TownTalk: Tax Prep Help Available

The IRS is offering assistance to eligible tax filers during special Saturday hours at a couple of locations in Granville County beginning this Saturday, Feb. 24.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs are available to offer free tax help for taxpayers who qualify.

Representative of the two programs will be at Richard Thornton Public Library in Oxford from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.  on Feb. 24; if evening hours are better, make plans to go to the library’s South Branch Monday, Feb. 26 between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. to request help.

The next closest location for the free tax help offered by VITA and TCE is at the Taxpayer Assistance Center, 7751 Brier Creek Parkway, Suite 102, Raleigh. At this location, in-person help is available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

No appointment is required for any of the sites offering the help.

The VITA program has operated for more than 50 years. VITA sites offer free tax help to people who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns, including:

  • People who generally make $64,000 or less
  • Persons with disabilities; and
  • Limited English-speaking taxpayers

Before going to a VITA or TCE site, see Publication 3676-B for services provided and check out What to Bring to ensure you have all the required documents and information the volunteers will need to help you.

Visit www.irs.gov to find out more, including what types of information you’ll need to bring, including a government-issued photo ID, Social Security numbers or ITIN for all household members and more.

Additional resources are found below:

 

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N.C. Rep. Sossamon Plans Forums In Vance, Granville To Raise Awareness About Human Trafficking

Human trafficking continues to be a concern in North Carolina, with the state consistently ranking within the top 10 for the highest number of trafficking cases. To address this pressing concern, N.C. Rep. Frank Sossamon is scheduling a couple of forums for his District 32 constituents to raise awareness and foster community engagement.

Sossamon said, “The more we know about human trafficking, the lower the number of trafficking cases.” With this in mind, he emphasizes the importance of community involvement in recognizing and reporting suspected instances of trafficking. “When it comes to human trafficking, vocalizing suspicions is essential to saving lives,” he said.

The forums will be held Tuesday, Mar. 12 at Perry Memorial Library and Thuersday, Mar. 14 at the Granville County Expo Center. Members of the North Carolina Human Trafficking Commission will facilitate the meeting, which will feature local highway patrol, victim advocates and community leaders, who will provide insights into the prevalence of human trafficking, its impact on communities and ways individuals can help prevent and address it. Both sessions will feature a 4 p.m. session tailored for law enforcement professionals and a 6 p.m. session open to the general public.

Upcoming Blood Drives

 

Recent inclement weather across the country has hampered blood drive efforts, and demands for blood and plasma and blood donations continues to be greater than supply. There are several local opportunities to give blood in Vance and Granville counties through February.

The American Red Cross urges donors to give blood or platelets now to continue to strengthen the national blood supply.

Book a time to give by visiting RedCrossBlood.org, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, or call 1-800-RED CROSS. People of all blood types – especially type O blood donors, the most needed blood group by hospitals – and platelet donors are needed daily to ensure blood products are available for hospitals at a moment’s notice.

As February continues, so does the potential for additional weather systems to disrupt blood drives and the ability to provide critical blood products to hospitals. While thousands of donors have answered the call to donate in recent weeks to combat a significant drop in the blood supply, more donors are needed now to ensure the blood supply remains ready for those in need of lifesaving medical procedures.

 

As a way to say thanks for helping, all who come to give in February will get a $20 Amazon.com Gift Card by email. Details are available at RedCrossBlood.org/Heart.

Upcoming blood drives:

Vance

Henderson

2/20/2024: 11 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Vance Granville Community College, 200 Community College Road

2/20/2024: 1:30 p.m. – 6 p.m., Kerr Lake Country Club, 600 Hedrick Road

 

Granville

 

Butner

2/29/2024: 12 p.m. – 4:30 p.m., Butner Town Hall, 415 Central Avenue

 

Creedmoor

2/16/2024: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m., Creedmoor Community Center, 116 Douglas Drive

 

Oxford

2/23/2024: 9 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Oxford United Methodist Church, 105 W McClanahan St

2/28/2024: 12:30 p.m. – 5 p.m., Thornton Branch, 210 Main Street

Oxford Prep School

SportsTalk: Oxford Prep Softball Looking For Back To Back Championships

It’s never easy to repeat as a champion, but Oxford Prep Softball Coach Tommy Anstead feels as though his team has a pretty good chance to win a conference championship in 2024.  “We have 12 or 13 girls returning including all of our starters except one,” Anstead said on Thursday’s SportsTalk.

The team is counting on another strong performance from pitcher Addison Faucette.  Last season, as a freshman, Faucette was 16-3 on the year with an earned run average of 1.79.   Oxford Prep can hit the ball too.  “We had seven players with a batting average of over .300 and of the seven, four were over .400,” Anstead said.

Anstead expects tough competition this season citing Roxboro and Vance Charter as teams that could cause problems for Oxford Prep this season. Anstead also says the team has a tougher schedule this season.  Oxford Prep opens the season on March 1st against county rival J.F. Webb.

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SportsTalk: UNC Baseball Starts Friday

Former Kerr-Vance Academy standout and Granville County native Daniel Wilkerson is excited about Friday!  Wilkerson, assistant to the head coach for UNC Baseball, is ready to get the 15th-ranked Tar Heels on the field for the first game of the season Friday.  “I can’t sleep the night before.  It’s like Christmas morning,” Wilkerson said.

The Tar Heels open the season with a three-game series against Wagner.  The first game is Friday afternoon at 4 p.m.  The Tar Heels are just one of six ACC teams ranked in the top 15 nationally including No. 1 ranked Wake Forest.  “We didn’t play them last year and I can’t wait to go to Winston-Salem this year,” Wilkerson said.  “The rankings are meaningless.  I ignore the rankings.  We still have to go win baseball games,” Wilkerson added.

Wilkerson is also excited about his team’s prospects.  “We’ve got young arms and a good pitching staff.  We are deep in the bull pen,” said Wilkerson.

Daniel Wilkerson joined the UNC baseball program as Assistant to the head Coach and Clubhouse/Equipment manager during the 2022 fall semester.

 

Early Voting Information For Granville Voters

One-stop early voting for the Mar. 5 primary begins in less than two days and the Granville County Board of Elections reminds voters to bring a photo ID to make your trip to the polls smooth and simple.

The early voting begins Thursday, Feb. 15 and continues through Saturday, Mar. 2. The polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on each day and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Mar. 2. Granville County have three options to cast their vote before the Mar. 5 primary:

  • Oxford Public Works building meeting room 127 Penn Ave., Oxford
  • South Branch Library multipurpose room, 1550 South Campus Dr., Creedmoor
  • Tar River Elementary School gymnasium, 2642 Philo White Rd., Franklinton

*Philo White Road is located off Hwy. 96 before the intersection with Hwy. 56 and is within Granville County, despite the Franklinton mailing address

To learn more about the upcoming elections, visit https://www.granvillecounty.org/government/board-of-elections/2024-primary-election/ or call the Board of Elections at 919.693.2515.

Openings On Several Boards, Committees In Granville County

Live in Granville County and want to volunteer in some capacity? There are openings on several citizen advisory boards and committees, and the board of commissioners is accepting applications now.

Most positions will be filled by citizens who reside in the district listed, but final appointment decisions are at the discretion of the board, according to information from Clerk to the Board Debra Weary. Some positions must be filled by residents that reside within the Extra-Territorial  Jurisdiction of a municipality, which is roughly a one-mile radius outside of the municipal limits. These appointees serve as county representatives on those municipal advisory boards.

Vacant seats are available for the following boards and committees:

  • Butner Board of Adjustment (ETJ, should reside in District 7). The Butner Board of Adjustment meets monthly on Thursdays at 7 p.m.
  • Butner Planning Board (ETJ, should reside in District 7). The Butner Planning Board meets monthly on Thursdays at 7 p.m.
  • Granville County Planning Board (District 7). The Planning Board meets monthly on Thursdays at 7 p.m.
  • Granville County Social Services Board (At-Large County Appointment). The Social Services Board meets monthly on Tuesdays at 5 p.m.

Applications, as well as details about the various boards and committees, are available on the Granville County website:https://www.granvillecounty.org/government/other-boards-commissions/

Completed applications should be returned to Debra Weary, Clerk to the Board of Commissioners, by email at debra.weary@granvillecounty.org, hand delivered in person to the county administration office located at 104 Belle St. in Oxford, or by mail to P.O. Box 906, Oxford, NC 27565 to the attention of Debra Weary.

To verify your district, please visit the N.C .State Board of Elections website: https://vt.ncsbe.gov/RegLkup/  and look for the district number beside “County Commissioner” under “your jurisdictions.” If you need additional assistance, contact the Granville County Addressing and GIS Mapping Coordinator at 919.692.1278.

 

Granville County Public Schools Leadership Changes

-information courtesy of GCPS Public Information Officer Courtney Currin

The Granville County Board of Education approved several changes in district leadership positions at its Feb. 5 meeting and, in doing so, reduced the number of central services staff by two positions.

Vickie Hines was named the district’s Chief Financial Officer. She has been serving as an interim in that role since March 2022. Hines has worked with GCPS since 2007, and has held roles as Early Childhood Education coordinator, grants program coordinator and assistant finance officer.

Courtney Currin was named assistant superintendent of Human Resources and Operations and will begin that role July 1, 2024. She currently is the executive director of Human Resources and public information officer; Currin will continue as public information officer for the district, but will be succeeded by Latisa McKnight as the new executive director of Human Resources, also effective July 1, 2024.

Currin has close to 20 years of experience in public education – all in GCPS. She began her career as an English teacher at J.F. Webb High School and has served as an assistant principal and principal at multiple grade spans. She has served in the Human Resources department since July 2021.

McKnight, currently the personnel coordinator within the Human Resources department, will assume the director duties in the new fiscal year. McKnight came to Granville County School as a principal intern at Butner-Stem Elementary and went on to be assistant principal for five years and then principal for six years at Creedmoor Elementary.

The role of personnel coordinator will not be filled, according to the press release. The second position that will not be filled is executive director of Operations, currently held by Bill Graham, who announced his retirement after 36 years in education, including terms as principal of South Granville High School, Granville Central High School and Granville Academy.

“I am very confident that these proven leaders will do an exceptional job in their new roles. As we continue to address the upcoming budgetary challenges, we will maximize efficiency and target our resources to where they matter most, closest to our schools, serving our students,” said Superintendent Stan Winborne.

“By consolidating services at the Central Office level and reducing positions, we will save approximately $118,600,” Currin said in an email to WIZS News.

Granville County Public Schools

Granville Board Of Education Approves 2024-25 Calendar With Aug. 12 Start Date

Parents with children in Granville County Public Schools, take note: The first day of the 2024-25 school year is inching forward a couple of weeks after the Granville County Board of Education approved the traditional-year calendar Monday.

Students will return to school on Monday, Aug. 12, according to information from GCPS Public Information Officer Courtney Currin. The earlier start date means an earlier end date, with the school year coming to a close before the Memorial Day holiday. Students returned to school this year on Aug. 28.

Another bonus comes for high school students, who will complete exams and first semester before the winter break.

Currin said the the calendar committee incorporated feedback from parents and significantly reduced the number of early release days to better meet the needs of the district’s families. This calendar also includes a small fall break in mid-October and puts the district’s calendar in line with local charter schools, she said.

The Granville Early College High School’s calendar is closely aligned with Vance-Granville Community College’s calendar to facilitate cross-enrollment for its students. The first day of class for Early College students is Wednesday, Aug. 7.

View both calendars at https://www.gcs.k12.nc.us/.

 

 

TownTalk: Events In Granville County

Most coffee and tea drinkers have a favorite cup they reach for each day, but there’s a good chance they’re always looking for that “next” perfect vessel for a morning brew or afternoon cuppa. Cedar Creek Gallery in Creedmoor has an exhibit called “CUPful – Celebrating the Daily Ritual” that will run through Feb. 25 to showcase handcrafted pottery from near and far.

Granville Tourism Director Angela Allen shared a laundry list of upcoming events in the area, from Creedmoor and Stem to Oxford.

Visit https://cedarcreekgallery.com/ to learn more.

On Friday, Feb. 9, the Orpheum in Oxford will transform to host a local version of Mardi Gras, a fundraiser for the Granville County unit of the Boys & Girls Club.

“It is a party with a purpose,” Allen said. Things crank up at 6:30 p.m. to welcome partygoers for an evening of fun, complete with heavy hors d’oeuvres, music and a silent auction.

Tickets are $75.

Wear your favorite cocktail attire, a Mardi Gras mask, she said, “and you know there’s gonna be some beads there,” she said.

The next evening, Saturday, Feb. 10, Thorndale Oaks is hosting a murder-mystery dinner beginning at 6:30 p.m. The evening’s theme is “A Country Fried Caper,” Allen said, and the evening will include a cast of characters that could best be described as a group of “ off-the-wall country music stars,” one of whom will not make it through the evening.

Tickets are $65 and includes a full dinner. Allen said the evening’s events unfold throughout the different dinner courses.

Call Thorndale Oaks at 919.603.3701 to reserve your seat at the table.

If whodunits aren’t your style, perhaps a quarter auction to support the local Dogs Deserve Better organization is more to your liking. The “Puppy Love” fundraiser will be held at The Barn at Vino on Feb. 24 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

This event has proved to be quite popular, Allen said, and she recommends getting your tickets soon. Find a link to purchase tickets at https://visitgranvillenc.com/

“It’s a wonderful organization and every year, they show these fur babies some love,” she said. In addition to a couple of food trucks on site to satisfy everyone’s appetites, there will be 65 different raffle baskets available, a 50/50 raffle and additional vendors who will be selling different items through the evening.

Some upcoming events in March include:

  • Saturday, Mar. 2 – Spring Granville Wedding and Event Expo – Creedmoor Community Center. Donations for ACIM food bank will be accepted during this event, so bring a can of food or other shelf-stable food to contribute to this worthy cause.
  • Saturday, Mar. 16 – Granville Ambulance Chase and Food Truck Rodeo – After a hiatus due to COVID-19, Granville Health System is bringing this fun event back to Oxford. Walk or run and then kick back for food and live music. Visit ghsambulancechase.org for all the details.
  • Saturday, Mar. 16 – Head over to Thorndale Oaks to catch comedian Dan Grueter. Visit the Thorndale Oaks Facebook page to get tickets. There will be appetizers available and a cash bar.
  • Saturday and Sunday, Mar. 23, 24 – the third annual Viking Experience, which will take place at The Barn at Vino from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days. Participants can immerse themselves in all things Viking. People have come from all across the country to attend this two-day event, Allen said. Visit https://www.thevikingexperiencenc.com/
  •  for details about ticket prices, schedules and more.

The county’s tourism website, www.visitgranvillenc.com has a complete listing of all the events happening in and around Granville County.