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A bull returns to restaurant in Winston-Salem

A giant bull mascot has returned to its home on Reynolda Road.

The bull, a fiberglass and steel statue, was installed Thursday in the parking lot next to Fratellis Italian Steakhouse, which opened at 2000 Reynolda Road in 2013.

The bull is the same one that stood outside the original Staley’s Charcoal Steak House on the same site.

The owners of the restaurant, Sam Gianopoulas, Johnny Pappas, and Pete Bobotsaris, bought the bull in December from the owner of Thrift Way Meats and Produce Inc. at 653 Waughtown St., Pappas said.

The bull had stood at that site on two steel poles as a sign for Thrift Way Meats, Pappas said. He declined to reveal the bull’s purchase price.

“Business is not the reason that we bought it,” Pappas said. “We felt it needed to come back home.”

The red and white bull stands 11 feet tall and weighs nearly 2,000 pounds. The mascot stands next to the restaurant’s entrance within a wooden fence.

“We are going to repaint and get it back to its glory days,” Pappas said. “It will bring back the nostalgia of the bull when it was the Staley bull.”

The bull was made in 1957 by Sculptured Advertising, a company in Sparta, Wis.

Kenneth Cheek and Lawrence Staley bought it that year for $6,000 at a restaurant trade show in Chicago for the original Staley’s Charcoal Steak House, which opened in 1957.

The mascot was known as the “Winston the Bull” and “The Staley’s Bull.”

It disappeared from the city for about seven years as a concession to neighbors after a controversial expansion of the restaurant in 1968, the Winston-Salem Journal reported in 2011. It spent that time stored in a barn near High Point. Both its departure and return to the city in 1975 were chronicled in the pages of the Journal.

The bull again departed in 1990 but made occasional visits for holidays and special events. It spent some time on a farm in Wilkes County, then at a steakhouse in Elkin and later returned to Old Staley’s, which closed in 2003. It’s unclear when it left the Reynolda Road site.

On Thursday, the bull attracted attention from drivers Thursday on Reynolda Road, said Conor Nichol, an assistant manager at Fratellis. Two police officers in a patrol car stopped in the restaurant’s parking lot to admire the bull.

“I had one or two people pull in and talk about it for a bit,” Nichol said.

Restaurant and office and retail building proposed for portion of Target property on University Parkway

The Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Planning Board unanimously supported a proposal Thursday for a new commercial building on a portion of the Target property on University Parkway in Winston-Salem.

Dayton Hudson Corp. is listed as the petitioner requesting a zone change to “special use” to allow for the building. The request will now move on to the Winston-Salem City Council for final action.

Developer Aston Properties Inc., based in Charlotte, is under contract to purchase a portion of the Target property from Dayton Hudson for the project.

The proposed 6,000- square-foot building would consist of about 2,400 square feet for a restaurant with a drive-thru lane and about 3,600 square feet of retail and office space on just over an acre.

The commercial building would be built on the northeast corner of the existing Target parking lot, adjacent to the main entrance from University Parkway. Its access would be from existing driveways for Target at 5420 University Parkway.

The new addresses to be assigned to the building’s tenants are 5408 and 5414 University Parkway.

City-county planners recommended approval of the project.

“The property is already zoned for commercial purposes and that parking lot is significantly underutilized,” Gary Roberts, a project planner for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Planning and Development Services Department said last week.

At Thursday’s meeting of planning board, Amy Crum, also a project planner with the department, said the petitioner requested to add several uses for the property, including food and drugstore, furniture and home-furnishings store, and restaurant with drive-thru.

The proposal would remove the “fuel dealer” use listed for the property.

Because the building would be on existing impervious pavement, it will decrease the overall impervious coverage on the site to 78.5% from 94.8%, according to a report by the planning staff.

According to the report, the new building would add 1,320 to the average number of vehicle trips a day on University Parkway, but the road has the capacity to handle the increase. University Parkway is designated a growth corridor.

“Only a portion of the site is to be rezoned,” Crum said. “The rest will remain as it currently is. Currently, the site is a Target retail store. It is surrounded by business uses to the north and to the east, and there is some residential on the other side of Target to the west.”

Some vacant land as well as a creek is to the south of the property.

The proposed building site is covered by the North Suburban area plan, which recommends that it be used for new commercial projects and improvements to existing development there.

Jackson Smith, a development manager for Aston Properties, said that plans are for a one-story building.

“We are excited about the project,” Smith said. “We have two tenants lined up. ... We think we’ll bring services to the area that aren’t there today.”

Paul Fidishun, a landscape architect for MLA Design Group in Winston-Salem, told the planning board that the project should visually improve the area.

But Sherry D. Cochrane, who lives across the street on Laura Avenue, said she is concerned about the effect the building would have on the area, saying there is already an excess amount of retail space as well as empty commercial space along University Parkway.

She said that a lot of traffic comes onto her street and that Laura Avenue is often used as a thoroughfare.

“The increased traffic will be detrimental to the quality of life in my neighborhood,” Cochrane said. “I don’t think that it will be visually pleasing.”

Winston-Salem man convicted of charges that he sexually abused 8-year-old girl in hotel bathroom.

A Winston-Salem man was convicted on charges that he sexually abused an 8-year-old girl in a hotel bathroom.

William G. Flores, 52, with no permanent address listed in court documents, pleaded guilty Thursday in Forsyth Superior Court to two counts of attempted statutory sex offense with a child by an adult offender and one count of taking indecent liberties with a child. He had initially been charged with first-degree statutory sex offense with a child.

Judge David Hall of Forsyth Superior Court consolidated the charges and sentenced Flores to a minimum of 10 years and four months and a maximum of 13 years and five months in prison. Upon release, he will have to register as a sex offender for a period of 30 years.

Two sign-language interpreters were used during the nearly two-hour hearing because Flores is deaf, illiterate and does not know English. One interpreter translated English into sign-language and the other interpreter translated the English into Spanish sign-language for Flores.

Assistant District Attorney Kia Chavious said the abuse was reported to the Winston-Salem Police Department on Feb. 25, 2017. Flores and the girl’s mother had been dating. The mother dropped the girl and her 3-year-old sister off at an auto shop where Flores worked.

Flores took the girls to a hotel on Peters Creek Parkway without the mother’s knowledge. Later, the mother went back to the auto shop to pick the girls up and when she found that they were not there, she tracked them down at the hotel.

When she went to the hotel room, she saw the girl in wet clothes coming out of the bathroom, followed by Flores.

The girl later told police that Flores had molested her while she was in the shower, including touching her genitals, Chavious said. The 3-year-old girl corroborated her sister’s story, Chavious said.

Flores told the girl to not tell her mother about what happened and that if she did, he would go to jail, she said.

Chavious said that surveillance video showed Flores and the girls going to the hotel. The girl also recorded partial video of Flores in the hotel’s bathroom. When Flores was arrested, he was wearing the same clothing he wore at the hotel, Chavious said.

The girl’s mother read a statement that the girl wrote. The girl said she has had a hard time since the alleged abuse happened. She doesn’t like to sleep alone or be in the bathroom alone.

She doesn’t trust men because of the abuse and is frightened of Flores. But this is one thing she does know, according to the statement.

“This is not my fault.”

Winston-Salem man convicted on charges he shot at police during a 6-mile chase that ended at University Parkway.

A Winston-Salem man was convicted Thursday in what a Forsyth County judge described as one of the most violent assaults on law-enforcement he has ever seen.

Jashoun Andrew Steele, 23, pleaded guilty in Forsyth Superior Court to three counts of assault on a law-enforcement officer with a firearm, assault with a deadly weapon, with intent to kill; speeding to elude arrest; possession of a stolen firearm; possession of a firearm by a convicted felon; discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle and being a habitual felon. Admitting to being a habitual felon increased the amount of punishment that Steele would be getting in the plea arrangement.

The charges stem from an incident on June 7, 2018 in which authorities said Steele led Winston-Salem police officers on a 6-mile chase. During that chase, Steele fired at police officers. No police officer was shot, but Steele damaged more than 15 police and civilian vehicles, and Steele was shot three times — once in the right elbow, once in the right upper extremity and thigh and once in the head.

Judge David Hall said it was a miracle that no police officer was killed and that Steele was still alive. Before handing down a sentence, he called the incident one of the most violent assaults on law-enforcement officers he has seen in a long time.

If things had gone differently, Steele would very well be looking at first-degree murder charges, Hall said.

Under the plea arrangement, Hall consolidated all the charges into two separate judgments that totaled a minimum of 15 years to a maximum of 20 years in prison.

Here is what happened, according to Assistant District Attorney Belinda Foster and court documents:

On June 6, 2018, Detective Karl A. Williams was investigating an armed robbery. He tried to stop a vehicle that had been identified in the robbery investigation. Williams said in court Thursday that the car sped off. Williams chased the car for a short while with speeds reaching 100 mph, but decided to call off the chase because of a concern for public safety.

The next day, Williams received information that Steele would be picking up his girlfriend in the parking lot of the former Toys R Us store in the Silas Creek Crossing Shopping Center.

Williams and several other officers were in unmarked police cars, and after they found Steele waiting in his Ford Explorer, the police cars moved in to block Steele’s car from the front and the rear. The officers demanded that Steele get out of the car, but Steele did not.

Instead, Steele backed his car up, hitting one police car, and then drove forward toward Officer Matthew LaValley. LaValley fired his gun, hitting the SUV. Steele drove out of the parking lot and onto Hanes Mall Boulevard.

Officer Lucasz Waszczeniuk and B.D. Bolen chased Steele, and Steele continued to fire his gun. The officers didn’t fire back.

Steele’s SUV crashed into a patrol car that Williams was driving at the intersection of University Parkway and Home Road. Steele fired at Williams, who fired back.

“He shot at my vehicle 15 times, striking it multiple times,” Williams said in court Thursday.

By that time, Foster said, the tires on Steele’s car were flat from police officers’ bullets. And the car finally wrecked, ending the 6-mile chase.

Winston-Salem police seized five firearms from the chase, Foster said.

Yalonda Jackson, Steele’s mother, said her son is not a bad person. He was diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and she got little help to treat it. She also blamed herself for her son’s conduct.

“I let the Devil move in,” she said.

Jackson also was angry over how she was treated by the Winston-Salem Police Department. She said police officers never told her where her son was after she learned that he had been shot.

Steele had no intention of hitting people’s cars or causing anyone harm that day, Jackson said.

“Every car he hit — he didn’t intentionally do that,” she said. “He had a bullet in his head. He was running on adrenaline.”

Hall told Steele things could have turned out worse for everyone involved.

“I’ve heard nobody say you were a bad person but what you did was a very bad thing,” he said.

Near the end of the hearing, under her breath, Jackson said, “He was set up.”