October 15, 2005

An anonymous $500 donation to the Hood River-Tsuruta Sister City program is just one highlight for an organization with plenty of coming and going.

A delegation of students from Tsuruta is set to arrive Oct.23-26 for a full itinerary of sightseeing and interaction.

Anyone interested in hosting a student may call Leslie Melby at 386-2323. The students and chaperones will spend a day at the high school and a day touring the Hood River Valley; the Sister City board is making the schedule arrangements.

Meanwhile, a group of local students is preparing to go to Tsuruta, in August 2006. Melby and Sue Collins of the Sister City board are working with the students on studying Japanese culture and are planning fundraisers to help with expenses.

The anonymous donation will be used for the Tsuruta scholarship fund.

Most recent winners were Kendall Rutherford of Cascade Locks and Diana Chen of Hood River.

Justin and Amy Williams, who have opened the Sushi Okalani restaurant in the Yasui Building, have offered to help with the Sister City program, according to committee member Betty Carrithers.

Students need to have completed the seventh grade before going on a Tsuruta exchange. Any money raised will be held in Sister City funds until the time of ticket purchases and then paid to individual travelers as earned.

Anyone interested in the opportunity should call Collins at 386-6800 or Melby at 386-2323.

In addition, Tamara Logsdon of Hood River won the prize for designing the Sister City program’s first logo.

Middle school and high school students were asked to submit logo entries and first and second prizes went to Logsdon ($50) and Matthew Yasui ($25).

The Sister City program symbolizes understanding between people of the two cities. Logsdon’s entry features Mt. Hood and Mt. Iwaki, near Tsuruta, as well as apple trees as a shared feature of the two regions. Yasui agreed to serve as a youth representative on the the Sister City board.

Sister City membership is open to everyone. For information, call Melby, Collins, or Carrithers at 386-3276.

Sister City members are also planning for an annual meeting the first week of December, with election of board members and officers. The Taste of Tsuruta fundraiser will be in early February.

“We need lots of help with these projects, as well as a board secretary. Call us if you can help,” Carrithers said.

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