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Watch Out for Scam Email, Those Impersonating Others

Henderson-Vance Chamber of Commerce President Michele Burgess reminded members Friday to ignore potentially spam emails.

Be especially careful at this time due to the fact that the subject line of an email going around right now is misleading about the Chamber itself.

Burgess wrote to members, including WIZS Radio, in a legitimate email and said, “Several of our business members reached out to me yesterday afternoon to report a strange email they received … (The sender) was asking our business owners if they were interested in purchasing our Chamber of Commerce professional contacts for your sales, marketing, and promotional activities.”

Burgess said, “This is a scam!

“The Henderson-Vance County Chamber of Commerce would never sell your business contact information to a third party for any reason. I am working to now to try to track down this person and her company to warn her to stop using our Chamber of Commerce name in her company marketing.”

Delete the email.

Burgess can be reached for additional details or if you have more you can report to her. Call 438-8414 or email michele@hendersonvance.org.

Vance County Schools Announces Changes in Leadership

— courtesy of Vance County Schools; by Public Information Officer Aarika Sandlin; Online at vcs.k12.nc.us in original format with pictures as Sept 2021 Board Briefs

Vance County Schools is excited to announce John Suther as the new Chief Finance Officer. Suther earned his degree from North Carolina State University and has served as the Assistant Finance Officer for Vance County Schools the last 8 years. Suther comes to the position with 17 years of accounting experience and was certified by the North Carolina Association of School Business Management Academy in 2016 as a Certified School Business Director. Suther resides in Henderson with his wife Joy and their two children.

Cathy Kidd, the current Payroll Supervisor for VCS, will move into the Assistant Finance Officer position, having worked over 25 years in finance, with 19 years being in public education. She is a graduate of Wesleyan College and earned her Masters from the University of Phoenix. She resides in Weldon with her daughter, who is currently a student at UNC-Chapel Hill.

The current Chief Finance Officer, Jennifer Bennett, is taking a position with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Suther and Kidd will begin their new positions effective October 15, 2021.

Dr. Jennifer Carraway, the current Director of Student Services, will now serve as the Executive Director of Human Resources. Carraway has been with the district for 4 years, with a total of 27 years in education. She is a graduate of Barton College and earned her Masters and Doctorate from North Carolina State University. She resides in Henderson with her husband and two children and is a proud alumna of Vance County Schools. Carraway will begin her new position effective immediately.

Detrius Jones is our new Assistant Director of Human Resources. She has 13 year of experience in licensure and human resources. She is a graduate of KendPersall University in Chicago and earned her Masters from Concordia University in Oregon. She resides in Raleigh, NC with her two children and began her position in August.

Vance County Schools is excited to announce Mr. Cyrus Waters as the new principal for Advance Academy. Mr. Waters has been in the field of education since 2003, having served as a CTE Teacher, Special Populations Coordinator, Assistant Principal and most recently Principal at Gaston Middle School in North Hampton County. He is a graduate of Shaw University and earned two graduate degrees with one being from Gardner Webb University and the other from Andersonville Theological Seminary. Waters will begin following the upcoming retirement of Interim Principal, Mark Lawhorne.

Maria Parham Health

Local Covid Q & A with Maria Parham Health

WIZS 1450 AM/ 100.1 FM News reached out to Maria Parham Health with several local covid questions. Maria Parham quickly responded through its public information officer and provided the following answers:

Q1 – How many people are currently hospitalized at Maria Parham with COVID?

A1 – We are currently treating fewer than 20 COVID-positive patients. 90% of those people are NOT vaccinated.

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Q2 – What COVID-related restrictions are placed on patients? On visitors?

A2 – We are limiting visitors to only one per day, but no visitors are allowed for COVID-19 patients with the exception of end of life circumstances. No one who is COVID-19 positive, exhibiting symptoms or has a recent exposure is permitted as a visitor at this time.

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Q3 – Is there any other relevant information you would like to share with the public?

A3 – Numbers don’t lie. The overwhelming majority of our hospitalized COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated, and vaccination is still our best defense against serious illness, hospitalization and death. We urge citizens to protect themselves, protect their families and protect our community by rolling up their sleeves and getting vaccinated against COVID-19 if they have not already done so. Maria Parham Primary Care in Henderson and Maria Parham Multispecialty Clinic in Louisburg are offering the vaccine and can be contacted directly for vaccine needs. Maria Parham Primary Care, 252.436.0440. Maria Parham Multispecialty Clinic, 919.497.8380.

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Q4 – Are you experiencing staffing issues due to the latest COVID surge?

A4 – Staffing is an industry-wide issue, and we are experiencing the same relative resource pressures in this regard as most other healthcare providers. Given the increase in volume we are experiencing, patients may expect extended wait times as our staff do their very best to provide each individual the appropriate level of care they need. We know the community understands this dynamic, and we appreciate their continued support.

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Q5 – Will an employee’s vaccination status have an effect on his or her employment status at some point?

A5 – At this time, Maria Parham Health is strongly encouraging and supporting all of our team members to become fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but vaccination is not currently required. We are aware of President Biden’s recent announcement about new federal COVID-19 vaccine requirements, and we agree that the vaccine is our best defense against this virus. Right now, we are working to understand the details of this development and the impact it will have for employees and providers at our facility.

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Maria Parham Health is an advertising client of WIZS. This is not a paid ad.

Upcoming Listening Sessions Give Residents A Chance To Give Input On Redrawing District Boundaries

Vance County residents have the opportunity to attend several public listening sessions in the next month as the county begins the business of redrawing district boundaries for commissioner and school board seats.

The first meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 28 at 6 p.m. at the Vance County Administration building. The second meeting will take place at the Townsville Volunteer Fire Department on Monday, Oct. 11 and the third meeting will be Monday, Oct. 18 at Kittrell Volunteer Fire Department. All meetings begin at 6 p.m., according to information from Kelly Grissom, clerk to the board of commissioners.

Every 10 years, counties use updated Census data to ensure that voting districts have essentially the same number of constituents. Changes are required after every Census to ensure the “one person, one vote” standard. To do so, an ideal population is established for each district by dividing the population by the number of elected officials to be elected from those districts.

Information on the county’s website notes the population by district, based on 2020 Census data. The ideal population for each district has been calculated at 6,083. Districts 1, 2 and 7 stand to lose some constituents and districts 3,4,5 and 6 could gain some constituents as the boundaries are redrawn.

Although there is some room for flexibility, districts must still meet federal and state guidelines. The state’s guidelines are stricter, allowing for a 5 percent deviation.

For Vance County to meet that 5 percent or better threshold, lines must be drawn so that there are no more than 304 people in any one district versus another. District 7 will get the most attention as it is 13.1% over at the present time in population. No other district is more than 2.7% worse than ideal.  Since three of the four districts that surround district 7 are in pretty good shape, minor adjustments should correct all issues related to population and district lines.

District 7 is largely what could be described as north and west Henderson, extending west between the I-85 and U.S. 158 Business corridors and including areas like the Dabney community and west as well as south of Oxford Road to Old County Home Road.

As a result of the Census data, Henderson’s fall election was rescheduled for spring 2022; municipal elections in Kittrell and Middleburg are not affected.

TownTalk: Night Out Against Crime Event Coming To Downtown Henderson

Like many other areas around the state and nation, Henderson and Vance County is no stranger to crime. Crime happens and law enforcement agencies need help to solve these crimes. That’s where Crime Stoppers comes in. They provide tips that can solve or even prevent crimes.

Cash rewards of up to $2000 are available if a tip results in an arrest and conviction. In order to make those rewards possible fundraisers need to happen.

The Night Out Against Crime here locally will take place on Breckenridge St. from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 21.

Tonya Moore and Lorraine Watkins of Henderson-Vance Crime Stoppers told WIZS’s Trey Snide on TownTalk there is important information to pass along to residents who attend the free event but plenty of fun and entertainment is to be had as well.  Event organizers are expecting around 500 people to attend on Tuesday and will be treated to performances by the Vance County High School Cheerleaders, the Clearview Church Praise Team, the High Grass Bluegrass Band and the gospel choir Work in Progress. At the end of the program a drawing will be held for a big screen TV.

One of the focuses of the event is to reach young people “We really, really need to get in touch with young people to get them pointed in the right direction,” Watkins said. “Not a day goes by without a shooting or a robbery,” Watkins continued.

Watkins also addressed the need for the community to step up and provide local law enforcement with the information they need to help solve or prevent crimes but pointed out that people are afraid to talk or give information to law enforcement agencies.  Crime Stoppers uses the P3 app for cell phones to make tips completely anonymous. With the app users can supply pictures, video and other information to police departments or sheriff’s offices and the use is completely anonymous. A code is used as calls and texts are routed across the country before arriving back in Henderson so the tips can be investigated. Watkins said that if someone sees a crime about to happen the P3 app can be used and law enforcement agencies will be able to intervene before the crime ever happens. “Proactive is better than retroactive everyday,” Watkins said.

According to Moore, those interested in finding out more about Crime Stoppers should follow them on Facebook. Crime Stoppers is composed of volunteers and Moore and Watkins say it’s all about making Henderson and Vance County a better place.

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City of Henderson Logo

City Council Trying to Account for Desires and Make Improvements

The Henderson City Council met Monday, September 13. The areas around two congested intersections appeared on the agenda. In both cases the understanding of the parties involved led to Council decisions.

For a couple of years, there has been interest from a developer to do something with the parcels of land at 1337 and 1343 Dabney Drive at the corner of Lynne Avenue. Unlike in 2019 and 2020, Councilman Garry Daeke said the City agreed to go ahead and rezone the property this time. He said it was made very clear a forthcoming site plan from the developer could not include ingress and egress from the residential side of the property onto Lynne Avenue. A cul-de-sac will be built to close off Lynne Avenue from Dabney Drive.

Daeke said, “I still worry about in the future as we do this. The exits from this property will turn into a lane that turns back into the mall, so I’m not sure how people will be able to exit and leave and do it safely but certainly DOT will be involved in this. We hope this works out. I’m still a little apprehensive about the traffic flow of it, but I think we’ve got what we want to have in terms of not moving traffic into a neighborhood.”

It’s believed at this point, the existing property owner will sell to the developer, the developer will raze the property for redevelopment, sell a portion of the land back to the city for the cul-de-sac and as a result of the process additional development will occur at that location on Dabney Drive.

Across town a piece, the former Henderson Laundry building stands vacant at an intersection, Chestnut Street and Andrews Avenue, that sees 20,000 cars a day go by. Councilman Daeke says Vance County has given it’s portion of the property to the City of Henderson.

In order to apply for the North Carolina Dry Cleaning Solvent Cleanup Act (DSCA) funds, a single owner needed to be listed. It’s an understood the County will stand back up on the matter later.

A lot of expense could be lurking. Chemicals and cleaning products are in the ground there and in the building.

Daeke said, “It’s going to be tricky. We won’t know until we get in there. We know there are some chemicals that have got to come out. There are some machines still in there that have the same chemicals in them. They have to come out. And then the remediation of the property is where the costs may be. It could be as simple as trying to clean it up … It could be the building cannot be demolished because of some issues, and we’ll have to remodel it. That was a real throw to me the other night. I didn’t know that, and that could be very expensive, so it’s going to be tricky to get that done. But that’s such an important corner, entry into the city as we try to move traffic into downtown from Highway 39 and from the interstate. And that’s such an eyesore, and we want to clean that up and do something there or make it available for development. But there are going to be some costs to do that.”

The plan is – Proceed in such a way that the DSCA program limits the City/County exposure for outside remediation of the solvents to $16,000. The City Council Agenda packet information indicates it is estimated $15,000 is needed for equipment and chemical removal from inside the building alone. The next step in what could be a long process.

Caleb Malik Batchelor Sentenced to More Than 19 Years for Felon in Possession of Ammo

— press release —

A Henderson man was sentenced (Tuesday) to 235 months in prison for two counts of Felon in Possession of Ammunition. On June 10, 2021, Caleb Malik Batchelor, pled guilty to the charges.

According to court documents and other information presented in court, on October 18, 2020, Batchelor, age 23, shot a female victim multiple times at the Highland Green Apartment Complex in Henderson, North Carolina. Batchelor and the victim had been involved in a domestic dispute. The victim sustained life-threatening injuries from the shooting but survived. Law enforcement recovered spent shell casings from the scene. About a month later, on November 16, 2020, Batchelor purchased additional ammunition from a gun store in Henderson. He is a convicted felon, having previous felony drug convictions, and was on probation from those convictions when he possessed the ammunition used to shoot the victim on October 18 and when he purchased additional ammunition on November 16, 2020.

G. Norman Acker, III, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge James C. Dever III. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Henderson Police Department, and the Vance County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert J. Dodson prosecuted the case.

A copy of this press release is located on our website. Related court documents and information can be found on the website of U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina or on PACER by searching for Case No. 5:20-CR-541-D.

VGCC Enrollment Up 7.4 Percent; Good News for Several Reasons

Students at Vance-Granville Community College have signed up to take more 16-week and 8-week term classes over last year’s enrollment, which adds value for students and VGCC.

The college reported a 7.4 percent increase in the number of credit hours that students are taking and that full-time equivalent calculation affects the level of state funding that community colleges receive.

VGCC President Dr. Rachel Desmarais said the more courses a student takes, the higher the reimbursement rate for the college. Community colleges don’t keep tuition, but rely instead on a redistribution of various funding streams to provide quality programs and training to the community.

“When students successfully complete more courses, they accelerate entry or re-entry into the workforce with their new skills,” Demarais said. “That’s good for individuals, the college, employers and our community.”

Dr. Levy Brown, vice president of learning, student engagement & success said the increase is a result of good teamwork from across VGCC’s campus – from admissions and financial aid to advisors, faculty and marketing.

“We are optimistic about this enrollment mark, and are committed to continuously connecting diverse individuals in our service area to our college, relevant academic programs, resources and supports,” Brown stated.

The second 8-week term begins Oct. 13 and enrollment is open now. Program choices include business administration, college transfer, criminal justice, early childhood education and medical office administration.

Visit www.vgcc.edu and click the Admissions tab for enrollment details.

(VGCC is an advertising client of WIZS.  This is not a paid ad.)