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Q: Are all the trees being cut down on Main Street in Old Salem to put in new sidewalks? If so, who is doing this and how can it be addressed before more of these gorgeous trees are cut down?


Answer: No, that is not what is happening, according to Keith Finch, head of vegetation management for the city.

“Only the trees that are in decline, poor health or have root issues that will not allow repairs of the sidewalks and street are being removed,” he said. “In turn, these trees are being replaced, but in a much healthier environment. The tree pits will be enlarged, giving the tree roots more space, but a structured soil will be used under the sidewalk and in the tree pit as well.”

This specialized soil, he explained, will allow the roots to grow under the sidewalk without restriction or damage to the sidewalks.

“This engineered soil contains plenty of air space and does not compact,” he said. “Overall, when this work is complete, we will have a much healthier tree canopy as well as safe sidewalks.”

Q: My aunt got a message from the International Monetary Fund grant program about a $50,000 grant offer. How can I find out more about this?


Answer: “That’s a scam that’s occurring at the moment,” said a spokesperson for the International Monetary Fund, which describes itself as “an inter-governmental organization whose transactions and operations are carried out directly with its member countries.”

According to a warning released by the organization, “The scam letters instruct potential victims to contact the IMF for issuance of a ‘Certificate of International Capital Transfer’ or other forms of approval, to enable them to receive large sums of monies as beneficiaries. The contact e-mail information is always bogus and unsuspecting individuals are then requested to send their personal banking details which the scammers utilize for their fraudulent activities.”

As for what to do about the scam, “If you have already received such e-mails, you are advised to terminate all further contacts with the scammers,” according to the IMF. “In the event that you have sent them funds, contact your local law enforcement agency immediately.”

You can also file a complaint with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at

Q: Do school buses have to slow down or stop for emergency vehicles? If so, two buses I was behind last week never slowed down for an ambulance.


Answer: School buses fall under the same laws as all other motor vehicles, said Darrell Taylor, director of transportation for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools.

“One must keep in mind it is much harder to pull a bus over to a safe location or to stop as quickly as a car,” according to Taylor. “Our drivers are instructed to slow down or pull over as soon as they are able to do so safely and as soon as they are aware of an approaching emergency vehicle.

“In some cases that safe stop or reduction in speed may be after the emergency vehicle has already found its most efficient route around or by the bus and moved on.’’

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