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roanoke valley

north carolina


Deeply rooted
Forest product industry keeps growing

Wildlife Appeal
Forests, rivers and lakes draw outdoorsmen
2013 | sponsored by the roanoke valley chamber of commerce

Stop Dreaming Start Living.

Nestled in front of a fireplace, family stories of days past and days to come, your home becomes the setting for dreams that will be treasured for a lifetime. With one of the broadest ranges of listings in the Roanoke Valley and the expertise of a Heaton Real Estate agent by your side, we can help you make your dream a reality. Stop dreaming and start living. Call us today.

Our Dedication and Expertise Will Move You.

307 Long Circle Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870 (252) 537-9873 hre@heatonrealestate.com www.heatonrealestate.com

Residential Commercial Resort Land

Northern Carolina Orthopaedics Pllc

You can take it with you

noke-rapids livability.com/roa

A Different Kind of Health Care

Five-provider orthopedic group specializing in joint replacements, sports medicine and general orthopedics
Better Services, Better Results Adding Life to Your Years


Forest product keeps growing

al Wildlife Appe

outdoorsmen and lakes draw Forests, rivers ERCE BER OF COMM

Read the digital edition on your tablet or phone. Click on links within articles for even more information.

Quick access to care Integrated physical therapy group/occupational therapy Hydroworx therapy pool Integrated medical fitness center with state-of-the-art fitness equipment and certified trainers

Share the magazine on social media with your friends and community.

Feature the magazine on your blog, website or newsletters with a link to one of our easy-to-use tools.

171 N.C. Hwy. 125 Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870

livability.com/ roanoke-rapids

(252) 537-5631 www.ncarortho.com


6 Welcome to the Roanoke Valley

An introduction to our community

Things to Do
10 History Come One, Come All
Attractions beckon visitors, lift locals quality of life

roanoke valley
north carolina

2013 edition

volume 9

14 Local Flavor Bridging Generations With Burgers

Local restaurant serves great food and nostalgia

7 Arts & Culture 1 Arts Activities Fill Local Calendars 18 Sports & Recreation Fun Comes Naturally

Forests, rivers and lakes draw outdoorsmen


4 Outdoors 2 Wildlife Appeal

29 Health Caring for the Community 31 Education Tomorrows Leaders, Today

33 Community Profile



38 Business Overview
40 Industry Deeply Rooted
Forest product industry keeps growing

43 Economic Profile

On The Cover Roanoke River Staff Photo

All or part of this magazine is printed with soy ink on recycled paper containing 10% post-consumer waste. Please recycle this magazine

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Your Childs Success is Our Mission.

Five-star Pre-K center Advanced placement for college credits offered Rigorous, relevant curriculum Championship sports teams Academic and enriching extracurricular opportunities

536 Hamilton St. Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870

Roanoke Rapids Graded School District

(252) 519-7100 www.rrgsd.org

aViation aGricULtUraL BiotechnoLoGY marine aUtomotiVe FooD manUFactUrinG Biomass aLternatiVe enerGY QUaLitY oF LiFe toUrism

north Carolinas northeast commission

888-872-8562 www.ncnortheast.com

R o a n o k e Va l l e y

ONLINE | livability.com/roanoke-rapids
Activities Index
MORE ON THE ROANOKE VALLEY Go to the links below for more articles and photos about the Roanoke Valleys business climate, recreation, food, schools, health care and culture. TOP EMPLOYERS livability.com/roanoke- rapids/business Learn more about wakeboarding on Lake Gaston and many other fun things to do in the Roanoke Valley at livability.com/roanokerapids/nc/activities DEMOGRAPHICS livability.com/roanoke- rapids/facts SCHOOLS livability.com/roanoke- rapids/schools HEALTH CARE livability.com/roanoke- rapids/health NEIGHBORHOODS livability.com/roanokerapids/living ATTRACTIONS livability.com/roanokerapids/attractions FOOD livability.com/roanoke- rapids/food


Green Galore See the Roanoke River and more great images from around the Roanoke Valley. livability.com/ roanoke-rapids/photos-videos


Future Leaders Get information about the areas schools and programs. livability.com/roanoke-rapids/ nc/schools

LOVE THE ROANOKE VALLEY? Share the digital version of this magazine, or grab a widget and post it on your site or blog. livability.com/roanoke-rapids/ magazine

Livability.com/roanoke-rapids is a part of Livability.com, a collection of Americas best places to live & visit livability.com @livability facebook/livability

At A Glance

Roanoke Valley, North Carolina

A quick, comprehensive overview of whats great about the community

158 1404

Roanoke Rapids

186 158 305 35 1501





561 301


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1214 48 1216 1002 481 1001 1206 481






Scotland Neck
903 125

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Roanoke Valley

The Roanoke Valley offers great opportunities for entertainment and recreational activities. Small-town charm with easy access to big city areas like Raleigh, N.C., and Richmond, Va., make Roanoke Valley a great place to live, work and play.


Distances to three major cities nearby
Richmond, Va.: 84 miles Raleigh, N.C.: 93 miles Washington D.C.: 190 miles

Time zone

The Roanoke Valley offers a beautiful rural setting convenient to two larger urban centers. The Roanoke River bisects the region, which comprises two counties: Halifax, which includes the cities of Roanoke Rapids, Enfield, Scotland Neck, Weldon, Littleton, Hobgood and Halifax; and Northampton, which includes nine towns. Historically, the Roanoke Valley draws recognition for Historic Halifax, where the Fourth Provincial Congress adopted the Halifax Resolves, making North Carolina the first colony to take an official step toward declaring independence from England. Preserved structures from the era and special events draw history buffs, contributing to a growing tourism industry, along with several other top attractions and world-class fishing and hunting options. Proximity to Raleigh, Richmond and Norfolk keeps residents within a short drive to bigger-city amenities, yet community festivals, outdoor recreation and big-name entertainment at the Royal Palace Theatre offer plenty to do at home. Great Infrastructure, Pro-Business The Roanoke Valleys top economic development assets location and the network of interstates and highways, plus international airports and port proximity - make it attractive to many companies. The Valley is located on I-95 midway between New York and Florida, and has U.S. Highways 158 and 301 along with easy access to I-85, I-40, and U.S. Highways 64 and 264. Abundant land, a highly dedicated and capable workforce and a pro-business climate retain longtime economic players such as KapStone Paper & Packaging while luring new enterprises.

annual rainfall


National Average: 30

For More Information

Roanoke Valley Chamber of Commerce

Weldon became an NC Small Town Main Street community in 2003, and in 2009, Roanoke Rapids won the NC Main Street Community designation.

260 Premier Blvd. Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870 Phone: (252) 537-3513 Fax: (252) 535-5767 www.rvchamber.com

R o a n o k e Va l l e y

Historical Beauty

Architecture fans find much to appreciate throughout this area, such as the circa 1915 Tudor English-style First Presbyterian Church in Roanoke Rapids.

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Things To Do
The Roanoke Valleys must-do attractions, activities and dining

Splash Into Fun

Water ski, swim, fish or go boating on Lake Gaston, one of the areas top spots for summer fun. Local businesses and organizations celebrated the lakes 50th anniversary throughout late spring and early summer 2013 by hosting the Lake Gaston 50th Birthday Splash.





Spice it up
Chow down at Ralphs Barbecue in Weldon, a family-owned restaurant where residents have enjoyed vinegar-based, spicy cue since 1941. Order from menu or visit the buffet, and try some side items such as hushpuppies and coleslaw.

Enjoy a Show
Visit the Royal Palace Theatre in Roanoke Rapids to see live musical performances by artists such as Justin Moore, Jason Crabb, 38 Special, Kansas, The Isaacs and Robert Cray. The venue also hosts events such as professional wrestling and comedy shows.

Go Shopping
Explore a large collection of antiques and the largest selection of American crafts and art on Interstate 95 at Riverside Mill in Weldon. The historic mill includes a 20,000-square-foot antique mall, while the craft gallery has pottery, jewelry and sculptures.

Discover Local History

Learn about the 200-year-old Roanoke Canal through artifacts, exhibits and kiosks at the Roanoke Canal Museum and Trail . Explore the 7.5-mile trail along the Roanoke River for hiking, biking, birding and spotting wildlife.

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Things To Do

Interact with more than 400 birds in The Landing Zone, the newest attraction at the worlds largest bird park, Sylvan Heights Bird Park in Scotland Neck. This open aviary contains birds such as parrots, doves, pigeons, flamingos and ducks from around the globe.

Make Feathered Friends

Outdoor Art

Farmers Market



Catch a Few Rockfish

Look for the big, colorful rockfish art created through the Roanoke Valley Rocks public art campaign. Visitors who find all of the rockfish on the Roanoke Valley Rock Tour can claim a T-shirt at the Halifax County Visitors Center.

Buy & Eat Local

Stop by the Roanoke Valley Farmers Market on NC Highway 158 West to buy fresh produce and support local farmers on Wednesday and Friday afternoons and Saturdays during warm-weather months. Vendors also sell baked goods, crafts, plants and flowers.

Celebrate the Culture

Attend a Haliwa-Saponi Indian Pow-wow, the states oldest and largest pow-wow. The annual event in Hollister occurs the third weekend of April and features American Indian songs, dancing, drum competitions, food and crafts.

House hunt
Admire Roanoke Rapids impressive collection of Aladdin Kit Homes. People bought the houses from mail-order catalogs between 1906 and 1981. Buyers built the charming homes using kits that included plans and the materials required for construction.

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Things To Do


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Learn About the Legacy

Reenactors greet guests during events at Historic Halifax, where the Halifax Resolves originated.

Come One, COME ALL

attractions beckon visitors, lift locals quality of life

ich national and regional history runs through Roanoke Valley as steadfast as the river for which it is named.

American Revolution-era Historic Halifax highlights the nations first official document for independence, the Halifax Resolves, pre-dating the Declaration of Independence. The Roanoke Canal Trail and Museum illustrates the history of American Indians, transportation, hydroelectricity and textile mills, plus offers a beautiful natural environment for exercise or just exploring on the trail. Area attractions such as these built a $78 million annual tourism enterprise supporting 2,000 jobs and a $12 million payroll. It reduces taxes $200 per person annually and also gives residents excellent entertainment and educational options. We bring in tourists, they spend money and leave positive impact on the area. Its a win-win, says Lori Medlin of the Halifax County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

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The Roanoke Canal Museum gives a thorough and in-depth view of local history.

Transportation Destination Water transportation initially brought people to the Valley, and the Roanoke River - along with Interstate 95 - continues to lure people today. It all began in the mid-1700s when English ships traveling inland could only reach Weldon and Halifax as endpoints because of the fall line and rough rapids. Halifax was such a prominent political center in 1776 because it was a port town, Medlin says. Today, travelers usually make their first stop at Exit 173 off I-95, the first major interchange inside North Carolina from Virginia. The exit now 1,200 hotel rooms, and many drivers still exit here en route to the Outer Banks. The Halifax County Visitor Center, located at Exit 173, has a picnic area, state and local attractions info, and restrooms, plus a new fenced-in Dog Run, which has doubled visitor center traffic since

the staff added it in summer 2012. We have people coming in all day long thanking us for the dog run, Medlin says. Hopefully theyre also learning about the area and staying a little longer. historic sites inform residents and visitors And theres much for visitors to learn when they explore attractions most natives know well. At Historic Halifax, residents and schoolchildren turn out for the annual Halifax Day re-enactment and festival, which commemorates the Halifax Resolves signing on April 12, 1776. The First for Freedom outdoor drama every summer shares history through music and a love story. The preserved 1776 village includes a law office, printing press, jail, a tavern, homes to represent different levels of their previous tenants occupations and affluence, and an archaeological dig. Children and school groups

can sit in Windsor chairs, hold pewter mugs, and go upstairs and roll around on a corn-shuck bed at the Eagle Tavern, Medlin says. Meanwhile, the Halifax Roanoke River Underground Railroad Trail was the first recognized by the National Parks Service as a route for slaves escaping to the North across the river. river timeline reveals local story As Medlin says, in the Roanoke Valley its always about the river, and those seeking to understand just how true a statement that is will find the answers at The Roanoke Canal Trail and Museum, which interprets the river and canal history. Merchants used bateaus and the canals locks system to move up to 6 tons of goods to ships downstream, a practice that died off with the rise of railroads. The museum tells how water power then founded Roanoke Rapids


R o a n o k e Va l l e y

Roanoke Canal Museum


a noke ri ve





Roanoke Canal Trail



The Roanoke Canal Trail follows the Roanoke River and extends about eight miles.

as a mill town. All county fifth-graders tour the museum, and students helped make museum markers and murals. In addition, people can enjoy a 7-mile nature trail that runs alongside the former canal, which laborers dug by hand in the early 1800s. Along this beautiful trail that you can walk or bike; youre dropping with the river, 100 feet in seven miles, says Tina Gregory, of the Friends of the Museum. Its not a difficult walk, its just fascinating because it changes not only in elevation, but it also changes habitats. Explorers on the trail can expect to see large paleolithic clam shells, rare wildflowers, bald eagles and rare birds, arrowheads and Civil War sites. On the trail at Weldon, Riverside Mill houses artisan crafts and antiques in a restored cotton mill. People also know Weldon as the Rockfish Capital of the World because of its excellent sport fishing for striped bass, or rockfish.

Oa kw oo dA ve nu e

Visitors Stay A While or Forever The tourism bureau began marketing the Valley as a getaway 25 years ago, and economic impact has since tripled. Other key attractions include natural and wildlife destinations such as Sylvan Heights Bird Park and Medoc Mountain State Park; concerts and other events at the 1,500-seat Royal Palace Theatre, built in 2006; and the Roanoke Valley Veterans Museum, which honors stories and artifacts from area armed forces veterans. Its a great place to spend the night or spend the weekend ... or spend a lifetime, Medlin says. Gregory, who came to the area as an art teacher from Charlotte, N.C., 30 years ago, agrees. Its not my native home, but it certainly is my hearts home, she says. by Carol Stuart by staff photographer Michael Conti

Along the Roanoke Canal Trail, you can walk or bike; youre dropping with the river, 100 feet in seven miles. Its fascinating because it changes not only in elevation, but it also changes habitats.
tina gregory, resident

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Things To Do: Local Flavor

Bridging Generations With Burgers

Owner Greg Haislip runs the popular Second Street Lunch restaurant with his family in Roanoke Rapids.

family owned Second Street Lunch gives diners more than great food

Just as dependably as the rockfish return from the ocean to the Roanoke River, former residents and visitors keep coming back to Second Street Lunch for its famous and fabulous fresh hamburgers and hot dogs. The diner has been in the Haislip family since 1949 with local legend Danny Haislip taking over for dad Bill and now handing off to son Greg. Described by some as a friendly curmudgeon, Danny has won the towns Scrooge award. He accepts only cash and has refused to exclusively contract with Coke or Pepsi so he can serve both. Order your burger or dog fully dressed with toppings of slaw and chili, both homemade. The cooks steam the buns, so they are like putting a doughnut in your mouth, Greg says.

Menu items bear family names, from the Danny Boy to the Annwich for Dannys late wife. Regular and chili cheese fries, chips, snack crackers and candy bars round out the offerings, and the breakfast menu draws sizable crowds most mornings. Bringing the Community Together A visit to the diner, in its current spot since 1970 and with much of the same staff serving 20 or 30 years, can feel like a step back in time. The youngest waitress to start working when Gregs grandfather ran the place, now 83, recently asked for more hours. In his lifetime, Greg says hes seen three generations come and go from the morning crowd discussing old times and wars.

The diner has hosted high school reunions, formally and informally, since most people make time for a stop at Second Street if theyre visiting home, especially during the holidays. No matter where youve been in your life, when you come back here, you go to Dannys Second Street, volunteer Tina Gregory says. Second Street gives back to the area beyond great burgers everyone craves by supporting community causes. by Carol Stuart

Check out more great places to eat in the Roanoke Valley at livability.com/ roanoke-rapids/nc/food.


R o a n o k e Va l l e y

Other Local Favorites

Abners drive in
93 Roanoke Avenue Roanoke Rapids, NC (252) 519-1296

Building Brighter Futures for Our Children

Experiences during early childhood literally shape the structure of the brain. Because todays children are tomorrows leaders, parents and workers, everyone has a stake in making sure that all children have the experiences they need to thrive. Smart Start brings together all the people involved in a young childs life families, teachers, doctors, caregivers, social workers, and many others to ensure every child has all they need for healthy growth and development. Child care, family support and health services for children ages 0-5 and their families are available, so that all children enter school healthy and ready to succeed. Our services include pre-kindergarten, parent education and training, referrals, and health support services, as well as teacher training and technical assistance for child care programs to ensure quality education for our youngest children. Our Child Care Resource and Referral Program can assist you in finding and paying for child care. Need helP FiNdiNg Child CaRe? Call our Regional Child Care Resource and Referral Center: (888) 285-0849

abrams restaurant
615 Main Street Scotland Neck, NC (252) 537-3262

Carolina Restaurant
1034 East 10th Street Roanoke Rapids, NC (252) 533-0601

Davids Restaurant
1011 Roanoke Avenue Roanoke Rapids, NC (252) 537-3262


51 Sycamore Street Weldon, NC (252) 678-8400

fraziers restaurant
1220 Julian R Allsbrook Highway Roanoke Rapids, NC (252) 536-4800


15 West 3rd Street Weldon, NC (252) 536-0282

halifax Warren Smart Start Partnership for Children, inc.

1139 Roanoke Ave. PO Box 339 Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870 (252) 537-5621 Fax: (252) 537-9732 Email: smartstart@hwss.org www.hwss.org

Oscars Restaurant
123 West 10th Street Roanoke Rapids, NC (252) 537-2048

1400 Julian R Allsbrook Highway Weldon, NC (252) 537-2102

Can you imagine a world without children?

Call 1-800-996-4100 to help. www.stjude.org

sharkys oyster bar & grill

1730 Julian R Allsbrook Highway Roanoke Rapids, NC (252) 535-3474

We Cant.

The 1020 restaurant & pub

1020 Roanoke Avenue Roanoke Rapids, NC (252) 535-2071

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Electric Cooperatives
Paving the way to a brighter Roanoke Valley
POTENTIAL LOANS: NCEMC Business Development Loan Fund Up to $400,000 7 years, 0% interest USDA Rural Economic Development Loan Up to $450,000 10 years, 0% interest FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THESE PROGRAMS, CONTACT:

Marshall Cherry Roanoke Electric Cooperative Post Office Drawer 1326 518 NC 561 West Ahoskie, NC 27910 (252) 209-2236 www.roanokeelectric.com

ADDITIONAL SERVICES: Assistance with site and building identification Energy audit services Assistance with market research Flexibility in rate design Power quality services Loan and grant assistance Demographic analysis Brady Martin Halifax Electric Membership Corporation Post Office Box 667 208 W. Whitfield St. Enfield, NC 27823 (252) 445-5111 www.halifaxemc.com

Touchstone Energy

Living green starts from the ground up.

Living green is making sure the air in your home is healthy for your family to breathe. Test your home for radon and build radon-resistant. It's easy. That's living healthy and green.

Just call 866-730-green or visit www.epa.gov/radon


R o a n o k e Va l l e y

Things To Do: arts & culture

Arts Activities Fill Local Calendars

The Roanoke Valley arts scene thrives with festivals, community events, concerts and other performances by artists that residents might not expect to see in a rural community.

Festivals, event & live music highlight roanoke Valleys Cultural scene

The Royal Palace Theatre features a 1,500-seat theater for events ranging from comedy and music shows to professional wrestling. The Centre at Halifax Community College in Weldon, below, also has shows, and local businesses and churches use the venue for meetings. The Lakeland Theatre Company in nearby Littleton offers its visitors a variety of theater plays and chances to audition for them. The venue features concerts and themed nights, karaoke, improv and member appreciation evenings. The Lakeland Theatre and Cultural Arts Center features an on-site restaurant and childrens activities.

Quality Entertainment Venues


Bringing the community together

The Hobgood Cotton Festival brings an annual celebration of the areas largest cash crop to the town of Hobgood on the second Saturday of October. Attendees can enjoy rides on cotton trucks and monster trucks, a variety of music, vendors, a horseshoe tournament, bingo, a Civil War re-enactment and more. Visitors to the Enfield Peanut Festival will celebrate a huge agricultural product of Enfield, and find all the food, arts and crafts, farm equipment displays, amusement and carnival attractions, music and dance they can handle. Weldons Ducky Derby gets goers cheering with a duck race, games, live entertainment and food. Fundraisers

Halifax County Arts Council

The Halifax County Arts Council hosts events for people of all ages ranging from The Picasso Run, which includes 5K and 10K fundraiser races, to the Holiday Homemade Annual Crafts Bazaar. The HCAC is also a great resource for anyone who wants to learn more about the art and cultural happenings in Roanoke Valley. Individual memberships start at $30. The HCAC also awards grants to local schools and nonprofit organizations to help fund arts-related activities that involve the community. By Chris Russell

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Things To Do: sports & recreation

Fun Comes Naturally

A trip to Medoc Mountain State Park can mean both a reflection on rich history and a long roster of activities. Residents have enjoyed hunting, hiking and riding horses on the land for decades. Sidney Weller, a farmer and educator whom historians credit for developing the American system of wine-making and grape culture, owned the property in the 19th century. Landowners cultivated grapes there into the early 20th century until subdividing and selling the property. In the 1920s, the Boy Scouts built a camp there, and in 1972, the state established the park as it is today. A family can come out, have a picnic, hike a trail or two, have a good day and it doesnt cost anything, says Medoc Mountain State Park Superintendent Bill Meyer. Meyer says that the park is easily accessible and far enough away from the city to be quiet, enjoyable and see the stars in the black night. camping, fishing & hiking Campers at Medoc Mountain State Park can choose from 34 campsites that have tables and grills, and there are 12 electric hookups. In addition, there are also showers and restrooms nearby. Those in the mood for canoeing can enjoy the Little Fishing Creek that flows through the park. Nature lovers can also watch wildlife and fish in the creek, and there are more than 10 miles each of hiking trails through various park terrains and trails for horseback riding. Hands-On Education Medoc Mountain State Park offers hands-on programs including wildflowers and astronomy. Night hikes draw visitors seeking to experience the park in a different way. Meanwhile, planners can rent classrooms and shelters for events or classes.

adventurers find free family fun at Medoc Mountain State Park

A family observes the wildlife while hiking the trails at Medoc Mountain State Park in Hollister, N.C.

Children in grades 4-6 can pick up materials that correlate to North Carolinas curriculum in science, social studies, mathematics and English/language arts. The Medoc Mountain program gives students an introduction to basic geologic processes and familiarizes them with the region. Special explorations for groups and classes are available. by Chris Russell

A family can come out, have a picnic, hike a trail or two, have a good day, and it doesnt cost anything.
bill meyer, park superintendent


R o a n o k e Va l l e y

Things to do: see the valley

Go With the Flow

Thrill seekers find plenty to do on the Roanoke River, which runs through eastern North Carolina. The approximately 410-mile river lends itself to river rafting, canoeing, camping and horseback riding while creating a scenic natural backdrop for one of the most historically rich parts of the state. See more photos that showcase the Roanoke Valleys recreation activities at livability.com/ roanoke-rapids.

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Things to do: see the valley


R o a n o k e Va l l e y

Downtown Weldon

Artist Napoleon Hill created this mural of Union Station in downtown Weldon to celebrate the towns rich railroad history. The mural is a few blocks from the station, which people now use as a library. See more photos of the Roanoke Valley area at livability.com/roanoke-rapids.

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Schools, health care and neighborhoods in the Roanoke Valley

Real-World Experience

Halifax Community College students, such as this nurse, learn in the classroom and through hands-on work experience. The college, located in Weldon and one of the oldest in the NC Community College System, also offers associate degrees in teaching, law enforcement and dental hygiene, to name a few, and a college transfer program.

Browse more photos that showcase Roanoke Valley lifestyles at livability.com/ roanoke-rapids.


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forests, rivers & lakes draw outdoorsmen


Anglers flock to the Roanoke Valleys abundant river and lakes.


R o a n o k e Va l l e y

ome to one of the greatest striped bass runs anywhere in the world and teeming with wild creatures, from white-tailed deer to black bears to possums, the Roanoke Valleys forests, river banks and lakes add up to an outdoorsmans paradise.

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A striped bass caught on the Roanoke River

The area has lots of farmers and landowners who have a conservation ethic and do a lot to conserve and improve wildlife habitat, says Greg Batts, biologist with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. A large intact area like this is a perfect habitat for a lot of wildlife species. Hunting, Fishing Plentiful in the roanoke valley In addition to abundant white-tailed deer and wild turkey Northampton and Halifax counties rank first and second in those harvests hunters also enjoy plentiful game such as raccoons, possums, foxes, squirrels, bobcats, beavers, coyotes, skunks, a variety of game birds and, increasingly, black bears. Fishermen, too, have world-class resources available to them in Lake Gaston, the Roanoke River, Roanoke Rapids Lake, and many small fishing spots in creeks and streams. Weldon is recognized as the Rockfish Capital of the World, for its access to the annual spawning migration of striped bass, locally called rockfish, the inspiration for the colorfully painted fish sculptures around town. During March and April each year, millions of the prized game fish head up the Roanoke River from the Albemarle Sound to their ancient home, drawing anglers from around the world. Conservation efforts save rockfish [Years ago] the rockfish were dwindling, Batts says. But over the years, conservation agencies have worked hard to re-establish them. Beginning in the mid-1990s, conservationists and sportsmen made a major effort to improve area waterways and pushed for the use of hooks that did not damage catch-and-release fish. Today, their efforts have brought the local rockfish and shad populations back in force. Fishermen also find plenty of crappie, largemouth bass, catfish, sunfish, walleye and more in local waters.

A long-running effort between conservationists and fishermen fully restored the Roanoke Rivers rockfish population.


R o a n o k e Va l l e y

Ecosystem Economics In addition to providing hours of enjoyment for locals and visitors, the areas hunting and fishing have enormous economic importance. Sportsmen spend big dollars on food and accommodations, buy hunting and fishing gear, rent land from individual owners, pay for permits on public land, and hire local hunting and fishing guides. The Halifax County Guide Service in Scotland Neck, for example, provides hunting expertise, acreage and stands, fishing and even rustic accommodations for visiting sportsmen. The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission estimates that an individual fisherman

spends $1,115 and a single hunter $4,930 annually in the state. Together, they have a $3.3 billion impact on North Carolinas economy each year. Interest in hunting and fishing in the Roanoke Valley is growing, Batts says, which will only raise awareness of the importance of wildlife. In a lot of places, you buy land to turn it into a subdivision. In the Roanoke Valley, people see the value in having wildlife on their property, Batts says. Thats very important, and they should be applauded for that. by Laura Hill by staff photographer Michael Conti

In a lot of places, you buy land to turn it into a subdivision. In the Roanoke Valley, people see the value in having wildlife on their property. Thats very important, and they should be applauded for that.
greg batts, north carolina wildlife commission

Hot Spots for Hunters

The Big Rack Trophy Club, one of several local clubs, has almost 2,000 acres and stays open year round for various types of hunting and fishing.

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LIVING: Health
Halifax Regional Medical Center celebrated its 100th year in 2012 and opened a Wound Care Center last fall.

Caring for the Community

Halifax Regional is a friendly place where everyone cares about each other and it shows, says Mick Olesnevich, program director at the hospitals Wound Care Center, reflecting a sentiment that is often expressed by physicians, nurses and staffers at the 204-bed facility in Roanoke Rapids. Though more than 800 people work here, its like one big family, he continues, and I think the patients sense that. services and growth The hospital which celebrated its 100th year in the community in 2012, and serves Halifax, Northampton and Warren counties in North Carolina and Mecklenburg, Brunswick and Greensville in Virginia is also known for its array of services, including its 24-hour Emergency Care Center

Halifax Regional medical center earns reputation for excellence

and its specialty clinics, which include a Birthing Center, Joint Care Center, Sleep Clinic and Mammography Center. Last fall, Halifax Regional opened the Wound Care Center, part of a $6.5 million expansion and renovation of its outpatient and surgical facilities, which offers hyperbaric oxygen therapy not available anywhere else in the area. We have two hyperbaric oxygen chambers, says Olesnevich, referring to the tubular, transparent sealed chambers that deliver pure oxygen under pressure. The treatment increases the amount of oxygen that gets to a wound which nourishes and enhances the viability of tissue, fights infection and helps wounds heal, he says. Also of note is the Joint Care Center, which has the lowest

I enjoy my job, and Im very proud of the team atmosphere and the quality of care at Halifax Regional ... I like being at a small community hospital where the people are friendly and everyone knows everyone.
dawn bennett, nursing 2012 magazine nurse of the year

Read more about the Roanoke Valleys hospitals and care centers at livability.com/roanokerapids/nc/health.

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complication rate in North Carolina for hip and knee replacements, a direct reflection of the fact that Halifax Regional has a 12-bed ward dedicated to joint care. In a normal hospital if you are having a joint replaced, the individual handling your case may be doing their 15th or 20th joint replacement of their career. Ive got nurses who work with me in the operating room that have done a thousand, says lead orthopedic surgeon Dr. Richard Holm. award-winning staff Holm was named the No. 1 orthopedic surgeon in the state, and the nurses at Halifax Regional have developed a reputation for excellence, too. In 2012, five of the hospitals nurses were named among the Great 100 Nurses in North Carolina. And Dawn Bennett, stroke care coordinator for the Emergency Care Center, was honored as Nurse of the Year

Halifax Regional Medical Center in Roanoke Rapids recently added new digital mammography services and completed a $6.5 million project that modernized and expanded outpatient and surgical facilities.

by Nursing 2012 magazine. I enjoy my job, and Im very proud of the team atmosphere and the quality of care at Halifax Regional, Bennett says. I like being in a small community hospital where the people are friendly and everyone knows everyone. Bennett says that the region is ideal for any outdoors enthusiast with its exceptional opportunities for hunting and fishing. by Jason Zasky


R o a n o k e Va l l e y

LIVING: Education

Part of the Roanoke Valley Chamber of Commerce business/education partnership, every high school student gains employment skills in mock interviews with business leaders.

Tomorrows Leaders, Today

Most rural communities face the challenge of retaining young people, but now a state program will help the Roanoke Valley chamber in its efforts to keep young talent in the area. The N.C. Rural Economic Development Center Inc., in studying rural communities, saw that young people often left for college, work or the military and never came back to live in them. Engaging the Youth The solution was a New Generation Initiative to help engage and support youth in their communities, increase jobs and provide training. As part of its New Generation Leaders program, the Rural Center provided the chamber a $20,000 matching grant in 2012. The program complements the chambers business/education partnership that includes mock job interviews and

State grant helps chamber develop a new generation of leaders

the Pathways to Success youth leadership program. We do a lot with education, and this is another important component, says Roanoke Valley Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Allen Purser. This project is all about making the area more youth-friendly. a more attractive area Each area high school selected students for a steering committee, which in turn consulted with others to come up with ideas for events, wish lists and community improvement projects. The students presented their ideas to the county commission, Purser says, and planned events and projects for late spring and summer 2013. While the events are planned to be fun, they also have a practical benefit for the young people who attend. They said they wanted some teen nights in the summer, where we host colleges, insurance people, and people to come talk about employment laws, since they are all in the market for jobs, Purser says. They want to understand various aspects of where they are headed. The wish list of ideas was inventive, from building a skate park to opening a rafting service on the river. Its really interesting when kids think big, Purser says. It opens up all kinds of possibilities. The chamber also will work with Halifax Community College, which has received a grant that will enable HCC to train 56 young people and place 41 jobs in Halifax and Northampton counties. by Laura Hill
Learn more about education in the Roanoke Valley at livability.com/ Roanoke-rapids/nc/ schools .

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Community profile
White 19% 21% Black Hispanic Other

cost of living

Median Household Income

Median Home Price





56% Median Rent for a Two-Bedroom Apartment

Under 18 18-64 65 and Over
(percentages based on the total = 75,434)

(percentages based on the total = 75,434)

Median Travel Time to Work

January Average Low July Average High

31 27.5

89.3 76

13 minutes

Closest Airport Halifax-Northhampton Regional Airport

January Low National Low

July High

National High

13 miles

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LIVING: see the valley

A favorite spot for local shopping, Weldons Riverside Mill contains outlet shops, antiques and collectibles and the largest assortment of American craft art on Interstate 95. Local artisans and crafters sell metal art as seen here, pottery, jewelry, Amish furniture, American Indian crafts, and much more. See more photos that showcase the Roanoke Valleys business climate at livability.com/roanoke-rapids.

Local Art & Unique Gifts


R o a n o k e Va l l e y

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Info on the Roanoke Valleys top employers, jobs and success stories

An asset to prospective new businesses, the Halifax-Northampton Regional Airport is just five minutes from I-95 in Halifax. The airport consists of a 5,500-foot runway, modern terminal facilities, 23 T-hangers, and 24-hour fuel services for private and corporate aircraft.

Fly to New Heights

See more photos of the Roanoke Valleys many unique amenities at livability.com/ roanoke-rapids.


R o a n o k e Va l l e y

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business: overview






Halifax Northampton Regional Airport


Open for Businesses

More than 40 freight carriers serve the Roanoke Valley, thanks mainly to the transportation assets and location advantages of the region. The Valley offers easy access to Interstate 95 and U.S. Highways 158 and 301, plus quick connections to I-85 and U.S. Highway 64. We are equidistant between Maine and Florida, and I-95 has five exits in the Valley that make it ideal for warehousing, distribution and manufacturing companies, says Cathy Scott, director of the Halifax County Economic Development Commission. Our location also puts us within an hours drive of three international airports, and truckers have good routes to and from Virginia

Valley touts its economic advantages and pro-business attitude

seaports and the North Carolina ports of Morehead City and Wilmington. Scott says companies choosing the Roanoke Valley today have site choices that include two industrial business parks. A 100-acre Halifax Industrial Center has only a few parcels remaining, about 10 acres total, and includes current tenants such as Coca-Cola Bottling, Don Pancho Authentic Mexican Foods, Halifax County Emergency Medical Services, PCB Piezotronics, Pelican Packaging and Resers Fine Foods. In addition, Driver Trucking is constructing a new warehousing facility at Halifax Industrial Center. Meanwhile, a 700-acre Halifax Corporate Park has now opened because we needed a second facility to accommodate more distribution and manufacturing companies along with other tenants, Scott says. Halifax Corporate Park features abundant water, sewer and natural gas capacity, and a new electric substation is being built. Also, the North Carolina Department of Transportation has constructed a 1.8-mile access road into the corporate park. Scott adds that land parcels are shovel-ready and can be used by any size company interested in locating in the Roanoke Valley. Halifax Corporate Park is on N.C. Highway 561 just minutes from I-95 and next door to the recently opened HalifaxNorthampton Regional Airport,





R o a n o k e Va l l e y


Business Spotlight
Don Pancho Authentic Mexican Foods
Part of Resers Fine Foods, Don Pancho Authentic Mexican Foods has a location in Halifax where items such as tortillas, wraps, tostadas, chips and cheeses are produced. www.donpancho.com

Geenex is building a solar generation plant in Roanoke Valley, which is slated for completion by the end of 2013. It will be housed at the former Halifax County Airport along with a Solar Center of Excellence. www.geenexsolar.com

This Austria-based international lumber company is expanding its U.S. operations with Klausner Lumber Two opening a sawmill in Enfield that is expected to bring 350 new jobs. The company is investing approximately $110 million into the facility. www.klausner.info

PCB Piezotronics, a top employer, manufactures sensors at its Halifax plant.

she says. The park is also adjacent to a CSX mainline railroad, and the EDC has been working on getting a rail spur extended into the park to further increase the transportation options. worthy workforce Scott adds that the Roanoke Valley has a productive workforce available to companies considering a move to the region. We have a Workforce Solutions division office that works with companies on employment and recruiting issues, while Halifax Community College provides a number of customized training programs available to companies, she says. Our local and regional labor pool remains diverse and can supply employees for virtually any

kind of business. Our workforce is one of our greatest assets. excellent climate, beautiful setting As for quality of life, a couple of shimmering lakes, the Roanoke River, a rich history and vibrant culture grace the Roanoke Valley. The Valleys moderate climate makes it a great place for businesses, Scott says. The summers are warm and the winters are mild, and our agricultural season lasts 230 days. by Kevin Litwin
Read more about the Roanoke Valleys top employers at livability. com/roanoke-rapids/ nc/business.

PCB Piezotronics
Manufacturing piezoelectric quartz sensors and sensor accessory products, PCB Piezotronics expanded its operations to Halifax in January 2005 and has since created more than 160 jobs in the area. www.pcb.com


Meherrin River Forest Products, a hardwood lumber producer, announced in March 2013 it will locate operations in Weldon, where its $1.8 million investment is creating 40 jobs. www.meherrinriver.com
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Deeply Rooted
forest product industry keeps growing

KapStone Paper and Packaging opened in Roanoke Rapids in 1907.


R o a n o k e Va l l e y

his region is blessed with what we call a great wood basket, says Bill Kessinger, vice president of operations for KapStone Kraft Paper Corporations Roanoke Rapids mill (established in 1907), explaining how the local paper industry has endured for more than a 100 years.

But the industry and in particular the KapStone mill, which operates 24/7 and is expected to produce 440,000 tons of paper products in 2013 is thoroughly modern, a shining example of sustainable and environmentallyconscious enterprise. The forest products industry is very efficient in [terms of] using all of the tree, says Kessinger, who notes that the pine logs that are delivered to his facility are used to make the mills two core products, unbleached packaging paper and linerboard, but also yield mulch and other byproducts like turpentine and tall oil. Even the accumulated sawdust is burned for use as a fuel, a testament to the companys emphasis on efficiency and part of its ongoing effort to reduce the mills environmental impact. Last year our capital investment was double the norm, and the extra investment was targeted toward energy efficiency, says Kessinger, highlighting the mills partial conversion from fuel oil to cleaner-burning natural gas. New Investments, Restorations While KapStone is one of the oldest, most established players in the local forest products industry in fact, the Roanoke Rapids mill was the first paper mill in North America to use the Kraft sulfate process, a common process for converting wood into wood pulp

other companies are also growing their existing operations or have made plans to open facilities in Halifax County. Klausner Lumber Two, a privately owned softwood timber manufacturer, has announced its intention to build a $110 million sawmill in Enfield, one which will employ 350 people and produce construction-quality lumber and structural timber. The forest products industry is one of [the countys] oldest and most basic industries and continues to be an important sector for the future. Halifax County citizens will reap the benefits of higher-wage, sustainable, greenbased employment opportunities for years to come, says state Sen. Angela Bryant, D-Rocky Mount. And in March 2013, Meherrin River Forest Products, a Virginiabased hardwood lumber processor, announced it would renovate an old sawmill near Weldon, bringing 40 jobs to the region. We are blessed with the opportunity to partner with the community of Weldon and Halifax County in the restoration of this facility, says Don Bright, president of Meherrin River Forest Products. This acquisition will allow us to continue our growth and help meet growing customer demand for both domestic and export hardwood products. An area where there has been a lot of growth recently is plants that convert wood into wood pellets for

use as a fuel, says Kessinger, noting that the region is well positioned for further growth, thanks to consistently wellmanaged local forests and existing transportation infrastructure. Quality Workforce Matters Kessinger also points to the quality of his workers and their extensive experience as the overarching reason for KapStones ability to make strong, highquality paper products. Weve all learned that were here to do a job and work together to satisfy our customers. Everyone takes great pride in what they do, Kessinger says. Thats hard to measure and difficult to explain, but its a reason our mill has continued to be successful. by Jason Zasky by staff photographer Michael Conti

Everyone at Kapstone takes great pride in what they do. Thats hard to measure and difficult to explain, but its a reason our mill has continued to be successful.
bill kessinger, vp of operations, kapstone paper corporation
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R o a n o k e Va l l e y

economic profile


Northampton County Sales Tax



Halifax County Sales Tax


education level
High School Graduate Bachelors Degree or Higher Other State Sales Tax

Top Employers
Lowes Regional Distribution Halifax Regional Medical Center KapStone Paper & Packaging

Total Sales Tax $100,000+ 738 $30,000-$99,999


household income


Annual Retail Sales

Annual Hotel and Food Sales

$29,999 and under


Halifax-Northampton Regional Airport halifaxdevelopment.com

Total Number of Firms


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Ad Index
4 Citizens Community Bank 42 Daughtridge Gas 30 Eagle Home Medical Corp. 42 Farm Bureau Insurance C4 Halifax County Business Horizons Inc. C2 KapStone 4 North Carolina Northeast Commission 2 Northern Carolina Orthopaedics 32 Resers Fine Foods Inc. 16 Roanoke Electric Cooperative 4 Roanoke Rapids Graded School District 33 Roanoke Rapids Sanitary District 42 Town of Scotland Neck 44 Weldon City Schools 43 Wilkie Real Estate

3 Halifax County Convention Visitors Bureau 16, 28 Halifax Regional Medical Center 15 Halifax-Warren Smart Start Partnership for Children Inc. 1 Heaton Real Estate C3 Hilton Garden Inn

roanoke valley
north carolina
Content Director | Lisa Battles Contributing Writers | Jason Zasky, Carol Stuart, Laura Hill, Chris Russell Content Coordinator | Jessica Walker Boehm Staff Writer | Kevin Litwin Proofreading Manager | Raven Petty Lead Designer | Matt West Senior Graphic Designers | Stacey Allis, Laura Gallagher, Kris Sexton, Jake Shores, Vikki Williams Graphic Designer | Jackie Ciulla, Kacey Passmore Creative Technology Analyst | Becca Ary

2013 edition

volume 9

Todays Tomorrows Future!

Weldon City Schools: Committed to the Success of All Students
Moving forward in partnership with the Weldon community

Lead Photographer | Jeff Adkins Senior Photographer | Brian McCord Staff Photographers | Michael Conti, Wendy Jo OBarr, Frank Ordonez, Michael Tedesco Color Imaging Technician | Alison Hunter Integrated Media Manager | Kari Quill Sales Support Project Manager | Sara Quint Sales Support Coordinator | Christina Morgan Sales Graphic Designer | Rachel Lorance Ad Production Manager | Katie Middendorf Ad Traffic Assistants | Krystin Lemmon, Patricia Moisan Web Project Manager | David Day Digital Project Manager | Jill Ridenour Digital Products Designer | Erica Lampley Web Developer I | Nels Noseworthy Web Designer II | Richard Stevens Web Product Manager | John Hood Chairman | Greg Thurman President/Publisher | Bob Schwartzman Executive Vice President | Ray Langen Senior V.P./Sales | Todd Potter Senior V.P./Client Development | Jeff Heefner Senior V.P./Operations | Casey Hester Senior V.P./Sales | Jarek Swekosky V.P./Content Operations | Natasha Lorens Audience Development Director | Deanna Nelson Creative Services Director | Christina Carden Distribution Director | Gary Smith Photography Director | Jeffrey S. Otto Web Creative Director | Allison Davis Controller | Chris Dudley Senior Accountant | Lisa Owens Accounts Payable Coordinator | Maria McFarland Accounts Receivable Coordinator | Diana Iafrate IT Director | Daniel Cantrell Executive Secretary | Kristy Giles Human Resources Manager | Peggy Blake

(252) 536-4821 www.weldoncityschools.k12.nc.us

Visit Our adVertisers

Citizens Community Bank www.ccbsite.com Daughtridge Gas www.daughtridgeenergy.com Eagle Home Medical Corp. www.eagle-home-medical.com Farm Bureau Insurance www.ncfbins.com Halifax County Business Horizons Inc. www.halifaxdevelopment.com Halifax County Convention & Visitors Bureau www.visithalifax.com Halifax Regional Medical Center www.halifaxregional.org Halifax-Warren Smart Start Partnership for Children Inc. www.hwss.org Heaton Real Estate www.heatonrealestate.com Hilton Garden Inn www.roanokerapids.hgi.com KapStone www.kapstonepaper.com North Carolina Northeast Commission www.ncnortheast.com Northern Carolina Orthopaedics www.ncarortho.com Resers Fine Foods Inc. www.resers.com Roanoke Electric Cooperative www.roanokeelectric.com Roanoke Rapids Graded School District www.rrgsd.org Roanoke Rapids Sanitary District www.rrsd.org Town of Scotland Neck www.townofscotlandneck.com Weldon City Schools www.weldoncityschools.k12.nc.us Wilkie Real Estate www.wilkierealestate.com

Livability Roanoke Valley, North Carolina is published annually by Journal Communications Inc. and is distributed through the Roanoke Valley Chamber of Commerce and its member businesses. For advertising information or to direct questions or comments about the magazine, contact Journal Communications Inc. at (615) 771-0080 or by email at info@jnlcom.com. For more information, contact: Roanoke Valley Chamber of Commerce 260 Premier Blvd. Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870 Phone: (252) 537-3513 Fax: (252) 535-5767 www.rvchamber.com Visit Livability Roanoke Valley, North Carolina online at livability.com/roanoke-rapids. Copyright 2013 Journal Communications Inc., 725 Cool Springs Blvd., Ste. 400, Franklin, TN 37067, (615) 771-0080. All rights reserved. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in whole or in part without written consent. Member Member The Association of Magazine Media Custom Content Council

Member Roanoke Valley Chamber of Commerce


R o a n o k e Va l l e y

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