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

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

The city of Bonn inadvertently sent 1,650 letters for traffic violation fines twice, on Saturday there was a coronavirus demonstration and counter-demonstration in Bonn, the state of NRW approves a grant for the "Beuel Family” sculptures which will be placed in Nepomukplatz, and trainee hairdressers at the Robert Wetzlar Berufskolleg are criticised for lax handling of coronavirus rules – here is our news in brief on Sunday.

The city of Bonn inadvertently sent 1,650 letters for traffic violation fines twice.

BONN. In September, the city inadvertently printed and mailed about 1,650 duplicate letters for traffic violations. According to the administration, these included proceedings for parking violations, speeding and police reports such as red-light violations, the use of mobile phones while driving, accidents, and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Markus Schmitz from the press office said that the city had already received numerous reports about the notices sent out twice. The city regrets the mistake and apologises to people who have been affected for the inconvenience caused.

Schmitz emphasised: "Double warnings or extra fines have not been imposed as a result. Anyone who has paid twice because of the mistake does not have to notify the city. The system automatically recognises such overpayments and these will be reimbursed without delay, provided there are no outstanding claims from other legally binding proceedings.

Schmitz explained the reasons for the error by saying that the print jobs for letters like these are generated centrally in the administration on a daily basis in a so-called batch print. "In this case, the print from the previous day was unfortunately inadvertently not deleted, and was therefore printed again," said Schmitz. The letters had the same date and had been received by those concerned on two consecutive days or possibly even on the same day.

Currently, 26 clerks work in the office for traffic violations. Last year, the city collected almost 5.6 million euros from traffic violations, Schmitz said. This year, the amount has so far been 3.9 million euros.

According to its own information, the city uses four stationary speed cameras to control speeding: In the Godesberg road tunnel, on Mainzer Straße, on Konrad-Adenauer-Damm and on Reichsstraße. The mobile speed cameras change location but the city measures "only at so-called danger spots". These can be accident hotspots determined by the accident commission, or sections of road where there is an increased risk of accidents. The city publishes the exact locations on the internet site www.bonn.de. The police also announce their speed-check locations on a weekly basis.

(text, Philipp Königs)

A coronavirus demonstration and counter-demonstration in Bonn Hofgarten

BONN. On Saturday, several hundred supporters of the Lateral Thinkers (Querdenker) Movement and the Bonn Alliance against Right-wing extremism demonstrated at separate rallies in the Bonn Hofgarten. Supporters of the Lateral Thinkers movement demonstrated against the coronavirus measures of the Federal Government. Opposing them were demonstrators who had followed a call of the Bonn Alliance against Right-wing extremism. The police estimated that about 250 people attended the Lateral Thinkers demo and that there were about 150 counter-demonstrators. The number of participants at both events fell well short of the approved number of 750 and 250 participants, respectively, and the organisers of both rallies had expected more participants.

A security corridor was blocked off in between the two groups. The organisers of both demonstrations had asked supporters to observe the hygiene rules. One wanted to avoid a dissolution of the meeting by the police, said a representative of the lateral thinkers – face coverings were not worn by the coronavirus deniers, but were also not prescribed by the authorities.

Most passers-by in Bonn took both events calmly. In the city centre, on the other hand, the number of people wearing face coverings in the shopping streets on Saturday had increased significantly after Cologne was declared a risk area during the night.

The police had no reason to intervene.

(Original text, Martin Wein)

The state of NRW approves a grant for the "Beuel Family” sculptures

BEUEL. The champagne corks popped on Thursday evening at the board of the Skippers’ Association in Beuel, because the state of North Rhine-Westphalia is contributing a grant of 40,000 euros towards the costs of the “Beuel Family” sculpture. Chairman Captain Reiner Burgunder and his Vice Chairman Claus-Werner Müller can now finally commission the life-size bronze sculpture from artist Sigrid Wenzel from Königswinter. She has already created a large number of works of art in Bonn and the surrounding area.

The 'Beuel family', consisting of a skipper (father), a washerwoman (mother) and a fisherman (son), will be depicted sitting on a bench, and will be placed in Nepomukplatz. The origin of the sculpture is the fact that there is no monument to the theme of family in Beuel to date. The father is a skipper who symbolises the more than 1,000-year-old ferry between Beuel and Bonn and refers to the Gierponte - the floating bridge over the Rhine. The mother, who is a washerwoman with an iron in her hand, represents the important laundry trade in Beuel. The son is a fisherman with a fish basket, handcart and dog, and reminds us of the fishing industry of that time.

The Skippers’ Association needs about 80,000 euros to implement the project. In addition to the state funding, the association will receive another 8,000 euros from the fire department pot of the Beuel district. This means that the association has to raise about 30,000 euros itself and are currently intensively looking for sponsors. Talks with banks, business people and private individuals have begun. The sculpture is to be inaugurated in May 2021.

In the meantime, a dispute had arisen between the Skippers’ Association and the chairman of the Monument and Historical Association of the Right Bank of Bonn, Carl Jakob Bachem. Bachem criticised among other things, the name "Beueler family". In his opinion, the sculpture does not represent Beuel, but only the professions of former Rhine residents. In Holzlar, Oberkassel and Vilich-Müldorf there are completely different traditions. He also dislikes the fact that this bronze sculpture is supported by public funds.

Beuel's district mayor, Guido Déus, replied: "The project has convinced me personally, the district council and the NRW state government. It fits in well on the banks of the Rhine and completes the existing sculpture collection.”

The Beuel Skippers’ Association was founded in 1862 as a community of solidarity for the people living near the Rhine in Beuel. At that time, the people of Beuel lived mainly from the Rhine and the shipping and fishing trades were the main sources of income. The association was founded to support the sick and needy members. Even today, ancient customs come alive when the skipper families get together for cosy evenings. Today, the association has more than 400 members.

(Original text, Holger Willcke)

Trainees at the Robert Wetzlar Berufskolleg criticised for lax handling of coronavirus rules

BONN. Timucin Babayigit, aged 33, runs a hairdressing salon in Pützchen and has nine employees, including three trainees. So far, he has managed to cope with the coronavirus crisis quite well, he says. Now he is worried about his existence. His trainees have complained to him that students do not pay enough attention to the hygiene rules at their vocation training college. A young employee recently had to go into quarantine, because a classmate had tested positive. Although the trainee's test result was negative, Babayigit then had all his employees and himself tested at his own expense. The tests were all negative, but he wants to repeat them, and pay for them himself again.

"As owners of hairdressing salons, we have the strictest coronavirus requirements. I make every effort to comply with them absolutely, to protect my customers and ourselves as much as possible from infection," says the master hairdresser. On the other hand, he hears that school colleagues of his trainees do not take the danger of the coronavirus as seriously as they should. Many of them do not observe distancing rules and do not wear face coverings. "My trainees have compulsory school attendance, so they have to attend classes," the hairdresser said.

Birgit Hufnagel, principal of the Robert-Wetzlar-Berufskolleg, denies the accusations. "We comply with all applicable regulations and even go beyond them." She says that face coverings are compulsory in the corridors and as soon as the students leave their seats.

To be able to serve all his regular customers in as much space as possible, Babayigit has now rented a mobile hairdresser's container for 1,300 euros a month, which will be set up in the middle of the month in the courtyard of his salon on Holtorferstrasse. For six months, the container will help to serve all customers. From the inside, nothing can tell it apart from a normal salon, says Babayigit. "I don't earn anything extra, but the container helps me to keep all my employees busy," he says and he does everything to keep his business running and to keep his employees' jobs. "I know my employees would do anything for me, too. He doesn't want to have all that ruined by some young people who ignore the coronavirus rules.

(Original text, Lisa Inhoffen and Philipp Königs)

(Translations, John Chandler)