Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cultural Exchange Trip Leaves Mayor Eager to Open `Sister City' Status

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cultural Exchange Trip Leaves Mayor Eager to Open `Sister City' Status

Article excerpt

St. Charles Mayor Grace Nichols recently visited Ludwigsburg, Germany, on a cultural exchange.

She went as an emissary of the German American Society of St. Charles and a group of local organizations interested in a sister-city alliance. Nichols said she met with hospitality, enlightenment and occupational invigoration.

The invitation to Ludwigsburg, a city of 85,000 in southern Germany, came from the city's Oberburgermeister (head mayor).

Traveling with Nichols was her husband, John Nichols, and Marcia and Joe Daues of St. Charles. Joe Daues is president of the German American Society of St. Charles.

During the group's five-day stay in Ludwigsburg, Nichols was guest of honor at a number of cultural and civic events. She attended a city council meeting and exchanged ideas on industry, culture, the role of government and future communication between the two cities.

"It was such a learning experience and a real beginning for all kinds of future interchanges. They want to visit St. Charles soon. Then the idea is for citizens of our two cities to get involved - for students, businesses, artists and others to exchange letters, ideas and visits," Nichols said.

She noted that not only was Ludwigsburg responsive to a sister-city alliance with St. Charles, it is 17 minutes by train from Stuttgart and next door to Marbock. Stuttgart is St. Louis' sister city and Marbock is the sister city of Washington, Mo.

The St. Charles group "thought the proximity of the three cities might lend itself to accomplishing more, and we could all do things together," Nichols said.

Nichols discussed governmental and industrial projects with the German city's economic development director and the executive directors of the Chambers of Commerce of Stuttgart and Ludwigsburg. Nichols said she was impressed with a tour of industrial areas of the two cities.

"It's amazing. The city buys the property and in some cases constructs the buildings and in others the infrastructures. Then the city sells to private enterprise and makes a profit," she said.

Nichols said the Germans were interested in making government more efficient through privatization. …

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