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by Jeff Sykes

Items from across the Triad and beyond

WINSTON-SALEM RECOGNIZES LGBT MARRIAGE LICENSES

The city of Winston-Salem will begin recognizing LGBT out-of-state marriage licenses for city employees and extend employee benefits to their families.

The new policy reads: “This means that if you are currently married to someone of the same sex, and have a valid marriage license from any State or U.S. jurisdiction, you can enroll your same sex spouse and children in all City benefits including but not limited to medical, dental, flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and life insurance. You would also be able to use FMLA to care for your same sex spouse and children.”

The city’s policy conflicts directly with Amendment One, which places a ban on same-sex marriages and civil unions. Attorney General Roy Cooper has stated he will no longer uphold Amendment One due to the expectation that it will eventually be struck down, just as Virginia’s law was. His spokesperson Noelle Talley did not return calls.

Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, the director of the LGBT rights group Campaign For Southern Equality said the city’s decision is important because it helps employees immediately. “It’s very significant to see leadership from a local municipality that’s saying in this context we believe there’s grounds to recognize out of state licenses,” she said.

“It signals that the city is recognizing and treating LGBT employees as people.” Beach-Ferrara said she is hopeful cities around the state will look to Winston-Salem as a model city for making similar policies.

COMMITTEE LOOKS AT EXPANDING SKATEBOARDING BAN

The city of Winston-Salem is considering a ban on skateboarding in the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter after receiving notifications that skateboarders were causing structural damage to the area. City council members discussed the issue at Monday’s Public Safety Committee meeting.

“I believe the real issue is how we provide service to those who skateboard,” councilman James Taylor Jr said at the meeting.

Councilwoman Denise Adams said she understood the coSkateboarding is currently banned in the city’s Central Business District, but not the Central Industrial District which is where the Innovation Quarter is located. The current city code states that “it shall be unlawful for any person to coast on a sled, coaster express wagon or toy wagon or move or skate on any roller skates, skateboard or other similar device upon any public street, right-of-way, sidewalk, park or other public property located in the central business district of the city as shown on the official zoning map of the city adopted as part of the city zoning ordinance by the city council.”

Innovation Quarter President Eric Tomlinson said one of the main concerns is that the damage left by the skateboarders may lead to a future degradation in outside investment.

Councilman Jeff Macintosh said he is in favor of amending the code to include the Innovation Quarter but does not think it will prevent skateboarding. He said a better approach which has succeeded in the past in maintaining a dialogue with the skateboarding community.

The committee did not take any action but will discuss the issue further at their October meeting.

SOUTH END DEVELOPMENT PUBLIC MEETING SCHEDULED IN GREENSBORO

South Elm Development Group partner Bob Chapman told members of the Greensboro Redevelopment Commission on Wednesday that a public meeting has been scheduled to give residents updates on the Union Square Campus.

The meeting is broken into two time slots on Sept. 30 at the Little Theater on the campus of Bennett College.

The first session will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m., with a second session scheduled for 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Architect Ken Mayer of Moser, Mayer, Phoenix will be on hand to discuss the recently publicized design concept for Union Square Campus.

Other partners present include the Downtown Greenway and the city of Greensboro.

An announcement from the SEDG sent via email said that attendees will hear project updates and contracting opportunities, in addition to seeing design images.

The continuation of the Downtown Greenway will also be discussed, the announcement said. !

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