VGCC Trustees endorse Connect NC Bond

The Vance-Granville Community College Board of Trustees has voiced its support of the Connect NC Bond on the ballot for voters in the primary on March 15.

In a unanimous vote on Monday night, Feb. 8, at the trustees’ regular bimonthly meeting, the board adopted a resolution of support for the $2 billion bond package.

“The Connect NC Bond … will enable North Carolina’s systems of higher education to educate and train a highly qualified workforce for the 21st century and will support our state’s parks, National Guard, community infrastructure, and agricultural resources,” the resolution states.

If approved by the state’s voters, $7.6 million of the bond package “will pay for ongoing, necessary improvements for VGCC and provide a substantial savings to the people of Vance, Granville, Franklin and Warren counties,” the resolution states.

“This is the first statewide bond we’ve had since the year 2000,” VGCC President Dr. Stelfanie Williams told the board. “The state of North Carolina has actually grown by 2 million people since then. We have a lot of new people in our state.

“This will very much benefit our region. Not only will the community college receive funding but also the state parks. Kerr Lake is set to receive $3,750,000. Municipalities can apply for water and sewer infrastructure,” Dr. Williams said.

The college can use its allocation for new construction, renovations and repairs across its four campuses, Dr. Williams added.

VGCC’s proposed allocation is the eighth largest among the state’s community colleges. “The nice thing about this bond for Vance-Granville is that the formula for determining allocations incorporated county wealth and the age of buildings, so we fared well with $7.6 million,” Dr. Williams said.

Steve Graham, VGCC’s vice president of finance and operations, said the college has many needs for retrofitting and enhancing instructional program spaces and addressing critical repair and renovation needs with the bond proceeds, if approved.

Graham noted as examples that partnerships with area industry are resulting in higher enrollments in programs such as the new Mechatronics Engineering Technology academic program. Additional space is needed for lecture areas and for housing new equipment.

Some buildings on VGCC’s main campus have air handling units that are over 30 years old, and there are older model fire alarm systems that need to be replaced, Graham added. In some curriculum areas, such as Cosmetology, electrical and ventilation upgrades are needed.

Dr. Williams added that the public school students will also benefit from the bonds in the four-county area, because there are approximately 800 enrolled in the early college high schools on VGCC’s four campuses.

On the ballot, the Connect NC Bond will be labeled the “Connect NC Public Improvement Bond.” Early voting is scheduled for March 3-12, Dr. Williams said.

The board voted to contribute $7,000 of non-state funds to support the Connect NC Bond Committee.

In other action:

  • Mid-Year Amendments to the 2015-2016 Budget Resolution were approved. Trustee Danny Wright, chair of the board’s Budget Committee, said the adjustments were necessary to account for $2,074,022 in carryover funds from the previous year and grant funding.
  • The board voted to close the Industrial Systems academic program, effective in the fall of 2016, upon recommendation of the Curriculum Committee, chaired by Trustee Barbara Cates Harris. More students are gravitating to the Mechatronics program, contributing to low enrollment in Industrial Systems.
  • Under a new sales tax redistribution plan, the state and local sales tax base will be expanded to include repair, maintenance and installation services, Graham reported. A portion of local sales tax revenue will be placed in a statewide pool and allocated under a new statutory method with the proceeds used for expenditures related to economic development, public schools or community colleges. By county, the estimated annual distribution is: Vance, $241,000; Granville, $1,157,000; Franklin, $1,903,000; and Warren, $778,000.
  • Following a report by Trustee Sara Wester, chair of the Personnel Committee, the trustees approved resolutions to adopt two additional Supplemental Retirement Plans established by the State for the benefit of VGCC employees with no cost to the college. All qualified employees are eligible immediately for the NC 403 (b) and NC 457 plans.
  • The Investment Committee, co-chaired by Trustees Opie Frazier and Donald Seifert, reported on a joint meeting held with members of the VGCC Endowment Fund Board of Directors in January. Seifert said the two boards are currently updating the college’s investment policies.
  • In an update for the Building Committee, Graham reported that work began on the Building 10 renovations in January with an expected completion date of June 23.
  • The board approved a course offering at Polk Correctional Institution in Butner and Warren Correctional Institution in Manson. All courses offered at the state’s prisons must go before trustees for approval.
  • Student Government Association President Aleria Perry, who serves as Student Trustee, announced upcoming events at the college, including Fun Friday for Valentine’s Day on Feb. 12, Spirit Week starting Feb. 29, and a Talent Show for students on March 4.
  • In Dr. Williams’ report to the board, the trustees were updated on activities since the board last met in November, including the recent announcement of a former VGCC president, Dr. Ben Currin, winning the community college system’s top award, the I.E. Ready Award, and plans for VGCC’s new online learning initiative, VOLT (Vanguard Online Learning through Technology), to offer online College Transfer degrees starting in the fall. She also announced the dates of an Arts & Sciences Lecture Series that will feature Bill Barker of Colonial Williamsburg, Va., as Thomas Jefferson; lectures are set for Feb. 18, March 17, and April 21, at 11 a.m. each day in the Auditorium in Building 2. The college’s Fourth Annual Dinner Theater will be held April 28-30. The annual VGCC Endowment Fund Golf Tournament is set for Tuesday, May 3.

The Monday night meeting was moved to Feb. 8 because of inclement weather on the original meeting date of Jan. 25. The next meeting of the Board of Trustees is set for Monday, March 21, on the Main Campus.

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Closings & Delays


  • Crossroads Christian Schools – CLOSED Tuesday, January 26.
  • Granville County Public Schools – CLOSED Tuesday, January 26, for all students and school system employees. This Saturday, January 30 will be a make-up school day. School will open on an early release schedule on this day. Making up instructional hours this Saturday will help protect our calendar for the remainder of the year.
  • Vance County Public Schools – CLOSED Tuesday, January 26, for all students and school system employees.
  • Vance-Granville Community College – All VGCC campuses will open at 12 noon on Tuesday, January 26.
  • Victory Christian School and Daycare – CLOSED Tuesday, January 26.



  • The District Attorney’s offices – in Vance, Granville, Franklin and Warren counties will open at 9:30 am on Tuesday, January 26, 2016.  Franklin County District Court, Vance County District Court and Vance County CMS Court will begin at 10:30 am on Tuesday, January 26, 2016.  Granville County Superior Trial Court will begin at 11:00 am on Tuesday, January 26, 2016.  Anyone who missed his/her court date Monday, because of court cancellations, will be mailed a notice by the Clerk of Court notifying of a new court date.

Meeting at VGCC Provides Information on Statewide Bond

An informational meeting organized by North Carolina State University and North Carolina Cooperative Extension to discuss the upcoming Connect NC bond referendum was held at Vance-Granville Community College’s South Campus on Jan. 14.

Among those in attendance were community leaders from Vance, Granville, Franklin and Warren counties, VGCC trustees and officials, and a representative from Piedmont Community College in Person County. The event was one of 22 such educational meetings being held across the state in advance of the vote on the bond, which is set for March 15.VGCC - Steward - Bond Referendum

Among the featured speakers was Dr. Travis Burke, the interim associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at NCSU and interim director of N.C. Cooperative Extension. Burke explained that, if approved by voters, the Connect NC Public Improvement Bond would benefit agriculture, higher education, parks, the N.C. National Guard and other public services, without requiring an increase in taxes. “The state is growing and has infrastructure needs,” Burke said. “We have added two million people since the last statewide bond referendum in 2000.”

The North Carolina Community College System would receive $350 million from the bond. That includes a little more than $7.6 million specifically for VGCC, which could be used for construction, renovation and repairs across the college’s four campuses. Only seven of the state’s 58 community colleges would receive more funding than VGCC.

“The community college system is one of the state’s crown jewels, not only for education but also for economic development,” said Dr. Marshall Stewart, also of N.C. State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, at the meeting. Stewart provided a breakdown of investments that the state would be able to make if Connect NC is approved. More than half of the proceeds are earmarked for higher education, including 49% for the University of North Carolina system and 17% for community colleges. The remainder is divided as follows: 16% for water/sewer projects and local parks; 9% for agriculture; 5% for state parks (including Kerr Lake) and the North Carolina Zoo; and 4% for public safety.

Other speakers at VGCC included Paul Westfall, Granville County director for N.C. Cooperative Extension; Richard Campbell of NCSU’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; and Matthew Hebb, a regional field director for the Connect NC Committee.

(Information provide by press release from VGCC.)

NC Farm School

NC Farm School: An educational value for new and transitioning farmers

Paul McKenzie, Agricultural Extension Agent for Vance and Warren Counties tells WIZS News: “We are pleased to announce the launch of the Eastern Piedmont NC Farm School for new and transitioning farmers in Franklin, Nash, Wake, and Warren Counties as well as surrounding areas!  The program was developed to provide a resource to the numerous people visiting the local Cooperative Extension offices seeking help to grow crops, raise livestock, sell to local markets, handle employees, learn regulations, follow restrictions and generate revenues.

“The NC Farm School is not like any other program offered in the state!  Nowhere else can you learn from specialists and current farmers about budgeting skills, marketing expertise, and record keeping.  Participants even get to visit local farms in supporting counties to see how these farms operate.  It is the best combination to teach business and production while helping to ensure the success of students who attend.”

Kelly Connor, a graduate of NC Farm School in the Southern Piedmont, told McKenzie, “It would have taken my brothers and I at least 20 years to get the information and education we have received in the short time attending NC Farm School.  This program is worth more than double the price.”

If you are interested in attending the Eastern Piedmont NC Farm School, or want to hear more testimonies from farmers who attended the NC Farm Schools, visit the NC Farm School website at, or your local Cooperative Extension Office for more information on how to apply.  An interest meeting will be held on January 5, 2016 at the Franklin County Cooperative Extension Office (103 S. Bickett Blvd, Louisburg NC) at 6:30PM.

(Information for this article received from:)

Paul McKenzie
Agricultural Extension Agent, Vance/Warren Counties
NC Cooperative Extension
305 Young St., Henderson, NC  27536

158 Rafters Ln., Warrenton, NC 27589
252.438.8188 (Vance)  252.257.3640 (Warren)

252.213.6095 (cell)       @pgmckenzie

This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

VGCC graduates 13 cadets in school’s 101st BLET Class

Thirteen cadets graduated on Dec. 15, 2015, from the Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) program at Vance-Granville Community College, in a ceremony held in the Civic Center on Main Campus. After passing the state certification exam, all are authorized to work in any law enforcement agency in North Carolina.

Graduates of VGCC’s 101st BLET class included Thomas Henry Turner III and Jason Tyler Wright, both of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office; Elliott DeVar Carver of the Granville County Sheriff’s Office; Patrick Ryan Fuqua, Brandon Jay Link and Tiquan Devard Terry, all of the Henderson Police Department; Jason Scott Penshorn and William Keegan Ruark, both of the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation; Travis Ty Womack of the Oxford Police Department; Michael Wayne Martin of the Person County Sheriff’s Office; Tony Joseph Tart of the Vance County Sheriff’s Office; Wilbert Anthony Marrow of the Warren County Sheriff’s Office; and Jamison Patrick Vuolo.

The ceremony began with a presentation of colors by students from the ROTC program at Northern Vance High School, and the singing of the national anthem by NVHS student Jaylen Webb.

In welcoming remarks, Dr. Angela Ballentine, VGCC’s vice president of academic and student affairs, thanked the many leaders from local and state law enforcement agencies in attendance for partnering with the college. “Your support for the BLET program is invaluable,” Ballentine told the law enforcement representatives. “You sponsor our cadets, hire our graduates, provide many of our instructors, and give us feedback and advice. This successful partnership between VGCC and our community improves the safety and quality of life of our region.” She congratulated the graduates on completing the rigorous, 644-hour training program and encouraged them to continue their education.

Speaking on behalf of the class, Cadet Brandon Link praised their instructors, who taught them lessons that would shape their future careers. He called on his classmates to serve and protect “with honesty and pride.”

Graduates selected Sgt. Richard Creech of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, one of their instructors, to serve as their guest speaker. “Remember in your career to always treat people with respect,” Creech reminded the cadets. “Wearing this badge makes us no better than anyone else, but we are held to a higher standard.”

Andrea Ferguson, the program coordinator, and instructor Glen Boyd presented awards to the top students in the class in three categories. Womack won the “Top Gun” Award for having the highest accuracy score in weapons firing. Ruark earned the Physical Training Award for scoring highest in the various fitness tests the cadets undergo. Wright took home the Academic Achievement Award for having the top grade average in the written tests each cadet must pass.

After all graduates received their certificates, the group recited the “law enforcement code of ethics” published by the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

For more information on the BLET program, contact Ferguson at

Mayor/Council Sworn In

The Henderson City Council met Monday night at 6:00 o’clock, and installation ceremonies were held for the mayor, the newly elected council members as well as the re-elected incumbents.

Eddie Ellington was sworn in and is now the Mayor of The City of Henderson.  Ellington told WIZS News, “I have a huge feeling of pride as well as gratitude knowing that a boy like me who grew up on Burwell Avenue could one day be the mayor of his hometown.  It’s time now to move ahead, get to work and see that Henderson lives up to the potential we all know exists.”

Ellington defeated Jim Kearney and Juanita Somerville in October as he earned 50.20 percent of the vote.Marion Brodie Williams Sworn In 121415

As a result of running for mayor, Kearney gave up his ward 1 ward seat on the council.  Marion Brodie Williams defeated Clarence Dale in a November runoff, earning almost 56 percent of the votes cast in the runoff. Williams was sworn in Monday night.  She told WIZS News, “It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that I am accepting this position to represent ward 1.  It’s an honor to take the seat that Mr. Kearney had, and I hope to fulfill that with dedication and a lot of enthusiasm.  It feels very good to know that the citizens elected me and to stand here right now.  It’s all come together for me, and I thank all the citizens of ward 1 for voting for me.  I really do.”

Melissa Elliott Sworn In 121415Melissa Elliott was sworn in to represent ward 3 at large.  She defeated incumbent Brenda Peace, also earning just about 56 percent of those who voted in the November runoff.  Elliott told WIZS News, “I feel grateful to God and completely overwhelmed with joy, and I want to serve the citizens of Henderson to the best of my ability.” In response to a question about the next few years, Elliott said, “Initiatives, initiatives, initiatives.”

Also as a part of the meeting, outgoing Mayor James D. “Pete” O’Geary learned that a conference room at City Hall will now bear his name.  In addition, O’Geary was awarded “The Order of the Long Leaf Pine.”  In attendance representing The State of North Carolina and Governor Pat McCrory was Senator Angela R. Bryant, who represents Vance, Warren, Halifax, Nash and Wilson Counties.  Mayor O’Geary expressed extreme gratitude for the award and to the City and to the council at several points during the meeting.  O’Geary’s combined service to Henderson spanned 20 years, 12 as a councilman and eight as Mayor.Pete OGeary Long Leaf Pine 121415

As a part of an outgoing ceremony for Councilman Kearney, he received a key to the City of Henderson from City Manager Frank Frazier.   Kearney said, “It has been my distinct pleasure to serve the citizens of Henderson, particularly those of ward 1 for the last four-plus years.  To my colleagues, it has been my pleasure to work with you.  We have had some lively exchanges, and we have had some that were quite congenial (where) everyone was in agreement.  All in all, we served the citizens with professionalism.”  Kearney urged incoming council members and the mayor to “rule with your head, but lead with your heart.”Jim Kearney Key to City 121415

Outgoing councilwoman Brenda Peace could not attend the meeting because of a prior duty with her church, where she and others were volunteering in the neighborhoods around the church.  Mayor O’Geary read a letter that Peace submitted.  Peace said in the letter, “Ms. Elliott, please feel the hearty handshake and warm embrace that I would have shared with you as we exchanged seats.  Once again, I congratulate you in your victory.”  Peace praised the incumbents and newly elected members and expressed much gratitude.  She said to the citizens, “I say thank you for the confidence you have had in me (for the past eight years.)  The experience has enhanced me and broadened my horizons.”

Also sworn in were re-elected incumbents George Daye and Mike Rainey.

North Carolina Central University Teams with Vance-Granville Community College to Launch Eagle Voyage Criminal Justice Program

The North Carolina Central University (NCCU) Department of Criminal Justice and Vance-Granville Community College (VGCC) signed an agreement today (Dec. 2) launching Eagle Voyage, a new program offering a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice on the VGCC campus.

Representatives of the college and the university held a signing ceremony in the Civic Center on the community college’s Main Campus in Vance County, where VGCC will provide classroom space and technology support and NCCU will provide a two-year course of study leading to a bachelor’s degree for students holding an associate degree in Criminal Justice from VGCC.

Not only will Eagle Voyage represent the first bachelor’s degree program available at VGCC facilities, it will also mark the first time in which a full-time NCCU academic coordinator will be based on a community college campus to coach, advise and assist students working toward their four-year degrees.

With credits transferring from the associate’s degree, students will complete the accelerated program over the course of nine, eight-week mini-sessions and one summer at VGCC. NCCU will assist with recruitment of students for each annual cohort.

“This is another exciting learning and partnership opportunity for NCCU and Vance-Granville Community College as we continue to work together to highlight our ability to provide a more seamless educational experience for our transfer students,” said Dr. Johnson O. Akinleye, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. “This partnership with Vance-Granville Community College adds to the growing number of partnerships that NCCU has with community colleges across the state. It is through these types of partnerships that we are able to provide access to educational opportunities and academic resources to prepare Eagle Voyage scholars for success in the field of criminal justice.”

Dr. Stelfanie Williams, president of VGCC, said her institution has been working to strengthen relationships with four-year universities to promote student success.

“Research indicates that when community college students have clear academic and career pathways, they are more likely to continue their education and graduate, and they have better employment outcomes as well,” she said. “Through this partnership, our Vanguards will have a new way to continue their own academic voyages, soaring as Eagles into successful careers as leaders in criminal justice and public service.”

Courses will be taught in a hybrid format consisting of a one day per week onsite session at VGCC’s Main Campus, with additional work completed online via Blackboard, a Learning Management System. Students enrolled in the B.S. program in Criminal Justice at Vance-Granville Community College will be encouraged to join student organizations at NCCU and take advantage of other university resources such as access to the James E. Shepard Library and other NCCU online services.

Students also will have learning opportunities outside the classroom involving real-word experiences and programs to promote public safety. Upon completion of the degree, students will be qualified to work in public or private criminal justice agencies and similar organizations.

“It is truly amazing to realize that right here on this one campus, someday, we will have students ranging from the ninth grade level at the Early College High School all the way up to college seniors completing their bachelor’s degrees at NCCU,” said Dr. Angela Ballentine, VGCC’s vice president of academic and student affairs, in her remarks at the ceremony. Also participating in the program were VGCC Public Services department chair Steven Hargrove, NCCU Dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences Dr. Debra Parker, and VGCC Criminal Justice program head William Clements.

The VGCC Criminal Justice associate degree program prepares students for careers in the local, state, and federal law enforcement, corrections, and security fields. Emphasis is placed on criminal justice systems, criminology, juvenile justice, criminal and constitutional law, investigative principles, ethics and community relations. VGCC also offers a certificate in Criminal Justice & Special Populations and a separate Basic Law Enforcement Training program.

NCCU’s bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice equips students to apply critical and analytical thinking skills in problem-solving situations, develop leadership and written and oral communication skills, and exercise ethical and sound judgment.  The NCCU Department of Criminal Justice is the only program in North Carolina that is certified nationally by the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences and by the North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission.

For more information, please visit NCCU online at or contact William Clements at Vance-Granville Community College at or 252-738-3242.


North Carolina Central University prepares students to succeed in the global marketplace. Flagship programs include science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines, nursing, education, law, business and the arts. Founded in 1910 as a liberal arts college for African-Americans, NCCU remains committed to diversity in higher education. Our alumni are among the nation’s most successful scientists, researchers, educators, attorneys, artists and entrepreneurs. Visit


Vance-Granville Community College, one of the 58 institutions of the North Carolina Community College System, is the local source for higher education and training in Vance, Granville, Franklin and Warren counties, north of the Research Triangle. Established in 1969, VGCC today serves students at four campuses (one in each county of the service area) and online. The college offers more than 40 curriculum programs, as well as occupational certifications, continuing education, adult education, customized training for employers and the first two years of a four-year degree. For more information, visit

Master Gardeners

On Tuesday, December 1st, the Vance/Warren Extension Master Gardener Volunteers gathered at Ribeyes Steakhouse in Henderson to celebrate another year of accomplishments. Over the past year, 21 active volunteers contributed over 1200 hours of service in support of Cooperative Extension projects in the two counties. The volunteers are involved in a variety of activities, including the installation of raised beds for demonstration purposes, garden classes and workshops, outreach at community events, a newsletter with timely tips and much more.

Warren County Extension Director Crystal Smith thanked the Volunteers for their tireless service to the two counties.  Extension Agent Paul McKenzie presented several achievement awards this year, including some noteworthy service milestones. Beverly Allen reached the 5 year mark, and also received a pin for 500 hours of service. Merwin Deickmann has achieved 15 years of service. BJ Wright has contributed 500 lifetime hours. This year the highly coveted Golden Trowel Award was presented to Marty Finkel, for contributing 116 hours of service in 2015. Eileen Novak was presented the Silver Cultivator Award, for tireless work behind the scenes to make our projects successful. Edna Gaston received the Golden Watering Can Award, for her many years of leadership. Edna was also recognized for 20 years of service. Coop Master Garden 2015 b
At the event, the Volunteers enjoyed great food, fantastic fellowship and a fun gift exchange. They also presented a book on fishing to Extension Agent Paul McKenzie in appreciation of his leadership. The considered a gardening book, but have seen pictures of his garden and realize there is no hope.
(Information Provided by:)

Paul McKenzie
Agricultural Extension Agent, Vance/Warren Counties
NC Cooperative Extension
305 Young St., Henderson, NC  27536
158 Rafters Ln., Warrenton, NC 27589
252.438.8188 (Vance)  252.257.3640 (Warren)

Vance-Granville Community Band to present free holiday concert on Dec. 3

The Vance-Granville Community Band will perform its eighth annual Christmas Concert, entitled “Making Spirits Bright,” on Thursday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m. in the Civic Center on VGCC’s Main Campus in Vance County. Admission is free and the public is invited.

The band has prepared a program featuring a variety of holiday-themed favorites, including “All I Want for Christmas is You,” “A Holst Christmas,” a march called “Christmas Joy,” “The Bells of Saint Mary,” “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” “Angels We Have Heard on High,” a sing-a-long of popular Christmas songs, and “May the Good Lord Keep and Bless You.”

The concert will also feature students in the VGCC Music Scholars program: Shontiara Williams of Oxford (on vocals and piano), Kaleb Williamson of Bullock (guitar), Tiffany Barnes of Henderson (vocals) and Charles Keith of Raleigh (bass).

VGCC music instructor Ivory Brock is the band’s primary conductor. Also conducting for a portion of the concert will be Brian Miller, the recently-retired band director at Louisburg High School.

First formed in 2008, the all-volunteer Community Band has included VGCC students, local high school students, educators, and interested citizens from all four counties of the college’s service area (Vance, Granville, Warren and Franklin) and beyond. For more information, call Ivory Brock at (252) 738-3222.