Already-strained child care centers in NC’s Border Belt fear loss of state funding

By Rachel Baldauf rachelbaldauf@borderbelt.org Cynthia Mitchell, who has been the director of Beverly’s Day Care in Columbus County for 36 years, has always had a tough job. But it’s gotten even harder since 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic caused a drop in enrollment and a spike in supply costs.  Funding from North Carolina’s Child Care Stabilization Grants helped Mitchell stay afloat. Since 2021, the pandemic …Read more Continue reading Already-strained child care centers in NC’s Border Belt fear loss of state funding

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Schools in NC’s Border Belt say they need more county money to replace COVID funding

By Ben Rappaport benrappaport@borderbelt.org  School boards in rural southeastern North Carolina are asking for increases in local funding to increase employees’ pay and fill gaps left by the loss of federal COVID-19 relief money. School leaders in Bladen, Columbus, Robeson and Scotland counties have asked county commissioners to bump up funding for the fiscal year that begins July 1.  In North Carolina, the General Assembly …Read more Continue reading Schools in NC’s Border Belt say they need more county money to replace COVID funding

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

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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

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UNC Health Southeastern improves safety grade. What about other local hospitals?

By Rachel Baldauf rachelbaldauf@borderbelt.org  UNC Health Southeastern in Lumberton improved its safety grade to a B in the latest report from a nonprofit group that advocates for patient safety at medical centers across the country. “This grade marks tremendous improvements the health system continues to make, not only in safety and quality, but also in the overall availability of expert medical care not available elsewhere …Read more Continue reading UNC Health Southeastern improves safety grade. What about other local hospitals?

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Gambling, immigration, education among priorities for lawmakers in NC’s Border Belt

By Sarah Nagem sarahnagem@borderbelt.org State Sen. Danny Britt says video gambling is one of his top priorities for the current legislative session — and although top Republican leaders have said casinos likely won’t be considered, he’s not giving up on the idea of an “entertainment center” with a casino in southeastern North Carolina.  The Republican-led legislature could decide whether to legalize video slot machines during …Read more Continue reading Gambling, immigration, education among priorities for lawmakers in NC’s Border Belt

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Here’s how high schools in NC’s Border Belt performed in latest rankings

By Rachel Baldauf rachelbaldauf@borderbelt.org  Scotland Early College High School in Laurinburg is the 70th best public high school in North Carolina, according to new rankings from U.S. News & World Report. The school far out-ranked other public high schools in the Border Belt region of Bladen, Columbus, Robeson and Scotland counties. PSRC Early College at Robeson Community College ranked 168th. All others fell below the …Read more Continue reading Here’s how high schools in NC’s Border Belt performed in latest rankings

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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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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 

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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