January 21, 2020

Committee meets to discuss goals, achievements of Swedish city

EAST MILLINOCKET — The Katahdin Region Sister City Committee met Thursday to discuss the goals and achievements of their sister city, Vetlanda, Sweden.

Toni Blake said that the trip to Vetlanda in October had resulted in a strong bond between the Americans and Swedes.

Teachers discussed Sweden’s edcuational system, noting that attendance was mandatory until grade 10, after which it was left to students to decide if they wanted to continue. Terry Daigle said that 90 percent of Sweden’s students continued with educational programs.

Rep. Herbert Clark, D-Millinocket, discussed political structure of the socialist government with 13 political parties.

There is a low crime rate in Sweden. Services such as police and fire protection are located in downtown Vetlanda but serve all surrounding communities of the KommunCq, or Greater Vetlanda.

The group visited manufacturing centers for aluminum products, houses, furniture, glass and tissue paper. They also observed a day-care center, technical training school, fire department, library and schools.

The visitors observed that taxes and the cost of living were high, compared with those in the United States. Tax structure was such that the wealthy paid high enough taxes that income levels of all residents were equalized. This year, a tax reform has resulted in capping the amount the wealthy must pay.

A group from Vetlanda is expected to visit the Millinocket and East Millinocket area in the future, a spokesman for the Katahdin Region Sister Committee said.

Boy Scouts from the area plan to raise money to attend a World Jamboree in Stockholm.

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