Oxford Elects Guillermo Nurse Mayor

Oxford elected Guillermo Nurse to be its mayor Tuesday, making him the first Black mayor in the city’s history.

Nurse got 1,090 votes to Debbie Ramsey’s 461.

There were seven candidates running for three Town Commissioners spots. The top three vote-getters were two newcomers – Carlos Velez and Curtis McRae – and one incumbent, John Tovey.

Velez got 771 votes, McRae got 694 and Tovey received 657 votes.

In Stovall, two newcomers joined incumbent Jeff Stovall to take the three seats on the Stovall board of commissioners. Stovall got 72 votes to keep his seat on the board; Ricky Sneed Sr. got 65 votes and Angelina Cromer got 46 votes from a field of five candidates.

View complete results from Tuesday’s elections at https://er.ncsbe.gov/

TownTalk: Sergent Looks To Community For Support After Oxford Fire

In the hours after a fire destroyed two businesses in downtown Oxford, Mayor Jackie Sergent said city officials were already busy putting together a plan to rally around the displaced business owners.

City firefighters and numerous volunteer departments responded to the blaze Monday morning on the 100 block of Williamsboro Street in downtown Oxford. The call came in at 8:28 a.m. and Sergent said by 9:30 a.m. Downtown Development Director Alyssa Blair was “already starting to look where those two businesses might be rehoused…so they might be up and running as soon as possible,” Sergent said on Tuesday’s TownTalk.

The Healing Haven and Farrar’s Jewelers were destroyed by the fire, which was brought under control before 11 a.m. The investigation is ongoing, Sergent said. No cause has yet been determined.

“We are very pleased and proud that our fire department and all the other first responders were able to handle the fire with minimal damage to adjoining properties and no loss of life or limb,”

She said she is incredibly proud of the way that the city’s fire chief and emergency management team responded, providing “leadership an insight to manage the fire…and avoid a conflagration that would take out an entire city block and limit the damage to the building that was burning.

The last time a fire destroyed a building in downtown Oxford was in February 1997.

A fitness studio occupied a very narrow space beside near where Strong Arm Baking Co. is located along Main Street.

That building was a complete loss, and city commissioners voted to create a pocket park in 2001. “It’s named for former Mayor Hugh Currin,” Sergent said. “It’s a lovely little spot now.”

Sergent said she believes the people of Oxford will rally around the two business owners who have been displaced. “Our downtown is made up of small business owners and we do not want to lose them,” she said.

She encourages the community to “step forward and support them in any way we can think of…we will help them get going…and find a way to sustain (them).”



Firefighters Battle Morning Blaze That Destroyed Two Downtown Oxford Businesses

UPDATE: 7:15 p.m.

Firefighters battled a blaze in downtown Oxford Monday morning which destroyed a historic building that housed two businesses.

The call came in at 8:28 a.m., and Oxford Fire Department, with help from several area volunteer fire departments, had the fire under control by 10:40 a.m., according to information from city officials late Monday afternoon.

“The fire was extinguished at approximately 10:40 and controlled through the coordinated efforts of the Oxford Fire Department, the Antioch Fire Department, the Providence Fire Department, the Corinth Fire Department, and the Granville Rural Fire Department. Granville EMS was also present at the scene,” according to information sent from Oxford city officials.

Businesses near the 100 block of Williamsboro Street were evacuated and law enforcement agencies from the police department, sheriff’s office and N.C. Highway Patrol blocked off the area at Williamsboro and Main streets.

Alyssa Blair, Downtown Development Director, stated, “The fire from this morning has touched the heart of everyone in the business community as well as the community as a whole and the rallying behind them has already begun. The City of Oxford and Downtown Oxford Economic Development Corporation have begun searching for temporary locations for our affected businesses and will do everything possible to find additional resources to aid during this difficult time.”




Oxford firefighters spent the morning battling a blaze downtown that has destroyed two businesses and was posing a threat to businesses on either side.

The fire broke out on the 100 block of Williamsboro Street between First National Bank and Milano’s restaurant near the heart of downtown Oxford. The two businesses are The Healing Haven and Farrar’s Jewelers, located at 121 ½ and 123 Williamsboro St., according to Granville County Chamber of Commerce Director Cynthia Ratliff.

Oxford Mayor Jackie Sergent said no one was inside, so, as yet, people are safe. “We are grieving for the tremendous loss – for the building which has so much meaning and history for the community and the owner and for the businesses within who were counting on the holiday shopping season to keep them strong,” Sergent said in a text message to WIZS News Monday morning.

According to Sergent, the building occupied by Healing Haven Massage is owned by Gaynelle Finch, and previously housed Finch Insurance Agency. “The fire is raging between ceilings…so (it’s) unreachable,” Sergent said about 10:15 a.m.  “Our guys and multiple other agencies are keeping the water going in an attempt to save the buildings on either side.”

Those buildings on either side include an attorney’s office, a consulting firm, a health care agency and a bail bond agency.

By 11 a.m., firefighters were able to enter the second floor of the structure, according to Sergent, who was on the scene.

Oxford Downtown Development Director Alyssa Blair provided a brief statement to WIZS News Tuesday afternoon, saying that other several businesses had been affected by this morning’s fire.

“We do not have information on what started the fire and will inform the public as soon as the investigation has concluded,” Blair noted.

“We are grateful for our FD staff – that they are well trained and well equipped, and for the mutual aid responders who have come when needed, and we are praying for their safety, those affected, and that the damage may be minimized. I have faith that the community of Oxford will come together and support all those needing it in the days ahead that they might prevail and feel cared for.”

Ratliff drove down Williamsboro Street shortly before 8:30 this morning on her way to work. She told WIZS News in a telephone interview from the fire scene Monday morning that she smelled a faint smell of smoke when she arrived at her office, and thought briefly that it was coming from under her car’s hood.

Just a few minutes later, she was walking to the Hub for a meeting and she saw a ladder truck along Williamsboro Street.

“It’s heartbreaking,” Ratliff said, as she watched firefighters battle the fire. All surrounding businesses were evacuated, and the road is blocked. Services at the courthouse seem to be unaffected.

“It’s a horrible sight,” Ratliff said of the building in the aftermath of the fire.



Granville: ‘Operation Green Light’ Shines Light On Veterans During November

In advance of the upcoming Veterans Day holiday, Granville County announced plans to participate in Operation Green Light for Veterans, a nationwide effort uniting counties to support military veterans.

The initiative, led by the National Association of Counties, raises awareness around the unique challenges faced by many veterans and the resources available at the county, state, and federal levels to assist veterans and their families.

Now in its second year, Operation Green Light is spearheaded by NACo and the National Association of County Veterans Service Officers, building upon successful efforts by the New York State Association of Counties and the NYS County Veteran Service Officers’ Association in 2021. In 2022, more than 300 counties participated in Operation Green Light across the United States.

In addition to lighting county buildings, residents and businesses are encouraged to participate by simply  changing one light bulb in their home to a green bulb. This can be an exterior light that neighbors and passersby see, or an interior light that sparks a conversation with friends. By shining a green light, we let our veterans  know that they are seen, appreciated, and supported.

“This simple gesture shows Granville veterans and their families that they are appreciated and supported,” said Russ May, chair of the Granville County Board of Commissioners. “Our local Veterans Services Office, Veterans Affairs Committee, and all of Granville County government truly value and appreciate their service and sacrifice. We hope they know that they are seen and appreciated.”

Granville County Veterans Services will also participate in the upcoming Operation Green Light event and Veterans Parade in partnership with the City of Oxford. The event will be held in downtown Oxford from 12 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 4 with the parade beginning at 3 p.m. along Williamsboro and College streets in Oxford.

Counties and residents across the country are sharing their participation on social media using the hashtag  #OperationGreenLight. For more information on Operation Green Light, visit the NACo website:  https://www.naco.org/program/operation-green-light-veterans.

Granville Committees, Advisory Board Openings

The Granville County Board of Commissioners is looking to fill a number of vacancies on various citizen advisory boards and committees.

Most positions will be filled by citizens who reside in the district listed, but final appointment decisions are at the discretion of the board of commissioners. Additionally, 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.

The application is available here: www.granvillecounty.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Boards-and-Commissions-Application.pdf

Return completed to Debra Weary, clerk to the Board of Commissioners, by email at debra.weary@granvillecounty.org, or deliver in person to the county administration office at 104 Belle St., Oxford. Applications may be mailed 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/

Look for the district number beside “County Commissioner” under “your jurisdictions.” If you need additional information, contact the Granville County Addressing and GIS Mapping coordinator at 919.692.1278.

Detailed information about each committee can be found on the Granville County website:  https://www.granvillecounty.org/government/other-boards-commissions/.

Vacant seats are available for the following boards and committees:

  • Adult Home Care Community Advisory Committee (two at-Large seats). New members must complete a 36-hour training course completed in three phases.
  • Butner Board of Adjustment (ETJ Alternate, 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. • Human Relations Commission (Districts 6 and 7). The Human Relations Commission meets monthly on Mondays at 7 p.m.
  • Juvenile Crime Prevention Council (District 7). The Juvenile Crime Prevention Council meets monthly on Fridays at 10 a.m.
  • Nursing Home Community Advisory Committee (At-Large). New members must complete a 36-hour training course completed in three phases.
  • Oxford Planning Board (ETJ – two seats). The Oxford Planning Board meets monthly on Mondays at 5:30 p.m.
  • Social Services (one appointed by Granville County and one appointed by the NC Social Services Commission). The Board of Social Services meets monthly on Tuesdays at 5 p.m.

Granville Medical Announces Selection Of Adam McConnell As New CEO

Granville Health System has named Adam McConnell as its new Chief Executive Officer, according to information released earlier this week by GHS Marketing & Foundation Director Lauren B. Roberson.

The board of trustees selected McConnell, who has been the hospital’s chief financial officer for the past five years, following a comprehensive search process, according to information in a press statement.

McConnell said he looks forward to his new role. “I am profoundly grateful for this new responsibility. My commitment remains steadfast to the ideals and objectives that position GHS as a pillar of trust in healthcare for our community. Alongside our passionate team, our focus will be unwavering on patient-centric care, and active community involvement,” McConnell stated.

GHS Board of Trustees Chair David Smith welcomed McConnell. “Adam’s extensive experience within our organization, coupled with his strategic vision for healthcare delivery, made him the clear choice to lead us into the future. We have full confidence that his leadership will enhance our ability to provide top-quality care to our community,” Smith stated.

In his role as CFO, McConnell has brought innovative financial strategies to the forefront, bolstered hospital operations, and consistently championed the pursuit of excellence in Granville County’s Health System. His tenure is marked by visionary leadership complemented by a consistent record of achievements within the organization.

Visit www.ghsHospital.org to learn more.

Granville Chamber’s Annual Cluck ‘N Shuck Set For Nov. 3

The annual Granville County Chamber of Commerce Cluck ‘n Shuck is coming to the Granville Expo Center on Friday, Nov. 3.

Leon Nixon Catering is bringing the food, and we’ll provide the fun from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Be prepared for a feast of all-you-can-eat steamed steamed oysters and shrimp, as well as fried fish, fried chicken and all the fixin’s. There will be beverages and music as well, so come hungry and ready for some fun and fellowship.

If you or your business would like to be a sponsor, there’s still time – contact Chamber Executive Director Cynthia Ratliff at 693.6125 or email cynthia@granville-chamber.com

Tickets are $50. Purchase at the Chamber office, 124 Hillsboro St., Oxford. Call 919.693.6125 to reserve tickets.

State Retirees Get One-Time Bump In This Month’s Check

Retired state employees may have noticed a slight bump in their retirement checks that hit their bank accounts today. It’s not an error; rather, it’s a one-time supplement to benefit recipients who retired on or before Oct. 1, 2023, and who are members of the Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System, Consolidated Judicial Retirement System and the Legislative Retirement System.

For most retired state employees and teachers, the Oct. 25 payment includes an additional 4 percent of their annual benefit – that amounts to $40 for a $1,000 retirement check.

These funds did not come from the Plan itself, N.C. Treasurer Dale Folwell said in a press statement. The money was appropriated by the General Assembly as a part of the budget passed earlier this month. The one-time payments will not reduce the funded ratio of the State System, Folwell noted.

This one-time supplement does not apply to benefit recipients of the Local Governmental Employees’ Retirement System, where a benefit increase may be granted by the LGERS Board of Trustees within certain statutory limitations.


Online 911 Telecommunicator Program A New Option For VGCC Students


Information courtesy of VGCC Public Information Officer Courtney Cissel


Vance-Granville Community College (VGCC) has teamed up with Richmond Community College to offer a new 911 telecommunications program to residents of Vance, Granville, Franklin and Warren counties.

The two community colleges recently signed an agreement which allows VGCC students to enroll in RichmondCC’s online associate degree program in 911 Communications & Operations. VGCC students will complete a majority of the core courses and the work-based learning portion of the program through RichmondCC while completing other general education requirements at VGCC.

“VGCC is pleased to partner with Richmond Community College to offer the 911 operator degree. Collaborations like these allow us to offer needed training and credentials to our community while being fiscally responsible,” said VGCC President Dr. Rachel Desmarais.

The online degree program provides a pathway for individuals who are interested in starting a career in this field, as well as providing skills enhancement for those already working as 911 telecommunicators.

The college curriculum program was developed when the NC 911 Board reached out to RichmondCC about a need for standardization in training 911 telecommunicators, plus a need to help elevate this career field. The college worked closely with the NC 911 Board and the NC Department of Information Technology to construct the online program.

“We appreciate Vance-Granville coming on board in this collaborative career training partnership to give 911 telecommunicators, who are true public servants, better educational opportunities and career growth,” said Dr. Dale McInnis, president of RichmondCC. “We look forward to working with our neighbors in the Piedmont.”

Unique in the state of North Carolina, RichmondCC’s 911 Communications & Operations program welcomed its first class of students during the fall 2023 semester.


RichmondCC has been reaching out to other community colleges in the state to make the 911 telecommunications program and its resources available to more students. VGCC is the fourth NC community college to create such a partnership with RichmondCC; Bladen Community College, Gaston College, and Stanly Community College will also be extending the program to their students.

Richmond County is located near the South Carolina border; RichmondCC’s main campus is located in Hamlet, located roughly between Fayetteville and Charlotte.

For more information about the online 911 Communications & Operations associate degree, call RichmondCC at 910.410.1700. For more information about VGCC, visit https://www.vgcc.edu/.