Our History

.: 1998

February, 1998
Plans call for a visit from Sergey Kozachenko, a Smila-based graphic artist who specializes in various art mediums, to come for a public exhibition to be held at Park Centre.

April, 1998
Sergey Kozachenko, a Smila-based graphic artist who specializes in etchings using a needle on copper plate technique, makes his American exhibition debut with public showings at Klepinger Gallery and Park Centre. He also does some hands-on instruction with art classes at the Newton Senior High School and other Jasper County schools.

June, 1998
The OPEN Board launches OPEN Cares II, a second humantarian aid project earmarked toward helplng the Children's Home, or Boys' Orphanage, in Smila. Presentations are made to area service clubs, churches and organizations, asking for health care products, and publicity is geared toward raising funds to purchase underwear, socks and other needed materials as deemed necessary by the staff.

September, 1998
A delegation of seven board members (Jane Ann Cotton, John McNeer, Marvin Campbell, Tom Mott, Maurice Phillips, Irina Bassis, Barry Hurto) travels to Smila via LOT Airlines by way of Warsaw, Poland on September 9, accompanied by more than 21 suitcases filled with humanitarian aid for the Children's Home. The official delegation is coordinated by Yuri Malovichko, assisted by Oleg Novikov of the Smila City Administration; Galina Kosodriga, dirsctor of Humanitarian Aid Services; and Anna Serbina. Director of the orphanage. The two-week trip includes a meeting with Smila's new mayor, Vassil Bibik; trips to two area hospitals; several schools encompassing various grade levels; the recently-opened Lyceum for gifted and talented students; and a reunion with several former students who had studied in Jasper County. Contact is made with former Newton visitors Sergey Kozachenko, Dr Valentina Zimyk, Katerina Serebriakova, Nikita Seliverstov, Yuriy Kotolup, and Oleksandr Boldirev (now Chairman of the Board at Ekspres Bank in Kiev), among others.
Three new students arrive for the 1998-99 school year Elena Tereschenko, who will be attending PCM High School and living with Rod and Cindy Brown and family in Reasnor; Victoria Baliuk, living with Jon and Ginnie Blattert and family; and Olexiy Kivenko, living with Dave and Linda Stolper and family. Victoria and Olexiy are students at Newton Senior High School. Russian language classes resume on Monday evenings at Newton Senior High School under the instruction of Vladimir Bassis. Five students are enrolled.

October, 1998
A record number of board members from OPEN and from Iowa's Sister State organization travel to Chicago on October 7-8 by van to attend the "Ten-Ten" Celebration commemorating the 87th anniversary of the Republic of China's Independence. This was held at the Chicago Hilton on Michigan Avenue, and is hosted by Consul General Sheng-tsung Yang and his wife, assisted by Iris Chou, Simon Sung and Bruce Hong of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office.

November, 1998
OPEN's Annual Meeting highlights with a videotaped presentation OPEN Cares II at the DMACC Auditorium, and features a display of artwork by Smila students of various age groups. To date 299 interested groups and individuals have made contributions to the orphanage project. OPEN also acknowledges its close ties with IRIS/Global Ventures of Kellogg, which brings businessmen and women from former Soviet republics and South Korea to Jasper County for mentoring.

December, 1998
The OPEN Board made a special presentation of thanks to E. A. (Bud) McCardell for all his support of OPEN activities. The organization's Website received 122 hits in a single month. Inquiries continue to pour in about OPEN from individuals from various foreign countries.
OPEN found home stays and internship placements for four businessmen and women from the Republic of Georgia, working in conjunction with IRIS. Koba Kobachidze was assigned to McKlveen Lumber and Sully Coop; David Alkhazashvili worked at Maples Chevrolet-Buick, Axtell Ford and Lauterbach Buick in Newton; Dimitri Uklebo was placed at Van Wyk's hog confinement facility in Jasper County; and Nino Masurachvili interned at First Newton National Bank.