Zoning Amendments Continue to Make Oxford Board of Commissioners’ Agenda

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

The City of Oxford Board of Commissioners will hold their regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, March 12, 2019, at 7 p.m. in the Commissioners’ Board Room, City Hall.

Agenda items include:

Chris and Amanda Welsh from FLY HNZ, new management at the Oxford Henderson Airport – update on the plans for the airport.

Public Hearing to receive citizen input on amending the zoning ordinance to include the definition of a craft distillery and amending the table of permitted uses to allow a craft distillery in the B-1 zoning district.

Public Hearing to receive citizen input on a rezoning request from Eddie Caudle to rezone 8 acres of land from RA to B2.

Consider rewarding the 2019 Concessionaire Contract for Oxford Park Athletic Complex to Farmer John’s Ice Cream, Robert Glover.

Consider Accepting Certificate of Sufficiency for Petition of Voluntary, Contiguous, Annexation for 3 + acres of land adjacent to the Hardees property located on Industry Drive and consider adopting a resolution calling for an annexation public hearing to be held in conjunction with the April 9, Regular Session if the Board desires to move forward with annexation.

Consider appointing George Summers to the Planning Board.

Consider adopting a Resolution for 2017 Local Water Supply Plan.

Consider approving a Budget Amendment for WWTP Headworks Repairs.

Please click here for the full agenda for the City of Oxford Board of Commissioners’ March 12, 2019, meeting.

In-Review: Granville Co. Commissioners’ Annual Two-Day Retreat

-Press Release, Granville County Government

The Granville County Board of Commissioners met for its annual retreat on Thursday, February 21 and Friday, February 22, 2019. The session, which provided an opportunity for commissioners to hear updates on developments pertaining to the county’s five-year strategic plan, was held at the Granville County Convention and Expo Center in Oxford.

Public Health

Health Director Lisa Harrison of Granville-Vance Public Health kicked off the presentation schedule, providing an update on the condition of the building currently used by the local Health Department. Citing structural issues after 42 years of use, Harrison noted that the foundation is sinking in one corner of the facility, causing walls to crack and ceilings to be compromised. A request was made to consider a relocation from 101 Hunt Drive. Several sites are being evaluated and will be brought back to the Board for consideration.

Development Services Director Scott Phillips provides information about capital improvements at the annual County Commissioners’ Retreat. (Photo courtesy Granville Co. Govt.)

Planning/Inspections and Transportation

Planning Director Barry Baker and Development Services Director Scott Phillips provided information relating to current and future planning activities. Baker noted in his presentation that total zoning permits had seen a steady increase since 2014, with most permits for single-family dwellings in 2018 being issued for the Brassfield Township. Almost 400 new lots – to be located in planned subdivisions in Butner and Creedmoor  – were approved in 2018 and more are expected to be approved in 2019, it was reported. As the East End Connector nears completion – which will connect I-40 to the Raleigh-Durham Airport – this growth is expected to continue.

Transportation Planner Justin Jorgensen reported that projects pertaining to the NC 56 and NC 50 Corridors are also planned in the summer of 2019 and in 2020, and that sidewalk and greenway projects are underway in all municipalities.

Commercial construction has also risen drastically since 2014, from more than $14 million in value in 2014 to an approximately $43 million value in 2018.

Capital Improvement Projects

Exterior painting of the Granville County Courthouse has been completed, with work on the windows, cornice, soffit, bell tower and foundation stucco coming in at less than projected cost. Duct cleaning and mold abatement were also completed for the HVAC system and equipment, Phillips reported.

Site work has begun for the new Law Enforcement Center and Animal Shelter, to be located at 525 New Commerce Drive in Oxford. Stormwater infrastructure is now 60 percent complete, according to Phillips, with an estimated completion date of August 2019 for this phase of the project. Water and sewer taps have been completed and piping has been installed to the project site, with a plumbing and electrical rough-in scheduled for April. Grading continues for the new Animal Shelter. Due to weather and soil conditions, work had been temporarily delayed, but the project is still expected to be completed in April 2020. A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for March 12, 2019, at 2 p.m.

Exterior renovation on the building located behind the Courthouse, 122 Williamsboro Street, was also discussed. In 2013, the county retained professional engineers to evaluate the roof and exterior wall system. Basic needs identified in this report included removal of the existing exterior coating – as well as the deteriorated mortar – and replacing existing window and door sealants before exterior paint could be applied. Repairs were also recommended for the exterior fire escape stairs. Funding for this restoration was projected to be around $375,000. With a plan to move the Planning/Inspections office to the current Sheriff’s Office after the new Law Enforcement Center is completed –  and to relocate Child Support Services –  other options will also be considered for this building.

Work at the scale house located at the Butner Convenience Site was also completed in 2018 as a new 560 square foot building was added. Building and site improvements were also recently completed on this site, Phillips noted. Work at the Granville County Landfill is also substantially complete, with a C&D closure certification being submitted to the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality for review and acceptance.

Recreation

An update on the Phase III expansion of the Granville Athletic Park (GAP) and the grant funding tied to that project was discussed by Management Analyst Charla Duncan. Granville County had secured a National Parks Service Land and Water Conservation Fund grant for $250,000, which was added to the $500,000 sum already set aside towards this project. The expansion will encompass approximately 12 additional acres for planned use and for future expansion. Added to the park will be six tennis courts, two sand volleyball courts, an additional picnic shelter and restrooms, a paved walking trail, an all-inclusive playground area, three horseshoes pits, nine additional disc golf targets, open green space and parking.

The design schematic has now been completed, Phillips added. Once the proposed site plan is approved, construction documents and permit applications are expected to be completed by May 2019 with construction anticipated to begin in August of this year.

A partnership with the Granville County United Way has resulted in the 2018 addition of outdoor classroom space, little free libraries, a sound garden, a butterfly garden and other amenities to the already existing acreage.

“Accessibility and safety are our goals for this project,” Duncan remarked.

The county has plans to pursue additional grant funding from the United States Tennis Association.

‘American Women in History’ to be Presented at South Branch Library

-Press Release, Granville County Government

The South Branch of the Granville County Library System, located in Creedmoor, will host the program “American Women in History” on Saturday, March 9, 2019. The 5 p.m. event entitled “We Can Do It” is scheduled through Brightstar Touring Theater in celebration of Women’s History Month.

The show features some of the world’s most remarkable female pioneers such as Amelia Earhart, Sacajawea, Susan B. Anthony, Laura Ingalls Wilder and many others. Those attending this production will discover the groundbreaking efforts of women like these in shaping American history. A discussion with the actors of Brightstar Touring Theater will follow the program, which is free and open to the public.

Brightstar has been providing professional theater to young audiences for the past 16 seasons. With plays and programs that are curriculum-based, a variety of shows are offered, from historical productions to diverse, character-based plays. This year, more than 2,000 performances are scheduled from Washington state to Florida and all areas in between, as well as in Germany, Russia and other countries around the world.

The South Branch Library, located at 1550 South Campus Drive in Creedmoor, welcomes this touring group and invites all ages to attend. For more details, contact the library at 919-528-1752.

To learn more about programs and services provided by all four branches of the Granville County Library System in Oxford, Creedmoor, Stovall and Berea, visit https://granville.lib.nc.us/.

Reardon Talks CBD Products: What’s Legal and What’s Illegal in NC

Joe Reardon, NC’s Assistant Commissioner of Agriculture for Consumer Protection, was on Wednesday’s edition of WIZS’ Town Talk program to discuss the recent explosion in the marketplace of CBD oil and CBD-containing products.

Following up on a press release published in mid-February, Reardon stated that the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) is taking an “educational approach” in making producers and retailers aware of both state and federal laws regarding CBD products.

“We felt with the confusion in the marketplace and the explosion of these products, the most responsible thing the NCDA&CS could do was to educate everybody on what’s federal law, what’s state law and what our expectations of those in NC would be,” Reardon said.

CBD, or Cannabidiol, is a compound derived from the legal product hemp that lacks the psychoactive chemical levels needed to experience the proverbial “high.” According to Reardon, CBD oil should contain 0.3% or less of THC, a psychoactive cannabinoid commonly associated with traditional marijuana.

While CBD has been approved by federal and state law as a drug, Reardon explained that it cannot be legally added or infused in either human or animal food products that are for sale.

Of particular concern to the department, according to Reardon, is the illegal sale of CBD food items traditionally marketed to children including gummies, ice cream and lollipops.

CBD products can also not make health claims, including statements that the product may prevent, treat or cure any disease. Failure to comply could result in embargo or seizure of products.

“We don’t want someone making an uninformed decision,” said Reardon. “We don’t want people on prescription pharmaceuticals to discontinue their medication without consulting their physician.”

The NCDA&CS has sent out approximately 400 letters to CBD manufacturers and retailers detailing what is legal and what is illegal to sell in North Carolina. The letters are prompting phone calls and questions of officials, Reardon said.

“The encouraging thing is that in many places across the state, once we made them aware of the law, they are complying. They say they are not going to continue to order or display CBD food products and they are removing pamphlets from stores that make CBD health claims.”

Reardon said the department will evaluate the effectiveness of this initial, educational campaign and will take a more “aggressive regulatory approach” if needed.

While CBD production is currently unregulated, Reardon said the goal of the NCDA&CS is to work with the State Legislature and the industry to construct a regulatory framework for CBD product that will be sold as tinctures.

“We believe the product needs to be processed in the right environment, we believe the extraction should be done with the most appropriate chemicals and we believe there should be quality control in this process,” Reardon explained.

Until a regulatory framework is in place, Reardon suggests consumers ask questions and do their research before purchasing CBD products. “Find out who processes it, where is it being processed, is it being tested and what is the concentration of the final product.”

Industry with questions about the regulation of CBD can call the Food and Drug Protection Division at (919) 733-7366. You may also visit the NCDA&CS website by clicking here or email Reardon directly at [email protected].

To hear the Town Talk interview with Joe Reardon in its entirety, click here. Reardon’s segment begins at the 17:10 mark.

Granville Board of Education Approves Changes to Elementary Attendance Zones

-Press Release, Granville County Public Schools

At their regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, March 4, 2019, the Granville County Board of Education approved changes to the attendance zones of the northern area elementary schools. The changes impact school assignments for students living in the Joe Toler Oak Hill, West Oxford, and Stovall Shaw Elementary School attendance zones. This action became necessary after the Board decided to close Joe Toler Oak Hill Elementary School (JTOH) at their January 2019 meeting.

The Board reviewed three different options that were drafted by staff. Ultimately, the Board chose the option that will potentially best minimize route times for students, and be most efficient for the bus fleet serving that area. These new boundaries will go into effect beginning with the 2019-2020 school year.

Dr. Stan Winborne, Executive Director of Operations, Human Resources, Communications and Safety, presented maps, charts and a hypothetical route analysis to Board Members in an effort to provide as much information as possible about ride times and pick-up and drop-off times for students. Also included was information pertaining to the number of buses needed and total miles covered, all of which can impact the efficiency of the transportation department, which in turn impacts the department’s budget.

“Ultimately, the Board chose the option which was best for students.  While we cannot completely forecast the exact times and bus routes for next year with the information we have currently, we can plan for new attendance boundaries which have the least likelihood for long routes for students early in the morning, and late in the evening”, explained Dr. Winborne.

The approved new boundaries assign the majority of students in the current JTOH attendance zone to Stovall Shaw Elementary School. The remaining current south-west portion of the JTOH attendance zone will now be assigned to West Oxford Elementary School, which is closer in proximity to that school. (see map below)

Superintendent McLean offered her perspective on the matter, stating, “We want the shortest bus rides possible for our young students. With a county as large geographically as Granville, this poses a challenge for our transportation department. I believe the option approved by our Board will work well given our resources. However, one thing that is important to remember for our families living in the current JOTH attendance zone is that for next school year, they really do have a choice to attend whichever elementary school best suits their child. Our choice programs allow for this, and we plan to provide bus shuttle services based on the enrollment needs in our schools.”

Under the Choice Program, families may choose to have their children attend any elementary school in the district. Currently, each elementary school has its own theme or academic focus which designates it as a “choice” school. Door to door bus transportation is only provided to families within the designated attendance zone, however, the district does offer a series of bus shuttle services to assist with transportation in different parts of the county for families taking advantage of the choice program.

Parents, guardians, family members and members of the community may review detailed maps, and lists of addresses in the new attendance zones on the district website under the Transportation Department page.  If you have questions about a specific address, you may contact your child’s school or contact the Transportation Department at (919) 693-6412 or contact Ms. Cindy Fain by email at [email protected]

Third Rabid Raccoon Reported in Granville Co. This Year!

-Information courtesy the Granville County Government Facebook Page

Granville County Animal Control reports the pickup of a raccoon near the area of Rock Bottom Road, Needham Drive and Bob Daniel Road. The raccoon was picked up on Saturday, March 2, 2019, and has tested positive for rabies. It was reported to have been in a pasture with livestock.

Animal Control officers are in the process of posting notices on homes in the area. All pet owners are urged to ensure rabies vaccinations on dogs, cats and ferrets are up-to-date, as required by North Carolina law.

The Granville County Animal Shelter, located at 5650 Cornwall Road in Oxford, provides one-year rabies vaccines for only $6. Call (919) 693-6749 for details.

Granville Co. Board of Education Member Toney Smith Resigns

-Press Release, Granville County Public Schools

The Granville County Board of Education held their regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, March 4, 2019.  After the conclusion of official business items on the agenda, Board Member Toney Smith announced his retirement effective immediately, stating,  “After careful consideration and much thought, I have decided to relinquish my position as Board of Education member effective immediately. The demands of my professional career simply prevent me from participating to the extent that is needed. I am grateful for having had the opportunity to serve the children of this district, and I appreciate all of the hard work of our talented educators. I wish everyone the very best.”

Granville County Board of Education member Toney Smith announced his resignation at the Board’s March 4 meeting. Smith has served the constituents of District 1 for 11 years as a member of the Board of Education, having been re-elected for the position in 2014. (Photo courtesy GCPS)

Mr. Toney Smith has served the constituents of District 1 for 11 years as a member of the Board of Education, having been re-elected for the position in 2014.  Mr. Smith’s tenure as a Board Member can be characterized as student-focused, with an emphasis on the equitable distribution of resources throughout the district.

Fellow Board Members, Superintendent McLean, and Senior Staff all praised Mr. Smith for his service, citing his love and compassion for students and public education. Dr. McLean shared her thoughts, stating, “During my tenure as Superintendent, Mr. Smith has always demonstrated sincere concern about issues around equity and fairness for all (both with students and adults) in the district – and I, not only respected but genuinely appreciated that.  It has been a joy working with him.”

Fellow Board Members also expressed their gratitude. Mr. David Richardson, Vice Chairman, presided over the meeting in the absence of Chairman Tom Houlihan. Mr. Richardson offered these thoughts, “Granville County Public Schools’ students have benefited from Mr. Smith’s service. We as a board have also benefited from his candor and common-sense approach to making decisions on behalf of the district. We wish him well and hope he continues to stay involved on behalf of our community.”

The Board will continue with six members until a replacement for District 1 is appointed. The replacement will serve until the next scheduled election for his seat, which will begin serving for the term of 2020. The Board will begin discussing the appointment process at their next regular meeting on April 1, 2019.

Granville Co. Public Schools on the Move…Literally!

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

GCPS IS ON THE MOVE – LITERALLY!

You probably see our school buses just about every day at some point on our roads. Chances are, you’ve probably ridden a school bus at some point in your life. But I bet you didn’t know some statistics behind our transportation department, so check this out:

Granville County Public Schools transports an average of 3,662 students per day on 103 buses. Our drivers cover more than 7,600 miles and work more than 298 hours each day.  This works out to a grand total of more than 1,218,200 miles per school year!  YES, that is 1.2 million miles – just in our county!  And, it took more than 182,150 gallons of diesel fuel to do this!  That’s is enough fuel to fill TEN average-sized swimming pools!  Not to mention all of the other fluids, tires, wipers, lights and other stuff that need replacing – just imagine the maintenance required! Our 8 full-time mechanics do an amazing job!

From a safety standpoint, our fleet of buses is constantly being upgraded and modernized. We now have 14 buses equipped with Stop Arm Cameras, designed to catch drivers on video who pass stopped school buses (a big no-no!). Also, all of our buses are equipped with Global Positioning Systems (GPS). GPS systems allow us to monitor the locations of our buses at all times. We can tell the speed of a bus, when it applies the brakes, and even when it deploys a stop arm. It also allows us to monitor time and attendance of our drivers, which allows for a very accurate account of bus driver hours for payroll.

The GPS system also has a feature called “Comparative Analysis”. This allows us to monitor and maximize the efficiency of our routes as designed by our routing program and compare to what our buses are actually doing. It also lets us offer the “Here Comes the Bus,” a mobile app made available to our parents. Using this app, parents and students are able to view real-time location of their bus. It has meant fewer missed pick-ups, preventing children to not have to wait in the dark, freezing temperatures, or pouring rain. Parents also no longer need to call the school to check the status of the bus.

Finally, did we mention our recent state safety inspection?  We received the best score EVER and beat the regional average score and had NO buses with serious safety infractions.

All in all, we have a pretty amazing Transportation Department full of talented staff, led by Mr. Harry Wilkins. We hope the next time you see one of our buses on the road, you will have a newfound respect and appreciation for the job we do of carrying the most precious cargo on the road – OUR STUDENTS!

#GCPSONTHEMOVE

Triangle North Healthcare Foundation’s 2019 Grant Cycle is Open

-Press Release, Triangle North Healthcare Foundation 

Triangle North Healthcare Foundation’s Board of Directors has announced the launch of its 2019 grant cycle, now open through May 17, 2019.

The Foundation seeks programs and projects that will provide positive results in one or more of the five focus areas: Chronic Disease, Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders, Nutrition and Physical Activity, Reproductive Health, and Success in School as related to Healthy Lifestyles. Nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and schools are eligible to apply.

The link to the Foundation’s online grant application is available at the website: www.tnhfoundation.org 

Triangle North Healthcare Foundation, a regional healthcare grantmaking organization based in Henderson, NC, is a health legacy foundation that was established in 2011 following the merge of Maria Parham Medical Center and Duke Lifepoint.

The Foundation’s mission– to encourage, support, and invest in quality efforts that measurably improve health in the Triangle North area— is achieved through funding strategic initiatives, programs, and projects that focus on improving health.  The Foundation also supports programs that build capacity and develop leaders for nonprofits in the region.

The Foundation has launched a grant cycle each year since its grantmaking began in 2013. To date, the Foundation has invested over $1.5 million in over 60 projects serving the four counties in the region, Franklin, Granville, Vance, and Warren.

According to the Foundation’s Executive Director Val Short, the Foundation Board’s hope is that through grantee organizations and the people they serve, the Board’s vision for the future of our region will be realized…“to live in a healthy community.”

“Our hope is that the Foundation’s investment of grant funds in our communities will result in long-lasting improvements in the health and wellbeing of our children and adults,” Short said.

The Foundation staff is currently available to discuss ideas for grant projects or to assist with grant writing.  Call 252-598-0763 to schedule an appointment.  Information about current and past funded programs and projects is available on the website at www.tnhfoundation.org.

Reminder: Groundbreaking for Granville’s New Law Enforcement Center/Animal Shelter

-Information courtesy Granville County Government

Please SAVE THE DATE for Tuesday, March 12, 2019, for a “groundbreaking” ceremony for Granville County’s new Law Enforcement Center/Animal Shelter.

The ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. at the construction site, 525 New Commerce Drive in Oxford. The public is invited to attend.