by Jeff Sykes

Items from across the Triad and beyond


Pride 2014, Winston-Salem’s annual gay pride festival, will take place next weekend, and this year it will feature a wedding with five couples at the main stage on Trade Street. The couples getting married are Jennifer Cape and Leslie Crissman of Connelly Springs, Lorraine Howard and J Marcel Spencer of Rural Hall, Lisa Bell and Alicia Huddle of Lexington, Syncere Spivey and Chawnee Williams- Spivey of Winston-Salem, Wayne Berrier and Keith Hicks. The ceremony comes one week after same-sex marriage became legal in North Carolina as a result of a ruling from a federal judge in Asheville. US District Court Judge Max Cogburn Jr. ruled that the ban on same-sex marriage set out in Amendment One is unconstitutional. The Forsyth County Register of Deeds began issuing marriage licenses to couples on Monday.

“While this was a very ambitious undertaking this close to our event, we felt we had to take this opportunity to celebrate the victory at our Pride Festival and share this experience with the community. We have had overwhelming support from local and state businesses to help take part in this celebration,” a Pride Winston-Salem press release stated.

In addition to the wedding, this year’s pride festival will feature a food truck rodeo with 14 trucks, two main stages with live entertainment and 90 vendor booths from LGBT-friendly businesses. There will also be rapid on-site HIV testing. Alcohol will be sold as a result of a partnership with Finnigan’s Wake Irish Pub. This is the fourth annual Pride, and this year they are expecting about 10,000 people.


Two agencies that work toward housing solutions for the homeless are trying to raise awareness about the need for donations of household items.

Partners Ending Homelessness, along with The Barnabas Network, are looking for donations of used household furnishings. The Barnabas Network provides furniture to people moving from homelessness to their own homes. Because of an increased focus on providing housing, the need for furnishings has greatly increased recently.

Erin Stafford Owens, executive director of the Barnabas Network, said that she has visited the homes of former clients, which had cast-off lawn furniture in a front room and nothing else.

“People cannot live comfortably in their new homes without beds,” she said. “They cannot move towards selfsufficiency without tables and chairs. They cannot thrive without plates and glasses. The Barnabas Network’s goal is to help people move towards self-sufficiency and move past a crisis by providing home furnishings for them so they can succeed in their new homes.”

Darryl Kosciak, executive director of Partners Ending Homelessness, which is a United Way partner agency, agreed.

“Moving folks into a house without furniture is the same as moving someone into a really big box,” said Kosciak. “The vast majority of people can work themselves out of homelessness. In cases where they can’t, that’s where a support network like the Barnabas Network comes in and when they make that move, there is furniture available to help make a house a home and increase their short term and long-term outcomes.”

The World’s Most Important Couch is a symbol being used by The Barnabas Network and Partners Ending Homelessness on billboards and is starring in its own YouTube video. The two agencies want to get the word out, because the need for donations of household goods has grown substantially.

A wide array of household furnishing is accepted, including mattresses, which are professionally cleaned before being sent out for use.

To donate, call The Barnabas Network at (336) 370- 4002. !