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Fighting back against prostate cancer in Scotland County

By Ben Rappaport benrappaport@borderbelt.org  Greg McMillan’s barber shop in the northeast corner of Scotland County is more than a place to get a fresh lineup and a clean shave. It’s a community space where people share everything from tall tales to heart-to-hearts. McMillan’s shop in Wagram, Next Cuts, hosted Cuts and Conversations on Saturday in partnership with the Prostate Cancer Coalition of North Carolina. The …Read more Continue reading Fighting back against prostate cancer in Scotland County

Get to know three Laurinburg artists

By Kerria Weaver kerriaweaver@borderbelt.org How would you define art? Can it really be defined? The Border Belt Independent spoke with three artists from Laurinburg who show that there is an art to everything we do and how you can make a career out of it in the process. Keith Stephens, 42, is an art teacher at Scotland High School. Stephens has always been interested in …Read more Continue reading Get to know three Laurinburg artists

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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Robeson and Scotland counties are growing, slowly, for the first time in years

By Ben Rappaport benrappaport@borderbelt.org  Robeson and Scotland counties grew between 2020 and 2023, mirroring population increases across much of rural North Carolina during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Robeson County grew by 0.91% during the three-year span, accounting for an increase of 1,056 people, according to a new report from the North Carolina Rural Center. Neighboring Scotland County grew by 0.25%, an increase of 86 people. While …Read more Continue reading Robeson and Scotland counties are growing, slowly, for the first time in years

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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

A sign for Scotland Correctional Institution in North Carolina. Sticky post

Stabbings bring renewed scrutiny to Scotland Correctional Institution

By Rachel Baldauf rachelbaldauf@borderbelt.org Two stabbings in less than a month at Scotland Correctional Institution in Laurinburg have brought renewed scrutiny to the prison that has been plagued with reports of mistreatment, unsafe conditions and overcrowding.  The most recent incident, on April 30, resulted in the death of 39-year-old Christopher Michael Edwards, who was found in a common area with multiple stab wounds. He died …Read more Continue reading Stabbings bring renewed scrutiny to Scotland Correctional Institution

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

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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

Q&A with Jenny Phelps: Bringing community together for Special Olympics Scotland County

By Kerria Weaver kerriaweaver@borderbelt.org On April 24, Scotland County held its annual Special Olympics, an event that recognizes those with intellectual disabilities and gives them a chance to compete in a number of events. This year, Jenny Phelps was the local program coordinator of the Special Olympics alongside Kelly Jackson. Border Belt Independent spoke with Phelps about her first time helping with the Special Olympics …Read more Continue reading Q&A with Jenny Phelps: Bringing community together for Special Olympics Scotland County

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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?