All interested persons please take notice that the Granville County Board of Commissioners will hold a Special Meeting on Thursday, October 3, 2019 at 7:30 a.m. at the Granville Expo and Convention Center located at 4185 Highway 15 South, Oxford. The purpose of the Special Meeting is for the Board to go into closed session to discuss a matter of attorney-client privilege and a personnel matter pursuant to General Statute 143-318.11(a)(3) and (6).
Debra A. Weary, Clerk to the Board
Granville County Board of Commissioners
On Sept. 17, Citizenship Day was observed to recognize all who have chosen to become U.S. citizens. It is an observance that is held each year, but the day has special meaning for one local citizen, Jesus Gutierrez of Oxford, who says that the choice to apply for American citizenship has been a privilege he does not take for granted.
Gutierrez came to America from the village of Guanajuato, Mexico more than 30 years ago. One of 11 children, he came here for “a better life,” leaving his parents, seven sisters and three brothers behind. While he admits it was “hard” to leave his family, it is a decision, he says, he does not regret.
After arriving in Granville County, Gutierrez found a job in the tobacco fields, working for the Barker family. Almost every dollar he made was sent back to Mexico to help support his parents and his siblings. He was soon invited by his adopted American family to attend church with them in Dexter. One hour after choir practice each Wednesday evening, he was also given lessons to learn to speak English. Although he describes the language as “difficult to learn,” he says that he is appreciative for the time and attention he was given by Mrs. Barker, who took him under her wing.
“Thank the Lord she was willing to help me,” he noted.
Those lessons helped open a lot of doors for Gutierrez, enabling him to apply for other employment opportunities. In 1986, Gutierrez became a permanent U.S. resident and continued to work hard for his family. Today, the sixty-year-old works Monday through Friday for Granville County Government as a member of the General Services team, making repairs, running errands, sorting mail, etc. On weekends, he does maintenance and yard work for local residents, as well as cleaning offices.
“In America, if you work hard, you can have everything you want,” he explains. “I work hard, seven days a week. I don’t expect nothing for free.”
While his parents have both passed away since he has been here, his siblings and their families still live in Mexico. One of his brothers is now a teacher, and he has a sister who owns a store that sells school supplies. That store, Guitierrez explains, has helped provide income for his entire family.
Now nearing retirement, the Oxford resident is in the process of constructing a second home, as well as renovating a building on a lot he purchased before coming to America, located next door to where his parents once lived. A few times a year, he goes back to Mexico to spend time with his family there and to work on his properties, which are being partially built with Granville County materials. He has shipped lumber from Bullock, for example, to build doors and window frames.
“Everything in Mexico is expensive,” he says. “Most of the people in my village only make about $25 a day, so it is a hard life there.”
Gutierrez adds that his family once owned property next to a Mexican river, where they were able to use irrigation to grow peaches, potatoes, lettuce, avocados, etc. The sale of the produce was their major source of income. The construction of a highway through his family’s property, however, caused them to be uprooted from their home and to move to “the city,” where there was much poverty and no running water. They were given no compensation for their land and had to start over “with nothing.”
“Living in America is much better,” he says. “There have been many opportunities here for me.”
Gutierrez explains that he “behaves himself” and “commits no crimes,” and was able to become an official citizen in 2004.
In the process of earning his citizenship, Gutierrez says that he learned about the Constitution and the country’s presidents, as well as what the stars and stripes on the American flag symbolize and other history facts.
“I learned that Patrick Henry said, ‘give me liberty or give me death,’” he adds. “That was my favorite part.”
Since moving to the United States, Gutierrez has started his own family, getting married in 2003. His wife Fatima, also from Mexico, is a permanent resident who is working towards citizenship status of her own. The couple has two children and hopes to visit Mexico more often after retirement. But his home, he says, is right here in Granville County.
“I am very happy with my life here,” he commented. “I came to America for a better life, and I got what I was looking for.”
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the best way to dispose of old, unused, unwanted or expired medicines is to drop them off at a drug take-back site. Secure, locked drop boxes are available at the following Granville County locations:
Butner Public Safety, 611 Central Avenue in Butner
Granville County Sheriff’s Office #2, 1546 South Campus Drive in Creedmoor
City Hall/Police Department, 111 Masonic Street in Creedmoor
Creedmoor Drugs, 108 Main Street in Creedmoor
Oxford Police Department, 204 E. McClanahan Street in Oxford
Granville County Sheriff’s Office, 143 Williamsboro Street in Oxford
CVS Pharmacy, 215 Williamsboro Street in Oxford
Professional Pharmacy, 140 Roxboro Road in Oxford
These drop-off boxes are both convenient and accessible. Outdoor drop-off boxes can be accessed 24/7 OR during operating hours, if located inside.
On Saturday, Sept. 28, the Richard H. Thornton Library will host a showing of the documentary “Landscapes of the Heart: the Elizabeth Spencer Story.” The 58-minute film is a project of the Southern Documentary Fund, a non-profit arts organization which undertakes projects made in or about the American South. This particular film, as seen on UNC Television, offers a perspective on class, race and the changing role of women, examined through the lens of a prize-winning American writer.
Elizabeth Spencer was reared on a Mississippi plantation during the depression era. Born in Carrollton, Mississippi, she graduated from Belhaven College in Jackson, MS, later earning her master’s degree in literature from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. After a short teaching career, she accepted a position with the “Nashville Tennessean,” but soon left the newspaper industry to return to teaching, this time at the University of Mississippi. Her first book, “Fire in the Morning,” was published in 1948. In 1953, she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, leaving for Italy to pursue writing full-time. After marriage, she moved to Canada in 1956, where she taught creative writing at Concordia University. Thirty years later, the couple relocated to Chapel Hill, NC, where Spencer continued to teach. Now in her 90s, she still resides in Chapel Hill.
In all, Spencer has penned nine novels, eight collections of short stories, a non-fiction memoir and a play. Her latest work is a collection of short stories called “Starting Over,” which was published in 2013 and was the recipient of the 2013 Rea Award for the Short Story. The award, sponsored by the Dungannon Foundation, is given annually to a living U.S. or Canadian writer who has made a significant contribution to the discipline of the short story form.
In addition to this honor, Spencer is also the recipient of the O. Henry Prize for short fiction, the Award of Merit Medal for the Short Story, the J. William Corrington Award for fiction and the William Faulkner Medal for Literary Excellence, among many others.
“A writer who is not writing is like a useless piece of furniture,” she says, “ready for the attic.”
Spencer’s 1997 work “Landscapes of the Heart” is a memoir that serves as the title of the documentary to be shown this weekend. Through the film, viewers will learn Spencer’s unique family story, and how tackling the important issues she used as inspiration for her writing set her at odds with her father, a deeply religious and politically conservative Mississippi planter and entrepreneur.
Introducing the film will be producer Sharon Swanson, who will be available to answer questions in a follow-up discussion. The presentation will begin at 2 p.m.
Founded in 2002, the Southern Documentary Fund (SDF) is based in Durham and covers a diverse spectrum of topics – civil rights, the environment, history and the arts. Projects undertaken are used as tools for social change, education and community development. Since its founding, the SDF has sponsored more than 100 independent documentaries and has 77 active ones on the roster.
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. For more details about this event, contact Stefani Perry at 919-693-1121.
Granville County residents will soon have an opportunity to join a wide-spread effort to become more prepared in case of an earthquake. The 2019 Great Southeast Shakeout is an annual public earthquake drill where millions of people in organizations, schools and homes simultaneously practice “Drop, Cover and Hold On,” which is the recommended action for people to take during an earthquake. This event is scheduled for Oct. 17 at 10:17 a.m.
An earthquake is a sudden, quick shaking of the earth caused by the breaking and moving of underground rock, and can be followed by aftershocks. While not a highly likely event in Granville County, earthquakes may happen anywhere you live, work or travel. A major earthquake can occur any time, with no warning and with a short time to react.
Granville County Emergency Services strongly encourages local participation in this event. If interested, visit https://www.shaekout.org/southeast/register/ to enroll your organization, school, agency, business or family. Once registered, participants will learn how to be more prepared for earthquakes; will be counted in the world’s largest earthquake drill; will receive ShakeOut news and other information about earthquakes and preparedness; will make a difference by motivating others to participate and to be prepared.
Drills like this can help residents and businesses be better prepared on how to react if the ground starts shaking. In the case of an earthquake, remember to Drop, Cover and Hold On.
DROP – get down on the floor when shaking starts, before the quake drops you;
COVER – take cover under a sturdy desk, table or other furniture. If you cannot find something to get under, crouch against an inside wall. Keep your head and neck safe by using your arms. Stay away from windows, hanging objects, mirrors or anything that might fall over.
HOLD ON – hold onto a desk, table or piece of furniture. Be ready to move with it during the quake.
To be able to respond quickly, everyone should practice these steps often. There may be only a few seconds before strong shaking knocks you down, or something falls on you.
Millions of people worldwide have participated in Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills since 2008. The exercise is held on the third Thursday of October each year.
Be prepared, and encourage others to join in! Visit ReadyNC for more preparedness information.
John and Linda Sigmon of Granville County have been recognized with the North Carolina Forest Service’s “Outstanding Woodland Steward Award” for the Piedmont Region for 2019. The award was announced in August through the N.C. Forest Stewardship program.
The N.C. Forest Stewardship program is a cooperative effort, with participants receiving recognition for achievements in promoting total forest resource management. Landowners receive technical assistance in developing a stewardship management plan that is based on the property owner’s objectives, with activities being scheduled to enhance the forest for wildlife, soil and water quality, timber production, recreational opportunities and natural beauty.
As supporters of the program since 1994, the Sigmons are considered to be “model stewards” of land management in North Carolina. While Mr. Sigmon credits the couple’s success in land management to the greater conservation and forestry community, the committee who selected the Sigmons for this award attributes the accomplishment to the Sigmons themselves, who have served as the work horses, inspiration and dedication behind the property.
The Sigmon property has been in the family for multiple generations. Today, the land supports cropland, pasture, native pollinator habitat, wildlife food plots, multiple ponds and forestland. Both Mr. and Mrs. Sigmon are said to demonstrate a great respect for the land they own, striving to balance their management in a sustainable manner.
More information on the N.C. Forest Service and the Forest Stewardship Program is available at www.ncforestservice.gov, or those interested may contact the Granville County office of the North Carolina Forest Service at 919-693-3154.
(Pictured with the 2019 award are John and Linda Sigmon, along with County Ranger Rob Monague (left) and Les Hunter, Forest Stewardship Coordinator (right).
On Saturday, Sept. 21, local and statewide authors will present programs at two branches of your local public library.
“Tar Heel Traveler” Scott Mason will present “Stories from the Road” at the South Branch Library in Creedmoor. Author and journalist Mason is well-known across the state for his televised reports from some of North Carolina’s most interesting places and landmarks. He is the recipient of more than 100 journalism awards and recently published his fourth book, “Tar Heel Traveler: New Journeys Across North Carolina” in May of this year, which has been called “a blend of oral history and memoir with a good dose of quirky humor.” The program is scheduled for 3 p.m. and the public is invited to attend.
Also on Saturday, the Richard H. Thornton Library welcomes local children’s author Cameron Pendergraft. Pendergraft, who resides in Granville County, has penned two works, “The Story About Tigger” and “The Story About Tigger and Elsa,” both of which tell the story of adopted shelter dogs and the life-changing love of a family. Therapy dogs will also be on hand at the library for 15 minute reading sessions during the “Paws to Read” event scheduled from 1 until 4 p.m. Online registration is required for the reading sessions with visiting dogs. The meet and greet author’s program is open to the public as Pendergraft reads one of her children’s books to interested participants.
There are four branches of the Granville County Library System, which are located in Oxford, Creedmoor, Stovall and Berea. For a listing of upcoming events at each location, please visit https://granvillelib.nc.us.
For more information about this weekend’s events, contact Penelope Mason at the South Branch Library, located at 1550 South Campus Drive in Creedmoor, at 919-528-1752 or Amy Carlson, Children’s Librarian at the Thornton Library, 210 Main Street in Oxford, at 919-693-1121.
The Granville County Human Relations Commission, in partnership with the Sunrise Forum of the Granville County Chamber of Commerce and the League of Women Voters of Granville County, will sponsor a series of Candidate Forums for the upcoming municipal elections. Beginning Monday, Sept. 23, candidates running for office in the Town of Butner, the City of Oxford, the Town of Stem, the Town of Stovall and the City of Creedmoor have been invited to attend these forums and to answer questions presented by a moderator from each community.
Dates and times for each event are listed below:
- Town of Butner, Monday, Sept. 23 at 6 p.m., Butner Town Hall (Camp Butner Room);
- City of Oxford, Monday, Sept. 30 at 7 p.m., Oxford City Hall (Commissioners Meeting Room);
- Town of Stem, Thursday, Oct. 3 at 6:30 p.m., Stem Fire Department;
- Town of Stovall, Thursday, Oct. 10 at 6 p.m., Stovall Library;
- City of Creedmoor, Tuesday, Oct. 15 at 6:30 p.m., Creedmoor City Hall.
All of these forums are open to the public. Election day is scheduled for Nov. 5, 2019.
The Granville County Tourism Development Authority (TDA) has received a top honor for marketing from the North Carolina Travel Industry Association. The TDA earned the coveted platinum award in the Community Relations category for its innovative approach to communicating and building relationships within a community. The partnership between the TDA and members of the community was the result of a recent re-branding effort, in which the tourism brand “Uniquely Carolina” was created for Granville County Tourism’s new marketing campaign.
As part of the re-branding process, the TDA and the Hughes Marketing Group (brand consultant) interviewed over 100 county stakeholders for their ideas and input. Focus groups were also incorporated, with more than 650 participants completing surveys online and through intercepts. A final community outreach session, broadcast on Facebook Live, reached an additional 680 people who viewed the presentation on social media, with more than 60 people in attendance to see the results of the marketing campaign in person. Attendees included representatives of the tourism industry and the TDA Board, as well as interested residents and government/community leaders.
“Tourism is not the charge of a single person or department,” says Angela Allen, Executive Director of the TDA. “Everyone in a community impacts and is part of attracting visitors, and – more importantly – greeting, interacting with and making a visit to the community either positive or negative.”
“The primary challenge,” she added, “was to get folks to partner with us in developing our new brand. In the process, we broke through walls by incorporating our stakeholders in this effort. This award validates the community approach we used to promote tourism in Granville County.”
For more information on this community relations effort and the re-branding of Granville County Tourism, contact Allen by email at email@example.com or by phone at 919-693-6125. Those interested can also visit the new website at www.visitgranvillecounty.com.
To learn more about the North Carolina Travel Industry Association, visit nctia.travel.
Fortunately, Granville County felt minimal impacts from Hurricane Dorian. Preparedness measures taken by area residents should have them ahead of the game for future emergencies/disasters. As our Emergency Services Director Doug Logan says, “If you’re ready, you don’t have to GET ready!”
With September as National Preparedness Month, now is a great time for a review of the Family Plan and the Disaster Supplies Kit. Make sure all family members know what to do before, during, and after an emergency. Food and water should be replaced in the disaster supplies kit every six months- with the time change – the same time batteries are replaced in smoke detectors. Also, batteries in the disaster supplies kit should be rotated; when new batteries are purchased for something in the home, batteries from the kit should be used, with new batteries being substituted in the kit.
FEMA reminds everyone to Save Early for Disaster Costs. Below is helpful information to aid with financial preparedness for emergencies/disasters:
- 1. Most homeowners’ and renters’ insurance does not cover flood damage. Learn more about flood insurance at FloodSmart.gov;
- 2. Snap photos of important documents and personal belongings to help quickly file an insurance claim after an emergency/disaster;
- 3. What important documents are needed for an emergency? Download the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit, which serves as a “walk through” for the planning process: https://go.usa.gov/xypkQ;
- 4. Plan ahead: how will bills be paid if a disaster strikes? Prepare now with the help of these tips and free resources: ready.gov/financial-preparedness;
- 5. Keep some cash on hand in case of emergencies, since ATMs and credit card readers won’t always be available. Cash can help pay for immediate expenses like lodging, food and gas. Learn more: ready.gov/financial-preparedness;
- 6. Set aside a small amount from each paycheck to go into a savings account to be prepared for the unexpected.
Emergencies and disasters can happen at any time, often without warning. Be prepared, not scared!