Maria Parham Health

Local Covid Q & A with Maria Parham Health

WIZS 1450 AM/ 100.1 FM News reached out to Maria Parham Health with several local covid questions. Maria Parham quickly responded through its public information officer and provided the following answers:

Q1 – How many people are currently hospitalized at Maria Parham with COVID?

A1 – We are currently treating fewer than 20 COVID-positive patients. 90% of those people are NOT vaccinated.


Q2 – What COVID-related restrictions are placed on patients? On visitors?

A2 – We are limiting visitors to only one per day, but no visitors are allowed for COVID-19 patients with the exception of end of life circumstances. No one who is COVID-19 positive, exhibiting symptoms or has a recent exposure is permitted as a visitor at this time.


Q3 – Is there any other relevant information you would like to share with the public?

A3 – Numbers don’t lie. The overwhelming majority of our hospitalized COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated, and vaccination is still our best defense against serious illness, hospitalization and death. We urge citizens to protect themselves, protect their families and protect our community by rolling up their sleeves and getting vaccinated against COVID-19 if they have not already done so. Maria Parham Primary Care in Henderson and Maria Parham Multispecialty Clinic in Louisburg are offering the vaccine and can be contacted directly for vaccine needs. Maria Parham Primary Care, 252.436.0440. Maria Parham Multispecialty Clinic, 919.497.8380.


Q4 – Are you experiencing staffing issues due to the latest COVID surge?

A4 – Staffing is an industry-wide issue, and we are experiencing the same relative resource pressures in this regard as most other healthcare providers. Given the increase in volume we are experiencing, patients may expect extended wait times as our staff do their very best to provide each individual the appropriate level of care they need. We know the community understands this dynamic, and we appreciate their continued support.


Q5 – Will an employee’s vaccination status have an effect on his or her employment status at some point?

A5 – At this time, Maria Parham Health is strongly encouraging and supporting all of our team members to become fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but vaccination is not currently required. We are aware of President Biden’s recent announcement about new federal COVID-19 vaccine requirements, and we agree that the vaccine is our best defense against this virus. Right now, we are working to understand the details of this development and the impact it will have for employees and providers at our facility.


Maria Parham Health is an advertising client of WIZS. This is not a paid ad.

Franklin County Begins Process To Redraw Districts For Commissioners, School Board

Franklin County is beginning the process of redrawing existing districts for the board of county commissioners and the board of education, based on the recently released 2020 Census results.

As this process gets underway, the county’s management team is creating a resource for information for residents to stay informed and involved, according to a press release from Franklin County Manager Kim Denton.

All redistricting information can be found at

This resource contains various information including instructions on how to submit suggested district maps for consideration.

Denton suggests that interested persons monitor the county government’s webpage at for updates and next steps, including dates for any scheduled upcoming public hearings.

To learn more, contact Denton at 919.496.5994.

Town Talk: Kerr-Tar Loan Programs Help Homeowners With Repairs

Homeowners in the five-county area that the Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments serves can apply for a couple of loan programs for repairs or improvements to their residences.

The deadline to submit applications is early November, and Kerr-Tar finance assistant Katie Connor said the loans are completely forgivable, provided the home remains the property of the homeowner for the life of the loan.

That’s free money, folks.

Kerr-Tar serves Vance, Granville, Warren, Franklin and Person counties and the Urgent Repair Loan Program that it is offering provides up to $10,000 over five years – $2,000 a year, Connor told John C. Rose on Thursday’s Town Talk. Applications are due in the Kerr-Tar office by 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 5.

As the name indicates, the repairs do need to be of an urgent nature – a leaky roof,  unsafe floors, ramp installation for the disabled, and HVAC repairs are just a few of the examples of acceptable repairs.

“There’s definitely some flexibility in the (type of) repair that can be done,” Connor said, “but they must be urgent.” The main goal of this loan program is to keep people in their homes, she added.

Visit to see program criteria. There’s money for up to 20 houses in the five-county area, Connor said. This loan is considered an unsecured loan.

In general, homeowners need to be older than 62, and the home must be a stick-built structure – mobile homes and manufactured homes do not qualify. Veterans, disabled persons and families of five or more also would qualify, Connor said. Household income must be less than 50 percent of the median income in North Carolina, she added.

The other loan program is currently available for homeowners in Warren County. The Essential Single-Family Rehabilitation program offers $30,000 for repairs. This is a secured loan, Connor said, which means that qualified applicants would have a deed of trust placed on their property for the duration of the six-year loan. This also is a forgivable loan, which means that no money has to be repaid, provided the homeowner doesn’t sell the property during the life of the loan.

The criteria for both loan programs are very similar, but Connor said household income for ESFR program applicants must be 80 percent of the median income for the state.

Because of the larger amount of the loan, Connor said projects would have to be substantial enough to bring a home up to acceptable standards. “We can’t just do one thing for this house.” There is money for five houses, she said.

The deadline to submit applications for the ESFR program is Monday, Nov. 1 at 5 p.m. All applications should be submitted to the Kerr-Tar office, located at 1724 Graham Ave., Henderson.

The applications and related information are available at Connor said applications also can be mailed to interested applicants. Simply call 252.436.2040 ext. 6071 and leave your name and mailing address and Connor said she will put the paperwork in the mail. They also are available at area Senior Centers as well as county government offices.

As is often the case, demand usually exceeds the amount of money available, Connor said. And the Kerr-Tar COG must apply each year to receive the funds.

Click Play for complete details and audio.


Franklin County Logo

Finance Celebrates 22 Years of Financial Reporting Excellent

— press release from Franklin County, NC Government

Franklin County’s Finance Department holds a 22-year record of excellence in financial reporting. The team has achieved the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting. The Finance Department was recently notified by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) that its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report was awarded the Certificate of Achievement of Excellence. The Certificate of Achievement is awarded by the GFOA of the United States and Canada for its comprehensive annual financial report. Attainment of the certificate of the achievement represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.

The report has been judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program including demonstrating a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential users and user groups to read the report.

For additional information, contact Franklin County Finance at (919) 496-3182 or visit The Finance Office is staffed by Director Jamie Holtzman, Deputy Finance Director Mattie May, Christy Henson, Jan Wright, Claire Fuller and Tonya Pearce.

Franklin County Government is committed to effective and innovative public services for all Franklin County citizens and businesses.

Volunteer Fire Depts in Warren/Franklin Counties Receive Funds

Volunteer fire departments in Warren County received $213,576.50 and Franklin County departments were awarded $73,454.55, according to the complete listing from N.C. Department of Insurance.

The Volunteer Fire Department Fund was created to assist North Carolina’s volunteer fire departments with purchasing equipment and making capital expenditures. It is administered through the N.C. Department of Insurance/Office of the State Fire Marshal. Eligible volunteer fire departments must be rated/certified by the N.C. Department of Insurance.

Here’s a breakdown for Warren and Franklin County, by department:

Warren County:

  • Afton-Elberon Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. – $7,400
  • Arcola Rural Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. – $10,950
  • Churchill-Five Forks Volunteer Fire Department Inc. – $30,000
  • Hawtree Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. – $22,717.50
  • Lake Gaston Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. – $25,010
  • Long Bridge Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. – $9,918.50
  • Macon Rural Fire Department, Inc. – $5,315
  • Norlina Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. – $28,272.50
  • Palmer Springs Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. – $30,000
  • Ridgeway Volunteer Rural Fire Association – $9,992
  • Soul City Volunteer Rural Fire Association – $8,560

Franklin County:

  • Gold Sand Rural Fire Department, Inc. – $23,495.50
  • Justice Rural Volunteer Fire Association, Inc. – $29,463.00
  • White Level Rural Fire Department, Inc. – $9,367.93

TownTalk: The Story Of The Epsom Community






The way the story goes, Mr. Simon W. Duke wanted to establish a post office in the store he opened in the area where he lived, referred to by some as Duke’s Corner or Duke’s Crossroad. He had already sent several suggestions to the federal government, but each one was rejected. Seems there already were post offices with the names he proposed.

He shared his failed attempts to Dr. Bennett Perry Alston one day while the two men were in the store. Looking around, Alston suggested the name that ultimately would be approved by the federal government – Epsom.

Mark Pace, area historian and North Carolina Room specialist at Richard H. Thornton Library in Oxford, shared this story and more about the area on the Vance-Franklin border during the tri-weekly Town Talk history segment Thursday.

Alston supposedly saw a box of Epsom Salts and perhaps somewhat on a whim said, ‘Why don’t you just apply and call it Epsom?’ Pace told co-host Bill Harris. The year was 1887.

There were already many post offices scattered across the area at the time – Bobbitt, Gillburg, Kearney, Pugh’s Hill (in the general area where Corinth-Trinity Church now stands along Highway 401), to name a few, Pace said. But Duke’s post office put Epsom on the map, as it were, thanks to Dr. Alston’s suggestion.

Alston was from the Alston family from Warren County, and Pace said he was probably the most prominent farmer in the area at the time. A veteran of the American Civil War, Alston’s daughter, Margaret, was the last living descendant of a Civil War soldier in this vicinity. She died about 20 years ago.

The area around the Epsom crossroads included about 500 acres that belonged to Simon Duke’s father. It was basically a farming, agricultural community, Pace said, and the families that lived in the area were working-class, middle-class people who went to church on Sundays and raised their families. There were few large plantations, and, consequently, there was not a huge African American presence there, Pace noted.

There are several prominent African American churches in the area – Dickies Grove, Mitchells Baptist and Rowlands Chapel, which Pace said dates back to the late 1800’s.

The Dukes and Alstons were instrumental in establishing a private academy that was in Epsom in late 1800s. Some references to the school includes names Punga Academy and Epsom High School, and the Duke and Alston families brought Elon College alumnus J.T. Cobb to run it.

Other families have with long ties to the community, including the Ayscue family. Pace said he’s seen seven different spellings of that surname in documents he has reviewed. Benjamin Franklin Ayscue, born in 1847, fought in the Civil War and was one of only three soldiers left in his company when they surrendered in Appomattox.

The story goes that Ayscue “made a deal with the Lord” when he was a soldier. If he got back home safely, he would “devote himself to living right for the rest of his life,” Pace recalled.

It seems that family back home presumed he had not survived the war, so he surprised them upon his return. As for that deal he’d made on the battlefield?

He became a deacon at Liberty Christian Church, right there in Epsom.


For complete details and audio click play.


CDC Moratorium Temporarily Halts Residential Evictions Until Oct 3

CDC issues new temporary moratorium to halt residential evictions through Oct. 3

HOPE Program still accepting applications for emergency rental assistance

— press release courtesy of the N.C. Department of Public Safety —

RALEIGH—The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a new residential eviction moratorium that will offer protection from eviction for most renters in North Carolina. The moratorium, which will remain in effect through Oct. 3, 2021, applies in U.S. counties experiencing substantial and high levels of community transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that triggers COVID-19. The CDC has found that evictions of tenants for failure to pay rent could be detrimental to public health measures designed to slow the spread of the virus. Most North Carolina renters would be eligible for protection from eviction under the order, with some important exceptions.

As of today, only four North Carolina counties do not meet the new eviction moratorium criteria, including Bertie, Hertford, Hyde and Warren counties. The status of these and other counties could change in the future depending on COVID-19 transmission levels.

Renters throughout the rest of the state who currently meet the eligibility criteria may present a declaration form to their landlord and receive protection from eviction. Renters can also find additional resources online through NC 211 and the HUD Rental Housing Counseling and Eviction Prevention Program, which includes contact information for local housing counselors.

Emergency Rental and Utility Assistance

The N.C. Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions Program (HOPE) continues to provide rent and utility assistance to low-income renters in 88 counties that are experiencing financial hardship due to the economic impacts of COVID-19. Since opening last fall, HOPE has awarded more than $328 million to ​North Carolina households, with ​$245 million already paid to landlords and utility companies statewide.

Information about the HOPE Program, including eligibility requirements, program benefits and an online application, is available at Applicants who cannot access the website should call 888-9ASK-HOPE (888-927-5467) for help with the application process. The HOPE Call Center is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Both English- and Spanish-speaking representatives are available to assist callers.

As of last week, the HOPE Program is also accepting landlord referrals of tenants who are struggling to pay rent due to the pandemic. Landlords can submit tenant names and contact information through the HOPE Program website or by contacting the HOPE Call Center at 888-9ASK-HOPE (888-927-5467). A program specialist will then follow up with the tenant to help start the application process.

In addition to the HOPE Program, 12 counties and five Native American tribes received direct federal funding to manage local emergency rental assistance programs. More information about the areas served by HOPE and local programs is available at the HOPE Interactive Map.

The HOPE Program is managed by the N.C. Office of Recovery and Resiliency, a division of the Department of Public Safety. To learn more about the HOPE Program, visit


HOPE Program now accepting tenant referrals from landlords, increasing assistance

— press release courtesy North Carolina Department of Public Safety

The Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions (HOPE) Program has announced program changes to accept referrals of tenants from landlords and increase financial awards to North Carolina households that apply for pandemic-related rent and utility assistance. The new guidelines aim to help even more renters get back on their feet while also assisting landlords that have lost income due to the economic impacts of COVID-19. Since opening last fall, the HOPE Program has awarded more than $305.5 million to ​81,039 households, with ​$219.2 million already paid to landlords and utility companies statewide.

“We established the HOPE Program to keep low income tenants hit hard by COVID-19 in their homes with the lights on,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “HOPE has already assisted more than 81,000 families, and these program changes will make sure even more people get the help they need while our state recovers.”

Landlords whose tenants are struggling to pay rent due to the pandemic can submit names and contact information using the HOPE Program website or by contacting the HOPE Call Center at 888-9ASK-HOPE (888-927-5467). A program specialist will then follow up with the tenant to help start the application process.

Additionally, starting Aug. 1, the HOPE Program monthly rent award limit will increase by 30%, which will allow the program to cover approximately 95% of all rent awards requested by tenants. Similarly, the utility award limit will increase by 100%, a change that will cover nearly 90% of all past-due amounts requested by program applicants. The new limits will apply to all new applications received, including applicants reapplying for assistance.

The HOPE Program promotes housing stability by providing rent and utility bill assistance to prevent evictions and the disconnection of utilities. The program currently serves 88 North Carolina counties, with 12 counties and five Native American tribes receiving direct federal funding to operate their own emergency rent and utility programs. A complete list of the counties served by the HOPE Program, county programs and tribal government programs can be found using the online NC HOPE Interactive Map.

Information about the HOPE Program, including eligibility requirements, program benefits and an online application, is available at Applicants who cannot access the website should call 888-9ASK-HOPE (888-927-5467) for help with the application process. The HOPE Call Center is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Both English- and Spanish-speaking representatives are available to assist callers. Applicants who applied for assistance during the first phase of the HOPE Program are eligible to reapply for additional help.

Funding for the HOPE Program is provided to the state through U.S. Department of Treasury Coronavirus Relief Fund allocations and the Emergency Rental Assistance Program established by the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021. The HOPE Program is managed by the N.C. Office of Recovery and Resiliency, a division of the Department of Public Safety. To learn more about the HOPE Program, visit


TownTalk: VGCC Student Enrollment Day to Take Place on All Four Campuses

The four campuses of Vance-Granville Community College will be open from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, July 31 for Enrollment Day, a time when prospective students can drop in, learn more and get help as they plan their next steps in education.

Dr. Antonio Jordan, director of admissions and enrollment services and Kali Brown, dean of student access and support, spoke with John C. Rose on Monday’s Town Talk about the upcoming event. Fall semester classes begin on Aug. 16.

“There’s something special about a face-to-face interaction,” Brown said of the in-person event. It’s an opportunity to have students come to campus, have access to the offices they would need for the enrollment process in a face-to-face setting. Both the VGCC application and the financial aid application are accessed and completed online, and Saturday’s event is a time for students and their parents or family members to questions or get help navigating the process.

Jordan said he looks forward to having students back on campus. “We’ve done a great job virtually, but like Dean Brown mentioned, there’s just something special about having them on that campus, having them in tone of those computer labs, having them in the admissions or enrollment center and being able to talk with them and work with them,” he said.

Having weekend events to meet students’ needs is probably going to become more routine, he added. Increasingly, the 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. hours just aren’t convenient for those who have full-time jobs or other commitments, so VGCC leaders are “thinking outside the box” by offering the Saturday opportunity, he said.

For complete details and audio click play.

In addition to the two applications, the enrollment process includes a new student orientation.

Jordan will be at the main campus in Henderson to facilitate the new student orientation, which will be from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. During the orientation, students will have an opportunity to learn about majors and careers, complete their own career assessment and then figure out the best way to achieve their goals.

Although VGCC uses social media, email and other methods to share information, Brown said it’s critical for students to be able to have a face-to-face conversation with college representatives to guide them. The Enrollment Day is a chance to set up student accounts, as well as set up meetings with advisors to select classes.

There is, of course, the matter of paying for classes. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a first step, but there also are grants like the Long Leaf Commitment grant that can help, as well as numerous VGCC scholarships through the VGCC Foundation, Brown said.

The VanGuarantee is a program that helps students pay for fees and books that financial aid may not cover. This program is available for students who take a minimum of six credit hours, Brown added.

Glen Raven Announces $82 Million Expansion At Norlina Plant


Glen Raven, Inc. Custom Fabrics, LLC, in Norlina announced today (Wednesday, July 21) an $82 million capital investment plan that will create 205 new jobs.

The expansion at the Warren County manufacturing plant will add about $6.5 million in annual salaries, according to a press release from Warren County. Governor Roy Cooper also announced on Wednesday that a performance-based grant of $1 million from the One North Carolina Fund will help facilitate the expansion.

The Glen Raven Norlina plant opened in 1984. It produces the synthetic yarn used in performance fabrics, including their well-known flagship Sunbrella brand.

Glen Raven plans to renovate the existing building, constructed in 1970, as well as add new buildings and new equipment.

“Glen Raven has been an indispensable fixture of our business community for 37 years. To take part in the company’s realization of their strategic growth doesn’t just feel good; it feels right,” stated Charla Duncan, Warren County economic development director.

“As a halo county of the Triangle, we look very different than our urban and more populous neighbors, and we’re ok with that because we know that Warren County, too, can be a place for sustainability, growth and vitality,” Duncan stated in the press release. “It’s our goal to be a part of the Glen Raven family as well, knowing that in turn, we are also supporting our families here in the community.”

The Warren County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to approve a local incentive package to compete for the expansion of the existing Warren County industry.

The total local incentive package offered to Glen Raven includes 10 annual performance-based grants equaling 60 percent of the paid tax liability for the year and a fee waiver of up to $150,000 in county building and inspection fees. The grant will not be issued until the year’s property taxes have been paid.

“This project is a trajectory changer for Warren County. Glen Raven has recognized the value in Warren County, the workforce we can attract, and how that will positively impact their bottom line,” commented County Manager Vincent Jones. “I have to commend our board of commissioners for pushing us as county staff for results, as well as our Warren County team that helped us through this economic development process, especially our community & economic development director, Charla Duncan, who led our efforts.”

“With the devotion and commitment of the county commissioners, coupled with the hard work of our staff, we were able to secure this much-needed economic growth,” stated Tare “T” Davis, chairman of the Warren County board of commissioners. “This expansion speaks to what the citizens have been asking to happen in Warren County — good paying jobs and good opportunity for people to advance. We look forward to a continued partnership with Glen Raven.”

The average salary of the jobs that will be created is predicted to be $31,710, which exceeds the median income for Warren County. Of the total $82 million capital investment, $58 million is in real property and $24 million is in personal property.

“Glen Raven has been an anchor in our local, regional, and state business community for decades. We are thrilled that they have called Warren County home for so long and that they believe our community can help in the growth of their company,” said Victor Hunt, vice-chair of the Warren County board of commissioners and member of the economic development commission board.

Glen Raven, a 2020 Governor’s Export Award Winner (NC), is a global company headquartered in North Carolina, recognized by the state for being a Top Large Business Exporter. Founded in 1880, Glen Raven is a provider of performance fabrics with sales in more than 120 countries.

Duncan, herself a Warren County native, said she hasn’t known a day of her life that Glen Raven hasn’t supported working families in the region.

For more information, contact the Warren County Community & Economic Development Director at 252.257.3114 or