October 15, 2005
The Hood River-Tsuruta Sister City Committee has announced their new Coordinator of International Relations (CIR).
Temira Wagonfeld will replace Ernie May, who has filled the position for the last five years. The CIR is responsible for communication between the two towns, which involves setting up exchange programs and teaching English to the students of Tsuruta.
Wagonfeld has lived in Hood River on and off for the last eight years. In that time, she has become a pillar of the local windsurfing community, competing, teaching free clinics and inspiring others to challenge themselves on the water. In 2004, to the delight of the assembled locals, she won the Gorge Games. If you haven’t seen her windsurfing, you may have seen her at 2nd Wind or you may have eaten her cooking at one of Hood River’s many fine restaurants. She’s currently working in the kitchen at Abruzzo.
Wagonfeld applied because she enjoys the Japanese culture, loves Hood River, and wants to be a liaison between the two communities. She holds a minor in Japanese from the University of Washington, and spent the summer of 1995 studying Japanese in Japan’s Gujo-Hachiman, a small town of 25,000 people. Her experience working with children includes having been a YMCA camp counselor and an Explorer Search and Rescue volunteer.
The sister city program aims to foster relations between Tsuruta and Hood River. Tsuruta is an orchard town of 15,000 people located in the northern part of Japan’s main island, Honshu. Like Hood River, Tsuruta is in close proximity to skiing. There are four mountains within 40 minutes of the town. Each year, Tsuruta sends junior high and high school students to learn about American culture, and every other year, Hood River sends a group of students to experience Japanese culture. Occasionally, adults make the trans-Pacific pilgrimage.