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

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

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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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Columbus and Robeson counties among 10 deadliest in US for car crashes, analysis shows

By Rachel Baldauf rachelbaldauf@borderbelt.org  Robeson and Columbus counties are among the top 10 most dangerous counties in the United States for drivers, according to a new analysis. Robeson ranked third and Columbus ranked sixth in the study, which looked at the number of traffic deaths per 10,000 people between 2018 and 2021. Robeson County saw 263 traffic deaths during that time, the most out of …Read more Continue reading Columbus and Robeson counties among 10 deadliest in US for car crashes, analysis shows

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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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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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‘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