Winston-Salem City Council Meeting, August 7, 2017: Notes And Commentary

Monday’s meeting of the Winston-Salem City Council wasn’t too eventful. After taking the month of July off the city council eased back into session with a relatively light agenda. A few zoning requests were heard, several appointments/reappointments were made to various city government committees, but no public comments were heard.

Waughtown Cemetery received approval to rezone some property it had recently purchased adjacent to its existing property. The Gallery Lofts apartments received approval from the council to expand downtown without … Read the rest

Not Much Going On In The Pages Of The Journal, Check Out This Interview of Gayle Anderson

The output of the city’s paper of record has been a little lackluster lately. After the ink dried on BAT’s acquisition of Reynolds a couple of weeks ago, the Journal has largely ignored issues of importance to residents in Winston-Salem. Instead, they have covered a high-profile murder case in Davidson County and other stories that just aren’t that relevant to Winston’s urban core.

To my dismay, Friday the Journal published a story on Craig Engels. Engles, an Olympic-hopeful runner from … Read the rest

When Will It Be Acceptable To Question Football?

Last week the New York Times published a report which found that 110 of the 111 brains of former NFL players studied by Dr. Ann McKee, a leading neuroscientist were found to have CTE. CTE is a rare brain disorder caused by repeated head trauma.

For years now a growing body of research has shown that shown that playing football can lead to long-term, negative health results. These studies are increasingly hard to ignore. The correlation between football, concussions, and … Read the rest

Reynolds Loses Independence, Winston Loses Its Historic Incubator

Yesterday the Winston-Salem Journal’s Richard Craver wrote a nice article on BAT’s purchase of Reynolds’ Tobacco. The corporation that was synonymous with Winston-Salem for so many decades is no longer an independent entity.

Today, thanks largely to the globalization and financialization of the Tobacco industry Winston and Salem cigarettes are made in Greensboro by ITG Brands). Camel and Newport cigarettes are made in Tobaccoville by R.J. Reynolds, now a subsidiary of BAT.

There haven’t been any cigarettes made … Read the rest

More Ballpark Development Delays

Scott Sexton just reported that the former Royal Inn on Broad and Green Streets is again up for sale. The redevelopment of the Royal Inn has stalled. The much hyped Brookstown District at BB&T Ballpark has also stalled, though Winston’s newspaper of record has failed to report on that.

It looks like development around BB&T Ballpark will have to wait until after Business 40 is transformed into Salem Parkway. That means 2020 at the earliest. This is another … Read the rest

The End Of Reynolds, Creation Of The World’s Biggest Tobacco Corporation

Wednesday, Reynolds held its final shareholder’s meeting. That’s big news, but the local press here in Winston-Salem didn’t give BAT’s buyout of Reynolds much attention. WXII spent about a minute describing the worlds largest tobacco company. Then they went on to the next story without any reflection on Reynolds’ history with the city or the future of Reynolds under BAT ownership.

Richard Craver, the Winston-Salem Journal’s excellent business reporter, had a couple of good articles on the subject. I … Read the rest

Children March On City Hall With Empty Plates To Raise Awareness Of Childhood Hunger

I love a good demonstration. There’s something fundamentally energizing about them. Day in and day out most of us do what we’re told and do our best not to make any noise. But sometimes you have to stand up for your rights.

Demanding your rights can fun. At the same time, if we’re being honest, it’s a little childish to stand in the streets and yell demands. That makes children naturals at demonstrating.

Yesterday’s March To Save Our Plates was … Read the rest

FLOC Protests In Raleigh While BAT And Reynolds Consolidate

Every May, during Reynolds’ annual shareholders’ meeting for the last several years FLOC protesters have marched through Downtown Winston. Farmworkers and their allies from around the state and around the country form a small army of red, calling upon Reynolds to sign an agreement with FLOC.

This year, due to British American Tobacco’s acquisition of Reynolds, the company’s shareholders meeting was postponed until tomorrow. That’s when shareholders at BAT and Reynolds will hold simultaneous votes on the union of Read the rest

It’s Not Just Opioids, We Have An Alcohol Problem Too

A week ago today Ashley Marie Agee of Sedge Garden was killed when the motorcycle she was on was hit by a drunk driver. All week I have been thinking about what a tragedy her death was. Agee was riding her bike late last Sunday night on Kernersville Road, near the intersection of Kernersville Road and Sedge Garden when a drunk driver hit her from behind, throwing her from her bike and causing injuries that she was unable to recover … Read the rest

Wells Fargo Whistleblower Loses Lawsuit, But Brought Important Information To The Public

Thursday, the Winston-Salem Journal’s Richard Craver reported that Wells Fargo whistleblower George Hartzman lost his lawsuit against his former employer. It was a predictable outcome. Hartzman probably had a good lawyer, but he didn’t have his own legal department.

On a personal level, it must have been very disappointing for Mr. Hartzman to lose to his former employer. Especially since Hartzman appears to have had a solid case against Wells Fargo. But in our legal system justice matters less than … Read the rest

Fire Chief Gets Hot Discussing Cooking Fires With The Media

The July Public Safety News Conference had some fireworks, courtesy of Fire Chief, William “Trey” Mayo. Fire Chief Mayo was noticeably annoyed that local media outlets (with the exception of Spectrum) ignored his suggestion that they give more coverage to the dangers of cooking fires.

Mayo let the media have it (the emphasis is my own):

“I stood up here before you last month and asked for your assistance. I’m talking to the media now in helping us promote

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20 Years Ago Today, Reynolds Killed Its Shameless Joe Camel Campaign

On this day, 20 years ago R.J. Reynolds finally pulled the plug on its shameless Joe Camel campaign. The July 11, 1997, New York Times obituary of Joe Camel is worth rereading.

Joe Camel, the cartoon character that became the focus of perhaps the most intense attacks ever leveled against an American advertising campaign, is being sent packing by the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, which will replace it with stylized versions of Camel cigarettes’ original camel trademark.

Joe Camel,

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