Maxton greenhouse lettuce

UNCP hub builds the business of farming

Ellery Locklear started selling watermelons in high school. He got an old tractor running and used an acre of his family’s land to create a business for himself — hawking the summer fruits from the back of his pickup truck. Since then, Locklear, now 41, has grown his Pembroke farming business to 100 acres and six greenhouses. He still grows watermelons – strawberries provide his …Read more Continue reading UNCP hub builds the business of farming

Ray with Todd Bryant

The Lumber River defines wilderness and serenity for those who love it

Editor’s note: This is the second of a three-part series that features the Lumber River. Part I covered ecotourism possibilities for Lumber River State Park and Fair Bluff. In this story, Publisher Les High talks with Fair Bluff residents who frequent the river. For the people of Fair Bluff, love of the Lumber River comes naturally. The Rev. Ray Lundy, pastor at Fair Bluff Baptist …Read more Continue reading The Lumber River defines wilderness and serenity for those who love it

Kim Smith - Columbus County Health Department

Columbus health department funding has plummeted over last decade

This is the first in a series of several stories that will analyze funding and spending of health departments across the Border Belt. For more than a decade, Columbus County women have had fewer and fewer affordable options for breast and cervical cancer screening, according to Elizabeth Kinlaw, an adult health nurse for the Columbus County Health Department. “There’s no help for them,” Kinlaw said.  …Read more Continue reading Columbus health department funding has plummeted over last decade

Covid vaccine

Scotland County 14th best in vaccine access

Scotland County has consistently had one of the best COVID-19 vaccine allocation rates in the state — and certainly the best of the Border Belt counties. Since the beginning of vaccine distribution in mid December, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has sent Scotland County an average of 743 vaccine doses per week, or one dose per 6.35 county residents.   “I don’t …Read more Continue reading Scotland County 14th best in vaccine access

‘A second chance school’ in Bladen County instills discipline in its cadets despite challenges

The founder of the only military-style charter school for grades six through 12 in North Carolina says Paul R. Brown Leadership Academy is a “second chance school” for students who have struggled academically or behaviorally in traditional settings. “I’m not ever going to turn them away,” said school founder Col. Carl Lloyd. “Give me what nobody else wants and we’re going to turn them into …Read more Continue reading ‘A second chance school’ in Bladen County instills discipline in its cadets despite challenges

Sarah Nagem named editor of the Border Belt Independent

Sarah Nagem will join the staff of the Border Belt Independent as editor June 1. “Sarah brings with her a passion for journalism that gives voice to the most vulnerable people in society,” said BBI Publisher Les High. “Growing up poor in West Virginia, she saw firsthand how generational poverty can limit access to many basic needs, including health care, transportation and education. She is …Read more Continue reading Sarah Nagem named editor of the Border Belt Independent

Reimagining Lumber River State Park and Fair Bluff to capture the growing trend of ecotourism

This is the first in a series of three stories about the lower section of the Lumber River and the revitalization of Fair Bluff. A future series will feature the upper Lumber River. On any given weekend in the southern mountains of Virginia, hundreds – sometimes thousands – of cyclists pedal the 17 miles from near the peak of Mount Rogers to Damascus, Va. It’s …Read more Continue reading Reimagining Lumber River State Park and Fair Bluff to capture the growing trend of ecotourism