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January is month to celebrate Newton’s sister-city connections

Published: Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014 10:58 a.m. CDT

To the Editor:

January is traditionally Sister City Month and we are happy to celebrate OPEN again this year. 

Organization Promoting Everlasting Neighbors has been a part of Newton and Jasper County since 1991.  In 2011, Gov. Terry Branstad celebrated the Fourth of July in Newton and presented OPEN a plaque honoring our 20 years (now 22-plus years).   

On behalf of OPEN’s Board of Directors we thank Newton and all of Jasper County for the strong support we have experienced. The focus of this letter is to thank the many citizens that have been involved with our student program.  

Thirty-seven students from our sister city areas in Ukraine and Taiwan have spent an academic year at Newton High School and several Jasper County high schools and all have been privileged to have had host families that unselfishly shared their families’ lives with them. 

Currently, Jason Wu is here from Taiwan and spent the first semester with Bob and Pam McCormick’s family. Mark and Judy Monroe are hosting Jason for his second semester at Newton High School. 

Without this kind of support, our student program would not be possible. We are very appreciative of the dedication of the 37 students’ host families.

There are several ways our organization tries to communicate with those of you that are interested in sister city activities. 

One way is through articles and photos in the Newton Daily News.  We also have Facebook, where we try to update FB users on current activities.  

Another is our website,

That site is currently being revised and updated.  In the near future, please check it out.  

Our Board of Directors meet monthly to conduct the necessary business for our organization. Current Board members are:  Sheri Benson, Warren Erickson, Larry Hesson, Tom Hoover, Jane Johnson, Frederick Kramer, John McNeer, Sveta Miller, David Pitz, Jeff Price, Tori Reynolds, Rose Trapp and Joan Tyler.

On behalf of our Board,

Jane Ann Cotton



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