Town Talk 01/23/20: NC Treasurer Folwell Assures State Pension is Secure


NC State Treasurer Dale Folwell appeared on WIZS Town Talk Thursday at 11 a.m.

Folwell has served as the North Carolina State Treasurer since 2017 and is the former Speaker Pro Tempore of the North Carolina House of Representatives.

Overseeing the 26th largest public pool of money in the world, Folwell explained that his office manages retirement, healthcare and pharmaceutical benefits for 900,000 state and local employees in NC.

“At the end of the day, what I like to say is that we are in the check delivery business. Every 30 days we are spending nearly $750 million. We manage an amount of money eight times that of the state budget.”

Acknowledging that, statistically speaking, 2 out of 10 Town Talk listeners most likely have something to do with the State’s pension, health and/or pharmacy benefit plan, Folwell said those involved in the system can rest assured that employee retirement plans are secure.

“The pension plan is one of the five most solvent and secure pension plans in the United States, if not the world,” said Folwell. “A rating agency just posted us as number one in the country in terms of the ability to fund the pension plan during an economic downtown.”

Reminding listeners that economic downturns are historically “when not if” occurrences, Folwell said he was confident in the strength of the State’s pension system.

On the other end of the spectrum, Folwell said the State’s health plan is “one of the most insolvent in the US. All of our efforts right now are on state healthcare costs.”

Despite rising costs, Folwell said the State is committed to keeping insurance rates as affordable as possible for employees and retirees. “We have frozen all premiums for the second straight year even in light of the fact that costs are increasing at a faster pace than the governor’s budget and legislature’s budget appropriates money to us.”

Folwell said listeners may also be interested to know that the State currently has $700 million in unclaimed property, mostly in stocks and bonds, that can be viewed at any time, by first and last name free of charge at To learn more about the Treasurer’s Office, visit

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


Town Talk 01/22/20: Caregiver’s Cup at Sadie’s & Local Senior Games

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

Harvey Holmes, family caregiver resource specialist, and Michele Brigandi, aging projects coordinator – both with the Kerr-Tar Area Agency on Aging, appeared on WIZS Town Talk Wednesday at 11 a.m.

Holmes discussed the formation of a new social group for caregivers affectionately referred to as “The Caregiver’s Cup.” The name is a play on the actual meeting location – Sadie’s Coffee Corner in downtown Henderson – and the metaphorical filling of one’s social cup. The group will meet on the second Friday of every month from 12 until 1:30 p.m. at Sadie’s. All family caregivers are welcome.

Citing statistics that caregivers tend to self-isolate from outside activities and interactions, Holmes said the intent of the group is to promote socialization and, in turn, mental health.

“It’s very easy for caregivers to isolate themselves because caregiving is a 24/7, exhausting job,” explained Holmes. “Everyone struggles and moves in and out of loneliness during their lifetime; this group is here to help ease that loneliness.”

Promoting another great activity to encourage socialization as well as physical health, Brigandi discussed the upcoming Kerr Tar Senior Games that will be held in Franklin, Granville, Vance, Warren and Person counties March through May 2020. Competitive athletic events ranging from basketball to horseshoes will be offered.

“This is essentially the Olympics for active adults 50 and better,” explained Brigandi. “There is something for everyone and it is a lot of fun.”

According to Brigandi, awards are given, and those who place first, second and third in their respective event have the opportunity to compete in the state finals in Raleigh. Those that place on the state level will move on to the national competition.

New on the list of local athletic events offered this year is mini-golf, which will be held at Adventure Island in Henderson on April 28.

For those with mobility issues and/or for those with an interest in the arts, the Senior Games also offers “SilverArts” competitions with a variety of mediums including heritage arts, basket weaving, quilting, painting, photography, dance, comedy, drama, poetry readings and storytelling.

To register for local games or for more information on the SilverArts sessions, please visit the North Carolina Senior Games website by clicking here.

For more information on the Caregivers Cup group, please contact the Kerr-Tar Area Agency on Aging at (252) 436-2040 or email Holmes directly at [email protected].

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

Town Talk 01/21/20

Great, positive stories going on in Henderson.

Recap of Rise Against Hunger meal packing event and Area Christians Together In Service food collection.

American Red Cross and Henderson Fire Department and County and Volunteer Fire Department “Sound The Alarm” county-wide smoke detector installation event.

Ruin Creek Animal Protection Society “In The Doghouse” give back efforts.

This is 25 minutes of Henderson, Vance County at its finest.  This is your town, your county, your home, your community!

Town Talk 01/20/20: Democratic Chair Discusses Meeting, Low Voter Turnout

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

Marcia Allen, the acting chairperson of the Vance County Democratic Party, appeared on WIZS Town Talk Monday at 11 a.m.

Allen encouraged all registered Democrats, and those interested in learning more about the party, to attend the Vance County Democratic Party meeting to be held Thursday, January 23, 2020, at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will be held in the Commissioners’ Room of the old Vance County Courthouse located at 122 Young Street in Henderson. The elevator is in service for attendees with mobility issues.

Officers are needed and discussions will include precinct organizations.

Describing the Democratic Party as “the party of empowerment, education and inclusiveness,” Allen said the local chapter’s goal is to mirror state Democratic caucuses including African-American, women, youth and the most recently approved – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer or Questioning (LGBTQ).

Allen said the local party is especially interested in finding effective ways to get more young people involved in politics and the voting process. “If we say that young people are our future, then they need to be involved in the process. It’s troubling to hear that young people do not want to take part in the political process when everything that happens politically will affect them.”

Citing statistics from the most recent non-partisan City of Henderson municipal election in October, Allen said everyone should be concerned about declining voter turnout. “We had close to 10,000 eligible voters for the most recent election and it’s troubling that only 13% voted,” said Allen. “That means 13% of the people made a decision for 100% of the community. Our goal is to look at that and to reach out to those who did not vote to see why.”

According to Allen, the number of citizens that are disgruntled about decisions made by elected officials is disproportionate to the percentage that voted. “More than 13% of people are complaining about things that are done locally, yet they don’t vote to make a change about what’s going on,” Allen said.

While voting is at the top of Allen’s list of making sure your voice is heard, she also encouraged citizens to attend Henderson City Council and Vance County Commissioners meetings, reach out to their respective political party and get involved in community activities.

Questions about the upcoming Vance County Democratic Party meeting can be directed to Marcia Allen at [email protected] or (252) 767-5195.

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


Town Talk 01/17/20

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Town Talk 01/16/20: Changes to Annual Chamber Banquet = Less Time, More Fun


Sandra Wilkerson, director of administration and events for the Henderson-Vance County Chamber of Commerce, appeared on WIZS Town Talk Thursday at 11 a.m.

Wilkerson invited representatives from local businesses, educational institutions, government entities and non-profit organizations to attend the Annual Membership Meeting and Banquet of the H-V Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, January 30, 2020.

The event will be held in the Civic Center at Vance-Granville Community College’s Main Campus in Henderson.

Addressing past comments made concerning the length of the annual banquet, Wilkerson said the Chamber’s planning committee has done its best to scale back the timing of the event while keeping the focus on business achievements and the much anticipated “Citizen of the Year” reveal.

“We are so excited to celebrate 82 years of local business achievements,” said Wilkerson. “The banquet is going to be different this year. Michele Burgess, president of the Chamber, has a new vision and we are going to do some exciting things to make it more fun and entertaining.”

New items include the addition of a social hour, featuring entertainment by Just Friends, an instrumental group with local members, to be held prior to the dinner meeting from 5 until 5:45 p.m.

Ticket holders are encouraged to come early to network and connect with local business leaders while enjoying a hot beverage bar, sponsored by Rose Oil Company, and appetizers, sponsored by Maria Parham Health.

“It’s a good event to network; it’s what the Chamber is all about,” Wilkerson said. “We have a lot of new leaders in the community and we are excited to introduce you to these people and have a chance to socialize.”

Seating for the buffet dinner, catered by Chamber member Ted Wheeler Catering, will begin promptly at 6 p.m.

In announcing the meeting plans, Burgess said in a statement to WIZS News, “This is a premier event for our Chamber of Commerce. I was excited when our Board of Directors made the decision not to bring in an outside featured speaker this year but chose instead to put our focus primarily on all the positive changes and plans that are being made in our community and at our Chamber. This year’s annual meeting and banquet promises to be informative, motivational, entertaining and fun along with a shorter time frame.”

Nancy Wykle, publisher of The Daily Dispatch and current volunteer chair of the Chamber’s Board of Directors, will offer highlights from the organization’s 2019 year and will pass the gavel to incoming 2020 Board Chairman Tyler Brewer.

Brewer, vice president of Brewer Cycles – a family business that has been in operation in Vance County for almost 40 years, will discuss the Chamber’s 2020 vision and its future plans for growth.

Other program highlights will include a musical performance by the Vance County High School Chorus and the announcement of the Chamber’s Ambassador of the Year and 2019 Vance County Citizen of the Year award recipients. There will also be drawings for door prizes.

Tickets for the event are $35 each and tables of 10 can be reserved for $320. Tickets are still available and can be purchased this week by calling the Chamber office at (252) 438-8414 or by email: [email protected]

Banquet sponsors include:

Presenting Sponsor – Duke Energy

Gold Level – Walmart Distribution, Mars and Benchmark Community Bank

Silver Level – Wake Electric, Maria Parham Health and Truist Bank (formerly BB&T)

Bronze Level: EnviroLink

Members of the Annual Meeting Planning Committee include Micheal Shaw (Maria Parham Health), Julia Langston (Kerr Lake Country Club), Ana Vaughan (Mars), John Charles Rose (WIZS Radio), Nancy Wykle (The Daily Dispatch), Stephanie Hoyle (Century 21 Country Knolls Realty), Melissa Paul (ServPro), Gayle Watkins (Rose Oil Company) and Diane Finch (former Chamber of Commerce President).

To hear the interview with Wilkerson in its entirety, go to and click on Town Talk. Wilkerson’s segment begins at the 16:55 mark.

Town Talk 01/15/20: ‘Sound the Alarm’ Fire Campaign Coming to Vance Co.


Kelly Ferrell, American Red Cross Disaster Program Specialist, and Captain Lee Edmonds with the Henderson Fire Department appeared on WIZS Town Talk Wednesday at 11 a.m.

Ferrell and Edmonds were on-air to discuss the upcoming “Sound the Alarm” event, an Eastern North Carolina fire campaign sponsored by the American Red Cross. The in-home smoke detector and fire safety inspection will be held Vance County-wide from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Monday, January 20, 2020.

During the first half of the day, volunteers from local fire departments and organizations will be visiting homeowners in the county who made previous appointments for an inspection. The focus will then shift to City of Henderson residents who have not already been visited by the Henderson Fire Department during its local 2019-2020 smoke detector campaign.

Participants include local fire departments, Henderson Collegiate representatives, Red Cross volunteers, NC Central University representatives and community volunteers. Ferrell said she is looking forward to working with those who will “all come together for a day of service on Martin Luther King Jr. Day”

Ferrell thanked Chick-fil-A of Henderson for demonstrating its commitment to the cause by donating lunch for all volunteers.

One of 53 counties that comprise the American Red Cross Eastern NC district, Ferrell said the general population of Vance County was examined when considering areas of concentration for the day’s event.

“I really try to be mindful of where I install the smoke alarms,” Ferrell explained. “I review the population of the county and examine their home fire risk. We look at areas with concentrations of residents over the age of 65, those below the poverty line and those with disabilities, for example. We are really trying to ensure that we are installing these smoke alarms in the areas that need them the most.”

While impossible to reach all residents of a county in one day, Ferrell stated that those interested in having their home inspected can make an appointment with the fire department or can request a fire alarm through the American Red Cross by visiting

To hear the interview with Ferrell and Edmonds in its entirety, including additional discussion about the mission of the American Red Cross and the local annual smoke detector campaign, go to and click on Town Talk.

Town Talk 01/14/20: City’s Fire Study Finds ‘More Personnel Needed Now’

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Henderson Fire Chief Steve Cordell appeared on WIZS Town Talk Tuesday at 11 a.m.

Cordell discussed current activities involving the fire department including the City’s recently completed fire study, the annual smoke detector campaign and the upcoming county-wide campaign to be held in partnership with the American Red Cross.

Following up on a news story aired last week on WIZS 1450 AM/ 100.1 FM and posted online at, Cordell said years of talks with the Henderson City Council and City Manager Frank Frazier resulted in the budgeting of a fire study conducted and recently completed by outside company Management Solutions for Emergency Services.

According to Cordell, the study was completed prior to the Christmas holidays and results were presented at the Henderson City Council’s Public Safety Committee meeting held January 8.

The biggest takeaway from the study is the recommendation for the construction and operation of a third fire station in the western part of Henderson, with a suggested location of the Dabney Drive and 158 Bypass area.

Henderson is currently served by two fire stations located approximately one mile apart: Station #1 at 211 Dabney Drive and the historic Station #2 at 205 N. Garnett Street in downtown Henderson.

While just the first step in what would most likely be a lengthy process if pursued, Cordell said the study indicated what is needed now, prior to another station being built, is additional personnel.

“We currently have 30 firefighters assigned to shifts and four in administrative positions for a total of 34 certified firefighters. The staffing level has been the same since Station #1 was built on Dabney Drive in 1974. The study advised that we are in need of 12 additional personnel now to be fully staffed on fire engines and fully staffed on ladder truck response.”

Currently, the fire department responds to calls with two fire engines and either a ladder truck or rescue vehicle, depending on the situation, Cordell explained.

Smoke Detector Campaigns

Cordell reported that the City’s current annual smoke detector campaign, which begins anew each November, was 75% completed by the end of December.

“We finished the campaign for three-fourths of the city right before Christmas,” said Cordell. “Now we have the last 25% of the city to reach, so will start working on that again very soon.”

Started in 2009 after a Vance County family lost several of their children to a house fire, firefighters go door-to-door each year offering residents a free home inspection that includes checking for fire hazards, replacing old/broken smoke alarms and replacing batteries on working units.

To assist those in the county, the Henderson Fire Department, in partnership with the American Red Cross, will team up with NC Central University, Vance County’s fire departments and other community volunteers and organizations on Monday, January 20, 2020, for a “county-wide fire inspection canvassing event.”

Tune in live to WIZS Town Talk this Wednesday at 11 a.m. for more information on the county-wide event.

With questions regarding your smoke detector, fire safety or to schedule a time for a free home inspection, please call the Henderson Fire Department at (252) 430-1877.

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

Town Talk 01/13/20: Ed Wilson Talks Vance Co. Board of Education, School Safety


Edward “Ed” Wilson, District 4 representative for the Vance County Board of Education and newly named Board Chair, appeared on WIZS Town Talk Monday at 11 a.m.

Wilson, who is running unopposed in the current election for the District 4 school board seat, discussed recent Vance County Schools (VCS) accomplishments and milestones, including the recognition in November of Dr. Anthony Jackson as the 2020 A. Craig Phillips North Carolina Superintendent of the Year.

“He’s excellent,” Wilson said of Jackson, who has served with VCS since 2015. “I think the results we see and how good the schools are doing speak for themselves. He brought a refreshing look at the school system. He didn’t make big changes early on; he assessed the situation and then went to work. He’s a blessing; we are very fortunate to have Dr. Jackson.”

Stating that Jackson emphasizes appropriate training for all those working with the school system – especially on new initiatives – Wilson reported that VCS is proud to say it was the first in NC to complete the second of two state-offered, week-long school board training sessions in 2019.

For their commitment, the Board received The Gold Bell Award, an honor that recognizes training excellence and commitment during the 2018-2019 North Carolina School Board Association’s Academy Year.

In other VCS news, Wilson discussed the Board’s recent decision to name him Chair, and District 5 representative Linda Cobb Vice Chair, for the 2020 year. Both were voted in unanimously by the Board.

Cobb faces challenger Clementine Hunter for the District 5 seat in the upcoming March 3 Primary. Hunter previously resigned from the District 5 position and Cobb was appointed to the Board.

For the 2020 election, Cobb is running as incumbent and Hunter filed to re-enter the race as the challenger.

The only other school board position that faces opposition is the District 3 seat, where incumbent Dorothy Gooche is running against challenger Sean A. Alston, Sr.

To hear the interview with Wilson in its entirety, including general discussion about school safety and the role of school resource officers, go to and click on Town Talk.

Town Talk 01/09/20: District 3 School Board Challenger Sean A. Alston, Sr. On-Air

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

Sean A. Alston, Sr., candidate for the Vance County School Board, and Jason Spriggs, Alston’s campaign manager and recently elected Henderson City Councilmember, appeared on WIZS Town Talk Thursday at 11 a.m.

Alston is running against incumbent Dorothy Gooche for the District 3 School Board seat in the March 3, 2020, primary.

Sean A. Alston, Sr. (pictured above) is running against incumbent Dorothy Gooche for the District 3 Vance County School Board seat in the March 3, 2020, primary. (WIZS photo)

“I’m running for the school board because I would like to be a bridge between the schools, the families and the teachers,” Alston said. “I want to be a part of a system that is already great.”

As the owner of Atwoz Bail Bonds and a bondsman for 20 years, a full-time student at NC Central University and a volunteer with the school system, Alston said he stays very busy.

“I go to school full-time, work full-time, am a husband full-time and father full-time,” Alston said. “I stay active.”

Alston received his associate degree in Criminal Justice from Vance-Granville Community College, an accounting degree during his time as a Material Control Accounting Specialist while in the military and is currently working towards a bachelor’s degree through Central.

Spriggs, who met Alston while campaigning for City Council, said Alston has what it takes and is making the right moves in his own campaign approach. “Sean is already in the school system. He’s been at the games and sponsoring different events in the school system for years now. He’s already doing the work of someone who cares about the children. Now, he’s trying to take it to a different level.”

Emphasizing his desire to be a bridge between Vance County youth and the board that enacts policy, Alston said, “I want to take my mishaps in life and let the kids know there is more to life than the streets, there is more to life than being a part; you have to make your own path.”

To hear the interview with Alston and Spriggs in its entirety, including discussion on recent events involving the school system, go to and click on Town Talk.

(This is not a paid political advertisement. Incumbent Dorothy Gooche is invited to participate in an interview of equal time with WIZS.)