Mayors to sign ‘sister city’ agreement

It’s been talked about for years, and both councils pledged to do something about it earlier this summer, but come Sept. 12 it will be in writing—Fort Frances and International Falls will be “sister cities.”
“It’s long overdue,” Fort Frances Mayor Glenn Witherspoon said of the signing ceremony, which will take place at 3 p.m. at the Civic Centre here and then at 4 p.m. over in the Falls.
“It’s very important for friendship, especially with the anniversary of Sept. 11 coming up,” Mayor Witherspoon added. “We have a lot of families going back and forth across the border as it is.
“This shows we want to work together.”
Council unanimously decided on the agreement at a meeting in July.
The signing, which the public is invited to attend, is expected to be included in a half-hour program, “Our Border,” that will be broadcast on KDLH (Channel 4) at 6 p.m. that evening.
“The joke is that once we become sister cities, we can borrow each other’s clothes. But seriously, our towns do stand to benefit from this relationship,” International Falls Mayor Harry Swendsen had said previously when asked about the “twinning.”
“We can create an atmosphere where cultural, community, and economic development is strengthened for both towns.
“Our governments, businesses, and volunteer organizations have a wonderful opportunity to collaborate on shared goals,” he added. “We’ve been so close to each other for so long, perhaps we have taken for granted all the opportunities available..
“I would love to see some community organizations organize an annual ‘Sister City’ event to highlight our similarities and appreciate our differences,” Mayor Swendsen said.
The Falls council unanimously approved the “twinning” agreement at its June 24 meeting.
The common “declaration of objectives” both municipalities agreed to is as follows:
“The mayor, councillors, and residents of Fort Frances, Ont., Canada, and the mayor, councillors, and residents of International Falls, Mn., U.S.A., sharing a longstanding mutual desire for international peace and goodwill, now seek a wider understanding of their respective countries and people, their community life, customs, and traditions.
“Located in different countries and sharing the same border of the northern hemisphere, bound by a common language, and born of a similar heritage, Fort Frances and International Falls wish to promote and illustrate the example of international goodwill.
“In support of these ideals, the respective Town of Fort Frances and International Falls agree to accelerate support of national and international events with similar aims and objectives.
“However, primarily, their relationship is based on people-to-people contact, and therefore, the respective elected authorities are charged with the renewed responsibility of encouraging participation in those events of mutual interest by individuals and groups throughout both communities.”
(Fort Frances Times)

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