NCDHHS Updates Nursing Home Order to Allow Indoor Visitation

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-Press Release, NCDHHS

As North Carolina’s key metrics continue to remain stable and strong infection prevention and control requirements remain in place, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services issued a Secretarial Order yesterday updating visitation guidelines for nursing homes to allow indoor visitation.

“We have focused on protecting the health of nursing home residents since the start of this crisis. Our progress in testing, infection control and slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our communities allows us to move forward with safe indoor visitation in accordance with federal guidance,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D.

Indoor visitation will only be permitted in nursing homes with no COVID-19 cases in the last 14 days and in counties with a percent positive testing rate of less than 10%, reflecting guidance from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Local community transmission levels are the key factor for nursing home outbreaks, emphasizing the importance of community-wide adoption of proven prevention practices (the 3 Ws). Facilities allowing in-person visitation will be required to follow strict infection prevention guidelines.

Throughout NCDHHS’s pandemic response, its five-point strategy for long-term care facilities has focused on prevention, staffing, testing, outbreak management and oversight. The department’s innovative universal testing strategy within skilled nursing facilities has been cited by the Rockefeller Foundation as a national model.


Federal Grant Will Fund Missing Link on Southeast Rail Corridor

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-Press Release, N.C. Department of Transportation

The N.C Department of Transportation has received a $47.5 million federal grant to purchase the S-Line rail corridor between Raleigh and Ridgeway in Warren County.

The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded this grant to the department’s Rail Division as part of the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) program. This investment into the Southeast Corridor will provide better connections between rural and urban communities while also spurring new economic development opportunities.

In addition, the corridor will help offer improved freight services and will trim up to 1.5 hours off passenger rail services between Raleigh, Virginia and D.C.

“A modernized freight and passenger rail network will connect the Southeast while spurring new economic development opportunities,” said Transportation Secretary Eric Boyette.

In 1992, the U.S. Department of Transportation named the Southeast Corridor as one of the first five federally designated higher-speed rail corridors in the country. The corridor is a network of passenger and freight rail that runs from Washington, D.C. to Jacksonville, Fla., encompassing D.C., Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida.

Ronnie Daniel Scholarship

New VGCC Scholarship Endowed in Memory of George Ronald ‘Ronnie’ Daniel


-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Faye Daniel Chappell and her brother, R. T. “Tom” Daniel, both of Oxford, recently established a new scholarship at Vance-Granville Community College in memory of their brother, George R. “Ronnie” Daniel.

VGCC will award the Ronnie Daniel Memorial Academic Achievement Scholarship to a student from Granville County. Preference will be given to students in programs of study related to information technology or medical fields. VGCC Health Sciences programs include Radiography, Nursing, Histotechnology, Medical Assisting and Pharmacy Technology.

A new scholarship was recently established at Vance-Granville Community College in memory of the late George R. “Ronnie” Daniel. VGCC will award the Ronnie Daniel Memorial Academic Achievement Scholarship to a student from Granville County. (Photo courtesy the Daniel family.)

“Ronnie would be pleased that from this memorial scholarship, many others will join the ranks of healthcare professionals,” Faye Daniel Chappell said.

Ronnie Daniel was born and raised in Oxford and remained there until his death in 2019. He graduated from J.F. Webb High School in 1967 and attended Hardbarger Business College in Raleigh. Daniel was employed by Food Lion for the last 15 years before he retired. While there, he was a faithful employee, never missing a day of work. He received several awards and recognitions while employed.

“Ronnie had a very outgoing personality and never met a stranger. His ability to interact with people enabled him to form many lifelong friendships. He enjoyed traveling. He particularly loved Disney World and had been there six times throughout the years. He also loved history, especially that which pertained to Granville County. He enjoyed getting out to use his Metal Detector, collecting coins and geodes,” his siblings, R.T. “Tom” Daniel and Faye Daniel Chappell, recalled.

“Thanks to this family’s generosity, the Ronnie Daniel Scholarship will support hard-working students for years to come by allowing them to complete training for rewarding careers,” said Dr. Rachel Desmarais, VGCC’s president.

“We are honored that Faye and Tom would choose to celebrate the life of their brother, Ronnie, by helping VGCC students achieve their educational goals,” added VGCC Endowment Director Eddie Ferguson.

Through the Endowment Fund, VGCC has awarded more than 9,700 scholarships to students since 1982. Scholarships have been endowed by numerous individuals, industries, businesses, civic groups, churches and the college’s faculty and staff. Tax-deductible donations to the VGCC Endowment Fund have often been used to honor or remember a person, group, business or industry with a lasting gift to education. For more information, call (252) 738-3409.

Duke Energy

Duke Energy Offering Extended Payment Plan Options

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-Information courtesy Tanya Evans, District Manager, Duke Energy

As Duke Energy gradually resumes standard billing and payment practices in North Carolina, our goal is to work with customers in need to ensure they have the opportunity to enroll in a payment plan that meets their specific situation, and that they have an opportunity to connect with local assistance agencies and funds.

Beginning October 1, 2020, customers behind on their bills will receive notices about their past-due balances. Disconnecting a customer’s service is the very last step in a lengthy process, and it’s a step we want to avoid altogether.

That’s why we are giving all customers who need more time to pay the opportunity to establish an extended payment plan to catch up on any balance that accumulated during the disconnection suspension. No customer on a payment plan who is current on that arrangement will be disconnected. It is important that they contact us as soon as possible to set up the payment arrangement.

We want customers facing financial hardship to know that we are here to help. Our team is prepared to support customers through these challenging times and provide manageable solutions to keep their lights on. We can be reached at the following numbers:

Duke Energy Carolinas: 1-800-777-9898

Duke Energy Progress: 1-800-452-2777

We also encourage customers to consider using the online self-service options to avoid longer wait times.

We recognize the financial impacts from this pandemic, for some, are far from over. If you know someone who needs help managing their Duke Energy bill, please encourage that person to give us a call.

Warren Co. Memorial Library

Warren County Memorial Library Reopens

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-Information courtesy Warren County Memorial Library

The Warren County Memorial Library reopened to this public this week. Hours are currently Monday – Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Book/resource browsing, copying, printing and faxing are available inside. No contact pickup is still provided.

Restrooms and computers will be unavailable for use from 11 a.m. until 12 p.m. to allow for cleaning.

Guests are asked to wear face covers and practice social distancing.

Farm Business Webinar Series

Cooperative Extension to Hold Four-Part Farm Business Webinar Series

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-Information courtesy Warren County Cooperative Extension

Franklin and Warren County Cooperative Extension will host a four-part Farm Business Webinar Series for interested participants.

Sessions Include:

  • September 24, 2020 – Farm Estates with Andrew Branan
  • October 1, 2020 – Present Use Values with Mark Megalos
  • October 8, 2020 – Record-Keeping/Quickbooks with Nate Converse
  • October 15, 2020 – Risk Management with Rodrick Rejesus

All meetings begin at 10 a.m. To register, go to Once registered, the link to the Zoom meeting will be emailed to you.

Emiliano Dunton

VGCC Student Engages in Cutting-Edge COVID-19 Research


-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Vance-Granville Community College student Emiliano Dunton of Oxford has faced challenges in his life, and now, he is involved in research related to what is perhaps the world’s biggest challenge today: the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

Dunton, a VGCC Bioprocess Technology student, is participating in a research externship program at North Carolina Central University (NCCU) through a partnership between the community college and the university. Through the externship, he gets practical experience related to his studies. Specifically, Dunton works with a team led by Dr. Weifan Zheng, an award-winning professor of pharmaceutical sciences at NCCU’s Biomanufacturing Research Institute and Technology Enterprise (BRITE) program, along with research scientists Xialan Dong and Zheng Huang. Zheng and his team are currently using computer programming to identify drugs that may be effective in attacking COVID-19.

Vance-Granville Community College student Emiliano Dunton of Oxford is participating in a research externship program at North Carolina Central University (NCCU) through a partnership between the community college and the university. (Photo courtesy VGCC)

“I am currently learning a new computer language called Python, which is the most used computer coding language of 2020,” Dunton explained. “Our plan is to use the computer language to search for articles pertaining to biopharma research and information regarding COVID-19.”

Currently, due to that same global pandemic, Dunton is working and learning remotely with the professors at NCCU, but he looks forward to making an on-site visit to the Durham campus in November.

Stewart Lyon, head of the Bioprocess Technology program at VGCC, said Dunton is perfect for this research opportunity because of his interest in not just biotechnology but computers. “Emiliano has found a niche in science in the growing field of bioinformatics,” Lyon said. “Bioinformatics essentially uses computer programming languages to analyze large biological data sets.”

Dunton recalled, “I enrolled at VGCC because I did some research on good biotechnology programs and found out VGCC had one of the best around.” He said that the Bioprocess program appealed to him “because I’ve always been intrigued with technology, and the ever-growing science/information-driven era we live in calls for that type of background.”

Dunton said his excitement about learning a new computer language led him to participate in the NCCU externship program. “I also want to inspire more minority youth in my community to strive for excellence and let them know that no matter where you’re from, or what type of background you came up from, you can accomplish whatever you set your mind to,” he added.

Lyon said that Dunton is an inspiration to his instructors and classmates because of his determination to overcome obstacles in order to achieve success. Due to injuries sustained from a gunshot wound years ago, Dunton uses a wheelchair. Though he has use of his arms, Dunton also relies largely on touch-screen computers and has recently learned to code using speech-recognition software.

“After I’ve completed my studies at VGCC, my goal is to continue my education and obtain a bachelor’s of science degree,” Dunton added. He has an interest in the intersection of pharmaceuticals and agriculture and would like to learn more about North Carolina’s growing hemp industry and related pharmaceutical extracts. “I also would like to empower and educate people on methods to generate generational wealth for minority youth in the surrounding communities, as well as inspire academic excellence,” Dunton said.

According to Lyon, Dunton “serves as an example of resilience and that great opportunities in life are available.” He recalled seeing how excited the student was “to find out that he was going to be actively contributing to a research team with the goal of helping to resolve a global health crisis….I think his time with VGCC and Bioprocess Technology, and now linking back to the UNC system, has been transformative for him. Emiliano also balances his obligations as an outstanding student with his familial and community responsibilities.  He is a father as well as a student, and seeks to be a role model both at home and in the classroom.” Dunton said his seven-year-old daughter is one of his greatest “sources of strength.”

Dunton is the recipient of the Donald and Betsy Seifert Presidential Excellence Award this year. That is VGCC’s highest scholarship level.

Lyon said he is also pleased with the partnership with NCCU that allows Dunton to have such an interesting experience. The externship program is largely supported by a grant from the National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL) to NCCU.

“VGCC is listed as a participant in NCCU’s initiatives under the grant,” Lyon explained. “NCCU uses the funds to accomplish two major goals: develop and implement the research externship experiences for our students, and to create stackable program credentials. This ultimately helps to increase the number of students entering the industry employment pipeline. The partnership between VGCC and NCCU now allows for our students to transfer from VGCC’s Bioprocess Technology degree to NCCU’s bachelor’s degree program in Pharmaceutical Sciences.”

VGCC’s Bioprocess Technology program is open to everyone, including current high school students through the North Carolina Career & College Promise (CCP) program. In fact, through NC CCP, the program is tuition-free for eligible high school students who want to get an early start on their college education.

For more information on VGCC’s biotech programs, contact Lyon at or (252) 738-3632.


Election Campaign Sign Season Underway

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-Press Release, North Carolina Department of Transportation

Drivers traveling on North Carolina roadways are likely seeing what has become an election-year tradition – a lot of campaign signs.

A state law passed in 2011 allows campaign signs to be placed in the state road right of way as early as 30 days before the start of early voting, which starts on Oct. 15. That means signs legally started going into place this week.

There are restrictions regarding the signs. They include:

  • Whoever places a sign is required to get the permission of any property owner of a residence, business or religious institution fronting the right of way where a sign would be placed;
  • No sign is permitted in the right of way of a limited-access highway such as an interstate;
  • No sign can be closer than 3 feet from the edge of the pavement of the road;
  • No sign can obscure motorist visibility at an intersection;
  • No sign can be higher than 42 inches above the edge of the pavement;
  • No sign can be larger than 864 square inches; and
  • No sign can obscure or replace another sign.

The N.C. Department of Transportation has the authority to remove any signs that violate these rules. If anyone else removes or vandalizes a sign, they could be subject to a Class 3 misdemeanor citation from law enforcement.

Campaign signs can remain in place for 10 days after the Nov. 3 election. Signs still in the right of way after the deadline are in violation of state law, and the NCDOT is authorized to remove and dispose of them.

NC MedAssist Warrenton Giveaway

Free OTC Medicine Giveaway at Warrenton Armory Sept. 17


-Information courtesy NC MedAssist

NC MedAssist is offering a free over-the-counter medicine drive-thru event at the Warrenton Armory on Thursday, September 17, 2020, from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. The Armory is located at 501 US 158 Business East in Warrenton, NC.

The event is held in collaboration with the Warren County Health Department and Cardinal Innovations Healthcare. Participants must be at least 18 years old to receive medication. No identification is required. Face masks are required to participate.

Available over-the-counter items include cold/cough medicine, pain relief, vitamins, children’s medicine and more.

Pre-registration is strongly encouraged. Click here to order your medication online prior to picking up at the event.

The Drifters

McGregor Hall: ‘The Drifters in Concert’ Rescheduled for Next Fall

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-Information and featured image courtesy McGregor Hall Performing Arts Center

In light of the coronavirus pandemic, McGregor Hall Performing Arts Center has rescheduled “The Drifters in Concert” to Sunday, October 3, 2021, at 3 p.m.

The Drifters linked Fifties rhythm and blues with sweet Sixties soul music. They have enjoyed a string of honey-voiced lead singers, including Henderson native Ben E. King. Hit after hit followed, including “There Goes My Baby,” “Save the Last Dance for Me,” “This Magic Moment,” “Up on the Roof,” “On Broadway,” and many, many others.

All tickets purchased for the original 2020 concert date will be honored. Additionally, reserved seating will remain the same from the original ticketing orders. If you have purchased tickets for this event, a McGregor Hall representative will be in touch with you via email or phone.

If you have further questions regarding this concert, please contact McGregor Hall:

Facebook Messenger:
Leave a voicemail on the McGregor Hall Box Office phone line at (252) 598-0662


Thank you for your patience as McGregor Hall endeavors to navigate this unprecedented, challenging time in the arts industry, and ultimately, in world history.