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Published June 14, 2009, 12:00 AM

Fergus officials visiting Norway

Some Fergus Falls, Minn., area officials are about to get the royal treatment.

By: Helmut Schmidt, INFORUM

Some Fergus Falls, Minn., area officials are about to get the royal treatment.

Representatives of the Fergus Falls Area Sister Cities Commission will leave today for Norway to meet the mayors of the Nordhordland area, west of Bergen.

As part of the get-together, Mayor Hal Leland, his wife, and Sister Cities Commission member Joyce Bruns were also invited to meet with Norway’s King Harald V and Queen Sonia during a visit to the Western Norway Emigration Center in Slette on Thursday.

“It was an opportunity of a lifetime,” Leland said Saturday.

During Thursday’s meeting, he said he will present gifts to the king and queen.

The center was founded by Asbjorn Ystebo of Bergen, who has moved several pioneer-period buildings from Minnesota and North Dakota to the center.

Ystebo teaches at Danielsen Videregaende Skole, a high school in Bergen, and he also set up an exchange program in which 30 Danielsen students attend Fergus Falls’ Hillcrest Lutheran Academy every year, Leland said.

Leland said he would like to encourage more exchanges with Danielson Skole, perhaps getting Danielson graduates to attend Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Fergus Falls.

Leland would also like to see student and teacher exchanges for the public school system.

In addition, he’d like to establish economic development ties with western Norway, perhaps involving wind energy.

“They’ve been trying to get the king and queen there (at the emigration center) for the past 10 years,” Leland said. “It’s a great occasion for everyone.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583