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Awards Ceremony on Monday, August 13at SUNY Sullivan

August 4, 2012

[BETHEL] – Teams of experts from outside Sullivan County will spend August 9 to 12 visiting 25 Sullivan Renaissance projects before selecting winners in three beautification categories and honoring one project for the best overall showing of flowers.  For the first year, judges will also recognize one of 11 long-time maintenance participants for the abundance of flowers in their community.

Judges will also acknowledge projects with stewardship awards for excellence in historical preservation and best design.  All participants will receive completion grants.

The eleven experts – all with past Sullivan Renaissance experience – include individuals with horticultural, planning, community and international knowledge.  This year’s panel includes: 

·         Ted Blowes – Communities in Bloom, Stratford, Ontario, Canada; Immediate Past Chair of the Communities in Bloom Program in Canada; has been a Renaissance judge since the program began in 2001.

·         Nicole Franzese – Director of Delaware County Planning Department since 2000 (with department since 1990); provides technical assistance on comprehensive plans, main street revitalization, zoning review, grant writing, SEQRA compliance, watershed management issues.

·         Donna Harrison – Has judged over fifty communities with Communities in Bloom in Canada, six years provincially and nationally starting in 2000; has also been involved in the judging of The Winter Lights initiative for several years.

·         Michael Newhard – Life-long resident and four-term Mayor of Warwick; artist and partner in Main Street retail store; is an advocate of community re-vitalization, historic preservation, farmland and environmental protection; Warwick was 2003 national winner of America in Bloom and is the 2010 international winner of Communities in Bloom.

·         Linda Onofry – Retired Montessori school teacher at the Homestead School in Glen Spey; grew up and resides in Port Jervis; a 21 year member and past president of the Garden Club of Orange & Dutchess Counties. 

·         Peter Patel Horticulturist/arborist for the Orange County Arboretum in Montgomery; Certified Arborist – International Society of Arboriculture, Cert. Nursery/Landscape Professional, and member of the Tri-County Nursery Association; owns ArborHeights Designs, LLC.

·         Karen Schneller-McDonald – Ecologist and wetland specialist; Hickory Creek Consulting LLC, Red Hook, NY; provides natural resources planning, wetlands identification, and environmental impact assessment services to municipalities and specific projects.

·         Ann Smith – An avid gardener for over 35 years; member of New York Botanical Garden, Friends of Boscobel and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation; past board member of Cornwall Garden Club; garden associate specialist for Devitt's Garden & Supply, New Windsor.

·         Deborah Sweeton – President and co-owner of Techni-Growers Greenhouses Inc.; published books in Common Sense Gardener series; past OFA board member; chairs Cornell Floriculture Advisory Committee; chaired Warwick in Bloom in 2004; won 1st and 2nd prize in Kathy Puhfal container competition at Cornell University in 2007 and the international challenge in 2010.

·         Michael Sweeton – General manager/marketing director for Techni-Growers (clients include Brooklyn Botanic Gardens); NYS Certified Nursery Professional; Town of Warwick Supervisor; President of the Orange County Association of Towns, Villages and Cities; serves on Orange County Citizens Foundation Board and Orange County Planning Board.

·         Tim Stoddard – Has a design degree and lived in Western Europe for years where he pursued an interest in architecture and landscape design; works on projects for the federal government, corporations, community and private homes; lives on Jersey Shore and heads his community Beautification and Landscape Committee.

Projects are judged for aesthetic improvement, collaboration, youth involvement, permanence and an ability to be maintained. 

Winning communities will be announced at the Sullivan Renaissance Awards Ceremony on Monday, August 13 in the Seelig Theater at SUNY Sullivan in Loch Sheldrake.  Doors open at 6:00 p.m. with light refreshments; the program begins at 6:45 p.m. 

Communities selected as the most successful in completing their Category A and B projects will receive additional grants between $1000 and $10,000.  The Golden Feather Grant of $25,000 will go to one of four Category C projects.  Judges will also award separate grants for “Showing of Flowers” including a special prize to communities that received maintenance support.

Participants in all Sullivan Renaissance programs will be recognized, including: mini-grants, seasonal communities, and environmental initiatives.  Young people will be acknowledged for participating in the intern leadership program.  Scholarships will be announced by SUNY Sullivan Foundation and the Community Foundation of Orange and Sullivan Counties.

Sullivan Renaissance is a beautification and community development program principally funded by the Gerry Foundation.  Sponsors include Bold Gold Media Group/Thunder 102, FisherMears Associates, Kristt Company, Robert Green Dealerships, Sullivan County Democrat, The River Reporter, Thompson Sanitation and WSUL/WVOS. 

For information, contact 845-295-2445 or