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VGCC Foundation Inc. staff members Eddie Ferguson and Kay Currin are ready to solicit public and private grants to support the college’s for-credit and continuing-education program.

GCPS closes sale of Toler Elementary for $305K
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OXFORD — Granville County Public Schools officials say they’ve completed the sale of Joe Toler-Oak Elementary School, more than two years after closing the campus that formerly served students from the rural north of the county.

The transaction transferred the site to Tae Joo Rim, who’s from Apex. He paid $305,000 for the property, which appraised for $450,000 during the lengthy sale process and which the county tax office lists as being worth slightly more than $1 million.

But the Granville system secured more from the deal than it figured to last August, when the school board approved a deal with a different buyer who’d offered to pay $264,100 for the Joe Toler-Oak Hill campus.

That first prospective buyer “ultimately backed out,” forcing the system to reopen the bidding process, said Stan Winborne, assistant superintendent for operations and human resources.

In the end, “we were fortunate that the price was higher,” Winborne said.

The school board through its real estate agent, Ann Hancock, had listed the Toler property at $450,000. But in December, at Hancock’s urging it agreed to lower the asking price to $350,000 in hopes of attracting more bidders.

It is not clear what the future holds for the site. Rim’s lawyer, Paul Lee, could not be reached Monday for comment.

“While we do not know of any definite plans for the property, the buyer’s agent mentioned the possibility of using [it] for an adult day-care facility,” Winborne said.

Joe Toler-Oak Hill served the school system, and the area’s students, until its closure following the 2018-19 school year. The campus is on N.C. 96, nearly 14 miles northwest of Oxford.

Board members closed Toler and Oxford’s Mary Potter Middle School as part of a general downsizing of the Granville County Public Schools that continues as the system loses enrollment to charter schools in the region.

The board’s attention has turned to schools in the southern end of the county. Officials are mulling what to do with the three elementary schools and two schools that serve the Butner/Creedmoor area.

Once the school closed, district officials weren’t interested in holding on to the property because of its $130,000 or so a year in ongoing maintenance costs.

Oxford Preparatory School, a local charter school, asked to lease the campus for a while to accommodate some elementary grades classes pending an expansion of its own facilities. But the school district balked, contending that a lease would interfere with and slow their attempts to sell the property.

The Granville County Commissioners had the final say on that, and sided with the county school system.

Contact Ray Gronberg at rgronberg@hendersondispatch.com or by phone at 252-436-2850.

Phyllis Paschall didn’t let pollen season get in the way of her putting in some exercise on the track outside the Henderson Family YMCA on Monday

Track walk

Warren County sustains tough season-ending loss to Louisburg
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LOUISBURG -- Warren County entered Saturday morning’s matchup with Louisburg determined to clinch their first playoff berth since 2014 in head coach V.J. Hunt’s second year of leading the program.

Louisburg promptly squashed any hope Warren County had of reaching that goal by enjoying a dominant first half that gave them a 53-20 victory and ended a promising season for Hunt on a sour note.

A positive COVID-19 test last Saturday meant that Warren County could only get one practice in before the contest with Louisburg, which Hunt believed put his players in unfavorable but uncontrollable circumstances despite the effort his players put in during the game.

“There was a lot of adversity to overcome,” Hunt said. “We had a tough loss last week and didn’t really have an opportunity to practice this week. We never got into a rhythm but we had to throw together a gameplan when [Louisburg] had a bye week and spring break. They had plenty of time to scheme us up.”

Warren County had an opportunity to take an early lead after Louisburg lost a fumble on a botched snap that occurred deep in their own territory. A hard tackle on senior Camren Hogan caused him to lose the ball on Warren County’s first play, which gave Louisburg the ball at midfield and foreshadowed what was to come for Warren County.

Senior quarterback Ja’Heim Brown successfully led a touchdown drive to put Louisburg up 6-0 early but Warren County responded with freshman quarterback Najah Williams finding senior wide receiver Elijah Boyd for a 50-yard score that gave their team an 8-6 advantage.

The game gradually began to fall apart for Warren County after Boyd’s receiving touchdown, as their defense proceeded to give up a big 70-yard reception that Louisburg transformed into their score of the game after making several attempts on the goal line.

After Brown found freshman wide receiver Tymar Kearney for another touchdown, Williams committed another fumble on the kickoff return, resulting in another successful Louisburg scoring drive that expanded their lead to 25 points.

Louisburg provided Warren County one last punch before entering the locker room. While trying to scramble, Williams lost his grip on the football, enabling sophomore defensive back DaMaury Crudup to scoop it up for a defensive touchdown.

Hogan made up for his mistake in the first quarter by returning a lost fumble from Brown for a Warren County touchdown. A bad snap on a Louisburg punt set up Warren County in a great position to trim their deficit further but Williams’ third fumble of the game gave the ball right back to Louisburg.

Louisburg did not score again until the fourth quarter freshman running back Shamir Sheppard scored on a short run. Brown then connected with senior wide receiver Darrius Crudup on a deflected pass for Louisburg’s final touchdown of the game.

Hunt affirmed his praise for his players and everything they had to deal with throughout the shortened football season but was disappointed that the COVID-19 pandemic prevented Warren County from accomplishing more on the field.

Hunt remains determined to build a winning football program at Warren County and is optimistic that the growth his players have shown through his first two years despite the circumstances is a sign that the overall trajectory remains positive.

“We built a lot of character this year,” Hunt said. “We have asked kids to do things that are almost unheard of. Our kids aren’t in school and a lot of them struggle with rides but they handled the adversity every day. The biggest takeaway from this year is that I have a team of tough, hard-nosed kids who are built for whatever comes their way.”

First responders holding benefit drive for Davis, Montgomery
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HENDERSON — First responders across Vance County will be holding a benefit drive on April 30 at the Tri-County Shrine Club from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. in honor of Capt. Mike Davis and Trooper Brent Montgomery, who both lost their lives to COVID-19 in the past year.

The outpouring of support that Davis and Montgomery have received has been humbling for Sheriff Curtis Brame, who is pleased to see the positive relationship between police and residents persist through all the challenges brought on by the pandemic.

“I’m overwhelmed and glad to see so many people support these two,” Brame said. “People have always supported the boys in blue in Vance County and I’m very honored to be its sheriff knowing that our law enforcement still receives that community support.”

When Montgomery was diagnosed with COVID-19, numerous events were set up to support his family, such as a vigil at the Kerr Lake Country Club and a fundraiser at the old Charles Boyd Cadillac location that contributed over $25,000 to his medical expenses.

Like Montgomery, Capt. Davis of the Henderson Police Department always put the residents of his community first while on the job, with Brame adding that the upcoming benefit drive is an ideal way to honor his mentor’s legacy and how he touched so many people during his life.

Davis, who retired in 2006, “had an awesome impact on the community,” Brame said. “He trained me and I often came to him for guidance. He was such a positive role model and even worked in the school system with security and drove the activity buses for Vance County Schools. He was a great person to know and was a cop’s cop.”

Police Chief Barrow echoed Brame’s praise on Davis’ role within Vance County. He admitted that he still misses Davis’ knowledge and work ethic, both of which persisted up until he passed away in June 2020.

Davis “was an icon,” Barrow said. “He had started with the police department in 1975 and he was still actively with us as a reserve officer when he passed away. He was a mentor to me and a lot of other police officers.”

Brame said the first responders are planning to have 3,000 barbecue chicken plates prepared for the benefit drive, but those who wish to make a donation will need a ticket in advance. Each ticket costs $10 and all proceeds will go to the families of Davis and Montgomery.

The Henderson Police Department and Vance County Sheriff’s Office will have tickets on hand for the benefit drive. They can also be found at locations around Henderson and Oxford like Davis-Royster Funeral Service, Skipper Forsyth’s Bar-B-Q and Cross Creek Outdoor Supplies.

Barrow said that the success of past fundraisers and events for Davis and Montgomery shows that the community will step in immediately to help someone in need, and he expects April’s benefit drive to take place every year going forward.

The first responders “have talked as a group about making this an annual event,” Barrow said. “They’ve thought about doing a benefit drive for someone that has had a rough year, whether that involves a person dealing with an illness or a tragedy that’s befallen upon their family.”

Brame is optimistic that the benefit drive will have a strong turnout and said that more events are currently being planned to pay tribute to Davis and Montgomery while also supporting their families as they continue to grieve over their respective losses.

“Capt. Davis really loved his Harley-Davidson,” Brame said. “There’s a local motorcycle organization here in Vance County that’s planning a ride [after the benefit drive] and the proceeds will go to both families also.”

History of two wheels
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If it were the Civil War, they would have given him a leather strop to bite and a slug of opium (if he was lucky), broken out a couple of gore-smeared hacksaws and cut his leg off at the upper thigh. If he didn’t die from infection, he could look forward to life with an ill-fitting, painful wooden prosthesis.

If the accident had happened 50 or 60 years ago, he would have been heavily anesthetized and cared for in a sterile, well-stocked operating theater.

But he still would have lost his leg.

When The Kid was about 5, the only thing on the Christmas list was a two-wheeled, push scooter. Now, they’re everywhere.

But back then, they were ridiculously difficult to find.

Now, if you need an odd or obscure item, you hit the interwebs. And in the space of minutes, you have numerous variations of said strange item.

But back then, while there was a worldwide net, it was very early days yet. Most people didn’t even own a computer (we didn’t), and even of they did, most businesses were brick and mortar only.

It was tough, but we found that child a scooter.

A couple of months later we were visiting my parents. The Kid was riding the scooter in their garage. Then Petey had a turn.

The turn turned into a spill.

After seven hours at the emergency room, The Kid learned what was on Nick at Night at three in the morning, and I learned my spouse had broken his hand.

Five or six years later, Petey decided that he was burning up too much gas going back and forth to work, so he bought a scooter.

This wasn’t a two-wheeled, foot-operated child’s toy. This was a “Ciao Bella”, touring the Amalfi coast, riding with Audrey Hepburn through the traffic in Rome kind of thing. It was a Honda not a Vespa, but it was that kind of scooter.

He rode back and forth the first weekend. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening went fine.

After I walked The Kid to the bus stop and got back home, the phone rang. It was Petey.

“A funny thing happened on the way home from work.”

Yeah, it was knee-slappingly hilarious. His scooter slid on a manhole cover and his forward motion had been stooped by his knee hitting the curb.

At the emergency room, he looked fine. He had one little spot of blood on the white pants he wore to work. I figured they’d do a quick x-ray of his leg and we’d be on our way. We’d still be able to pick The Kid up after the last day of fifth grade.

I forgot about the wait that always accompanied any visit to our local emergency room. I finally called my mom to pick up our child.

They did scan after x-ray after ultrasound. Turns out, he’d completely demolished the knuckle part of his tibia. You know, the bone that all the other bones in your leg rest on?

It was a many-houred surgery which included netting, nuts, bolts and cadaver bone. He was not allowed to put any weight on it for about six months. Any strain on the joint could destroy the cutting-edge work done and he’s possibly lose the leg.

Gentle Reader, the other day I came home from work to find he’d spent his stimulus check — on a motorized scooter, like the green ones they rent out. It has a platform to stand on, two wheels, and goes 15 miles an hour.

Do you want to tell him, or should I?

Thanks for your time.

Contact Debbie Matthews at dm@bullcity.mom.