Two Cent Bridge Kotlas - Waterville Area
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Waterville, ME 04903-1747
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Home > News > 2008 > Annual Meeting

Kotlas Connection Holds Annual Meeting

Solovki Monastery

The monastery on Solovki dates from the 15th century. Photo by John Engle.

Some two dozen people attended our most recent annual meeting. The meeting was held on Tuesday, November 11, 2008, in The Center in downtown Waterville.

The meeting opened with a slide show by John Engle and Gregor Smith about their summer trip to the scenic Solovetsky Islands. Engle and Smith spent four and a half days in the islands last July, after visiting Kotlas with a larger group.

A mere 100 miles south of the artic circle, the White Sea archipelago is home to a medieval walled monastery, prehistoric labyrinths, and an elaborate system of canals connecting the main island's many lakes. During the early Soviet era, the islands were also home to the most notorious prison in the Gulag Archipelago. In 1992, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated the archipelago a World Heritage Site.

The business portion of the meeting was exceedingly brief, lasting only seven minutes. Treasurer Cindy Rowe began with a review of the Kotlas Connection's finances and Co-Chairwoman Ellen Corey presented the co-chairs' annual report, on behalf of herself and the absent Carl Daiker. The report summarized the Connection's accomplishments since the 2007 annual meeting. These included last December's ornament sales, Ken Green's January visit to Kotlas to teach English, Russian Sampler in March and the accompanying visit of a teacher and two teenaged girls from Kotlas, the July visit to Kotlas by six members of the Kotlas Connection, and our successful application for an Open World grant to bring five teachers from Kotlas here in December.

The assembly then elected next year's executive committee. Corey was elected to a second two-year term as Co-Chair and Julie Stowe was chosen as secretary. The other two officers, Co-Chair Carl Daiker and Treasurer Cindy Rowe, are in the middle of their biennial terms. All other current members of the executive committee were re-elected to one-year terms.

Corey also welcomed Waterville Mayor Paul LePage as a new member of the executive committee. Our bylaws invite the Elm City chief to be an ex officio member of the committee, but historically few mayors have accepted the invitation. The membership then adopted, without discussion, a series of minor revisions to our bylaws.

After the close of the business meeting, exchange student Max Vaganov introduced himself and answered questions. Hailing from Chelyabinsk, an industrial city of 1.2 million people in the Ural Mountains, Max is the latest in a series of Russian exchange students hosted by executive committee member Mark Fisher. He is currently attending Messalonskee High School in Oakland.