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Harlem newcomers get sweet surprise

Posted: Sunday, May 11, 2003

In all homes, the kitchen is it's heart.

The same applied to Ann and Tom Blalock's home earlier this month when they played host to Harlem's first Newcomers Dessert.

Herbert and Lisa Flick - not newcomers, but returners to Harlem - hung out enjoying homemade desserts in the kitchen with several residents, Mayor Scott Dean and council members Robin Root and Johnny Thigpen.

Mrs. Flick is from Harlem, but has lived in Augusta and Martinez with her husband for 20 years.

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"It just became a trip to from the kids of at Grandmamma's everyday," Mr. Flick said. "I told my wife we have come full circle - I got you from here and we are going back. It is definitely building up."

The Flicks attended the first newcomers event, which officials hope will be held quarterly, Root said. Since January, 28 new residents have moved into the city, though some are temporary and others have yet to occupy their homes.

Root and other residents had been trying to meet and welcome each new residents, which was becoming increasingly difficult with so many new residents and everyone's complicated schedules.

The Harlem Women's Club is sponsoring the group, but it is really the friendly welcoming wagon getting organized.

"This was just a group of people that got together and decided we were going to try to welcome the new people into town," Root said.

Dean and council have revised a newcomer's packet to help new residents get familiar with city happenings, restaurants and the basics like where to pay bills, Root said.

"When I moved here, I knew I had to pay the water bill at city hall, but I didn't know when it was open," Root said. "I worked and my husband worked. Where was I supposed to send it or take it if the city hall was closed? I didn't know there was a night drop. I didn't know anybody that was able to tell me that stuff.

"Little stuff like that means a lot to new people just moving in and don't know a whole lot about what's going on in town."



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