Our History

.: 1990

June 4, 1990
The Newton City Council adopted Resolution 90-41 supporting the establishment of a community-wide committee to develop a strategy and the exploration of opportunities for global interaction, including the establishment of sister city relationships. The City of Newton appropriated $1,000 to provide start-up funding for this venture.

August 1, 1990
A few weeks later, a non-profit corporation was formed to implement the community-wide programs contemplated and supported by Resolution 90-41. It took the name OPEN, an acronym for Organization Promoting Everlasting Neighbors. The original board members included Bob Anderson, Rick Baker, Mayor Alvin Borchers, Gary Carlson, Jane Ann Cotton, Sandra Haines, John McNeer, Marvin Shawver, Leo Van Elswyk, and Mary Beth Wagner. A set of bylaws was adopted on August 22, 1991. A protocol of intentions was drawn up between the city of Smila, Cherkassy Oblast, Ukraine, and the City of Newton on June 21, 1991 by the Iowa Peace Institute of Grinnell when the community (then called Smela) was still part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. Ukraine declared its independence from the Soviet Union on August 24, 1991.

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