Kerr-Tar COG Schedules Info Sessions On Local Food Systems

What do you think about when you hear or read the phrase “food chain?”

Some folks may think back to elementary school Science lessons that talked about little fish getting gobbled up by bigger and bigger fish. But the Kerr-Tar region Council of Government is scheduling a series of meetings – one in each of the five counties it represents – for regional policymakers to hear from folks in the community about what’s working and what’s needed when it comes to our local “food chain.”

One of the outcomes of the meetings is the development of a food policy council, according to information publicizing the events.

If you think about it, we’re all part of the “food chain” whether we grow and market vegetables locally or simply prepare meals for ourselves and our families.

Everyone is welcome to share experiences, successes and challenges – from the consumer to producer, as well as food pantry partners and other agencies in the community.

The meetings begin next week in Roxboro and continue through March. Each session will be from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.  To register for one of the meetings, email or phone 980.389.3446.

Here’s the list of meetings:

  • Wednesday, Mar. 6 in Roxboro, Person County Cooperative Extension Center
  • Wednesday, Mar. 13 in Louisburg, Franklin County Cooperative Extension Center
  • Tuesday, Mar. 19 in Warrenton, Warren County Library
  • Tuesday, Mar. 26 in Henderson, Vance County Regional Farmers Market
  • Wednesday, Mar. 27 in Oxford, Richard Thornton Public Library





VGCC Set To Launch Court Reporting Program At Franklin Campus In March

– Information courtesy of VGCC Public Information Officer Courtney Cissel

When its new Court Reporting program launches next month, Vance-Granville Community College will become the only community college in North Carolina to offer the program to students.

The court reporting profession plays a critical role in ensuring that legal proceedings are accurately documented for future reference. Using specialized dictation equipment, court reporters produce real-time transcriptions of courtroom proceedings.

At the time of publication, there are open reporting positions in North Carolina state courts with annual starting salaries above $45,000 and maximum salaries surpassing $80,000 per year, according to information from VGCC Public Information Officer Courtney Cissel.

The program will be part of the school’s Continuing Education program, which means it’s designed for adults who are already in the workforce; participants can successfully complete the training for their new career without the demands of a full-time class schedule.

The program consists of four courses, each of which typically lasts four to eight weeks. According to Instructor Richard Jester, students committed to an accelerated pace could potentially complete the full program in the span of a single semester. Upon completion, students will be prepared to take the career’s national certification test.

At its launch, the new program will only be offered at the VGCC Franklin Campus in Louisburg. Jester anticipates offering portions of the program online in the future.

To learn more about Court Reporting and other career-enhancing programs at Vance-Granville Community College, please contact Lisa Rodwell, Director of Occupational Extension, at or 252-738-3276. Register for this program today at



Franklin County Reports Discharge Of 32K Gallons Of Untreated Wastewater

-information courtesy of Franklin County Public Information Officer James F. Hicks, III


Franklin County Public Utilities experienced a discharge of more than 32,000 gallons of untreated wastewater at the Industrial Park Pump Station. The discharge was the result of a complete mechanical system failure. The discharge started Friday, Feb. 9 and concluded on Saturday, Feb. 10.

The discharge of wastewater was estimated to be 32,400 gallons and approximately 20,000 gallons of the 32,400 gallons discharged reached the surface waters of Brandy Creek, according to information from Franklin County Public Information Officer James F. Hicks, III.

Franklin County Public Utilities staff was dispatched to the site and started cleanup after the discharge stopped.

Residents do not need to take any action at this time.

The Division of Water Quality was notified of this event on Feb. 10, 2024, and the matter is under review. For additional information concerning this event, please contact Franklin County Public Utilities at 919.556.6177.

Visit to learn more.


SportsTalk: Louisburg College Softball Is Ranked No. 1 In The Nation

When we think of a No. 1 ranked college athletic program, we may think of UNC, Duke or a team from a nationally known institution in other parts of the country.  Most people probably don’t think about Louisburg College.  Perhaps they should as the Louisburg College Hurricanes softball team is currently the No. 1 ranked team in the country.  Eric Lee, who took over the Hurricanes program in 2017, was Thursday’s guest on SportsTalk.  “It’s a good job,” Lee said of his position at the college.

Last year the Hurricanes led the nation in homeruns, not just at the junior college level but at every level including NCAA Division I.  That’s an impressive achievement for any school but even more so from a small junior college like Louisburg.  The college has a rich athletic history with names like Charlie “Choo Choo” Justice, baseball coach Russell Frazier, basketball coaches Enid Drake and Mike Holloman.  “I’m honored to be at the school, but I don’t think of myself as being up there with those names,” Lee said.

With the recent success the college is spending $100,000 on upgrading facilities at the school.  These upgrades will hopefully lead to more kids wanting to play at Louisburg. “You can recruit here,” Lee said.  One of Lee’s goals is to recruit locally as much as possible from not only Franklin County but the surrounding counties of Wake, Vance, Warren and Granville Counties.  “We’ve had success recruiting locally.  A lot of students want a traditional college experience,” Lee added.


Alyssa Blair Joins Franklin Co. Economic Development Dept.

Alyssa Blair is joining Franklin County’s Economic Development Department as an economic development specialist.

Blair begins her new role in Franklin County on Feb. 5, following more than four years with the City of Oxford, where she had most recently worked as the city’s downtown development director.

“I am thrilled to join a strong, developing team and to not only work alongside dedicated individuals but to also serve the Franklin County community,” Blair said in a press release issued Tuesday by Franklin County Public Information Officer James F. Hicks, III.

In her role as downtown development director, Blair oversaw the NC Main Street Program in Oxford and had also been executive director of the Downtown Oxford Economic Development Corporation. Before that, she was a communications specialist for the city.

“The diverse experience Alyssa brings will be of great value to our business community and the economic development initiatives for Franklin County,” said Franklin County Economic Development Director Barbara Fiedor. “We are excited she will be joining our team and look forward to her arrival.”

Blair has a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a dual master’s degree in public administration and conflict management from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and the University of Konstanz in Germany. She is also pursuing a master’s degree in public administration from the UNC School of Government in Chapel Hill.

Annual Governor’s Volunteer Service Awards Nominations Being Accepted Now


Do you know someone who makes a difference in the community through volunteerism? Nominations for the annual Governor’s Volunteer Service Awards are being accepted now. Each year, the awards are presented to individuals who make significant contributions to the communities they live in through volunteer service.

An individual or group from the public, nonprofit and private sector may be nominated for this recognition award by a community member. For more information or to make a nomination online or download a nomination form, visit  Use this site to locate your county’s contact person to whom you submit nominations. The nominations may be downloaded or completed online.

Some counties have designated specific individuals to receive the nominations from their county. According to information on the state government website, different counties may establish their own deadlines for submission. Vance County residents who wish to send in a nomination should do so by Feb. 16 via email to

Granville County nominations are due by Friday, Jan. 12 and should be submitted to

In Franklin County, nominations should be submitted by Jan. 31 to Charles Mitchell

Warren County residents should send nominations by Feb. 1 to Crystal Smith at

Franklin Health Dept. Gets Grant $ For Women’s Health Services


-information courtesy of Franklin County Public Information Officer James F. Hicks, III

More grant money is coming to Franklin County to bolster women’s health services.

Franklin County Health Department is set to receive $460,000 in grant funding from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services over the next four years to provide women’s health services in a variety of ways. The health department will provide expanded clinical hours, home visits for post-natal assessment and integrate community health workers into department programs to bridge the gap in health care access, enhance cultural competence and provide essential support to our community.

The department will receive $115,000 annually over the course of four years.

“Receiving these funds from the state will allow us to enhance birth outcomes and reduce infant mortality by expanding our services beyond our current programs to pregnant and postpartum women,” Franklin County Health Director Scott LaVigne said.

Funding is expected to begin in February 2024.

For more information about this grant or the Health Department, contact LaVigne at 919.496.8111 or

Franklin County Names Matt Masters As New EMS Director

-information courtesy of Franklin County Public Information Officer James F. Hicks III

Franklin County has named Matt Masters as Emergency Medical Services director. He will begin his new job on Jan. 2, 2024.

Masters has close to three decades of experience with emergency medical services in Wake County.

“I am excited to join Franklin County as the EMS Director and use my more than 29 years of EMS experience to navigate our team into the future,” Masters said in a press statement from Franklin County Public Information Officer James F. Hicks III.

Masters was District Chief, Field Training Officer and Paramedic for the Wake County EMS System – supervising daily EMS operations within the department and field operations throughout the county. Prior to that, he served as a Shift Supervisor and Paramedic for Six Forks EMS from 2002-2007 and as an Assistant Chief and Paramedic for Knightdale EMS. In each of his previous positions, he provided supervision, directed operations and assisted in annual budget preparation.

“Matt brings a wealth of supervisory EMS experience which will be extremely valuable to Franklin County,” said County Manager Kim Denton.

Masters graduated from Lenoir Community College with an associates degree in Emergency Medical Services and an associates degree in Emergency Management. He has also obtained a Paramedic certification from Wake Technical Community College.


TownTalk: Get Into The Holiday Spirit With Louisburg Christmas Tour

Dorothy Cooper and her fellow organizers have done everything possible to plan for the second annual Old Towne Louisburg Candlelight Christmas Tour through the Louisburg Historic District, and it seems like even the weather is going to cooperate by providing winterlike temps for Saturday’s walking tour.

Cooper, historian for the local historic district, said there are 10 locations on this year’s tour, which features a combination of residences and other historic structures.

Tickets are $50 each and can be purchased online at The tour will be held Saturday, Dec. 16 from 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Last year’s event was a great success, with people coming from Orange and Guilford counties, as well as counties closer to Franklin, she said.

“It was really interesting to have people come in and say ‘I never knew this little town was here!’” Cooper said on Wednesday’s TownTalk with WIZS co-host Bill Harris.

Person Place, located at Louisburg College, is where the tour begins. Participants will get a booklet complete with a map of the locations and information about each spot.

The sanctuary of Louisburg Baptist Church will be open, and organist Brian Miller will be providing seasonal music during the tour. Another stop is the Louisburg Fire Department museum – the lone location that folks may want to drive to, Cooper noted.

The majority of the tour stops are within walking distance of Person Place and the parking, which will be on the Louisburg College campus. And there’s one surprise location that ticketholders will learn about when they check in and get their booklets.

Participants also have the chance to book a horse and carriage ride for an additional fee. Bookings can be arranged when purchasing tickets for the tour, she added.

All proceeds support events and workshops of the historic group, including repair and restoration work at the city’s Oakwood Cemetery.

On Jan. 6, the group is sponsoring a Twelfth Night Luminary Drive-Through event at Oakwood Cemetery. Details are available on the website.



S-Line Rail Corridor

The Local Skinny! S Line Rail Corridor Receives Over $1 Billion

Apparently, $1 billion doesn’t go as far as it used to. At least as far as the S-Line passenger rail line goes, that number – a 1 followed by NINE zeroes – will get the train from Raleigh to as far north as Wake Forest. That’s still 28 miles or so from Henderson.

President Joe Biden and U.S. Department of Transportation announced last week that North Carolina would get a whopping $1.09 billion in federal grant money to build the first segment of the S-Line, a high-performance passenger rail line that will ultimately connect North Carolina with Virginia and points in the Northeast.

WIZS News spoke with NC DOT Rail Division Director Jason Orthner late last week  to find out what the project means for the state, and for Henderson and Vance County – basically the halfway point between Raleigh and Richmond.

Orthner said Henderson is “a critical location on the line…(which, when completed)  will be on one of the most advanced transportation networks in the country.”

The whole project covers 162 miles, Orthner said. While there is existing rail along many stretches, it’s a project that will need to be built in phases. If DOT engineer could wave a magic wand to create all the bridges and other structural components needed to bring the passenger rail service through the state, it surely would shorten the process.

Alas, state DOT officials are just trying to get the train out of Raleigh and north to Wake Forest in this first phase of the massive project.

“We will pursue grant funding and extend service as we do it,” Orthner said, adding that DOT is already planning for the next phases to reach Henderson and beyond.

As for Henderson’s part, Orthner said, being ready for what’s coming, he’s pleased. “We are really excited about Henderson,” he said.

City leaders have been learning about mobility hubs and transportation hubs as they prepare and plan for what passenger rail service can add to the city’s growth and tourism opportunities.

The trick is to use existing tracks up and down the East Coast for passenger rail service without impeding the freight service that uses the same railways.

Train travel is growing in popularity – there’s record ridership between Raleigh and Charlotte, Orthner noted – and he said there is a true interest by the public in rail transportation.

“It’s safe, productive, comfortable and it’s just really a great way to travel.”