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Sister Cities cancelled
Sister Cities - Japanese Pagoda.jpg
FILE PHOTO: This pagoda was one of the sites visited by Leigh Ann Stewart during a trip to Japan as a chaperone for the Sister Cities program.

A program that fosters friendly relations between Warren County and Mikawa, Japan, has been cancelled for another year. 

“Due to the continued COVID-19 pandemic situation, this year’s Sister Cities Program has been halted once again in the interest of safety of those participating in our communities,” said Leigh Ann Stewart, who is the Sister Cities chair. “The only other times the program has been halted was last summer due to COVID and in 2011 following the Hiroshima Nuclear Disaster.”

Warren County and Mikawa have been involved in the Sister Cities program since 1993. Each year, 10 local students and 10 foreign students are chosen to participate in the cultural exchange. 

“Those involved in the exchange gain a valuable understanding of community and culture, either by welcoming their Japanese buddy into their home and family or by staying with the family they’ve been paired with when they visit to Mikawa,” said Stewart. “The exchange benefits not only the students and families involved but the entire community. Japan continues to make increasing economic investment in our county through businesses, such as Yorozu and Bridgestone. Our program helps to foster understanding and appreciation of these different cultures.”

The update was given to members of the Warren County Commission during its April session. At that time, 11 local organizations were asked to attend and offer presentations in consideration for funding in fiscal year 2021-22. 

While Sister Cities will not be requesting funding, the other 10 organization will be. Making presentations were representatives from Books from Birth, Magness Library, Main Street McMinnville, Retired Seniors Volunteer Program, Veterans Cemetery, Warren County Emergency Food Bank, Warren County Rescue Squad, Warren County Senior Center, Young Men United and HOME. 

Other presentations were made before the Warren County Commission in March. 

A meeting of the county Nonprofit Budget Review Committee has yet to be set to consider each request and those dollar amounts.