Skip to comments.City officials welcome German students
Posted on 04/19/2014 6:15:56 PM PDT by SandRat
SIERRA VISTA After spending the morning at Buena High School, a group of 16 students from Radebeul, Germany visited Sierra Vista City Hall on Thursday.
Meeting with Mayor Rick Mueller, City Council Member Gwen Calhoun, and City Manger Chuck Potucek, the students learned about some of the differences and similarities in how the city operates here compared to Sierra Vistas sister city, back in Germany. The same can be said for many aspects of the local culture, like how the schools work, what the food is like and, of course, the climate.
The cars are very different, and the temperature, said Paula Pany, a 14-year-old student from Radebeul. She also noticed that teachers are not as strict and the food is greasier, though her host family makes very good food.
I really like my family, she said.
Another student in the exchange, 16-year-old Nicolas Eichler said the trip has been interesting and people in America seem to be more friendly than strangers are in Germany.
After being postponed last year, the exchange looks to be on track and well supported by fund raising efforts made by the Sister City Commission during Oktoberfest, where its members sold bratwursts.
We appreciate the community coming out and supporting us, said Heike Shockley, chair of the commission.
The sister city club at Buena High School has also been key in planning the exchange and coming up with ideas, Shockley said. Buena students are tentatively scheduled to visit Radebeul in the Fall.
Frank Scholz, a math teacher from Radebeul, is in Sierra Vista for the fourth time.
I like the people here, and their landscape, he said. The trip helps the students become more independent and mature.
I think its such an asset for everyone, said Rita Fischer, an English teacher from Radebeul. Its not just what politicians do but when people have the connections, its much more valuable.
Potucek told the students about his own experience when he visited Radebeul.
I was amazed when I got to Radebeul and I went to the city hall and discovered that there were some 34 council members in Radebeul and we only have seven here, Potucek said. Those 34 members represented about seven different political parties, while Sierra Vistas council is non-partisan.
Today, the students will leave their host families in Sierra Vista to stay with families in Cananea, Mexico, Sierra Vistas other sister city. After a week there, the students will return to participate in the Buena High School prom.
Crosby questions safety of Mexico trips
When Shockley provided the city council with an annual update on the commission this week, Council Member Tom Crosby questioned whether the commission should be making trips to Mexico, in light of violence tied to drug cartels.
He has regularly voted against appointments to the commission.
Citing anonymous Border Patrol sources, Crosby described a recent gun battle in Agua Prieta and suggested the Brown Fire could have been started by a cartel, seeking to harm a competing smuggling route.
As we ponder drug violence, and the death toll of 70,000 to 145,000 dead and we ponder economic development, we have to ponder the cost in lives per dollar of economic development, Crosby said. Particularly since billions in illicit drug violence money is destined to be laundered through legitimate businesses and other financial transactions.
I want to thank you for that, because what that does, is it illustrates why its important for us to continue to build relationships with the good people in Mexico, Mueller said, at Tuesdays work session. Theres got to be some kind of solution that we can help our neighbors with to make that situation better. Perhaps some of the things we do with sister cities will lead to that.
Im still hopeful that, despite all of the bad things that are going on, and I certainly wont deny that, because there are bad things going on on this side of the border as well, but the bottom line is we need to open up relationships and friendships and try to see where we can help to the make the situation better on that side of the border, he said.
Council Member Tom Reardon said the security briefing he received before crossing the border in Nogales is identical to warnings you get when traveling to big American cities with rough areas. There are some places you are advised not to go, he said.
The best way, that I think, personally, to fight the drug cartels is by the creation of jobs and thats what economic development does, Reardon said. Bad things happen everywhere but I think good things are happening right here with what were doing here in Sierra Vista.
Council Member Henrietta Hank Huisking said she loves the sister cities exchange.
I appreciate everything youre doing, she told Shockley.
“Don’t mention the war.”
“You have an immigrant problem here in Sierra Vista and we have Turks by the millions.”
The Major:”I say Fawlty, there are Germans in the dining room!’’
Basil: “They’re tourists Major.’’
The Major: “That’s what the Frenchies said when they were marching down the Champs Elysees!’’
Of course, they do have SEAT, Danica and Atom that we can't get.