Boys and Girls Clubs

Put Donation To BGCNCNC On Your “To-Do” List

The Thanksgiving holiday kicks off in earnest a season of giving, and there are several different ways to make donations that will benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of North Central North Carolina in the coming days and weeks.

Of course, a check mailed to BGCNCNC, P.O. Box 176, Oxford, NC 27565 is always welcome, said CEO Donyell “DJ” Jones, and something for individuals to consider on Giving Tuesday, coming up next week.

Jones said a link will go live on BGCNCNC’s Facebook page Wednesday to make a donation quick and easy.

There are two toy drives underway as well – one in Oxford by Will Jakes, whose Edward Jones office collects new, unwrapped gifts for club members in Granville County.

Jones said the Zeta Alpha chapter of Omega Psi Phi fraternity is sponsoring toy drives across the counties that have clubs as well. “They are really committed about spreading the love and supporting the counties,” Jones said.

Following is a list of collection locations and deadlines:

  • Vance County – Beckford Medical Center, 176 S. Beckford Drive, Henderson. Deadline is Dec. 16.
  • Granville County – Bobo’s Menswear, 216 M.L.K. Jr. Blvd, Oxford. Deadline is Dec. 20.
  • Warren County – Henderson and Henderson Dentistry, LLC, 516 W. Ridgeway St., Warrenton. Deadline is Dec. 19.
  • Franklin County – Franklinton Town Hall, 101 N. Main St., Franklinton. Deadline is Dec. 15.

Through generous donations from the community last year, Jones said every club member received a gift for Christmas.

He said he hopes that financial contributions come in between now and the end of the year to help “give us a leg up in 2023.”

Whether it’s a check in the mail, a click on the Facebook page or a gift for a child, Jones said efforts from a caring community “truly make a difference for our young people.”

Maria Parham Health Earns “A” For Patient Safety From National Group

Maria Parham Health has received an “A” rating from a national watchdog organization for its achievements in protecting hospital patients from preventable harm and errors.

The Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit organization that promotes patient safety, published its findings recently, said Donna Young, MPH coordinator for marketing & communications.

“I applaud the hospital leadership and workforce for their strong commitment to safety and transparency,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “An ‘A’ Safety Grade is a sign that hospitals are continuously evaluating their performance, so that they can best protect patients.  Your hospital team should be extremely proud of their dedication and achievement.”

The Leapfrog Group is an independent national watchdog organization with a 10-year history of assigning letter grades to general hospitals throughout the United States, based on a hospital’s ability to prevent medical errors and harm to patients. The grading system is peer-reviewed, fully transparent and free to the public. Hospital Safety Grade results are based on more than 30 national performance measures and are updated each fall and spring.

To view the complete report, visit HospitalSafetyGrade.org or follow The Leapfrog Group on Twitter, Facebook, and via its newsletter.

TownTalk: Olde Towne Louisburg Candlelight Christmas Tour

Join the Louisburg Historic District Inc. on a candlelight Christmas tour of homes and churches and other buildings on Saturday, Dec. 10.

Tickets are $50 each and must be purchased in advance, according to Bobby Cooper, chairman of the non-profit organization. Visit https://www.louisburghistoricdistrict.com/ to purchase tickets and learn more. He said he hoped to have as many as 500 attend the tour. Bring an extra $10 per person and enjoy a horse and carriage ride through the historic district, which should be all decorated for the holidays, including luminaries lining the streets along the tour.

Cooper and his wife Dorothy are part of a group that has been working the better part of a year to get everything in order for the five-hour tour, which begins at 4 p.m. at Person Place on the campus of Louisburg College.

Cooper spoke with WIZS’s Bill Harris and guest host Mark Pace as part of the tri-weekly history segment on TownTalk Thursday.

“We have a beautiful historic district,” Cooper said, adding that “it’s always decked out for the holidays.”

As a way to invite folks to come and enjoy all that Louisburg has to offer, the group set into motion almost a year ago the plan to create its own holiday historic homes tour. Patrons check in at Person Place, 605 N. Main St. and then head out for a self-guided tour of a dozen homes, churches and other buildings in the historic area.

“The whole point is preservation of history and places,” Cooper said. As development continues to push into the area, there’s growing pressure to remove structures that may have historical significance.

There’s no such thing as ever being finished with a home restoration, and Cooper said the homes that will be on the tour will show just that. “Some are further along, and some are very early in the process,” he said. Participants in the tour will be able “to get a glimpse into homes that aren’t already perfectly restored.

The buildings included on the tour date from the early 1800’s to around the 1940’s, he said.

“We do expect to sell out,” he said, adding that limiting the number of tickets will hopefully reduce wait times. They expect good attendance from people who live outside Louisburg, and local businesses and restaurants are being encouraged to open or to remain open later on the day of the tour to accommodate visitors.

In two weeks, there will be a special kickoff event for all $1,000 and up sponsors of the event. It will be held in another historic home that is not going to be part of the tour. Cooper said he expected that upwards of 100 people would be in attendance.

Through sponsorships and ticket purchase, the non-profit hopes to be able to continue to make improvements at Oakwood Cemetery, as well as improve the signage to clearly identify homes within the historic district. He also mentioned the possibility of developing a system for visitors to hear audio stories of particular homes by scanning a QR code to preserve the stories, as well as a revolving account of some sort to help owners as they try to save historic locations.

It’s important to save the physical locations, Cooper noted, but it’s also important to save the stories behind the buildings.

 

 

Meat Conference Dec. 6 In Rocky Mount

The Northeast District Local Meats Conference will be held in Rocky Mount, NC on Tuesday, Dec. 6. The conference is designed for individuals interesting in creating or expanding a local meat marketing business.

The conference will begin at 9 a.m. at the East Carolina Livestock Arena, located at 1175 Kingsboro Rd. in Rocky Mount.

Some of the topics that will be discussed include N.C. Department of Agriculture meat handlers’ licensing, as well as rules and regulations, labeling claims and laws about meat sales.

In addition, there will be information about carcass evaluation, and planning, marketing and pricing.

Lunch will be included. Pre-register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/northeast-district-local-meats-conference-tickets-419613434077

 

Reminder: Turn Back Clocks, Test Smoke Alarms This Weekend

-information courtesy of American Red Cross

 As daylight saving time ends on Nov. 6, the American Red Cross reminds people that it’s also a good time to test smoke alarms to stay safe from home fires.

“Home fires claim more lives in a typical year than all natural disasters combined, but working smoke alarms can cut the risk of dying in a home fire by half,” said Barry Porter, Regional CEO for the American Red Cross Eastern North Carolina region. “The sooner an alarm alerts you to a fire, the sooner you can get out. When you turn your clocks back this weekend, also test your smoke alarms to help prevent a tragedy in your home.”

Over the past month, local Red Cross volunteers responded to help 306 people suddenly displaced in Eastern North Carolina affected by 100 home fires, which account for most of the more than 60,000 disasters that the Red Cross responds to annually across the country.

When turning your clocks back this weekend, test your smoke alarms and replace the batteries if needed. Visit redcross.org/fire for more information, including an escape plan to create and practice with your family, or download the free Red Cross Emergency app by searching “American Red Cross” in app stores.

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms and sleeping areas.
  • Replace smoke alarms that are 10 years or older. Components such as sensors can become less sensitive over time. Follow your alarm’s manufacturer instructions.
  • Practice your two-minute home fire escape plan. Make sure everyone in your household can get out in less than two minutes — the amount of time you may have to escape a burning home before it’s too late.
  • Include at least two ways to get out of every room and select a meeting spot at a safe distance away from your home, such as your neighbor’s home or landmark like a specific tree in your front yard, where everyone can meet.

Since October 2014, the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign with community partners has saved at least 1,414 lives — including 43 in North Carolina — by educating families about fire safety, helping them create escape plans and installing more than 2.4 million free smoke alarms in high-risk neighborhoods across the country. Visit redcross.org/homefires for more information.

The Red Cross Home Fire Campaign is made possible with generous financial donations from our North Carolina’s statewide presenting Sound the Alarm sponsor Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina.

Farmland Preservation Grant Applications Due Dec. 19

-information courtesy of the N.C. Department of Agriculture

County governments and nonprofit groups may now apply for funding assistance from the N.C. Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund for farmland preservation projects. Applicants have until Dec. 19 to apply.

“The latest study from the American Farmland Trust projects North Carolina losing more than a million acres of agricultural land over the next 20 years,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “These Farmland Preservation grants provide options for families and are critical in saving family farms across our state.”

Grants are available for agricultural conservation easements on working lands used for agricultural production; to support public-private enterprise programs that promote profitable and sustainable agricultural, horticultural and forestland activities; and for the development of agricultural plans.

Landowners interested in preserving their farms through conservation easements must work with county governments or land trusts to apply for grant funds. If awarded a grant in which the application requests funds for the conservation easement purchase value, landowners will be compensated for the purchase of the development rights.

Grant applications and guidelines are available online at www.ncadfp.org/Cycle16.htm. For more information, call the Farmland Preservation office at 919.707.3074.

The Local Skinny! Sip And Stroll With The Souls

Looking for a way to get into the “spirit” of All Hallows Eve?

Drop by Louisburg’s historic Oakwood Cemetery Sunday afternoon for “Sip and Stroll with the Souls.”

Dorothy Cooper, one of the organizers of the event, said it should be a fun way to learn more about some of the famous – and not-so-famous – people who are buried there.

It kicks off at 2:30 p.m. and there will be numerous docents on hand to talk about particular people, from Gov. Thomas Walter Bickett to Richard Fenner Yarborough, whose son donated the land that became cemetery property.

“We thought it would be a nice idea to get people into the cemeteries,” Cooper told Bill Harris and Mark Pace on Thursday’s segment of The Local Skinny!

Both Harris and Pace will be participating as docents – Pace will discuss the elder Yarborough and Harris will talk about his Foster family ancestors that are buried in the cemetery. It’s not a ghost tour, or a spiritual tour, Cooper explained, but it’s just a happy coincidence that the tour falls the day before Halloween.

Tickets are $10, and there will be complimentary beverages and baked goodies for those who attend. Proceeds will be used to help with restoration and preservation of the headstones, some of which date back to the Revolutionary War era.

Over time, things do happen in cemeteries – stones fall or are turned over, Cooper said.

Getting people to come to the cemetery and learning about the lives of those whose graves are now marked with beautiful stones is a way to reconnect – and rekindle interest – in the cemetery.

The Oakwood Cemetery is located on N.C. Hwy 39 just outside Louisburg.

 

CLICK PLAY!

 

Dale Folwell

Folwell Announces One-Month “Bump” In State Employees’ Retirement Benefits

School systems across the state are offering bonuses of all sorts to attract and retain educators. The Social Security Administration recently announced a bump of more than 8 percent in the amount it pays to folks who receive benefits.

And today, there’s some good news from State Treasurer Dale Folwell that should put smiles on the faces of benefit recipients of retired state employees – they’re getting a supplement, too.

It’s only this month, but it’s a 4 percent bump, and Folwell issued a press release today that coincides with the day that those payments are issued. Retired employees of the Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System, as well as the  Consolidated Judicial Retirement System, Legislative Retirement System and the Local and Governmental Employees’ Retirement System should see a little extra in their monthly benefits, Folwell said in a written statement.

“When retired state employees and teachers check their bank accounts or open their mail, they will find an additional 4 percent of their annual benefit included with this month’s payment,” Folwell stated.

“The TSERS, CJRS and LRS payments were appropriated by the General Assembly and signed by Gov. Roy Cooper. The LGERS payment will come from retirement funds. The LGERS one-time supplement was approved by the LGERS Board on Jan. 27 following my recommendation and is in line with the funding policy. We were able to provide the LGERS benefit without increasing the rates we charge to cities and counties across the state,” Folwell continued.

“While payments starting in November will return to the levels they would have been without the supplemental increase, the October payment will include a much-needed boost for those who served the citizens of North Carolina as we see rising costs in everyday expenses.

I want to thank the General Assembly, retirement boards, North Carolina League of Municipalities, North Carolina Association of County Commissioners and staff for recognizing a need and providing those that taught, protected or otherwise served the citizens of North Carolina a timely increase to the October benefit,” the statement concluded.

Early Voting For Nov. 8 Election Kicks Off Thursday, Oct. 20

North Carolina’s in-person early voting period begins Thursday, Oct. 20, and ends at 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5.

There are two early voting locations in Vance County, three in Granville, one in Warren and four in Franklin, according to information from the N.C. State Board of Elections.

In-person early voting accounted for 65 percent of the votes cast in the 2020 election. There are 359 early voting sites open across the state, up 17 percent from the 307 sites for the 2018 midterm elections.

“The 100 county boards of elections have spent months preparing for the start of in-person voting for the important 2022 general election,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections. “The bipartisan election officials who work in each early voting site are prepared for a smooth voting process and to ensure the ballots of all eligible voters are counted.”

 

Below is a list by county of the early voting sites:

Vance County:

·      Andrea Harris Henderson Operations Center, 900 S. Beckford Dr., Henderson

·      Aycock Rec Complex, 307 Carey Chapel Rd., Henderson

Granville County:

·      Oxford Public Works Building, 127 Penn Ave., Oxford

·      South Branch Library, 1550 South Campus Dr., Creedmoor

·      Tar River Elementary School, 2642 Philo White Rd., Franklinton

Warren County:

·      Warren County Board of Elections Office, 309 N. Main St., Warrenton

Franklin County:

·      Franklin Plaza Service (County Training Room, 279 S. Bickett Blvd., Suite 102, Louisburg

·      Franklinton Lions Club, 205 S. Chavis St., Franklinton

·      Sheriff Substation, 382 NC 98 W, Bunn

·      Youngsville Public Library Meeting Room, 218 US-1 Alt., Youngsville

 

For more information about early voting, please visit Vote Early in Person.

The State Board offers the following 10 tips for early voters:

1.    Voters may cast a ballot at any early voting site in their county. For sites and hours in all 100 counties, use the One-Stop Early Voting Sites search tool. Also see One-Stop Voting Sites for the November 8, 2022 Election (PDF).

2.    Sample ballots for the primary election are available through the Voter Search tool. For more information on candidates for the N.C. Supreme Court and N.C. Court of Appeals, see the State Board’s Judicial Voter Guide 2022: Midterm General Election. The State Board does not provide information about candidates for other contests, but some media outlets and advocacy groups do. Many candidates also have websites and social media accounts. Knowing your candidate choices in advance and being familiar with the ballot will help your voting experience go more smoothly.

3.    Individuals who missed the regular voter registration deadline on October 14 may register and vote at the same time during the early voting period. Same-day registrants must attest to their eligibility and provide proof of where they live. For more information, visit Register in Person During Early Voting. This is the only option for individuals who missed the regular registration deadline to be able to register and vote in the general election.

4.    When you check in to vote at an early voting site, you may update your name or address within the same county, if necessary.

5.    Voters who receive an absentee ballot by mail may deliver their completed ballot to an election official at an early voting site in their county. Ballots will be kept securely and delivered to the county board of elections for processing. For more information on returning absentee-by-mail ballots, see Detailed Instructions to Vote By Mail.

6.    Voters who requested an absentee-by-mail ballot but have not yet returned it may choose instead to vote in person during the early voting period or on Election Day, November 8. Voters may discard the by-mail ballot and do not need to bring it to a voting site.

7.    Under state law, all early votes – by mail and in person – are considered absentee votes because they are cast “absent” of Election Day. You can see that your early vote counted in the “Your Absentee Ballot” section of the Voter Search database. Type in your first and last names to pull up your voter record. Scroll down to the “Your Absentee Ballot: By Mail or Early Voting” section. Once your ballot is received by your county board of elections, “Absentee Status” will show “VALID RETURN,” the “Return Method” will be “IN PERSON” and your “Return Status” will be “ACCEPTED.” Your ballot status also will show up in the “Voter History” section of your voter record as soon as your county completes the post-election process of compiling the information on who has been recorded as having voted during the election through the various voting methods. This may take a couple of weeks or longer.

8.    The State Board asks that all voters respect the rights of others to participate in the election. Intimidating any voter is a crime. Voters who feel harassed or intimidated should notify an election official immediately.

9.    Voters at one-stop early voting sites are entitled to the same assistance as voters at a voting place on Election Day. Curbside voting is available for eligible individuals at all early voting sites. For more information, visit Curbside Voting.

10. North Carolina law prohibits photographing or videotaping voted ballots. Voters may use electronic devices in the voting booth to access a slate card or candidate information, provided they don’t use the devices to communicate with anyone or take photographs of their ballot.

$1.75M Grant To Expand VGCC Biotech Program At Franklin Campus

Biotechnology continues to be a growing field in North Carolina, and Vance-Granville Community College recently announced that it will get $1.75 million to help expand its own biotechnology workforce training program.

VGCC is included in a statewide consortium of colleges, universities and other strategic partners like the N.C. Biotechnology Center and the N.C. Community College System’s BioNetwork, which collectively received a grant award totaling nearly $25 million from the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge.

The “NC BioBetter”project will provide grant funding to VGCC and nine other community colleges across the state, according to a press release from VGCC’s Dr. Jerry Edmonds III, VGCC vice president for Workforce & Community Engagement.

Stewart Lyon heads the school’s Bioprocess/Biotechnology program and said the funding will be used to buy new equipment for the current lab, which is located at the Franklin Campus,“so that students can get the up-to-date training they need,” Lyon said.

He said the program will create a second lab on campus so students can participate in day and evening courses.

“Vance-Granville Community College is delighted to be part of a coalition designed to increase access to good paying jobs in the Life Sciences sector,” said Dr. Rachel Desmarais, the president of VGCC. “Working together with partners from government agencies, private industry, K-12 schools, other community colleges and universities, VGCC is excited to bring this spectacular vision to life in our region.”

But the grant also will provide funds to add positions for three years. “Specifically, we are looking to hire one additional full-time biotechnology instructor as well as a full-time ‘pathway navigator,’ who will be an intensive advisor for the program,” Lyon said. “The navigator will reach out to the community, help new students through the onboarding admissions process, provide academic advising and mentorship throughout the students’ time in the program, and finally help complete their journey with resume prep and job search assistance as they prepare to graduate.”

Lyon noted that this project is designed to increase the number of North Carolinians who are trained and ready to fill positions in the biopharmaceutical industry workforce, with a specific intent to expand opportunity to under-represented populations in that field, including women and people of color. “This is a significant focus, but everyone enrolled in the program will equally benefit from the resources of the grant, including the faculty and staff it provides,” he said.

VGCC enjoys strong partnerships, particularly in the Franklin County area, which are helping to promote biotech and life sciences.

The grant funding is expected to have a ripple effect into the larger community, from creating a partnership with Louisburg High School for a STEM focused pathway for students interested in programs like Medical Office Administrative Assistant, Bioprocess Technology, and Information Technology/Cyber Security Support.

The STEM magnet program will become available to high school students throughout Franklin County. “We’re very excited for this opportunity and believe this is a way to make Bioprocess Technology available to more students,” said Danyelle Parker, executive director of secondary education and CTE for Franklin County Schools.

“We hope to grow the program and incorporate work-based learning, such as field trips and job shadowing with area Bio/Life Sciences companies. With growing demands in this field, we believe Bioprocess Technology is an excellent career opportunity for our students, and we are thrilled to be partnering with VGCC for this endeavor.”

In the Bioprocess Technology credit (curriculum) program, VGCC offers a certificate, which can be completed in six months; a diploma program, which takes about one year, and the two-year Associate in Applied Science degree. All these options are eligible for federal financial aid to qualified students. In addition, there is a BioWork Process Technician continuing education course offered periodically, in a format that takes less than one semester to complete. Prospective students can register now for “Bioprocess Practices” (BPM-110), which starts Jan. 6, 2023, in a hybrid format, combining some online coursework with in-person instruction at the Franklin Campus.

Anyone interested in becoming a biotechnology student is invited to contact Stewart Lyon at lyons@vgcc.edu or Veta Pierce-Cappetta at piercev@vgcc.edu.