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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Then and Now: Nishinomiya Tsutakawa Japanese Garden

Spokanites have loved the Japanese garden at Manito Park for family outings, nature photos and quiet meditation since it’s opening in 1974. The area is named for Nishinomiya, Japan, Spokane’s sister city, where businessman Ed Tsutakawa spent his early years.

Washington, Japan celebrate 50 years

OLYMPIA – Leaders of Washington state and Japan’s Hyogo prefecture marked the oldest “sister-state” relationship in either country by making speeches, planting a tree, and feasting on smoked salmon and barbecue. The link between the two regions marked its half-century this summer since that relationship started.

Petition about 20 years too late; ties to Russian city ended in ’90s

A liberal political group trying to rally its members to fight discrimination against gays and lesbians in Russia asked Spokane residents Wednesday to petition their City Council to cut sister city ties to a Russian city. MoveOn.org is pushing petitions to punish the Russians for threatening to enforce laws against homosexuals, bisexuals and transgender people during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Boring meets Dull in international partnership

Boring: Meet Dull. That’s what happened when two small towns, one in the U.S. state of Oregon and the other in Scotland, decided to get together and become sister communities.

Mead junior founds international club

When Nathan Ruff, who’s a junior at Mead High School, came across the Spokane Sister City Association at a volunteer fair, he was intrigued. It didn’t take long before he was serving as the association’s youth board member and taking the initiative to form an international club at his high school. “I guess I’ve always been fond of other cultures,” Ruff said. “Especially Japanese and Chinese culture, and I don’t just mean the food.”

Mayor visits first Sister City

Spokane Mayor Mary Verner last week rekindled the city’s relationship with its first sister city. This year officials from Nishinomiya, Japan, and Spokane celebrated the 50th anniversary of their sister city relationship in events on both sides of the Pacific. In May, Nishinomiya leaders, including Mayor Masahiro Kouno, visited Spokane and participated in the Lilac Festival’s Armed Forces Torch Light Parade. Officials from both cities signed a charter reaffirming the partnership.

Irish economy foundering

The damage done the U.S. economy by reckless bankers has nothing on the wreckage wrought in Ireland, that nation’s San Francisco-based consul general said Friday. Gerry Staunton, in Spokane to meet with the Spokane-Limerick Sister City Society, said barely regulated banks in Ireland went on a lending spree that lifted some Dublin property values above those in New York City.

Sister city program sends Spokane high-schoolers to Japan

When Jordan Rogers turned 16 on July 2, he had to wake up and go to school. He didn’t mind, however, because school was in Nishinomiya, Japan. Japanese schools run year-round. The North Central High School teen was one of three students chosen to represent Spokane from June 22 to July 17 as part of an exchange program sponsored by the Spokane-Nishinomiya Sister City Society.

A summer well spent

When Jordan Rogers turned 16 on July 2, he had to wake up and go to school. He didn’t mind, however, because school was in Nishinomiya, Japan. Japanese schools run year-round. The North Central High School teen was one of three students chosen to represent Spokane from June 22 to July 17 as part of an exchange program sponsored by the Spokane-Nishinomiya Sister City Society.