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Program to help former offenders
to receive $50,000 In 2016-17 budget
BY TEVIN STINSON
With murder and other violent crimes on the rise in
Winston-Salem, last month City Council members voted
to set aside $50 XXX) in the 2016-17 budget for the
Successful Outcomes After Release (SOAR), a program
designed to help ex-offenders find gainful employment
The increase in funds follows a roundtable discussion
held by City Council Member James Taylor to discuss the
city's recent increase in homicides. Seven months into the
year, 14 homicides have been committed in Winston
Salem. According to representatives with the police
department, if the trend continues, the number of homi
cides will double the amount reported the last two years.
Taylor, who spearheaded SOAR in 2014, said in order
to put an end to senseless violence, all community stake
holders have to come together. He also announced the for
mation of a committee of leaders who would create an
action plan to help put an end to senseless violence.
"We have to build a plan to decease violence in our
community," said Taylor. 'Together we will decide how to
move forward and make this city a safer place."
He also noted the need for more opportunities for ex
offenders, which is where SOAR comes in.
SOAR program participants are initially assigned tem
porary positions in a number of various city departments
for six months. While learning specialized skills and train
ing, participants are also provided with additional life
skills training via lectures, group discussions, and other
activities. At the end of the initial six-month period, based
on their performance, participants are recommended for
an additional six months where they will receive addition
WUh the help of the committee, Taylor also called for
more youth programs and summer job opportunities.
Two weeks after the roundtable discussion held at City
Hall where dozens of community members presented dif
ferent ways to stop the violence, Taylor announced via
social media post that additional funds had been added to
the proposed city's budget to combat the concerns of the
"It's only been two weeks since our town hall meeting,
but we already have an additional $100,000 added to the
proposed city budget," he said. "We will continue to work
together to decrease violence and promote progress in our
Assistant City Manager Ben Rowe, who is responsible
for budget evaluation, noted in an email that in addition to
the SSO/XX) being added for SOAR, another $50,000 in
contingency funds would be added for future grants for
youth and summer programs.
Mayor Allen Joines said the increase in funding for
SOAR is just the first of many steps by city officials to
help stop the violence and reassure the people that every
one has the opportunity to succeed. He also mentioned
other agencies that provide similar services will be
reviewed in coming months and may also receive funding.
"There has already been some action taken already,"
said Joines. "There will be other specific recommenda
tions that we have not dealt with, but we look forward to
supporting other programs as we look towards the future.
"A number of people in the community expressed the
need for additional dollars, so we decided to set aside
funds to help those who want to address these issues."
For more information on SOAR process and/or poli
cies, visit the city of Winston-Salem official website,
of W-S and SciWorks
SPECIAL TO THE CHRONICLE
The Children's Museum of Winston-Salem and
SciWorks are pleased to announce that the two organiza
tions are officially merged as of July 1, 2016. Effective
immediately, memberships and benefits are reciprocal at
"The support and dedication of our members are
important to our success today and into the future," says
Elizabeth Dampier, Executive Director - Museum. "We
are excited that members of both museums will immedi
ately see more benefits for their membership. For exam
ple, a family holding a Children's Museum membership
will also have free admission to SciWorks and be able to
receive discounts on birthday parties, camps etc., at that
location ? and vice versa!"
The new membership structure is:
?Adult + Child Membership: $75. Add one additional
child for $20.
?Grandparent Membership: $95. Includes both grand
parents and all grandchildren.
?Family Membership: $135. Includes up to four
adults and all children, as well as reciprocal benefits with
museums affiliated with ASTC (Association of Science -
Technology Centers) and ACM (Association of
"Purchasing a Family Membership gives a family the
most benefits, including free or discounted access to sci
ence centers and children's museums worldwide," says
Paul Kortenaar, Ph.D, Executive Director - Community.
"However, we know that many families may not require
that level of access, thus we have memberships at lower
price points. Also, current members of either museum can
renew their Family Memberships at a discounted price of
There are exciting challenges ahead for the meiged
museum. "As we determine the best direction forward,
we know there are many unanswered questions,"
Kortenaar says. "The two museums will remain in their
current locations as we work toward combining opera
tions into a single building in downtown Winston-Salem
that will transform the visitor experience. In all decisions,
we are trying to provide the best educational opportuni
ties for the children in our community and beyond."
The Children's Museum of Winston-Salem was
founded by the Junior League of Winston- Salem and
opened its doors as a separate 501(cX3) nonprofit on
November 20,2004. SciWorks was founded by the Junior
League of Winston-Salem and opened its doors as the
Nature Science Center in 1964. The two museums began
talks of a possible collaboration in early 2015, with a new
mission of "Inspiring wonder, curiosity, and lifelong
learning in our children and community through interac
tive play and discovery." The merged entity will combine
the best features of both museums, fusing arts, literacy,
- and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math)
orientations into an integrated approach to learning. For
more information, visit childrensmuseumofws.org and
Construction is affecting
activities at Salem Lake
The bait shop, fishing
pier and boat launch ramp
at Salem Lake is currently
closed to allow for con
struction of a new marina
center and related improve
ments. The Salem Lake
Trail will remain open.
While the fishing pier is
closed, the city will allow
fishing from the lake bank
in a designated area near
the Salem Lake Trail park
ing area off Salem Lake
Road. The city will also
designate a temporary loca
tion for launching canoes,
kayaks and paddleboards
from the bank.
When this work is com
pleted, officials expect to
reopen the boat ramp dur
ing designated times as
the paved parking lot for
the bait shop and fishing
pier will be closed and used
as a construction staging
area. While the bait shop is
closed, the city will not be
able to issue fishing licens
es or boat registrations at
estimate that construction
of the marina center and a
new marina parking area
could take a year.
A map has been posted
on WePlay.ws showing
what portions of Salem
Lake Park are closed.
July 6 - July 2016
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