VCS Students Return To School 5 Days A Week For 2021-22 Year

Students in Vance County Schools can expect to be back in school five days a week for the 2021-22 school year.

With the exception of Vance Virtual Village Academy (V3), all schools will be back in face-to-face instruction, said VCS public information officer Aarika Sandlin.

Parents who want their child or children to remain in remote instruction should request a transfer to V3 no later than July 19, Sandlin said in a statement to WIZS.

Be reminded that V3 is a one-year commitment. Parents can contact their child’s school or V3  at 252.506.7172 to learn more.

Students on the traditional calendar return to school on Aug. 23; students in year-round school return on Aug. 9; Early Start students return on Aug. 5, according to information on the district website.

The Local Skinny! WOVEN to Sharpen Your Workplace Skills

Women Of Vance Empowered Networking

WOVEN is a Henderson-Vance Chamber of Commerce sponsored program to provide networking and professional development opportunities to women in the workplace throughout Vance County and the area.

Guest speaker Cherrelle Lawrence, the Dean of Corporate Learning & Professional Development at Vance Granville Community College and Dean for the Franklin Campus in Louisburg, will help sharpen your skills to advance in the workplace on July 14th at noon.

For $20 per attendee, which includes a box lunch, you can attend at Vance Granville Community College Civic Center.

To register, call 252-438-8414 or email  Seating is limited.

Dean Lawrence earned her Master of Business Administration in 2020 from East Carolina University. Prior to returning to VGCC, Dean Lawrence was the Assistant Director of Employer Relations at Kenan-Flagler Business School at UNC Chapel Hill.

TownTalk: Town Of Kittrell Has An Interesting Story To Tell

Kittrell Drew Visitors From All Over With Mineral Springs, Hotels…

Is it possible that the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act in 1901 could have played even a small role in the fate of the Vance County town of Kittrell?


Driving on US 1 through Kittrell today, you’d never know that Kittrell had been home to hotels and resorts that drew visitors from all over. People convalescing from tuberculosis came for the mineral springs and Northerners came to hunt and escape cold winters, according to Mark Pace, local historian. Pace and Bill Harris shared stories about the tiny town of Kittrell on Thursday’s Town Talk as part of an ongoing conversation about local history.

“Kittrell really takes off when the railroad came through,” said Mark Pace, during Thursday’s Town Talk with co-host Bill Harris. In the late 1800’s it was called Kittrell’s Depot – plural because there were two depots, one for passengers and one for commercial use. About the time that the railroad came through, they found a mineral spring, which launched a host of hotels and lodges that brought people from all over to the small Vance County town.

Back at the turn of the 20th century, Census records showed that Kittrell had 168 residents – just about what it has today. But that number back in 1900 is half of what the population had been just 10 years earlier.

Why the drop? “The hotels had closed up by that point,” Pace said.

“Kittrell had its day,” he said. It had its own downtown district, hotels – it was famous throughout the South, complete with fine old homes and historic buildings.

Several families, including the Kittrells, gave land for the railroad to come through. “Kittrell really takes off when the railroad comes through,” Pace said. In the mid-1850’s, the town was called Kittrells – because there were two train depots, one for passengers headed to the hotels and resorts and a second for freight. Along about the time the railroad began chugging through, there was a discovery of a mineral springs. And from the late 1850’s until World War 1, Kittrell was in its heyday.

Over a period of about 30 years, there were four hotels in Kittrell: Located where the Dollar General now stands was Kittrell Springs. It could accommodate 600 guests; and the Davis Hotel, or Glass House, had space for 800 people.

The Glass House, so named because glass porches on either side of the hotel was where people with tuberculosis could be cared for indoors by staff nurses while enjoying the sunlight. The destination was so popular, folks even rented out rooms in private homes. In 1867, Pace said that all the hotels 500 people were turned away. There was no more room.

But after the Golden Era of the resort – after the end of the Civil War and just prior to World War I – interest in Kittrell fell off.

The healing and restorative powers of the mineral springs were largely debunked by the Pure Food and Drug Act. And the bottled water, promising help to those suffering from dyspepsia to female ailments, lost traction in the national market.

The hotels and opera houses, billiard rooms and downtown district are long gone. But the stories remain.

For complete details and audio click play.


Archie Taylor, Jr.

Taylor Named 2020 Citizen Of The Year At 83rd Annual Chamber Meeting


Col. Archie B. Taylor, Jr. was named Vance County’s 2020 Citizen of the Year during the 83rd annual meeting of the Henderson-Vance Chamber of Commerce, held virtually on Thursday, June 17.

Taylor is retired from the military and, upon returning to Vance County, immersed himself in community activities, from working with the Vance County Public School Foundation to the Embassy Cultural Center Foundation, and many other things besides.

In accepting the award, Taylor thanked the Chamber for the honor. He said he grew up in Vance County, working in tobacco fields and picking cucumbers. When it was time for him to retire, said “the only place I wanted to come back to was Vance County.”

Taylor accepted the award from the 2019 recipients, Tommy and Carolyn Farmer. This year’s winner “has been involved in volunteerism on just about every level of local community service since his retirement:  a supporter of area youth programs, an advocate for improved education, a civic leader, a promoter of the arts, a financial backer for non-profit causes, and a champion for quality medical care in our community.”

The Farmers said Taylor’s “community spirit is admirable” as they shared some of his accomplishments and his involvement with local groups. He is a member of Rotary and is a Paul Harris Fellow; he has given many hours of his time serving the Boy Scouts in a hands-on fashion to raise funds or to help start new troops in the Occoneechee Counci. He has received the George Watkins-Awahili District Citizen of the Year, one of the highest honors in scouting.

Taylor also is a member of the board of trustees for Maria Parham Health; and his support of Henderson Collegiate and the Vance County Public School Foundation all contribute to Taylor’s selection as the Citizen of the Year.

He stepped in as chairman of the foundation board and has continued in that leadership role for more than 15 years.

“He has been instrumental in making sure the Foundation’s primary fundraiser, Arts Alive,  a student art, music, and drama spotlight production, became a reality and continued each year,” they added.  “Under his leadership and with his active involvement, the Vance County Public School Foundation has supported and awarded student achievement, scholastic growth in the schools, teacher recruitment and retention efforts, and advanced innovative programs such as STEM.  His education endeavors also involve being active in the support and promotion of the Henderson Collegiate School.”

Taylor was nominated by numerous members of the community, and those nominators described him as a “small town diplomat,” a “roll-up-your-sleeves worker,” and someone who always wants what is “best for the community,” and a “model citizen who puts in the time and effort and energy to make our city and county a better place.”

Noel Loved Baseball, Talking Local Sports On WIZS

The WIZS family is mourning the loss of one of its own, Ron Noel, who died Wednesday. Noel co-hosted the Tuesday and Thursday sports show with Trey Snide. Thursday’s show was dedicated to Noel, in appreciation for his enthusiasm for local sports, especially in Vance and Granville counties.

Joe Sharrow, Vance County High School athletic director, shared the mic with Snide on today’s program, and the two shared memories about their colleague and friend.

“He was a great man,” Sharrow said. “He was the type of person who wouldn’t want things to stop because of him,” he added.

WIZS colleague Bill Harris called in to the show to remember Noel. “When I would fill in for you on Sports Talk,” Harris told Snide, “I would rely on (Ron’s) wealth of knowledge of local sports to get me through the program.” He could talk about coaches and players on various teams and various sports, Harris said. “I would let Ron go on because he just knew so much.”

Noel loved baseball, but he was interested in, and knowledgeable of, other sports as well.

“He was always prepared,” Snide said. When he’d come into the studio at 12:30 for the 1 p.m. show and the sports news was a little slow, Snide said Noel would simply say “let’s do local.” “That’s what we’re all about,” Snide said, appreciative of the fact that his co-host was always game for talking about what’s going on in the community.

“We love you, we appreciate everything you’ve done for us,” Snide said in remembering his friend and colleague. “We loved your excitement,” he added, saying that Noel listened to the show every single day.

Sharrow said Noel “always had a positive twist on things…he had a long-term vision – you lost this one, but you’re going to be all right down the road,” he said Noel would say after a tough loss.

Whether he was walking into a gymnasium in Vance County or Granville County, or a favorite spot to meet buddies and swap stories – the  Oxford Bojangle’s –  it seemed that Noel greeted friends wherever he went.

“He was ‘the guy,’Sharrow said. “He knew everything that was going on anywhere – in Vance, Granville – it could be anywhere in the state,” he said. He lived in Granville County, but he worked at J.C. Penney in Henderson for many years, so his love for both counties was evident.

John Charles Rose phoned in to express condolences to Ron’s wife, son and extended family on behalf of the radio station. “We thank Ron for the contributions he’s made over the years and for his family sharing him with us,” Rose said via telephone. He said Ron “always came in with a topic to talk about,” and really enjoyed talking about local sports.

Sharrow said the local sports community has lost several important figures recently – Joe Stepusin, Clay Faulkner, and Wilton Baskett.

Baskett was known for being a flashy dresser, and sporting school colors courtside, Sharrow recounted. The yellow coat at Northern Vance, then the green coat at Vance County High School games – Baskett wore them proudly. “He really believed in dressing professionally,” Sharrow said, adding that Baskett told him that he’d never coached a game without a tie on

“Ron was his tailor,” Sharrow said. “Ron is the one who picked those clothes out!”

Snide recalled Noel’s thoughtfulness to others, but especially to him before airtime. He would call up before coming to the radio station and ask if we wanted something for lunch – chicken or hotdogs, usually. “That just goes to show what kind of person Ron was,” he said.

Later today, Noel’s son, Ray, will probably be on the sidelines at Granville Central High School in Stem as the Panthers host East Wake Academy in the second round of the baseball playoffs.

Sharrow said he talked with his friend and GCHS athletic director Wednesday night and the younger Noel said he was going to be there. “He said, ‘this is what my dad would want me to do,’” Sharrow said.

Sharrow and others in the local sports community will be there tonight to support their friend and colleague. “And,” Sharrow said, “I’m absolutely pulling for the Panthers tonight.”

City of Henderson Logo

City Adopts Budget; Conducts Public Hearing

When the Henderson City Council met Monday night, the fiscal year 22 budget was adopted as presented by the city manager.

Mayor Eddie Ellington told WIZS News, “No tax increase and no fee increases, keeping in mind the struggles of the citizens dealing with the effects of Covid-19 last year.”

The total city budget is $41,142,405. Almost half, or $20,225,360, comes from the general fund. The regional water fund and water fund combined equal some $12.7 million while the sewer fund is almost $5.2 million and just over $2.4 million is coming from capital reserve funds.

Also at the meeting, the council carried out a public hearing about the Lynne Avenue near Dabney Drive area. Ellington said input and concerns were voiced by three folks who “spoke in favor of the proposed cul-de-sac” which would stop ingress and egress between Dabney and Lynne. None spoke against the proposal.

Ellington said, “We did not take action (Monday) night; however, we will likely call it to a vote at the next meeting.” He said, “This action would ease traffic problems for the neighborhood as well as congestion on Dabney Dr.”

Property will need to change hands to make it a reality, and the estimated cost for the building of the cul-de-sac is $46,200.

A small shopping center at the corner of Dabney Drive and Lynne Avenue, which sits on a half acre site and is locally owned, would continue to have direct access to Dabney Drive under the proposed plan.

A meeting agenda attachment, a memo dated January 6, 2021 from Code Compliance Director Corey Williams to City Manager Terrell Blackmon provides additional information.

“The property located at 1337 and 1343 Dabney Drive at the corner of Lynne Avenue is zone Office Institutional
(OIA). There have been attempts to rezone the parcels to commercial zone due to the high traffic counts on Dabney
Drive. However, the City Council has denied the request due to potential commercial traffic entering on to Lynne

“The Development Service Staff along with the Engineering Dept. presented a plan to install a cul-de-sac at Lynne
Avenue. This would prevent traffic from entering and exiting Lynne from Dabney. This suggestion went before the
Land Planning Committee on August 20, 2020, which members of the committee agreed that the cul-de-sac was a
good ideal but wanted to ensure residents had input through a “open house” review.

“Since that time, Development Services Staff have communicated with the potential developer, Hill DeBose, and he
agrees with the concept of the cul-de-sac. Mr. DeBose suggested that the owners would consider donating the
additional land for the cul-de-sac project. Mr. DeBuse is willing to present his concept of development to the city.

“Prior to any presentation the city must be caution in contract zoning which is illegal. The cul-de-sac project needs to
be separate from any potential rezoning case. The cul-de-sac project should be considered first and if a rezoning
petition is refilled then the Planning Board and City Council must carefully consider all the potential uses of the new
zoning district. The developer is eager to move forward”

S-Line Rail Corridor

TownTalk: Downtown Development Manager Shares Updates On Projects

Picture this: The S Line rail passengers, bound from Charlotte to Richmond, stop in the late afternoon at the Henderson Depot. As they emerge from the train, they’re making decisions – Where to dine? Want to take in tonight’s show at McGregor Hall? Which downtown hotel or bed and breakfast should I try tonight? The stopover in Henderson has become a welcome break in the trip, a respite filled with food, nightlife and tranquil lodging.

When you dream, dream big.

And when there’s an opportunity to get closer to making that dream a reality, make sure to check it out.

That just may be what Tracy Madigan has experienced in her first months as Henderson’s downtown development manager. The dreams are alive and the opportunities are presenting themselves.S-Line Rail Corridor

Madigan spoke with John C. Rose on Wednesday’s Town Talk about her new role and what’s on the horizon to make downtown a more attractive destination for visitors – and prospective businesses.

As for the train stopping again in Henderson, she said there was to have been a meeting today with state officials to share just why Henderson needs to be a stop on the S Line.

“There are all kinds of ideas in the works,” Madigan said. But they are merely ideas, waiting for decisions to be made. Henderson and Franklinton are being studied for possible train stops. A stop in Henderson could open up lots of possibilities for downtown development, she added.

While the train stop may be more of a long-term project, Madigan mentioned several areas downtown that have already gotten a facelift – namely, lights at the reflection pools and fountains near the city fire station, the construction of an outdoor pavilion/amphitheater by McGregor Hall  and the beautification of Orange Street Park.

With help from Sam Franklin and Franklin Brothers Nursery, the summer plantings are in at the park, and some garden benches are coming soon to that greenspace, nestled beside the Henry A. Dennis Building on Garnett Street.

“You should be seeing the lights in the fountains coming on in the next couple of weeks,” Madigan said. This is the first of several water installations that are planned around the city, she added.

The pavilion, an outdoor venue option for events, is under construction. Tommy Roberson, of Robco Manufacturing and Alumadock Marine Structures, is a pavilion benefactor, she said.

The vision of the downtown development commission is to assist with, help and encourage downtown development and economic vitality, she said. Often, city and county entities collaborate to further the mission.

Although she is a city employee and reports to City Manager Terrell Blackmon, Madigan said, she often collaborates with other agencies and government officials. Vance Economic Development Director Christian Lockamy and Chamber of Commerce President Michele Burgess are two individuals who continue to provide extensive support and help.

One long-range goal is to develop incentives in the form of grants to help businesses – existing and prospective – have an impact in the downtown area. There are smaller incentive grants that are available, but Madigan said she hopes to be able to offer larger grants in the future.

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