By Ted Waddell
LOCH SHELDRAKE January 13, 2003 The 8th Annual Sullivan First Winter Forum convened Sunday, January 10 at Sullivan County Community College in Loch Sheldrake.
The highlight of the annual forum was a series of workshops in which folks interested in sprucing up the county got firsthand insight into the inner workings, goals and objectives of the innovative grassroots beautification project known as Sullivan Renaissance.
Before the gathering of about 125 people split off in workshops, several Sullivan First Achievement Awards were presented by Joyce Salimeno to individuals and/or organizations that demonstrated a commitment to improving or enhancing the appearance of the county.
Robert Green for his continued support of beautifying Sullivan County through the donation of a vehicle for the Clean Team.
Wurtsboro Renaissance for its ongoing grassroots efforts and innovative methods to enhance the appearance of the local community.
Tri-Valley Central School for its outstanding involvement of youth in the efforts to beautify the community of Neversink.
Monticello SCIL (Sullivan County Interacademic League) Team for their creativity and excellence in the Sullivan Renaissance challenge to develop plans to beautify the Monticello Neighborhood Facility.
Also, Denise Frangipane presented an overview of Sullivan Renaissance 2004.
Sandra Gerry, the guiding light illuminating the Sullivan Renaissance concept, introduced the creation of a $3,000 environmental impact award to be handed out in August to the community that has shown an outstanding effort to address an environmental issue and has established a sense of environmental stewardship.
This years environmental award is funded by a grant provided by Ben & Jerrys an outgrowth of its apology tour following last Augusts cancelled One World One Heart concert festival at the Woodstock site in Bethel.
Following a keynote address by Cornell University professor and Liberty revitalization project consultant Ken Reardon, the assemblage divided into small workshop groups.
Recruiting and Retaining Volunteers presented by Frank DeMayo, Liberty ALIVE; Gary Siegel, Liberty ALIVE; and David Moore of Neversink Renaissance.
Sullivan Renaissance 101 presented by Glenn Pontier of Sullivan Renaissance.
Winning Communities presented by Sullivan Renaissance judges Lee Nelson and Adrienne Hamilton.
Grassroots Organizing for Renewal presented by Melissa Everett, board member.
Think Globally - Act Locally presented by board member Lori Rubinstein-Fleck and Arlen Siegel of Sullivan Renaissance.
It was our kickoff meeting for Sullivan Renaissance IV, said Sandra Gerry.
Looking around at the estimated 125 attendees, the creator of Sullivan Renaissance said, Its a wonderful show of support for beautification of our county and trying to make it better.
Moments before the gathering headed off to the series of workshops, Dr. Mamie Golladay, president of the college, talked with billionaire Allan Gerry, founder of Cablevision Industries, about the countywide beautification effort.
Were looking forward to participating in a project, maybe with Loch Sheldrake or New Hope, she said. I truly believe in what Sullivan Renaissance does for our county.
Several local folks attended Pontiers workshop on the basics of the 4th Annual Sullivan Renaissance.
I heard about it from a lady called Mattie Anderson of the First Baptist Church in Monticello, said fellow church member Esther Harris.
We would like to beautify the front of our church, and we see this as a good program to get involved in, she said.
Rock Hill resident Bill Gronwald of the Sullivan County Museum learned about the annual kickoff event from Ellen Lutvak, director of the Catskill Art Society, a local arts program housed in the county-owned museum building in Hurleyville.
Were a step beyond planting pansies, said Gronwald. Ill bet you anything that Sullivan Renaissance could help us get some banners and maybe a new sign so people can see the place.
Sullivan Renaissance is not something everyones going to be talking to death ten years down the line, he added. Lets clean up a lot today and plant pansies tomorrow. ... This is a wonderful thing to make the place look a little nicer.
Sullivan Renaissance is a collaborative project of Sullivan First and the Beaverkill Foundation.
Sullivan First is an organization of community volunteers committed to a grassroots beautification effort to enhance the beauty of the county.
The Beaverkill Foundation is a Gerry Family Foundation that is interested in the welfare of Sullivan County, including economic, social and beautification issues that face the quality of life in the community.
For more information about Sullivan Renaissance 2004, call 295-2445.