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Posts written by Lynn Allred

Board of Elections schedules meeting for June 4

A Board meeting to discuss and approve changes in polling locations will be held on Tuesday June 4, 2019 at 9:30 a.m. at the Granville County Board of Elections located at 208 Wall Street, Oxford, NC.  These moves are necessary due to requests from some polling places, and an effort to make voting more efficient for voters and poll workers. 

 

Election Day Precincts:

Proposal: The following precincts would remain at the same facility but the room where you vote would change.

 

Creedmoor Precinct  located at Creedmoor Elementary School, 305 East Wilton Avenue, Creedmoor

Proposal: Open partition in the music room and use the large open area in the music room.

 

 

Mt. Energy Precinct located at Mt. Energy Elementary School, 2652 NC Hwy 56 East, Creedmoor Proposal: Move from the gym to the Media Center.

 

West Oxford Elementary Precinct located at 412 Ivey Day Road, Oxford, NC

Proposal: Move from the library to the gym. 

 

One-Stop Site:

Proposal: The following One-Stop site would remain at the same facility but the room where you vote would change.

Wilton One-Stop Site located at Tar River Elementary School, 2642 Philo White Rd, Franklinton, NC

Proposal: Move from multipurpose room to the gym.  The gym is across the hall from the multipurpose room where voting currently is held (building to the left of the school.)

 

Election Day Precincts:

Proposal: The following precincts would move to another location and address.

 

Oak Hill Precinct

Proposal: Move from Toler-Oak Hill School located at Toler-Oak Hill School, 8176 Hwy 96 North, Oxford, NC  to Camp Oak Hill & Retreat Center located at 1528 Oak Hill Road, Oxford, NC

–          Voting will be in the last room on the right down the sidewalk.  There will be a separate entrance for voters to enter and exit. 

 

Salem Precinct

Proposal: Move from the Oxford/Henderson Airport located at the Oxford/Henderson Airport, 6514 Airport Road, Oxford, NC to Oxford Preparatory School located at 6041 Landis Road, Oxford, NC

–     Voting will be in the gym.  This will allow more space for voters and will have a separate entrance for voters to enter and exit.

 

Sassafras Fork Precinct

Proposal: Move from Sassafras Fork Elementary School located at Stovall-Shaw School, 7696 US Hwy 15 North to the Stovall Library located at 300 Main Street, Stovall, NC

–           Voting will be in the conference room.  This will allow more space for voters.

 

Tally Ho precinct

Proposal: Move from Stem Fire Station located at the Stem Fire Station, 100 Franklin Street, Stem, NC to Granville Central High School located at 2043 Sanders Road, Stem, NC

 

 – Voting will be in the band room. This will allow more space and parking for voters.

 

For more information about this meeting, please contact Tonya Burnette, Granville County Director of Elections, at 919-693-2515.

 

 

Granville Athletic Park reaches 15-year milestone

On May 21, 2004, Granville Athletic Park (GAP) was dedicated to the citizens of Granville County after a hard-fought battle to keep out a hazardous waste incinerator. Fifteen years later, the GAP is now the area’s largest recreational area and environmental preserve, serving as a “third home” for thousands of residents and visitors. What happened to change the intended use of this site is the result of many concerned people – from near and far – coming together to make a difference in their community.

 

In 1989, North Carolina joined a five-state compact that would commit the state to site and build five hazardous waste incinerators for a private company called ThermalKEM. In May of the following year, the list of 18 potential locations had been narrowed to two sites – one on the Rowan/Iredell County border and one near Oxford in Granville County. Land for the incinerator site totaled 580 acres off Belltown Road, which was combined from nine different land owners.

 

When Granville County residents learned of the plan to locate the toxic waste incinerator in their area, they took action. In addition to multiple local protests, Oxford attorney John Pike secured a loan from Adams Tobacco Company to purchase the 48-acre Ellok Jones farm, one of the tracts of land in the middle of the 580-acre proposed incinerator site. Pike then sold $5.00 ownership shares of the newly-acquired farmland to approximately 8,000 people, most from Granville County but some from as far away as the Soviet Union and South America. The intent was to make it so difficult to negotiate with the large number of shareholders that the state would eventually abandon the project. The idea worked. Facing multiple lawsuits and the publicity that resulted, the state was deterred from their original plan.

 

In March of 1999, a partnership was forged between Jonesland Environmental Park, Inc. and Granville County. According to the deed between the two partners, 48.28 acres of the land was to be used for recreation and environmental park purposes;  the forestland was to be preserved in a natural state (no clear cutting); the grounds were to be maintained by organic methods defined by the National Organic Standards Board; and the Jones family’s cemetery plot was to be maintained.

 

On May 21, 2004, the Granville Athletic Park and Jonesland Environmental Preserve was dedicated, with many supportive residents in attendance. The Granville County land that had once been envisioned as a site for the burning of toxic waste is now Granville County’s largest recreational area, covering more than 60 acres as it grows to meet the needs of its residents. Due to continued efforts by county staff, local organizations and volunteers, today’s park includes walking trails, baseball/softball diamonds, soccer fields, picnic areas, open play spaces, playground equipment, pickleball courts, a disc golf course, basketball goals, an educational Kids TRACK trail, an outdoor classroom space, a splash pad, a butterfly garden and many more amenities.

 

Phase III of the GAP’s expansion is to begin soon, which will include tennis courts, fitness stations, volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, an all-inclusive play area, a sound garden and other additions.

 

Granville County Government has been observing the 15th anniversary of Granville Athletic Park with an online “Fifteen Day Countdown” and will soon be introducing “Fifteen for 15,” which details 15 sponsorship/giving opportunities to kick off this milestone celebration. More details will be coming soon. For more information about Granville Athletic Park, contact Management Analyst Charla Duncan at charla.duncan@granvillecountygovernment.org. To reserve specific time periods for field play, picnic shelters, etc., contact Raymond Allen, Granville County’s Parks and Grounds Director, at 919-693-3716.

 

Pictured below: (Top left) A protestor stands her ground at the Belltown Road site that was once considered for a hazardous waste incinerator; (top right) Comm. Tony Cozart, Carolina Sunrock owner Brian Pfohl, Comm. Hubert Gooch, Oxford Attorney John Pike, Commissioners Dave Currin and W.E. “Pete” Averette are shown at the GAP’s dedication 15 years ago; (bottom row) Dedicated to the citizens of Granville County, the GAP is now the area’s largest recreational park and environmental preserve.

 

     

County Commissioners, leaders participate in County Assembly Day

The North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) hosted County Assembly Day in Raleigh on May 8, with Granville County Commissioners Zelodis Jay (Chairman), Tim Karan and Sue Hinman, as well as County Manager Michael Felts and Emergency Services Director Doug Logan, in attendance. This annual meeting offers opportunities for county commissioners and attending county officials to hear from state leaders and discuss issues that impact their communities.

 

This year’s event focused on two top legislative priorities for counties – expanding broadband access and investing in public school facilities. Following the morning program, commissioners visited legislative offices to advocate on behalf of their counties. The Granville County delegation had meetings with Representative Larry Yarborough and Terry Garrison, as well as with Senator Mike Woodard.

 

“Our state representatives understand the issues we face on a county level,” explained County Commissioner Tim Karan, District 6. “Through the partnerships we have developed between the NCACC and our legislators, we are able to work together to address our broadband needs, as well as the needs of Granville County Public Schools. The work that the General Assembly is doing now can help remove the barriers we face here at home, so that we can move forward and make the improvements we need to make.”

 

Anthony Copeland, Secretary for the North Carolina Department of Commerce, delivered keynote remarks at the assembly, discussing the importance of broadband access and its relation to economic development.

 

“Broadband is something we need to address,” Copeland said. “Everything we do is technologically integrated and communities have to be prepared. It may be expensive, but we have to have it to compete. We have got to deliver it.”

 

Other speakers included Senator Brent Jackson and Representative David Lewis of the North Carolina General Assembly, who commended the NCACC for its constructive engagement with the General Assembly and stakeholders to identify solutions that will close gaps in internet access throughout the state. Rep. Lewis also referred to NCACC’s longstanding goal to address school facility needs.  “Like broadband, one area of universal agreement that the General Assembly holds is that we have to do whatever we can to make our schools safer,” Lewis said.

 

Granville County Board of Commissioners Chairman Zelodis Jay, District 1, agrees.  “Broadband impacts all 100 counties in the state,” Chairman Jay said, “and our schools also have many needs that are not being met. As county commissioners, it is our job to advocate for our residents and our communities. We are working with our legislators to find solutions to improve broadband issues in our rural areas and to make sure our schools get what they need to teach our children and keep them safe.  It is our hope that the state will, in turn, give us some relief to help meet these needs.”

 

The 2019 County Assembly Day was held at several locations in Raleigh which included the NC Museum of History, the State Capitol Grounds and the NC Legislative Complex. Almost 200 county representatives were in attendance to share information and to advocate for their respective counties. To learn more about the NCACC and County Assembly Day, visit www.ncacc.org/168/County-Assembly-Day.

 

      

Granville County’s proposed budget presented for FY 2019/2020

In a workshop held at the Granville County Expo and Convention Center on May 14, County Commissioners reviewed the proposed budget for 2019/2020. The proposal under consideration does not raise property taxes, keeping the rate at 84 cents per $100 of accessed value. 

 

Other highlights of the budget, which are included in the budget overview provided, include a 37 percent allocation to Education; 22 percent to Human Services; 19 percent to Public Safety; 10 percent to Community Services; 6 percent to General Government; and 6 percent in the “Other” category.

 

The budget preparation season officially began at the Board’s Planning Retreat this past February. During these planning sessions, Board Members discussed current programs and provided staff guidance. The County Manager then informed department managers of program ideas that the Board expressed interest in when making recommendations for the proposed 2019/2020 budget. Individual departmental meetings were held form late March to early April to review budget requests and to finalize expenditures. Revenues were the last item to be addressed, because much of the property tax information and the year-to-date historical data was not available until late April. The revenue and expenditures were finalized at the end of April, after another full review of revenues, expenditures and projected fund balance, with the recommended budget being presented to Commissioners at the May 6 meeting of the Board.

 

Goals listed in the proposal, which were communicated during individual budget work sessions, monthly meetings and in the annual planning retreat include, among others: 1. a conservative estimate of revenues and expenditures to avoid expectations of performance that are not realistic; 2. the creation of an atmosphere where efforts to “spend down” during the fiscal year are discouraged; 3. the presentation of a budget that maintains the current level of programs and services provided by County departments to the public, without a reduction unless those reductions are caused by State or Federal reductions; 4. the presentation of a budget that does not supplant funding cuts by the State or Federal governments, but instead reduces those programs and informs the public of the associated impacts; and 5. the presentation of a budget that re-evaluates all expenditures in order to offset projected losses in revenues so that, in light of the current economic conditions, a tax increase is not needed for general government operations but allows for policy review and potential service reductions or exansions based on other policy directives.

 

The estimated tax base of $4,946,048,430 for fiscal year 2019/2020 is projected to provide revenues of $41,102,256 at the recommended tax rate of 84 cents for each $100 of assessed valuation, assuming a 98.93 percent collection rate.  The recommended budget also appropriates $2,313,755 from fund balance in order to maintain current levels of county-provided programs and services, without an increase in the tax rate.

 

Residents and those interested in the budget can request to see it at the County Manager’s Office on Williamsboro Street in Oxford or at any of the four library branches in Oxford, Creedmoor, Stovall and Berea.

 

A public hearing to receive comments on the proposed budget will be held on Monday, May 20 at 7 p.m. (or shortly thereafter) in the Auditorium, Granville Expo and Convention Center. All interested are encouraged to attend. 

 

To view a copy of the proposed budget, click here: http://www.granvillecounty.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/FY-2020-Granville-County-Proposed-Budget.pdf.

For details about service expansions and requests, please visit either the County Manager’s office on Williamsboro Street or any one of the four branches of the Granville County Library System in Oxford, Creedmoor, Stovall and Berea.

 

 

Church group recognized with volunteer service award

During an annual visit to Central Regional Hospital, the Hinshaw United Methodist Women of Greensboro were honored with a Resolution and Proclamation honoring 65 years of volunteerism to our area. The award was presented by the Granville County Board of Commissioners, with Chairman Zelodis Jay presenting the award.

 

Known as the “Hinshaw Ladies” and “Church Ladies,” the group began providing Christmas parties for patients of John Umstead Hospital in the early 1950s.  Eventually they transitioned to delivering Easter baskets for adult patients, along with homemade treats and punch. For the past 15 years, the group has also provided an annual Bingo party as they greet their guests of honor, play Bingo, help select prizes and share snacks as each patient leaves with a smile and a bag overflowing with prizes. In addition to the eagerly-awaited parties, the “Hinshaw Ladies” provide generous support to Operation Santa Claus, a project providing a gift box for those hospitalized Christmas morning.

 

The group continued their volunteer service as John Umstead merged with Dorothea Dix Hospital to become Central Regional Hospital (CRH) in 2008. In 2018, the “third generation of “The Church Ladies” began work to continue the legacy of volunteering.

 

CRH is a state-operated in-patient psychiatric facility serving 25 centrally located North Carolina counties and almost 400 patients. Over the past 65 years, the Hinshaw United Methodist Women have shown caring and compassion to thousands in treatment for mental illness in this Granville County facility.

 

On May 6, this group was additionally honored with the Governor’s Medallion Award for Volunteer Service. They are pictured here with Chairman Jay and their pastor. 

 

May 5 through May 11 is Hurricane Prepareness Week

As many residents across the state continue recovery efforts from Hurricanes Florence and Matthew, Granville County Emergency Services offers information to help residents better understand their risk during severe weather.

 

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale classifies hurricanes into five categories based on their sustained wind speed at the indicated time. Hurricanes reaching Category 3 and higher are considered major hurricanes because of their potential for significant loss of life and property. Category 1 and 2 storms are still dangerous and require preventive measures.

 

It is important that all residents know their hurricane warning terminology, such as the difference between watches and warnings:

 

·       Hurricane Warning: An announcement that sustained winds of 74 mph or higher are expected somewhere within the specified area in association with a tropical, subtropical, or post-tropical cyclone. Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the warning is issued 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds. The warning can remain in effect when dangerously high water or a combination of dangerously high water and waves continue, even though winds may be less than hurricane force;

 

·       Hurricane Watch: An announcement that sustained winds of 74 mph or higher are possible somewhere within the specified area in association with a tropical, subtropical, or post-tropical cyclone. Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the watch is issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds;

 

·       Tropical Storm Warning: An announcement that sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph are expected somewhere within the specified area within 36 hours in association with a tropical, subtropical, or post-tropical cyclone;

 

·       Tropical Storm Watch: An announcement that sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph are possible somewhere within the specified area within 48 hours in association with a tropical, subtropical, or post-tropical cyclone.

 

Keep in mind that even tropical storm force winds of less than 74 mph are capable of tossing around debris and causing damage. For this reason, residents should seek shelter from the wind in a sturdy building as the hurricane moves inland and before the onset of tropical storm force winds.

 

Steps to take before a storm include an assessment of home landscaping, as well as the threat from falling trees. Homeowners, as well as those who rent property, should trim back any dead limbs as well as large overhanging branches and pick up all loose objects around the house including lawn furniture, grills, and potted plants. Lastly, a plan should be developed regarding where to seek shelter during strong winds. Interior hallways, closets and bathrooms are the safest locations. During a storm, it is strongly recommended to stay away from windows and exterior doors.

 

Homeowners and renters should contact an insurance company or agent to ask for an insurance check-up to make sure there is enough insurance to repair or even replace the home and/or interior property, as well as coverage for cars and/or boats.  Standard homeowners’ insurance, or renters’ insurance, does not typically cover flooding. Whether you’re a homeowner or renter, you’ll need a separate policy that is available through an insurance company, agent or the National Flood Insurance Program at www.floodsmart.gov.   Flood insurance requires a 30-day waiting period, so now is the time for the insurance check.

 

Finally, know where your insurance documents and contact information are located, and be sure to take them with you if you have to evacuate.

 

Hurricane season is June 1 through Nov. 30, but most storms hit from mid-August to mid-October. Granville County Emergency Services, in partnership with the N.C. Department of Public Safety, reminds all residents to be storm-ready. Visit https://www.ready.gov for more helpful tips and information.

 

 

 

 

Twelve-year-old recognized for volunteer service

Granville County student Yosselin Baylon Alvarez was recognized with a proclamation for volunteer service at the May 6 meeting of the Granville County Board of Commissioners. The twelve-year-old was honored for her assistance to staff and other volunteers of the Granville County Animal Shelter during a spay/neuter event held in a targeted Butner area.

 

According to Animal Management Director Matthew Katz, Yosselin’s efforts were instrumental to the success of the project as she voluntarily offered translation services in communicating with Spanish-speaking residents, helping to share information about the recent spay/neuter event. The bilingual sixth-grader also acted as community liaison, encouraging resident participation while translating information and helping answer questions for those who struggled with the English language.

 

On March 8, the day of the scheduled event, Yosselin was excused from school to continue her volunteer service by helping gather animals from residents who needed additional assistance. As a result of her work, 24 animals in the targeted area were successfully spayed/neutered. Yosselin continued to be a contact between the community and the Granville County Animal Shelter over the next few weeks, proving to be a vital link in every facet of the spay/neuter event.

 

“Yosselin invested many hours to assist volunteers in canvassing, follow-up and completing all the required paperwork,” the proclamation reads. “This level of participation from the community could not have been achieved  without Yosselin bridging the different cultures and acting as an advocate for the event.”

 

Yosselin was accompanied by her family to Monday night’s Commissioners meeting and says she has dreams of becoming a medical doctor after completing her education. She is currently a student at Butner-Stem Middle School.

 

 

 

Thornton branch introduces “Seed Library” and community garden

The Richard H. Thornton branch of the Granville County Library System continues to offer innovative services by introducing a “Seed Library” and community garden to residents and library patrons. Now available to the public is a card catalog filled with vegetable seeds, as well as herbs and berries that can be “checked out,” taken home and planted in family gardens.

 

According to Adult Services Librarian Ashley Wilson, families can come in, browse through the “card catalog” that has been stocked with a wide variety of seeds, and select what they would like to grow.  Collards, cucumbers, corn, melons, squash, tomatoes, peas, peppers, okra and other vegetable seeds have already been prepared and are available in starter packs, which include growing instructions. With a limit of three packs of seeds per family, it is hoped that those who begin their own gardens will share seeds after harvest to keep the project ongoing from season to season.

 

The community played a large role in the plant and seed selections at the library,” Wilson notes. “We asked what they would like to see growing – most said tomatoes – so we made sure we offered tomatoes. The library values community input in all our projects and this one wouldn’t have been possible without it.”

Packets offered were also selected based on local soil conditions and other criteria that would make them “region friendly,” with many of the seeds available being donated by interested community members in support of this project.

To continue the message of sustainability through gardening, the Thornton Library also announces the addition of an on-site community garden. Planted just outside the front entrance and in the surrounding area, plantings include strawberries, peas, okra and other seedlings, as well as lavender, mint and cooking herbs.

 

Visible and open access gardens are a way that my family has always enjoyed the growing season, especially when we didn’t have a place to grow ourselves,” Wilson explains. “Open gardens also gave us a chance to learn about new plants or varieties we may not have seen before.”

 

Through mulch donated from a local business and in garden beds constructed by library staff and volunteers, seedlings are just now peeking through the soil.  Taller plantings and bush varieties such as tomatoes and blueberries can also be spotted along the library’s exterior walls and around the corner to the side entrance. As these plantings grow and mature, community residents are encouraged to come by and keep track of the garden’s progress, and to share in the harvest once the produce has reached its peak.

 

To provide hands-on instruction in using fresh ingredients in the kitchen, cooking demonstrations and samplings have been scheduled at the Thornton Library during the month of May, with all ingredients provided. The “What’s Cooking at the Library” series kicked off on May 8 with a class on making homemade pasta. Demonstrations continue on May 15 with Sultan’s Pilaf, and on May 22 with Versatile Salads and Dressings. These programs are being held at 2 p.m. in the library’s large conference room.

 

The Richard H. Thornton Library is located at 210 Main Street in Oxford and is one of four branches of the Granville County Library System, which also includes the South Branch in Creedmoor, the Stovall Library and the Berea branch. For more information about programs and presentations offered through the Granville County Library System, visit www. https://granville.lib.nc.us/ or call 919-693-1121.

 

 

 

           

Duncan completes training at UNC School of Government

Charla Duncan, Granville County Management Analyst (Administration Office), recently graduated from the UNC School of Government’s Municipal and County Administration Program. This course is designed for city and county managers, department heads and other city or county officials whose responsibilities require an understanding of functions beyond individual areas of specialization.

 

During the April 12 graduation ceremony, Duncan was awarded the Edwin M. Gill Award, given by the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners. Since 1965, this award has been given in to the student in the County Administration Course with the most distinguished record in the course, based on input from classroom peers, professors  and course performance. The award is in honor of Edwin M. Gill who served as Chairman of the Local Government Commission and State Treasurer from 1953 to 1976.

 

The UNC School of Government’s Municipal and County Administration Program gives attendees a chance to:

  • Understand the legal framework and administrative requirements of North Carolina city and county government;
  • Learn about how specific city and county services are organized and provided;
  • Appreciate the interrelation among different activities or departments and how specific laws, programs, and functions contribute to the achievement of the overall mission of a local government;
  • Become part of a broader network of local government peers on whom participants will be able to draw for assistance in the future.

 

Duncan has served as Management Analyst for Granville County Government since May of 2018, having served as Grants Coordinator from August 2016 until last year’s transition. She holds a Masters degree in Public Administration from New York University (NYU).

 

(Duncan is pictured on home page with Granville County Commissioner and Board Chairman Zelodis Jay.)

 

Municipal and County 2018

Oxford Senior Center announces schedule changes for May 2

Due to a shutdown of water service – while new lines are being installed by the City of Oxford – the Granville County Senior Center on Lanier Street in Oxford will be closed for public participation beginning at 9 a.m. on Thursday, May 2. The weekly 10 a.m. BINGO game will also be cancelled on Thursday.

 

There will be no interruption of service for home- delivered meals. Congregate meals, however, will not be ordered and transportation into the Senior Center will be cancelled for this one day only.

 

Front doors of the Senior Center will be open for those who would like to come in for questions, program sign-ups, appointment scheduling, etc.

 

For any questions or concerns, please contact Senior Services Director Kathy May at 919-693-1930.

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