The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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November 23, 2012

Lewisburg continues pursuit of sister city

LEWISBURG — City Council reached a consensus Tuesday to take the next step in joining the Sister Cities International global community.

Taking their cue from Mayor John Manchester and his wife, Connie, council members agreed to focus their attention on the picturesque fishing village of Dingle, Ireland.

The Manchesters recently returned from a combination vacation and sister cities research venture in Ireland, where they enjoyed the sights while exploring the potential compatibility of each of three cities to Lewisburg.

Beginning their investigation in Letterkenny, which is near the rural area from which Lewisburg namesake Andrew Lewis hailed, the Manchesters discovered an urban center with a population of nearly 20,000, about five times the size of Lewisburg.

From there, Lewisburg’s first couple traveled south to Dingle, a village of 1,600 souls in County Kerry, and Kinsale, a resort/fishing village in County Cork. Kinsale, the Manchesters discovered, already has an established sister city relationship with Newport, Rhode Island.

Both of the southern coastal cities were on a short list of potential sister cities compiled by a committee helmed by council member Joshua Baldwin.

Mayor Manchester said he believed Dingle — with its relatively small scale and higher likelihood of mutual interest — would be the more compatible match for Lewisburg.

Council concurred with that assessment, bolstered by a photo slide show presented by Connie Manchester, and Baldwin asked the mayor to draw up a brief that will include the pros and cons of the proposed selection.

When he first brought up the idea of joining the sister cities program in July of last year, Baldwin told council that the international organization formed after World War II in an effort to promote world peace.

Baldwin added that in the years since, the program “has become a sort of marketplace of ideas.”

He explained, “It’s a way to exchange ideas and build friendships.”

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