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Kernersville police employee accused of taking evidence

KERNERSVILLE, N.C. — An employee with the Kernersville Police Department has been accused of taking more than $9,000 from the evidence room.

Wendy Prescitt Vance, 53, allegedly stole around $9,800 from the Kernersville police evidence room while working as an evidence technician, according to police.

Police said the suspect was fired from her job Friday morning after they discovered the money missing Tuesday, prompting an investigation. The money was removed from cases, where it was classified as evidence, unclaimed money and/or recovered money.

Police officials said they will conduct an inventory of all items in the department’s evidence room.

Authorities said the suspect was hired as a records clerk in 2004 and promoted to a property technician in 2007. He annual salary was $39,391.

The suspect has been charged with felony larceny by an employee and jailed under a $10,000 secured bond. She has court planned for February 20.

‘Shalom Project’ benefit concert to be held Saturday

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — A Shalom Project benefit concert will be held this Saturday in Winston-Salem.

The benefit will feature the multi-generational string band “Unbroken Circle.”

The event will be 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1, at the Porter Byrum Welcome Center, Kulynych Auditorium, Wake Forest University, 1834 Wake Forest Road.

For more information, visit their website.

‘Winston Under 40′ initiative to bring in young professionals

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce is hoping to bring more young professionals to the city through an initiative called Winston Under 40.

Kevin Flynn is a young professional who moved to the Triad for a job.

“I’m from Hartford area in Connecticut. Moved down to work at National General,” said Flynn.

Flynn likes living in Winston-Salem for now, but he doesn’t see it as a permanent home.

“Maybe the next 3-5 years, after that it might be nice to move closer to family,” said Flynn.

It’s a feeling a lot of young professionals in Winston-Salem can relate to, but the Chamber of Commerce is hoping Winston Under 40 will change that.

Winston-Salem to consider cell towers in residential areas

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The City Council plans to make a decision next week on whether to allow cell phone towers in residential areas.

Councilman Derwin Montgomery said the city-county planning zone board already approved the ordinance change to allow towers in residential areas but now council must approve.

AT&T and the American Tower Company are asking the council to change its ordinance, allowing them to ask permission to put up towers in neighborhoods. Company representatives and residents met Thursday night at a town hall meeting on the issue.

The American Tower Corporation released this statement about the proposal.

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Fox and Hound bar in Winston-Salem closes

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Fox and Hound English Pub & Grille at Thruway Shopping Center won’t be around for the Super Bowl this weekend because it has closed its doors.

The restaurant has been a meeting place for customers to watch major sporting events since it opened in 1998, including the Forsyth County Carolina Club’s viewing parties.

An unidentified man who answered the phone at the restaurant on Wednesday said that the location closed Sunday. He also said that the restaurant’s 45 employees have been offered jobs at other Fox and Hound restaurants or severance packages.

Two signs on the restaurant’s door read, “Sorry We Are Closed.” Another sign provides the number (800) 229-2118 for people with Groupon questions.

Fire caused $175,000 in damage to two former RJR buildings

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — A fire that burned portions of two downtown Winston-Salem buildings, including one that is part of a $55 million multi-use complex, caused a total of $175,000 in damage, Assistant Chief Harry Brown of the Winston-Salem Fire Department said Wednesday.

Firefighters were called to the two buildings about 1:35 a.m. on Jan. 23, where heavy smoke could be seen billowing from the buildings.

A catwalk between the buildings was engulfed in flames and later collapsed. The buildings were vacant and no one was injured.

Brown said the fire is still under investigation and a cause hasn’t been determined.

The fire caused about $100,000 worth of damage to sections of Plant 64, a former R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. building in the 500 block of East Fifth Street. Plant 64 consists of more than five buildings and structures, with the oldest building dating back to 1916.

Winston-Salem woman wows American Idol judges, advances to Hollywood

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Tiquila Wilson wowed the judges of American Idol Wednesday night but for her friends and family her talent was no surprise.

“I just stood there and was like, for real? Really? Wow,” said the 24-year-old who was surprised to get a golden ticket to Hollywood while auditioning in Salt Lake City.

“I really didn’t want to try out,” she said.

With the encouragement of her sister, Wilson tried out, first before Idol producers in Winston-Salem last year.

“Her voice is beautiful ,” said Cindy Jolly, Wilson’s former middle school guidance counselor, who was just one of many who turned out for a watch party at the District Roof Top Bar and Grill.

“Every time she sings she just brings tears to my eyes,” Jolly said.