NCDHHS to Offer Free Residential Testing Kits in Honor of Radon Action Month

-Press Release, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS)

As families button up their homes to guard against winter’s chill it is an ideal time to make plans to test for radon, the odorless, colorless gas that is our nation’s second leading cause of lung cancer. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), radon causes more than 21,000 deaths each year, making it the second most common cause of lung cancer deaths in the United States and the number one cause among non-smokers.

Because testing is the only way to know if your family is at risk from radon, Governor Roy Cooper has proclaimed January as Radon Action Month in North Carolina, and beginning next week, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is making 3,600 residential radon testing kits available at no charge. The test kits will be available from local health departments and county extension offices in 32 counties with outreach efforts. Funds for the test kits were provided last fall through a grant from the EPA.

“Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas found in soil and rock that can seep through cracks in the foundations, walls and joints of homes,” said NC Radiation Protection Section Chief Lee Cox. ‘About 7 percent of North Carolina homes have unsafe levels of radon, based on data we’ve collected. That is why we urge testing of homes.”

Radon gas can accumulate and reach harmful levels when trapped in homes and buildings, as may occur during the home heating season, when warm air rises in homes, pulling air from the lower parts of the home where radon may enter. Elevated levels of indoor radon are a preventable and fixable problem with costs of mitigation to reduce the radon to safe levels ranging from $800 to approximately $2,500.

The NC Radon Program’s website offers links to certified professionals who can assist in testing or fixing radon issues in homes. Through mitigation, the naturally occurring radioactive gas is released harmlessly from under the home into outdoor air.

For those who are not in the counties where free test kits are available, homes still should be tested. The NC Radon Program web page has links to several retailers that sell kits, and they are also available in many hardware stores. Retail prices average below $20 per kit. The website also lists resources and a link to an instructive video, and provides information on its web page for families who may qualify for financial assistance to meet mitigation expenses.

For more information visit the NCDHHS’ radon website at

Girl Scout’s Annual Cookie Sale to Begin This Weekend

On Wednesday’s edition of WIZS’ Town Talk program, Teresa Wimbrow, membership director for Franklin, Granville, Vance and Warren County Girl Scouts, discussed the upcoming Girl Scout cookie sale and benefits to the girls involved in the program.

This year’s sale will begin on Saturday, January 12 at 9 a.m. and will continue for several weeks. Wimbrow said the local area should be prepared for “girls ringing your doorbell or at your doorstep selling cookies.” As in years past, troops and adult volunteers will also set up cookie booths at local participating businesses and restaurants.

Cookies are $4 a box and proceeds go towards trips and activities for the girls. Flavors available locally this year include Thin Mints, Caramel Delites, Peanut Butter Patties, Peanut Butter Sandwich, Lemonades, Thanks-A-Lot, S’mores, Shortbread and the new, gluten-free Caramel Chocolate Chip.

For those on a diet or with specific allergies, there is even an option to purchase cookies to send to soldiers who are deployed. Operation Cookie Drop, as the program is called, celebrated sending its one-millionth box of cookies to soldiers last year according to Wimbrow.

Wimbrow, a former educator and basketball, volleyball and softball coach, has been with the Girl Scout organization for 10 years now and says she enjoys helping “build girls of courage, confidence and character.”

“We believe very strongly in the five skills that the girls learn – goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics,” Wimbrow stated. She believes all five of these skills, plus more, are used by the girls during the annual cookie program.

While Wimbrow covers the entire four-county area, she reported that there are five current Girl Scout troops in Vance County with girls ranging in grade level from kindergarten to 12th. “The smallest troop has five girls and the largest troop, at Vance Charter School, has 55 girls,” said Wimbrow.

Younger girls focus on self-confidence, social skills and self-esteem building while the older girls have more opportunities to travel and focus on leadership skills. Troops meet for approximately an hour and a half every other work where they work on improving these skills and earning badges. Wimbrow emphasized that there is a constant need for both female and male adult volunteers to assist with meetings and events.

Wimbrow said in her interview with WIZS that research has shown the positive effects of a childhood spent involved in Girl Scouts. “Research and statistics prove that being a part of Girl Scouts, the leadership organization that it is, serves them [girls] well later in life.”

One need only look at the high percentage of female Congress members and astronauts who were once girl scouts to see an example of the program’s success, said Wimbrow.

“There are a lot of long-standing Girl Scout traditions that are still in place, but as an organization, we have changed with the times,” Wimbrow explained.

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 in its entirety, please click here

McGregor Hall to Feature Ernie Haase + Signature Sound; Opening Act Frank Sossamon

-Information courtesy McGregor Hall Performing Arts Center

Ernie Haase + Signature Sound

Part of the JOY! Series


SATURDAY, January 19, 2019, @ 7 p.m. ~ Doors Open: 6 p.m.

From its formation in 2003, Ernie Haase has built Signature Sound into one of the most popular and beloved quartets in all of Southern Gospel music. The group has traveled all over the world, offering energy, excitement and encouragement through its powerful brand of gospel music. EHSS continues to gain fans all around the globe with its unique performances and unmistakable four-part harmonies. EHSS is one of the most celebrated quartets in Southern Gospel History mentioned with the same “trailblazing” reverence as groups like The Statesmen Quartet and The Cathedral Quartet.

EHSS has sung and sold to millions worldwide, a feat that has not been accomplished by any other Southern Gospel quartet. From concerts in Latvia and India to South Africa and New Zealand, events all around North America, TV appearances on ESPN with NASCAR, multiple NBA appearances singing our National Anthem, and even a specialty tour of historic American theaters in support of the EHSS Broadway project featuring Les Misérables legend J. Mark McVey, Signature Sound is a world-renowned quartet that spans a wide variety of genres and cultures.

As group founder, Haase is a creative, hard-working tenor whose early roots with the unforgettable and legendary Southern Gospel quartet, The Cathedrals, helped begin his dream to form a powerhouse group of his own. Along with many appearances through the years on the widely regarded Gaither Homecoming Tour, his goal was soon accomplished and then some…as EHSS quickly gained an international platform in gospel music.

Ernie Haase & Signature Sound is both GRAMMY(R)-nominated and GMA Dove Award-winning, a radio favorite in the United States and internationally, and a leader in CD sales and long-form music video sales–with several RIAA(R)-certified Gold(R) and Platinum(R) DVDs.

Tickets 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)

Back by Popular Demand: Masters of Soul to Return to McGregor Hall

-Information courtesy the McGregor Hall Performing Arts Center

BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND – This Friday, January 11, 2019, @ 8 p.m.

If you missed McGregor Hall’s great presentation of Masters of Soul last year, now’s your chance to see what everyone is talking about! Take the ultimate stroll down memory lane with Masters of Soul as they bring a celebration of the legendary songs that defined Motown and Soul music.

This 90-minute show highlights the best of the Motown era with stylishly costumed, fully choreographed performances with various groups backed by a live band.

Based in Virginia Beach, VA, the 10-person cast consists of three lead male vocalists and three lead female vocalists backed by a four-piece band of seasoned musicians who have been touring together for decades.

Masters of Soul has performed to numerous sold-out audiences and garnered rave reviews across the country.

See for yourself their performance of hits by Gladys Knight & The Pips, Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Diana Ross and The Supremes, Martha Reeves and The Vandellas, Barry White, Sam and Dave, James Brown and many more.

Tickets 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)

Franklin Co. Public Utilities Reports Discharge of Untreated Wastewater in Youngsville

-Press Release, County of Franklin

Notification of Discharge of Untreated Wastewater

General Statute 143-215.1C requires that the owner or operator of any wastewater collection or treatment works to issue a press release when an untreated wastewater discharge of 1,000 gallons or more reaches surface waters.

In accordance with that regulation, the following news release has been prepared and issued to media in the affected county: Franklin.

Franklin County Public Utilities experienced a discharge of untreated wastewater from the Youngsville Regional pump station in Youngsville. The spill was a result of rain on Friday, December 28, 2018. The spill occurred at 4 p.m. on December 28, 2018, and discharged until 6 p.m. on December 28, 2018. The discharge of wastewater was estimated to be 3,600 gallons and it entered into an unnamed tributary of Richland Creek which is a tributary of the Neuse River Basin. Franklin County Public Utilities staff were dispatched to the site and started clean up after the overflow stopped.

The division of Water Quality was notified of these events on December 29, 2018, and is reviewing the matter. For additional information concerning this event, please contact Chris Doherty, Franklin County Public Utilities Director at (919) 556-6711.

Additional information can be obtained by visiting Franklin County’s website at and our Facebook Page.

VGCC’s Welding Technology Program at Franklin Earns Vanguard Cup

-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Vance-Granville Community College’s interim president, Dr. Gordon Burns, has honored a team of faculty members in the Welding Technology program at the Franklin Campus by awarding them the “Vanguard Cup” for excellence in education.

The department became the fourth recipients of the cup, an honor created by the President’s Office to recognize “exceptional team performance toward the college mission, vision and strategic plan.” The Vanguard Cup is awarded to a department that meets or exceeds the targets on improvement strategies designed to further department or instructional goals, Dr. Burns said in making the presentation on Thursday, Dec. 13, at a college event in the Civic Center.

Above: Members of the VGCC Welding Department faculty pose with the “Vanguard Cup,” awarded to the Welding program at Franklin Campus for educational excellence by Dr. Gordon Burns, interim president of the college. From left are Dr. Burns; Rusty Pace, program head/instructor for Welding Technology; Allen Tharrington, instructor for Welding at Franklin Campus; and Luke Gravel, instructor for Welding at Main Campus. (VGCC photo)

Rusty Pace, program head and instructor for Welding, and Allen Tharrington and Luke Gravel, instructors, were honored for the Franklin Campus achieving a student course success rate of 100 percent, the president noted.

“The Welding program at the Franklin Campus achieved this superior student course success rate by advancing student skill development through increased repetition and by working more closely with local employers,” said Dr. Burns. “The local employers provided student tours of their respective campuses, served as guest lecturers and hired program graduates.”

In addition to the cup, the department receives up to $10,000 for use on equipment, professional development, adjunct instructors, or other approved purposes for state funds, as well as a luncheon for the area.

Runners-up for the cup were announced as the Math Department faculty who increased the student success rate of Math 171 students by 8 percent by offering supplemental instruction and maintaining performance rates in Math 172; and the Accounting/Business Administration/Entrepreneurship faculty who increased retention rates by connecting with students during registration periods and over the summer

VGCC offers degree, diploma and certificate programs in Welding Technology. In addition to the classes at Franklin, classes are offered on the Main Campus in Vance County. For more information, contact Rusty Pace at (252) 738-3375 or [email protected]

Five Aliens Indicted on Illegal Reentry Charges; One Found in Franklin Co.

-Press Release, U.S. Dept. of Justice

Robert J. Higdon, Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, announces that a federal grand jury in Raleigh has returned indictments charging BRAYAN ALEXANDER FUNEZ-ESPINOZA, age 28, of Mexico, ROMERO FLORES-AGUILAR, age 30, of Mexico, JESUS GARCIA HERNANDEZ, age 43, of Mexico, RODOLFO ROA-SAUCEDO, age 35, of Mexico, and JUAN ZARAGOZA-ZARAGOZA, age 36, of Mexico, with Illegal Reentry of a Deported Alien.

If convicted of illegal reentry of a deported alien, FUNEZ-ESPINOZA, previously deported twice and found in Wake County, FLORES-AGUILAR, previously deported twice and found in Johnston County, GARCIA-HERNANDEZ, previously deported three times and found in Franklin County, ROA-SAUCEDO, previously deported twice and found in Pitt County, and ZARAGOZA-ZARAGOZA, previously deported four times and found in Beaufort County, would face maximum penalties of two years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and a term of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.

The charges and allegations contained in the indictments are merely accusations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

The cases are being investigated by ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations and Homeland Security Investigations.

News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at Follow us on Twitter @USAO_ENDC.

VGCC Announces Four New Classes for Food Truck Entrepreneurs

-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Vance-Granville Community College’s Mobile Food Truck Entrepreneurship classes return to the college’s Main Campus in Vance County starting in January with four new seminars on food service.

Sponsored by VGCC’s Small Business Center, students can take all or as many of the classes they choose. Each of the free classes is scheduled in Building 7 on Main Campus on a Monday evening in the months of January through April.

Above: Ray Chow is the founder of Hibachi Xpress and Catering by Ray.

Ray Chow, founder of Hibachi Xpress and Catering by Ray, will again serve as the instructor for the series. A graduate of N.C. State University, Chow started Hibachi Xpress restaurant in Cary and expanded to three locations, as well as managing some of his family’s other restaurants in the Raleigh and Wilmington areas. He has worked in restaurants since he was seven years old.

Seven years ago, Chow expanded his restaurant and catering business with the addition of a food truck to participate in different festivals and large gatherings. The popularity of food trucks has grown, and, in 2014, Hibachi Xpress shifted focus towards catering and the food truck business, moving away from the brick and mortar stores.

Chow is also a co-founder of “foosye,” a startup tech company building innovative technology applications tailored to the food truck industry.

The first in the series — “Let’s Get Cooking:  Food Truck or Restaurant?” — will explore the differences in what it takes to start a food truck or a restaurant and continue operating one successfully. The Jan. 14 seminar is designed for those who want to realize their passion to be a small business owner in the food service industry.

The second seminar — “The 10 Hats of a Food Service Entrepreneur” — is being held on Feb. 11. Just because a person has a passion for cooking doesn’t mean he or she will be successful at owning a food truck or restaurant business, Chow said. This seminar will detail the many roles or “hats” entrepreneurs have to be able to juggle to succeed in business.

Above, the Hibachi Xpress food truck is owned by Ray Chow, who will be the instructor for the four VGCC Mobile Food Truck Entrepreneurship classes in January through April.

The March 11 workshop will be devoted to “Food Service Marketing: Your Customers Can’t Buy From You If They Can’t Find You.” Those exploring the food service industry will have an opportunity to learn various ways to market their food business to improve their chances of success.

On April 8, the topic of “Keeping Your Food Truck Business Running” will take a closer look at the need for flexibility and proper planning. “Imagine putting wheels on a restaurant you built,” said Chow. “There are things that will fall, slip, break down, move or not work when you add in the mobility of a food truck operation. Learn how things will end up on the floor when you arrive at your destination when not properly secured or planned.”

Participants in the program will also be required to sign up as clients of the VGCC Small Business Center, which is free of charge.

The deadline to register for each class is one week prior to the date of the class. For more information and to register, contact the VGCC Small Business Center at (252) 738-3240 or [email protected]

Waste Industries Christmas & New Year’s Pick Up Schedule

-Information courtesy Esther J. McCrackin, City Clerk, City of Henderson

Waste Industries will be closed Tuesday, December 25, 2018, in observance of Christmas and Tuesday, January 1, 2019, in observance of New Year’s Day. For the time period of December 25-28, 2018, and January 1-4, 2019, regularly-scheduled pick up will be delayed by one day.

For additional information on the holiday schedule for the Vance Granville branch,  please visit the Waste Industries website by clicking here.

NC General Assembly Approves Deadline Extension for Agricultural Disaster Program 

-Press Release, N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services

The N.C. General Assembly has approved extending the deadline for the agricultural disaster relief program to Dec. 20. The bill now awaits Governor Roy Cooper’s signature.

Eleven additional North Carolina counties have received secretarial disaster declarations based on agricultural losses from Hurricane Florence or Tropical Storm Michael. These counties are Anson, Avery, Dare, Person, Tyrrell, Vance, Wake, Warren, Washington, Watauga and Yadkin. With these additions, 65 counties are now eligible for agricultural disaster relief through this program.

Six counties are still awaiting a secretarial disaster declaration, which would make them eligible to participate in the disaster assistance program. These counties are Davie, Franklin, Forsyth, Rockingham, Stokes and Surry.

“We don’t want to miss any farmers that are eligible for help through this program,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “To qualify for assistance, a farmer only needs to farm in a disaster-declared county. Payments from this fund will be based on county averages for loss and yield rather than individual losses.”

This assistance is available to farmers who suffered crop losses including apples, barley, corn, cotton, hay, industrial hemp, nursery crops, specialty crops, tobacco, peanuts, sweet potatoes, livestock, aquaculture and more.

“I urge farmers to go online and fill out an application as soon as possible,” Troxler said. “You can find the application as well as other information about the program at or call 1-866-645-9403.