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Should commissioners control
DSS and Health Department?
BY TODD LUCK
Who should be in charge of the
Departments of Social Services and Public
That's a topic Forsyth County commis
sioners will be discussing in next year's
winter work session.
Currently both departments are gov
erned by appointed boards of citizens, who
hire those department's directors and over
see their duties. In 2012, the N.C. General
Assembly passed a law that allows consol
idating how those departments are run.
This includes the option of eliminating
those boards and placing both departments
under direct county control.
Staff presented commissioners with
several options for consolidation during a
Thursday, Sept. 22 briefing. One was
keeping the departments as they are, but
eliminating both boards and placing the
Forsyth County Board of Commissioners
as their governing body. Another option
was having a consolidated human services
director over both departments who is
appointed by the county manager with the
advice and consent of a new consolidated
board for both departments. A final option
has the county manager hiring a consoli
dated human services director with the
advice and consent of county commission
ers, who would act as the board for human
County Manager Dudley Watts asked
commissioners to include a study on con
solidation options as part of staff direc
tives in this year's budget, which will let
them discuss if the new options might be
right for the county.
While some counties like Guilford and
Mecklenburg have consolidated their
human services, the vast majority of North
Carolina counties have not and still have
their two separate governing boards.
County Commissioner Walter
Marshall, who is on the Department of
Social Services board, said he didn't sup
"We have to keep in mind that the orig
inal purpose of the board was to make sure
that certain things remain non-political as
possible," he said.
Marshall also didn't think part-time
elected officials would have time to deal
with all the extra concerns that both those
boards currently deal with.
"We have boards to do the work that
we don't have time to do," he said.
Commissioner Everette Witherspoon
agreed the boards help keep politics out of
the departments. He said they also let the
public have input into how human services
should be run.
"I like it the way it is, and 1 don't think
we should change it," said Witherspoon.
Commissioner Gloria Whisenhunt,
who is on the Board of Health, was more
open to the idea. She said, unlike the coun
ty commissioners meetings, she's never
seen a reporter cover the health board's
meetings, so there's little public awareness
of what happens in them. She said that
while she wasn't sold on any of the
options, she felt the commissioners should
be the ones hiring the directors of those
departments. She didn't believe there was
enough accountability for them under the
"I think it's something that we desper
ately need to discuss and find out if what
we're doing is the best thing," she said.
The commissioners will be discussing
the options further in their winter work
session in February.
County approves Corning incentives
BY TODD LUCK
THB CHRONICLE *
Forsyth County commissioners approved an incentive
deal for Corning Optical Communications LLC to expand
in Winston-Salem at its Monday, Sept. 26, meeting.
Corning has agreed to expand its local fiber optic
cable manufacturing operation, which currently has 304
employees. The company plans to add 100 new full-time
jobs locally with an average wage of $58,000 a year plus
benefits within four years, and invest $30 million in addi
tional machinery and equipment within five years.
Forsyth County agreed taan incentive of up to $384,872
from the general fund over a five year period. The incen
tive will not exceed half of the property tax paid by
Coming in the prior fiscal year.
"I think it's a good deal for us, I think it's a good deal
for the company," said County Commissioner Chair Dave
In addition to the county, Coming is requesting up to
$453300 in incentives from the city with a public hearing
set for the next city council meeting on Oct. 3. The state's
Economic Investment Committee approved a grant for up
to $1.93 million dollars over 12 years for Coming's
planned expansion in the state, which will also include
105 new jobs at its Hickory plant where it will invest
S53.5 million over five years. Corning Optical
Communications is a $3 billion segment of Corning
Incorporated, which employs 3,000 people throughout the
Commissioners also approved applications for Golden
Leaf grants, which distribute state settlement money from
tobacco manufacturers to projects that will help local
economies. The county is applying for $200,000 from
Golden Leaf's open grants program to fund the county's
infrastructure work for a proposed business park on Idols
Road. County Manager Dudley Watts said it is one of sev
eral sources of funds the county is seeking for the project.
The county submitted three projects for Golden Leaf's
Community Based Grants Initiative. In order of priority
*$500,000 for two new pre-k classrooms in Winston
Salem/Forsyth County Schools, which will be in schools
where more than 55% of students receive free or reduced
* $477,000 for Goler CDC's Workforce Technology
Pathway 2020, that will provide IT training to 100 under
employed or unemployed residents.
* $500,000 to cover part of the funds the city is pro
viding for a Goler CDC hydroponics facility at Kimberley
Park to bring fresh produce to that community, which is in
a food desert.
In addition, the county is submitting a letter of support
for the Piedmont Triad Regional Council of Government
applying for a Golden Leaf grant for its regional
Revolving Loan Program for small and large businesses
in downtowns and developed areas.
A submitted plan by Forsyth Technical Community
College for an Advanced Manufacturing Mobile
Classroom that would've traveled to local high schools
was withdrawn from consideration by the college.
Commissioners are still working on a tethering ordi
nance that would ban unsupervised tethering of dogs,
allowing animal control officers to give citations to those
in violation. At a briefing last week, County
Commissioner Ted Kaplan presented a draft with lan
guage like the Guilford County tethering ordinance with a
one year roll-out period, which was supported by the
Forsyth Animal Coalition. The commissioners couldn't
come to an agreement on it and plan to keep discussing
The commissioners also approved a change in the
time of their regular meetings from 4 p.m. to 2 pjn. start
ing Monday, Oct. 10.
Active and Healthy
Local study that
males looks to
reach more men
In an attempt to reach
their goal to help 440
lead healthier lives, the
Active and Healthy
Brotherhood (AHB), the
largest study in the country
for chronic disease in
has reduced age require
ments to 21.
Originally, the 16-week
program offered by
Gramercy Research Group
located on North Point
Blvd. was only open to
black men between the
ages of 30 and 64.
Gramercy president and
CEO Melicia C. Whitt
Glover said, after realizing
that young people are start
ing to take their health
more seriously, they decid
ed to open up the program
to a larger age group.
"We expanded to help
reach our requirement and
we realized that younger
men are concerned about
their health and the earlier
you start healthy health
behaviors, the better."
noted the program has
expanded to Greensboro
and Charlotte as well. She
said it is important that
start paying more attention
to their health because
although rates of obesity,
hypotension and diabetes
are down among most
groups, black men are still
seeing a rise in all three
"When you look at life
expectancy, black men on
average die every 7 to 10
years less than other peo
ple," she continued. "Even
when you take away vio
lent crimes and things like
that, black men are still
dying at a higher rate from
chronic disease and things
that are preventable."
During the study,
researchers will collect
information from partici
pants related to their phys
ical health and activity.
Throughout the study, par
ticipants will be provided
with information on their
overall health, healthy eat
ing, physical activity, stress
management, and how to
get medical care when
The program will also
investigate ways to
improve health behaviors
using an intervention that
has been designed specifi
cally for African-American
men. According to Whitt
Glover, the program also
gives men a place to open
ly discuss their health
"A couple of sessions
address questions like why
are you afraid to go to the
doctor? What does it mean
to be a man and healthy? Is
it okay to admit that you're
hurt and you need to go to
the doctor?" she continued.
" Because a lot of guys just
think they can walk it off!"
"Those are real ques
tions that need to be asked.
It's easy to say you need
exercise or you need to eat
better, but what does that
really mean and how can
you make that happen.
That's what we talk about
in the brotherhood "
Along with learning
ways to live healthier lives,
participants in the program
also receive other incen
tives including a full health
profile and $75 upon com
pletion of the program.
According to Whitt
Glover, AHB goes a step
beyond what you get at a
"We go a step beyond.
We measure your blood
pressure, your kidney func
tioning, and then we tell
you what your numbers
mean," she said. "After
completing the program,
participants know exactly
what the next step should
be to live a healthy and
many who have completed
the program said it has
changed their lives. She
said many have also passed
the word along about the
program to friends and
"Out of those who have
finished the program, have
only gave positive
reviews," said Whitt
Glover. "It all comes down
to asking yourself, how
long do you want to be
"The Active and Health
Brotherhood is all about
making sure are black men
stay around as long as pos
Open enrollment ot
AHB ends on Tuesday,
Nov. 15. For more infor
mation or to sign up for the
next session, contact
Melicia Whitt-Glover via
telephone at 336-293
8540, extension 110, or by