Today in Mailbox: We introduce three new voices on Radio Prague and we read from an e-mail by Elliott A. Sternbergh about Sternberk Castle. Also, Wednesday is the deadline for your answers to our May competition.

Welcome to Mailbox. Today we'll be introducing three new voices you have been hearing since recently on Radio Prague. Two young men and one young lady have joined our team recently for several weeks. The first one to arrive was Brian Sabin.

"Yo, this is Brian D. Sabin, the Gringo from Chicago, proud product of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, founding father of Team Sweet, and the newest American member of Radio Prague's Anglicka redakce. Journalism I know, Czech I don't save for seven words: Dobry den. Jak se mate? Na shledanou! Stay tuned for my adventures in Anglophone reporting, in which I stutter fragmented sentences in Czech to foreign dignitaries and elected officials alike. Should make for a stereophonic sensation, for real."

Until about two weeks ago, Brian was the only American on the team, until Michael joined us.

"Thanks Pavla...well to begin my name is Michael Longaro and I am originally from Long Island, New York but I'm currently completing my masters in Russian and Eastern European Studies at the University of Toronto. I'd like to say that this is my return to Prague because I actually lived here for my third year of university, and I have to say that it feels great to be back. The reason why I've come all the way back to Prague from Toronto is not just because I missed the great beer or football, but because I really wanted to apply my studies of the Czech Republic and Central Europe in a practical manner, and I felt that Radio Prague was an excellent chance to do so."

And last but not least, here's our new colleague Kristy Ironside.

"Well, I'm from Branford, Ontario, which is a pretty small hockey town in south-western Ontario but I've been living in Toronto for about five years now, so I can say that I'm no longer a small-town girl. I'm doing my Master's degree at the University of Toronto in Russian and Eastern European Studies. This is my first time in Prague but I'm very much enjoying myself and I am especially enjoying myself at Radio Prague."

Cesky Sternberk,  photo: CzechTourism
Judging from your letters, history seems to be a very popular subject with our listeners, as well as our features about towns and monuments around the Czech Republic. Elliott A. Sternbergh is writing from Pennsylvania.

"I came upon your article about the Sternberk castle. For many years I have been hunting for my European ancestors throughout Europe. My Grandparents were ethnic Germans, possibly of Jewish/Bohemian extraction. My grandfather frequently told me of another "Sternbergh" castle in Germany on the Rhine near a town called Boppard. He had a post card of some ruins and a story of two brothers Sternbergh who fought in the Crusades. I am not sure of the connection/religion, etc. with your Sternberk family, but I was very happy to see that your coat of arms (Sternberk) is an almost exact replica of one I have from my Grandfather Sternbergh (except our coat of Arms has a Star of David on top of a mountain). Perhaps the reasons my relatives fled to the new world was for religious freedom and tolerance? I am not sure, although I am certain they did convert to Christianity at some point in time. I enjoyed your sight and hope to visit the castle someday."

Cesky Sternberk,  photo: CzechTourism
As a matter of fact there are two Sternberk castles in the Czech Republic, one called Sternberk, in north Moravia, and the other Cesky or Czech Sternberk not far from Prague. The Sternbergs are an old Czech noble family and they built and owned a number of castles in this country. For example Castolovice Castle in East Bohemia which Radio Prague covered in one of our Spotlight programmes. It is owned by Diana Phipps Sternberg who renovated the castle and turned it into a pleasant place to visit.

We are running out of time, so let me just remind you that you have three more days to send us your entries for this month's listeners competition and there will be small prizes for four of you.

"A well known South American poet, who received the Nobel Prize for Literature, wrote under a pen-name which he adopted from a 19th-century Czech poet and journalist. What was the name of the Czech author?"

You still have until Wednesday midnight to send us your entries to the usual address: Radio Prague, 12099 Prague, Czech Republic or [email protected].