by Jordan Green

Items from across the Triad and beyond

Forsyth Clerk of Court candidate calls for recount

Jeff L. Polston, the Republican candidate for Forsyth County Clerk of Court, has requested a recount in his race against Democrat Susan Speaks Frye. According to official results, Frye defeated Polston by 564 votes in the Nov. 2 election, a difference of less than 1 percent of the total votes cast. Under state law, a candidate has the right to demand a recount if the vote differential between the losing candidate and the prevailing candidate is less than 1 percent of the total ballots cast in that race. Judy Speas, a clerk with the Forsyth County Board of Elections, said Polston made his request Nov. 8, four days before the board of elections certified the election results. Chris Church, a local political consultant who worked on Frye’s campaign, has called upon Polston to withdraw his request.

“In the history of Forsyth County we can not find an outcome in an election that was overturned after a recount,” Church stated in an e-mail. “A recount process cost our local government many hours of productivity and has the potential to cost taxpayers thousands of dollars.”

Speas said the recount process will begin on Thursday at 8 a.m. at the Forsyth County Board of Elections. Polston did not return a call for this story on Monday. — KTB

Council member calls for reopening of assault case

Winston-Salem City Councilman James Taylor is calling for a reopening of the 1995 Silk Plant Forest-Jill Marker assault case. Taylor’s remarks came in response to the release of an internal review by the Winston- Salem Police Department, which concluded that the case should remain closed. The city released the report on its website on Nov. 5.

“I thought the report was a bit one-sided,” Taylor said. “I thought they focused more on the details that may be important to the conviction of Kalvin Michael Smith rather than the details that may have been important to the innocence of Kalvin Michael Smith.”

In 1997, Smith was convicted of brutally assaulting Jill Marker, a store clerk, while robbing the Silk Plant Forest shop. Taylor, who served on the Silk Plant Forest Citizens

Review Committee, said he’s pleased the police department has incorporated the citizen committee’s recommendations regarding improved documentation of investigative activities, handling of evidence and better procedures for photo line-ups and interrogations. However, Taylor remains concerned about “glaring” omissions in the internal review.

“I think there’s a possibility that we may still have an innocent man in prison,” Taylor said. “I think we need to have a new trial. The citizens committee reviewed information that the jury did not see. [Smith] needs a fair chance with all the facts laid out on the table, not just a select few.”

Taylor said he and fellow council member Derwin Montgomery are in agreement that Smith should receive a new trial, and that all members of city council “want to see justice.” — KTB

Forsyth Tech to construct facility in Stokes

Forsyth Tech will build its first permanent facility in Stokes County beginning in January 2013. Last week, the Stokes County Commission approved a $6 million allocation to Forsyth Tech as part of a $26.5 million school capital projects package. The facility will be built on the community college’s Meadows site in Walnut Cove.

The construction of the Forsyth Tech facility is part of a larger initiative by county officials to address the long-term education needs of Stokes County residents, with the hope of spurring economic development by creating a highly skilled workforce.

“We are grateful to the Stokes County Commissioners for providing us with the ability to move ahead with our planned expansion into Stokes County sooner than expected,” Forsyth Tech president Gary Green said in a prepared statement.

“A permanent Forsyth Tech facility in Stokes will facilitate the introduction and expansion of many educational and workforce training opportunities to meet the anticipated growth needs of the county.”

Forsyth Tech recently opened an eightroom pod at the Meadows site, which currently houses the Stokes Early College High School and offers adult education classes. — KTB