Next meeting

Our next meeting is April 13, 2017, at 5:30 p.m at Doug Carter's office, 100 W. Unaka. Everyone is welcome. For more information, call Mickii Carter at 417-7114.

poster competition results coming soon

The poster competition winners have been chosen and will be displayed here soon.

a two-article series about Teterow in the Johnson City Press

Our German Sister City with Medieval roots


Establishment of Sister City relationships arose from an initiative at peace building by President Dwight Eisenhower through fostering understanding, mutual respect and cooperation among people. The Sister Cities International organization marked its 50th anniversary in 2006.

Johnson City–Tri-Cities joined seven other towns in Poland, Denmark, Lithuania, Japan, Hungary and Germany (before unification) with which Teterow holds Sister City partnerships.

One finds some significant similarities between the German and East Tennessee partner cities.

The Bristol Motor Speedway is a major racing attraction here. Teterow has a counterpart in its International Grand-Prix Speedway at the Bergring. Every month the town's official publication, the Teterower Zeitung, makes announcement of major speedway events and “the world's best” race drivers coming to them. Sweden's 2015 World-cup winner, Antonio Lindback, was noted to be in the lineup for this year's Grand-Prix race on Sept. 10.


Johnson City has the Med-Tech Corridor. Teterow has its “Biocon Valley,” which hosts high-tech facilities in medicine, environment, energy and life-sciences research fields. One such facility is Miltenyi Biothec, which produces medical equipment and pharmaceuticals for cancer treatment.

Another is Fibron AG, which employs 240 Teterowans and manufactures specialized hollow fiber synthetic membranes for dialysis treatment. A Fraunhofer Institute branch also conducts research in sustainable-energy innovations.

Jonesborough, in keeping with its history and aspiration as a railroad town, is restoring the Chuckey Depot as a railroad museum. Teterow renovated its main train station building, which was opened by Mecklenburg's Prince Frederick in 1864, and now houses an art gallery, a restaurant a hair stylist and residential apartments.

Yet our East Tennessee towns do not share with our German sister a history as a established city that goes back to Medieval times. Having received a charter from the then Mecklenburg princess in 1235, Teterow was able to celebrate its 775-year anniversary in 2010.

It is a town of about 8,500 residents located on one of many lakes for which this region of the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state — adjoining the Baltic Sea — is known. One of its symbols, prominently seen on its 100-year fountain and displayed in other art pieces throughout the town, is the Hecht fish or pike. A legend about this fish, the largest in the region's lakes, is Teterow's version of a common story — of a government's well-intentioned duty of care for the common good gone awry.

The fable holds that the city's appointed fisherman caught a magnificent pike in the lake. With the annual markmen's feast, or Schutzenfest approaching, the councilmen sought to hold the fish as provision for it. Agreeing on an effective way to keep it fresh, they fastened a bell around its neck, returned it to the water and sawed a notch in the side of the boat as a marker for the release and later retrieval spot.

The fable, with an implied sense of bounty and importance of the lake and natural surrounding landscape, is part of city life and holiday celebrations in Teterow.

A Hecht-medal award annually honors citizens and organizations for extraordinary endeavors on behalf of the town or region. The 2016 citizen honoree is a sport fisherman, who has instructed children and young people on proper fishing skills for four decades. His merit, as noted in the award presentation, lay not only in imparting these, but in actively fostering in the young a caring relationship with the living world and protecting the environment around us.

Mayoral rounds of visits, folk-musician performances and art showings, soccer matches in area schools with Teterow students and mutual citizen visits and other connections have characterized the Tri-Cities-Teterow partnership for more than two decades.

Johnson City attorney Douglas J. Carter chairs the Tri-Cities Sister Cities group. Its monthly meetings are held at 100 West Watauga Avenue in Johnson City, usually on the second Thursday of the month at 5:30 p.m.

Frances Lamberts is coordinator of Ardinna Woods Arboretum in Jonesborough.

Our German Sister City’s modern challenges


This is the last of two columns highlighting Johnson City’s International Sister City of Teterow, Germany. Today, both cities will commemorate the International Day of Peace, Teterow Mayor Reinhard Dettmann, has signed a proclamation noting the purpose of the observance is “to keep the peace and fight for their basic rights for all people must truly be our task in the perilous world of today.”


In the short intervening years between that visit, in 1991 and his revisit in 2014, Teterow mastered some very big challenges.

Urban revitalization was urgent among these, as a half-century of economic stagnation under the communist regime had left nothing but drab, gray, crumbling buildings and decaying infrastructure. Armed with a conscious vision of saving an old city and its inherited building traditions, neighborhoods and architectural styles, the extensive and costly renewal project was completed within a short time span of 20 years.

Dettmann, commenting on the vibrant and pleasing panorama of red-roofed buildings that resulted — their facades in many colors and modern, renovated and energy-efficient apartments behind the facades — recalled how color paint access had been “totally unthinkable” in the earlier era.


“I am forever amazed at how the face of our city has changed since the reunification,” he remarked in a German television documentary on Teterow this year.

Drought-ridden summers and other untoward consequences for the region’s agriculture, as a government study had projected, loomed as another big task. Taking action to ameliorate the threats from climate change, city leaders embarked on green-energy promotion. A photovoltaic system was first installed on the public works department building “to set a good example,” as its director noted.

A solar park soon covered much of the closed landfill and private rooftop PV installations followed. With almost two dozen solar equipment and consulting firms located in Teterow, one finds parking meters, ATMs, communication kiosks and other service and amenity devices to be sun-powered, throughout the city.

The agricultural community was drawn into the renewable energy plan. Under long-term contracts with nearby farmers, a bio-gas facility produces electricity while co-generation heat from it goes to the city’s hospital and new residential subdivisions. A number of firms manufacturing dinnerware and other recycled products from organic agricultural components and waste became established in the city.

Teterow produces more than two-thirds of its routine electric energy needs from home grown renewable sources, with the bulk of it being solar power. In playful humor, the mayor’s 2014 Christmas card greeting promised wind turbines and further green-power expansion to “bring the energy transition to a happy conclusion.”

An unexpected challenge arose through the influx of more than a million refugees into Germany last year. As Mayor Dettmann related in an interview, Teterow became the assigned adoptive home for 60 of them from war-torn Mideast countries and East Ukraine. They were received by the city’s residents with a broadminded attitude of solidarity and no negative culture-clash problems have arisen.

All the newcomers live in apartments within the city and until they are able to seek work following asylum right determinations by the government, they are regarded by Teterowans as neighbors temporarily out of a job.

Memories and experiences in the recent past may have helped shape this openness attitude. Partly related to Teterow’s economic growth since the reunification, 250 residents from 29 foreign countries — Colombia, Jordan, Syria, Australia, Russia, Japan and others — already were living and working in the city before the refugees’ arrival. And tyrannical oppression under the prior regime — experienced and well within the memory of some living Teterowans — helped foster understanding and sympathy toward people who may have suffered similar fates. As a stark example, a victim survivor of torture in a communist era youth prison (in an appeal published in the Teterower Zeitung in May) urged his fellow citizens to “end the vicious cycle of violence where we can.”

In April, Teterow’s high school music students conducted a friendship day to eat, play games, laugh and dance with Afghan and Syrian refugee youth. Earlier, they had spent two days writing, composing and recording a series of original songs to the theme of “Refugees Welcome.” Their Zeitung announcement about the action invited the citizenry to a public performance of the songs in a large city restaurant in July.

Frances Lamberts is coordinator of Ardinna Woods Arboretum in Jonesborough.

International Dinner 2016 in Jonesborough

The International Dinner this year was a festive feast! A big thank you to all those who helped, and all those who attended.

 pictures from dinner


International Dinner 2016

The theme of our international dinner this year is celebrating diversity. For tickets, please call Mickii Carter at 483-2511 or Theresa McGarry at 943-5026.


International Dinner 2015 in Jonesborough

The International Dinner at the Storytelling Center was a grand affair that included Japanese dancing, a tea ceremony demonstration, a bonsai exhibit, origami, and many foods from various countries. Many thanks to the members of the Japanese community for making inarizushi, dressing in beautiful kimono, conducting the tea ceremony, making origami, and helping in many other ways, to Dr. Karl Joplin for bringing the magnificent bonsai, to Professor Junko Tezuka-Arnold for enormous help in coordinating and conducting activities, to Professor Akio Hasegawa for help with cooking, origami, and arrangements, to the Japanese cultural club at ETSU for dancing and help with setting up and serving, to Alexis Close for serving drinks, to Dewey Buchanan for a lot of help setting up, and to our own members, especially our newest members, Andrew Graves, Jesse Shelton, and Yasmin Stoss.

dancersdancerstea ceremonytea ceremonytea ceremonykimonos

International Dinner announcement on WJHL