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May 7, 2011     Times
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For the faithful readers of this newsletter, you have probably been won- dering why there has been such a lapse of time from the last one until now. By the time you get done reading this one, you'll either be wondering what you just read or wonder- ing why I didn't give up writing altogether. In any event, blame the writer for this hold on to your ALONG THE SILK ROAD we are involved in a civil war of sorts in Afghani- stan. Change has begun spreading in the Middle East and we have wit- nessed history with the revolution in Egypt and to work, time goes by quickly. For most of us, the workday starts at 5: 30 or 6 so we can get our required hours in and have a little quality time before we have to go to the current overthrow of bed and start the routine the government in Libya. all over again. But getting The confined world in up early for this is only our compound known as part of the reason. The Qalaa House is a micro- population here is reach- cosm of sorts to these real ing towards 400 people world events. Without and common areas are in seat, read'rag experience, the basic necessities of short supply. If you are If you are reading this via food, clothing and shelter ~ not at one of the shared The Mt. Pulaski Times it's through the gracious- ness of our editor, Mike Lakin, that many are able to read this in this news- paper versus only in the have here and take away email format from which" things they have been it originated. Many people have asked what a typical day is like here in Afghani- stan. Most days here are anything but. On the 150th anniversary of the civil war that temporar- ily divided our nation, compiled over years can eventually cause adverse reactions as seen in Libya and Egypt. Put people in confinement like we used to and for some it's an extremely hard adjustment. For those who don't like rules and can't adapt to change, it's especially difficult. Our workweek has grown to 72 hours. With that much time devoted Road District Treasurer's Annual Report Road Fund To the Highway Commissioner, AETNA TOWSHIP Road Distdct Logan County, Illinois I Alan Roos Treasurer of AETNA TOWNSHIP Road District, Logan County, Illinois, being duly sworn, depose and say that the following statement is a correct report for the fiscal year beginning April 1, 2010 and ending March 31, 2011. Beginning Balance April 1. 2010 $135,3g0.05 REVI:NUE$ - Property Tax $72,196.41; Replacement Tax $5,746.47; Interest Income $1,601.55; Logan CO. RD. DIST. $2,967.36; Miscellaneous Income $56.40; TOIRMA $1,018.31 ; Fire Dept. for Fuel $996.08 TOTAL REVENUES $84,582.58 EXPENDITURES - Salaries $4,978.75; Federal Tax Deposits $1,010.22; IL Dept of Revenue $34.52; Utilities $3,827.27; Vehicle Purchase & Equip. Repair $6,960.95; Culverts & Logan Hwy Dept. $661.94; Contractual Ser-' vices $6,224.91; Fuel $7,133.06; Supplies & Exp. & Ins. $3,956.00; Travel & Meetings $129.00; Fees & Dues & Office $1.084.36 TOTAL EXPENDITURES $36,000.98 Ending Balance March 31, 2011 $183,972.98 The ending balance of this account includes CD-S in the amount of $150,000.00. Separate from this account is unemployment CD for $1,000.00 Construction of Bridges Fund Beginning Balance April 1, 2010 $29,260.02 REVENUES - PrOperty Tax $522.32; Interest Income $423.46; TOTAL REVENUES $945.68 EXPENDITURES - Bridges $8,007.29 TOTAL EXPENDITURES $8,007.29 Ending Balance March 31 2011 $22,198.41The ending balance of this account includes CD-S in the amount of $21,000.00 Equipment & Building Fund Beginning Balance April 1, 2010 $22,783.05 REVENUES - Property Tax $3,735.70; Interest Income $252.76 TOTAL REVENUES $3,986.46 EXPENDITURES -Bridges $8,254.00 TOTAL EXPENDITURES $8,254.00 Ending Balance March 31, 2011 $18,517~51 The ending balance of this account includes CD-S in the amount of $15,000:00 Social Secudty Fund Beginning Balance April 1, 2010 $6,765.08. .REVENUES,-Properly Tax $95.68; Interest Income $36.39 " TOTAL REVENUES $132,07 EXPENDITURES - Social Security $391::88 TOTAL EXPENDITURES $391.88 Ending Balance March 31, 2010 $6,505.27 i 14 bathrooms by 5 am you'll be standing in line until one comes available. Like the bathrooms, the washers and dryers are in high demand. Start your laundry at 6 am or you might wait all day for an open unit. Start it before 6 and you risk being reprimanded for violat- ing the quiet time rule. Sometimes the washers and dryers aren't working to par and it's not unusual for a load to take 3 hours from stai'ting to folding, time. If you ever had to go to a pay Laundromat when you couldn't do your wash at home, then this is an experience that makes the Laundromat look appealing. Vol. 13 - 15 -APR- 11 By Meals are served 3 times per day. A new facility has been built since I first arrived 2 years ago and if you leave hungry, it's by choice. If you can stand waiting in a slow line, eggs are made to order for breakfast. Once in awhile, a co- worker makes sourdough pancakes. Except in the dead of winter, a variety of fresh fruit is served. I've been inside the food storage containers here and seen boxes touting kiwis from New Zealand and strawberries from Australia. Watermelon has become a staple of my diet. I eat it year round twice a day whether I need it or not. Another guy here who is a vet- eran Corps of Engineers' employee does the same. Must have something to do with our connection to Georgia where our per- manent homes are. Speaking of home, we do little things to re-create those missed comforts and help take off the edge that invariably develops in a confined war zone environment. A co- worker had a relative send us a pink flamingo 5upervisor's Statement of Financial Affairs AETNA TOWN Fund I, Alan Roos Supervisor of AETNA TOWNSHIP, Logan County, Illinois, being duly sworn, depose and say that the following statement is a correct report for the fiscal year beginning April 1, 2010 and ending March 31, 2011. Beginning Balance Apdl 1, 2010 $58,841.85 REVENUES - Property Tax $50,351.23; Replacement Tax $3,107.37; Interest Income $678.82; Misc Income $50.00; TOIRMA Dividend $631.99: Salary from Road Dist $1 ;000.00; Pro-Tem from GA $500.00 TOTAL REVENUES $56,319.41 EXPENDITURES - Salaries $29,371.72; Federal Tax Deposits $5,049.52; Illinois Department of Revenue $818.25; Publishing $93.06; Office & Postage $1,249.95; Meeting & Dues $898.34; Park Mowing $4,605.75; Town Clean-up $3,215.59; Insurance $1,675.00; Health Dept. & Cemetery $3,215.59; Audit $1,675.00; Misc. & Donations $427.00 TOTAL EXPENDITURES $57,448.18 Ending Balance March 31 2011$57,713.08 The ending balance of this account includes CD-S in the amount of $37,000.00. Separate from this account is an Insurance CD for $7,500.00 General Assistance Fund Beginning Balance April 1, 2010 $13,503.90 REVENUES - Property Tax $1,500.35; Interest Income $193.43 TOTAL REVENUES $1,693.43 EXPENDITURES -Home Relief $1,701.13; Insurance $585.00; Pro-Tern $500.00 TOTAL EXPENDITURES $2,786,13 Ending Balance March 31, 2011 $12,411.20 The ending balance of this account includes CD-S in the amount of $10,500.O0 Social Socudty Fund Beginning Balance April 1, 201058,675.61 REVENUES - Property Tax $3,150.43; Interest Income $t 10.18 TOTAL REVENUES $3,260:61 .EXPENDITURES - Social Security $3,044.62 .TOTAL EXPENDITURES $3,044.62 Ending Balance March 31, 2011 $8,891.60 The ending balance of this account includes CD-S in the amount of $5,000.00 Nit. Pulaski Times Scott Tate for our yard. There's a small piece of green with a tree outside our office window that helps us forget that we are in a barren mountain area. The tree has a birdhouse we had shipped over and hung in what has become a futile attempt to attract any inhabitants. The new yard flamingo has added that touch of gaudiness that can't be captured by mere film but only felt from its mere presence. The kind of in your face obnoxiousness that if you had a yard flamingo back home would shame most of us into telling a fib about where we reaUy lived. The Afghani guards have a shack next to our yard and have become quite amazed with these new gimmicks, the likes of which they have never seen before. The guards are probably starting to wonder if it's worth risking their lives to protect people who'd have a yard flamingo. Our little yard of tran- quility does not come without a price. Its visual splendor belies the fact that it houses the pumping point for our septic tanks. When the "honey" is being dipped, the prevailing winds push the fragrance across the yard and into our office. Years of exposure to con- struction site porta potties baking in the summer sun have prepared me for these moments. When my past experience isn't enough to sustain me I rely on plan B; keeping my face near a high speed desk fan until the unseen cloud of pungency hits its half life and fresh air becomes a reality again. Another comfort we create as from making fresh coffee. It always gives one that homey feel- ing to walk into any house and smell coffee brewing. We mail order beans and grind them daffy. With the aroma of coffee and a hot breakfast it's some- times easy to sit in our office and forget where we are. Home seems near versus 10,000 miles away. The realities of war stay away just long enough to come back with a surprise visit to remind us that it is an uninvited guest that refuses to go away. Earlier this year we were in the office enjoy- ing an early Sunday morning breakfast when exploding mortars heard outside of our compound sent us to the basement and gave us a chance to know others better who also work in our build- ing. The mortars were far away but any sound of gunfire or explosions is an automatic trip to the nearest bunker. This environment isn't for everyone but in per- spective we are located in a "green zone". The entire area surrounding our compound is heavily fortified with military and Afghan National Police and is heavily monitored due to our close proxim- ity to President Karzai's palace. Construction in our compound seems to be never ending. For two months, those in my residence hall jumped a trench at our building entrance while a water line was being installed. One day we cannot hear in our office over the construction of the wall in the office next door. Other days we can't hear from the non-stop drill- ing through the upper floor concrete slab. Like the sound from a mag- nified dentist's drill it's especially nerve wracking to those with a dentist phobia. Recently the well pump went out and we were put on restricted water use. Bathrooms had to be used sparingly and showers were restricted. It wasn't the ideal way to spend a Saturday night but based on the circum- stances it wasn't like we had anyplace else to go. Restricted water usage and shared bathrooms provide stimulation to the senses that leave a lasting impression. Small notches when compared to the horrors experienced by our military but enough to make one appreciate those comforts in that far away land called home. Then there's the occa- sional surprise health and welfare inspection enforced by our in house military. We are gov- erned by military rules here and must abide by their regulations.. May 7, 2011