Thursday, Jan. 31, 2008

‘Sister City’ trip to Brazil warm, wonderful

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Members of the Frederick Sister Cities Association spent Jan. 10 to 18 soaking up the sun and culture in the city’s Brazil Sister City of Aquiraz.

Among those sent, at the association’s expense, were Alderman Alan E. Imhoff (R) and the group’s president, Shuan Butcher, who is also executive director of the Frederick Arts Council.

‘‘As our first official trip to our new ‘sister city,’ it went very well,” Butcher said. ‘‘The purpose is to engage in diplomacy ... and I was amazed at what they put together for us.”

Among the highlights of the trip was a music concert by nearly 100 young people in the city’s community center and a visit to a state-run job assistance program that helps local artists sell their wares, including lace and pottery. To promote the artists, the state buys the products and sells them to help raise awareness of their talents and help the local economy.

Imhoff said he would like to investigate a way to sell these items in Frederick to do the same in Maryland as is done in Brazil.

Last September, the association held ‘‘Brazil Day” at Carroll Creek Park, to help raise funds for an ambulance to send to the sister city, which now rents one. The goal is to ship the vehicle overseas in March, Imhoff said.

Imhoff said he hopes to help a shortage of medical care in Aquiraz by loading the ambulance with gauze and other items.

‘‘With the Sister City relationship, we try to foster awareness of culture and also exchange ideas and ways to help one another,” Imhoff said.

Plans are currently in the works for this year’s Brazil Day, to be held on Sept. 7 in Baker Park, with a representative from Aquiraz to attend, Butcher said.

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New fund benefitssouthern community

The Point of Rocks Ruritans recently established a Community Service Fund dedicated to making the community a better place through fellowship, goodwill and community service.

Community beautification projects, community center renovations, and neighborhood and recreation activities are among the many ways the Ruritans fulfill its mission each day.

To make a donation to The Point of Rocks Ruritan Community Service Fund by visiting