Acting U.S. Attorney G. Norman Acker, III Recognizes Police Week 2021

In honor of National Police Week, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina G. Norman Acker, III recognizes the service and sacrifice of federal, state, local, and Tribal law enforcement. This year, the week is observed Sunday, May 9 through Saturday, May 15, 2021.

“This week is a time to honor our law enforcement officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation,” said Attorney General Garland. “I am constantly inspired by the extraordinary courage and dedication with which members of law enforcement act each day, putting their lives on the line to make our communities safer. To members of law enforcement and your families: we know that not a single day, nor a single week, is enough to recognize your service and sacrifice. On behalf of the entire Department of Justice, you have our unwavering support and eternal gratitude.”

“During Police Week, our nation celebrates the contributions of police officers from around the country, recognizing their hard work, dedication, loyalty and commitment in keeping our communities safe,” said Acting United States Attorney Acker.  “I want to acknowledge the work performed by federal, state, and local law enforcement, who often face uncertain and dangerous situations without question and without expectation of thanks.  We want them to know they have our unwavering support and appreciation.”

In 1962, President Kennedy issued the first proclamation for Peace Officers Memorial Day and National Police Week to remember and honor law enforcement officers for their service and sacrifices.  Peace Officers Memorial Day, which every year falls on May 15, specifically honors law enforcement officers killed or disabled in the line of duty.

Each year, during National Police Week, our nation celebrates the contributions of law enforcement from around the country, recognizing their hard work, dedication, loyalty, and commitment to keeping our communities safe. This year the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted law enforcement officers’ courage and unwavering devotion to the communities that they have sworn to serve.

During the Roll Call of Heroes, a ceremony coordinated by the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), more than 300 officers will be honored.  Based on data submitted to and analyzed by the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Fund (NLEOMF), of the law enforcement officers who died nationwide in the line of duty in 2020, nearly 60 percent succumbed to COVID-19. Here in the Eastern District of North Carolina, two officers died in the line of duty.

Additionally, according to statistics reported by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) through the Law Enforcement Officer Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) Program, 46 law enforcement officers died as a result of felonious acts and 47 died in accidents in 2020.  LEOKA statistics can be found on FBI’s Crime Data Explorer website.

The names of the 394 fallen officers who have been added in 2020 to the wall at the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial will be read on Thursday, May 13, 2021, during a Virtual Candlelight Vigil, which will be livestreamed to the public at 8:00 pm EDT. The Police Week in-person public events, originally scheduled for May, have been rescheduled due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns to October 13-17, 2021. An in-person Candlelight Vigil event is scheduled for October 14, 2021.

Those who wish to view the Virtual Candlelight Vigil on May 13, 2021, can watch on the NLEOMF YouTube channel found at The FOP’s Roll Call of Heroes can be viewed at To view the schedule of virtual Police Week events in May, please view NLEOMF’s Police Week Flyer.

To learn more about National Police Week in-person events scheduled for October, please visit


Kerr-Tar Agency on Aging Helps Families Find Options for Care

Family members often find themselves pitching in to help older parents, grandparents or siblings with their daily living needs. Providing that extra support, however, often comes at the expense of their own needs. And sometimes, they just need a break.

The Kerr-Tar Area Agency on Aging can help those caregivers connect with resources to assist with the kind of service – for the care receiver and the care giver, said Austin Caton, Kerr-Tar family caregiver support specialist. Caton and Camille Koonce, a certified case manager and eldercare consultant, discussed some local options with John C. Rose on Thursday’s Town Talk.

Navigating through the various programs and services can be confusing and time-consuming, but Caton can help untangle the knots for families to access the option that best suits their needs.

One program is called respite care, Caton said, which provides unpaid primary caregivers a break from the responsibilities of caring for a family member. “The caregivers are just depleted,” he said. There are vouchers funded through the Older Americans Act that can help pay for this respite care so the primary caregiver can do things like go to the grocery store or get a haircut.

“Some people will use someone they know – from church, a neighbor, a family member not living in the home,” Caton said. Other people will contact a local home care agency, and Caton can provide a professional referral. The agency will conduct an assessment and set up a schedule for the respite care, he added. The voucher can help pay for this service.

Often, caregivers are juggling the demands of a full-time job and family obligations with providing that extra care for a family member in need. There are day programs that provide those needing care with a place to spend the day while the primary caregiver is at work. These programs can cost between $50 -$75 a day, but Koonce said it may be the best option for all parties involved. Day programs offer a way for participants to socialize with one another while being supervised by a staff of caregivers.

They explained the difference between home care and home health. Home care is non-medical care, like preparing meals, light housework, medication reminders and helping a care recipient get from a chair to a bed and back again –any daily activities that person may need help with. Insurance doesn’t cover this expense, but help with paying for it may be available through veteran’s programs or long-term care insurance, for example.

Nurses provide home health care, Koonce said, and includes wound care, administering IV medication and other things that require a doctor’s orders to perform.

“There’s a big push right now for family members to stay comfortably in the home,” Caton said, “because of the skyrocketing cost of health care.” Expect to pay $9,000 -10,000 a month, he said, for a bed in a long-term skilled care facility.

Contact Caton by phone 252.436.2040 ext. 6072 or apply at

“It’s a pretty simple process,” he said. He or others will complete an assessment – either in home or by telephone – to get started. “We want to be a wholistic, all-encompassing agency (to) help identify those needs or whatever you’re struggling with and help get you to the right place and the right services,” he said.


New Process to Get “Work Permit” in NC

— press release courtesy NCDOL

NCDOL today announces the rollout of a new process for obtaining youth employment certificates that aims to streamline the process and better ensure youths are working in safe jobs. After a soft launch in April, the new process takes effect today, May 3.

The NCDOL Wage and Hour Bureau administers youth employment certificates, which are required under the N.C. Wage and Hour Act. The certificates, commonly referred to as a work permit, are designed to alert parents, teens and employers of certain prohibited jobs and hour limits for workers under the age of 18.

“We changed the process for obtaining youth employment certificates to better ensure that our state’s young employees end up working in safe and acceptable jobs,” Labor Commissioner Josh Dobson said. “We understand this will be a big change for employers, but we are ready to assist any employer, parent or youth who have questions about the new process.”

Any questions about the new process should be directed to the Wage and Hour Bureau Call Center at 1-800-625-2267. To learn more about youth rules and regulation, please visit the NCDOL website.

Mike Waters

Pendergrass Plea of Guilty to One Count Sexual Battery Results in Sex Offender Registration

Following an investigation by the State Bureau of Investigation here in North Carolina, the local district attorney’s office of the 11th Prosecutorial District informs WIZS News that Tony R. Pendergrass, 58, of Franklinton has entered a plea of guilty to one count of sexual battery.

The plea to the one count, which is a Class A1 misdemeanor, took place on April 28, 2021 in Granville County.

As a result, Pendergrass faced a maximum sentence of 60 days.

Assistant District Attorney Brent Groce said by email to WIZS, “Following Mr. Pendergrass’ plea of guilty (as charged), the Court heard from the victim’s mother, who read an impassioned statement to the Court concerning the impact that Mr. Pendergrass’ criminal behavior has had on her (family).”

After hearing from the victim’s mother, the court accepted the plea arrangement in the following manner. The ADA wrote to WIZS, “the defendant received a sentence of 60 days, which was suspended for an unsupervised term of 24 months on the following conditions: (1) he must serve a 5 days sentence in jail beginning immediately; (2) pay court costs; (3) have no contact with the victim or his family for a term of five years; and (4) register as a sex offender.”

The ADA indicates a “methodical, thorough, and thoughtful investigation” occurred, which was helped by a “brave victim of a serious offense” who benefited from having an “incredible support system.”

Henderson Police Chief Marcus Barrow said Pendergrass was a former captain, having resigned on July 13, 2020.

State of North Carolina District Court documents list the date range of offenses as 05/15/2020 – 05/17/2020. Pendergrass’ signature accepting the misdemeanor statement of charges as defendant is visible on the document with the date 4/28/2021 hand written beside his name.

Court costs were $483.00, including a $383.00 cost and $100.00 fine.

When the present, active five days in jail finishes, Pendergrass has 72 hours from discharge to report to a probation officer in the State of North Carolina.

The misdemeanor statement of charges and judgment are signed by the presiding judge.

NCCare360 Works To Match Clients With Providers, Resources

It sounds ambitious, but doable: NCCare360 is a public-private partnership designed to provide streamlined support for those who are looking for help with finding resources for everything from health care to housing, access to transportation and other challenges that people are faced with.

Quinny Sanchez Lopez, community engagement manager, spoke to the Vance County Community Collaborative earlier this week and shared information about joining the partnership.

Attending the monthly meeting were representatives from education, governmental and non-profit agencies, according to information from Triangle North Healthcare Foundation.

Executive Director Val Short welcomed the group, which convened to learn more about the public-private partnership between the NC Department of Health and Human Services and the Foundation for Health Leadership and Innovation.

There is no fee to register to join the partnership, Sanchez Lopez said, which reaches all 100 counties in the state.

NCCare360 is “the first statewide network that unites health care and human services organizations with a shared technology that enables a coordinated, community-oriented, person-centered approach for delivering care in North Carolina,” according to the statement.

The idea is to have a group of health and human services providers in one network to connect clients with community resources. Unite Us powers the technology platform, which is used for feedback and follow-up and ensuring accountability of service delivery.

Included in the model is a community engagement team that works with local organizations such as social service agencies to independent providers to get resources to those who need them.

Referrals can be made by providers or by the client himself or herself. A NCCare360 “navigator” connects the client to resources in their area. A resource directory is available at

Agencies that partner with NCCare360 receive training and are responsible for responding to referrals and reporting outcomes.

Granville Vance Public Health is a NCCare360 partner and Director Lisa Harrison said Thursday that it is exciting to see technology evolve in a way that can further the mission of public health.

“We are eager to incorporate NCCare360 technology as our social workers and nurses at the health department continue to connect people in our communities to needed resources,” Harrison said in a statement to WIZS News.

Improving the health of people in the community goes beyond a doctor’s office or making good food choices at the grocery store. “For decades… health department staff have valued working with children and families to navigate opportunities for improved transportation, housing, child care, health care services including mental health services, healthy food resources, small business support, and community outreach,” she said.

But it takes more than a computer network to be successful. It also takes people who know about the local community to be involved and informed as well.

“While this technology is robust and transformative, technology is just technology unless all network partners are trained and empowered to use it to better serve their patients and clients,” Harrison said.

For more information about joining the partnership, contact Sanchez Lopez by email

Visit to learn more.

Kerr Tar Workforce and NCWorks

Employment for Graduating Seniors, Class of 2021 Career Expo

High school seniors who will graduate in a little over a month have choices to make, whether it’s choosing a college or university to attend or beginning a career. A regional career expo targeting the Class of 2021 will be held next week and it is designed with the Gen Z’er in mind.

The virtual event is scheduled for Wednesday, May 5 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., according to Desiree Brooks, business services manager of the Kerr-Tar Council of Governments workforce development board.

Brooks told WIZS News Tuesday, April 13 that several area workforce development boards, along with NC Works and the NC Department of Public Schools’ Career Technical Education (CTE) program have collaborated to put on the event.

“We have been coordinating with the CTEs in the five counties and they are working on getting students ready for the event,” Brooks said. “They are targeting students who are ready to enter the workforce upon graduation – we are all very excited about this event.”

The expo – tagged as the “Gen Z Edition” – will allow students and employers to communicate using a platform that young people are comfortable and familiar with, according to a flyer promoting the event. Students who have developed technical skills, have hands-on experience and earned credentials through their high school CTE program can use the expo as a way to showcase those skills for prospective employers. Employers can share job descriptions and other details of their business in interviews using text or video chat.

“One of our goals is to make sure the parents of seniors see the importance of this so they can encourage them to take part in this event,” Brooks noted. “Another goal is to get employers that are willing to hire graduating seniors with little or no prior work experience.”

Sign up for the event at

Franklin County Logo

Franklin Libraries Re-Open On May 3

Franklin County’s library system will be open to the public beginning on Monday, May 3. Library Director Holt Kornegay released information Monday about the re-opening, schedules at the four branches and modified services that await patrons upon their return.

Visitors to the library will have full access to the stacks, information stations, microfilm, as well as the computer workstation area and a touchless self-checkout process.

All patrons must wear a mask at all times and physical distancing should be maintained, which means that a limited number of computers will be available for use at each location.

Library staff at the service desk will continue to provide full service to assist library patrons.

The meeting rooms, however, remain closed at this time.

All branches will be open Monday through Friday, according to Kornegay. The Louisburg and Youngsville branches will be open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and the Franklinton and Bunn locations will be open from noon to 7 p.m.

Kornegay noted a couple of changes that have taken place, including the following:

  • Donations of materials are not being accepted for now
  • All print and fax requests will end at 6:30 p.m., as well as any other financial transactions
  • Items won’t be quarantined or disinfected upon return, based on recent science-based evidence that indicates a low probability of transmission
  • Holds at the circulation desk are available for seven (7) days before returning to general circulation

To learn more, contact Kornegay at 919.496.2111 or email  at

2 Yellow, 2 Orange in 4-County Area

North Carolina is experiencing a leveling trend following declines in covid spread.

Younger adult groups are experiencing increases, according the NC Dept. of Health and Human Services.

In the 4-county area, Vance and Warren Counties are identified in the recent covid County Alert System update as yellow.  Granville and Franklin Counties are orange.


NCDHHS Updates County Alert System, Shows COVID-19 Trends Leveling

— NCDHHS Press Release

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services today updated the COVID-19 County Alert System, which shows one red county — an increase from zero on the previous April 1 County Alert System.

Today’s update also lists 20 orange counties (previously 21 counties in the April 1 report), 48 yellow counties (previously 47), 30 light yellow counties (previously 31) and one green county (previously one). These updates account for 18 counties having moved up a tier (toward red) since the last report, 19 counties having moved down a tier (toward green) and 63 counties remaining in the same tier.

North Carolina’s key metrics show a leveling of COVID-19 trends after several weeks of decline. Although levels are far below the post-holiday peak in January, most of the state continues to experience significant or substantial community spread with concerning increases in younger adult age groups.

“We want to see our trends in new cases, hospitalizations and percent positive of tests decline again,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. “The best way we can do that is by having as many people get vaccinated as quickly as possible and keep wearing our masks when out in public.”

To slow the spread of the virus, people should get vaccinated and continue adherence to the 3Ws until most people have a chance to get vaccinated. Regardless of what tier your county is currently in, individuals, businesses, community organizations and public officials all have a responsibility to take these recommended actions and others outline in the County Alert System.

The COVID-19 County Alert System gives individuals, businesses and community organizations, and public officials a tool to understand how their county is faring and to make decisions about actions to take slow the spread of the virus. The COVID-19 County Alert System uses metrics informed by North Carolina’s key metrics to categorize counties into five tiers:

  1. Green: Low Community Spread
  2. Light Yellow: Moderate Community Spread
  3. Yellow: Significant Community Spread
  4. Orange: Substantial Community Spread
  5. Red: Critical Community Spread

VGCC Joins #CCMonth Celebration

Vance-Granville Community College added its name to the list of community colleges across the country to participate in #CCMonth, a month-long campaign to raise awareness about advantages of attending a community college and how they influence economies, academics and equity.

The campaign, coordinated by the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT), coincides with April’s designation as Community College Month. It’s a way to showcase that public community colleges are “a uniquely American educational model that was designed to guarantee access to affordable, high-quality higher education for all people,” according to a press release from VGCC’s Director of Communications Chris LaRocca. From nursing programs to trade certifications, community colleges “also serve as an onramp to bachelor’s, master’s and higher-level degrees for many students, and particularly for the most demographically and socioeconomically diverse students,” he stated.

Community college can accommodate adult students who work and go to school at the same time, and also make education accessible for many students who otherwise would not be able to access higher education.

“Community colleges are engines of diversity, equity and inclusion,” said ACCT President and CEO J. Noah Brown. “They give opportunities to all students, and they support all students throughout their educations, whether they attend to attain an associate degree or certificate, intend to transfer on for a bachelor’s or higher degree, or they take one or a few courses to learn a new skill or expand their horizons.”

The campaign is expected to have strong participation from community colleges and their supporters throughout the country.

NC Dept of Agriculture

COVID-19 Fund Helps Offset Quarantine Costs of H2A Workers

Local farmers who employ H2A farmworkers can apply for some financial relief if any of those workers have to quarantine during the 2021 growing season.

N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said Wednesday that his department has $2 million of federal COVID-19 funds that can be used to offset quarantine expenses.

“Farmworkers have always been critical to agriculture, but the pandemic has shown how essential a healthy workforce is to agriculture and our food supply,” Troxler said. “While it is a priority for all farmworkers to get vaccinated, this program will enable employers to safely quarantine workers who test positive for COVID-19 and hopefully minimize spread to their coworkers and others.” 

Under this program, employers that have farmworkers with valid H2A visas will be eligible for reimbursement of the cost of meals and lodging for the duration of the quarantine period, not to exceed the per diem rates for federal employees.  The employer on record for the farmworker with a valid H2A visa may submit reimbursement request on behalf of any farmworker requiring to be quarantined following a positive test for COVID-19, provided the employer covered the initial eligible expenses out-of-pocket on behalf of the farmworker. The program will be for expenses incurred from March 11, 2021 through the 2021 growing season.

The application period will open on April 14 and will continue through Dec. 15, 2021 or until program funds are exhausted. These funds are provided through CARES Act funding and subject to any changes to the federal legislation.  

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in serious and substantial impacts on the food supply chain, including migrant farm labor in North Carolina. The H2A program is a critical component in planting and harvesting of North Carolina commodities. This program will help offset the financial burden of quarantine accommodations for workers that test positive for COVID-19 in off-site locations.

Details regarding the NCDA&CS COVID-19 Farmworker Quarantine Reimbursement Program will be available at  Please contact with any questions regarding this program.