Big Ruin Creek Missionary Baptist Church Celebrates 143 Years Sunday

Big Ruin Creek Missionary Baptist Church is observing its 143rd anniversary Sunday and invites the community to join in the celebration.

The worship service begins at 11 a.m. Pastor Charles W. Burwell will deliver the sermon; Sunday School begins at 9:30 a.m.

The C.W. Walton Voices of Praise will provide special music for the occasion and a meal will follow the service.

The church is located at 16 Big Ruin Creek Lane.

Anyone unable to attend in person can view the service online, which will be livestreamed on the church’s Facebook page.


The Local Skinny! Jones Shines A Light On Autism This Saturday

The president of a local nonprofit invites the community to come to an event on Saturday, Sept. 30 that she said will “shine a light on autism.” Tiffany Jones is president of Community Uplift Project and she said the upcoming event is part training, part workshop to help people understand the very complex nature of autism.

“Shine A Light On Autism” begins at 11 a.m. at the nonprofit’s location, 105 S. Garnett St.

“The reason for this event and workshop is to allow people to know what autism is,” Jones explained on Thursday’s segment of The Local Skinny!

Whether you’re a teacher, a parent or grandparent of a child on the autism disorder spectrum, this program is sure to provide insight to help you better understand autism. The National Autism Association will be on hand for a presentation as part of the event.

Jones said her passion to share about autism is a result of her working with a child in a daycare setting a few years ago.

“After learning how to be there for her, it fueled my passion for how to be there for others,” she said. “I want to make sure that (people) understand how to interact” with individuals who have autism.

Understanding that autism manifests in different ways is important. What may seem like misbehavior to the untrained eye is a person with autism who may not know how to handle their emotions, she said. “Some are not verbal, so we have to learn how to talk to them, how to handle them when they have outbursts,” she continued.

But her nonprofit encompasses other needs as well, she said. “We do community feedings, a community clothing closet…and a drop-in day care coming up soon,” she said. Community Uplift Project feeds people “spiritually and naturally,” she said. “And we make sure they know who God is. We uplift you in so many different ways,” she said and try to provide for the needs of the community.

“We make sure they know there is hope, that somebody cares and that God is with them.”

Community Uplift Project’s current fundraiser has a goal of 100 people making a donation of $33 to support the mission.

The space can hold about 300 people, and Jones said she is expecting more than 100, if not more. “I can’t wait to see the families, parents and teachers,” Jones said.

To learn more, email or call 252.425.6056.



Vance County Friday Night Football

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Shriners Fish Fry In Full Swing Until 7 PM

The Shriners Fish Fry is still open for business, so swing by Industry Drive and pick up dinner on your way home from work this afternoon  – teams of volunteers have completed all the prep work and the drive-thru lanes are open until  7 p.m.

“Tell ‘em to come on, we got it ready,” said Shriner Vernon Mustian, who is this year’s fish fry chairman and he his fellow Shriners will be preparing plates all day long at their location on Industry Drive, near Lowe’s Home Improvement and Mako Medical.

This is the 59th fish fry, with proceeds going to the Shriners Children’s Hospital in Greenville, SC.

John Ayscue was manning the payment tent when the fish fry began at 11 a.m. “Come on by and get a fish plate,” Ayscue told WIZS. Shriners sold tickets in advance, but if you don’t have a ticket, you can still come and pick up a plate for $10.

Anyone who orders 10 or more plates can have them delivered. Shriner Larry Parker was gathering plates to deliver to local business M.R. Williams, which has generously supported the Shriners’ efforts through purchase of plates for years.

Organizers hope to raise $10,000 for the children’s hospital, which provides medical care free of charge for children.

“The good Lord gave us a great day,” Parker said. “We’ve got plenty of help and plenty of fish. The plate includes freshly fried fish, cole slaw, potato salad and hush puppies.

Shriner Randy Newman is one of those long-time volunteers for the fish fry, but he also is a Roadrunner, which means he transports the young patients and their parent to appointments at the Greenville, SC hospital.
“I’ve seen the work that they do – it’s amazing,” Newman said. “It does not cost a child or his parents anything out of pocket…food, lodging – everything is taken care of.”

One local youngster who Newman has driven to the hospital for care now serves as an International Ambassador for the hospital.

Of course, this day is about more than fish plates. Many men and women have been dedicated volunteers for this fundraiser for many years.

Ayscue said he’s been collecting money since the fish fry was held at the Armory, which means he’s been one of those dedicated volunteers for a long time. The Shriners have held the fish fry at several different locations since the Armory, including vacant buildings and a former grocery store. But several years ago, fellow Shriner Sherby Slaughter opened up his facility to host the fish fry and the location has proven a good one.

Henry Gupton, Vance County Clerk of Superior Court, hustled past the WIZS microphone just before noontime, in a rush to deliver lunch plates to his colleagues at the courthouse and a couple of other businesses along the way.

Vance County Sheriff Curtis Brame was on hand to lend his support to the cause in the early afternoon as well; the local Shriners appreciate the community support that the fish fry has gotten over the years.

“You couldn’t give to a better cause…to help a child,” said Billy Currin, another one of those long-time volunteers. Currin told WIZS that teams had prepared containers of cole slaw and potato salad for 1,700 plates Tuesday evening – the only thing left to add were the fish and hush puppies.

Volunteers arrived early to start preparing the fish, Currin said. By day’s end, he said 800 plates would have been delivered – and that doesn’t include those that customers pick up themselves.

More than 100 plates were whisked away for delivery by 10 a.m., he noted.

“Our delivery this morning was very strong,” Currin added, standing near the drive-thru lanes that were seeing a brisk business as well.

24th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

The Drug Enforcement Administration has announced the date of its 24th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

Saturday, April 22.

Take Back Day is designed to help Americans make sure their unneeded medications don’t end up in the wrong hands.

Locally, the Youngsville Police Department will be participating in Take Back Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., according to a DEA press statement. Residents are encouraged to bring any tablets, capsules patches or other solid forms of prescription drugs that are expired or no longer being used.

The collection site will not accept syringes, sharps or illicit drugs. Any liquid products should remain sealed in the original container, with the cap tightly sealed to prevent leakage.

This program has been providing safe disposal of medications for more than a decade, and offers free and anonymous disposal at more than 4,000 drop-off locations nationwide. Since its inception, Take Back Day has removed more than 8,300 tons of medication from circulation.

The Youngville Police Department is located at 134 Youngsville Blvd. S, Youngsville, NC 27596.

Cordell Motorcade To Pass By Fire Departments, City Hall Friday

The funeral service for Henderson Fire Chief Steve Cordell will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 3.

Beginning at 12 noon, however, a motorcade will accompany Fire Engine 5, which will transport Cordell’s coffin from Sossamon Funeral Home to South Henderson Pentecostal Holiness Church.

According to Downtown Development Director Tracy Madigan, the motorcade route will pass by both city fire stations as it makes its way from the funeral home to the church.

Upon departure from the funeral home, located on Oxford Road, the motorcade will drive past E.M. Rollins School, where Madigan said schoolchildren are expected to line the street to honor the chief as the motorcade passes by. From there, it will continue past Station 1 on Dabney Drive before turning onto Garnett Street, turning onto Rose Avenue to pass by City Hall and then back up Andrews Avenue to make its final turn onto Americal Road and arrive at the church.

Individuals are invited to gather in the vicinity of Garnett Street and Rose Avenue beginning about noon to pay their respects to the chief, who died Sunday after a battle with cancer.

The motorcade will consist of numerous public safety safety agencies, including fire personnel and motorcycle units of the State Highway Patrol.

WIZS will broadcast live the funeral service from the church at 2 p.m. and will broadcast special music and programming beginning and 1 p.m. as well as following the SHPHC service.


Time To Remove That Christmas Tree!

Those beautiful Fraser firs and other evergreens that gave our homes such a lovely fragrance and sheltered Christmas gifts should be long gone from homes by now, according to National Fire Protection Association.

That cut tree that had provided beauty and festive holiday spirit just a short while ago now poses an extreme fire hazard if it’s still up in your home – Christmas trees account for one-third of U.S. home fires that occur in January.

“As much as we all enjoy the look and feel of Christmas trees in our homes, they’re large combustible items that have the potential to result in serious fires,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of Outreach and Advocacy at NFPA.

“The longer Christmas trees remain in homes, the longer they present a risk.”

Carli notes that fresh Christmas trees, which continue to dry out and become more flammable over time, are involved in a much larger share of reported Christmas tree fires than artificial trees.

According to the latest Christmas Tree Fires report from NFPA, 160 home structure fires began with Christmas trees, resulting in two civilian deaths, 11 civilian injuries, and $12 million in direct property damage, on average each year between 2016 and 2020. Overall, fires that begin with Christmas trees represent a very small but notable part of the U.S. fire problem, considering that they are generally in use for a short time each year.

To safely dispose of a Christmas tree, NFPA recommends using the local community’s recycling program, if possible; trees should not be put in the garage or left outside. NFPA also offers these tips for safely removing lighting and decorations to ensure that they remain in good condition:

  • Use the gripping area on the plug when unplugging electrical decorations. Never pull the cord to unplug any device from an electrical outlet, as this can harm the wire and insulation of the cord, increasing the risk for shock or electrical fire.
  • As you pack up light strings, inspect each line for damage, throwing out any sets that have loose connections, broken sockets or cracked or bare wires.
  • Wrap each set of lights and put them in individual plastic bags or wrap them around a piece of cardboard.
  • Store electrical decorations in a dry place away from children and pets where they will not be damaged by water or dampness.

For more information on home fire safety all winter long, visit “Put a Freeze on Winter Fires,” a winter safety campaign NFPA promotes annually with the U.S. Fire Administration.

For more information or to view NFPA codes and standards for free, visit

First Baptist Church Celebration Friday

— submitted by Dr. Ron Cava, pastor FBC

The First Baptist Church is hosting an Epiphany Celebration commemorating the journey of the Magi to find Jesus and our daily need to know and worship Christ. The church property at 202 W. Winder Street will be circled by luminaries and live carillon music will play from 5:30 p.m. t0 6:25 p.m. on Friday, January 6, 2023. Neighbors are welcomed to come listen, walk, sit, and pray. A casual fellowship will follow in the Fellowship Hall from 6:30-7:00 p.m.

First Baptist Church exists to equip and form followers of Jesus to join with God on mission in our world.

Granville Vance Public Health Logo

COVID-19, Flu, RSV: “Triple-Demic” Can Alter Family Gatherings

Vance and Granville counties continue to be in the low transmission category for COVID-19, but trends are ticking upward in the weeks following Thanksgiving and heading into Christmas.

Some families are having to cancel plans to gather because someone in the group has tested positive for COVID-19, and others are choosing to postpone their celebrations until the New Year.

According to advice from Granville Vance Public Health Director Lisa Harrison, they’re doing the right thing. “Assess your risk and risk to others when you gather in large groups and stay home any time you have symptoms of illness,” Harrison noted in her most recent health update to the community.  the “triple-demic” combination of COVID-19, flu and RSV can wreak havoc and she reminds everyone to be completely vaccinated and boosted to ward off sickness.

“Although COVID-19 community levels in both Granville and Vance counties is finally at a ‘low’ mark, we are still hearing of a multitude of illnesses circulating like flu, RSV and strep, as well as COVID-19,” Harrison said, “so be sure to stay on alert with fighting off germs, wash those hands regularly, and stay well hydrated.”

The CDC estimates that at least 13 million Americans have already been infected with the flu this season, and more than 100,000 have been hospitalized across the U.S. — this is a larger number than last winter, when many Americans were still following COVID-related precautions. But flu shot uptake this year has been low. Only about a quarter of American adults have been vaccinated, according to the CDC. “Those who haven’t gotten their shot yet should seek one soon, said Dr. Preeti Malani, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Michigan. The sense is that this year’s vaccine is actually a pretty good match to the strain circulating. And much like COVID vaccines, flu shots don’t prevent all infections, but they can help prevent hospitalizations, deaths, as well as transmission,” according to Dr. Malani.


The health department offers COVID-19 shots and boosters as well as flu shots Monday-Friday at each location of Granville Vance Public Health. The bivalent COVID-19 booster shots by Pfizer and Moderna are available and help protect against the newest variants of COVID-19.

Following recent FDA authorization this month, the CDC has recommended the use of updated (bivalent) COVID-19 vaccines to children aged 6 months through 5 years. Please note that, unlike for older age groups, these products are not eligible for mix-and-match use.

  1. Moderna:Children ages 6 months through 5 years who previously completed a Moderna primary series can now receive a Moderna bivalent booster 2 months after their final primary series dose.
  2. Pfizer:Children ages 6 months through 4 years who are completing a Pfizer primary series will receive a Pfizer bivalent vaccine as their third primary dose. Effective immediately, the third dose of Pfizer (monovalent) is no longer authorized for this age group.

The numbers:

  • In Vance County, 64 percent of individuals have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, 58 percent have completed the initial series and 14 percent have received the updated booster.
  • In Granville County, 68 percent of individuals have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, 64 percent have completed the initial series and 16 percent have received their updated booster.

Stay updated by checking the CDC Data Tracker by County and the NCDHHS COVID-19 Dashboard. Relevant graphs from these dashboards are available on our website at 


NC DOT Offers Safety Tips When Driving During “Bomb Cyclone”

-information courtesy of N.C. Department of Transportation

People should check real-time driving conditions before traveling anywhere throughout the holiday weekend, as a winter storm is forecast to bring bone-chilling cold, rain, heavy winds and possible snow and ice in some locations.

Those conditions could make travel dangerous in North Carolina from the mountains to the coast.

The N.C. Department of Transportation has prepared for the storm. It has  more than 2,200 employees who are specially trained to use hundreds of trucks to remove snow and ice from roads. The agency has prepared its trucks and equipment in advance of this weekend’s winter storm. The NCDOT can store up to 179,000 tons of salt and sand and 1.8 million of brine to treat roads.

“Our staff is ready to clear roads of snow and debris as needed, but travelers need to be prepared, too,” said J. Eric Boyette, NCDOT secretary. “This storm could make it quite dangerous to be outside driving. Everyone should be prepared and be safe.”

If you do choose to travel this weekend, NCDOT recommends the following safety tips:

  • Be sure your vehicle is running well, has at least a half tank of gas and is equipped properly for changing conditions.
  • Keep on hand a supply kit with an ice scraper, extra windshield wiper fluid and anti-freeze, as well as a first-aid kit, blankets, flashlights, drinking water, and a basic automotive tool kit with jumper cables and flares.
  • If possible, leave early for your destination.
  • Allow extra time for your trip, regardless of the route you choose.
  • Drive slowly and maintain a safe following distance from other vehicles.
  • Approach bridges and overpasses with caution as they may accumulate ice first.
  • Come to a complete stop and yield the right of way when approaching an intersection where traffic lights are out. Treat this as a four-way stop.
  • Other tips can be found on NCDOT’s “Driving in Winter Weather” webpage.
  • For real-time travel information, visit DriveNgov or follow NCDOT on social media.

Road Construction Halted

To ease travel, the NCDOT will temporarily halt most construction activity along major highways to keep traffic flowing for holiday travel.

Construction along interstates, U.S. and key N.C. routes will be suspended from Friday morning until Tuesday evening to help reduce delays.

Construction also will be halted starting the morning of Dec. 31 through the evening of Jan. 3 for motorists traveling during the New Year’s Day holiday. Some projects will continue with work that doesn’t impact travel lanes, and other long-term lane closures will remain in place on certain projects.

Weather Could Impact Other Transportation

High winds and rough seas along the coast could cause schedule interruptions on some or all North Carolina ferry routes. Travelers should check with their terminal of departure before heading out this weekend.

As of Thursday, there are no plans in the coming days to stop or delay any of the state’s passenger rail trains. For the latest train schedules, please visit

For real-time travel information, visit or follow NCDOT on social media.