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Rep. Wray discusses budget for Roanoke Valley
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GASTON — The recent signing of Senate Bill 105 on Thursday is bringing needed funds to the Roanoke Valley, Rep. Michael Wray said.

The budget is the first approved since 2018.

The budget addresses many issues surrounding the Roanoke Valley, with some municipalities receiving funds for flood mitigation, revitalization, water and sewer treatment and other projects.

For example, Halifax Community College will receive a total of $7,391,008, of which $5,441,624 will go toward repairs and renovations that may include remedying the campus’s water pressure issue.

Wray said he put the specified amount of funds in the bill for the college to help with the water pressure issue for fire protection and safety concerns.

In addition to the budget, the William R. Davie home, which is located in Halifax, and the Historic Halifax Visitors Center are in the spotlight as the historic area is gearing up for the Halifax Resolves 250th anniversary in 2026.

Wray said he was able to put in $5,200,000 for the restoration of the William R. Davie home and upgrades to the center.

“If you go in there now, you can tell it’s outdated,” he said regarding the visitor center. “It needs to be fixed. So I’m trying to plan for the future.”

Weldon will receive $750,000 for an Amtrak station, which Wray said citizens could travel further to Washington, D.C., Florida or Atlanta.

In Northampton County, $19,025,000 will go to the area, with $14M of the funds going to a new courthouse, $4M toward a water project in Seaboard, $250,000 grant toward revitalization in Conway, $125,000 grant toward revitalization in Jackson, $300,000 grant funds for flooding in Rich Square and $350,000 to the Severn Fire Department.

One million is for a direct grant toward the Chockoyotte Creek regarding a flooding abatement project in the City of Roanoke Rapids.

In addition to the budget, Wray said $500,000 would go toward the Lincoln Heights Community Center.

“I got about $50M in the budget for our five districts,” he said.

The bipartisan effort in the General Assembly helped appropriate funds across the state.

A photo showed Sen. Phil Berger walking over to Wray and shaking his hand.

When asked what that meant to him, Wray said it shows bipartisanship during the times he spent discussing his input on the budget with Berger, Speaker of the House Rep. Tim Moore and others.

“It meant a lot for him to come over to our side of the chamber and watch the budget get across the finish line,” he said. “And, and it’s good to have that outreach and show how working together works.”

While there is much more in the budget for the Roanoke Valley, Wray said it is a big deal for area communities.

“This is going to make a difference and touch a lot of people a lot — a lot of lives,” he said. “These are a lot of things that have been lacking in all of our communities.”

Herald Angel: Remembering Chris Ferrell and his love to help others
  • Updated

ROANOKE RAPIDS — The Herald has chosen the family of the late Christopher “Chris” Scott Ferrell for the Herald Angel this year.

The Herald Angel is an annual fundraiser to assist in raising funds for a person, family or organization through a series of articles.

Ferrell was 35 when he died on Oct. 12, was engaged to Ashley Brooks, and the two had five children.

Brooks said she and Ferrell were engaged in 2012, but were together for nearly nine years. She said they had four children together and her oldest son looked up to Ferrell as a father. Throughout their life together, Brooks said everything was good.

“We had hard times, but then he’s always been busy — he dives into everything,” she said. “He’s always done construction. He can sell ice to an Eskimo.”

Brooks said Ferrell had an auctioneer type of voice where he would talk fast.

When Ferrell passed away, it hit the community hard as many people knew him.

Brooks said people knew him through family businesses, especially with his father, Michael Turner, who was a farmer. Chris had good work ethic. She recalled a time when someone financially ripped off a woman with a pool deck, and Chris offered to go there and build her one because the other one built was not safe.

“He didn’t charge her anything,” Brooks said.

She recounted another time when he and a few others helped an elderly lady remodel her trailer free of charge.

“I mean, he gave back when he could,” Brooks said. “He’s always done that and just helping anybody — would help anybody. It didn’t matter who it was. Even if it messed us up financially or anything, he did not care; he would always offer to help or just help and not expect anything back.”

Chris’ parents, Michael and Wendy Turner, said Chris would always see what they would do on the farm with helping people.

“I’m guessing he knew that’s what you’re supposed to do,” Michael said. “You’re supposed to help people. We’d always go out of our way to do things if somebody needed it done, we took time to do it.”

Michael said with Chris growing up on a farm, he was away from city folks. Eventually, he moved to the city and went into construction, he said. In the construction business, Chris was able to meet different people and loved helping people, Michael said.

Wendy said, “He was a good kid. We’re really proud of him. I never thought he would die. Because I had such faith in the Lord, and I don’t think anybody really thought he was going die. It was a shock.”

Brooks said she and Chris came down with COVID-19 like symptoms on Sept. 28. Being pregnant, she said she went to the hospital on Oct. 4 to deliver her child, but Chris was unable to after testing positive for COVID-19. Brooks said Chris was a diabetic, and on Oct. 5, he was taken to the emergency room and never came back.

“He didn’t get a chance to meet her [Lynleigh] — he didn’t get a chance to do anything,” she said. “It just sucks so bad for her sake and for his. The last thing I told him was, I love you, Chris, and he was like, I love you too. I hope I can just keep loving you, and I hope I can meet my daughter.”

Brooks said the challenge she faces now is how she is going to tell her children and let them know about their father.

“How am I going to let them know about their daddy and how great he was?” she said. “I was heartbroken.”

The Herald will continue to write articles to help raise funds for the Ferrell family.

Please donate to the Herald Angel Fund by bringing a check or cash to The Herald office, 1025 Roanoke Ave. in Roanoke Rapids. Donations can be dropped into the mailbox. People may also mail a check to The Herald, 1025 Roanoke Ave., Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870, with Herald Angel Fund in the memo line. Every contribution goes directly to the Herald Angel. Donors who give more than $5 have their generosity honored with their names printed in The Herald. Donations may also be given anonymously.