ifiity mourns loss of former Fire Chief
MMndFin CkufUtHrEKmndMF*. J* *
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eifc of Winston-Salem ban mourned the
law ? a niooaor mm* hero since retired Winston*
_ Salem Phe Chief Lester E. Ervia died in the late
evening hem of Feb. 16, at the afe of 69. He
v wfii hqjiaaeiafeamd as a man who battled baft
the destructive force of fires end the equally
malignant forces of racism and ispstke. His rise
I bom ooc of the famed nine of Station No. 4. the
citya first group of paid black firefighters, to the
first African-American fire chief in Winston
; Salem and the state of North Carolina is a testa
ment not only to his exemplary skill as a fire
lighter, but to the outstanding nature of his
. 'ft -v. 1"
With ?ifhi other African-American men,
Ervtawas ?e*ected in 1949 to step across the
color ,liue and integrate the all-white Wtnston
eet ideals of the deportment and rose through die
ranks horn his first promotion to sergeant in Jan
uary 1955, to lieutenant in October 1955, captain
in June 1957, assistant chief in August 1967,
deputy chief in February 1978, and finally to
chief July 21,1980, where he served until he his
retirement Dec. 31,1989.
And he was a good firefighter, without die
qualifier of race.
Many in the department now credit him with
r ?* ? r
being a pioneer in implementing aggressive fire
prevention programs. The programs were a
reflection of his desire to reduce the k>ss of life
and the amount of damage to property that can
result from fire.
^ Ervin was involved actively in countless
civic and social organizations, including the
United Way, the YMCA, the American Red
Cross, the Urban League, the Boys Scouts of
America, the Twin City Little League, the East
Winston Noon Optimist Club and Omega Psi Phi
Please see page 2
p:znston Salem Chronicle
hom thls Horary ^ hl3 icon-.American News and Information
Thursday, February 20,1997
Charter Schools: Hope for African Americans?
\JL Robinson says non-church affiliation clause troublesome
^5! BRIDGET EVARTS
?Special to the Chronicle
;': ; If Forsyth County is any indicator, charter
; schools hold a popular appeal for African Ameri
; cans dissatisfied with the public school system.
?Since North Carolina joined the ranks of the more
ihan 25 states with charter school legislation last
Uiine, Forsyth County is one approval shy of its
allotted five charter school spaces. Three out of
those four applicant groups or organizations are
predominantly African-American; statewide,
almost half of the applicants are black.
". "A clause In the charter schoOTTSgiaiation may
hiv6 an adverse impact on future African-Ameri
can applicants. The latter part of the clause, which
requires that charter schools must be unaffiliated
with religious organizations and housed in build
.ngs separate from church structures, may not hold
| up in court, says Vernon Robinson, the Republican
candidate for State Superintendent in last year's
election. He was defeated by Democrat Michael
"I dare say, if anyone tried to enforce that
[clause 3], there'd be a lawsuit," said Robinson.
He added that the intention of the General Assem
bly was only, to make sure that charter organiza
tions were separate entities from church nonprof
its, and that the schools provided curriculums
without religious instruction. "The problem with
that [interpretation of legislation 3] is that the
black community's interest and capital is in
churches," said Robinson. Eliminating the oppor
tunity to lease buildings from churches narrows
the selection of affordable spaces that would meet
A charter school recently approved in Durham
leases a church-owned space, as have public
Please see page 2
"... if anyone tried to
enforce that, there'd
be a lawsuit..."
Many want middle school athletics
A Proposal would reintroduce football, remove handicap
By SAM DAVIS
Chronicle Sports Editor
The lack of middle school football programs in
the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school system is
one reason local high school programs have a diffi
cult time matching up with programs in their respec
Since realignment in 1984, there has not been
any middle school football played in Forsyth
County. The only introduction to the sport for local _
middle school athletes has come through participa- I
tion in the Northwest Midget Football League, the I
local youth football oiganization. '
Walter Marshall, a member of the Winston
Salem/Forsyth County School Board, has been
pushing a proposal to reintroduce middle school
sports in. the local middle school for more than two
years. Marshall, who will leave the post to assume a
slot on the Forsyth Board of Commissioners Feb. (
24, has many supporters for his proposal throughout
the county. (
Among Marshall's supporters for bringing back
middle school football are several high school foot
ball coaches, who are outspoken on the issue.
Some local coaches said although the local Pop
Warner programs do an excellent job of preparing
their skilled athletes for play in high school pro
grams, the lack of a feeder program puts their play
ers two years behind those in neighboring Guilford,
Davidson and Davie Counties.
Coach Joe Bill Ellender of East Forsyth said his
program has had its share of ups and downs in the
last few years because he has to compete in the
Metro 4-A program, where all the teams he plays
against have feeder programs.
"In our conference, us and North Forsyth are the
only two teams who don't have middle school foot
ball," he said. "Starting out it puts us behind every
one else. We have to make up for a lot of ground
that the other programs have on us."
Because Pop Warner football is based on weight
and age classifications, many of the larger kids, who
are ideally suited to play along the offensive and
defensive line in high school, never get a chance to
play football until they reach high school.
Also, Pop Warner football is costly. Players in
the league are required to pay registration fees that
can be as much as $100 per player. In addition, the
players are required to provide their personal equip
ment, such as girdle and cleats. That places a huge
financial responsibility on low income parents and
often eliminates players whose parents cannot afford
to incur that cost.
Another problem for some low-income parents
is transportation to and from practice and games.
Russell Stone of West Forsyth is another local
coach who thinks not having middle school football
is detrimental to his program and the local school
system as a whole.
"Even if you throw out the fact that many of the
kids are inexperienced when they get to high school,
there are other factors that
work against us," Stone said. "If nothing else, the
high school coaches would be able to let the kids
know what the high school coaches expect. Some of
these kids don't have any idea of what it's going to
be like to play under a structured program. The other
thing is by having feeder schools, we could also let
them know what they need to do to be able to have a
chance to go to college."
Drew Buie, North Forsyth's coach, said his pro
gram and others in the county have been severely
handicapped by not having middle school football!
Please see page 3
Joe Bill Ellender
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14 4frican Americans want higherrenirns but less risk on their investmrtis
3K to Its March issue. "Money" publishes the
'?mmm of an exclusive survey of Afncari-American
returns. ^ ' v ?.
^^Black women are much more likely to call the
Afti^n-ABiertcan married couples, wh^ewives
play that role for just 10 percent of white couples,
? African Americans are more likely than
whites to rely on financial advisers and less likely to
listen to friends or family members. A Mi 54 per
cent of blacks said that they would rely on a finan
cial adviser or planner when making savings and
investment decisions (vs. 46 percent of whites). By
contrast, 31 percent are inclined to ask friends or
family for money advice, compared with 39 percent
"hlistoy" offers advice to help African Ameri
cans increase their wealth ? their me&aa net worth
($4,418) remains a mere fraction of whites'
($45,740) ?? and abroach the high returns they
anticipate. Among the tips:
? Boost your ownership in stocks and stock
hinds. Start by investing through your employer's
professionally-managed 401(k) or 403(b) retirement
* If you want to him a financial planner, choose
one who understands your needs and financial inn*
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