Warren County Coop Extension has PPE for Farmers and Agriculture

The Warren County Center of North Carolina Cooperative Extension has PPE supplies available for farmers and agricultural workers.

According to an email received by WIZS News, “Face mask and other PPE, such as hand sanitizer, are available through the Warren County Cooperative Extension for farmers and those in agricultural related fields.

“If you would like to be able to have some of these products, please contact the Warren County Center at (252) 257-3640.”

Triangle North Healthcare Foundation Launches Community Response Fund

Triangle North Healthcare Foundation has announced the launch of a Community Response Grant Fund, available to nonprofit, local government, and educational organizations, serving the counties of Franklin, Granville, Vance and Warren.

The grants will fund relief and response programs related to the COVID-19 Pandemic.  “With the continuing stress on our communities from the Pandemic, our local safety net organizations are struggling to make ends meet and respond to their clients’ needs.  We are pleased to announce the Foundation Board’s commitment to provide grants for community relief,” said Val Short, Executive Director.

Applications for grants up to $20,000 each will be accepted, beginning February 1, 2021. Applications will be reviewed quarterly and grants will be awarded in March, June, September, and December.  Through this Community Response program, recipients can receive up to four grants throughout the year.

The Community Response Grant application is now available at the Foundation’s online grant portal. A link to the grant portal is available at the website:   http://www.tnhfoundation.org   Applications will be accepted continuously now through September 1, 2021.

Virtual meetings with Foundation staff will be required prior to submitting an application.  To schedule a meeting, please call 252-430-8532.

Triangle North Healthcare Foundation is a regional healthcare grantmaking organization based in Henderson, established in November 2011, after the merge of Maria Parham Medical Center with the for-profit Duke LifePoint.  Funded by an endowment created from the assets of the former nonprofit hospital, Triangle North Healthcare Foundation has invested over $2 million in over 80 programs in the region since beginning grantmaking in 2013.

(Press Release provided by Triangle North Healthcare Foundation)

Versatrim, NC Works, Kerr Tar COG Team Up for Virtual Hiring Event Tuesday

A local manufacturing company is teaming up with NCWorks for a virtual hiring event scheduled for tomorrow, Tuesday, Jan. 26.

Desiree Brooks, business services manager for the local workforce development board of Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments, said Henderson manufacturer Versatrim is hiring for about 30 positions. Anyone interested in learning more about the available job opportunities should register for the event via a link on the Kerr-Tar Works Facebook page, Brooks said Monday during Town Talk. Find the link to the event at facebook.com/NCWorksKT. Participants can register up until 11 a.m., when the event begins.

Although this is a virtual event via Zoom, people without access to a computer may register to listen via telephone, Brooks said.

“It’s just like a job fair, but you’re sitting in the comfort of your home or wherever you are,” Brooks said. Some of the job openings include machine operators, packagers and customer services representatives, among others, she said. Versatrim, makers of laminate flooring and moldings, among other products, is located at 101 Eastern Minerals Road in Henderson.

Brooks and Jamie Cunningham shared details of the virtual event with Town Talk host John C. Rose.  Previously known as the Employment Security Commission, Cunningham described NCWorks as “a one-stop shop for North Carolina’s work force system.” Job-hunters can search for jobs, create résumés and find education and training, but it’s also a resource for employers to search for candidates and post job openings as well. Check it out online at www.NCWorks.gov.

Cunningham is operations manager for the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act, a federally funded program that helps people who need to go back to school to upgrade their skills, or help them with find employment. “We have a lot of training opportunities that help people upgrade their skills,” she noted.

A Versatrim representative will inform the participants about what the company does, the jobs that are available, and the pay associated with those jobs. Participants also will have the chance to ask questions.

“This is the perfect opportunity for people to learn and hopefully be able to start their career with Versatrim,” Brooks said. Cunningham said a business service representative with NCWorks will also be taking part in the event and can answer questions about what NCWorks does. She said the possibility to partner with businesses allows NCWorks to help fund any additional training needed for an employee “to become that great employee.”

Each NCWorks career center is under the direction of a local workforce board, Cunningham said, and Kerr-Tar (Council of Governments) serves Franklin, Granville, Person, Vance and Warren counties.  The NCWorks Career Center offers job search support and assistance, including a computer resource center with copier, printer and faxing capabilities; career counseling and coaching; virtual job search workshops and scholarships for short-term training.

Contact the NCWorks career at 919-693-2686 for more information or to get help registering for the event.

If you would like to listen to the interview on TownTalk, click here

Warren Co. Arts Council

Warren County Arts Council Launches Artist Registry

— press release

The Warren County Arts Council has launched its Artist Registry, a new website feature and community development tool. The registry will feature artists and arts organizations not only from Warren County, but from the region. Artists and organizations from neighboring counties in the region are encouraged to join the registry.

According to Warren County Arts Council board member and registry project lead, Dian Sourelis, “Our new Artist Registry will be a tool to not only identify and inform the creative community by directly providing information about grants, best practices and exhibition opportunities, but the registry will also introduce this talented population to the community at large.”

The Artist Registry, found at warrencountyartsnc.org, is open to artists of multiple disciplines and varied experiences. The registry will also list arts-based organizations. For $25 a year, the registry will host a brief bio about the artist, 4 work samples, and link to a website or social media page.

“Working on several projects and grants recently really drove the point home that our arts council just didn’t have a good grasp on all the artists in our area,” said Charla Duncan, Chairperson of the Warren County Arts Council. “When we want to reach out about funding or development opportunities, or to hire someone for community programming, we really need a database of creatives to pull from.”

“It’s the next step in our organization’s growth,” Duncan said.

Duncan’s words are echoed by Sourelis, who has been a mixed media artist for 45 years and recently relocated to Warren County from Chicago, and who herself is listed on multiple artist registries in the country.

“This registry is a big step toward identifying the talents and needs of our artists, while creating communities that value and support the arts,” stated Sourelis.

For more information or questions please contact the Warren County Arts Council at warrencountyartscouncil@gmail.com. The Warren County Arts Council can be found online at warrencountyartsnc.org and on Facebook and Instagram at @wcartcouncil.

IRS Reminds It’s Time To Get Organized

— press release courtesy of the IRS

WASHINGTON —The Internal Revenue Service is reminding taxpayers that organizing tax records is an important first step for getting ready to prepare and file their 2020 tax return.

Taxpayers should keep all necessary records, such as W-2s, 1099s, receipts, canceled checks and other documents that support an item of income, or a deduction or credit, appearing on their tax return.

Taxpayers should develop a system that keeps all their important information together, which could include a software program for electronic records or a file cabinet for paper documents in labeled folders. Having records readily at hand makes preparing a tax return easier.

To avoid refund delays, taxpayers should be sure to gather all year-end income documents so they can file a complete and accurate 2020 tax return.

Most taxpayers will receive income documents near the end of January including:

  • Forms W-2, Wage and Tax Statement
  • Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income
  • Form 1099-INT, Interest Income
  • Form 1099-NEC, Nonemployee Compensation
  • Form 1099-G, Certain Government Payments; like unemployment compensation or state tax refund
  • Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statements

View IRS account online

Taxpayers can view their online account allowing them to access the latest information available about their federal tax account and most recently filed tax return through a secure and convenient tool on IRS.gov. This can help taxpayers if they need information from last year’s return.

Additionally, in the coming weeks, individuals with an account on IRS.gov/account will be able to view the amounts of the Economic Impact Payments they received as well as the latest information available about their federal tax account. Eligible individuals who did not receive the full amounts of both Economic Impact Payments may claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on their 2020 federal tax return. In order to claim the full amount of the Recovery Rebate Credit, taxpayers will need to know the amount of the Economic Impact Payments received.

Visit Secure Access: How to Register for Certain Online Self-Help Tools for more information about how to create an account or how to reset the username or password.

Remember unemployment compensation is taxable

Millions of Americans received unemployment compensation in 2020, many of them for the first time. This compensation is taxable and must be included as gross income on their tax return.

Taxpayers can expect to receive a Form 1099-G showing their unemployment income. Taxpayers can elect to have federal taxes withheld from their unemployment benefits or make estimated tax payments, but many do not take these options. In that case, taxes on those benefits will be paid when the 2020 tax return is filed. Therefore, taxpayers who did not have tax withheld from their payments may see a smaller refund than expected or even have a tax bill.

Individuals who receive a Form 1099-G for unemployment compensation they did not receive should contact their state tax agency and request a corrected Form 1099-G. States should not issue Forms 1099-Gs to taxpayers they know to be victims of identity theft involving unemployment compensation.

Taxpayers who are victims of identity theft involving unemployment compensation should not file an identity theft affidavit with the IRS.

Individuals can find more details on taxable unemployment compensation in Tax Topic 418, Unemployment Compensation, or in Publication 525, Taxable and Nontaxable Income, on IRS.gov.

Taxpayers can use 2019 income for Earned Income Tax Credit

For taxpayers with income less than $56,844 in 2020, they may be eligible to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit. The EITC Assistant, available in English and Spanish, can help determine who is eligible. The EITC is as much as $6,660 for a family with children or up to $538 for taxpayers who do not have a qualifying child.

And this tax season, there’s a new rule that can help people impacted by a job loss or change in income in 2020. Under the COVID-related Tax Relief Act of 2020, taxpayers may elect to use their 2019 earned income to figure the credit if their 2019 earned income is more than their 2020 earned income. The same is true for the Additional Child Tax Credit. For details, see the instructions for Form 1040  PDFor Publication 596, Earned Income Credit.

Electronic Filing makes filing easy

The best way to file a complete and accurate return is to file electronically and there are several options for doing this – some at no cost. Visit IRS.gov/filing for more details about IRS Free FileFree File Fillable FormsFree tax preparation sites or by finding a trusted tax professional. Free File is a great option for people who are only filing a tax return to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit, either because they didn’t receive an Economic Impact Payment or did not receive the full amount.

Use IRS.gov

IRS tax help is available 24 hours a day on IRS.gov, the official IRS website, where people can find answers to tax questions and resolve tax issues online from the safety of their home. The Let Us Help You page helps answer most tax questions, and the IRS Services Guide PDF links to other important IRS services.

COVID-19 Vaccinations Update: Appointments Filled for Current Supply

The Warren County Health Department has filled the COVID-19 appointment schedules based on current available supply of the vaccine. The public is asked to call the Warren County Health Department at 252-257-1185 after February 8, 2021 to check on the vaccine availability in Warren County at the Health Department.

If you already have an appointment scheduled to get your shot at the Warren County Health Department, you need to come at your scheduled time. If you do not have an appointment, but you have provided the Health Department with you name and contact information, you are on a waitlist and will be called when new appointments become available. The Health Department will inform the public as soon as additional vaccination clinics are scheduled.

Warren County residents can contact other local vaccine providers such as neighboring hospitals (Maria Parham, Granville Health Systems, etc.), health departments in other counties, and physician practices to see if appointments are available. You do not have to get your vaccine in your county of residence.

To help protect each other, our neighbors, families and loved ones, please continue to practice the 3Ws – wear a face covering, wait at least 6 feet apart from others and wash your hands frequently. These actions will help us to continue to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Warren County and save lives.

(Warren County Health Department Press Release)

Wheeler honored for leadership at VGCC

Cecilia Wheeler, the Dean of Arts and Sciences at Vance-Granville Community College, recently received the President’s Excellence in Leadership Award, presented by the college president, Dr. Rachel Desmarais.

This honor is one of VGCC’s three Glen Raven Excellence in Teaching and Leadership Awards. Glen Raven, Inc., the custom fabrics manufacturer with a facility in Warren County, is a longtime partner and supporter of the college. In addition to sponsoring annual stipends to recognize excellence among VGCC instructors and staff members, Glen Raven has endowed several scholarships for students.

“Dean Wheeler is an exceptional leader for our School of Arts and Sciences, the largest division within credit instruction at VGCC,” Dr. Desmarais said. “She brings a flexible strength to her leadership position. She is known as a ‘problem-solver’ to students and a project leader to her colleagues. Dean Wheeler exemplifies bridge-building, truth-telling, dedication to the College mission, and true humility.”

A resident of Oxford, Wheeler has worked at VGCC for more than 30 years. She joined the college as assistant coordinator for VGCC’s South Campus in Granville County in 1989. In later years, she served as leader for that campus, as, progressively, its coordinator, director and dean. In 2018, Wheeler assumed her current role, in which she leads more than 40 full-time and adjunct faculty members in eight curriculum programs, offered on all four of VGCC’s campuses. For many years, she was an adjunct instructor herself, teaching courses such as American History and Southern Culture.

Wheeler holds a master’s degree in History from Appalachian State University and a bachelor’s degree in History from Mars Hill College. She is also a graduate of the N.C. Community College System Leadership Institute, conducted at N.C. State University.

Wheeler is also the current president of the Granville County Chamber of Commerce board of directors.

“I am deeply humbled and honored to receive this award,” Wheeler said. “I am very fortunate to work with very talented and dedicated faculty, staff and colleagues to help our students achieve their dreams and our communities to grow.”

VGCC Press Release

NC State Board of Elections

County Boards of Elections Begin Regular Voter List Maintenance Processes

— press release

RALEIGH, N.C. – In 2021, county boards of elections across North Carolina will conduct several important and required processes designed to keep the state’s voter rolls accurate and up to date.

These routine processes are required by state and federal laws. Accurate voter rolls are maintained by removing voters who have moved or died or are otherwise ineligible to vote in that jurisdiction.

Voter roll list maintenance is important because it ensures ineligible voters are not included on poll books, reduces the possibility for poll worker error and decreases opportunities for fraud.

As a result of these processes, the number of North Carolina voter registrations will decrease in the coming months. As of January 9, nearly 7.2 million voters were registered in the state.

[See Voter Registration Statistics]

[See “Maintaining the Voter Registration Database in North Carolina.” Updated July 27, 2017]

“The removal of voters who have moved and are no longer eligible to vote in that jurisdiction is a routine and important aspect of elections administration,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections. “Before any voter’s registration is canceled, the county boards of elections attempt to contact the voter to allow them to confirm or update their registration.”

The following are details about three of the many list maintenance processes the county boards of elections will complete in 2021:

Biennial List Maintenance (No-contact process)

In the early part of every odd-numbered year, if a county board of elections has had no contact with a voter for two federal election cycles – a total of four years – and the voter has not voted during that time, it will send the voter a forwardable address confirmation mailing. The voter will be required to return the confirmation mailing within 30 days.

If the voter does not return the mailing, or the U.S. Postal Service returns it to the county board as undeliverable, then the voter’s record will be marked “inactive” in the state’s voter registration database. Inactive voters are still registered voters. If an inactive voter shows up to vote, the person will be asked to verify their address and update it, if necessary.

County boards will send mailings this year to voters with whom there has been no contact since October 12, 2018. Counties have started printing and mailing these notices, which must go out by April 15. More than 450,000 of these mailings are expected to be sent out statewide in 2021.

The registrations of these voters will be canceled if they do not confirm their registration by 2023.

Removal of Inactive Voters

County boards of elections also have begun to remove certain “inactive” voters from the rolls. Voters will be removed from registration lists this year after being sent a no-contact mailing in 2016. Any voter removed in this way would not have had any contact with their county board of elections for four federal election cycles, not voted in any election during that time and not responded to a confirmation mailing.

The State Board estimates about 380,000 inactive voters will be removed from the voter rolls in 2021.

Any removed registrant must be reinstated if the voter appears to vote and gives oral or written affirmation that the voter has not moved out of the county and has maintained residence continuously within the county. These voters’ votes will be counted absent evidence that they moved out of the county.

Voters may check their registration status at any time using the State Board’s Voter Search Tool: https://vt.ncsbe.gov/RegLkup/.

National Change of Address (NCOA) Mailings

In January and July of each year, the State Board provides the 100 county boards of elections with change of address data from the U.S. Postal Service. County boards must send voters in this dataset postcard mailings to the new address to confirm whether they have an unreported change of address for voting purposes.

These mailings allow voters to update their names or addresses within a county or notify the board of elections of a move outside of that county. The voter is asked to respond to the mailing within 30 days. If the voter does not respond, the voter will be mailed a traditional address confirmation notice to their existing mailing address.

If the voter does not respond to that notice within 30 days, the voter’s registration status will be changed to “inactive.”

If a voter is deceased, a near relative may use the mailing to report the death so the county board can cancel the registration.

Additional List Maintenance Efforts

N.C. elections officials also routinely remove voters who have died from the voter rolls. Death notifications are made available by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. County boards of elections also regularly remove voters who are convicted of felonies, using records from the N.C. Department of Public Safety and U.S. attorneys’ offices.

To learn more about registering to vote in North Carolina, visit: https://www.ncsbe.gov/registering.

N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles customers may register or update their registration online here: https://www.ncdot.gov/dmv/offices-services/online/Pages/voter-registration-application.aspx.

NC Governor Logo

Governor’s Volunteer Service Nomination Forms

Know someone who has made or is making an outstanding contribution in a volunteer role in your county? There is still time to make nominations to the Governor’s Volunteer Service award, but the time is growing short. All nomination packets must be received in the Governor’s Office by Feb. 12, 2021.

Visit the website NC.gov (https://www.nc.gov/agencies/volunteer/volunteer-awards) to download the nomination form and to read further instructions about submitting nominations to the coordinator in your county.

The deadline in Franklin County is was Jan. 15, said Charles Mitchell, Director of the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service in Louisburg. Applications should now be completed online and emailed to charles_mitchell@ncsu.edu.

Warren County’s deadline is Feb. 1.

Granville submissions are due Feb. 5 and should be sent to Deborah Ferrell at deborah.ferrell@dhhs.nc.gov.

Vance County nominations should be emailed to volunteernc@nc.gov, according to Gianna Quilici, Page Program Coordinator for the governor’s office.

The award, created by the Office of the Governor in 1979, recognizes North Carolina’s most dedicated volunteers. Since its inception, thousands of North Carolinians have been honored for their concern and compassion for their neighbors through volunteerism.

Each county can submit names of up to 10 individuals, businesses, groups or teams and/or one paid director of volunteers to be considered for the award. The review committee in each county can additionally nominate one individual to receive the Governor’s Medallion Award for Volunteer Service. This award is given to the top 20 volunteers in the state. A local committee evaluates all nominations.

Nomination forms are available in Warren County at the Cooperative Extension Center, 158 Rafters Lane, Warrenton and at the Warren County Memorial Library, 119 Front Street, Warrenton. Email Crystal M. Smith at cmsmith2@ncsu.edu to request a nomination form. Completed forms may be returned to the Cooperative Extension office or can be emailed to Smith in .pdf format no later than Monday, Feb. 1, 2021. For more information, call 252.257.3640.

“Things to Know” about PPP Loans from SBA.gov

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has two loan programs open now through the end of March 2021 to help businesses keep their doors open and employee wages paid during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The PPP, offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration, provides loans for first-time applicants as well as employers who previously had requested and received help in 2020 as part of the federal government’s response to the pandemic, according to information on the SBA.gov website.

The First Draw PPP Loans are for first-time participants. The SBA reopened this loan program on Jan. 11, 2021 and is currently accepting applications from participating community financial institutions (CFIs) and lenders with under $1 billion in assets. This category includes approximately 5,000 institutions, including community banks, credit unions, and farm credit institutions. Lender Match can help find a participating lender. The program will be opened up to all lenders on January 19, 2021.

The Second Draw PPP loan opened on Jan. 13, 2021 and is designated for certain businesses who have already received a PPP loan. At least $25 billion is being set aside for eligible borrowers – those employers with a maximum of 10 employees or for loans of $250,000 or less to eligible borrowers in low- or moderate-income neighborhoods.

First Draw PPP Loans can be used to help fund payroll, including benefits, as well as rent and mortgage interest, utilities, and even uninsured property damage caused by vandalism or looting in 2020, among other things, according to information published on the SBA.gov site. Loan forgiveness is an option, as well, if certain criteria are met, including whether employees are still employed and compensation levels are maintained and at least 60 percent of the money is spent on payroll costs.

Generally speaking, most borrowers who received help through the First Draw PPP may apply for a second loan.

According to the website, a borrower is generally eligible for a Second Draw PPP Loan if a first loan was applied for and received; the business fewer than 300 employees and if the employer can show at least a 25% reduction in gross receipts between comparable periods of time in 2019 and 2020.

For a comprehensive look and details about the PPP loans, visit SBA.gov. Your local banker likely will have additional information about the loan program as well.