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County commissioners approve new
jail program and react to election
BY TODD LUCK
THF. CHBON1CI R
A new program to help those in jail with mental illness
and substance abuse issues was among the items Forsyth
County commissioners voted on during their Monday,
Nov. 28, meeting.
Stepping Up is an initiative by the National
Association of Counties that uses case management and
intervention to reduce recidivism among the mentally ill
and substance abusers in jail. Commissioners voted unan
imously to execute the necessary documents to receive a
$82,500 grant from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust
to fund a local Stepping Up pilot program for women in
the Law Enforcement Detention Center.
The funds, along with a $36363 Winston-Salem
Foundation grant and $50,000 of county money, are being
used to hire a program manager and part-time peer sup
port position and cover the costs of programing and oper
County Commissioner Gloria Whisenhunt, who
spearheaded the effort to bring the program to Forsyth,
said in a commissioner's briefing last month that she
expects the program to eventually expand to men in jail.
"I'm just overwhelmed by the support that the com
munity has given us on this program," she said. "I antici
pate it will be extremely successful."
Amber Humble, who has worked as a Mental Health
Court liaison, was expected to start as program manager
this week. The program is expected to start its services in
the spring of summer of next year.
Also during the meeting, Walter Marshall and
Everette Witherspoon - who are the only African
Americans on the Board of County Commissioners -
addressed calls they'd received from constituents fearing
what Donald Trump's election means for minorities.
Trump's campaign promised mass deportations, increased
scrutiny on Muslims entering the country and implement
ing stop and frisk in black communities. White national
ists celebrated his victory and there have been increased
reports of hate crimes.
Both commissioners said that minorities shouldn't
live in fear and hoped the country wouldn't move back
"At the end of the day, the United States is bigger than
one man," said Witherspoon. "There's accountability sys
tems in the United States government to hold people in
Witherspoon, who supported progressive Democratic
Sen. Bernie Sanders in the primary, said Hillary Clinton's
loss was the "chickens coming home to roost" for the
Democrats. He said his party stopped looking out for
working people by supporting trade deals that sent jobs
overseas, cuts in welfare and policies that resulted in mass
incarceration of African-Americans. He hoped U.S. Rep.
Keith Ellison, D-Minnesota, a fervent Sanders supporter
and brother of Forsyth County Democratic Party
Chairman Eric Ellison, would be named as the new chair
of the national Democratic Party.
"It's time for Democrats to get back to being
Democrats," said Witherspoon.
Also during the meeting:
?Funds for the county's pay-go projects, paid for with
surplus money from last year's budget, were approved.
Commissioners will approve contracts for each individual
project in future meetings. This includes $1.5 million for
Old Salem to renovate its historic boy's school.
*A new lease was approved for the public defender's
office at Liberty Plaza on West Third Street. The three
year lease for 9,172 square feet costs $116,058.40 in the
first year, $119,554.72 in the second and $123,126.36 in
the third. The office should soon be moving from its cur
rent location at 8 West Third St.
*A commissioner participated remotely for the first
time ever as Don Martin, who was attending a meeting in
Denver, Colorado, called in over speaker phone. Martin
listened and voted, but said that he had a hard time hear
ing and at times was unresponsive as he was checking
into his hotel.
BY TEVIN STINSON
THE CHRONICLE H
Thanksgiving took a turn for the worse last week for
hundreds in the community as news surfaced last
Thursday that longtime mentor Hansel Hentz, 73, had
passed away following a brief illness.
Simply known as "Hentz" to those around the city,
and as a hardwood guru, Hentz had a passion for basket
ball that was only matched by an even bigger passion to
uplift the youth in the community.
A passion for teaching life lessons through the game
of basketball is what propelled Hentz to legendary status
here in Winston-Salem.
The founder of the popular summer basketball league
at the 14th Street Recreation Center, for years Hentz
inspired generations of young boys and girls to succeed
on and off the court. In 2012, Hentz earned the Northwest
YMCA Strong Award, which is awarded annually to
adults who demonstrate exceptional volunteerism.
Hentz' daughter Precious Hentz made the announce
ment on Facebook that her father had passed. She wrote,
'Today I lost my first best friend, my mentor, my back
bone but, most of all my father."
Shortly afterward, dozens flocked to the social media
site to give their condolences.
Will Miller wrote, "He was and still is a powerful man
in the community."
Just a week before his death, a GoFund Me page was
started to help pay for Hentz's medical bills. In less than
two weeks, the campaign had raised over $1j000.
As of Tuesday, Nov. 29, at press time, funeral arrange
ments were unknown.
Check back with The Chronicle next week for more
on the life of Hansel Hentz, who inspired the community
to shoot for the stars.
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