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Coop. Extension to Offer Free Industrial Hemp Program

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-Information courtesy Paul McKenzie, Agricultural Extension Agent, NC Cooperative Extension

While there is much excitement in North Carolina about the prospects for industrial hemp, there are still many unknowns. Raising a new crop in an environment with numerous uncertainties around production methods, markets, regulations and other variables presents considerable risk.

NC Cooperative Extension encourages prospective growers to learn as much as possible about this emerging industry before breaking ground and thus is offering an educational program to meet that need.

The program will be held on Thursday, February 6, 2020, at the Warren County Armory Civic Center, and prospective growers are encouraged to attend. This event will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. and will feature updates about legal aspects, production, markets, pest management and more.

Presenters include representatives of the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, NC State University and NC A&T State University.

This is a free event, but registration is requested. For more information and to register, visit http://go.ncsu.edu/warrenhemp or call 252-257-3640.

Warren Co. Agencies Impact Approx. 500 Individuals During Holiday Season

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-Press Release, Warren County Government

Four Warren County agencies worked collaboratively with each other, as well as with area organizations, this 2019 holiday season to make an impact on approximately 500 individuals in Warren County.

Warren County Emergency Services partnered with Warren County Cooperative Extension and Greenwood Baptist Church Women’s Ministry on the project “Pay It Forward ’19.” A church in the Raleigh/Durham area also was involved, supporting the program “Adopt a Family, Pay it Forward.” This project connected Cooperative Extension with 28 families that needed holiday cheer during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

Rachel Monteverdi, former Family and Consumer Extension Agent with Warren County Cooperative Extension, began the “Pay it Forward” program 15 years ago. The program has served more than 900 families from Warren County since the program was started.

Participating families receive a food box, frozen turkey, toys, clothes, household items, and blankets. The “Pay it Forward” program also included this year an educational session on fire safety from EMS, as well as info on anger and stress management, and food safety. Greenwood Baptist Church Women’s Ministry donated purses filled with personal hygiene products for participating women.

The Warren County Senior Center in partnership with Warren County Department of Social Services provided holiday senior care to Warren County home-delivered meal clients. Twenty seniors were impacted through this program this 2019 holiday season.

“Without this service, many homebound clients would have been without a special meal for the holidays,” stated Vicky Stokes, Director of the Warren County Senior Center. “The outreach reminded these clients that they are not alone and that someone cares enough to think of them in such a special way.”

The Warren County Senior Center also held a Christmas social at the Senior Center that brought out approximately 100 participants. Many of these participants live alone or are away from or without family, and do not have readily accessible transportation, so the Senior Center’s services provided them an opportunity to gather with friends and neighbors, share a meal, listen to live music and poetry, play games and reminisce on past Christmas memories.

The Warren County Department of Social Services also conducted its annual Angel Tree program, partnering with county employees and the community at large for donations, as well as Toys for Tots and the Salvation Army. This program serves not only children but elderly individuals in Warren County as well. This 2019 holiday season, the Angel Tree program served 365 individuals.

Interim Social Services Director, Emma Perry, stated, “I would like to thank everyone for their contributions which helped make Angel Tree 2019 a success.”

Warren Co. Receives $10K Grant to Remove Abandoned Manufactured Homes

-Information and photo courtesy the Warren County North Carolina Facebook page

Warren County has received a $10,000 grant to assist in the deconstruction of abandoned manufactured homes as part of the enforcement of the County’s abandoned manufactured home ordinance.

Property owners can apply to the program and contractors will be solicited for the new grant cycle with an anticipated start date of March 1, 2020. Cost to eligible property owners is $305 for a single-wide unit ($35 demolition permit and $270 landfill tipping fees) or $575 for a double-wide unit ($35 demolition permit and $540 landfill tipping fees).

The selected contractor by the County will be reimbursed through the State-funded program administered by Warren County.

For more information or to apply to the County program, please contact Ken Krulik (Planning and Zoning Administrator) at 252-257-7027 or email [email protected] Forms may also be picked up at the Planning/Zoning and Code Enforcement Department located at 542 West Ridgeway Street Warrenton, NC 27589.

Warren County Man Sentenced as Armed Career Criminal

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-Press Release, U.S. Department of Justice

United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced that today in federal court, United States District Judge James C. Dever III sentenced KIMJUAN DWANE ELLIS, JR., 25, of Warrenton to 235 months imprisonment, followed by 5 years of supervised release. He was found to be an Armed Career Criminal thereby subjecting him to a minimum term of imprisonment of 15 years.

ELLIS was named in an Indictment filed on January 9, 2019, charging him with being a felon in possession of ammunition. On August 20, 2019, ELLIS pled guilty to that charge.

According to the investigation, on October 19, 2018, officers with the Norlina Police Department responded to a shooting in the parking lot of the Blue Waves convenience store in Norlina, North Carolina. The store’s surveillance camera captured ELLIS shooting another man in the chest after an apparent argument. ELLIS fled the scene after the shooting.

The victim was transported to Duke University Medical Center where he was treated for his wounds and survived.  Officers recovered a spent shell casing in the area where the video captured the shooting. The gun used by ELLIS was never recovered. ELLIS was later arrested in a vehicle with two other occupants, along with additional firearms and ammunition, one of which had been stolen. None of those firearms, however, was used in the shooting.

This case is part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities.

For more information about Project Guardian, please see https://www.justice.gov/projectguardian.

This case is also part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina implements the PSN Program through its Take Back North Carolina Initiative. This initiative emphasizes the regional assignment of federal prosecutors to work with law enforcement and District Attorney’s Offices on a sustained basis in those communities to reduce the violent crime rate, drug trafficking, and crimes against law enforcement.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), the Warren County Sheriff’s Office, and the Norlina Police Department conducted the investigation of this matter jointly. Assistant United States Attorney Robert J. Dodson prosecuted the case for the government.

Warren County Awards $40K to Local Non-Profits in FY20 

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-Press Release, Warren County Government

At the January 6, 2020, Warren County Board of Commissioners meeting, County Manager Vincent Jones announced the award recipients of the County’s FY 20 funding for non-profit agencies.

This year’s recipients are Pier View Community Innovations ($5,000), Boys & Girls Club ($11,000), Hecks Grove Community Center ($13,500), Turning Point Community Development ($2,000), Warren County Arts Council ($1,000), Heritage Quilters Giving Circle ($2,500) and the Gladys Rogers Darensburg Foundation ($5,000).

“I am excited that the Board of Commissioners has chosen to fund non-profits in our annual budget,” stated Vincent Jones, County Manager. “It allows the County to reach different segments of our community that may not be reached by our government services. That can run the gamut from recreation to arts to social services, and that’s a win for the County.”

Warren County adopted its current funding for local non-profit agencies policy in 2014. Funded services through this program must be equally available to all residents.

John Preston Appointed Warren Co. Tax Administrator

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-Press Release, Warren County Government

At their January 6, 2020 meeting, the Warren County Board of Commissioners voted to appoint John Preston as the Warren County Tax Administrator for a two-year term with a salary of $70,000.

Preston, who has been serving as Interim Tax Administrator since October 2019, previously held the position of Assistant Tax Administrator of Warren County.

Photo includes: (L to R) Commissioner Walter Powell, Commissioner Jennifer Pierce, Commissioner Tare Davis, John Preston, Commissioner Victor Hunt, Commissioner Bertadean Baker. (Photo courtesy Warren Co. Govt.)

Preston, a native of Prince George’s County in Maryland, moved to Warrenton in 2015 when he was hired as the County Appraiser. Preston brings with him over twenty years of public service at all levels (federal, state, and local) between his time in Maryland and North Carolina. He has worked primarily in the assessments, billing, and collection of property taxes; he also owned his own home inspection business.

Preston worked for Warren County from 2015-2017 before taking a role with the NC Department of Revenue-Local Government Division. He returned to Warren County in 2019 to fill the newly created Assistant Tax Administrator Role.

Preston has received training from both the NC Department of Revenue as well as the UNC School of Government in tax administration, real property appraisal, personal property appraisal, and property tax listing and assessing. He holds his home inspection license from the state of Maryland.

“The Tax Administrator is responsible for determining the fair and equitable assessed market value of both real and personal property here in the county,” Preston explains. “The tax dollars this tax value generates is a major portion of Warren County’s budget. These tax dollars are used to fund everyday programs and projects such as waste management, public safety, education, social services, business development, health care and leisure/social activities. All of these are necessary features to attract new business and new growth for the benefit of our current and future citizens.”

In his leisure, Preston enjoys spending time with his wife and family.

Warren’s Mobile DMV Unit to Save Residents Trip Outside the County

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-Press Release, Warren County Government

The North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will continue to bring its mobile unit to Warren County in 2020. Examiners will travel to the Warren County Armory Civic Center located at 501 US Hwy 158 Bus E, Warrenton every other month from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

The 2020 visitation schedule will begin on Wednesday, January 15. The remaining dates include March 11, May 13, July 15, September 16 and December 16.

Each mobile DMV office contains all the components of a brick and mortar DMV office.

For more information on DMV services, contact the DMV at 919-715-7000 or visit www.ncdot.gov.

Warrenton Police Dept. Asks Public to Celebrate the New Year Safely

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Message from the Warrenton Police Department:

As things come to an end for 2019 and for the decade, we are reminded of how fortunate we are to have such a safe community for our citizens to live and work in.

With the New Year festivities and celebrations happening tonight, we’re going to be out patrolling the streets with even more visibility to ensure everyone has a safe night.

It’s inevitable that alcohol will be involved in the celebrations in some way; however, IF you drink and drive, you’re risking not only your life but the lives of everyone else in the community or those who may be on the roadway, and our department WILL arrest you. A $10,000 average DWI, or death and injury, isn’t worth it; call someone to pick you up or stay where you are!

Every New Year’s Eve, we respond to several 911 calls throughout the night for reports of gunfire; this is dangerous and illegal! You may be celebrating by firing into the air, but we don’t know that and as a result, resources are tied up to investigate and make sure no one is injured or dead. Discharging a firearm within city limits is illegal and will result in you being arrested and your firearm being seized.

With these warnings in mind, we want everyone to ring in the New Year with a fun and safe night. 2019 has been a great year; let’s make 2020 even better!

Warren Co. Cooperative Extension to Hold No-Till Drill Demo Day

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-Information courtesy the Warren County Cooperative Extension Center

The Warren County Cooperative Extension is having a demo day for the county’s new Great Plains No-Till Drill on Tuesday, January 14, 2020, at 9:30 a.m. Basic operation and calibration methods for using the drill will be covered in the demonstration.

The demonstration will be held at the Warren County Cooperative Extension Center located at 158 Rafters Lane in Warrenton, NC.

The drill is available for Warren County residents to use. All that have an interest in the drill are encouraged to come see the ins and outs of how it works.

For more information, please call the Warren County Center at (252) 257-3640 or email Matthew Place at [email protected]

Accommodation requests related to a disability should be made by January 3, 2020, to Matthew Place, (252) 257-3640 or [email protected]

Deal Advances on Southeast Rail Corridor

THIS STORY IS PRESENTED IN PART BY DRAKE DENTISTRY

-Press Release, N.C. Department of Transportation

North Carolina has received good transportation news as an important agreement reached this week will advance plans to improve the Southeast’s freight and passenger rail network.

The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation announced a major deal with CSX Thursday. Part of the deal will enable the N.C. Department of Transportation to acquire a 10-mile portion of an inactive freight line in North Carolina so the line can be converted for use on the Southeast Rail Corridor.

The Southeast Rail Corridor is a network of passenger and freight rail from Washington D.C. to Jacksonville, Fla. The rail runs through North Carolina roughly parallel to Interstate 85 and U.S. 1. The 10-mile section to be acquired runs from Ridgeway in Warren County to the North Carolina-Virginia border.

“This is a key step as we work to improve our rail system so we can move people and goods more efficiently between North Carolina and communities along the East Coast,” said Jason Orthner, director of the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Rail Division.

This week’s deal will also enable the construction of a new Virginia-owned Long Bridge across the Potomac River, and acquisition of more than 350 miles of railroad right-of-way.

The deal comes as officials with North Carolina and Virginia work together on a strategy to acquire both in-service and out-of-service rail lines for enhanced freight and passenger services. North Carolina Sen. Tom McInnis is chairman of the North Carolina delegation of the VA-NC Interstate High Speed Rail Compact and a chairman of state legislative transportation committees.

“This agreement takes us a big step forward in our efforts to better connect North Carolina communities,” McInnis said. “And it will offer new connections between our state and our neighbors, providing lasting economic development opportunities for our state.”