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Two Robeson County commissioners are accused of bribing voters in primary election

By Ben Rappaport and Paul Woolverton This story was co-published by The Assembly, CityView and the Border Belt Independent. Two Robeson County commissioners are accused of bribing at least 21 voters in the March primary, according to a court petition filed Thursday. Commissioner Wixie Stephens allegedly paid at least nine residents up to $60 to vote for incumbent Judy Sampson in the March 5 Democratic …Read more Continue reading Two Robeson County commissioners are accused of bribing voters in primary election

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Protested election in Bladen County is a reminder of past troubles

By Ben Rappaport benrappaport@borderbelt.org  An election dispute following the March primary highlights ongoing criticism of the electoral process in Bladen County, which made national headlines six years ago amid ballot-harvesting accusations.       The Rev. Keith Graham lost the Democratic primary for the Bladen County Board of Commissioners’ District 1 seat by 31 votes on March 5. He filed an election protest, calling for a new election …Read more Continue reading Protested election in Bladen County is a reminder of past troubles

Thousands of southeastern NC residents will likely lose discount for internet service 

By Sarah Nagem sarahnagem@borderbelt.org Tens of thousands of people in rural southeastern North Carolina are set to lose access to a federal program that helps pay for internet service. The Affordable Connectivity Program allows eligible residents to save up to $30 on their monthly internet bill. But the program for low-income families is set to end in May unless Congress agrees to extend its funding. …Read more Continue reading Thousands of southeastern NC residents will likely lose discount for internet service 

‘Red Whiteville and Blue’ film follows fight for income equality in Columbus County

By Rachel Baldauf rachelbaldauf@borderbelt.org  Patriotic Millionaires, a political advocacy group run by a group of wealthy Americans who want higher taxes for the rich, went to the N.C. Pecan Harvest Festival in Whiteville in November 2022 to ask fairgoers a question: What do you think about the economy? The group was in the midst of launching a pilot program aimed at engaging local voters in …Read more Continue reading ‘Red Whiteville and Blue’ film follows fight for income equality in Columbus County

Q&A with Terry Mann: Jewish synagogue donation honors close relationship with communities

By Kerria Weaver kerriaweaver@borderbelt.org Terry Mann believes in giving back to the community while also making sure the Jewish community is recognized and remembered.  Mann and other Jewish families who were members of the Beth Israel Synagogue came together earlier this year to donate $200,000 to the Southeastern Community College Foundation and Bladen Community College.  Mann, 71, currently serves as the mayor of Whiteville. For …Read more Continue reading Q&A with Terry Mann: Jewish synagogue donation honors close relationship with communities

Robeson County residents want to create a safer community. But how?

By Ben Rappaport benrappaport@borderbelt.org  It’s been 1,214 days since Stephanie Minnigan-Judd got a good night’s sleep. Her son, Tahleel, was just 25 when he was shot and killed in Robeson County in December 2020. Nearly three and a half years later, the man charged in the case has not gone on trial.  “The things that go on in this county are just unimaginable,” she said. …Read more Continue reading Robeson County residents want to create a safer community. But how?

Columbus County elections board likely violated state law. Here’s what to know

By Ben Rappaport benrappaport@borderbelt.org  The Columbus County Board of Elections likely violated state law by revising its plan for statewide runoff elections without properly notifying the public.  Here’s what to know about the board’s actions, along with some context about the board’s history and the upcoming runoffs.  Why are there runoff elections? In North Carolina, a second-place candidate can call for a runoff election if …Read more Continue reading Columbus County elections board likely violated state law. Here’s what to know

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Robeson County is doling out opioid settlement money. But the process isn’t always easy

By Rachel Baldauf rachelbaldauf@borderbelt.org  When Tamiko Murphy first heard that Robeson County would get millions of dollars from opioid settlement cases, she was excited about what it could mean for her nonprofit, Tae’s Pathway, which serves children who use drugs. Since she founded the organization, which she named for her son who died in a car accident 2013, Murphy says she has paid most expenses …Read more Continue reading Robeson County is doling out opioid settlement money. But the process isn’t always easy