Granville Co. Board of Education to Meet Mon., June 4

-Information courtesy Dr. Stan Winborne, Public Information Officer, Granville County Public Schools

The Granville County Board of Education will meet in regular session Monday, June 4, 2018, at 6 p.m. at the Granville County Public Central Office, 101 Delacroix Street, Oxford, North Carolina.

The board will also meet in a Closed Session for Personnel/Attorney-Client Privilege in accordance with N.C. General Statute 143.318.11 (a)(6), 143-318.11 (a)(3), 143.318.11 (a)(5) and Section 115C-321 on this evening.

The next scheduled meeting will be Monday, June 11, 2018, at 5:30 p.m.

Granville Co. Board of Commissioners to Meet Mon., June 4

-Information courtesy Debra A. Weary, Clerk to the Board, Granville County

The Granville County Board of Commissioners will meet Monday, June 4, 2018, at 7 p.m. at the Granville Expo and Convention Center, 4185 US Highway 15 South, Oxford.

Agenda items include:

– FY 2018-2019 budget matters

– Zoning Map Amendment (Rezoning) – Corner of Highway 15 and Hoerner-Waldorf Road

– Granville County Land Development Code Text Amendment Petition

– Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee – subcommittee update

Oxford Board of Commissioners to Hold Agenda Meeting Mon., June 4

-Information courtesy Cynthia Bowen, City Clerk, City of Oxford

The City of Oxford Board of Commissioners will hold an agenda meeting on Monday, June 4, 2018, at 5:30 p.m. in the Commissioners’ Board Room, City Hall.

Among the agenda items:

  • Report from the Airport Authority Chairman, David Thomas
  • Budget amendment for the final payment on the WWTP Lagoon – consider authorizing a budget amendment in the amount of $30,000 to cover the change order previously approved by the Board on April 30, 2018. Monies will be moved from the Water Fund to the Fixed Asset Over $5,000 fund. This budget amendment will allow the City to make final payment to Vance Construction for the WWTP Lagoon.
  • Set the agenda for the Tuesday, June 12, 2018, regular session

The regular monthly Board meeting will be held Tuesday, June 12, 2018, at 7 p.m. in the Commissioners’ Board Room, City Hall.

Granville Co. Library System Announces Summer Programming

-Information courtesy Angela Allen, Director, Granville County Tourism Development Authority

The Granville County Library System will sponsor several programs this summer, including:

“Master of Mayberry” the Miraculous Life of Andy Griffith at the Thornton Library in Oxford

Tuesday, June 5 from 6 to 7 p.m.

The library will host Dr. Elliott Engel to speak on Andy Griffith and his life as an actor as well as little known facts about Griffith. Using anecdotes, analysis and a large dose of humor, Engel will share the story of the immortal Hollywood actor.

GSK “Science in the Summer” at the South Branch Library in Butner/Creedmoor

June 18 – 22 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

GSK “Science in the Summer” at the Thornton Library in Oxford

July 30 – August 3 (Level I & II offered July 30 – August 3; Level III offered August 1 – 3)

For more information and registration CLICK HERE for South Branch and CLICK HERE for Thornton Library.

VGCC Basic Skills Graduates Encouraged to Dream of Better Futures

-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Graduates of Vance-Granville Community College’s Adult Basic Skills programs received a double dose of encouragement to dream of better futures and work to make those dreams come true at their commencement exercises on May 3.

The honorees were among those students who have completed either the Adult High School Diploma program or the High School Equivalency program in the past year.

The principal commencement speaker for the ceremony was Dr. Dorwin L. Howard, Sr., retired superintendent of Granville County Public Schools. The Oxford native followed at the podium a presentation by Jennifer Pascual of Henderson, speaking on behalf of the graduating students. A native of Vance County, Pascual completed her High School Equivalency in April after attending classes on the main campus.

Above: Retired Granville County Schools Superintendent Dr. Dorwin Howard of Oxford addresses VGCC Adult Basic Skills graduates. (VGCC photo)

“Do you have a dream?” Dr. Howard asked the graduates. “Do you have a vision of what your future could look like? If you’ve not begun to dream already, I urge you to do so right now. The truth of the matter is that you cannot afford not to dream.”

Citing his work as a school administrator, Dr. Howard recalled student-athletes who had size, speed, strength and a natural talent for athletics. Those attributes, however, were inadequate without an initiative to work, the discipline to practice and the humility to follow the guidance of coaches, he said. “Champions are not born. They are made,” Dr. Howard said, noting the process begins with a dream.

Citing Amos 6:1 from the Old Testament, Dr. Howard urged the graduates to apply themselves. “Woe unto you who will not apply yourself in order to make yourself better. Woe unto you who are looking for the easy way out,” he said.

“I dare you to dream tonight. Dream of entering the workplace. Envision yourself climbing the ladder of success. Dream of continuing your education to help you advance in your career. Dream of earning well. Dream of living well…. But note that dreams don’t become reality by chance. They don’t happen by luck. Dreams begin in your head and heart and become real as you work to make them come true.”

He encouraged the graduates to explore possibilities by reading about what they would like to become and do in life, to be willing to take risks to succeed and to continue to be diligent and work hard. “Dreamers make things happen,” he said.

“Like your parents, relatives and friends, like your instructors and counselors who worked with you and the administrators here at Vance-Granville Community College, I too believe in you and I believe that one day you will make your dreams come true,” he concluded.

Above: Jennifer Pascual of Henderson addresses her fellow VGCC Adult Basic Skills graduates. (VGCC photo)

Student speaker Pascual described for her fellow graduates what had not always been an easy road in life because of family and financial challenges. She described having a dream as a 12-year-old of being a pediatrician; however, that dream faded when her mother and father separated, her family faced the future without a father, her mother battled diabetes while working for 25 years in the tobacco fields, and a brother was deported.

“I gave up on my dreams. I also wanted to give up on life,” she said. “But then I had to think about my mother and what she would go through.”

“While it’s not been easy for my family, I’m glad I made it this far to get my High School Equivalency diploma. I didn’t think I would be able to graduate this year because of financial struggles,” she said. “This program got me focused on my future, a better future for myself and family…. As this program has come to an end for me, I want to make my dreams a new reality by becoming a registered nurse.”

She praised her instructors, including Glenn Alston whose teaching helped her “get the hang of math,” and the department chair for Basic Skills, Dr. Greg Nash, who encouraged her to pursue the curriculum nursing program at VGCC now.

“I now realize not to let fear stop me from pursuing my dreams,” she said. “If I can do this, you can, too. Dream big! Chase your dreams until you catch them!”

Dr. Levy Brown, VGCC’s vice president of academic affairs, announced a special incentive to the graduates to continue their education at Vance-Granville. “Commencement, as you know, does not mean an ‘ending.’ It means a ‘beginning,’ and that is especially true on this occasion tonight,” he said. “The diploma that you will receive will allow you to achieve your dreams wherever you may go.”

As an extra incentive for graduates to begin their collegiate studies, Dr. Brown announced that each graduate would receive a certificate worth free tuition and fees for one semester of courses in curriculum programs or continuing education courses at VGCC, absorbing costs not covered by federal financial aid. “This certificate for tuition and fees is our way of saying ‘congratulations’ and ‘keep going,’” he said.

In conferring diplomas to the graduates, Dr. Stelfanie Williams, the president of VGCC, praised the graduates and applauded the Basic Skills faculty for preparing students to succeed.

After Dr. Nash announced the candidates for graduation, Dr. Brown assisted Dr. Williams in presenting diplomas.

Also on the program were Tiffany Hunter and Owenwiston Raymond III, both 2018 HSE diploma graduates, who provided the welcome and introduced the student speaker, respectively; Michael Young, an instructor in Basic Skills, who introduced Dr. Howard; Dawn Michelle Tucker, dean of Continuing Education and Basic Skills, who offered remarks; and the Rev. Terry Huffines of First United Methodist Church of Henderson, who provided the invocation and benediction.

More photos: Check out VGCC’s album on Flickr!

Video from the Ceremony: Click here to watch the video on YouTube.

VGCC Releases Names of 2018 Basic Skills Graduates

-Information courtesy Vance-Granville Community College



Vance County

Seion Bobbitt, Henderson

Lateria Christmas, Henderson

Jazmer Cole, Henderson

Shawn Davis, Henderson

Grethel Flores Tavera, Henderson

Sherrell Harris, Henderson

Andrew Creech, Kittrell

David Kaiser, Kittrell

Shadian Whitmore, Kittrell


Granville County

Gavin Carroll, Bullock

Leslie Collie, Creedmoor


Franklin County

Christopher Ayscue, Franklinton

Haley Briggs, Franklinton

Chy-Na Fuller, Franklinton

Jadan Puett, Franklinton

Trevor Martin, Louisburg

Patrick O’Neal, Louisburg

Sarah Wilds, Louisburg

Kathrine Herbig, Youngsville

Jacob Naegele, Youngsville

Logan Robbins, Youngsville


Warren County

Patrick McCollough, Henrico

Joshua Edwards, Littleton

Mason Keys, Littleton

Alford Brandon, Norlina

Shadae Jackson, Norlina

Chaquell Jiggetts, Norlina

Krystle Reid, Norlina

Taylor Sidden, Norlina

Delahoya Benjamin, Warrenton

Sharron Lewis-Williams, Warrenton

Juanita Mincey, Warrenton

Victoria Perry , Warrenton

Gabrielle Seward, Warrenton

Earnest Solomon, Warrenton

Imani Swinney, Warrenton


Wake County

Alexandria McKinnon, Garner

Nikayla Morgan, Raleigh

Lyndaiha Sullivan-Henry, Raleigh

Isaiah Napier, Wake Forest

Brianna Cid, Zebulon

Cynthia Leon, Zebulon

Anasia Perry, Zebulon


Other Communities

Jaime Villareal, Asheboro

Tristan Martin, Bradenton, Fla.

Jairin Shaw, Burlington

Tiffany Joyner, Carrboro

Ahjah Lewis-Rowe, Charlotte

James Shepherd, Charlotte

Dontravious Williams, Charlotte

Ebony Wilson, Charlotte

Kyle Broas, Clayton

Robert Osborne, Dallas

James Moore, Durham

Keion Evans, Enfield

Deonte Robinson, Fayetteville

Thaddeus Dozier, Greensboro

Infinity Miller, Greensboro

Jerome Ballance, Jacksonville

Kimberly Birdlow, Lake Wylie, S.C.

Alexander Ingram, Lexington

Matthew Neal, Lexington

Kashief Matos, Pinetops

Armon Davis, Plymouth

Hassan Bangura, Rocky Mount

Christopher Spruill, Tarboro

Kwon’shelya Best, Williamston

Clarissa Overton, Winston Salem




Vance County

Cameron Bollinger, Henderson

Johnathan Brooks, Henderson

Bridget Crute, Henderson

Janie Evans, Henderson

Chase Gupton, Henderson

Vernon Jenkins Jr., Henderson

Christie Matthews, Henderson

Erin McGhee, Henderson

Michael Noyce, Henderson

Jennifer Pascual, Henderson

Owenwiston Raymond III, Henderson

Leonardo Renteria, Henderson

Jeremy Roberson, Henderson

Michael Stutzman, Henderson

Taylor Walker, Henderson

Lonnie Webb Jr., Henderson

Denise Woodard, Henderson

Christopher Gaither, Kittrell

Matthew Varker, Kittrell

Rebekah Varker, Kittrell


Granville County

Travis Sizemore, Bullock

Christopher Smith, Butner

Barry Avery, Creedmoor

Danielle Blackwell, Oxford

Monica Foster, Oxford

Tiffiny Hunter, Oxford

Charles Johnson, Oxford

Karen Montalvo-Franco, Oxford


Franklin County

James Goodson, Franklinton

Michael Ray, Franklinton

Christina Tyson, Franklinton

Shakera Alston, Louisburg

Timon Bailey, Louisburg

Dorothy Bobbitt, Louisburg

Noah Corbett, Louisburg

Serenity Corbett, Louisburg

Ronald Dement Jr., Louisburg

Cathrine Forsyth, Louisburg

Rose Johnson, Louisburg

Emily Martinez, Louisburg

Eric Trammell, Louisburg

Kenneth Jeffreys, Youngsville


Warren County

Eric Alexander, Manson

Serenia Lester, Warrenton

Christopher Tharrington, Warrenton


Wake County

Benjamin Mashburn, Apex

Amanda Bridges, Wake Forest

Jesse Pendleton, Wake Forest


Other Communities

Cheyenne Irby, Roxboro

Volunteers Needed for Red Cross’ Disaster Action Team

The American Red Cross will hold Disaster Action Team Boot Camp sessions on Saturday, June 2 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday, June 16 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Franklin County Emergency Services building, 8146 NC-56 in Louisburg, NC.

Sessions are free of charge to Franklin, Warren, Vance and Granville County residents who are interested in being trained to respond to local disasters, such as house fires, on a volunteer basis. Attendance is required at both sessions to serve as a disaster response volunteer. Lunch will be provided to participants.

Jennifer VanGundy, senior volunteer specialist with the American Red Cross, was on WIZS’ Town Talk Thursday to provide details regarding the Disaster Action Team Boot Camp and its purpose.

“In this area, we are in need of Disaster Action Team members to help respond to single-family fires or small disasters,” said VanGundy. “365 days a year, we have volunteer teams that are on standby in the local community and are second on the scene of a disaster. Internally, we often refer to them as second responders.”

According to VanGundy, teams respond within a two-hour call time and go on site to evaluate the situation; address family needs including clothing, food, shelter, a place to sleep for the night; take documentation to start the family’s case; help with long-term care needs; identify the possible need for mental health and/or spiritual assistance.

Responding teams usually consist of two trained volunteers and a response driver. VanGundy’s goal is to have at least three or four volunteers from each of the four local counties participate in the boot camp sessions.

The American Red Cross recently started the faster-paced two-day boot camp training approach as a way to bring volunteers up to speed more quickly so they are ready to respond to disasters sooner.

At the two-session boot camp, participants will:

  • Learn the Red Cross role and values for engaging with disaster clients, first responders, and the public
  • Understand functions of the Disaster Action Team (DAT), and expectations for DAT workers on a response
  • Discover roles a DAT member may perform on a large-scale disaster response
  • Learn casework and recovery planning processes and the system used
  • Learn how direct client assistance is issued and how referrals are made to community partners
  • Complete training through a simulation drill, practicing the skills learned during the classroom sessions
  • If desired, be assigned to a Disaster Action Team, and support the Red Cross in Franklin, Warren, Vance and Granville Counties

The local four-county area is part of 53 counties that make up the Eastern North Carolina region of the American Red Cross. VanGundy said the region averages eight disasters a day.

“Up to 94 percent of the American Red Cross workforce is volunteers,” VanGundy said. “Our disaster response team volunteers have gone out on Christmas Day, left their meals and left their families to respond to someone who has had a disaster happen in their home.”

VanGundy addressed the common concern volunteers have about being on-call, “We know the on-call part sometimes scares people. We understand that you have full-time jobs, children and other commitments.”

To make it easier for volunteers to communicate their availability, the American Red Cross now has an app that allows the Disaster Action Team member to select or “go” green when they are available and to “go” red when they are not available to respond to a call. “We do ask that volunteers go green more than they go red,” said VanGundy.

VanGundy believes that anyone who has a fairly flexible schedule and a desire to help others in need would make a good fit for the volunteer team, including retirees. “The only thing you need is to want to help in your own community and to have some flexibility in your schedule. Once you come in, we will provide the training you need and will have you ready to go by the end of the boot camp.”

For more information on the American Red Cross and volunteer opportunities, visit and click the Volunteer tab. To participate in the June 2 and June 16 Disaster Action Team Boot Camp in Louisburg, please call Jennifer VanGundy at (919) 231-1602.

NCDA&CS to Treat Gypsy Moth Infestation

-Press Release, North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services

RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will soon start treating for gypsy moth infestations in several areas across North Carolina. Treatment will start around June 2 through June 20. The areas to be treated include:

  • Buxton, on Hatteras Island in Dare County.
  • Stovall, in northern Granville and Vance counties.
  • North of Roxboro in Person County.
  • A large area in Surry, Stokes and Rockingham counties, including Mount Airy, Pilot Mountain, Danbury, Walnut Cove, Madison, Mayodan, and Eden.
  • Baldwin Gap, along the line between Watauga and Ashe counties, northwest of Boone.

“We have a total of 11 blocks and 121,638 acres to treat,” said Chis Elder, NCDA&CS Gypsy Moth program manager. “We plan to start around June 2 in Hatteras and spread across to June 18 in Watauga, adding a couple of days to cover possible delays.”

Prior to normal gypsy moth mating periods, low-altitude fixed-wing aircraft will disperse SPLAT Gypsy Moth-Organic infused with the naturally occurring gypsy moth pheromone.

The presence of the pheromone makes male gypsy moths unable to follow the natural pheromone scent trails released by the females. This decreases mating success and reduces the gypsy moth population. The pheromone is not harmful to humans, animals or plants, and it will not affect other insect species.

Gypsy moths feed on the leaves of more than 300 different species of trees and shrubs, predominantly oaks and hardwoods. When areas become heavily infested, trees may be completely stripped of foliage, leaving yard trees and entire forests more susceptible to attacks from other pests.  Severe infestations often lead to tree death. Gypsy moth caterpillars can also pose public health concerns for people with respiratory problems. In areas with high-density gypsy moth populations, the caterpillar hairs and droppings may cause severe allergic reactions.

NCDA&CS has addressed spot introductions of the gypsy moth across North Carolina since the 1970s. The treatment will be done in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service, Elder said.

Public hearings were held in February and March to discuss these infestations and receive input from residents about treatment options.

For more information, including maps and a description of the proposed treatment area, go to or contact NCDA&CS toll-free at 800-206-9333. More immediate updates, including spray start dates, will be posted on Twitter at

Butner’s Annual Street Dance and Chicken Pickin’ Sure to Entertain

-Information courtesy Angela Allen, Director, Granville County Tourism Development Authority

The Butner-Community Association is making final plans for the 24th Annual Butner Chicken Pickin’!

Butner Street Dance

The festival weekend kicks off with the Butner Street Dance, which will be held on Friday, June 1 from 7 – 10 p.m.

Due to unpredictable weather, this event will held at Solider’s Memorial Gym on 24th Street in Butner.

The band for this year’s street dance is The Konnection Band.

Butner Chicken Pickin’

The Butner Chicken Pickin’ is always held on the first Saturday in June, so mark your calendars for Saturday, June 2 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.! The day’s event includes day-long live entertainment on two stages, a BBQ chicken cook-off contest, lots of food and craft vendors, kiddie activities and rides, a tractor show and a car show that can’t be beat!

The featured band this year is The Castaways Band, which is a local favorite!

The event will be held rain or shine at Gazebo Park on Central Avenue in Butner

For the safety of others, pets, skateboards and bicycles are not allowed at the event.

For more info, visit or like us on Facebook to receive updates as they are posted.

(This is not a paid advertisement)

VGCC Class of 2018 Receives Encouragement from Meredith VP, SGA Leader

-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

Dr. Jean Jackson returned home to offer inspiration to Vance-Granville Community College’s newest graduates, encouraging the Class of 2018 to make the most of the opportunities that lie ahead.

“In many ways, you are Vance-Granville Community College,” the Middleburg native told members of the 49th commencement exercises on May 11. “You are the very best advertisement of what is possible from work done here and how you apply that work as you go forward in your lives.”

Members of the class were joined by hundreds of family members and friends at the outdoor ceremony in front of the gazebo on Vance-Granville’s main campus.

“You’ve been prepared professionally,” Dr. Jackson said. “Now it’s up to you to see what will make you feel successful and be happy in life. You have all of the tools that you need, and it’s up to you to write the rest of your story.”

Currently serving as the vice president for college programs at Meredith College in Raleigh, the principal commencement speaker became a member of the English faculty at the Raleigh college in 1983 and continues to teach courses on English poetry of the Romantic Period, in addition to overseeing planning and budgeting for offices such as Academic and Career Planning, Athletics, Campus Police, the Dean of Students and Student Leadership and Service.

A 1971 graduate of what was Vance County High School, Dr. Jackson recalled the early days when VGCC was first called Vance County Technical Institute. Her family’s telephone

Above: Meredith College Vice President Dr. Jean Jackson delivers the commencement address at Vance-Granville Community College on May 11. (VGCC Photo)

number was only one digit off from that of the new college, she remarked, which led to “a lot of calls for the new college!” in apparent misdials.


“Your school work may be done, or done for now, but work will change and demand your ingenuity and skills and grit for the rest of your lives,” Dr. Jackson said. “All of us still have much to learn, even those of us who graduated long ago because the world is changing much more rapidly than are our institutions of higher learning.”

“What you have learned here — your writing and research skills, your organizational skills, your collaborative skills and dozens and dozens of other skills that we could name — will help you whatever you choose to do in your work life…. Education, inspiration and support have served you well at Vance-Granville and, if you give them the opportunity, will serve you as guides for the rest of your long, happy and successful lives.”

Also offering inspiration to the Class of 2018 was the student speaker, Sovanny “Sophie” Taylor of Louisburg, speaking on behalf of her classmates.

Above: Sovanny “Sophie” Taylor of Louisburg speaks on behalf of the graduates at Vance-Granville Community College on May 11. (VGCC photo)

VGCC, like the virtual assistant “Siri” of Apple’s phone and computer devices, can serve as a GPS, Taylor told the graduates. “We’ve made it to this day. Don’t look back and wonder what you could have done better or regret a road you didn’t take…. When we take a detour or meander away from our path, Siri says, ‘rerouting,’ and that’s what you have to do.”

“You’re a Vanguard, so I know everyone here is going to go on and do great things in their own way. Vance-Granville has prepared us for that,” she said. “Even if you miss a stepping stone, Vance-Granville will help you find your footing.”

A Franklin County Early College High School student, Taylor is only the second student from an early college program to serve as president of the VGCC Student Government Association and student member of the college’s Board of Trustees. She plans to continue her education this fall at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Following the speakers, Dr. Stelfanie Williams, president of VGCC, applauded the graduates for their achievements, announcing that 487 degrees and diplomas were being awarded to the Class of 2018. “You are to be commended for your dedication and achievement,” she told the graduates. “You are surrounded by your loved ones, family and friends and I know that they celebrate your success.”

Above: Vance-Granville Community College President Dr. Stelfanie Williams places a medallion around the neck of Academic Excellence Award recipient Andrew Lynam of Youngsville, right. (VGCC photo)

The president added that the Class of 2018 includes 65 inductees into the Phi Theta Kappa honor society and one-third of the class has been recognized as honor graduates. She noted the diversity of the class, who included not only young Early College High School students, but also “others who have attended college while taking care of families, and others who are the first in their families to earn a college degree.”

“You graduates truly reflect the living mission of Vance-Granville Community College,” Dr. Williams said.

Dr. Williams recognized Andrew Lynam, recipient of the North Carolina Community College System’s Academic Excellence Award, during her remarks. During the procession of graduates, the president paused to place a medallion on Lynam to honor his outstanding achievement. One student from each of the 58 colleges in the state system is honored with the award each year. Lynam graduated with an Associate in Applied Science degree in Welding Technology. A home-schooled student, he first enrolled at VGCC at age 16 through the college’s Career & College Promise program.

After Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Levy Brown presented the candidates for graduation, Board of Trustees chair Danny Wright and President Williams presented degrees and diplomas and congratulated the graduates.

Above: Meredith College Vice President Dr. Jean Jackson delivers the commencement address as the students await the presentation of degrees and diplomas at Vance-Granville Community College on May 11. (VGCC Photo)

Members of this year’s class, including those predicted to graduate at the end of the summer term in July, were awarded 207 Associate in Applied Science degrees in a variety of curriculum programs, 153 Associate in Arts degrees, 60 Associate in Science degrees and 53 technical and vocational diplomas. Many students graduated with more than one credential.

SGA President Taylor led the new graduates in ceremonially turning their tassels as the ceremony concluded. Music was provided by the Vance-Granville Community Band, conducted by Brian Miller. Bearing the ceremonial mace for commencement was Science Department Chair Steve McGrady, the college’s 2017-2018 Faculty Member of the Year. The invocation was given by Deborah F. Brown and the benediction by Donald C. Seifert, Sr., both members of the Board of Trustees.


More photos: Check out the VGCC Commencement 2018 album on Flickr.

Video from the Ceremony: Click here to watch the video on YouTube.