TownTalk 03/30/2020 (Places You Can Go)

TownTalk for Monday, March 30, 2020

TownTalk airs M-F on WIZS, Henderson at 11 a.m. Listen at 100.1 FM / 1450 AM / streamed live at and with Tunein and on smart connected devices and speakers.

NC Gov. Roy Cooper; Covid-19; Executive Order 121; Where you can go; Stay at Home

Henderson Mayor Eddie Ellington, message of assurance and request for adherence to Exec Order 121

Vance County Schools meal pickup for the week; One day this week; March 31 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Town Talk 03/26/20: Dr. Stephen Pearson Provides Tips on Working From Home


Dr. Stephen Pearson, co-owner and operator of Sadie’s Coffee Corner in downtown Henderson, appeared on WIZS Town Talk Thursday at 11 a.m.

Pearson, who teaches classes online at UNC-Chapel Hill and Utica College, and holds a Doctorate in Business Administration with a specialization in global business organization leadership, provided tips for working efficiently from home.

With many employees temporarily working remotely due to coronavirus-related business closures, Pearson’s advice is especially timely.

While working from home may seem exciting or “like a vacation” at first, Pearson said the biggest challenges in successfully making the transition are the distractions that are created by other family members, other home-based duties and social media.

“One of the biggest impediments of working from home is home life itself,” said Pearson. “There are a lot of distractions that take you away from the workplace.”

One way to keep yourself in the work mindset while at home is to stick with your normal “getting ready for work” routine. “I always tell people if you are going to work from home, treat it as a workday,” explained Pearson. “You get up, you shower, you shave, you eat breakfast, and then you go into an isolated area where you can shut the door and put a sign up that says ‘at work’ so that you aren’t distracted by the family.”

Pearson said this model will work more effectively if you discuss the need for privacy, take breaks throughout the day to interact with your family and leave your workspace at your usual stopping time.

On the other end of the spectrum, Pearson agreed it can be just as difficult for some employees to shut off work for the day while working from home. “Again, it’s all about the mindset. You have to make that mental transition between work and play.”

The bottom line, according to Pearson, is to “remember you are at work and have an obligation to your employer. Give them what they pay for and provide them with the service you would provide at the office.”

To hear the interview with Pearson in its entirety, go to and click on Town Talk.

Town Talk 03/25/20: Sheriff, Police Chief Discuss Procedures, Coronavirus Reaction


Vance County Sheriff Curtis Brame and Henderson Police Chief Marcus Barrow appeared on WIZS Town Talk Wednesday at 11 a.m.

Brame and Barrow explained that both the Vance County Sheriff’s Office and the Henderson Police Department have made adjustments in their operating procedures to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

For example, many non-violent criminal reports will only be taken by telephone during the coronavirus pandemic. These reports include, but are not limited to: misdemeanor theft, harassing communications, lost property, identity theft, computer/phone/mail scams.

Reports can be made with a Henderson Police Department employee during normal business hours (8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. M-F) at (252) 438-4141. Reports can be made with a Sheriff’s Office employee during normal business hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. M-F) at (252) 738-2200.

The front lobby of the Police Department has been temporarily closed to the public, while the front lobby of the Sheriff’s Office will only allow one person at a time until further notice.

According to Brame, the Sheriff’s Office will continue to monitor the Vance County Detention Center to limit the exposure to inmates and staff; visitation is restricted until further notice.

“This [coronavirus] is having a huge impact on everyone in Vance County economically, especially small businesses and convenience stores,” said Brame. “We are all going to have to comply with executive orders from the governor and president. Right now, we are looking at ways that churches can still hold services and serve God while complying with orders concerning congregation numbers, but we are going to work it out.”

Governor Roy Cooper’s recent ban on gatherings larger than 50 people has prompted area churches to get creative with ways to still hold services. Brame said he has spoken with several local pastors and has heard suggestions ranging from online sermons to holding multiple services to keep the numbers below the threshold.

With updates coming from the governor and public health officials sometimes hourly, Barrow said law enforcement is facing the challenges head-on and adjusting accordingly. “We’ve been dealing with the unknown our entire careers. We live in the unknown. We took an oath to our office and our guys are prepared to take on whatever they need to take on.”

One of the challenges facing the department now, according to Brame, is securing enough personal protective equipment (PPE) for the staff. Brame said he is visiting several stores daily trying to gather enough face masks, hand sanitizer, gloves and other PPE for his deputies.

Both Brame and Barrow agreed that local City and County officials, as well as the general public, have been supportive and responsive during this time.

“I’m proud of our community,” said Barrow. “They’ve taken heed to the orders that have come down, for the most part, and we haven’t had any issues.”

To hear the interview with Brame and Barrow in its entirety, go to and click on Town Talk.

Town Talk 03/24/20: Mayor Ellington Provides Henderson COVID-19 Updates


Henderson Mayor Eddie Ellington appeared on WIZS Town Talk Tuesday at 11 a.m.

With at least two cases of COVID-19 currently confirmed in Vance County, Ellington assured the community that steps have been taken to contain the spread and measures are in place to assist those in need.

“We cannot control what happens, but we can control how we respond and how we react,” Ellington stated. “I want to reassure the citizens of Henderson that we have taken steps to carry us through these moments. This is the time to stand on the side of grace, as we realize our own shared humanity, and to be there for your family, friends, neighbors and the elderly.”

Ellington thanked Terrell Blackmon, Henderson’s new city manager, and City Council members for their dedication to keeping residents and City staff safe.

Last week, Blackmon elected to close Henderson City Hall to the public, changing operations to an ‘appointment-only’ format for the foreseeable future.

City Hall staff will still be available to answer questions by telephone at (252) 430-5700 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Utility payments may be made online, by phone, by mail or placed in the drop box outside of City Hall (click here for more details).

Ellington also praised the City’s decision to temporarily suspend water disconnections due to non-payment of utility bills “so people will have access to safe, sanitary water during this difficult time.”

Accounts will continue to be billed as normal for any water used during this suspension period and residents are reminded that they are still responsible for payment of all account balances.

Calling the world-wide coronavirus pandemic a “fluid situation that is constantly evolving,” Ellington said the City will continue to work with state and federal officials, as well as community partners, to provide the latest information to the public.

Ellington said he suspects we will see an increase in closings and restrictions coming down from the State and governor’s office in the next few weeks, but a bounce-back and return to normalcy is expected.

“This is going to pass, we know,” said Ellington. “True character is revealed in these times that we face.”

To hear the interview with Ellington in its entirety, go to and click on Town Talk.

Town Talk 03/12/20: Fourth Annual VCS Arts Alive! to Showcase Student Talent

100.1 FM / 1450 AM WIZS; Local News broadcasts M-F 8am, 12pm, 5pm

Aarika Sandlin, public information officer for Vance County Schools, appeared on WIZS Town Talk Thursday at 11 a.m. Discussing upcoming district events, Sandlin said students and staff are busy preparing for VCS’ fourth annual Arts Alive! talent showcase.

Arts Alive! will be held at the McGregor Hall Performing Arts Center in downtown Henderson on Saturday, April 25, 2020. The showcase will feature VCS student talent in a variety of mediums including painting, drawing, dancing, singing and dramatic performance. All grade levels will be represented.

Parents, students, family, educators and community members are invited to view the artwork that will be on display in the McGregor Hall Gallery beginning at 3 p.m. Gallery viewing is free of charge.

New this year, a silent auction will be held to allow the public to bid on their favorite pieces of art.

In addition to the art gallery, performing acts ranging from large to small groups of vocalists, musicians, dancers and more will entertain on McGregor Hall’s stage beginning at 7 p.m.

Tickets for the Arts Alive! show are available for purchase at McGregor Hall’s box office beginning at 3 p.m. the day of the event. Tickets for adults and children are $5 each; all seating is general admission. Proceeds from the event benefit the Vance County Public School Foundation.

Returning this year will be a series of “master classes” offered in drama, art, dancing and musical instruments offered the morning of the Arts Alive! event. The classes, ranging in target age from Pre-K through 12th grade, will be offered by Hill’s Music Shoppe, Ballet Arts, Wolf Trap Education and Vance-Granville Community College. For more details on these classes, please visit VCS’ newly designed website at

Master classes are free of charge and are offered at McGregor Hall and across the street from the performing arts venue at First Baptist Church in Henderson.

“It’s a really exciting day for our district to come together and show what our students are capable of doing,” Sandlin said.

To hear the interview with Sandlin in its entirety, including a series of brief updates from the most recent School Board meeting, go to and click on Town Talk.

Town Talk 03/11/20: Relay For Life Quarter Auction, Survivor Dinner


Hope Breedlove, a social worker in the Cancer Center at Maria Parham Health and a member of the Relay For Life Survivor Committee, appeared on WIZS Town Talk Wednesday at 11 a.m.

This year’s Vance County Relay For Life event will take place Friday, June 19 in downtown Henderson from 5 – 10 p.m. Relay For Life is a community event to honor cancer survivors, remember loved ones lost and fight back against a disease that has taken too much.

The Survivor Lap will take place at 6:30 p.m. and all cancer survivors are invited to participate. As a cancer survivor, you’ll be a guest of honor and cheered on by your community. Caregivers are also a major part of Relay For Life events and are honored for their support.

Quarter Auction

The Maria Parham Health Quarter Auction & March Madness Buffet fundraiser for Relay For Life will be held on Friday, March 27, 2020, at the Aycock Recreation Center (307 Carey Chapel Rd., Henderson). Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Tickets are available for $20 per person and seating is limited to 100 attendees. The ticket price includes one paddle, buffet dinner, drink, dessert and door prize entry. Extra paddles can be purchased at the event for $5 each.

With over 100 items available for auction, including gift certificates, wreaths and televisions, Breedlove encouraged participants to bring plenty of quarters and make sure to purchase extra paddles to increase the chance of winning.

As this is a basketball-themed event, participants are encouraged to wear their favorite ACC shirt or jersey.

Tickets may be purchased by calling Kimberly Smith (252-436-1656), Hope Breedlove (252-436-1605), Amanda Wilkins (252-436-1615) or Cassidy Grissom (252-436-1544).

Survivor Dinner

The 2020 Relay For Life Survivor Dinner will be held on Friday, April 17 at 6 p.m. at South Henderson Pentecostal Holiness Church (905 Americal Rd., Henderson). Cancer survivors in Vance and surrounding counties and their guests are invited to enjoy an evening of food and entertainment.

“Cancer survivorship is defined as the moment you are diagnosed with cancer throughout the remainder of your life,” explained Breedlove. “You do not have to be in active treatment or be in remission to be a survivor. If you fit into that category, you qualify to participate in the survivor dinner.”

Survivors are welcome to bring one family member to the dinner. Please RSVP on or before April 12 by contacting Sue Cain with Relay For Life at (919) 334-5221 or sending an email to [email protected]. If leaving a voice message or sending an email, please provide the following information:

  • Your name and phone number
  • Will you bring a guest?
  • Your t-shirt size

“Your prompt RSVP will ensure we have enough food and survivor t-shirts for everyone attending,” Breedlove said. “This is always a very special event in our community and we look forward to it each year.”

Survivors, caregivers and walkers are welcome to register for June’s Relay For Life event online at or by calling 1-800-227-2345 (choose option #2 from the menu). Paper registration forms will also be available at the survivor dinner.

With additional questions regarding these Relay For Life events, please call (252) 436-1605.

To hear the interview with Breedlove in its entirety, go to and click on Town Talk.


Town Talk 03/10/20: New Henderson City Manager Edward ‘Terrell’ Blackmon


Edward “Terrell” Blackmon, Henderson’s new city manager, appeared on WIZS Town Talk Tuesday at 11 a.m.

A native of Smithfield, and now a resident of Henderson, Blackmon brings over 25 years of economic development experience gained in various planning positions in Monroe, Raleigh, Garner and Tarboro, NC.

Blackmon received his MBA from Montreat College and his undergraduate degree in political science from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He is also a licensed real estate broker in North and South Carolina, in addition to being recognized as a certified housing development finance professional by the National Development Council.

He is married to the former Akenna Vaught of Lenoir, NC and they have two adult sons: Edward Terrell Blackmon, II and Robert Kennan Blackmon.

Blackmon said it was the area’s potential and the “hard sell” of the Henderson City Council that ultimately led him to the decision to call Henderson home. “I saw Henderson as a great opportunity for me personally and professionally. The City Council really sold me on the potential of the community; there’s a lot of opportunities for this community to grow.”

Arriving a few weeks prior to the official retirement of Henderson City Manager Frank Frazier on January 31, Blackmon said he was fortunate to have Frazier, a 35-year City veteran, available in the transition period.

“I can’t say enough how helpful he [Frazier] was during that period of time, and still makes himself available now,” said Blackmon. “The City Council, Mayor Ellington and Frank all did an excellent job of developing a plan to help make my transition here as city manager a little easier.”

In discussing areas of focus moving forward, Blackmon said officials are working on reestablishing Henderson as a designated Main Street City, enforcing residential and commercial codes, planning larger-scale redevelopment projects, identifying ways to attract private investment and expanding the Kerr Lake Regional Water System (KLRWS).

A 60-percent majority partner of the KLRWS (other partners include the City of Oxford and Warren County), Henderson City Council members approved a rate structure at their Monday meeting that would allow the city to upgrade the water output from 10 million to 20 million gallons a day, Blackmon reported.

Explaining that the KLRWS provides water to other municipalities and county systems in the four-county region, Blackmon said the expanded output would ‘increase the capacity to sell water to our customers, improve our water quality and allow the City to set rates and keep rates affordable for the citizens of Henderson.”

Impressed with the way the various entities have worked together on the KLRWS, Blackmon said he is happy to report a similar “collaborative spirit” in his dealings thus far with both City of Henderson and Vance County officials.

“I am already meeting and working with City and County officials on strategies that will hopefully benefit not just the City of Henderson but benefit all of Vance County,” said Blackmon. “We definitely want to be a partner with the County as it relates to economic development. The City has a lot of value that we can add to the economic development conversation as we are looking to create more jobs, retain the industries we do have and try to attract new industries to our community.”

To hear the interview with Blackmon in its entirety, go to and click on Town Talk.

Town Talk 03/09/20: Local Gas Price Discussion

100.1 FM / 1450 AM WIZS; Local News broadcasts M-F 8am, 12pm, 5pm


Town Talk 03/06/20

100.1 FM / 1450 AM WIZS; Local News broadcasts M-F 8am, 12pm, 5pm

Town Talk 03/04/20: Harrison, G-V Public Health Director, Discusses Coronavirus


Lisa Harrison, director of Granville-Vance Public Health, appeared on WIZS Town Talk Wednesday at 11 a.m.

In light of recent news that North Carolina’s first case of confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) was reported in nearby Wake County, Harrison addressed the local health department’s response to the disease.

“Viruses change over time, and this is an emerging situation,” explained Harrison. “We at Granville-Vance Public Health are paying close attention daily to information that comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Division of Public Health, the State Health Director and our whole epidemiology team who are very involved right now with our response in the United States and in North Carolina.”

According to the CDC, coronavirus, much like a cold or the flu, can spread between people who are in close contact with one another and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Those suffering from the virus are thought to be at least mildly contagious before showing symptoms but are more likely to infect others when they are the most symptomatic.

Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed cases. Symptoms, including fever, cough and shortness of breath, may appear 2-14 days after initial exposure.

The CDC recommends contacting a healthcare provider if you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you have recently traveled to an area with an ongoing spread such as China, Iran, Italy, Japan or South Korea. Your healthcare provider will work with the public health department and CDC to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.

While not a time to panic, Harrison said it is important that residents seek credible sources for COVID-19 updates and take precautions to avoid exposure including:

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water (at least 20 seconds each time)
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed or washed hands
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick
  • Cover mouth and nose with a tissue or bend of the arm when sneezing or coughing
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched

“I have a tremendous amount of confidence in the knowledge of your public health service,” Harrison said. “The most important thing to stress to individuals and families in Vance and Granville County is that everyone needs to continue to take precautions to protect themselves from the spread of any respiratory illness, including the flu and colds.”

A toll-free helpline has been established for those with questions about COVID-19 and can be reached by calling 1-866-462-3821.

You may also find additional information by visiting the Granville-Vance Public Health website at and the CDC website at

To hear the interview with Harrison in its entirety, go to and click on Town Talk.