• Published
  • By Col. Mohsen Parhizkar
  • 377th Air Base Wing Vice Commander
Join the Buddy List for advance information on AAFES events 

Q. I am a U.S. Army spouse living in Albuquerque while my husband finishes his second 12-15 month tour in Iraq.

I was very upset when I went to get two tickets for the free showing of "Transformers" this afternoon at the local BX and was told that there were none left. The sales associate told me they were taken on June 22, which coincided with the publication of your newspaper article.

I have always believed that the Air Force was more family oriented than the Army. I have lived at Fort Bragg, Fort Benning, Fort Campbell and overseas, and when events like these occur the Army has always tried to accommodate families with spouses deployed first and limit how many tickets one person could receive.

The general rule has always been families with deployed spouse get first opportunity for tickets. Then the rest of the military community with a valid military ID card receives two complimentary tickets. When organized in this manner tickets tend to last longer and everyone deems the process fair.

I, unfortunately, did not get two tickets to take my 8-year-old son to the free showing. I will wait for the release at the local theater.

A. On June 30, AAFES presented a special showing of "Transformers" at the base theater. Although 800 tickets were given out, many people were unaware of this event until after all the tickets had been disbursed.

While the information for tickets to this event was sent through numerous avenues, including being presented at the wing and group staff meetings several times, being printed on posters and banners in AAFES facilities and being disseminated through each unit's First Sergeant, it has come to our attention that not everyone received this information on how or when to pick up their tickets.

We gave out 800 tickets for the 500 seats based on previous trend data. Past experience shows us that only about 40 percent of the people who get free tickets show up and by offering more tickets than the theater holds, it allows a chance for more individuals to attend the free premiere movie. We've worked very hard at promoting Kirtland to receive free premieres. Only a select few AAFES installation theaters are on this list to show free premieres; if the attendance drops for these free premiere movies, the movie distributors will take us off the list.

We continuously look at ways of improving our communication to the Kirtland community and reach out to the families of our deployed members to share special interest items that are happening on Kirtland. In order to keep everyone aware of Kirtland activities, AAFES invites you to stop by and sign up for the AAFES Buddy List so that you will receive e-mail newsletters and updates on events in our facilities.

Any chance a dog park could be established on Kirtland property? 

Q. As one of the many residents who own a dog and live on base, is there a possibility of opening a dog park where the residents can walk to? I understand there are a few outside of Kirtland AFB, but having to drive the distance just isn't worth it, especially if you worked all day.

A. We contacted Kirtland Family Housing, and although they consider a pet park a great amenity, they are unable to support it at this time. KFH will take another look at this request when compiling the FY08 Housing Budget.

I would also like to take this opportunity to explain in a little more detail how the funding works for KFH improvement projects. The Kirtland AFB Housing Privatization Program is an undertaking between the U.S. Air Force and Kirtland Family Housing, LLC. The agreement between the parties is a real estate ground lease, not covered by the Federal Acquisition Regulation that establishes each party's rights and obligations. The lease includes a reinvestment plan requiring identified periodic upgrades to the leased premises.

The ground lease allows for revisions to the reinvestment plan as necessary. The deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force is required to approve any proposed revision to the plan, which reflects project needs and quality-of-life enhancements.

These project needs and quality-of-life enhancements include a Pershing Park irrigation system, tenant fences for Villages III, IV, V, VI and VII, a block wall or barrier in Village VI, Maxwell Housing area perimeter fence improvements and a traffic signal at the intersection of A Avenue and Wyoming Boulevard.

Funding for a dog park and any other desired improvements must be incorporated into the prioritized list of improvements as part of the reinvestment plan.

Jones Soda hemp oil rumors make the rounds again 

Q. Why is "Jones Soda" being sold in our BX? I was very surprised to see it on the counter while I was checking out yesterday.

I asked the young man behind the counter why they would be selling a product that was illegal for active duty. He stated that he was unsure but had been told that he had to tell anyone who showed an active-duty ID card that it did contain hemp.

I thought it rather ironic that he had a sign on his counter that stated he was underage and could not sell tobacco or alcohol at his register, which are both legal substances, but he could sell a product that contains hemp. Another interesting fact is that he stated he was told that anyone could purchase the product, including teenagers.

I feel like we are setting our Airmen up for trouble by even having the product available on our base. I have talked with several co-workers who did not know what Jones Soda was. So, what happens if someone "forgets" to mention that it contains an illegal substance? Not to mention it appears that we are promoting it. I would hate to be the parent whose teenage/preteen age child purchased the product from a U.S. Air Force facility.

A. First, the exchange service does not sell illegal products.
Second, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the Jones Soda sold by AAFES or anywhere else according to company representatives.

At one time Jones Soda made a product named "Dave" which contained a very small amount of hemp oil, but according to company tests contained no THC (the active agent in marijuana).

My public affairs office spoke to Mark Clagg, operations manager for Jones Soda Company, and he said that nothing the company ever made had THC in it and that they have not manufactured any product containing hemp oil in over four years. He also said that this rumor recycles about every six months.

Third, you probably should not be taking legal and career advice from a sales clerk.

The following information concerning hemp is from Magellan Health Care Services Inc.:

"Hemp and marijuana are varieties of the Cannabis sativa plant.

"It is illegal to grow both hemp and marijuana in the United States (although it is not illegal to sell or purchase hemp products -- hence the hemp bags and dresses you see in store windows).

"... only one (marijuana) produces an intoxicating effect when smoked.
"Unlike marijuana, hemp has many uses. Over 25,000 products can be manufactured from hemp, including hair conditioner, diapers, insulation, carpets, paper, and perfume."