July 2011 Highlights

It's time to turn out for National Night Out in our neighborhoods.

National Night Out: Winston-Salem police and neighborhoods will participate in the 28th annual National Night Out on Tuesday, August 2, from 6 to 9 p.m. NNO represents a celebration of the partnership between our police department and citizen neighborhood groups in reducing crime and keeping our community safe. We'll have block parties and cookouts around our city that evening. If you don't know of one in your neighborhood, contact WSPD's Cpl. Michael Calcutt at mcalcutt@wspd.org or 773-7844. If you don't have a neighborhood watch where you live and would like more information about organizing one, check out http://www.cityofws.org/Home/Departments/Police/NeighborhoodWatch/Articles/NeighborhoodWatch

National Black Theatre Festival: The biennial National Black Theatre Festival starts this Monday, August 1. The NBTF is Winston-Salem's premier cultural event, and I encourage fans of art, music, and live theater to take advantage of it. Scheduling and ticket information is all available online at www.NBTF.org.  (By the way, for fans of local jobs and a strong economy, I'll also note that the NBTF brings in a lot of visitors and dollars to our local economy every two years as well.)

Curbside recycling rollout carts: At our July 18 City Council meeting, we approved a contract with Waste Management to take the single-stream curbside recycling program citywide next year. The new program will replace the small carry-out bins with new roll-out carts, with much larger capacity, to be collected every two weeks. Pilot projects in eight neighborhoods around the city proved that this approach both increases per-household participation in recycling, and cuts collection costs to the city. In addition to the curbside changes, this contract is expected to result in the construction by the private contractor within the city of a new recyclables processing center, with a public education component and local private-sector job creation. Finally, the city should be able to offer a lower-cost opportunity for small businesses and multi-family residential units to participate in the recycling program under the new contract. (Assistant City Manager Greg Turner will be able to answer detailed questions about the new contract and programs, at gregt@cityofws.org.  Or, you can always relay questions through me if you'd prefer.)

Old Vineyard Road sidewalk: At the same meeting, we awarded a contract for construction of a new sidewalk along Old Vineyard Road from Country Club Road to Johnsborough Court. This is a heavily-traveled road with a lot of residential development and no current access to extended safe walking opportunities. As a recent tragic accident has emphasized, we need to provide more safe sidewalk connections to such areas throughout our city. Please keep that in mind as we discuss bond referendum packages over the next year.

Utility line work and water discolorations: The city/county Utilities Department is continuing a major water/sewer line renovation project in the Ardmore neighborhood all this summer and early fall. Whenever such work is underway, there will be occasional local water discolorations as changing water pressure in lines can stir up sediment or knock off rust inside pipes. There's no health issue associated with this. However, if you live near one of the construction areas and are worried about possible laundry effects, I'd recommend that you check your tapwater immediately before starting a load while the construction work is going on.

BLET graduation: On July 22, the Winston-Salem Police Department graduated an unusually strong 32-member class from its Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET). The diverse and well-prepared BLET Recruit Class 62 has started on its rookie year of service with our community.

Homeless veterans housing project: Finally, I'm pleased to report that Veterans Helping Veterans Heal (VHVH) held the formal groundbreaking ceremony on July 27 for a new 30-bed transitional housing facility on North Glenn Avenue. With support from the N.C. Housing Foundation, Veterans Administration, Ten Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness, and others, this project will help homeless vets in our community get off the streets and back into a normal life. We estimate that veterans make up about 20 per cent of the chronically homeless population in our county, and they often share special traumas and issues that make returning to the community a challenge. We're committed to helping them meet that challenge in our community.