Naperville Delegation Goes to Nitra to Celebrate City's 750th Anniversary

Article excerpt

Byline: Ray Minor Daily Herald Staff Writer

Naperville to Nitra: The delegation

A thumbnail sketch of Naperville's delegation to Nitra ...

- Chuck Ankenbrandt: Naperville resident for 15 years and a physicist at Fermilab for 25 years.

- Craig Blomquist: Naperville assistant city manager. Has worked for the city for 18 years.

- Bill Body: Naperville resident for 17 years and member of the Sister Cities Commission.

- Roy Bynum: President of the Naperville YMCA.

- Corey Fratus: Senior at Naperville North High School and member of the Naperville Police Explorers.

- Mary Kovach: Naperville Sister Cities commissioner and local management/cultural consultant for international trade and training.

- Doug Krause: Naperville city council member since 1989 and local real estate broker. Signed original Sister City agreement with Nitra in 1993 at a special ceremony in Nitra.

- Paul Michna: Daily Herald photographer for two years.

- Susan Mikula: Professor of East European history and chairwoman of the arts and humanities division at Benedictine University in Lisle. Born in Bratislava, the capital of Slovak Republic.

- Ray Minor: Naperville resident for four years and reporter with the Daily Herald for six years.

- George Pradel: Naperville mayor and retired police officer.

- Gene Ryan: Naperville resident for 13 years. Represents Our Saviour's Lutheran Church in Naperville and will present a check for $100,000 to Nitra Lutherans to build their own church.

- Mike Skarr: Executive director of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

- Eliane Stefango: Chairman of Naperville Sister Cities Commission. A licensed clinical counselor with the YWCA in Glen Ellyn.

- Suzanne Stone: Producer with NCTV Channel 17 in Naperville. Will be filming a documentary of the trip.

- The Rev. Philip Timko: Professor of religious studies at Benedictine University in Lisle. Member of the St. Procopius Abbey in Lisle.

- Tom Klimek Ward: Honorary Slovak Consul for Naperville and Illinois. Lives in Lockport.

- Owen Wavrinek: 18-year member of the Indian Prairie Unit District 204 school board.

- Don Weber: Naperville Unit District 203 superintendent.

- Rosemary Wisnosky: Chairman of the Sister Cities Foundation and member of search committee for a Sister City.

- Dennis Wisnosky: Owner of Wizdom Systems Inc. a Naperville computer software and training company.

- Russ Wolf: Has spent 14 of his 18 years in law enforcement with the Naperville Police Department. Has been the Naperville North High School resource officer for five years.

When Naperville went looking to create an international partnership with another city, officials knew what they wanted.

They wanted a town that was similar in size, easy to get to and rich with history.

There were several worldwide candidates. But when the organizing committee crunched the data in the early 1990s, Nitra, Czechoslovakia, was the clear winner.

With a population near 100,000, Nitra is close in size to Naperville.

It has an outdoor museum, much like Naper Settlement. It has a river with its own picturesque Riverwalk. It has two universities and a growing economy.

"It really wasn't a difficult choice," said Rosemary Wisnosky, who was a member of the Sister City search committee and now is chairwoman of the Sister City Foundation. "We put it all on a grid and showed what all these different cities had, and Nitra was it."

The two cities formalized their relationship in 1993, just months after Czechoslovakia split into two countries, creating the Czech and Slovak republics.

Nitra officials were eager to reach out to an American city to learn more about democracy, foreign cultures and a free economy.

Last year, when 17 Nitra officials visited Naperville, they investigated everything from McDonald's to trash recycling. …