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TownTalk 4-15-21; Traffic, Pedestrians plus Baseball Umpiring

Thank you for listening to WIZS Radio. Your Community Voice!

TownTalk for 4-15-21

I-85 weird interchanges at all three major exits in Henderson.

Pedestrian dangers.

Plus, a special guest baseball umpire.

Broadcast Audio for TownTalk 4-15-21

TownTalk 4-13-21 NC Medicaid Open Enrollment

Vance County residents enrolled in Medicaid have until May 14 to choose from one of six managed health plans that best suit their needs, and the local Department of Social Services is sponsoring a couple of drive-thru informational events to help in the decision-making.

The first event is scheduled for Friday, April 30, with a second on Friday, May 7, according to DSS Director Denita DeVega.

She and Goldie Davis, income maintenance administrator with DSS, spoke with John C. Rose on Tuesday’s Town Talk. Both events will be held at the DSS offices, located at 350 Ruin Creek Road, Henderson. Times for each day are 10 a.m. to noon and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

DeVega said that, so far, only about 400 of the county’s more than 13,000 Medicaid recipients have chosen a managed care plan. “I’m afraid that people may not be taking it seriously this time.” The process was started last year but ultimately wasn’t approved at the state level. Davis said those who haven’t chosen a health plan by the mid-May deadline will have a plan chosen for them. The new plan goes into effect on July 1, she said.

“One of the advantages of enrolling yourself,” Davis said, “is that you’ll be able to choose the plan that best suits you.” For example, beneficiaries may decide to choose a plan based on which plan their current primary care physician (PCP) is included in, Davis added.

DeVega said the benefits of Medicaid will not change, rather it will be managed more like traditional health care. Medicaid is currently managed by the state, but Medicaid recipients will choose from six managed health care plans to administer their health coverage.

There will be printed information about each of the plans at the drive-thru events so people can read more about what each plan offers before making a decision. DSS is not involved in choosing the health plan for recipients, but the department is providing information and having plan representatives available to answer questions. Each county DSS has a liaison assigned to help people choose the plan that is best for them. Call the toll-free number 833.870.5500 or learn more online at

DeVega and Davis invite the community to come to the drive-thru event if they have questions. “If they’re not sure what to do,” Davis said, “we can assist them in getting the information they need to enroll in the health plan.”

For complete details and audio click play.


Salvation Army

TownTalk 04-12-21; Capt. Derrick Smith, Henderson Salvation Army Service Events

The local Salvation Army is the site for several upcoming activities to benefit the community, from medicine giveaways to summer camp, as well as a donation event Saturday to collect food and personal hygiene items.

The Henderson Rotary Club is partnering with the Salvation Army for the April 17 event as part of its Day of Service; Capt. Derrick Smith of the Henderson Salvation Army – and a Rotarian for almost 20 years – told John C. Rose Monday that this is just one way to spread the word about his organization as it helps the community.

“We’ve had such a tough year,” Smith said, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic. “This is a way for us to work together and build on helping our community in these uncertain times.” Smith said he hopes that many folks will come out to make a donation, from canned foods to pasta, oatmeal to ready-to-eat “pop-top” items and anything in between. And, he said, one of the familiar Salvation Army kettles will be on-site to accept monetary donations. Additional needs include hand sanitizer, throw blankets and toilet paper.

Please bring donations between 9 a.m. and noon to the facility at 2292 Ross Mill Road in Henderson.

Smith said having the Salvation Army be the backdrop for community events gives him the opportunity to share that it’s a church as well. “All donations will go to help those families in need that need us most,” he said.

Make an online donation at

Smith said he is very appreciative of the community’s effort and groups like Rotary to support the Salvation Army, which allows him and his group to fulfill its mission “to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.” Groups such as Rotary with similar missions to help people and place “service over self” makes for a good fit with the Salvation Army.

Smith said folks can register for and pick up a variety of over-the-counter medications that will be distributed on April 30 when NC Medassist comes to town. This free event will be held at the Salvation Army as well, and Smith said collaboration with community organizations like the Henderson-Vance Chamber of Commerce and Triangle North Foundation helped to make this event possible.

“We are honored to host it at our facility,” Smith said. “It will be a huge day for our community” to be able to help people with everything from cough and cold medicines to allergy medications.

An assortment of medications will be available for distribution between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., but event organizers advise registering online at medicines will be given out on a first come, first served basis.

“This is a community effort,” Smith said. “We’re hoping that everybody will participate in some way,” whether it’s to pick up medicines or to volunteer. Volunteers are needed, he said. Sign up at

The Red Shield Club, a summer camp for children ages 6-17, is celebrating its second year. Camp begins on June 14 and runs for nine weeks, Smith said. There is a $25 registration fee and weekly sessions are $60 per week, or $500 for the whole summer. This year’s camp has an Olympics theme, he said, adding that there are opportunities for field trips and other sports activities and arts and crafts to keep campers engaged and interested. He praised staff, parents and campers for their cooperation last year to adhere to pandemic restrictions. If you need a safe place for your children to come to,” the Red Shield Club could be the right fit, he said.

“Our staff has done a phenomenal job of keeping everybody safe – that’s our big thing – safety first,” he said. “We are very pleased to get to a new day of summer camp which we opened up last year.”

Applications are available at the Salvation Army. Call the office at 252.438.7107 to learn more.

For complete details and audio click play.


TownTalk 04-08-21 History Of Franklin Co. with Eric Medlin

Although a native of Creedmoor and Granville County, when Eric Medlin was inspired by a professor at NC State to write a book on a local North Carolina county it wasn’t Granville that he chose to write about but Franklin County. His book, A History of Franklin County North Carolina, has recently been published by Acadia Publishing.

Medlin’s interest in history didn’t begin at the local level. He studied European history at both UNC and NC State. His interest in that particular area of history, however, would change. “Coming out of grad school I decided European History was not where I wanted to go,” Medlin said. He began to take weekend trips throughout North Carolina to visit county courthouses and became interested in the history of North Carolina’s counties. Medlin noted several reasons to write about Franklin County. One reason was because it had been forty years since a book on the county had been written, the beautiful churches in Louisburg and Laurel Mill. According to Medlin, “Franklin County captured my imagination.”

Medlin said the process of writing the first word to the moment it was submitted to the publisher took about a year. With access to the Franklin Times, diaries of families, and access to previous books Medlin was able to pull the book together fairly quickly. Weekends were used to take photographs and he spent numerous days at the state archives office gathering material for this book. “I have no writer’s block,” Medlin said about the writing process.

Medlin said the most difficult decision in writing the book was what to include and what not to include. Earlier books by E. H. Davis and T. H. Pearce focused on different areas of the country history and Medlin wanted to update those earlier works to include more about the post-World War II era including Civil Rights and county’s evolution through the 20th century. He also felt it important to talk about Louisburg writer and poet Edwin Wiley Fuller and Franklin County being the site of the last battle of the Tuscarora war.

When not writing Eric is a Professor of History at Wake Tech. Medlin’s next book project will focus on the history of the North Carolina Furniture industry.

“A History of Franklin County, North Carolina” can be purchased from any local bookseller and online.

For complete details and audio click play.


TownTalk 04-07-21 Juvenile Offenders; Gun Violence

What are some of the steps taken in North Carolina when a juvenile is a suspect or person of interest in a crime?

For one thing, it matters if the crime is a felony and if so what letter.  Felonies are grouped by letters, with letter A, for example, being first degree murder.  A felony with a letter of I, for example, might be a drug crime of some sort.  A second thing that matters is has the juvenile been tried and convicted as an adult before – the once an adult, always an adult law (N.C. G.S. 7B-1604).

North Carolina juvenile delinquency law as of Dec. 1, 2019 looks at ages 6-15 as being juveniles for all offenses and ages 16-17 for all non-motor vehicle offenses as being juveniles.  The exception is – any juvenile with a previous criminal conviction, other than a misdemeanor or infraction motor vehicle offense not involving impaired driving, must be processed as an adult.

How the juvenile may be processed when felony charges are involved and he/she is 16 or 17 years old follows a bit of a flow chart as well.  An A-G felony with a finding of probable cause or return of bill of indictment results in a mandatory transfer to superior court.  An H-I felony with a finding of probably cause results in a discretionary transfer to superior court.

The “Raise the Age” Initiative, an NC Legislature-passed law, raised the age of juvenile jurisdiction for nonviolent crimes to age 18 effective December 1, 2019.

In March of 2019, District Attorney Mike Waters told WIZS TownTalk the change would significantly increase the juvenile court workload as the majority of 16 and 17-year-olds, currently tried automatically as adults in NC, will be tried as juveniles when the law goes into effect.

Under the new law, exceptions exist for 16 and 17-year-olds who commit felonies that are classified as A-D – including murder, robbery and burglary – in addition to DWI and other traffic offenses, firearm charges and gang-related offenses.

“North Carolina is one of the last two states in the nation to charge 16-year-olds as adults,” Waters said at the time in 2019. “I want to reassure the public that, under the new law, the DA’s office will have the discretion to prosecute juveniles that commit serious crimes as adults.”

As for the reason behind raising the age limit for juvenile prosecutions, Waters said research and statistics make a compelling case.

“Research shows that many 16 and 17-year-olds that get involved in the court system may not get involved with it again. Tracking someone forever and giving them a record at a young age creates a certain outcome. Also, 16 and 17-year-olds are not thinking the same way that 18, 19 and 21-year-olds are thinking.”

If you follow the suspect, warrant, arrest pattern for adults, those 18 and over, it is just that.  First a suspect with warrant issued for arrest, or arrested on-view with the State as complainant, then appearing before a magistrate and being charged and detained or bonded or released — in the most simple of terms.

Also in broad terms, once a juvenile is taken into custody, then juvenile services comes and a decision is made on whether to transport the juvenile to a secure facility.  The juvenile is granted a probable cause hearing and the decision about being transferred to superior court is made.

For the Wednesday, April 7, 2021 broadcast of TownTalk, hosts John C. Rose and Bill Harris discussed juvenile offenders and gun violence in the local area and nation.

<This is a news article.  This is not legal advice.>

For complete details and audio click play.


Kerr Tar Regional Council of Governments

TownTalk 04-01-21 Powerful Tools For Caregivers Classes

Family members who find themselves caring for a loved one – especially those caring for someone with a chronic health condition – often need to find ways to cope with the stress that comes along with the care they give.

A virtual workshop called Powerful Tools for Caregivers, sponsored by the Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments, is designed especially to show caregivers how to care for themselves, according to Susan Tucker, evidence-based health care coordinator for Kerr-Tar COG. She and Austin Caton, family caregiver support specialist, spoke with John C. Rose on Thursday’s Town Talk about the workshop and some suggestions and strategies it offers.

The first of the 6-session workshops will be on Tuesday, April 20, from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. A second 6-session workshop begins on Tuesday, May 6, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Contact Tucker at 252.436.2040 to learn more or sign up for the class.

It’s different if you’re caring for someone with the flu or a broken leg, which are short-term conditions – there’s an end in sight. The flu will run its course, the broken leg will mend. But someone caring for a family member – unusually unpaid – must deal with extra challenges.

Tucker said the workshop is for “anyone who is providing care for a chronically ill loved one. No matter how that takes shape – whether it’s a child caring for an aging parent or whether it’s a parent caring for their disabled child.” She said many family members often provide unpaid care, and this workshop will offer strategies that support the well-being – physical and mental – of the person who provides the care.

For complete details and audio click play.

Caton said previous participants have appreciated learning techniques to reduce stress and anxiety, as well as learning about how caregiving stresses the body.

“One of the unique things about this program is geared toward the caregiver, but it’s not just a checklist,” he said. Participants receive concrete strategies to implement to “alleviate some of these symptoms, both physically and mentally.”

As a caregiver herself, Tucker said the class was recommended to her. She completed the class and said she was eager to share it with others who found themselves in a similar situation. All caregivers get overwhelmed at one point or another, she said, and that’s when they reach out for help. “Don’t wait until you’re at the end of your rope,” she said. The Powerful Tools class can help prevent that from happening, she said. “It’s not just the what to do, it’s the how to do it.”

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Caton would visit homes, conduct assessments and provide support to caregivers who had questions about everything from dementia support groups and mobility issues to navigating Medicaid and locating other resources to help the family member being cared for.

But there is little information about just exactly how a caregiver is supposed to take care of himself or herself, Tucker said. This class will guide participants through the process of learning how to provide self-care while being a caregiver to someone else.

“This class is about you, caregivers. It’s not about what you have to do, it’s not about the person you’re caring for, it’s all about you. There aren’t many things out there for us caregivers that feel that way, but this one feels that way because it IS that way,” Tucker said.

TownTalk 03-29-21; Pastor Frank Sossamon Retiring from SHPHC

The Rev. Frank Sossamon knows precisely where he was on the last Sunday of June, 1985. He was preaching his first sermon as pastor of South Henderson Pentecostal Holiness Church. This Sunday – Easter Sunday – he will preach his final sermon as senior pastor to a congregation he has served for almost 36 years.

He may be retiring from the pulpit, but Sossamon is not planning on slowing down any time soon. He reflected on his tenure at South Henderson on Town Talk Monday, and talked with John C. Rose about his plans for the future.

His son John F. Sossamon II runs Sossamon Funeral Home in Henderson and Sossamon said he looked forward to working more with the funeral home, providing services to help families grieving the loss of a loved one, “not just at the time, but throughout the duration of their difficulty,” he said.

Being able to work with his son will be very rewarding, Sossamon said. He said he would be available to offer grief counseling through the funeral home services. “We’re not just in the business of burying the dead,” he said, adding that he wants families to know that they will be supported before, during and after a loved one has died.  “We want to help you through your time of grief and sorrow…help you through a hard and tough situation.”

He and his wife, Vickie, also plan to do some traveling and it was important to him to be able to retire in good health to be able to travel. He’ll be 67 in October, which he admits is “not old, but it’s still retirement age.” He said he’s seen others keep pushing back retirement dates over and over and then not be healthy enough to enjoy their time once they are retired.

Sossamon said it’s also healthy for the church to have new leadership. “It’s a good time…to have a change of leadership after almost 36 years,” he said, “someone else to create vision and direction and move the church to even a higher level of ministry and productivity in the community.”

A new pastor certainly will have big shoes to fill. Sossamon said there already is a pastoral search committee in place to work with the church conference to receive and review resumes of prospective pastors. This committee will interview candidates, then select one to preach a trial sermon, after which the candidate will be introduced to the congregation.

Then comes a vote to determine whether to call the candidate as the new pastor.

Sossamon spent eight years as a pastor in Marion, NC before he came to Henderson. Since his arrival, he has been involved in local activities and the church has presented musical programs which proved to be very popular in the larger community. He said he would be happy to keep a relationship with the church and its new pastor to be engaged and involved however he’s asked.

He said he may always be seen first as a pastor, and that’s ok. “I want to be Frank Sossamon all the time,” he said. He may encounter someone in the grocery store who needs to discuss an issue with him, he said. “I really cannot fully get away from being a pastor and I don’t mind talking to individuals during those times.”

One very rewarding aspect of being a pastor at one church for so long is seeing youngsters grow and develop in their faith and ultimately assume leadership roles in the church, Sossamon said.

The congregation celebrated Sossamon on Sunday during the morning service and again in the evening in a show of appreciation. He said he was glad to be the preacher at Sunday’s service. Easter Sunday “is such a monumental Sunday at the church – at all Christian churches,” Sossaman explained. This year, however, the first Sunday in April will be remembered not only as Easter Sunday, but also the day Sossamon delivered his “farewell” sermon.

TownTalk with Frank Sossamon Broadcast Audio


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TownTalk 03-25-21 Covid Vaccinations For First Responders

Thank you for listening to WIZS Radio, Your Community Voice!

Continued discussion about covid vaccine availability to first responders such as EMS, Fire, Police, Deputies and Highway Patrol.

TownTalk Broadcast for 3-25-21.

H-V Chamber Logo

TownTalk 03-23-21: H-V Chamber Advances will help with Human Resources

The newly formed Human Resources Council, a program of the Henderson-Vance Chamber of Commerce, will have its first meeting on Thursday, Mar. 25 at 1 p.m. There’s still time to register to participate in the virtual meeting, according to Chamber President Michele Burgess.

Burgess said the council, which falls under the chamber’s business growth and development division, will bring together human resources professionals from a variety of businesses and industry to network, problem-solve and share ideas. The council will meet monthly, she said, and will feature guest speakers.

The purpose of the council is “to help our members grow and to help them solve problems that they’re losing sleep over at night,” Burgess told John C. Rose on Tuesday’s Town Talk. Until the group can gather in person again – which Burgess hopes it will be able to do by the fall – virtual meetings can help connect area human resources professionals to one another. And this, she said, will build relationships as well as a network for sharing ideas and helping solve HR problems.

One of the challenges that businesses, both large and small, face in the Vance County area is finding employees to fill job openings, Burgess said. These days, besides asking for information about COVID-19 related loans and grants, the Chamber fields calls from companies wondering how and where to find good employees. “That’s really how the whole human resources council came to be,” she said. “It really started even before COVID,” she said, adding that she hopes through strengthening relationships with the public school system and VGCC, the talent pool and workforce development can improve for area business and industry.

Thursday’s speaker is Cherrelle Lawrence, dean of corporate learning and professional development at Vance-Granville Community College. The topic is “Investing in Talent.” Lawrence, who also serves as dean of VGCC’s Franklin campus, will kick off the council gathering with an overview of topics related to human resources. “I’m excited for my business members to hear her,” Burgess said. “She is really dynamic and full of energy!”

TownTalk Podcast with Michele Burgess.

The HR Council will serve to inform human resource officers and managers in local businesses about innovative programs including specific training, apprenticeships and internships offered in the community, she said. “We like being involved,” Burgess said of the Chamber, “but we also like to share with our other partners like VGCC’s Small Business Center, local economic development commission and other entities that attract new business.

“We feel like the workforce issue is very important at this particular time,” Burgess continued. “We want to keep our local businesses here and operating (and) workforce pool is key to that,” she said. “We realize (at the Chamber) that we can’t do everything. But getting people employed and helping our industry” is a top priority.

The Chamber’s business growth and development division is co-chaired Chamber members by Brian Williams, account manager at Temperature Control Solutions, and Stephanie Hoyle, broker associate with Century 21 Country Knolls Realty.

To learn more or to register for the Thursday meeting, email or call 252.438.8414.