TownTalk: Patrick Bailey Speaks At Local GOP Rally

Patrick Bailey wants to be the next sheriff of Vance County. The Republican candidate was one of several speakers who spoke during a Vance County GOP fundraiser last week in Henderson. Bailey spoke for almost 15 minutes on topics ranging from Second Amendment rights to the opioid epidemic.

“We need a change,” Bailey said, which prompted applause from the audience. “We need to make Vance County safe again – it’s not safe now.”

He said he would support the Second Amendment right to bear arms as sheriff of Vance County. “The Second Amendment right stands as it is,” he said, which elicited more applause and shouts of support from the 300 or so gathered at the fundraiser.

“We’ve got people running around… in our stores that are criminals carrying guns and what does Washington want to do? Washington wants to come in and make more laws that are binding us as law-abiding citizens so that we can’t go out and buy a gun as easily as we have been.”

As he has traveled across the county to the various townships and communities, Bailey said the Number 1 issue on people’s minds is drugs. According to Bailey, Vance County holds the unenviable spot of being the top county in the import of opium. (He did not cite a source for this statistic.) That means that the majority of the illegal drugs come through Vance County first before being distributed to surrounding counties, across the state and elsewhere.

Bailey said the sheriff’s office desperately needs a drug interdiction unit to catch drugs as they are transported up and down the interstate. He also said the sheriff’s office needs well trained officers who know the law and how to enforce it.

Residents can identify particular spots where drugs are being sold, but there is little being done to shut them down. “We need undercover agents working in these townships and locating drug houses and getting rid of them,” he said.

But the issue has two fronts to battle – the people who deal the drugs and the users who buy them. Bailey said mental health workers need to be working with families of substance abusers to get them help.

The only way to achieve results, he said, is for Republicans to get out and vote. He said of the county’s 24,000 registered voters, only 1,200 Republicans cast ballots in the May primary.

“You’ve got to tell all of your friends, all of your family (to vote),” he said, from local elections all the way up to the president of the United States. “We need to get (the) Democrats out of office.”


TownTalk: Sandy Smith Speaks At Local GOP Rally

Sandy Smith is running for U.S. Congress in North Carolina’s 1st Congressional District, which includes Vance and Warren counties. Smith, a Republican, joined other GOP candidates in Henderson last week for a Vance County GOP fundraiser.

Smith spoke to the crowd of about 300 for just more than five minutes in the afternoon heat at the former Charles Boyd Chevrolet location on US Hwy 158.

It was a fitting spot for her to bring up increased gas prices and what she called “out of control inflation.”

Smith said she travels in a 40-foot bus on the campaign trail, and said she dared not tell how much it costs to fill that tank. It runs on diesel fuel.

“We need to open the pipelines and be energy independent,” she proclaimed, which drew cheers from the audience. “And after we are energy independent again, we are going to focus on being energy dominant through the world,” she continued.

She vowed to protect the Second Amendment right to bear arms. “As your representative, I’m going to fight to protect your Second Amendment with every fiber of my being. We are not going to pass any red flag bills…we are not going to take away your Second Amendment right. Our gun rights are absolute rights.”

The fundraiser was held on June 24, the same day that the Supreme Court reversed the Roe v. Wade abortion rights law. Smith used that news to illustrate the importance of Republican lawmakers and their role in government.

“Our work is just beginning,” Smith said. “We need true, Constitutional conservatives” in office.

“We also need to protect our children who are being targeted in schools and indoctrinated,” Smith said. The self-professed pro-life candidate said she believes life begins at conception, and that there are two genders “decided at conception by our Creator.” She said schools need to get back to the basics and that children need to learn how to read, write and do basic math. “They don’t need to be discussing their sexuality.”


TownTalk: Lt. Governor Robinson Speaks to Local GOP

Full Mark Robinson audio included below.

Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson was the featured speaker at a Vance County GOP fundraiser on Friday, and he exhorted those in attendance to stay focused on the task at hand – that being the November midterm elections.

The fundraiser was held at the former Charles Boyd Chevrolet lot on US Hwy. 158. About 300 were in attendance, as well as other local candidates on the November ballot.

Robinson’s speech, which was broadcast live on WIZS Friday afternoon, was rebroadcast – unedited – during Monday’s TownTalk segment. He spoke for about 15 minutes and began his remarks celebrating the Friday Supreme Court reversal of Roe v. Wade.

“It’s been a long, hard battle to see that overturned,” Robinson said of the ruling to return abortion rights to states.

He said he is “thoroughly committed to protect the lives of the unborn,” and that he would strive to “make North Carolina the most pro-life state in the nation.” Earlier in his remarks, Robinson said he and his supporters would fight “tooth and nail to protect life in this state.”

While he hasn’t put his hat in the ring yet, Robinson alluded to his intention to run for governor in 2024.

Callers who either attended the event on Friday or listened to the rebroadcast Monday said they would approve of Robinson the gubernatorial candidate.

One caller said he attended Friday’s event and said it felt like “freedom was ringing in the air.”

Another caller said “he’s what we need. He’ll be a good governor…he’s a God-fearing man (and) he loves his country.”

Pointing to national issues like rising gas prices, inflation and what he called the failure of the Biden administration, Robinson said winning the mid-term elections was crucial in order to elect more conservative candidates.

“Let’s keep standing up and let’s keep fighting, folks. We have a nation to save. It’s only going to get saved if we stand up and do it.”

The audience erupted into applause and shouts periodically to show support for Robinson’s comments. He called the Jan. 6 investigation a “smokescreen” and said he wants to keep the country from becoming a “socialist hellhole.”

Sending conservative candidates to Washington, DC would ensure that Republicans would have a super majority in Congress, but he said it also is important to elect conservative candidates to local offices like school boards.

He said he speaks to people all the time who lament they are but one person and the job is large. To which he answers, he said: “There are no little people in this fight.” Whether stuffing envelopes or canvassing neighborhoods in a door-to-door campaign, Robinson said even small contributions have an impact.

“We’ve got to get up on our feet and do the work ourselves,” he said. “We”ve got a state to run and a nation to save.”

Click Play

TownTalk: Place Names In Granville And Vance Counties


A little community in northern Granville County could possibly be getting a unwanted name change, all thanks to newly planted state signage – and Google maps.

North Carolina Room specialist and local historian Mark Pace told the story of Jonathan’s Crossroads, named for the nearby creek of the same name. It seems that the state put up signs incorrectly identifying the area as Johnson’s Crossroads and Johnson’s Creek.

Once it’s in cyberspace, Pace said, the name could stick.

There are many communities all across the Old Granville County area – comprised of what is now Vance, Granville, Warren and Franklin counties – that have interesting name origins. Pace and Bill Harris talked about how some of those places got their names on Thursday’s tri-weekly history segment of Town Talk.

To be sure, many communities were named for prominent families in the area – Gillburg was named for James and David Gill, whose estate stood near the site of the prison there. But Gillburg also was known as Crack Rock, because there had been a school there by the same name.

Once known as  Nutbush, Williamsborough in Vance County was renamed for John Williams , who was a member of the Continental Congress and later a U.S. Supreme Court Justice. Townsville honors the family that gave land for the railroad to come through. And Henderson is named for Leonard Henderson.

The community known as Bobbitt, once called Five Points, was named for Patrick Bobbitt.

But Oxford gets its name from the plantation owned by a man called Samuel Benton, who convinced civic leaders in the area known as Merrittsville back in the 1760’s to build the county courthouse on his property. He subsequently went into the real estate business, selling land that would become known as Oxford.

“Sometimes we know the origins of these communities’ names,” Pace said. But sometimes the origin of the name has been forgotten over time.

Seth was the original name for the Granville County area known as Cornwall. But why did its name change? Pace can only presume it’s an homage to the Cornwall in England.

And not too far from Cornwall – between Cornwall Road and Hwy 15 – is the teeny tiny area of Gela. There’s a town in Sicily, Italy with the same name. But how did the name of an old Greco Roman town find its way to rural Granville County?

Then there’s Alert in Franklin County – but if you don’t put the emphasis on the A, folks will know you aren’t from around here.

The location of post offices had something to do with names of towns and communities. Epsom, near the Franklin-Vance line, reportedly got its name when a group of folks were discussing names for the spot where the post office would be located. The area once known as Duke had to change its name because there already was a post somewhere else with the same name. The discussion took place in the community store, and one person suggested Epsom after noticing the container of Epsom Salts nearby.

At that time, it was popular to give towns names that had a positive or progressive spin. And Epsom Salts, with its health benefits, sounded like as good a name as any, Pace said.

The crossroads called Midway in Granville County got its name because it was halfway between Williamsborough and Oxford. But its name got changed to Dexter because someone had a friend with that first name. It sounded upbeat, Pace said, but more importantly, there was no other town called Dexter that had a post office.

Middleburg in Vance County is so named because it was middleway between Raleigh and Gaston, two main points on the railroad.

Leonard F. Dean published a gazeteer in 2011 of the local area that contains a wealth of information, including some of those lesser known or almost forgotten names of communities.

“I don’t reshelve that book,” Pace said. “People use it every day.” He leaves it along with an atlas for library patrons conducting research of one sort or another.

The gazeteer contains information about family homeplaces, along with references to the many creeks that often are mentioned in deeds to denote property boundaries.

Dean’s book is titled “Granville County North Carolina Gazetteer.”



Granville Vance Public Health Logo

TownTalk: COVID-19 Vaccines Now Available for Children Under 5


With COVID-19 vaccines now approved for use with the youngest children – ages six months through 5 years, Granville-Vance Public Health Director Lisa Harrison encourages parents to ask questions of health care professionals to determine the best course of action when deciding which vaccine to choose.

Harrison spoke on Town Talk Wednesday with John C. Rose and said there is a wealth of information for parents located at She said it’s important to get information from trusted sources – like your child’s pediatrician or from the local health department.

Specialized nurses and immunization nurses administer the vaccines at the health department for anyone who wants a shot, including this youngest group of children most recently approved to get the vaccine.

The Pfizer shot is a three-series shot and is cleared to be given to children six months through 4 years. The Moderna shot is a two-dose series and is cleared for children through age 5. Both vaccines are now at the health department, and parents can consult with health professionals before deciding which one to ask for.

“Both are certainly well tested and effective,” she said.

Side effects are similar to those that adults have after getting shots and boosters – swelling and redness at injection site, slight fever or feeling tired for a day or two, but that’s about it, Harrison said.

Vance and Granville counties both have returned to “high” transmission rates recently, and Harrison said as long as the counties remain in this category, she personally will choose to wear a mask when she is indoors with a lot of people. When she’s outside, she opts to not wear a mask.

It’s more difficult for younger children to keep masks on, and to follow the other W’s – “wait” 6 feet apart and “Wash” your hands frequently, she said, so vaccines for this youngest group just makes good health sense.

In fact, masks are not recommended for children ages 2 and under.

Vaccines “are the biggest and most important intervention we’ve had over the last hundred years,” she explained. And the various COVID-19 vaccines are more tested than any other vaccine.

One thing that health professionals have learned over the course of the pandemic is the unpredictable nature of the virus. “It’s hard to have this much patience with a mutating virus, for sure,” she said. Being vaccinated, however, is “the way we get through to the other side of the pandemic,” she added.




TownTalk: Stay Safe This Summer

– compiled courtesy of N.C. Dept. of Insurance and American Red Cross

As the weather heats up this summer, folks around here may head out to enjoy Kerr Lake or area swimming pools. It’s fun to cool off with water activities like swimming and boating, but it’s important to keep safety in mind.

According to information from the Red Cross, an average of 11 people die each day in the U.S. from unintentional drowning – and one in five of those are children 14 or younger.

The Red Cross Swim app, sponsored by The ZAC Foundation, has safety tips as well as kid-friendly videos and activities. There’s a free Water Safety for Parents and Caregivers online course in English or in Spanish to provide additional information about water safety and handling water emergencies.

Other tips include:

  • Swim in a lifeguarded area. Always designate a “water watcher” whose sole responsibility is to keep a close eye and constant attention on everyone in and around the water until the next water watcher takes over.
  • Drowning behavior is typically fast and silent. Unless rescued, a drowning person will last only 20 to 60 seconds before submerging. Reach or throw, don’t go! In the event of an emergency, reach or throw an object to the person in trouble. Don’t go in! You could become a victim yourself.
  • Preventing unsupervised access to water, providing constant, active adult supervision and knowing how to swim are critical layers of protection to help prevent drowning.
  • Classes to learn how to swim are available for both children and adults. Check the map for Learn-to-Swim providers in your community. Everyone should learn first aid and CPR too, so they know what to do in an emergency.

It’s important to keep in mind that safety hazards lurk on dry land, too. And N.C. Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey and the Safe Kids North Carolina program are reminding people of the dangers of leaving children and pets in cars as summer temperatures climb.

Causey, who also serves as the Chair of Safe Kids NC, observed how quickly a vehicle can heat to dangerous – and sometimes deadly – temperatures.

“Summers are great in North Carolina, but the warmer temperatures also mean the very real danger of heatstroke,” Causey said in a written statement. “It only takes 10 minutes for the temperature inside a car to rise to unsafe levels.”

Across the country each year, 35 to 40 children die because of heat exposure in cars. In fact, 53% of child heatstroke deaths occur because a caregiver has forgotten a child in the car. Since 1998, 32 children have died in North Carolina from a being left in a hot vehicle. July is the deadliest month for cases of vehicular hyperthermia in children, but the danger spreads from March through November in our area due to the subtropical North Carolina climate.

Pets are also susceptible to even mildly hot temperatures in vehicles, where an animal in a car on an 80-degree day can experience temperatures close to 100 degrees after 10 minutes and close to 115 degrees after 30 minutes.

Symptoms of overheating in pets can include:

  • Excessive panting or difficulty breathing
  • Increased heart and respiratory rate
  • Drooling
  • Mild weakness or stupor
  • Collapse

“Even the best of parents and pet owners can make the deadly mistake of leaving their child or animal unattended, and that’s why we’re trying to educate people before a tragedy can occur,” Causey said. “These statistics demand the increased education of all parents and caregivers that it is never safe to leave a child or animal unattended in a vehicle.”

For more tips on how to avoid heat-related incidents, visit

Heat Safety Tips:

  1. Hot cars can be deadly. Never leave children or pets in your vehicle. The inside temperature of the car can quickly reach 120 degrees.
  2. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
  3. Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.
  4. If you don’t have air conditioning, seek relief from the heat during the warmest part of the day in places like schools, libraries, theaters, malls, etc.
  5. Avoid extreme temperature changes.
  6. Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.
  7. Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
  8. Postpone outdoor games and activities.
  9. Take frequent breaks and use a buddy system when working outdoors.
  10. Check on animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat. Make sure they have plenty of cool water and shade.

Excessive heat can lead to sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. If someone is experiencing heat cramps in the legs or abdomen, get them to a cooler place, have them rest, lightly stretch the affected muscle, and replenish their fluids with a half a glass (about 4 ounces) of cool water every 15 minutes.

If someone is exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion (cool, moist, pale or flushed skin, heavy sweating, headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness and exhaustion), move them to a cooler place, remove or loosen tight clothing and spray the person with water or apply cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin. Fan the person. If they are conscious, give small amounts of cool water to drink. Make sure the person drinks slowly. Watch for changes in condition. If the person refuses water, vomits or begins to lose consciousness, call 911.

HEAT STROKE LIFE-THREATENING Heat stroke usually occurs by ignoring the signals of heat exhaustion. Heat stroke develops when the body systems are overwhelmed by heat and begin to stop functioning. Signs include hot, red skin which may be dry or moist; changes in consciousness; vomiting and high body temperature. Call 911 immediately if someone shows signs of heat stroke. Move the person to a cooler place. Quickly cool the person’s body by immersing them up to their neck in cold water if possible. Otherwise, douse or spray the person with cold water, or cover the person with cold, wet towels or bags of ice.


  • Animals can suffer heat stroke, a common problem for pets in the warmer weather. Dogs with short noses or snouts, like boxers or bulldogs, are especially prone to heat stroke, along with overweight pets, those with extremely thick fur coat or any pet with upper respiratory problems such as laryngeal paralysis or collapsing trachea.
  • Some of the signs of heat stroke in your pet are heavy panting and being unable to calm down, even when lying down, brick red gum colorfast pulse rate and being unable to get up.
  • If you suspect your pet has heat stroke, take their temperature rectally. If the temperature is above 105 degrees, cool the animal down. The easiest way to do this is by using the water hose. Stop cooling the animal when the temperature reaches 103 degrees.
  • Bring your pet to the veterinarian as soon as possible as heat stroke can lead to severe organ dysfunction and damage. Download the Red Cross Pet First Aid appfor instant access on how to treat heat stroke, other emergencies and general care for cats and dogs and take the Cat and Dog First Aid Online Training.

The Red Cross app “Emergency” can help keep you and your loved ones safe by putting vital information in your hand with more than 35 customizable severe weather and emergency alerts. The Red Cross First Aid app puts instant access to information on handling the most common first aid scenarios, including heat emergencies, at your fingertips. Download these apps for free by searching for ‘American Red Cross’ in your app store or at Learn First Aid and CPR/AED skills ( so you can help save a life.



Vaccines for Children Ages 6 Months to Under 5 Years Will Be Available June 20

— NCDHHS Press Release —

Children ages 6 months and older can now receive a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends all children who are eligible receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine is available in North Carolina following the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) emergency use authorization and the CDC’s recommendation.

“Many parents and families have been eagerly awaiting a vaccine to protect our youngest North Carolinians,” said NCDHHS Secretary Kody H. Kinsley. “These vaccines are the best way to protect children from COVID-19 — they are safe, effective and free.”

Children ages 6 months to younger than 5 get a smaller vaccine dose than any other age group. This vaccine dose differs from the vaccine that was previously authorized for children ages 5 to 11. Booster shots are currently not authorized for children in this age group.

As with all routine vaccinations for children, these vaccines were tested and reviewed by the FDA and the CDC and their independent scientific committees to ensure they are safe for children. Results from ongoing clinical trials that began in March 2021 showed the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines were safe and effective to protect children ages 6 months to under 5 years from COVID-19. The Pfizer vaccine is currently authorized for three doses, while the Moderna will initially begin as two. Moderna is currently testing their third dose, with data expected this summer.

There were no safety concerns or serious side effects noted in the clinical trials for either vaccine.

The first wave of shipments is expected to arrive in North Carolina on June 20. NCDHHS recommends that parents and guardians contact their child’s pediatrician, medical provider, or local health department for more details on when the vaccine may become available. Call ahead to confirm the vaccine will be available before visiting a health care provider.

Children between the ages of 3 and 5 have the option of getting vaccinated at a pharmacy or grocery store in addition to a doctor’s office or local health center. Children under 3 years are not able to be vaccinated by a pharmacist. Parents and guardians of children who do not have an established medical provider can visit to search for a nearby vaccine provider.

Children may be able to get vaccinated for COVID-19 and other routine shots they are due for at the same visit. This is also a good time for them to get a routine checkup.

Children may experience temporary and minimal side effects. These side effects are similar to adults – a sore arm, headache and being tired or achy for a day or two.

According to the CDC, children under 5 had the highest rate of hospitalizations compared to other pediatric groups. COVID-19 cases in children can result in hospitalization, death, MIS-C (inflammation in different parts of the body) and long-term problems with symptoms that last for months. Vaccines will help reduce infections and transmission, bringing all North Carolinians closer to fewer family disruptions ahead of the summer months and school year.

Everyone ages 6 months and older can receive a free COVID-19 vaccine, even if they don’t have health insurance and regardless of their immigration status.  Parents and guardians with questions about COVID-19 vaccines should talk with their child’s physician.

North Carolina’s actions are based on recommendations from the CDC. Read the CDC’s full statement here.

For more information about how vaccines for children work and where you can find a vaccination appointment nearby, visit The North Carolina COVID-19 Vaccine Help Center can also help you make an appointment by calling 888-675-4567. The help center is open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m.-4 p.m. on weekends.

Las vacunas contra el COVID-19 para los niños de 6 meses hasta 5 años de edad estarán disponibles el 20 de junio

Los niños de 6 meses en adelante ahora pueden recibir una vacuna segura y efectiva contra el COVID-19. Los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades (CDC) recomiendan que todos los niños que sean elegibles reciban una vacuna contra el COVID-19. La vacuna está disponible en Carolina del Norte siguiendo la autorización de uso de emergencia de la Administración de Alimentos y Medicamentos (FDA) y la recomendación de los CDC. 

“Muchas familias han estado esperando ansiosamente una vacuna para proteger a nuestros habitantes más pequeños de Carolina del Norte”, dijo el secretario del NCDHHS, Kody H. Kinsley. “Estas vacunas son la mejor manera de proteger a los niños contra el COVID-19: son seguras, efectivas y gratuitas”.

Los niños de 6 meses hasta 5 años de edad reciben una dosis de la vacuna más baja que cualquier otro grupo de edad. Esta dosis de vacuna es diferente a la vacuna que se autorizó anteriormente para niños de 5 a 11 años. Actualmente, las dosis de refuerzo no están autorizadas para niños en este grupo de edad.

Al igual que con todas las vacunas de rutina para niños, estas vacunas fueron probadas y revisadas por la FDA, los CDC, y sus comités científicos independientes para garantizar que sean seguras para los niños. Los resultados de los ensayos clínicos en curso que comenzaron en marzo de 2021 mostraron que las vacunas contra el COVID-19 de Moderna y de Pfizer eran seguras y efectivas para proteger a los niños de 6 meses hasta 5 años de edad contra el COVID-19. La vacuna de Pfizer está actualmente autorizada para tres dosis, mientras que la vacuna de Moderna se administrará inicialmente con dos dosis. Actualmente, Moderna está probando su tercera dosis, y se esperan resultados de esos estudios para este verano.

No se observaron problemas de seguridad ni efectos secundarios graves en los ensayos clínicos para ninguna de las vacunas.

Se espera que la primera orden de vacunas llegue a Carolina del Norte el 20 de junio. NCDHHS recomienda que las familias se comuniquen con el pediatra o proveedor médico de sus niños, o con el departamento de salud local para obtener más detalles sobre cuándo estará disponible la vacuna. Se motiva que llamen con anticipación para confirmar que la vacuna estará disponible antes de visitar a un proveedor de atención médica.

Los niños entre las edades de 3 y 5 años tienen la opción de vacunarse en una farmacia o un supermercado, además del consultorio de un médico o centro de salud local. Los niños menores de 3 años no pueden ser vacunados por un farmacéutico. Las familias de niños que no tienen un proveedor médico establecido pueden visitar para buscar un centro de vacunación cercano.

Es posible que los niños puedan vacunarse contra el COVID-19 y otras vacunas de rutina que deben recibir al mismo tiempo. Este también es un buen momento para que se hagan un chequeo de rutina.

Los niños pueden experimentar efectos secundarios temporales y mínimos. Estos efectos secundarios son similares a los de los adultos: dolor en el brazo, dolor de cabeza y cansancio o dolor durante uno o dos días.

Según los CDC, los niños menores de 5 años tenían la tasa más alta de hospitalizaciones en comparación con otros grupos pediátricos. Los casos de COVID-19 en niños pueden resultar en hospitalización, muerte, MIS-C (que es una condición que causa inflamación en diferentes partes del cuerpo) y problemas a largo plazo con síntomas que duran meses. Las vacunas ayudarán a reducir las infecciones y la transmisión, acercando a todos los habitantes de Carolina del Norte a menos interrupciones familiares antes de los meses de verano y el comienzo del año escolar.

Todas las personas de 6 meses en adelante pueden recibir una vacuna contra el COVID-19 gratuitamente, incluso si no tienen seguro médico e independientemente de su estatus migratorio. Las familias que tengan preguntas sobre las vacunas contra el COVID-19 deben hablar con el médico de sus niños.

Las acciones de Carolina del Norte se basan en recomendaciones de los CDC. Lea la declaración completa de los CDC aquí (en inglés).

Para más información sobre cómo funcionan las vacunas para niños y dónde puede encontrar una cita de vacunación cercana, visite El Centro de Ayuda para la Vacunación contra el COVID-19 de Carolina del Norte también puede ayudarles a programar una cita llamando al 888-675-4567. El Centro de Ayuda está abierto de 7 a. m. a 7 p. m. de lunes a viernes y de 8 a. m. a 4 p. m. en los fines de semana.



TownTalk: Stop Gun Violence Forum June 30

Gun violence continues to be a hot topic of discussion in big cities and small towns all across the nation, and Henderson is no exception. The community is invited to participate in a forum on June 30 to hear thoughts and concerns about how to stop gun violence, especially among young people.

Melissa Maloko is a juvenile court counselor based in Henderson and she told John C. Rose Thursday that the forum, sponsored by the Henderson-Vance Recreation & Parks Department’s youth services division, is a follow-up to an April meeting that involved key stakeholders – think law enforcement, school officials and local leaders.

“This is Part 2 because we want to hear what the community has to say about gun violence,” Maloko said during the TownTalk segment. The session will begin at 6 p.m. at the Youth Services Department, located in the gym on the former Eaton-Johnson campus.

There is no single approach to eliminating, or even curbing gun violence, Maloko said. Rather, a collaborative effort from the community, involving faith-based community leaders and others is a step in the right direction.

“We all have to work together,” Maloko said. “There’s not one single solution to address the problem.”

Young people, especially those younger than 18, may find themselves involved in gun violence for any number of reasons, she explained. It could be they feel bullied, or are influenced by older friends or even family members. “Sometimes, they want to do what they see other peers do,” she said, without understanding the seriousness or the repercussions of their actions.

Her work falls under the umbrella of the JCPC – Juvenile Crime Prevention Council – and when she meets with juveniles in the adjudication process, she said tries “to wrap resources around them” in an effort to help them be successful. “We want to work with juveniles from a therapeutic approach – putting the right programs in place.”

“A network of support is very important,” Maloko said. “We work with them now to prevent future involvement (in crime).”


Henderson Tobacco Warehouse

TownTalk: Juneteenth Is This Sunday

The second annual Juneteenth celebration at the Henderson Tobacco Warehouse will take place Sunday, June 19 and organizers are planning for a triple play that day to honor churches, fathers and the day when the last enslaved people got news of their freedom in 1865.

Alex Green, vice president and director of operations at Acquest Group, said several area churches and other nonprofit agencies have teamed up for a joint outdoor worship service they’re calling “Worship in the Streets.”

There will be live gospel music, praise dancers and choral performances as well as children’s activities such as a bounce house and face painting for the community to enjoy between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., Green told John C. Rose on Wednesday’s TownTalk.

Acquest Group is developing the tobacco warehouse project, located at 203 Zene St. and Green said she’s excited to bring back the Juneteenth celebration to the area.

“We’ve got a lot of local partners that we’re working with…celebrating Black fatherhood and families,” she said of the Sunday event. ReBuild Communities Inc. will be hosting their annual fashion show as part of the celebration, and the non-profit Manhood is helping with the giveaways and prizes. “Manhood is focused on trying to provide services to young men in the community, especially in the areas of counseling and mental health.

“We’re really excited to showcase them and partner with them,” Green said.

In addition to celebrating families and Black fatherhood, Green said Sunday’s celebration also will include a focus on the church. Among the churches partnering for the event are A Place of Deliverance, Holy Temple Church, Greater Zion United Church and Kesler Temple AME Zion Church.

Green also said the work of the Flint Hill Kittrell Vance Community Development Corp. has been instrumental in the work at the Zene Street project, which is designed for mixed-use retail and office space.

“We still have a lot of work to do,” Green said, “but we’re really close to starting construction soon.”

Acquest Group, a commercial and residential development company, set its sights on Henderson in 2014 with plans to transform the former tobacco warehouse at 203 Zene St. into a hub of community activity.

“We see so much potential… and so many good people trying to work for the community and dedicating their lives to the betterment of this community,”

Green added.

“It’s always community first. It’s always people first,” she said.




TownTalk: Student Behavior Health Team Helps Students Through Trauma

Educators are continually assessing the students in their classrooms – whether it’s to make sure they’ve mastered their math facts or can accurately retell a story in their own words to show understanding.

But teachers in Vance County Schools are also being trained to assess their students’ mental health needs as well.  And the district’s Student Behavior Health Team is one resource that teachers can call upon for help.

The SBHT is a collaborative effort of social workers and counselors within the school district, along with trauma conflict/dropout prevention and safety and security experts that works to connects students and their families to resources in the community.

Team members joined guest co-host Phyllis Maynard on Tuesday’s TownTalk as part of the recurring segment “Former Active Duty, Still Boots on the Ground.” Children with a parent who is currently deployed or who is a veteran of the military sometimes face additional struggles and challenges at school because of their parents’ situations, she said.

Maynard spoke with VCS Assistant Superintendent Michelle Burton, VCS coordinator for safety and security Travis Taylor, VCS lead social worker Toni Fletcher, VCS lead counselor Erica Wright and VCS dropout prevention specialist Dr. Ralphel Holloman, Sr. about how the SBHT works to support educators and the students and families across the district.

“What we’re looking at is prevention,” Wright said. Mental health struggles, including children expressing suicidal tendencies, had been on the uptick before the COVID-19 pandemic. The return to school has not been a smooth transition for all students, and it’s important for school staffs to first of all, acknowledge the issues that so many children are dealing with, she added.

This is the first year of the state’s school mental health initiative and it provides a framework through which schools can address mental health issues that students face in and outside of school, Burton said.

Some children are still scared of COVID-19, Fletcher said, which adds to the stress of returning to the classroom. “Many of our children lost family members (to COVID-19),” she said. “It hit home and they’re struggling,” she said, adding that she has seen an increase in emotional issues with children coming back into the classroom.

But there are resources available for students – and their families – in the community, and that’s where the SBHT can step in as a liaison between community partners and the families that may need their help.

“If they have challenges or questions, we are here for them,” Burton said. Sometimes a situation is resolved at the school level, but if additional support is required, outside agencies may be called in to assist.

Holloman said it’s important for students to have a “go-to” person before something happens. “We’re there to educate and build (positive) relationships,” Holloman said. Likewise, teachers are encouraged to pick up on behaviors that could be signs of trouble.

Excessive absences are the primary reason that high school students drop out, and Holloman said early intervention is crucial to keep kids in school. He said prevention, intervention and recovery are the three keys to dropout prevention. Students who have been out of school for one reason or another can transition back to the classroom through the district’s alternative school.

Spotty school attendance could be a sign that a family is experiencing homelessness, Fletcher said. “We want to promote our children being in school so they can be successful,” she said. Identifying the immediate needs of a homeless family is another way the SBHT can provide support through community resources.

Taylor, the district’s safety and security officer, said the district takes seriously the need for safety assessments – whether it’s an assessment of a school building or the safety of a student exhibiting warning signs of a mental health crisis, such as suicide.

“We do not take it lightly at all,” Taylor said. “We never want to be put in a situation where we missed something.”