TownTalk: Seussical Jr. And Other Productions Coming To McGregor Hall

Got a budding actor living under your roof who may be looking to hone some skills this summer? McGregor Hall Executive Director Mark Hopper said this season’s Henderson Rec Players productions may be just the place to start.

Young people ages 8-16 are invited to a May 9 meeting, at 7 p.m., to learn more about Seussical, Jr., the culmination of a two-week-long children’s theater camp set for June 12-25.

This year marks the third year for the children’s camp, which Hopper said had been a long time coming. “That was a dream for a long time,” he said on Monday’s TownTalk.

Whether it’s acting, singing or helping behind the scenes, youngsters will get an immersive experience in what goes on to bring a production to the stage.

And the price – $50 for the two weeks – is right, Hopper said, to allow more children to come and take part.

Learn more about Seussical, Jr. and the other shows that the Rec Players will perform during the 51st season at



Springtime Vaccines Protect Equines From Deadly Diseases

-information courtesy of the N.C. Department of Agriculture

If you’re a horse owner, listen up: It’s time to protect your equines against a couple of serious ailments.

N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler encourages equine owners to have their animals vaccinated against Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis and West Nile Virus, two diseases with high mortality rates. Both, however, are preventable with a simple vaccination.

“Mosquito-breeding season in North Carolina lasts from spring until the first frost and horses are at risk if not properly vaccinated,” Troxler said. “EEE is fatal 90 percent of the time in horses and WNV has a fatality rate of 30 percent.”

Last year, there were no recorded cases of EEE and one case of WNV. In 2021, there were three recorded cases of EEE and two cases of WNV.

State Veterinarian Dr. Mike Martin recommends that equine owners talk to their veterinarians about an effective vaccination protocol to protect horses from mosquito-borne diseases. The combination vaccination initially requires multiple injections for horses, mules and donkeys that have no prior vaccination history.

Mosquitoes can breed in any puddle that lasts for more than four days, so removing any source of standing water can reduce the chance of exposing animals to WNV or EEE. Keeping horses in stalls at night, using insect screens and fans, and turning off lights after dusk can also help reduce exposure to mosquitoes. Insect repellants can be effective if used according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Symptoms of EEE include impaired vision, aimless wandering, head pressing, circling, inability to swallow, irregular staggering gait, paralysis, convulsions and death. Once a horse has been bitten by an infected mosquito, it could take between 3 and 10 days for symptoms to appear.

Symptoms of WNV include fever, weakness or paralysis of hind limbs, impaired vision, head pressing, seizures and aimless wandering.

People, horses and birds can become infected from a bite by a mosquito carrying these diseases, but there is no evidence that horses can transmit the viruses to other horses, birds or people through direct contact.

Equine care also includes keeping up-to-date on equine infectious anemia (EIA) testing, commonly referred to as the Coggins test. “Since January there have been 20 cases of EIA in North Carolina. There is no vaccine and no cure for this disease so testing annually is important,” Troxler added.

“It’s also a great time to make sure your animal is current on its rabies vaccination,” Troxler said. “In 2022, seven cases of livestock infected with rabies were reported to our Veterinary Division. Since January, we have had two positive cases in livestock. Historically, most of the cases have been in cows but all livestock are naturally curious animals, which puts them at risk for a bite if a rabid animal gets through their fence line.”


VGCC Adds NC Wesleyan As Transfer Option To Complete 4-Year Degree

-information courtesy of VGCC Public Information Officer Courtney Cissel

Students who complete their two-year degree have another option when choosing where to continue on the path to a four-year university degree: North Carolina Wesleyan University. The two schools recently entered into an agreement that will allow VGCC students to participate in Wesley Works, a transfer program that offers benefits to students who want to obtain a college diploma.

VGCC President Dr. Rachel Desmarais shared optimism about the partnership. “By this new agreement with NC Wesleyan University, I am pleased that VGCC graduates will have more options than ever to continue their path to a four-year degree,” Demarais stated in a press release.

The agreement will enhance and expand the educational opportunities of Associate in Arts, Associate in Fine Arts, Associate in Science, and Associate in Applied Science graduates by offering VGCC graduates access to the benefits of the Wesleyan Works program, pre-admission advising, generous transfer credit, and a clear definition of the transfer of courses from VGCC to NC Wesleyan. This Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) allows VGCC Associate in Applied Science students to transfer an additional 15 hours of general education credits for a total of 75 transfer credits.

“We’re proud to add Vance-Granville Community College to our array of partners we have transfer agreements with. They join over 40 other colleges and community colleges with seamless transfer pathways to NC Wesleyan University following completion of a two-year degree,” stated NCWU President Dr. Evan D. Duff. “Through our Wesleyan Works program, all AA/AS/AAS community college graduates gain automatic acceptance to NCWU with no application fee and the ability to transfer in up to 75 credit hours. This smooth transfer process allows community college graduates a simple path to making their education attainable in order to accomplish their goals in life.”

Students who graduate from VGCC and transfer under this agreement may select any of NC Wesleyan’s programs of study or may transfer to the college’s Adult and Professional Studies program, taking advantage of the Wesleyan Works program. Students are required to maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0 and be in good academic standing. The agreement brings NC Wesleyan within the reach of VGCC students who may not have otherwise been able to attend the college.

Wesleyan Works is a transfer program designed for community college students who plan to continue their education at NC Wesleyan. Students who participate in Wesleyan Works will have access to academic advising and financial aid counseling through NC Wesleyan, as well as access to events on the college’s main campus. The program is ideal for students who would like to attend NC Wesleyan’s evening or online programs.

North Carolina Wesleyan University, a private institution affiliated with the United Methodist Church, prepares students for professional advancement, life-long learning and responsible participation in their communities. NC Wesleyan University provides a highly personalized education in a dynamic and challenging environment. With students from all over the United States and more than 40 different countries, NC Wesleyan is a small college with a big taste for cultural diversity. To learn more about either school, visit or

Warren April 13 Open House To Discuss Revised Flood Insurance Rate Maps

-Information courtesy of Charla Duncan, Warren County government

The NC Department of Public Safety and Warren County will host a public open house on April 13, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. to provide an opportunity for citizens and other stakeholders to see the result of the revised flood insurance rate maps.

The meeting will be held at the Warren County Armory Civic Center, 501 US Highway 158 Business East, Warrenton.

Members of the public will have an opportunity to review new flood hazard areas, ask questions about the revised studies and understand the requirements for submitting appeals or comments to the revised studies.

County and municipal employees will be on hand to help residents locate their properties from the flood hazard data and determine their level of flood risk. Representatives from the N.C. Floodplain Mapping Program will be available to answer questions about the hazard data update process, flood insurance coverage and floodplain management.

Impacted residents will be receiving mailed notifications from the Warren County Planning & Zoning Department.

For more information about the flood map changes, contact NCFMP Outreach Planner Milton Carpenter at 919.825.2302.

Warren Emergency Services To Host Duke RACE-CARS Update Meeting Mar. 30

Warren County Emergency Services will host a Duke RACE-CARS trial meeting March 30 to share information about a partnership whose goal is to save lives.

RACE-CARS is an acronym that stands for Randomized Cluster Evaluation of Cardiac Arrest Systems and Warren County is taking part in the trial study to test the implementation of community interventions to improve survival for people with cardiac arrest.

Chris Tucker, Warren County’s emergency services manager and compliance officer, said the meeting will take place from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Warren County Emergency Services headquarters, 890 U.S. Hwy. 158 bypass, Warrenton.“This is a very important project that will affect a lot of lives in Warren County,” Tucker stated. “Come join us and hear how Warren County is saving lives one at a time.”

See more about the program here:

TownTalk: The History Of Montmorenci

Montmorenci is the name of a plantation home in Warren County that was, by all accounts, over-the-top. It had the basics that many homes of the day had – porches, staircases, mantels. But skilled artisans – probably enslaved members of the Williams family – created lavish features that were admired by many, near and far.

One of those admirers was Henry Francis Du Pont, who bought the mantels, façade and that fabulous freestanding circular staircase when the home was being deconstructed in the early 1900’s for his own home, Winterthur.

Visitors to the Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library in Delaware can see that gravity-defying staircase, two of the mantels and the façade, according to Carrie Greif, the museum’s estate historian.

Greif spoke with Bill Harris and co-host Mark Pace on the tri-weekly history segment of TownTalk about how pieces of a Warren County home came to be part of the Du Pont estate, a 175-room mansion-turned museum that houses more than 90,000 examples of American decorative art.

Montmorenci was located on what is now known as Lickskillet Road, the home of William “Pretty Boy” Williams. It was truly a remarkable example of the Federal style, Pace said, which was so popular in the Warren County, Halifax and Roanoke Valley area between 1810 and, say, 1850.

The mantels weren’t just constructed to be put in front of fireplaces; one had the Battle of Lake Erie carved into it; the porch wasn’t just where people could get out of the weather on their way into the home, it went all the way across the front of the house. And that staircase? It wasn’t just a way to get from one floor to another – it was a freestanding, spiral case that was a focal point of the interior.

“The staircase is a focal point for visitors at Winterthur,” Greif said, but it bears little resemblance to how it was installed at Montmorenci. And when workers were taking it apart to prepare it for the trip to its new home, they learned about how it was originally installed, she said.

But just how did a piece of architecture from North Carolina catch the attention of a wealthy Delaware industrialist?

To be sure, Montmorenci was a noteworthy house in its day; and there was one particular collector who contacted one of Du Pont’s entourage that set the deal in motion. She bought it for $6,300 and sold it to Du Pont for $12,000.

Greif said the staircase has a “unique vernacular expression” and displays a balance of ornamentation and historic significance. She posits that enslaved artisans owned by Williams created the staircase.

She said the staircase was sold in 1930, and the additional items were purchased later when it was discovered that more wood – yellow pine – was needed to complete the installation.

Pace said the house was built in 1820, one of five associated with the Williams family. And it was gone by the 1940s, shortly after all the interior architecture was removed.

“It just wasn’t around for very long,” he added. But several key parts remain. In a museum in Delaware.

Visit to learn more and to see a photograph of the Montmorenci staircase.




Warren Co. Memorial Library

Warren Library Hosts Local Author During Women’s History Month


Local author Jane Ball-Groom will present a program Mar. 30 at the Warren County Library as part of Women’s History Month festivities.

Ball-Groom’s presentation is “From Buckboard to Boardroom: Celebrating Women – The Power of Telling Our Stories and Sharing Our Gifts” at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Mar. 30. The program will give attendees a glimpse into the lives and stories of women authors past and present, with a focus on themes of purpose, passion  and hope, according to a press statement from Charla Duncan.

The program will be held in the library’s community room and the people of all ages are invited to attend..

Based in Norlina, Ball-Groom is executive director of Pier View Community Innovations, Inc., a nonprofit organization that incorporates workforce talent development, grant writing, resource development and ancestry research. Ball-Groom also is a workshop facilitator, motivational speaker, life coach and community voliunteer.

Go to for event details and additional services offered. All library programs are free to access. Call the library for more information at 252.257.4990. The library is located at 119 S. Front St., Warrenton, NC 27589.

Norlina Grocery Store With Local Ties To Open Mar. 25

A new grocery store is set to open soon in Norlina, and its owners say shoppers will be able to fill their baskets with locally grown produce as well as other food staples.

Warren County residents Demetrius Hunter and LaTonya Andrews-Hunter invite the community to the soft opening of Peanut and Zelb’s, located at  137 Hyco St. in downtown Norlina on Saturday, Mar. 25 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Inspired by their community involvement and food aggregation experience, and with the success of their first store, the Black Farmers Hub in Raleigh, the Hunters were driven to open their second store a little closer to their roots.

It’s a unique name with a unique inventory providing a niche product for all to enjoy. Along with the local produce and food staples, the store will be stocked with coffee, teas and cold-pressed drinks, all in a friendly environment with free WiFi.

The name Peanut and Zelb’s is inspired by the parents of both Latonya and Demetrius. Hunter’s father, Zelb, delivered local Johnston County produce by mule and cart to the Wake County area, and LaTonya’s mother Carolyn “Peanut” Drew-Andrews of Warren County was an educator in Wake County and a community champion.

“We are committed to tackling the challenges of food justice in areas with limited access to healthy options,” said Demetrius Hunter. “We hope to increase equity in farming and food access and to be a diverse market for the community of Warren County.”

Peanut and Zelb’s stakeholders will include members of the community – producers and employees. Consumers have the option to shop at the store or enjoy the convenience of home deliveries. The cost for a subscription is $60 per quarter.

For more information about Peanut and Zelb’s, visit their Facebook page at

Warren Co. Memorial Library

Warren County Library Has Blood Pressure Kits For Checkout

They probably won’t be tucked on the bookshelf between Bla- and Blu-, but Warren Memorial Library patrons can now check out blood pressure cuffs, thanks to a partnership with the American Heart Association.

The library has five self-monitoring blood pressure kits – available in English and Spanish, available for checkout for those with library cards, according to Library Director Christy Bondy.

“The blood pressure cuffs are a great addition to the library,” Bondy said in a statement.

“We are thrilled to partner with the American Heart Association in our efforts to build and support a strong and healthy community. Libraries have increasingly added health literacy initiatives to their resources and services. The aim of this project is to create informed individuals who can work with their health care provider to determine the best treatment of better overall health.”

Nearly half of all Americans have high blood pressure, or hypertension, yet don’t even know it. Left undetected or uncontrolled, high blood pressure increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Small changes can make a big difference, including taking your blood pressure daily from home. It’s a proven way to monitor and control blood pressure in between regular doctor visits.

Blood pressure kits check out for three weeks with two possible renewals.

Take note, however: the blood pressure kits must NOT be dropped off in the outside receptacles – they must be returned inside the library during library hours of operation.

The Warren County Memorial Library is located at 119 S. Front St.  Warrenton.

For more information about the blood pressure cuffs, visit

The Local Skinny! Pink With A Passion Cancer Walk

The second “Pink With A Passion” cancer walk planned for Saturday, April
15 in Warren County grew out of one woman’s desire to pay it forward. And Amena Wilson wants to see all the colors of cancer represented. This year’s theme, in fact, is “Fight cancer in all colors,” Wilson told John C. Rose during Thursday’s segment of The Local Skinny!.

“We are celebrating all types of cancer survivors,” Wilson said. “It’s going to be a day with great meaning,” she added, filled with music, testimonies and encouragement for anyone whose lives have been touched by cancer.

Wilson is president of the nonprofit group, which she founded after a 2017 breast cancer diagnosis – thus, the color in the organization’s name.
Wilson said she hopes there will be all colors associated with particular cancers present for the event, which will be held at the Warren County Rec Complex from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

It’s going to be “a day of celebration for patients, survivors, caregivers,” Wilson said. There will be food trucks and vendors, as well as music and other entertainment throughout the day.

Walkers are encouraged to wear whatever color represents the cancer that has affected them or loved ones they’ve cared for. “It’s going to be a day with great meaning,” she said.

This event is NOT a fundraiser, Wilson emphasized; rather, it’s just a small way to show support and encouragement to cancer patients and to survivors.

And it’s not just for Warren County residents – “we welcome anybody, near and far…we would love to have you,” Wilson said.

Wilson can be contacted at 252.213.5735 to learn more.

Here are some common cancers and their colors:

Lung cancer: white
Brain cancer: grey
Breast cancer: pink
Liver cancer: emerald green
Lymphoma: lime green
Prostate cancer: light blue
Stomach cancer: periwinkle blue
Bone cancer: yellow
Leukemia: orange
Skin: black
Colon: dark blue