Sister City

Council member Patti Ray and Scandia Mayor Christine Maefsky celebrated the official Sister City charter signing with Mellerud, Sweden.

It’s official: Scandia has a sister city.

On Wednesday, April 20, 2022, members of Scandia city council hosted a historic charter signing ceremony at Scandia Community Center. This is the first official Sister City in Scandia’s history. 

Scandia joins four other local communities with Swedish Sister Cities: Lindstrom, Chisago City, Shafer and Center City.

The mission of Sister Cities International is to promote peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation one community at a time.

During the ceremony, Scandia City Council and Mellerud’s 30-member council simultaneously signed the Sister City charter via live broadcast in each respective location.

Scandia chose Mellerud because many of Scandia’s founding families came from the Mellerud area. Names such as Abrahmason, Dahlin, Edstrom, Kuno, Enquist, Karrman, Scholstrom and Anderson.

Throughout the ceremony Mayor Christine Maefsky, councilmember and co-chair of Scandia’s Sister City committee, Patti Ray, and Lynne Moratzka spoke to the crowd about how special this day was. Maefsky, Ray and Moratzka are all a part of the Sister City committee that has dedicated their time and effort to establish a Sister City with Mellerud, Sweden. Other committee members include: Dave Bakke, Sue Dickens, Cindy Higgins, Darlene Holtgreve, Sue and Paul Rodsjo and Lynnette Welsch.

Scandia’s Sister City committee has already established connections between the two communities such as: antique classic car clubs, Lions Club, elementary schools, chorus groups, a farm exchange, program tourism and exchange, information about museum and ancestry, commercial trade, arts, crafts and quilting.

“We are so happy to be here with the good people of Mellerud,” said Ray. “Thank you to Mellerud for agreeing to be our Sister City, we feel very honored. Scandia has a well-established reputation for valuing its Swedish heritage but did not have an official Swedish Sister City until today.”

“We believe in connecting globally and thriving locally. By connecting our schools we can promote better global citizens with a greater understanding of the things we have in common. By connecting through music and festivals we can both enrich our communities. By connecting our Swedish museums we can learn more about our histories both then and now,” Ray explained. 

“By connecting our Lions clubs more ideas for helping people will be exchanged. By connecting farm programs more environmental and sustainable farming ideas will be shared and implemented. And exchanging ideas through arts and crafts will add richness to both of our communities,” she said.

At the end of her speech, Ray informed the crowd that Mellerud, which is a community about the size of Scandia, is taking in approximately 200 Ukranian refugees.

“We applaud your kindness. The world needs more communities with the generosity of Mellerud.”

Scandia will be helping to support Mellerud by putting special donation boxes in Scandia businesses for the months of May and June.

“We hope this will help the refugees and let them know they are in our thoughts and prayers,” said Ray.

Following the ceremony guests stayed for Fika.

“Fika is in between meals. It is a time for people to visit, catch your breath and take a break and while enjoying a cup of coffee or tea and eat sweet treats like Swedish cakes, cookies and other sweet treats,” said Moratzka.

“Krumkake – a very thin, crepe-style recipe. Krumkake is prepared on a hot iron and is rolled into a cone shape as it is being pulled from the grill.” The Taste of Scandinavia prepared a traditional Princess Cake - which is an elaborately sweet cake made with almond layers and covered with marzipan,” Moratzka explained, “It is considered a very celebratory cake.”

There was another special treat called Pepparkakor, which are spiced ginger cookies. Moratzka explained to the crowd that in Swedish tradition, “You are supposed to hold the cookie in one hand and with your other hand use a fingertip to press in the center of the cookie. While doing this, make a wish. If the cookie breaks into three pieces your wish is supposed to come true,” she said.

“But if the cookie crumbles, that’s OK too because that way all the calories come out!”

After a few giggles were had, Moratzka asked everyone to make a wish for the people of Ukriane.

Donation boxes had been placed on the tables and were filling up fast as people filled their plates with the special treats.


Scandia’s Good Neighbor Award

In addition to the charter signing ceremony between Scandia and Mellerud,

At the most recent City Council meeting, Mayor Christine Maefsky presented the Scandia Good Neighbor Award to local residents Andrea and Greg Sandager and Susan and Paul Rodsjo.

The award honors individuals, businesses and civic groups who make the community a better place to live. Councilmember Patti Ray nominated Andrea, Greg, Susan and Paul for their generous contributions spreading goodwill to Scandia’s Sister City of Mellerud Sweden. 

Last fall the Sandager’s donated a case of their wine from Rustic Roots and the Rodsjo’s coordinated shipment. Paul flew the case of wine to Sweden on his jet to personally deliver the wine to the government of Mellerud. 

From there, Mellerud gifted the wine to a senior citizen’s home that was served on New Year’s Eve.

Rodsjo returned to Scandia with bottles of Mellerud’s own Pilsner beer and apple cider that was shared at Scandia’s Vinterfest celebration. 

Mayor Maefsky expressed appreciation and gratitude to the Sandager’s and Rodsjo’s. “This exchange was only possible by the foursomes generosity and creativity. The Rodsjo’s also gave their time, talent and financial support as members of the Sister City Committee.”

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