Vance County NC

Vance County Manager Thanks Staff Leadership Team

The new county manager for Vance County, Renee Perry, started November 1, 2023, and on November 20 as a Board of Commissioners work session wrapped up, she gave thanks to county staff and named her leadership team.

“I’m coming up on week three, and I just wanted to sing high praises to staff. They’ve been wonderful with helping me get acclimated, and I would just say that Vance County has some jewels and especially in administration,” Perry said. Perry said her leadership team consists of the following:

  • Finance Director – Katherine S. Bigelow, CPA
  • Human Resources Director – Argretta Johen
  • Clerk to the Board/Executive Assistant – Kelly H. Grissom
  • Special Projects Coordinator – Frankie Nobles

In the mid-October announcement by the Board of Commissioners of Perry’s appointment, Board Chair Yolanda Feimster stated that a recruitment process over the summer resulted in Perry’s selection and that Perry “will assist the board in continuing to achieve its ongoing goals as well as execute major capital projects.”

TownTalk: Follow-Up On Report Of Elevated Lead Levels In Two County Locations

At a work session last week, one of the items that Vance County commissioners discussed was a notice from the state’s division of water quality about two instances of excessive lead levels in county drinking water.

Although the source has not been determined to date, the county’s Special Projects Manager Frankie Nobles told the commissioners during that work session on Nov. 20 that proper notification about the lead levels is one point that the county must address by Wednesday, Nov. 29.

In addition to publishing and posting flyers, Nobles said additional information would be sent out in upcoming bills.

The county buys its water from the city, and Kerr Lake Regional Water System director Christy Lipscomb told WIZS News Monday by phone that she was unaware of the notice received by county staff.

Lipscomb said regulations state that water systems must perform 60 point of testing every three years to check lead and copper levels. And KLRWS is on what Lipscomb called a “diminished schedule” of only 30 tests every three years because there are so few problems with elevated levels.

The most recent testing took place in August, Lipscomb said. The result? Zero “hits,” or problems.

The two locations – one on Warrenton Road and one on Vicksboro Road – showed twice the allowable levels of lead at .030 MG/L. The threshold is .015 MG/L.

“The local health department regularly tests for child lead exposure in our child health clinics (it’s a simple blood test),” said Granville Vance Public Health Director Lisa Harrison. “If any levels are elevated, we have a team of one environmental health specialist together with one nurse who go together into the home to do further environmental testing,” Harrison told WIZS News in an email Monday.

Child health appointments can be made by calling the health department for those who wish to have their children tested. This can also be done easily at a local doctor’s office or pediatrician’s office. The GVPH team is notified regardless if there are concerns for any child tested for lead exposure, Harrison explained.

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The source of the lead most likely is not from the water supply itself, but from pipes or other sources at the two individual locations. No details about the two addresses were shared at the work session.

Commissioner Dan Brummitt noted during the work session that the water system specs provided for construction without use of materials that contain lead, including the use of solder.

Water doesn’t naturally contain lead, but water can be contaminated with lead through lead pipes and other infrastructure used to bring water to individual households. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most common sources of lead in drinking water are lead pipes, faucets and plumbing fixtures. Certain pipes that carry drinking water from the water source to the home may contain lead. Household plumbing fixtures, welding solder, and pipe fittings made before 1986 may also contain lead.

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Elevated Lead Levels Found In Two Recent County Water Samples


Some county water customers may find some information in their upcoming water bills letting them know that some recent samples have tested high for lead.

The Vance County Board of Commissioners heard from Special Projects Coordinator Frankie Nobles during the Monday work session, who outlined the next steps required to address the violation. The county must comply with nine steps set out by the N.C. Division of Enviornmental Quality in a report Nobles received on Nov. 2.

He singled out two locations, one on Warrenton Road and one on Vicksboro Road, that were found to be at .030 MG/L (milligrams per liter) – double allowable threshold of .015 MG/L.

“It’s not a concern that’s affected our whole system,” Nobles told commissioners.

Vance County Manager Renee Perry said that, in addition to informing the public in a variety of ways about the levels,  Envirolink – the county’s contracted water department – would perform more sampling to determine the source of the lead.

In an email to WIZS News Wednesday, Perry said the county has to perform a lead inventory to identify all the existing piping that contain elements with lead in it, and therefore need replacing. Pipe replacement is not part of Envirolink’s activities, she said.

There could be several possible causes, she said, including the source of water, the distribution system (material with lead components) and the sample point itself.

“Due the monitoring results, the lead was not detected in the majority of the sites, so we can conclude that neither the water source, nor the distribution system have these implications,” she said, which means the community is not exposed to a potentially harmful situation.

Perry said that once additional samples are analyzed, the county will get the results and send to the affected locations a consumer notice of lead tap water results.


Henderson Police Arrest Two On Drug Charges; Heroin, Cocaine, Marijuana, Oxycodone Seized At Local Motel

Henderson police arrested two individuals on a variety of drug charges including manufacturing cocaine and trafficking heroin Tuesday at a local motel.

After serving a narcotics search warrant at the “121” Motel, Room 232, located at 197 Parham Rd., officers of the Henderson Police Department approximately 450 dosage units of heroin, 12.9 grams of marijuana, 14.7 grams of cocaine, 38 Suboxone Strips, oxycodone, drug manufacturing equipment, $1,512 in U.S. currency, and one semi-automatic pistol, according to information from Henderson Police Chief Marcus Barrow.

Arrested were Devon Blake Rhodes, 27 and Dylaney Darnes, 21, Barrow stated.

Both Devon Rhodes and Dylaney Darnes each were charged with:

  • two counts of trafficking heroin
  • two counts of maintaining a dwelling place for a controlled substance
  • possession with intent to manufacture, sell, deliver heroin
  • possession with intent to manufacture, sell, deliver cocaine
  • possession with intent to manufacture, sell, deliver Schedule II
  • possession with intent to manufacture, sell, deliver Schedule III
  • possession with intent to manufacture, sell, deliver marijuana
  • manufacture cocaine
  • possession of drug paraphernalia
  • possession of drug paraphernalia not marijuana

Rhodes received an additional charge of possession of firearm by a felon. Both were remanded to the Vance County Detention Center. Darnes received a $580,000 secured bond; Rhodes received no bond due to being on pre-trial release.

Chamber “Shop With A Cop” Fundraiser Nets $15,000

The Shop With A Cop fundraiser sponsored by the Henderson-Vance Chamber of Commerce was a huge success, and Chamber President Sandra Wilkerson said law enforcement officers and first responders were going to have about $15,000 to spend on their upcoming shopping spree with area youngsters.

A celebratory reception held last week for all the sponsors went great, Wilkerson said Monday. About 100 people attended the event, which included a 50/50 raffle. Between the proceeds of the raffle and a couple of last-minute sponsors, Wilkerson said the fundraiser exceeded her initial expectations of $11,000.

According to Wilkerson, Barrow commented that it’s the most money he’s heard any program in the area getting for a Christmas shopping program.

The shopping spree will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 19 at the Walmart in Henderson.

Rebuild Communities NC Teams Up With AARP To Host Computer Classes Beginning Dec. 5

Join Rebuild Communities NC at Perry Memorial Library for a Digital Skills Ready@50+ program to learn more about navigating an increasingly digital world.

Rebuild Communities NC is again partnering with AARP’s Senior Planet to help senior adults learn more online skills.

Whether you want to learn how to participate in a Zoom call or host your own, the classes will have something for anyone interested in honing their computer application skills.

Classes are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the library’s Farm Bureau Room.

Whether you’re hoping to stay connected with family and friends, interested in learning new technologies, exploring  entrepreneurship, or looking for a job, the classes offer trainings technologies like video conferencing and accessing online job search.

The first two classes – Tuesday, Dec. 5 and Thursday, Dec. 7 – will discuss using Zoom.

On Tuesday, Dec. 12, the topic will be “Exploring & Downloading Apps;” the topic for Thursday, Dec. 14 is a lecture on Cloud Storage.

The classes will resume in January.



TownTalk: Jimmy Sidberry Explains Insurance Options During Annual Enrollment Period

The adage “One size does not fit all” is especially true for insurance coverage, a point to which local insurance representative Jimmy Sidberry can attest.

“This is my season,” Sidberry said on Tuesday’s TownTalk with guest host Steve Lewis, referring to the annual enrollment period open now through Dec. 7.

The annual enrollment period is a time for Medicare beneficiaries to take a look at their existing plans and make sure they’re still getting the best deal for their situation.

As Sidberry, with The Health Insurance Store on Dabney Drive explained it, Medicare is a federal insurance that pays 80 percent of a plan for people over 65. Medicaid is a state plan that helps low-income people pay that 20 percent not covered by Medicare.

Medicare is for people over 65 and for people under 65 with certain disabilities.

There are Medicare Advantage plans that provide coverage for  extras like dental and vision, Sidberry said.

The main thing that Sidberry said people approaching Medicare age should remember is this: Apply during the all-important window before your 65th birthday and no later than two months after. “If you wait, you can run into penalties,” he said. Penalties that won’t go away.

Same with prescription drug plans. The federal government requires beneficiaries to select a drug plan.

Beneficiaries who follow all the guidelines and meet all the deadlines have options before committing to a yearlong plan, Sidberry said. The open enrollment period runs between Jan. 1 and March 31.

“If a plan isn’t working for you, talk with your agent during the open enrollment period,” Sidberry suggested.

Want to learn more? Contact Sidberry at 919.500.9648.


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Perry Memorial Library

The Local Skinny! Events At Perry Memorial Library

The Perry Memorial Library has a flurry of events planned between Thanksgiving and Christmas, providing lots of interactive activities for the whole family.

Youth Services Director Melody Peters invites patrons to take the long way in to the library and enjoy reading a story along the sidewalk outside and lingering among the lovely Festival of Trees exhibit in the Gallery between the library entrance and McGregor Hall.

The library will be closed Thursday through Sunday, but come Monday, Nov. 27, activities at the library are going to be heating up.

The StoryWalk, Peters explained, is geared toward those preschool-aged children. Families can join in the fun and get in a little exercise while they read a book, panel by panel, along the sidewalk.

“It’s just a fun activity,” Peters said on Tuesday’s The Local Skinny! “This is a good way to build in exercise…and read a story along the way,” Peters said. The StoryWalk will be up for a month for all to enjoy.

On Tuesday, Dec. 12, at 4 p.m., Durham-based StoryUp! Aerial Theater will perform the classic fable of The Lion and the Mouse. “It’s like going to the circus, but then imagine theater,” Peters said, sort of a mini Cirque de Soleil with aerial artists interpreting the story that’s basically about being kind.

The library is launching another story time beginning Thursday, Dec. 7 for elementary-age children, Peters said. She hopes the 3:30 p.m. time slot will be just right to get children engaged before they head off to tackle homework assignments or Lego Club.

These books will be a little longer than those selected for younger children’s shorter attention spans, she said. The theme for December will focus on different holiday traditions. First up is a book titled “Hershel and the Hannukah Goblins.”

She said she plans to incorporate this new story time offering as a way to encourage children of all ages to enjoy being read to.

Consider embracing your inner crafter on Saturday, Dec. 16 when the library opens up for all ages to join in a variety of crafts for the whole family.

Speaking of crafts, the Mother Goose story time slot is giving way in December to make-and-take craft activities for those kiddos birth to 5 years, Peters noted. “We’ll take a break in December and offer…crafts,” she said. And while they may just seem like fun activities, there’s a lot of learning going on. Stringing cereal on a pipe cleaner involves developing that pincer grasp, as well as sorting by colors. “There’s so much learning happening,” Peters said.

Learn about all the services and programs at Perry Memorial Library at