Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Triad Solarize Launch Party

THURS JAN 29 (6:30-8:30p)

620 N. TRADE ST.

Please come if you're interested in getting a FREE Solar or Energy Efficiency Assessment on your home, you want solar and/or EE done to your house or you want to volunteer to help bring these to others in the Triad at a discounted price. Up to 65% tax credits are available for 2015. Plus, we'll have free food, a presentation and reliable installers who can answer your questions, 

 Email if you have questions.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

We Are They by Carly Pete

By Carly Pete

So he answered, "Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them." 2Kings 6:16, New American Standard Bible.

The above scripture was the theme for the C.H.A.N.G.E. meeting I attended on January 20, 2015 at First Baptist Church on Highland Avenue. It is a much needed reminder as we continue to strive together to build
Dr. King’s Dream into the 21st Century.

A reckoning has come
A hurt to be undone
Tomorrow has begun
Who have we become?

A tender voice is heard
A legacy in words
Emboldened loud to speak
Until our hearts can reach in black and white and gray.

                                 Excerpt from Gray©2012, CBWilliams, all rights reserved.

We are the aftermath of Selma, a ragtag coalition of dreamers who are changing the world. This righteous struggle has always been about us – what we feel is most important, who we are becoming…day by day. We, who have been wounded by injustices from the past, especially those perpetrated on our watch – we, who have had the privilege of spending time together, intentionally, across isms.

We walk together, with dignity for all. We are they. Glory!

About Carly Pete: Carly, a 2013 graduate of Salem College, earned B.A. degrees in Communication and Creative Writing. She resides in Winston-Salem, where she works as a communication consultant, lyricist and writer.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

#MeetupMonday with Piedmont Triad Living

By Jessica Thomas Lewis

We're starting the conversation with #MeetupMonday.  Let's get together and talk about our neighborhoods and our nation.

In recent months our nation's need for community has become clearer than ever.  We want to ensure every American can be part of a strong community that will let their voice be heard.  That's why #MeetupMonday was launched.

Who:  Open to the public, please bring a friend.  Well mannered children are welcome.
What:  A guided discussion designed to bring the community together by fostering greater understanding, empathy and respect.  Tell your story.  Meetup with neighbors.  Be heard.
When:  The second and fourth Monday of each month.  7:00-8:00 PM
Where: The Cokesbury Room in Craven Hall, Maple Springs UMC, 2569 Reynolda Road, Winston-Salem
Why: To create a sense of shared destiny and common purpose

#MeetupMonday Community Guidelines

#MeetupMonday seeks to promote a forum for community engagement, civic discourse, and open dialogue about local and national issues.

#MeetupMonday supports members that are trustworthy, honest, and respectful of their fellow members and the mission of #MeetupMonday at large. 

Each #MeetupMonday event should meet the following requirements: 
  • Promote civic and social responsibility
  • Support #MeetupMonday mission with integrity 
  • Build local community 

#MeetupMonday Discussion Guide
Created by Citizen University


These Monday conversations, launching Martin Luther King Jr. Day, are made possible by Meetup and facilitated by partners like Citizen University and others.

Our hope is for participants to:
  • see and hear each other more fully
  • build trust and empathy
  • create a sense of shared destiny and common purpose

We’ll follow a simple 60-minute “talking circle” format. Form circles of 6-8 people. Agree on a timekeeper to guide the process. 

Participants introduce themselves by answering, in 3 minutes or less, a simple question: Why did you show up today?

Everyone gets a chance to speak for 3 minutes to the topic you choose (see next section).

Participants respond to each other with questions or reflections.
Each participant commits to a next step, like volunteering or getting involved in local issues or organizing more gatherings.

Here are some ground rules for productive conversations:

  • listen deeply and compassionately – don’t interrupt to disagree or comment
  • respect the circle – turn off devices; don’t speak for more than allotted time
  • everyone gets heard – no one speaks a second time until all have spoken once
  • “yes, and” – don’t respond with “no” or “but”; try to bridge with “yes, and”
  • disagree well – don’t accuse others or be defensive; assume good faith

Here are a few possible questions that may start and center our conversation. 

  • What is your dream for America now?
  • How can citizens like us build what King called “the beloved community”?
  • How do we convert protest to empowerment?
Each time round the circle, unexpected human connections will emerge. Listen for them. If the conversation drifts, return to the topic. There’s no “correct” outcome—but if everyone commits to sustaining the conversation, you’ll come up with ideas. And you’ll be practicing the kind of citizenship our country needs today.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

FREE GSO: Center City Cinema 2015 Lineup

Center City Cinema

Center City Park has announced it's 2015 Lineup.  
Mark your calendars now!

May 22     The Hunger Games
June 12     Dirty Dancing
June 26     Muppets from Space
July 10     Empire Records
July 24     Journey 2 The Mysterious Island
August 14     Talladega Nights
August 28     The Notebook
September 25     Iron Man

Center City Park, located in the heart of downtown Greensboro, fills the block between North Elm and North Davie Streets and is bordered on the south by West Friendly Avenue and on the north by the Renaissance Tower office building. The Park's main entrance is at 200 North Elm Street.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Free Tax Prep in Winston-Salem and Surrounding 2015

By Jessica Thomas Lewis

I use this service myself.  Once again  this year United Way will be supporting the VITA ( Volunteer Income Tax Assistance ) program. The VITA program, through Forsyth Working Families Partnership,  is designed to help low income families save on tax preparation fees as well as to maximize their refund particularly by utilizing the Earned Income Tax Credit where possible. This program is open to families with incomes of $53000 or less ( $60000 if filing single).

There will be a Launch Party on Thursday, January 22 at The Old Winston Social Club on Burke Street in Winston-Salem to kickoff this year’s program and answer any  questions you might have.  

To see a full listing of sites/times where tax assistance can be secured for free, go here.  This is a program in Forsyth County, NC. 

To see more locations for free tax preparations in the Piedmont Triad, see this blog post from 2013.  The information on that post was accurate as of date written.  There are phone numbers included for most locations; please verify current times and locations on your own.   

You can file your taxes at these locations beginning February 2nd.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

HanesTowne Village Announcement with Links

Here's a line-up of the establishments announced to open at HanesTowne Village, located on Stratford Road in Winston-Salem where the old Hanes Mill Outlet used to sit.  Click on any business name to visit their website.

Tijuana Fats
Walmart Neighborhood Market (already open)

There is also proposed Coffee Shop,  Office Building and Retail space.  The map includes a walking path and what appears to be a small pond.

To see a map of the HanesTowne Village shopping center, please click here to see it on

The old Hanes Mill Outlet at Stratford Road and Ricks Drive in Winston-Salem, NC.
HanesTowne Village is now occupying the land where Hanes Mill Outlet stood.

Photograph by Jessica st Lewis

Events: Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. in the Piedmont Triad 2015

FREE, WS: Discussion About "Freedom Riders". Jan. 17, 2pm. Old Salem Museums & Gardens in partnership with Wake Forest will host a discussion based on clips from the movie “Freedom Riders” in the James A. Gray Jr. Auditorium, Old Salem Visitor Center at 2pm. The discussion is part of the National Endowment for the Humanities to screen films from their “Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle” series. The film tells the terrifying and moving, story of when white and black students rode a bus into the Deep South to protest segregation and Jim Crow laws. The event is free and open to the public.

FREE, GSO:  Jan. 19 Beginning at 10am, the International Civil Rights Center & Museum  will be celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  Admission is free, but there is a suggested $5 donation.  There are daylong events.  Please click onto their website for full details and times for each event.

FREE, HP:  Jan. 19, 10:30am.  MLK Annual Balloon Launch.  In honor and remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 86th birthday, 86 balloons will be released by attendees.  Join us for this uplifting family event, which will also feature a speakr, dance groups and light refreshments.  Washington Terrace Park & Community Center, 101 Gordon St, High Point.

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade will be held on Monday, January 19, 2015 beginning at 11:00am. Held on Martin Luther King Drive in Greensboro, this annual celebration honors the immeasurable contributions of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as well as pays homage to others that continue his legacy.

FREE, WS: MLK Noon Hour Commemoration. Jan. 19, 12pm. The 35th Annual observance of the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will feature keynote speaker, Dr. Sir Walter Mack, Jr.. The MLK Dare to Make A Difference Award will be presented to NC Senator Earline Parmon. The Twin City Choristers are musical guests. The Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Noon Hour Commemoration founded and organized by Mutter D. Evans is the city’s longest on-going local observance. Free and open to the public.

FREE, WS: Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Concert. Jan. 19, 4pm. The Presbyterian Men of Grace Presbyterian Church will sponsor the `Twin City Choristers` in concert, in celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthdaY on the above date. The Choristers are directed by Dr. Fred D. Tanner. The general public is cordially invited to attend. Edward Allen is moderator of the Grace Men’s ministry. Rev. Toure’ C. Marshall is the senior pastor. Willie C. Gray is the vice moderator and program committee chairman. Free Concert, offerings will be accepted

FREE, GSO: Jan.19, 6pm.  MLK Day Candlelight Vigil at the ICRCM.  

FREE, WS: On Common Ground: If Not Now, When? Tuesday, Jan. 20. 7pm Social activist, author and comedian, Richard Claxton “Dick” Gregory will present the 15th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day keynote speech at 7 pm in K.R. Williams Auditorium at Winston-Salem State University. In conjunction with Wake Forest University. The event is free and open to the public.

FREE, WS: MLK Young Dreamers Award. Jan. 20, 7pm. Each year, the Winston-Salem Human Relations Commission awards one male and one female the Martin Luther King, Jr. Young Dreamer Award in celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.The Young Dreamers Award is given to citizens between the ages of 18 and 40 who have made a tangible difference in the lives of others which include fostering positive race relations, vocalizing or acting against an injustice, leading inclusiveness amongst individuals, embracing those who are perceived as different, and celebrating religious diversity. Free and open to the public.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

You So Crazy


Advice for the Disney World Traveller

By Ray Fleckles

Winter has its icy grip upon us and many families are starting to plan their Spring and Summer vacations.  This time of year many people’s thoughts turn to Florida, the warm weather, sandy beaches and of course Walt Disney World.
If you’ve been paying attention lately you may have noticed that something has changed in the Magic Kingdom.  No, not the new attractions.  Not the refurbishment of several of the resorts.  I’m talking about Disney’s new MyMagic+ system.  As I look over the posts from several Disney World Facebook posts I’m met with confusion and consternation as people try to figure out this new system.  No longer do you wait until you get to the parks to book your Fastpasses.  No longer do you show up at a restaurant and just sit down for a meal.  Now Disney World requires planning!
Restaurant reservations are now made up to 180 days before your visit.  Restaurants such as Cinderella’s Royal Table (and most character meals for that matter) may require persistence and luck to secure a table.  Ride Fastpasses can be booked up to 60 days in advance, but only up to three per day.  After you’ve used all three you can get another Fastpass, but only one at a time and only at kiosks in the parks.
There’s even an app now (Android and iOS) that you can use to keep track of your reservations and Fastpasses.  You can even make additional reservations (if available).
Also gone are the wandering characters, barring a very few.  They now have fixed locations and of course the attendant long lines.  Of course, you can get Fastpasses for those now too.  If your little ones really want to meet the princesses, or Anna and Elsa make sure you book those Fastpasses early as they do run out!  The same holds true for some of the newer or more popular rides. 
Disney World has gone from one of the simplest vacations for a person to book, to one of the most involved.  Rivalling even some international travel for its complexity and frustration. 
Of course, all is not lost.  Because of this newfound complexity many travel agencies are offering their services for free to assist people with their planning if you book through them.
Raymond Fleckles
Vacation Specialist

Kernersville, NC
T: (336)992-0167
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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Night We Became King

(As we remember the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1/15/29 – 4/4/68), whose powerful words continue to embolden us to speak and to act to end racial injustice into the 21st Century, I share the following true event from the life of my family which happened on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, 1996. In the aftermath of Ferguson, et al, the point of my sharing this story, again, is to show how any city in America could potentially be or have been a Ferguson, even Winston-Salem.)

The Night We Became King by Carly Pete

My then twenty-year-old son, Lawrence, knocked at our bedroom door, then rushed into the darkened room; it was after 1:00 in the morning.

“Turn on the light,” I said.

He flipped the switch on the wall, rushed over to kneel at our bedside and whispered over his sleeping dad to me, “Ma, the police just chased me up the path and I didn’t do nothin’! I promise!” he panted. I sat up in bed, for the moment forgetting about the verbal chastisement I’d planned – how Lawrence was disrespecting our house rules, needed to find a job or go back to school, and should set a better example for his younger brother.

“Chased you? What for?” I said.

Mike, my husband, woke. “What happened?”

“Lawrence just got home.”

There was a knock at the front door.

Lawrence paced the floor, raking his fingers through his inch long dreadlocks, eyes bulging, wide and frightened, “Ma, Daddy-M! I promise you, I didn’t do nothin’!”

Unlike the weed smoking, sometimes disrespecting, high school dropout he’d lately become, this Lawrence standing before me reflected the innocence of young Loncy, his preschool self, the child who exclaimed in a moment of epiphany in the parking lot of his daycare center, “Good grief, today is tomorrow!” when he’d forgotten to bring his toy for show and tell. I believed him; he hadn’t done anything wrong. So, why were the police chasing my son?

“Alright, go upstairs,” I whispered. Quickly, Mike pulled on a pair of jeans, I threw on a robe and we answered the door.

Two uniformed officers, both Caucasians, were standing on our front porch. One of them informed us there had been a robbery at the store a block away on Baux Mountain Road, that the attendant said the two suspects were young Black males, that they had seen a man fitting that description enter our house through the side door. We should  give them permission to search our house.

I said, “No.”

“But, ma’am, do you realize these men could be dangerous and might harm your family?”

Before my garrulous Chicago-born husband could engage the officers in menial chit chat about the details of the robbery, possibly even tell them the person they saw enter our home was our adult son, I interjected calmly, “No one’s here, but our family.” 

I meant no disrespect to my husband, but felt this situation demanded the expertise of a Winston-Salem born Black woman who loved and understood her Black men. I had credentials as a daughter, sister to five brothers, wife, and mother of three sons – Michael, Lawrence and Christopher. I knew firsthand that Black men face many pitfalls in American society simply to grow up undefiled, find decent jobs, and raise a family.

The officers threatened to call headquarters to get a search warrant. We said they needed one. I turned on the television in the living room drowning out the crackling of the police radio. CNN had begun reporting on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., broadcasting excerpts from his “I Have A Dream” speech. The sound of Dr. King’s voice bathed us in a balm of serenity, strengthening our resolve to protect our son and the sanctity of our home. It was King Day for the Banner-Williams Family.

After multiple CNN broadcast loops, the officers returned. When my husband answered, one of them implored Mike to check our house for intruders since we wouldn’t let them do it. Mike obliged; he checked the laundry room area, the adjacent bath and guest room. No, our home was secure from intruders he informed them. He then thanked the officers for their concern, said, “Good night,” and shut and locked the door, rousing ten-year-old Christopher upstairs, who leaned over the banister and asked what was going on. I told him everything was fine, for him to go back to sleep.

Mike and I sat together on the sofa waiting for the officers to return for what seemed a very long time, listlessly awake, while CNN droned over and over again its news reporting interspersed with black and white footage of Blacks and Whites protesting against segregation and for civil rights, the images and commentary spurring us to greater vigilance: We became Civil Rights.

At dawn, the policemen returned and told us they’d found the two suspects hiding under the woodpile of our next-door neighbor’s house. Together, our family had advanced justice, procuring a portion of the Dream, for our sons, for one night.

About Carly Pete: Carly, a 2013 graduate of Salem College, earned B.A. degrees in Communication and Creative Writing. She resides in Winston-Salem, where she works as a communication consultant, lyricist and writer.

Monday, January 12, 2015

5 Years After the Earthquake in Haiti: A Reflection by Dave Hampton and Friends

With his permission, we are reprinting a portion of Dave Hampton's article about Haiti.  Dave grew up in Winston-Salem and graduated from Mt. Tabor High School.  Dave is an accomplished architect and worked on the reconstruction in Haiti after the January 12, 2010 earthquake.  This article focuses on the reflections of the people that have come together to assist in Haiti's successful revival.  Please click the link to read the complete article on

 5 years after the earthquake, Ayiti p’ap péri!

By Dave Hampton

Today is the fifth anniversary of the January 12, 2010 earthquake which rocked Haiti.

After reports on moments of silence observed, and reflections of that fateful day, you will have, by now, read or hear several accounts of Haiti today.

How far the nation is still behind.

How ineffective international aid has been, how it has been misallocated, how many homes were built or not built, and how many still must be built to reach the thousands still languishing in temporary camps.

How the government disappoints – its lack of capacity, the corruption, the re-appearance of unwelcome ghosts from the past (especially “Baby Doc” Duvalier, who returned in 2011 after an absence of nearly 25 years, and died there in 2014), and the specter of authoritarian rule.

You will have already read or heard all the reasons why not enough has been done in five years.

And that’s as it should be, for there is much to be held to account, still.

But for me…

not today. Not today.

Ayiti p’ap péri! (Haiti shall never perish!)

It is ironic how fortunate I have been to come to know so many people as a result of the events of January 12, 2010.

Today, I share the reflections of some of the friends, colleagues, and former coworkers from my 3 years in Haiti: why they are hopeful for Haiti’s future, or how working in Haiti inspired them.

About Dave Hampton:  Dave Hampton is the creator of and Principal of re:ground llc, a consultancy providing expertise for the integration of natural systems and built environments to clients in international development, urban, and post-disaster markets. He has over 20 years experience in architecture, planning, and construction; 8 years as a leader in the sustainability field; 3 years in a post-disaster developing nation context.
From 2010-2012, he worked with Architecture for Humanity and J/P Haitian Relief Organization (J/P HRO) to manage the transition from emergency response to redevelopment by enlisting and supervising a multidisciplinary team of architects, engineers, planners, and builders to oversee the adaptive reuse, retrofit, and construction of new clinics, community centers, schools, and homes. He returned in 2013 to work on government capacity-building with UN-Habitat and Internews. Dave also has extensive experience managing multi-level (and multinational) donors, funders, and clients. His experience with Urban Habitat Chicago and the Delta Institute Rebuilding Exchange helped curb demolitions, bring the deconstruction industry to Chicago, and encourage materials reuse and repurposing at a municipal scale. In 2014, as part of the post-Hurricane Sandy ‘Rebuild by Design’ recovery initiative, he participated in Resilient Bridgeport with Waggonner Ball Architects.
He is a 2016 Master in Design Studies Risk and Resilience candidate at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

The Big Eat 2015: Week 1

By Jessica Thomas Lewis

This is the second week for The BIG Eat, an annual downtown event that showcases local restaurants with signature dishes at 50% off.

The BIG Eat is held each Tuesday in January. Click on the picture to the right to see each week's participating establishments.

West End Coffee House at 390 N. Broad Street in Winston-Salem
Last week, the girls and I enjoyed the brownie sundae at West End Coffee House.  We got to choose the gelato flavor.   (The gelato is made in-house.  Yum.)  I chose vanilla bean, my younger chose sugar cookie and my older chose chocolate with a fancy name.  The brownie for our sundae was as big as the plate; it was huge!  Topped with whipped cream and drizzled with our choice of chocolate, caramel or hazelnut sauce.  We each ended up taking half of our brownie home.  Well worth it, especially at The BIG Eat price of $3.12.

You have to eat this Sundae with a fork!  My girls, of course, were joking in these photos.  Look how big it is!

This week, we've decided to try Sweet Potatoes for the first time.  I know, I know.  I can't believe we haven't been there yet, either.  Can't wait to tell y'all all about our first visit.  The signature dish for The BIG Eat this week at Sweet Pototoes is Mommas Meatloaf: smothered with mushroom-onion gravy topped with crispy tobacco onions served with the vegetable of the day and garlic smashed potatoes.  Priced at $7.00 during The Big Eat.

This was the beautiful sunset as we left downtown Winston-Salem after last week's The Big Eat.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

A Cappella Jam for Hope

RJ Reynolds Auditorium
301 Hawthorne Road
Winston-Salem 27104

10th anniversary A Cappella Jam For Hope 

Minimum $5 donation.  

All proceeds go toward Summer Scholarships for Students. 

Free Family Event - 3rd Annual Hooper Bowl

Everyone is invited!  

Maple Springs UMC, Craven Hall
2569 Reynolda Road
Winston-Salem 27106

Admission is FREE, canned food donations for the Maple Springs Food Pantry will be collected. 

Hoops will be provided, but if you have one please bring it. Hoops will also be available for purchase with a percentage of proceeds going to the Food Pantry. 

Hula hooping is a fun way to get a jump start on the daily recommended 60+ minutes of activity to maintain a healthy lifestyle! 

For more information contact Monica Casey ( or Mary Taylor Setliff (

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Best Part, of Waking Up

By Michael

A Day, great& dreadful, created to be long-remembered... In lieu of gazing at the Moon, I was nourished by the Ionic Sun* that poured thru the plastic pane of the city bus window.

No matter that it was brisk outdoors, I was lamping in the mansion, right here on this plastic seat, stationed in the back of the city bus wit' my feet kicked up in the seat before me...

I had been studying Light* for many moons, my latest& greatest light being Shanee Karriem^^... We had been building, by power-he-one (phone), for a while, so after much-ado, We were to meet at the coffee shop, on Trade. . .

The Sun* was breaking into illustrious bands of light as it pass'd thru the window pane... In my heart, I experienced an acute camaraderie wit' the people, as We traveled downtown, on a soul plane.

Surely The People could sense the brilliance of the moment as We were all illumined, at the will of the ebb&flow of shadows that breathed on the walls of the bus, as We came thru East Winston.

"Shanee Karriem...", her name escaped my lips in a breath. . .

The bus pulled into the terminal, and the door jerked ajar, vomiting it's human contents back to the realm of the cold, the unforgiving streets. All is well in my soul as the promise of love add'd an ever-vigilant spring to my step as I got closer to my Ionic Sun*, while not a Sun* of the Heavens, One Who warm'd my heart, nonetheless...

Her brilliance stunned me upon my entrance, her golden hue especially familiar thru my study of Light*... I'll never forget, two bird lips blowing pucker'd bliss over a hot tea... Eyes, shining like emeralds, set in the purest of gold... Long brown locks that appeared to have been dipped in turmeric, her wisdom so seasoned... a petite toe ring on nibbly toes, that made my breath catch in my chest...

I ❤ Her^^

"I'd like the Dark Columbian roast" I ordered from the mean owner of the shop, Chelsea, whom I had just bombed on a few days prior because of her flagrantly rude behavior.

She fixed my order with a grunt, as I studied Shanee Karriem, from across the room.....

"Mmm, mmm.... " I am without words, born u truth, I better found some, like now!

"Thank you.." I gave Miss Chelsea a few bucks for the joe, then I enter'd Light*

I am eternally grateful, for Her ... Shanee Karriem

1/5/2008 - 1/5/2015

About Michael: Michael aspires to be an upwardly mobile natural scientist whose life imitates the art he manifests in time/space. In this fashion, history is written in advance, so be mindful of the falling away of the hard shell, the haunts of the past, as he articulates his own self-defined hereafter. When a seed is born, so is a Universe; thus expansion is to the infinite.

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