Etcetera - 12/26/12

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As part of Milton-Freewater Rotary Club's ongoing support of the Youth Exchange Student program, club members are hosting Mie Blomberg from Odense, Denmark.

The daughter of a banker father and Realtor mother, Mie came to town in September to stay with her first host family, David and Kristi Marshall.

Mie told members about her nation and family with a "very well-done power-point program," said Rotary reporter Robby Robbins.

Only 557 feet above sea level, Denmark is chock full of islands -- 406 altogether -- and inhabited by more than 5.5 million people.

At 340 miles long, it abuts Germany on the south and connects to Sweden by bridge on the east. Mie lives on the island of Fyn.

The Danes enjoy a mild climate with four seasons and can look west to the North Sea and east to the Baltic Sea. Near the same latitude as Sitka, Alaska, Denmark's summer temperatures may reach the mid-80s and in winter can drop to mid-20s but snow is a rarity.

Denmark traces its monarchy back more than 1,000 years. Mie said Queen Margrethe II and her family are highly regarded, she especially for her intellectual prowess and artistic abilities.

The first woman prime minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, runs the government with a 179-member parliament, whose members serve four-year terms.

"Mie told us all children are required to attend school from kindergarten through ninth grade, usually at the same school and most of the time they stay in the same classroom." The three-year high school program is not required but students are required to attend some school until they're 18. High school is typically the access to a university and all six universities are free.

Income taxes are high in Denmark but support a free education system and all medical and dental care is provided by government facilities.

Denmark is the recipient of several awards as one of the friendliest and most pleasant places to live in the world.

It is a leader in environmental issues and much travel is by commercial vehicles, trains and bicycles.

They have been leaders in developing wind energy systems and many of those systems are in use in the United States.

Beloved children's storyteller Hans Christian Andersen lived in Odense.

The nation is also noted for its many theatrical, movie and music performers, famous architects and designers and the Royal Copenhagen Danish Porcelain Factory is known around the world for it's quality and design.

For more about Rotary, contact Robby at 541-938-6523 or robby@valint.net .

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at annieeveland@wwub.com or afternoons at 526-8313.

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