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June 2022 News and Updates
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Questions? Call us 757-697-3129
Oyster Point, NEWPORT NEWS:
Sister Cities is taking advantage of its new office location and the talents of our members to bring the community this approachable, daytime, concert series. Stop by this Friday for the "Mid-Day Music Club" (the 2nd Friday of the month) from 12-1 at CITYSPACE [former Jos A Banks, City Center in Oyster Point].
Slip into our office with your bag lunch and drink and enjoy top area musicians. SCNN Executive Director Kate Helwig notes that. "Attendees can thank SCNN members and musician Steven Tung (piano, flute) and Melvin Lauf, Jr. (harp, flute) for reaching out to fellow musicians to fill the roster of performers."
The March 11th session will feature Relaxing Java Time with,
April 8th - Euphonium Quartet
Members of the Peninsula Concert Band
May 13th - Haydn London Trios and More
Woodwind Hodgepodge (January)
Woodwind Trio and Harp (February)
Members of the Chesapeake Bay Wind Ensemble and Hampton Roads Philharmonic:
The Covid-19 pandemic may have halted international travel, but it did not sideline Sister Cities! We are proud to announce our new home - CITY SPACE in City Center at Oyster Point. Filled with exhibits from our international partners, it is a place for you to come see and learn. Members can also rent City Space for meetings and events. Stop by for a visit!
Sister Cities Newport News received the 2021 Sister Cities International Innovation in Business, Trade and Professional Exchange Award during Sister Cities International's Virtual Annual Conference. SCI recognized SCNN's 2020 virtual program: Green Sister Cities: Local Sustainability Initiatives
SCNN's German Seminar began in 2009 as a discussion in honor of the 20th Anniversary of the "Fall of the Berlin Wall". This annual, educational event is designed to deliver the audience with an in-depth analysis and first hand accounts. With the Covid pandemic in full swing, the decision was made to go virtual instead of cancelling the long running series. The sustainability seminar featured the Mayor's Newport News and Greifswald and lead to the cities jointly participating in the City Cycling/Stadtradeln program help in May 2021.
Newport News' German Sister City of Greifswald has competed in the the EU based Climate Alliance program since 2008. The CITY CYCLING campaign for is a competition that involves completing as many daily journeys as possible in an environmentally-friendly manner using your bike over a 21-day period. "Whether you ride every day or cycled only rarely until now. Every kilometer counts – and even more so if you would have completed the journey by car."
Climate Alliance awards prizes to the most active local parliaments and the municipalities with the most kilometers in five population groups. The best newcomer municipalities in both categories are also honored for each population group. On the local level, the participating municipalities are encouraged to also award prizes to the best local teams and/or cyclists. The competition runs annually from 1 May through 30 September. In 2021 there are 2,164 cities participating with over 579,000 cyclists cycling more than 115,000,000 kilometers. The results of all participating municipalities and teams will be published on city-cycling.org/results. The full rules of participation are available at city-cycling.org/rules-details.
Newport News is hopeful that we can participate again in 2022. If you are interested in cycling or being part of the management team, email Sister Cities at email@example.com.
NEWPORT NEWS, VA: Sister Cities Newport News (SCNN) and the Neyagawa International Exchange and Friendship Association (NIEFA) have agreed to postpone a 19-member, mixed aged, delegation from the Japanese Sister City scheduled for March 21-29 due to concerns over COVID-19 (novel coronavirus).
Kate Helwig, SCNN’s Executive Director, noted that “after the move last Thursday (February 27) by Japanese Prime Minister Abe to close schools in Japan for the entire Month of March, the decision became more obvious.” She said that Japanese schools had a planned two-week break in March and closing schools for the rest of the month was “a strategy to prevent an outbreak of the virus.” Helwig added that she is not aware of any confirmed cases in the sister city of Neyagawa (Osaka Prefecture) however, there is a confirmed case in the city of Osaka.
Despite the cancellation of the exchange, local host families will gather for a scheduled meeting on Saturday, March 7 in the City’s office building at Fountain Plaza Two in City Center, Oyster Point. “We had planned to go over details of the exchange itinerary, but now we are getting together to determine ways we can conduct a virtual exchange,” noted Neyagawa Committee Chair Christine Peterson. Ideas include sending a care package and recording a video. Host families are also being encouraged to communicate directly with their Japanese delegates, all to show support from Newport News. “This a ‘reciprocal’ exchange program, and today we are proceeding under the understanding that Newport News’ delegation will travel out to Neyagawa in November,” said Peterson. “If concerns over COVID-19 continue, we will not.”
Sister Cities acts as the international arm of the City of Newport News. Organization president Katie Stodghill explained that the mission of the program is to offer cultural, educational and business exchanges that benefit the community. “We are a bridge for our citizens to the world. Today, that bridge has become more important than ever. We are here to show that Japan and the U.S. are not isolated from one another by this virus, our sister city partnership connects us. People think this virus is not having an effect locally. It is. All international travel is affected. We need to make sure citizens have good information, take reasonable precautions, and don’t fall prey to fear mongering. If citizens have questions about what is happening in Japan, I encourage them to find out by working with us on our virtual exchange.”
Meeting date is Saturday, March 7 from 4:00 to 5:30 pm; James Conference Room of FP2; address – 700 Town Center Drive, Newport News, 23606.
Neyagawa is located within the greater Ōsaka metropolitan area. It has a population of about 240,000 people. Neyagawa-shi is named for the Neya River which runs through its central region. Its hills are dotted with Paleolithic (Pre-14,000 BC) and Jōmon (14,000 BC -300 BC) era ruins. The City of Newport News sistered with Neyagawa in 1982 under the leadership of then Mayor Joe Ritchie. In 1999, Newport News’ sister city program was incorporated as SCNN, Inc. a 501 (c) non-profit whose mission is “to build and strengthen international cooperation, understanding and development between the citizens of the City of Newport News and those of the world”. SCNN is a member of Sister Cities International (SCI), the nation’s foremost citizen diplomacy movement representing over 500 U.S. cities with more than 2,000 partnerships in over 140 countries. More information is available at www.sistercities-nn.com Follow them on FACEBOOK @sistercities.newportnews.va.usa and Instagram @SisterCitiesNN
Soccer and Sister Cities!
SATURDAY, MAY 26 was a great night of fun watching Newport News' new Lionsbridge FC soccer take on the Myrtle Beach Mutiny at CNU's Pomoco Stadium. Sister Cities enjoyed being the Non-Profit Partners for the night and raised more than $150 in the 50/50 raffle to help fund our Youth Scholarship Program. Thanks to the Sister Cities volunteers who came out and enjoyed the evening!
Kate Zahn Helwig
SCNN Executive Director
Kate has worked for Sister Cities since July 2001; you can view her profile on Linkedin