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Letters to the Editor

Lincoln Daily News publishes letters to the editor as they are received.
 The letters are not edited in content and do not necessarily reflect 
the views of Lincoln Daily News.

Lincoln Daily News requests that writers responding to controversial issues address the issue and refrain from personal attacks. Thank you!

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Letters to the Editor
Lincoln Daily News
601 Keokuk St.
Lincoln, IL  62656

Letters must include the writer's name, telephone number, and postal address or e-mail address (we will not publish address or phone number information). Lincoln Daily News reserves the right to edit letters to reduce their size or to correct obvious errors. Lincoln Daily News reserves the right to reject any letter for any reason. Lincoln Daily News will publish as many acceptable letters as space allows.


Greetings from afar

Local resident writes from Afghanistan       Send a link to a friend

Dear Editor:

Greetings from Kandahar Army Airfield, Afghanistan, my temporary home, as well as home to fighting units from all four branches of the military, each heavily engaged in combat operations as a part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The 22nd MEU (Marines) just left for their home base via Kuwait and Spain, after a seven-month deployment. The Marines sent well over 100 of the enemy to rest (dirt nap), and the 25th ID (Army), given the chance, will do the same for any foes they encounter. The 25th ID will be deployed in Afghanistan through March 2005. Recently, American and Afghani forces "took out" over 75 of the enemy near Khost, on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

The enemy has gotten in a few blows of their own, resulting in the death of some of our forces, so things are not just going our way. Four Special Forces soldiers were killed near Memorial Day when their vehicle encountered three anti-tank mines (between 30 and 60 pounds of high explosives). My arrival in the country was tempered by the sight of the flag at half-staff in honor of these good men.

Occasionally a rocket or mortar fired randomly will strike somewhere on the perimeter of the compound. The enemy will weight down a trigger on a rocket or mortar with a container of water that will evaporate in the heat. Once the water evaporates sufficiently, the pressure on a release mechanism increases, initiating the firing of a given weapon placed near the compound.

Romanian and Jordanian forces help the Combined Joint Task Force 76 by providing perimeter security. The Romanians have a reputation for shooting first and asking questions later. I appreciate this attitude in a protection force that defends the compound while the rest of us sleep. The British and New Zealand Special Forces are part of the "tip of the spear" assisting our Special Forces in hunting down remnants of the Taliban. The French Foreign Legion is also on the ground in Kandahar, plying their trade in the war on terror, much to the enemy's detriment.

To describe this part of the world as forlorn is an understatement. Daytime temperatures routinely reach 140 degrees. The Rigestan desert begins a few miles to the southwest, extending to Pakistan (closest point 65 miles to the southeast) and Iran (closest point 195 miles to the west). Elsewhere in Afghanistan, the climate and terrain varies significantly. One peak near the Afghanistan-China border rises to a height of 24,557 feet.

For geographic reference, Kandahar City is situated in the southeast corner of Afghanistan, approximately 12 miles northwest of the airfield. One note of dubious distinction is that Mullah Omar, the Taliban's spiritual leader, once called Kandahar City home. Mullah Omar has a large reward offered for his capture and is a dead man walking, if you catch my drift.

 

[to top of second column in this letter]

I am working for a major international construction company as a carpenter, although I have been reassigned to the task of monitoring the day-to-day operations of the concrete batching plant just outside the perimeter fence of the compound. I have daily contact with third country nationals from India who manage the concrete plant and contact with the local Afghani nationals who perform the manual labor tasks associated with such an operation.

To a man, they hate the Taliban and are grateful for what the coalition forces have done in ridding this part of the world of the Taliban. They wish American forces would rid the country of the warlords too. This task will be slow in coming, as the warlords are firmly entrenched in almost every aspect of commerce taking place outside the fence, including supplying the United States with needed supplies. Additionally, it was the warlords who initially fought the Taliban, albeit after receiving briefcases full of U.S. currency from the CIA and Special Forces.

The local nationals work diligently at the menial tasks assigned them. The men are grateful for the chance to earn a wage, any wage, at this point. The wages amount to 5,000 Afghanis a month. The U.S.-Afghani exchange rate is 48 Afghanis to one U.S. dollar. That's a little over $104 (U.S.) a month, working six days a week.

I would like to ask the readers to consider sending some needed items so that I may distribute them to the local workers. Work shoes or boots are needed, as well as safety glasses, preferably shaded ones; work gloves of any kind; light-colored, durable work clothes; jumpsuits or coveralls; and bars of soap. Many of the men get covered head to toe in cement dust and hose off before returning to their homes in Kandahar. Like any father in America, the men would be grateful to receive toys or school supplies for their children.

If anyone wants to send care packages to our military, they can send them to me and I will pass them on to some of the military members that I've struck up a friendship with. The Louisiana 528th, the Indiana 1413th and the New York 204th Army National Guard Engineering Battalions provide security details for our protection outside the fence and would be first on my list for receiving any care packages sent.

On a personal note, if anyone has contact with my son Shane, would you be kind enough to relay to him my desire to hear from him by way of e-mail or snail mail.

Best regards, in the rear with the gear, 9.5 time zones away,

Perry K. Harris
KBR Services
APO-AE 09355
freepersup@yahoo.com

(posted 9-3-04)


City stipulations for Art of Wine tent       Send a link to a friend

To the editor:

Due to the press coverage and number of calls being received at City Hall, we felt it would be appropriate to explain the city's stance on the Art of Wine tent.

Main Street Lincoln first approached the Lincoln City Council in early May seeking permission to host their second annual wine-tasting in a tent on the 100 block of South Kickapoo in conjunction with the art and balloon fest. The city council granted this request on July 19, with several stipulations out of concern for the new pavement. The city engineer and the street superintendent recommended these conditions after speaking with other communities and the tent company regarding best practices for installation and removal of tent stakes with regard to pavement preservation.

 

[to top of second column in this letter]

The first request was that the courthouse side of the tent be staked behind the sidewalk in the lawn, to minimize the number of holes drilled in the pavement. The request for the stakes in the pavement for the other side of the tent was twofold. One, once the holes for the three-fourths-inch by 18-inch stakes were drilled, metal sleeves were installed through the pavement to allow for future reuse without requiring additional holes to be drilled. Two, once the tent was struck, the metal sleeves were filled with patch and sealed to eliminate moisture infiltration that could possibly damage the pavement.

We think the Lincoln City Council did everything in their power to accommodate a successful event by Main Street Lincoln as well as maintain the integrity and appearance of our downtown streets.

Sincerely,
Mark Mathon, city engineer
Tracy Jackson, street superintendent

(posted 9-3-04)

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Kids back to school in style, thanks to backpack project

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To the editor:

2004 "Backpacks for Kids" was a success.

Approximately 10 years ago, local chapters of Beta Sigma Phi decided to give more time to a "special" project. Our chapter, Preceptor Eta, continues that project. We just completed another year of Backpacks for Kids. Over 100 Lincoln school children, kindergarten through sixth grades, received backpacks filled with required school supplies.

The supplies were purchased for those children whose families are facing financial or medical hardship. Meeting educational needs of children is of the utmost importance to us. At risk are the children whose environmental, familial or socioeconomic situation may affect their academic success or ability to learn. We as caring individuals should help in that area that is available to us.

This accomplishment was made with the help of others. We wish to extend a heartfelt thank-you for the generosity from the following:

YMCA, Wal-Mart, Coy's Car Corner, Wyatt Wedgeworth Memorial Fund, Gold Wing Road Rider Association, Weyerhaeuser, Richard Sumrall, Lincoln Lions Club, Lincoln College, Gail Wise, Fraternal Order of Eagles Auxiliary, Lincoln IGA, Walgreens stores, Lincoln Police Department's DARE program, Brooklyn and Blake Hermes, Shelbi Frye, Bobi Frye (Frye's Upholstery Recovery Room), State Bank of Lincoln, Lincoln Office, Marty Fulton, Area Disposal.

 

[to top of second column in this letter]

 


sponsor of the week

 

Thank you to the anonymous donors of school supplies, all the people who continue to support our rib-eye steak sandwich sales at Lincoln IGA and everyone who supported our garage sale this summer.

We also wish to thank our sister chapters for their donations. To Lincoln Daily News: Thank you for the wonderful coverage. To CIEDC: Thank you for working with us and accepting applications from outlying Logan County communities.

Oh, to see the smile on the child's face walking into the classroom with his or her own bag and supplies, just like all the other children!

Already, we are working with the YMCA with preparations for 2005. If you have questions or would like to make a donation for 2005, please call Shanda Roderick at 737-1967 or Lois Vannoy at 737-0360 or write to Beta Sigma Phi, Preceptor Eta Chapter, 1501 N. Union St., Lincoln, IL 62656.

Thank you tremendously,
Shanda Roderick and Lois Vannoy
Co-chairpersons

(posted 9-3-04)


Kids get first flights at Logan County Airport     Send a link to a friend

Saturday, Aug. 21, was a special day at the Logan County Airport. Members of the Heritage In Flight Museum and the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 129 from Bloomington held the second annual Young Eagles event at the airport. Members of the two organizations volunteered to give kids from age 8 to 18 their first airplane ride.

Forty-five youngsters took their first ride, thanks to the volunteers who provided their own aircraft for the morning. It was wonderful to see the excitement of the kids and their parents. After their flight, each first-timer received a Young Eagles certificate with the date of the flight and signature of their pilot. Some of the participants came from as far away as Mason City.

 

[to top of second column in this letter]

The EAA Young Eagles flights were begun in 1992. Since that time, well over 1 million youngsters have taken advantage of the program. The EAA, with the help of national chairman Harrison Ford, hopes to interest a new generation in the joys of flying. Judging from the smiles after the rides, it is a great success.

Curt Fox

(posted 8-28-04)

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