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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 Easter march for peace takes place in Bonn, the first asparagus of the season from the region is ready in Bornheim, the Bonn Aids Initiative receives an award for special services, and a citizens’ initiative demands a timetable for the reopening of Bonn's Melbbad – here is our news in brief on Sunday.

Easter march for peace takes place in Bonn

Several hundred people demonstrated on Saturday in Bonn for peace, under the slogan "Create a just peace – worldwide solidarity!". The organisers of this year's Easter march were the sing-along group "Hand-in-Hand", including Susanne Rohde and Bernhard Bergmann. "Many decided against joining in for fear of coronavirus contagion," Rohde said, but she was very happy that many participants ultimately turned up on the banks of the Rhine in Beuel under the Kennedy Bridge. The police estimated that 350 participants took part, but the organisers estimated 400. The sophisticated hygiene concept largely worked, because the organisers had had knotted several metres of red and white barrier tape into loops at regular intervals, and it was intended that each participant hold on to one of them. In this way, distance was maintained. In addition, face coverings were to be worn while marching in two rows across the Kennedy Bridge to the large rally on Münsterplatz. However, the demonstration had a bumpy start and was nearly broken up, because some "Free Öcalan" flags with the likeness of the PKK leader were among the demonstrators. The Bonn police explained that they first had to check the display of flags in connection with the PKK, because the Kurdish Workers' Party is banned in EU countries. After consultation with the State Security, however, the flags were allowed.

One steward explained that she got involved because she felt increasingly restricted. "I'm just afraid that democracy is going down the drain." Yes, it is of course better to stay at home at the moment, said participant Holger. But it is also about exercising the right to demonstrate, he said. For Ulrike, the demo was about drawing more attention to the causes of the refugee waves from North Africa to Europe." Holger was equipped with a hand drum and among other things, marched against the increase in arms exports. Lissa Thiel went along as a member of "Grannies Against the Right." Many places in the world with conflicts, refugees, military power, hunger and other things are getting worse because of coronavirus. She is not going to let the virus stop her. "I joined the Easter marches when I was a young mother," she told me. "Now I'm retired, I have time and I think it's really important, too."

(Original text, Stefan Knopp)

The first asparagus of the season from the region is ready in Bornheim

The warm days have given Bornheim asparagus a decisive boost. Uedorf farmer Johannes Sass is started the sale of his freshly cut sticks on Saturday. He has not taken any advance orders. "That would not have been fair," he says. Because he could not reliably calculate how much asparagus he would have harvested by Saturday morning. After all, he says, it's not nice for the customers if he takes orders and customers plan asparagus for their Easter menu, but then can't deliver. Sass charges 17 euros per kilogram and for those who think this price is too high, he points out the effort is needed before the harvest: the dams have to be built, two sheets of foil are stretched over the asparagus for thermal insulation, and six helpers from Poland are paid a fair wage. In the course of the season, however, the price per kilo will drop by a few euros. How the harvest will turn out in the end, Sass does not dare to predict now. "That depends on the weather." He himself had expected the harvest to start later, about April 10. "But the warm days this week have boosted growth strongly," he says.

Klaus Langen runs the family farm in Kerpen-Buir with his wife Ursula, who manages sales and logistics and their son Alexander. Now he has taken over some of the fields of the Diergardt estate around Bornheim, including a ten-hectare area at Eichenkamp. There, the first asparagus heads are pushing up the black film stretched over the dams. Langen says "We are all one big family," by which he means not only his own family, but also the 50 harvest workers from Poland, Romania and Ukraine, some of whom have been coming to him for decades. He currently pays them according to the legal minimum wage per hour, and during the main harvest season according to the amount of asparagus harvested.

(Original text, Hans-Peter Fuss)

The Bonn Aids Initiative receives an award for special services

The self-help organisation Junkies, Former and Substituted (JES for short) has honoured the Bonn AIDS Initiative with a certificate for special services. Torsten Zelgert of JES NRW justified the honour by the state and national association at the presentation in Bonn: "It excludes no one in its work and is characterized by great tolerance," said Zelgert. The association provides education and prevention without pointing fingers. The certificate should also be an incentive for other institutions to demonstrate this kind of tolerance.

Zelgert spoke about the current difficult situation for homeless and drug users in the lockdown. He also said many doctors are having a hard time giving their clients drug substitutes for the 30 days allowed as the state government recommends, to keep contact rates as low as possible.

Christa Skomorowsky and Ralf Runniger from the Aids Initiative were pleased with the award. Even though HIV therapies have been effective in stabilising infected persons, there is still a greater risk of a severe course of the disease in the case of a weak immune system. The work of the AIDS initiative has changed, he said. "Face-to-face meetings are possible at most on a one-on-one basis, no longer in groups," Skomorowsky said. As a self-help organisation, they try to compensate for the loss of regular meetings, and to provide advice and support. The scene is much more spread out than before the lockdown. That makes it difficult to provide clean syringes, as well as medical masks, he said. Skomorowsky also cites another problem: "Sex workers are not allowed to work at the moment, but of course this work takes place, as overnight prostitution."

(Original text, Philipp Königs)

Citizens’ initiative demands a timetable for the reopening of Bonn's Melbbad

The citizens' initiative "Save the Melbbad" is urging transparent citizen participation and a concrete timetable for renovation or new construction of the functional rooms of the open-air swimming pool on Trierer Straße. The city still has to communicate whether the planned 1.5 million euro for the fitting out is realistic. The initiative derives from the clear citizen vote against development on the edge of Trierer Straße to make the pool functional. Kai Schröder, spokesman for the initiative, stated: "The large participation in the referendum must now be followed by broad public participation in the planning for the reopening." The city said "the administration will award a test contract for a feasibility, cost and time analysis as soon as possible in accordance with the applicable procurement guidelines." According to the administration, a single-story new building for a swimming pool building with changing rooms, sanitary facilities and staff rooms, a technical room as well as a kiosk or a catering business would be sufficient. There is no mention of renovation of the dilapidated existing buildings in the administration's proposal.

There is a design plan for a replacement building on the roller-skating area, which is located close to the current function rooms in the direction of the entrance and exit. This one-story structure could be used to provide showers, lockers, and lounges for the pool staff, as well as an entrance and exit. A press release by the citizens' initiative said: "If renovation of the existing buildings should no longer be possible due to decades of neglect, alternatives must be discussed that come as close as possible to the former arrangement."

In a joint press release, Brigitta Poppe-Reiners (Rheingrün), Elmar Conrads-Hassel (FDP), Karin Langer (Volt) and Thomas Fahrenholtz called on the administration and the council coalition to approach the citizens' initiative and make the Melbbad functional again as quickly as possible.

(Original text, Philipp Königs)

(Translations, John Chandler)