TownTalk: Bishop Works To Help The Next Generation Of Law Enforcement Officers

Brandon Bishop wants to make sure that the cadets in the basic law enforcement training classes he oversees understand some key concepts about what it means to be a police officer.

Bishop wants the officers-in-training to have the communication tools they need in order to avoid having to use a weapon or other means of force when they’re on duty.

As director of Basic Law Enforcement Training and Law Enforcement Training at Vance-Granville Community College, he brings the experience of almost two decades in uniform with the Henderson Police Department. He was a lieutenant for six years and he holds a degree in social work.

Bishop is implementing some of those “soft” skills into the BLET classes, including courses like “Duty to Intercede,” “Surviving Verbal Conflict,” and “Facilitating Mental Health Training.”

He described the program on Tuesday’s Town Talk with John C. Rose and said tomorrow’s law enforcement officers must be able to interact with citizens – it’s important to be able to talk to people, get to know them and understand them. Basic communication skills are a must-have to achieve the goal, he said.

Most folks who pursue law enforcement as a career are service-oriented people, he said. Helping people and helping to make a difference in their communities are just part of a profession that provides “the integrity and status they’re looking for,” Bishop said.

Obviously, police officers are charged with enforcing the law, but through effective communication, law enforcement officers also can help people make good choices.

(VGCC PHOTO) – VGCC Basic Law Enforcement Training Class 112 graduates included, in front (from left), Jose Angel Deleon and Jennifer Quick; and in back (from left), Reed Danehy, Kameron Gregory, Regina Andranowska and LeDrevion Richardson; not pictured: Kaleb Evans

“We try to get them to understand that we all need to get along,” Bishop said. “The best way to do that is to help each other through our problems. I try to teach our cadets that we’re more there to help people solve their problems than to solve them for them.”

It’s not all theory and lecture in the program, Bishop said. The cadets use a firearms simulator, which he describes as a giant, 3-D video game, that trains cadets and agency officers in the use of force options. It’s a way to reinforce what they’ve learned in the classroom about communication, which can de-escalate a situation before it gets out of hand. The goal is “to alleviate our use of force incidents and injury to officers and others they are dealing with,” Bishop said. It gives cadets a chance to see exactly what they may face on the street.

Similarly, a driver training simulator allows for cadets and experienced officers as well the chance to get initial training or a refresher on driving vehicles to avoid obstacles all the way to driving in pursuit or other emergency situations. “It’s as close to real-life situations as possible, without the inherent dangers,” Bishop said.

During his time with the Henderson department, he was primarily assigned to the patrol division. He also was a supervisor for the Street Crime unit and the interdiction team and spent 15 years on the department’s tactical team – a team he helped to create and on which he worked all positions, including team commander.

And now, he’s helping guide cadets and prepare the next generation of law enforcement officers to deal effectively with the communities they will serve and protect.

“It’s a challenging career, but it’s a rewarding career,” he said.

The next class is scheduled to begin Jan. 18, 2022 and will wrap up in mid-May. Interested in learning more? Contact Bishop at or phone 919.738.3263. Visit to see more about the BLET program.

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Warren Cooperative Extension Has Portable Livestock Equipment To Lease

The Warren County Cooperative Extension has livestock handling equipment for lease to farmers and producers who operate in the county.

According to livestock agent Matthew Place, one item that is available is a squeeze chute, built for small ruminants like sheep and goats. The chute allows for full restraint for animals for vaccinations and other work and has a tilt feature that allows for the animal to be laid on its side for hoof trimming or other types of needed treatment.

There also is a portable cattle-working facility available for lease. Place describes this as a portable corral system that has an alley and headgate built in. The whole assembly can hold up to 50 head of brood cows.

For more information about leasing these pieces of equipment, contact the Warren County Extension Office at 252.257.3640 or email Matthew Place at

Butterfield Announces Retirement; Served 1st Congressional District For Almost 18 Years

Congressman G.K.Butterfield, Jr. has announced that he will not seek re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives next year, ending almost 18 years of service in Washington, DC.

Butterfield, a Democrat, has represented North Carolina’s 1st Congressional District since 2004. Most of Vance County and all of Warren County are included in the district.

In a video address announcing his retirement, Butterfield, 74, criticized the state legislature’s newly enacted district map that he called “partisan.”

“It is time for me to retire and allow the torch to be passed to someone who shares the values of the district and can continue the work that I’ve labored so hard for the past 18 years.”

He said he is proud of his work in Congress and said that although the country faces challenges, “I am confident that our best days are yet ahead.”

 Butterfield offered thanks to his family and his “competent and loyal” staff in Washington and in North Carolina for their continued support.

“To those of you who have helped me and encouraged me, I want to take this opportunity to thank you – thank each one of you – from the bottom of my heart.”

NC Coop Extension

Tobacco Growers Vote Nov. 18 On Whether To Continue Check-off Program To Fund Research

Update 11-19-21

Paul McKenzie, agriculture agent for Vance and Warren counties, said the results will be available the week of Nov.22.


Area tobacco growers join others across the state this week to vote whether to continue a self-assessment of 10 cents per 100 pounds of flue-cured and burley tobacco sold to support tobacco research and education.

The vote will take place on Nov. 18, and Paul McKenzie, agriculture agent for Vance and Warren counties, said a two-thirds vote in the affirmative will mean that the check-off program will be good until 2027.

The check-off program started in 1991 and allocates more than $200,000 annually to tobacco-related research and extension projects at N.C. State University. State law requires a referendum be held every six years.

“This referendum is important to the future of tobacco production in North Carolina,” said Sonia Murphy, president of the N.C. Agricultural Foundation and state check-off coordinator. “Federal funding for tobacco research ceased in 1994, and state support has declined in recent years due to state budget reductions.

“I encourage tobacco growers to vote on this important check-off,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “A two-thirds majority of votes is needed to pass the assessment, so be sure to cast your vote.”

Funds from the check-off are allocated by the N.C. Tobacco Research Commission, whose membership includes the Commissioner of Agriculture, the N.C. Farm Bureau Federation president, the N.C. State Grange president, the Tobacco Growers Association of North Carolina president and the chairman of the N.C. Tobacco Foundation.

Ballots will be available for tobacco growers at county extension offices on Nov. 18.  Contact your local N.C. Cooperative Extension office for specific information regarding polling locations and times.

Vance County Extension – 252.438.8188.

Granville County Extension – 919.603.1350

Warren County Extension – 252.257.3640

Franklin County Extension – 919.496.3344

The Local Skinny! Youth Interested In Showing Dairy Calves Can Attend Meeting Nov. 16 At Warren Armory

Youngsters who want to learn more about the 2022 Dairy Calf project of the Warren County Extension 4-H program are invited to a meeting next week, according to information from Matthew Place, Warren livestock agent.

The meeting will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 16 at 6 p.m. at the Warren Armory Civic Center. The civic center is located at 501 US Hwy. 158 Bus E, Warrenton, NC 27589.

Participants do not have to live in Warren County; Place said he welcomes youngsters and their parents to the meeting to learn details.

The eight-week project will take place next summer. The 4-Hers will work with their assigned Guernsey calf weekly to get them ready for the Central Carolina District Junior Dairy Show.

The 4-H program is for young people ages 5 to 18.

For more information, contact the Warren County office of N.C. Cooperative Extension at 252.257.3640.


NCDHHS Info Session About Ages 5-11 Covid Vaccine

Update 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov 9 — If you did not get to listen live, it is still possible to watch it on social media.  The NCDHHS social media feed of the event is embedded here.

— press release from NCDHHS Monday, November 8, 2021

NCDHHS to Host Livestream Fireside Chat and Tele-Town Hall on COVID-19 Vaccines for Children Ages 5-11 on Nov. 9

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services will host a live fireside chat and tele-town hall on Tuesday, Nov. 9, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. to discuss the safety and effectiveness of the recently approved Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5–11.

NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D, will host the event and will be joined by pediatrician Rasheeda Monroe, M.D. Dr. Monroe currently serves as the Medical Director of Primary Care Pediatrics at WakeMed. She is also the Raleigh area Campus Director of the UNC School of Medicine and the Director to the Kenan Urban Scholars program at the UNC School of Medicine.

Molly Grantham — WBTV news anchor, author, speaker and mom of three children — will moderate the conversation.

The fireside chat will livestream from both the NCDHHS and WBTV social media accounts and will also include a tele-town hall feature. Households will be invited by phone to listen in and submit questions to help ensure everyone interested can participate. People can also dial into the event by calling 855-756-7520 Ext.76807#.

This event comes as the FDA recently authorized and the CDC now recommends a lower-dose Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5–11. Children are vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus just like everyone else, and the vaccine provides a safe, tested way to help keep them healthy.

To date, more than 69% of teens between the ages of 12 and 17, and 71% of adults, have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Watch the livestreams on NCDHHS social media platforms: FacebookTwitter and YouTube.

NCDHHS fireside chats and tele-town halls are part of the state’s ongoing public engagement to slow the spread of COVID-19 and ensure equitable access to timely information, resources and COVID-19 vaccines.

Barn Cat Program Saves Feral Cats/Kittens

Community Partnership for Pets works with the Warren County Animal Ark and Warrenton Animal Clinic to help reduce the unwanted pet population in the area and to provide pet owners with options to care for their animals. A recent $50,000 grant will go a long way to help spay and neuter pets belonging to families in Warren County, said Mary Cervini, president and founder of Community Partnership for Pets.The grant comes from the Ken Barlow Family Charitable Trust in honor of Barlow’s childhood friend, Bobby Blaylock.”We wish to express our sincere appreciation to Mr. Barlow for his generosity and compassion for animals in Warren County,” Cervini said.In March 2021 the partnership offered a program that reduced the cost to spay and neuter cats – domestic or feral – from $40 to $10.The Ark, which is the county’s animal shelter, also started a Barn Cat Program designed to get feral cats and kittens out of the shelter as soon as possible. Often, feral cats and kittens are not adoptable and the barn cat program is a way to give this type of feline a second chance. The cats are spayed or neutered and then offered to families who want outdoor cats on their property or barn instead of in their home. These cats will no longer reproduce but can live out their life in an environment they are familiar with. Anyone wanting one of these cats can call the Ark for more information. There is no cost to the family who wants one of these cats; however, they must agree to provide these cats with food, water and shelter as you would any animal in your care.

According to information from the Ark, the number of cats euthanized has dropped to 18 percent from 44 percent and the number of cats leaving the Ark alive is up to 79 percent from 51 percent.  In addition, almost two dozen cats have been rehomed through the Barn Cat Program.


TownTalk: Pink With A Passion Helps Victims Of Breast Cancer

What started out as a simple act of neighbor helping neighbor has had a ripple effect to spread kindness – and donations of money and care boxes – to cancer patients.

Pink With A Passion is the grassroots brainchild of Amena Wilson, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018. When she reached out to her neighbor Carlotta Woodard to help with an event, Woodard went from kindly neighbor to hard-working volunteer for Pink With A Passion.

Woodard officially becomes a cancer survivor on Sunday, when she celebrates her 10-year anniversary of being cancer-free.

The group serves the four-county area and recently donated $2,000 to Maria Parham Health’s  Cancer Center in observance of breast cancer awareness month. The money is available for any particular needs a patient may have, whether it’s transportation, helping make a copay or other medical costs. The women spoke with John C. Rose on Tuesday’s Town Talk.

In addition to the cash donations, they take care boxes to be distributed to patients, either at the hospital’s cancer center or to other individuals they may know about who are dealing with cancer.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hindered somewhat their ability to get out in the community to raise awareness and money. Not to be deterred, a raffle fundraiser that ran from March 1 to May 1 netted close to $13,000.

Raising money and redistributing it to people in need is what Pink With A Passion is all about.

The pink, of course, is the color associated worldwide with breast cancer, Wilson said. The “passion” part of their name is a nod to what fuels the group’s desire to help.

“We find people we know who are dealing with cancer,” Wilson said. “We reach out and give to them – whatever we can do to help. We give to others.”

Wilson said the idea for the group was born from her own efforts to help defray the expenses associated with her own diagnosis. She organized a fish plate fundraiser and said it was so successful she decided to keep it going.

“I was so overwhelmed,” she said of the support she got from the community. “There was so much love, passion and support show, I decided to do it for other people.”

And the simple act of asking a neighbor to join her effort has paid dividends. Woodard said she was eager to be a part of a support system for others through Pink With A Passion, mainly because of its vision for helping others.

Woodard knew all too well the importance of having a support system; she said she was blessed to have a strong support system as she faced her diagnosis head on. An annual mammogram detected her Stage 1 cancer and because it was caught early, a mastectomy and a chemo pill therapy was her treatment.

“I didn’t have a lump,” Woodard said, who added she has a family history of breast cancer. “If it weren’t for a mammogram, I wouldn’t even know I had cancer.”

She said she is sporting pink hair for the month of October, in said she is so excited to celebrate her 10-year anniversary of being cancer-free.

Wilson said she thanks God for allowing her to find a lump in her breast – it was detected at an early stage as well. Early detection is THE key for beating breast cancer, both women said. But going through treatments with a positive mindset, as little stress as possible, exercise and a healthy diet all contribute to a patient’s restored health.

In addition to caring for your physical well-being while undergoing treatment, Wilson said it is critical to have someone accompany you to doctor’s appointments. Taking notes and having a second set of ears to hear what a physician is discussing about your case is so important. “Knowledge is so important when you’re going through cancer,” Wilson said.

To learn more, find the group on Facebook, contact the organization via email at or Wilson at 252. 213. 5735.

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The Local Skinny! Warren County Tops State In Growth Of Visitor Spending – Two Years Running

Pandemic or no pandemic, the numbers don’t lie – for the second year in a row, Warren County has grabbed the top spot in the state for growth in visitor spending, according to an annual report released by N.C. tourism officials.

The data comes from an annual study commissioned by Visit North Carolina, a unit of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina.

Warren County Community and Economic Development Director Charla Duncan points to several reasons why her county has shown positive growth when other counties are posting negative figures, not the least of which is Warren County’s relative proximity to major cities like Richmond, VA and the Raleigh-Durham area, she told WIZS News.

“Warren County has opportunities for day trippers, weekenders, and repeat visitors, and our local economy benefits from that,” continued Duncan.

People tend to overlook the quality of life in a rural county, she said. It’s not less quality of life, but it is a different quality of life that Warren County offers, Duncan said. “I think that people have looked for that a little more over the past year or so. Folks are having a chance to understand what we know to be true.” There’s a lot going on, she said, “it’s just a different kind of thing going on around here.”

“We are fortunate that Warren County’s travel and tourism industry has been able to demonstrate such resilience during a difficult year,” Duncan said. “Individually, many of our businesses have certainly experienced similar challenges as other small businesses across America during this pandemic. The strength in Warren County, particularly during 2020, is that our natural and cultural assets are a stable, safe, and desirable resource for visitors.”

It may be challenging to discern whether the $49.6 million spent in Warren County in 2020 is from visitors, tourists or simply residents who are spending more time within Warren County, Duncan noted. It’s probably a mixture of all three groups.

Duncan said a quick look at sales tax figures show that spending in the county is going fairly well. Gas sales, food and beverage sales, as well as retail and certain recreational spaces all contribute to the numbers, but whether those sales can be tied to a true tourist or a true visitor may be more difficult to track, she said.

Despite this, Duncan said, “this is our second year in a row topping the state in growth. We saw a lot of growth between 2018 and 2019, and the pandemic wasn’t in play.”

Warren County was the only county in its region to see growth; all other counties in the North Central region saw a decrease in visitor spending. The region includes Chatham, Durham, Franklin, Granville, Harnett, Johnston, Lee, Orange, Person, Vance, and Wake counties, according to a press release from Warren County Manager Vincent Jones.

Of the $49.6 million related to visitor spending, $12 million came from lodging, $15.5 from food and beverage, $6.7 from recreation, $4.8 from retail, and $10.6 from transportation, according to the statement.

In addition, people who have vacation homes or retirement homes on both Kerr Lake and Lake Gaston may figure in the positive numbers for Warren County since the onset of the pandemic. “If they were going to be allowed to work from home, they were going to do it from their lake house,” Duncan said.

The appeal of agritourism and agribusiness also contributes, she said. For example, Seven Springs Winery near Norlina opened for business right about the time that the pandemic was shutting everything down.

“That business has been incredibly successful, despite challenges that face small businesses. People were looking for more things to do outside, she said, and Seven Springs provides that opportunity. “They opened up at a time when that was a sought-after thing,” she added. “They’re a great asset for us. They are achieving their dream – they have a great story to tell.”

“It is great to see this positive news, as we adjust to the long-term impact of the pandemic,” stated County Manager Vincent Jones. “We hope that this new energy we are seeing as people discover and rediscover the charm of Warren County is sustained going forward.”

According to Visit NC date, the Warren County travel and tourism industry directly employees 231 people; this is an increase in employment related to visitor spending since 2019. The total payroll generated by the tourism industry in Warren County in 2020 was $10.1 million.

In 2020, state tax revenue generated in Warren County totaled $1.6 million through state sales and excise taxes, and taxes on personal and corporate income. Approximately $3.4 million in local taxes were generated from sales and property tax revenue from travel-generated and travel-supported businesses.

The breakdown by county is available at The study was prepared for Visit North Carolina by Tourism Economics in collaboration with the U.S. Travel Association.

Warren County has seen an increase in visitor spending every year since 2016.

Warren County Ag Fest Set For Nov. 5 At Cooperative Extension Center

Farmers, families and gardeners in the area are invited to stop by the Warren County Center of the N.C. Cooperative Extension for the first-ever Ag Fest, scheduled for Friday, Nov. 5.

Paul McKenzie, agriculture extension agent for Vance and Warren counties, said folks can drop in between 9 a.m. and noon to learn about low-cost and no-cost resources available through the extension service, among other things.

In addition to services like consultation services for home gardeners and farmers, the center handles soil analysis for farms, lawns and gardens. There also are different types of farm and garden equipment available for rent. A schedule of equipment demonstrations is available at

Ag Fest is a free event and participants can learn more about 4-H activities for youth while there, as well as visiting the display gardens maintained by Master Gardener Volunteers.

Refreshments and door prizes will be available and McKenzie said there will be a few giveaways as well. The Warren County Center is located at  158 Rafters Lane, Warrenton, NC 27589

An optional registration form is available at For more information call 252.257.3640, or email or