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Q: How can a person find out if their name is on the unclaimed cash list? Is there a fee for this service?


Answer: Unclaimed money usually refers to money held by the state because the owner can’t be found.

The money could be utility deposits or insurance checks. Companies turn over the money to the state until the rightful owner claims it.

If you want to find out if the state is holding any money in your name, you can call 800-582-0615 or write to: Unclaimed Property Division, Department of State Treasurer, PO Box 20431, Raleigh, NC 27619-0431. You also can search online at the department’s website: You do not have to pay the state a fee, although some private companies charge a fee to search for you. You can search on your own.

Q: I go by a house that keeps a yard-sale sign out seven days a week and has a sale every weekend. I thought you were supposed to have only two yard sales a year.


Answer: People in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County are allowed to have no more than two yard sales a year.

The reason for the rule is because of zoning regulations. Selling things at one’s home every weekend of the year is basically running a business in a residential area, which is a violation of zoning ordinances. The city-county zoning office enforces zoning regulations. You can call CityLink 311 to report any problems.

Q: When two interstates merge, how do they decide which interstate’s exit numbers to continue with? For instance, on the combined I-40/I-85 stretch from Greensboro to near Durham, they use I-85’s exit numbers.


Answer: The N.C. Department of Transportation generally uses the exit numbers associated with the interstate that was there first. That allows them to use the existing signage, which saves time and expense, and makes the best use of existing resources. Once the routes split after running concurrently, the newer route will resume using exit numbers based on that route’s mile markers.

Q: My friend and I were talking about Magic Johnson and AIDS. She said he has been cured of AIDS; I said he isn’t. Who is correct?

Answer: Magic Johnson does not have AIDS. He announced back in 1991 that he was HIV positive. HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus, the virus that can cause AIDS. You can be HIV positive and not have AIDS.

As Dr. Allison Mathews at UNC-Chapel Hill explained in a 2017 column debunking HIV myths, “Magic Johnson is not cured of HIV. He has repeatedly said he still has HIV and is taking medication to manage the disease. He is taking the same medication all people living with HIV are taking. His viral load is ‘undetectable’ because he consistently takes his medication.”

You can read Mathews’ blog post, which addresses several other myths about HIV, at

You can also read more about the difference between HIV and AIDS at

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Write: Ask SAM, 418 N. Marshall St., Winston-Salem, NC 27101 

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