Swine, Dairy Producers Can Apply For COVID-19 Funds To Help Recoup Losses

The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has opened the application period for the first phase of its North Carolina Swine and Dairy Assistance program. The $30 million in federal COVID-19 funds appropriated by the N.C. General Assembly will offer assistance for eligible swine and dairy producers for losses incurred from termination of contracts or ceased milk production due to the pandemic.

“A significant number of swine farms have lost contracts and dairies have been forced out of business due to the pandemic. It has been a rough time for many farmers,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. The application process has two phases. Phase 1 determines eligibility is open now. Eligible applicants will receive a one-time assistance payment of $31,500. Phase 1 is designed to get money quickly to farmers. “If you are a farmer and this program applies to you then get your application in as soon as possible,” Troxler stated.

Phase 2 will focus on infrastructure modifications to barns, hog houses and/or lagoons. More details on Phase 2 will be released in February 2022.

The grant application and required forms can be downloaded from the NCDA&CS website at www.ncagr.gov.  The deadline to apply is June 30, 2023, but funds are limited so farmers are encouraged to go ahead and apply.

For questions about the program in general, call 866.747.9823. Farmers may also contact their local cooperative extension, Farm Service Agency or N.C. Farm Bureau offices for help with the application.

Warren County Equine Clinic On Jan. 29 For Coggins, Vaccines

Area horse owners can save the cost of a farm visit and drive their equines to Warren County next month for a Coggins and vaccine clinic, according to information from the Warren County Cooperative Extension.

The clinic will be on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Ridgeway Volunteer Fire Department, 654 U.S. Hwy 1 in Norlina.

Oberlin McDaniel, DVM, will be on site to update your horses’ Coggins & annual vaccinations. The Coggins test cost is $36. Online results via Global Vet Link will provide results within 3-5 days. Copies can be printed from this site for use by horse owners to show proof of a negative test.

Vaccines that are available include:

  • 5-way E/W/T/R/F, rabies and West Nile.
  • Equine microchipping also will be available.

Contact Stacey Hadnott, NCMVS assistant at 919.813.6560 or ncmobilevetoffice@gmail.com to learn more.


NC DOT Awards Contracts For Vance, Warren Road Improvements

More than 20 miles of state-maintained roads in Vance County will undergo resurfacing and shoulder improvements, according to information from NC DOT.

Carolina Sunrock of Raleigh was awarded a $2.7 million contract to mill, resurface pavement and improve shoulders along 21.4 miles of Vance County roads, including Tungsten Mine, Jacksontown and Morgan roads.

ST Wooten Corporation of Wilson was awarded a $2.1million contract to make similar improvements along 16.5 miles of roads in Warren County. Roads to be resurfaced under this contract include Slick Williams, Baltimore and Parktown roads.

The work may begin in spring 2022 and must be completed by the end of summer 2023, according to the NC DOT press release.


VGCC To Launch New Technology Platform To Support ‘Modern Learner’

Vance-Granville Community College plans to launch a new technology platform for student services that school officials said will help students across the four campuses whether they are taking in-person classes, virtual classes or a combination of the two.

The school is partnering with software company ConexED,  whose technology is intended to promote student success, according to information from VGCC’s Chris LaRocca.

“ConexEd provides a unified student services platform, eliminating the need for multiple platforms and logins while reducing ‘roadblocks’ for students, so they can reach the appropriate college personnel,” according to the statement. Faculty and staff also will benefit from the new platform as they work with students to handle scheduling, reporting and other support services.

Dr. Levy Brown, vice president of learning, student engagement & success, said the partnership will aid VGCC’s efforts to connect with the “modern learner” and called the upgrade “a positive step that will help VGCC students achieve their goals.”

VGCC offers classes at four campuses, as well as online. ConexED will help all students, regardless of location, to, for example, schedule appointments and conduct meetings over video-conferencing.
“Enhancing technology for students has become even more important since the pandemic began, so we are excited to implement new solutions that can help VGCC students access a number of different resources, no matter where they are or how they’re attending classes,” said Dr. Ken Lewis, VGCC’s vice president of institutional research & technology.

Advising and registration for the college’s Spring 2022 semester are currently ongoing. For more information on enrolling at VGCC, visit www.vgcc.edu and click on “Admissions.”

More than 210 educational institutions and 1,100 tutoring centers across 12 countries use ConexED. For more information, visit www.conexed.com.


New Program Can Help Eligible Households That Face Water Disconnection

A new emergency program launched today (Dec. 1) to help low-income households afford water and wastewater services. The program, called Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program is scheduled to run through September 2023 or until the funds are all used up. It is a federally funded program administered through the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

Households that have already had the water or wastewater services cut off or have received notice of being cut off because of past due bills may be eligible to apply for the one-time payment, which will be paid directly to the utility company, according to a press release.

Families that already receive assistance from federal programs such as Food and Nutrition Services (FNS), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Work First services are automatically eligible. Households that received Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) services between Oct. 1, 2020 and Sept. 30, 2021 also are automatically eligible. These households should contact the local Department of Social Services for more information.

There are certain eligibility criteria, according to the press release. A household must have at least one U.S. citizen or non-citizen and have income equal to or less than 150 percent of the federal poverty level, have household services that are already disconnected, in danger of disconnection or have a current outstanding bill that they are responsible for paying.

If your water has been cut off, or if you have gotten a notice of disconnection, apply online at www.epass.nc.gov, apply in person at your local department of social services or by phone. In addition, a paper application is available at the website above and can be completed and dropped off or faxed to the department of social services.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, any household needing help paying its water bill can apply for help if they meet eligibility requirements.

Visit https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/social-services/energy-assistance/low-income-household-water-assistance-program-lihwap to learn more.

S-Line Rail Corridor

Passenger Rail Plan Seeks Input As S-Line Project Continues

The community is invited to participate in a couple of activities this weekend that are part of the NC DOT study of the proposed S-Line rail project. Henderson and Norlina are both being considered for stops along the line.

There will be a pop-up community meeting in Norlina on Friday, Dec. 3 as the plan moves forward.  The Norlina meeting will be held at Rachel’s Whistle Stop Café, according to Warren County Economic Development Director Charla Duncan. The gathering is open to all and will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The café is located at 123 Hyco St, Norlina, NC 27563.

Then, on Saturday, Dec. 4, a team from the engineering firm hired by the state to lead and assess the needs/feasibility study will be at the Henderson Christmas parade to conduct public interest surveys about the plan, according to Downtown Development Director Tracy Madigan. Stop by Sadie’s Coffee Corner on Saturday between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to provide input and give thoughts about the proposed rail plan.

The engineering firm is interested in hearing from the public about such things as how the transit-oriented development should look, things you would consider exciting to change or improve and items you believe present concerns.

Duncan told WIZS News that the Dec. 3 meeting is not about the design of the rail line itself, but “about the possibility for development around a potential stop in Norlina.” She invites the public to come out to share input.

The same is true in Henderson.

Transit-oriented development is defined as a way to build compact, walkable cities and town and preserving rural and natural areas. Having a mix of residential, business and retail  development within walking distance of a transit station reduces the need for driving while creating walkable destinations for recreation and other activities.

According to information about the study from NC DOT, the S-Line is a 95-mile long missing link within the plan for passenger rail service along the southeast rail corridor. The proposed S-Line section begins in Sanford and continues through Apex, Raleigh, Wake Forest, Franklinton, Henderson and Norlina. The Henderson and Norlina stops are among 13 that are noted along the proposed line. The transit-oriented development (TOD) study “will evaluate market conditions, affordable housing considerations, multi-modal transportation opportunities, and regulatory conditions in the various jurisdictions,” according to materials provided by the engineering firm.


NC Forest Service

Burn Ban Issued For All North Carolina Counties Due To High Risk Of Wildfire

The N.C. Forest Service has issued a ban on all open burning and has canceled all burning permits statewide effective Tuesday at 5 p.m. until further notice. Breezy conditions, low humidity, a lack of rain and so many fallen leaves are factors that contribute to the higher risk of wildfire, and N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said the burn ban was necessary “to reduce the risk of fires starting and spreading quickly. Our top priority is always to protect lives, property and forestland across the state.”

A fire at Pilot Mountain State Park near Winston-Salem has been burning since Saturday and forest and fire officials have said it was “human caused.”

Under North Carolina law, the ban prohibits all open burning in the affected counties, regardless of whether a permit was previously issued. The issuance of any new permits has also been suspended until the ban is lifted. Anyone violating the burn ban faces a $100 fine plus $183 in court costs. Any person responsible for setting a fire may be liable for any expenses related to extinguishing the fire.
Local fire departments and law enforcement officers are assisting the N.C. Forest Service in enforcing the burn ban.
The N.C. Forest Service will continue to monitor conditions. Residents with questions regarding a specific county can contact their local forest service county ranger or their county fire marshal’s office.

Contact Warren County Fire Marshal Joel Bartholomew at  252.257.1191

Contact Rob Montague, Vance/Granville county ranger at 919.693.3154


Some frequently asked questions include:

Q: What is open burning?

A: Open burning includes burning leaves, branches or other plant material. In all cases, burning trash, lumber, tires, newspapers, plastics or other nonvegetative material is illegal.

Q: May I still use my grill or barbecue?

A: Yes, if no other local ordinances prohibit their use.

Q: How should I report a wildfire?

A: Call 911 to report a wildfire.

Q: How should I report a person who intentionally starts a wildfire?

A: Call 911 to report a wildfire.

Q: My local fire marshal has also issued a burn ban for my county. What does this mean?

A: The burn ban issued by the N.C. Forest service does not apply to a fire within 100 feet of an occupied dwelling. Local government agencies have jurisdiction over open burning within 100 feet of an occupied dwelling. The N.C. Forest Service has advised county fire marshals of the burning ban and has asked for their consideration of also implementing a burning ban. If a fire within a 100-foot area of a dwelling escapes containment, a state forest ranger may take reasonable steps to extinguish or control it. The person responsible for setting the fire may be liable for any expenses related to extinguishing the fire.

Q: Are there other instances which impact open burning?

A: Local ordinances and air-quality regulations may impact open burning. For instance, outdoor burning is prohibited in areas covered by Code Orange or Code Red air quality forecasts. Learn more about air quality forecasts at https://deq.nc.gov/about/divisions/air-quality/air-quality-outreach-education/air-quality-forecasts<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__deq.nc.gov_about_divisions_air-2Dquality_air-2Dquality-2Doutreach-2Deducation_air-2Dquality-2Dforecasts&d=DwMFAg&c=fbOpD4v6yU6VwcPvyZl0C3QdqqqCOrAgPLygDLFppvY&r=IyIHd7tTbjxa1bArBCZqPDoNlFh3yK7PED2wGuymDwo&m=XNsUgefvZO08yA17DOqm6VZCXHZ7tAP9zRSew7d7cmg&s=LewwnDSljxIi0jCpB44wASVXiMoMfDUj_JUOCoxa8sk&e=>.

Q: Can I have a campfire when I go camping?

A: Campfires would be considered open burning and are not exempt from the burn ban. During a burn ban, portable gas stoves or grills are alternate methods for cooking food while camping.

Q: What can I do to protect my house against the risk of wildfire?

A: Learn about wildfire risk assessments and preparedness and prevention plans on the N.C. Forest Service website at https://www.ncforestservice.gov/fire_control/fc_wui.htm<https://urldefense.com/v3/__https:/www.ncforestservice.gov/fire_control/fc_wui.htm__;!!HYmSToo!JfiVdRLCpZq0QebLbz_SoVSV9nEvibS3SsI4_bQ-eI5lmtBcdv4_5ejW67nJPRnqXbyN$> or https://www.resistwildfirenc.org/<https://urldefense.com/v3/__https:/www.resistwildfirenc.org/__;!!HYmSToo!JfiVdRLCpZq0QebLbz_SoVSV9nEvibS3SsI4_bQ-eI5lmtBcdv4_5ejW67nJPS6lH2UC$>.



Michael Easley, Jr. Sworn In As U.S. Attorney for Eastern District of NC

Michael F. Easley, Jr. is the newest U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina. His nomination was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Nov. 19, 2021 and U.S. District Judge James C. Dever III administered the oath of office last week, according to a press statement.

 “It is an honor and a privilege to serve the people of the Eastern District of North Carolina as United States Attorney,” Easley said in the statement. “I am grateful to President Biden for this opportunity, and I want to thank Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis for their strong support through the confirmation process.”

As U.S. Attorney, Easley is the top-ranking federal law enforcement official in the Eastern District of North Carolina, which includes Vance, Granville, Franklin and Warren counties among the 44 easternmost counties of North Carolina. He oversees a staff of 119 employees, including 58 attorneys and 61 non-attorney support personnel.  The office is responsible for prosecuting federal crimes in the district, including crimes related to terrorism, public corruption, child exploitation, firearms and narcotics.  The office also defends the United States in civil cases and collects debts owed to the United States.

Easley was a partner in McGuire Woods LLP prior to his appointment and was a litigator focused on internal investigations and trial court work in state and federal courts.  He represented businesses and individuals in civil, criminal, and regulatory matters over a wide range of topics, including criminal law, environmental, consumer protection, business torts, professional negligence, government contracting, as well as matters involving financial services and securities.

Easley also has advised clients facing inquiries by the U.S. Department of Justice, North Carolina Ethics Commission, and matters before other governmental regulatory bodies.

Born in Southport, Easley attended the University of North Carolina where he graduated with honors and distinction in political science. He later received his law degree with honors from the University of North Carolina School of Law.

In addition to his work at McGuireWoods, Easley contributed time to various bar and community organizations.  He served as a member of the Board of Visitors of the University of North Carolina.  He was also a member of the Criminal Justice Section Council and the Integration, Equity & Equal Justice Task Force of the North Carolina Bar Association. Mr. Easley also served as a mentor in the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity’s Success in Law School Mentoring Program.

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 bishopb@vgcc.edu or phone 919.738.3263. Visit www.vgcc.edu to see more about the BLET program.

Click Play to Hear More

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 mbplace@ncsu.edu.