SCUTTLEBUTT: Developments across the Triad and beyond

by Keith Barber

Committee member calls for Smith to be freed

James Ferree, a member of the Silk Plant Forest Citizen Review Committee, urged the group to make a formal recommendation to the Winston-Salem City Council to pursue every legal avenue to have Kalvin Michael Smith freed from prison during the committee’s meeting Feb. 23. “After reviewing all this information, there is no evidence to link Mr. Smith to the crime he’s in jail for,” Ferree said. In 1997, a Forsyth County jury convicted Smith of brutally assaulting Jill Marker during an armed robbery of the Silk Plant Forest shop. Committee members Lois Mendezoff and Cheryl Mouzon supported Feree’s motion. The committee was formed 10 months ago and is charged with looking into Winston-Salem police procedure in the Marker assault investigation. City Attorney Angela Carmon said Ferree’s motion went beyond the committee’s scope of review. “The city council created this committee to conduct a comprehensive, factfinding review of this investigation,” Ferree responded. “We are charged as persons to do justice — the truth, and the truth has come out…. Sometimes you have to go beyond to achieve what is right and just.” The committee agreed to vote on Ferree’s motion at its next meeting March 5.

Cooper warns NC job seekers of potential scams

In light of the thousands of layoffs statewide in recent months, NC Attorney General Roy Cooper is offering some helpful advice to North Carolina job seekers regarding potential scams. In a press release issued last week, Cooper outlined a few simple steps job seekers can take to prevent being scammed. Cooper’s recommendation including always doing a background check on a potential employer by contacting either the Better Business Bureau or the attorney general’s office; never pay for information for a work-at-home offer; avoid applying for jobs where you’re asked to pay an application fee; steer clear of job offers or opportunities that promise you’ll earn a commission by transferring money; be skeptical of employment agencies that guarantee they’ll get you a job; and watch out for job interviews that turn out to be recruitment sessions for pyramid schemes. Under North Carolina law, a pyramid scheme is any plan in which a participant pays money for the chance to make money when new participants join the program. To report a potential scam, file a complaint, or check out a company, contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 877.5.NO.SCAM.

Besse named vice chair of cities council

Winston-Salem City Council member Dan Besse has been appointed as vice chair of the Large Cities Council of the National League of Cities for 2009. Besse, 54, has served on the NLC’s Large Cities Council since 2008, and has been a member of the Winston- Salem City Council since 2001. Besse also currently represents the North Carolina League of Municipalities as a member of the NLC Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee. The Large Cities Council provides an opportunity for networking and issues exchange among elected officials from the nation’s urban centers. Members of the council are active participants in NLC’s advocacy efforts and are asked to ensure that the needs of large urban centers are reflected in NLC’s national policy. The National League of Cities is the nation’s oldest and largest organization devoted to strengthening and promoting cities as centers of opportunity, leadership and governance. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 US cities, towns and villages, which collectively serve 218 million people.