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

Sticky post

Horace Locklear, a Lumbee trailblazer in North Carolina law and politics, dies

By Sarah Nagem sarahnagem@borderbelt.org Horace Locklear saw the injustices of the segregated South while growing up in Robeson County, where schools, the local hospital and water fountains were separated into thirds — white, Black and Native American.  The prejudices he endured as a Lumbee ignited in Locklear a commitment to serve his community and advocate for tribal rights. He became the first Native American licensed attorney …Read more Continue reading Horace Locklear, a Lumbee trailblazer in North Carolina law and politics, dies

Sticky post

Red Springs company’s request for $1.1m in state funds would not ‘survive an audit’

By Lisa Sorg  This story was originally published by NC Newsline. No payroll. No receipts. No bills or invoices. Lacking any supporting documentation, James Freeman, president of the Emerging Technology Institute, nonetheless asked the Town of Red Springs to reimburse him $1.1 million in state taxpayer funds for “service, salaries and goods” related to his military training center and STEM education venture, public records show. But the …Read more Continue reading Red Springs company’s request for $1.1m in state funds would not ‘survive an audit’

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

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

Sticky post

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

Sticky post

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

Sticky post

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 

White medicine pill tablets on a soft blue background.

Robeson County is doling out opioid settlement money. But the process isn’t always easy

By Rachel Baldauf rachelbaldauf@borderbelt.org  When Tamiko Murphy first heard that Robeson County would get millions of dollars from opioid settlement cases, she was excited about what it could mean for her nonprofit, Tae’s Pathway, which serves children who use drugs. Since she founded the organization, which she named for her son who died in a car accident 2013, Murphy says she has paid most expenses …Read more Continue reading Robeson County is doling out opioid settlement money. But the process isn’t always easy

Sticky post

In historic NC hearing, Joe Freeman Britt’s troubled past as prosecutor looms

By Jacob Biba This story was produced in partnership with the Garrison Project. In February and early March, a Johnston County Superior Court judge held an evidentiary hearing related to a claim filed by Hasson Bacote that race played an impermissible role in the jury selection of his first-degree murder conviction and death sentence.  For nearly 14 years, Bacote, a Black man, has sought relief …Read more Continue reading In historic NC hearing, Joe Freeman Britt’s troubled past as prosecutor looms