NC Coop Extension

NC Coop. Extension’s Pond Workshop, Thurs., May 24

-Information courtesy Paul McKenzie, Agricultural Extension Agent, NC Cooperative Extension

Ponds can be an important asset for farmers and landowners, providing irrigation for crops and livestock, and recreational opportunities such as fishing. Pond owners can maximize the benefits of these aquatic resources by learning how to manage them properly.

Come on out to the Oxford Tobacco Research Station on May 24, 2018, to learn all about managing your farm or recreational pond. Experts from NC State University will present and demonstrate methods to manage aquatic weeds as well as fish populations.

This event will start at 4 p.m. and conclude at 7 p.m. A sponsored meal is included. The workshop will be held at one of the farm shop buildings, which is located on the north side of US Highway 158, west of Oxford, between Cornwall Rd. and Graham Hobgood Rd. The GPS street address is 2503 US 158, Oxford, NC, or use coordinates 36.323831, -78.658246.

Register at or by calling 252-438-8188 or 919-603-1350. This event is made possible by the generous sponsorship of Southern States of Oxford.

(This is not a paid advertisement)
National Weather Service

Hurricane Season Begins June 1 – Are You Prepared?

-Press Release, Brian K. Short, Director of Emergency Operations, Henderson-Vance County Emergency Operations

The week of May 13 through May 19 has been designated as Hurricane Preparedness Week in North Carolina for 2018.

The Atlantic hurricane season begins on June 1 of each year and ends on November 30. Though the official start of the season has not yet arrived, we already have activity in the Caribbean. The Vance County Office of Emergency Operations wants to make sure that you and your family are prepared for whatever this season brings our way.

Each year, Dr. William Gray and his team at Colorado State University produce a report that contains information on the projected outlook for the upcoming season. This year is forecast to be an average to slightly above average year according to Hurricane Experts.

The Atlantic Basin Seasonal Hurricane Forecast for 2018 is as follows:

Number of Named Storms: 14

Number of Hurricanes: 7

Number of Major Hurricanes (Category 3 or higher): 3

“The time to prepare is now, well out in front of peak hurricane season.” Keep in mind that communities and individuals are expected to be self-sufficient for a minimum of 72 hours (3 days) following the impact of a hurricane. “If the impact is severe enough, it may potentially take outside help three (3) days to get here,” Short said. “By taking the time to gather up a few basic necessities now, you will enable your family to weather the storm and the aftermath until help can arrive.”

For more information about how you and your family can prepare for severe weather visit the National Weather Service website at or visit our state site for emergency information including severe weather preparedness:

2018 Tropical Storm names for the Atlantic Region include Alberto, Beryl, Chris, Debby, Ernesto, Florence, Gordon, Helene, Issac, Joyce, Kirk, Leslie, Michael, Nadine, Oscar, Patty, Rafael, Sara, Tony, Valerie and William.

Recommended Family Preparedness Items

The best time to assemble a three-day emergency supply kit is well before you will ever need it. Most people already have these items around the house and it is a matter of assembling them now before an evacuation or State of Emergency order is issued.

Start with an easy to carry, watertight container – a large plastic trash can will do, or line a sturdy cardboard box with a couple of trash bags. Next, gather up the following items and place them in your kit:

Essentials  Water – 1 gallon per person per day (a week’s supply of water is preferable)  Water purification kit or bleach  First aid kit and first aid book  Pre-cooked, non-perishable foods, such as canned meats, granola bars, instant soup & cereals, etc.  Baby supplies: formula, bottle, pacifier, soap, baby powder, clothing, blankets, baby wipes, disposable diapers, canned food and juices  Non-electric can opener  Anti-bacterial hand wipes or gel  Blanket or sleeping bag per person  Portable radio or portable TV and extra batteries  Flashlight and extra batteries  Essential medications  Extra pair of eyeglasses  Extra house and car keys  Fire extinguisher – ABC-type  Food, water, leash and carrier for pets  Cash and change  Seasonal change of clothing, including sturdy shoes  Large plastic trash bags for waste, tarps and rain ponchos  Large trash cans  Bar soap and liquid detergent  Shampoo, toothpaste and toothbrushes  Feminine hygiene supplies  Toilet paper  Household bleach  Rubber gloves

Stocking up now on emergency supplies can add to your family’s safety and comfort during and after a disaster. Store enough supplies for at least three days, preferably seven days, in one place.

Franklin County Sheriff

Vehicle Stop in Epsom Leads to Drug Trafficking Arrest

-Press Release, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office

On May 11, 2018, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Drug Unit and Community Action Team assisted by the North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement Branch of the SBI, arrested Mario Jamal Steed of 129 N. Elizabeth Street Henderson, NC and Victor Joseph Gill of 280 George Floyd Road Henderson, NC on various drug trafficking charges. These charges stemmed from a vehicle stop in the Epsom Community in Franklin County.

Mario Jamal Steed

This investigation began as a result of Franklin County detectives receiving information that Mario Steed was involved in the illegal distribution of controlled substances in the Epsom Community. Franklin County detectives and agents with North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement began an investigation which led to a vehicle stop on Fletcher Fuller Road in Franklin County. The stop of the vehicle led to the seizure of 250 bundles of Heroin, Marijuana, a .40 caliber handgun, US Currency and a 2011 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck. 

Mario Jamal Steed was charged with: Trafficking of Heroin by Possession (2 counts), Conspiracy to Traffic Heroin, Possess with Intent to Sell and Deliver Heroin (2 counts), Sell Heroin (2 counts), Deliver Heroin (2 counts) and Maintain a Vehicle for the Purpose of Selling/Storing a Controlled Substance (2 counts).

Victor Joseph Gill

Victor Joseph Gill was charged with Trafficking Heroin (2 Counts) and Conspiracy to Traffic Heroin.

Sheriff Kent Winstead stated, “Our communities are benefiting from the consistent efforts of our high impact enforcement of drug violations throughout the county. Our partnerships with outside agencies and our focus on investigations that make a difference will continue.”

Mario Jamal Steed is currently in the Franklin County Detention Center under a $750,000 secured bond.

Victor Joseph Gill is currently in the Franklin County Detention Center under a $300,000 secured bond.

For more information pertaining to this investigation please contact Sgt. Ken Pike at (919) 496-2186.

-Terry M. Wright, Chief of Staff

VGCC Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society Inducts 65 Students

-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Vance-Granville Community College recognized 65 students who were inducted into Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for students of two-year colleges, on April 17 in the Civic Center on the college’s Main Campus.

VGCC students honored with induction into Phi Theta Kappa must have a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.5 (3.75 for part-time students) in associate degree curriculum programs and have completed at least 12 credit hours toward their degrees.

PTK advisor Maureen Walters (left) presents VGCC student Pamela Campbell (right) with the chapter’s first-ever Excellence in Leadership Award.

Also honored at the ceremony were Dr. Stelfanie Williams, the college president, and Dr. Levy Brown, VGCC’s vice president of academic affairs, who were awarded honorary memberships for their roles in the success of the chapter, and Pamela Campbell, a student who is graduating with her degree in Human Services Technology in Gerontology in May, who received the chapter’s first-ever Excellence in Leadership Award.

As advisors for VGCC’s PTK chapter, instructors Maureen Walters, Isaac Talley and Karen Feezor conducted the ceremony. Walters, the head advisor, told the new inductees and their families and friends in attendance that since VGCC’s chapter of PTK, “Alpha Sigma Chi,” was chartered in 1991, more than 2,040 students have been selected for induction. She said that while scholarship is the first aim of PTK, the society also encourages fellowship, leadership development and service to others, and she noted that the letters Phi Theta Kappa stand for the Greek words for “Wisdom,” “Aspiration” and “Purity.”

Dr. Levy Brown, vice president of academic affairs at VGCC, addresses the crowd at the Phi Theta Kappa ceremony

Dr. Brown served as the guest speaker for the event. “When I think about everything that college students need to navigate in order to experience academic success, I am reminded that it takes a village to help students be successful,” Dr. Brown said. “In many ways, our families and college campus are the village supporting you as you have experienced success both academically and personally.”

Noting that the inductees were selected because of the significant amount of time they have spent attending class, studying, working and managing various circumstances in life, he encouraged the honorees to “keep on moving,” citing the lyrics from a song by Soul to Soul. “Keep progressing and moving forward,” he said. “Do not lose momentum. Keep on moving, and do not forget about that village. Help pull others up academically and in other ways.”

Campbell, who introduced Dr. Brown on the program, was given the Excellence in Leadership Award for being “the driving force behind many of our successful projects in the last year,” said Walters. “She is an individual who I have had the privilege to watch grow during her time in Phi Theta Kappa into a successful leader. Even though she says she doesn’t like speaking in front of people, she was quick to ask if there was some way she might speak at the induction ceremony today since she was working on that skill. In addition to helping in many different groups on campus, she also finds her passion in helping our aging population.”

Certificates were awarded by VGCC President Dr. Stelfanie Williams with assistance from Walters and Feezor.

This year’s inductees into the Alpha Sigma Chi chapter of Phi Theta Kappa are:

From Vance County:

Sonya Barnes, Jessica Bolton, Zenee Davis, Nealee Fisher, Tamara Glover, Cassidy Grissom, Kaitlyn Harris, Fatima Hawter, Wesley Hight, Brandon Hughes, Tim Jiang, Wendy Jordan, Evan O’Geary, Amal Saleh, Timmara Smith, Dustin Starnes, Raini Williams, and Kianna Wills of Henderson; and

Lastacey Burwell and Tara Burwell, both of Kittrell.


From Granville County:

Courtney Crute and Andrew Tinsley, both of Bullock;

Matthew Grooms of Butner;

Tyneshia Brackett, Delaney Edwards, and Iris Medrano, all of Creedmoor;

Monica Botros, Savannah Brogden, Brittney Darnell, Aivy Derry, Ker’Telian Fields, Penny Glover, Alyssa Gupton, Isom Hodges, Frances Wheeler, and Hanna Williams, all of Oxford.


From Franklin County:

Alexis Barton, Robert  Davis, Caitlin Harris, Michelle Medina, Grace Ohlandt, Amanda Ramos and Caitlyn Rudd, all of Franklinton;

Sara Cheek, Trina Leapley, Rachel Munson and Shalinda White, all of Louisburg; and

Michelle Harris-Evans, Allison Thurkill and Megan Whitman, all of Youngsville.


From Warren County:

Sherese Hicks of Macon;

Shimeka Kearney of Norlina;

Edgar Arrieta-Reyes, Isaac Barnett, Heidy Labra, Kimberly Labra-Franco and Giovanni Reyes, all of Warrenton; and

Thomas King of Wise.



From Wake County

Robert Hill of Raleigh; and

Jessica Baker, Kynleigh Holley, and Lorie Shepherd, all of Wake Forest.


From other area counties:

Wendy Boncek of Hollister in Halifax County,

Lisa Glover of Bracey, Va., in Mecklenburg County, and

Kaitlyn Wilson of Roxboro in Person County.


Vance County PTK inductees (VGCC Photo)











Granville County PTK inductees (VGCC Photo)












Franklin County PTK inductees (VGCC Photo)












Warren County PTK inductees (VGCC Photo)














Wake County PTK inductee, Kynleigh Holley (VGCC Photo)














Mecklenburg County, Virginia PTK inductee, Lisa Glover (VGCC Photo)

Franklin County Schools

Franklin Co. Schools Will Close May 16 for Teachers’ Rally

-Information from an email sent to parents of Franklin County School students

Good Afternoon Parents and Guardians,

We closely monitored the number of anticipated teacher and support staff absences in light of the rally that will take place on Wednesday.

This rally in Raleigh was established in support of improving teacher working conditions and classroom opportunities for students.

We reached a point at which scheduled absences of teachers and support staff will not allow us to safely and effectively operate that day. Therefore, all schools are closed for students.

May 16th will be an optional teacher workday, the central office will be open and students will not make up the day. All school activities on May 16th are canceled with exception of Advanced Placement (AP) testing at our high schools. Impacted students will receive additional guidance regarding testing directly from their respective schools.

We apologize for any inconvenience this change may cause and appreciate your understanding.

Thank you and have a great rest of your day.

VGCC Honors Student-Athletes at Banquet

-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Vance-Granville Community College celebrated Vanguard student-athletes at the college’s annual Athletics Banquet, held on March 23 in the Civic Center on the Main Campus.

VGCC Coordinator of Student Activities & Athletics Jermiel Hargrove praised the students for their hard work, both on the court and in the classroom. He recognized, in particular, the women’s volleyball team captain, Hannah Arneth of Oxford, and the men’s basketball team co-captains, Mitch Beck of Raleigh and Kenneth “KJ” Finley, Jr., of Louisburg. Arneth announced she would be continuing her volleyball career in the next academic year at Piedmont International University in Winston-Salem.

From left, VGCC women’s volleyball Head Coach Jessica Smith, student-athletes Hannah Arneth (Defensive Award), Gabrielle Gilley and Amber Newton, and Assistant Coach Kelley Perdue. (VGCC photo)

VGCC Volleyball Head Coach Jessica Smith and Assistant Coach Kelley Perdue presented awards to their players. Hannah Arneth received the Defensive Award. Stormi Abernathy of Leasburg received the Offensive Award. She was also named to the Second Team All-Region and placed second in the Region X conference for total points, Coach Smith noted. Brittany Trivette of Oxford received the “Hustle Award.”

Other volleyball team members recognized included Gabrielle Gilley of Creedmoor, Amber Newton of Louisburg, Autumn Wortham of Henderson, Jessica Wortham of Henderson and team manager Jordan Edwards of Louisburg.

From left, VGCC men’s basketball Head Coach DeMarcus Oliver, student-athletes Calvin Malik Manley, Cora Mbaye, Kalin Jackson (Most Improved), Assistant Coach Eladio Espinosa, student-athlete KJ Finley (Team Leadership Award), Assistant Coach Anthony McCrimmon and student-athlete Mitch Beck (Vanguard Award). (VGCC photo)

Vanguards Men’s Basketball Head Coach DeMarcus Oliver and Assistant Coaches Anthony McCrimmon and Eladio Espinosa presented awards to their student-athletes. The Vanguard Award went to Mitch Beck for excellence in representing the team and VGCC. The Team Leadership Award was presented to KJ Finley. Kalin Jackson of Henderson received the Most Improved Award.

Other basketball players recognized included Obray Rufus of Charlotte, LaQuad Holden of Henderson, Calvin Malik Manley of Louisburg, Bernard Gregory of Petersburg, Va., Cora Mbaye of Raleigh, Kaeson Mayfield of Durham and Brandon Eatman of Wilson.

Current or prospective students interested in participating in VGCC athletics during the 2018-19 year should contact Jermiel Hargrove at or (252) 738-3246.



Meredith College VP To Speak At VGCC Curriculum Graduation

-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Dr. Jean Jackson, vice president for college programs at Meredith College, will be the principal commencement speaker for Vance-Granville Community College’s graduation exercises on Friday, May 11.

Sovanny “Sophie” Taylor, president of the VGCC Student Government Association, will be the student speaker.

Nearly 500 students are scheduled to be honored during ceremonies beginning at 6 p.m. at the gazebo by the lake on the college’s Main Campus in Vance County. For those unable to attend the event in person, VGCC will broadcast a live video feed from the ceremony online at

Dr. Jean Jackson will serve as the guest speaker at Vance-Granville Community College’s curriculum graduation ceremony on Friday, May 11, 2018.

Dr. Jackson, a native of Vance County, oversees strategic planning and budgeting for offices at Meredith that include Academic and Career Planning, Athletics, Campus Police, the Chaplain, the Dean of Students, and Student Leadership and Service. She became a member of the English faculty at Meredith in 1983 and continues to teach courses on English Poetry of the Romantic Period.

Dr. Jackson, who is the daughter of Ira and Rose Mabry Jackson from Middleburg, graduated from Vance County High School. She went on to earn her Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude, at Meredith College, double-majoring in English and Religion. She also earned both a Master of Arts and a Ph.D. in English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In addition, she completed the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University.

Among numerous honors, Dr. Jackson has received the Pauline Davis Perry FAME Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Laura Harrill Presidential Award and the Meredith Alumna Award. She has been inducted into the Greater Triangle YWCA Academy of Women as its Inductee for Education and into the inaugural class of the North Carolina 4-H Hall of Fame. She is the recipient of three international travel grants for research in Great Britain and the recipient of travel grants for presentations or panels in Canada, Hawaii, and England.

A member of Phi Kappa Phi, Kappa Nu Sigma, Silver Shield and Theta Alpha Kappa and a Patroness for the Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity, she also frequently serves as a reviewer for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Sovanny “Sophie” Taylor, president of the VGCC Student Government Association, will be the student speaker for the ceremony.

Taylor, the student speaker, is graduating from VGCC with an Associate in Arts degree and an Associate in Science degree. Later in May, she will graduate from Franklin County Early College High School, completing both of her degrees and her high school diploma one year earlier than the traditional early college high school graduate. She has received a scholarship to continue her education in the fall in Honors Carolina at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she plans to study molecular genetics.

She was elected president of the SGA for the 2017-2018 year, and, in that capacity, also served as the student member of the VGCC Board of Trustees. She is only the second early college high school student to serve in those leadership roles in VGCC history. At VGCC, she has been named to the President’s List. Taylor is the daughter of Mrs. Cleveland Evans of Louisburg and Mr. Ronald Taylor of Cary.

Students serving as graduation marshals will be Savannah L. Brogden of Oxford; Brenda G. Ellis of Durham; Kacie L. Gann of Durham; Alyssa M. Gupton of Oxford; Jayla N. Harris of Henderson; Fatima N. Hawter of Henderson; Samantha C. Hines of Henderson; Kynleigh E. Holley of Wake Forest; Evan A. O’Geary of Henderson; Abigail M. Smith of Oxford; Alexis M. Watson of Henderson; and April Zuniga-Trejo of Henderson.

U.S. Department of Justice

CEO Spruill Sentenced to Eight Years in Prison for Healthcare Fraud

-News Release, U.S. Department of Justice

United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced that yesterday afternoon in federal court, SHEPHARD LEE SPRUILL, 47, of Greenville, North Carolina, was sentenced to 96 months in prison on the charge of Health Care Fraud Conspiracy, and 60 months in prison for Perjury, to be served concurrently. Spruill was also ordered to make restitution in the total amount of $5,998,874.86, payable to the North Carolina Medicaid Program, the South Carolina Medicaid Program, and another victim of the scheme. Spruill was further ordered to serve a three-year term of supervised release, and to forfeit an additional $939,989.50 in criminal proceeds. Under the terms of his plea agreement, Spruill is also banned from participation in Federal healthcare benefit programs for life.

Spruill’s case arose out of the investigation of Pitt County behavioral health provider Terry Lamont Speller, his biller, Donnie Lee Phillips, II; and another Medicaid provider named 2 Reginald Saunders. Each of these defendants were previously sentenced by Senior U.S. District Judge James C. Fox to 20 years, 9 years, and 3 years, respectively.

According to the Criminal Information and evidence discussed in open court, Spruill, then the leader of Carolina Support Services, an East Carolina behavioral health practice, supplied hundreds of patient names and identifiers to Speller, who in turn had Phillips bill the North Carolina Medicaid Program for millions of dollars in fictitious mental health services. Spruill, Speller, and Phillips split the fraud proceeds, with Spruill receiving his cut of the funds in the form of fictitious, no-document loan repayments. Spruill appeared before a federal grand jury and lied about his involvement with Speller, falsely claiming that he had no business relationship with Speller.

The continuing investigation into Spruill revealed that Spruill also engaged in a fraud upon the South Carolina Medicaid program, billing and being paid millions in fictitious services through another provider he owned.

United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. stated, “As we continue to combat drug dealers and violent criminals in our district, do not for a moment believe that we have given a pass to those whose steal from taxpayers through fraud. This case shows our continuing resolve to bring all to justice, even CEOs who commit their crimes with lies instead of guns. This case also 3 sends a message about the integrity of our grand jury system. Those who choose to lie in the grand jury will be held fully accountable.”

“Health care fraud is not a road to easy riches, as this sentence demonstrates,” said Derrick L. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge of the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Those who steal from taxpayers and vital government health care programs will be held accountable for their actions.”

In a related case, ATOYA BELLAMY, 45, of Morrisville, North Carolina, was sentenced to one year in prison for her role in Spruill’s fraud at Carolina Support Services. BELLAMY previously pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Health Care Fraud on November 29, 2017. BELLAMY was also ordered to make restitution to the Government.

The investigation of this case was conducted by agents of the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation assigned to the Medicaid Investigations Division of the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office; The Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation; and the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General, with the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The investigation and prosecution of this matter is being handled in a partnership between the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern 4 District of North Carolina and the Medicaid Investigations Division of the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney William M. Gilmore and Special Assistant United States Attorney Daniel Spillman of the Medicaid Investigations Division of the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office, each represented the United States.

If you suspect Medicaid or Medicare fraud please visit the HHS OIG website at and click on the Report Fraud button. To report Medicaid fraud in North Carolina, call the North Carolina Medicaid Investigations Division at 919-881-2320. # # #

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

WIZS Beach Music Blast Debut

Starting (tomorrow) May 1, 2018, the WIZS Beach Music Blast program will air M-F from 12 noon until 1 p.m.

May 1, 2018 is also the 63rd birthday of WIZS Henderson, which first came on the air May 1, 1955 as WHVH.

The WIZS Beach Music Blast debuted today from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. on WIZS 1450 AM in the Vance, Granville, Warren and Franklin County area.  For upcoming shows, you can also listen anywhere on  Click on Listen Live.

Click here for a video about our new show.

Trey Snide (Host) and Mr. Pat Christie — first ever interview on the Beach Music Blast

Appearing as guests today were: Terri Gore, the original Carolina Girl, Craig Woolard of The Embers and Julian Fowler of KHP Music along with the show’s very first guest and guest host of the day Pat Christie.

The new WIZS program schedule for Monday through Friday will be:

11 a.m. – TownTalk

11:30 a.m. – Tradio

12 noon – Midday Local News

12:04 p.m. – WIZS Beach Music Blast

1 p.m. – Sports Mayhem

Vance Co. Regional Farmers Market

Vance Co. Regional Farmers Market Reg. Season Begins Sat. April 28

 — submitted by Tracy Madigan, Market Manager

The Vance Co. Regional Farmers Market’s regular market season begins Saturday, April 28, 2018!

Come out, shop and visit the market at 210 Southpark Drive in Henderson. Each week the farmers will be adding more produce.

The Saturday Market features plants for the garden including vegetables, herbs and flowers.

Local crafts for your enjoyment.

In season, locally grown spring produce; hot house tomatoes, beets, sweet potatoes, kale and lettuce plus strawberries (weather permitting)!

Our beef and pork vendors will have meat for sale. Worth the trip!

Plus estate wine, canned goods and baked goods.

Beginning April 28, the Farmers Market will be open Saturdays only from 7:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. from April 28 – May 12.

Beginning May 16, the Farmers Market will be open Wednesdays and Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Special Event: Our Master Gardeners will be in attendance this week providing gardening advice.

Social Media: For more information follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.


Market Manager: Tracy Madigan @ 252-598-0814

Extension Agent: Paul McKenzie @ 252-438-8188

**VCRFM accepts and welcomes SNAP/EBT**

(This is not a paid advertisement)