Vigil opens mental health week
? By ffiLEClA P. MCMILLAN
? , Special to Tut Chuomcu
According to the Mental Health Association, 60,000 peo
ple in Forsyth County have a diagnosed mental illness, and
- 1,300 of them are children. The good news is that up to 80
percent of the mentally ill can be successfully treated. The
" Mental Health Association, various treatment centers and
? area hospitals came together on Sunday, Oct. 5, at Grace
Court Park for a candlelight vigil, the opening program of a
Week of activities. Mental Health Awareness Week will be
held Oct. 5-11. The purpose of the week-long celebration is
f to raise awareness about issues of mental health. Todd
Fleischhauer, WGHP-TV (Fox 8) served as the master of
Local minister Mikal Muhammad from the Nation of
Islam presented the opening invocation and the closing
prayer. Harris Richardson read a poem on the value of the
Holy Spirit as a "precious oil of healing." Geneal Wade sang
an a capella version of "You'll Never Walk Alone." She also
led the audience in "Amazing Grace during the lighting of
the candles. This nationwide event will serve as a "light of
hope" for persons affected with brain disorders.
"This week is for everybody," said Jim Gallager, board
chairman of Forsyth-Stokes Area Mental Health Authority.
"We want to address all the people who think they won't ever
need our services ... Let's celebrate for the people who will
See VKML on A12
Nan Parrith, Diana Jankin* and Mildred Burnt lit thair Hama? of hopa and obtarvad
o moment of rcfltcHofi*
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75 cents WlNSTON-SALEM GkEENSBOKO HIGH POINT Vol. XXIV No. 6
^0 ? ^ For Reference
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""htom car-ht-sort * "c012 The QmcefarAfrican-American News and Information w,bsi(s addr,?. www.?.tun|imi,.d?,t/.wlchron
winston salem nc 27101-2705
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By BILL POOVEY
Associated Press Writer
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) ? Taxpayers will be
? footing a $36 million bill for the Alabama Transportation
iv-*t)epartment's 12-year-old court battle over employee
rSclhl bias, unless a federal appeals court says otherwise.
The money would cover the back pay, plus interest,
being sought by black employees in a racial discrimina
Ray Bass, the department's chief engineer, said the $36
million was being taken out of the department's accounts
Friday, just two days into fiscal 1998, and deposited with
the court. He said the payout would delay some planned
Bass said attorney fees in the case already total $8.9
million, much of that to the Birmingham law firm repre
sented by Robert Wiggins, the chief attorney for black
e$iployees suing the department.
-Bass said there are more legal fees to be paid. He said
Wiggins has not sent the state a bill in more than a year.
Wiggins could not be reached for comment.
? Bass said budget analysts jn the Transportation
Department say the case has cost taxpayers another $6
million in administrative. fees, such as employee time
spent in court sessions.
The Legislature's Contract Review Committee on
Thursday delayed for 45 days a $2 million department
contract with a Maryland consulting firm. The contract
fraJ. for help in developing new personnel tests that are
not racially biased.
Attorneys for the black employees are also employing
consultants, who will have to be paid by the state.
* A member of the panel. Rep. John Knight, D
lyiphtgomery, said the bias problem won't go away
Because there are "individuals who are still working in
. . See APPEAL on A2
V * v
(AP Photo/Greg Gibson)
With the Washington Monument in tha background, John Livingston of Bochester, N.Y.,
holds friond Robert Brooks, on his shouldor as thoy participate in tho Promise Keepers rally
on the Mall in Washington Saturday, Oct. 4. In a soul-searching quest for spiritual renewal,
hundreds of thousands of Christian men prayed and sang among the great monuments of
Washington, eager to own up to their failings and halt a nation's moral decline.
By BRIDGET EVARTS
The Chronicle Staff Writer
Most businesses couldn't run for seven years with little
more than half of the needed work force. And most busi
ness owners who attempted such a feat would soon be fil
ing for bankruptcy.
CONTACT Helpline of the Triad, a local nonprofit
counseling service, is currently operating with about 167
volunteers; 250 volunteers are required to fully serve
those who call CONTACT for assistance.
"We have fewer volunteers today than when we started
17 years ago," said CONTACT director Jim Fatzinger.
"It's bizarre, considering the increased service provided."
CONTACT offers a 24-hour emergency line for people
facing any type of crisis, from suicidal thoughts to rape,
domestic abuse and loneliness.
Keeping the lines staffed for that service is difficult
enough, but CONTACT also provides a Teen-Line with
peer counseling for youth, a Kids Line service for latchkey
children, a Violence Reduction Helpline for victims of
violent crimes and Contact Reassurance, a service that
does daily check-ups with elderly and infirm clients. The
nonprofit also offers in-person, short-term counseling for
people who can't afford other services.
Volunteers can't just sign up to provide services such as
these. CONTACT'S national organization requires volun
teers to complete 50 hours of training before they may
"We're going to trust you on the phone with someone
who has a gun to their head," Fatzinger said bluntly. "We
can't just put someone out there willy-nilly."
The thought of spending 11 weeks in intensive training
classes sends most prospective volunteers running to a
more convenient volunteer agency. And the demands on
CONTACT volunteers is becoming greater.
Set- CONTACT on A2
HUD investigates insurance firms
A From the NNPA Wire report
Four of the nation's largest insurance compa
: nies have been accused of racial discrimination
under the Fair Housing Act.
Fair housing groups said the companies
J^tprned down or limited home insurance policies
??*<?> residents living in minority and integrated
The Prudential Insurance Company of
;?2$jmerica, The Travellers Group, Aetna and
t*iiberty Mutual Group allegedly restricted, lim
ited or denied homeownership insurance in
?African-American, Latino and integrated com'
The National Fair Housing Center,
I-Metropolitan Fair Housing Center and Home
Richmond, who all filed the complaint, said
that the insurance companies had violated the
Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimina
tion in real estate related transactions.
"If our findings confirm the complaints are
correct, we will end any discriminatory prac
tices and take steps to see that such violations
are prevented in the future," said Housing
Secretary Andrew Cuomo.
The Department of Housing and Urban
Development (HUD) must investigate the com
plaints and determine whether there is reason
able cause that the act has been violated.
The case will be given to an administrative
law judge, who may provide victims with mone
tary or injunctive relief and civil penalties.
The complaints against the four insurance
companies were based oil a study authorized by
HUD's Fair Housing Initiatives Program of
Downtown plan could unite
black and white interests
By BRIDGET EVARTS
The Chronicle Staff Writer
Downtown Winston is alive ? until five.
After business hours, downtown is a ghost town
of empty restaurants, darkened windows and
vacant parking lots. Those looking for food or fun
gravitate outside of central Winston-Salem.
What'downtown needs is a draw, said Jack
Steelman, 'pead of the city's downtown revitaliza
tion efforts. And that, he added, could be a large
undertaking or a smaller venture, whatever the citi
zens of Winston-Salem want.
Perceptions of Winston's downtown are dim,
though the picture isn't as dark as it seems. The
abundance of empty street-level retail space leaves
pedestrians with the impression
that the city's heart has moved
In reality, said Steelman,
Winston-Salem has some of the
highest office occupancy rates in
the area. Almost 100 percent of
the class A office space is occu
pied, and only 20-25 percent of
class B space is Vacant.
Visit the business district during the lunch hour,
and Winston appears to rival any medium-sized city
Sec DOWNTOWN on A3