The day the terror threat came to Oberursel

It was Thursday, 30th April, 2015.  I don’t know exactly when I read the message, but the post on Facebook at 5.32am simply read “Does anyone what was happening in Oberursel last night?  SWAT team, explosives unit… where was it and why?”

Just as I was leaving to head into town the local radio answered the “where” part of that question: near Edeka on the Hohemarkstraße.  Somewhere I was about to drive past.  Minutes later as I passed the house number 143, there were police vehicles everywhere.  I estimate that there were about 10 police cars and at least one van containing special equipment.

Hohemarkstrasse 143 in OberurselHohemarkstraße 143 in Oberursel where the arrests took place

Soon information started to come out about the arrests of a couple who had been living there, apparently police had searched a flat and a car, finding explosives and firearms. [Read more…]

Violence in the Taunus area

Oberursel's town hallSeveral weeks ago a visitor to the town hall (Rathaus) in Oberursel attacked the people working there with a knife.  Only a day later I read that it was believed an attack  might take place at a grammar school in Frankfurt.

It’s not that these things don’t happen in Germany, but these two were too close for comfort – I even had a meeting the very next day at the town hall to attend!

It made me wonder if this sort of violence was on the increase.  Were these one-off attacks or threats?  I often read the local news and even the police press releases and can’t remember anything on quite this scale for a long time.

And yes, it worries me. [Read more…]

Voting on the future of Stuttgart’s station

Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof - ©iStockphoto.com/AndreasWeber

After over a year of protests, the residents of the state of Baden-Württemberg will be voting tomorrow in a referendum on the future of the main station in Stuttgart.

The project, called “Stuttgart 21”, plans to demolish part of the station and take the railway lines underground.  The so-called “Kopfbahnhof”, a station where the tracks end and trains go in and out of, would then become a “Durchgangsbahnhof”, where tracks and trains run through from one side to the other, resulting in a number of changes to the rail network in the area.

A year ago, the politicians were saying that the project had been decided on in a long planning process, and that nothing could be changed.  Then there was a conciliation process (“Schlichtung”) where alternatives where looked at, and apart from the railway being required to prove that the new station would really bring a benefit to the network, not much changed.

However after the local elections in March of this year, the political situation in Baden-Württemberg changed considerably, when the CDU/FDP coalition, who had been in favour of the project lost such a large share of the vote, that a new Green/SPD coalition was formed to take control of the local parliament. [Read more…]

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