Bliss Happenings December 14, 2017

Bliss Briefs: (El Paso, Texas, Dec. 14, 2017) 

Central Violation Bureau: This is a public notice from the Central Violation Bureau. If you received a CVB/traffic ticket after Jan. 1, 2016, be aware the Fort Bliss Special Assistant United States Attorney’s office is stepping up enforcement of outstanding tickets for this period. Call our office at 568-0761 to resolve your outstanding tickets.

Parent Central Holiday Hours: Parent Central Services, Bldg. 1743 Victory Road, will be closed Dec. 23-25 and Dec. 30-Jan 1, 2018. Holiday hours will be adjusted from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. through Dec. 30. Normal business hours will resume Jan. 2, 2018. 568-4374

Tricare changes: William Beaumont Army Medical Center will hold briefings about changes to Tricare at 5 p.m. Friday and Dec. 21 and 27 at the hospital, 5005 N. Piedras St., El Paso. Get a username and password for DS logon at Caution-https://dmdc.osd.mil/identitymanagement/. Check to make sure your information is correct on DEERS at Caution-www.tricare.mil/deers. Sign up for Tricare benefits updates at Caution-www.tricare.mil/about. Find out about Tricare changes at www.tricare.mil/changes.

Legal office closure: The Fort Bliss Legal Assistance and Claims Offices, on the first floor of Bldg. 113 on Pershing Road, will be closed after 11:45 a.m. Friday for an office function, and after 11:45 a.m. Dec. 22 and Dec. 27 and 28 during the holiday half-day schedule. In addition, these offices will be closed all day Dec. 25 and Jan. 1 during the federal holidays, and all day Dec. 26 and Dec. 29 during the days of no scheduled activities.

DHR training holidays: The Directorate of Human Resources will have reduced operations beginning at 11:30 a.m. Friday for a holiday team-building event. Normal operations will resume Monday. In addition, the directorate will have reduced operations Dec. 22 and will be closed Dec. 25. Normal operations resume Dec. 26. In addition, the directorate will have reduced operations Dec. 29 and will be closed Jan. 1. Normal operations will resume Jan. 2. The points of contact are: Military Personnel Division at 568-3302; ASAP at 744-5192, 744-5148 or 744-5149; the Administrative Services Division at 569-5817; the Education Center at 568-6682 or 568-6831; the SFL-TAP at 568-7165, 568-7396, 568-4210, 568-7996 or 568-3870. For emergencies during closure, call 568-3093.

MSG Pena ACP construction: Construction will impact entry through the Master Sgt. Pena Access Control Point through Friday. Traffic will be reduced to one lane entering and one lane exiting the ACP between 9 a.m. and about 4:30 p.m. on construction days. Drivers should plan accordingly and use caution. 568-5953

MLK Day observance: Soldiers assigned to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, will host a Martin Luther King Jr. Day observance from 11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Jan. 17 at the Centennial Banquet and Conference Center. The guest speaker will be Lt. Col. Brian Matthews.

Veterinary Treatment Facility: The Fort Bliss Veterinary Treatment Facility offers appointments Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Pet owners can schedule wellness exams, microchip implantation, heartworm tests, nail trims, recheck exams, inoculations against rabies, distemper (parvo) and Bordetella, sick calls and feline leukemia tests. The facility is located at Bldg. 6077 Carter Road, past Desert Strike Lanes. 742-2266

ICE comments: Use your voice and tell us how we are doing. Fort Bliss has an outlet available so you can let us know how we are doing. That outlet is the Interactive Customer Evaluation program and it is available online at http://ice.disa.mil/index.cfm?fa=site&site_id=435. This is a tool we use to help us improve the services provided to you. It can be used for negative and positive comments. You can remain anonymous or you can list your contact information. Listing your contact information allows us to provide you feedback on your questions. So be sure to use your voice and let us know how we are doing. Good or bad, we appreciate your input.

Stop smoking: If you are ready to quit smoking, call the Fort Bliss Tobacco Cessation Program at 742-1343 to enroll in classes. The classes are at the Soldier Family Care Center and Mendoza Clinics on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 a.m. Walk-ins are welcome. This class is free to DOD civilian employees of William Beaumont Army Medical Center, active-duty personnel and their spouses and retirees who are Tricare beneficiaries. There are four sessions to complete the program and each session is one hour and a half long.

Fire Marshal Training: Fire marshal training is from 9-10 a.m. the first Wednesday of every month at Bldg. 11240, Staff Sgt. Sims St. No appointment necessary. Open to all Fort Bliss employees, military or civilian. 744-8194 or 744-8195

Changing stations: When changing stations, see In/Out Processing for permanent change of station clearing papers 10 business days before your PCS leave starts. Clearing papers are issued Monday-Friday 8:30-11:30 a.m. at In/Out Processing, Bldg. 505, Room 133A. Be in duty uniform with ID card and bring a copy of the following: completed installation PAC slip (see your S1 or levy brief packet for a copy); PCS orders; DA 31 (signed with control number); DD 93 (digitally signed) PSDR units only; SGLV (digitally signed), PSDR units only; and DA 137-1 unit clearance record. PSDR units include 1st AD, all BCTs, 1st AD STB, 1st AD CAB, 11th Bde., 204th MI, 212th FA, 31st CSH, 86th Sig. and 93rd MP. 568-2482, 568-2728, 568-3145, 568-6120, 568-7714 or 569-7348, 7369

FMWR

Unit Book Kits: Are you part of a unit going into the field or deploying soon? If so, you can stop by the Mickelsen Community Library and pick up book kits for free. The kits contain a selection of popular fiction and nonfiction paperback items. 568-1902

Pershing Pub: The Pershing Pub is a great place to gather at the end of a long week. Open every Friday at 4 p.m. (except training holidays). Come enjoy weekly drink specials and free snacks. 568-6272

Auto Crafts Safety Orientation: The Auto Craft Center offers safety orientation classes every Wednesday and Thursday at 6 p.m. This is a mandatory safety orientation for use of the facility for automotive do-it-yourself projects. It is open to DOD ID cardholders only. 568-7280

Warrior Zone: The Warrior Zone, 21171 Medic Ave., is open. The brand-new, state-of-the-art entertainment facility is open from 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Sunday and Tuesday through Thursday; and from 10 a.m.-midnight Friday and Saturday. This is a place of leisure after a hard day’s work. Grab a bite to eat at the full-service snack bar. There’s lots to do with a fully stocked bar, six pool tables, two mini-bowling lanes, Alienware, PlayStation/Xbox gaming center, outdoor basketball, sand volleyball and more. It’s open to the public 18 and older. 741-3000

Go Youth

Replica Youth Center Rock Climbing: Not only will RYC students learn how to rock climb, but they will also learn about rope safety and team building as they grow physically and mentally. It’s free and is at the Soldier Activity Center every Thursday from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Registration is required and can be done at the RYC. Space is limited to 10. 568-3523

4-H retreat: The 2018 4-H Teen Leadership Retreat is slated for Jan. 5-7, 2018, at the Texas 4-H Conference Center near Brownwood. Early bird registration is through Dec. 22. Register online through the center’s website, http://texas4hcenter.tamu.edu.

Child Range Orientation: This is a one-hour firearm safety course required for children ages 6-17 to accompany parents or guardians on Rod and Gun Club live-fire ranges, and it will take place at 2 p.m. the second and fourth Saturday of each month. A parent or guardian must accompany all children. It is open to the public. Free. 568-5426

School Age Book Club: The School Age Book Club is designated for children ages 7-12. A staff member will read for part of the time and the children will read aloud as well from 4-5 p.m. every Wednesday at Mickelsen Library. Activities and projects are completed at home, returned and shared at subsequent meetings. Occasional refreshments are provided as well. 568-6156

SKIESUnlimited: SKIESUnlimited offers a variety of fun and educational programs geared for children of all ages and talent levels. Music classes such as piano, voice, guitar and drums are available. SKIES also has a variety of art, sports, driver’s training and babysitting courses. All students must be enrolled with CYS Services Parent Central. Call 568-4374 to set up an appointment. Class registration opens from the 20th of the month prior to the seventh of the month in which you are enrolling. www.bliss.armymwr.com or 568-5544

Story Time: Stop by the Mickelsen Library every Tuesday from 10:15-11 a.m. or 11-11:45 a.m. as children ages 2-5 listen to stories read aloud. There will also be crafts, activities and refreshments available. Start children on the road to literacy. 568-6156

Paws for Reading: Do you have a school-age child who struggles with reading? Visit the Mickelsen Community Library from 4-5 p.m. every Wednesday of the month and join Paws for Reading. It is a free program for children ages 6-12, where they have an opportunity to read to a certified therapy dog to help improve their reading skills and build self-confidence. Parents must register for a time slot (15 minutes or more) on the children’s side of the library. Registration will occur the day of the program on a first-come, first-served basis. Maximum of four slots. Parents must remain at the library during the program. 568-6156

Babysitting Course: The SKIESUnlimited Babysitting Course is designed to help middle school and teenage youth learn what it takes to be a responsible, caring, trustworthy and competent babysitter. Students will receive first aid and CPR training on a Saturday. They will learn about child development, nutrition and the business of babysitting. The course is open to children ages 12 and older. Cost: $10. Registration is required and can be done at SKIESUnlimited. Must be registered with Parent Central. 568-5544

Community

Retired Officers’ Wives’ Club: The ROWC will meet for their annual holiday luncheon at noon Tuesday at the Centennial Banquet and Conference Center. Members and guests may bring a “white elephant” gift for a raffle. Wives and widows of retired officers from any branch of service are invited. Cost: $18 and reservations are required by noon Friday. 346-2034

Military Order of the World Wars: The MOWW, El Paso Chapter, will host its Annual Christmas Sing-a-Long Luncheon at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Great American Restaurant near Cohen Stadium. Come join us and welcome the Christmas season. Come early, bring a friend and sing your heart out. 755-4038

El Paso Choral Society: The El Paso Choral Society presents a New Year Music Festival with 100-voice choir and professional orchestra and soloists at the Abraham Chavez Theatre. First, enjoy the holiday favorite and family-friendly opera “Amahl and the Night Visitors” at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 30. Then ring in the New Year with a classy Viennese New Year’s Concert featuring waltzes and arias at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 31. Tickets range from $20 to $60 for each production and are available through Ticketmaster.com, the Plaza Theater Box Office and the El Paso Choral Society. 259-4999, epchoirs@gmail.com

Military Winterfest: The Angel Fire (N.M.) Military Winterfest is Feb. 22-24 and will highlight skiing, snowboarding, tubing and a family expo. Dana Bowman, a retired U.S. Army Golden Knight and double amputee, will dazzle audiences with his American Flag Jump Feb. 24. MilitaryWinterfest.com and Facebook.com/MilitaryWinterfest

Socorro Veterans: Veterans in Socorro, Texas, are raising money for a memorial to honor veterans who have served from World War I to the present. Nonprofit ID is #81-3106278. Send contributions to Socorro Veterans Memorial, P.O. Box 290901, Socorro, TX, 79929. 588-0413

Microsoft training: El Paso Community College is offering free Microsoft training to veterans and military spouses. The 15-week course will lead to certifications in many areas. Daycare, transportation and job placement assistance is available to eligible participants. 831-7785

WinterFest: El Paso Live hosts ice skating and various winter events through Jan. 1 in Downtown’s Arts Festival Plaza and surrounding areas. This year’s ice rink offers interactive features, along with holiday shopping, seasonal food and drinks, lights, décor and more. Skating is $8 ($7 military; $5 age 5 and younger); spectator admission is free; $1 skating discount for military personnel. Open seven days a week. Tickets online at elpasolive.com. Also featured is a giant inflated snow globe, Electric 25 holiday tree, warming tent, Kringle Kafé, Winter Market Shoppes (featuring Mini Donut Depot, Delicious Mexican Eatery, and other local vendors), and numerous lights and décor. Special Thursdays events include Ice, Ice, ‘80s Party, Skate with Santa, and Let it Snow Day.Free holiday movies offered at the Plaza Theatre Sundays, Nov. 26-Dec. 31 (no movies Dec. 17).  Skating hours: 4-9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 4-10 p.m. Friday, noon-10 p.m. Saturday and noon-9 p.m. Dec. 11-17; 4-9 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, noon-9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, noon-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday and noon-9 p.m. Dec. 18-24; noon to 6 p.m. Christmas Day, noon-9 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, noon-10 p.m. Thursday through Friday, and noon to 1 a.m. New Year’s Eve, Dec. 25-31; noon to 9 p.m. Monday, Jan. 1. 534-0600 or winterfestep.com

Navidad de La Fe Luminarias: La Fe Clinic will light up Scenic Drive with more than 4,000 luminarias for its 25th annual event from 6-10 p.m. Saturday. Cost: Free, but sightseers are invited to donate canned and dry goods or cash or checks (made to “Centro de Salud Familiar La Fe” to benefit families served by La Fe. Scenic Drive will be open only to one-way traffic during the event, accessible from Richmond/Alabama streets in Central El Paso. Vehicles drive slowly westward along Scenic Drive — past campfires manned by event volunteers, and toward Santa Claus. Old St. Nick will be joined by Mrs. Claus, Santa’s cousin Pancho Claus, their elves and a live nativity scene. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be collecting canned foods or cash donations to help El Paso families in need. For safety reasons, participants are asked to remain inside their vehicles at all times. 545-7190

St. Anthony’s Seminary Posada: St. Anthony’s Seminary, at Crescent and Hastings in Central El Paso, celebrates the traditional custom of the posada at about 6:30 p.m. nightly Dec. 16-23, with rosary, songs by Los Franciscanos and procession, followed by the breaking of piñatas. The posada is conducted in Spanish. The seminary’s famous Nativity scene will be on display through Christmas Day. 566-2261

Posada Celebration and Luminaria Lighting Festival: The San Elizario Genealogy & Historical Society hosts the traditional Christmas luminarias 5-9 p.m., Dec. 23. The lighting of more than 5,000 luminarias in the San Elizario Historic District will take place shortly after sundown, and they will remain lit throughout the evening. Free. 851-1682 or SanElizarioHistoricDistrict.org

Hyundai Sun Bowl: The 84th annual football classic begins at 1 p.m., Dec. 29. Teams competing this year are North Carolina State and Arizona State University. Tickets: $22 to $62 (Ticketmaster). Captain’s Club: $652. Pre-game fan party is 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.  with food and drinks, live music, giveaways and university bands. Location to be announced.  The 21st annual Fan Fiesta is 4-8 p.m. Dec. 28, at El Paso Convention Center, with live performances, battle of the two university bands, activities for kids and more. Admission is free. Activity wristbands: $5. 533-4416, 1-800-915-BOWL or sunbowl.org

Luminarias and Christmas Carols on the Plaza: Old Mesilla, N.M., turns into a wonderland of music and light beginning at dusk Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, at San Albino Church and the surrounding historic plaza. 6,000 luminarias will be set up. The Mesilla Singers will lead singing of Christmas carols from  5:30-7:30 p.m. Mesilla is southwest of Las Cruces. Take I-10 West to the Avenida de Mesilla exit. The plaza is off NM Highway 28 (Avenida de Mesilla) south of I-10. Free. (575) 524-3262

Dummy Gelunde and Torchlight Parade: Ski Apache and Inn of the Mountain Gods host the 10th annual dummy ski jump event 3-4:30 p.m. Dec. 27 on Ski Apache in Mescalero, N.M. Participants build their best skiing or snowboarding dummy and send it down the mountain over a giant ski launch. Cash prizes up to $1,500 for winners. Deadline to enter is 2 p.m. day of event at main ticket office. Entry fee, $25. Spectator admission is free. The gelunde is followed by the annual Torchlight Parade at dusk down Capitan Trail and a fireworks show. (575) 464-3630, jhuffmon@skiapache.com, skiapache.com

Christmas on the Pecos: One of America’s top holiday traditions, the boat tour along the Pecos River runs through Dec. 31 in Carlsbad, N.M. The 26th annual event showcases the winter wonderland of more than 100 festively decorated houses. Tours are offered nightly 5:30-9:45 p.m.; ticket office opens at 4:30 p.m. The 40-minute tours depart from Pecos River Village Conference Center, 711 Muscatel. The village includes a gallery full of Southwestern gifts and refreshments and holiday lights. Tickets are $15 Sunday-Thursday and $20 Friday-Saturday; $10 and $15 for ages 5-12 (4 and younger free with lap pass). (575) 628-0952; Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce at (575) 887-6516 or christmasonthepecos.com

Holiday Sleigh Rides: Grindstone Stables hosts its holiday horse-drawn sleigh rides beginning at 5:30 p.m. weekends Dec. 1-16, and nightly Dec. 17-31 and Jan. 5-6, through historic Upper Canyon in Ruidoso, N.M. Rides depart from Martha’s Fabrics’ parking lot at the top of the “traffic circle,” at the west end of Sudderth Drive. Santa Claus visit on Christmas Eve. Blankets furnished for all riders. Cost: $20 ($10 age 12 and under). (575) 973-3533 or on Facebook at GrindstoneStables

Operation Santa Claus: New and gently used toys and bikes for the needy children of the El Paso/Fort Bliss area may be dropped off 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday, at the Fort Bliss Op Santa warehouse, Bldg. 1123 or at any El Paso Fire Station, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. For a pickup, volunteer information: 568-1010, opsanta57@hotmail.com. Information on Facebook at OpSantaClaus. Donations to “Operation Santa Claus” can be mailed to Op Santa, Inc. P.O. Box 16270, Fort Bliss, TX 79906. All funds are for parts and supplies.

Dino Tracks Tour: Insights Science Center host its monthly Dino Tracks tour 1-3:30 p.m.the first Sunday of each month (Jan. 7) at Mt. Cristo Rey in Sunland Park, open to the general public. The tour covers topics such as “Dinosaur & Crocodilian Trace-fossils,” “Volcanism,” “Plate Tectonics,” “Sedimentation & Metamorphic Processes” and more. Cost: $15. 534-0000 or info@insightselpaso.org.The 3-mile hiking tour promotes learning in the STEAM fields: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math.

Mesilla Valley Christmas Bird Count: The Mesilla Valley Audubon Society’s 43rd annual Christmas Bird Count is Saturday. Learn the history and methods of the count, go through a collection of bird photos of likely species, organize CBC teams, distribute maps, bird lists and prepare for the count. Free. (575) 528-8696, way1mike@yahoo.com or mvaudubon.org

Cut down your own Christmas tree: Permits are available for people to cut down their own Christmas tree in designated areas of the Lincoln and Gila National Forests in New Mexico through Dec. 24. Limit is one tree — up to 10 feet in height — per household, and the permit includes a map of areas where cutting is allowed. Permits available to purchase for $5 per tree; special permits available for trees over 10 feet. Forest officials advise people to check weather and road conditions before entering the forest. Tree-cutters should dress appropriately, take a vehicle suitable for the area and leave information at home where they are going. Maps of tree-cutting areas available at each ranger station. Applications available online at fs.usda.gov.

Christmas Tree recycling: The City of El Paso Environmental Services’ Citizen Collections Sites will accept Christmas Trees Dec. 26 through mid-January. Hours are 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Trees must be free of decorative items. 212-6000 or elpasotexas.gov/environmental-services. Locations: Westside/Upper Valley, 121 Atlantic, Central, 2492 Harrison, Northeast, 4501 Hondo Pass (entrance off Stahala), and Eastside, 1034 Pendale. Residents are also encouraged to recycle cardboard gift boxes, wrapping paper and cards.

A Very Electric Christmas: Impact Programs of Excellence presents Lightwire Theater’s all-age adventure at 2 p.m. Sunday, at Lee Ross Capshaw Auditorium (in Coronado High School). Dancers and glow-in-the-dark puppets tell a magical story of family and friendships featuring music by Nat King Cole, Mariah Carey and Tchaikovsky. Santa’s helpers are putting the final touches on presents as a young bird named Max and his family head south for the winter. He encounters friendly caroling worms, dancing poinsettias, nutcracker soldiers, mischievous mice and the evil Rat King. 545-5068 or impactprogramsofexcellence.org

‘The Great Russian Nutcracker’: The Moscow Ballet presents the 25th anniversary performances of the holiday classic at 3 and 7 p.m. Dec. 23, and noon Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, at the Plaza Theatre. Tickets start at $28 (Ticketmaster). Group discounts and VIP packages available. nutcracker.com

2018 Army OCS Alumni Association Reunion: The U.S. Army Officer Candidate School Alumni Association 2018 Reunion is March 25-29, 2018, in Columbus, Ga. The association represents all Army officers commissioned through any OCS, regardless of previous locations or branch affiliation. The reunion will be conducted at the Columbus Marriott Hotel, 800 Front Avenue, Columbus, Ga., 31901. 1-706-324-1800. Refer to the OCS web site at https://www.ocsalumni.org for information updates or contact Nancy Ionoff, (813) 917-4309.