Martinsburg ready for Russian sister city

August 18, 1997


Staff Writer, Martinsburg

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Peterhof, a suburb of St. Petersburg in Russia, will become the sister city of Martinsburg once the cities' mayors sign an agreement next month in Peterhof.

The Martinsburg City Council approved the agreement last week.

Clarence E. Martin III, vice president of the Institute for International Training, Trade and Development at Shepherd College, told City Council Thursday that one potential roadblock had been removed when the institute agreed to pay for sending the mayor or another representative to Peterhof for the signing.

The city had set aside $4,000 for the trip, but because the institute has agreed to pay for it, that money instead will go to the Berkeley County Crime Solvers, the Berkeley County Health Department and the annual Apple Harvest Festival.


Martin said the Russians are sticklers for protocol. "It would really be a mistake for the mayor not to demonstrate the commitment ... to making this relationship work."

As to whether he would make the trip, Mayor Earnest Sparks said, "I don't really know. I haven't asked my wife and she'll tell me."

"It can be as little as you want it to be, or as much as you want it to be," Martin told the council of the sister city relationship. He said it can establish both economic and cultural ties between the cities.

Clinton Davis, president of the institute, said the intitute has generated more than $1 million for the region by bringing in people from the former Soviet Union and other countries to teach them about democracy and capitalism.

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