Pittenger to judge Bloom

BELPRE – A Belpre in Bloom organizer will represent the city next year as an America in Bloom judge.

Leslie Pittenger, who is the Belpre city auditor, said she was shocked to be named one of four new national judges last month.

“I was very surprised,” she said.

Pittenger was approached by one of the two America in Bloom judges who visited Belpre in late June as part of the national program.

“When she asked if I would be interested, I didn’t even stop to think,” Pittenger said. “I see it as an opportunity to help Belpre.”

She said by being a judge and traveling to other America in Bloom communities, she can get ideas for Belpre’s program and get more exposure for the city.

“I see it as a win-win,” Pittenger said.

Next week, while in Orlando, Fla., with three other Belpre in Bloom representatives for the America in Bloom Educational Symposium and Awards Program, Pittenger will begin her judge’s training.

“I am one of four new judges and I don’t know if I will be a judge or an alternate, but I am excited about this,” she said.

This is the second year for the Belpre in Bloom citywide beautification project.

During last year’s symposium in Fayetteville, Ark., Belpre’s projects were nominated for special criteria awards in Landscaped Areas and Community Festival that Draws the Most Attendance for the Holiday Lights. Belpre went up against 24 other communities in 16 states for the awards.

For the symposium, Pittenger will be joined by Joyce Lorentz, wife of Mayor Mike Lorentz; Belpre in Bloom member Loran Conley and Jon Neff, manager of Bob’s Market in Belpre.

This year, Belpre will be up against the other 26 communities in 19 states for awards. Belpre is in the same category (population of 4,001 to 7,000) and competing against three other communities: Estes Park, Colo.; Greendale, Ind., and The University of Findlay in Findlay, Ohio.