Our History

.: 2000

January, 2000
Mariya Dovganyuk, mother of OPEN Board member Alla Smothers, visits the monthly OPEN Board meeting in Newton with her daughter, Svetlana. Their home is in Cherkasy, Ukraine.
Sofia Gnida, Principal of the Lyceum in Smila, has requested that a Newton teacher of English language come to teach in her school for a month.
OPEN moves to support the Smila Regional Hospital with financial assistance for the purchase of blankets for the nursery.
A contingent of interns from the Republic of Georgia arrives on January 13 to participate in IRIS's business mentoring program, assisted again by OPEN in seeking out host families. They include George Kartvelishvili (placed at F & M and First Federal Bank), Maia Chihladze (Maytag Dairy Farms and two individual family farms in Jasper County), Lia Cogilashvili (interning with Iowa Interstate Intermodel); and Zura Sakvarelidze (working at Yeager, Inc. and Brookwood, Newton-based plumbing and heating establishments). They will be in Iowa until February 16.

March, 2000
Blahovist (or, Annunciation in English), a choir from the Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago under the direction of Lesya Konik, performs on the Newton Community Theatre stage in honor of Ukrainian poet-artist-prophet Taras Shevchenko, to thank Jasper County residents for participating in projects such as OPEN Cares III to enrich the lives of people in our sister city and the surrounding region. Members of the Ukrainian communities in Minneapolis and Chicago are also invited to the event, which includes a reception at IRIS Headquarters prior to the concert and one following at the Radisson Hotel in Newton.
IRIS hosts Ukrainian participants in its business-mentoring program, with host families supplied by OPEN. The contingent, which arrives on March 2 and departs on April 6, includes Anatoliy Bondar (interning at Custom Kitchens and Quality Cabinets), Halyna Bak (at Custom Kitchens and the Tri-County Credit Union), Vadim Skokupskiy (working at Hammer Medical Supply, KCOB Radio and the Maytag Corporation), Svitlana Scherbatyuk (Newton Alliance-Chamber Office, Brown Shoe Fit Company and Creative Connection, a home decoration retail store), and Andriy Bobelyuk (Hy-Vee East and Wal-Mart).

April, 2000
Marvin Campbell travels to Ukraine in support of the Iowa-Ukraine Junior Duck Stamp design competition. Ukrainian submissions, with which Campbell will return to Newton, will be displayed at the Neal Smith Wildlife Prairie Learning Center outside of Prairie City and other places, including the Iowa State Fair, through the auspices of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Ten-dollar awards will be presented to the top twenty-five winners from Ukraine.
Russian interns arrive to participate in IRIS's business mentoring program. OPEN arranges for host family stays. The local participants include Dmitriy Ishchenko (working at Axtell Ford and Archie's Auto Service), Aleksandr Ovsyannikdov (at Baxter State Savings Bank and the First State Bank of Lynnville), Denis Podshivalenko (positioned at Able Pest Control) and Valeriy Voitsekhovskiy (interning at Sully Co-Op and Lust Agri Supply). The interns will be in Iowa until May 24.

May, 2000
DMACC (Des Moines Area Community College and its satellite campuses) has been offered a proposal to make the year 2002 the International Year of Ukraine, as is customary in offering a cultural diversity to its student population. Board members made a presentation on April 24. A proposal to consider Japan is also being investigated.
Alla Dovganiuk Smothers, a former Ukrainian foreign exchange student and OPEN Board member now living and working in Newton, graduates from Simpson College in Indianola with a Bachelor of Arts Degree. She is married to Newton resident Louis Smothers.
1999-2000 students Marina Mazurenko and Marina Balyuk return to Smila on May 29.

June, 2000
A group of Armenian business interns arrives June 8 to participate in IRIS's mentoring program. Host families are provided by OPEN. This contingent includes Arsen Torosyan (interning at Wickman Dental Labs and The Dental Practice), Narine Aleksanyan (at Newton Public Library and the Newton YMCA/YWCA), Garik Sergeyan (with the Wolfe Communications Group and Warner Sales & Service Computers) and Serozh Gulakyan (working at Maytag Dairy Farms). The internship continues until July 12.
The Pioneer Clubs of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Newton, a youth group made up of children through the eighth grade, holds the first of three car washes to raise money to support the Children's Home (Boy's Orphanage) in Smila. John Rand, Director of the Clubs, explains the children were learning about missionaries and the kind of work they do in other countries. Because the group was not familiar with any missionaries, the children decided it would be nice to help the orphanage. St. Stephen's knows about Newton's sister city program and has supported other OPEN Cares projects in the past. The goal of the Clubs is to raise $500 in support of the orphanage.

August, 2000
OPEN has decided to support Smila's Lyceum with the purchase of 200 English language textbooks and workbooks for students on four levels, grades 8 through 11.
Members of the OPEN Board are planning to travel to Chicago to celebrate Ukrainian Independence Day, August 24.
Six members of the OPEN Board (Vladimir Bassis, Warren Erickson, Larry Hesson, Barry Hurto, John McNeer and Dave Pitz) travel to Chicago for the annual celebration sponsored by the Ukrainian Consulate to commemorate Ukraine's independence from the USSR. They are met by Marvin and Carole Campbell, who traveled separately to meet, at O'Hare International Airport, Oleksandr (Alex) Tsepko, Rotary exchange student from Cherkasy they will be hosting until spring of 2001. The delegation stayed at the Union League Club where the reception was held the night of its arrival, and the following day was given a tour of the Ukrainian village about 20 blocks away from the hotel on Chicago Avenue by Anatoliy Protasov, a staff member of the Consulate's office. The tour included a buffet luncheon at Old Lviv, a restaurant renowned for its authentic Ukrainian recipes; a visit to the Ukrainian National Museum on West Rice Street by curator Jaroslaw (Jerry) Hankewych followed by a stop at St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church, hosted by Anton (Tony) Kit; and a visit to the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, hosted by Irena Antonovych, which featured a photographic exhibit of impressive black-and-white family portraits of Ukrainians living in the community titled "Generations" The final stop was a visit to the Sts. Volodymyr and Olha Ukrainian Catholic Church, constructed in 1972, and the delegation returned to Newton by van.

September, 2000
Des Moines Area Community College/DMACC announces that 2001-2002 has been designated ?Year of Ukraine, which will feature related programming at its five campuses located in Des Moines, Ankeny, Newton, Boone and Carroll. Jane Ann Cotton, Carroll Bennett, Vladimir Bassis, Marvin Campbell and John McNeer will comprise a planning committee for the project with Dean of the Newton College Nancy Noth.
St. Stephen's Church meets its goal to raise $500 for the Children's Home in Smila, which will be delivered to Director Anna Serbina by Marvin Campbell in October.

October, 2000
Oleksandr Tsepko, uncle of Rotary student Alex Tsepko, visits OPEN's October meeting on 4 October. Tsepko is from Cherkasy.
OPEN Board member Marvin Campbell travels to Smila and Cherkasy Oblast to make contacts for DMACC's "Year of Ukraine" (including plans to bring back the bandura trio Verbena) and to deliver OPEN identification stickers for the English textbooks given to the Lyceum of Mathematics and Sciences. A collection of youth art from Iowa is delivered and displayed to the public in the city of Cherkasy.
Business interns from Cherkasy arrive at IRIS Headquarters. The contingent includes the following individuals who live and work in Jasper County Oleg Bilera (partnered with Associated Dentists; Wickman Dental Lab; Dr. Carol Saunders, M. D.; and Skiff Medical Center), Marina Lupashko (Cappy's Standard & Tires and Broderson Oil Company in Monroe), Inna Nisonska (Maxim Advertising and KCOB Radio), Viktor Prylypko (Iowa Telecom) and Maksim Rozhkov (Warner Sales & Service and Wolf Communications Group).

November, 2000
A group of business interns from Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine arrive at IRIS. A record seven of the ten interns will live and work in Jasper County during their stay. They include Yulia Mamayeva (mentoring with Nolte, Cornman & Johnson, CPA; and Jerry Koons, CPA), Anna Sheyko (Iowa Workforce Development), Aleksei Saprykin (NAPA Auto Parts and Advance Auto Parts), Larysa Samosonok (Forbes Office Equipment), Olga Kurapova (Maytag and Sully Co-op), Natalya Gorkunova (MidIowa Communications) and Igor Gnatiyenko (Newton Manufacturing, Progress Industries and the Alliance).
The annual meeting is held this year on 12 November at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Newton. Special guests include Consul Lyudmila Protasova and her husband, Anatoliy Protasov, from Chicago; former Board member Dan Ehl and his family from Mystic, IA; Rotary exchange student Alex Tsepko; Kibum Ko of Korea, who is studying English with Global Ventures at IRIS headquarters; Marshalltown Community College students Svetlana Bondar of Lugansk, Ukraine and Rosanne Karhenyan of Armenia; and members of the IRIS contingent from Donetsk, Ukraine. Several OPEN Board members were re-elected to two- and three-year terms.

December, 2000
Rowe Winecoff, who has accepted a career change in Des Moines, resigns from OPEN's Board of Directors.