Edgecombe CC Collecting Bikes for Students

(PIctured) Ralph Willis rides to classes at Edgecombe Community College on a bicycle that was donated to the college. (Photo Courtesy Edgecombe CC)

(NEWS RELEASE) When Kim Hampton asked her coworkers at Edgecombe Community College for a little help, she said she expected few responses.

Instead, what she got made her realize there’s no shortage of kindness on her campus.

“Transportation for students is our No. 1 problem,” says Hampton, the college’s counselor/student support specialist. “Nine out of 10 students who come to me ask for help with transportation.

“We have a lot of students who walk to school.”

In August, Hampton sent out an email to employees asking for bicycle donations to make it easier for some students to get to classes.

“I expected maybe one; I received three,” she says.

The bikes needed minor repairs, but Hampton didn’t have to worry about that either. Al Carroll, chair/instructor of Automotive Systems Technology, and his students jumped at the chance to help, she says.

One bike was missing a seat, so a student donated one. “Out of the goodness of their hearts, they said they’d take care of the bikes,” Hampton explains. “They really didn’t have time for it, but it was wonderful for those students to do something for other students. They were proud to fix the bikes.”

Jaime Raya, a 23-year-old student who attends classes on Edgecombe Community College’s Rocky Mount campus, received one of the donated bikes.

“Sometimes, I didn’t have the funds to ride the bus, and I’ve had to ask for a ride or for someone to loan me money to get to school,” Raya says. “I’ve even had to walk about 45 minutes to get to class. But, I had to do it, so I am very thankful for the bike.”

Hampton said Raya and Ralph Willis both received bikes this year, and the third bike soon will be ready for another student to ride.

“The students who received the bikes were overjoyed and really, really excited,” Hampton says.

The college offers Tar River Transit bus tokens to students who need transportation to classes, but offering them a bike instead gives them more flexibility and freedom. “It makes it easier for them to get to school,” Hampton says. “And I would rather give them the means than bus tokens.”

She hopes to get more donated bicycles in order to provide additional students with a dependable ride.

Anyone who would like to donate bikes to the college can contact Hampton at 823-5166, ext. 259, or hamptonk@edgecombe.edu.

Saturday’s “Shark Tank” features Great Entrepreneurs, Judges


Click on the Image to Obtain a Free Ticket for Saturday’s Shark Tank Event

SpringBoardNC’s inaugural “Shark Tank,” to be held this Saturday, November 16th, at 6 p.m. at the Dunn Center for the Performing Arts at North Carolina Wesleyan College, will feature local entrepreneurs competing for the chance to advance their business ideas with funding and technical support.

The public is invited to attend this free event, as well as help select winners in each category. Tickets are required, and can be obtained online by clicking here or visiting the SpringBoardNC website, www.sprinboardnc.com.

“Shark Tank by SpringBoard is a way for entrepreneurs or aspiring entrepreneurs to broadcast their ideas and businesses to the people that matter: customers, mentors and investors,” said SpringBoardNC Vice President, Jeff Tobias. “That’s aside from the opportunity to win significant cash prizes.”

Each finalist will present their idea to the audience and four special judges:

Mayo Boddie, Chairman, Boddie-Noell Enterprises

Brian Wordsworth, Executive Vice-President, MBM Corporation

Frances Gravely, Founder, Vietri, Inc.

David Walker, Eastern North Carolina Center for Business and Entrepreneurship, North Carolina Wesleyan College

More than 50 entries were submitted for the competition in 3 categories: business, college, and young entrepreneur academy. Business category applicants provided abbreviated business plans for new business and business expansion ideas. College students competed against each other, developing general business ideas and assessments. Participants in the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA) organized by The Rocky Mount Area Chamber of Commerce shared business ideas they’ve developed while participating in the program.

Business category finalists are:

Syntervention, a Rocky Mount-based company developing innovative products for use in the medical and surgical fields. They will be represented by Fuz Furbush.

Prsonas, a Durham-based company developing virtual-based customer interaction and presentation services, represented by David Rose.

Tail Gate Buddy, a Roanoke Rapids-based company started by Brian Hux, providing a product that attaches to vehicles to provide seating and cargo space for special events.

The college category finalists are Tyler Freedman, Sabina Paudel, Kristopher Hutchins, and Shadawn Clanton. The YEA finalists are Brianna Barnes, Joshua McKnight, Thane Wooten, Shawndrea Gunter and Gabrielle Taylor

Three business category finalists will present their plans to the judges for the chance to win $10,000 to cover startup or expansion costs. They will also be given access to a committee of advisors who will help them start and grow their business for over their initial 12 months.

The winner in the college category will win $2,500 to use toward college tuition of paying off student debt. The YEA category winner will receive reimbursement of their program tuition, equivalent to $295.

“Shark Tank” is the first business competition of its kind in the local area. It is the product of a broad collaboration that includes North Carolina Wesleyan College’s Eastern North Carolina Center for Business & Entrepreneurship, the Kenan Institute for Private Enterprise in Chapel Hill, and the Rocky Mount Area Chamber of Commerce, and is supported by Carolinas Gateway Partnership and the North Eastern Entrepreneur Roundtable (NEER).

Arts Center to host “Peanuts” Thanksgiving Party

The Maria V. Howard Arts Center will host, “It’s a Thanksgiving Party, Charlie Brown!” on Saturday, November 23rd, from 10 a.m. to 12 Noon, in recognition of its current “Peanuts… Naturally” exhibition.

The event will feature tours of the “Peanuts… Naturally” exhibit, along with other Arts Center exhibits, hands-on activities, live Jazz music featured in “Peanuts” specials, and more.

“Peanuts… Naturally” is a national touring exhibit organized by the Charles M. Schulz Museum. The exhibit features more than 50 items from the Museum, including classic strips, Peanuts-inspired art and collectibles. Most of the pieces represent natural and environmental themes Schulz often incorporated into his famous strip throughout its 50-year run.

The exhibit also includes several “hands on” stations where visitors of all ages can learn more about biology, plants, astronomy, weather and the environment.

“Peanuts… Naturally” is on display at the Maria V. Howard Arts Center at The Imperial Centre, 270 Gay Street, Downtown Rocky Mount from now until January 5th. The exhibit is free to the public and open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.


Tesla brings “Supercharger” to Rocky Mount

California-based electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors will open its second Supercharger station in North Carolina this Thursday on the grounds of the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Rocky Mount.

Charging will be available for owners of Tesla’s Model S sedan, a high-performance luxury vehicle capable of 120 mph top speed with a travel range of more than 200 miles at 55 mph.

The Supercharger stations are key to a significant infrastructure program Tesla is implementing to enable greater range for its popular high-end vehicles. The company just completed its first major corridor of Superchargers, enabling travel from San Diego to Vancouver. 31 of these stations are currently in operation in North America.

Tesla sees the new Supercharger station in Rocky Mount as critical to its expansion in the Eastern United States. The station will provide “an important link in connecting East Coast travelers between Boston and Miami.”

So far, these stations have provided Model S vehicles with over 4 million supercharged miles. Tesla claims these stations have reduced national consumption of motor fuel by nearly 200,000 gallons.

Superchargers can facilitate a 50% charge of the Model S battery system in 20 minutes, with 200 miles worth of charge achieved in a half-hour. Stations will be located between city centers to enable free long-distance travel for about three hours at a time.

A public grand opening of the charging station will take place Thursday, November 14th, at 10 a.m., featuring on-site Tesla S show vehicles. The station will be available for use on November 14th as well.

Edgecombe Health Department to host November 22nd Forum for Pastors

In order to address challenges involving the health of local residents, the Edgecombe County Health Department is reaching out to area Pastors, hosting a special Health Forum for this influential part of the community on Friday, November 22nd, 10 a.m., at

Health Department officials will provide local Pastors and church leaders with information they can use to address health disparities with their congregations and work to improve their quality of life.

The most recent information from the North Carolina State Center for Health Statistics shows that Edgecombe County performs below state averages in several key quality of health indicators, including low birth weight, premature births, infant mortality, cancer cases, heart disease and diabetes.

Encouraging healthier personal habits is also critical to the Health Department’s efforts. Recent data shows that Edgecombe County has among the lowest scores for “healthy behavior” in the State, including its performance with respect to alcoholism, tobacco use and infection of sexually transmitted diseases.

Pastor and church leaders who want to attend should call Meredith Capps at (252) 641-6288.

Rocky Mount Animal Shelter hosts Pet Vaccination Clinic Saturday Morning

The Rocky Mount Animal Shelter on South Church Street near US 64 will host a Rabies Vaccination Clinic this Saturday, October 26th, from 9am to 12noon.

The clinic is open to dogs and cats only, four months and older. Rabies vaccines will be available for $5/pet, cash only.


Rocky Mount Fire Department to hold Demo Saturday at Sam’s Club

(NEWS RELEASE) The Rocky Mount Fire Department (RMFD) is spreading a message of safety during Fire Prevention Month. RMFD will host a Fire Safety Showcase on Saturday, October 26, 2013 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Sam’s Club parking lot.  The event will feature safety demonstrations, kid’s activities, equipment displays and free food and drinks.  Two live fire demonstrations are also planned, which will highlight the effectiveness of home fire sprinklers and StoveTop FireStop rangehood automatic fire suppressors.  These demonstrations are planned to take place at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.

SparkyTheDogThe newest addition to the RMFD fleet of apparatus, Rescue 1, will also be on display, and you’ll have a chance to meet the Swiftwater Emergency Rescue Team and Technical Emergency Rescue Team.  Kids will enjoy a puppet show scheduled for 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m., the Fire Safety House, Fire Safety Cornhole and  RMFD’s new inflatable Fire Safety House.

For more information about the event, contact Kim Wittig at 972-1379.

Saturday Event offers Job Info for Disabled

disabilitycelebration(NEWS RELEASE) The City of Rocky Mount’s Mayor’s Commission on Persons with Disabilities, along with Vocational Rehabilitation, Eastpointe and Mental Health America of the Tar River Region, will host the first annual Disability Awareness and Employment Celebration. A FREE event, the celebration will be held Saturday, October 26, 2013 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Imperial Centre for the Arts and Sciences. It will feature over 23 vendors with information on jobs, community resources, services and support.

The National Disability Awareness and Employment Celebration is FREE and open to the public. You are encouraged to come out to the Imperial Centre, located at 270 Gay Street, for food and entertainment from Chozen, a local band. A proclamation signed by the Mayor, proclaiming October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month, will also be on display.

For more information on the Disability Awareness and Employment Celebration, click here, or call 972-1182.

Rocky Mount Parks offering Teen-Focused Programs

(NEWS RELEASE) The City of Rocky Mount continues to grasp the attention of teens with programs taking place throughout the year. According to Francheskia Fenderson, Teen Coordinator for the City of Rocky Mount’s Parks and Recreation Department, teens are encouraged to get involved in a trip to Kings Dominion in celebration of Halloween.

Attendees will depart from the Booker T. Washington Community Center, located at 726 Pennsylvania Avenue in Rocky Mount, N.C., on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 2 p.m. Teens will arrive in Kings Dominion at 5:30 p.m. and can enjoy rides, entertainment and food until 11:30 p.m.

A strict focus on teens began with events in March 2013. Dances, bowling nights and SAT/ACT prep courses were offered. This time, teens can get involved in similar For example, continued music lessons are being offered by John Battle Arts and Music. Twelve week sessions can be scheduled for a nominal fee.

According to Fenderson, teens can learn how to swim. Lessons will take place Mondays through Fridays from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Rocky Mount Senior Center. Registration is now being accepted.

For more information on teen programming, call 252-822-2785.

Rocky Mount Rabies Vaccination Clinic on October 26th

(NEWS RELEASE) The City of Rocky Mount will host a Rabies Vaccination Clinic on Saturday, October 26, 2013 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Rocky Mount Animal Shelter. The shelter is located at 1101 North Church Street. The clinic, administered by Hicks Animal Clinic, is held often in order to provide safety for animals, and ultimately humans, from exposure to the disease.

The Rabies Vaccination Clinic is for cats and dogs only, four months and older. Pets must be on leashes or in carriers, and the cost is just $5 per pet, cash only. Animal adoptions are also available.

For more information on the Rabies Vaccination Clinic, visit rockymountnc.gov, or call 972-1390.