Last year was a busy year for Belleville Sister Cities, with the summer exchange from Paderborn taking place June 21 thru July 7, the 90-day exchange students arriving August 16th, followed by a successful Oktoberfest and Taste of Germany and the adult exchange from Paderborn here for 5 days in early October. We participated in Belleville’s Christmas parade on Nov. 23rd taking second place for our float entry and ended the year with Millstadt's Weihnachtsfest parade.
This year promises to be no less eventful. Plans are in the making for the youth exchange departing July 11th and returning August 1st. Shortly thereafter, the 90-day exchange will take place. Doris Roach, Katie McDowell and Linda Driesner are all working hard on both projects to make sure all the plans are in place.
In July a delegation is traveling from Belleville to Paderborn to attend the LiboriFest and celebrate the 20th anniversary of the signing of our sister cities. Letters have been sent to members to survey how many will be interested in making the trip.
From September 19th thru 23rd, Paderborn will be sending six police officers for an exchange with Belleville’s finest. Three wives will also at-tend. Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert and Captain Don Sax along with BSC have been planning an itinerary for while they are here. Their visit coincides with the Oktoberfest and hopefully we can show them a little Belleville style gemütlichkeit.
Rich Berkel has already started planning a special Taste of Germany this year with entertainment from Germany. We anticipate a full house that night!
Thanks to Norma Bergkoetter our outgoing president for her hard work not only in the past two years but also as an active member who always had great ideas and kept us motivated.
I am looking forward to serving as your president and working as a team. I will do my best to promote our organization, to continue and strengthen our friendship with Paderborn and strive to make Sister Cities flourish. And my challenge to all members is to do the same.
Ron Fritz, President
News from Paderborn
This year has begun with increased turbulence on the American and International Money Markets. Let’s hope that the situation will calm down…
But the New Year has also brought the change of presidency of BSC. We warmly welcome Ron Fritz as president as well as the new board. We wish the best to everybody and good luck. We are sure that we’ll work as successfully with Ron and the board as we did in the past with the former presidents and boards.
We also want to thank Norma for what she did as president of BSC to further the friendship between our two cities and regions. Thanks also to the board of 2006-2007. In November our three high school students returned from Belleville with wonderful memories of their three months’ stay. You’ll find their comments in this newsletter. Isn’t it great that a young person can characterize this time as the “best time in his or her life”? So everybody who did invest time and energy to get this project going can be very much satisfied. We want to thank everybody involved. We are looking forward to hosting the three students from Belleville taking part in this exchange next summer.
Our Thanksgiving Dinner was a big success. There were more than 130 persons present. The restaurant had to prepare 18 turkeys. The following day we got the good news that BSC’s float at the Belleville Santa Claus Parade came in second out of one hundred other floats and parade units. Congratulations! You’ll find pictures of the Parade and of our Thanksgiving Dinner on our homepage: www.dafk-paderborn.de. Click to “Fotogalerie” on the left side and then to “Fotos 2007.”
DAFK has started planning its 20th anniversary. This will be celebrated on July 28th , the day after the Libori Festival begins. Members of BSC have been invited to attend this event. Even if we will not have the American Ambassador in Germany attending as in 1998 at the 10th anniversary, we will be very happy to welcome you on this occasion. The youth group from Belleville will be in Paderborn during that same time as well. Meanwhile there have been talks between the Mayor, the Belleville Police department and BSC as to an exchange of policemen. A group of policemen from Paderborn will visit Belleville in September. We are grateful that this exchange can take place.
The third volume of “Auf nach Amerika” will appear this spring. This volume – as did volumes I and II - will describe more aspects of the emigration to the US in the 19th century , e.g. more names of emigrants from the Paderborn region collected by Dr. Marxkors. There will also be articles written by Wolfgang Stueken, one dealing with Gustave Koerner and another one about the Latin Settlement in the Shiloh Valley of Belleville.
Best wishes for 2008 to our friends in Belleville and around!
Welcome to Paderborn.
Dr. Otmar Allendorf