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‘Our children need more voices.’ Southeastern NC seeks volunteers to help kids in court

At 4 a.m. each weekday morning, attorney Bryan Wilson grabs a cup of coffee and looks over dozens of files of neglected and abused children from southeastern North Carolina. It’s his job to make sure they’re safe during the months — and sometimes years — that their cases trudge through the court system.  Hours later at the Bladen County Courthouse, Wilson ticks through a series …Read more Continue reading ‘Our children need more voices.’ Southeastern NC seeks volunteers to help kids in court

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Workforce is key to capitalizing on agribusiness and population growth in Columbus

Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of stories that provides an overview of the economies of Bladen, Columbus, Robeson, and Scotland counties in southeastern North Carolina. The 954 square miles of vast farmland and forests have shaped Columbus County’s economy for generations.  “We can grow anything,” said Columbus County Economic Development Director Gary Lanier. “Because of our farming heritage, we also have …Read more Continue reading Workforce is key to capitalizing on agribusiness and population growth in Columbus

Laurinburg Maxton Airport

Could the Laurinburg-Maxton Airport become a regional business hub in NC? Leaders hope so

By Sarah Nagem sarahnagem@borderbelt.org As the United States ramped up its World War II efforts in the early 1940s, Fort Bragg grew to become the largest Army post in the country, accommodating 60,000 soldiers.  But lesser-known military training was taking place about 40 miles southwest of Fort Bragg, at what is now the Laurinburg-Maxton Airport. Up to 10,000 soldiers were stationed at the site, which …Read more Continue reading Could the Laurinburg-Maxton Airport become a regional business hub in NC? Leaders hope so

Welcome to southeastern North Carolina. Good luck finding a place to live

Phillip Britt can barely keep up with everyone who wants to move to Robeson County.  Before the coronavirus pandemic, buyers had plenty of options, with about 400 homes for sale in the county at any given time, according to Britt, a Realtor. For the past several months, he said, the number has been more like 60 or 65.  Yes, the housing boom is indeed booming …Read more Continue reading Welcome to southeastern North Carolina. Good luck finding a place to live

Scotland County, halfway between Charlotte and the NC coast, looks to distribution

In the five years that Mark Ward has served as Scotland County’s economic development director, he’s seen an increase in companies interested in the area.  “We’ve had announcements every year since we’ve been here, whether it’s an expansion or a new company,” Ward said. “We know that our growth is going to come from within.” Scotland County is home to several companies that manufacture automotive …Read more Continue reading Scotland County, halfway between Charlotte and the NC coast, looks to distribution

Indigenous women, Lumbee

‘An attack on our people:’ North Carolina’s missing and murdered Indigenous women

When Lisa Hardin didn’t return to her southeastern North Carolina home in the summer of 2003, her mother knew something was wrong.  Days later, police found the body of 36-year-old Hardin in the woods on the east side of Lumberton in Robeson County. Her orange Harley Davidson T-shirt was pulled over her chest, and her underwear was twisted around her right ankle. She had been …Read more Continue reading ‘An attack on our people:’ North Carolina’s missing and murdered Indigenous women

The Lumber is one of five ‘Wild and Scenic’ rivers in North Carolina

Editor’s note. This is the third of a three-part series on the Lumber River and its potential as an eco-tourism destination. Even though the Lumber River is one of only five rivers in North Carolina designated as “Wild and Scenic” by Congress, the meandering waterway sees limited use except for locals who were raised on it. The Lumber River runs 115 miles from its headwaters …Read more Continue reading The Lumber is one of five ‘Wild and Scenic’ rivers in North Carolina

International Paper

Howard: Internet access a barrier for Columbus development

This is the second installment of a series about economic development in the Border Belt, which encompasses Bladen, Columbus, Robeson and Scotland counties.  For years, Jeff Howard watched eastern Columbus County struggle to create opportunities for people because of poor internet access. The pandemic has made it even worse.  “When you go from just a few people needing internet access to everyone needing it, that’s …Read more Continue reading Howard: Internet access a barrier for Columbus development

Ivey Schofield

Writer profile: Ivey Schofield

Today the Border Belt Independent highlights staff writer Ivey Schofield, who majored in languages but has found her calling in journalism. She splits her time between The News Reporter in Whiteville and the BBI. Q. Tell us a little about yourself.     I grew up in a small town in South Carolina called Eastover. After graduating high school, I moved almost 1,000 miles away to …Read more Continue reading Writer profile: Ivey Schofield