Buice column: New mascot roams the grounds at Clemmons Community Day

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 4, 2023

When the Lewisville-Clemmons Chamber of Commerce was considering some new wrinkles for Clemmons Community Day, one of the suggestions was to add a new mascot.
Besides, there was a perfect fit to fill the role. Thomas Laws, who works for the chamber as the events and communication coordinator, previously served as the Deacon mascot at Wake Forest from 2019 to 2022.
So Lewis C. Chambers (L.C.) was introduced for the first time on the stage Saturday morning during the opening ceremonies for the annual celebration.
Instead of roaming the sidelines and stands at Wake Forest, Laws, uh, L.C., made his way through the large crowd on the grounds at the Jerry Long Family YMCA — enjoying every moment along the way.
“I love it,” he said. “It’s great to be out here. And it’s cool because it’s a lot of people that I’ve gotten to know through chamber meetings and events.”
And the reception?
“Well, the kids a little less when I have the face mask on,” he said with a laugh.
Laws has been with the chamber since last August as part of the Winston-Salem Fellows, a nine-month development spiritual training program, after graduating from Wake Forest in 2022.
He enjoyed serving as the Deacon mascot for three years, which meant a good part of his tenure was during the days of COVID 19 — when crowds were limited because of the pandemic.
“COVID meant I was still able to go to the games and a lot of people couldn’t,” Laws said. “It was an adjustment for sure after I graduated. I went to a football game last fall, and it was the first one in three years when I wasn’t on the sidelines. It was weird. I was thinking, ‘What’s the point of me being here since I can’t watch it up close?’ ”
But he was up close as the first-ever mascot for Clemmons Community Day, which was a big hit in its second year back after the two-year absence from the pandemic.

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The RiverRun International Film Festival was back and better than ever in April to celebrate its 25th anniversary.
I last attended the festival in 2019 before COVID-19 came along to impact the last three years — with it being canceled in 2020, limited primarily to a virtual model in 2021 and open for business but still not quite the same with the lingering effects of the pandemic last year.
There were 174 films in 2023 with the usual interesting mix of narratives, documentaries and animation.
My schedule limited my attendance, but I was able to take in a couple of screenings, led off by Highway 301, a 1950 film which was part of the Film Noir series and shown at the UNC School of the Arts Main Theatre.
It featured an opening scene that was shot in downtown Winston-Salem and a story based on the Tri-State gang, a real group of armed robbers who terrorized North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland.
It included remarks prior to the movie from special guest Foster Hirsch, a professor from Brooklyn College and a film historian who specializes in the Hollywood studio era who had intimate knowledge about film director Andrew Stone and how some preferred him to Alfred Hitchcock.
My other choice was one of the N.C. documentary programs at Reynolds Place Theatre, featuring seven shorts with three of them ranging from four to six minutes and the longest going 38 minutes.
That one, Chicken Soup for the Soul, was my favorite of the bunch. It was done by Brandon Gaesser, a student at Wake Forest, who put together a film featuring a couple of N.C. farmers who are trying to rehabilitate the soil one pasture at a time.
Gaesser was present after the program to discuss the purpose of regenerative farming, which is described as restoring organic matter and nutrient density to the soil destroyed by conventional farming, and taking questions from the audience.
That’s the other reason I love RiverRun — having the opportunity to learn about different things and hear the inside stories from the directors and those in the know.
You can’t get that just anywhere.

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During the recent Lewisville-Clemmons Chamber of Commerce Economic Forum, there were way too many topics to include in my story from that event, but there was another interesting tidbit I wanted to share.
In the wide-ranging panel discussion, Terry Bralley, the Davie County Economic Development Commission president, brought up a subject that has huge implications for the DOT and fellow panelist Pat Ivey, NCDOT Division 9 engineer.
“I told Pat, ‘Think about this: Most everybody drives a fossil fuel vehicle today. You’re going to get plug-ins in the future. You’re going to have electric cars out there. They won’t pay a gasoline tax. How are you going to come up with the revenues when all the sudden you’re not going to be selling gasoline. You’re going to be charging up from electrical outlets.’ ”
So has the DOT thought about that in terms of generating revenue?
Ivey said, “We think about it every day, but it is a huge issue that’s been discussed for more than a decade now. Even today, we simply do not have the resources to meet the transportation needs that we have. Think into the future, we’re still going to need roads, sidewalks, all kinds of things, and we are seeing the higher use of EV autonomous vehicles, all kinds of different ways of seeing transportation in whatever form that comes in, but we’re still going to need roads.
“Since we came back from the pandemic, the number of folks on the roadways has exceeded pre-pandemic levels, but the costs of building those projects has increased significantly. We simply are not able to deliver everything that we thought we would be able to do before the pandemic.”