by Whitney Kenerly & Daniel Schere

Items from across the Triad and beyond |

Angelou honored by Greensboro mayor

During last week’s First Friday in downtown Greensboro, Mayor Nancy Vaughan honored the memory of Dr. Maya Angelou.

Poetic reflections were offered by “Phenomenal Women” Amelia Parker from the International Civil Rights Center & Museum, Shirley Frye from the Bryan Foundation, Adri-anne Jones from NC A&T, and Valerie Johnson from Bennett College. The event was held at the ICRCM.

Former President Bill Clinton, First Lady Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey all came to Winston-Salem on Saturday to pay their respects to Dr. Angelou at Wait Chapel.

“As a child, my first doll was Malibu Barbie. That was the standard for perfection. That was what the world told me to aspire to. But then I discovered Maya Angelou, and her words lifted me right out of my own little head,” said the First Lady during her eulogy. “Her message was very simple: She told us that our worth had nothing to do with what the world might say.”

Highway project status uncertain

At one point it appeared the Business 40 improvement project would see construction begin as soon as 2016, but a new system of prioritization implemented by the North Carolina Department of Transportation last year has complicated things.In an email from Southwest Ward Council Member Dan Besse last month, he said the project had been dropped from the DOT’s list of funded projects.

“That puts in jeopardy years of planning and public input work on a project which had been scheduled to start in 2016,” he wrote. “The city, other local governments, and business and community leaders will be working to address this problem, including the possibility of getting the project into the DOT regional funding priorities.”

The project, estimated to cost the DOT over $63 million, aims to repave stretches of a 1.2-mile stretch of business 40 between Fourth and Church streets in downtown Winston-Salem. It also involves the replacement of two bridges on Business 40, nine bridges which extend over the interstate, and improving entrance and exit ramps. The highway was constructed in 1957 and was the main route through Winston-Salem until 1992, when a new bypass was built for I-40.

DOT project development engineer Michael Penney said he recognizes the importance of the project but is unsure of its timetable since plans are being reviewed.

“We’re still working toward a 2016 construction schedule,” he said while noting that the DOT would have a better idea of where the project stood by mid- August after the 90-day public comment period has passed .

Last year, the General Assembly passed House Bill 817, which put in place a scoring system for determining which transportation projects should receive funding. Scores are based on factors such as accessibility, cost, congestion and safety. Each project receives three scores; division needs, regional impact, and statewide mobility. The Business 40 project received a statewide mobility score of 38 out of 100, a regional impact score of 33 out of 70, and a division needs score of 26 out of 50.

Special Olympics Forsyth County Athlete Seeking Donations to Support Participation in Special Olympics National Games

Special Olympics Forsyth County is soliciting donations to assist a Winston- Salem bocce player who is scheduled to travel Saturday to Princeton, N.J., to compete in the Special Olympics National Games.

Ghree Lockard is trying to raise $2,014 to cover the cost of the trip and is accepting contributions online through, an online fund-raising website for non-profit organizations, including Special Olympics North Carolina.

Lockard, 30, has competed in Special Olympics since she was in middle school. This is her first chance to compete in the national games, which are being held this year June 14 – 21.

Because Special Olympics does not charge athletes to train and compete in Special Olympics, local programs are responsible for covering the cost of the tournament and travel. Donations can be made securely online at fundraiser/GhreeLockard/teamNC. !