Our History

.: 2005

January, 2005
The organization made $1,013.96 as part of our assistance to the Younkers store at Merle Hay Mall in Des Moines. The annual photo was taken with Mayor Charles Allen at which time he presented the annual proclamation. Barry Hurto is preparing an article for the Newton Daily News about the Presidential election in Ukraine. Marvin Campbell who was an official observer of the election in Ukraine has placed a display at the Newton Public Library. Its title is “Orange Revolution”.

February, 2005
It was announced that our “home page” title and name had changed to: www.iowatelecom.net/~sistcity John McNeer reported positive results of board member contacts with contributions.

March, 2005
We continue to get excellent reports on our exchange student Anastasia. She is enjoying her stay at the Johnson’s home. We are still working to get our organizational signs place at the two entrances to Newton. League of Women Voters (LWV) reported that they will host a group of Russian women. OPEN will arrange a program.

April, 2005
OPEN has decided NOT to have an exchange of students during our next school year. The Newton High School will reserve 2 positions for the 2006-2007 school year. Jane Ann Cotton, Rose Trapp and Maurice Phillips will attend the local area Sister City International meeting in Osage, Iowa.

May, 2005
John McNeer reported on the Sunday services at the Center Friends Church which included Muslim, Christian and Jewish elements. Music was provided by Vladimir Bassis. Our student Anastasia Yefimova presented her personal greeting to OPEN, and presented an update on academic year in Newton, Iowa. Jane Ann Cotton, Rose Trapp and Maurice Phillips reported on the Sister City International meeting held in Osage, Iowa. Maurice Phillips reported that he had heard from Timothy Parker the Peace Corps Volunteer located in Smila, Ukraine.

June, 2005
Vladimir Bassis reported that Smila government will publish a booklet entitled “Day of the City”. OPEN contributed material to be included in the booklet with translation provided by Vladimir Bassis. Also, OPEN contributed $350 toward the printing. Vladimir Bassis will contact Sophia Hnida about the selection process for next year student(s).

July, 2005
The executive committee met to discuss the partnering with League of Women Voters (LWV) to host five persons representing Ukraine Non-Government Organization (NGO). The LWV will provide home stays and OPEN will prepare for mentors while the Ukrainians are in Newton. Also, Vladimir and Irina Bassis will provide translations for the visitors. Jim Nelson reported that the OPEN signs at Newton entrances, both East & West, had been installed. Marvin Campbell agreed to facilitate the design and creation of the Highlights card for the past years event and activities.

August, 2005
Our special project “Open World 2005 Delegation” has been completed and the some 33 persons involved have been informed of the program. Transportation will be by a seven passenger van. There will be a welcome and farewell dinner. Publicity and press releases have been completed, with the exception of the photographs. Host families and mentors have been selected or volunteered. READY TO GO! The highlights card and copy are ready for printing. OPEN continues to fund the “Student Art Exchange” project. th.

September, 2005
David Pitz reported on the stay with his family of a Nigerian educator. He was the leader of 19 students visiting Iowa. The planning for the Annual Meeting in November has started. The date was fixed to be November 13th, at 2:00 pm. It will be held again at the Congregational Church here in Newton. Younkers Community Day project was scheduled for November 19th. OPEN will participate and hopes to raise $1,000.

October, 2005
Preparations for the Annual Meeting have been completed. Periodic reports will be made to Younkers, working up to our community participation. It was decided to interview for two students during the 2006-2007 school year and that each student would bring $1,000 to help defray the increased expenses. Four years ago a student cost OPEN $550, this year the student application is $2,500 plus $500 for insurance. Plus OPEN will pay $50 per month for the student’s lunches at High School.

November, 2005
Visitations with host families has been completed. OPEN helped the Lyceum in Smila to purchase English language books. Paul Bell reported on the desire to expand ties with Wu Chi, Taiwan. Possibility of a teacher exchange, maybe a student exchange, and hopeful of a delegation led by Wu Chi Mayor. OPEN made a donation to the Red Cross to be used for the refugee’s of the earthquake in Pakistan. The Annual Meeting was conducted as scheduled. There was an election of Board Members, By Law changes, and retirements were discussed.

December, 2005
The English books financed by OPEN have been purchased for $600. They are in use at the Smila Lyceum. The OPEN Board ended the calendar year 2005 in good spirits and look forward to the activities in 2006.