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Minuteman Thanks Customers who Donated to MDA Fundraiser

We would like to say “Thank You” to all of our customers at Minuteman Food Mart for their generous contribution during our MDA fundraiser. Because of you, we were able to raise $65,000.00 this year!! READ MORE

When the light is right

By: Jefferson Weaver

I have never walked through the doors of the old store. I doubt sincerely anyone has for decades, since the tangle of vines and fenced pasture have more authority than the tired “No Trespassing” signs. READ MORE 

NC09 Christian Cano (D) on Trump Terror Tweets

Charlotte, NC- “We share the outrage of our neighbors and the international community regarding President 45’s continued irresponsible remarks about our British allies via Twitter. Americans understand the need to unite when tragedies happen, which is an act of patriotism that goes back to the founding of our republic. We have led the world by example and have shown them why democracy will always trump fascism and tyranny. READ MORE

– This morning, Congressman Robert Pittenger (NC-09) met with North Carolina military personnel while visiting Yokota Air Base in Japan. READ MORE

Tillis Statement On Perdue’s Confirmation As Ag Secretary And The Future Of The Farm Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) issued the following statement on the confirmation of Sonny Perdue as Agriculture Secretary and the future of the next Farm Bill READ MORE

Thoughts While Shaving for April 25

Thoughts While ShavingAnd the rain came down. Rainfall at the Hester household, located about 3 miles southwest of Elizabethtown, totaled 3.5 inches from 5 AM Monday ’til 5 AM Tuesday. The National Weather Service station at the Curtis Brown Airport recorded about 2.85 inches of rain over the same time period. READ MORE

Thoughts While Shaving for April 24

Thoughts While ShavingI hear the sound of falling rain outside and so happy. Rain began about 5 AM and is expected to continue today and tonight. We really need the wet stuff. Looking forward to farm crops ‘peeping’ through the soil.

Wesley’s Chapel UMC youth were in charge of Sunday’s worship service, and based on what I saw and heard, our future is in good hands. A very good service. Just wish all youngsters were of the same caliber. Far to many wondering aimlessly through life, with little or no support.

Remember Readers Digest? Apparently the publishers are pushing for more market share. READ MORE

Thoughts While Shaving for April 23
Thoughts While ShavingEver so often I think of the old Johnny Cash tune, “Sunday Morning Coming Down”, remember?  It was about to much activity the night before…”Then I fumbled in my closet through my clothes and found my cleanest dirty shirt.  Then I washed my face and combed my hair and stumbled down the stairs to meet the day.”  READ MORE

Thoughts While Shaving for April 22

Thoughts While ShavingEver get the feeling you are observing the state, US and world from the eye of a storm? Think it has never been like this before? READ MORE

Thoughts While Shaving for April 21
Thoughts While ShavingThis, that and the other.
The people that sell paper weights may be some of the nations best sales folks. READ MORE

Calling All Voters: Don’t wait until elections

By: Charlotte Smith

Charlotte SmithYour candidate may not have won the election, but that does not mean you do not have a voice. All voters near and far in Bladen County, in North Carolina, should be ringing their elected officials and asking for some accountability for our tax dollars. READ MORE

Thoughts While Shaving for April 20
Thoughts While ShavingSometime retirees have to much time to dream, wonder what if, etc.  When I am having one of those days, I begin to search for something new, different.  Such was the case recently.
I stumbled across USA Facts, a Steve Balmer project. READ MORE


Take advantage of aid for flood damage

Charlotte Observer: Trump’s reversals come after crash course on issues

You Decide: Why Did We Move Away From Self-Sufficiency?

By Dr. Mike Walden, North Carolina Cooperative Extension

We are again involved in a debate about health insurance for those not covered by their employer, Medicare, Medicaid or other group. Many want to replace the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as “Obamacare”) that addresses the uninsured, but consensus on a replacement has not been found.  READ MORE


Editorial from Brunswick Beacon: We, the public, are the ultimate government watchdogs

Jackie Torok, The Brunswick Beacon

There was a really great story in The Washington Post last week that grabbed my attention and made my heart sing. It was about the staff of the Booster Redux, the student newspaper of Pittsburg High School in Kansas, who questioned the credentials of their new principal. She resigned as a result of their story; it turned out her story didn’t check out. READ MORE

Fact or Opinion? is honored and grateful to bring Bladen County news, sports, advertising and more to our readers. We take this opportunity with a great sense of responsibility and seriousness. We do offer spaces on our site for opinions as well as facts.

Our Guestbook page is a space with visitors comments and opinions. READ MORE

Opinion: Mental health struggles

By: Charlotte Smith

Our county commissioners held a meeting Wednesday with two top executives of merging managed care organizations assisting clients with mental and behavioral health. The results of the meeting are lacking.

Susan Stroud, the CEO of Eastpointe, and Richard Topping, the CEO of Cardinal Innovation, appeared before the local elected board regarding the services they offer and plans to consolidate. READ MORE

Grover Norquist, Founder of Americans For Tax Reform, Sends Letter to North Carolina Legislators Supporting Craft Freedom

Raleigh, NC – North Carolina’s 170 legislators received a letter Thursday from Grover Norquist, the founder of Americans for Tax Reform, who is calling for an end to the state’s “protectionist, anti-consumer restriction on craft brewery self-distribution.” To read the letter, click here. READ MORE

Congressman Pittenger: Federal Regulations costing American workers

By: Congressman Robert Pittenger

Too many hardworking Americans can’t find good jobs, or they’re forced to accept part-time work when they need full-time. Too often, Washington bureaucrats are to blame. READ MORE


You Decide: What is Your Local Economy?

By Dr. Mike Walden
North Carolina Cooperative Extension

North Carolina has a lot of local governments. To be exact, there are 100 counties and 552 municipalities in the state. North Carolina is one of only seven states with triple-digits in the number of counties, with Texas taking the prize at 254. We’re 18th among states in the number of municipalities, but far below the record holder of Illinois with 2729. READ MORE


Okra, billboards and hurt feelings

By Jefferson Weaver

I’m occasionally amused and constantly grumbled at the toddler-esque hypersensitivity so rampant today. Some folks need to grow their skin a little thicker.

As wretchedly costive as I get sometimes, I am not one to tolerate random name-calling, over-the-top attacks and malicious insults toward people. I reckon I was paddled too often on the playground in nursery school to behave in such a manner. READ MORE


WASHINGTON – Congressman Robert Pittenger (NC-09), who personally greeted President Trump as he entered the House Chamber tonight, had this reaction to the President’s Address to a Joint Session of Congress:

“President Trump laid out a strong vision to secure America and prioritize our efforts to rebuild our economy.  Tax reform, legal immigration reform, health care reform, and regulatory reform will be the cornerstone of creating massive new jobs and economic growth.”  READ MORE  

Tillis Statement On President Trump’s Address To Congress

TILLIS: “Whether you’re a Republican, Democrat or Independent, far more unites us than divides us. We all want our children to inherit an America that is stronger, safer and more prosperous. We all want to see our fellow Americans have access to affordable health care and a quality education. We all want to see America continue to serve as the beacon of freedom and opportunity for the rest of the world.” READ MORE

When A Child Was Sick

A man I considered a friend, who helped a lot of children and a lot of people in general, passed away Thursday morning.

Charles Hicks and Donna brought us home to Meadowsweet in late 2015, the same way they gave a home to many stray and unwanted critters. Dr. Charlie wanted us there, in part, to help Donna as the Doc continued his fight with cancer. READ MORE


Letter to the Editor: NCAA and ACC need to stick to sports

Dear Editor:

I’ve about had it with the NCAA and the ACC. They need to stick to sports and stay out of politics! Their attacks against our state over HB2  is an affront against all Bible believing Christians! The good church going people of NC have a real problem with their small children and wives sharing bathrooms and showers with people of the opposite sex that have identity problems. READ MORE

A Month of Mud

I hate February.

Every year, I decide that I will not write a column about this disgusting, disreputable, dyspeptic, diseased, dismembering excuse for a month, if for no other reason that it challenges my vocabulary to find words capable of describing my loathing for February. I normally like challenges, but February is like mercury – elusive, wiggling, shimmering, heavy and poisonous. February is a sniveling quisling, too small for a month, and too long for an illness.

It is not sufficient to say I strongly dislike February. That’s like saying battery acid will make your nose tingle, but in reality, a snootful of sulfuric might be preferable, when faced with 28 or 29 days of the ailing misery that is February. February is the ingrown toenail, the abscessed tooth, the sinus headache of the calendar – an unavoidable part of life, but amongst the least pleasant of times. READ MORE


By: Congressman Robert Pittenger

A few weeks ago, my family was blessed with the arrival of a beautiful baby girl, our 10th grandchild!  If you’ve ever held a newborn, so defenseless and completely dependent on you, you’ll understand why the idea that some people advocate for the murder of little babies is unconscionable.

As a father and grandfather, I believe life is precious.  Too often, our society takes this gift for granted.  Our government has an important responsibility to protect “the unalienable right to life” and fight on behalf of the unborn, who do not yet have a voice of their own.  This week, I helped lead concrete Congressional efforts to protect life. READ MORE

Dear Mr. President

Dear Mr. President,

I want to congratulate you, Mr. Trump, and challenge you.

Back in 2009, I wrote a similar letter to your predecessor; I mailed it to him, shortly after the letter ran as my weekly column. I didn’t really expect a reply, so I wasn’t disappointed.

I was disappointed in what happened during the intervening years, but those times are gone now. I finally, sir, feel some hope.

Now, folks will criticize me for this opinion, but I’m used to that. I hope that you can get used to far worse criticism now that you have won a hard-fought campaign, and won it fair and square. Your skin has to be a lot thicker than mine now, but I think you can handle it. READ MORE

You Decide: How to Solve Our Economic Growth Mystery?

By Dr. Mike Walden
North Carolina Cooperative Extension

Like many academics, I find pleasure in endeavors most would call boring. So when I pour over numbers on government websites or dusty statistical volumes, my wife gleefully says “get a life”!

Recently in one of my statistical journeys, I discovered a mystery about North Carolina’s economy. Like the nation and most states, North Carolina’s economy has made progress since the end of the Great Recession. However, compared to recent recoveries from recessions, the pace of North Carolina’s current economic progress has been relatively slow. READ MORE

East Bladen Football team says ‘Thank you’ to community for assistance replacing stolen items

The East Bladen High School Football team would like to thank everyone that donated to help replace the stolen items (from the East Bladen locker room at South Columbus). The outpouring of generosity across the state was beyond belief. Your acts of kindness have helped our young men learn some great life lessons READ MORE

You Decide: What Should Be North Carolina’s Economic Agenda?

By Dr. Mike Walden
North Carolina Cooperative Extension

A new year is always a good time to assess where we’ve been and where we’re going. Each year I want to lose fat and gain muscle. I’ve given up on growing hair!

An economic assessment of our state is also useful to do for a new year. After the economic devastation brought by the Great Recession, North Carolina’s economy has rebounded and gains have been made in jobs, production and income. However, just as in the nation, these improvements have been relatively modest by historical standards, and the gains have not been shared by every person and every locality in the state. READ MORE

The Angel in the Trash Can

By Jefferson Weaver

I had no idea, when Hurricane Matthew pushed water into our home, that my bride was making plans for Christmas.

As we dashed with flashlights, about lifting boxes, trying to raise furniture, and desperately trying to get everything above the rising water, her voice rang out from the bedroom.

“I got the angels up on a shelf,” she yelled. “If we have to get out, don’t forget them.” READ MORE


My short view: On voter fraud in Bladen and beyond

By: Charlotte Smith

charlotte-smithVoter fraud is alive and well in Bladen County and beyond, but that is just my perspective. Reports have been made, evidence submitted, but nothing has been done from what I have witnessed.

Allegations of voter fraud is nothing new in Bladen County. Not too many years ago we had a local county commissioner try to vote twice, and then claim she was, “Testing the system,” according to reports in the local paper.  READ MORE

You Decide: Will The Trump Economic Policies Work?

Dr. Mike Walden
North Carolina Cooperative Extension

dr michael waldenThe voting is over, and we now know Donald J. Trump will take office next year as the 45th President of the United States in January.

A big part of the presidential political campaigns centered on the economy, with candidates talking about boosting economic growth, creating jobs and improving pay. With Mr. Trump the winner, all eyes will be on the policies he will promote to achieve these goals.  READ MORE

You Decide: Where Will We Live?

By Dr. Mike Walden
North Carolina Cooperative Extension

dr michael waldenLess than 50 years ago – in 1970 – North Carolina was still a rural state. Over half (54 percent) of the state’s residents lived in rural areas. In fact, at that time only five states – Vermont, West Virginia, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Mississippi – had a higher percentage of their population living in rural counties.

That’s all changed. North Carolina is now an urban state, with two-thirds of the state’s people living in cities and high density counties. Urban areas are booming, while some rural counties have actually lost population in recent decades. READ MORE

Me and Mr. Jimmy

By Jefferson Weaver

Jefferson-WeaverEditor’s note—Many folks forget that Veteran’s Day is the descendant of Armistice Day, when World War I, the “war to end all wars,” officially ended. At the request of a more modern veteran, I offer this column, slightly updated from its first publication in 2008. Rest easy, Mister Jimmy.

He was a bent little old man who sometimes smelled bad, possibly because he often wore three heavy coats, even in summertime, and had many cats. READ MORE

Thank you from Bladen County Animal Shelter

bladen-county-animal-shelter-says-thank-youBladen County Animal Shelter would like to thank all of those that donated items after Hurricane Matthew.  We had a wonderful response from the community as well as out of state Donations. We are very grateful that people shared their compassion of animals with our shelter animals and those animals we boarded after the storm. READ MORE

Family Research Council Values Bus Tour To make stop at Dublin FBC

family-research-council-values-busThe FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL VALUES BUS TOUR will be making a stop at Dublin FBC this Thursday. Nov. 3, for a brief Rally from 7:45 until 8:15 a.m. READ MORE

Do You Think Elections Are Rigged?

civitas-logo-redDonald Trump’s choice of words about the election system is interesting because people interpret the word “rigged” in different ways. Is he talking about voter fraud, or is he talking about the collusion between the media and establishment politicians and their coalitions – “the system”? Many people agree with the Republican presidential candidate’s use of “rigged” for one or both of these definitions. READ MORE

You Decide: Is Demography Behind Slow Economic Growth

By Dr. Mike Walden
North Carolina Cooperative Extension

dr michael waldenOne of the big issues heard in this election year is slow economic growth. Although the economy has improved since the depths of the recession seven years ago, the gains have been modest compared to previous recoveries. For example, the growth in the nation’s aggregate production of goods and services (termed “gross domestic product”, or GDP) in the current recovery since the last recession has been the weakest among all post-World War II recoveries.

The presidential candidates have plans for spurring economic growth. But some researchers say the answer to slow economic growth may not be in government programs and plans. Indeed, some researchers say there is no answer, because the reason for slow economic growth is not in economics but in demographics. READ MORE

A little bit of normal

By: Jefferson Weaver

Jefferson-WeaverI hope my dad would have been proud.

I braced up the back of the new mailbox with a board that I sort-of mortised with the new chainsaw. I drilled pilot holes for the nails, and managed to get all but one in without a missed stroke and a bent shaft. I had already used the old post to bolster the base of the new one, which came from an old utility right of way sign forgotten by a company long since out of business, but whose choice of a cedar post told of a different time.

True, the mailbox has a little angle, but not an offensive one. I wiped my brow on a sleeve, gathered my tools, and stepped back for a few seconds to critique, if not admire, my handiwork. READ MORE

Thoughts and Prayers
By Victoria Baucom

I’m not sure what Tuesday is delegated to, (maybe Throwback?) but today I’m calling it “Thankful Tuesday.” You might say I’m crazy for saying it and thinking that I have no idea what’s going on. But I assure you that I’m well aware.  READ MORE

You Decide: Are There “Excesses” Building in the Economy

dr michael waldenBy Dr. Mike Walden
North Carolina Cooperative Extension

The word “excess” generally has a bad meaning in our society. It implies too much of a good thing that can lead to problems later. A second serving of my favorite apple pie can lead to an unwanted expansion of my waist line. Speeding to get to work on time can result in accidents and injuries.  READ MORE

Elizabethtown Mayor says, “Thank you, Elizabethtown”

On behalf of the town of Elizabethtown, I want to thank each one of you for your wonderful show of love and support during the aftermath of Hurricane Mathew! I have been amazed at  people helping people while they themselves were in need of help. READ MORE

Let’s not forget our EMS during the voting season

By: Charlotte Smith

Do you think our Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel deserve a pat on the back, or something even better, money in their pockets? What about hiring more EMS staff to assist in our emergency needs? We know EMS has expressed many equipment needs.

During the primary election coming in November, Bladen County residents will be voting once again on the rate of one-quarter (0.25%) sales tax increase.  READ MORE  


By: Congressman Robert Pittenger

Congressman Robert Pittenger HeadshotDo you think insurance companies deserve a taxpayer bailout?  President Obama apparently does.  As a reward for insurance companies who participated in the failed Obamacare marketplace, the Obama Administration is now looking to cushion their losses with your tax dollars.

When drafting Obamacare, President Obama knew the individual marketplace would be inherently unstable.  Instead of letting free markets work, Democrats decided to solve the problem with more big government programs. READ MORE

Yellow ribbons for somebody’s baby

By Jefferson Weaver

Jefferson-WeaverThere are very few yellow ribbons any more, at least for Buddy Myers.

On Oct. 5, 2000, Buddy and his Aunt Donna were in the living room of their home near Roseboro. Donna was tired – raising a four-year-old will tax anyone, much less a lady who thought her child-rearing days were over when her sister’s grandson needed a home.

Buddy – his real name is Tristen, but few remember that – was a typical little boy. He loved football, his dogs, and the neighbor’s horses. He loved NASCAR and his Uncle John’s 18-wheeler. READ MORE

You Decide: Why Are So Many Men Not Working

By Dr. Mike Walden
North Carolina Cooperative Extension

dr michael waldenDo we have a “man problem” in today’s economy? Some analysts think we do, and they cite one simple statistic for proving it. After World War II in the late 1940s, 6 percent of prime working-age men (those between the ages of 25 and 54) were not employed and were not looking for work. Today that rate is 14 percent. Translated to numbers, 1 million prime, working-age men in the late 1940s were out of the labor force – today the number is 7 million.

The trend has been exactly the opposite for women. Prime, working-age females with jobs in the paid labor market steadily rose from the end of World War II to 2000, before modestly declining since then. Still, the proportion of 25-54-year-old females working today is twice as high as 70 years ago. READ MORE

Writer wants change with regards to voter fraud and PACs

Dear Editor:

Vote logoI want the truth! Election fraud is alive and well in North Carolina, but we are turning a blind eye. I have personally written the North Carolina State Board of Elections Office twice submitting documentation of voter fraud during the 2016 elections. READ MORE

Free Speech and Free Markets

By: Jefferson Weaver

Jefferson-WeaverAs I have noted many times before, I’m not a big sports fan. With a few notable exceptions, I don’t care which team wins what when. In some respects, I find it truly offensive that people are willing to pay a couple hundred bucks to watch a ball game, yet scream when a police chief wants a 10 percent pay increase for his officers. At the same time – it’s a free market for sports fans, and a free country for taxpayers.

In the case of the former, of the market didn’t support paying athletes six- and seven-figure salaries, the owners of the teams would have to adjust. In the case of the latter, if taxpayers want to spend more or less money on services like public safety, they have the power to do so, by influencing their elected officials, or voting in new ones. READ MORE



Congressman Robert Pittenger HeadshotWASHINGTON – Earlier today, the BBC asked to speak with Congressman Robert Pittenger (NC-09) regarding the riots in his hometown.  This evening, Congressman Pittenger became aware that one of his answers had caused offense, and he issued this heartfelt response:

“What is taking place in my hometown right now breaks my heart.  My anguish led me to respond to a reporter’s question in a way that I regret. READ MORE

Congressman Pittenger’s Column: Accountability

Congressman Robert Pittenger HeadshotShould a Chinese, state-controlled firm be allowed to purchase critical infrastructure and assets in the United States?

Chinese investment in the United States has multiplied tenfold over the past 6 years.  In 2010, Chinese investment activity in the U.S. was $2 billion.  This year, it’s an estimated $20 billion investment.  Many of these investments come from Chinese government-owned or affiliated entities. READ MORE

You Decide: How Does the ‘Iron Law of Real Estate’ Impact Us

By Dr. Mike Walden
North Carolina Cooperative Extension

dr michael waldenAlmost 40 years ago my wife and I bought our first home. As a wet-behind-the-ears Ph.D. economist, I wanted to impress my wife with my knowledge of real estate by stating the “iron law of real estate”.

I confidently explained the “law” to her this way. “With a limited budget, people who value space – like square footage – over accessibility to work, shopping and other amenities buy a home farther out. Conversely, people who want to reduce their work commutes and easily reach stores, restaurants and entertainment settle for a smaller home closer in. Which do you prefer?” READ MORE

Statement from State Superintendent June Atkinson

Regarding the Death of NCAE Past President Rodney Ellis

JuneAtkinsonFor a number of years, I have enjoyed working with Rodney Ellis, past NCAE president. Rodney was always consistent in his expression of care for North Carolina’s children.

Rodney was a tireless advocate for public schools and North Carolina’s education family. North Carolina’s public school advocates are grateful for his leadership and we know that, without him, we will need to work even harder to make sure North Carolina puts public school children at the top of its agenda. READ MORE  

September 11 a day we will never forget; Cry Out America event Sunday

CryOutAmericaSeptember 11th will be a day that will never be forgotten. It seemed as if America just stopped and stood still. A day when it did not matter who you were or where you came from, not even what color your skin was. It did not matter who were the rich and who were the poor. What seemed to matter was that we needed God in our nation, people came together in love and not hate, denomination was not of importance and people flocked to the churches and cried out to God.  A day that will be in our hearts forever. A day of hatred shown toward the United States of America. READ MORE

My Office Is Here To Help

Senator_Thom_Tillis_Official_PortraitOver the last two years, I’ve had the honor of representing the state of North Carolina in the United States Senate. I’ve worked to help advance commonsense, bipartisan initiatives, including reforming the VA, supporting military families, confronting the growing opioid and heroin epidemic in our communities, and pursuing legislation that makes it easier for North Carolina’s small businesses to create good-paying jobs and grow our economy. READ MORE

Going for Gold

By Jefferson Weaver

Jefferson-WeaverThe cats stretched in the porch swings, looked around, and grabbed their microphones.

“And welcome back, sports fans, to the Meadowsweet Olympics. I’m Henri, and this is three-time ambush jump champion Geranium.”

“We’re in for an exciting afternoon, Henri. I have word from Team Canine that Walter the Wonder Dog will be showing his stuff today, and it should be a real zinger.” READ MORE

You Decide: Have We Won the War on Poverty

Dr. Mike Walden
North Carolina Cooperative Extension

dr michael waldenIt’s amazing how time can change perceptions. Frequently we see this with past presidents.   Helped by a popular Broadway play and multi-volume biography, President Lyndon Johnson’s reputation has undergone a dramatic revaluation. Formerly scorned by many for his role in the Vietnam War, Johnson is now being praised for his legislative accomplishments – most notably civil rights. READ MORE

Congressman Pittenger’s Weekly Column: Oh Say Can You See. . . .

Congressman Robert Pittenger HeadshotOh say can you see, by the dawn’s early light, what so PROUDLY we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming . . .

Recently, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick publicly demonstrated that he is not proud to be an American.  Several liberal commentators quickly followed, apparently welcoming the opportunity to explain to their fellow Americans how our patriotism, pride, and respect for our brave veterans is misplaced.

The Constitution gives Mr. Kaepernick the right to disrespect our flag, and the right to voice his protest against our government, and the right to ignore the sacrifices of those whose blood paid for those rights.  But that doesn’t make Mr. Kaepernick right. READ MORE

Church invites everyone to attend Back to School Extravaganza

41gNwgwghHLGreeting brothers and sisters in the Lord,

We are writing you this letter to invite your youth to be a part of our Back2School Extravaganza which will take place from Wednesday, Aug. 24through Saturday, Aug. 27. READ MORE


ThankYou2Thanks to all the parents that came out again this evening to bring their kids for our Junior Golf Clinic!!!!! We had about 15 kids that came out!!! I hope you kids learned a lot in only two days and hope we didn’t throw too much at you at one time!!! READ MORE

I Hate August

By Jefferson Weaver

Jefferson-WeaverI hate August.

Not my dear friend of the same name; indeed, I don’t hate any person. Their actions, their attitudes, their hairstyles, political views – maybe. But not the person.

It’s the month of August which I hate, with an abiding, deep-set passion that would make the most violent Jihadi back away, laying down his suicide vest and avoiding eye contact. READ MORE

Majestic Funeral Home and Cremations says “Thank you” to community

ThankYou2Please allow us to take this moment to say “thank you” from the depths of our hearts for your constant prayers  and support as we have embarked on this new journey of serving the wonderful citizens of Bladen county. We are excited to be re-opened in the heart of  Elizabethtown ready to serve all Race, Culture and Faiths with dignity and compassion. Since our conception, we have received numerous calls and visits from individuals of all walks of life with encouraging words and kind gestures. READ MORE

You Decide: What’s the source of our discontent

By Dr. Mike Walden
North Carolina Cooperative Extension

dr michael waldenDiscontent with one’s life and the reactions motivated by that unhappiness have been the source of numerous literary efforts, from Shakespeare to Steinbeck. Today’s political campaigns have revealed a new level of discontent among many people.

Although statistics show the economy has improved since the end of the Great Recession, there are numerous worrisome signs. Incomes – after adjusting for inflation – are down for many. Over 50,000 people in North Carolina can’t find work and have dropped out of the labor force, and another 160,000 are working part-time only because they can’t find full-time work. The proportion of households classified as middle-class is shrinking, and a new report predicts today’s children may not achieve the standard of living of their parents. READ MORE

Civitas President Calls Fourth Circuit Voter ID Decision “Outrageous”

civitas-logo-redRALEIGH – A three-judge panel of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down North Carolina’s voter identification law, stating that it was “passed with racially discriminatory intent.” This reverses a lower-court’s ruling that previously upheld the law.

Civitas President Francis De Luca said, “North Carolina’s common-sense voter ID law was passed to preserve the security and integrity of our elections process. North Carolina’s voters deserve the confidence that their votes will not be diluted by fraud. Just before a crucial presidential election, the liberal judges of the Fourth Circuit are once again legislating from the bench and seem to be looking for opportunities to overturn North Carolina law at every turn. The continual overreach of the courts like the Fourth Circuit undermines the belief in self-government through elected representatives and our democratic republic.” READ MORE

Chief Hunt says, “Thank You!”

Thank you note on white backgroundI would like to say thank you to everyone who took part in the Adopt-A-Cop program. It really touched my heart to see the support for our law enforcement officers. As an administrator in the police force, seeing our ladies and gentlemen who serve our communities as police officers appreciated was an experience I am very grateful for having witnessed. READ MORE


Rep David RouzerWashington, D.C. – House Republicans unveiled a comprehensive plan to uphold the Constitution by putting a stop to executive overreach, reining in regulations, imposing new limits on spending and increasing transparency for taxpayers.  This plan, referred to as “A Better Way to Do the People’s Business”, puts forth 31 ideas and is the product of several months of taskforce meetings and discussions.

“For decades the executive branch has slowly and systematically been gaining more and more power at the expense of the legislative branch and those duly elected to represent the people.  So much so that now almost every aspect of our lives is dictated by rules and regulations issued by agencies of the executive branch – dictates for which members of Congress have no vote.  Our plan would help reverse this damaging trend by restoring the power of the legislative branch, thereby providing the American people a voice again through their elected representatives.” READ MORE

Is America’s system of government broken?

Congressman Robert Pittenger HeadshotOur Founding Father’s envisioned three, co-equal branches of government, with a purposeful division of powers among them.

Yet over the past eight years, we’ve seen President Obama and his Executive Administration – including former Secretary Clinton – amass more and more power, ignoring the Legislative Branch and daring the Judiciary Branch to challenge him.  No wonder Americans are angry. READ MORE

You Decide: Is there a winner in the investment boxing match?

By Dr. Mike Walden
North Carolina Cooperative Extension

dr michael waldenLike many, I mourned the recent loss of Muhammad Ali. I watched Ali rise through the ranks of boxing’s heavyweight division and admired his skill and tenacity. Of course, I was also sad to see him in pain in the latter years of his life.

Boxing is popular to some, in part, because it is a one-on-one competition where it’s easy to determine who is responsible for the win and the loss. It’s also a sport that has sparked many “what if” comparisons between fighters of different eras. I fondly remember my late father debating who would have won a mythical match between Joe Louis vs. Muhammed Ali, or Rocky Marciano against Mike Tyson! READ MORE

Desmond Bryant Camp Thanks Community for Support

DesBryantCampDesmond Bryant and organizers of his fifth camp would like to thank the donors, staff, volunteers, coaches and participants who contributed to a successful 2016 camp. READ MORE

Bladen County 10U Fastpitch All Stars say, ‘Thanks’

Bladen County SportsBladen County 10U Fastpitch All Stars would like to thank the following sponsors for their support and contributions. READ MORE

Mt Zion AME Zion to host Town Hall meeting

MtZionAMEZionLogoOn Thursday, July 28, from 6-8 p.m., Mt. Zion A.M.E. Zion Church will host a Town Hall meeting to discuss improving relationships between one another as well as improving the relationship between law enforcement and the African- American community. We are inviting law enforcement officers to serve as the panelist, but we want to invite you to be a part of this pivotal conversation for our community. It takes all of us to make God’s image, and in these turbulent, tumultuous, and tense times it is imperative that we lead in the healing of our nation.  READ MORE  

We’re better than this

Jefferson-WeaverMy heart is heavy, for a lot of reasons.

I wasn’t there for either the Minnesota shooting or the Baton Rouge incident. I don’t know why that young man in Dallas decided, in his own words, to hate white people, especially white police officers. Most of my career, I’ve been a police reporter. While I have seen, written about, and covered the trials of bad cops — I really can’t think of a single person behind the badge I wouldn’t trust with my family, my life, or my property. READ MORE

You Decide:  Where Does the State Economy Stand at Mid-Year?

Dr. Mike Walden
North Carolina Cooperative Extension

dr michael waldenThe economy is one of the top issues in this year’s elections, all the way from state and local races to the major contest of the year – the presidential election. So it may be helpful to make a mid-year assessment of the economy – how it’s been doing and identifying the important issues. And to do so I’ll stay right here at home – in North Carolina – and then let you decide whether we’re on a good track or not.

My first observation is that the state economy has been expanding; indeed, this has been the case since 2010. The “big three” economic measures of total production of goods and services, employment, and worker earnings per hour are all higher today than in 2010. Total production has increased every year except one (2012), and payroll employment has increased in every year since 2010. But worker earnings per hour (adjusted for inflation) have only begun to improve in the last two years. READ MORE


Congressman Robert Pittenger HeadshotThis week, 422 Members of Congress joined together to pass the most significant reform of America’s mental health system in decades.

In the aftermath of the tragedy at Sandy Hook, we learned the perpetrator had a long history of untreated mental illness.  This prompted an investigation into America’s mental health system by Congressman Tim Murphy and the House Energy and Commerce Committee, searching for ways to ensure we deliver treatment before tragedy. READ MORE

Thank you Chamber members

Sunset at Goldston's in White LakeThe sun has set on my last day as the Elizabethtown-White Lake Area Chamber of Commerce President and I want to say it has been a honor and a privilege to serve our communities.

I encourage my friends and families to get involved in your communities if you are not already. Step out and make a difference. We need to start making changes and it starts with great people paying attention and offering their talents.  READ MORE

The field of pain and sorrow

By Jefferson Weaver

Jefferson-WeaverNote to my readers: With rare exceptions, I do not like to reprint columns, since I consider this to be a lazy habit. However, at the request of several folks, the column below is an edited version of the piece by the same name which I wrote in 2009.

Thomas Traylor watched.

Ellis Covert was likely sick.

Ben Weaver probably waited.

As important as Independence Day is to me as an America, I have to remember the date as a Southerner, too. READ MORE

Dinosaurs, décolletage, and body art

Jefferson-WeaverI was always drawn to those “nickel toy” vending machines when I was a little kid.

Of course, they were a quarter or more by the time I came along, but some folks still called them nickel toys. You still find a surprising number of them in the entryways of retail stores these days, along with their companions peddling huge gumballs and the like, but the price has risen, like everything else. READ MORE

You Decide: What can we learn from the 1970s’ gas crisis?

Dr. Mike Walden
North Carolina Cooperative Extension

dr michael waldenTwo important events happened in my life 40 years ago. I met my future wife. And I was an unwilling participant of the decade’s gas crisis.

The first event went well – my wife and I have been married for 36 years. While the second event – the gas crisis – wasn’t fun at the time, it has provided some lessons for how public policy makers respond to shortages in key commodities, like gasoline. READ MORE

Genesis, Harambe, kids and Darwin

Jefferson-WeaverAll my life, I’ve been prone to wandering.

When I was a very little kid, I insisted on visiting the barn across the road from our house. It didn’t matter that the bull had put a man in the hospital a few weeks before; I shared my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with him. I tried (and occasionally succeeded) to ride the old moon-eyed mule and the worn-out mare.

I think I was three when I fled the tyranny of my sister’s babysitting skills for a jaunt down the side of a busy country road to the sweet-potato processing barn where my brother worked; at 13, Becky was too young to take care of me. I went wandering in the cornfield once or twice, regardless of venomous snakes. The water in the ditch was also worth the risk of an encounter with any ill-behaved serpent. READ MORE

You Decide: How can we boost economic growth?

Dr. Mike Walden
North Carolina Cooperative Extension

dr michael waldenPoliticians of all parties and persuasions have one thing in common on the campaign trail: They are talking about economic growth. Actually, they’re talking about the lack of robust economic growth and solutions for making the economy stronger.

It’s not that the economy isn’t improving; it is. In fact, the economy has been expanding for seven years. This is the third-longest economic growth period since World War II. Of course, when I say the economy is improving, I don’t mean for everyone and everywhere. There are big disparities in economic conditions for both people and places. READ MORE

Voters Must Know the Facts About Robert Pittenger

By: Tracy Philbeck
Gaston County Commissioner
President, Treescape Inc.

While I no longer live in the 9th Congressional District, I believe it’s important that Republican Primary voters consider the risk they would take in nominating Congressman Robert Pittenger. We cannot afford to hand this seat over to the Democrats.

Robert Pittenger is currently under investigation by the FBI for a loan made to his campaign from his business. This case will likely be resolved by November, whether he is exonerated or not. If he is indicted, the seat would surely be handed over to a Democrat. READ MORE

Another day on the calendar

By Jefferson Weaver

Jefferson-WeaverOn the calendar above my desk, there are 16 “official” days of something or other in May. Some are national holidays, either for here, Mexico or Canada; I have yet to figure out why we need to know what days are special to our friends in the North or those to the South, but it’s no big deal. In some ways, it’s kind of interesting to see what is celebrated on May 23 in Quebec, but it’s not really that interesting. 

Many of the notable days are religious; others are decidedly secular. Cinco de Mayo, for instance, was originally a day of patriotic remembrance in Mexico. It has somehow become, according to one calendar website, “an important part of America’s history.” Based on the television commercials, I reckon it’s become more of a day to consume a lot of alcohol and dress your cat in a sombrero and poncho. READ MORE

A Tale of Two Jimmies

By: Jefferson Weaver

Jefferson-WeaverOnce upon a time, I knew a little kid named Jimmy.

His parents were neighbors of ours, and Miss Rhonda was asked to babysit him one time. Just once, mind you. My beloved has always had an incredible touch with little kids, and at five years old, Little Jimmy was just the perfect age to be fun.

However, my tender, nurturing wife said she would have cheerfully left Jimmie at our neighborhood park, were it not for the fact she thought so much of our winos and local gang members. READ MORE

Remembering their sacrifice

By: Congressman David Rouzer

Rep David RouzerEvery year, on the last Monday in May, our nation pauses to pay tribute to all those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.  Memorial Day is a day to honor and memorialize our fallen heroes for their courageous fight for freedom, liberty and security.  It is also a time to thank our veterans who have served as well as our men and women in uniform who are currently serving.

On this day, in particular, let us also remember and lift up the families of every soldier, sailor, airmen and Marine who did not make it back home.  We will never forget their service, selflessness and sacrifice.  Nor should we ever forget the sacrifices of their families.  READ MORE

You Decide: Is there occupational churning?

Dr. Mike Walden

dr michael waldenI’m up to my neck in jobs. However, don’t contact me for a job; I don’t actually have any to hand out! Instead, I’ve been looking closely at jobs in North Carolina — what kinds they are and how they have been changing.

Our job market is constantly churning, meaning there are always some existing jobs being cut while new jobs are being created. Even during recessions, there are some new jobs added. It’s just that in an economic downturn, many more jobs get the ax compared to those placed in the want ads.

My focus has been in looking at jobs in terms of what workers do – that is, their occupation. Specifically, I’ve looked at how North Carolina’s occupational mix has changed since the early 2000s (2002). While much of what I have found was expected, I was also hit with a couple of surprises. READ MORE

A special kind of man

By: Jefferson Weaver

Jefferson-WeaverI had to say ‘no’ to a fellow the other day, and I heard my father.

The details of the refusal aren’t important; what matters is that we parted on good terms. My friend’s firm has some ties that I find not just questionable, but downright wrong, and it would have been wrong for me to be part of it.

Although it’s a lesson I have often failed to remember, Tom Weaver did his best to teach me that a feather is often more effective than a club. He could disagree with almost anyone and still remain on good terms. It’s a skill far too rare these days, in a time where disagreement is viewed as personal condemnation, when gently stepping on toes is considered hatred. READ MORE

You Decide: Will interest rates remain low?

Dr. Mike Walden

dr michael waldenThe year was 1978. A young, newly hired economics professor was making one of his first public presentations to a group in Washington, N.C. The professor quickly learned locals referred to their town as “Little Washington,” to distinguish it from the nation’s capital. He was also told Little Washington was founded years before Washington, D.C., and was the first city to be named after George Washington.

Equipped with this important information, the professor talked to the assembled group about the condition and outlook of the current economy, both in the nation and in North Carolina. But when it came time for questions, it was clear most people were upset about one thing — interest rates. The most common questions asked were “Why are mortgage rates 10 percent?” and “When will they get lower so I can afford to buy a home?” READ MORE



Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Rouzer visited Hobbton High in Newton Grove to recognize Moriah Pate, the winner of the NC-07 Art Competition. Pate’s entry, entitled “Priceless,” is a depiction using graphite and colored pencils of a young female painting a mural of individuals and objects. Pate used the mural to demonstrate and reflect this year’s Art Competition theme, “What I Love Most About North Carolina.”  READ MORE


A Letter to My Mother, Shirley Autry, on Her Birthday

Dear Mama,

Shirley AutryFirst, let me start by saying that you are Amazing! As I reflect on my journey of life, the one thing that is always constant is your unconditional love for me, even at times when I was unlovable…Thank you!

You were my first teacher, role model, hero, and nurturer. I can sincerely say that I am ALL that I am today because of YOU and the sacrifices you made while raising me and my siblings. You taught me how to be graceful, persistent, courageous, and so many other things that are far too much to mention.

Most importantly, you taught me the value of a good education and how it could take me far in life, which it has indeed! My accomplishments in this life as an educator and mother are due to the values which you’ve taught me. READ MORE

Teacher says “Thank you”

For two years I have taught at West Bladen and for two years I have felt so blessed to be a part of this wonderful family of teachers! Teachers who truly care about and for the students and teachers who show their love and acceptance for many who need this!

Mr. Ronald Autry’s class is seen delivering some KNIGHT signs to my students that they made and are allowing us to paint and the students to keep them.  Mr. Autry took a lesson he was teaching his students and added to that lesson giving his students the opportunity to serve and to share and to show love and acceptance for the students in my class!! That means so much to me and to my students. READ MORE

Manties, manicures, and manbuns

By: Jefferson Weaver

Jefferson-WeaverI have never really been a slave to fashion.

My taste in clothes is stuck firmly between 1930 and 1960; as far as hairstyle, I guess mine could be described as well-groomed barbarian, except on Saturdays. Most Saturdays, I end up with twin braids reminiscent of a less-well-groomed barbarian. My only requirement for footwear is that shoes (usually boots) be easy on the feet, and reasonably resistant to snake bites, stomping horses, and political promises. The latter, by the way, is far harder to clean.

Although I border on blushing to even broach the subject, my underwear choices are even simpler. Yes, I will fight you for my military-issue silk weight base layers, followed by long woolens; I occasionally wear a so-called Farmer John when the weather isn’t quite freezing. Some things, however, a man really doesn’t need to talk about, and as far as I am concerned, underwear is one of them. READ MORE

Hope for Americans with Rare Diseases

My Portrait SessionsBy definition, a rare disease affects a small number of people, but the community as a whole is immense. More than one million North Carolinians have a rare disease. Nearly every family and community in the state feels the impact of these illnesses in some way.

This week, I spoke before the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee about the need for rare disease treatments.

I highlighted the example of Taylor King from Charlotte who suffers from Batten disease, a rare genetic condition for which no treatments are currently available. READ MORE

You Decide: Is there trouble with trade

Dr. Mike Walden
North Carolina Cooperative Extension

dr michael waldenOne of the first principles I teach my new economics students is the benefits of trade. I use the following example (remember, I’m talking to 18- to 20-year-olds): Two students live across the hall from each other. One student has some minor car trouble and discovers the across-the-hall neighbor is a fairly good amateur mechanic. The student with mechanic skills is having problems with physics and learns the neighbor with car trouble is a whiz at physics.

After the two students talk about their problems, a trade is set up. The mechanically inclined student agrees to look at the car, while the car-owning student reciprocates by providing some help with physics. Fortunately, each student is quickly able to help the other. The car just had a loose spark plug, while physics was made clear once the role of electrons and protons was explained. READ MORE

Candidate speaks out on unethical practices during elections

By: Sabrina Murchison, Candidate for Board of Education District 1

Sabrina Murchison for County CommissionerAs a candidate, I witnessed the rhetoric and the unethical practices to stand to undermine the integrity of what our electoral system is all about. I would like to shed some light on some of the misbehaviors of some of our elected officials in the hopes that we can foster positive change even in the process of voting.

The reality is that we face opposition from an Association with members that are paid to target our vulnerable disabled and elderly population within our County. The members within the Association request absentee ballots from the disabled voters who are often unable to read, write, or understand the process of voting.

While this same process occurs for elderly voters who often are confined to beds in the home with Dementia and Alzheimer’s symptoms unable to speak or function in order to cast their vote. As citizens we should be concerned for our family members and begin the fight against this corruption from Association members targeting this population of registered voters. READ MORE 

Cape Fear Heating and Cooling of Clarkton Life Saving


I, recently, had a very positive experience with Cape Fear Heating and Cooling of Clarkton, NC and wanted to share that experience with BladenOnline and the residents of Bladen County. So, a little over a week ago I go to fire up my furnace— and much to my surprise, I didn’t have any heat!

I started looking for an HVAC repair company. I happened to come across Cape Fear Heating and Cooling so I decided to give Daine Smith a call.

Calling Daine Smith, of Cape Fear Heating and Cooling, turned out to be a life saving experience. READ MORE 

Reputation of Clarkton Schools on a State Level

By: Phyllis C. Miller
I know you have heard from the people in and around the Clarkton community, however, I believe it is important that you know the perceptions of Clarkton School of Discovery and Booker T. Washington on a state level.  Below is a letter from Ms. Michelle Burrows from the A+ Schools Program of the North Carolina Arts Council, UNCG, Greensboro, NC. READ MORE

Miller’s opinion on research of cost savings with Bladen County’s schools consolidation plan

By Phyllis C. Miller

Keeping You Informed

Clarkton, NC – On Tuesday, September 29, 2015, Sadie Perry and I met with Dr. Robert Taylor at the Board of Education in Elizabethtown to obtain additional research on his Proposal Plan for closing Clarkton School of Discovery and Booker T. Washington.  As of Tuesday afternoon at 3:40 pm, Dr. Taylor did not provide any additional information other than what he gave me last week which does not include the necessary number crunching or research as it relates to cost savings. I believe the citizens of this county, the Board of Education, and the County Commissioners deserve a complete detailed report on how it is going to affect the county. READ MORE  

Clarkton resident urges public to get involved with Bladen County Schools Proposal

By: Phyllis Miller of Clarkton

Understanding that our county is identified as a high poverty, economically depressed county and with known budget restraints, we do need to look at how we can cut costs and what can be done to keep our best community schools open. I hope that all the citizens of Bladen County will make an effort toward understanding that the county must do something but not what has been laid out at the Board of Education. I think it is ludicrous to even think that we should close all the schools in Clarkton. Combining the highest performing middle school (Clarkton School of Discovery) in the county with Booker T. Washington and leaving Project Challenge in Clarkton is a better plan than anything I have seen on the proposal. Closing both of these schools in Clarkton is not the way to handle the issues at hand.  READ MORE

Another view on the proposed Bladen County School Closings

Christian-RyckeleyWe have published a new interview video about the proposed school closings today on our YouTube Channel.
Christian Ryckeley, graduate of Clarkton School of Discovery aspiring to be a neurosurgeon, said, “I don’t want to see this school to close down,” when we interviewed him.  READ MORE

Proposed Bladen County School Closing Survey Results Now In

Bladen County Proposed School Closings Survey ResultsCountofdoyouthink

We want to thank everyone that took the time to take our survey about the proposed Bladen County School closings. We had 1,782 responses. The survey results were 67.5% answering no they do not want the schools to close. and 32.5% responded yes, they were in favor of the schools closings.

We did receive explanations of both the “Yes” and “No” answers. Some of the explanations are listed below. A full report of the survey may be viewed in a PDF format by clicking here. READ MORE 

Emails we were asked to share Facebook LogoSometimes we receive emails from the public about important issues in our community. Below is an article we were asked to share. We always appreciate our readers, and your thoughts and opinions.

“The Dumbing Down of Bladen County”

Submission By: Christian Butler Ryckeley

Since when did we become so willing to undermine the futures of all the children in Bladen County? When did the mental and physical well-being of the students get circumvented in favor of political and monetary gain? How can the immediate gratification of our school board and leaders take precedence over the creative and intellectual growth of the fledgling generation? READ MORE