18 Year Old Suspect Arrested On Four Drug Charges

— courtesy of press release from Sheriff Curtis Brame

On December 23, 2020, the Vance County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit and the Vance County Sheriff’s Office Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team served a search warrant at 252 New Bethel Church Road Lot 16 and Lot 26, Henderson, North Carolina 27537.

Arrested at Lot 16 was Djhante Blash, B/M, Age 18. Blash was charged with Maintaining a Dwelling, Possession of Marijuana and 2 counts of Trafficking Heroin. Recovered from Lot 26 were 3 assault rifles. Blash received a $125,000.00 bond and a court date was set for January 11, 2021, in Vance County District Court. This investigation is continuing.

No Biggie Apparently But Courthouse Needed A Few Repairs

On Monday, December 21 at 4 p.m., Vance County’s properties committee met, and part of that meeting was to address a couple of courthouse repairs.

The full committee consists of commissioners Dan Brummitt, Archie Taylor and Gordon Wilder.  Commissioner Wilder told WIZS News, “We have had it repaired…(including) the caulking joints in the side of the building and around the windows.”

County Manager Jordan McMillen told WIZS, “We recently finished up a project to apply a coating to the courthouse roof that will extend its life. After 20 years the courthouse roof and other areas are showing maintenance needs and this was an attempt to extend the life of the roof.

“While we were completing this project we noticed a need for resealing the masonry control joints in the side of the building and around the windows, so we asked the existing contractor to provide a change order to our existing contract. The properties committee is recommending to the full board that we proceed with the change order, which adds the control joints work, price and time allowance, to our existing roof project scope of work.”

The county manager basically added that all involved want to keep up the maintenance to the facility.

5.4 Percent of Vance County’s Population Has Tested Covid Positive

The total number of Covid cases in Vance County since the pandemic began equals 2,406 as of today, December 22, 2020, and that means 5.4 percent of the population of Vance County has been diagnosed with the virus.  The 883 active cases of Covid-19 right now in Vance County represents 1.98 percent of the population of the County.

Vance County has seen a net increase of 115 cases in a week or just over 16 per day.  In the past seven days, the County has experienced a total increase of 214 cases. During the same seven-day period, beginning December 16 and ending December 22, a total of 99 cases have come to an end with the person being released from isolation.

As of Tuesday, December 22, 2020, there are 883 active cases in Vance County, with 873 of them in the community at large.  With the community spread increasing, the number of dead is increasing too, three more attributed to Covid in the past week.

The number of cases calling for inpatient care in Vance County is holding steady at 23, of which the lower twenties has been the figure most of December.


Health Department Expects First Shipment of COVID Vaccine This Week

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Granville Vance Public Health addresses the COVID-19 vaccine in the following statement:

Granville Vance Public Health (GVPH) continues to work on the response to COVID-19 each day, each night, and each weekend. We are also eagerly planning for the vaccine to come our way. The first doses have arrived in NC.

We will likely receive our first shipments in the health department the week of December 14 and will give instructions for those who can sign up in the online registration system as soon as we are able to – we are already collecting information about first responders and health care workers and will notify those individuals about how to register in the online system – all health care entities should seek information about ways to have staff sign up who are interested.

We are receiving lots of questions about the vaccine – below are a few of the top questions and answers as well as additional resources from the CDC about the vaccine for COVID-19.

When will it be my turn?
Healthcare workers who are in the highest risk categories for exposure to the virus will be first, including all of those working in hospital ICUs, COVID-19 units, and leading emergency response. Then, other health care workers and first responders will have opportunities too in the coming weeks.

At the same time, hospitals and health departments receive and give vaccines, private pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens will also receive shipments of the vaccine specifically for nursing homes and long-term care facilities. The federal government has contracted with CVS and Walgreens directly to help the high-risk workers and residents living in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, so they will get theirs first too.

The next prioritized group will be adults with two or more chronic conditions who are more likely to have severe illness from the virus, and others who are at risk, such as frontline workers. Those workers include police, teachers and child care workers.

As more vaccine shipments arrive in the state, they will then be made available to anyone who wants one, at clinics, pharmacies and community vaccination events. Widespread availability is expected around the spring.

Does the vaccine cost anything?

The vaccine will be free to all individuals – any fees covering health care workers’ time and talents during this mass vaccination will be paid for by insurance companies, Congress, and grants.

These vaccines were produced so quickly. How do we know they are safe?

The CDC reports: “It is the U.S. vaccine safety system’s job to make sure that all vaccines are as safe as possible. Safety has been a top priority while federal partners have worked to make COVID-19 vaccines available for use in the United States. The new COVID-19 vaccines have been evaluated in tens of thousands of individuals, who volunteered to be vaccinated and to participate in clinical trials. The information from these clinical trials allowed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to determine the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines. These clinical trials were conducted according to rigorous standards set forth by the FDA. The FDA has determined that the newly authorized COVID-19 vaccines meet its safety and effectiveness standards. Therefore, the FDA has made these vaccines available for use in the United States under what is known as an Emergency Use Authorization. More here:

A few other facts to know:

  • The vaccine does not contain any live virus, so you cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine, but it does have a replica of the virus so your body learns how to fight it off.
  • Most people will experience a few mild reactions such as soreness in the arm where the virus was injected, slight fever, chills, and general tiredness for about a day or two. This is the body’s natural reaction to indicate a person is building up their immune system. This is expected and should be mild. Pain relievers are fine to take as recommended to help prevent these mild side effects that are common.
  • The vaccine was not tested widely in children yet, so the first vaccines available will be for the adult population. As more vaccine testing is conducted, we will know more about how it will affect children, but for now, the vaccine is primarily for those 18 and older.
  • The vaccine was not tested widely yet in pregnant women. Like for children, we do plan to know more about vaccine safety in pregnant women in the coming months, but this will not be a priority group for vaccinations for this month.
  • Building our collective defense against COVID-19 is a team effort and everyone is part of the defense – getting the COVID-19 Vaccine adds one more layer of protection for you, your family, your friends, your co-workers and others in your community. Please ask questions of us and check your sources about vaccine information as you learn more.

Dr. Guthrie and I will be hosting a Facebook live conversation Friday, December 18 at 4:30 p.m. to answer your own questions about the vaccine. Please submit questions at this link and encourage others to do the same! We will also be adding vaccine information to our web site this week. NC DHHS has an informative vaccine webpage as well.

Please remember that even though the first vaccine from Pfizer is approved and on its way, that does not mean we get to let up on wearing the mask, washing our hands, and staying apart from one another – that’s more important now than ever! We are still seeing large numbers of active cases in both our counties, and statewide; we are worried about the staffing levels at hospitals. Now is the time to work as hard as we can together to make it to the other side of this pandemic and we have to do ALL the things we know work well in combination to keep the virus from spreading.

Granville Vance Public Health Logo

GVPH COVID Update: Number of Local Active Cases Continues to Rise


-Information courtesy Granville Vance Public Health

GVPH provided the following update for COVID-19 spread and response in Granville and Vance County as of December 14, 2020. Granville Vance Public Health numbers correlate with the NC Electronic Disease Surveillance System (NCEDSS) data.

The county case numbers reported on the NC county map from the NC Department of Health and Human Services may differ from the ones reported locally as they are updated at different times and may change once residence is verified.

Vance County

Total Cases: 2,168
Active Cases: 748

Total Cases in Community: 1,982
Active Cases: 739
Cases Off-Isolation: 1,221

Total Cases at Long-Term Care Facilities: 186
Active Cases: 9
Cases Off-Isolation: 136

There is currently an outbreak at Senior Citizens Home and Kerr Lake Nursing Home.

Total Hospitalized with COVID-19: 22

Total Deaths: 63
Community: 22
Pelican Nursing Home: 14
Kerr Lake Nursing Home: 12
Senior Citizens Home: 15

Unfortunately, an additional death has been reported in the community. A 72-year-old male passed away on December 12.

Granville County

Total Cases: 3,114
Active Cases: 673

Total Cases in Community: 2,190
Active Cases: 464
Cases Off-Isolation: 1,716

Total Cases at Federal Prison: 534
Active Cases: 8
Cases Off-Isolation: 504

Total Cases at Long-Term Care Facilities: 390
Active Cases: 201
Cases Off-Isolation: 161

There are currently outbreaks at Universal Health Care, Murdoch Development Center, Granville House, RHA Health Services – Stem, Polk Correctional Institution, Oxford Group Home, Brantwood and Toney Rest Home.

Total Hospitalized with COVID-19: 7

Total Deaths: 60
Community: 10
Central Regional: 1
Granville House: 2
Murdoch Development Center: 3
Universal Health Care: 22
Federal Prison: 22

Additional Information

The number of those who have been ‘released from isolation’ is determined by the CDC Guidance for discontinuation of isolation for persons with COVID-19.

Please visit GVPH’s COVID-19 Data Dashboard (click here) for tables and graphs that are updated daily.

Fox Pond Park Reopening

Fox Pond Park Restocked With Trout, Reopening This Week

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The Henderson-Vance County Recreation and Parks Department announces that Fox Pond Park has been restocked with trout and will be reopening to the public on Friday, December 18, 2020, at 10 a.m.

Fox Pond Park is located at 467 Vicksboro Road in Henderson.

Vance County Logo

Properties Committee to Discuss Courthouse Roof, Scott Parker Bldg. Lease

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-Information courtesy the County of Vance

Vance County’s Properties Committee (Brummitt, Taylor, Wilder) is scheduled to meet Monday, December 21, 2020, at 4 p.m.

The meeting will be held in the Commissioners’ Conference Room of the Vance County Administration Building located at 122 Young Street, Henderson, NC.

The purpose of this meeting is to discuss a change order for the courthouse roof project and a lease extension for the Scott Parker Building.

Pete Burgess

New VGCC Scholarship Honors Pete Burgess

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-Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College

The Vance County chapter of the North Carolina Farm Bureau recently presented a gift to the Vance-Granville Community College Endowment Fund to create a new scholarship in honor of Talmadge R. “Pete” Burgess, Sr.

Now retired and living with his wife, Sylvia, in Durham, Pete Burgess was for decades a Vance County farmer and community leader. He was instrumental in establishing the Vance County Regional Farmers Market, which opened in 2014.

Pete Burgess

The Vance County chapter of the North Carolina Farm Bureau recently presented a gift to the Vance-Granville Community College Endowment Fund to create a new scholarship in honor of Talmadge R. “Pete” Burgess, Sr., pictured above. (Photo courtesy VGCC)

After growing up on a Vance County farm, Burgess went to N.C. State University to study agricultural engineering on an ROTC scholarship, and then served in the United States Army. He worked as a safety engineer in the insurance industry for several years but returned to Vance County in 1968 to run a farm that had been in his wife’s family. At “Burgess Farms,” he grew tobacco, grain, hay and sweet corn, among other crops.

An active community volunteer, Burgess served as a board member of the county and state Farm Bureau organizations, president and board member of the Epsom Lions Club, board member of the Epsom Volunteer Fire Department, member of the Vance County Planning Board and board member for the Henderson-Vance Chamber of Commerce. For his contributions to the county and, in particular, for his leading role in securing the land and funding for the regional farmers market, Burgess was honored by the Vance County Commissioners with the “Community Hero” award.

“We are proud to establish this scholarship to express our appreciation to Pete Burgess for his many years of service to the Farm Bureau, the farming community and Vance County as a whole,” said Thomas Shaw, president of the Vance County Farm Bureau, which Burgess once led. “A great storyteller and advocate, Pete has been instrumental in supporting and bringing together many local partners for the benefit of us all, including our local schools, the Cooperative Extension service, the Perry Memorial Library and the regional Farmers Market.”

The new gift continues a tradition of the organization’s generous support for education. Years ago, the Vance County Farm Bureau endowed an academic achievement scholarship at VGCC, which supports a student each year.

“Throughout his life, Pete Burgess has demonstrated an interest not only in agriculture but in giving back and supporting his community, so this scholarship is a fitting way to honor his service,” said Eddie Ferguson, VGCC’s endowment fund director. “We are grateful to the Vance County Farm Bureau for continuing to support Vance-Granville students through this new scholarship.”

“At Vance-Granville, our students are the Vanguards, which means they are ‘leaders,’ and Pete Burgess is the definition of a leader,” said Dr. Rachel Desmarais, the president of VGCC. “Thanks to the Vance County Farm Bureau, we can look forward to awarding the Pete Burgess scholarship to future leaders who can follow in his footsteps.”

Through the Endowment Fund, VGCC has awarded more than 9,700 scholarships to students since 1982. Scholarships have been endowed by numerous individuals, industries, businesses, civic groups, churches and the college’s faculty and staff. Tax-deductible donations to the VGCC Endowment Fund have often been used to honor or remember a person, group, business or industry with a lasting gift to education.

The Vance County Farm Bureau is encouraging friends of Pete Burgess to make donations to the Endowment Fund to help endow this scholarship at the Presidential Merit Award level. For more information or to make a contribution, call Kay Currin at (252) 738-3409.

Contributions to the scholarship fund can also be mailed to the Vance-Granville Community College Endowment Fund, at P.O. Box 917, Henderson, NC 27536.

Chick-fil-A Henderson

Chick-fil-A Henderson Reopening Postponed to January


-Information courtesy Chick-fil-A Henderson

Chick-fil-A Henderson announced via its Facebook page that the restaurant’s reopening date has been pushed back to early January 2021. The restaurant has been closed since October 15 for remodeling. (Click here for more on the remodeling project.)

The update reads:

If you have been down Dabney Drive near our store, I’m sure you’ve noticed the progress that’s been made on our remodel. Unfortunately, it was not enough to meet our targeted reopening date. Unforeseen circumstances arose which caused a delay.

Our remodel is scheduled to be finished around New Year’s, and we are planning on reopening the first week of January.

Thank you for your patronage throughout the years and we look forward to serving you soon!

(This is not a paid advertisement)

Miss NC Christmas Spectacular

Reminder: Miss North Carolina Virtual Christmas Spectacular This Weekend!

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-Information courtesy McGregor Hall Performing Arts Center

Welcome in the holiday season with McGregor Hall and the Miss North Carolina Scholarship Organization! McGregor Hall is thrilled to be the host venue and streaming sponsor for a Virtual Christmas Spectacular Show on Saturday, December 12, 2020, at 7 p.m.

The show will feature the reigning Miss North Carolina, Alexandra Badgett, and Miss North Carolina’s Outstanding Teen, Karlee Sanderford; Former Miss North Carolinas and Miss North Carolina’s Outstanding Teens from years past; and 10 current local Miss and Outstanding Teen candidates vying for the state crown in 2021.

Purchase a $25 ticket reservation (click here) to receive an exclusive viewing link to tune in virtually on December 12 in the comfort and safety of your home. This Christmas Spectacular will be streamed across the state (and nation) for all ages to enjoy.

The event will be pre-recorded, following all state and health protocols, at McGregor Hall Performing Arts Center in Henderson, North Carolina. Performers will be recorded individually to ensure personal safety in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

(This is not a paid advertisement)