Fairytale Characters to Take Over McGregor Hall!

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-Information courtesy McGregor Hall Performing Arts Center

McGregor Hall Performing Arts Center is gearing up for its presentation of “Into the Woods,” a fully staged Broadway-style musical presented with a live, professional orchestra.

Evening performances include Sat., February 1, Fri., February 7 and Sat., February 8 at 8 p.m. Matinee performances will be offered at 2 p.m. on Sun., February 2 and Sun., February 9, 2020.

Stephen Sondheim’s masterpiece “Into the Woods” is a modern twist on the beloved fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm, entwining the classic stories of Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel, and Little Red Riding Hood with an original story about a baker and his wife wishing to start a family and live a more wonderful life. The moral of this story? Be careful what you wish for!

Tickets for this event 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: www.McGregorHall.org  (Use the eTix official site, online fees apply)

(This is not a paid advertisement)

Granville Commissioners Call Special Meeting on JTOH Lease Appeal

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

Notice of Special Meeting

All interested persons please take notice that the Granville County Board of Commissioners will hold a Special Meeting on Wednesday, January 29, 2020, at 4 p.m. at the Granville Expo and Convention Center located at 4185 Highway 15 South, Oxford.

The purpose of the Special Meeting is to continue the hearing on the appeal requested by Oxford Preparatory School pursuant to North Carolina General Statute (N.C.G.S.) 115C-218.35.

VGCC Continues Enrollment Growth Trend

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-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Vance-Granville Community College is celebrating good news to begin 2020. The fall 2019 semester that recently ended brought growth in enrollment along with an 11% increase in course hours completed in both credit (curriculum) and non-credit programs.

In addition, the college has started the new spring semester off seeing an increase in credit program enrollment over the same time last year.

As of the beginning of the spring semester in January, VGCC had 2,939 students enrolled in curriculum programs. That represents an 8% increase compared to the beginning of the spring 2019 semester when enrollment stood at 2,719.

A significant source of the increase was enrollment by high school students in the Career & College Promise program. There were 4.6% more of those students enrolled than there were at the beginning of spring 2019.

“We are excited about the increasing number of students who have chosen VGCC to pursue their higher education and prepare for a successful career,” said Dr. Levy Brown, the college’s vice president of learning, student engagement and success. “Student access, retention and career preparation are embedded in our daily work, and it shows!”

“We attribute this growth to a lot of collaboration among our talented faculty and staff across our four campuses,” added Kali Brown, VGCC’s dean of student access and support. “This is a collective effort, and we are glad to see outstanding things happening at VGCC under the leadership of President Desmarais. The college will continue to collaborate internally and externally to provide a top-notch educational experience.”

Established in 1969, VGCC offers more than 40 credit programs, in which students work toward certificates, diplomas and degrees. Area residents and businesses can also take advantage of a variety of continuing education/job training opportunities, as well as the High School Equivalency and Adult High School Diploma programs. High school students can get a step ahead by starting their college education early with VGCC courses.

The college has four campuses – one each in Vance, Granville, Franklin and Warren counties – and offers online programs, as well. The new “Vanguard Flex” program is offering flexible, hybrid schedules in the evenings and weekends on the Franklin Campus in Louisburg, to accommodate schedules for adult learners.

Additionally, VGCC has classes starting in February and March for students to enroll in our 12 and 8-week term options.

For more information about the college, visit www.vgcc.edu.

Plenty of Community Events Offered in Granville This Winter

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-Information courtesy Granville County Government

JOURNALING FOR BEGINNERS is being offered at the Richard H. Thornton Library in Oxford on Saturday, Jan. 25. Sharon Swanson, an award-winning essayist and Manager of Arts and Health at Duke University Hospital in Durham, will provide information on how regular expressive writing can improve overall health, mood and working memory while reducing stress. The session is scheduled for 2 p.m. Contact Adult Librarian Stefani Perry for details at 919-693-1121.

UNDERSTANDING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE programs are being offered through Feb. 18 at the Granville County Senior Center, 107 Lanier Street in Oxford. Instructed by the Families Living Violence Free organization, these informative sessions are being held each Tuesday from 1 until 2 p.m. and are open to the public at no charge. Participants will learn about healthy relationships, personal boundaries, how children are impacted and more. Call Marilyn Howard at 919-693-1930 for details.

LOCAL AUTHOR DISCUSSIONS are scheduled at the Richard H. Thornton Library in Oxford on Feb. 1 and on Feb. 16 at 2 p.m. On Feb. 1, meet Brenda Yancey, author of “After Cancer: A Family’s Journey to Normalcy.” Yancey will discuss how a stage 4 cancer diagnosis changed the life of her family forever and how faith helped her family through this crisis.

Dr. Jason Miller will follow on Feb. 16 with a discussion of his new novel “Langston Hughes,” which provides insight on Hughes’ works, as well as his influence on the Civil Rights movement. Contact Adult Librarian Stefani Perry at 919-693-1121 for more information.

LEARN TO SPEAK SPANISH! Classes for beginners and beyond are offered Wednesdays through Feb. 26 at the Granville County Senior Center in Oxford. Instruction in “Beginner Spanish” is scheduled for 9 a.m. followed by “Conversational Spanish” at 11 a.m. Instructors are Herve Sergent and Laura Gabel. To learn more about the Creative Lifelong Learning program, contact Marilyn Howard at 919-693-1930.

FUN WITH LEGOS! Kids up to 6th grade are invited to compete in a Lego competition on Saturday, Jan. 25. Presented by the Granville County Library System, this contest will be held at the Richard H. Thornton Library from 2 until 4 p.m., with no registration required. Those interested should check-in at the Kids Area upon arrival. Prizes will be awarded and creations will be on display. Contact Amy Carlson, Children’s Librarian at 919-693-1121.

BARN QUILT PAINTING CLASSES continue with instructor Reba McInnis. Classes are offered through the Creative Lifelong Learning Program and are scheduled Jan. 30 and Feb. 20 from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Granville County Senior Center, 107 Lanier Street, in Oxford. Registration is required. Contact Marilyn Howard at 919-693-1930 for more details and for a fee schedule.

CREATE YOUR OWN WORK OF ART with “Adult Crafternoons” at your local branch of the Granville County Library System. Sessions in Watercolor continue on Jan. 22 at the South Branch in Creedmoor (6:30 p.m.) Registration is NOT required. Contact Adult Librarian Stefani Perry at 919-693-1121 for details.

LOCAL QUILTERS, OR THOSE WHO WANT TO LEARN HOW, can join the Berea Library’s Quilting Club, which meets on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at the Berea Branch, 1211 Hwy 158. For details, call 919-693-1231.

MAKE HANDMADE THANK YOU NOTES with instructor Cheryl Munro. Offered through Granville County Senior Services’ Creative Lifelong Learning (CLL) program, this course continues on Mondays throughout the month of January at 1:30 p.m. Registration is required. Contact Marilyn Howard at 919-693-1930 for more information about this class and others offered through CLL.

T’AI CHI CLASSES are offered at the Granville County Senior Center in Oxford through March 10. Instructor Peter Kay, who has more than 35 years’ experience in the Chinese art, provides instruction for beginners as well as a continuation class. Those interested should contact Creative Lifelong Learning coordinator Marilyn Howard at 919-693-1930.

THE ROAD TO WORLD WAR I is a course offered through the Creative Lifelong Learning Program and is offered Mondays through March 2 at the Granville County Senior Center in Oxford. The instructor is George Robinson, who provides historical information that spans from the Civil War to the firing of the first shots in “The War to End All Wars.” Call 919-693-1930 for more information.

COME SEW WITH US! Carol Montague facilitates a sewing class at the Granville County Senior Center in Oxford on Mondays through Feb. 10. Learn more about sewing machines, reading patterns and other skills while working on hands-on projects. This course is offered through the Creative Lifelong Learning (CLL) program from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. Contact Marilyn Howard at 919-693-1930 for details.

Town Talk 01/23/20: NC Treasurer Folwell Assures State Pension is Secure


NC State Treasurer Dale Folwell appeared on WIZS Town Talk Thursday at 11 a.m.

Folwell has served as the North Carolina State Treasurer since 2017 and is the former Speaker Pro Tempore of the North Carolina House of Representatives.

Overseeing the 26th largest public pool of money in the world, Folwell explained that his office manages retirement, healthcare and pharmaceutical benefits for 900,000 state and local employees in NC.

“At the end of the day, what I like to say is that we are in the check delivery business. Every 30 days we are spending nearly $750 million. We manage an amount of money eight times that of the state budget.”

Acknowledging that, statistically speaking, 2 out of 10 Town Talk listeners most likely have something to do with the State’s pension, health and/or pharmacy benefit plan, Folwell said those involved in the system can rest assured that employee retirement plans are secure.

“The pension plan is one of the five most solvent and secure pension plans in the United States, if not the world,” said Folwell. “A rating agency just posted us as number one in the country in terms of the ability to fund the pension plan during an economic downtown.”

Reminding listeners that economic downturns are historically “when not if” occurrences, Folwell said he was confident in the strength of the State’s pension system.

On the other end of the spectrum, Folwell said the State’s health plan is “one of the most insolvent in the US. All of our efforts right now are on state healthcare costs.”

Despite rising costs, Folwell said the State is committed to keeping insurance rates as affordable as possible for employees and retirees. “We have frozen all premiums for the second straight year even in light of the fact that costs are increasing at a faster pace than the governor’s budget and legislature’s budget appropriates money to us.”

Folwell said listeners may also be interested to know that the State currently has $700 million in unclaimed property, mostly in stocks and bonds, that can be viewed at any time, by first and last name free of charge at www.nccash.com. To learn more about the Treasurer’s Office, visit www.nctreasurer.com.

To hear the interview with Folwell in its entirety, go to WIZS.com and click on Town Talk.


Granville County BOE Continues Negotiation to Lease JTOH

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-Press Release, Granville County Public Schools

At a special called work session held at West Oxford Elementary School on Tuesday, January 21, 2020, the Granville County Board of Education voted unanimously to express its concern regarding the suitability of the former Joe Toler-Oak Hill building for use by Oxford Preparatory charter school. In a motion passed unanimously by the Board, the Board cited, “serious reservations regarding the suitability of the facility for children without making significant upgrades and renovations”.

In the fall of 2019, Oxford Preparatory School (OPS) requested to lease the now vacant school property beginning in June of 2020. The district declined their offer as it intends to sell the property in order to eliminate the liability of owning the aged facility and recover much-needed funding for other critical facility needs across the district. The poor condition of the facility was a major contributing factor in the Board’s original decision to close the school in January of 2019.

According to the district’s Master Facility Plan, which evaluates maintenance and capital improvement needs for all of its facilities, the campus had a five-year projection cost of $2.3+ million. At the time, the Board had been in the process of declaring it surplus property and subsequently offering it first to the County Commissioners as required by state law. The Board, therefore, responded to Oxford Prep and declined its request to lease the property for a future school year, because the Board intended to sell it as soon as possible.

Correspondence occurred between the two parties throughout November and December during which time the two parties debated the legal issues surrounding the lease request. In December, the Board did, however, provide OPS access to the building and allow their team of building inspectors to evaluate the condition of the facility.

Then, at the January 6, 2020, County Commissioners meeting, commissioners declined the first right of purchase of the school property and directed the School Board to enter negotiations with Oxford Prep to attempt to reach terms of a lease agreement that would be “practically and financially feasible.” The commissioners also permitted the Board to proceed with the sale of the property.

Following that directive, the Board then entered good faith negotiations and has held multiple meetings with OPS Executive Director Andrew Swanner and his attorney, David Hostetler of Durham. As of January 21, the parties had reached agreement on some terms, but significant areas of disagreement remain, including the necessity of certain immediate repairs and a fair rent for the building.

Throughout these discussions, Board of Education members have expressed concern about the ability of the JTOH building to house the number of students proposed by OPS. OPS has reported its intention to house three hundred or more students in the building, a student population far greater than the building has held in recent memory.

In the past 11 years, the school’s reported enrollment did not exceed 229 students, and at the time of its closing JTOH enrolled approximately 180 students. Even with those lower numbers, the school’s well could not always supply sufficient water to serve the school for a full school week, and the Board was forced to purchase and truck in additional water for students and staff. Other wells on the property have run dry. Board members and staff also expressed concerns about the ability of the septic system to serve that many students.

Third-party assessments show the school buildings are in need of roof replacements, major renovations to the heating system, as well as AC system upgrades. Without these critical repairs, replacements and upgrades, the district fears that the building might suffer from water damage and significant air quality concerns, which in turn could create potential safety concerns for those in the building. Mold had been detected in the school in 2018, and the district spent significant funds to remediate and address the cause of the contamination at that time. The private inspectors commissioned by Oxford Preparatory did not inspect the building’s roof or air handling/ventilation system.

Despite these serious reservations as expressed in its vote Tuesday evening, the Board of Education intends to continue its dialogue with Oxford Prep regarding the facility and what repairs would be necessary to bring it to a condition appropriate for housing such a large number of students and staff. The County Commissioners have indicated their intent to call a meeting on January 29 at 4 p.m. for an update on this matter.

In the meantime, the Board is in the process of listing the property with a commercial real estate agency. The 30-acre site and campus facilities are now officially for sale. The property has an appraised value of $450,000. Interested buyers may contact the Granville County School Board offices located at 101 Delacroix St., Oxford, NC (919) 693-4613 for additional details.

Oxford Prep. Hopes for Resolution to Outstanding JTOH Lease Request

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-Press Release, Oxford Preparatory School

Oxford Preparatory School has made three different offers to Granville County Public Schools in the past three weeks to lease the closed Joe Toler-Oak Hill building in order to accommodate Oxford Prep’s upcoming K – 4 expansion.

The Granville County Commissioners held a meeting on January 6, 2020, during which an appeal hearing was conducted on Oxford Prep’s request to lease the closed Joe Toler-Oak Hill building. The Granville County Commissioners determined that pursuant to NC General Statute § 115C-218.35 the building was “available” and directed the GCPS School Board to enter negotiations with Oxford Prep.

In the past two weeks, on two occasions representatives from Oxford Prep met with representatives from GCPS. After each meeting and upon reflecting on GCPS’s concerns, Oxford Prep modified the offer in an attempt to better address perceived impediments that had been discussed.

The Oxford Prep team, accompanied by GCPS representatives, completed an on-site inspection of JTOH. They were pleased to see the condition of the JTOH building. It was obvious that the maintenance staff from GCPS has taken a great deal of pride in and care of the building. In addition, an inspection by an outside firm was completed of the building for suitability, economic viability, and safety. Both inspections were done w/ GCPS personnel present. At no time were any safety concerns raised.

Oxford Prep is well aware of the deferred maintenance that has been suggested by GCPS. As a result of both inspections, Oxford Prep has a clear understanding of what facility improvements are needed and continues to believe the property is well-suited for the safe, short-term occupancy requested.

After the last negotiation meeting, Oxford Prep reworked its lease offer so that the lease agreement might be an economically and practically feasible one. The lease offer includes the following terms:

– $100,000 in total lease payments (including a $10,000 security deposit) to occupy the building from June 1, 2020 – May 31, 2021 (equal to 22% of the appraised market value of the building)

– Take on 100% of GCPS’s upkeep costs once a lease agreement is executed until Oxford Prep vacates the building on May 31, 2021 (GCPS currently spends over $100,000 a year)

– Complete building repairs to include (drainage evaluation and remediation, septic and well repairs, boiler system repair, and repair sections of the roof as needed)

– Complete quarterly air quality testing and complete remediation as needed

The Oxford Prep leadership team and Board of Directors are optimistic that the Granville County Public School System will enter into the generous proposed lease terms, that serves the interests of GCPS, Oxford Preparatory School, and the citizens of Granville County.

For additional comment, please contact Andrew Swanner, executive director of Oxford Preparatory School at [email protected] or (919) 690-0360.

Rabid Animal Reported; Second Confirmation This Year

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-Press Release, Granville County Government

This year’s second instance of rabies has been reported in Granville County. A raccoon was picked up on January 17, 2020, in the area of St. Lucy Drive and N.C. Hwy. 96 South, Franklinton, with follow-up tests confirming that the raccoon was rabid. Residents of the area are being notified of the positive test results.

Granville County Animal Control advises all residents to ensure their pets have up-to-date rabies vaccinations, as required by North Carolina law (NCGS 130A-185). One-year vaccinations are provided for only $6 at the Granville County Animal Shelter, located at 5650 Cornwall Road in Oxford. Hours for vaccinations are Monday through Friday from noon until 4:30 p.m.

For more details, call the Shelter at (919) 693-6749.

Town Talk 01/22/20: Caregiver’s Cup at Sadie’s & Local Senior Games

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Harvey Holmes, family caregiver resource specialist, and Michele Brigandi, aging projects coordinator – both with the Kerr-Tar Area Agency on Aging, appeared on WIZS Town Talk Wednesday at 11 a.m.

Holmes discussed the formation of a new social group for caregivers affectionately referred to as “The Caregiver’s Cup.” The name is a play on the actual meeting location – Sadie’s Coffee Corner in downtown Henderson – and the metaphorical filling of one’s social cup. The group will meet on the second Friday of every month from 12 until 1:30 p.m. at Sadie’s. All family caregivers are welcome.

Citing statistics that caregivers tend to self-isolate from outside activities and interactions, Holmes said the intent of the group is to promote socialization and, in turn, mental health.

“It’s very easy for caregivers to isolate themselves because caregiving is a 24/7, exhausting job,” explained Holmes. “Everyone struggles and moves in and out of loneliness during their lifetime; this group is here to help ease that loneliness.”

Promoting another great activity to encourage socialization as well as physical health, Brigandi discussed the upcoming Kerr Tar Senior Games that will be held in Franklin, Granville, Vance, Warren and Person counties March through May 2020. Competitive athletic events ranging from basketball to horseshoes will be offered.

“This is essentially the Olympics for active adults 50 and better,” explained Brigandi. “There is something for everyone and it is a lot of fun.”

According to Brigandi, awards are given, and those who place first, second and third in their respective event have the opportunity to compete in the state finals in Raleigh. Those that place on the state level will move on to the national competition.

New on the list of local athletic events offered this year is mini-golf, which will be held at Adventure Island in Henderson on April 28.

For those with mobility issues and/or for those with an interest in the arts, the Senior Games also offers “SilverArts” competitions with a variety of mediums including heritage arts, basket weaving, quilting, painting, photography, dance, comedy, drama, poetry readings and storytelling.

To register for local games or for more information on the SilverArts sessions, please visit the North Carolina Senior Games website by clicking here.

For more information on the Caregivers Cup group, please contact the Kerr-Tar Area Agency on Aging at (252) 436-2040 or email Holmes directly at [email protected].

To hear the interview with Holmes and Brigandi in its entirety, go to WIZS.com and click on Town Talk.

Oxford Residents Invited to Neighborhood Watch Meeting

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-Information courtesy Cynthia Bowen, City Clerk, City of Oxford

All Oxford residents are invited to attend a City-wide neighborhood watch informational meeting on Tuesday, February 18, 2020, in the third-floor Commissioners Board Room of Oxford’s City Hall. The meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m.

Get the information and support needed to start a Community Watch program in your neighborhood, receive the latest on crime in the area and learn about crime prevention from the Oxford Police Department.

Oxford City Hall is located at 300 Williamsboro Street.