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North Carolina sheriff promises transparency. Is ‘On Patrol: Live’ the way to get it?

By Rachel Baldauf rachelbaldauf@borderbelt.org  Robeson County sheriff’s deputy Donel McCallum approaches the passenger side door of a car he’s pulled over. It’s nighttime, and the blue and white flashing lights from his patrol vehicle illuminate the scene. “Hey look boss. Just turn that way and it won’t be in your damn face, all right?” McCallum tells the man in the passenger seat before ordering him …Read more Continue reading North Carolina sheriff promises transparency. Is ‘On Patrol: Live’ the way to get it?

Judge's gavel on a desk. Sticky post

Former St. Andrews student serving more than 23 years for on-campus sexual assaults

By Sarah Nagem sarahnagem@borderbelt.org A former St. Andrews University student-athlete accused of sexually assaulting three women on campus in 2022 and 2023 was sentenced to serve more than 23 years in prison.  Mison Mickle, 24, pleaded guilty in March to four felony counts of sex offenses and failure to register as a sex offender. The Border Belt Independent recently learned of Mickle’s conviction and sentencing …Read more Continue reading Former St. Andrews student serving more than 23 years for on-campus sexual assaults

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Fighting back against prostate cancer in Scotland County

By Ben Rappaport benrappaport@borderbelt.org  Greg McMillan’s barber shop in the northeast corner of Scotland County is more than a place to get a fresh lineup and a clean shave. It’s a community space where people share everything from tall tales to heart-to-hearts. McMillan’s shop in Wagram, Next Cuts, hosted Cuts and Conversations on Saturday in partnership with the Prostate Cancer Coalition of North Carolina. The …Read more Continue reading Fighting back against prostate cancer in Scotland County

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Robeson and Scotland counties are growing, slowly, for the first time in years

By Ben Rappaport benrappaport@borderbelt.org  Robeson and Scotland counties grew between 2020 and 2023, mirroring population increases across much of rural North Carolina during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Robeson County grew by 0.91% during the three-year span, accounting for an increase of 1,056 people, according to a new report from the North Carolina Rural Center. Neighboring Scotland County grew by 0.25%, an increase of 86 people. While …Read more Continue reading Robeson and Scotland counties are growing, slowly, for the first time in years

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Schools in NC’s Border Belt say they need more county money to replace COVID funding

By Ben Rappaport benrappaport@borderbelt.org  School boards in rural southeastern North Carolina are asking for increases in local funding to increase employees’ pay and fill gaps left by the loss of federal COVID-19 relief money. School leaders in Bladen, Columbus, Robeson and Scotland counties have asked county commissioners to bump up funding for the fiscal year that begins July 1.  In North Carolina, the General Assembly …Read more Continue reading Schools in NC’s Border Belt say they need more county money to replace COVID funding

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In this Robeson County town, high school seniors say they don’t plan to vote

By Ben Rappaport benrappaport@borderbelt.org  Samere Yates sees plenty of problems in his hometown of Fairmont, a town of 2,500 residents in the southern end of Robeson County.  “Everyone here winds up shot, dead or in jail,” said Yates, 18. “There’s just nothing here. It’s terrible.”  But Yates, who will graduate this month from Fairmont High School, doesn’t see any solutions to his community’s woes coming …Read more Continue reading In this Robeson County town, high school seniors say they don’t plan to vote

A sign for Scotland Correctional Institution in North Carolina. Sticky post

Stabbings bring renewed scrutiny to Scotland Correctional Institution

By Rachel Baldauf rachelbaldauf@borderbelt.org Two stabbings in less than a month at Scotland Correctional Institution in Laurinburg have brought renewed scrutiny to the prison that has been plagued with reports of mistreatment, unsafe conditions and overcrowding.  The most recent incident, on April 30, resulted in the death of 39-year-old Christopher Michael Edwards, who was found in a common area with multiple stab wounds. He died …Read more Continue reading Stabbings bring renewed scrutiny to Scotland Correctional Institution

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Horace Locklear, a Lumbee trailblazer in North Carolina law and politics, dies

By Sarah Nagem sarahnagem@borderbelt.org Horace Locklear saw the injustices of the segregated South while growing up in Robeson County, where schools, the local hospital and water fountains were separated into thirds — white, Black and Native American.  The prejudices he endured as a Lumbee ignited in Locklear a commitment to serve his community and advocate for tribal rights. He became the first Native American licensed attorney …Read more Continue reading Horace Locklear, a Lumbee trailblazer in North Carolina law and politics, dies

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Red Springs company’s request for $1.1m in state funds would not ‘survive an audit’

By Lisa Sorg  This story was originally published by NC Newsline. No payroll. No receipts. No bills or invoices. Lacking any supporting documentation, James Freeman, president of the Emerging Technology Institute, nonetheless asked the Town of Red Springs to reimburse him $1.1 million in state taxpayer funds for “service, salaries and goods” related to his military training center and STEM education venture, public records show. But the …Read more Continue reading Red Springs company’s request for $1.1m in state funds would not ‘survive an audit’

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Low pay, lack of resources lead to burnout in southeastern NC schools, teachers say

By Ben Rappaport benrappaport@borderbelt.org  It’s an epic vocal trio of Aaron Burr, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Tensions are rising within George Washington’s presidential cabinet. Jefferson can’t take it anymore. “If there’s a fire you’re trying to douse,” Jefferson raps in the hit Broadway musical “Hamilton,” “you can’t put it out from inside the house.” Those lyrics hit Kaylan Ganus like a brick. It was …Read more Continue reading Low pay, lack of resources lead to burnout in southeastern NC schools, teachers say