Nonprofit helps build future leaders in southeastern North Carolina

By Ivey Schofield iveyschofield@borderbelt.org After her mother died in 2009, Alyssa Delts didn’t expect to find a new family.  The next year, when she was 11, her social worker signed her up for a summer camp with Men and Women United For Youth and Families. That’s when Delts found a group of people that continues to support her more than a decade later. Founded in …Read more Continue reading Nonprofit helps build future leaders in southeastern North Carolina

Sticky post

‘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

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

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

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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

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

‘Strong human capital and innovation:’ How Bladen County has created plans for future development

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of stories that provide an overview of the economies of Bladen, Columbus, Robeson, and Scotland counties in southeastern North Carolina. Bladen County has been trying to develop its economy through workforce training, revitalization projects, and partnerships with nonprofit real estate organizations. These efforts have been working and have brought in both large companies and the average …Read more Continue reading ‘Strong human capital and innovation:’ How Bladen County has created plans for future development