Blacc Vanilla Hosts County Exec to Name Jerrod Lang OC Citizen of the Month
By Edie Johnson
The popular cafe Blacc Vanilla is “the” place to be these days, and even more so today, when County Executive, Steve Neuhaus stopped by to award owner Jerrod Lang with a prestigious Certificate as Citizen of the Month for May, for his many contributions to the Newburgh Community.
Lang has been a Newburgh resident his entire life, with the exception of 8 years he spent in the US Army. He and his wife Melanie took an older building on South Street that was beautifully renovated and designed an interior that is contemporary, filled with its very own unique Newburgh genre style, developed a scrumptious menu, and invited throngs of diverse ethnic, political, economical, and delightful people. They get together daily: politicians, musicians, small successful business entrepreneurs, and the occasional financially or physically challenged person who needs a little help, One by one the regulars almost always approach 3 or 4 friends with a smile, and fist butt, followed by a handshake and hug. It’s almost musical.
Last week’s tornado brought lots of people needing a helping hand when a tornado not only wrought havoc on electric lines and some homes, but destroyed food supplies and gave a nasty blow to some residents’ incomes. Along with other restaurants and cafes, Blacc Vanilla was there to help. Legislator Kevindaryan Lujan, who represents the ward and is a regular at Blacc Vanilla, said that one gentleman, who wished to remain anonymous, just started handing out hundred dollar bills and saying “Go buy some food.”
Some made numerous trips to Walmart and Target stores who simply opened their doors and said “Take what you need”.
As builders of a central gathering place Jerrod and Melanie have been a strong influence on the attitude we keep seeing of “This is how we care for each other in Newburgh”. After they beautified the cafe site, another beautiful older building across the street was also renovated and sold. The neighborhood, once filled with drug dealers, began to look very appealing. Kevindaryan Lujan said “Now, one by one the houses down that block have been and are being renovated and sold.:
Now, added to the strikingly beautiful wall art will be Jerrod’s well-earned Citizen of the Month award so