Last Week In Winston: October 5, 2020-October 11, 2020

Last week was a historic week for health care in North Carolina. Novant got approval from the New Hanover County Commissioners to move forward with their purchase of New Hanover Regional Medical Center. Just a few days later, Wake Forest Health and Atrium Health announced that they were merging. The new Atrium Health will be headquartered in Charlotte. Wake Forest gets financing.

Wake Forest Is On The Move, Again!

Earlier this week, New Hanover County officially approved Novant Health’s $5.3 billion purchase of New Hanover Regional Medical Center. All that’s left is for the state attorney general to sign off on the “remarkable” merger-and, that appears to be a formality. Not to be outdone, Wake Forest Baptist Health announced its merger with Charlotte-based health care Goliath, Atrium Health, on Friday. Wake Forest Health and Atrium Health have been in talks since early 2019. Atrium wanted a medical school in its home market of Charlotte, and Wake Forest wanted a benefactor with deep pockets.

Winston-Salem City Council Meeting Merry-Go-Round: Arbor Acres Expansion and DTWS Streetscape Plans Approved

The October 5, 2020 meeting of the Winston-Salem City Council concluded in just under one hour and ten minutes. The meeting was comprised of “two zoning petitions, two UDO text amendments, and an item related to the adopting of the downtown streetscape master plan.” Arbor Acres’s zoning petition was a little contentious. But it looks like most property owners around Arbor Acres can accept the Methodist retirement home’s expansion if the City implements some traffic calming measures and building height doesn’t get excessive. The measure passed 7-0, with Dan Besse recusing himself.

Forsyth County Lost Community Control Over Forsyth Medical Center Decades Ago

Novant’s takeover of New Hanover Regional Medical Center is expected to be approved when the county board meets this afternoon. Novant, the hospital chain anchored in Winston-Salem and Charlotte made New Hanover a $5.3 billion offer that they couldn’t refuse. That’s more than the NFL’s Dallas Cowboy’s franchise is estimated to be worth. As always, the devil is in the details. And Novant and New Hanover County aren’t letting the public scrutinize important documents related to the sale and establishment of a non-profit foundation.

In Winston, Coal Ash Waste Is Closer Than You Might Think

Earlier this week, NC Policy Watch reported that “coal ash from a structural fill site entered an unnamed stream after a sinkhole formed in Mooresville.” Mooresville has at least 14 such sites. There are coal ash structural fill sites throughout the state. Winston has one such site at 2000 Lowery Street, the site of the Joycelyn V. Johnson Municipal building. There are also coal ash structural fill sites in nearby Tobbaccoville and Belews Creek thanks to R.J. Reynolds Tobacco and Duke Energy.

Winston-Salem City Council Meeting Merry-Go-Round: Union Station Restaurant Requirements, A Do-Nothing Gun Violence Resolution, The City Adopts Juneteenth Holiday, And Generously Funds Share Co-op!

Last night’s meeting of the Winston-Salem City Council was short but packed with important agenda items. The votes cast at last night’s meeting will impact our community positively or negatively for years to come. The decisions the Council makes with our limited resources matter. While the Journal’s Wesley Young covered the City  Council’s adoption of Juneteenth as a paid holiday for all City employees, there were other matters Winston’s newspaper of record didn’t cover. Chief among them was a $300,000 to help make Share Co-op a reality. Regarding the Juneteenth holiday, this is a welcome, but ultimately hollow achievement as long as poverty in Winston is tied to race, and little is done to improve East Winston.

Smith Reynolds Airport Is Estranged From Northeast Winston

Tuesday, September 8, Donald Trump made a campaign stop at Smith Reynolds Airport. At the same time that the Trump hot-air show /Covid-19 party was taking place at Smith Reynolds, the Winston-Salem City Council debated and approved the Smith Reynolds Airport/Whitaker Park Strategic Area Plan. If ever there was a coincidence, that was it. The two events have nothing to do with each other. But, interestingly, while the racism inherent in Trump’s campaign rally is explicit for everyone to see, the structural racism that produced the Smith Reynolds Airport/Whitaker Park Strategic Area Plan requires some unpacking.

Trump’s Smith Reynolds Visit Was The Polar Opposite Of FLOC’s March On Reynolds

President Trump held a campaign rally at Smith Reynolds Airport yesterday. Trump is the embodiment of all that is wrong with the 1 percent of Americans who monopolize the wealth that we all create. Trump is a foul-mouthed fascist who despises immigrants, minorities, workers, women, renters, generally, anyone who wasn’t born white and privileged like him. Trump’s approximately one hour and forty-minute speech was full of hatred and lies. President Trump’s visit to our city brought out the worst reactionary elements in our community.

It’s About To Get A Little Easier For Crystal Towers’ Residents To Cross Sixth Street

Crystal Towers is conveniently located in the heart of Downtown Winston-Salem, at 625 W Sixth St. The Housing Authority of Winston-Salem had a buyer lined up to redevelop Crystal Towers, but HUD wouldn’t let them sell Crystal during a pandemic. Crystal Towers’ residents are just a short walk from the Central Library (when it reopens), restaurants, and the modest amenities that DTWS has to offer. But crossing Sixth Street is no easy task for many of Crystal’s approximately 200 residents, slowed down by age and/or various medical conditions. Often motorists in a hurry to get in or out of downtown exceed the speed limit on Sixth Street on their way to Trade or Broad Street.

Remember Engine Four, Extinguish Racism In The Winston-Salem Fire Department!

Omnibus,  a group of current and former Winston-Salem firefighters continue to speak out against the Winston-Salem Fire Department’s racist practices. These are serious allegations that must be addressed by the City of Winston-Salem. No one should have to endure a hostile work environment or be targeted because of the color of their skin. Fire Chief, William “Trey” Mayo needs to take racism in his department as seriously as he takes kitchen fires. And Chief Mayo takes kitchen fires very seriously.