As soon as Murray City Mayor Lynn Pett returns from his American Public Power Administration convention in Nashville, Tenn., he'll find a hand-delivered piece of china in his office.
A 17-member delegation from Chia-Yi City, Murray's sister city in Taiwan, traveled from the far-off continent to visit Murray and deliver the gift.Noting that Murray and Chia-Yi City are townships under different political systems, Councilman Gary Ferrero said the main difference between the two city governments is that "they have a lot more money to go on trips than we do."
The Taiwanese delegation, composed of municipal leaders and business people, visited Murray two years ago. For many of the delegates who came to meet their Murray counterparts it was their second trip to Utah. The purpose of the visit was to strengthen the already existing cultural and economic ties between the two cities.
Chai-Yi City Mayor Wen-Ying Chang was in Utah two years ago when her younger sister was presiding as mayor. She said the group traveled the United States and wanted to visit at least two of their four U.S. sister cities this year. Besides Murray, she said, the delegation also visited Jackson City, Miss., another sister city, on their current trip.
Business relations aside, members from both Murray and Chia-Yi city councils said their primary expectation was to become better acquainted with each other rather than economic gain.
"I hope we have many, many more years of friendship," said Wendell Coombs, acting as mayor pro tem.
Murray city officials gave the Taiwanese delegation certificates that made them "Honorary Citizens of Murray" and handed them city keys and T-shirts designed for the occasion.
The T-shirts were the result of a logo contest held at Murray High, recent graduate Larae Johnson said. The T-shirts depicted a cloud with the city's name in it, the silhouette of the Wasatch Mountain range and two dark smokestacks, alluding to Murray's most recognizable landmark.
The Taiwanese, in an effort to return the favors, handed out presents from their native country representing luck, longevity, happiness and an overall peaceful feeling, said Yue-Mei Hou, Chia-Yi director of social welfare.