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City of Oxford Declares State of Emergency Effective March 23

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-Information courtesy The City of Oxford

PROCLAMATION DECLARING THE EXISTENCE OF A STATE OF EMERGENCY IN OXFORD, NORTH CAROLINA 

WHEREAS, COVID19 is a respiratory disease that can result in serious illness or death by the SARS CoV2 virus, which is a new strain of coronavirus previously unidentified in humans and which can spread from person to person; and, 

WHEREAS, the World Health Organization declared COVID19 is a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on January 30, 2020; and 

WHEREAS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the “CDC”) has warned of the high public health threat posed by COVID19 globally and in the United States and has deemed it necessary to prohibit or restrict travel to areas designated by the CDC, and 

WHEREAS, on January 31, 2020, the United States Department of Health and Human Services Secretary declared a public health emergency in the United States for COVID19 under Section 391 of the Public Health Service Act; and 

WHEREAS, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has confirmed multiple cases of COVID19 in the State of North Carolina, including one or more cases in Granville County; and 

WHEREAS, on March 10, 2020, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper declared a State of Emergency for the State of North Carolina based on the public health emergency posed by COVID19; and 

WHEREAS, on March 13, 2020, the President of the United States declared a national emergency; and 

WHEREAS, on March 23, 2020, the Chairman of the Granville County Board of Commissioners issued a Declaration of a State of Emergency for Granville County; and, 

WHEREAS, immediate attention is required to protect public health from the spread of the disease, reduce further damage, ensure public safety, and render emergency relief, and 

WHEREAS, I, Jacqueline vdH Sergent, Mayor of the City of Oxford, North Carolina, do find that the potential spread of COVID19 within the City of Oxford constitutes an imminent threat to the safety and welfare of the City of Oxford that existing conditions have caused or may cause widespread or severe damage, injury, or loss of life, and public safety authorities may be unable to maintain public order or afford adequate protection for lives or property, and 

WHEREAS, declaring a State of Emergency and imposing the restrictions and prohibitions ordered herein is necessary to maintain order and protect public health, safety, and welfare

NOW, THEREFORE, pursuant to the authority vested in me as the Mayor of the City of Oxford under Article 1A of Chapter 166A of the North Carolina General Statutes and Chapter 7 of the City of Oxford Code of Ordinances, after conferring with my colleagues on the Oxford Board of Commissioners, I, Jacqueline vdH Sergent, Mayor of the City of Oxford, North Carolina, hereby declare and proclaim that a State of Emergency exists within the City of Oxford. 

SECTION 1. Emergency Area Established. The emergency area covered by this Emergency Proclamation shall be the entire jurisdiction of the City of Oxford. 

SECTION 2. Adoption of Granville County Declaration. I, Jacqueline vdH Sergent, Mayor of the City of Oxford, North Carolina, pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. $ 166A19.22, do affirm that the Declaration of a State of Emergency issued by Granville County applies in its entirety to the City of Oxford. 

SECTION 3. Implementation and Enforcement. I hereby order all City of Oxford law enforcement officers and employees and all other emergency management personnel subject to our control to cooperate in the enforcement and implementation of the provisions of this declaration, all applicable local ordinances, state and federal laws, and the City of Oxford Emergency Operations Plan. I urge all City of Oxford residents and businesses to follow the advice and recommendations of the CDC, and the advice and recommendations of the federal, state, and county governments regarding our public health and controlling the spread of this virus. 

SECTION 4. Distribution. I hereby order this declaration: (a) to be distributed to the news media and other organizations calculated to bring its contents to the attention of the general public; (b) to be filed with the City of Oxford Clerk, and (c) to be distributed to others as necessary to ensure proper implementation of this declaration. 

SECTION 5. Effective Date and Time. This Declaration of Emergency shall take effect immediately and shall remain in effect until modified or rescinded

DECLARED this the 23rd day of March 2020, at 4:30 p.m. 

City of Oxford Reminds Residents NOT to Flush Wipes, Paper Towels

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-Press Release, City of Oxford

While disinfecting and sanitizing spaces, please DO NOT flush your wipes. Flushing wipes, paper towels, and similar products down toilets will clog sewers and cause backups and overflows at the wastewater treatment facility.

This creates an additional public health risk amid the coronavirus pandemic. Even wipes labeled flushable will clog pipes and interfere with sewage collection and treatment throughout the City.

Let’s work together during this challenging time to keep our systems running smoothly.

Oxford Public Works Committee to Meet Thurs., March 19

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

The Public Works Committee for the Oxford Board of Commissioners will meet on Thursday, March 19, 2020, at 10 a.m. The meeting will be held in the First Floor Training Room, City Hall, 300 Williamsboro Street in Oxford.

The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the System Development Fee study by Raftelis, the 10-year Capital Improvement Plan by McGill, Engineering Fees, and general updates.

All those interested are invited to attend.

City of Oxford Announces Closures, Cancellations & Postponements

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-Information courtesy the City of Oxford

As the number of cases of COVID-19 rises in North Carolina, the City of Oxford is making the health and safety of our citizens and employees a priority. The City is closely monitoring the situation and taking the necessary precautions to maintain a safe workplace and community.

What We Ask of our Visitors

While City Hall will remain open for now, we encourage our citizens to:

  • Limit in-person visits to City Hall and its outlying departments by using phone, email, or other electronic means.
  • Pay utility bills using one of the following methods:
  • Online at municipalonlinepayments.com/oxfordnc
  • By phone at 833-259-4017
  • By mail to PO Box 506 Oxford, NC 27565
  • By Utilizing the drop box outside of City Hall
  • There will also be a new walk-up and pay on the outside of City Hall by Friday, March 20, 2020. The hours of operation will be 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • If you must visit City Hall or the Operations Center, call ahead to ensure the staff member will be on site.
  • Maintain ‘social distancing’ of 6 feet from other people when possible, as recommended by the CDC.

What we Are Doing to Help Citizens

The City of Oxford will postpone utility disconnections for non-payment and waive transaction fees that are associated with online/bank payments for City utilities, including late fees.

Keep in mind, that even though the water will not be disconnected for non-payment during the next 30 days, you are still responsible for your account balance and any water used during this suspension time.

Closings, Cancellations, and Postponements

  • HPC meeting on Thursday, March 19
  • The City of Oxford Parks & Recreation Department is suspending all programs, including activities in Hix Gym and Public Works Meeting Room, until further notice.
  • Facility rentals through March 30, 2020, will be canceled, renters will receive a full refund or may reschedule for a future date.
  • 2020 Easter Egg Hunt
  • Spring Break Camp
  • Spring Break Lego Camp
  • Volleyball and Baseball Registration will continue through Friday, March 20, 2020, the season will be postponed for two weeks, and we will re-evaluate at that time.

If you have any questions, please call City Hall, 919-603-1100, and watch our website www.oxfordnc.org for updates as they become available.

Oxford Prep Lower School Students Win Diversity Essay Contest

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-Press Release, Oxford Preparatory School

For schools across the nation, February is a time to highlight important accomplishments by African-Americans with the nationally recognized observance of Black History Month. March brings about Women’s History Month, which seeks to do the same by highlighting important women in history.

Students at the current Oxford Preparatory Lower School, presently 5th and 6th grade, participated in a school-wide diversity essay contest. Contest winners, pictured left to right: Michael Cox, 5th grade; Bre’Niyah Purnell, 6th grade and Novina Williford, 6th grade) (OPS photo)

For cultures and peoples marginalized by a traditional curriculum, these months of observance bring about conversations on diversity and inclusion. Students at Oxford Preparatory School kicked off this discussion with an important question: why does diversity matter?

Students at the current Lower School, presently 5th and 6th grade, participated in a school-wide essay contest with that exact question in mind. The essay contest had few guidelines, encouraging students to utilize critical thinking skills and reflection on the topic.

After a guidance lesson on the definition of diversity and discussions with classmates on the topic, students went right into writing their reflections. Some chose to use the time to research important figures who fought for diversity, such as Martin Luther King Jr, while some reflected on their own experiences. Students reflected on times that they felt like the “odd one out,” and even came up with suggestions on how to better support diversity at their school.

Fifth-grader Lily Juntunen writes, “I also always felt singled out for how I looked because I would always get told how I’m too tall to do anything, that I should give up. That’s another reason why diversity matters. People should not feel like they need to change themselves because others aren’t happy with the way they look.”

The three winners – 5th-grader Michael Cox and 6th-graders Novina Williford and Bre’Niyah Purnell – were treated to a bagel breakfast with their friends and family members and bravely read their essays out loud.

For some, this was the first time they had to present their work to an audience. However, as a college preparatory school, these students are being prepared to present their work and discuss such topics.“I had a lot of fun researching for the essay,” shared Cox. “I was really nervous to read it out loud, but I felt a lot of relief after I did it.”

To quote 5th-grader Madelyn Reese, “Diversity does matter in our world today. Regardless of our talents, skin color, gender, language, and culture, we all need to be treated fairly.”

Commissioners’ March Meeting to Include Public Hearing on Oxford Prep Annexation

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

The City of Oxford Board of Commissioners will hold their regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, March 10, 2020, at 7 p.m. in the Commissioners’ Board Room, City Hall in Oxford.

Agenda items include:

Public Hearing to hear citizen input on the Petition of Voluntary, Non-Contiguous Annexation by Oxford Preparatory School.

Consider approving the request of Andrew Swanner on behalf of Oxford Preparatory School for a non-contiguous annexation of 16+/-acres located at 6041 Landis Rd.

Public Hearing to hear citizen input on the amendment to the subdivision ordinance regarding the installation of sidewalks and curbing under section 71.2 (a).

Consider approving the amendment to the subdivision ordinance regarding the installation of sidewalks and curbing under section 71.2 (a).

Consider authorizing the City Clerk to investigate the Sufficiency of the Petition and certify its sufficiency for a non-contiguous annexation of 2 parcels of land totaling 4.91 acres of land located off of Hwy 158 by Land Seitz, LLC.

Consider calling for a public hearing for the April 14 regular meeting to assign a zoning classification for property located off Hwy 158 at the corner of the 1-85 on-ramp that has been petitioned for a non-contiguous annexation.

Consider authorizing the City Clerk to investigate the Sufficiency of the Petition and certify its sufficiency on behalf of Oxford Prep, located at 6041 Landis Rd, to annex 2.89 additional acres of land.

Consider awarding the 2020 Concessionaire Contract for Oxford Park Athletic Complex to Robert Glover, dba Farmer John’s Ice Cream.

Consider approving a letter of support to apply for a Clean Fuel Advanced Technology (CFAT) grant which requires a 20% match of approximately $11.610.00 from the City.

Please click here for the full meeting agenda.

Oxford Commissioners to Meet With Parks & Recreation Master Plan Committee

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

The Parks and Recreation Master Plan Committee will hold a special session for the Oxford Board of Commissioners on Monday, March 2, 2020, from 3 until 5 p.m.

The meeting will be held in the Third Floor Board Room, City Hall, 300 Williamsboro Street in Oxford. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the Parks & Recreation Master Plan and get feedback from the Commissioners.

All those interested are invited to attend.

Reminder: Oxford City-Wide Neighborhood Watch to Meet Tues., Feb. 18

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

All Oxford residents are invited to attend a City-wide neighborhood watch informational meeting on Tuesday, February 18, 2020, in the third-floor Commissioners Board Room of Oxford’s City Hall. The meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m.

Get the information and support needed to start a Community Watch program in your neighborhood, receive the latest on crime in the area and learn about crime prevention from the Oxford Police Department.

Oxford City Hall is located at 300 Williamsboro Street.

Oxford Prep’s Kamarion Moore Commits to NC State School of Engineering

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-Press Release, Oxford Preparatory School

Kamarion Moore, a senior at Oxford Preparatory School, has committed to attend the School of Engineering at North Carolina State University. Kam is the son of JC and Keneica Moore from Oxford, NC. He plans to major in materials engineering while at State.

During his time at Oxford Prep, Kam has earned a number of academic distinctions including being named marshal, earning membership in Beta Club and a Director’s List recipient every quarter.

Kam is a leader in athletics as well and was selected to attend the NC Athletic Leadership Conference. He is a talented soccer player and also ran cross country while at Oxford Prep.

Kamarion Moore, a senior at Oxford Preparatory School, has committed to attend the School of Engineering at North Carolina State University. (OPS photo)

Oxford Officials Discuss Recent Crime Uptick, Offer Possible Solutions

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

Present: Chairman Quon Bridges, Members Commissioners Pat Fields & John Tovey. Staff Advisors: Fire Chief David Cottrell III and Police Chief Al Coley.

Others Present: Mayor Jackie Sergent, City Manager Alan Thornton, City Clerk Cynthia Bowen, Commissioners Danny Currin, Ron Bullock, Patricia Gilreath, Captain Pat Ford, Lieutenants Lynn Curl, and Michel Stockwell.

Agenda Item: Discuss the City of Oxford’s coordinated response efforts to reduce unlawful activity. Chairman Bridges recognized Chief Coley, who gave the following response to the recent shootings and crime in the City of Oxford. (This is an abbreviated version of the Chief’s speech, the full version is on file at the City Clerk’s office.)

This is to inform and update everyone on the efforts of the Oxford Police Department in regards to the recent shootings and violent crimes that have occurred over the last few months. Additionally, it is my intention to illustrate some of the strategies and plans of actions that we are taking to combat these community ills. However, I will be limited in some instances from describing certain details that may compromise our objectives and/or increase the dangers to officer safety.

From November 13, 2019, through January 13, 2020:

 Oxford has experienced eight aggravated assault cases, including one (1) murder case. Of those cases, Oxford Police has arrested two (2) juveniles, one (1) adult was arrested and charged with (Assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury), warrants are on file for three (3) of the cases, and three (3) cases are pending lab results, and one case is active with few leads.

 Oxford Police was dispatched to nine (9) calls of service for shots fired. Seven (7) were unfounded, and two (2) were founded, whereby we have an active investigation ongoing and awaiting lab results. These cases are active and continuous.

 Oxford Police has investigated six (6) robberies resulting in one (1) arrest, one (1) warrant, one (1) case closed leads exhausted, and three (3) active cases.

 Oxford Police has investigated five (5) Breaking & Entering cases. Four (4) B&E cases are active, and one (1) case is inactive.

In many of the cases listed above, Oxford Police is faced with the major challenge of victims and witnesses refusing to cooperate with the investigation. The reasoning for lack of cooperation varies. However, we have found that in most instances, it is the fear of retaliation by the perpetrator.

The victim and witness fear is understandable since the law enforcement community, including Oxford Police, has experienced violent criminals making bond within hours after being arrested.

Strategies to deter crime in the City of Oxford:

 We believe the greatest leverage we have against these types of criminals is the partnership of the public and police and, to that extent, we have initiated a community watch campaign. This new initiative will begin on February 18, 2020, with a meeting at City Hall to generate momentum throughout the entire city. Detective Fields will lead the meeting explaining the operation of community watch, and City Clerk Bowen will be a point of contact in the coordination of the program throughout the city.

 Another strategy we are developing is an increased awareness campaign, whereby members of Oxford Police and I will meet citizens to discuss and answer questions related to their concerns about safety within Oxford.

 Oxford Police is exploring the use of technology to solve crimes and increase the apprehension of criminals through the use of technology. Law enforcement agencies throughout the country have begun to use the “Ring” doorbell camera technology to identify criminals during criminal activities.

 Oxford Police has initiated a “Power Shift,” whereby four selected officers have been assigned to a team to enforce and patrol high crime areas. This team has a unique schedule that constantly changes to meet the challenges and threats that our intelligence information or evidence guides us.

Although we are using many strategies and practices to deter the criminal elements within Oxford, we cannot do it alone. Therefore, we have made great relationships with other law enforcement agencies throughout the state and federally such as the Granville County Sheriff’s Department, North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement, the North Carolina Highway Patrol, neighboring agencies to include Henderson Police, Creedmoor Police, Butner Police, Vance County Sheriff’s Office, Warren County Sheriff’s Office and others.

The Oxford PD Command Staff and Chief Coley will review and evaluate their goals continuously to ensure that they are obtaining results that are reflective of a safe community.

After a brief question and answer period on the information above, the meeting was adjourned.