NC Homeowner Assistance Fund Open Statewide

North Carolina Homeowners Financially Impacted by Pandemic May Be Eligible for Housing-Related Help

— press release

The NC Homeowner Assistance Fund is now accepting applications from North Carolina homeowners whose finances were impacted by the pandemic and who need assistance with housing-related expenses. Established through the 2021 American Rescue Plan to prevent mortgage delinquencies, defaults, displacements and foreclosures for homeowners experiencing financial difficulties due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Fund offers assistance of up to $40,000 for qualified homeowners as long as funding is available.

“The economic impact of COVID-19 has been felt by many North Carolinians,” said Scott Farmer, executive director of the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency, which is administering the NC Homeowner Assistance Fund. “This program is designed to help homeowners who are experiencing pandemic-related financial hardships hold on to their homes while they get back on their feet. Ensuring that families have stable housing has always been our mission and that has become even more critical during this ongoing public health crisis.”

For qualified homeowners, the fund offers:

• Housing payment assistance for primary residence in North Carolina (for example, single-family home, townhome, condo or mobile home).

• Assistance for mortgage reinstatement to catch up on late payments (first or second mortgages) or other housing-related costs due to a period of forbearance, delinquency or default.

• Assistance covering other housing-related costs such as homeowner’s insurance, flood insurance, mortgage insurance, homeowner’s association dues/fees or delinquent property taxes to prevent foreclosure.

Homeowners may be eligible for assistance if they are experiencing financial hardship due to job loss or business closure, reduction in hours or pay, difficulty obtaining new employment, death of a spouse or co-borrower or increased expenses due to the pandemic. Increased expenses can be due to health care, the need to care for a family member, increased child care costs due to school closures or increased costs associated with quarantine. Applicants must be seeking assistance for a primary residence in North Carolina and meet income and other requirements.

Homeowners can learn more and apply for help by calling 1-855-MY-NCHAF (1-855-696-2423) or by visiting

Warren Residents Have New Website To Help Track Land Use Plan Updates

A newly launched website will allow residents to follow along as Warren County officials go through the process of updating the county’s comprehensive development plan.

The web address is, and it serves as a resource that interested citizens can use to stay updated on the process, which is scheduled to take about 10 months, as well as participate in surveys and community meetings, according to information from Warren Community & Economic Development Director Charla Duncan.

“A Comprehensive Development Plan or Land Use Plan (LUP) is a tool used for guiding the growth, redevelopment and overall improvement of the county for next 10 to 20 years,” Duncan stated in a press release. The plan will serve as the official statement by Warren County of its vision, intentions, goals, objective and strategies for future land use development, the statement continued.

And the plan needs input from the community as well as other stakeholders such as Warren County staff and the county planning board. Selected to work with the county is an engineering, planning and design group called Stewart, which has offices in Raleigh, Durham and Charlotte.

The comprehensive development plan will update the 2002 Land Development Plan and address new issues and priorities that have come forward in the years since it was put into place. The plan may address several topics as determined by the community but generally a land use plan addresses land use, housing, infrastructure, transportation, economic development, agriculture, recreation and natural resources. This is a guiding document upon which land use decisions are based.

A land use establishes a vision, goals and priorities through many conversations and community engagement, which are then used to guide future growth and development.

“Extensive public participation is a key component of the project,” Duncan said. “The thoughts, ideas and participation of residents and business owners are vital for the success of this effort.” Over the course of the project, the county will host several public meetings where input and feedback will be collected on the plan as it is developed.

To follow along with the comprehensive plan process, visit

For more information, contact the Warren County planning and zoning administrator, Cynthia Jones, at

Ridgeway Opry House Plans To Re-Open In March

The sounds of tinkling mandolins, plucking banjos, strummed guitars, thumping bass, sawing fiddles and beautiful bluegrass singing has been quiet at the Ridgeway Opry House for several months according to Frieda Harlowe. She also has plans to re-open in March. Harlowe spoke with WIZS News on Monday and said the pandemic has been the cause of disruptions to the Opry House schedule.

Bluegrass musicians from all over the area can usually be found at the Opry House located on US 158 in Ridgeway. Harlowe said that even though some of the older musicians have died there are still plenty of younger ones to get the toes tapping. Before Mandolin Orange got big a few years ago, you might would find the band’s Andrew Martin in tattered jeans on stage. So far, thanks to COVID-19 the instruments are quiet but if all goes well with the virus Harlowe expects to be up and running again in March.

Plans are to have Harlowe on an upcoming segment of the Local Skinny! to talk more about the Ridgeway Opry House. The Local Skinny! can be heard on WIZS at 11:30am Monday through Thursday.

The Local Skinny! Lickskillet Dog Grooming Keeps Your Pets Looking Great

Doreen Hood works hard at making sure her canine clients don’t feel like they’re at the dreaded veterinarian’s office. Her Lickskillet Dog Grooming is an inviting spot where dogs come for baths and grooming. It’s like sending your pooch to a doggie day spa.

Hood said she learned all about dog grooming in New York City from a major groomer in the field. Even when she worked as a police officer, she continued to keep her dog grooming skills sharp. Taking up dog grooming as a career was “the best decision I ever made,” she told WIZS’s Trey Snide during the Business Spotlight segment of The Local Skinny! on Monday.

“Each dog is totally different,” Hood said, and she takes those different personalities into account when she works with different clients. “I get to know each dog’s personality,” she said, “what stresses them out and what doesn’t stress them out.” Music is one of the major tools she uses when grooming the dogs, and it’s not unheard of for her to sing to the dogs as she’s working.

She works by appointment only and also offers obedience training.

Hood said she stays pretty busy, and the best way to reach her is by phone at 252.213.3670.

Lickskillet Dog Grooming is located at 132 Fry Pan Lane, in the southern part of Warren County.

Warren County Distributing N95 Masks While Supply Lasts

Warren County local government agencies will distribute N95 masks to the public beginning this week, thanks to NC Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Supplies are limited however, and so the masks will be distributed two at a time on a first-come, first-served basis, according to a press release from Warren County Manager.

The masks will distributed at the following locations:

  • Warren County Health Department, 544 W. Ridgeway St., Warrenton
  • Warren County Department of Social Services, 307 N. Main St, Warrenton
  • Warren County Emergency Services, 890 US Hwy. 158 Bypass, Warrenton


Due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, NC DHHS updated its guidance and is recommending that individuals “get vaccinated, and boosted when they are eligible, wear a mask, and use social distancing in public places.”


The department further recommends wearing “a well-fitting, high-quality mask with multiple layers: a surgical or procedure mask, a KN95, or an N95.”


The following is general guidance around populations who should not wear an N95 respirator or should be cautious about N95 respirator use:

  • Babies and toddlers under age 2 should never wear cloth face coverings. Children ages 2-4 are encouraged to wear a face covering with adult supervision.
  • Anyone with a disability that makes it hard for them to wear or remove a face covering.
  • Anyone who is deaf and moves their face and mouth to communicate.
  • Anyone who has been advised by a medical professional to not wear a face covering or respirator because of personal health issues.
  • Anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, or unable to remove the face covering without help.

For more information, contact the Warren County Health Department at 252.257.1185, Warren County Department of Social Services at 252.257.5000, or Warren County Emergency Management at 252.257.1191.

NCDA Junior Livestock Scholarship Applications Due Mar. 1

Information from NCDA&CS Livestock Marketing Section

Up to 25 $2,000 scholarships are available, in addition to one $2,500 Farm Credit of N.C. Premier Scholarship.Youth who participated in N.C. State Fair junior livestock competitions are eligible to apply for N.C. State Fair Junior Livestock Scholarships. The deadline to apply is March 1.

All youth who exhibited a livestock animal at the State Fair are eligible regardless of species, class or show placement. Scholarships are good for institutes of higher learning, including community colleges and technical schools. Students must be enrolled in a minimum of 9 course hours.

The scholarship money is raised through the State Fair’s annual Sale of Champions where grand and reserve grand champions are sold at auction. A percentage of the sale total goes into this youth livestock scholarship program.

“I am proud that this scholarship program has helped many young people and their parents pay for their college education,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Since the program started in 2015, we have awarded over $300,000 in scholarships.”

Students will need to submit the completed application, including their State Fair junior livestock experience, a 500-word essay, academic achievements and extracurricular activities they are involved in. Youth are eligible to receive the scholarship a maximum of four times.

Applications can be downloaded at Completed application packets should be returned to N.C. State Fair, Attn: Livestock Office, 1010 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1010. For questions, contact Neil Bowman at by email at

NCDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Application Period Open Now Through Mar. 4 At Noon

The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is accepting grant applications for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. Nonprofits and government agencies have until noon on Mar. 4 to submit applications.

Applicants can submit a draft application for staff review by Jan. 26 to gain feedback on their grant proposals. A .pdf of the draft application should be sent to

The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program aims to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops in the marketplace. It is managed by the department, through funding by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“In 2021, we awarded $2.9 million for 16 projects across the state, which included one-time funds of $1.6 million from the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. We anticipate $1.2 million in funding this year,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “The success and growth of specialty crops are important as North Carolina agriculture continues to diversify and as the industry inches closer to the $100 billion mark in economic impact.”

The department will accept grant requests up to $200,000 from nonprofit organizations, academia, commodity associations, state and local government agencies, colleges and universities. Grants are not available for projects that directly benefit or provide a profit to a single organization, institution or individual.

Eligible projects must involve fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, culinary herbs and spices, medicinal plants, nursery, floriculture or horticulture crops.

For grant guidelines and an application, go to For questions, contact Jenni Keith at 919.707.3158 or


VGCC to offer Sustainable Agri-Tech Class

Vance-Granville Community College will soon offer a sustainable agri-tech program at the school’s south campus in Creedmoor. This is a 96 hour program with 30 hours in class and 66 hours on line. The instructor for this class is Kelly Dixon. Classes begin on February 22nd and continue through May 2nd and will be held on Tuesdays from 6 to 9pm. Tuition scholarships are available to those who qualify. For more information contact or call 252-738-3521. Space for the class is limited and those interested are encouraged to register now.

Duke Energy

Damaged Transmission Structure Results in Over 13k Without Power

The widespread power outage in Vance and Warren Counties is over now with all customers restored.

District Manager Tanya Evans with Duke Energy told WIZS News, “Around 2 a.m., a tree fell and damaged a transmission structure in Warren County. As a result, the Warrenton and Henderson North Substations locked out.”

She said the outage affected about 13,780 customers in and around Henderson and Warrenton.

Duke Energy Progress performed “some initial switching and back feeding to restore about half of the customers affected” sooner than the remaining customers’ power could be restored, Evans said.

By 10 a.m., the power company had been able to make repairs to the transmission line and was in the process of energizing the remaining feeders and substations.

As it was explained by Evans, “This process requires testing and load balancing,” but any intermittent and momentary outages were expected to be over by noon or shortly thereafter.

That goal of noon was met as the Duke Energy Progress outage map showed just two customers without power at 12 o’clock.

(Duke Energy Progress is an advertising client of WIZS Radio. This is not a paid ad.)

Kerr Tar Regional Council of Governments

Town Talk: Talent Connect Connects People To Employment

A short informational virtual session could be the jumpstart to a new career path, and Desiree Brooks said staff at NCWorks is available to follow up with individuals who have questions about next steps toward seeking meaningful employment.

Brooks spoke with John C. Rose on Monday’s Town Talk about Tuesday’s 10 a.m. Talent Connect series, sponsored by the Kerr-Tar COG.

The session lasts 10 minutes, she said, but will be chock-full of information for participants.

“There’s a pathway for every person,” she said, adding that there’s no one set way for prospective employees to find a job that suits them and their skill sets.

Participants will have a chance to interact with presenter Helen Bradby during the virtual session – Tues, Jan 11 – Register at:

Anyone without internet access can simply call NCWorks at 252.438.6129 in Henderson or 919.693.2686 in Oxford  to schedule an appointment to learn more.

“We’ll figure out a way to get them the information they need,” Brooks said.

Other virtual sessions are scheduled for Tuesdays in January – the topic for Jan. 18 is professional communication and interview skills (register here – and the topic for Jan. 25 is resume building (register here –

These “soft skills” can be important for interviews, Brooks said; prospective employers are looking for new workers who will be a good fit, and job seekers should feel confident when going into an interview.

The Jan. 18 session will give tips for gaining the confidence to kind of help you “shake those nerves…to go in and get the job.”

The Jan. 25 session about resume building will help participants create a resume, which doesn’t necessarily have list a long job history to be a powerful tool. “If you don’t have work experience, that’s OK,” Brooks said. There is plenty that you can put on a resume, from extracurricular activities like church, civic and community service participation.

“All that experience definitely needs to be highlighted on your resume,” she said.

Job seekers can practice those soft skills on Thursday, Jan. 13 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Oxford NCWorks Center’s hiring event with Express Employment Professionals. The NCWorks Center is located at 111 Hilltop Village off US Hwy 158.

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