W-S OKs Sunday morning alcohol

W-S OKs Sunday morning alcohol
August 24
05:00 2017

Military incentives, serving alcohol on Sunday and where newspaper racks can go downtown were among the items approved by the City Council on Monday, Aug. 21.

Citizens responded to a variety of issues during the public comment period. One was Rev. Robert Hutchens, pastor of Meadowview Baptist Church, who opposed the council’s approval of a “brunch” ordinance allowing the sale of malt beverages, unfortified and fortified wine and mixed beverages on Sundays starting at 10 a.m. Such sales had been restricted to after 12 p.m. on Sundays.

The General Assembly recently gave local governments the option to allow sales of such beverages on Sunday morning. Hutchens said that he felt “the Moravians who founded Winston-Salem would roll over in their graves” as the city became the latest to adopt the measure. He felt that it would lead to more problems with alcohol, like drunk driving.

“They start drinking at 10 a.m. on Sunday morning, they’re going to be on the roads when we’re out and about,” he said.

The council approved implementation of a 5 percent military incentive for sworn police officers and firefighters who were honorably discharged after at least one year of service. This was given initial approval in this year’s budget and is now effective retroactively as of July 1. It’s the latest in a string of incentives and raises the city has given police and firefighters to help with recruitment and retention.

“I always say we have the brightest and best police and fire department in the country, and I think we’ve done a great job to supplement them,” said City Council Member James Taylor, who is also The Chronicle’s publisher.

The council unanimously approved regulations for newsracks in the downtown Business Improvement District. All downtown newsracks will be required to be in city-built corrals. According to a city staff report, the city will determine where the corrals are and will “develop an equitable system that determines which publishers can place their newsracks in which box corrals to ensure that smaller publishers are not squeezed out of the downtown market.”

Less durable plastic racks currently used by publications like Relish, Job Finder, Piedmont Local, The Real Estate Book and others, will not be allowed.

According to the staff report, the ordinance is in response to citizen complaints about newsracks and the city consulted with the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership, Winston-Salem Journal, Yes Weekly and Triad City Beat on the regulations, which are similar to those adopted in Charlotte, Raleigh and Wilmington.

During the public comment period, Camille Roddy asked how the council’s approval of $260,000 in Revitalizing Urban Commercial Area (RUCA) loans to transform a shuddered Church’s Chicken on New Walkertown Avenue into Zesto, a fast-food restaurant specializing in hamburgers and ice cream, fit in with the Poverty Thought Force recommendations calling for greater access to healthier foods.

The downtown Confederate monument was also discussed. Located at the former county courthouse, which now houses apartments, the statue is owned by the United Daughters of the Confederacy James B. Gordon Chapter, who erected it in 1905. After a violent rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where white nationalists protested moving a statute of Robert E. Lee, Confederate monuments have again become a source of public controversy.

“Some feel that the removal of Confederate statutes from public display and public land would be the removal of history and would ultimately lead to a conscious denial of history,” said Annette Beatty, a teacher at Clemmons Elementary School. “While that argument is soothing to some, it is also self-serving because it seeks to preserve and display only one perspective of that period of time.”

Beatty said that there aren’t enough local monuments that show the African-American side of history.

Miranda Jones, a teacher at North Forsyth High School, also said that she’d like to see the monument moved, and would like to see more minorities honored in the city’s monuments.

“There’s not diversity amongst the symbols in our city,” said Jones.

The City/County Public Art committee has been working to increase diversity in public art pieces and among its future projects is a large piece at the Benton Convention Center celebrating the  National Black Theatre Festival; its founder, Larry Leon Hamlin; and its current executive producer, Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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