Newly proposed legislation ties four casinos, including one that would be operated by the Lumbee tribe, to Medicaid expansion in NC. Read more Continue reading As lawmakers tie casinos to Medicaid, questions remain for Lumbee and southeastern NC
As state lawmakers continue to work toward a budget deal, the University of North Carolina at Pembroke hopes for money for two major projects. Read more Continue reading UNC Pembroke has plans for two major projects that depend on new state budget
Most school districts in North Carolina’s Border Belt showed improvement in student test scores last school year, new data shows. Read more Continue reading Test scores improve in NC’s Border Belt schools but remain below pre-pandemic figures
James Conley, who is being held at Tabor Correctional Institution, says he has not had access to traditional practices since 2020. Read more Continue reading Native American says North Carolina prison has denied his right to religious practices
Tropical Storm Idalia left thousands of people without power Thursday morning as flooding and downed trees closed roads across the region. Read more Continue reading Idalia causes power outages, flooding, road closures in southeastern North Carolina
UNC Health is partnering with Bladen County Schools to give students access to behavioral health care through a pilot program. Read more Continue reading Bladen County students will get access to behavioral health care through new program
Three school districts in NC’s Border Belt had a higher teacher vacancy rate than the state average of 5.41% last school year. Read more Continue reading Do schools in NC’s Border Belt need more teachers? Here are the numbers
The Border Belt Independent won eight awards at the North Carolina Press Association’s annual ceremony on Thursday. Read more Continue reading Border Belt Independent wins 8 awards from NC Press Association
The NC Innocence Inquiry Commission voted to refer a 2017 Robeson County murder conviction to a three-judge panel. Read more Continue reading Innocence commission refers 2017 Robeson County murder conviction to 3-judge panel
Economic development officials say good things are happening along the future I-74 corridor in southern North Carolina. Read more Continue reading Business is booming along future I-74 in NC’s Border Belt. What’s next for upgrades?
The Border Belt Independent is proud to announce Rachel Baldauf has joined the staff as a full-time reporter.Read more Continue reading Journalist Rachel Baldauf joins Border Belt Independent
As North Carolina gears up for its first elections in which voters have to show photo identification, officials are urging people to get IDs.Read more Continue reading NC is preparing for its first elections under voter ID law. Is the Border Belt ready?
NCDOT is launching new training programs for people without college degrees in an effort to fill hundreds of vacant jobs. Read more Continue reading Bladen County engineer worked his way up the ranks at NCDOT. Other teens can, too
Voters across Columbus County, including those in Whiteville, will go to the polls Nov. 7 to choose mayors and local board members. Read more Continue reading Columbus County’s municipal elections are Nov. 7. Here are the candidates
Voters across Scotland County, including those in Laurinburg, will go to the polls Nov. 7 to choose mayors members of local boards. Read more Continue reading Scotland County’s municipal elections are Nov. 7. Here are the candidates
Voters across Bladen County will go to the polls on Nov. 7 for municipal elections. Bladenboro, Elizabethtown and other towns have contests. Read more Continue reading Bladen County’s municipal elections are Nov. 7. Here are the candidates
Several towns in Robeson County will have municipal elections on Nov. 7. Nearly 60 candidates are running. Read more Continue reading Robeson County’s municipal elections are Nov. 7. Here are the candidates
Bladen County is one of the first counties in NC to ban transgender youth from parks and recreation sports. Read more Continue reading Bladen County takes cue from state, bans transgender youth in parks and rec sports
State lawmakers are considering a casino that would be run by the Lumbee tribe in southeastern North Carolina. Read more Continue reading A casino run by the Lumbee tribe? North Carolina lawmakers pitch idea
The Jewish community once played a major role in rural southeastern North Carolina. Today, that legacy continues. Read more Continue reading Fabric of community: The legacy of the Jewish population in rural southeastern NC
Columbus County residents are invited to share their views about local issues and talk about how they want to be informed. Read more Continue reading News organizations to host public listening session in Whiteville on July 25
Three private schools in Robeson County received more taxpayer-funded scholarships than they had students, according to a new report. Read more Continue reading Some Robeson County private schools had more vouchers than students, report finds
North Carolina is getting nearly $1.4 billion from legal settlements to combat the opioid epidemic. Counties and towns will spend the money.Read more Continue reading A new era in the war on drugs in North Carolina
Counties and towns in rural southeastern NC are trying to mitigate the effects of flooding. But some worry the Farm Act will hinder efforts.Read more Continue reading What the Farm Act means for NC’s Border Belt, where flood efforts are underway
Population loss slowed in rural southeastern North Carolina during the first two years of the pandemic, data shows. Read more Continue reading Much of rural North Carolina grew during the pandemic. What about the Border Belt?
Still known as Principal’s Row, the street in Whiteville is near the former Whiteville Negro High School and Central High School. Read more Continue reading Recalling ‘Principal’s Row,’ a Whiteville street home to Black educators
Robeson County schools in North Carolina is expanding its AIG enrollment and partnering with the NC School of Science and Math. Read more Continue reading How one rural North Carolina school district is focusing on top-performing students
The Border Belt Independent is proud to announce Ben Rappaport has joined the staff as a full-time reporter.Read more Continue reading Journalist Ben Rappaport joins Border Belt Independent
The George Henry White Memorial and Health Center in Clarkton offers classes for landowners to learn about legal and other issues. Read more Continue reading In Bladen County, a push to educate Black farmers and landowners about their rights
Draquine Floyd Jr., 7, accidentally shot himself in April when he found an unsecured gun at a family member’s home in Robeson County. Read more Continue reading After 7-year-old’s death, Robeson County mother encourages safe storage of guns
Several events in Bladen, Columbus, Robeson and Scotland counties will celebrate Juneteenth, a holiday that honors the end of slavery.Read more Continue reading Here are some ways to celebrate Juneteenth in North Carolina’s Border Belt
Amanda Lee, president of Bladen Community College, says she wants to focus on business growth in the southeastern NC county. Read more Continue reading ‘Their home for hope.’ Bladen Community College president focuses on local jobs
Bladen County Schools is among 20 low-wealth public school districts in NC that officials say misused state funds meant for teacher bonuses. Read more Continue reading Bladen County Schools among 20 low-wealth districts that could be penalized by state
Marshall Melton is accused of swindling more than $1 million from investors in a real estate scheme in downtown Laurinburg. Read more Continue reading NC man accused of bilking investors out of $1 million in Scotland County scam
Here is a list of some events happening this summer in Bladen, Columbus, Robeson and Scotland counties. Read more Continue reading Here are some family-friendly events this summer in NC’s Border Belt counties
After hearing residents’ concerns, Robeson County commissioners voted to deny a special-use permit for a bomb-detonation training site. Read more Continue reading Robeson County commissioners say no to proposed military training site
Deanne Meadows, superintendent of Columbus County Schools in rural NC, says universal school vouchers would lead to segregation. Read more Continue reading Private school voucher plan would hurt public districts in rural NC, educators say
The Lumbee tribe in NC is once again hosting cultural workshops that celebrate traditional art, music and dance. Read more Continue reading From crafting to dancing, Lumbee tribe celebrates culture in workshops open to all
Sovereign Aerospace now offers flight lessons at the Curtis L. Brown Jr. Field Airport in Elizabethtown in Bladen County.Read more Continue reading Company brings new opportunities to Bladen County airport, including flight lessons
By Ivey Schofield email@example.com A charter school group in southeastern North Carolina agreed Thursday to tweak its controversial hair policy for boys, but parents say the change is not enough. Classical Charter Schools of America, which enrolls 2,500 students in grades K-8 at schools in Leland, Southport, Wilmington and Whiteville, has faced pushback since administrators told families in March that boys must cut their long …Read more Continue reading NC charter school group tweaks controversial hair policy. Parents say it’s not enough
Social and civic groups, once very popular in Columbus County, are struggling. But some say the groups will make a comeback. Read more Continue reading Are civic groups on their way out in Columbus County?
Encouraged by new vacation homes and crowded camp sites, White Lake in Bladen County wants to become more than a summertime adventure spot. Read more Continue reading Could White Lake become a year-round tourist destination in North Carolina?
A company called Alottabang wants to operate an explosive ordnance disposal training facility for the military and police in Robeson County. Read more Continue reading Robeson County residents battling proposal for private military training site
At New Ground Farm in Robeson County, Connie and Millard Locklear use technology aimed at reducing farming’s carbon footprint. Read more Continue reading ‘Climate heroes’ in Robeson County help lead NC toward more sustainable farming
State Sen. Danny Bitt, one of the most powerful Republicans in NC, said he does not plan to run for state attorney general next year. Read more Continue reading Sen. Danny Britt says he won’t run for NC attorney general in 2024
Legal Aid of North Carolina now offers record expunction services for free to qualifying residents in Bladen County. Read more Continue reading New program will help Bladen County residents with criminal records get a clean slate
Two environmental activists in Robeson County have filed a federal complaint alleging that NC fails to adequately regulate poultry plants. Read more Continue reading Robeson County environmental advocates call for more regulations on poultry farms
Healthy Opportunities Pilots launched last year to help Medicaid recipients in NC get help with food, transportation and more. Read more Continue reading Funding for NC program that provides food to Medicaid recipients is in jeopardy
A state advisory council is calling for the elimination of Native American-themed mascots in NC schools. But what about Robeson County?Read more Continue reading An end to Native American mascots? Probably not in Robeson County, home to the Lumbees
Classical Charter Schools of America, which operates four schools in NC, delayed a decision on its controversial hair policy. Read more Continue reading Despite pleas, NC charter school group delays decision on controversial hair policy
New affordable housing is going up in Lumberton, a Robeson County city devastated by hurricanes Matthew and Florence. Read more Continue reading Seven years after Hurricane Matthew, Lumberton sees new housing. Is it enough?
Mobile health clinics have gained popularity in rural NC, as officials say they eliminate some barriers to mental health treatment. Read more Continue reading Are mobile clinics the key to addressing mental health needs in rural North Carolina?
The State Advisory Council on Indian Education (SACIE) recently shared its annual report with the State Board of Education. Read more Continue reading State Advisory Council on Indian Education calls for department-level position, removal of mascots
Health care providers and pregnancy centers want to increase access to prenatal care in southeastern North Carolina. Read more Continue reading More pregnant women need prenatal care in North Carolina’s Border Belt. But how?
Some locally owned restaurants in the Border Belt region of southeastern North Carolina say they need more trained chefs.Read more Continue reading Restaurants need chefs. But in NC’s Border Belt, trained help can be hard to find
After facing pushback, a group of charter schools in NC says it will not force boys to cut their long hair for now. Read more Continue reading Facing pushback, NC charter school group won’t force boys to cut long hair – for now
A preacher and real estate agent in Bladen County says he plans to open Bladenboro Christian Academy this fall. Read more Continue reading Bladen County preacher critical of public education plans to open private school
Elizabethtown has plans for four major projects that could help transform the small Bladen County community in southeastern NC. Read more Continue reading Elizabethtown has big plans, including a mixed-use project and airport upgrades
The University of North Carolina at Pembroke will soon offer a doctor of nursing practice degree with a focus on population health. Read more Continue reading UNC Pembroke’s first doctoral program will focus on the community’s health care needs
Rural regions, including Bladen, Columbus, Robeson and Scotland counties, are expected to particularly benefit from Medicaid expansion in NC. Read more Continue reading North Carolina is expanding Medicaid. What does that mean in the Border Belt?
Robeson and Columbus counties rank among the lowest in North Carolina when it comes to funding local schools, a new analysis shows. Read more Continue reading How do NC’s Border Belt counties rank for school funding? New report shows challenges
Browns Creek Nature Park is considered one of the best mountain-biking trails in NC. Some hope a biking team for kids will get started. Read more Continue reading Could Bladen County get a mountain-biking team for kids?
More than 23 million years ago, when the shores of the Atlantic Ocean were in what is now Robeson County, megalodons patrolled the seas. Read more Continue reading Megalodons ruled Robeson County millions of years ago. Their teeth still tell a story
Over the past two years, people have brought at least 189 book challenges across North Carolina’s 115 public school districts. Read more Continue reading Books on race, sexuality among most targeted across NC schools
Hope Alive, a nonprofit that plans to open a drug-treatment center in Robeson County, got a victory in court. Read more Continue reading Judge gives plans for controversial drug-treatment center green light in Robeson County
Patriotic Millionaires, an advocacy group that pushes for higher taxes for the rich and an increase in the minimum wage, launched a pilot program in Whiteville last summer. Read more Continue reading Patriotic Millionaires picks a small NC town to push for higher taxes for the rich
After a series of lawsuits, some hog farmers in Bladen County in southeastern North Carolina say they worry about their future. Read more Continue reading The hog industry rules in Bladen County. But some farmers worry about their future
A preacher has been hosting community meetings to inform parents about books students are reading in Robeson County schools. Read more Continue reading A Robeson County preacher is on a quest to ban books. The school district says no way
Chadbourn, a town of about 1,600 people in Columbus County, has been securing funds to revitalize and rebuild its downtown. Read more Continue reading ‘Sitting on a goldmine.’ Chadbourn makes gains toward a downtown revitalization
North Carolina allocated nearly $10 million in 2021 for health liaisons for schools. But health departments have had trouble filling the jobs. Read more Continue reading North Carolina health departments have struggled to hire COVID-19 school liaisons
Melissa Singler leans on her experiences as a high school dropout who later earned a master’s degree as she leads Robeson Community College.Read more Continue reading How a high school dropout is leading a rural NC community college through major growth
Bladen and Columbus counties have secured spots for local residents at The Healing Place of New Hanover County.
Read more Continue reading Bladen and Columbus counties secure spots for residents at new drug-treatment center
Extra food benefits for North Carolina’s poorest residents will come to an end in March as grocery prices remain high. Read more Continue reading Food stamps are being reduced in NC as grocery prices remain high. Here’s what to know
Kevin Haidary first fled his native country of Afghanistan in 1994. Years later, he left again and started anew in Columbus County. Read more Continue reading Afghan refugee starts business in Chadbourn
Bladen County is hosting a Year of the Trail festival from Feb. 17-19. Participants can take part in guided hikes and explore on their own. Read more Continue reading Bladen County will show off its natural beauty during Year of the Trail festival
Curtis Hill, president of the Columbus County chapter of the NAACP, advocates for racial equity and rights for people with disabilities. Read more Continue reading Raised to be a leader, Curtis Hill advocates for racial equity in Columbus County
Laurinburg and Whiteville now have downtown “social districts” where adults can carry alcoholic beverages while the shop, mingle and explore the community. Read more Continue reading Alcohol served in social districts is latest downtown trend in NC’s Border Belt
The arrest of a convicted sex offender accused of sexually assaulting three women in three months at St. Andrews University in North Carolina is raising questions about how the private school handles safety concerns. Read more Continue reading Arrest in series of sexual assaults roils a North Carolina private university
The Lower Bladen County Citizens Group is asking county commissioners for ARPA funds to repair its building and host new programs. Read more Continue reading Bladen County community devastated by dike failure wants to rebuild nonprofit site
The Border Belt Independent is proud to announce that Kerria Weaver has joined its staff as a part-time reporter. Read more Continue reading Kerria Weaver joins Border Belt Independent staff
Thirty-five years ago, on Feb. 1, 1988, Eddie Hatcher and Timothy Jacobs took over the newspaper in Robeson County to protest corruption. Read more Continue reading He occupied an NC newspaper 35 years ago to protest corruption. Now he has more to say
Building Bridges After School, an educational program for kids, has returned to Fair Bluff, signaling progress in the flood-battered NC town.Read more Continue reading After-school program returns to Fair Bluff, signaling hope for flood-battered town
Jails in North Carolina’s Border Belt have repeatedly failed state inspections, an investigation by Disability Rights North Carolina shows. Read more Continue reading Jails in North Carolina’s Border Belt failed nearly every inspection, new report shows
The developer of International Logistics Park at the Brunswick-Columbus county line, plans to add 134,000 square feet, paving the way for more companies to move in. Read more Continue reading Major expansion planned for business park in southeastern North Carolina
The Lumbee tribe in North Carolina marked the 65th anniversary of the Battle of Hayes Pond, where Native Americans pushed back the Ku Klux Klan. Read more Continue reading 65 years after Battle of Hayes Pond: Lumbees recall fight that pushed out Ku Klux Klan
Tatyana Faulk-Frink, who grew up in the town of Chadbourn, is Ms. North Carolina 2023. Read more Continue reading Ms. Black North Carolina, a Columbus County native, shines light on health disparities
An ambitious plan to create more affordable housing in Scotland County could help low-income residents and revitalize a languishing neighborhood. Read more Continue reading Housing plan could ease shortage in Scotland County – and help a neglected neighborhood
The Columbus County Republican Party is calling for the removal of District Attorney Jon David, who led a months-long effort to get the county’s controversial sheriff out of office. Read more Continue reading Columbus County Republican Party calls for DA’s removal following sheriff controversy
Organizers of the Cape Fear Farmer’s Market in the Bladen County town of Elizabethtown are planning upgrades. Read more Continue reading Bladen County farmers market is missing one thing: farmers. But that could change
Southeastern North Carolina is seeing an expected increase in COVID-19 cases after the holiday season. But flu cases have dropped.Read more Continue reading Hospitals see post-holiday rise in COVID-19 cases in North Carolina’s Border Belt
Less than a week after he was sworn into office for a second term as Columbus County sheriff, Jody Greene’s fate is uncertain. Read more Continue reading NC sheriff resigns for second time. Here are the allegations against him
Jody Greene was sworn in as Columbus County sheriff on Thursday but already faces a court petition calling for his removal. Read more Continue reading NC sheriff, target of state and federal investigations, takes office. But for how long?
Elizabethtown is using federal and state money to upgrade its wastewater treatment facility – a project that could help all of Bladen County. Read more Continue reading ‘It’s not sexy,’ but town’s sewer upgrades could help Bladen County grow
In an area with limited internet access, the Robeson County library system is stepping up by lending out laptops. Read more Continue reading Need a computer? Robeson County library is lending laptops like books
Barbara Featherson, who was sworn into office this month, is the first Black woman to serve on the Columbus County Board of Commissioners. Read more Continue reading In a rural NC county rife with turmoil, voters elect first Black woman to county board
The director of the North Carolina State Board of Elections has denied two protests of the Columbus County sheriff’s race.Read more Continue reading NC elections director denies protests of Columbus County sheriff’s race
A 14-year-old Lumbee from Robeson County is a plaintiff in a case accusing N.C. DHHS of of unfairly housing children with disabilities who are in the foster care system. Read more Continue reading Robeson County teen in foster care part of new lawsuit against NC’s top health agency
Elizabethtown plans to build a community center in New Town, a predominantly Black neighborhood. Read more Continue reading Bladen County town hopes to revitalize a Black neighborhood with new community center
A North Carolina sheriff-elect who made racist comments about Black deputies won’t be sworn into office on Monday as scheduled.Read more Continue reading Swearing-in delayed for NC sheriff-elect under fire for racism and other allegations
Turmoil continues in the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office, where Jody Greene was re-elected on Nov. 8 amid controversy. Read more Continue reading Turmoil continues for rural North Carolina sheriff’s office
Lumberton leaders hope to revitalize its historic downtown, starting with a $3 million annex for the Carolina Civic Center. Read more Continue reading Downtown Lumberton envisions a big transformation, starting with Carolina Civic Center
Help the Border Belt Independent kick off our 2022 fundraising campaign on Giving Tuesday, Nov. 29.Read more Continue reading Support the trusted journalism you’ve come to expect; donate today
Kaliyah Harrington, 11, and her family have a lot to be thankful for this year. Kaliyah saved them from a house fire in Scotland County in late October. Read more Continue reading Scotland County family thankful for 11-year-old who saved them from house fire
Despite grassroots efforts to put more people of color in local office, voters in Columbus County overwhelmingly supported white incumbents.Read more Continue reading Push to elect Black candidates to Columbus County school boards was rejected by voters
Hospitals in Robeson, Scotland, Columbus and Bladen counties got “C” grades in the latest report from The Leapfrog Group. Read more Continue reading How safe are the hospitals in North Carolina’s Border Belt? New grades released
The Lake Waccamaw governing board has rezoned a one-acre parcel of shoreline property, prompting concerns about the future of the popular recreation area.Read more Continue reading With a zoning change, the future of Lake Waccamaw stirs fear and hope
Bladen County voters have spoken: Alcohol can be sold anywhere throughout the county. Read more Continue reading Bladen County voters say yes to alcohol sales
Bladen County voters have reelected Jim McVicker for a third term as sheriff.Read more Continue reading Bladen County sheriff is elected to third term
Republican Jarrod Lowery cruised to a win on Tuesday to represent most of Robeson County in the N.C. House. Read more Continue reading Robeson County voters flip NC House seat to GOP; Lowery wins
David Rouzer was on his way to securing another term in the U.S. House, beating a well-known Democrat to represent part of southeastern North Carolina. Read more Continue reading Rouzer keeps US House seat representing southeastern NC counties
Jody Greene, who resigned as Columbus County sheriff last month, won reelection on Tuesday, according to unofficial results. Read more Continue reading North Carolina sheriff who made racist remarks wins reelection
Columbus County has seen a political shift to the right as more Republicans get elected to local offices. Read more Continue reading Shift to the GOP clouds local races in this rural NC county – especially for sheriff
The enrollment period for federally subsidized health plans opened this week, which could be an opportunity for many people in southeastern North Carolina. Read more Continue reading Health-coverage open enrollment is underway. Here’s what to know in NC’s Border Belt
The Columbus County Sheriff’s Office has hired a former Bladen County deputy who resigned last year after he was accused of beating a suspect with a flashlight following a high-speed chase. Read more Continue reading NC sheriff’s office already facing calls for change hired deputy accused of assault
Bladen County formed a substance misuse task force in 2017 that came up with a strategic plan to combat the opioid epidemic. Read more Continue reading Bladen County’s plan for opioid settlement money has been in the works for years
The Border Belt Independent has received a $50,000 grant to hire a third reporter to cover Bladen, Columbus, Robeson and Scotland counties.Read more Continue reading Border Belt Independent wins $50,000 grant to add reporter
Some Black residents in Columbus County say the controversy surrounding Jody Greene, who resigned as sheriff, highlights a larger problem of racism. Read more Continue reading After sheriff resigns, Black residents say racism is part of life in Columbus County
Suspended Columbus County Sheriff Jody Greene resigned from office on Monday during a hearing to decide whether he’d be removed from office. Read more Continue reading NC sheriff resigns during hearing to decide if he would be removed from office
Jody Greene, who was suspended from his duties as Columbus County sheriff earlier this month for making racist comments, engaged in a monthslong sexual relationship with a detective in his office, the local district attorney said in newly filed court records. Read more Continue reading Suspended NC sheriff accused of extramarital affair with detective
The Bladen County Sheriff’s Office now has a “soft” for crime victims and survivors of abuse. Other agencies can use the space, too. Read more Continue reading Bladen County Sheriff’s Office creates a ‘softer’ space for crime victims
SO-PAK-CO, which has its headquarters in Mullins, S.C., plans to create 440 jobs in Scotland County, N.C. Read more Continue reading Food processing company plans to bring 440 new jobs to Scotland County
In-person early voting in NC begins Oct. 20 and ends Nov. 5. Here’s what to know in Bladen, Columbus, Robeson and Scotland counties. Read more Continue reading In-person early voting starts Oct. 20. Here’s what to know in NC’s Border Belt counties
In Columbus County, suspended sheriff Jody Greene has dominated headlines in the weeks ahead of the Nov. 8 election. But voters will also decide on several other races, from the U.S. Senate to local school boards. Read more Continue reading Here’s a list of every candidate on the Nov. 8 ballot in Columbus County
Voters in Scotland County will cast ballots in the Nov. 8 midterm election that could have major impacts at the state and federal levels. Read more Continue reading Here’s who is on the ballot in Scotland County for Nov. 8 election
Voters in Bladen County will decide on several races for the Nov. 8 midterm election, from federal offices to a local referendum on alcohol sales. Read more Continue reading Who is on the ballot in Bladen County for Nov. 8 election?
Voters across North Carolina, including in Robeson County, will cast ballots in the Nov. 8 midterm election that could have major impacts at the state and federal levels. Read more Continue reading Election Day in Robeson County is Nov. 8. Here’s who is on the ballot
Evert Locklear was the oldest living member of the Lumbee tribe. He died in Robeson County on Oct. 8. Read more Continue reading Oldest living Lumbee dies at 103, leaving behind a legacy – and a crop of collards
New residential projects in rural Columbus County are leading to debates about preservation, progress and the future. Read more Continue reading As developers move in, Columbus County debates preservation and progress
Work is underway to widen a 24-mile stretch of I-95 in Robeson County. Here’s what to know about the four-year project. Read more Continue reading Work begins to widen I-95 in Robeson County. Here’s what to know for the next 4 years
GirlTrek, a global health initiative for Black women, has teams in Columbus County. New participants can join the Jumpstart challenge.Read more Continue reading Black women are walking toward better health in Columbus County. Here’s how to join them
Columbus County voters will choose between Jody Greene and Jason Soles in the November election. Read more Continue reading NC sheriff who made racist remarks has history of controversy. Can he outlast this one?
Jody Greene will remain on the ballot. But can the suspended Columbus County sheriff in NC be reelected?Read more Continue reading Jody Greene will remain on the ballot. But can the suspended NC sheriff be reelected?
Jon David, the local prosecutor, filed a court petition Tuesday asking for Columbus County Sheriff Jody Greene to be suspended. Read more Continue reading Judge suspends North Carolina sheriff who made racist comments
Columbus County Sheriff Jody Greene said he will not resign after he was heard making racist comments. But could he be forced out? Read more Continue reading Could North Carolina sheriff who made racist comments be forced out of office?
Thomas Academy serves students who are in the custody of the Department of Social Services or who have been suspended or expelled. Read more Continue reading This Columbus County charter school faces unique challenges to meet state standards
By Ivey Schofield firstname.lastname@example.org At 18, De’Maya Berry started selling seafood from home to earn money before pursuing graduate school. At 26, she has expanded, turning her dream into a restaurant in southeastern North Carolina. Maya’s Crab Shack, located in the eastern Columbus County community of Riegelwood, serves crab legs, shrimp and grits, lobster tails and more – offerings that locals say aren’t available within …Read more Continue reading Inflation pinches this Columbus crab shack
At the Border Belt Independent, we want to hear your questions. Then we will find the answers and publish them on our website as part of our new project, “Ask Us.” Read more Continue reading Ask Us: Have a question about NC’s Border Belt? We’ll find the answer for you.
Keenan Allen, a Lumbee, is a star in the NFL. His heritage is important to him as he inspires Native American kids to follow their dreams. Read more Continue reading Lumbee NFL player Keenan Allen inspires Native American kids to follow their dreams
Fall is quickly approaching, and we all know what that means in southeastern North Carolina: festival season. Read more Continue reading It’s fall festival season. Check out these events in North Carolina’s Border Belt
Some NC counties are so short on lawyers that they’ve become “legal deserts” – and state officials have few plans to fill the void.Read more Continue reading As North Carolina courts work through backlog, some counties don’t have enough lawyers
UNC Pembroke ranked in the top half in a new list of best regional universities in the South by U.S. News & World Report. Read more Continue reading Here’s how UNC Pembroke fared in latest US News college rankings
Two companies will receive millions of dollars in grants to bring high-speed internet access to more people in North Carolina’s Border Belt region. Read more Continue reading Is your neighborhood getting high-speed internet access in NC’s Border Belt?
Bladen County voters will decide whether to increase the local sales tax to pay for school resource officers. If they say no, the property tax rate will change. Read more Continue reading Will Bladen County voters increase sales tax to fund school resource officers?
Wendy Jones was the second Native American in three months who Robeson County investigators say was killed in a domestic violence situation. Read more Continue reading A young mother was abused. Then her dismembered body was found in Robeson County
A group of Border Belt-area residents and UNC Pembroke students told journalists Thursday evening that reliable news is hard to come by. Organizers say the forum helped them understand how people get their news, what the barriers are, and what types of stories people want. “To extend better service to communities, news organizations first need to spend time listening to people, understanding their habits, and …Read more Continue reading Journalists hear that people want better access to local news and more stories that focus on solutions
More students in NC’s Border Belt region passed state exams last school year, but the numbers continued to lag behind pre-pandemic scores. Read more Continue reading Test scores start to bounce back in North Carolina’s Border Belt schools
The Environmental Protection Agency said the label for harmful “forever chemicals” could force polluters to report toxic releases and clean up contamination. Read more Continue reading PFAS could be labeled ‘hazardous.’ What does that mean for southeastern NC?
Internet providers in southeastern NC are counting on state and federal grants to expand access in the region. Read more Continue reading New round of grants could help expand broadband access in southeastern North Carolina
The Border Belt Independent, a digital, nonprofit news organization in southeastern North Carolina took home several awards. Read more Continue reading Border Belt Independent wins 10 journalism awards
In Bladen County, where tourism intersects with conservative values, voters will decide whether to allow alcohol sales. Read more Continue reading Alcohol is on the ballot in this rural NC county, where tourism meets conservative values
Join us on Thursday, Sept. 1, at UNC-Pembroke to share your thoughts on the news stories that matter most to you. Read more Continue reading Join the Border Belt Independent and other news outlets for a community forum Sept. 1
Six students have completed the new psychiatric technician program at Southeastern Community College in Columbus County, a program that health leaders say will help fill a need. Read more Continue reading Rural NC community college graduates first class of psychiatric technicians
Columbus County residents can still weigh in on a comprehensive plan that could guide transportation improvements for decades. Read more Continue reading Bikes, buses and bypasses: Columbus County has a new vision for its transportation needs
The Lumbee tribe in North Carolina will receive an additional $4 million in federal money this year for its robust housing program. Read more Continue reading Lumbee tribe is on a home-building spree in a region that desperately needs housing
Ben Bahr, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, is a renowned researcher of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.Read more Continue reading Meet the UNC Pembroke professor leading research on Alzheimer’s disease
Men and Women United for Youth and Families, which serves Bladen and Columbus counties, is part of the Carolina Across 100 initiative. Read more Continue reading Local nonprofit chosen for statewide program to help ‘opportunity youth’ in NC
Most counties in southeastern North Carolina are now considered high risk for COVID-19, and people are encouraged to wear masks indoors. Read more Continue reading Much of southeastern NC added to high-risk COVID list. CDC advises masks indoors
Many towns in southeastern North Carolina are investing in their downtown districts, hoping to jumpstart their economies. Read more Continue reading Bringing southeastern North Carolina back to life, one downtown at a time
The Southeastern Prevention and Addiction Recovery Resource Center will make recommendations about how to spend opioid settlement money in Robeson County. Read more Continue reading Robeson County’s collaborative effort to fight the opioid epidemic
Counties in North Carolina’s Border Belt have among the lowest rates in the state for COVID-19 booster shots, which health officials say are crucial in combating the virus. In Robeson County, 19% of the population has received a vaccine booster or additional shot, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. That’s the second lowest percentage in the state, behind neighboring Hoke County. …Read more Continue reading North Carolina’s Border Belt lags behind in COVID booster shots. Here’s what to know
Years after polluted drinking water was linked to the Chemours chemical plant in southeastern NC, Columbus County residents are urged to test their well water. Read more Continue reading Is your water safe in Columbus County? Chemical plant urges residents to test wells
The director of the Small Business Center at Southeastern Community College in NC helps entrepreneurs start businesses in Columbus County.Read more Continue reading Her mission: Help small businesses get started and succeed in Columbus County
Some southeastern North Carolina counting hope new recreational opportunities will lure visitors and lead to growth. Read more Continue reading Is recreation the key to growth in southeastern North Carolina?
Here is a list of organizations in Bladen, Columbus, Robeson and Scotland counties that operate food pantries. Read more Continue reading Need help feeding your family? Here are some resources in North Carolina’s Border Belt
Grace Episcopal Church in Columbus County built a free food pantry that is stocked with free canned goods and home supplies. Read more Continue reading ‘Really make a difference.’ Roadside food pantry helps fill need in Columbus County
Scotland County’s new budget has a property tax rate of 99 cents per $100 of value. While the rate has steadily dropped over the years, it remains the highest in North Carolina. Read more Continue reading Scotland County lowers property tax rate, but it’s still the highest in North Carolina
Here are some free and cheap things to do this summer in North Carolina’s Border Belt. Read more Continue reading Free and cheap stuff to do this summer in North Carolina’s Border Belt
When North Carolina sheriffs make pleas to a state commission dominated by other sheriffs, employees with job troubles are more likely to keep their jobs.
Read more Continue reading North Carolina sheriffs carry clout when defending officers at risk of losing their badges
Bladen, Columbus, Robeson and Scotland counties have lower abortion rates than the statewide figure in North Carolina. Read more Continue reading What to know about abortion in North Carolina’s Border Belt
Nearly six years after they appeared on “The Biggest Loser,” a mother-duo from Bladen County reflects on weight loss and motivation. Read more Continue reading Weight loss can be a struggle in rural NC. Just ask these ‘Biggest Loser’ contestants
The district attorney for Scotland County has so far declined to pursue a criminal case against East Laurinburg’s financial officer. Read more Continue reading NC town set to cease existence as state treasurer calls for criminal charges
A survey aims to identify news gaps in rural North Carolina communities that have limited access to broadband. Read more Continue reading Where are the news gaps in southeastern NC? Take a survey to make your voice heard
North Carolina families are feeling the effects of inflation and high gas prices. Here’s how they’re getting by. Read more Continue reading Pain at the pump – and at the grocery store – hits hard in southeastern North Carolina
Bladen County Schools partners with Bladen Community College to offer free college-level courses, giving students a head start on degrees. Read more Continue reading How Bladen County is giving first-generation college students a head start
A detention officer with the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office who was charged in connection with a suspect who was booked and released from jail under a false name was previously suspended from his job three times, officials say. Read more Continue reading Robeson County detention officer charged with obstruction had history of suspensions
Ivey Schofield has rejoined the Border Belt Independent as a reporter focusing primarily on Bladen and Columbus counties. Read more Continue reading Ivey Schofield rejoins Border Belt Independent staff
Rural hospital leaders are thrilled the N.C. Senate voted in favor of Medicaid expansion – but not potential changes to Certificate of Need. Read more Continue reading Rural NC hospitals applaud move toward Medicaid expansion – but not a tacked-on change
Two people have drowned in Lake Waccamaw in the last month. Their deaths have reignited the push for a public pool in Columbus County, NC.Read more Continue reading Push for a public pool: How drownings have reignited an old fight in Columbus County
Soon the Columbus County domestic violence shelter will be demolished, but one nonprofit is still fighting to keep survivors safe.
Read more Continue reading Columbus County nonprofit needs a new shelter for domestic violence survivors
Maria Carthen has dealt with trauma and an addiction to crack cocaine, Now the NC mother is desperately trying to get her kids back.Read more Continue reading One NC mother’s journey to overcome addiction and bring her family back together
The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality approved a permit for North Carolina Renewable Power to operate in Robeson County, despite pushback from advocates. Read more Continue reading Poultry waste plant that has polluted in the past gets new approval in Robeson County
Cutler Bryant isn’t yet old enough to vote. But he has emerged as a political strategist for Republican candidates in Robeson County. Read more Continue reading The best political strategist in Robeson County might be this high school senior
Dr. Ronny Bell, a member of the Lumbee tribe, is among the leaders of a new research project studying the impact of cancer among American Indians in North Carolina. Read more Continue reading Lumbee researcher to study cancer among American Indians in NC
Charles Graham narrowly won the Democratic primary for NC’s District 7 seat in the U.S. House. Read more Continue reading Charles Graham narrowly won his primary in NC. Now the big fight for Congress begins
Jarrod Lowery, a member of the Lumbee tribe, won the Republican primary to vie for the District 47 seat in the NC House. Read more Continue reading Lowery, Townsend win primaries for NC House seat representing Robeson County
An investigation by NC Policy Watch found the state’s disaster recovery office changed its own rules and awarded Rescue Construction Solutions with contracts worth $80 million.Read more Continue reading NC awarded troubled company millions as Hurricane Matthew survivors remained displaced
Robeson, Scotland, Bladen and Columbus County continue to rank among the least-healthy states in North Carolina. Read more Continue reading The fight for better health (and health care) in rural North Carolina
Bladen County Schools had the highest teacher vacancy rate of North Carolina’s 115 public school districts. Read more Continue reading Bladen County has the highest teacher vacancy rate in North Carolina
By Les High Publisher There’s a line from the Apple TV series Ted Lasso in which Ted is told: “The truth will set you free, but first, it will really piss you off.” The truth, however, is hard to come by today. That’s one of the reasons why we founded the Border Belt Independent in May, and why we need your continued support. Newsrooms like …Read more Continue reading Subscribe to our free newsletter and never miss a story
The median home sale price in Columbus County rose nearly 82% during a two-year span, showing the housing boom extends beyond NC’s cities.Read more Continue reading Home prices in rural Columbus County show the housing boom extends beyond NC cities
Here’s what to know ahead of the May 17 primary election in Bladen, Columbus, Robeson and Scotland counties in NC.Read more Continue reading Here’s what to know ahead of the May 17 primary election in NC’s Border Belt
Some are calling for the removal of the Confederate monument in front of the courthouse in Robeson County, one of the most counties in NC.Read more Continue reading What should become of a Confederate monument in diverse Robeson County?
Active Energy faced local opposition and lawsuits over concerns that the company’s technology was polluting the Lumber River. Read more Continue reading Active Energy’s departure from Robeson County is met with relief from local leaders
The Lumbee Native American tribe’s quest for full federal recognition was left out of the Senate’s new spending bill. Read more Continue reading Full federal recognition for Lumbees left out of Senate spending bill. What’s next?
Bladen County has a new strategic plan meant to guide the rural county in southeastern North Carolina for the next decade.Read more Continue reading Bladen County, shrinking but hopeful, creates a plan for its future
The Scotland County town of Laurinburg is focusing on public-private partnerships to revive its downtown. It’s working, local leaders say. Read more Continue reading Here’s how one North Carolina town is bringing its downtown back to life
Scottie Deese, a former Robeson County sheriff’s deputy, says a state law that prevents him from running for sheriff is too harsh.Read more Continue reading He was convicted of a crime at 18. Now he says he should get to run for sheriff in NC
A 20-year-old woman and a 15-year-old boy were shot and killed in Robeson County over the weekend. Read more Continue reading Lots of witnesses, but no one is talking in latest Robeson County homicides
North Carolina counties will get millions of dollars from the $26 billion opioid settlement. In the Border Belt, how could it be spent? Read more Continue reading NC’s Border Belt counties will get millions from opioid fund. How should they spend it?
EMS agencies in rural North Carolina say they are struggling to recruit paramedics, EMTs and volunteers. Low pay and high stress, particularly during the COVID pandemic, are likely factors. Read more Continue reading Low pay, high stress: EMS agencies in rural NC struggle to recruit workers and volunteers
In Robeson County in southeastern North Carolina, the wounds of racism run deep for the Lumbee Native American tribe and African Americans.Read more Continue reading In one of America’s most diverse counties, the wounds of racism run deep
Violence has plagued the Sandy Ridge apartment complex in Whiteville, NC. Residents say they’re stuck in the middle. Read more Continue reading Violence at affordable housing complex in rural NC raises question: Who’s to blame?
Fayetteville PACT is calling for the removal of Robeson County District Attorney Matthew Scott for his handling of a case last year. Read more Continue reading Police accountability group calls for removal of Robeson County district attorney
The Republican National Committee opened an office in Robeson County as part of its initiative to woo minority voters. Read more Continue reading In an effort to keep Robeson County red, GOP makes big push to win over Lumbee voters
Throughout southeastern North Carolina, staff shortages at schools have led to exhaustion and frustration. Read more Continue reading Shortages at North Carolina schools lead to stress, exhaustion and some creativity
The full Robeson County school board has met several times in person while barring the public from attending, which is a violation of state law, an attorney says. Read more Continue reading Robeson County school board likely violated state law by banning public, attorney says
The number of new COVID-19 cases has been surging for weeks. We looked at how cases, hospitalizations, deaths and more compare to previous spikes. Read more Continue reading How the latest COVID surge compares to previous spikes in NC’s Border belt
Overdoses and overdose deaths from opioids have increased in Columbus County in the last five years, an analysis shows. Read more Continue reading Opioids take heavy toll on Columbus County; solutions are hard to come by
By Henry Hawthorne IV While overdoses underscore the opioid crisis in Columbus County, county leaders still have a long way to go to understand the core causes and provide effective prevention programs, says Lauren Cole. “The first two weeks of April we had 14 overdoses at Columbus Regional,” Cole said. “One mother overdosed and left three preschool children sitting in the emergency room. No one …Read more Continue reading Coalition hopes to coordinate efforts to combat opioid crisis in Columbus County
John Lowery, who is the new chairman of the Lumbee tribe in North Carolina, said he will continue to push for full federal recognition. Read more Continue reading New Lumbee leader talks about NC tribe’s future – and federal recognition
The number of staff members at Scotland Health Care in North Carolina who are quarantined jumped from five to 55 in less than a week, a sign of the strain put on hospitals as COVID-19 cases rise. Read more Continue reading Rural NC health care system sees huge spike in quarantined workers as COVID cases rise
Editor’s note: This is the sixth in a multi-part series where the Border Belt Independent looks at what has changed since The News Reporter’s six-part series in 2017 that reported on the opioid crisis and associated mental health issues. Today, Reporter Ivey Schofield looks at how children are impacted by parents’ drug use and how schools, social services, Boys and Girls Homes and other agencies …Read more Continue reading Abuse, neglect of children often goes hand-in-hand with parents’ drug use
Editor’s note: This is the fourth in a multi-part series where the Border Belt Independent looks at what has changed since The News Reporter’s six-part series in 2017 that reported on the opioid crisis and associated mental health issues. Today, Reporter Ivey Schofield looks at how women at the Rose House in Whiteville work to overcome addiction. By Ivey SchofieldBBI Writer Eleven women gather in …Read more Continue reading Drug treatment program leads to sobriety, sisterhood
Estrella Sosa, now 10, is recovering after she was shot in the head while riding in a car with her family in September in their neighborhood near Pembroke. Read more Continue reading A puppy – and a hope for justice – for Robeson County family recovering from shooting
Publisher’s note: This is the third in a multi-part series where the Border Belt Independent looks at what has changed since The News Reporter’s six-part series in 2017 that reported on the opioid crisis and associated mental health issues. Today, Publisher Les High looks at the increase in overdose deaths, particularly during the pandemic, and how overdoses and mental crises strain the resources of the …Read more Continue reading Hospital, EMS seeing ‘a lot more’ overdose deaths
The number of new COVID-19 cases is on the rise across North Carolina’s Border Belt counties as concerns about the omicron variant grow.Read more Continue reading COVID cases rise across NC’s Border Belt as concerns about omicron variant grow
Editor’s note: This is the second in a multi-part series where the Border Belt Independent looks at what has changed since The News Reporter’s six-part 2017 series on the opioid crisis and associated mental health issues. Today, Reporter Ivey Schofield looks at how law enforcement officials, an attorney and local support agencies view drugs through the lens of crime. Ivey SchofieldBBI Writer Drugs in …Read more Continue reading Sheriff: Columbus drug crime is a ‘bad situation’
Some residents say violence is too common in the Columbus County town of Chadbourn, where three people were killed in July. Read more Continue reading Murder and a police scandal gripped this small NC town. Can Chadbourn find its way?
The Bladen County school system has money to hire teachers and teacher assistants. But it’s struggling to find people who want the job. Read more Continue reading Could pay raise help this rural NC school district find teachers? Leaders hope so