Town Talk 04/06/20: NC811 Director Reminds Public to ‘Call Before You Dig’


Louis Panzer, executive director of North Carolina 811, appeared on WIZS Town Talk Monday at 11 a.m.

Known for its “Call Before You Dig” slogan, NC811 has provided the public with a communications link between local utility providers since 1978.

With April being recognized as Safe Digging Month, Panzer said now is the perfect time to discuss the legal requirement of having utilities marked before digging.

Panzer explained that NC law requires anyone engaging in excavation or demolition activities to contact NC811 at least three working days prior to starting the work. NC811 will then notify the member facility owners within your area of excavation or demolition requests.

The member facility owner then has three working days to provide a response and to mark any underground facilities that may be in conflict with the work area. Only publicly owned lines will be marked by the facility owner; private lines will not be indicated.

NC811 services are provided to residents free of charge and are designed to protect both the safety of those digging as well as the integrity of the telecommunication and utility networks underground.

“So many people rely on services that we sometimes take for granted,” said Panzer. “Telecommunication has increasingly become important, especially during this time where more people are working from home. People are sheltered in place and their children are at home being educated online.”

With an average of five conflicting utilities around your home or business, Panzer said it is better to contact NC811 and ask questions before engaging in even commonplace outdoor projects such as gardening or planting shrubbery.

Steps in the 811 utility location process include:

  1. Call 811. Before calling, have information ready such as your address, property specifics, the area you wish to have located, any special considerations, etc. For a full listing of the required information, click here.
  2. Wait the required time. NC law requires that a three working day notice be given to the utility owners before you dig. Member facilities have three full working days, beginning the first working day after the notice is given, to mark the area requested for underground utilities or to notify the excavator of no conflict in the area.
  3. Check Positive Response. Positive Response is both a by-phone and online means for the utility members of NC811 to provide information regarding the status of your location request. Click here for more information.
  4. Respect the marks. The underground facilities located on your property will be identified by color-coded paint, stakes or flags and should not be disturbed.
  5. Dig with care. If damage occurs, notify the facility owner directly. You can also dial 811 to report damage to underground facilities. In the event of a gas release, remove yourself from the area immediately and call 911 to report.

For more information on NC811, call by simply dialing 8-1-1, download the 811 app or visit

To hear the interview with Panzer in its entirety, go to and click on Town Talk.

Town Talk 04/01/20: Pearson Addresses Importance of Online Security, Avoiding Scams


Dr. Stephen Pearson, co-owner and operator of Sadie’s Coffee Corner in downtown Henderson, appeared on WIZS Town Talk Wednesday at 11 a.m.

Pearson, who teaches classes online at UNC-Chapel Hill and Utica College, and holds a Doctorate in Business Administration with a specialization in global business organization leadership, followed up on his Town Talk interview from last week.

While Thursday’s Town Talk focused on tips for working efficiently from home, Pearson utilized today’s segment to address the importance of employing proper online security measures when working remotely.

Much like the current social distancing model is being encouraged to help prevent human illness, Pearson explained similar practices should be used to protect computers and other electronic devices from viruses.

“Make sure you aren’t migrating viruses into your corporate network while you are working from home,” said Pearson. “You want to make sure you are using a platform that you have some control over.”

To have control over your technology and what your company’s network may be exposed to, Pearson suggested the creation of separate user profiles for each individual on a shared computer. “This ensures your work profile and your children’s gaming profile are separate, for example, and lessens the chance of interaction between the two.”

Other suggestions, per Pearson, include keeping corporate files on an external storage unit connected to your computer and installing a good antivirus program that updates daily.

Another suggestion to protect both your computer and your bank account is to beware of scams related to COVID-19. Much like disasters of the past, including 9/11 and hurricanes, the coronavirus pandemic is bringing out fraudsters who prey on peoples’ fears and generosity in a difficult time, said Pearson.

Pearson suggested not opening emails from institutions that you did not initially contact for information and doing some research before donating to any online site as primary ways to protect yourself from fraud.

For businesses looking for loans during the shutdown, Pearson suggested sticking with known and trusted sites such as or contacting the VGCC Small Business Center for further assistance.

Fake loan sites with “requirements” such as a $2,500 loan application fee are already being reported and trusted sources can help determine the legitimate from the fraudulent.

To hear the interview with Pearson in its entirety, including additional security suggestions, go to and click on Town Talk.

Town Talk 03/31/20: VGCC Small Business Director Discusses SBA Loans, Webinars

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Sheri Jones, director of the Vance-Granville Community College (VGCC) Small Business Center, appeared on WIZS Town Talk Tuesday at 11 a.m.

U.S. Small Business Administration Loans

In discussing the various ways the VGCC Small Business Center is working with local businesses during the current health crisis, including assistance with loan applications, Jones emphasized that time is of the essence.

“The best advice I can give is to go ahead and apply now; don’t wait,” Jones stated. “People are applying and getting approved, but this situation is unprecedented. We don’t know how long the funds will hold out and how many are going to apply.”

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering low-interest federal disaster loans to small businesses in all states and territories that are suffering economic injury as a result of the virus.

Terms for these Economic Injury Disaster Loans range from 15 to 30 years and the total loan amount is considered on a case-by-case basis. According to Jones, for-profit businesses will pay 3.75% interest, while non-profits will pay 2.75%.

“These loans are available directly through the Treasury Department with no third-party lender involved,” explained Jones. “Most businesses are eligible to apply.”

According to the SBA’s website, the disaster loans may be used for fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid due to the disaster’s impact.

VGCC Small Business Center’s “Coronavirus Business Ready” Webinars

In an effort to further support local businesses and offer encouragement, the VGCC Small Business Center has scheduled a series of free, live webinars entitled “Coronavirus Business Ready – Protecting Your Small Business.”

Each part addresses various areas of concern that all businesses are currently facing. The remaining webinars include:

Keeping Customers & Employees Safe During Unsettling Times

April 2, 2 – 3 p.m. (Register)

Promoting Your Business & Products During a Crisis

April 4, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. (Register)

Ideas to Keep Cash Flowing During a Pandemic Shutdown

April 7, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. (Register)

How to Manage Employees as Coronavirus Spreads

April 9, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. (Register)

Business Planning & Strategizing as a Coronavirus Antidote

April 14, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. (Register)

Communicating With Customers & Employees in Light of COVID-19

April 16, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. (Register)

Participants must register at least two days prior to each session with a valid email address in order to receive the webinar login information. After registering, the link will be sent approximately 24 hours before the event, and a reminder email will also be sent approximately an hour prior to the start time.

For more information on assistance for small businesses, please email Sheri Jones at [email protected], visit the VGCC Small Business Center website at or visit the Facebook site at

To hear the interview with Jones in its entirety, go to and click on Town Talk.

TownTalk 03/30/2020 (Places You Can Go)

TownTalk for Monday, March 30, 2020

TownTalk airs M-F on WIZS, Henderson at 11 a.m. Listen at 100.1 FM / 1450 AM / streamed live at and with Tunein and on smart connected devices and speakers.

NC Gov. Roy Cooper; Covid-19; Executive Order 121; Where you can go; Stay at Home

Henderson Mayor Eddie Ellington, message of assurance and request for adherence to Exec Order 121

Vance County Schools meal pickup for the week; One day this week; March 31 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Town Talk 03/26/20: Dr. Stephen Pearson Provides Tips on Working From Home


Dr. Stephen Pearson, co-owner and operator of Sadie’s Coffee Corner in downtown Henderson, appeared on WIZS Town Talk Thursday at 11 a.m.

Pearson, who teaches classes online at UNC-Chapel Hill and Utica College, and holds a Doctorate in Business Administration with a specialization in global business organization leadership, provided tips for working efficiently from home.

With many employees temporarily working remotely due to coronavirus-related business closures, Pearson’s advice is especially timely.

While working from home may seem exciting or “like a vacation” at first, Pearson said the biggest challenges in successfully making the transition are the distractions that are created by other family members, other home-based duties and social media.

“One of the biggest impediments of working from home is home life itself,” said Pearson. “There are a lot of distractions that take you away from the workplace.”

One way to keep yourself in the work mindset while at home is to stick with your normal “getting ready for work” routine. “I always tell people if you are going to work from home, treat it as a workday,” explained Pearson. “You get up, you shower, you shave, you eat breakfast, and then you go into an isolated area where you can shut the door and put a sign up that says ‘at work’ so that you aren’t distracted by the family.”

Pearson said this model will work more effectively if you discuss the need for privacy, take breaks throughout the day to interact with your family and leave your workspace at your usual stopping time.

On the other end of the spectrum, Pearson agreed it can be just as difficult for some employees to shut off work for the day while working from home. “Again, it’s all about the mindset. You have to make that mental transition between work and play.”

The bottom line, according to Pearson, is to “remember you are at work and have an obligation to your employer. Give them what they pay for and provide them with the service you would provide at the office.”

To hear the interview with Pearson in its entirety, go to and click on Town Talk.

Town Talk 03/25/20: Sheriff, Police Chief Discuss Procedures, Coronavirus Reaction


Vance County Sheriff Curtis Brame and Henderson Police Chief Marcus Barrow appeared on WIZS Town Talk Wednesday at 11 a.m.

Brame and Barrow explained that both the Vance County Sheriff’s Office and the Henderson Police Department have made adjustments in their operating procedures to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

For example, many non-violent criminal reports will only be taken by telephone during the coronavirus pandemic. These reports include, but are not limited to: misdemeanor theft, harassing communications, lost property, identity theft, computer/phone/mail scams.

Reports can be made with a Henderson Police Department employee during normal business hours (8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. M-F) at (252) 438-4141. Reports can be made with a Sheriff’s Office employee during normal business hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. M-F) at (252) 738-2200.

The front lobby of the Police Department has been temporarily closed to the public, while the front lobby of the Sheriff’s Office will only allow one person at a time until further notice.

According to Brame, the Sheriff’s Office will continue to monitor the Vance County Detention Center to limit the exposure to inmates and staff; visitation is restricted until further notice.

“This [coronavirus] is having a huge impact on everyone in Vance County economically, especially small businesses and convenience stores,” said Brame. “We are all going to have to comply with executive orders from the governor and president. Right now, we are looking at ways that churches can still hold services and serve God while complying with orders concerning congregation numbers, but we are going to work it out.”

Governor Roy Cooper’s recent ban on gatherings larger than 50 people has prompted area churches to get creative with ways to still hold services. Brame said he has spoken with several local pastors and has heard suggestions ranging from online sermons to holding multiple services to keep the numbers below the threshold.

With updates coming from the governor and public health officials sometimes hourly, Barrow said law enforcement is facing the challenges head-on and adjusting accordingly. “We’ve been dealing with the unknown our entire careers. We live in the unknown. We took an oath to our office and our guys are prepared to take on whatever they need to take on.”

One of the challenges facing the department now, according to Brame, is securing enough personal protective equipment (PPE) for the staff. Brame said he is visiting several stores daily trying to gather enough face masks, hand sanitizer, gloves and other PPE for his deputies.

Both Brame and Barrow agreed that local City and County officials, as well as the general public, have been supportive and responsive during this time.

“I’m proud of our community,” said Barrow. “They’ve taken heed to the orders that have come down, for the most part, and we haven’t had any issues.”

To hear the interview with Brame and Barrow in its entirety, go to and click on Town Talk.

Town Talk 03/24/20: Mayor Ellington Provides Henderson COVID-19 Updates


Henderson Mayor Eddie Ellington appeared on WIZS Town Talk Tuesday at 11 a.m.

With at least two cases of COVID-19 currently confirmed in Vance County, Ellington assured the community that steps have been taken to contain the spread and measures are in place to assist those in need.

“We cannot control what happens, but we can control how we respond and how we react,” Ellington stated. “I want to reassure the citizens of Henderson that we have taken steps to carry us through these moments. This is the time to stand on the side of grace, as we realize our own shared humanity, and to be there for your family, friends, neighbors and the elderly.”

Ellington thanked Terrell Blackmon, Henderson’s new city manager, and City Council members for their dedication to keeping residents and City staff safe.

Last week, Blackmon elected to close Henderson City Hall to the public, changing operations to an ‘appointment-only’ format for the foreseeable future.

City Hall staff will still be available to answer questions by telephone at (252) 430-5700 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Utility payments may be made online, by phone, by mail or placed in the drop box outside of City Hall (click here for more details).

Ellington also praised the City’s decision to temporarily suspend water disconnections due to non-payment of utility bills “so people will have access to safe, sanitary water during this difficult time.”

Accounts will continue to be billed as normal for any water used during this suspension period and residents are reminded that they are still responsible for payment of all account balances.

Calling the world-wide coronavirus pandemic a “fluid situation that is constantly evolving,” Ellington said the City will continue to work with state and federal officials, as well as community partners, to provide the latest information to the public.

Ellington said he suspects we will see an increase in closings and restrictions coming down from the State and governor’s office in the next few weeks, but a bounce-back and return to normalcy is expected.

“This is going to pass, we know,” said Ellington. “True character is revealed in these times that we face.”

To hear the interview with Ellington in its entirety, go to and click on Town Talk.

H-V Chamber, Economic Development & Partners Support Local Small Businesses


Henderson-Vance County Chamber of Commerce President Michele Burgess and Henderson-Vance Economic Development Commission Director Dennis Jarvis appeared on WIZS Town Talk Monday at 11 a.m.

Burgess reported that the Chamber of Commerce and Vance County Economic Development offices are working together in partnership with Vance-Granville Community College, the Kerr Tar Regional Council of Governments (COG), the Henderson Downtown Development Commission, and other entities to ensure local businesses, especially small business leaders, have updated information on remaining afloat during the coronavirus pandemic.

With the U.S. Small Business Administration granting Governor Roy Cooper’s request for a disaster declaration, NC small businesses that are suffering economic losses due to coronavirus will have the opportunity to apply for low-interest economic injury disaster loans (EIDLs).

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at

While encouraged by the assistance provided by the SBA, Jarvis stated that there are also local organizations, such as the Kerr Tar COG, offering business owners a range of low-interest loans to suit their needs.

“It’s not any different than going to a traditional lender – the terms are the same, your amortization schedule is the same,” said Jarvis. “What they are able to do is to wave some requirements that are on traditional funding programs.”

The COG serves the five-county area of Vance, Granville, Warren, Franklin and Person and can be reached by phone at (252) 436-2040 or online at

For workers who have been laid off or temporarily furloughed due to the coronavirus shutdown, Governor Cooper’s office announced a relaxing of sorts on unemployment qualifications, including the removal of a one-week waiting period after termination and not holding employers responsible for benefits paid.

Burgess listed NC Works Career Center as a local Vance County agency that will assist with issues affecting your workforce such as lay-offs, hiring, etc. Visit them online at or call (252) 438-6129 for assistance.

You may also visit the NC Department of Commerce’s Employment Security website for more detailed information (click here) and to apply for unemployment (click here).

Information regarding the coronavirus outbreak and its effect on local businesses and the economy may be obtained by visiting the Chamber’s website at and the Economic Development website at

According to Burgess, the website for the H-V Chamber of Commerce is being updated daily.  Clicking on the link at the top of the home page marked “COVID-19” will give viewers access to information including low-interest loans, phone numbers to call for questions about unemployment, employee layoffs, the latest news from the Granville Vance Public Health Department, etc.

Town Talk 03/12/20: Fourth Annual VCS Arts Alive! to Showcase Student Talent

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Aarika Sandlin, public information officer for Vance County Schools, appeared on WIZS Town Talk Thursday at 11 a.m. Discussing upcoming district events, Sandlin said students and staff are busy preparing for VCS’ fourth annual Arts Alive! talent showcase.

Arts Alive! will be held at the McGregor Hall Performing Arts Center in downtown Henderson on Saturday, April 25, 2020. The showcase will feature VCS student talent in a variety of mediums including painting, drawing, dancing, singing and dramatic performance. All grade levels will be represented.

Parents, students, family, educators and community members are invited to view the artwork that will be on display in the McGregor Hall Gallery beginning at 3 p.m. Gallery viewing is free of charge.

New this year, a silent auction will be held to allow the public to bid on their favorite pieces of art.

In addition to the art gallery, performing acts ranging from large to small groups of vocalists, musicians, dancers and more will entertain on McGregor Hall’s stage beginning at 7 p.m.

Tickets for the Arts Alive! show are available for purchase at McGregor Hall’s box office beginning at 3 p.m. the day of the event. Tickets for adults and children are $5 each; all seating is general admission. Proceeds from the event benefit the Vance County Public School Foundation.

Returning this year will be a series of “master classes” offered in drama, art, dancing and musical instruments offered the morning of the Arts Alive! event. The classes, ranging in target age from Pre-K through 12th grade, will be offered by Hill’s Music Shoppe, Ballet Arts, Wolf Trap Education and Vance-Granville Community College. For more details on these classes, please visit VCS’ newly designed website at

Master classes are free of charge and are offered at McGregor Hall and across the street from the performing arts venue at First Baptist Church in Henderson.

“It’s a really exciting day for our district to come together and show what our students are capable of doing,” Sandlin said.

To hear the interview with Sandlin in its entirety, including a series of brief updates from the most recent School Board meeting, go to and click on Town Talk.

Town Talk 03/11/20: Relay For Life Quarter Auction, Survivor Dinner


Hope Breedlove, a social worker in the Cancer Center at Maria Parham Health and a member of the Relay For Life Survivor Committee, appeared on WIZS Town Talk Wednesday at 11 a.m.

This year’s Vance County Relay For Life event will take place Friday, June 19 in downtown Henderson from 5 – 10 p.m. Relay For Life is a community event to honor cancer survivors, remember loved ones lost and fight back against a disease that has taken too much.

The Survivor Lap will take place at 6:30 p.m. and all cancer survivors are invited to participate. As a cancer survivor, you’ll be a guest of honor and cheered on by your community. Caregivers are also a major part of Relay For Life events and are honored for their support.

Quarter Auction

The Maria Parham Health Quarter Auction & March Madness Buffet fundraiser for Relay For Life will be held on Friday, March 27, 2020, at the Aycock Recreation Center (307 Carey Chapel Rd., Henderson). Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Tickets are available for $20 per person and seating is limited to 100 attendees. The ticket price includes one paddle, buffet dinner, drink, dessert and door prize entry. Extra paddles can be purchased at the event for $5 each.

With over 100 items available for auction, including gift certificates, wreaths and televisions, Breedlove encouraged participants to bring plenty of quarters and make sure to purchase extra paddles to increase the chance of winning.

As this is a basketball-themed event, participants are encouraged to wear their favorite ACC shirt or jersey.

Tickets may be purchased by calling Kimberly Smith (252-436-1656), Hope Breedlove (252-436-1605), Amanda Wilkins (252-436-1615) or Cassidy Grissom (252-436-1544).

Survivor Dinner

The 2020 Relay For Life Survivor Dinner will be held on Friday, April 17 at 6 p.m. at South Henderson Pentecostal Holiness Church (905 Americal Rd., Henderson). Cancer survivors in Vance and surrounding counties and their guests are invited to enjoy an evening of food and entertainment.

“Cancer survivorship is defined as the moment you are diagnosed with cancer throughout the remainder of your life,” explained Breedlove. “You do not have to be in active treatment or be in remission to be a survivor. If you fit into that category, you qualify to participate in the survivor dinner.”

Survivors are welcome to bring one family member to the dinner. Please RSVP on or before April 12 by contacting Sue Cain with Relay For Life at (919) 334-5221 or sending an email to [email protected]. If leaving a voice message or sending an email, please provide the following information:

  • Your name and phone number
  • Will you bring a guest?
  • Your t-shirt size

“Your prompt RSVP will ensure we have enough food and survivor t-shirts for everyone attending,” Breedlove said. “This is always a very special event in our community and we look forward to it each year.”

Survivors, caregivers and walkers are welcome to register for June’s Relay For Life event online at or by calling 1-800-227-2345 (choose option #2 from the menu). Paper registration forms will also be available at the survivor dinner.

With additional questions regarding these Relay For Life events, please call (252) 436-1605.

To hear the interview with Breedlove in its entirety, go to and click on Town Talk.