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Guten Tag! Fresno Mayor, Councilmen Head to Germany for Weeklong Visit



Mayor Jerry Dyer (center) along with Fresno City Councilman Mike Karbassi (left) and Luis Chavez are headed to Germany. (GV Wire Composite/David Rodriguez)
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Mayor Jerry Dyer looks forward to bicycling as he leads an 11-member city of Fresno delegation this week to its sister city Münster, Germany.

The weeklong tour starts with a 15-hour flight Wednesday morning. The delegation will travel through Dallas on the way to Frankfurt, Germany before taking a train to Münster.

“I think it’s going to be a great trip. You know, with with any trip, you always dread leaving. But then when you’re either done with it or you’re in the middle of it, you recognize the value,” Dyer said.

The itinerary includes a visit to a electric car battery cell factory, a forum on sustainable housing, and discussions about strategic mobility. The trip will include several meetings with Münster and German leaders.

And, a bike ride with Münster’s mayor.

“We’re also going to be looking at the way that they do housing and how in particular they have more of a focus on density and utilizing alternative transportation like bicycles,” Dyer said.

Dyer said he hopes to learn more about housing, economic development, and how to make Fresno a more bicycle-friendly city.

This will be a reciprocative visit. Last year, a 15-member delegation from Münster visited Fresno. The Germans will be invited back for a bicycle transportation summit in Fresno in October.

Münster Mayor Markus Lewe shakes hands with Fresno City Councilman Mike Karbassi after signing an agreement May 24, 2022. (GV Wire/David Taub)

Councilmen Also Going

City councilmen Luis Chavez and Mike Karbassi will also make the visit.

“I expect to learn a whole heck of a lot about the way other people do things and bring some best practices back. But what I’m most excited about are the industry tours and connections we’re going to make,” Karbassi said.

The trip officially ends next Wednesday. Karbassi said he plans to participate in the Aug. 24 city council meeting remotely, staying in Germany. Dyer says he will miss the meeting. There was no word from Chavez on his plans.

Fresno City Council president Tyler Maxwell was scheduled to travel, but had to cancel for an undisclosed reason.

Delegation List

The trip will be paid for by public tax dollars. The city council already budgeted $50,000 for sister city travel. Karbassi said the German government will also subsidize a portion of the trip.

A list of Fresno city officials traveling to Germany, as provided by the mayor’s office:

  • Mayor Jerry Dyer
  • Kelli Furtado, Mayor Dyer’s chief of staff
  • Sontaya Rose, city communications director
  • John Ellis, city government affairs manager
  • Lance Lippincott, city economic development director
  • Jill Gormley, city public works and transportation planning manager
  • Councilman Mike Karbassi
  • Councilman Luis Chavez
  • Alyssa Stevens, Councilman Karbassi’s chief-of-staff
  • Andrew Kloose, Councilman Karbassi’s council assistant
  • Jim Verros, senior adviser to the city council

Also, Clovis City Councilman Drew Bessinger will join the delegation. He tells GV Wire he is already there.

Official Schedule

As provided by the mayor’s office:

Friday | August 18 

 9:00- 11:00 Battery City & Renewable Energy University of Münster 

Welcome by Rektor Prof. Wessels 

Battery Research Center  

Münster Electrochemical Energy Technology (MEET) 

Introduction Battery Research, Managing Director Falko Schappacher 

Battery City Münster, Cluster Manager Battery Systemsff Yves Prybisch  

11:30- 12:30 Fraunhofer Research Institution for Battery Cell Production (FFB) 

Site Visit – Battery Production Plant  

1:00- 2:00 Lunch    IHK Nord Westfalen 

IHK= CCI – Chamber of Commerce North Westphalia 

2:00- 3:30 Introduction Economic Region Münsterland 

 5:00- 6:00 Official Welcome to Münster by Mayor Markus Lewe, Peace Treaty Hall  

6:00- 9:00 Twin City Officials Reception With representatives of Münster’s Sister Cities  

Saturday | August 19  

11:00-12:00 Twin City Panel Public Debate about Peace, Outdoor Stage, Salzst. 10 

Youth will interview Twin City leaders. Student groups will ask 5 general questions of all mayors on issues such as Peace and the 375th Anniversary of the Peace of Westphalia.  

12:30- 1:30 Twin City Lunch       

Mayors to eat with the youth groups and have general conversation.  

2:00- 3:00 City Museum Tour     

5:00-7:00 Twin City Games – Public Event, Münster University Sportsground 

Opening Ceremonies 

Presentation of multicultural sport teams, active involvement of spectators 

 7:30- 8:30 Twin City Dinner Opportunity to mingle with representatives from Münster’s Sister Cities        

Sunday | August 20 

9:30 Twin City Guided City Walk , Münster City Hall  

375 Years Westfalia Peace 

 12:00- 1:00 Zoo  

Tour of Meranti Hall, the world’s first 100% renewable energy operated tropical center. 

 1:00-3:00 Münster Muhlenhof 

Guided tour of historic settlement consisting of 30 large and small buildings from the 16th to 19th centuries that allow visitors to get a feel for living conditions and working conditions of the Münster region during that time period. 

 6:30 Walk to St. Lambert’s Church  

 7:00 St. Lambert’s Church Tower Tour  

An example of Westphalian late Gothic architecture 


Monday | August 21 

 Sustainable City Development 

 9:00 Session 1 – Infrastructure, Sustainability, Housing, City Hall 

Hosts: Matthias Bartmann, Birgit Wildt 

City of Münster: overview, targets & challenges (Presenter: Jörg Krause) 

Climate/Energy Transition (Presenter: Birgit Wildt) 

(Social) housing & revitalization harbor (Presenter: Matthias Bartmann) 

 12:00- 1:30 Session 2 – Farming & Food Processing Industry (Enno Fuchs) 

Hafenkäserei – Meet & Greet CEO Dr. Daniel Asselmann (includes lunch)          

2:00- 3:00 Site Visit – Harbor Revitalization 

Münster Inland Harbor, formerly for coal transport from the North Sea, is being renovated. 

Host: Jörg Krause  

3:00- 6:00 Session 3 – Public Safety / Münster Police 


Tuesday | August 22  

Mobility Transition / Transportation Summit  

9:00- 10:30 City Strategy Mobility Concepts City Hall 

City of Münster overview (Jeff Marengwa) 

Münster as Bike Capital (Max Stewen) 

City of Fresno Mobility Concept (Jill Gormley)  

10:30- 12:00 Site Visit – Mobility Hub Main Train Station  

Walk to HBF/Radstation           

2:00 Mayors Bike Ride 

“Münster Promenade”Mayor Dyer, Mayor Lewe, U.S. Consul General Pauline Kao   

3:00 Welcome by University Prorektor Dr. Monika Stoll, Schloss Munster  

4:00- 5:30 Panel with U.S. General Consul Pauline Kao, City Hall 

Sustainable mobility concepts/Benefits of international exchange and collaboration   

6:00-8:00 Reception: Transatlantic Urban Diplomacy, City Hall, Rüstkammer 

With U.S. General Counsul Pauline Kao 

Mayor Lewe Speech. Mayor Dyer Speech 

Present Mayor Lewe with Key to the City  


Wednesday | August 23   

Individual Departures


Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

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