Registration Underway for 9th Annual Warrenton Junior Firefighter Competition

-Information courtesy John W. Franks, Chief Advisor, Warren County Fire Explorers

The Warren County Fire Explorers are now accepting registrations for event sponsors and vendors for its 9th annual Warrenton County Junior Firefighter Competition to be held Saturday, April 27, 2019, at the Warren County Recreation Complex in Warrenton, North Carolina.

The Warren County Junior Firefighter Competition is North Carolina’s biggest junior firefighter competition which attracts hundreds of teenaged firefighters plus their parents, advisors, and supporters from as far away as Tennessee, West Virginia, Florida, and Texas. Last year eleven different North Carolina counties were represented in the competition. An appearance from Duke Life Flight’s medical helicopter and rope demonstrations by the REDS Team from Wake County made it another very enjoyable year as well!

New For 2019:

  • Bronze Sponsor Level – based on the feedback we received, we added another sponsorship level. We now have a Bronze Sponsor level at only $125 for businesses that have a desire to help the Warren County Fire Explorers but don’t want a lot of costly complimentary bonuses in return. The Bronze level sponsors (1) get their name & logo and link on the competition webpage; (2) their name & logo on the Sponsor/Vendor Flyer; (3) they may contribute to the team welcome bags; and (4) business is recognized at the Friday evening social and at the Saturday field competition for sponsoring the competition.
  • Competition Website – We have added the Warren County Junior Firefighter Competition to the Warren County Fire Explorer website ( where teams, sponsors, and vendors can get information and download forms. Sponsors receive their name, logo and link displayed on the website.
  • Sponsor/Vendor Flyer – Sponsors and vendors will have their name & logo printed on full-color flyers distributed to the teams and other solicitations.
  • Food Vendors – Again, based on the feedback we have received, all food vendors will be grouped together in or near the upper parking lot this year.

Click here to view the Sponsor & Vendor Registration Form for more details. Please note that the form and payment must be received prior to Friday, March 29, 2019, to ensure that banners, printings, shirts, etc., are ordered in time for the competition. If you have further questions, please contact Lisa Pitzing at [email protected] or (252) 213-3815.

NOTE: The Warren County Fire Explorers is a county-wide coed career education program for youth 14 to 20 years old. The purpose of the program is to expose youth to firefighting, EMS, and public safety at an early age and to prepare members for a career in emergency services.

The Warren County Junior Firefighter Competition is hosted annually by the Warren County Fire Explorers as its primary fundraiser for the year. Proceeds from this event go directly to the Explorer Post to cover operational costs and to pay for their training and educational needs.

Winter Storm System Expected to Affect Portions of Central NC

-Information and weather charts courtesy Brian K. Short, Director of Emergency Operations, Henderson-Vance County Emergency Operations and the National Weather Service

In case of a power outage, remember to tune in to WIZS Radio at 100.1 FM / 1450 AM with a regular radio.


You may report weather delays and cancellations by email to [email protected] or by text at 432-0774. Delays and cancellations will be posted on the WIZS Facebook page – click here – and announced on the air for this event.


Forecast: Forecasted freezing rain amounts have increased while forecasted snow accumulations have been lowered.

Confidence: High confidence that the event will occur; moderate confidence regarding snow/ice amounts and impacts.

Timing: Wintry weather and its impacts are possible Saturday evening through Monday. The heaviest precipitation is expected to fall Saturday night through about mid-morning Sunday.

Amounts: Light snow accumulation is possible across the northern Piedmont and VA border counties with amounts ranging from a dusting to near an inch. Freezing rain (ice) accumulations are also possible mainly north and west of U.S. Route 1 with amounts ranging from a thin glaze to as much as two tenths (highest north of I-85 and the Triad area).

Impacts: Travel may be impacted by light snow and/or ice accumulations, particularly north and west of Interstate 85. It is possible that we may see some power outages with this event, but we do not believe they will be widespread.


Grants Available for Agricultural Products

-Press Release, Tobacco Trust Fund Commission

Supporting the agricultural industry, impacting rural communities and stimulating economic development are key objectives for the 2019 NC Tobacco Trust Fund Commission (NCTTFC) grant cycle. Funds will be awarded in the fall of 2019 for selected innovative projects.

Applications and information are now online at for qualifying organizations. “This year the NCTTFC is specifically interested in job creation in current or former tobacco-dependent regions and funding projects that have the potential to generate additional income for farmers and those in the industry,” said William H. “Bill” Teague, NCTTFC Chairman. “Online applications will be accepted for innovative projects within North Carolina. Applicants can plan to start the projects in November of 2019.”

The NCTTFC was established in 2000 by the N.C. General Assembly to help members of the tobacco community including farmers, tobacco workers and related businesses. Its original funding was established through tobacco industry annual payments as a result of the Master Settlement Agreement. Funding is now appropriated to the NCTTFC which then reviews, selects and disperses the funds to grant projects.

Past NCTTFC projects include farmers market improvements, cost-share grant programs for farmers, training for qualified farm family members in community colleges and support of more than 30 high school agricultural education programs.

More information can be found at the NCTTFC’s website, or by calling 919-733-2160.  The deadline for applications submission is March 8, 2019.

District Attorney Mike Waters Discusses 9th Judicial District, Felony Cases

District Attorney Mike Waters was on Tuesday’s edition of WIZS’ Town Talk program to discuss, among other topics, the recent district restructuring and the process his office uses to determine which of a county’s felony cases to prosecute.

Waters and his office serve the five-county area of Vance, Granville, Franklin, Warren and Person. These five counties now compromise the 9th Judicial and the 11th Prosecutorial districts in North Carolina.

The recent addition of Person County came about through restructuring talks with the legislature that began several years ago and heated up this past summer.

According to Waters, one model that was considered by the legislature would have split Vance and Warren counties from the district and added them to an eastern district that included a coverage area as far away as Bertie County near the coast.

A second model included adding Person County, originally incorporated into the 9th District in 1976, back to the district and keeping the previous four counties.

“Myself, Tommy Hester and others spent a lot of time at the legislature this past summer working on keeping the district together and in the fashion that it came to be,” said Waters. “We thought it in the best interest of not only our district but also the Triangle that we have a DA a lot closer by than one that is a couple of hours away.”

Ultimately, the legislature enacted the second model into law, a set up that Waters believes will remain in effect for the foreseeable future.

“These five counties are essentially the Kerr-Tar Region. Economically we have a lot of connections, everything from hospitals to governmental services, but ultimately what we have is a crime nexus between these communities.”

Felony crimes in Vance County alone add up to almost 1,200 cases a year.

Waters offered the encouraging news that, while still high, that number is down from 4-5 years ago. “I credit the long, hard work that law enforcement has done in reducing that number,” said Waters.

Due to multiple factors including the number of potential cases, allotted court time, available evidence and the lengthiness of the criminal justice process in general, Waters estimates he is able to try 3-5% of cases.

Waters explained that a criminal case pans out one of three ways: enough evidence to charge but not enough evidence to convict; enough evidence to charge, but a plea agreement is made; a plea agreement is not made and the case moves forward.

According to Waters, it takes approximately 225 days to get lower-end felonies tried, while serious convictions such as homicides can take 16-24 months.

Even with these delays, Waters said improvements have been made in turnaround time over the years. “For example, it used to take two years for DNA evidence to come back; now it takes around four months – a tremendous improvement.”

Splitting his time between a five-county area, Waters schedules 10 sessions of Superior Trial Court in Vance County each year. Each session lasts approximately one week.

“With only having 10 weeks, we have to prioritize how to use it. We prioritize violent crimes and prior records,” Waters said.

In addressing potential concerns about the low number of cases tried, Waters stated prioritizing is a necessity. “I think everyone agrees that there are limits to the amount of government that we want to pay for. We don’t want our taxes to be so high and we don’t want to feel like our money is being wasted.”

 To listen to the interview in its entirety, please click here.

Main Street Kitchen in Warrenton to Hold Open House – Thurs. Jan 10

-Information courtesy the Warren County Cooperative Extension Center

Main Street Kitchen Open House

Working Landscapes is hosting an open house for community members who are interested in using the Main Street Kitchen, a shared-use commercial kitchen available to be rented by the hour, to jump-start their food business.

The open house will consist of a tour, a brief overview of the capabilities of the kitchen and an opportunity for community members to ask Working Landscapes staff members questions about becoming a shared-user.

The Main Street Kitchen Open House will take place on Thursday, January 10 from 3 – 6 p.m. at 108 S. Main Street in Warrenton, NC. Coffee and water will be provided. We hope to see you there!

(This is not a paid advertisement)

Contaminant Levels Above Standard Detected in Local Drinking Water


Important information about your drinking water:

Henderson-Kerr Lake Regional Water has levels of Total Trihalomethanes ABOVE DRINKING WATER STANDARDS.

Our water system recently violated a drinking water standard. Although this incident was not an emergency, as our customers, you have a right to know what happened, what you should do and what we did (are doing) to correct this situation.

We routinely monitor for the presence of drinking water contaminants. Monitoring results for water samples collected during the time period ending September 30, 2018, show that the contaminant concentration from one or more sampling locations in our water system exceeds the standard, or maximum, contaminant level (MCL) for Total Trihalomethanes. The standard for Total Trihalomethanes is 0.080 mg/L. Over the referenced compliance period, the sample location with the highest average level of Total Trihalomethanes had a concentration of 0.105 mg/L.

What Should I Do?

  • There is nothing you need to do. You do not need to boil your water or take other corrective actions. However, if you have specific health concerns, consult your doctor. If a situation arises where the water is no longer safe to drink, you will be notified within 24 hours.
  • If you have a severely compromised immune system, have an infant, are pregnant or are elderly, you may be at increased risk and should seek advice from your health care providers about drinking this water.

What Does This Mean?

This is not an emergency. If it had been, you would have been notified within 24 hours. However, some people who drink water containing trihalomethanes in excess of the MCL over many years may experience problems with their liver, kidneys or central nervous system, and may have an increased risk of getting cancer.

What Is Being Done?

Henderson-Kerr Lake Regional Water is evaluating our distribution system in order to lower our test results. We anticipate resolving the problem within three months.

Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools and businesses).

For more information, please contact:

Clarissa Lipscomb, Director – Henderson-Kerr Lake Regional Water, (252) 438-2141

280 Regional Water Lane – Henderson, NC 27536


VGCC Apprentice at Frigi-Temp Places Third in State Fair Contest

-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Cyrus Jover of Henderson, the first participant in Vance-Granville Community College’s new apprenticeship partnership with Frigi-Temp of Youngsville, took third place in the North Carolina State Fair HVAC Apprenticeship Competition in October.

“I’m extremely proud of Cyrus and the way he represented the Frig-Temp team,” said Cory Thornton, chief operating officer of the commercial heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) company.

Jover joined the apprenticeship program earlier this year. Already enrolled in the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology program at VGCC, he had worked in the HVAC field for almost four years before he became an apprentice, but only in residential installation.

Cyrus Jover of Henderson, a VGCC student who participates in the VGCC apprenticeship program through Frigi-Temp of Youngsville, placed third in the 14th Annual Apprentice HV/AC-R Contest at the N.C. State Fair in October. In the photo above, Jover is being tested on his brazing skill level and safety precautions during one section of the day-long competition. Event organizers gave instructions and then, as shown in the background of the photo, judged students on how well they soldered while also observing their steps to follow good safety measures. (Photo Credit: VGCC)

The 14th Annual Apprentice HV/AC-R (Heating, Ventilation/Air Conditioning – Refrigeration) Contest was open to the first 20 applicants, registered in a program recognized by the N.C. Department of Commerce, who have completed less than 8,000 hours of training. Eight apprentices participated and six were awarded prizes. Third place awarded a prize of $175 out of a total of $1,325 in prizes to the top finishers. The top three finishers received extra prizes with Jover winning a tool bag, hand tools, and a drill set in addition.

The contest was designed to promote interest among apprentices in the skilled construction trades, according to the NC State Fair organizers. “This contest dramatizes a ‘job training program’ through which ApprenticeshipNC has assisted voluntary efforts of industry to meet their needs for skilled workers,” apprenticeship director Kathryn Castelloes said. “These skilled craftworkers have contributed significantly to the economic growth of North Carolina.”

A program of the North Carolina Community College System, ApprenticeshipNC seeks to “ensure the state has an innovative, relevant, effective and efficient workforce development system that develops adaptable, work ready, skilled talent to meet the current and future needs of works and businesses to achieve and sustain economic prosperity,” NCCCS says on its website.

Jover’s entry into the competition came at the suggestion of NCCCS staff, Thornton said. “Cyrus was signed up for the event even before he knew about it,” Thornton added, noting that it was a great experience for Jover and the company.

“I was very nervous going in because I had never competed in a contest like this,” Jover said. “You do not know how skilled your competitors are because they are strangers. You have no idea what to expect from them or the contest. I was also nervous because I knew that Vance-Granville and Frigi-Temp were depending on me to represent them well.”

“Despite the pressure and nerves,” he added, “the competition was a fun learning experience because it shows you how you rank when up against your peers. It also shows you how much more there is to learn so that you can be the best.” Thornton added that the contest began at 8 a.m. and lasted until 3 p.m.

Cory Thornton, chief operating officer for Frigi-Temp in Youngsville, left, celebrates with Cyrus Jover, a student in the Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Technology program at VGCC who is also an apprentice with Frig-Temp. Jover placed third in the 14th Annual Apprentice HV/AC-R Contest at the N.C. State Fair in October. (Photo Credit: VGCC)

“If I could hire five more team members just like him I would do so in an instant,” Thornton said. ”His drive to become a professional, his humility, his work ethic and the way that he chooses to work as a true team player is something I truly admire about him. I am humbled that I get to work at Frigi-Temp alongside Cyrus and many others just like him.”

Jover is originally from the Philippines, where he earned a college degree in Biology before coming to the United States seven years ago, at age 20. Here, he found that the HVAC field had numerous job openings. He enrolled at VGCC, first as a part-time and then a full-time student. Now, he is done with almost all of his classwork and spends most of his time working at Frigi-Temp. He sometimes works a full 40 hours per week at the company while continuing his studies.

Thornton said the apprenticeship program is going very well while “still in its infancy.” “We have high hopes for the future and look forward to hiring several more apprentices over the next year,” he said.

As for next year’s competition at the State Fair, Thornton says Frigi-Temp will be ready for another round. “We weren’t able to coach Cyrus prior to the event and, with this being the first time, none of us any idea what to expect,” he said. “He did an excellent job by placing in third and next year we are looking forward to him taking first place.”

Michael Whittemore, program head for Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration at VGCC, shared in Thornton’s excitement about Jover’s accomplishment. “Cyrus is exactly as Cory describes him. He is an excellent student and he makes Vance-Granville proud, not only for this contest but also for the professional manner in which he performs as an apprentice at Frigi-Temp,” he said.

Students interested in enrolling in the program can contact Whittemore at [email protected] or (252) 738-3214.

Employers who are interested in partnering with VGCC on apprenticeships are encouraged to contact Ken Wilson, project manager for VGCC’s TechHire grant program, at [email protected] or (252) 738-3259.

State Board of Community Colleges Approves Appointment of Dr. Desmarais

-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

The State Board of Community Colleges has approved the appointment of Dr. Rachel Desmarais as president of Vance-Granville Community College.

She will begin her tenure as the seventh president in the college’s history on Monday, Jan. 28, 2019, according to Danny W. Wright, chair of the VGCC Board of Trustees. The action of the State Board came at its monthly meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 18, at the North Carolina Community College System offices in Raleigh.

Currently the executive vice president and chief operating officer of Forsyth Technical Community College in Winston-Salem, Dr. Desmarais was selected for her new position by the VGCC trustees on Dec. 5. She was among nearly 90 applicants for the post.

The new president succeeds Dr. Stelfanie Williams who left in August to become the vice president for Durham affairs at Duke University. Dr. Gordon Burns, retired president of Wilkes Community College, is serving as interim president for VGCC until Dr. Desmarais takes office.

The State Board of Community Colleges has approved the appointment of Dr. Rachel Desmarais as president of Vance-Granville Community College. She will begin her tenure as the seventh president in the college’s history on Monday, Jan. 28, 2019.

Woodhouse, Economic Development Director, Talks Growth in Warren Co.

Stacy Woodhouse, economic development director for Warren County, was on Wednesday’s edition of WIZS’ Town Talk program to discuss the strengths and challenges facing the rural area.

“When people ask me how do you market rural America and rural counties, I tell them it’s a very different story for every county,” Woodhouse said. “We have strengths and weaknesses. A lot of our weaknesses are the same: rural school systems and density by definition; we have a lack of density.”

What is unique about Warren County, according to Woodhouse, are the strengths. “Warren County has access to two beautiful lakes, a thriving downtown, a new brewery coming the first of the year and beautiful, rolling land that’s very comparable to the $30,000 an acre horse farms you see in Northern, VA.”

Woodhouse said people are often pleasantly surprised by the low prices in the area. “When people come down here from the North and see the value of land they get for the price, access and quality of life, they’re just shocked.”

Woodhouse himself was sold on the value when he was looking to relocate his family from bustling Charleston, SC six years ago. With a background in commercial real estate at his advantage, Woodhouse purchased a 90-acre farm in Warren County with the goal of raising his three children in a more rural setting.

As economic development director, Woodhouse’s responsibilities include tourism, recruitment and industry retention. Although he cannot release detailed information at this time, Woodhouse is encouraged by upcoming projects that will grow the area’s economic base and provide job opportunities.

One such project includes a manufacturing operation that will provide 10 jobs initially, with a total of 30 expected within a five-year time period. “For us, getting those jobs is a big deal. Us getting 30 jobs is like Raleigh getting Amazon,” Woodhouse laughed.

Other projects in the works include discussions with a medical firm and the construction of the brewery expected to open in downtown Warrenton early in 2019. According to Woodhouse, demolition for the brewery project began a few weeks ago.

Woodhouse emphasized the importance of retail, especially in a small community. “A lot of economic development directors in larger cities don’t even bother with retail, but retail is a big part of our community and sales tax.”

The group responsible for the future brewery, Table Top Media, is an example of Woodhouse’s next point of discussion, the importance of attracting entrepreneurs to the area. “Table Top Media is an amazing marketing company that does everything from high-end hotels to restaurants,” Woodhouse explained.

The company is a perfect example of the type of business Woodhouse hopes to attract to the area. “They were looking for quality of life and value around the Raleigh area and found Warren County!”

To continue the upward trend of business and industry moving to the area, Woodhouse said it is important to keep an open mind. “When you’re trying to create economic development in a small community you have to be very creative. You cannot take anything off the table.”

To listen to the interview in its entirety, please click here.

Reminder: Farmers Have Until Dec. 20 to Apply for Hurricane Disaster Relief

-Information courtesy Paul McKenzie, Area Agent, Vance/Warren Co. Cooperative Extension 

Farmers have until 5 p.m. on Thursday, December 20, 2018, to begin an application for the NCDA&CS Hurricane Disaster Relief program. Assistance is available from both the Vance and Warren offices of NC Cooperative Extension, and also available through the NCDA&CS Agriculture Disaster Assistance Hotline (866-645-9403).

Farmers that START an application by the deadline will have a few extra days to complete it.

To recap, the program is designed to provide assistance to farmers with losses to nursery products, turf, select specialty crops, livestock, poultry, standing forage and field crops. The program will cover losses from Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael.

Agricultural products raised in Vance and Warren ARE ELIGIBLE. The application should take about 30 minutes to fill out. Complete program details and a link to the application are available by clicking here.