This article appeared in the Monroe Times:
|4/19/2013 11:35:00 PM
Monroe looking at Swiss city relationship
|By Tere Dunlap
MONROE – Members of a Monroe citizens group searching for a sibling city in Switzerland say they have been discovering a lot of coincidences drawing them toward Langnau im Emmental. For help in finding an interested city in Switzerland, the group contacted Beth Zurbuchen, president and CEO of the Swiss Center of North America in New Glarus, who turned to one of her journalistic connections, Peter Schibli, director and national coordinator of Swissinfo multimedia SRG. Swissinfo.ch is the international branch of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation.
„From the email, I knew the cheese capital of North America was looking for a similar village or city in Switzerland,“ Schibli said. He contacted the city clerk at Langnau, who expressed interest in the idea and wanted to know more. Monroe Mayor Bill Ross and his wife, Marilyn, as well as Bobbie and Hans Bernet, all members of the citizens group, have planned a trip to Langnau in May. „We are looking forward to forming an informal relationship (between the cities) and creating some people-to-people opportunities,“ said Bobbie Bernet. The Monroe group is focusing on developing cultural relationships as well as economic exchanges in trade, agriculture and tourism. With Langnau, „Cheese is the key word,“ she added. Schibli said Langnau is about the same size as Monroe and the location of a major dairy products facility for the Swiss company Emmi. Roth Kase USA in Monroe and Emmi AG merged in 2010 to form Emmi Roth USA. Much of the hilly landscape of the Emmental, a region comprising the basins of the Emme and Ilfis rivers in west central Switzerland and part of the canton of Bern, is used for dairy farming. Emmental, or Emmentaler, (Swiss) cheese originated in the area. Schibli was in Green County last week, celebrating Swiss culture at der Heimatabend, a folkloric evening, at the Swiss Center April 15 and touring Monroe April 18-19, before discussing the sibling city efforts. Schibli said the area’s culture, cheese industry and architecture are very similar to those in Switzerland. But he said he was „excited“ to talk with Bill Ross, the author of fictional murder mysteries set in the real City of Monroe. Ross had earlier planned his visit Switzerland in May to do some research for his next book. Schibli knows a lot about mysteries himself. He serves as a guide on organized walking tours through his home city of Bern. The tours are available in two types – historical and mystery. „I start the (mystery) tour by saying, ‚Today, you won’t see any blood, you won’t see any guns or knives,“ Schibli said. „We will talk about literature and authors and crime in theory.'“ Zurbuchen said she is excited to see two cities of Swiss culture that knew nothing about each other coming together, and she hopes the experience will inspire their citizens to exchange visits as well as information. Schibli is writing about his journey in the United States during April.
His writings can be found online at www.myview2017.wordpress.com