by Keith T. Barber and Jordan Green

Parks commission reinforces local preference rules at farmers’ market

The Greensboro Parks and Recreation Commission voted 7-1 on March 10 to approve new recommendations for the Farmers’ Curb Market. The recommendations reinforce current rules that give preference to locally produced goods. The approved recommendations strengthen management’s authority and discourage political interference. One section reads, “Need for higher management to support enforcement procedures of the market management. If vendors are violating the rules, they should be held accountable. If a vendor or customer voices a complaint, it should be referred in writing to market management for investigation and resolution. If elected officials are contacted by vendors, request that they allow market management and staff to work through the process.

The linchpin of recent disputes among vendors and customers at the market has been the abuse of variances, which give vendors the privilege of reselling items they do not themselves produce that are out of season and not offered by other vendors.

To enhance the integrity of management, the recommendations state that “none of the three management positions should be allowed to sell” at the market “to reduce the perceived conflict of interest that currently exists.”

“The manager said he had broken the rules, so to speak, to help another farmer get a space,” said Commissioner Carl Brower, a member of the working group that formulated the recommendations. “That substantiated why there were concerns.” — JG’­

WSPD officers appeal judge’s ruling to release committee’s report

Eight current and former Winston-Salem police officers have appealed a ruling handed down by Superior Court Judge Richard Stone to release the Silk Plant Forest Citizens Review Committee report in its entirety, which includes thousands of pages of appendices that contain information about police actions during the criminal investigation of the 1995 Silk Plant Forest-Jill Marker assault case.

Seven of the eight officers appealing the judge’s decision are active duty officers, including Capt. Richard E. “Ted” Best. During the criminal investigation, Best served as the supervisor of former Detective Donald R. Williams, the lead investigator in the case.

In his petition to the NC Court of Appeals, J.Michael McGuinness, the lawyer for the police officers, argued there was no compelling reason for the release of the documents now as opposed to the end of the appeal process.

McGuinness siad the citizens review committee took its time investigating police procedure in the Silk Plant Forest case, and there “should be no rush to judgment at this juncture to disclose the last few pages of this entire matter.”

In December, Stone ordered that testimony given by Williams before the Winston-Salem City Council be made public. James Coleman, the lawyer for Kalvin Michael Smith — the man convicted of brutally assaulting Jill Marker during an armed robbery of the Silk Plant Forest shop in December 1995 — has said that Williams’ testimony could help bolster Smith’s pending federal appeal. — KTB

New president chosen at Greensboro College

Greensboro College’s board of trustees has appointed Lawrence D. Czarda as the college’s 18 th president. Czarda is currently the vice president of administration at George Mason University in Virginia. He will begin his new job in Greensboro on April 26, according to an official release. Czarda is quoted as saying, “I saw all the ‘You belong here!’ banners hanging out front, and it sounds corny, but it’s true: I belong here. The potential to move forward at Greensboro College is an exceptional opportunity.” Praising Czarda was John Woell, chairman of the college’s department of religion and a faculty representative to the search committee. “Dr. Czarda’s depth of experience, high level of energy, passion for United Methodist higher education and enthusiasm for Greensboro College made him an outstanding candidate to be our next president. His keen sense of humor, excellent rapport with staff and faculty and collaborative style of leadership merge with his professional skills to create an excellent fit with the college’s current needs.” — JG

Winston-Salem bids for Google home fiber network

Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines announced Monday that the city will make its bid to be part of Google’s Fiber for Communities initiative. Google has announced that it will install super high-speed broadband networks in several locations serving between 50,000 and 500,000 homes. The fiber networks will deliver information at one gigabit (1 billion bits) per second.

“This may seem a little bit frivolous but it is absolutely serious business for us here in Winston-Salem for a number of reasons,” Joines said. Being selected as one of Google’s pilot sites would allow the city to move closer to its objective of developing a knowledge-based economy, and being known as the City of Arts and Innovation, Joines said. One of the top criteria for Google is community support, so Joines has declared March 23 “Google Day” in the city. Residents are encouraged to decorate their homes, yards, cars and storefronts in Google’s colors, take photos and send them to Google.

Winston-Salem’s bid for Google’s highspeed broadband network comes on the heels of Greensboro’s gambit. Last month, Greensboro City Council allocated $50,000 for “Operation Google” to market the city. However, Winston- Salem may have a secret weapon. Joines said he’s learned that Google employees are big fans of Krispy Kreme doughnuts, so the city will plan a joint promotion with the world famous doughnut chain. On its home internet page, the city has set up a link for residents to nominate Winston-Salem for Google’s initiative. Appropriately, the nomination site is — KTB

Faith and homosexuality to be explored

Human Rights Campaign will hold a “Faith and Fairness” town hall meeting on Thursday at 5 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church in Greensboro. The keynote speaker will be the Rev. Miguel de la Torre, and panelists will include Rabbi Fred Guttman, the Rev. Arnetta Beverly and the Rev. Susan Parker. Harry Knox of Human Rights Campaign will moderate. — JG