The Ellsworth AFB Voter Assistance Office is Now Open

The Voters Assistance office is now located in the Rushmore Center Bldg. 2500  within the Airman and Family Readiness Center.  This is your one stop shop for all your voting needs.  Mr. Jeff Hollinshead is the new Installation Voting Assistance Officer and Ms. Jo Anne Amundson is the Alternate.  Both can be reached at 385-5456 for questions or to schedule appointments for assistance.  Questions can also be addressed by emailing them to 28fss.ellsworth.voting@us.af.mil .  We encourage you to visit and follow the new Ellsworth AFB Voting Assistance website for up-to-date information at https://ellsworthafbvoting.wordpress.com .

Most States require you to register to vote to start the absentee voting process. We encourage you use the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). The FPCA is a form you can use to register to vote and request absentee ballots for the year. We suggest that you send in a new FPCA every year and when you move.

Many States allow you to submit your FPCA electronically and all States allow for at least one form of electronic transmission of your blank ballot. Mail delivery times will vary based on where you are and customs requirements. Mail your materials early enough to account for the mail delivery time. Using electronic options can help reduce the ballot transit time for your election materials.

It only takes a few quick steps to make sure your vote is counted no matter where you are in the world. The FPCA can be completed by using the FPCA online assistant, filling out the PDF or picking up a hard copy version from your Voting Assistance Officer located in the Ellsworth Airman and Family Readiness Center. The online assistant will guide you through the process of completing the form. Once you complete the form, you will be able to download and print the PDF package to sign and send to your election office. This PDF package even includes a pre-addressed and postage-paid label so you don’t have to worry about finding stamps!

Choosing the Right Crew as a New Military Spouse

From MilitaryOneSource.com BlogBrigade:

I saw an awesome t-shirt the other day that summed up my friendship philosophy: Your vibe attracts your tribe. Isn’t that the truth? I have an amazing group of friends who I trust with my whole heart. But friendships haven’t always been easy for me, especially as a new military spouse. Making friends as an adult under any circumstances can be tough. Making friends when you are away from home can be even harder. But having a crew of friends you can count on is one of the things that has helped me most on my military journey.

When I was a young military spouse in my early 20s, living on an installation for the first time, life was lonely. My husband was working a lot and I didn’t have many friends that I kept in touch with after high school. I remember our first tour well. It was the first time I’d ever met someone from another state, much less the other side of the world. I was being exposed to people from different backgrounds and cultures with different value systems and parenting styles. It didn’t take me long to learn that the military spouse connection alone would not be enough to sustain a lasting friendship. I’d meet a spouse and we’d hit it off, but our friendship would fade, sometimes for obvious reasons and others with no explanation at all. I wish back then that someone would have told me that it was okay to let friendships go if they didn’t feel right. Now that I’m older and I have good, caring, amazing friends, I would tell myself this:

  1. Don’t become someone’s enabler. Every military spouse needs a helping hand from time to time. An emergency sitter, a can of cream of mushroom soup, or a ride to the clinic. But if crisis seems to follow someone around like a lost puppy, that might not be a good relationship for you. Rescue friends are emotionally exhausting and take away valuable time from healthy relationships. It’s okay to help someone out in a time of need, but don’t become a savior for someone who constantly needs rescuing.
  2. Find a mutual connection. People get busy. We don’t always return calls, social media messages, or texts, and not all of us are planners. But if you’re always the person reaching out and trying to make plans, the friendship might not be reciprocated by the other person. You are worth a phone call. Don’t settle for less.
  3. Avoid gossip. If someone is gossiping to you about someone else, they most likely are talking about you when you aren’t around. Unless you enjoy being the topic of other people’s conversation, avoid people who talk about other people’s business. If someone shares something with you, even if they don’t say, “this is a secret,” don’t talk about it with someone else.
  4. Embrace people who embrace this life. It’s hard living away from home and family. For many of us, life in the military is a shock to our system – we aren’t used to the long hours, protocols and customs – but it’s much easier to embrace military life when you surround yourself with other families who enjoy it. As spouses, we are a part of military culture because we chose to marry and build a life with our service member. Oftentimes their desire to serve our country can be hard on us. But their commitment runs deep, just like our love for them. Surround yourself with people who have strong marriages and who are living their best MilLife.
  5. Remember you are the company you keep. The qualities you look for in other military spouses will be easier to spot if you possess them yourself.

Over the past 20 years, I have met hundreds of military spouses. We share a camaraderie that can’t be matched, but being a fellow military spouse is not enough to sustain a friendship. Finding your special few takes patience – it’s okay to let people come into and fade out of your life. The best people are the ones you can be your authentic self with. Hold onto those people, treasure them, love them and nurture those relationships. Your tribe is out there – you just need to build it, one healthy relationship at a time.

Source:  https://blog-brigade.militaryonesource.mil/2018/01/09/choosing-the-right-crew-as-a-new-milspouse/

Moving out of the Dorms?

If you are looking to move out of the dorms and have been told by your leadership that you need to complete a budget appointment in order to get approved, we can help you with that.

However, due to a recent increase in individuals requesting to move out of the dorms, we have set-up a process to inform those needing appointments on the steps and requirements for a setting up a budget appointment.

Please visit our Setting Up a Budget Appointment to Move Out of the Dorms page for instructions on what is required and how to set-up the appointment.

We look forward to making your move off-base a smooth and financially sound one!

Marriage Minute: Handling in-laws during the holidays

Now that we’re in the holiday season, you may be concerned about handling interactions with your in-laws. The key to handling difficult in-laws is to maintain solidarity in your marriage.

Communicate your concerns to your partner. Ask your partner to stand up for you if needed, and make sure that your partner doesn’t tolerate any criticism or contempt directed at you from their parents.

Their parents may be surprised at first, but they’ll come to accept the change in attitude and may begin to soften their way of speaking to you.

The same strategy applies if your partner is concerned about your parents, so ask them what you can do to help defuse a difficult situation.

Remember, you both are on the same team.

The Marriage Minute From The Gottman Institute, dated 23 November 2017. You can sign up here to get The Marriage Minute delivered to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning. 

Were You Ready for South Dakota’s Winter!

101201-f-5924c-076It looks like Mother Nature finally decided to bring us some Winter conditions. Hopefully you had already prepared yourself, your home, and car for this; after all it is December! If you hadn’t, today’s weather is a great reminder for you to get things done before there are multiple days like this.

PREPARE YOURSELF & HOME

Listen to the weather forecasts as they can provide you with good notice of an approaching storm. Ensure you have easy access to your snow clearing equipment, (shovels and/or snow blower). Ensure that your heat sources at home are working and you have fuel (pellets or wood) on hand, if needed.

Have a plan in place on how you would handle a power outage. Depending on your home, this may affect food preparation and storage, heating sources, and information resources.

PREPARE YOUR CAR

If you haven’t done so already, get your car winterized and have a winter storm kit in it. According to the Pennington County Emergency Management Office the kit should contain:

“sleeping bags or blankets, matches and candles, winter clothing, food, first-aid kit, pocket knife, flashlight and radio with extra batteries for each, a bag of sand and shovel, tire chains and tools, windshield scraper, battery jumper cables, and two coffee cans. Small supplies can be kept in the coffee cans and when you are stranded, one can be used for personal sanitation needs and the other to burn the candles in for heat. When burning a candle, leave a down-wind window slightly open for air circulation and ventilation. Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen without the victim being aware of it until it’s too late.”

KNOW THE ROAD CONDITIONS BEFORE YOU GO

First and foremost, if you don’t have to go, DON’T! Driving any direction out of the Rapid City area can be dangerous once you are on the plains or in the Black Hills.

If you do have to be driving, be able to see and be seen. Clean snow off all windows, mirrors, lights and reflectors. You can be ticketed if your view is obstructed by snow. know the road conditions.

Check the road conditions before you go. For South Dakota roads, you can visit http://www.safetravelusa.com/sd/ to view road conditions around the state.

For Ellsworth AFB travel, accurate and timely information about road and reporting conditions can be viewed via the official Ellsworth Facebook page or by calling (605) 385-ROAD.

Below is a breakdown of the color coded road conditions for the base from the Ellsworth AFB official web site:

greenroadsGREEN:

Normal installation speed limits and traffic rules are in effect.

yellowroadsYELLOW:

The maximum speed limit for all motor vehicles is 10 mph below the posted speed limit. The speed limit for parking areas is 5 mph. The vehicle will be operated in such a manner that ensures complete control of the vehicle at all times. Vehicle operators are cautioned to remain a safe distance away from snow removal equipment, with the understanding that the snow removal equipment operator may be operating at an increased rate of speed and with visibility limitations.

redroadsRED:

The maximum speed limit for all motor vehicles is 10 mph on general roadways, and 5 mph in military family housing areas and parking areas. Travel is restricted to essential travel only (i.e. military personnel who have not been instructed to remain away from duty, family members traveling to and from their place of employment, etc.). Persons found to be in violation of this traffic instruction (i.e. recreational driving, non-emergency visitation, etc.) are subject to being cited in accordance with this traffic code, and to points being assessed on their driving record accordingly. Travel during Road Condition Red is at the vehicle operator’s own risk. During Road Condition Red, the vehicle operator assumes all liability for vehicle damage should the vehicle become immovable due to weather or road conditions, such as damage from passing snow removal equipment, damage from exposure to severe weather, or any other damage which may occur.

Bottom line: Being stuck or stranded in a South Dakota winter storm can become a question of survival. It’s serious business and you and your vehicle must be prepared.