A group of Johnston residents planned a trip to Italy for a few weeks. Louis and Carla Spremulli and the group visited their hometown of Panni, Foggia, Italy. The Sister City was celebrated in 2015, but now two new mayors are in office and that needed to be updated.
So, Louis contacted Johnston Mayor Joseph Polisena Jr. for an update proclamation and also received gifts for the new Mayor in Panni. The new Mayor in Panni is Amedeo DiCotiis, and he has visited Johnston a few times already as Assistant Mayor of Panni.
The meeting was set up in the mayor’s office in Panni with his administration and the signing was completed and gifts were exchanged.
Louis Spremulli and Maria Panciocco presented for the Town of Johnston. Both towns have an updated Sister City program now.
Other topics were discussed and a memorial plaque in honor of Joseph Spremulli, founder and President of the Pannese Society, who passed away last year, was presented to the Town of Panni.
In the past, a successful student exchange program was done with the Town of Panni and the Town of Johnston. I discussed the Sister City with Mayor DiCotiis and we agreed to move forward and get the program moving again. First, I proposed an email program of residents of Panni and Johnston to email each other and he agreed. So this was taken back to Mayor Polisena for his approval.
Panni is a small town of 750 residents in the mountains of Foggia, Italy. The town is in a bad situation from the last mayor, who was removed due to various issues and a vote of no confidence from his staff. So, the new mayor has his hands full and did ask if Johnston could advise him on some situations he is faced with. I hope our mayor could do this though zoom or email.
The town is old school and is a very good place to learn about the culture. They still practice old ways of living, through food and wine to start. We learned how to make our own pasta, pizza and Gelatto. We had dinner at two restaurants with many courses of food that were so delicious.
We also visited a new business, Salumi Monticalvo Prozutto. Another business, Antonio Rucci Liquors and his family produce 16 different kinds of after dinner liquor products and olive oil. I also interviewed one person who wants to open a gelato business in the U.S.
I brought one back for the mayor. It would be nice to get some international trading back and forth between the towns. Businesses on both ends could connect and help one another.
We are so fortunate to be in our Town of Johnston in America and live life the way we do. So why can’t we form a sister city committee and see how we can help these people. We know of two icons in their town signifying the sister city status — they have a cement wall plaque and a sign when you enter the town. This would be nice if our new mayor could post a sister city sign outside our city hall.
On my return I met with Mayor Polisena again to go over this entire situation and see what he would like to do going forward. We have two young mayors here and they seem to have new ideas to get things going.
The mayor was very receptive and excited about moving forward and gave me the permission to lead the Johnston Sister City program. I told him I will put a committee together of a group of individuals dedicated to culture and heritage that will work to promote the Town of Johnston.
Local businesses will be approached and committee members will be sought who have an interest in international trade. Our committee will run with continued updates to the mayor. We will work closely with Richard Delfino, my Co-Chairman from the Johnston Senior Center. We are presently in the process of building our committee.
Editor’s Note: Louis J. Spremulli, a Johnston resident, is founder of Spirit of Hope. The Sun Rise regularly publishes articles submitted by Spremulli and his organization. Call Spremulli at 401-374-4590 or email email@example.com.