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Contents MAY 2022 Editor’s Note
Buckhead Fate of historic home unknown 6 Sandy Springs Veterans Park bridge
New trail moves forward
Brookhaven Next phase of greenway
Development Services Center 10 Dunwoody Newcomers Club
Commentary Worth Knowing
Sports Pace Academy prospect gives back
Dining Local leaders share recipes
Goldbergs celebrates 50 years 24 Education 24
Georgia Tech honors Hispanic business
Business Editorial Amy Wenk Editor, Reporter Newspapers Collin Kelley Editor, Atlanta Intown Joe Earle Editor at Large Staff Writers Dyana Bagby Bob Pepalis Sammie Purcell
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Developer makes impact in Nicaragua
About the Covers Local leaders shared their favorite recipes for the May edition, including Spruill Center for the Arts CEO Alan Mothner, Dunwoody Mayor Lynn Deutsch, Buckhead Coalition President Jim Durrett and Brookhaven City Councilmember John Funny. Photographers Joann Vitelli and Isadora Pennington captured images of their featured dishes. See the story on page 18. Honored as a newspaper of General Excellence
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Now in its 16th year, Rea format that allows us to porter Newspapers was grow in pages. In fact, defounded to provide the local spite tough macroeconomic community with relevant headwinds for the newspanews about what’s happenper industry, our commuing in their neighborhoods. nity papers, focused on hyWe have tried very hard to perlocal news, continue to never stray from that misgrow. So far in 2022, we’ve BY KEITH PEPPER sion, even as the market for had two of our largest panews continues to evolve pers in years, both in numand the preferences of readber of pages and in advertisers shift over time. er support. Our reporters are at city Our commitment to council and school board print remains, but we are meetings. They are in close also investing in improvcontact with politicians, poing our digital products, inlice chiefs and civic leadcluding our website, which ers. They cover community BY AMY WENK is updated multiple times events and find interesting a day with the latest instories about local residents formation. Check it out at who are doing great things. reporternewspapers.com. This is where Next month, you will notice your payou can find breaking news and inper looks slightly different. We are gendepth features. tly redesigning the print product into In many ways, our email newsletters and social media accounts serve as our “daily newspaper.” If you haven’t already subscribed to Rough Draft, please take a minute to do so by scanning the QR code below, and follow us on social @reporter_news. Rough Draft is a clever, curated and concise way to get caught up on what’s important. It comes out five times a week with a blend of top headlines, events and content from our media partners, including WABE and Atlanta Civic Circle. We are always open to new ideas and would love to hear your Complete Orthopedic Care for feedback. Please reach out at Weekend Warriors of all ages. firstname.lastname@example.org
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Fate of historic Buckhead home unknown as plans move forward
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The house at 660 West Paces Ferry Road, known as Whispering Pines and built in 1928, could be demolished as part of a developer’s plans to build an 8-house subdivision on the property. (Special) BY DYANA BAGBY The fate of a nearly century-old home along Buckhead’s historic West Paces Ferry Road remains up in the air as a developer moves forward to build a new subdivision on the site. An affiliate of the Macallan Group, an Atlanta-based construction and real estate firm, purchased the home and the roughly four acres it sits on at 660 West Paces Ferry Road NW for $3.3 million in December. The company wants to build a cul-de-sac with eight new houses on the property near the Northside Drive intersection. Doing so could mean razing the stately mansion built in 1928 and known by many as Whispering Pines. Residents living in the surrounding affluent neighborhoods, including West Paces Ferry/Northside, Chastain Park and Tuxedo Park, as well as the Atlanta Preservation Center, have been in talks with the developer for several months to try to find a way to save the house. They say it represents a slice of Atlanta’s history and culture and should be incorporated into the new subdivision development. Construction on the subdivision is expected to start this summer, but a decision still remains on what to do with Whispering Pines. “The Macallan Group is working closely [with the residents] to determine a way to preserve the house on the property, but there is not a solidified plan at this time,” the company said in early April in a prepared statement. “The Macallan Group has presented several plan options and are diligently working together to find a beneficial solution for all parties involved.” Designed by renowned architectural firm Pringle and Smith, Whispering Pines was the longtime home of Harrison Jones, chair of the Coca-Cola Company in
the 1950s, and his wife, Kathryn. It is one of about 24 houses on West Paces Ferry that are about a century old but have no historical protections. The 7,000-square-foot house is hidden from the now bustling corridor behind a grove of trees and a white picket fence. It includes a swimming pool and a vast garden. House and Garden magazine in 1929 compared it to George Washington’s Mount Vernon. David Mitchell, executive director of the Atlanta Preservation Center, is working with residents and the developer as they negotiate a way to try to preserve the home and find a sustainable future for it, he said. “The West Paces Ferry corridor became, between World War I and World II, a really unique and unparalleled space in the city, showing the rise of a certain genre of North Atlanta that is still in existence today through the architecture,” Mitchell said. West Paces Ferry Road was also home to many philanthropists and created a component of Buckhead known for its regal homes sitting on lush, large lots, Mitchell said. The families not only built extravagant houses to live in but also contributed their wealth to the entire city of Atlanta. That is history worth preserving, Mitchell said. “When you say Buckhead, it’s defined by West Paces Ferry corridor,” he said. While change is necessary in any thriving city, developers can also respect the history and culture of a community it plans to redevelop, Mitchell said. Buckhead and West Paces Ferry Road represent a time in Atlanta’s history that can still be experienced through its architecture and homes, for example, he said. “There’s a certain level of stewardship, of responsibility,” he said.
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Council debates Veterans Park pedestrian bridge BY BOB PEPALIS The Sandy Springs City Council on April 19 discussed a proposal to build a pedestrian bridge linking City Springs to its future Veterans Park across Roswell Road. While city officials like the idea of a bridge, they are not sure they want to pay for it. Deputy City Manager Dave Wells said preliminary estimates on a pedestrian bridge were between $3.5 million and $5 million. That’s in addition to the approximately $4.75 million the city has budgeted for the park, including $1.3 million for a large fountain, he said. In total, Veterans Park and the pedestrian bridge could cost taxpayers between $8.25 million and $9.75 million. In his presentation, Wells said Veterans Park was approved for the triangleshaped lot between Mount Vernon and Johnsons Ferry Road. It would include a Veterans Memorial courtyard, monumental artwork, a gateway fountain and walkways. At the April meeting, some councilmembers were unsure about the cost of the pedestrian bridge. Others debated whether the park needed to include a fountain. “I don’t think the city should put money into that bridge,” said Councilmember Tibby DeJulio. Councilmember Jody Reichel said she doesn’t support putting in a fountain at Veterans Park and would rather spend
Trail project moves forward
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that $1.3 million on a pedestrian bridge. She hoped GDOT would help fund it as it’s for the safety of residents. Councilmember Andy Bauman said the cost of the fountain – which is more than 25% of the park’s entire budget – is too much. He agreed with other councilmembers that it’s too early and they lack enough data to decide on the pedestrian bridge. “We need to find out from Georgia Power whether it’s even possible,” said Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul. The mayor summed up what he was hearing in a compromise on the issues. “The bridge people need more data. I think the fountain people need more data,” Paul said. “Let’s take a look at what we might be able to do to modify the fountains, reduce them in size.” He also instructed Public Works Director Marty Martin to contact Georgia Power and GDOT about whether the city could build a pedestrian bridge across Roswell Road underneath transmission lines – and get help paying for it.
Sandy Springs approved agreements with Georgia Power, an apartment complex owner, and Fulton County at no cost to the city that will enable construction of a new trail segment linking Morgan Falls Overlook Park to Roswell Road. Recreation and Parks Director Mike Perry brought four agreements to the April 19 City Council meeting that give the city the access to land it needs to start construction this year on a new trail seg-
ment. This trail segment begins at Morgan Falls Overlook Park and follows the road as a greenway trail to the Chattahoochee River through Georgia Power property. It turns eastward using Fulton County water and sewer property and the Edgewater apartment development. This section of the trail will connect around Orkin Lake along Cimarron Parkway, ending at Roswell Road. The city has the funds in its capital project budget to build the trail, Perry said. “We should be bidding it out, with construction to begin probably August to September,” Perry said. — BOB PEPALIS reporternewspapers.com
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MAY 2022 | 9
Federal grant could jumpstart next phase of Peachtree Creek Greenway BY SAMMIE PURCELL
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Brookhaven will apply for an infrastructure grant to help fund Phase Two of the Peachtree Creek Greenway project. The Brookhaven City Council approved the grant application during an April meeting. The model mile of the Peachtree Creek Greenway opened in December of 2019, and the entire greenway is envisioned as a 12-mile regional multi-use trail that would eventually connect Atlanta, Brookhaven, Chamblee and unincorporated DeKalb County past Mercer University. The city adopted the Peachtree Creek Greenway Master Plan, which includes three phases of building, in 2016. The Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) Grant Program is part of the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and is a program for transportation projects. “Staff has been directed to apply to any appropriate funding opportunities in order to maximize taxpayer dollars,” said Director of Strategic Partnerships Patty Hansen. “With all of the projects that the city of Brookhaven has in our docket, we had one that staff reviewed and felt really fit the metrics for this program; that is Peachtree Creek Greenway, Phase Two.” According to Hansen, the total cost of Phase Two is an estimated $27 million. The Atlanta Regional Commission, the city’s metro planning agency, has allocated $2.52 million of federal funding towards the project, and Hansen asked the city to reaffirm their monetary commitment if the grant is approved. “We are requesting the council reaffirm their commitment to a 20% match
for the Peachtree Green Greenway buildout,” Hansen said. “That is now at $5.4 million in remaining costs.” If the RAISE grant application is approved, the grant would take care of the remaining costs, which would be $19.08 million. City Manager Christian Sigman said the city would only be committing to that match if the grant effort succeeds. “The commitment on this is quite sizable, but obviously we don’t have to pay it until we get the grant,” Sigman said. “We will know before the council decides on the SPLOST II allocations in summer of 2023 if we have this grant or not. We envision that if we do get the grant, we would put that match in the SPLOST II package for your consideration next June of 2023.” The city completed Phase One of the greenway using local funds. Phase One runs from North Druid Hills Road to Briarwood Road, Phase Two will run from North Druid Hills Road to the Atlanta city limit, and Phase Three will run from Briarwood Road to the Chamblee city limit. Hansen said if the grant is approved, the buildout for Phase Two would be expected to be finished by February 2027. The entire project is committed to be finished by 2030.
City to create Development Services Center
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10 MAY 2022 | REPORTER NEWSPAPERS
Brookhaven has approved a purchase of a building that will be the city’s new Development Services Center. During an April meeting, the City Council approved an ordinance to amend the general fund, allocating $5,400,000 for the purchase and renovation of a property at 2665 Buford Highway. The council then voted to approve a resolution for the acquisition of the property. The total cost of the purchase is $4,600,000 with $800,000 for closing costs and renovations, according to city
documents. City Manager Christian Sigman said the city is purchasing the building to create a Development Services Center for contractors and developers to visit when they conduct business with the city, as well as to be a dedicated space for the Brookhaven Planning Commission and Board of Appeals. “It’s an exciting acquisition for the city and just one more step in the maturation of the city,” Sigman said. — SAMMIE PURCELL reporternewspapers.com
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‘Friendship and fun’ defines Dunwoody Newcomers Club dunwoodyga.gov | 4800 Ashford Dunwoody Rd., Dunwoody GA 30338 | 678.382.6700
Asian American & Pacific Islander
Cultural Heritage Celebration
Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Celebration
Commission 10 Planning Meeting
Dunwoody Art Commission Meeting
Sustainability Committee Meeting
Zoning Board of Appeals Meeting
Saturday Volunteer Day
Dunwoody Village Courtyard 12:30 - 4:30 p.m.
City Hall 7:30 a.m.
City Hall 6 p.m.
City Hall 6 p.m.
Monarchs & Margaritas & Memories Dunwoody Nature Center
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Food Truck Thursday Opening Night featuring Departure, a Journey tribute band 5 - 9 p.m.
Virtual 8 a.m.
15 Afternoon Tea at the Farm 19 Matri-ARC exhibit Donaldson-Bannister Farm Opening Night Spruill Gallery
21 History Alive
“My Diverse Experiences in the FBI” Donaldson Bannister Farm
Kids to Parks Day Brook Run Park 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Memorial Day Ceremony Brook Run Veterans Memorial 10 a.m.
Food Truck Thursdays every Thursday through Oct. 27 Brook Run Park
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Dunwoody Farmers Market
Dunwoody Art Festival Mother’s Day weekend Dunwoody Village Parkway
every Saturday | 9-12 Brook Run Park
MEMORIAL DAY CEREMONY
MONDAY, MAY 30 | 10 AM VETERANS MEMORIAL | BROOK RUN PARK 12 MAY 2022 | REPORTER NEWSPAPERS
Presidents of the Dunwoody Newcomers Club throughout the past 20 years gathered at the 50th anniversary celebration. BY SAMMIE PURCELL Google “newcomers clubs,” and you’ll be surprised at the number of organizations that come up. The Newcomers Club of Cobb County, of North East Suburban Atlanta, of St. Simons, of Gainesville – and of course, Dunwoody. The Dunwoody Newcomers Club is a social organization for women, formed in 1972 with the intention of welcoming new residents to the area and fostering a sense of friendship among its members. The club has been going strong for years, and currently has 99 women in its ranks – even after more than two years of a global pandemic and virtual hangouts. On a stormy Friday morning, four of the club’s current members – and former presidents – met up at Crema, a local cafe in Dunwoody. Diana Kafka and current Co-President Tina Coté had seen each other periodically over the past two years, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, neither had seen Elaine Schlissel or Karen Miller for quite some time. It was a longtime coming reunion, and one the small group would experience ten-fold at their 50th anniversary celebration on March 22. “This will be the first big event since Omicron,” Coté said of the anniversary. Over 60 members showed up for the anniversary event, where they enjoyed a catered buffet luncheon while Kafka’s husband played the best musical hits from 1972. Kafka said the head of the anniversary committee, Marsha Fish, created a special bingo game for members to play with fun facts from 1972, the year of the club’s founding. But most importantly, much like the mini reunion a few days prior, the women got to see familiar faces. “I think the anniversary event shows people are ready, willing and committed,” Coté said. “To have two-thirds of your membership coming out? Kudos to the committee for getting that organized and happening.” All of the four women who gathered at Crema are transplants who moved to Dunwoody from relatively far away. When
they found the Newcomers Club, they were all looking for somewhere to belong. Coté moved to Georgia from Connecticut, where she had also been involved with a local newcomers club. When she arrived in Dunwoody, she immediately looked for a similar offering. Miller – the club’s oldest member – joined 25 years ago, and said in the club’s early days, it mostly served as a meeting ground for women who moved and didn’t know anyone. Miller herself was in town from New York visiting a friend when she heard about the club. She said it became one of the deciding factors in her move to Dunwoody. Twenty-five years later, Miller is still active with the newcomers. The age range and demographics of the group may have changed – they don’t get so many younger members anymore – but the mission has stayed the same: a way to welcome new residents and have fun. “The club has done a really good job of meeting the needs of its members, but the membership has become older,” said Schlissel, who moved to Dunwoody from New York in 2004. “This provides a way [for older people], and it has continued to evolve to provide a way.” Kafka joined the club in 1998 after moving to the area from Wisconsin with young children. When she first joined, she didn’t have time to be as active as she wanted to be. “It didn’t seem to matter,” Kafka said. “The friendship was so good.” Kafka now lives in Gainesville, but she kept up her membership in the club even after her move. In the Newcomers Club, the term “newcomer” can be used a bit liberally – members have to have lived in the area for less than three years to join, but they can stay as long as they like. Schlissel also came from up north, moving from New York in 2004 to be closer to her grandchildren. She found an advertisement for the Dunwoody Newcomers Club in the Dunwoody Crier and decided to attend a meeting. “That was it,” Schlissel said. “I felt like I reporternewspapers.com
had all of these great friends.” She volunteered to run the book club at the very first meeting she attended, and now writes her own column – called “A Good Read” – in the club’s monthly newsletter where she reviews books. Schlissel said she had an interesting experience coming to the south from New York, especially in those early days when the ladies of the club did more entertaining than she was used to. “It was fancier – people entertaining in their homes, it was a different level,” Schlissel said. She then pointed to Kafka and gently ribbed her friend about her apparently extensive collection of teacups. “She is the ultimate Fancy Nancy,” said Schlissel. Teacups aside, the Dunwoody Newcomers Club has provided these women and their cohort with a built-in group of friends and a plethora of ways to get to know those friends. Besides book club, the Dunwoody Newcomers Club provides
its members with the opportunity to join a variety of Special Interest Groups – or SIGs, as they call them. They have groups of women that go antiquing, go watch movies together, and more. Coté said the club generally has a few luncheons a year, and on off-months will hold “meet and mingles” that are open to the rest of the community. Coté said she worried about the club and its membership during COVID-19. They tried to have Zoom meet-ups and play games virtually. “We thought when we couldn’t do things, people might say, ‘I’m not paying dues, I’m not going to bother,’” Coté said. “But they didn’t.” Even through a global pandemic, the mission of the club has stayed the same. It’s not a political group, or a fundraising group – just a place people can find somewhere to belong. “That’s the primary motive,” Coté said. “Friendship and fun.”
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14 MAY 2022 | REPORTER NEWSPAPERS
EQ UA L HOUSING OPPOR T UNI T Y
We’ve all seen the gruesome images were hiding all the time, wondering who from Ukraine. It’s unthinkable. would be taken next. Sometimes they Yet, it’s been only 27 years since the didn’t come back.” end of another bloody war in Europe. Her great-grandmother was murThe Bosnian War, 1992-1995, was an dered, her throat slit by Serbian soldiers ethnic war caused by the break-up of Yuright in front of her house. Her great-ungoslavia. Under communist dictator Jocle’s bones were found nearby. sip Tito, republics of varying ethnicities Relief finally came on July 23, 1992, had lived together for 35 years. After his with the U.N. Bosanski Novi Convoy that death, they fought wars to become indecarried thousands of Bosnians to safety pendent states. in Croatia. The BosAs people hurriedly began boarding nian War was the convoy’s trucks, Leila’s mother was in the last and a darkened hospital giving birth to Leila’s bloodiest of little brother. Three hours later, the baby Carol Niemi is aFor marketing consultant who livesin onathe Dunwoody-Sandy Springs line these wars. and mother were convoy ambulance, writes about people whose lives Contactfather her at worthknowingnow@gmai three years, andinspire Leila,others. her sister, and paternal the army of the grandmother were crammed into a truck Serbian Repubwith many others. lic of Bosnia, Leila carried only the clothes she wore whose goal was and a backpack full of baby diapers and to cleanse Bosher favorite book, “Heidi.” The normally nia of its Musone-hour trip took 17 hours. BY CAROL NIEMI lim population In Hanau, Germany, all six of them to create a unilived in a room at an old U.S. Army base. fied Serbia, committed atrocities against After a year and a half, they moved to a the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina. one-room apartment where they shared How does anyone ever recover from a kitchen with other families. Carol Niemi is a marketing consultant who lives on the Dunwoodysuch human brutality? I asked Leila Lyon, During the family’s five years in GerSandy Springs line and writes about people whose lives inspire a brave and beautiful native Bosnian who many, Leila became fluent in German, others. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. is a stylist at a popular Dunwoody hair graduated from high school, studied cossalon. metology and apprenticed at a hair salon. Raised in the ancient town of Kosta“I got my diploma in May 1997,” she jnica, on the Croatian border in the Serbian Republic of Bosnia, Leila was only five when Tito died. She remembers her early years fondly. Both her parents worked, her father as an electrician and her mother in a textile factory. Family and friends lived nearby. Their beloved Una River was down the street. “Even though it was communist under Tito, we had a decent life,” Leila said. “We were mostly happy. Everyone got along, with many mixed marriages.” Leila still doesn’t understand how her friends and neighbors became enemies. “The war was everywhere,” she said. Her own town totally shut down. No one could come in. No one could leave. They had one hour of electricity a day. Her paternal grandparents living in a neighboring village had to flee when their town burned Leila Lyon, a Bosnian war refugee, who down. now works in Dunwoody. “The Serbs did that,” she added. The Serbs did a lot of other things too, including the 1995 genocide said. “In July, we came to the U.S.” of 8,000 men and boys in Srebrenica for At first, they didn’t know where they which the leaders were later tried and were going. Sponsored by the First Unitconvicted. ed Methodist Church of Roswell, they ar“People were tortured and killed every rived in New York City, where they were day,” Leila said. “We barely had food and held for days because of clerical errors
on her father’s papers. “We were afraid he would be sent back,” she said. Then one night a man named David called and said, “Hey, you guys are safe. You’re coming to Atlanta.” Their first home was an old apartment at the corner of Roswell and Abernathy roads in Sandy Springs. After three months, the church found them a rental house in Roswell. “My dad worked as a clerk in a grocery store. My mom worked overnight at Kroger as a stocker for 16 years,” she said. Since then, the family has endured more hardships, including the death of Leila’s mother from cancer nine years ago. “That hurt me more than the war,” she said. “She had suffered so much.” Leila is now a U.S. citizen. She loves
the freedom of being American and being able to give her children a better life. Her father and siblings live nearby, and she’s had a job she loves for 25 years. She still misses her homeland and visits often, staying in her grandmother’s old house. “I’m both Bosnian and American,” she said. “If I could live in both places, that would be magic.” Leila holds no grudges. “I still have Serbian friends. We all were affected. You can’t live in the past.”
T R E AT M O M T O
Correction: Last month’s “Worth Knowing” column on the 100th birthday of Pat Hillman incorrectly stated the percentage of centenarians in the U.S., saying they represent 3% of the population. It is actually 0.3%. We apologize for the error.
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MAY 2022 | 15
Top baseball prospect at Pace also gives back
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Pace Academy’s R.J. Austin holds youth camps at Lithia Springs High School. (Photos by Makenzy Sloan)
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BY ALEX EWALT Pace Academy baseball hasn’t won a state title since 1995, when the program earned its third-straight trophy. But according to head coach Nelson Pedraza, the Knights may have the firepower to end the drought this spring. “This is a very special team from top to bottom,” said Pedraza, who is in his first season at Pace Academy after leaving the Cobb County-based 6-4-3 DP Athletics, a top developmental organization. “A lot of speed, a lot of power, a lot of good base running.” Pace, which after its April 20 win over rival Lovett was 22-4 and 10-1 in region play, is No. 1 in the AJC’s Class AA rankings. The Knights have a senior-laden lineup, a strong core of younger players and one of the top prep prospects in the nation in R.J. Austin. Austin, a senior shortstop, has starred for Pace Academy since joining the Knights as a sophomore in a Covid-shortened season. The athletic, powerfully built infielder is committed to the powerhouse baseball program at Vanderbilt but is also projected to be selected in the first several rounds of the Major League Baseball draft in July. He has featured with USA Baseball and has a coveted mix of elite range at shortstop, power to all fields at the plate and a work ethic that doesn’t take a day off. “R.J. calls me every day of the week and says, ‘Can we go to the field?’” Pedraza said. “He’s a workaholic. He’s got a bright future.” Youth camps Austin is as devoted to improving his game as he is to giving back to his community. Austin is making his mark with outreach to Black and other minority youths, holding camps at Lithia Springs High School in Douglas County, which is closer
to his home, for players under 14. Last November, Austin, along with close friend and middle-infield prospect Termarr Johnson of Mays High School, held his second-annual clinic for 40-plus aspiring young baseball stars. They partnered with The Players’ Alliance, an organization affiliated with MLB that is committed to growing the game with Black youth. One of the Alliance’s directors, retired star pitcher C.C. Sabathia, learned of Austin’s efforts and offered support (Sabathia’s son Carsten has played with Austin with USA Baseball). The Players’ Alliance provided free gear for the attendees, and Austin received invaluable public support from Sabathia, the Alliance and its president, former star outfielder Curtis Granderson. “When I was younger, I wanted stuff like that, camps like that, with teenagers that I looked up to from a young age,” Austin said. “So I wanted to provide that for kids and to show the things I’ve learned. Just to show young people how to play the game and to have fun playing the game, just the basics of it.” Athletic family Austin’s athletics career started at Sandtown Park in South Fulton, where his close friend Johnson also got his start. There he played football, basketball and baseball, starting in T-ball at the age of 4. He comes from an athletic family – his father, Reggie Sr., played football at Wake Forest and played three seasons as a cornerback with the Chicago Bears. But his uncle, Joe Austin, and his cousin, Jay, helped instill a love of baseball. Joe played baseball collegiately at Alabama State and served as R.J.’s hitting and fielding coach in his early playing days. Jay was selected in the second round of the 2008 draft by the Houston Astros after being a star player at North Atlanta High School. Austin is also inspired to give back due to the influence of his time with reporternewspapers.com
the Marquis Grissom Baseball Association (MGBA), a group founded by former Braves outfielder and south Fulton County native Marquis Grissom, which has the same mission of bringing baseball instruction and resources to underserved communities. Austin played above his age group with MGBA teams for several seasons after his early days at Sandtown. Marquis Grissom Jr., who is currently playing baseball at Georgia Tech, is a few years older than Austin. “I’ve been around (the Grissom) family since I was about 10 years old,” Austin said. “I know his son and we support each other.”
You’ve got to clean it up.’ … He took it to heart, and his arm slot is now perfect.” One of the players Pedraza compares Austin to is former Braves defensive whiz Andrelton Simmons, renowned for his elite range and arm strength at shortstop. “R.J. gets to some balls where you say, ‘Whoa, holy cow, how’d he get to the other side of the bag?’” Pedraza said. “Or, ‘How’d he go practically behind third base to
Dedication to service His high school coach, Pedraza, is as impressed with Austin’s dedication to service as he is with his growing skill set. “That’s something you rarely see from a guy who hasn’t even signed as a pro,” Pedraza said. “He’s already giving back to the community. He’s very humble, and he’s very focused on what he wants to do as far as giving back. And those camps are awesome. He’s doing great things for those kids. “By doing that, he might keep those kids from getting in trouble. And either way, whether he goes to play for Vandy or whether he gets drafted this year, he’ll continue doing it.” With support from The Players’ Alliance, Austin hopes to continue growing his clinics, wherever his career takes him in the short term. “We want it to get bigger and bigger,” Austin said. “I want more kids to come out from different states. Now, it’s mostly from Georgia and Alabama. I want it to be more national, where people from all over the country feel like they can attend.”
No. 6 Individual, Volume Sold make that backhand play?’” In the run-up to the state playoffs, Austin knows the only way to cap his Pace Academy career with a title is to take a team-first approach. “We want to be the team to win (a state title),” he said. “I feel like we can make that goal happen if we all do the right things and play our game.”
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Bringing home the state title For his time remaining at Pace Academy, Austin wants to bring home that first state title since 1995, the year that one of his mentors, Grissom Sr., caught the final out in center field to kick off the Braves’ World Series Championship celebration. Pedraza has known Austin since he was 14, and the rising star joined Pedraza at 6-4-3 DP Athletics for his 15-and-under playing days (Austin has since joined the vaunted East Cobb Astros program). Pedraza, a former shortstop himself who was drafted by Cleveland at age 16 out of Puerto Rico, is somewhat of a guru of the middle infield. Along with Pedraza’s instruction over the last several years, Austin has used his relentless work ethic to address the flaws in his game. “One of the things I was very hard on him about was his arm slot throwing to first base,” Pedraza said. “And I said, ‘you’re not going to go far with this.
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MAY 2022 | 17
Taste of the town Local leaders share their favorite recipes
STORY BY AMY WENK PHOTOS BY JOANN VITELLI AND ISADORA PENNINGTON
Cover with rub of choice and refrigerate in foil overnight to let the rub sink in. Use the 3-2-1 method. Set smoker at 250. Cook for three hours uncovered in the smoker. Then, sauced and wrapped in foil for 2 hours. And finally, one hour unwrapped with sauce. If you prefer a bit more of a burnt sauce finish, place under the broiler for 3-5 minutes.
Mac ‘n’ Cheese (Oven)
1 box (16 ounces) noodles of choice 1 (10.75 ounces) can condensed cheddar cheese soup 1 cup milk 8 ounces of shredded Colby cheese 8 ounces of shredded sharp cheddar
Cook pasta and drain. Return to the pot and add cheese soup and milk. Mix well. In a casserole dish add a layer of noodles mix, top with cheese, and repeat until full. I use the sharp cheddar on the final top layer. Cover and set aside until ready to cook. Takes about 30 minutes at 375 degrees.
Photos by Isadora Pennington
Collards (Slow cooker)
1 bag chopped collards (2 ½ pounds) 1 yellow onion, diced 1 tablespoon brown sugar 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 32 ounces of chicken broth 1 ham hock
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Alan Mothner has always been interested in cooking. But during the pandemic, as he spent more time at home, his passion grew for using the smoker. Although raised in south Florida, Mothner said he loves some Southern cooking. “I feel like an adopted son of the South,” he said during a recent visit to his home in the Wyntercreek neighborhood of Dunwoody. He wanted to share what he called the “weekend gathering meal” as he often invites his neighbors over for a feast. It includes ribs on the smoker, mac and cheese in the oven, and collards in the slow cooker. His advice to chefs? “It should be fun. The point isn’t necessarily just to eat. Enjoy the process.”
Mayor, City of Dunwoody Dunwoody Mayor Lynn Deutsch enjoys cooking for family occasions and wanted to share her motherin-law Gay Winter’s brisket recipe. The classic Southern dish uses Coca-Cola as its secret ingredient. “This is a pretty easy recipe,” Deutsch said during a recent visit to her home, when she cooked the brisket for Passover. She’ll admit she wasn’t much of a cook before marrying her husband, Barry, and learning from her mother-in-law. But now, time spent in the kitchen can be a welcome reprieve from her mayoral duties, she said. “Cooking can be relaxing and a distraction,” Deutsch said.
Throw everything in the slow cooker on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. Remove ham hock and trim away the fat and dice up the meat. Add the cooked meat back into the collards, add salt and pepper to taste and stir. Best served with your favorite hot sauce.
Coca-Cola Brisket 4 to 6 pounds of brisket 12 ounces of Coca-Cola 12 ounces of chili sauce (or ketchup with hot sauce) One onion soup mix Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Pat the brisket dry with paper towels. Place it in a glass baking dish that’s just large enough to fit the brisket snugly. Mix the Coke, chili sauce and onion soup mix in a bowl and pour it over the brisket. Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil. Roast the brisket for about 30 minutes a pound. Transfer the brisket to a cutting board and let rest for at least 10 minutes. Then, thinly slice it against the grain. You can save the pan juices, skim the fat from the surface and serve on the side.
Scan the QR code to find and share these recipes online.
18 MAY 2022 | REPORTER NEWSPAPERS
Photo by Joann Vitelli reporternewspapers.com
Pesto 1/4 cup pine nuts 1 clove garlic 2 cups basil leaves tightly packed 2/3 cup finely grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese 1/3 cup finely grated pecorino romano cheese 1/2 teaspoon sea salt 1/3 cup good extra virgin olive oil
President, The Buckhead Coalition Executive Director, Buckhead Community Improvement District Who knew Jim Durrett, who leads two prominent Buckhead organizations, was such a gourmet chef? The aroma from his home kitchen was amazing on a recent visit. Durrett had made linguine tossed with fresh pesto and veggies. “I like it simple and clean,” he said. Durrett has been cooking since he was a kid, always volunteering to make meals during Boy Scout camping trips. For the past 10 to 15 years, he said he’s been the principal cook at his home and has a knack for creating meals from ingredients he already has in the fridge. He especially appreciates good cutlery and equipment such as a mortar and pestle. “It’s a zen experience for me,” Durrett said of cooking. “It allows me to forget about work and all the things that worry me.”
Vegetarian pesto pasta Basil pesto (recipe follows) 1/2 pound pasta (linguine, fettuccini) Vegetables: one can drained, rinsed and dried chick peas, one yellow or red bell pepper, one red onion, grape tomatoes
Photo by Joann Vitelli
Use mortar and pestle to grind the pine nuts to a fine powder. Coarsely chop the garlic clove and add to pine nuts and pound into pine nuts until a paste forms. Cut the basil leaves into slivers and place in a small electric processor with salt and pine nut and garlic mixture. Chop to blend well. Place mixture in a small bowl and stir in the olive oil and the cheeses. While pasta water is heating, cook 3/4 cup rinsed and dried (important!) chickpeas, coarsely chopped bell pepper, 1/2 of a coarsely chopped red onion in olive oil. Begin with the chick peas because they take longer. I use a wok to handle oil splatter. Cook pasta. When pasta is almost done, add about a cup of grape tomatoes cut in half to the vegetables. Stir until tomatoes are heated and remove from heat. Mix all together and figure out how to adjust the recipe to your liking later. Salt, pepper, grated parmigianoreggiano cheese on top to finish.
District 1 Representative, Brookhaven City Council Brookhaven councilmember Linley Jones recently decided to turn leftover Easter eggs into deviled eggs. “I tend to change the recipe a bit each time,” she told Reporter Newspapers. Here’s her deviled egg recipe, which includes the addition of diced ham.
Deviled eggs 12 hard-boiled eggs 3/4 cup Hellmann’s light mayo 1/4 cup good quality grated Parmesan cheese 1/3 cup finely diced ham (or turkey bacon) Lawry’s seasoned salt to taste Freshly ground pepper Minced parsley Peel the eggs and slice them in half. Remove the yolks and beat them with a mixer adding in the mayonnaise and remaining ingredients until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Reserve some ham to garnish the top. Sample freely and adjust the ingredients as necessary until it’s irresistible. Using a pastry tube, decoratively pipe the creamy mixture into the hollow of each egg and garnish with diced ham or parsley.
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(770) 538-1790 MAY 2022 | 19
DUNWOODY Monday, July 4, 2022 Theme: Parade of Stars Grand Marshal: Pam Tallmadge Presented By
DINING John Funny
District 4 Representative, Brookhaven City Council Brookhaven councilmember John Funny wanted to share his mother’s pound cake recipe, which she made for him when he was growing up in Georgetown, S.C. “I like the lemon because it is a very refreshing, nice tasting cake,” Funny said. “I used to watch her make it, and what was interesting about my mom is she didn’t use a lot of measuring devices. She just did it based upon her knowledge.” Funny inherited her love of cooking and baking, saying for him it’s a therapeutic activity. “I love to cook Southern-style meals in a healthy way,” he said. “I use a lot of smoked turkey for seasoning, like my vegetables and greens and beans, versus the traditional Southern pork. I love baking cakes, sweet potato pies and cookies.”
Lemon Pound Cake
For the cake: 3 cups of all-purpose flour ½ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon salt 2 tablespoon lemon zest 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature 2 ½ cups of sugar 6 large eggs at room temperature 1 cup or sour cream at room temperature 2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice 1 teaspoon pure lemon extract
Photo by Joann Vitelli
For the glaze: 3 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice 1 ½ cups of powdered sugar
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20 MAY 2022 | REPORTER NEWSPAPERS
Place the rack in the center position of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Generously grease and flour a 12-cup bundt pan and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and lemon zest. In a separate bowl, use an electric cake mixer to cream together the butter and sugar. At a medium speed, mix for approximately 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time and mix well after adding each egg. Set the electric cake mixer to a low speed and alternately add half of the flour mixture, half of the sour cream. Mix thoroughly and then add the remaining flour mixture, sour cream, lemon juice and lemon extract. Mix at medium speed until all ingredients are just combined. Do not overmix. Just mix enough to combine all ingredients. Approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the batter to the bundt cake pan. Smooth the top with a spatula and firmly tap the pan on the counter to release any air pockets. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Test at 1 hour with a toothpick. Bake until a few moist crumbs stick to the toothpick inserted in the center. Cool cake in the pan for 25 minutes before turning out onto a wire to finish cooling completely. For the glaze, add the powdered sugar into a bowl and stir in 3 tablespoons lemon juice with a spoon until completely smooth. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake and allow to harden and set.
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MAY 2022 | 21
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22 MAY 2022 | REPORTER NEWSPAPERS
Mayor, City of Brookhaven Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst loves his family pancake recipe. “My dad at some point started making these pancakes that were so good and easy (and not out of the box,” he said. “They were made during family trips when I was out of school.” The best part? They are easily customized to your liking. “The things one could add to the ‘normal’ pancake are infinite,” Ernst said. “Chocolate chips, blueberries, nuts, oats, cornmeal, strawberry bits are all right answers. I hope people enjoy the basic [pancake] and then go from there by adding flavors they want. There really is no wrong answer.”
Place the following in a small bowl: 1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled) 2 tablespoons sugar 2 teaspoons baking power (double acting) 1⁄2 teaspoon salt (optional) 1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
Courtesy of City of Brookhaven
Place the following in separate two-quart bowl: 1 cup low-fat buttermilk (add a little more later if the batter is too thick). If you want to use regular milk instead, eliminate the baking soda ingredient. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted or vegetable oil 1 large egg In a small bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside. In a two-quart bowl, whisk together milk, butter (or oil) and egg. Add dry ingredients to the milk mixture, whisk until just moistened. Add a little more milk if too thick. (Do not over mix, a few small lumps are fine). Lightly oil griddle or large skillet surface by rubbing folded paper towel moistened with vegetable oil. Heat to about 375 to 400 degrees. Use 1/3 measuring cup to pour batter onto the cooking surface and use the bottom of the cup to spread batter into a round pancake. No need to completely empty the cup between scoops. Should yield about 12 pancakes. Cook until the surface of the pancakes have some bubbles and a few have burst. (1 to 2 minutes). Flip carefully and cook until browned on underside. Transfer to a loosely covered cooking sheet or heatproof platter in a warm oven (170-200 degree) to hold while remaining batter is cooked. Re-oil cooking surface as necessary. Place your favorite toppings on top of pancakes and enjoy. reporternewspapers.com
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MAY 2022 | 23
Goldbergs celebrates 50 years of bagels and more BY DYANA BAGBY Hungry diners can choose from more than 30 varieties of New York-style bagels topped with lox, brisket, eggs or just a schmear of plain cream cheese at Goldbergs Fine Foods in Buckhead. But when the original Goldberg’s deli opened in 1972 at 4383 Roswell Road, near what is now the Sandy Springs border, customers selected from only six kinds of bagels and a popular Po’ Boy sandwich. The restaurant celebrated its 50th anniversary in April. Today’s menu also includes much more than bagels, from avocado toast to fried chicken and waffles to plant-based burgers. And over the years, the Goldbergs brand has expanded with restaurants in Dunwoody, Marietta, Alpharetta, Toco Hills as well as Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and The Battery. “Not many restaurants can say they’ve been open 50 years,” said co-owner Howard Aaron during a break after a recent morning rush. “It’s a big milestone.” His partner is Wayne Saxe. The history of Goldbergs located in the Roswell Weiuca Shopping Center near Chastain Park begins with a tiny, walkin deli, opened by a father and son, and named Goldberg & Son. Aaron and Saxe emigrated from South
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Wayne Saxe, left, and Howard Aaron bought Goldberg’s deli in 1992. (Goldbergs Fine Food) Africa to Atlanta nearly 30 years ago. In their home country, they ran successful food business and wanted to do the same in their new home. They met with the Goldberg family, who agreed to sell in 1992. “We have now owned it longer than the Goldberg family,” Aaron said. Most restaurants shutter by their fifth anniversary. The Covid-19 pandemic was grueling for Goldbergs, Aaron said, but the restaurants survived with online orders and delivery. A shortage of workers also makes the food industry a tough business. But one Aaron loves. “I think it’s a passion,” said Aaron, who works seven days a week, tasting bagels and other food items to ensure top quality. “I think if you love what you do, it’s not really work. And you meet wonderful people,” he said. Ouida Lanier of Brookhaven has been eating at the Goldbergs in Buckhead two to three times a week for close to 15 years. The restaurant added a large dining room more than a decade ago. “The food is good, the people are fabulous,” she said as she prepared to cut into a thick waffle. The walls of the restaurant are covered with all kinds of bagel-centric art. A gorgeous “Goldbergs” neon sign glows red, green and gold at the back of the dining room. “This is more than just a place to eat,” Lanier said. Richard Davis, 37, a native Atlantan, remembers eating at Goldbergs with his father as a boy when it was still just a walkin deli. He’s now been working for the restaurant for 15 years and is head server. In 2018, he was named Restaurant Employee of the Year by the Georgia Restaurant Association. To see the Buckhead location grow from a “hole in the wall to what it is today is amazing to see and be a part of,” Davis said. Aaron said making people delicious meals creates happiness and this is the reward for hard work over the years. “We appreciate the wonderful support. Having come from South Africa almost 30 years ago and how we’ve been welcomed into the city and become an integral part of the city — it’s been an amazing journey. It’s been a lot of fun,” he said.
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Georgia Tech dedicates first classroom to Hispanicowned business
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Guiomar Obregon and Carlos Sanchez, founders of P2K construction company, at their classroom dedication at Georgia Tech. (Special) BY BOB PEPALIS Sandy Springs residents Guiomar Obregón and Carlos Sánchez, founders of the P2K construction company, returned to Georgia Tech on April 11 to see a classroom dedicated to their company. It was historic for Georgia Tech as it’s the first classroom dedicated to a Hispanic business. It represents the commitment the couple and their company have made to create opportunities for the next generation of civil engineers at Georgia Tech. Obregón told Reporter Newspapers that she came to Georgia Tech from Colombia to go to the engineering school. She earned a master’s in engineering from Georgia Tech and an MBA. Years later, her husband and partner, Carlos Sánchez, was working in construction when some general contractors suggested that he start a company as a lot of work was available for certified minority businesses. That was the start of P2K. It took awhile for them to get the business ready. Obregón took classes through the Small Business Administration, learning how to do things like accounting, arranging insurance and bonding for the company, before they started bidding on projects. “One day we were the low bidder on one of the projects, so the general contractor said, ‘Hey, you bid this project. Now you have to get ready and do it,’” she said. After that, they kept building up the company, hiring employees and eventually buying their own equipment. The company began with an office in their home, but after a couple of years they
opened an office in Chamblee. Five years ago, the couple and their company reconnected with Tech. “Initially when we were in business, we were just trying to get organized and do our thing. But then over time, many employees would ask me ‘How can I go to Tech? I want to attend Georgia Tech, it is a good school’,” she said. The couple had started an internship program, bringing civil engineering students from Colombia to get one year of experience working at P2K. After learning how work is done in the United States, they’d return to Colombia. “Five years ago, we created a fellowship program so those interns had the opportunity to attend Georgia Tech,” she said. The fellowship provided them with a financial incentive to attend the school. But the couple wanted to do more as the School of Civil Engineering was close to her heart, Obregón said. The scholarship program they created and now the classroom dedication are ways they can help future generations of civil engineers, she said. “We want to see more Hispanics pursuing civil engineering at Tech and more women in engineering,” she said. Most visitors to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport should be familiar with the work of P2K. “Our expertise is to prepare the runways and the taxiways at the Atlanta airport, one of the busiest airports in the world,” Obregón said. They’ve also completed maintenance work on Georgia’s interstate highways.
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A picture of the Opportunity International School with David Allman on the right in a pink shirt. (Photo by Joe Handy) BY MARIA SAPORTA
free flour that’s being marketed and sold to U.S. companies through the for-profit When Atlanta real estate developer venture, Prospera Foods. David Allman turned 50, he pulled back Last year, Prospera Foods earned a $1 from the day-to-day of his business to exmillion profit — and now the question is plore ways he could improve the lives of how to best invest those proceeds to conthe world’s most impoverished. tinue improving the lives of some of the That journey led him to Opportunipoorest people in Nity International and caragua. to Nicaragua, where “We have flourhe and others estabished in an econolished Opportunity my that’s not doing International Nicawell,” Allman said ragua. in an interview afIn late March, ter returning from Allman took a group his most recent trip. of Atlanta leaders “It is the second to Nicaragua; the poorest country in place where he and the Western hemihis wife, Donna, sphere [after Haiti].” have spent the past David Allman. (Photo by Maria Saporta) For Allman, the 16 years creating an investment in Nicaecosystem to help a ragua has been an community out of poverty through eduopportunity to practice how the private cation and entrepreneurship. sector can work with nonprofits to creAllman is the founder and chairman ate lasting social change in communities of Buckhead-based Regent Partners, with the greatest needs. Robert Lupton, which has developed mixed-use projects an Atlanta-based community developin Buckhead and beyond. He also was er, has been with Allman from the beginthe founding chairman of the Buckhead ning of his Nicaraguan venture. Community Improvement District. “We go deep,” Allman said about the Over the years, the Allmans have travecosystem they have created in Nicaraeled to Nicaragua more than 40 times, gua. “We are not looking for people to spent countless hours and invested nearjust survive. We are looking to help peoly $5 million of their own wealth to help ple become middle class.” change the lives of thousands in a rural The adventure has been full of ups and part of the country, about one hour away downs. It took three years to get a buildfrom the capital city of Managua. ing permit for the hotel. Unfortunately, The Allmans, working with Opporthe tourism industry has been impacted tunity International Nicaragua and the by COVID, the political climate and fewer community, have built a high school airline carriers serving the country. Allspecializing in agriculture and hospiman, an executive who is used to making tality, developed the Pacaya Lodge Redecisions and getting stuff built, had to sort (where hospitality students can get learn to hold back, analyze the environhands-on training), worked with the loment and let the community help pave cal farmers to improve their productivthe way for the various initiatives. ity growing the yucca crop, constructed After doing an “asset inventory” in a yucca processing plant making gluten2008, Allman’s team picked two focus arreporternewspapers.com
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eas — sustainable agriculture and sustainable tourism — because they were both growth industries that could improve the lives of the working poor. “We wanted to be a facilitator to ground-based empowerment,” Allman said of social impact investing. “We started small. We could bring resources and expertise. The community sets the priorities. They are empowered. You can’t get out ahead of the people.” The high school opened in 2010 offering certificates in the fields of agriculture and tourism. About five years later, the hotel opened and so did the initial processing plant. “It’s not for the faint of heart,” Allman acknowledged. “You need to make a longterm commitment. There are headwinds. And it takes longer than you anticipated, and it costs more. There were a number of dark days. And there were times I didn’t know if it was going to work,” Upon their return, the group from Atlanta reported that this approach is definitely working. Clark Dean, executive managing director at Transwestern, said the trip showed him how one can “truly help people and create systemic change” by working in sync with the community. “This model is one of the best I’ve seen,” Dean said. “They have built this interconnected system that builds upon entrepreneurship and opportunity. That was the spark I was left with.” Dean said it was clear to him that the community has embraced the school, and the farmers are increasing production through innovative agricultural practices. The $1 million in profit from the yucca processing plant have led to a “healthy tension between the for-profit and the nonprofit” sides of the enterprise. “It’s a passion project for David and Donna,” Dean observed. “Here is this phenomenal developer being able to take his skill to a community. He deeply cares about the people. I’m so impressed by the local leadership. The way they’ve done this has empowered people.” Dean said that although Allman is the architect of the venture, it was touching to see the developer be just a team member in Nicaragua. “He’s done this in a very authentic, selfless way,” Dean said. “This trip was structured to allow direct access to farmers and their children and to see and hear from them in the field, home and school,” Sheffield Hale, president and CEO of the Atlanta History Center, wrote in an email. “The parents’ aspiration and sacrifice for their children when given the opportunity is what stuck with me. There are many obstacles to the future of a democratic and thriving Nicaragua – but given my limited view and all I can gather- those obstacles are not in-
herent in the land or its people.” Joe Handy, president and CEO of the National Black MBA Association, traveled on the trip with his daughter, Jaelyn, who currently is a college student. “What David and Donna are doing in Nicaragua is nothing short of God’s work. Although there are many challenges to overcome, everyone I encountered had a positive spirit,” Handy wrote in an email. “I admired the hard work of the farmers and the dedication they have for proving a comfortable life for their families. I reflected on the hard work they do day in and day out and couldn’t help but to feel guilty about the luxuries we have. This was an educational experience for me and my daughter.” During the interview, Allman said he has no regrets at all. “Donna and I would say of the things we’ve been involved in, this is where we’ve felt God’s pleasure the most,” Allman said, adding a message to outside nonprofits who may not have the staying power to impact change. “You have got to go long and not parachute in.”
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