North Carolina Teacher Retention – NCAE

Teacher pay and a moratorium on private school vouchers are two of the tangible issues that the president of the North Carolina Association of Educators has on her radar. But Tamika Walker-Kelly also is calling on legislators to join her as she and other public school advocates seek to restore a culture of respect for the thousands of teachers who work in public schools.

Yes, salaries have gone up – it’s about $41,000 for starting teachers, Walker-Kelly acknowledged on Thursday’s The Local Skinny! But North Carolina has lost ground to other states and now is ranked at 38th in the nation for teacher pay.

“We know our legislators in Raleigh could do more,” she said, adding that higher pay is a critical component when it comes to recruitment and retention, but teachers deserve to have respect restored to their profession – “they want to be valued and be heard, and their contributions… are respected and valued,” she said.

The 2024-25 school year marks the fifth year that Walker-Kelly has led the NCAE, which she said is the largest education advocacy group in the state.

She is a proud product of North Carolina public schools and has taught music all of her 18 years in Cumberland County.

“I was inspired by my high school chorus teacher,” she said. “I wanted to be a music teacher just like her.”

Public school teachers interact with more than 1.5 million students across the state’s public school districts – that number accounts for about 85 percent of all children in the state.

The legislature’s private school voucher program stands to siphon off upwards of $500 million dollars, a move the NCAE opposes.

“As an organization, the NCAE continues to be in opposition to vouchers,” she said, adding that taxpayers’ money should go to public schools.

Supporting universal breakfast and lunch programs, mental health programs for students and additional tutoring are other areas of interest for the NCAE, and Walker-Kelly said “education should be everybody’s issue. It should be a bipartisan effort, she said, adding that the NCAE would continue to be a voice for public schools in the General Assembly, across the state and in local communities.

She ranks visiting schools across the state as one of her favorite things to do in her role as NCAE president.
“We should never let people forget that great work goes on in public schools every single day.”


Home And Garden Show

On the Home and Garden Show with Vance Co. Cooperative Ext.

 Wayne Rowland of the Vance Co. Extension Service provides gardening tips.

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The Local Skinny! Elder Abuse Awareness Event Is Friday

Join the Kerr Tar Region K Elder Abuse Conference and Walk on Friday, June 14 in Oxford to learn more about how to help senior adults, get them connected to services and protect them from unscrupulous scammers.

Kim Hawkins, regional ombudsman for KTCOG, said the event will be Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the campus of the Masonic Home for Children in Oxford. June 15 is recognized as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, an observance that promotes awareness and understanding of the many forms of elder abuse and resources available to those at risk.

Elder abuse is defined as “an act that knowingly, intentionally, or negligently causes or creates a serious risk of harm to an older person by a family member, caregiver, or other person in a trust relationship. Such harm may be financial, physical, sexual, or psychological.”

More than 20 different agencies from across the Kerr-Tar’s five-county service area will be on site to showcase their services and to share resources with the community. Home health agencies, long-term facilities, family care homes and adult day programs all will be represented.

“There’s a variety of resources on hand so you can learn what’s available to you,” Hawkins said on Tuesday’s segment of The Local Skinny!

The State Employees’ Credit Union will provide information about wills, trusts and estate planning, she said.

The agencies that are participating in the event are showing caregivers that they support the prevention of elder abuse, Hawkins said.

“We’re respecting them, keeping them safe and secure – it’s important to know who’s here on your side.”

There will be t-shirts, goodie bags and lunch provided, she said.

U.S. Attorney Michael Easley joins leaders from the local, state and national level to highlight the importance of awareness and education.

“Respecting our elders is a core American value,” Easley stated in a press release. “But too many crooks see our seniors as targets for financial scams. We are prioritizing cases with elderly victims to help stop the frauds and cheats trying to rob our seniors. Learn the signs of elder fraud and abuse. Together, we can give our older generation the respect they deserve.”

Visit the Elder Justice Initiative page to learn more about the Justice Department’s elder justice efforts.

For more information about the KTCOG event,
contact Tyeisha Hewett with Granville County DSS at 919.693.1511 or
Kimberly Hawkins with the Kerr-Tar Area Agency on Aging at 252.436.2050.




City Council Votes To Hike Property Tax Rate To 65 Cents Per $100 Valuation

It was not a unanimous decision, but the Henderson City Council voted to increase the property tax rate per $100 valuation to 65 cents at its Monday meeting, just before adopting the FY 2024-25 budget totaling more than $47 million.

In the budget recommended by City Manager Terrell Blackmon on May 13, the tax rate was 55 cents per $100 valuation, which was 10 cents above the revenue-neutral rate. The new property tax rate is 20 cents above the revenue-neutral rate.

Council Member Tami Walker made the motion to increase the tax, which she said would bring in more than $2.5 million in additional tax revenue. Council Member Ola Thorpe-Cooper seconded the motion. Council members Sam Seifert and Garry Daeke cast no votes, and Council members Lamont Noel, Michael Venable, Geraldine Champion, Sara Coffey voted yes with Walker and Thorpe-Cooper.

Thorpe-Cooper made a motion to accept the budget, which totals $47,827,763.

The motion was seconded by Coffey, who joined via Zoom. In addition to Thorpe-Cooper and Coffey, yes votes were case by Seifert, Venable, Walker and Champion.

Daeke and Noel cast dissenting votes.

In another split decision, Council voted 5-3 to accept a $1,500 bonus for each Council member – already included in the recommended budget. The matter had been discussed in earlier budget work sessions, but Daeke and Seifert said they recalled that the money was to be used to pay for training.

Mayor Melissa Elliott insisted that the sum was called a bonus, which, if offered as such, couldn’t have stipulations for its use.

Council Member Venable made a motion, seconded by Champion, to provide a $1,500 bonus to all Council members. Noel, Seifert and Daeke voted no. Coffey, Venable, Thorpe-Cooper, Champion and Walker voted yes.

In a unanimous vote, Council members voted to proceed with the purchase of the Falkner property that is owned by McGregor Hall. The sale price is $255,000 plus closing costs, but the budget line item is for $275,000, Blackmon stated.

The Local Skinny! Pop The Hood: Understanding Oil Viscosity

For our sponsor, Advance Auto Parts, as part of a paid radio sponsorship on WIZS.

There are many brands of motor oil to choose from, but no matter which brand you choose, there’s one thing they all have in common: a combination of numbers and a letter that describes how thick the oil is – its viscosity.

The Society of Automotive Engineers came up with this combination, but how many of us know how to interpret that number – letter – number combination?

The staff at Advance Auto Parts can help you choose the correct engine oil for your needs, whether you’re shopping for your vehicle, lawn mowers or anything else that uses oil

Generally speaking, the lower the number, the lower the viscosity.

Let’s use 5W-30 as an example. This type of oil is used commonly in newer model vehicles.

The number before the W describes the thickness of the oil at low temperatures. The lower the number, the thinner the oil and the better that oil will perform when the engine is cold.

The number after the W describes the oil’s thickness when the engine’s warmed up. Higher numbers mean thicker oil viscosity, which provides better protection for high-heat or high-load uses.

Trust the staff at Advance Auto to help you choose the right product for your needs.

The information contained in this post is not advice from Advance Auto Parts or WIZS.  Safety First!  Always seek proper help.  This is presented for its informational value only and is part of a paid advertising sponsorship.



Home And Garden Show

On the Home and Garden Show with Vance Co. Cooperative Ext.

  • Farmer’s Market now open on Wednesday
  • Keep garden journal updated
  • Harvest vegetables daily
  • Succession planting
  • Squash bugs
  • Check tomatoes for leaf disease

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Perry Memorial Library

Perry Library This Summer, Books, Programs, Opportunties

Anyone who works with young people will probably offer this advice: Be ready for anything. Getting tweens and teens off their devices and into the library may be a tall order, but Perry Memorial Library’s Youth Services Director Melody Peters is up for the challenge.

“Reading’s boring,” they’ll say. “Oh, you just haven’t found the right book,” she’ll reply.

“I’m really interested in worms,” one announces, expecting Peters to come up empty-handed. Nope. She points them to a whole section of books about worms, or whatever the topic from out of left field may be.

“I find their interest,” she said, following up with “I guarantee there is a book that relates to that.”

“I love to get their ear for a moment,” Peters said Tuesday on The Local Skinny! If she can get their attention for even a short time, she’s got a chance to share her love of reading and of books.

For example, she recently visited Vance County High School for an outreach session that involved making bracelets and key chains. Nothing to do with books, but chances are she took a moment to talk to them about books and reading and visiting the library.

Sure, the library has books. Lots of books. But there’s also a Teen Zone, and lots of programs and activities that tweens and teens can take part in. “There’s so much more than books – but don’t forget the books,” she said.

One event that Peters is inviting readers of all ages to participate in is the June 18 kickoff of the summer reading program.

From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., the library will be hoppin’ with carnival-style games, crafts and more as the library begins “Adventure Begins at Your Library,” which offers reading logs, incentives and prizes for all ages, from toddlers to adults.

Representatives from the local recreation and parks department will be there, as well Kerr Lake rangers, all offering information about programs they’ve got going on during the summer.

For her, finding a good book is like finding treasure, Peters said.

Come find some treasure of your own at your library.

Visit to find out about all the programs and services the library offers.

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Upcoming Blood Drives

Kick June off right by donating blood or plasma at several upcoming blood drives.

The American Red Cross has a special incentive to donors who register to help build the blood supply for patients in need. Everyone who comes to a blood drive site between now and June 9 will get a t-shirt featuring the iconic video game Tetris, which is commemorating its 40th anniversary.

Plus, you’ll be automatically entered for a chance to win a trip for two to New York to meet Tetris creator Alexey Pajitnov. See for details.

Donors of all blood types – especially those giving type O blood and donors giving platelets – are vital to people counting on blood products for critical medical procedures, according to Red Cross representatives.

Every single donation can help keep the blood supply as stable as possible during a busy time of year when many regular donors may be unable to give. Find a time before your calendar fills up. Visit, call 1-800-RED CROSS or use the Red Cross Blood Donor App to register at a convenient location.

Available June blood drives:

  • Thursday, June 6: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m. Raleigh Road Baptist Church, 3892 Raleigh Rd., Henderson
  • Friday, June 7: 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., Creedmoor Community Center, 116 Douglas Dr., Creedmoor

Calculating Your Property Tax Bill

Whether you reach for a sharpened No. 2 pencil and a piece of paper or choose to tap numbers into your phone’s calculator, it’s time to do a little math to at least have an idea of what your tax bill may look like.

Although neither the city nor the county has adopted the new budgets, the recommended budgets have been received. The City Council got a 158-page budget document earlier this month and the Vance County Board of Commissioners got a 138-page budget document on Monday, May 28.

Now comes the time when each body of elected officials has budget work sessions and holds public hearings to hear citizens’ comments about the budget particulars; budgets must be approved before July 1.

The city’s budget includes a property tax rate of 55 cents per $100 valuation; the county’s budget includes a property tax rate of 61.3 cents per $100 valuation.

As both the city council and county commissioners review the budget, it’s possible that some changes will be made before the final budget is adopted.

However, if you’re itching to see what your tax bill could be, you can play around with the current tax rates that are contained in the proposed budgets.

Now here’s where some basic math comes in to play. Consider this scenario:

Let’s say your property is valued at $100,000.

  • If your property is in the county, you will need to use the 61.3 cents per $100 valuation PLUS the fire tax rate, which is 5.9 cents per $100 valuation to get a total of 67.2 cents per $100.
  • If your property is located within the city of Henderson, guess what – you will add the city’s rate of 55 cents per $100 PLUS the county’s rate of 61.3 cents for a total of 1.163 per $100.

But there’s one more important step: You must divide your property value ($100,000 in this example) by 100 because the tax rate is per $100.

$100,000 divided by 100 = $1,000

Using this scenario, county residents would multiply $1,000 by .672 to get $672; city residents would multiply $1,000 by 1.163 to get $1,163.



The Local Skinny! 100 Deadliest Days

Sandwiched in between two national holidays – Memorial Day and Labor Day – is a period of about 100 days that parents of teen drivers never want to commemorate: During those three or so months have proven to be the deadliest for teen drivers.

During the summer months, teen drivers find themselves with more time on their hands – school is out, and they may be driving to summer jobs or be a taxi service for younger siblings.

In 2021, NCDOT statistics show almost 14,000 car crashes involving teens during the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day, resulting in 36 fatalities.

The state’s graduated driver license program includes measures that can help new drivers, including restricted nighttime driving and non-family passenger limits.

Of course, experienced drivers of a particular age may have had those same restrictions placed on them by their parents before the graduated driver license system began, and parents today can still be a positive influence on their children when they get behind the wheel.

The top factors for crashes are speeding, lane departure and distracted driving.

Be a good role model for your children and follow all the safety tips: don’t text and drive, even if you’re using the phone to navigate or change the music you’re playing.