Online Edition: July-August 2007     Vol. XIX, No. 11

sponsored by Peace Life Center, Public invited

  • MODESTO PEACE LIFE CENTER VIGILS: Monthly peace vigils are held THE FIRST FRIDAY of the month at McHenry Ave. and J St., (Five points), 5:30-6:30 pm. call the Center for info: 529-5750.

  • Click here for peace action schedule around the area.

  • PEACE LIFE CENTER WILL BE OPEN WEDNESDAYS, Noon to 3 pm. Come by for coffee or tea and just to chat or look at our book and magazine collection. Bring your own bag lunch; there may be films some days. 720 13th St. Call us 529-5750, we'll get back to you with info on vigils and other activities.

Peace Essay Contest Winning Essays

Connections needs help!

Stanislaus Connections, the peace and justice newspaper of the Modesto Peace Life Center, needs volunteers able to help edit, write, or help put up the paper each month. We meet two times per month. If you are interested in helping with our progressive paper, contact us.

Email Jim Costello, or call 537-7818. Or call Myrtle Osner, 522-4967,


Peace & Justice

Around the Center: 


Living Lightly

Recipes from Connections

A Gathering of Voices--Young Poets of Khmelinitsky

Out and About


Masthead and Back Issues

Opinion and Letters to Connections

Interesting Web sites

Celebrate at the Connections 17th Fundraiser and Auction


Friday, September 7 marks the date for our yearly Connections potluck fundraiser and auction. Our event will be held at the lovely Tuolumne River home of Tom and Alfa Broderick, 13918 Yosemite Blvd., (Hwy 132) just east of Waterford. There will be fun, scrumptious food, music, swimming, and our world famous auction. This year, we will also have a silent auction. There is a $25.00 donation (or whatever you can afford) at the door.

You will be treated to the mellifluous, hypnotic, silver-tongued voice of own Doctor of Surgical Auctioneering, David Rockwell, as he performs multiple wallet biopsies. You, his victims, oops, I mean patients, will be amazed as he painlessly extracts your dollars for a good cause. He will, of course, be assisted by the deft fingers of his equally capable compadre, John Frailing.

WE NEED GOOD AUCTION ITEMS AND SERVICES, so if you have something to offer, please contact Dan Onorato, 526-5436, or Jim Costello, 537-7818,

ACTION: Come a have fun in a wonderful country setting and helps us keep your favorite peace and justice newspaper publishing. Bring your family and food to share and a sense of humor.

Modesto/Khmelnitskiy celebrate 20 years of people-to-people peace and friendship



“In terms of ideologies and government policies that divide us as nations and peoples, we must learn to survive by working together through communication and the sharing of resources and skills to promote respect and understanding,” says Gene Palsgrove, founding member of the Modesto Sister Cities International Khmelnitskiy Committee. “Either we understand we are all on the same planet earth and learn to work together or the future of the human family is dismal...but, I’m optimistic!”

Modesto Sister Cities International (MSCI) is a nonprofit, community based, volunteer organization promoting international understanding, friendship, and peace between nations. The U.S. Sister City program originated in 1956 when President Eisenhower proposed a people-to-people, citizen diplomacy initiative. MSCI continues to promote international understanding through programs originated at the community level.

Modesto currently has 5 sister cities, Aguascalientes, Mexico; Khmelnitskiy, Ukraine; Kurume, Japan; Vernon, Canada and Vijayawada, India. MSCI also aids Stanislaus County with its county-to-county relationship with La Mayenne, France and is actively pursuing a sister city relationship with that department’s largest city, Laval. In addition, investigation was begun in the Fall of 2005 on an association with Mengzi, China.

Palsgrove will join other representatives of MSCI in late September as people-to-people ambassadors to Khmelnitskiy, Ukraine, when the two cities celebrate twenty years of cultural, educational, governmental, medical, business, legal, agricultural, building trades, engineering, student and other people-to-people exchanges. A group from Khmelnitskiy will make a reciprocal exchange visit to Modesto in October. That same month will include exchanges between Vernon as part of a 25th anniversary celebration and with Karume, which has a 15-year relationship with MSCI.

In 1985 Palsgrove was instrumental in shepherding Modesto toward joining together with other cities in peace and friendship as part of the local Peace Retreat Committee, an ad hoc group of folks interested in working toward global peace in response to the critical period of nuclear saber rattling and political tension between the United States and the former Soviet Union.

Dr. Henry Tyler, past president of Modesto Junior College, learned that Ground Zero in Portland, Oregon had taken on the task of pairing some 1300 Soviet cities with cities in the US and had matched Modesto with Khmelnitskiy. Upon learning of this endeavor the Peace Retreat group embraced the opportunity and after several unsuccessful attempts to reach citizens of Khmelnitskiy, 25 local delegates joined together for a visit in April of 1985. Cameron McCune, then principal at Roosevelt Junior High School and a travel agent, and Gene Palsgrove organized the trip to the Soviet Union and our paired city.

Although they had no response from Khmelnitskiy before their arrival, “it is interesting,” says Palsgrove, that “with all the hostility our governments showed, there was no hostility from there. The people showed intense curiosity and had much admiration for the people of the United States.” Two years after the initial visit a letter arrived at a Modesto post office in January, 1987 which was passed along to the Peace Retreat Committee announcing the mayor, a doctor and a teacher/translator from Khmelnitskiy would be visiting Modesto in the hope of signing a Sister Cities agreement.

The process needed to organize Modesto Sister Cities Khmelnitskiy Committee was accomplished over the next several months, and with the blessing of Mayor Peggy Mensinger and the city council, a second group traveled to Ukraine in August 1987 to sign the final agreement. Mayor Mensinger and Khmelnitskiy Mayor Bukal became very close friends during the ensuing years.

Palsgrove estimates that between 100 and 200 area residents have visited Khmelnitskiy and that close to that number have visited here. Palsgrove reports that these and other Ukrainian visitors have been overwhelmed by our technology and retail wealth.

“The program,” he emphasizes, “is about communication and understanding, and that both cities have benefited greatly through the building of trust, cultural awareness, friendship and peace.”

Medical donations alone have had “a profound affect on the people of Khmelnitskiy,” says Betty Vencill. She, Jennifer Ardans, R.N., and many others have arranged for the transportation, installation, and implementation of a large number of medical supplies, equipment and technical advice.

Palsgrove points out that most major US cities have a sister city in the former Soviet Union, and he believes that, although President Ronald Reagan liked to take credit for bringing down the Berlin Wall and the reign of Communism in the Soviet Union, the climate for political change largely was done through the work of hundreds of people to people programs like Sister Cities.

It’s been a great adventure,” claims Palsgrove. “I hope we continue to have a relationship with Khmelnitskiy” far into the future. He sees the war in Iraq and numerous other global situations as much more dangerous than the threat of the former Soviet Union, and he feels these cannot be addressed through violence. He believes “a deeper level is needed to promote communication, understanding and respect.”

ACTION: Contact to learn more, become an active MSCI volunteer.

A chronicle of friendship and understanding

Dear friends,

“It is hard to believe that 20 years have passed since the time Khmelnitskiy and Modesto become sister-cities…

“Cooperation of many years is very important period in both cities’ history”.

My best wishes for prosperous partnership between Khmelnitskiy and Modesto for many, many years”

            — Carlos Paskual, USA Ambassador in Ukraine

“Long years of our friendship with Modesto are the best example of people-to-people diplomacy”  

—Myhaylo Chekman, Mayor of Khmelnitskiy City

It was said on the occasion of 15th anniversary of our cooperation and today we can witness that it was true.

20 years of sister-cities agreement is the chronicle of sincere friendship and understanding between citizens of our cities.

Interesting and useful programs have shown life in different manifestations: teachers and students exchanges, mutual visits of official delegations, doctors, businessmen, artists and painters helped to understand our hearts and souls.

Very many people from Khmelnitskiy visited Modesto and discovered USA. Very many people from Modesto visited Khmelnitskiy and discovered Ukraine.

Today I express my sincere thanks to all of you, dear friends, who support and appreciate people-to-people communications through our Sister-Cities.

I am sure our friendship will strengthen and develop for next 20 years successfully.

Always yours

— Zoya Didenko, President of Committee of Sister-Cities and International Relations, Khmelnitskiy City, Ukraine.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and valley community radio

May 28, 2007

Dear Chairman [Kevin] Martin and Commissioners of the FCC,

I am writing as the Public Service Director of KQRP-LP in Salida, California at 106.1 FM. KQRP is a listener-supported low power community radio station organized by Fellowship of the Earth (FOTE), a small community group based out of Salida, California. KQRP is currently under threat of losing our local coverage area due to a translator application in Modesto, CA at 105.9 FM.

Serving the community of Salida, KQRP provides independent news and music with a focus on community issues. Our goal is to enhance our community through our local broadcasts and serve the community in which this radio station was founded. Salida is a fast growing community in Stanislaus County. We have over 12,000 people in Salida and about 40,000 in our immediate listening radius. It is the largest unincorporated community in the county and continues to grow. With this growth, the need for communication is vital. The radio station serves as a conduit for a vast array of unique programming. It is our mission to bring perspectives and local issues to our community – items sorely lacking in much of the programming on other stations that cover the area.

KQRP gives the community an opportunity to utilize radio media to reach their neighbor’s, families, and friends. For example: one of our programs is a community feature called “Salida Student Spotlight”. It recognizes students in the Salida School District who show excellence in academics, community service and other special activities. We also promote and broadcast live at the Salida “Town and Country” festival including the live music provided at the festival by local area bands! KQRP has also been the only media outlet in this area to ever broadcast a local town meeting. KQRP provides an invaluable resource for educational, cultural and progressive programs. Our mission is to offer programming which will enrich, enlighten, and educate. We are proud to offer Salida, Ripon and parts of Modesto this unique broadcasting opportunity.

KQRP has been on air and serving our community for over three years, but now a translator (K290BF) from the Horizon Christian Fellowship is slated for 105.9 FM in Modesto, CA. With about 20 stations broadcasting nationally, and a few internationally, Horizon Christian Broadcasting does not connect with local community issues, but instead re-broadcasts their “Chapter and Verse” radio to repeater stations around the country. This kind of “repeat media” does not align with the FCC’s commitment to localism in media.

The translator application window of 2003 unfairly gave translators the opportunity for licenses while LPFM stations such as KQRP, waited with stalled applications. Instead of processing LPFM applications, out of town repeat-casters were given access to better frequencies and more powerful allocations.

Translators such as K290BF should have a “secondary” status with regard to locally-based low power stations. KQRP is a local organization that wants to broadcast from 106.1 FM with real, local content. Our signal should not be challenged by a repeater station. The licensing system, as it stands, puts remote, out of state organizations looking to rebroadcast on thousands of channels nationwide on the same level as local entities who want just one community radio station.

As the local Radio Chief Engineer for the past 25 years, a senior member of the Salida Town council and an Advanced Class amateur radio operator, I am very concerned about this trend against localism and public service!

Community stations such as KQRP must be protected from being hemmed in by a flood of translators that fail to provide much needed local content and services. I wanted to thank you all for attending the public Media Ownership hearings. I attended and spoke at the San Francisco City hall meeting attended by commissioner Jonathan Adelstein. I hope that this will continue, and that the FCC will fulfill the stated mission of promoting localism and protecting the public interest. Thank you for your time.

Very sincerely,

Brad Johnson, C.E.

KQRP-LP 106.1 FM Salida, CA

Send comments to station, KQRP c/o Brad Johnson, P.O. Box 612, Salida CA 95368. 545-4227. Or to the FCC, c/o FCC Commissioners, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th St., SW, Washington, DC 20554.

Note: The Modesto Peace Life Center urges the public to support local radio as vital to the civic life of our community.

CORRECTION: Last month, we left out the website for Leslie Howard’s Flying Zebra Yoga. It is:, (209-576-0096).


Tenth of each month. Submit peace, justice and environmentally friendly event notices to P.O. Box 134, Modesto, CA, 95353, or call 522-4967 or 575-4299, or email to Jim Costello. Free listings subject to space, availability and editing.