VGCC Continues Enrollment Growth Trend

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-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Vance-Granville Community College is celebrating good news to begin 2020. The fall 2019 semester that recently ended brought growth in enrollment along with an 11% increase in course hours completed in both credit (curriculum) and non-credit programs.

In addition, the college has started the new spring semester off seeing an increase in credit program enrollment over the same time last year.

As of the beginning of the spring semester in January, VGCC had 2,939 students enrolled in curriculum programs. That represents an 8% increase compared to the beginning of the spring 2019 semester when enrollment stood at 2,719.

A significant source of the increase was enrollment by high school students in the Career & College Promise program. There were 4.6% more of those students enrolled than there were at the beginning of spring 2019.

“We are excited about the increasing number of students who have chosen VGCC to pursue their higher education and prepare for a successful career,” said Dr. Levy Brown, the college’s vice president of learning, student engagement and success. “Student access, retention and career preparation are embedded in our daily work, and it shows!”

“We attribute this growth to a lot of collaboration among our talented faculty and staff across our four campuses,” added Kali Brown, VGCC’s dean of student access and support. “This is a collective effort, and we are glad to see outstanding things happening at VGCC under the leadership of President Desmarais. The college will continue to collaborate internally and externally to provide a top-notch educational experience.”

Established in 1969, VGCC offers more than 40 credit programs, in which students work toward certificates, diplomas and degrees. Area residents and businesses can also take advantage of a variety of continuing education/job training opportunities, as well as the High School Equivalency and Adult High School Diploma programs. High school students can get a step ahead by starting their college education early with VGCC courses.

The college has four campuses – one each in Vance, Granville, Franklin and Warren counties – and offers online programs, as well. The new “Vanguard Flex” program is offering flexible, hybrid schedules in the evenings and weekends on the Franklin Campus in Louisburg, to accommodate schedules for adult learners.

Additionally, VGCC has classes starting in February and March for students to enroll in our 12 and 8-week term options.

For more information about the college, visit

Mims Charged With Abduction of Children

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-Press Release, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Investigative Unit arrested William Richard Mims, a Wake County resident on January 22, 2020. William Richard Mims was charged with the following: one (1) count of Abduction of Children. 

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Investigative Unit arrested William Richard Mims, a Wake County resident on January 22, 2020. Mims was charged with the following: one (1) count of Abduction of Children. (FCSO photo)

William Richard Mims is currently being held in the Franklin County Detention Center under a $70,000.00 secured bond. 

This matter remains under investigation and no further information will be released at this time. If anyone should have any additional information pertaining to this investigation, please contact Detective Dean Woody at 919-340-4369. 

William Richard Mims – 51 years of age127 Windsor Drive Wake Forest, NC 27587

FCSO: Pineda Charged With 15 Counts of Exploitation of a Minor

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-Press Release, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office

On Thursday, January 16, 2020, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division arrested Tiburcio Marcial Pineda, a Franklin County resident. Tiburcio Marcial Pineda was charged with (15) counts of Third-Degree Exploitation of a Minor. 

On Thursday, January 16, 2020, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division arrested Tiburcio Marcial Pineda, a Franklin County resident. Tiburcio Marcial Pineda was charged with (15) counts of Third-Degree Exploitation of a Minor. (FCSO photo)

Charges stemmed from an extensive investigation conducted by Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations Computer Crimes Unit. 

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation Computer Crimes Unit executed a search warrant at Mr. Pineda’s residence located at 215 Brannon Road, Zebulon. Upon completion of the search warrant, Mr. Pineda was taken into custody at his residence without incident. 

Tiburcio Marcial Pineda is being held in the Franklin County Detention Center under a $250,000 secured bond. 

Tiburcio Marcial Pineda – 36 years old – 215 Brannon Road Zebulon, NC 27597

Franklin County Library Schedules Closings to Improve Services

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-Press Release, Franklin County Government

The Franklin County Library, through its partnership with NC Cardinal, is improving your library services. During the month of February, Franklin County Library Branches will be closed as noted below to implement these improvements:

 Franklinton – February 3-5, 2020

 Bunn – February 6-10, 2020

 Youngsville – February 11-14, 2020

 Louisburg – February 17-21, 2020

All NC Cardinal Resource Sharing transits to and from the libraries will be paused between February 3- 14, 2020.

The result of these updates will be modern library circulation standards and a more seamless integration of local and NC Cardinal Data. Self-check will be available in all Franklin County branches after these upgrades. Throughout the process, book drops will be checked regularly so that materials can be returned on schedule.

Check the Franklin County Library website for updates at and please call the library if you have additional questions.

For additional information, please contact Holt Kornegay, Library Director, at (919) 496-2111.

This closing schedule will not hinder, impede or preclude early voting conducted by the Franklin County Board of Elections in the Branch Libraries.

Board Continues Work to Improve 911 Communications Across State

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-Press Release, NC DIT 

The North Carolina 911 Board is providing North Carolina residents with technological improvements to 911 communications across the state through the Next Generation 911 (NG911) initiative. These advancements, which include the Emergency Services IP Network (ESInet), ensure that N.C. residents can access 911 services regardless of location or the communication technology they use.

Transitioning 911 to the ESInet enables digital information such as cell phone calls, text messages, pictures and video to be routed to the appropriate 911 call center, or Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP), across a closed, private network via location-based call routing capabilities.

To support the implementation of NG911 services, in 2019, North Carolina was awarded a $3.9 million federal grant by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). In addition, the N.C. 911 Board awarded $10.5 million in grants from the state’s 911 Fund to support the migration to ESInet, new PSAPs, and radio and dispatch upgrades.

“We are excited to be on target with 25 percent of the PSAPs having migrated to the ESInet, and the majority of those also took advantage of the hosted call handling solution that is part of the overall NG911 initiative for the state,” said Pokey Harris, executive director of the North Carolina 911 Board. “We appreciate those PSAPs that were willing to be among the first to migrate to ESInet and are excited that North Carolina is leading the way for NG911, being touted as an innovator.”

A total of 32 PSAPs in North Carolina have migrated to the ESInet, with 31 of those occurring in 2019. All 127 PSAPs across the state are required to complete the transition to the ESInet by July 1, 2021. A map of PSAPs and their migration status is available here.

With more 911 centers coming online, in September 2019, the board celebrated the opening of the Network Monitoring and Assistance Center (NMAC), which will play an important role in making sure services run smoothly across the state.

According to Harris, technicians at the NMAC will monitor the ESInet to immediately troubleshoot network issues and help behind the scenes to provide seamless 911 coverage, so 911 telecommunicators can focus on helping North Carolina residents get the assistance they need as quickly as possible.

Technicians also can quickly reroute emergency calls to other 911 centers as they identify increased trends in emergency calls – particularly in cases such as severe weather or major events that draw large volumes of people to a particular area. During Hurricane Dorian, technicians at the NMAC were prepared to assist in rerouting calls from the coast to counties farther inland, however, it was not necessary.

“Residents and visitors to the state are the true beneficiaries of the NG911 efforts that will ultimately improve 911 service delivery,” said Harris.

The N.C. 911 Board is a 17-member board that is responsible for policies and procedures for wireline and wireless 911 communications in the state and administers the state’s 911 Fund used to support equipment purchases for the 127 public safety answering points (911 centers) in the state. The board is housed with the N.C. Department of Information Technology.

For more information, visit

WIZS Note: Brian K. Short, director of Henderson-Vance Emergency Operations, reports that his department successfully transitioned to the ESI Net (Next Generation 911) in September 2019, and operations have been running smoothly in the ensuing months.

Alzheimer’s Assoc. of Eastern NC Launches Direct Connect Referral Program

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-Press Release, Alzheimer’s Association

The Alzheimer’s Association – Eastern North Carolina Chapter announced today the launch of its Direct Connect Referral Program.

This free service is designed to work together with physicians and other healthcare professionals to ensure that individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias receive the appropriate care and resources needed to improve their quality of life.

Developed in order to help provide a holistic approach to patient care, this program is the first of its kind in the Alzheimer’s community in all 51 Eastern North Carolina counties for which the Alzheimer’s Association – Eastern North Carolina Chapter serves. Physicians and healthcare professionals at clinic offices, medical centers and hospitals throughout these 51 counties now have an opportunity to participate in the program.

Currently, only 33 percent of seniors age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s disease are aware of their diagnosis. Studies have found that one of the reasons physicians do not diagnose Alzheimer’s — or do not disclose a diagnosis — is a lack of time and resources to provide care planning. However, a disclosed diagnosis is necessary to implement care planning, a crucial element in improving outcomes for the individual.

Care planning has many benefits for the patient and their family, including:

  • Allows newly diagnosed individuals and their caregivers to learn about medical and non-medical treatments, clinical trials and support services available in the community — resulting in a higher quality of life for those living with the disease.
  • Leads to fewer hospitalizations and emergency room visits, and better medication management.
  • Contributes to better management of other conditions that can be complicated by Alzheimer’s.

The Medicare billing code – known as 99483 – introduced in 2018, allows clinicians to be reimbursed for providing care planning to cognitively impaired individuals. In using this code along with the Association’s Direct Connect Referral Program, clinicians will have the time and resources to provide a comprehensive set of care planning services to people with cognitive impairment and their caregivers. All that is involved is completing a one-page, HIPAA compliant form and faxing or scanning it to the Alzheimer’s Association.

“We are thrilled about launching our new Direct Connect Referral Program, which provides an easy way to connect a doctor’s patients with our organization’s care and support services,” said Lisa Roberts, executive director of the Eastern North Carolina Chapter. “We are deeply committed to supporting the family of people on their journey of diagnosis and treatment, while also adding value to the efforts of physicians’ offices. Our Direct Connect Referral Program is a win-win resource for all.”

Physicians and healthcare professionals interested in learning more about this program should contact Peggy Best at [email protected] or at 919-241-5928.

Additional Facts and Figures: (

  • Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States.
  • Every 65 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s.
  • An estimated 5.8 million Americans are living with the disease, including 170,000 North Carolina residents, are living with Alzheimer’s, a number estimated to grow to as many as 14 million by the year 2050.
  • More than 16 million family and friends, including 473,000 in North Carolina, provide unpaid care to people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias in the United States.
  • In 2018, friends and family of those with Alzheimer’s in North Carolina provided an estimated 538 million hours of unpaid care, a contribution valued at $6.8 billion.

For more information about Alzheimer’s disease, or the Alzheimer’s Association, Eastern North Carolina Chapter, visit or call 800-272-3900. For the latest news and updates, follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Town Talk 01/08/20: ‘Science in the Summer’ Provides Free, Hands-On Learning

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Zenovia Hogue, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Science in the Summer (SIS) Coordinator for the Morehead Planetarium & Science Center in Chapel Hill, NC, appeared on WIZS Town Talk Wednesday at 11 a.m.

Bringing summer science activities to rising second through eighth-grade students in 10 counties throughout Central North Carolina since 2008, Hogue said the free program is “an engaging, fun way to prevent the proven slide that happens when kids don’t participate in academic activities over the summer break.”

“SIS is free to all participating children because GSK covers all program expenses,” Hogue explained. “Science in the Summer would not be possible without their support.”

The 2020 SIS theme is “Chemistry is everywhere!” According to the SIS website, students will enjoy everything from “discovering polymers with color-changing slime to investigating how zombie worms use chemicals to survive. Students will use common, everyday materials and ingredients to understand that almost everything they do is connected to science. Along the way, not only will they discover that science is exciting, but that it will be a key part of their future – no matter which career they choose.”

Local teachers may also join in on the summer fun by applying to be a paid SIS educator. A current teaching license is required and an application process must be completed. Those interested may visit the Morehead Planetarium’s employment website by clicking here.

For Vance County residents, the first SIS student session will be held at the Perry Memorial Library for rising second through fifth graders June 15 – 19, 2020, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Registration date is March 2.

The second session will be held at the Perry Memorial Library for rising sixth through eighth graders July 13 – 15, 2020, from 1 – 4 p.m. Registration date is March 10.

Spaces are limited in all summer sessions and registration is required. For more information, including Granville and Franklin County sessions, and to register, please visit the SIS website at

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

State Broadband Office Expanded Access, Worked to Close Digital Divide in 2019

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-Press Release, NCDIT

While it may seem that internet is universal, there are still areas of North Carolina that lack the infrastructure, called broadband, to support high-speed internet in addition to residents who lack the technology to use it. This access – to infrastructure and to devices – is critical for children to complete homework assignments, for farmers and other businesses to run their operations and for providers to deliver improved healthcare for our residents.

The N.C. Department of Information Technology’s (NCDIT) Broadband Infrastructure Office (BIO) is working to close this digital divide and made great strides in 2019 to achieve its goal that every resident has access to affordable, high-speed internet at all times.

“Access to broadband is a life-line and a critical piece in North Carolina residents’ making meaningful connections in order to live a healthier and more fulfilling life,” said Eric Boyette, DIT secretary and state chief information officer. “We’re going to use the momentum we’ve created this past year to help even more residents in 2020.”

Governor Roy Cooper demonstrated his commitment to this goal by issuing Executive Order 91 (EO 91) and establishing the Governor’s Task Force on Connecting North Carolina. EO 91 directs state government leaders to work collaboratively to identify and remove barriers to affordable, high-speed internet access, eliminate the homework gap that results from students not having internet access, and facilitate private-sector deployment of last-mile infrastructure.

BIO made significant progress toward this goal by awarding the first round of grants through the Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology (GREAT) program, which allows internet service providers and electric membership cooperatives to compete for funding to lower financial barriers that prevent broadband expansion in rural communities. Nearly $10 million was awarded to 20 broadband service providers to facilitate the deployment of broadband service in 19 Tier One counties. Of the 13 companies receiving funding, 11 are NC-based small businesses, telephone cooperatives and an electric membership cooperative.

With more than $6 million in matching funds from the providers, around $16 million in total investment will bring service to more than 10,000 households, businesses, agricultural operations and community institutions such as libraries, schools and hospitals. The N.C. General Assembly approved and Gov. Cooper signed legislation providing an additional $30 million for grants through June 2021 to continue the program.

In addition to physically expanding broadband access, digital inclusion is critical to closing the digital divide. This includes ensuring residents have equal access to digital resources, technology and the skills needed to use them. BIO is an active partner in the NC Digital Equity and Inclusion Collaborative and works diligently to level the playing field for N.C. residents. Notable achievements in digital inclusion efforts this year include:

  • In early 2019, BIO partnered with the NC Department of Health & Human Services’ Office of Rural Health (ORH) to secure a $98,273 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) POWER fund to investigate and identify gaps, challenges and opportunities in the existing telehealth infrastructure resources in 20 western N.C. counties and explore how to better use technology to improve health and healthcare in the region.
  • In March, BIO published “The Homework Gap in North Carolina,” a report that provides communities and state and local policymakers with strategies to bridge the homework gap that occurs when students are assigned homework that requires internet access but lack an internet connection at home. The report was developed in conjunction with The William & Ida Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at North Carolina State University.
  • BIO and The State Library of North Carolina won a $250,000 two-year grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and to launch a pilot program to address the homework gap. The program, which began in Robeson County in January, provided digital literacy workshops to 34 families. In July, the program expanded to include four counties, and 62 families have attended workshops.
  • As a result of Gov. Cooper’s Hometown Strong program to support rural communities, NCDIT and the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, home to the State Library, partnered with nine library systems and four municipalities for a pilot program to improve internet access in rural communities. Each of the libraries received $35,000 to purchase equipment such as Wi-Fi hotspots or computers to make available to students or other library patrons for home use. Communities were able to use the funds at their discretion to shape a program that best fit their needs.

BIO further affirmed its commitment to increasing rural broadband by developing a survey and speed test for farmers in partnership with the North Carolina Farm Bureau (NCFB). The survey and speed test will gather data that will provide a clear picture of current connections and speeds available at farms and pinpoint those that lack sufficient connectivity to run their business with 21st-century technology. BIO and NCFB will use this information to develop connectivity solutions for farmers, both in their offices and in the fields.

This project followed the launch of BIO’s Broadband Speed Test, a self-reporting tool that allows residents and businesses to report the actual speeds they receive at home or at work. This tool allows for better mapping of areas of the state that unserved or underserved by broadband providers.

As part of its services, BIO provides a technical assistance team as an on-the-ground resource to work with counties and communities across the state to provide needed broadband expertise. Over the past year, this team aided 70 counties with planning and resource identification, including all 36 counties included in Gov. Roy Cooper’s Hometown Strong program, a partnership between state agencies and local leaders to champion rural communities.

In addition, BIO launched the FirstTech initiative to support state and local public safety and emergency response organizations with identifying emerging communications technologies. It is also monitoring the build-out of FirstNet, the nationwide wireless broadband public safety communications network.

BIO is gearing up for an exciting 2020 that builds upon the success of the past year.

The North Carolina Department of Information Technology’s Broadband Infrastructure Office leads the statewide initiative to expand high-speed internet access for all North Carolinians.

Town Talk 01/07/20: Girl Scout Cookie Sale Begins This Weekend!

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Teresa Wimbrow, membership director for Franklin, Granville, Vance and Warren County Girl Scouts, appeared on WIZS Town Talk Tuesday at 11 a.m. Wimbrow discussed the 2020 Girl Scout cookie sale and benefits to the girls involved in the program.

This year’s sale begins Saturday, January 11 at 9 a.m. Wimbrow said the local area should be prepared for “girls ringing your doorbell with cookies in hand.” Cookies will also be available in the coming weeks at booths set up by girl scouts and adult volunteers at local participating businesses and restaurants.

Cookies are available for $4 a box with proceeds being used for trips and activities for the scouts.

Flavors available locally this year include Thin Mints, Caramel deLites, Peanut Butter Patties, Peanut Butter Sandwich, Lemonades, Thanks-A-Lot, Girl Scout S’mores, Shortbread and a gluten-free Caramel Chocolate Chip.

According to Wimbrow, this is expected to be the last year that the Thanks-A-Lot shortbread and chocolate fudge cookies will be available, so if they are your favorite, make sure you stock up. A new cookie will be introduced next year to join the tried and true originals.

Wimbrow, a former educator and basketball, volleyball and softball coach, has been with the Girl Scout organization for 11 years and says she enjoys fulfilling the organization’s motto by helping to “build girls of courage, confidence and character.”

“I love young people and I love this area,” said Wimbrow. “Girl Scouts is a great organization that offers a positive alternative to some of the other things that are happening that get so much negative publicity.”

The four-county area is part of the larger Girl Scout NC Coastal Pines, a council consisting of 41 counties. For information on the Girl Scout cookie program or testimonials from girls and volunteers alike, please visit

If you know someone interested in joining Girl Scouts, have questions or would like to volunteer, please contact Teresa Wimbrow at (252) 438-8103 or email [email protected].

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

‘Into the Woods’ to Bring Modern Fairy Tale Twist to McGregor Hall

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-Information courtesy McGregor Hall Performing Arts Center

McGregor Hall Performing Arts Center is gearing up for its presentation of “Into the Woods,” a fully staged Broadway-style musical presented with a live, professional orchestra.

Evening performances include Sat., February 1, Fri., February 7 and Sat., February 8 at 8 p.m. Matinee performances will be offered at 2 p.m. on Sun., February 2 and Sun., February 9, 2020.

Stephen Sondheim’s masterpiece “Into the Woods” is a modern twist on the beloved fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm, entwining the classic stories of Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel, and Little Red Riding Hood with an original story about a baker and his wife wishing to start a family and live a more wonderful life. The moral of this story? Be careful what you wish for!

Tickets for this event may be purchased by:

DROP-IN: 201 Breckenridge Street, Henderson, N.C. Monday – Friday 1:30 – 5:30 p.m

CALL: (252) 598-0662 (M-F 1:30 – 5:30 p.m.)

CLICK HERE:  (Use the eTix official site, online fees apply)

(This is not a paid advertisement)