Tyler Sister Cities, a nonprofit organization started here in 1982 to offer a global vision for the East Texas and Tyler communities, has elected new officers to its board.

The newly elected officers are: president Pat Johns, vice president Gary Swindle, secretary Carol Pendleton and treasurer Chris Simons, according to information from the organization.

Tyler Sister Cities is a part of Sister Cities International. According to the organization's website, President Dwight Eisenhower founded Sister Cities International as a people-to-people diplomacy project in 1956.

On May 14, Tyler Sister Cities "twinned" with the Liberia, Costa Rica. A group of 17 traveled from Tyler to attend the ceremony, according to the release. Tyler Mayor Barbara Bass; Liberia's Mayor, Luis Gerardo Castaneda Diaz; Tyler Sister Cities president, Pat Johns; and Dr. Mike Metke, president of Tyler Junior College, spoke during the ceremony, the release stated.

Tyler also has Sister Cities in Jelenia Gora, Poland; Yachiyo City, Japan; Lo Barnechea, Chile and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

Metke announced two scholarships are available to Tyler Junior College to qualified students from Liberia, according to a news release. This city was selected by the Tyler Sister Cities board because of direct air connections from Dallas or Houston, the beauty of the beaches near the city; and the mission work that University of Texas at Tyler students have performed during the last 5 years, the release stated.

Because Sister Cities is a non-profit organization with membership dues as its only source of income, the people who made the trip to Costa Rica paid their own travel costs, Ms. Johns said.

"Our only source from the city of Tyler is that they pay our national dues, which amounts to approximately $680," Ms. Johns said. Sister Cities has received approximately $5,000 in membership dues this year so far, she said.

The Sister Cities membership drive isn't finished yet, Ms. Johns said. Expenses occur when delegates come from Tyler's Sister Cities. When the 45 Japanese visitors came last fall from Yachiyo, it was very expensive, she said. 

"When you visit a Sister City, you pay your own transportation and lodging and they usually pay meals and entertainment," Ms. Johns said. 

Tyler Sister Cities spent more than $11,000 when the Japanese came last fall, so the organization's bank account went down, Ms. Johns said. The group just finished hosting a dinner for the four people from Sam Miguel del Allende in May.   

At these dinners, Tyler Sister Cities always pay for their own meals, and takes the visitor's dinner out of the treasury. 

 "Also, many people are very generous in hosting dinners in their homes when we have delegations," Ms. Johns said. 


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