Chapter 2 May 1986 - August 1988. Joe Grabill's invitation to attend a confernce at Northwestern University on Citizen Diplomacy with the USSR Page2 Page1
After the conference, the group named themselves the American/Soviet Sister City Association (ASSCA). In 1988 Bill White and Joe Grabill co-led an exploratory group of over twenty B/N people-including all members of the original 1986 group to the Northwestern conference; emerging leaders, Jana and Orly Edge; and such B/N volunteers as Dick and Diane Mishler— on a trip to the Soviet Union to seek a sister city. Cities visited: Orel (south of Moscow), Chernigov (NW of Kiev), and Vladimir (east of Moscow). Since the early 1970s Bill and Ann White had visited and taken students to the Soviet Union through the Citizen Exchange Council in NY, meeting with students, teachers, and Russian Orthodox clergy.
In 1988 Nancy Froelich, chair of the McLean County Board, and board member Dan England convinced the County Board to pass the first resolution in the B/N community in favor of a Soviet sister city. Normal Mayor Paul Harmon and Councilman Garrett Scott throughout 1988 and 1989 networked with Bloomington Mayor Jesse Smart and Bloomington council members. The publisher of the Pantagraph, John Goldrick, and his wife Helen Goldrick (a native born Russian speaker) promoted a USSR sister city.