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Vance Water District Gets $4.4M In Grant, Loan Program For Improvement, Expansion

The Vance County Water District is one of four in the state that will benefit from a federal program to help rural communities improve drinking water for its residents.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that Vance County is set to get $1.6 million in loan and an additional $2.8 million in grant funds to build its Phase B waterline expansion project, according to a press statement from the USDA.

According to the statement, upgrades include installing 23 miles of water mains and expansion of the county’s coverage to 210 rural residents within the Kittrell township.

“Rural Development is providing much needed assistance to help rebuild these dated water systems in rural North Carolina,” said USDA Rural Development State Director Reginald Speight.
USDA water and environmental programs help rural communities obtain the financing and technical assistance necessary to develop, maintain and improve drinking water and waste disposal systems, Speight added.

The loan and grant program serves people and businesses in eligible rural areas with populations of 10,000 or less.  It provides money for clean and reliable drinking water systems, sanitary sewage disposal, sanitary solid waste disposal and storm water damage.

The Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program is awarding $272 million to modernize rural drinking water and wastewater across 37 states and Puerto Rico, affecting more than 270,000 residents.

Show Shine Shag and Dine 2021

The wait is over. It’s showtime for the annual Vance County Tourism Show Shine Shag and Dine car show and events.

Friday morning the pre-show cruise-in happens at Satterwhite Point Park on Kerr Lake from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. SG Smoke House food truck will be on site. Enjoy great brisket and more. Classic cars on display, a DJ, fun and fellowship. Open to all makes and models 1988 and older. NO admission fee, open to participants and the public. Again, open to the public … Head out and enjoy these beautiful pieces of automotive history.

Friday night…It’s the Show Shine Shag and Dine evening cruise-in. Head to downtown Henderson from 6 to 9 p.m. hosted by Southern Classic Cars on Horner Street. Be sure to check out the classic cars on display in the showroom. Enjoy the DJ on site and seeing the cars and memorabilia. Open to the public. Free – No admission charge.

Saturday…The Show, Shine, Shag and Dine car show will feature hundreds of 1988 and older antique and classic cars, muscle cars, trucks and more on display along Garnett Street in historic downtown Henderson. Other displays include the East Coast Drag Times Hall of Fame Reunion and the Corbitt Truck Show. You can also visit the Corbitt Truck Museum on Church Street. Enjoy food, vendors, and live entertainment throughout the day, including performances by Brake Tyme Band. FREE admission, open to the public.

SportsTalk: Vance Charter Women’s Basketball Hoping For A State Championship

With basketball season only about a month away expectations are high for the women’s varsity program at Vance Charter. “It’s the most excitement we’ve had going into a season in a long time,” says coach Brian Howard. The Knights, who return every player from last year’s team, are looking to this year as an opportunity to make a state championship run. Coach Howard says tryouts have gone well and this year he held summer workouts for his players for the first time.  “We had about 80% participation,” Howard said. That meant some players would leave work, come to practice and then return to work. He is very pleased with the maturity level his four returning seniors are showing. “They have shown tremendous growth and are the leaders of the team,” says Coach Howard.

They won’t be relying only on their talented seniors. Last year’s undefeated J-V team was undefeated and many of those players are now freshmen and they will also play a huge role in the success the Knights are hoping for.

Coach Howard says that while some of his players do play multiple sports, they are very, very dedicated to the basketball program at Vance Charter.  All of these factors figure into the belief that Vance Charter may indeed make a run at a state championship this season.

The road to that championship begins next month against Franklin Academy. A team who, at this point, Coach Howard knows nothing about. He’s not really too worried about that. “We just have to handle our business,” Howard said to Trey Snide on Thursday’s SportsTalk.


The Local Skinny! Night Out Against Crime is Tuesday, Oct. 19.

Vance County’s Night Out Against Crime is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 19 on Breckenridge Street, and there will be lots of activities for families to enjoy, according to Lorraine Watkins and Tonya Moore, a couple of the organizers for the annual event.

Originally scheduled for September, rainy conditions forced officials to move the annual event to next week, Watkins told Trey Snide during Thursday’s The Local Skinny! program. Fortunately, all the participants are able to attend next week, which both women are pleased about. Activities begin at 4:30 p.m. and conclude at 8:30 p.m.

“It’s going to be absolutely awesome,” Watkins said. “This is going to be one of the best events we’ve ever had.”

Whether you’re interested in getting a free hot dog or Coca-Cola product, or you’re a kid who wants to match his (or her) push-up skills against local law enforcement officers, the evening is sure to be entertaining and fun-filled.

In addition to guest speakers and welcomes from the Henderson Police Department and Vance County Sheriff’s Office, cheer squads from the high school and middle school are scheduled to perform. And right after the Gospel choir Work In Progress finishes its concert, there will be a drawing – hopefully captured live on Facebook – for a $500 gift card to Sam’s Furniture.

COVID-19 vaccines and testing also will be available.

TownTalk: Sons Of American Revolution Hope Upcoming Events Will Draw Interest From Vance & Granville

Bill Riggan likes to give credit where credit is due. And as a member of the Halifax Resolves Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution, that credit involves identifying and marking graves of long-deceased patriots and compatriots and honoring them with an official ceremony.

Riggan spoke with Bill Harris on Town Talk’s tri-weekly history program. He said there are ceremonies scheduled for the next two Saturdays in Franklin County to where a number of graves at several different cemeteries have been identified.

“Not only do you have to find the grave, but they must be marked…and we have to get permission from the family,” Riggan said.

The first ceremony will be Saturday, Oct. 16 at 10 a.m. in Youngsville at the Winston family cemetery on the grounds of Long Mill Elementary School. Anthony Winston and one of his sons, John Winston, will be honored for being patriots – defined as anyone who contributed service in one way or another to support the Revolution cause.

Whether they held public office, signed the Oath of Allegiance or served in the militia, patriots and their contributions are what SAR members want to commemorate. “Not only just people who were soldiers, but those who contributed to the cause, in our minds, are considered patriots,” Riggan noted.

These ceremonies are actually a pretty big deal, he said, adding that he expects representatives from such organizations as the NC Sons of the American Revolution, as well as their counterparts in Georgia and Virginia. The local Daughters of the American Revolution, local Boy Scout troop and members of the Winston family all will be represented.

Later on Oct. 16, at 2 p.m., the group will travel to Oakwood Cemetery in Louisburg. At this ceremony, Daniel Smithwick, a dentist and well-known historian in Franklin County in the 1930’s, will be remembered. Smithwick was instrumental in reviving the state SAR and in getting the Harrison Macon Chapter of the SAR started in Franklin County. The chapter was named for Smithwick’s father-in-law, and Smithwick “purchased a stone from the government to mark the grave” of Macon, who was a military veteran. The search for that grave marker continues to this day.

It’s out there, Riggan said, adding that it, so far, has proven elusive.

Whenever they locate a grave of a Revolutionary War patriot, SAR representatives plan a ceremony to officially commemorate the spot with a footstone that has an SAR logo on it. The stone is installed in such a way that Riggan said future generations will not have to search for and wonder who is buried where.

On Saturday, Oct. 23, the team will be back in Youngsville to honor Francis Timberlake. The Timbelake Family Cemetery is located on property of Hill Ridge Farms, and the cemetery is located nearby on Timberlake Drive. Then, that afternoon, it’s back to Oakwood Cemetery in Louisburg for to honor five more patriots – that’s the maximum number allowed by the national SAR.

Riggan said he expects that there are gravesites in Granville and Vance counties that can be identified as well, and he welcomes participation from anyone in either county to consider joining the local SAR. The Halifax Resolves chapter encompasses eight counties and Riggan hopes to “spread the good word in Vance County” about SAR’s mission.

Becoming a member is not as involved a process as one may think, he said, although it may prove a little involved if genealogy isn’t your thing. Basically, if there is someone in your family who has served the Revolution in some way, you are a candidate for membership.

“It’s been something that’s been very rewarding for me,” Riggan said of his involvement with SAR. “Other than the Mayflower Society and the Jamestown Society, the SAR and the DAR are the gold standard for genealogical societies,” he said.

There’s a lot more to SAR than just attending monthly meetings, Riggan said. “It’s just a subtle way to show patriotism and be involved in things that are important to a lot of people,” he added.

To learn more, contact

Bill Riggan of the Halifax Resolves Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution details upcoming events.


City of Henderson Logo

City Leaders Continue Looking At Ways To Reimagine Downtown Neighborhoods To Attract Growth, Development

As plans for reimagining and redeveloping neighborhoods near downtown Henderson continue, city leaders are considering ways to improve current areas while understanding how best to create new opportunities for growth.

One way may be establishing an urban overlay district, which was explained to City Council members Monday as a way to allow for multifamily housing units in areas where they currently are not allowed.

City Manager Terrell Blackmon told WIZS News in a written statement that the overlay district is just one aspect of the redevelopment work being planned to “jumpstart” the urban redevelopment area, or URA, in the Elmwood area of Henderson. The groundwork being laid now, Blackmon said, is “designed to entice builders/developers to consider new development, as well as infill development in the city of Henderson.”

As Corey Williams, the city’s development services department director, explained, the city has torn down numerous homes that were either abandoned or in disrepair. But when the properties remain vacant, with no growth or development filling in, the state defines that as “blight.”

The UNC School of Government is working on a study to move the URA forward and to help define the area and offer tools to help remove the blight.

That could mean additional code enforcement, but Williams said the city hasn’t unpacked that part of the toolbox yet.

“I think we can balance it out,” Williams told WIZS News Wednesday. “We’ll build more with less land, make our community walkable, safe and friendly and tie everything back to downtown,” he added. And the infill development can be done in a way that it enhances the downtown area and put neighborhoods within walking distance of downtown amenities.

The city also may be able to acquire properties that can be bundled to create larger chunks of continguous land, which could be beneficial for further development.

Most developers, he said, aren’t interested in doing all the infrastructure work needed to develop properties – it’s almost become the work of the city, he said. The city “can do the enforcement, put the pieces together and put it out (there) and market it to developers.”

With guidance from the council and the redevelopment commission, Williams said he sees a bright future for neighborhoods like those in the Elmwood URA.

The School of Government study showed that Henderson needs 3,000 additional housing units to accommodate residents. The Elmwood URA can’t handle that many single-family dwellings, so the overlay district would allow for mixed-use residences, from townhomes and condos to single-family homes. Key to this development is affordability to homeowners, he noted. In a mixed-use plan, there is room for renters and homeowners.

Development of a land use plan and updating the zoning ordinances may be in order as the city continues to look at ways to create neighborhoods in and around downtown. A unified development ordinance is something that Williams said may be in the city’s future. Such an ordinance would be a strategic way to approach development.

At the end of the day, Williams said, it is key to understand what the residents can afford. Single-family homes at $150/square foot may not be realistic. “I think if we can do some things that are affordable, but mixed-use, not just for moderate income…we’ll have a better standard of quality than we have had in the past.”

TownTalk: Infinite Possibilities Shines A Light On Domestic Violence Awareness

Erin Carter says events like the one coming up Saturday at Aycock Rec Complex are about more than awareness – it’s a public demonstration of support to show victims and survivors of domestic violence that they aren’t alone in the fight to put an end to what has become all-too-common in society.

Carter and Bretanya Simmons work with Infinite Possibilities, Inc., a place where victims of abuse can go for support and help during a crisis. Carter is a victim’s advocate and Simmons is a court advocate and also works with area youth struggling with domestic violence situations.

The “Walk A Mile In Her Shoes” event will start at 10 a.m., Carter told John C. Rose on Wednesday’s Town Talk.

“Events like this show our clients that we are all on the same page,” Simmons said. “It’s important for our clients to see us outside our roles sometimes,” she added.

Carter and Simmons are hoping to see lots of like-minded walkers Saturday. “We are hoping for a great turnout,” Carter said, adding that participants just need to show up, sign in to get a number from the information desk and be ready to walk by 10 a.m.

The main office is in Henderson, and Simmons’s office is in Warrenton, right beside the magistrate’s office.  Clients often are referred to her when they come in to get restraining orders for partners or spouses, she said. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, she said she saw an uptick in clients. But volume fell, she said, as the pandemic wore on: victims were stuck at home with their abusers, she said, and didn’t have an opportunity to seek help.

“Once the world stopped, and the majority of (people) were working at home, we didn’t see as many coming in – they didn’t get that time they normally would to reach out and get help with their situation,” Simmons said.

Those “situations” aren’t limited to physical abuse, Carter said. “Domestic violence is so much more than just physical abuse,” she added. Just because we don’t see bruises or other physical harm, doesn’t mean it’s not domestic violence, she said. There’s emotional abuse, financial abuse, spiritual abuse, as well as cyber bullying.

“That’s why education is so important,” Carter explained. “If we are educated, then we can help someone else.” Being able to create a conversation with someone you suspect may be a victim of domestic violence can be the first step to getting help for that person. “Create a conversation – not a coercive conversation, but an empathetic conversation, a gentle conversation…to provide information, could go a long way to help someone,” she said.

The Infinite Possibilities hotline is 252.425.2492. Learn more at or find them on Facebook.

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Vance County Sheriff's Office

Sheriff Brame Reports Arrests In Recent Vehicle Break-Ins, Theft of Catalytic Converters

The Vance County Sheriff’s Office announced Wednesday that two men have been arrested and charged in separate incidents – one involving theft of catalytic converters and the other with breaking into vehicles in the Dabney community.

According to information from Sheriff Curtis R. Brame, the criminal investigation division of the sheriff’s office arrested Dakota Wilson of Chase City, VA on Tuesday on three counts of felony larceny and three counts of injury to property to obtain non-ferrous metal – catalytic converters. The thefts were concentrated in the southern part of the county. Wilson was given a $120,000 bond and transported to the Vance County Detention Center. He has a court date of Nov. 16, 2021.

Orlando Lucas of Kittrell was arrested on Monday and charged with two felony counts of breaking and entering of a vehicle and one count of felony larceny. He was placed in Vance County Detention Center under a $60,000 secured bond. He has a first court appearance on Dec. 20, 2021.