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Oxford Police Dept

OPD Chief Coley Announces Retirement; City To Begin Search For Successor

Oxford Police Chief Alvin Coley announced that he will retire on Aug. 1, 2021, after almost eight years in the office, city officials announced Tuesday.

Coley was hired as police chief in September 2013, but his work in the military and law enforcement spans three decades. He took over as police chief upon retirement from the N.C. Highway Patrol, where he had worked for 26 years as major director of troop operations West, according to a press statement issued by the City of Oxford.

Oxford Mayor Jackie Sergent told WIZS News Wednesday that Coley has been an asset to the city in numerous ways in his time as chief. “Not only have we seen a significant decrease in property crime during his tenure,” Sergent said, “but his warm and personable manner are appreciated by those who know him.”

“Our board and staff are grateful for his dedicated service to our residents and stakeholders, and wish him and his family only good things as they embark on this next journey in their lives,” Sergent added.

Coley has a distinguished list of accomplishments and accolades, including being a recipient of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest award that can be obtained by a civilian in North Carolina. He has served on the boards of several groups, including Boys & Girls Club, has co-chaired the JCPC and the Citizens in Action Committee, and he has been on the quality planning board with the Masonic Home for Children.

During his time as chief, he instituted the Coffee with a Cop program and strengthened community-police relationships.

“Chief Coley’s retirement is bittersweet for the City of Oxford, said City Manager M. Alan Thornton. “While we congratulate him on his retirement and wish him well during the next phase of his life, his departure creates a significant void here at the City of Oxford that will be a challenge to fill,” Thornton said in the press statement.

The City of Oxford is currently in the process of evaluating and determining the most appropriate and effective course to take on the installment of a potential interim chief of police while an extensive search is conducted to select the next chief for the City of Oxford.

Oxford Water/Sewer Improvements and Adjusting to get the Big Bucks to do It

Some residents of Oxford may be annoyed at the rat-a-tat of jackhammers as they chew up sidewalks or asphalt. Others may grimace when they see the ‘Road Work Ahead’ sign marking street construction. But these sights and sounds also are the marks of progress on the city’s infrastructure improvement plan.

In an effort to keep the public informed about what work is going on where, the City of Oxford has begun sending out monthly updates to outline where crews will be working.

Oxford Mayor Jackie Sergent said the idea arose from a town commissioner planning retreat. “It was a simple desire to be more effective at letting people know where work will be happening,” she said in an interview Monday. People want to know, Sergent said, where the work is being done and how long it’s going to take to complete.

The “where” is easy; it’s the “how long” that is less certain, she said.

The improvements are being made as part of a long-range comprehensive improvement plan to make upgrades to the water and sewer infrastructure. Grants and no-interest loans through the 2015 Connect NC bond legislation were available, but the city first had to adjust its water/sewer rates to qualify. Long story short, Sergent said, in the five years since, the city has gotten $50 million – $10 million in grants and more than $25 million in 0-interest loans.

This is a huge undertaking,” Sergent noted. “I am incredibly proud of what we’re doing,” but added that it certainly is not “glamorous.”

Visit www.oxfordnc.org/community/comprehensive_plans_projects.php to learn more. Call 919.603.1100 with questions or concerns.

City of Oxford Staff Receive COVID-19 Vaccinations

— information courtesy of the City of Oxford, NC

On Wednesday, City of Oxford staff took steps to receive covid-19 vaccinations.  The event took place at the Oxford City Hall Auditorium.  The vaccinations were administered now that Phase 3 is underway in North Carolina, which allows frontline workers to get the shots.

In attendance, among others, were City Manager Alan Thornton and Parks and Recreation Director Tina Cheek.  Thornton said in a news release as to why he decided to receive the vaccine, “I and the City believe it is important to receive the vaccine and encourage everyone to do so when the opportunity arises.”  He extended appreciation to Granville Healthy Systems and Granville Vance Public Health for all of their hard work during this time.

U.S. Department of Justice

OXFORD MAN SENTENCED FOR FELON IN POSSESSION AND POSSESSION OF A FIREARM IN FURTHERANCE OF A DRUG TRAFFICKING CRIME

— press release courtesy of the U.S. Department of Justice

NEW BERN – The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert J. Higdon, Jr., announced that yesterday afternoon in federal court, United States District Judge Louise W. Flanagan sentenced ROY LEE TERRY, 53, of Oxford to 101 months of imprisonment followed by 5 years of supervised release.

TERRY was named in a three-count Indictment filed on August 23, 2016. On November 16, 2016, TERRY subsequently pled guilty to one-count of Felon in Possession of a Firearm and one-count of Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug-Trafficking Crime.

The investigation began when the Oxford Police Department (OPD) received information that TERRY was dealing in drugs. On August 26, 2015, the OPD received information from a confidential source (CS) indicating that TERRY was storing and selling cocaine base at his residence. With the assistance of the CS, authorities conducted four purchases of narcotics from TERRY.

On September 10, 2016, the OPD executed a search warrant at TERRY’S residence. A cooperating witness (CW) informed law enforcement that TERRY had been seen with a handgun and cocaine in his bedroom prior to OPD’s arrival. Present at the time, in addition to Terry was Terry’s mother, who was charged by the State of North Carolina, two females and juveniles. During the subsequent search of the residence, authorities located the following in TERRY’S bedroom: a stolen .380 semi-automatic handgun loaded with 8 rounds; approximately 9.34 grams of cocaine base; approximately 15.5 grams of off-white powder; a plastic bag with cocaine residue; $680 in U.S. currency, a digital scale, plastic baggies, and other related items. In a bedroom next to TERRY’S bedroom, a box containing 42 rounds of 9 mm ammunition was located. After waiving his rights, Terry confessed to knowingly possessing the firearm. Further investigation revealed that the firearm was stolen.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made turning the tide of rising violent crime in America a top priority. In October 2017, as part of a series of actions to address this crime trend, Attorney General Sessions announced the reinvigoration of PSN and directed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to develop a district crime reduction strategy that incorporates the lessons learned since PSN launched in 2001.

The Oxford Police Department, the North Carolina State Crime Lab, and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF) conducted the criminal investigation of this case. Assistant United States Attorney S. Katherine Burnette handled the prosecution of this case for the government.

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U.S. Department of Justice

Oxford Man Sentenced for Felon in Possession of a Firearm and Ammunition

— courtesy U.S. Department of Justice and the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of NC

RALEIGH – The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced that today in federal court, Senior United States District Judge W. Earl Britt, sentenced TEVIN TIA’MANE NORWOOD, 25, of Oxford, NC to 100 months of imprisonment followed by 3 years of supervised release.

NORWOOD was named in an Indictment filed on April 18, 2017. NORWOOD subsequently pled guilty to one-count of Felon in Possession of a Firearm and Ammunition. On July 18, 2017, NORWOOD pled guilty to the charge.

On October 10, 2016, Oxford Police officers observed NORWOOD driving erratically. After a short vehicle pursuit, NORWOOD jumped out of his vehicle while it was still in gear and fled; however, he was captured following a brief foot chase. The vehicle continued into an embankment, thus recklessly endangering anyone in the area. A search of the path of flight taken by NORWOOD resulted in the recovery of a stolen, Glock .40 caliber firearm with one bullet in the chamber. This firearm was positively identified as the same firearm used by NORWOOD in a previous shooting several days earlier also in Oxford. A box of .40 caliber ammunition was found in NORWOOD’S vehicle. NORWOOD subsequently provided an unprotected statement that the Glock firearm was his.

This case was part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) initiative which encourages federal, state, and local agencies to cooperate in a unified “team effort” against gun crime, targeting repeat offenders who continually plague their communities.

The Butner Department of Public Safety, Oxford Police Department, Durham Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF) conducted the criminal investigation of this case. Assistant United States Attorney Daniel P. Bubar handled the prosecution of this case for the government.

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Oxford Prep’s Gillis and Simmons headed to HOBY Leadership Seminar

Congratulations to Oxford Preparatory School sophomores Danny Gillis and Ian Simmons for their selection to represent the Griffins at the 2018 HOBY Leadership Seminar. Danny is the son of Kay and Peter Gillis from Wake Forest, NC.  Ian, son of Candace and Demmarcus Simmons, is from Henderson, NC.  The two young leaders were selected by the teaching staff of OPS based upon their critical thinking skills, creative approach to problem solving, sensitivity to the needs of others, courage to speak out, willingness to respectfully challenge the status quo and an interest in serving the community.

Since 1958, the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership organization has provided transformative leadership development training that positively impacts the lives of students across the United States. In North Carolina, sophomores from across the state will spend 4 days on the campus of NC State University where they will be engaged in a fun, life-changing experience while they cultivate leadership skills that will serve them long into the future.

VGCC announces Volleyball schedule

UPDATE – Please follow the link below for the updated schedule for VGCC women’s volleyball. A home match that originally was scheduled for Oct. 18 has been moved to Oct. 4.

VGCC Volleyball Schedule 2017

The Vance-Granville Community College women’s volleyball team is scheduled to play 18 matches, including seven home matches, during the 2017 season. The Vanguards compete in Region X of National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division III, which includes a number of community colleges in North Carolina and Virginia.

The Vanguards will begin this year’s campaign on Tuesday, Aug. 29, at Guilford Technical Community College. VGCC’s first contest at home is set for Friday, Sept. 8, at 7 p.m., when the Vanguards host Walters State Community College (Tennessee) at Aycock Recreation Center in Henderson.

For more information on VGCC athletics, contact Jermiel Hargrove at hargrovej@vgcc.edu or (252) 738-3246.

VGCC announces free Small Business Summit with holiday focus

The Vance-Granville Community College Small Business Center has scheduled its sixth annual Small Business Summit for Tuesday, Oct. 24, from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m., at the Lake Gaston Lions Club in Henrico. Entitled “Making the Holidays Pay Off,” the free event is designed to help local businesses plan ahead for the upcoming holiday season with innovative marketing practices.

CenturyLink is the presenting sponsor for the event. Local partners helping VGCC to organize the summit are the Chamber of Commerce of Warren County, the Warren County Economic Development Commission and the Lake Gaston Regional Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center.

Business representatives and interested members of the community are invited to attend. Registration is now open at tinyurl.com/holiday-summit.

The day starts off with registration and networking with attendees and vendors at 8 a.m. The first hour-long seminar will be “Shop Local — Buy Local — Invest Local to Gain More Business for You and Your Area” at 8:30 a.m. Presenter Martin Brossman will help participants get the most out of a “Shop Local” program, including the use of social media.

“Holiday Event Planning for the Small Business Owner” follows at 9:45 a.m. with Lisa Gingue of Vino Oasi in Stem. Gingue will discuss planning events that attract holiday shoppers.

At 11 a.m., Brossman will present “Take Photos like a Pro to Get More Business with Your Social Media.” This session covers the basics of low-cost photography techniques to attract more customers with social media and web marketing.

The keynote presentation, from noon until 1 p.m., will be “Get Social! Grow Your Business!” with Kristen Baughman and Stacey Price Sprenz, both of Raleigh-based Tabletop Media Group. Baughman, the founder of the agency, and Sprenz, a photographer, will teach attendees how to take their social media to the next level using photos and videos. They will offer a few tips and tricks on how to promote participants’ businesses and unique holiday offerings to media outlets and social influencers in their community. Tabletop Media Group is a boutique agency serving clients in the food, beverage, agriculture and lifestyle industries.

Lunch will be provided free of charge to the first 100 registered participants by CenturyLink. For more information, contact VGCC Small Business Center Director Tanya Weary at (252) 738-3240 or smallbusiness@vgcc.edu.

–VGCC–

Granville County Schools names Principal of the Year

On the morning of Thursday, September 14, Superintendent Alisa McLean and senior staff made a surprise visit to Granville Early College High School.  It was a secret visit of sorts, except for the fact that all of the students and staff knew about the occasion, except one.  An unwitting participant, Principal Jackie Harris had been summoned to her office to have a meeting with Dr. McLean.  Meanwhile, students and staff gathered in the hallway, preparing to surprise their school’s leader.  With an abrupt knock at the door, Ms. Harris was told to quickly respond to an important incident.  Her administrative instincts flung her into action, where she was then promptly startled and surprised by a throng of her students and teachers – all congratulating her for being named the Granville County Public Schools 2017 Principal of the Year!

Ms. Harris is a veteran educator with more than 26 years of experience, having worked as a teacher, assistant principal, and principal.  She received her undergraduate degree from NCCU and her Master’s degree from NC State University.  During her tenure as principal of Granville Early College, the school has consistently set the bar high on state testing criteria.  Currently student performance ranks the school letter grade as an “A”, with more than 95% of the students graduating on time.

School districts from across the state choose a Principal of the Year.  Principals nominate their colleagues for the honor, and a committee then makes the final decision.  District POYs then go on to compete at the regional level, where the winner progresses on to the state level, and eventually the national competition.

When asked why colleagues nominated her for this honor, Principal Harris responded, “Probably because they know how much I love my students and staff.  We truly are a team.  Nothing makes me prouder to see our students walk across the stage at graduation.  It’s a journey that we travel together, and one that I absolutely love.”

GCPS Continues Significant Proficiency Gains and Academic Growth

At their regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, September 11, the Granville County Board of Education received a special report on the student achievement results from the 2016-2017 school year.  During this presentation, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Michael Myrick presented a series of graphs and charts providing comprehensive data on how the students performed on state tests.  The presentation focused on GCPS test score averages over the past three years compared to state and surrounding district averages.  Dr. Myrick also shared information about academic growth measures for each school, and school letter grades as assigned by the state.

Data from his presentation revealed an increase in proficiency in 14 of 18 tested areas, with 18 of 19 schools having met or exceeded academic growth.  These significant gains in growth and proficiency across grade levels and content areas contribute to a multi-year positive trend for student achievement.

The scores for our district were generally higher than those of Vance, Warren and Person counties, and slightly lower or comparable to those for Franklin County.  All five districts in our region were at or below the overall state average in all areas.

In the second set of data, Dr. Myrick displayed the following chart showing how GCPS schools letter grades compared to those of local charter schools:

Letter grades for schools in our district improved compared to the previous year, with no schools reporting an F, fewer schools reporting as a D, and more schools reporting as a B.

School Board Chairman Dr. Thomas Houlihan commented on this set of data, saying, “Three year trends sho tremendous growth over time.  It’s very exciting to see this type of progress.  We do want to celebrate, but we don’t want to forget the work that remains.  We also don’t want to forget the hard work and dedication of all of our talented teachers.”

School letter grades are determined by a state-mandated formula that uses proficiency and growth on a variety of test scores to assign a letter grade.  More information about how school letter grades are calculated can be found here:

https://www.ncpublicschools.org/docs/accountability/reporting/spgbckgrndpack15.pdf

Vice Chairman Leonard Peace, Sr. offered his remarks, saying “We are definitely headed in the right direction.  The teachers certainly deserve all of the credit for their hard work.”

Superintendent Dr. McLean thanked Dr. Myrick for his work in this area, and summarized the presentation with these remarks, “While I can take no credit for these remarkable gains, I am excited that there is established, consistent momentum for our district.  If we are to achieve our goals of double digit improvements and 90 percent across the board, then we must use these fine results to help launch us forward. ”