The semi-annual Edwards Town Hall meeting was held Nov. 4 at the Airman and Family Readiness Center. Josh Crawford, Corvias business director gave the first brief and found himself fielding some tough questions.
The hot topic of the evening was renovations to the housing on base.
Corvias Military Housing has an Air Force Civil Engineer Center contract to renovate 522 homes on Edwards by September 2018. Though more than half of those renovations have already been completed, base residents had some big concerns about the potential of a forced move.
The homes that have already been upgraded were done during PCS or on a volunteer basis. But that PCS list is coming to an end so Corvias is actively seeking out families from the remaining homes on the renovation list that would voluntarily move. Junior Airmen that volunteer may benefit from upgrades such as a two-car garage.
Families interested in moving voluntarily have three options. They can move into a newly renovated, similar home and the Air Force will pay for that move. A second option is to move into the same address, but that opportunity is only available for a limited time. This option is a self-procured move of household goods into a container or truck until the renovations are complete. The family would stay in a temporary living facility during that time.
The final option, contingent on timing and other factors, is to stay in the home until PCS season in 2016.
One of the biggest challenges to scheduling renovations is that there are more families than homes at Edwards.
“We’re in a situation that’s good for our occupancy percentages but difficult for some of our relationships and our customer service,” said Crawford. “The best thing I can say is that if you are on this wait list; do not be afraid to communicate with us often about your situation and we will do our absolute best to communicate with you on what to expect.”
According to Crawford, every family on the list of affected homes will have an opportunity to sit down with a Corvias representative and talk about their family circumstances. The conversations are an effort to try to accommodate each family’s needs.
As Crawford pointed out during the town hall, it’s not just the homes that are getting a make-over. The grand opening for the Community Park on Fitz-Gerald Boulevard is slated to open in April 2016. The park will feature dog parks, walking trails, shaded picnic tables and a “competition grade world-class horseshoe pit.”
There will also be a neighborhood center with a zero entry pool, multipurpose room, exercise room, half basketball court and more.
Next up in the meeting was Charles Eaves, Edwards Exchange general manager, who offered updates on the Exchange like the new Military Star Card that earns two points for every dollar spent. When a shopper reaches 2,000 points, they will automatically be mailed a $20 Exchange gift card. The card also offers no interest on military clothing and sales purchases.
Master Sgt. Christopher Roach, 412th Security Forces Squadron, was on hand to talk about speeding tickets and juvenile curfews at Edwards.
He was joined by Tech. Sgt. Michael Campbell, who gave an update on the Visitor Control Center that opened outside of the West Gate March 1, 2015. Since their opening he said they have denied 182 people access to the base. The VCC is expecting to have a Sharepoint site that can be used to sponsor visitors on base from a government computer system available by Dec. 2.
The information on the site would be retrievable by any gate, hopefully relieving some delays.
The 412th Force Support Squadron also briefed about the fitness center, which is now available for 24/7 access and announced that May 14, 2016, is the date for the next “Run with History” half marathon, 10K and 5K.
The 412th Medical Group shared important changes to pharmacy benefits for Tricare users.
On Oct. 1, 2015, a law took effect that requires select brand name maintenance medications to be ordered through Tricare home delivery or a military pharmacy to avoid paying full price. This does not apply to active duty or prescriptions given in urgent care or hospital visits.
Muroc Joint Unified School District was also on hand that evening to answer questions about the base schools. Branch Elementary School principal, Dennison Winchell, shared some of the school’s new technology and techniques for instruction and assessment. For instance, the school is using “Go Math” with an online component for the first time this year. The new curriculum falls under the California Common Core States Standards.
The night ended with a briefing from the 412th Test Wing Safety Office reminding residents to observe all safety practices such as wearing helmets when using a scooter, skateboard or bicycle of any kind.
Brig. Gen. Carl Schaefer, 412th Test Wing commander, offered closing remarks encouraging residents to alert the appropriate commanders of any concerns on base.
“My guarantee to you, when you bring us a problem … I’m going to go fix it to the best of my ability,” said Schaefer. “It’s that important to me and it’s that important to our mission and it’s important to taking care of your families.”
The next Town Hall Meeting is scheduled for April 2016.