Sergent, Yount Discuss Oxford’s Main Street Program, Downtown Growth

Oxford Mayor Jackie Sergent and Mary Yount, director of the Downtown Oxford Economic Development Corporation (DOEDC), were on Wednesday’s edition of WIZS’ Town Talk program to discuss recent growth and development in both the downtown area and in the city.

The City of Oxford, in partnership with the DOEDC, has been a North Carolina Main Street community since 1998; however, 2018 is the first year Oxford received National Main Street accreditation.

Accredited Main Street America programs display a commitment to preservation-based economic development and community revitalization using a four-point approach including, according to Yount, “organization, promotion, design and economic vitality.”

Additional criteria for accreditation include the creation and successful execution of a plan of action and the requirement of a full-time person committed to the implementation.

“We have to have partners and volunteers to make this happen,” said Yount. “DOEDC is a non-profit that works very closely with the City in creating these partnerships with downtown businesses, Granville’s health systems, the County, libraries, museums, etc.”

Volunteer hours are also vital to the sustainability of the downtown area. “This past year, the Downtown Oxford Main Street program reported, as part of our statistics, that we had over 4,200 hours served by volunteers.”

By being a part of the Main Street program, the City of Oxford is eligible to receive additional funding by way of grants and loans and gains access to expert advice at the national, state and local level.

“For the cost of paying their mileage to come to Oxford to work with us [the Main Street program team] came on three separate occasions to facilitate a strategic planning session,” said Sergent. “Often times, it takes someone who really knows what they’re doing to help guide all the volunteers that have come to the table through the process. The NC Main Street program was critical in our coming together with a very solid plan.”

In addition to the funding available through the Main Street program and local government, Sergent credits the municipal service tax with helping the downtown area thrive.

“We have a municipal service tax district in downtown, agreed upon by the downtown vendors. That is an additional property tax that helps provide seed money to the DOEDC. That is part of what helps pay for the activities that go on in downtown,” said Sergent.

When questioned if the downtown area and Oxford as a whole are ready for expected population growth in the future, Sergent replied, “I think we’re tremendously ready!”

Sergent emphasized that the City’s recent acquisition of approximately $40 million in a combination of grants and low-interest loans puts Oxford well on its way to successfully implementing the $94 million infrastructure master plan. The $40 million is currently earmarked for water and wastewater infrastructure.

Sergent also said Oxford’s commitment to preparing for growth is evident in the recent decision by the City Commissioners to annex approximately 88 acres of land with an additional 44 acres to be discussed at their next monthly meeting in December.

“I think Oxford is really poised to handle the growth and development coming our way.”

To hear the interview in its entirety, please click here.

Leslie to Speak at Chamber’s Annual Banquet, Citizen of the Year Nominees Needed

— Information courtesy Granville County Chamber of Commerce | Ginnie Currin, Executive Director ~ 919-693-6125 ~ [email protected]

The Chamber’s Board of Directors is pleased to announce that the 2019 speaker and entertainer for the annual banquet is Bill Leslie, an award-winning journalist and internationally acclaimed musician and composer. He retired from the anchor desk in 2018 after 34 years at WRAL-TV.

Leslie’s award-winning documentaries, his talents as “one of the greats in modern Celtic music,” and a popular storyteller and author are expected to draw a very large attendance for the Chamber’s 77th Annual Banquet in January.

The Granville County Chamber of Commerce’s Recognition Committee announces that the committee is accepting nominations for the 2019 John Penn Citizen of the Year Award.  This prestigious award, named for Granville County’s signer of the Declaration of Independence, is presented at the Chamber’s Annual Membership Banquet. The 2019 event will be held Monday, January 28, 2019, in the Civic Center at Vance-Granville Community College.

Nomination forms may be obtained at a Chamber office or may be downloaded from the Chamber’s website,

This award was designed to recognize a person(s) for outstanding service to the community. Past recipients include Dr. Joseph Colson, Mrs. Robinette Husketh, Hubert Gooch, Rev. G. C. Hawley, Mrs. Gladys Satterwhite, Hugh Currin, Sr., Rev. Harrison Simons, Tom Speed, John Mackie, Dr. Roy Noblin, Dr. David Noel, John K. Nelms, J. J. Medford, Mrs. Mildred A. Jenkins, Tom Johnson, Mrs. Virginia Tuck, L. Clement Yancey, Mrs. Nancy W. Darden, Leonard M. Dunn, Mrs. Carlene Fletcher, Hubert L. Cox, Leonard Peace, Sr., Marshall Tanner, Harold Sherman, Boyce Harvey Paul Kiesow, Ms. Johnsie Cunningham, Stan Fox, Doan and Bette Laursen, Dr. John B. Hardy, Jr., L. C. Adcock, Jim Crawford, Xavier Wortham, Dr. Richard and Julia Ann Taylor, Gary Bowman, James “Lump” and Mary Ann Lumpkins and Laura Gable.

Nominations are due Wednesday, January 2, 2019.

Formal invitations will be mailed to Chamber members.  Persons interested in attending may contact one of the Chamber’s offices – [email protected], 919.693.6125; [email protected], 919.528.4994.

Joyce Dewitt ‘Thrilled’ to Return to Role in ‘A Waffle House Christmas’

Henderson’s own downtown development director Kaine Riggan and special call-in guest and actress Joyce Dewitt were on air for Thursday’s edition of WIZS’ Town Talk program.

Riggan, writer, producer and director of the musical comedy “A Waffle House Christmas,” announced that the play will be performed at the McGregor Hall Performing Arts Center in downtown Henderson for one night only – Saturday, December 1, 2018 – at 8 p.m.

According to Riggan, approximately 600 of the 1,000 available tickets have already been purchased, and he hopes to see it become a sold-out performance. “I hope it happens for McGregor Hall and for downtown Henderson. That’s our crown jewel!”

The musical, which was first commissioned by the Metro Nashville Arts Commission in 2006, will feature five of the principal actors for the December performance, including Dewitt as Waffle House waitress Rita and country singer T. Graham Brown. Auditions for local actors to round out the cast were held last week.

Dewitt, most well-known for her role as Janet on the sitcom “Three’s Company,” said she was excited to return to this role. “In this case, I had done the play before with Kaine and I know that he is a very wonderful director and I know that he gathers terrific actors together. So the idea of coming back and doing this with a number of wonderful people that I did it with in Nashville was thrilling.”

The setting for the musical is a Waffle House in both the middle of nowhere and in the middle of a blizzard on Christmas Eve. The regular staff and customers are stranded there along with outside visitors. What unfolds are a few secrets, surprises and heartfelt human connections.

“The wonderful thing about these characters that Kaine has written is that they are so human, but what’s going on in their personal story is so meaningful,” said Dewitt. “The audience can relate to each of them.”

“It’s my favorite kind of material – funny, funny, funny – but also, at times, catching and poignant.”

According to Dewitt, when she is first approached about a role she asks herself if she believes in the material and if she can deliver the material in a way that will relate to the audience. She is pleased to have found both in this role.

“When the audience is walking out of the theater, what have we given them? What is in their heart? I genuinely believe this play is a perfect Christmas gift to give the audience.”

To give the gift of this play to yourself and/or a loved one, purchase tickets 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)

 To hear the interview in its entirety, please click here.

Heavy Rain Expected Early This Week, No Threat of Winter Weather

-Information courtesy Brian K. Short, Director of Emergency Operations, Henderson-Vance County Emergency Operations and the National Weather Service 

The National Weather Service is forecasting a very wet start to the week with upwards of 3 – 4 inches of rain expected in most locations through Tuesday. Urban and small stream flooding is possible. There is a chance for an isolated thunderstorm particularly in the east. Main stem rivers will need to be monitored for potential river flooding later this week.

A second system on Thursday appears to be all liquid at this point despite predicted temperatures very close to freezing in the Triad and VA border counties. Sunny and cool for the weekend. The potential tropical system in the Atlantic poses no threat to central NC at this time.

At this time there is NO threat for impactful winter weather in central NC this week. Triad and VA border counties will have temperatures near freezing for a couple of hours Thursday morning around sunrise. This may possibly be enough to get a pellet or two of sleet on the windshield mixed in with the rain but otherwise should remain all liquid. Even if temperatures do briefly touch 32 degrees, any ice accrual is unlikely because of warm antecedent conditions. Warm ground temperatures and air temperatures prior to the onset of the precipitation would prevent any freezing rain accrual. Temperatures will quickly rise through the 30s after sunrise, further mitigating any chance of winter weather.

Reminder: Granville Co. Board of Commissioners to Tour District 5

-Information courtesy Debra A. Weary, Clerk to the Board, County of Granville


A quorum of the Granville County Board of Commissioners may be present on November 15, 2018, for a bus tour of the Granville County Commissioner District 5.  The bus tour will begin at 9 a.m. or shortly after and leave from the Granville County Administration parking lot located at 141 Williamsboro Street, Oxford, NC.

For more information, please contact the County Manager’s Office at 919-693-5240.

Registration Underway for Spring Semester at VGCC

 -Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Registration for classes has begun for the Spring 2019 semester at Vance-Granville Community College, which starts Monday, Jan. 7, 2019.

In addition to the traditional 16-week semester session, VGCC is offering a 12-week term, two 8-week terms and two 4-week terms for the Spring.

“We know that our students have busy lives, going to college, taking care of a family and working, in most cases,” said Jeff Allen, VGCC’s dean of enrollment and outreach. “Vance-Granville wants to meet students where they are and help them get to where they need to be. We recognize that flexibility in scheduling is more important than ever.”

The full 16-week semester, starting on Jan. 7, concludes on May 6. Hundreds of courses are being offered on each of the college’s four campuses in Vance, Granville, Franklin and Warren counties, and online courses are available, including eight curriculum programs offered totally online.

The four-week “Spring Forward” mini-term begins Dec. 17 with a registration deadline of Dec. 13. Classes for this session will end on Jan. 15. The session is designed for students who are home for the holidays and want to pick up extra classes to help them get ahead in their studies, Allen said. Most of the courses have credits that are transferable to other colleges and universities, but students are always encouraged to check with their advisers to guarantee transferability to other institutions. Course offerings include computers, criminal justice, American history, music appreciation, American government, psychology and sociology, among others.

A second four-week mini-term, labeled “March Forward,” is scheduled for March 5 through April 1, with a registration deadline of March 1. The course list for this mini-term includes management, criminal justice, success and study skills and college transfer success.

The first of two 8-week sessions will begin on Jan. 7 and run through March 5. The second 8-week session starts March 5 and concludes May 6, with a registration deadline of Feb. 28. These two mini-terms offer dozens of courses.

A 12-week mini-term also offering dozens of classes begins Feb. 5 and runs through May 6, the registration deadline coming Jan. 31.

All of the courses offer the full credits a student normally receives. The schedules for the mini-terms are compressed to allow students to complete the coursework in less time.

In addition to the curriculum courses are continuing education opportunities for those wanting job training or new skills or personal enrichment and basic skills for those seeking a high school equivalency or an adult high school diploma.

Registration for the 16-week Spring classes opened Thursday, Nov. 1, and closes on Thursday, Jan. 3. College officials advise students to apply for admission and financial aid, request transcripts from high school or other colleges and schedule a placement test. Students will then meet with an academic coach to register for classes, followed by an orientation session. Students are advised to register for classes as early as possible to secure the classes they need to take.

The upcoming semester’s course schedules and a link to ARCHES, the latest edition of the college’s guide to enrollment, are now available online at

The tuition payment deadline for the 16-week semester is Thursday, Jan. 3, by 5 p.m., if paying in person, or by midnight, if paying online through the college’s online WebAdvisor.

For more information, contact VGCC at [email protected] or (252) 738-3234, or visit any campus.


Prospective students interested in seeking financial assistance are encouraged to immediately complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at and to visit the VGCC Financial Aid Office.

Eligible students may receive Pell Grants ranging from $343 to $3,047 per semester. Students may also qualify for other college or state funds. The Financial Aid Office recommends completing the FAFSA and all financial aid documents by Wednesday, Dec. 12. In order for a student to charge tuition, fees, and books to financial aid awards, the student’s entire financial aid file must be completed prior to the tuition payment deadline of Thursday, Jan. 3. Students with preschool-age children may receive financial assistance to help pay for child care, and applications for this help are also available at the Financial Aid Office.

Information about other resources is available online at

For more details regarding financial assistance, visit the Financial Aid Office in Room 8215 on Main Campus or call (252) 738-3280.


Military veterans who wish to use their Veterans’ Education benefits may contact the Financial Aid Office at (252) 738-3522. Veterans should check with Financial Aid to see if the programs in which they are interested are covered.

(This is not a paid advertisement)

Granville Co. Public Schools to Host School Safety Summit

-Information courtesy Dr. Stan Winborne, Public Information Officer, Granville County Public Schools

You are invited to a “School Safety Summit” to be held in the Northern Granville Middle School auditorium – 3144 Webb School Rd., Oxford – on Thursday, November 15 at 6 p.m.

Join Granville County Public Schools staff, law enforcement and elected officials as we discuss what is being done to keep our schools safe.

The event is open to the public. Submit your comments in advance by clicking here.


Granville Co. Fall ‘Clean Out’ scheduled for Nov. 17

-Press Release, County of Granville

The county-wide fall recycling event will be held on Saturday, Nov. 17 from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Granville County’s Expo and Convention Center. This annual “clean out” offers an opportunity for residents to rid themselves of items that can be collected for recycling or properly disposed of in one convenient location. On site will be the N.C. Department of Agriculture, Veolia, TT&E Metals, the Granville County Sheriff’s Office and other organizations and agencies.

Items accepted – during these hours only – include paint, household cleaners, old gasoline, drain cleaners, household batteries, pesticides, weed killers, computers, electronic devices, telephones, outdated prescriptions, inhalers, diabetic supplies, ammunition, flares, broken appliances, junk lawnmowers and many other items that are no longer used or needed.*

This annual event has been taking place for the past six years and occurs every November as a way to dispose of materials that cannot go into the landfill or regular trash.  Since there is currently no other means of collecting these hazardous materials at other sites, this has proven to be a successful way to keep them out of the environment each year.

“Residents have seemed appreciative of the opportunity to dispose of such hazards properly,” said the county’s Recycle Coordinator Teresa Baker. “Keeping such toxins out of our soil and water supply is of the utmost importance to me, and having the resources to be able to collect and handle these items properly should make everyone proud to be a responsible citizen of Granville County.”

Also on site will be the Granville County Humane Society, accepting donations of dog and cat food, leashes and collars, crates, pet beds, towels and kitty litter.

The Granville County Expo and Convention Center is located at 4185 US Highway 15 in Oxford. For more information about this event, contact Baker by phone at 919-725-1417 or by email at [email protected]

*Not all household items will be accepted. The agencies on-site reserve the right to refuse certain materials.

Youngsville Company Frigi-Temp Donates Equipment To VGCC

-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Vance-Granville Community College’s partner in apprenticeship programs, Youngsville-based Frigi-Temp, has donated a large rooftop air conditioning unit to benefit students enrolled in the college’s Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Technology curriculum program.

“This industrial size unit will provide our students with hands-on skills training that will prepare them at a new level as they work to become HVAC technicians,” said Michael Whittemore, VGCC’s program head for the applied technology program.

A  commercial HVAC and refrigeration service provider and licensed mechanical contractor serving central North Carolina since 2001, Frigi-Temp ( joined forces with VGCC a year ago on the VGCC “Vanguard Apprenticeship Collaborative,” designed to cultivate highly skilled workers for large and small companies in a number of industries.

Vance-Granville staff and faculty gather with Frigi-Temp representatives to celebrate the donation of a 12.5-ton rooftop commercial air conditioning unit to the Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration (ACHR) program at the college. From left are Ken Wilson, TechHire grant project manager; Eddie Ferguson, director of the Endowment Fund; Michael Whittemore, ACHR program head; Angela Gardner-Ragland, dean of Business & Applied Technologies; Dawn Michelle Tucker, dean of Continuing Education & Basic Skills; Kyle Burwell, director of Occupational Extension; Cory Thornton, chief operating officer for Frig-Temp; Tim Gray, president and owner, Frigi-Temp; and Kyle Hooss, organizational development manager for the Youngsville company. (Photo Credit: VGCC)

Cory Thornton, chief operating officer of Frigi-Temp, has demonstrated his company’s interest in Vance-Granville’s curriculum program as well as the apprenticeships for the benefits he sees it provides his business.

The system is a three-phase 12.5-ton Lennox commercial gas package unit with two stages for heating and two stages for cooling. When installed, the equipment would be valued at more than $20,000. The equipment includes an economizer, enthalpy control and a biometric relief damper, Thornton said.

“We wanted this unit to be a very good representation of what one can expect when they walk on a commercial rooftop,” said Thornton.

“Vance-Granville is our local vocational resource,” he added, noting that he has five team members who have attended VGCC in their educational pursuits. “Frigi-Temp, as a member of the Advisory Committee for the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration program and as the college’s only commercial apprenticeship partner, would not dream of donating the equipment to any other program.

“This donation will hopefully be the first of many as Frigi-Temp strives to do our part in updating the HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) labs at VGCC,” said Thornton.

The equipment, which is the only commercial piece of equipment in VGCC’s lab, will give students an opportunity to experience three-phase compressors and motors, multiple stages of heating and cooling, and belt-driven blower assemblies, Thornton added. “They will have a chance to learn about the difference in maintaining a micro-channel coil and cycling condenser fan motors, among other exciting features,” he said.

Thornton said his company desires to make sure all students, especially their apprentices, have an opportunity to have a diverse list of equipment in the lab. “The more comfortable all the students can become with various types of equipment, how it functions, and how it is maintained the better position they will be in to start their careers with confidence,” Thornton said.

Over the next few years, there is estimated to be a shortage of more than 100,000 HVAC skilled labor workers, he said. “The August jobs report indicated a 3.9% unemployment rate across occupations,” he noted. “The drill down on that report indicated a 2.5% unemployment rate for skilled labor positions. The unemployment rate for skilled commercial HVAC/R (heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration) technicians is something less than 2.5%. Every company out there is going to be competing for the same workers.

“Frigi-Temp also wants to be sure we are making investments in the generation of technicians which will be stepping up to fill the void. Frigi-Temp is making these investments now because we want to be sure that we always have a stream of new talent joining our team ensuring our customers’ needs are always met.”

It’s a matter of economics, the Frigi-Temp leader said: “The demand for HVAC/R equipment is increasing at the same time that the supply of those capable of meeting the demand is decreasing. Basic economics dictate that the price for HVAC/R services must go up. This also means that the wages of those capable of delivering those services will go up.

“This is the best time I have ever seen to get into the industry. There is a massive amount of opportunity for someone to join the trade, become a true professional, and be very successful,” he said.

Dr. Gordon Burns, Vance-Granville interim president, praised Frigi-Temp for its support of the college’s students. “This industry represents the partnerships critically needed with area industry and businesses to help our students gain valuable knowledge and the skills training to be job ready. As Frigi-Temp demonstrates so well, their donation of this equipment and their support of our apprenticeship program will not only help them find the technicians they need but also will guarantee to our students that they can meet the demands of industry. It’s truly a win-win for all.”

Students interested in enrolling in the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Technology program can contact program head Michael Whittemore at [email protected] or (252) 738-3214. Employers interested in partnering with VGCC on apprenticeships are encouraged to contact Ken Wilson, project manager for VGCC’s TechHire grant program, at [email protected] or (252) 738-3259 for more information.

Granville Co. Chamber’s Annual Thanksgiving Breakfast to be Held Nov. 21

— Information courtesy Granville County Chamber of Commerce | Ginnie Currin, Executive Director ~ 919-693-6125 ~ [email protected]

The Granville County Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Thanksgiving Breakfast will be held at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, November 21 at Oxford Baptist Church’s Family Life Center – 147 Main St., Oxford. The event-sponsor is Bridgestone. The speaker will be John W. Turner, executive director of Veterans Life Center.

A Southern buffet breakfast will be served. There is no charge to attend, but please bring canned/nonperishable food items for Area Congregations In Ministry (ACIM).

RSVP by Friday, November 16 to a Chamber office:

919.693.6125  ~ [email protected]

919.528.4994 ~ [email protected]