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About Us

Dedicated Community Members Continue to Tell the Stories of the Mother CountyBladen Online logo

     BladenOnline was started due to a passion and love for the community of Bladen County. Michael Simmons and Robert Hester began the project in the summer of 2007. 

     Hester and Simmons had experience in the newspaper industry and the radio broadcasting industry. Simmons wanted and needed an outlet for his creative talents, having retired in mid-2006 and being in the news business.

     Simmons and Hester decided to move forward with the news outlet idea and spent some time meeting with others in the eastern part of the state involved in similar efforts. Simmons thought mid-October would be the time to launch the news outlet. 

     However, Simmons was stricken by a fatal heart attack. The community was devastated, and so was Hester. He had lost a long-time friend and a former neighbor and now his soon-to-be business partner.

     Hester being a former business owner and Bladen County Commissioner, decided to “charge forward” in honor of his friend Simmon’s idea. 

     With the assistance of other team members, Hester grew BladenOnline to become Bladen County’s number one news and advertising source.

      In 2014, Hester decided he wanted to slow down, so he decided to sell the business. In September 2014, BladenOnline was purchased by Online News & Advertising, LLC, a local family-owned business.

     In 2017, during BladenOnline’s 10th year in existence, the team expanded its services. The local online indie news outlet uses its website,, to keep readers informed, but now it uses social media, YouTube, and issues of the Bladen County Beautiful magazine to highlight why Bladen County is a great place to live, work and play.

     The team often reflects on something Hester often says, “The best is yet to come.” 

Contact us:

Office Number: (910)879-1029

Fax Number: (910)647-0223

News email –

Advertising email –

Our Team Members:


(910)879-1029 Office

P.O. Box 2855

1110 S. Popar Street

Elizabethtown, NC 28337

John Clark, Sports Writer/Reporter

(910)876-7082 Mobile

Norgie Hester, Writer (Former Publisher of The Southeastern Times newspaper)

(910)879-1029 Office

Cheryl Thurston, Writer
(910)879-1029 Office

Danna Martínez, Writer
(910)879-1029 Office

Cara Beth Lewis, Writer

(910)879-1029 Office

Joy Warren, Writer
(910)879-1029 Office

Robert Hester, Founder/Writer
(910)879-1029 Office
(910)876-2322 Mobile

Nicole Smith, Editor


Charlotte Smith, Publisher/Owner

(910)879-1029 Office

(910)876-5393 Mobile

We have many other dedicated writers, photographers, and contributors not named here, but we are very grateful to everyone that helps in serving our communities.

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