by Brian Clarey, James Douglas, Luis H. Garay, Sayaka Matsuoka
Even as the pandemic wound down, this year came with its own flurry of controversies, shakeups and noteworthy stories. While many national issues like Elon Musk’s takedown of Twitter didn’t make our list, we’ve got 100 entries that impacted our little corner of the world this year, distilled down into people, places and things, with entries listed chronologically.
1. Sharon Contreras
Dr. Sharon Contreras first came to Guilford County in 2016 when she was hired as the district’s superintendent. During the course of her tenure, she took her time learning about the district’s specific needs, increasing funding for teacher development, advocating for improving school facilities and guiding us through the pandemic. During the last two years, Contreras was also the target of conservative ire, to the point where opposition sent in threatening messages to her. In January, Contreras announced that she would be leaving Guilford County Schools to take a job as the CEO of the Innovation Project, a statewide nonprofit that works with superintendents. In August, Whitney Oakley was appointed the district’s new superintendent.
2. Jermaine Exum
After manning the store for more than two decades, Jermaine Exum became the owner of Acme Comics, the Triad’s largest and oldest comic-book shop, in January. At age 45, he’s one of a growing list of Black comic book shop owners in the country. “I’m not going anywhere,” he told TCB. “This is woven into my very identity. This place is definitely a part of me so I’m not going anywhere.”
3. Lawrence “Skip” Long
Winston-Salem residents spent early February rooting for the local “Stay-At-Home Uncle” who managed to have a three-win hot streak on “Jeopardy.” Making it onto the show is no easy feat, but the response to Long’s repeated wins, style, “career” and memorable stories made the “Stay-At-Home Uncle” a nationwide meme in the Twitterverse and beyond.
4. Marty Kotis
Greensboro developer and art-preneur Marty Kotis made the news in February when he attended an online debate between candidates running for student-body president at UNC-Chapel Hill, where he serves on the board of governors. Kotis posed the first question of the evening — asking how each would work effectively with the board of which he is a member — which students said made them uncomfortable. “If that makes them uncomfortable, maybe they shouldn’t be running for office,” Kotis said.
5. Unaffiliated voters
In March, unaffiliated voters became North Carolina’s largest political party, eclipsing both Democrats and Republicans. The trend continued throughout the year: as of Dec. 17, unaffiliated voters numbered 2.66 million, more than 150,000 above registered Democrats, and more than 400,000 above registered Republicans.
6. Phoebe Zerwick
The exoneration of Darryl Hunt after 19.5 years for a murder he didn’t commit is, in no small part, due to Zerwick’s investigative journalism and the resulting public scrutiny towards Hunt’s earlier trials. When DNA evidence finally set Hunt free in 2004, the past trauma and the struggles of reintegration into society ultimately ended Hunt’s life when he committed suicide in 2016. In March, Zerwick’s Beyond Innocence: The Life Sentence of Darryl Hunt focused on the aftermath of Hunt’s release, his outreach work and the many barriers that many face upon leaving prison.
7. Bobby Previte
For his second-ever Greensboro performance in March, jazz-improv legend Bobby Previte chose an outdoor stage at Revolution Mill and an ensemble of local musicians to tinker with small snippets from his formidable songbook. Of the show, Brian Clarey wrote: “Here’s how it works: Previte flashes a small slice of sheet music from his catalog — a favorite line or two, a particularly effective groove, an ethereal chord from one of his hundreds of published pieces — up on the screen. Then he leaves the safety of the podium and walks among the musicians, activating them, inspiring them playing them in the same way a conductor uses the orchestra as an instrument. Except more so.”
8. John Neville
John Neville died at the hands of corrections officers in the Forsyth County Jail in 2019, though his death was not made public until six months later, at the height of 2020’s racial reckoning, sparking an occupation of Winston-Salem’s Bailey Park by the Triad Abolition Project that lasted 49 days. In April, a grand jury declined to indict the officers, but did indict a nurse who was on duty at the time, for involuntary manslaughter.
9. Ben Shapiro
In April, when conservative talking head Ben Shapiro came to UNCG to give a talk, students and professors protested the event. However, the talk went on as scheduled — the university argued that they have to allow “free speech” — with a simultaneous event celebrating the LGBTQ community taking place on campus nearby.
10. Charles Donohoe
Kernersville Proud Boy Charles Donohoe pled guilty to felony charges of assault and conspiracy for his actions during the Jan. 6 Insurrection in April. The Justice Department said Donohoe was an appointed leader of the Proud Boys subgroup, the “Ministry of Self Defense,” with the objective to plan for the Jan. 6 Insurrection, which was still being called a rally in public.
11. The Bidens
Both President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden made treks to Greensboro this year. In April, President Biden visited NCA&T State University and talked about the importance of funding infrastructure during his Bipartisan Innovation Act tour. Then, in September First Lady returned to NCA&T’s campus, this time to emphasize the importance of education.
12. Yvette Boulware
On May 17, Yvette Boulware, an activist with Triad Abolition Project, was arrested while attending a court hearing in Forsyth County. According to TAP, Boulware was grabbed and tackled to the ground when she tried to leave the courtroom after a back-and-forth argument with a bailiff. Boulware was charged with a felony assault against a government official as well as a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest. Boulware’s case is ongoing.
13. Joe Lopez and Joseph Lopez Jr.
It’s been an incredibly difficult road for Joe Lopez, whose son Joseph Lopez Jr. was shot and killed by a Greensboro Police officer in November 2021. Despite the fact that Lopez’s death took place last year, Lopez and his son make the list due to a number of surprising events that happened this year. In June, GPD Officer Matthew Edward Hamilton was indicted with the crime of manslaughter by a grand jury after body-camera footage from the killing was released to the public. Joe Lopez filed a civil rights lawsuit against Hamilton and the Greensboro Police Department this year as well. Both the criminal and civil case are ongoing.
14. Benjamin Crump
In June, Netflix released a documentary called Civil: Ben Crump that chronicles the civil rights attorney’s life during 2020-21. In the documentary, many of his cases, including the George Floyd case, are captured on film. But for local readers, the case that hits home is that of Fred Cox Jr. who was shot and killed by a Davidson County sheriff’s deputy on Nov. 8, 2020. The film is still streaming on Netflix.
15. Kirstin Cassell
On June 4, while volunteering as a clinic escort at Greensboro’s only abortion center, Kirstin Cassell was hit by an anti-abortion protester’s car. The perpetrator, Danny Bracken, was convicted of simple assault in September with orders from the judge to complete mandatory anger-management courses. Bracken is also prohibited from coming within 1,000 feet of the abortion clinic for one year.
16. Maya Brooks
In June, Maya Brooks was hired as the assistant curator for Contemporary Art at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art. It is the first time the museum has permanently hired a Black curator. “I never thought I’d be the first at any kind of stuff, so it does weigh on you,” Brooks said.
17. Mark Martin
Former chief justice of the NC Supreme Court Mark Martin was one of the architects of the Jan. 6 Insurrection and the plan to steal the election from Joe Biden: reporting from the NY Times uncovered a memo establishing Martin’s contact with Trump in the days before the insurrection. In June, he was named founding dean of High Point University’s new law school.
18. Lt. Gov Mark Robinson
Our state’s lieutenant governor, who came to prominence by speaking in support of gun rights during the public comments segment of a Greensboro City Council meeting in 2018, continued his schtick in 2022: lending support to right-wing groups running candidates for school boards across the state and has called for the elimination of the State Board of Education, of which he is a sitting member as part of his official duties. In August he joined Donald Trump on a CPAC speaking bill, where he referenced “blue-haired freaks with a tackle box in their face on the college campus,” and, “a whole raft of socialist nitwits,” and, for the trifecta, “the lying news media.”
19. Derwin Montgomery
In August, former Winston-Salem City Council member and NC state representative Derwin Montgomery was indicted by a federal grand jury on 15 counts of fraud and embezzlement against the Bethesda Homeless Center, where he served as executive director until he resigned in 2020. He pleaded guilty in November to a single count of program fraud.
20. Nasanto “Duke” Antonio Crenshaw
On Aug. 21, 17-year-old Nasanto Antonio Crenshaw was shot and killed by Greensboro police. He is one of several Black victims of local law enforcement in recent years. According to a police statement, officers had stopped a car that Crenshaw was driving for a traffic violation. After being pursued by police, one of the passengers said that Crenshaw drove into a dead end and hit the police car. That’s when a GPD officer shot Crenshaw through the driver’s side window, killing him. Since the shooting, the family has been asking for answers.
21. Robert Paquette
Longtime TCB Art Director Robert Paquette died suddenly in September. He worked here for four years, designing more than 200 publications and contributing countless layouts, illustrations and other designs. He was our most metal employee ever.
22. Darrell Neely
Guilford County man Darrell Neely was re-arrested in September for his activities during the Jan. 6 Insurrection. Initially arrested in October 2021, Neely was released on his own recognizance and stopped appearing at court dates. Neely is accused of entering the Capitol, and stealing some china plates and parts of a US Capitol Police uniform.
23. Greensboro abortion protesters
Eight abortion protesters arrested by Greensboro police in 2020 won a non-financial judgment against the city in a civil suit in October. Arrested for violating COVID restrictions in the early days of the pandemic, the protesters were represented by lawyers from the Alliance Defending Freedom, who argued that their First Amendment rights were abridged.
24. Marcus Smith
The case of Marcus Smith, who was killed by Greensboro police officers using a RIPP hobble hogtie technique in 2018, officially closed in October when an order from US District Court Judge Loretta C. Biggs permanently sealed some of the evidence and testimony from the case: depositions and other testimony, body-camera footage, emails, the criminal investigation file and other discovery items that the public will never know about. In February, the civil suit was settled for $2.57 million after more than three years of litigation.
25. Shanquella Robinson
The October death of Charlotte native and WSSU grad Shanquella Robinson while on vacation in Cabo, Mexico shocked a nation. There was a national outcry when an alleged video of Robinson being savagely beaten in a hotel room didn’t coincide with the Mexican authorities claim of “alcohol poisoning” or the conflicting stories that her companions told Robinson’s family upon arriving back in the US. Her death certificate listed the cause of death as a “severe spinal cord injury and atlas luxation.” A prosecutor in Mexico has issued an arrest warrant for a “direct aggressor” as of Dec. 9. The FBI is also investigating.
26. Zack Matheny
In 2016, Zack Matheny resigned his position as Greensboro City Council District 3 representative to take the job as president of Downtown Greensboro Inc. But with a vacancy in District 3 left when Justin Outling ran for mayor this year, Matheny threw his hat in the ring, prevailing against Chip Roth in November, who withdrew from the race in May because of illness. The difference this time is that Matheny kept his job with DGI, saying that City Attorney Chuck Watts could not discern a direct conflict of interest.
27. Ted Budd
In November, Rep. Ted Budd became Sen. Ted Budd when he defeated former NC Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley for the open seat created by Richard Burr’s retirement. Budd, who was endorsed by Trump and voted to overturn the results of the 2020 election, got more than 1.9 million votes, 50.5 percent of the electorate.
28. Cheri Beasley
Rising up through the political ranks as a district court judge all the way to chief justice of the NC Supreme Court, Cheri Beasley became even more visible this year after she entered the US Senate race in an attempt to defeat Republican Ted Budd. Beasley, a moderate Democrat, ran on a platform that focused on lowering medication costs and protecting abortion. In the end, she lost to Budd in the November general election by 3.2 percent.
29. Roy Carroll
Greensboro’s billionaire was lauded in Forbes magazine in December for his real estate prowess; later the same month his property management company wrongfully evicted a deaf couple from their apartment in Greensboro, seizing their beds and destroying thousands of dollars’ worth of their property.
30. Gale Melcher
In December, TCB hired Gale Melcher as our very first CityBeat reporter. The CityBeat will cover both Greensboro and Winston-Salem city councils, filing three to five stories a week on politics, policy and the people affected by them. It’s funded by a grant from the NC Local News Lab Fund.
31. John Thompson
In December, John Thompson was named the Greensboro Police Department’s new chief. Thompson was chosen after former Chief Brian James announced his retirement in May. Thompson has served in law enforcement since 1998 and has worked within GPD since 2003. In an interview with TCB, Thompson stated that he wanted to increase alternative police responses during his tenure. In Winston-Salem, Police Chief Catrina Thompson is set to retire at the end of December. A search for her replacement is ongoing.
32. Chris Paul
NBA star and sometime Winston-Salem resident Chris Paul got his start at Wake Forest, but he graduated from Winston-Salem State University in December with a BA in communications. At the ceremony, he revealed that he had started bank accounts for everyone in his graduating class with $2,500 in each.
33. Janet Danahey
Every journalist who’s still around remembers the scene in 2002, when UNCG student Janet Danahey set fire to her ex-boyfriend’s apartment in a crime of passion, killing him and three others in the process. Sentenced to life in prison without parole, Danahey’s sentence was commuted by Gov. Roy Cooper in December.
November saw the reelection of multiple incumbents in both Guilford and Forsyth Counties. At the state level, Sen. Ted Budd won a close race against challenger Cheri Beasley by just three percentage points. Rep. Kathy Manning of the 6th Congressional District also won her seat over Republican Christian Castelli. In Forsyth County, House Rep. Virginia Foxx, Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough, District Attorney Jim O’Neill all won their seats. State Senators Joyce Krawiec and Paul Lowe Jr., as well as State House Reps. Amber Baker, Jeff Zenger, Donny Lambeth also reclaimed their seats. In Guilford County, Sheriff Danny Rogers and State Senators Michael Garrett and Gladys Robinson won re-election; all State House incumbents reclaimed their seats as well.
35. Death doulas
In November, we published a story about how death doulas care for the dying in a way that other end-of-life sectors do not. Much like birth doulas, death doulas are not medically trained but act as advocates for those passing away. They can help plan living funerals, write wills and offer grief and comfort care.
36. Weaver Fertilizer Plant
A series of regulatory loopholes contributed to the fire that ignited almost 600 tons of ammonium nitrate at the Weaver Fertilizer Plant in Winston-Salem in January that burned for four days before being extinguished. Located close to numerous residential, commercial and educational areas, the authorities initiated a voluntary evacuation for everyone within a one-mile radius due to hazards from the potential explosion and air quality. Along with the residential evacuation, the evacuation radius included part of Wake Forest University’s campus and the Forsyth Correctional Center. The temporary displacement of 6,000 residents garnered national news when reports began comparing the fire to the 2013 incident in Texas that killed 15. Fire Chief Trey Mayo confirmed that the amount of ammonium nitrate at Weaver had twice as much ammonium nitrate than the Texas explosion. The fire “has the potential to become the largest explosion in US history,” he said.
37. Crystal Towers
When the Housing Authority of Winston-Salem announced that they would be renovating the Crystal Tower residences on Sixth Street rather than selling it in January, the tenants breathed a sigh of relief. The decision not to sell was largely influenced by the $30 million Choice Neighborhood Grant funding the city received in 2020. The building needed about $10 million in repairs and the city was prepared to sell the property because of upkeep needed and lack of funding. Doing so would have abandoned the people in the 200 units to an uncertain future. With the help of advocacy groups like Housing Justice Now and the new funding, the cancellation of the sale is official.
38. Roar W-S
The revitalization and development of downtown Winston-Salem added another notch to the “it’s not gentrification if it’s vacant” tally when Roar opened its doors in January. Roar, a multi-concept entertainment venue owned by developer Simon Burgess and operating partner Joseph Correll, refurbished the Twin City Motor Co. building on the corner of Seventh and Liberty Streets. The attractions in the massive three-story building include a rooftop bar, an upscale steakhouse, an Italian restaurant and a “food hall” with four stalls that serve an array of food choices.
39. The Ukraine
In February, after the Russian army invaded Ukraine, Triad residents marched in support of Ukraine in downtown Greensboro.
40. UNCSA Film Archives
The School of Film at UNCSA contains one of the largest film archives in the world. Thirty-thousand reels of everything from 70mm blockbusters to 16mm ‘70’s era high school educational films to a vast collection of VHS are all nestled comfortably in a climate-controlled nondescript building on UNCSA’s campus in Winston-Salem. Our feature story from February about the archives won a national award this year.
41. The Harold L. Martin Sr. Engineering Research & Innovation Complex
Using $90 million in state funds, A&T completed construction on its newest and most grand building in February. From an A&T press release: “Tomorrow’s graduates will benefit immensely from the Martin Complex’s state-of-the-art research and instructional facilities, the makerspaces, the high-bay drone development rooms, collaboration/ideation spaces and well-appointed laboratories….”
42. Greensboro Social District
One of the state’s first social districts opened in downtown Greensboro in March, allowing for public consumption of alcohol within its boundaries. Greensboro’s is bounded by Murrow Boulevard, Bragg Street, Freeman Mill Road and Fisher Avenue.
43. Parkside Pull-Up
Just in time for the warmer weather, Kris Fuller of Crafted fame, opened her new concept Parkside Pull-Up in downtown Greensboro in April. The walk-up diner consists of classic smashburgers, milkshakes and fries and is situated in LeBauer Park.
44. Winston-Salem Trans Festival
In April, the community gathered in Winston-Salem’s Innovation Quarter for the city’s inaugural Trans Pride Festival. The celebration came at a time when violence against trans and gender-nonconforming has been on the rise.
45. Breweries in Greensboro
Breweries could be a sign of a city’s growth — or, at least, a desire to attract younger residents. This year Greensboro welcomed three new beer locations including Steel Hands Brewing in May which hails from South Carolina. In August, The Abbey Taphouse opened downtown and lastly, Forgotten Road Ales opened its second taproom in Greensboro in October.
46. Northern Roots Coffeehouse
After being vacant for some time, the downtown space at 300-B S. Elm Street finally found a permanent tenant in Northern Roots Coffeehouse this May. The shop is the brainchild of Trina Apple and Amanda Marley and is one of the only places in the city that serves specialty coffee. More recently, the shop has come under fire on social media for the way it has handled interactions with the houseless population.
47. Don Express
After years of slinging noodles and rice bowls out of a small food truck, Don Express owners found a brick-and-mortar location in Winston-Salem this past May. The restaurant is owned by Mari Phillips and her husband James, while their two sons, Kai and Leo, help out. The menu consists of ramen, yakisoba, bento boxes and various donburi.
48. Cugino Forno
The popular Greensboro-based pizza chain was caught by the Department of Labor not paying adequate wages to their employees and using tip monies to pay back-of-house employees, which is not only cheap, but illegal. In June, the Dept. of Labor stated that Cugino Forno “paid as little as $1.19 per hour as a cash wage to workers, which forced them to rely almost entirely on tips for their income.” They were also faulted for not paying overtime to their workers. Ultimately, the owners of Cugino Forno paid back a whopping $276,048 to the 63 employees at their three locations and said it was nothing but a “miscalculation” on their part.
49. Stock and Grain Assembly Hall
Called the beginnings of “a culinary destination” for High Point, the Stock and Grain Assembly food hall opened in June. With a massive footprint of 12,000 square feet and easy access to Truist Point Stadium, the food hall is the city’s new gem. Since then Yumi Sushi, Damn Good Dogs, Message Coffee, and other businesses have opened to welcome crowds of hungry visitors.
50. Greensboro Ballet
In a long investigative piece from June, TCB spoke with former employees and dancers of Greensboro Ballet to get a glimpse into the company’s slow downturn that began a few years ago. The story uncovered years of mismanagement, unequal pay and changes in creative vision that played a large part in an exodus of staff and dancers leaving the company. The former group formed their own company, Gate City Dance Theatre, afterwards.
51. Ego Beauty Salon
A Winston-Salem store owner got into a scuffle with a customer over an alleged payment issue and tried to stop the customer from leaving in July. The ensuing events garnered criticism from local advocacy group Hate Out of Winston and others in the community. Customer Terrica Hughes was delayed upon paying for her merchandise because, according to owner Hasan Kanan, Hughes’ card was declined. Kanan and another employee physically restrained Hughes as she tried to exit the building, which escalated into a fight. Hate Out of Winston organized protests of the store and called for the business to make restitution by donating to Black organizations and enact policies that do not involve physically assaulting Black customers.
52. Romeo’s Vegan Burgers
Back when Beyond Meat and Impossible debuted their vegan burger patties a few years ago, the world seemed unsure of whether the trend would stick around. Cut to 2022 and it seems the appetite for vegan burgers continues with places like Romeo’s Vegan Burgers opening up in town. The shop, which hails from Charlotte, opened a location on Tate Street in July. “We wanted to introduce more people to vegan food,” Monty “Tigo B” Faulkner said. “We wanted to create a space that was transitional, something that would be easy to transition to.”
53. The Flat Iron
Greensboro indie-rocker Josh King, formerly of House of Fools, took over Greensboro music club the Flat Iron with his wife Abbey in July, the latest in a storied line of owners at the venerable venue.
54. Finnigan’s Wake
Philip “Opie” Kirby closed his longtime popular Irish pub in the Arts District of downtown Winston-Salem in late 2021 and everyone mourned for the neighborhood staple that had served many a customer from brunch to late-night for 15 years. The loss left many wondering what would appear in its place. In the spring, neighboring bar owner Brian Cole announced that Finnigan’s would reopen under his ownership. And in July, retaining the charitable nature of Finnigan’s events (and the menu), many old employees have returned to work at the pub that, for the foreseeable future, shall remain a fixture in the Arts District.
55. Bull’s Tavern
The sizable Bull’s Tavern on Fourth Street closed in August after a decade of live music and downtown shenanigans. Owner Danielle Bull opened Bull’s when it was still possible to open a bar with limited means in the dead center of downtown Winston-Salem. During that time, the bar established a vibrant live music scene and Bull emerged as a vocal leader of the service industry in Winston-Salem and statewide. Her participation in the newly formed NC Bar Owners Association helped give bars a voice in the otherwise oppressive political landscape of an “ABC” state.
56. Black Magnolia Southern Patisserie
The Princess and the Frog is one of Veneé Pawlowski’s favorite movies. And it’s likely because she relates so much to Tiana, the main character, whose dream it is to open up her own restaurant. Every day she works hard pinching pennies, singing, “Almost there,” as she gets closer to her goal. In August, Pawlowski finally opened Black Magnolia Southern Patisserie in Revolution Mill, capping off years of working out of her home kitchen.
57. Dom’s and Radici
But as one thing opens, another closes? After initial success and a strong fan base, Dom’s and Radici owner Brian Ricciardi closed his two vegan restaurants in succession in August. Ricciardi didn’t give a reason in the initial social media posts but in the last few months, Dom’s is open again in Winston-Salem with a limited menu. Radici, which had opened on Elm St. in downtown Greensboro, remains closed.
58. Triad Stage
After dealing with sexual-assault accusations against former creative director Preston Lane, Triad Stage reopened in August with a new slate of performances and a more progressive attitude. “It was not an easy process,” new Artistic Director Sarah Hankins told TCB. “We had to take a hard look at the decisions we had made in the past.”
59. The Blind Tiger
In August, according to police documents, a doorman working at the Blind Tiger killed 19-year-old Pedro Alegria during an after-hours party and the club shut down soon after. Greensboro’s longest-running music venue had been in operation since 1988, first on Walker Avenue and then later in a new location on Spring Garden Street. In October, new venue Hangar 1819 opened in the space and started booking live shows immediately.
60. Corner Farmers Market
After more than 10 years, the Corner Farmers Market came under fire with the Guilford County Health Department in late August. Manager Kathy Newsom has been working vigorously with the more than 40 vendors to help get them up to code while also pushing for a change in legislation that would make it easier for people to make and sell food out of their homes. “No customer has ever said anything,” she said. “Nobody has ever asked me about health codes. Nobody is doing anything that’s not safe.”
61. Heff’s Burger Club
The closing down of Fourth Street’s Mystic Ginger early last summer provided an opportunity for burger lover Justin Webster, former head chef at Krankies and all-around raconteur. With an eclectic design and a series of revolving unique smashburgers on the menu, Webster and crew built what one hopes can be a long-term fixture in Winston-Salem. Since their August opening, Heff’s Burger Club has proven to be popular and proof that burgers are still a staple if they’re creative and made with love.
62. Huntley House in Industry Hill Neighborhood
Serving a piece of 1920’s glamor and aesthetic, the Huntley House in Winston Salem’s Industry Hill beckons guests with a unique lodging experience. A part of the city’s revitalization efforts happening north of downtown, the space opened in September and offers private rooms and event spaces. The Spencer family as owners blended personal touches with family heirlooms while preserving the rich history throughout the building.
63. SHARE Co-op
Reverends Gary Williams and Willard Bass founded the SHARE Cooperative of Winston-Salem in 2016 and opened the Harvest Market in October. The aim is to provide a vector for local farmers to sell their goods to areas that are battling food insecurity in Winston-Salem. With a series of grants and donations from local philanthropic organizations and a loan from the Triad Regional Council, the Harvest Market is a full-service grocery.
64. The Wrong Number
You thought you were getting a lot of telemarketer calls? Well, owner Omar Khouri did too, up to 20 to 30 calls per day. So much so he sued the companies and took their money to open up Winston-Salem newest bar in November. The Wrong Number boasts 24 beer taps with local, North Carolina beers and high quality spirits.
65. Gate City Provisions
We hardly knew Gate City Provisions, which opened in June to great fanfare in a spot on Spring Garden Street by the former owners of Smith Street Diner, offering affordable sandwiches and other lunch fare. They closed in November, a short tenure in a location that has seen a lot of turnover the last 20 years.
66. Triad City Beat awards
TCB won seven state and national awards this year, the most in our history. Our new website took Third Place for General Excellence from the NC Press Association and Third Place from the Local Media Association. Columnist James Douglas won Third Place from the NC Press for his In the Weeds column and Second Place for a feature about UNCSA’s film vault. Managing Editor Sayaka Matsuoka won Second Place for Special Vaccine Coverage from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia, while former TCB Senior Editor Jordan Green took an Honorable Mention in Right-Wing Extremism Coverage from the AAN and Publisher Brian Clarey took Third Place for his editorials.
67. TCB’s new website
Triad City Beat has had a pretty big year. To start, in January, we launched our brand-new website, custom created by webmaster — and Managing Editor Sayaka Matsuoka’s husband — Sam LeBlanc. The whole thing is cleaner, runs faster and has even won two awards. How ‘bout them apples?
68. WS/FCS teacher salary cuts
When WS/FCS teachers got news in 2021 saying that they would be receiving substantial bonuses and in some cases a raise, it sounded too good to be true. Turns out, it was.
In January, the announcement went out that due to a calculation error, they would not be receiving the promised $16 million that would allow an average raise of 2.5 percent for all WS/FCS teachers plus $8,200 in local supplements for first-year, 10-month teachers. The result was a school system trying to avoid a mass exodus of already frustrated teachers who felt undervalued. The city scrambled for a solution, finally finding funding for a partial raise for teachers and limited bonuses for first year, 10-month teachers.
69. Underground Presents
Drag artists Ellis D. and Hysteria Cole brought their drag and show Underground Presents to Monstercade in Winston-Salem in January. The queer showcase, which includes burlesque, was a performance in an inclusive and welcoming environment.
70. Still I Rise at Reynolda
The Still I Rise exhibit at the Reynolda House marked a shift in the museum’s programming this year. The exhibit, which opened in February, centered the lives of Black employees who worked on the museum grounds and confronted the organization’s past racist policies.
71. Congressional maps
The NC primary was delayed until May while the courts worked out the illegal congressional maps submitted by the GOP majority. The maps as drawn sliced Guilford and Mecklenburg counties into six separate districts and would have resulted in Republicans winning 10-12 of the state’s 14 Congressional seats. One, the 11th, stretched from northern Greensboro to the neighborhood in Boone where Rep. Virginia Foxx lives. The NC Supreme Court threw the maps out in February; the new maps resulted in an 8-6 split of Congressional seats, with Republicans still holding the advantage.
72. W-S Bonds for the Win
Part of a nationwide attempt to scare local school boards into submission with regards to everything from mask mandates to banning books by threatening insurance claims, a right-wing group disrupted a WS/FCS School Board meeting in February. Bonds for the Win member (and 2022 WS/FCS School Board candidate) Regina Garner accused the school board of a myriad of perceived crimes during her allotted two-minute public address. Deb Tuttle, another speaker, continued the laundry list of demands while a third person, Eric Jensen, attempted to personally “serve” school board members with surety bond complaints that would be filed with the school system’s insurance carrier, Liberty Mutual. The crossing of the rope barriers to personally approach school board members violated the rules and the man was forcibly detained while shouting “You work for me!”
73. Good News Club v. After School Satan Club
Who said after-school programs have to be boring? In April, in response to an evangelical Christian club that was being offered in some Guilford County schools, the Satanic Temple brought their own club to schools. The After School Satan Club, which promotes social justice, applied to teach kids after school but backed off after the school district decided to reconsider allowing the Good News Club in schools.
74. El Sabor Tabasqueño
Birria Tacos became mainstream in 2019 and here in the Triad birria tacos came to the light in 2021 with a Triad City Beat piece about a secret taqueria. El Sabor Tabasqueño debuted its food truck in April in south Winston-Salem. The food truck served a python-long line of customers daily with old classics (birria tacos, birria ramen) and new items (candy tray and watermelon rings).
75. UNCG’s esports arena
It’s not just for the nerds anymore. In April, UNCG unveiled its brand-new esport arena complete with 48 PCs, three gaming console bays, new gaming chairs and an Oculus Rift headset. The move comes as esports have become a growing area of interest for local colleges and universities.
76. Baby formula shortage
In June, a nationwide shortage of baby formula left Triad parents searching store shelves for the vital resource.
77. Abortion ruling
In June, the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, effectively ending decades of abortion protections for Americans. While so-called “trigger laws” banned the procedure in other states, abortion remains legal in North Carolina for now, though the Republican-controlled General Assembly has stated plans to outlaw abortion here next year. In the meantime, people seeking abortions are traveling to NC to have them done.
78. Drag Queen Storytime at Bookmarks
Strength in numbers. That was the overarching message in Winston-Salem after hundreds of supporters came out to defend a Drag Queen Storytime at Bookmarks in June. The community response was triggered by reports of a protest that had been scheduled by members of the Forsyth County Republican Men’s Party which called the event a “perversion.” In the end, just a handful of protesters attended the much-supported event.
79. Triad Voice
Almost every aspect of American society has been touched by white supremacy, and the media is no exception. In June, Chelsie Hart-Smith sought to change that. She is the founder of Triad Voice Magazine, a quarterly print product that is distributed in the area and features stories by and for a Black, female audience. “Opening up a magazine and not seeing anyone that looks like you, it’s hard to relate,” Hart-Smith said. “I wanted to change that narrative.”
80. Downtown parking in W-S
In July, the downtown Winston-Salem parking issues came to the forefront when a popular, privately owned (and free!) parking lot was monetized by the new owner. This wasn’t surprising. What was surprising were the $40-$90 parking tickets downtown denizens began to receive from a private Florida company with a history of using fines to supplement their income. Soon, workers and customers realized the company had acquired the parking services of almost every private lot in town. The laws in NC aren’t made to regulate predatory fines, and the city responded by saying their hands were tied.
81. Rent prices in Greensboro
The rent is too damn high, and there is data to back it up. In August, Rent.com published a report that found Greensboro as the top city in the country with the biggest increase in rent for one-bedroom apartments over the last year.
82. Naloxone vending machine
In August, in a partnership with the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Department, the Forsyth Regional Opioid and Substance Use Team, otherwise known as FROST, announced the placement of a Narcan/Naloxone vending machine in the front lobby of the Forsyth County Jail to help reduce deaths by opioid overdose.
83. The Carolina Cowboys
The Carolina Cowboys became the Triad’s first professional bullriding team in 2022. In September they made their first homestand in Winston-Salem against the other teams in the PBR Teams series.
84. The ACC moves on
Born at Sedgefield Country Club in 1953, the Atlantic Coast Conference has called Greensboro home since its inception, holding its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments here more times than anyone can count. In September, the body voted to relocate to Charlotte, making Michael Jordan cry.
85. Every Campus a Refuge
The inaugural Every Campus a Refuge (ECAR) Gathering was hosted at Guilford College in late September. Founder Dr. Diya Abdo and a team of dedicated individuals brought nearly 200 people from across the country to Guilford College for a three-day event. The conference built community among allies and advocates and increased knowledge for attendees on how to support immigrant and refugee communities in their local community.
86. W-S Queer Fear Film Fest
Now in its second year, the Queer Fear Film Fes” took place at Winston-Salem’s a/perture Cinema in October. The 19 films, all but one created by a queer-identifying team, are a way for the festival’s founder to “bridge the divide” between her two passions – queer culture and horror.
87. Homelessness in Greensboro
Greensboro’s city council has received a lot of backlash this year, namely from its decision to change its ordinances to be harsher towards the homeless community. In October, every white council member voted to pass amendments to ordinances that criminalize leaving objects in public spaces and sidewalks. The city also approved funding for pop-up shelters for homeless individuals, something that advocates in the city say is a misuse of money that could have gone to affordable housing instead. The shelters were delivered in late December with individuals moving in just as the weather dips below 20 degrees at night.
What does 171 miles get you? Well, the chance to visit all of the panaderías in the Triad for one thing! A complete guide to every single Mexican bakery in the Triad was published in November. A breakdown of the most common breads? Check. A guide to visiting your first panadería? Check. A video tutorial guiding you through the bakery experience? Check!
89. Fines for NC A&T
In November, NC A&T was fined almost $2 million by the UNC Board of Governors for taking too many out-of-state students. From our editorial: “Stripping our biggest and best HBCU of $2 million is not a good look for an organization that fought so hard to keep a Confederate memorial on UNC-Chapel Hill’s campus, that refused tenure to the Black journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones for a Knight Fellowship… and that oversees a school where the racial admissions policy is being challenged in the Supreme Court.”
90. Bus driver shortage in Greensboro
An already short-staffed position, the COVID-19 pandemic did not do any favors to school systems needing bus drivers. In January, high levels of driver absences forced Guilford County Schools to partner with the Greensboro Transit Authority to ensure that every student had a ride to school. Even with partial solutions like this, schools had delayed openings because of the shortage. In November, GTA drivers went on a short strike due to a “misunderstanding” about their open enrollment medical benefits that were due to start Jan. 1, 2023. A representative for the privately owned contractor for GTA said that they took time to “provide clarity” to the misunderstanding and buses were back on schedule at 11:30 am that day.
91. TCB growth
In November, TCB got its first nonprofit grant to hire a new reporter. In December staff began an extensive yearlong training with the Knight Foundation Table Stakes Initiative out of UNC-Chapel Hill. Big things to come!
92. Texas Pete
California man Phillip White brought suit against Winston-Salem-based Texas Pete hot sauce because, as the suit states, the sauce is not actually made in Texas. He wanted $5 million. In November, parent company TW Garner Foods filed a motion to dismiss, which will be decided in January 2023.
93. Leandro ruling
The Leandro decision found, in 1994, that the state of NC was illegally underfunding its schools, in defiance of the state constitution. In November, the NC Supreme Court ruled (again) that the legislature must increase funding for public schools by $5.6 billion over the next three years. It is likely that the legislature will ask a new, GOP-majority Supreme Court to rule on it again next year.
94. Greensboro mayoral race
Despite being a midterm year, this year’s election garnered a lot of attention for its Senate race between Democrat Cheri Beasley and Republican incumbent Rep. Ted Budd. But downballot in Greensboro, another big race was stewing in the race for mayor. Incumbent Mayor Nancy Vaughan faced off against three challengers: Mark Cumming, Justin Outling and Eric Robert. In November, Vaughan emerged victorious after beating Outling, the former District 3 city council rep, by just 425 votes.
95. Greensboro bonds
In addition to the mayoral race, Greensboro residents voted to pass five new bonds that were on the November ballot. A housing bond, parks and rec bond, firefighting facilities bond, law enforcement bond and transportation bond all passed with more than 65 percent approval. The total of the bonds is $135 million.
96. NC Judicial races
In November, Republicans swept the state’s judicial races and won a new majority on the state Supreme Court.
It’s not been a good year for book-bannings in both the numbers sense as well as the success rate. This school year, Guilford County Schools saw challenges to two books — both out of Northern High School. It’s the most challenges the district has seen in years. Both challenges made their way up the chain to the school board, which voted in both instances to keep the books in the school. The instances mark an increase in the number of book challenges and bannings that have taken place across the country in the last few years, notably pushed by a conservative agenda that takes issue with critical race theory, LGBTQ+ representation and the Holocaust.
98. Take Back Our Schools
Since its inception a few years ago, the conservative group Take Back Our Schools in Guilford County have made a name for themselves by protesting suspension policy changes, masks, critical race theory and pushing for banning books. Leading up to the November election, TBOS announced that they were helping to run a slate of Republican candidates, which the chair and vice chair of the school board alleged was illegal in letters sent to state officials. In late November, TBOS announced on social media that they were shutting down after not being able to find anyone to take the group over.
99. Police surveillance ramps up
In both Greensboro and Winston-Salem, police are increasing the ways that they surveil its residents. Both cities have either installed or plan to install license-plate readers in various areas and a December investigation by TCB found that in Greensboro, GPD used a phone-tracking technology for a brief period.
100. The Greensboro N&R
In December, the Greensboro News & Record laid off Managing Editor Jennifer Fernandez, bringing their total full-time reporter count to three for the third-largest city in the state. In January, The Assembly reported on the demise of what was once one of the biggest newspapers in the state.
CORRECTION: This article misstated Derwin Montgomery’s plea deal in November. He did not plead guilty to all charges, but to a single charge of program fraud. The article has been corrected, and TCB regrets the error.
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