Elizabethtown needs to prevent flooding. But with little cash, options are limited

By Ben Rappaport benrappaport@borderbelt.org  Stephen Duffy feels like he is constantly playing a game of Whac-A-Mole. The Elizabethtown public services director is stuck in a stormwater doom loop: filling potholes and sealing broken pipes as needed but never attacking the root cause of the damage caused by stormwater. That’s because the Bladen County town, like most municipalities across rural southeastern North Carolina, lacks any budget …Read more Continue reading Elizabethtown needs to prevent flooding. But with little cash, options are limited

SparkNC brings a new way of learning to Scotland High School

By Ben Rappaport benrappaport@borderbelt.org While his peers spend their mornings in math or English class, Trevon Wall connects wires to circuit boards for the robotic car he’s building and coding from scratch. Wall, a senior at Scotland High School, is one of the first in the state to experience SparkNC, a new curriculum aimed at teaching high-tech skills.  “I like to be hands-on,” Wall said. …Read more Continue reading SparkNC brings a new way of learning to Scotland High School

Columbus County magistrate suspended, accused of ethical violations

By Ben Rappaport benrappaport@borderbelt.org Robert A. Worley was suspended from his duties as a Columbus County magistrate on Wednesday after being accused of using private court records for personal use and criticizing the Whiteville Police Department in Facebook posts. Six members of the Whiteville Police Department, including Chief Douglas Ipock, said in affidavits that Worley used records from the North Carolina Administrative Office of the …Read more Continue reading Columbus County magistrate suspended, accused of ethical violations

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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

Judge's gavel on a desk. Sticky post

Judge denies petition in Robeson County election bribery case

By Ben Rappaport benrappaport@borderbelt.org Wake County Superior Court Judge Vince Rozier denied an appeal in a case alleging voter bribery in Robeson County’s primary election, an attorney involved in the case said Wednesday.   The ruling by Rozier, who had not filed an order explaining his decision as of Thursday morning, means Robeson County Commissioner Judy Sampson’s slim victory in the March 5 Democratic primary will …Read more Continue reading Judge denies petition in Robeson County election bribery case

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In rural Scotland County, voters say candidates must show up to gain their support

By Ben Rappaport benrappaport@borderbelt.org  When Scotland High opened in the late 1960s as an integrated school, Marie Willis’s cousins, who are Black, got into fights with white students. Her cousins were expelled, while the white kids faced few consequences. Then, North Carolina civil rights attorneys Julius Chambers and Adam Stein stepped in and got the expulsions reversed.  It’s a story that has stuck with Willis. …Read more Continue reading In rural Scotland County, voters say candidates must show up to gain their support

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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. Update: Superior Court Judge Hoyt Tessener issued a temporary pause April 23 on the election results between Lacy Cummings and Judy Sampson. A hearing is scheduled for April 29 in Raleigh. Two Robeson County commissioners are accused of bribing at least 21 voters in the March …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

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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?

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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