November’s Community Information Exchange provided senior leader spouses with updates on a variety of topics around Fort Bragg.

Subject matter experts from Womack Army Medical Center, Corvias Military Living, the Fort Bragg Area Community Foundation and Army Community Service briefed the changes and happenings within their organizations.

Doug Earle, the deputy garrison commander, opened the meeting with information on something that has greatly impacted the installation this year, budget constraints.

“The continuing resolution is in place and we’re back to ‘somewhat normal’ operations,” said Earle. “Maintenance and facilities have been impacted the most, everything will need to prioritized and some things may not happen until the budget is finalized and approved.”

He also spoke about a current change that the installation is experiencing as activation of the new automated installation entry system begins to roll out.  He said that right now, all non-Department of Defense identification cardholders must get an access pass and have the backgrounds verified before entering the installation. Earle said that there was a major backlog when the change was first implemented, but that visitors should now see less wait time and less lines as the backlog from the initial rush has been processed.

He urged anyone with questions about the new AIE system to visit the Fort Bragg website at http://www.bragg.army.mil/directorates/DES/pmo/Pages/AccessControl.aspx.

Col. (Dr.) Anthony Hirtz, director, Medical Services, Womack Army Medical Center, said that flu shots are now open to all patients. They are available at the primary care clinics.

Hirtz also said that the clinics are continuing to increase the number of primary care providers on staff. The hospital has added five new providers since last month.

Womack will also start Saturday clinics effective Dec. 7. Patients can schedule Saturday appointments on Fridays from noon to 6 p.m. by calling 907-APPT. There will also be limited space for walk-ins. The clinic is only for acute medical conditions that cannot wait for a routine weekday visit.

Scarlett Tyner from Corvias Military Living spoke about the community garden that will open in Spring 2014. She encouraged interested residents to refer to their community newsletters for more information.

Corvias is also expanding Randolph Pointe, the on-post apartment community for single or unaccompanied noncommissioned officers, E-6 and above, or junior officers. Phase two for the community is currently under construction to add 120 new apartments.

“One of the benefits of this community, which makes it different than traditional Family housing, is that utilities, cable and internet are included as part of the rent,” said Tyner.

Tyner also encouraged Family members to apply for available higher education scholarships and grants. They are open to Families of all ranks associated with Fort Bragg and other installations where Corvias manages housing. Applications and more information are available at corviasfoundation.org.

Another valuable resource for Fort Bragg Families was discussed, as well. The Fort Bragg Community Foundation shared information about their mission, which is to provide financial assistance to Fort Bragg community members in financial crisis.  The non-profit organization provide grants to active duty military personnel and spouses assigned to Fort Bragg, Fort Bragg DoD civilian employees, retirees and their spouses residing within 50 miles of the installation and agencies providing direct support to Fort Bragg Soldiers and Families.

If you need assistance, the foundation encourages you to go to Army Emergency Relief first, and then contact the FBACF. Find more information on the organization and how to get help at http://www.bragg.army.mil/soldiers/fbacf/Pages/default.aspx.

For people wanting to help some of Fort Bragg’s Families in need, they can stop by ACS on the third floor of the Soldier Support Center and pick an ornament from the Holiday Hearts tree.

“We have more than 100 Families in need this year who have ornaments on the tree, so we need your help,” said Cathy Mansfield, ACS.

Interested individuals just stop by ACS to grab an ornament (or two, or three) with the information about a military child. The ornament will contain the child’s gender and age, along with toy ideas and clothing sizes. Gifts are due back, unwrapped, to ACS by Dec. 4.

The next Community Information Exchange is Jan. 15 at 9:30 a.m. at the Family Readiness Group Center.