West End Community Watch Meeting Recap

On Tuesday evening at the West End Baptist Church the West End Community Watch Group met at 6:30 p.m. to receive updates from Henderson Police Officers and to partake in a Henderson-Vance Crime Stoppers presentation.

Henderson Police Officers addressed several issues in the West End Community such as speeding and litter along the roadways. If you have such issues in your community contact local law enforcement to make them aware of the situation.

The Henderson-Vance Crime Stoppers then explained their mission statement, purpose, and gave details as to the latest payouts and crimes in the area.

The next local community watch meeting will be the Carey Chapel Community Watch. Carey Chapel Community Watch will hold it’s next meeting at 6:00 p.m. on Monday, February 22nd at the Aycock Recreation Center. Brad Manring, a Vance County Forestry Ranger, will be the speaker. All members and area residents are encouraged to attend this meeting.

For more information about local Community Watch groups you can send an email to Eddie Ellington, the president of the Henderson-Vance Community Watch Association at [email protected] or Leonard Hight the vice president of the association at [email protected]

Photo Credit: Bobby Choplin

Nominations open for Small Business of the Year

From the Henderson-Vance Chamber of Commerce

The Henderson-Vance County Chamber of Commerce is now seeking nominations for the 2015 Small Business of the Year. This award honors a local small business, which provides a critical product or service, fills a void in the business community or has a unique approach to the delivery of goods and services.

To be considered for this award, the nominee must be a member of the Henderson-Vance Chamber, have a maximum of 50 employees and be located in Vance County. The nominee cannot be a governmental agency or municipality. Chamber members are encouraged to nominate businesses they feel are deserving of this recognition.

For nomination forms and a complete list of criteria, please contact the Chamber office at 252-438-8414. Nomination forms should be completed and submitted to the Chamber office by Friday, April 8th.


Upcoming H-V Chamber Ribbon Cutting

From Annette Roberson

The Henderson-Vance Chamber announces their continued growth in its membership, with Davis-Royster Funeral Service at 926 South Garnett Street in Henderson.  This new member represents a business that is actively contributing to the success and economic activity of this region.

Davis-Royster has not only joined the Chamber but expanded and will be having their Open House on Sunday, February 21, 2016.

They have joined many other business owners and managers working with the Chamber to move the economy forward and make Henderson and Vance County a better place to work, live and play.  We’re excited to have them join us, please join the Chamber in welcoming this new member.

Please be advised that we will hold a ribbon cutting on Friday, February 19th at 9:00 a.m. for Davis-Royster Funeral Service located at 926 South Garnett Street in Henderson as requested by the business.  Please, let’s make every effort that we possibly can to be there to help Davis-Royster Funeral Service to celebrate their their membership with the Chamber and for the expansion of their business.

Vance County Sheriff’s Office Press Release Missing Person

Marcus Lamont Fields, age 36, of Poplar Street in Henderson was reported missing on January 2, 2016.

His body was discovered in a makeshift grave on Saturday, February 13, 2016. The site where the body was found is located in a wooded area a short distance north of the City of Henderson. An autopsy is being performed.

Five individuals have been charged in connection with the death of Fields. Chelsea J. Collier, Daniel B. Grissom, Jessica L. Lewis, and Chase Wiesner all have been charged with first degree murder and conspiracy to commit first degree murder. Shannon Collier has been charged with accessory after the fact.

This investigation is still ongoing by the Vance County Sheriff’s Office, NC State Bureau of Investigation, and the Henderson Police Department.

More arrests may be forthcoming. A clear motive is unknown at this time.

H-V Crime Stoppers Issues $2,000 Payout

Henderson-Vance Crime Stoppers Press Release

Since Crime Stoppers was created many years ago, the organization has offered payouts up to and including $2,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of criminals. Recently, information obtained by the Henderson-Vance Crime Stoppers led to the arrest of an individual that was terrorizing businesses in and around Henderson via armed robbery. Several local businesses had been victimized, and other businesses and business owners were fearful for their safety. An anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers led to the arrest of the perpetrator.

Crime Stoppers has guidelines that determine the amount to pay out for each category of crime. The severity of the crime determines the amount of each payout. The payouts can range from $200 to $2,000.

Leave anonymous tips to the Henderson-Vance Crime Stoppers by calling 252-492-1925.

Remember, crime does not pay, but Crime Stoppers will.

Cast, crew announced for VGCC Dinner Theater production

Vance-Granville Community College has announced the cast and crew for “Deathtrap,” a comedy-thriller that will be the college’s fourth annual Dinner Theater event.

The dinner theater is scheduled for the evenings of Thursday, April 28, and Friday, April 29, in the Civic Center on VGCC’s Main Campus in Vance County. Dinner begins at 6 p.m. each night. Then, on Saturday, April 30, at 2 p.m., there will be a special encore matinee performance of the play, without dinner, at the same location.

For the first time, the dinner theater will incorporate two casts in order to provide more opportunities for students to participate. On Thursday and Friday, the cast will include Spencer Nunn of Warrenton as Sidney Bruhl, Jessie Hartley of Oxford as Myra Bruhl, Morgan McFalls of Oxford as Clifford Anderson, and Jordan Bunting of Rocky Mount as Porter Milgrim. For the Saturday matinee, the cast will feature TaJuan (“Taj”) Glenn of Oxford as Sidney Bruhl, Tia Garren of Henderson as Myra Bruhl, Malachi Glass of Henderson as Clifford Anderson, and Keyante Lindsey of Oxford as Porter Milgrim. Brittney Patterson of Henderson will play the part of Helga ten Dorp in both casts.

The crew includes Jerome Bulluck of Henderson, who is serving as stage manager, sound designer and lighting engineer; Michael Frink of Raleigh, the sound engineer who is also helping with props; and Ashley McEntee of Oxford, who is supervising props and costumes, with assistance from Jamie McGinn of Wake Forest and Allen Young of Henderson.

All are current students at the college, except for Garren, a VGCC alumna who is now on the staff of the college’s Continuing Education division.

Betsy Henderson, VGCC’s Department Chair/Instructor of Humanities and Fine Arts, is the director of the play.

Written by the late playwright and novelist Ira Levin, Deathtrap enjoyed a successful original Broadway run from 1978 through 1982 and was then adapted into a feature film. Skillfully blending thrills and laughter, the plot concerns the devious machinations of Sidney Bruhl, a writer of thrillers whose recent offerings have been flops, and who is prepared to go to any lengths to improve his fortunes. He receives a script from a student, Clifford Anderson, and immediately recognizes the thriller as a potential hit, setting in motion a suspenseful chain of events.

Tickets are scheduled to go on sale on March 15. For more information, visit

VGCC Trustees endorse Connect NC Bond

The Vance-Granville Community College Board of Trustees has voiced its support of the Connect NC Bond on the ballot for voters in the primary on March 15.

In a unanimous vote on Monday night, Feb. 8, at the trustees’ regular bimonthly meeting, the board adopted a resolution of support for the $2 billion bond package.

“The Connect NC Bond … will enable North Carolina’s systems of higher education to educate and train a highly qualified workforce for the 21st century and will support our state’s parks, National Guard, community infrastructure, and agricultural resources,” the resolution states.

If approved by the state’s voters, $7.6 million of the bond package “will pay for ongoing, necessary improvements for VGCC and provide a substantial savings to the people of Vance, Granville, Franklin and Warren counties,” the resolution states.

“This is the first statewide bond we’ve had since the year 2000,” VGCC President Dr. Stelfanie Williams told the board. “The state of North Carolina has actually grown by 2 million people since then. We have a lot of new people in our state.

“This will very much benefit our region. Not only will the community college receive funding but also the state parks. Kerr Lake is set to receive $3,750,000. Municipalities can apply for water and sewer infrastructure,” Dr. Williams said.

The college can use its allocation for new construction, renovations and repairs across its four campuses, Dr. Williams added.

VGCC’s proposed allocation is the eighth largest among the state’s community colleges. “The nice thing about this bond for Vance-Granville is that the formula for determining allocations incorporated county wealth and the age of buildings, so we fared well with $7.6 million,” Dr. Williams said.

Steve Graham, VGCC’s vice president of finance and operations, said the college has many needs for retrofitting and enhancing instructional program spaces and addressing critical repair and renovation needs with the bond proceeds, if approved.

Graham noted as examples that partnerships with area industry are resulting in higher enrollments in programs such as the new Mechatronics Engineering Technology academic program. Additional space is needed for lecture areas and for housing new equipment.

Some buildings on VGCC’s main campus have air handling units that are over 30 years old, and there are older model fire alarm systems that need to be replaced, Graham added. In some curriculum areas, such as Cosmetology, electrical and ventilation upgrades are needed.

Dr. Williams added that the public school students will also benefit from the bonds in the four-county area, because there are approximately 800 enrolled in the early college high schools on VGCC’s four campuses.

On the ballot, the Connect NC Bond will be labeled the “Connect NC Public Improvement Bond.” Early voting is scheduled for March 3-12, Dr. Williams said.

The board voted to contribute $7,000 of non-state funds to support the Connect NC Bond Committee.

In other action:

  • Mid-Year Amendments to the 2015-2016 Budget Resolution were approved. Trustee Danny Wright, chair of the board’s Budget Committee, said the adjustments were necessary to account for $2,074,022 in carryover funds from the previous year and grant funding.
  • The board voted to close the Industrial Systems academic program, effective in the fall of 2016, upon recommendation of the Curriculum Committee, chaired by Trustee Barbara Cates Harris. More students are gravitating to the Mechatronics program, contributing to low enrollment in Industrial Systems.
  • Under a new sales tax redistribution plan, the state and local sales tax base will be expanded to include repair, maintenance and installation services, Graham reported. A portion of local sales tax revenue will be placed in a statewide pool and allocated under a new statutory method with the proceeds used for expenditures related to economic development, public schools or community colleges. By county, the estimated annual distribution is: Vance, $241,000; Granville, $1,157,000; Franklin, $1,903,000; and Warren, $778,000.
  • Following a report by Trustee Sara Wester, chair of the Personnel Committee, the trustees approved resolutions to adopt two additional Supplemental Retirement Plans established by the State for the benefit of VGCC employees with no cost to the college. All qualified employees are eligible immediately for the NC 403 (b) and NC 457 plans.
  • The Investment Committee, co-chaired by Trustees Opie Frazier and Donald Seifert, reported on a joint meeting held with members of the VGCC Endowment Fund Board of Directors in January. Seifert said the two boards are currently updating the college’s investment policies.
  • In an update for the Building Committee, Graham reported that work began on the Building 10 renovations in January with an expected completion date of June 23.
  • The board approved a course offering at Polk Correctional Institution in Butner and Warren Correctional Institution in Manson. All courses offered at the state’s prisons must go before trustees for approval.
  • Student Government Association President Aleria Perry, who serves as Student Trustee, announced upcoming events at the college, including Fun Friday for Valentine’s Day on Feb. 12, Spirit Week starting Feb. 29, and a Talent Show for students on March 4.
  • In Dr. Williams’ report to the board, the trustees were updated on activities since the board last met in November, including the recent announcement of a former VGCC president, Dr. Ben Currin, winning the community college system’s top award, the I.E. Ready Award, and plans for VGCC’s new online learning initiative, VOLT (Vanguard Online Learning through Technology), to offer online College Transfer degrees starting in the fall. She also announced the dates of an Arts & Sciences Lecture Series that will feature Bill Barker of Colonial Williamsburg, Va., as Thomas Jefferson; lectures are set for Feb. 18, March 17, and April 21, at 11 a.m. each day in the Auditorium in Building 2. The college’s Fourth Annual Dinner Theater will be held April 28-30. The annual VGCC Endowment Fund Golf Tournament is set for Tuesday, May 3.

The Monday night meeting was moved to Feb. 8 because of inclement weather on the original meeting date of Jan. 25. The next meeting of the Board of Trustees is set for Monday, March 21, on the Main Campus.

Local Chick-fil-A owner starts new VGCC Scholarship

Josh Towne, the franchised restaurant owner/operator of the Chick-fil-A in Henderson, has established a new Vance-Granville Community College scholarship. When fully endowed, the “Chick-fil-A of Henderson Academic Achievement Scholarship” will be awarded to VGCC students meeting certain academic requirements.

A New Bern native, Towne has lived in Henderson since moving in 2005 to become the operator of the local Chick-fil-A restaurant. He has worked with the company for the past 20 years. He is also an alumnus of the North Carolina Community College System. After graduating from Cape Fear Community College with an associate degree, Towne completed a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington with concentrations in marketing and management.

“I’m a big proponent of community colleges,” said Towne, who recently became a member of the VGCC Endowment Fund board of directors. He added that on the corporate level, Chick-fil-A also supports education through scholarships for its employees. He recommends employees for the scholarship and presents them each year. “I’ve been here a little more than ten years, and we’ve been awarding scholarships throughout that time,” Towne said. “Many of our employees receiving the scholarships are VGCC students. Some have already gone on to become nurses and to pursue other careers.” In 2015 alone, two VGCC students who work at the restaurant received $1,000 scholarships from the company. The franchise employs approximately 65 people, including both full-time and part-time staff.

Towne also supports education locally as a member of the Vance Charter School board of directors.

“We are fortunate and grateful to have the support and partnership of Josh Towne and Chick-fil-A of Henderson,” said Dr. Stelfanie Williams, president of VGCC. “As a community college graduate who has become a successful business leader, Josh inspires us all by demonstrating a commitment to helping the students of today and tomorrow.”

Through the Endowment Fund, VGCC has awarded more than 8,000 scholarships to students since 1982. Scholarships have been endowed by numerous individuals, industries, businesses, civic groups, churches and the college’s faculty and staff. Tax-deductible donations to the VGCC Endowment Fund have often been used to honor or remember a person, group, business or industry with a lasting gift to education. For more information about the Endowment Fund, call (252) 738-3409.

Chris Chung Delivers Chamber’s Keynote Address

Christopher Chung, the Chief Executive Officer of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, was the keynote speaker of the 2016 Henderson-Vance Chamber on Commerce banquet held on Thursday, February 4th. Chung is a graduate of The Ohio State University, and previously served as the President and CEO of the Missouri Partnership from late 2007 until 2014.

Chung opened by saying, “The organization that we represent does a number of things that are important for any state when it comes to economic development. I have been in economic development for a number of years now, and by my count now, it’s almost two decades. I have dedicated my entire professional life to the field of economic development. First, in Ohio where I’m from, and then for seven years in Missouri, and as of January of last year, here in North Carolina.”

It was easy to tell that Chung has the experience to help the State of North Carolina grow in the coming years.

Chung went on to say that there are five items that the State of North Carolina has in action when it comes to bringing in outside money to push the economy forward. “The most high profile job that we do is business recruitment,” said Chung. Chung also went on to say, “We are trying to position North Carolina as the ideal location for a growing, expanding or relocating business decides to go next. It’s that straight forward.”

New business recruitment is vital, however, Chung and the rest of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina understand that they must also take care of current businesses in the state.

Chung addressed the subject, “These are the companies that have already chosen to create jobs here. These are the companies that have already chosen to make an investment in North Carolina.”

Chung went on to talk about international trade, small business counseling, and travel and tourism.

Chung ended his address with a call to action, and told the banquet attendees, “We can only do so much at the state level. The State of North Carolina, and the hundred counties that make it up, that’s the product that we’re out there marketing and selling on a daily basis, and we can get companies or tourists or customers from overseas markets interested in North Carolina as a place to do business or a place to visit, but we ultimately depend on strong partnerships with the local communities that we team up with. As interested as a company can get in North Carolina, ultimately if they’re going to come here they have to drill down to a specific county, they have to drill down to a specific community. So we absolutely rely on strong partnerships with those local communities that we work with everyday.”

If you would like to contact Christopher Chung you can call his office in Cary at 919-447-7788. You can also email him at [email protected]

Henderson PD Press Release

Press Release- February 2, 2016

Members of the Henderson Police Department Special Operations Section executed a search warrant at 420 Birch Street on Monday, February 1, 2016. As a result of the search, officers recovered a quantity of heroin and a stolen firearm.

Orlando Gibbs, 41, 420 Birch Street, Henderson was charged with trafficking heroin, possession with the intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver heroin and possession of a stolen firearm. Gibbs was placed in the Vance County Jail after failing to post a 100,000.00 secured bond. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled in Vance County Court on February 15, 2016.

James Henry Peace, 44, 420 Birch Street, Henderson has been charged with one count of trafficking heroin. Peace was placed in the Vance County Jail after failing to post a 100,000.00 secured bond. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled in Vance County Court on February 15, 2016.

Authority: Chief Marcus Barrow