1. GA-English
  2. News

GA English on Sunday : News in Brief from Bonn and the Region

GA English on Sunday : News in Brief from Bonn and the Region

Local elections take place today throughout the region, the day of the homeless reminds us that 1,496 homeless people live in Bonn, the Haus der Natur in Bonn is showing an exhibition of trees by Bernhard Horstmann in XXL format, and the first coronavirus case at the Kardinal-Frings-Gymnasium in Beuel school has been recorded and students in one class have been sent into quarantine for one week – here is our news in brief on Sunday.

Local elections take place today in Bonn

Bonn. Today, about 250,000 people in Bonn will vote in the local elections and can cast three votes: for the election of the Lord Mayor, the city council and the district council. Some can also take part in the election of the Integration Council. Voting begins in the 163 voting centres in the city area at 8 a.m. and counting begins from 6 p.m. onwards. The first results will be published in real time on the General-Anzeiger website and it might be late into the evening until everything has been counted in the last constituency.

Each of the three ballot papers will contain only one cross: on the green ballot paper, voters cast their vote for a direct candidate from their constituency for the city council; a red ballot paper provides the lists of parties for the respective district representation. Sunday also sees at least the preliminary decision on who will lead the administration as Lord Mayor for the next five years. The white ballot papers contain the names of eight candidates. Those who have received more than half of the votes are directly elected. If none of the candidates succeeds in doing so on Sunday, the next election will take place two weeks later, on 27 September, then follows the runoff between the two best-placed candidates.

When asked about what they consider to be the most important municipal policy areas, the vast majority of Bonn citizens interviewed in a recent survey named transport and local public transport as the most important policy areas. In the 2014 local elections, voter turnout in Bonn was 56.8 per cent, and in the following year's election for mayor, 45.1 per cent.

Germans and foreigners from member states of the European Union are entitled to vote. Since 1999, the minimum age for participation in local elections in North Rhine-Westphalia has been 16 years. According to the municipal press office, the number of potential first-time voters under 18 years of age on Sunday is 5,512.

The coronavirus pandemic means that some rooms in old people's homes, where voting is usually held, are currently not available. The address of the respective voting centre can be found on the voting notification. The city administration points out that certain hygiene rules apply: for example, a face covering must be worn in the voting rooms, on the access routes within buildings and in queues. All voters are also asked to bring their own ballpoint pen. A minimum distance of 1.50 meters applies. Whoever does not wear a face covering risks a fine of 50 euros, but is allowed to vote.

The counting of the votes in the Integration Council elections will take place on Monday. The Integration Council has an advisory function on the political representation of migrants. Two-thirds of the board consists of migrant representatives and the remaining third, of elected council members. Foreigners and immigrants are entitled to vote, but not asylum seekers or persons with residential status.

The announcement of the results on election evening can be followed on the General-Anzeiger website at www.ga.de.

(Original text, Rüdiger Franz)

The day of the homeless reminds us that 1,496 homeless people live in Bonn

Bonn. On the day of the homeless, the sponsors of help for Bonn homeless are using the motto "Togetherness - sympathy - thinking - taking part - sharing" to say thank you to all the people of Bonn who support homeless people in many ways during the coronavirus pandemic. Jean-Pierre Schneider, the director of the Bonn Caritas, considers it a "huge strength of a city society" to show solidarity and take responsibility for each another. The great willingness to help and support the homeless in Bonn, for example in the form of donations of food, clothing or money, has helped to improve their living situation.

The photo project #Stayathome is dedicated to how everyday life is shaped in times of the coronavirus pandemic. "While everyone was talking about 'home office' and 'home schooling' as a matter of course, completely different challenges arise when you can't stay at home because you don't have a permanent home," explains Gerhard Roden of the Caritas Association about the title of the photo series with quotations, which can be seen on the building fence at the Bonn Münster.

The housing emergency statistics of 2019 recorded 1,496 homeless men and women in Bonn. Homelessness means, for example, having to stay in makeshift accommodation or with friends or acquaintances, or having to spend the night in facilities for the homeless, but having no shelter or no secure tenancy.

Apart from thanks to all partners and supporters, the initiators of the day of the homeless initiative want to draw attention to the perspective of homeless people and to focus on the reasons for homelessness. The lack of housing and the associated high rents mean that increasingly more people, including people with a regular income, are threatened by the housing shortage.

(Original text, Hanna Fath)

The Haus der Natur in Bonn is showing an exhibition of trees by Bernhard Horstmann

Venusberg. The House of Nature on the Venusberg is showing the photo exhibition "Trees in XXL Format" by Bernhard Horstmann. Bernhard Horstmann is a passionate photographer who documents the impressive world of trees, but he can only exhibit smaller prints, because the large formats do not fit into the rooms. A photo of a liana, which he photographed in India is five meters high, and it took Horstmann's high-tech printer four hours to print it. However, the smaller formats in the Haus der Natur are also impressive.

Horstmann took the pictures in the past 30 years, but most in the last 16 years and has travelled all over the world, for example to New Zealand, to visit the Tāne Mahuta, the god of the forest, as the Maori call the largest Kauri tree at 51 meters tall, which is 2,500 years old and the most famous tree of the entire island. He also targeted the 85-meter-high Sequoia tree in California, which has a trunk diameter of eight meters, but most trees were found by just walking around, Horstmann said. He found a eucalyptus tree with a bulge on the trunk, a so-called Burls infection, as well as a tree stump in a volcanic area, which has an impressive coloured pattern on its bark. Horstmann recorded all the trees with a high-quality analogue camera, scanned the images and then printed them out in large format, because he wanted to depict the trees as impressively and true-to-life as possible, to show "how gigantic nature is," he says.

Photography is his passion, not his profession and he is already working on his next project: for seven years he has been observing and photographing birds to capture their flight. To do this, he worked with elaborate digital technology and a lot of patience, taking photo series at eleven frames per second.

The photo exhibition "Trees in XXL Format" can be seen until March 21, 2021 at the Haus der Natur, An der Waldau 48. Until the end of October it can be viewed from Wednesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on weekends and public holidays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. From November to March the exhibition is open from Wednesday to Sunday and on public holidays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The entrance to the exhibition is free. Photographer Bernhard Horstmann will be present on 1 November and will guide people through the exhibition himself. Further information in the Internet on haus-der-natur-bonn.de.

(Original text, Stefan Knopp)

Coronavirus case at the Kardinal-Frings-Gymnasium in Beuel school

Beuel. The first coronavirus case has been recorded at the Kardinal-Frings-Gymnasium (KFG) in Beuel. As a result, The Bonn public health department has sent all students in the class home into quarantine for one week, reported KFG school director Bernhard Hillen to the GA.

"According to the health department, one student tested positive. We have forwarded the seating and contact plans to the city. The health department is now considering whether to test all or just some of the students in this class," said Hillen. There is no reason to worry and the lessons in the remaining classes will continue. On the basis of a decision by the school council, the KFG has issued a recommendation for pupils to wear face coverings in class. "I have the impression that almost all students have declared their solidarity and wear face coverings. We as a school assumed that such a case would occur," said Hillen.

(Original text, Holger Willcke)

(Translations John Chandler)