Two Cent Bridge Kotlas - Waterville Area
Sister City Connection
P.O. Box 1747
Waterville, ME 04903-1747
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Street in Kotlas

On Tuesday evening, November 10th, the Connection held its annual meeting for members, friends, and the Greater Waterville communities at the REM Center. Executive Committee co-Chair Martha Patterson called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. Martha gave the Annual Report which summarized the year's activities.

ANNUAL REPORT

  • 21st annual Russian Sampler, held at Colby College, March 2015. This one-day seminar for area junior high and high school students featured classes on Russian fairy tales, icons, conversational Russian, a slide tour of Kotlas, history topics, cooking, and a variety of crafts classes. The guest teacher from Kotlas excited the students with a display of relics and bones from archaeological digs in the Kotlas area. Two visiting Kotlas high school students led a lively class on Russian folk dances. One Kotlas student painted ceramic figures with her students; another Kotlas student discussed student volunteer activities at his school. In addition to their Sampler teaching, our guests toured downtown Waterville, met with Waterville Mayor Nick Isgro, visited several local schools, and spent a day shadowing high school students in Winslow and Waterville. They were welcomed at the State House by Governor LePage and toured Portland and the Maine coast before their historical tour of Boston. Thanks to everyone who hosted and cared for our guests.
  • March-May 2014: The Connection sponsored its 4th Russian film series as part of the Mid-Maine Adult Education program. 31 local citizens watched and discussed Russian comedy films and enjoyed a Russian meal at the conclusion of the series.
  • April 2015: Co-Chairs Mary Coombs and Martha Patterson, Tessa Couture, Mark Fisher, and Peter Garrett traveled to Kotlas to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the two Sister Cities and to teach classes at the annual American Sampler. They all had high praise for the eager, interested students at American Sampler and at the many schools they visited during their Kotlas visit. Institutions visited included the Medical College, the Pedagogical College, the pediatric rehabilitation center, one high school, a boarding school for the children of railroad workers, and the performing arts school. Our travelers enjoyed home-cooked meals at the homes of Kotlas friends and previous Russian Sampler student guests and enjoyed a farewell dinner with Kotlas Mayor, Andrei Bralínin. For everyone, the goodbyes were bittersweet after a wonderful visit.
  • June-July 2015: Kotlas Mayor Bralínin arrived with a delegation of City Council deputies for a 25th Anniversary celebration in Maine. Their busy agenda included: a trip to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor; an afternoon tea at the Blaine House, hosted by Governor LePage and First Lady Ann LePage; a tour of the Maine State Museum; a tour of Waterville, the Opera House, Two Cent Bridge, and the Hathaway building; a public reception at the Waterville Public Library; a walk along the Kennebec Messalonskee Trails; and an afternoon of poetry at Colby College. The Waterville mayorís dinner at Josephís Fireside featured many warm toasts by mayors Nick Isgro and Andrei Bralínin and an exchange of city gifts. Everyone shared fondest memories of the past 25 years and hopes and plans for the future.

ELECTION OF OFFICERS AND EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBERS

The following slate of officers and members was approved by the membership:

CO-CHAIRS: Mary Coombs continues in the 2nd year of her two-year term. Ellen Corey begins her two-year term as Co-Chair.

TREASURER: Carl Daiker begins a new two-year term as Treasurer.

SECRETARY: Sheila McCarthy continues in the 2nd year of her two-year term.

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBERS begin one-year terms: Joe Couture, John Engle, Mark Fisher, Herb Foster, Phil Gonyar, Marilyn Hall, Pauline Mayhew, Martha Patterson

THANK YOU TO MARTHA PATTERSON

Co-Chair Mary Coombs expressed the membershipís sincere thanks to out-going Co-Chair Martha Patterson for her energetic and unflagging work for every Connection activity and presented her with a quilted bag as a gift from the Executive Committee. Mary also noted that Martha will be celebrated at this yearís REM Volunteer Awards Ceremony.

GUEST SPEAKER

Mary introduced our guest speaker, Suzanne Massie, for her talk on the history of cultural exchanges between USSR/Russia and the US. Ms. Massie spoke with great enthusiasm and energy about her years as an adviser to the Reagan administration and her forceful nurturing of more and more cultural exchanges during the difficult years of the Cold War. She delighted the audience with personal reminiscences of meetings with Mikhail Gorbachev and other Soviet foreign affairs leaders and her 40 years of people-to-people diplomacy. She answered many questions from the audience and concluded with a firm exhortation to the press in both countries to cease reporting that demonizes Russian and American leaders, thus skewing public opinion in both countries toward negative points of view. She made a final analogy, which captured the audienceís attention. Russia, she said, can be likened to an aging and wise woman with vast life experience, while the US is a brash and impatient teenage boy, who wants speed and instant decisions. She hopes that their continuing meetings will bring increasing points of intersection and understanding - thatís the way to start this unlikely new "romance."

ADJOURNMENT: Martha adjourned the meeting at 8:20 p.m. and invited everyone for refreshments and conversation.