
Electricity prices are going up a lot in January. SWK, the largest provider in Kaiserslautern, is blaming the price hikes on the war in Ukraine, saying it has “driven prices on the energy markets to unprecedented heights.” The higher prices vary between homes and take effect Jan. 1. For example, a four-bedroom house near Kleber Kaserne will pay 51% more, while an apartment downtown is seeing a 40% rise. The increases come in addition to much higher gas prices than last year. Other utility operators in the area are expected to raise prices as well. The end result will likely mean out-of-pocket expenses for some DOD personnel as utility allowances max out.
Kaiserslautern High School students handed over thousands of dollars Monday to a local veterans group and an organization that assists military families. More here.
Police are looking for witnesses of a downtown brawl. An argument in front of an establishment on Fruchthallstrasse caused a fight shortly before 11 p.m. Sunday evening, local police said in a statement today. Two people attacked and injured a 28-year-old bouncer, then fled. The bouncer could not provide any information about the unknown men. Witnesses are asked to contact the Kaiserslautern police at 0631 369-2150.
E-Scooter sind wendig und flink: Doch um sie im Straßenverkehr zu nutzen, braucht man eine Versicherungsplakette. Foto: HUK-COBURG / Weiterer Text über ots und / Die Verwendung des Bildes für redaktionelle Zwecke ist honorarfrei, wenn der Abdruck mit korrekter Quellenangabe erfolgt. Quellenangabe: HUK-COBURG
Kaiserslautern police checked e-scooters last week. From Nov. 11 through 19, patrols stopped 179 riders. Six people were found to have consumed alcohol or illicit drugs before riding, according to a statement from local police. Another rider was cited for riding through a signed pedestrian-only zone. Four others were riding without insurance coverage, which is legally required for owners of the electric vehicles. Officers issued a warning to one rider for using a cell phone while in motion.    
A Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine bottle during a vaccine drive in Kaiserslautern, Germany, Nov. 30, 2021. New local regulations exempt those who completed their initial vaccination regimen within the last three months to avoid having to test to meet 2G-Plus requirements in Rheinland-Pfalz.
Rheinland-Pfalz is closing its COVID-19 vaccination centers. The German state’s ministry of science and health on Monday said that its 22 remaining vaccination centers will close at the end of the year, after the German federal government announced it is withdrawing financing for state-run centers. Americans were able to receive free COVID-19 vaccinations at the community vaccination centers and will continue to be able to receive shots at state-run vaccination buses, which officials said they plan to deploy until at least April 2023. Currently, approximately 75.7% of state residents have received at least two COVID-19 shots, according to latest reports by the Robert-Koch Institute.
A crowd sits around an open fire near the Stiftskirche in Kaiserslautern, Germany, during the 2019 Christmas market. City officials may cancel the 2020 Christmas market if the number of coronavirus cases in the area does not come down, they said Oct. 26.
Beware of pickpockets at Kaiserslautern’s Christmas market, which opens Monday. That’s the message from local police, who say uniformed and plain-clothes officers will be on patrol to provide better protection. More stringent traffic controls to prevent drunk driving and new surveillance cameras are also part of updated security measures. Police are asking visitors who notice anything suspicious at the market to inform an officer as soon as possible.
French fries at Five Guys in Frankfurt, Germany. The chain's famous fries are fresh cut and fried to order.
Five Guys on Ramstein Air Base will have its grand opening on Nov. 25, according to a Facebook post by the KMC Exchange. There will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11 a.m. that day. The burger-and-fries chain’s soon-to-open location is at a standalone building near the Exchange where Burger King used to be.
A tornado hit Saarland state Thursday afternoon. The storm hit villages in St. Wendel district, located about 45 minutes west of Ramstein Air Base,  with wind speeds of up to 112 mph, damaging around 40 houses. Power lines were damaged, temporarily cutting off power in two villages. Ten vehicles were damaged by falling roof debris and falling trees, according to a video statement by local county administration officials. No one was injured. 
A teenager was attacked with animal repellent spray on Wednesday. The victim said he was attacked with the spray from behind while walking with friends on Willy-Brandt-Platz around 12:50 p.m. The perpetrator then fled in the direction of Pfalztheater. The suspect was wearing black clothes and had a scarf wrapped around his face. The 19-year-old suffered respiratory and eye irritation from the spray and was transported to the hospital for treatment. Police are asking witnesses to provide information via 0631 369-2150. 
Kaiserslautern police are looking for a pickpocket. A 30-year-old woman reported several hundred euros stolen from her bag while she was shopping in a women’s clothing store on Fackelstrasse around noon on Tuesday. She noticed her missing wallet at the cash register. Video recordings revealed that another unknown woman opened the zipper on her purse while she was trying on a pair of shoes. Kaiserslautern police are looking for a woman aged 28 to 45, who is about 5 feet, 4 inches tall with dark shoulder-length hair. Witnesses are asked to call the criminal police on 0631 369-2620.
Kaiserslautern Christmas market is opening next week. The market opens at 6 p.m. Monday with funk, soul, jazz and gospel music on Schillerplatz. Opening week includes Christmas-themed concerts, a children’s Christmas bakery event from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Nov. 26 and Sunday shopping Nov. 27. All downtown advent season events are listed in the online program flyer.
Ramstein High School Choirs performed at Nanstein Castle in 2022.
Ramstein High School choir students recently performed Billie Eilish’s “Lovely,” as well as a message about the importance of caring for each other during the pandemic, at Nanstein Castle. Check out the video here.
New park-and-ride parking spaces are now available at the Kaiserslautern Ikea. The 17 free commuter parking spaces can be used from Monday to Saturday, excluding public holidays, between 4:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. The parking lot will be closed with a barrier at night and does not offer overnight parking. The spaces aim to improve the car connection to Vogelweh train station, city officials said, and benefit commuters from Siegelbach, Erfenbach and Weilerbach who can now switch to the train more easily. 
The e-scooter control week continues in Kaiserslautern. Local police teams checked 96 e-scooter users in the city on Saturday and Sunday. Most followed the rules, according to a Kaiserslautern police statement. Eight riders were riding under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substances. Another used his cell phone while riding. During a foot patrol Monday, police officers targeted e-scooters and bicycles in the city center. Within one hour, two scooters were caught illegally driving in the pedestrian zone.
German police are investigating a weekend burglary in Siegelbach. Suspects broke into a home in the village while the residents were away, at some point between 4:30 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. on Sunday. When the couple returned home they found an open window, ransacked cupboards and a hole in the patio door. The intruders appeared to have rifled through every room searching for valuables, according to a police statement. A safe containing gold, cash and jewelry, as well as documents and business records, were stolen. According to initial estimates, the total loss is in the upper five-digit range, police said. Police believe the stolen safe was transported by vehicle. Anyone who noticed suspicious people or a suspicious vehicle in the Siegelbach area during the time when the burglary occurred is asked to call the West Palatinate criminal investigation department at 0631 369-2620.
Two men accused of exposing themselves to minors have been arrested. Police reported a 62-year-old followed a 13-year-old girl to a shop on Danziger Strasse on Thursday afternoon and exposed and touched himself. The girl fled to her father, who called the police. The man was held at the store by witnesses until officers arrived. A 52-year-old man exposed himself to two 12-year-old boys on Slevogtstrasse, police said. The two boys told their parents about the incident, who then called the police. Criminal cases against both men are pending.
An American driver was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. A Kia driver was stopped at a German police checkpoint, then tried to flee late Wednesday evening. The patrol car caught up and stopped the escaping driver in Donnersbergstrasse. Officers reported they immediately smelled alcohol on his breath. The driver showed an estimated .06% blood alcohol level on a rapid breathalyzer test. The 34-year-man was transferred the U.S. military police for further processing, Kaiserslautern police said in statement.
Two American drivers were reprimanded for decorating their muscle cars. The pair had decked out their Ford Mustangs with Christmas wreaths, lights and bows in a parking lot in Ramstein-Miesenbach. A local highway police patrol stopped their early holiday season fun Saturday night. The two vehicle owners now face administrative offense fines for non-compliance with German traffic laws.
The road through Reichenbach-Stegen will be closed starting Monday, Nov. 14, for probably four weeks, local police tweeted this weekend. A detour will be marked via state roads L 367 - L 370 - L369 – L372 – L367 and vice versa to and from Kaiserslautern.
Electric scooters stand outside the gates of Kleber Kaserne in Kaiserslautern, Germany in 2020. For soldiers of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division deployed to Grafenwoehr, alcohol is now off limits after a series of incidents that involved intoxicated soldiers riding e-scooters, Army officials said this week.
German police will be stopping e-scooter operators starting tomorrow in Kaiserslautern for random inspections, police said. They are looking to crack down on e-scooter drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs and those using unauthorized traffic areas such as sidewalks. E-scooter drivers do not need a driver’s license but must be at least 14 years old. Under German law, a blood alcohol level of 0.05% is considered a DUI and subject to a fine and other punishments, including driver’s license suspension. People may drive e-scooters on cycling lanes, or on streets, when cycling paths aren’t available. E-scooters are not permitted in bus lanes, on sidewalks or in pedestrian zones.
Veterans Day, St. Martin’s Day and a turkey trot: These are some of the events happening in the KMC this weekend. On Friday, the public can attend Veterans Day ceremonies at American military cemeteries in Europe. Also on Friday, Germany celebrates St. Martin’s Day with lantern parades and community bonfires. Families in Kaiserslautern can join the procession through downtown starting at 5:30 p.m. on Martinsplatz. Events start in Ramstein at the Catholic church at 5:30 p.m. Parents and children carrying lanterns can follow St. Martin through the streets of Ramstein. The Ramstein Fitness Center is holding a free virtual 5K Turkey Trot run through Nov. 18. Log your miles this weekend and then verify them with fitness staff.
The public is invited to attend annual Veterans Day ceremonies tomorrow at various American military cemeteries throughout Europe. The closest one to the Kaiserslautern Military Community is the Luxembourg American Cemetery in the town of Hamm, about three miles east of Luxembourg’s city center. The ceremony starts at 11 a.m. and is free to attend. Buried at the cemetery are 5,070 service members, many of whom lost their lives in the Battle of the Bulge and in the advance to the Rhine River during World War II. Find more information on the cemetery and other Veterans Day ceremonies here.
Service members and their families serving in the Kaiserslautern area have an opportunity to help get an early boost in utility allowances passed. Military commands are seeking documentation from troops who are paying more for gas and electricity than their current utility allowance covers. Read more about the effort here.
Flu infections are surging in Rheinland-Pfalz. The state statistics office reported 758 infections since the beginning of October. Last year there were only 5 reported cases at this time, and only 4 in 2020. Likewise, even before the COVID-19 pandemic, only 9 cases had been reported in October 2019. So far, a total of 1,540 cases of flu have been reported in the state since the beginning of the year. Meanwhile, reported cases of COVID-19 have been seeing a slight decline in the state, falling by 45% in newly reported cases last week, compared to the previous seven days.
MWR is holding a Non-Appropriated Funds (NAF) Warehouse Sale on Friday, Nov. 18, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Special Events Center, Bldg. 237, on Rhine Ordnance Barracks. Items on sale include used office furniture, decorations, gym and recreational equipment and more. DOD cardholders only. Credit and debit cards are accepted. 

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