College Hill bakery is a winner in a national contest; vote online this week to help it win $5,000 for Greensboro Urban Ministry

venee, ian and her winning creation

A College Hill pastry chef has won a national award, and with your help she also could win $5,000 for the Greensboro Urban Ministry food bank.

Veneé Pawlowski of Black Magnolia Southern Patisserie is one of 20 winners of the General Mills 2020 Neighborhood to Nation Recipe Contest, an annual event for independent restaurants and food trucks across the country. Today through Friday, customers and neighbors can vote online for Black Magnolia to win an additional $5,000 to be awarded to the Greensboro Urban Ministry. To vote, leave a comment on the photo of Veneé’s winning entry on the General Mills page on Facebook. You can vote once each day through this Friday, February 26.

Veneé won for her Bourbon Banoffee Pecan Cinnamon Rolls. She received $5,000 plus paid advertising and other marketing tools for the business. “Our bakery has seen success from these Brioche Cinnamon Rolls we offer every Saturday, with Bourbon Banoffee Pecan being our best seller,” she told General Mills. “Banoffee” is a combination of banana and toffee that originated in England.

Veneé and her husband, Ian, operate the business at 920 Carr Street. Customers place orders online and pick up their purchases at the house. “Black Magnolia Southern Patisserie is a small batch cottage bakery that provides all made from scratch classic Southern desserts with an elevated French Patisserie flair,” its website says. “Our products are made from locally sourced ingredients with a goal of enriching our community by supporting our local economy.”

Veneé has been baking for about nine years, working at a number of restaurants and bakeries. She won honors as pastry chef for Table 16, the longtime restaurant in downtown Greensboro, and at Sweet Josephine’s bakery in High Point. After establishing Black Magnolia through catering and producing special orders, the couple started baking a menu of items on a continuing basis, all available now as special orders. The menu includes rolls and pastries, pies and tarts, cookies, and custom cakes. Beignets are available one Sunday each month. Black Magnolia baked goods also are sold at The Green Bean on Mondays and Thursdays. The Pawlowskis now are looking for a commercial kitchen where they can increase their capacity.

Black Magnolia is closed on Mondays, which is a happy coincidence for Veneé and Ian. Today is the first birthday of their daughter, Amelia.


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Support your neighborhood business owners and professionals

College Hill residents are a diverse group, and the business owners and independent professionals in the neighborhood are quite a varied group in their own right. Here’s a list of neighbors who operate their own businesses. Buying local is always a good idea, and it’s never been more important than it is now. Buying hyper-local from our own neighbors is even better.

Who’s missing? This list is a starting point, no doubt incomplete. If you’re a business owner or independent professional who isn’t included yet — or if you know of one — please tell us!

[Update 1: La Belle Skin by Katrina has been added]
[Update 2: Black Magnolia Southern Patisserie added]

For future reference, this list has been added to a new page on the website. Click here.

Black Magnolia Southern Patisserie

Veneé Pawlowski


Jeff McCarthy

DLM Builders

David Millsaps

Gate City Preservation

Samantha Smith

Miriam Herin, novelist (Amazon)

KB’s Pottery

Kim Burroughs

La Bella Skin by Katrina

Katrina Guilford-Hayes

Linkfish Media

Julie Joyce and Jay Thomas

Martin Meliton Piano Duo (YouTube)

Elena Martin and Jose Meliton

Ian McDowell, journalist and author (Amazon)

Music Across the Water (Amazon)

Dan and Samantha Smith

Arlen Nicolls, Realtor

Oden Brewing

Jan Oden

Win-Win Remodeling

Eric Crouse

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News from Tate Street, McGee Street and around College Hill: Bitcoin ATMs are a coming thing, and the College Mart has one

window of the College Mart woth neon Bitcon ATM sign

Cutting-edge crypto-coin technology arrives at a convenience store near you.

For those interested in making their lives as complicated as possible, there’s now a Bitcoin ATM at the College Mart on Tate Street. People who have figured out cryptocurrency can use it to buy Bitcoins, Bitcoin Cash and something called Litecoins.

More from Tate Street: Slices by Tony has opened a second location. It’s on Spring Garden Street on the other side of campus between Josephine Boyd and Chapman streets. … Construction is now complete on UNCG’s big new School of Nursing building.

The pandemic has been bad for businesses everywhere, but almost all of the Tate Street businesses are hanging in. Exceptions: Coffeeology, which still has a notice on its door dated last March, saying they’ll reopen when it’s safe to do so. They posted a few updates on Facebook, but nothing since July 4. And Pedro’s Taco House, which has been dark since March.

On McGee Street, Greensboro College has cut down its large, dying sycamore tree. That’s part of a new landscaping project along McGee recently approved by the Historic Preservation Commission. The plan calls for planting elm trees on McGee between College Place and Fulton Street and planting holly trees to screen a new scoreboard for the athletic field, among other things. It’s scheduled to begin this winter. The full plan can be found here.

A belated thank you

decorated College Hill sign at Market and Tate streets

Beth and Kim Langlois did a beautiful job of decorating the College Hill signs for the holidays. Their beautification efforts throughout the year make our neighborhood a better place to live.

Downtown Greenway news

colorful artwork painted on underpass on Spring Garden Street

Photos from Action Greensboro

From Action Greensboro: The repainting of the bridge supports at Morehead Park on Spring Garden Street has been completed. Artist Darlene McClinton led a team that created the new painting, titled Bridging the Gap.

The section of the greenway running along Greensboro College (the former railroad track) is scheduled to go to bid in April. Construction is planned to begin this summer and to be complete next year. It will be the final section of the four-mile loop around downtown.

Posted in Businesses, Downtown Greenway, Greensboro College, McGee Street, Spring Garden Street, Tate Street, UNCG | Leave a comment

New president for the College Hill Neighborhood Association; longtime president James Keith leaving as business expands

painted wooden fence

This brightly painted fence on Edgar Street was one of the first improvements made by Samantha Smith and Joshua Stewart after they bought their Tate Street home.

Samantha Smith has been elected president of the College Hill Neighborhood Association, succeeding James Keith. James stepped down in December as he was selling his house on South Mendenhall Street. The association board voted unanimously to name Samantha president.

Samantha Smith

Samantha is director of community engagement and digital learning at Old Salem. She and her husband, Joshua Stewart, live on Tate Street. Her parents, Daniel Smith and Rosemarie DiGiorgio, live on Walker Avenue in College Hill.

In addition to working at Old Salem, Samantha is the owner of Gate City Preservation LLC, a historic preservation consulting firm. She previously served as executive director of Historic Bethabara in Winston-Salem and as a park ranger at Guilford Courthouse National Military Park. Samantha graduated from N.C. State University with a bachelor’s degree in history and anthropology and a master’s in public/applied history. She also holds a post baccalaureate certificate in historic preservation from UNCG.

Samantha and her father perform folk music as Music Across the Water. The covers of the their albums feature art by Patti Pogodzinski, an illustrator and textile designer. Patti and her husband, Thomas Kilian, recently bought a house on Carr Street.

James Keith: Double Oaks and new opportunities

James and Amanda Keith

James and Amanda Keith sold their home at 303 S. Mendenhall Street in December. James told the neighborhood association last month that he and Amanda haven’t had much time to maintain a residence in College Hill while they expand their business. In addition to owning and operating Double Oaks Bed & Breakfast on North Mendenhall Street in Westerwood, they’re planning to restore a historic hotel in western North Carolina.

James has served as neighborhood association president since 2013. He has led several projects that have improved the quality of life in the neighborhood, including the Mendenhall Street redesign project, a continuing, multi-year effort to reduce the speed of traffic on the street; the addition of many badly needed streetlights throughout College Hill; and the development of the neighborhood’s long-range plan. He also led the neighborhood’s successful fight to preserve fire-damaged 919 Spring Garden Street, which involved partnering with the Preservation Greensboro Redevelopment Fund and the City of Greensboro. His efforts resulted in a change in the city’s Municipal Service District ordinance to allow use of the historic district’s MSD funds for preserving significant properties.

James and Amanda bought the Effie M. Anderson House at 303 S. Mendenhall Street in 2008. Their restoration of the house was honored with a preservation award from Preservation Greensboro. The Keiths also secured Historic Landmark Designation from Guilford County. The 1914 Colonial Revival home was designed by prominent Greensboro architect Harry Barton. James and Amanda accepted a full-price offer three days after listing the house for sale in October.

The Effie M. Anderson House, 303 S. Mendenhall Street

Posted in Carr Street, City Government, College Hill Neighborhood Association, Historic Preservation, Mendenhall Street, Spring Garden Street, Tate Street | 2 Comments

Following up on tropical-storm damage at 703 Walker Avenue: One apartment’s roof damaged by fallen tree, no one injured

tree down in front of brick apartments

The tree was identified as an elm with a trunk 39 inches in diameter in the 2013 inventory of trees in College Hill.

roof damaged by fallen tree

workers removing fallen tree

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Storm brings down large tree on Fulton Street at Walker

Tree down on Fulton at Walker

Thursday’s tropical storm brought down a tree in the front yard of the brick apartments on Fulton Street at Walker Avenue. (Photos by Liz Pinson)

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Vote for the school bonds and sales tax: Guilford’s schools desperately need to be modernized, safer and repaired

crumbling window frame at a guilford county school


Guilford County’s school buildings are literally falling apart.

“While the buildings and grounds look okay from the outside, the infrastructure inside the walls and core systems like windows, doors, roofs, plumbing, foundations and heating/cooling units have been stretched to the breaking point,” the school system says. “In fact, so many systems are so old that we can’t always get parts for repairs.”

The school system has identified facility needs totaling $2 billion. The first steps toward meeting those needs are on the ballot this fall — a $300 million school-bond proposal and a 1/4-cent local sales tax increase for school construction. The College Hill Neighborhood Association has endorsed both ballot proposals. Please vote yes on the bonds and the sales tax increase.

The money will start funding the Guilford County Schools Facilities Master Plan, which was released last year. The plan calls for:

  • Safety and technology upgrades for all schools,
  • Rebuilding 22 schools on existing sites,
  • Building seven new schools and expanding three more to alleviate overcrowding and accommodate enrollment growth,
  • Fully renovating 19 schools,
  • Major repairs for 56 schools and
  • Eliminating all mobile classrooms, some of which date to the 1970s. GCS has more than 500 mobile or temporary classrooms.

In addition, the report found that 13 school buildings and 11 administrative facilities are in such bad shape they should simply be closed.

“This plan doesn’t recommend patching aging facilities that have been deteriorating for decades,” GCS Superintendent Sharon L. Contreras has said. That’s how the system has coped in the past. That’s why we now need $2 billion to fix our school buildings.

Most of us in College Hill don’t have children in school. But every one of us needs our schools to do the best job possible of preparing our community’s young people for their adult lives. We’ll be depending on them in the future. We need to fix our school buildings now.

Our schools haven’t received bond funding for 12 years. Neither measure on the ballot would impose a difficult expense on any of us. For the slight amount of money that each of us will pay, the results will be huge. And not supporting our schools would send our county further down the path taken by Alabama, Mississippi and other places that think their poverty, moribund local economies and bottom-of-every-ranking schools are all just a big coincidence.

We aren’t fools. Let’s not vote like we are. Support our schools at the polls. Vote for the school bonds and sales tax increase.

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UNCG classes start Tuesday with COVID-dictated changes

3 gardeners stand at the "UNCG Gardens" sign on McIver Street

Click here to read about activity at the UNCG Gardens on McIver Street during the pandemic.

UNCG’s fall-semester classes will begin Tuesday, as originally planned. The rest of the semester, though, has been changed dramatically. Among the highlights:

  • Fall Break and Reading Day will be eliminated. Classes will end before Thanksgiving.
  • Most final exams will be online.
  • Almost 900 sections originally scheduled as face-to-face will be held online. More than 1,250 sections will adopt a hybrid format. Some students’ classroom time will be reduced up to two-thirds.
  • All students, faculty members and staff must wear face coverings indoors on campus, including in classrooms, libraries, auditoriums, and meeting spaces.
  • Face coverings are required outdoors when appropriate social distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Some campus events will be changed for social distancing and using technology to connect people, including Homecoming.

Click here for more information on the UNCG website.

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923 Carr Street is sold to neighbors after home’s demolition

the empty ot at 923 Carr Street

The aftermath of the May 13 fire at 923 Carr Street has played out to its end, for now at least. The remains of the house have been demolished and the wreckage hauled away. The site has been leveled and seeded, as the Historic Preservation Commission ordered. Damage to 925 Carr Street has been repaired almost fully; the roof has been replaced and the new siding apparently just needs to be painted. The lot has been sold. Eventually a new house will be built, but the owners are in no hurry.

The sale of the property closed Monday. The buyers are Alexa Barwick and Eric Snavely, who live next door at 925 Carr Street. The lot is tiny, just 0.11 acre. Similarly small lots have been built upon recently in College Hill, so there’s no doubt that a new house can be built, despite problematic setback requirements that came into effect many decades after the original house was built.


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The Spartan Open Pantry needs your donation now to provide food to struggling UNCG and Greensboro College students

With the fall semester about to begin, college students are facing the same challenges as the rest of us in these difficult times. But many must do so without a steady income or financial support from their families. The Spartan Open Pantry helps UNCG and Greensboro College students avoid — or overcome — hunger. A joint project of the Wesley-Luther Campus Ministry and the UNCG Dean of Students Office, the pantry provides non-perishable food to students at the two institutions  who are facing food insecurity (and to UNCG staff who are struggling as well). Please join the College Hill Neighborhood Association in supporting the SOP now.

Click here to learn more or here to make a financial donation.

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