Town Talk 04/06/20: NC811 Director Reminds Public to ‘Call Before You Dig’

THIS STORY IS PRESENTED IN PART BY DRAKE DENTISTRY

Louis Panzer, executive director of North Carolina 811, appeared on WIZS Town Talk Monday at 11 a.m.

Known for its “Call Before You Dig” slogan, NC811 has provided the public with a communications link between local utility providers since 1978.

With April being recognized as Safe Digging Month, Panzer said now is the perfect time to discuss the legal requirement of having utilities marked before digging.

Panzer explained that NC law requires anyone engaging in excavation or demolition activities to contact NC811 at least three working days prior to starting the work. NC811 will then notify the member facility owners within your area of excavation or demolition requests.

The member facility owner then has three working days to provide a response and to mark any underground facilities that may be in conflict with the work area. Only publicly owned lines will be marked by the facility owner; private lines will not be indicated.

NC811 services are provided to residents free of charge and are designed to protect both the safety of those digging as well as the integrity of the telecommunication and utility networks underground.

“So many people rely on services that we sometimes take for granted,” said Panzer. “Telecommunication has increasingly become important, especially during this time where more people are working from home. People are sheltered in place and their children are at home being educated online.”

With an average of five conflicting utilities around your home or business, Panzer said it is better to contact NC811 and ask questions before engaging in even commonplace outdoor projects such as gardening or planting shrubbery.

Steps in the 811 utility location process include:

  1. Call 811. Before calling, have information ready such as your address, property specifics, the area you wish to have located, any special considerations, etc. For a full listing of the required information, click here.
  2. Wait the required time. NC law requires that a three working day notice be given to the utility owners before you dig. Member facilities have three full working days, beginning the first working day after the notice is given, to mark the area requested for underground utilities or to notify the excavator of no conflict in the area.
  3. Check Positive Response. Positive Response is both a by-phone and online means for the utility members of NC811 to provide information regarding the status of your location request. Click here for more information.
  4. Respect the marks. The underground facilities located on your property will be identified by color-coded paint, stakes or flags and should not be disturbed.
  5. Dig with care. If damage occurs, notify the facility owner directly. You can also dial 811 to report damage to underground facilities. In the event of a gas release, remove yourself from the area immediately and call 911 to report.

For more information on NC811, call by simply dialing 8-1-1, download the 811 app or visit www.nc811.org.

To hear the interview with Panzer in its entirety, go to WIZS.com and click on Town Talk.

Youngsville Mayor Says Franklin’s Curfew Shall Not Apply There

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Shortly after 4 p.m. today, Franklin County amended its proclamation of a State of Emergency and issued a curfew.  The Franklin County curfew is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. Sunday.  (Click here for that news story.)

Just after 5:15 p.m. today, the Mayor of Youngsville, Fonzie A. Flowers, wrote an email addressed to Franklin County Commission Chairman Sidney E. Dunston of which WIZS News was a recipient.

Flowers wrote:

“Good afternoon. In response to the curfew provision of the attached proclamation, I would very respectfully like to clarify the county’s curfew shall not apply in the corporate limits of the Town of Youngsville and the town has no intention of instituting a curfew at this time.

“Thank you for your continued service to our community.”

Subsequently, Flowers explained to WIZS News by way of telephone any number of pitfalls with this for the Town of Youngsville and took exception to the manner in which the proceedings were handled.

In an email to WIZS News, the Youngsville Town Administrator, Phillip D. Cordeiro, indicated “the towns of Louisburg and Franklinton have shared they do not intend to participate in the county’s curfew either.”

Mayor Arthur Wright in Franklinton told WIZS News, “And that’s true for Franklinton also.  We are not enforcing any curfew.”

If you will be driving through these areas for essential reasons, you should be mindful of the discrepancies within Franklin County as well as the differences, at least at this time, with the greater surrounding area.

WIZS News is continuing to attempt to reach the mayor of Louisburg.

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Franklin County to Impose Curfew Effective Sun., April 5

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-Press Release, Franklin County Government 

A public safety curfew will be imposed within the County of Franklin, NC daily from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m., beginning Sunday, April 5, 2020, at 9 p.m. and extending through the effective dates of the Governor’s Stay at Home Order (Executive Order 121) and any extensions enacted for that order for all persons.

During the effective curfew period, all persons except for those who are expressly exempt as essential businesses or operations as identified within the Governor’s Stay at Home Order (Executive Order 121), shall not be or travel upon any public street, alley or roadway or upon public property, unless in search of medical assistance, food or other commodity or service necessary to sustain the well-being of him/herself or his/her family.

To read the amended proclamation in its entirety, click here.

Franklin Co. Schools Home-Based Assignments, Wi-Fi Access Available April 6

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-Information courtesy Franklin County Schools

On Monday, April 6, 2020, Franklin County Schools will issue new student assignments and begin providing enhanced Wi-Fi access at certain school locations.

The home-based, academic assignments will cover a two-week period. They will be available online, as well as in paper packets for elementary and middle-school students who do not have Internet access. High school students will receive additional guidance from their school principals concerning their assignments and pick-up options.

Paper packets for elementary and middle school students must be picked up between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday, April 6. They will be available at the following locations only, which are the same as FCS’ current meal pickup sites:

  • Bunn High School
  • Franklinton Elementary School
  • Laurel Mill Elementary School
  • Louisburg High School
  • Youngsville Elementary School

Also on Monday, April 6, FCS is adding drive-in, Wi-Fi access at five schools for students and staff only who do not have Internet access at home. Students, staff, their families and guests are required to stay in their vehicles and park in specific areas to access the enhanced, Wi-Fi signals. School Resource Officers will be on site to monitor and provide directions.

Wi-Fi access will be available from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday, at the following locations:

  • Bunn Middle School (front drop off)
  • Edward Best Elementary School (back lot/bus drop off)
  • Long Mill Elementary School (bus lot)
  • Louisburg Elementary School (bus lot)
  • Royal Elementary School (bus lot)

VGCC Small Business Center Offering Eight-Part ‘Doing Business Remotely’ Series

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-Information courtesy the VGCC Small Business Center

The Vance-Granville Community College Small Business Center is offering an eight-part series to teach small business owners and employees how to use the various tools needed to make working remotely easier and more efficient.

Sessions will be led by Kristen Taber, founder of the local Warren County business Tabletop Media and members of her professional team. All sessions are from 10 – 11:30 a.m., including time for Q & A.

Sessions include:

April 7 – Zoom Video Communications

April 9 – Google Suite

April 14 – Basecamp & Other Project Management Systems

April 16 – Dropbox & Other Storage and File-Sharing Tools

April 21 – Scheduling Tools

April 23 – Mailchimp, Constant Contact & Other Contact Management Tools

April 28 – Slack & Other Collaboration Tools

April 30 – Virtual Team Building

Register no later than twenty-four hours prior to each session at www.vgcc.edu/coned/small-business-center/#schedules

Dept. of Justice Makes $850 Million Available to Address Pandemic

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-Press Release, U.S. Department of Justice

The Department of Justice announced that it is making $850 million available to help public safety agencies respond to the challenges posed by the outbreak of COVID-19.

The Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding program, authorized by the recent stimulus legislation signed by President Trump, will allow eligible state, local and tribal governments to apply immediately for these critical funds. The department is moving quickly to make awards, with the goal of having funds available for drawdown within days of the award.

“Law enforcement at every level remains on duty and vigilant in the Eastern District, even in the face of this contagious illness,” said U.S. Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr.  “These funds made available through the Department of Justice will provide critical support to our vital law enforcement partners.”

“This is an unprecedented moment in our nation’s history and an especially dangerous one for our front-line law enforcement officers, corrections officials, and public safety professionals,” said Office of Justice Programs Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katharine T. Sullivan. “We are grateful to the Congress for making these resources available and for the show of support this program represents.”

The solicitation, posted by the Bureau of Justice Assistance in the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP), will remain open for at least 60 days and be extended as necessary. OJP will fund successful applicants as a top priority on a rolling basis as applications are received.

Funds may be used to hire personnel, pay overtime costs, cover protective equipment and supplies, address correctional inmates’ medical needs and defray expenses related to the distribution of resources to hard-hit areas, among other activities. Grant funds may be applied retroactively to Jan. 20, 2020, subject to federal supplanting rules.

Agencies that were eligible for the fiscal year 2019 State and Local Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program are candidates for this emergency funding. A complete list of eligible jurisdictions and their allocations can be found at https://bja.ojp.gov/program/fy20-cesf-allocations.

For more information about the Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding program, please visit https://bja.ojp.gov/funding/opportunities/bja-2020-18553.

For more information about the Office of Justice Programs, please visit https://www.ojp.gov/.

NC Department of Revenue Offers Expanded Penalty Relief for Taxpayers

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-Press Release, NCDOR

Secretary of Revenue Ronald G. Penny announced on Tuesday that the North Carolina Department of Revenue (NCDOR) is expanding tax relief as part of Governor Roy Cooper’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NCDOR will not impose penalties for late filing or payments of many tax types, including sales and use and withholding taxes, through July 15. The NCDOR previously announced tax relief for individuals, corporations, partnerships, trusts, and estates.

“These measures will come as welcome tax relief for individuals and businesses across North Carolina,” Penny said. “We are providing the maximum flexibility under existing state law.”

In the notice issued today, the NCDOR announced that it will not impose penalties for failure to obtain a license, failure to file a return, or failure to pay a tax that is due on March 15, 2020, through July 15, 2020, if the corresponding license is obtained, return is filed, or tax is paid on or before July 15, 2020.

The NCDOR cannot waive interest from the due date under current state law–currently 5% per year, the minimum rate allowed by statute. Additionally, sales and use and withholding taxes are trust taxes and the money collected must be remitted to the state and cannot be used for other purposes.

The relief from Late Action Penalties applies to the following tax types:

• Withholding Tax
• Sales and Use Tax
• Scrap Tire Disposal Tax
• White Goods Disposal Tax
• Motor Vehicle Lease and Subscription Tax
• Solid Waste Disposal Tax
• 911 Service Charge for Prepaid Telecommunications Service
• Dry-Cleaning Solvent Tax
• Primary Forest Products Tax
• Freight Car Line Companies
• Various Taxes Administered by the Excise Tax Division

Town Talk 03/31/20: VGCC Small Business Director Discusses SBA Loans, Webinars

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Sheri Jones, director of the Vance-Granville Community College (VGCC) Small Business Center, appeared on WIZS Town Talk Tuesday at 11 a.m.

U.S. Small Business Administration Loans

In discussing the various ways the VGCC Small Business Center is working with local businesses during the current health crisis, including assistance with loan applications, Jones emphasized that time is of the essence.

“The best advice I can give is to go ahead and apply now; don’t wait,” Jones stated. “People are applying and getting approved, but this situation is unprecedented. We don’t know how long the funds will hold out and how many are going to apply.”

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering low-interest federal disaster loans to small businesses in all states and territories that are suffering economic injury as a result of the virus.

Terms for these Economic Injury Disaster Loans range from 15 to 30 years and the total loan amount is considered on a case-by-case basis. According to Jones, for-profit businesses will pay 3.75% interest, while non-profits will pay 2.75%.

“These loans are available directly through the Treasury Department with no third-party lender involved,” explained Jones. “Most businesses are eligible to apply.”

According to the SBA’s website, the disaster loans may be used for fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid due to the disaster’s impact.

VGCC Small Business Center’s “Coronavirus Business Ready” Webinars

In an effort to further support local businesses and offer encouragement, the VGCC Small Business Center has scheduled a series of free, live webinars entitled “Coronavirus Business Ready – Protecting Your Small Business.”

Each part addresses various areas of concern that all businesses are currently facing. The remaining webinars include:

Keeping Customers & Employees Safe During Unsettling Times

April 2, 2 – 3 p.m. (Register)

Promoting Your Business & Products During a Crisis

April 4, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. (Register)

Ideas to Keep Cash Flowing During a Pandemic Shutdown

April 7, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. (Register)

How to Manage Employees as Coronavirus Spreads

April 9, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. (Register)

Business Planning & Strategizing as a Coronavirus Antidote

April 14, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. (Register)

Communicating With Customers & Employees in Light of COVID-19

April 16, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. (Register)

Participants must register at least two days prior to each session with a valid email address in order to receive the webinar login information. After registering, the link will be sent approximately 24 hours before the event, and a reminder email will also be sent approximately an hour prior to the start time.

For more information on assistance for small businesses, please email Sheri Jones at [email protected], visit the VGCC Small Business Center website at www.vgcc.edu/coned/small-business-center/ or visit the Facebook site at www.facebook.com/vgccsmallbusinesscenter/.

To hear the interview with Jones in its entirety, go to WIZS.com and click on Town Talk.

Three Arrested After Drugs Thrown Over Fence at Franklin Correctional Center

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-Press Release, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office

On March 27, 2020, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Drug Unit arrested three individuals for multiple drug offenses related to possessing and attempting to distribute controlled substances to inmates at Franklin Correctional Center in Bunn, NC

The investigation began when a citizen observed a vehicle stop in front of the Franklin Correctional Center, and one of the passengers jumped out and threw an object over the fence. The concerned citizen contacted the Franklin County Sheriffs Office to report the incident and was able to provide information that aided deputies in locating and stopping the vehicle

Ditereal Harris (FCSO photo)

Once the vehicle was stopped, members of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Drug Unit contacted employees at Franklin Correctional Center and were informed that two of their correctional officers also observed the incident and were able to quickly locate the item thrown over the fence. The correctional officers were able to confirm that controlled substances were in the item thrown over the fence

Drug Unit detectives retrieved the item and discovered marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines and MDMA inside the item thrown over the fence. As a result, Ditereal Harris, Xavier White and Rotonia Lowery Moore, all of Raeford, NC, were arrested.

Sheriff Kent Winstead stated, “This case began when a concerned citizen saw something suspicious and they acted. By calling the Sheriffs Office and giving vital information, our deputies were able to find and stop the vehicle. The investigation that developed as a result of their initiative kept dangerous drugs out of the hands of individuals inside of Franklin Correctional Center.” 

Xavier White (FCSO photo)

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Drug Unit was assisted in this investigation by the Franklin Correctional Center. This investigation is ongoing and additional charges are expected.

Ditereal Harris – 310 Locust Lane Raeford, NC 28376, 18-years-old 

Possess with Intent to Sell and Deliver Cocaine, Possess with Intent to Sell and Deliver Marijuana, Possess with Intent to Sell and Deliver Heroin, Possess with Intent to Sell and Deliver Methamphetamines, Possess with Intent to Sell and Deliver MDMA, Deliver Cocaine, Deliver Marijuana, Deliver Heroin, Deliver Methamphetamines, Deliver MDMA, Felony Possession of Marijuana.

Xavier White – 526 East 6th Avenue Raeford, NC 28376, 18-years-old 

Possess with Intent to Sell and Deliver Cocaine, Possess with Intent to Sell and Deliver Marijuana, Possess with Intent to Sell and Deliver Heroin, Possess with Intent to Sell and Deliver Methamphetamines, Possess with Intent to Sell and Deliver MDMA, Deliver Cocaine, Deliver Marijuana, Deliver Heroin, Deliver Methamphetamines, Deliver MDMA, Felony Possession of Marijuana. 

Rotonia Lowery Moore (FCSO photo)

Ditereal Harris and Xavier White are both being held in the Franklin County Detention Center under a $500,000 secured bond.

Rotonia Lowery Moore – 116 Dalmation Drive Raeford, NC 28376, 33-years-old

Maintain a Vehicle for the purpose of Storing Controlled Substances. 

Rotonia Lowery Moore was given an $15,000 unsecured bond. 

For more information concerning this investigation or to report drug activity in your neighborhood, please contact Sgt. Ken Pike at (919) 4962186.

TownTalk 03/30/2020 (Places You Can Go)

TownTalk for Monday, March 30, 2020

TownTalk airs M-F on WIZS, Henderson at 11 a.m. Listen at 100.1 FM / 1450 AM / streamed live at wizs.com and with Tunein and on smart connected devices and speakers.

NC Gov. Roy Cooper; Covid-19; Executive Order 121; Where you can go; Stay at Home

Henderson Mayor Eddie Ellington, message of assurance and request for adherence to Exec Order 121

Vance County Schools meal pickup for the week; One day this week; March 31 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.