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AmeriCorps volunteers build new home for Columbus County family affected by hurricanes

By Ben Rappaport benrappaport@borderbelt.org  The thwacking of nail guns against wooden beams and the buzzing of a power saw cutting down planks created a cacophony of construction.  Just off a dirt road outside the Columbus County town of Cerro Gordo, a group of young people built the foundation for what will soon become a tiny home. They worked on the project for three weeks as …Read more Continue reading AmeriCorps volunteers build new home for Columbus County family affected by hurricanes

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Here are some economic development projects to watch for in NC’s Border Belt

By Ben Rappaport benrappaport@borderbelt.org  From a glass company to an IT service firm, the past two years have brought several major economic development announcements in rural southeastern North Carolina. There’s more on the way, local officials say. The Border Belt region — Bladen, Columbus, Robeson and Scotland counties — has announced more than $255 million in economic investment totaling 1,115 jobs since 2022, according to …Read more Continue reading Here are some economic development projects to watch for in NC’s Border Belt

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Homeowners in NC’s Border Belt would pay much more for insurance under new proposal

By Ben Rappaport benrappaport@borderbelt.org Homeowners in southeastern North Carolina would have to pay substantially more for insurance under a new proposal. The North Carolina Rate Bureau last week proposed an average statewide increase of 42.2% for homeowners’ insurance. In Bladen, Columbus and Robeson counties, the proposed increase is higher. Get the Border Belt Independent’s weekly newsletter. Columbus County would see the highest increase at 63%, …Read more Continue reading Homeowners in NC’s Border Belt would pay much more for insurance under new proposal

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What the Trillium merger means for Medicaid recipients in NC’s Border Belt

By Ben Rappaport benrappaport@borderbelt.org  Mental health services for people enrolled in Medicaid in much of southeastern North Carolina will soon be consolidated following a merger approved by the state.  Trillium Health Resources will manage mental health care, substance misuse treatment and disability services for many low-income residents in 46 counties — including Bladen, Columbus, Robeson and Scotland — when it merges with Eastpointe and Sandhills …Read more Continue reading What the Trillium merger means for Medicaid recipients in NC’s Border Belt

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Robeson County schools join lawsuit against social media giants

By Ben Rappaport benrappaport@borderbelt.org The Robeson County school district has joined a lawsuit against social media giants, claiming the companies are intentionally addictive and negatively impact students’ mental health. Public Schools of Robeson County is one of 12 districts in North Carolina and 200 across the country to join the lawsuit against Meta, Google, ByteDance, and Snap Inc., which owns Snapchat. Other N.C. districts include …Read more Continue reading Robeson County schools join lawsuit against social media giants

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Here’s who is running for Congress and the NC legislature in the Border Belt in 2024

By Ben Rappaport  benrappaport@borderbelt.org  Several candidates have filed for state and federal races in Bladen, Columbus, Robeson and Scotland counties for the 2024 election.    Republicans have maintained firm control of North Carolina’s Border Belt region in recent elections and will look to keep up the momentum.  Many incumbents in the region want to keep their seats, including Republican Congressman David Rouzer, Republican state Sen. Danny …Read more Continue reading Here’s who is running for Congress and the NC legislature in the Border Belt in 2024

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Race, equality and alliances: The story behind Lumberton’s contentious election

By Ben Rappaport benrappaport@borderbelt.org A slate of political hopefuls wanted to shake up the Lumberton City Council in last month’s contentious election that highlighted issues of race and equality in the Robeson County town.  Voters, however, opted to stick with the status quo. They re-elected Mayor Bruce Davis and three incumbent council members. In another district, voters rejected the only candidate on the ballot — Erich …Read more Continue reading Race, equality and alliances: The story behind Lumberton’s contentious election

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New Whiteville councilman brings youthful energy to aging county

By Ben Rappaport benrappaport@borderbelt.org  The average age of the Whiteville City Council is set to decrease in December with the swearing-in of 31-year-old Joshua Harris. He was one of three candidates in Whiteville District 1 who were under 32 years old. The former Columbus County sheriff’s deputy and Whiteville police officer was the top vote-getter in this year’s Whiteville municipal elections, garnering 223 votes. Second …Read more Continue reading New Whiteville councilman brings youthful energy to aging county

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NC county still reeling from sheriff’s racist comments is dealt another blow 

By Ben Rappaport benrappaport@borderbelt.org A school board member in rural North Carolina who was convicted of assaulting a Black town employee during an encounter in which she was also accused of using a racial slur said Monday she will remain on the board but step down as chairperson.   Kandle Rogers, who has served on the Whiteville City Schools Board of Education for years, was found …Read more Continue reading NC county still reeling from sheriff’s racist comments is dealt another blow