The four branches of the Granville County Library System offer a full calendar of programs, events and activities for the month of April, which kicks off with a “Meet the Author” presentation at the South Branch in Creedmoor on April 4. The 6 p.m. presentation features Hope Toler Dougherty, who has published three novels, “Rescued Hearts,” “Irish Encounter” and “Mars… with Venus Rising,” as well as nonfiction articles. A native of eastern North Carolina Ms. Dougherty still lives in this state on land originally farmed by her great-grandparents, and is the mother of four children. For more information about this program, contact Penelope Mason of the South Branch at 919-528-1752.
April 7 through April 13 is National Library Week, a time to celebrate the value of our public and school libraries and the rich programming that is offered to make our communities strong. With a theme of “Libraries = Strong Communities,” the Granville County Library System invites all patrons to visit their nearest library branch to discover the resources, services and events that are available through the library system in their own communities. Branches are located in Oxford, Creedmoor, Stovall and Berea. If you stop by South Branch in Creedmoor any time during National Library Week and tell them why you value YOUR public library, you can receive a free gift, while supplies last.
Makerspace Mondays continue during the month of April with “Embroidery 101,” a beginner’s introduction to the craft of decorative needlework. The class will be held from 2 until 4 p.m. at the Thornton Library on April 1, the Stovall branch on April 8, the Berea branch on April 18 and the South Branch Library on April 22. Contact Adult Services Librarian Ashley Wilson for more details.
Interested participants can also learn to crotchet at the South Branch on April 15 at 2 p.m. as a hands-on class is offered. All materials will be provided and the session is open to the public. And if you have a small-sized household, learn to cook for one (or two) with a free cooking class co-sponsored by the Granville County Library System and N.C. Cooperative Extension Service. Participants will find out how to plan and shop for meals, pare down recipes to reduce waste, utilize leftovers and more. This 4 p.m. class will also be held at the South Branch and is scheduled for April 11.
From April 22 through May 1, a mobile planetarium will be coming to the Thornton Library. The “StarLabs” Planetarium will inspire young minds to better understand the world around them. Studies of the solar system and the stars will come alive in this educational experience. Contact Children’s Librarian Amy Carlson at 919-693-1121 for more details.
STEAM workshops continue to be a popular addition to the offerings at the Thornton branch as kids from kindergarten to fifth grade learn about Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. The hands-on, action-packed sessions are offered each Thursday at 4 p.m., with varied themes and topics.
Educational opportunities continue with the GSK “Science in the Summer” program, a fun and free science initiative, scheduled for July 22 through July 26 that helps elementary and middle school students “grow into science.” Registration is going on now for classes led by certified instructors at the Richard H. Thornton Library in Oxford. The 2019 theme is “The Science of Me” as participants learn about human biology and their own bodies. Registration will continue until all spaces are filled. Registration is available at www.scienceinthesummer.com.
Children of all ages can participate in an Easter Egg Hunt at the South Branch Library on April 13. The fun starts at noon and will last until all eggs are found. Participants are asked to bring their own baskets and prepare to look for eggs hidden all over the interior of the library.
Other activities include story times for youngsters, held weekly, with themes of “Rainy Days,” “Happy Birthday to Me,” “Happy Easter” and “Earth Day;” computer classes for all ages at the Thornton branch, Fridays at 10 a.m.; Game Night each Thursday at the Thornton branch, 6 p.m.; and many more programs and services.
Today’s library is not just about books… DVD’s, research materials, audio books, ebooks, computers for public use and more are also available, as well as informative presentations, workshops and special activities for all ages. Contact the library branch closest to you to learn more about the programs and services offered, or visit https://granville.lib.nc.us/.
The approval of the 2018 Farm Bill in December has thrust industrial hemp into the spotlight as a lucrative agricultural crop, encouraging Jack Tatum of Isolera Extracts to bring an industrial hemp processing service to Granville County. North Carolina’s long tradition of organic farming, along with is support for the industrial hemp industry and its strategic geographic location, was a key factor in Tatum’s decision to bring his company to the state. Several regions were considered, Tatum, noted, but Granville County and the City of Oxford stood out by offering tremendous support for this vision to spark economic growth through a bustling “new” industry. Upon touring the former Burlington Mills facility at 325 Lewis Street, Tatum knew he had found the ideal location.
A long-time entrepreneur, Tatum said that the impending passage of the 2018 Farm Bill last year encouraged him to make preliminary steps to “get ahead of the curve” as he began work to up-fit the 187,000 square foot industrial facility. Upon securing the site, extensive measures were taken to design “clean” zones for the industrial hemp processing equipment, update existing infrastructure to support the on-scale laboratory, improve air quality, and other measures to prepare for operation. Construction at the site is now complete and Tatum’s equipment partners from Precision Extraction Solutions, a world-renowned extraction company based out of Michigan, are working to complete the installation of equipment and training of Isolera Extract’s locally-based laboratory team.
Since industrial hemp farming and industrial hemp processing are new to this region, engaging local farmers was a priority in the initial phase of the project to establish strong working relationships. There are about 100 farms in our community that have faced reductions in tobacco allotments, Tatum has explained. Although growing organic industrial hemp is somewhat similar to growing tobacco, Isolera Extracts has hosted free information sessions with third party experts for local farmers to learn how to ensure that their crops are planted in ideal soil conditions, retain the proper moisture content, receive adequate sunlight, are harvested properly to optimize value and are kept in compliance with North Carolina and federal regulations. Soil sampling and periodic plant testing is also an important part of the process.
“Everyone will be going through a learning process as we get this off the ground,” Tatum explained. “We are suggesting that farmers start with one to five acres as they learn the process and proper techniques, and then grow from there.”
A form of cannabis, industrial hemp contains less than 0.3 percent of THC. (THC, i.e. tetrahydrocannabinol, is a crystalline compound that is one of more than 100 known cannabinoids found in industrial hemp.) The form of industrial hemp that has been legalized through passage of the 2018 Farm Bill contains high levels of CBD (cannabidiol) oil, which can be extracted and used in health supplements. Health supplements containing CBD are lauded for their ability to reduce inflammation, among other benefits. Industrial hemp that contains more than 0.3 percent THC is considered non-industrial hemp cannabis under federal law and is not legally protected under the 2018 Farm Bill.
After industrial hemp crops are harvested, farmers in Granville County and neighboring regions will be able to bring their crops to the Isolera Extract team, who will identify each farmer’s batch, test the biomass for its chemical composition, grade the plant material and buy the industrial hemp, if the farmer so desires, at its current market value.
“We have a system of checks and balances in place and a team of scientists on board to ensure compliance and quality,” Tatum indicates. “We want to ensure that farmers in the community are being compensated appropriately for their efforts and output. In the end, our goal is to produce top-notch products and stimulate economic growth for individuals and for a community hard-hit by cutbacks from the tobacco industry.”
A series of interviews to round out the staff of Isolera Extracts is now in progress, with an opening phase of the company’s rollout employing a workforce of approximately 40 people. Tatum says that Isolera Extracts will hire approximately 100 local employees as production grows.
“The quality of the work force here is exceptional,” Tatum remarked. “There is a lot of local talent and we are looking forward to working with our team to push the boundaries forward in this new and exciting industry.”
Initially, Isolera Extracts plans to process about 3,000 pounds of industrial hemp per eight-hour shift. Within six months, however, the estimate is a production level of about 10,000 pounds of industrial hemp each eight hour-shift.
North Carolina is quickly becoming more accustomed to the idea of industrial hemp as a “cash crop.” In data shared by the USDA, N.C. has been listed in the “top ten” in a ranking of the nation’s hemp-growing states, falling behind Colorado, Kentucky, Oregon, North Dakota, Minnesota and New York.
“North Carolina has gone all-in on hemp” the USDA noted in its ‘Hemp Industry Daily’ report. “State officials see it as a natural fit for an economy once dominated by tobacco farming and textile manufacturing.”
With the addition of Isolera Extracts to its industrial base, Granville County will play a major role in this trend as a new agricultural phenomenon sweeps the country.
“We could not be more pleased to operate Isolera Extracts in Granville County,” Tatum said. “We’ve received a warm reception from Granville County, the City of Oxford and the state of North Carolina. The entire community is behind us and our partnership with Granville County and its farmers is an exciting opportunity for everyone.”
“We would especially like to thank Economic Development Director Harry Mills,” Tatum added, “who has been essential in this process and has facilitated making this a reality.”
Plans are for Isolera Extracts to be operational by the beginning of April. A ribbon cutting at its 60-acre home will take place with local, regional and state officials on April 5.
For more information on Isolera Extracts and other local industries, contact Granville County Economic Development Director Harry Mills at 919-693-5911 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Kerr-Tar Senior Games are now in progress, with more than 70 Granville County “seniors” competing in tournaments from track events to golf. This year’s local competitors range in age from 53 to 83. Winners of each age group will move on to compete in the state games to be held in the fall.
The Kerr-Tar Senior Games are held each year for participants in Granville, Vance, Franklin, Warren and Person counties. The 2019 event kicked off on March 19 with basketball shooting and a SilverStriders Fun Walk at the John Graham Gymnasium in Warren County. On March 22, a shuffleboard contest was held in Person County, with a billiards tournament following at the Vance Senior Center on March 26. The schedule will continue with badminton, croquet and table tennis at Vance County’s Aycock Recreation Complex on March 29 and a golf tournament at the River Golf Course in Franklin County on April 2. Cycling and track events, as well as a football/softball throw and shotput and discus, will be held in Warren County on April 5.
Granville County will host the horseshoe tournament at Hix Field in Oxford on April 9. The public is invited to come out and show support beginning at 9 a.m. Singles, doubles and mixed-double tennis matches will also be held in Granville County this year as the competitions continue.
Pickleball in Warren County on April 12; singles, doubles and mixed bowling hosted by Franklin County (to be held in Raleigh) on April 15 and April 22, corn hole games in Vance County on April 18 and Bocce in Person County on April 26 round out the 2019 schedule.
The SilverArts competition on May 3 will conclude this year’s event at Vance-Granville Community College’s Civic Center, where the arts – music, visual arts, crafts, literature and other cultural endeavors – will be showcased and celebrated. This year’s Awards Ceremony will be held on the same day at the community college.
The Kerr-Tar Senior Games are sanctioned by North Carolina Senior Games, Inc. and were designed to promote healthy activities for residents age 50+ who reside in the five-county area. The goal is to keep the body, mind and spirit filled while enjoying the company of friends, family, spectators and volunteers.
Granville County’s Senior Games Ambassadors for 2019 include Nancy Cardin and Phyllis Russell of Stem and Ellen Jenkins of Oxford. Angela Wright of the Granville County Senior Center, as well as partners Tina Cheek and Jimmy Terry of the City of Oxford’s Parks and Recreation Department, have organized local registration for this year’s event.
Coordinating agencies include Granville County Senior Services, the Franklin County Department of Aging, the Vance County Senior Center, the Person County Council on Aging, the Warren County Senior Center, Kerr-Tar Area Agency on Aging, the City of Oxford’s Parks and Recreation Department and the Henderson-Vance Recreation and Parks Department.
To learn more about the Kerr-Tar Senior Games, visit www.kerrtarcog.org. For information about the North Carolina Senior Games, visit www.ncseniorgames.org. For details about the National Senior Games, visit www.nsga.com.
On the home page: Granville County was well-represented at the kickoff of the Kerr-Tar Senior Games. Competitions continue through May 3.
Photo 2: Pictured (from left) are Lillie Mitchell, Nancy Wilson, Margaret Parham and Montie Wilson at shuffleboard event on March 22.
On March 30, genealogist Shannon Christmas is scheduled for a discussion of DNA testing and how it relates to family genealogy. The 2:00 program will be held at the Richard H. Thornton Library in Oxford.
Christmas is experienced in the field of genealogy, specializing in Colonial America as well as African-American ancestry in Virginia and the Carolinas. He has a special interest in “harnessing the power” of DNA to verify and extend ancestral lineage.
“African-American genealogy remains a challenging jigsaw puzzle where half of the pieces seem irrevocably lost,” Christmas has written in a blog about family history. “Advances in genetics and internet technology have unearthed some of the long-buried pieces of our especially fractured history.”
Christmas has used DNA analysis along with traditional genealogical methods to trace his own family tree. His research has led him to a Warren County plantation, where DNA was used to verify bloodlines and connect him with relatives he never knew. The genealogist also has ties to the Yancey family of Granville County.
Today Christmas provides information to others through videos and programs to assist in family research projects. He currently serves as a 23andMe Ancestry Ambassador and is administrator of the Captain Thomas Graves of Jamestown Autosomal DNA project. He is also co-administrator of the Hemings-Jefferson-Wayles-Eppes DNA project and a blogger of “Through the Trees,” a guide to tools and technology that aid in genealogical research.
His presentation, “Family History Now: How to Master DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy,” is free and open to the public. Those in attendance can register for a free DNA kit in a drawing that will be held during the program.
For more information, contact Ashley Wilson, Adult Services Librarian or Mark Pace, North Carolina Room Specialist at 919-693-1121. The Richard H. Thornton Library is one of four branches of the Granville County Library System and is located at 210 Main Street in Oxford.
Spring is here, and with the season comes outdoor activities!
Within the past year, Granville County got its first Kids in Parks TRACK Trail system. This trail system program, geared for ages 6—12, is located at the Granville Athletic Park (GAP) and is part of a wider network of hiking trails, biking routes, disc golf courses and paddling opportunities. The goal is to promote children’s health and the health of our parks.
Children who want to participate in the program can register on the Kids in Parks website at no charge. As children complete different programming at the GAP trail – or at any other location in the network – they can log their participation in to their Kids in Parks passport in their online account. Completing and logging each trail is rewarded with stickers and prizes that arrive in the mail.
The adventures offered at the GAP include Need for Trees, Animal Athletes, Nature’s Relationships and Nature’s Hide and Seek. All staff members are encouraged to take their kids to the GAP to participate in this healthy and educational opportunity. To learn more, visit https://www.kidsinparks.com/granville-athletic-park.
Kids in Parks is a partnership between Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, and the National Parks Service.
Granville Athletic Park is located at 4615 Belltown Road in Oxford.
After 24 years of service, Yvette Davis retired from the Granville County Department of Social Services (DSS) as of Feb. 28, 2019. She was recognized by the Granville County Board of Commissioners at the March 18 meeting at the Expo and Convention Center.
With her start in the Work First Program as a Social Worker II, Davis had worked with DSS since February of 1995. In 1998 she was promoted to Social Worker III in the Child Protective Services (CPS) unit, transitioning to Child Welfare Foster Care in 1999. There she made an impression on administrators with her thoroughness, adherence to Child Welfare policies and dedication to her assigned clients and their families.
In May of 2006, Davis was promoted to an Investigator, Assessment and Treatment Social Worker within the Child Protection Services unit. She continued her strong attachment to working with dysfunctional families and broadened her expertise of working with families by helping willing families become foster parents.
While conducting child abuse/neglect/dependency investigations, testifying in court and spending numerous off-duty hours on “on call” assignments, Davis was able to obtain a Master’s degree in Psychology with an emphasis in General Psychology.
She was recognized for her service at the March 18 meeting by Commissioners Tony Cozart and Sue Hinman, who recognized her efforts on behalf of the Board and presented her with a plaque for her dedicated service to Granville County.
National Professional Social Worker Month is celebrated each year in March. It’s an opportunity to spotlight the profession and the contributions social workers make every day.
According to Joe Tartamella, Supervisor for Adult Services, Foster Care and Adoptions for the Granville County Department of Social Services, local social workers provide services to meet the needs of community members who want and need assistance, including those who may not yet know how to ask for or accept help from anyone. More than 80 social workers are trained and on hand to work directly with Granville County residents or to provide referrals to those who may be facing issues of substance abuse, domestic violence, sexual and physical abuse, parent/caretaker neglect, dependency, exploitation, mental health issues and economic hardships. Of all the workers in DSS, there are 10 in Child Support Services, 20 in Direct Services, 51 in Economic Benefits/Income Maintenance and the rest in administrative and support positions.
“Our social workers are the front line, boots-on-the-ground-type people,” Tartamella explains, “and requests for assistance are made every day. For most all that seek our services, we are generally their last hope in their journey to survive.”
With a goal to “enhance the quality of life in the community through programs and services to help the vulnerable, the aged, the young, the sick and the economically disadvantaged,” the Granville County Department of Social Services exists to serve local individuals and families. From government aid to assistance for low-income households, disabled individuals, seniors and dependent children, social workers provide services that include medical, financial, nutritional and emergency assistance, as well as help with day care costs, the coordination of transportation services and the investigation of fraudulent practices.
Assistance begins at the reception desk of the Granville County Department of Social Services, which is where the initial contact often begins.
“Every other department depends on them to link the people asking for assistance to the right people to serve them,” Tartamella explains. From there, daily work includes accessing the situation, developing plans to assist and working with families to meet their goals/objectives.
Many of the Social Services staff are office-based, serving Granville County citizens in need of public assistance programs such as Medicaid, Work First, Food and Nutrition Services (Food Stamps and SNAP) as well as energy programs, child care referrals, child support services, emergency assistance or other programs and services that are available to eligible Granville County residents.
Other social workers may work either in the office or in the field to provide assistance through Child Welfare Services or through the Adult Services unit.
The Child Welfare Services Unit accepts and responds to reports of child abuse, neglect and dependency, evaluating levels of risk to children through assessments and investigations. Appropriate action is then taken to ensure the safety and well-being of the child through In-Home Treatment (case management and skill development services) or by providing out-of-home foster care services, with a goal to establish a permanent living arrangement for the children. Options considered include re-unification with parents, custody or guardianship arrangements, or adoption.
The Adult Services unit locates, coordinates and monitors services to provide preventative, supportive and/or protective services to adults and families needing assistance in learning to function efficiently and independently. These services include Adult Protective Services, Day care and Day Health Services, Adult Placement Services, Guardianship Services, Representative Payee Services, Case Management and In-Home Aide Services. The goal is to provide the tools needed to ensure efficiency and independent living in their own environment and in the community.
The Granville County Department of Social Services also works in conjunction with social workers from Granville Medical Center, all three Granville County Senior Centers, the Harold Sherman Adult Day program, adult and family care homes, Granville County schools, home health agencies and the many clinical social workers in the mental health system.
“We wear many hats,” Tartamella explains, “and often work long hours to make sure we serve our clients.”
For those who may need assistance with blind and visually impaired challenges, the DHHS Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired has a social worker who is available on-site at Granville County DSS two days per week.
Anyone wishing to pursue a career as a social worker is reminded that this profession is for people who are called to serve. What is most needed, Tartamella says, is a desire to help others succeed.
“To be in a service profession,” he says, “you have to have a love and respect for human dignity, as well as compassion and the ability to use it. You also have to be ready and able to set and enforce hard lines of accountability. You have to be a dedicated soul.”
The Granville County Department of Social Services is located at 410 West Spring Street in Oxford and is open from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information about the Granville County Department of Social Services and the role of social workers in our community, visit:
As the only county in the state with a designated recycling program in the school system, Granville County has piloted several successful programs that make an environmental impact while providing an educational recycling message to our students. Since the recycling program was initiated in 2010, projects have been put into place that not only save money and put good habits into practice, but have moved Granville County into the top twenty in the state for its recycling efforts.
“Granville County is a pioneer when it comes to recycling,” said Recycling Coordinator Teresa Baker. “We want to teach our students that this is not a disposable society.”
Baker’s position of Recycling Coordinator is a shared one between Granville County Government and Granville County Public Schools, where she has worked closely with school custodians and with the child nutrition program to implement the recycling programs used every day. Although the recycling of milk cartons and other items have been in place since the 2010/2011 school year, as well as a transition from disposable lunch trays to re-useable lunch ones, Baker says that there was a desire to “do more.” The use of re-usable utensils has also been implemented to reduce waste as more menu choices are provided which offer healthier options. Unopened, pre-packaged snacks that are not consumed are also made available at “Grab and Go” stations or used in the “Backpack Buddies” program for students in need.
“We’re teaching kids to be responsible for their waste by realizing they can take re-usable trays and utensils to the dishwasher and by emptying their milk cartons and plastic drink bottles into five-gallon buckets with strainers for a clean collection process,” Baker noted. “Working with our school custodians and the child nutrition team, we’re making the idea of re-using and recycling a part of their daily routine – creating good habits our students can use throughout their lifetimes.”
Other ongoing projects include the recycling and re-use of office furniture; setting up collection boxes for scrap metal at the bus garage and at the maintenance department; recycling obsolete electronics and used textbooks; collecting used markers for recycling through Crayola; recycling fluorescent light bulbs and pallets; setting up collection boxes for clothing; utilizing recycle carts and dumpsters for aluminum cans and cardboard; and taking advantage of other “green” opportunities.
These projects have resulted in tremendous cost savings as Waste Industries, one of the recycling program’s greatest allies, provides a monthly report to monitor the school system’s progress. As a direct result of these recycling efforts, approximately $90,000 is saved in trash pickup each year. From June 2017 to July 2018, for example, a total of more than 177 tons of recyclables were collected by Waste Industries alone. In addition, almost 50,000 pounds of electronics was collected by Power House Electronic Recycling; Metech Electronic Recycling reported 1,455 pounds collected; more than 47,000 pounds of clothing were recycled by Friendship Used Clothing; Recycling Management Resources reported 5,000 pounds of outdated textbooks collected; more than 20,000 pounds of junk vehicles were scrapped at CJ Iron and Metal; Pallet One reported 2,200 pounds of pallets recycled; and Shred Ace collected 3,760 pounds of shredded paper.
According to Baker, all funds derived from the sale of scrap metal, used clothing and other items is put right back into our schools, helping purchase new equipment, new books, and even new recycling bins.
Expanding on that idea, a “Maker Space” has been introduced to keep young minds engaged by re-purposing and re-using teaching tools no longer needed, such as leftover art supplies, games with missing pieces, etc. that would have most likely ended up in the trash. Butner-Stem Elementary has recently opened their new Maker Space for creativity, with other schools soon to follow.
“We’re trying to spread the message that recycling, re-use or re-purposing should be our first action when something does not have any use to us,” Baker noted. “We’ve got to teach our students to be responsible and to be good stewards of the environment.”
To learn more about recycling in Granville County, contact Baker by phone at 919-725-1417 or by email at email@example.com.