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McGregor Hall’s Popularity Continues to Grow, Study to Determine Economic Impact

While the next step in the Embassy Cultural Center Foundation’s quest to conduct an economic impact study of the McGregor Hall Performing Arts Center on Henderson and the surrounding area is likely a formality, what is needed now is a contract with N.C. State University’s Department of Public Administration and its respective professors.

WIZS News conversations with Vance County Commission Chair Tommy Hester, who seems to have been the visible spearhead of this particular effort, reveal that the $17,500 to fund the study has been obtained by private, anonymous donation(s).

According to NC State representatives, the completion time for the study is estimated at four months, with the project to begin on January 7, 2019, and the final report to be submitted by May 6, 2019.  Dr. Bruce McDonald and Tom White from NC State came to Henderson October 8, 2018, to discuss McGregor Hall and its impact, to learn more about the facility and to spur still more progression in the team of people, volunteers and the community at large that is supporting the facility.

The recent local production of “Beauty and the Beast” has resulted in additional widespread publicity for McGregor Hall. (Photo: WIZS)

The recent local production of “Beauty and the Beast” has resulted in additional widespread publicity for McGregor Hall for a number of reasons.  The collective local and regional talent in the show and the sheer volume of people who attended the six public performances as well as additional school performances and side events exceeded 6,500 patrons.

Mark Hopper, Vice Chair of the Board for the Embassy Cultural Center Foundation and McGregor Hall, directed the play and directed the full orchestra as well.  In a recent conversation with WIZS’ John C. Rose, Hopper said, “We are a community and economic organization first and foremost, and it’s exciting that citizens are starting to share our vision for what we can accomplish.  Next spring, we have 11 weekends booked for regional and national dance competitions. That means that 700-900 people will arrive on Friday afternoon and stay through Sunday afternoon, with all of them eating in Vance County restaurants, lodging in Vance County motels, and putting Henderson on the map. It’s a very exciting time for McGregor Hall.”

Vance County Middle & High School Win First Place in State Video Contest

-Press Release, Vance County Schools

Vance County High School and Vance County Middle School each won first-place trophies in the N.C. School Boards Association State Conference video contests for schools across the state during the organization’s annual event held at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro, November 12 – 14.

Vance County High School theater arts students, under the direction of their teacher Samantha Campbell, accepted their award during the evening of November 13. They went on stage in the Guilford Ballroom and patiently waited for the top video selection to be announced. Hoke County High School received the third-place trophy and A.L. Brown High School finished second.

N.C. School Boards Association officials present the first-place trophy and $3,000 check to Vance County High School students, starting third from left to the right, Jaida Lewis, Kahlil Kingsberry, Arianna Long and Isaac Bell McLean. (Photo Credit: VCS)

Accepting the award for the Vance County High Vipers were Jaida Lewis, Arianna Long, Kahlil Kingsberry and Isaac Bell McLean. Lewis made comments on behalf of her fellow students and her school. She thanked everyone who supported them and worked with students to produce the video. A special thanks went to Campbell and to Destiny Ross, a technology and curriculum specialist with the school system, who led the development of the award-winning video

At the end of her comments, Lewis noted, “We are all Vance County Proud!”

Vance County High School received a handsome trophy and a check for $3,000 as the first-place winner in the competition, which included impressive video entries from approximately 30 high schools across North Carolina.

The Vance County Middle School Jaguars were awarded first place in the middle school video competition during awards recognitions held on November 12. Darlynn Oxendine, chairperson of the Vance County Board of Education, accepted the trophy and a $100 gift certificate on behalf of the school and its students. There were over 50 entries in the middle school video competition, with the Jaguars’ entry selected as the best.

Both of the schools’ videos were about 60 seconds in length and followed the theme “What is Super about Public Schools.”

Darlynn Oxendine, chairperson of the Vance County Board of Education, center, accepts the first-place trophy on behalf of Vance County Middle School at the N.C. School Boards Association State Conference from NCSBA officials Minnie Forte-Brown, left, and Paige Sayles. (Photo Credit: VCS)

The Vance County High School video features the music of the popular song “This Is How We Do It” with new words and singing done by students at the school. Led by the theater arts students, the video shows a variety of locations and classes within the high school and includes a large number of students and some school staff. The video has lots of energy, bright colors and a good variety of classroom and outdoor scenes, with the words written by the students scrolling across the bottom of the screen

The Vance County Middle School video follows a “Star Wars” type of theme and has a futuristic look. With student narration, background music and lots of impressive special effects, the video explores the future look of public schools. It also features different students shown in areas throughout the middle school.

Edward Ortega, now the assistant principal at both L.B. Yancey and Pinkston Street elementary schools, led the efforts to produce the middle school video. He was assisted by teachers and administrators at the school, as well as having great cooperation and participation by students.

The Vance County Middle School and Vance County High School students and educators who produced the videos will be honored by the Vance County Board of Education at its meeting on Monday, November 19, beginning at 7 p.m. in the school system’s Administrative Services Center.

Baker Tapped as Publisher for High Point Newspaper

-Information courtesy The Daily Dispatch and Paxton Media Group

Henderson native Nancy Baker will assume the role of publisher at The High Point Enterprise upon the retirement of publisher Rick Bean.

Baker joined Paxton Media Group and the newspaper industry in 1995 as business manager of The Daily Dispatch. In 2004, she became business manager of The High Point Enterprise, and in 2011 was named Regional Controller for the division that consists of 12 newspapers throughout North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia. Baker will continue to serve in this role in addition to assuming the publisher duties.

“I’m honored and excited to become publisher of The Enterprise,” Baker said. “We have a great leadership team and staff. High Point is in a transformational period of its history and I’m looking forward to contributing to the community however I can. This newspaper has a long history of excellence that we have every intention of continuing.”

Henderson native Nancy Baker will assume the role of publisher at The High Point Enterprise upon the retirement of publisher Rick Bean. (Photo Credit: The Daily Dispatch)

Locally-Based Gifted Faithful Ministries Assisting Orphans in India

-Information and photo courtesy Pastor Mike Holland, Gifted Faithful Ministries

Mike Holland, pastor of Gifted Faithful Ministries, is currently in India for a month to assist groups that house and care for orphans with sustainability projects.

“We have missions in Mexico City caring for and feeding homeless children there and are partners with several in India, one being a boy’s home,” said Holland. “I have spent a month helping with sustainability projects, as well as traveling and preaching throughout northern India.”

Gifted Faithful Ministries, based in Warren County, also assists people in crisis locally and throughout the country. “We help people in crisis locally, provide emergency housing when needed and are deeply involved with the Henderson Men’s Shelter. We also support several storm crisis events in NC and other states – such as Texas and Florida – and reach globally,” Holland said.

Speaking of global reach, Holland is glad that he can stay up-to-date on local news by tuning in to WIZS’ Town Talk program online from India. “It is pretty amazing that I can listen to Town Talk in a remote desert halfway around the world!”

For more information on the efforts of Gifted Faithful Ministries, please visit their website at www.giftedfaithful.org

Mike Holland, pastor of the Warren County-based Gifted Faithful Ministries, shown here with residents of a boy’s home in India (Photo Credit: Mike Holland)

Chief Cordell Reminds Public to Stay Vigilant With Winter Fire Safety

With winter weather right around the corner and fall days that have seemed a bit chillier than normal, now is a great time to make sure your home is protected against fire dangers and carbon monoxide poisoning.

According to Henderson Fire Chief Steve Cordell, the number one way to prevent fires during the winter months is to use proper heating techniques. “If you use a space heater, for example, make sure it is UL approved and keep a minimum of 36 inches of clearance around the heater at all times.”

Carbon monoxide poisoning is also a concern, especially when warming the home with kerosene heaters. “Your home must be properly ventilated when heating with kerosene to avoid issues with carbon monoxide,” said Cordell.

Known as the “silent killer,” carbon monoxide is highly dangerous due to its odorless, colorless, tasteless and non-irritating nature. Carbon monoxide detectors are available at most home improvement stores and could literally mean the difference between life and death.

To help identify potential issues with heating methods and fire risks, the Henderson Fire Department conducts an annual smoke detector and battery inspection program each year.

Started in 2009 after a Vance County family lost several children to a house fire, Captain Lee Edmonds said the door-to-door home inspection program is “a good opportunity to check houses and smoke detectors to make sure everything is working properly.”

The inspection, which begins anew each November following Fire Prevention Month in October, is free of charge to Henderson residents. “We put new batteries in smoke detectors, replace old smoke detectors and install smoke detectors in places that did not previously have them,” said Edmonds.

The department recommends that every home have at least one working smoke detector per floor. “You want at least one on each floor,” said Cordell. “Ideally, you should have one on each hallway and above each bedroom door.”

For more information on the free smoke detector program or to have your home inspected, please call Captain Edmonds at (252) 430-1877.

H-V Chamber Members Encouraged to Register Now for Christmas Social

-Information courtesy the Henderson-Vance County Chamber of Commerce’s Sept./Oct. “Focus” Newsletter

The Eleventh Annual Chamber Christmas Social will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, November 29, 2018, at Henderson Country Club.

For the eleventh consecutive year, Chamber member CPA firms will sponsor this holiday mixer for the enjoyment of all Chamber member businesses. Organized by Chamber staff, the event is sponsored by Holden, Moss, Knott, Clark and Copley, PA; William L. Stark & Company; Phillips, Dorsey, Thomas, Waters and Brafford, PA; Danny W. Wright, CPA, PLLC; William D. Hoyle, CPA, PLLC and Robert D. Herford, CPA.

Come and enjoy delicious heavy hors-d’oeuvres, a cash bar, other beverages and social networking with other local area business professionals. Mark your calendar now for this event and contact the Chamber to register at 252-438-8414 or [email protected] by Monday, November 26.

Maria Parham Volunteer Services Announces “In the Bag” Handbag Sale

-Information courtesy Lisa Radford, Volunteer Coordinator, Maria Parham Health

Volunteer Services of Maria Parham Health announces their November “In the Bag” handbag sale will be held in the John T. Church classroom of Maria Parham in Henderson on Wednesday, November 14 from 7 a.m to 4 p.m. and Thursday, November 15 from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Save 30% – 60% off regular retail price on brand name designer handbags, briefcases, luggage, wallets, mini bags and small leather goods. Brands include Nine West, Elliot Lucca, Nicole Miller, MK, The Sak, Ivanka Trump and more.

(This is not a paid advertisement)

Mark Your Holiday Calendar for Cookies & Milk With Santa

-Information courtesy Tara Goolsby, Henderson-Vance Recreation and Parks Facilities Supervisor, Aycock Recreation Center

Mark your calendars for “Cookies & Milk with Santa” at the Aycock Rec. Center, 307 Carey Chapel Rd., Henderson, on Saturday, December 15, 2018, from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m.

Enjoy free cookies and milk, make a holiday ornament and visit with Santa. Don’t forget to bring your camera to photograph your child with Santa!

For more information, please call Crystal Allen at (252) 431-6091 or email [email protected]

Free Pencil Giveaway Continues at Rebuilding Hope, Inc.

-Information courtesy Rebuilding Hope, Inc.

And Now, 1,000 Pencils to Give Away; Going, Going …

Since we first announced that we had 4,000 pencils to give away, the quantity has shrunk to about 1,000. So, if you need pencils for your classes or projects, give us a call at (252) 438-5132.

And for your Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child boxes, the pencils are ready-made.

The pencils, which are not sharpened, were donated to RHI. Printed on them are the names of various businesses and organizations that ordered too many.

Joyce Dewitt ‘Thrilled’ to Return to Role in ‘A Waffle House Christmas’

Henderson’s own downtown development director Kaine Riggan and special call-in guest and actress Joyce Dewitt were on air for Thursday’s edition of WIZS’ Town Talk program.

Riggan, writer, producer and director of the musical comedy “A Waffle House Christmas,” announced that the play will be performed at the McGregor Hall Performing Arts Center in downtown Henderson for one night only – Saturday, December 1, 2018 – at 8 p.m.

According to Riggan, approximately 600 of the 1,000 available tickets have already been purchased, and he hopes to see it become a sold-out performance. “I hope it happens for McGregor Hall and for downtown Henderson. That’s our crown jewel!”

The musical, which was first commissioned by the Metro Nashville Arts Commission in 2006, will feature five of the principal actors for the December performance, including Dewitt as Waffle House waitress Rita and country singer T. Graham Brown. Auditions for local actors to round out the cast were held last week.

Dewitt, most well-known for her role as Janet on the sitcom “Three’s Company,” said she was excited to return to this role. “In this case, I had done the play before with Kaine and I know that he is a very wonderful director and I know that he gathers terrific actors together. So the idea of coming back and doing this with a number of wonderful people that I did it with in Nashville was thrilling.”

The setting for the musical is a Waffle House in both the middle of nowhere and in the middle of a blizzard on Christmas Eve. The regular staff and customers are stranded there along with outside visitors. What unfolds are a few secrets, surprises and heartfelt human connections.

“The wonderful thing about these characters that Kaine has written is that they are so human, but what’s going on in their personal story is so meaningful,” said Dewitt. “The audience can relate to each of them.”

“It’s my favorite kind of material – funny, funny, funny – but also, at times, catching and poignant.”

According to Dewitt, when she is first approached about a role she asks herself if she believes in the material and if she can deliver the material in a way that will relate to the audience. She is pleased to have found both in this role.

“When the audience is walking out of the theater, what have we given them? What is in their heart? I genuinely believe this play is a perfect Christmas gift to give the audience.”

To give the gift of this play to yourself and/or a loved one, purchase tickets by:

DROP IN: 201 Breckenridge Street, Henderson, N.C. Monday – Friday 1:30 – 5:30 p.m

CALL: (252) 598-0662 (M-F 1:30 – 5:30 p.m.)

CLICK HERE: www.McGregorHall.org  (Use the eTix official site, online fees apply)

 To hear the interview in its entirety, please click here.