By LISA CAPOBIANCO
From businesses and non-profits to single-family and multi-family residences to gardens, the Bristol Chamber of Commerce celebrated the beautification efforts made throughout the entire city.
Last Wednesday, the chamber held the 2015 Annual Beautification Awards Breakfast at Chipanee Golf Club, honoring 12 recipients who all worked to beautify their property through landscaping, physical enhancements or maintenance over the past year.
The Bristol Hospital Cancer Center Garden received the large business award, and City True Value Hardware won the small business award, while St. Ann Church received the non-profit award.
Riverview Apartments was recognized through the multi-family award, and resident Glenn Ogonowski received the “Best in Show” award for his house on Cold Springs Road. Bristol residents Jeffrey and Karen Doyon of Hart Street received first place for the single family residence award, and Ann Hagan won second place in the same category for her home on Berkshire Drive.
The process of the beautification award nominations began a few months ago. The Men’s Garden Club chose the winners after reviewing each nomination. The Parent & Child Center at Bristol Hospital received recognition for its vegetable garden, and the Bristol Garden Club received the Mayor’s Choice award.
“This was a challenging year,” said Cheryl Thibeault, chairperson of the Bristol chamber’s Beautification Committee. “When you drive around the city, it’s so nice to see that people are taking ownership of their properties, that they’re investing time and rolling up their sleeves to beautify properties.”
This year, the efforts of those who have made strides to beautify the municipality were honored. The Bristol Water Department received the large municipal award, and the Revolutionary War Monument on Memorial Boulevard received the small municipal award.
“There’s a number of projects each year that the city goes forward with to beautify the city,” said Jim Albert, president of the Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce.
Meanwhile, the Chamber Choice award went to Muzzy Field—the historic place where eight-time Grammy Award winning producer Elliot Scheiner and real estate developer David Lindland brought the Futures Collegiate Baseball League team the Bristol Blues last November.
Rick Muntean, general manager of the Bristol Blues, served as guest speaker during the event, filling in for and co-owner of the Bristol Blues Elliot Scheiner, who is recovering from a serious medical condition. Muntean recalled the day Scheiner’s son thought the producer was not going to make it. But today Scheiner is recovering in a rehab center after waking up from a coma.
The inventor of surround sound, Scheiner received the Best Surround Sound Album award for Beyoncé during the 57th annual Grammy Awards this year. He has produced and engineered for a number of performers, including Aerosmith, BB King, Foo Fighters, Fleetwood Mac, and more. Scheiner also has worked on films, including The Godfather and Tarzan.
“We got the miracle,” said Muntean. “He went from a point where he was not conscious, in a coma to today where he’s talking, walking, using his hands.”
A native of Youngstown, Ohio, Muntean developed a passion for sports and baseball—which he has been involved with for at least 35 years now. From California to Washington to Wisconsin and Kansas City, Muntean has lived in over a dozen communities in the country, taking on different job positions over the years.
During the event, Muntean thanked city leaders and other members of the community who have supported the Bristol Blues from the beginning, including Bristol Hospital, which was one of the baseball team’s top sponsors.
When the Bristol Blues players were encouraged “to have fun” at the start of the season, the athletes took the advice to heart, integrating themselves in the Bristol community, said Muntean. On opening night of the season, the Blues saw a turnout of 3,000 fans.
“What a fun season that was,” said Muntean. “They really did a wonderful job in the community this year.”
During the first season, a lot of lives were touched and a lot of money was raised, said Muntean. The Bristol Blues raised $5,000 for a 4-year-old girl diagnosed with cancer. The team adopted little girl, who was present at every game, and is now doing a lot better, said Muntean. The Blues also raised $1,700 for the Beekley Center for Breast Health and Wellness, and $500 for prostate cancer. In addition to that, the Blues made themselves present at community events.
“The first thing we wanted to do upon entry of the town, was to become a part of the community,” said Muntean.
For Muntean, the moment of fans cheering on the Blues during their final championship game of the season last month is something he will never forget. As the team was losing against Worcester, the fans rallied loudly behind the Blues, which tried to tie the score. Although the Blues were defeated, Muntean said that moment was fantastic.
“The Bristol Blues and the community of Bristol became one,” said Muntean, adding that the team will be in Bristol forever. “It was the fans that employed these young kids on to try to win these series.”
PHOTOS by TAMMI NAUDUS