Granville County Tourism

Town Talk 09/24/20: Location, Array of Activities Credited for Granville’s Increased Tourism Dollars

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Angela Allen, director of the Granville County Tourism Development Authority, appeared on WIZS’ Town Talk Thursday at 11 a.m.

Allen discussed the recent announcement that visitor spending in Granville County for 2019 represented an increase of 4.5 percent over the previous year.

According to the annual study by Visit North Carolina, a part of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, visitor spending in Granville totaled $54.79 million last year, compared to the $52.44 million reported in 2018.

“I’m very pleased about last year and the things we were able to do to bring in visitors,” said Allen. “I go back to the same basic things that attract people to our area, including our proximity to the Triangle and our laid-back, family atmosphere.”

According to a recent press release, visitor spending in Granville County has seen a steady increase over the past decade – from $37 million reported in 2010 to approximately $55 million in 2019.

Allen attributes the increase in visitor spending to the local economic growth seen in the opening of new restaurants and retail establishments, the expansion of outdoor trail and park opportunities and the County’s new ‘Uniquely Carolina’ marketing campaign.

Acknowledging that the COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting restrictions will affect tourism spending for the foreseeable future, Allen said recent reports of increased visitors at the NC coast and mountains left her feeling hopeful about what she called the “filtering” of tourism dollars.

“The beaches and the mountains are our guinea pigs at this point,” Allen explained. “If people feel safe enough to go to those types of areas, then I think it will trickle down to people being more apt to go back to their rural areas and even some urban areas. I’m looking at it as a positive thing because at least people are getting out.”

To learn more, visit or contact Allen by phone at (919) 693-6125 or by email at

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

Vance County NC

Town Talk 09/23/20: Historian Tem Blackburn Talks Local History


In a rebroadcast from the June 24, 2020, edition of WIZS’ Town Talk, George Templeton “Tem” Blackburn II, local historian, discussed the important role Richard Henderson played in the expansion of the American West. Henderson was a member of one of the first families to settle in the local area.

While officially chartered by the North Carolina General Assembly in 1841, the city, named in honor of former North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Leonard Henderson, son of Richard Henderson, was home to the Henderson family approximately one hundred years prior.

Unlike many areas of the country that experienced settlement from east to west, Blackburn explained the local area had a principal settlement pattern of north to south.

The Henderson family, including a young Richard, was the first among several planter families that relocated from the area near Richmond, VA in the 1740s, according to Blackburn. Other families, including the Bullocks and Williams, soon followed suit.

Richard Henderson, whose father Samuel was the first sheriff of Granville County, became a lawyer with an interest in opening the lands west of the Appalachian Mountains.

Blackburn said Richard Henderson, with ties to pioneer Daniel Boone, ultimately gained the approval of the Cherokee Nation for a settlement through the Cumberland Gap into what is now Kentucky and Northern Tennessee.

While no major battles were fought in NC during the American Revolutionary or Civil War, and no prominent generals originated from the state, Blackburn said the local connection to the westward expansion of the country is of great historical significance.

“Before the Revolution, there was the opening of the American West,” Blackburn stated. “Richard Henderson played a key role in that. That gives our area a claim to say we are connected with the most significant event in NC history, which is tied to the larger history of the nation.”

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

Hungry Heroes

Town Talk 09/22/20: Hungry Heroes Feeds Henderson Fire Station, Police Dept. (Pics)

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Amanda Riggan, founder of the nationally recognized Hungry Heroes, appeared on WIZS’ Town Talk Tuesday at 11 a.m.

Riggan’s organization was in Henderson today to feed personnel at Henderson Fire Station #1 on Dabney Drive from 12 to 1 p.m. and officers at the Henderson Police Department from 1 to 2 p.m. The separate events were keeping in line with COVID restrictions, according to Riggan.

As a Traeger Grills ambassador, Riggan said she is usually the one doing the cooking, but was excited to partner with Skipper Forsyth’s Bar-B-Q who catered the meal of chicken, pulled pork and sides.

Based out of York County, SC, Riggan founded Hungry Heroes in January 2018 after an ambush on four police officers in her community prompted her to give back to those who protect the public.

“Three officers were shot and one died in the line of duty, Mike Doty. I started praying and asking ‘how can I give back? How can I show them appreciation?’ I kept praying and asking ‘how can I physically help?’ The Lord laid it on my heart to just go feed them, go cook for them.”

Riggan said feeding police officers, firefighters, EMS, dispatchers, military personnel and veterans is what she has been doing ever since.

What started as cooking for public safety personnel in and around her SC community turned into a nationwide venture after a video of Riggan, a full-time FedEx driver, went viral.

In the video, available for view on the Hungry Heroes website at, Riggan shares her experience praying for a woman on her delivery route and urged viewers to “move their feet” when they feel called on to offer assistance in some way.

“That video launched Hungry Heroes nationwide,” explained Riggan. “We’ve now been to Illinois, Indiana, Utah and Texas. We’ve also partnered with the USO for each military branch.”

Hungry Heroes and Riggan have also been featured on The Steve Harvey Show and have served meals to country music stars Luke Combs, Cody Johnson, Travis Tritt and their crews.

With all the media attention, Riggan said she is glad to give back to the small town that many of her family members – including parents and grandparents – call home.

“For the past 30 years, I’ve come to Henderson for every holiday. Henderson has always been near and dear to my heart. My grandma use to come to South Carolina and help us serve, so I know both of my grandmothers would be super proud we are here today serving in their community,” Riggan stated.

Riggan called on the help of Vance-Granville Community College Fire Technology Coordinator Randy Owen, a friend to many of her family members, for assistance in planning today’s meals.

Owen said it was an honor to work with Riggan to bring this event to fruition. “The work Amanda does is just amazing to me. I know from experience, because I worked for the Henderson Fire Department for ten years, that a free meal brings everybody together to relax, and that is very important to public safety personnel.”

For more on Riggan’s mission, please visit and/or the Hungry Heroes’ Facebook page (click here).

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

(Photos courtesy Randy Owen)

Paws, Tails and Boots

Town Talk 09/21/20: Veterans Dog Walk Raises Mental Health Awareness

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Mark Ferri, veteran and Vance County Animal Shelter volunteer, appeared on WIZS’ Town Talk Monday at 11 a.m.

Ferri announced that a “Paws, Tails and Boots” Veterans Dog Walk will be held at the Vance County Animal Shelter, 1243 Brodie Rd. in Henderson, on Saturday, September 26, 2020, from 9 to 11 a.m.

Founded by Ferri in 2016, the program raises awareness of the mental health issues faced by veterans and first responders.

“When you have somebody who is stressed out and nervous with a lot of anxiety, sometimes that can be subdued by other means,” said Ferri. “One of them is interacting with an animal who is also stressed out or depressed, and somehow it works out where you both heal each other.”

The public is welcome, with veterans, first responders and their families strongly encouraged to attend. Participants will walk and interact with selected shelter dogs in an effort to provide companionship and trust-building activities.

Service animals are welcome; however, participants are asked to leave other pets at home.

Ferri said he enjoys the camaraderie of these events. “It has been a pleasure to work with these animals and talk to veterans and first responders. These men and women are out there doing a great job, working and doing their day-to-day thing. If they can get a little helping hand from time to time, it’s a good thing.”

For more information on the Vance County Animal Shelter and its services, please visit

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

(Photos courtesy Mark Ferri)

Vance Co. Regional Farmers Market

Town Talk 09/21/20: VCRFM to Hold Season’s Final Twilight Market; Fall Hours Begin Oct. 3

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Tracy Madigan, market manager for the Vance County Regional Farmers Market (VCRFM), appeared on WIZS Town Talk Monday at 11 a.m.

Madigan discussed the winding down of the summer season and the beginning of fall/winter hours on October 3. The market will be open for its last Wednesday of the season on September 23 from 7:30 a.m. until 1 p.m.

Beginning Saturday, October 3, the VCRFM will be open on Saturdays only from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. The final day of the 2020 season will be December 5.

VCRFM requires all vendors and customers to wear face coverings/masks. Pre-orders and curbside pickup will remain available throughout the season.

On Tuesday, September 29, VCRFM will hold a special Twilight Market from 3 until 6:30 p.m. Drawings for gift certificates to Franklin Brothers Nursery will be held courtesy JASM Farms and Franklin Brothers.


Late summer produce is still available including yellow squash, zucchini, tomatoes, corn (get there early), figs, string beans, peas, butterbeans, watermelons and cantaloupes.

Just in: cabbages, butternut squash, beets, radishes, turnips, Scuppernong grapes, apples and peppers.

Coming soon: salad greens and collards.

Vendors with pasture-raised beef, pork and free-range hen eggs will also be on-site.

In addition, you will find a variety of canned vegetables, pickles, chow-chow, sauces, local honey and baked goods.

Remaining 2020 Market Schedule:

Wednesday, September 23 ~ 7:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Saturday, September 26 ~ 7:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Twilight Market
Tuesday, September 29 ~ 3 – 6:30 p.m.

October 3 – December 5
Saturdays ~ 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Handcrafted Holiday Market (pending approval; subject to change based on COVID)
Saturday, November 21 ~ 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.

The Vance County Regional Farmers Market is located at 210 Southpark Dr. in Henderson, NC.

Market Manager: Tracy Madigan (252) 598-0814
Extension Agent: Paul McKenzie (252) 438-8188

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

(This is not a paid advertisement – photos courtesy Tracy Madigan)


Town Talk 09/16/20: Mentality Large Part of Litter Problem; Adopt-A-Highway May Help

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WIZS Town Talk host John Charles Rose discussed roadside trash and what he thinks of those that litter on Wednesday’s edition of Town Talk at 11 a.m.

Specifically, Rose mentioned Graham Avenue in Henderson, an area, he said, that is well-kept around the business portion near Ruin Creek Road but has issues with roadside debris and uncut grass just a short distance away.

In a drive through the area recently, Rose said he was dismayed by the litter in a location that serves as a gateway to the city, but was also encouraged by the community service witnessed in a recognized acquaintance.

“Here’s this great man on the side of the road [picking up trash]. Bob Fleming, I saw you out there yesterday. Thanks for what you’re doing. I’m sorry you’ve got to do it. Thanks for being strong for your community.”

Short of changing the mentality of those that litter, Rose said the best solution may be local groups, organizations and individuals working together on litter cleanups through the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Adopt-A-Highway program.

Established in 1988 in response to growing concern about roadway trash and debris, the NCDOT asks volunteer groups to commit at least four years of volunteer service to a two-mile stretch of roadway. Litter cleanups happen at least four times a year, and sometimes more frequently on heavily-traveled roads.

According to the NCDOT website, Adopt-A-Highway volunteers must be at least 12 years old. Children ages 12-17 must be supervised by an adult who is at least 21.

Participants are provided with safety training, safety vests and trash bags.

To volunteer with Adopt-A-Highway, interested groups should first use the litter management map to determine roadway availability and then request a segment when submitting their application online or by mail.

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

Shop With A Cop

Town Talk 09/15/20: 5th Annual ‘Shop With A Cop’ Fundraiser Kicks Off Next Week!


Henderson Police Chief Marcus Barrow, Henderson-Vance Chamber of Commerce President Michele Burgess and Chamber Events Coordinator Sandra Wilkerson appeared on WIZS’ Town Talk Tuesday at 11 a.m.

The community leaders discussed the 5th Annual “Shop With a Cop” fundraiser and event, a collaboration of the Henderson-Vance Chamber of Commerce, the Henderson Police Department and the Vance County Sheriff’s Office. The presenting sponsor is Maria Parham Health, with Toyota of Henderson serving as gold sponsor and Union Bank serving as silver sponsor.

Following the format of previous years, Wilkerson explained that 180 envelopes marked with dollar amounts from $1 to $180 are sold to participating businesses, organizations and community members. When all envelopes are sold, local law enforcement will receive $5,000 to take a group of Vance County’s disadvantaged youth Christmas shopping at Walmart.

The H-V Chamber also benefits from the fundraiser’s proceeds by using the remaining funds to initiate new programs and enhance value to Chamber member businesses, said Burgess.

Barrow said the bond formed between the children and law enforcement officers extends beyond the shopping day itself. “It forms some lasting relationships; the kids remember us and we remember them. It gives us the opportunity to get to know some of the parents. It also helps bridge some of the gaps we see.”

Vance County Sheriff Curtis Brame was unavailable for the Town Talk segment but did indicate in a separate written statement to WIZS that he is “honored to participate in such a worthy cause.”

While all law enforcement officers enjoy the experience each year, Barrow said no one has a better time than the sheriff. “I think Curtis gets more excited than anybody else – sometimes more than the kids. The sheriff was the life of the party last year. If you don’t know him, you should, but I think almost everyone in Vance County does know him.”

In addition to bringing joy to local children, contributors will have their name entered into a drawing for cash prizes. Those donating $1-$40 will be entered to win $200; $41-$80 will be entered to win $500; $81-$120 will be entered to win $1,000. Those contributing $121-$180 will be eligible for the grand prize of $2,000.

MPH CEO Bert Beard told WIZS that the hospital serves as the presenting sponsor of the annual fundraiser in support of the community’s overall health. “At Maria Parham Health, we recognize our mission of making communities healthier extends beyond providing care at our hospital and clinic sites. This ideal is no more evident than in our partnership with law enforcement and the Chamber to benefit our youth through Shop with a Cop.”

The kick-off for this year’s event will be held on Tuesday, September 22 at 10 a.m. in the Maria Parham Health Rehab Center Board Room. After the official kick-off, tickets will be available for purchase through October 27. With questions or to purchase tickets, please stop by the H-V Chamber office located at 414 S. Garnett St. in downtown Henderson or call (252) 438-8414.

“It’s a simple fundraiser, but the benefits are massive,” said Burgess. “The end result is incredible when you see the kids and know that they are going to have a wonderful holiday season.”

Next week, WIZS will talk to additional “Shop With A Cop” participants on Town Talk including representatives from the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, Vance County Department of Social Services, Vance County Animal Services and the Vance-Granville Community College Police Department.

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

Kerr Tar Workforce and NCWorks

Town Talk 09/14/20: NCWorks Opens New Location at VGCC’s Warren Co. Campus

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Monica Satterwhite, center manager for the NCWorks Career Center, and Lou Grillo, interim workforce development director with Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments, appeared on WIZS’ Town Talk Monday at 11 a.m.

Satterwhite discussed the recent relocation of Warren County’s NCWorks Center to Vance-Granville Community College’s Warren County Campus. The new office, which held a ribbon-cutting last week, is located in Building One, Room 1106. The phone number remains (252) 257-3230.

NCWorks Career Centers offer residents job opportunities by matching marketable skills with available employment opportunities.

While in-person services are available, especially for those in need of access to a computer, Satterwhite said the majority of services can be done virtually at this time. Online services include resume building, career assessments, workshops, hiring events and more.

“We are really happy that Vance-Granville was willing to host us, and we’re looking forward to working with the community to help everyone find the jobs that they need,” said Satterwhite.

Satterwhite recommends participants complete a skills assessment to gauge their strengths and determine how they match up with available job opportunities.

Current in-demand jobs include those in the field of manufacturing, health and life sciences, IT and construction.

Grillo, whose agency works to initiate contact between partners such as NCWorks and VGCC, said one particular service – on-the-job training – can be especially beneficial to employee and employer alike.

“Every employer wants to hire the 10-out-of-10 worker, but sometimes you have a person that has the right education but doesn’t have the work experience yet,” said Grillo. “The on-the-job training program allows the person to have an opportunity they wouldn’t have been given before. The company actually gets the incentive of having that person’s wages subsidized up to a six-month period where we can sometimes pay from 50-75 percent of that person’s wages while they learn the job.”

Satterwhite explained that NCWorks can match participants with jobs from a wide range of areas and is not limited to the county of its physical office location. In addition to its new Warren County location, NCWorks offers in-person services locally in Vance and Granville County.

The Vance County office is located at 857 S. Beckford Drive in Henderson and is available by appointment by calling (252) 438-6129.

The Granville County office is located at 111 Hilltop Village in Oxford and is available by appointment by calling (919) 693-2686.

For more information, please visit or the NCWorks Career Center-Kerr Tar Facebook page.

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