Pender County will offer one family hike per month in 2023’s Year of the Trail

BURGAW – Pender County Tourism, Pender County Parks and Recreation, and Pender County Health Department are joining with a troupe of pirates, naturalists, and historians to host one family-friendly hike per month to celebrate the 2023 Year of the Trail.

“Pender County is a trail county,” said Tammy Proctor, director of tourism. “We are crisscrossed by major trails such as the Mountains to Sea Trail, the East Coast Greenway, the NC Birding Trail,  the NC Oyster Trail, and many more. This year, we’re celebrating the Year of the Trail.”

In a year-long celebration, the various organizations and local municipalities are hosting hikes that are one mile or less for families throughout Pender County.

“The first hike is the Hot Chocolate Hike on Jan. 31 at the Abbey Nature Preserve,” said Zach White, Pender County Parks and Recreation Supervisor.”

The Pender County Health Department will lead a hike in Burgaw on Feb. 16, beginning at 11 a.m. at Pender Adult Services. This health department lead hike is in celebration of the Year of the Trail and Heart Healthy Month. March 11 will feature the Top-Secret Operation Bumblebee Hike in Topsail Beach with the Historical Society of Topsail Island. April 29 will be a Pirate Treasure Hike in Soundside Park in cooperation with a pirate troupe and the Town of Surf City. May will be a family fun hike into Holly Shelter Game Land with noted naturalist Andy Wood. In June, take a hike on the Blueberry Trail in Burgaw during Blueberry Week.

“We are booking the remainder of the hikes right now,” said Proctor. “It’s going to be a fun activity for families because, for every hike a family makes, we will enter their name into a drawing for a grand prize gift basket. The more hikes that family members take, the more chances to win.”

For more information or to register, call Pender County Tourism at 910-259-1278.

2023 Hot Chocolate Hike

Pender County Library to host genealogist tracing family line from southeastern NC to Virginia to Africa

BURGAW- On Saturday, Jan. 14, at 1 p.m., Pender County Library will host genealogist Tyrone Goodwyn for a discussion of his research tracing his family lineage from southeastern NC to Virginia to Angola in Africa. The hour-long event will be hosted in person in the Michael Y. Taylor Meeting Room at the Main Library in Burgaw as well as online via Zoom.

Goodwyn has researched free persons of color of southeastern North Carolina for more than 40 years. He concentrates on Pender, New Hanover, Sampson, Duplin, Wayne, and Cumberland counties.

In 2021, Goodwyn and a fellow genealogist discovered a 1745 northeast NC court record that yielded an important clue. Following this clue revealed a connection to a man in the 1600s named Gabriel Jacobs, a member of one of the first documented groups of kidnapped Africans in North America. He was the progenitor of the Jacobs family of free people of color in southeast NC and Tidewater VA.

The surname Jacobs is quite common in southeast NC. These families often identify as Black and as Native American. Several also identify as white. Many of these family lines—Black, Native American, and white—descend from the same root of people who came to NC in the mid-1700s, and have participated vigorously in the Revolutionary War and many significant American events thereafter.

Join us for a presentation by genealogist & Jacobs descendant Tyrone Goodwyn and as we discuss this exciting story!

This program is presented in partnership with Eastern Shore Public Library in Accomac, Virginia.

No registration is needed for attending in person. To attend online, register via our website,, and follow the links under the Events tab. You can also call the library and the staff will take your registration by phone.

For more information or assistance, call Pender County Library at 910-259-1234 (Burgaw) or 910-270-4603 (Hampstead) during regular business hours.

FOCUS Broadband Makes Service Available to First Pender County Customers

High Speed Internet Now Available Near Still Bluff

 Pender County, NC – FOCUS Broadband has announced that it now has high-speed internet service available to its first customers in Pender County. Residents and businesses located near the Still Bluff community along Morgan Road and Bethel Road in western Pender County can now call to order high-speed internet with speeds of up to 1 Gigabit as well as telephone service, digital cable TV, and home security and automation services from FOCUS Broadband. Additional areas near the Canetuck community are expected to be made available in the coming weeks.

“We are thrilled to finally be able to offer service in Pender County and bring high-speed internet to rural communities that desperately need it,” said Keith Holden, FOCUS Broadband’s CEO and General Manager. “A number of issues brought about by the COVID-19 Pandemic have hampered our early progress, but we anticipate service being made available in more areas early in the new year with new phases coming online thereafter.” Areas around Atkinson, Currie, Holly Shelter, and Hampstead are currently under construction.

The Pender County project is being made possible using a $21.6 million dollar grant from the USDA ReConnect Grant Program. FOCUS Broadband will provide up to $7.2 million in matching funds for the project. More than 7,000 unserved homes and businesses will have access to high-speed internet upon the project’s completion.

Company officials added that they’re able to temporarily connect to Pender County using fiber provided through a partnership with Four County EMC and that they are in the process of building a permanent connection to their Columbus County network. This portion of the project has taken time due to difficulties boring underneath the Black and Cape Fear Rivers.

FOCUS Broadband continues to look for funding opportunities to help bring high-speed internet service to all of Pender County’s underserved areas. At the end of August, FOCUS Broadband was awarded a $4 million dollar grant through the NC Department of Information Technology’s GREAT Grant program to bring high-speed internet to an additional 1,331 homes and businesses located in rural areas which were not included in the 2020 ReConnect Grant award.  For the GREAT Grant project, FOCUS Broadband will contribute $547 thousand dollars and Pender County will provide an additional $547 thousand dollars using American Rescue Plan Act funds.

Residents and businesses near the Still Bluff community where service is available can sign up for services from FOCUS Broadband by calling, 833-981-4152. To stay up to date on FOCUS Broadband’s progress to bring high-speed internet to other areas of Pender County, visit

About FOCUS Broadband

FOCUS Broadband is a member-owned cooperative providing a multitude of communications services, including telephone, business services, wireless, broadband internet, cable television, and home security, in Brunswick County, North Carolina. FOCUS Broadband provides services in additional areas through its wholly owned subsidiary, ATMC, LLC. FOCUS Broadband is the largest communications cooperative in North Carolina and one of the largest in the country. For more information on products and services from FOCUS Broadband, visit For more information on FOCUS Broadband’s drive to bring faster internet service to rural Columbus County, visit

The Broadband Resources for Cooperative Extension: FCC Broadband Map Edition

Take Action by January 13, 2023: Check Your FCC Broadband Map Data

— Written By  (1 day ago)

en Español

North Carolina residents have a chance of a lifetime. Your action or inaction will impact generations after you. It is imperative that you check your data in the new Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) Broadband Map by January 13, 2023.

Why It Matters!

Better data leads to better resource allocation! If you need high-speed broadband, the data needs to support your need. You can now check what the FCC data indicates about connectivity at your home, farm, or business and CHALLENGE the FCC data.

Two Types of Challenges:

  • Location Information for home or business
  • Availability from Internet Service Providers

Location Challenge:

The location challenge is simple and straightforward. You look at a map and see if your correct structure(s) are designated as serviceable locations. If something is wrong, you can submit a challenge on the map. For example, on the farm my parents live on in Union County, NC, their residential location, indicated by a green dot, appears in the footprint of the old chicken house on their property. So I submitted a Location Challenge to get this corrected. The challenge appears as a purple dot in the image below.

An overhead satellite map with a blue pin.An overhead map with a blue pin over a structure.An overhead map, without satellite imagery. A challenge is denoted in purple

Availability Challenge:

An Availability Challenge was also needed for my parent’s home. Many years ago, cable TV was installed on our road, but for some reason, they did not run the cable past our farm. It stopped just up the road. Now Charter Communications (Spectrum) claims our farm is covered by their internet coverage. My parents cannot get internet from Spectrum unless they pay to extend the line to the farm. Therefore, I submitted an Availability Challenge, challenging Charter Communications (Spectrum) claim of internet coverage for their home.

Why is this important? If my parent’s home is labeled as covered with high-speed internet, funding would not be available to extend coverage to their home. This FCC Broadband Map will have a great deal of sway in funding allocations. That is why everyone needs to take action to be sure their map data is correct on the FCC map.

Here is the link where you can check your data:  FCC Broadband Map.

Here is the link to some resources to help promote the importance of this opportunity.

Here are some links to some How To Videos explaining the steps.

Visit the Broadband Resources page for information and ways to take action on broadband issues.

Click here on Broadband News to see broadband information related to N.C. Cooperative Extension

Reimagining and Expanding NCWorks Service Delivery

As the statewide workforce system, NCWorks provides no-cost services and programs to businesses in North Carolina, connecting Employers with Talent. In addition to our Career Centers across the region, our online hub, NCWorks, connects Employers and Talent to an extensive network of workforce professionals who understand the specific labor force, training opportunities, and challenges in the community. The Cape Fear Workforce Development Board encompasses New Hanover, Pender, Brunswick, and Columbus counties and is looking to innovate and expand the reach of our services across the region.

Beginning in Pender County, the CFWDB has shifted from a single-site methodology to a wide-net strategy. We are eliminating the single point-of-service, brick-and-mortar site in favor of multiple Access Point locations across the county. The Access Points will be hosted at Community Partner locations and will be staffed by Mobile Career Advisors providing career services at scheduled times. In addition to these in-person service opportunities, Employers and Talent will have access to a wide array of Virtual Services. All of the Access Points and Virtual options will be supported and connected to our centralized flagship, New Hanover NCWorks Career Center.

The Access Points, coupled with Virtual services, allow collaboration with our NCWorks partners such as the Community College System, Departments of Health and Human Services, Vocational Rehabilitation, and other community-based service providers while helping to alleviate potential barriers to access resulting from transportation challenges in rural areas.

The attached schedule outlines the current schedule and address of the various Access Points to be utilized beginning December 15, 2022. In addition, this schedule will be available on our social media outlets, including, and our websites and Lastly, a variety of workshops will be available to the public at no charge at each of the Access Points. The workshop schedule will include such topics as resume preparation and interview strategies. These events can be found on our Facebook page as they become available.

For more information about this release or other programs offered through NCWorks Career Centers, contact Rhonda Royster at 910-465-7813 or

Notice of Special Meeting

Pursuant to NCGS 143-318.12: The Pender County Board of Commissioners hereby provides public notice of a Special Meeting of the Board as follows:

Time:                Friday December 16, 2022, at 10 a.m.

Place:               Administrative Conference Room #104

805 S. Walker Street

Burgaw, NC 28425

Purpose:           The Board will meet to consider the following items:

  • Discussion of Healthcare Consultant Proposals.
  • Update on Land Acquisition

No other discussion or action will take place.

Please note this is a closed session meeting ITEM 3 Attorney Client and ITEM 5 Land Acquisition.

Open Session Agenda

  1.  Approval of Healthcare Consultant

Posted and distributed this the 13th Day of December 2022



Notice of Special Meeting

Pursuant to NCGS 143-318.12: The Pender County Board of Commissioners hereby provides public notice of a Special Meeting of the Board as follows:

Time:                Friday December 16, 2022, at 10 a.m.

Place:               Administrative Conference Room #104

805 S. Walker Street

Burgaw, NC 28425

Purpose:           The Board will meet to consider the following items:

  • Discussion of Healthcare Consultant Proposals.
  • Update on Land Acquisition

No other discussion or action will take place.

Please note this is a closed session meeting ITEM 3 Attorney Client and ITEM 5 Land Acquisition.

Open Session Agenda

  1.  Approval of Healthcare Consultant

Posted and distributed this the 13th Day of December 2022



Pender County residents urged to conserve water

BURGAW – According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) data, Pender County is in its second year of winter drought conditions.

“This places Pender County and Southeastern North Carolina in a dangerous situation,” said Kenny Keel, Pender County Public Utilities Director. “Streamflow is reduced during drought conditions as we are experiencing for the second year in a row.”

Keel explained that lake, river, and reservoir levels decline.

“During a moderate drought, now is the time to begin voluntary water conservation,” said Keel.

According to NOAA, wildfire danger is higher than the seasonal normal during droughts.

“Pender County has experienced dangerous wildfires,” said Tommy Batson, Pender County Emergency Director.

Batson urges residents to monitor any outdoor burning because with the dryness of grass and leaves, fires can spread quickly.

“Suppressing a fire requires a huge amount of water and during a drought, we need to conserve our water,” said Batson.

“If everyone in Pender County practices simple conservation measures, it will help our county to meet our water needs in the future,” said Keel.

According to, here are some practical methods of water conservation during a drought:

  • Never pour water down the drain when there may be another use for it. For example, use it to water your indoor plants or garden.
  • Fix dripping faucets by replacing washers. One drop per second wastes 2,700 gallons of water a year.
  • Check all plumbing for leaks and have any leaks repaired by a plumber.
  • Retrofit all household faucets by installing aerators with flow restrictors.
  • Install an instant hot water heater on your sink.
  • Insulate your water pipes to reduce heat loss and prevent them from breaking.
  • Install a water-softening system only when the minerals in the water would damage your pipes. Turn the softener off while on vacation.
  • Choose appliances that are more energy and water efficient.


  • Consider purchasing a low-volume toilet that uses less than half the water of older models.
  • Install a toilet displacement device to cut down on the amount of water needed to flush. Place a one-gallon plastic jug of water into the tank to displace toilet flow. Make sure it does not interfere with the operating parts.
  • Replace your showerhead with an ultra-low-flow version.


  • Instead of using the garbage disposal, throw food in the garbage or start a compost pile to dispose of it.

Proposed Timeline of Hampstead Bypass Moves Up

NCDOT, WMPO agree on adjustment

WILMINGTON – The proposed timeline of a major project is moving up, which means improvements to a corridor in New Hanover and Pender counties are expected to come sooner than originally planned.

Recently, the N.C. Department of Transportation and Wilmington Metropolitan Planning Organization (WMPO) agreed to adjust multiple projects in the draft 2024-2033 State Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP). With the adjustments, construction of the second portion of the Hampstead Bypass, N.C. 140 to N.C. 210, would move from fall 2026 to summer 2025 in the draft plan.

“I am glad we agreed to move this project forward,” said Division 3 Engineer Chad Kimes. “Together, NCDOT and WMPO understand how important it is to the people who live, work and visit the area.”

Construction of the first portion of the Hampstead Bypass, N.C. 210 to north of Hampstead, began in early 2022.

When both sections are complete, the project is expected to improve safety and relieve congestion around the town of Hampstead.

NCDOT and WMPO agreed to adjust the proposed timelines of other future projects as well:

  • Upgrading the intersections of U.S. 76 (Oleander Drive) at Greenville Loop Road and Greenville Avenue has been accelerated with construction planned to begin in 2029.
  • Widening U.S. 421 (Carolina Beach Road) from N.C. 132 (South College Road) to Sanders Road and constructing flyovers at U.S. 421 and N.C. 132 has been accelerated with construction set to begin in 2027.

The draft 2024-2033 STIP can be viewed here and will be updated to reflect the changes above. More information on the STIP process can be found on this NCDOT webpage. The Board of Transportation is expected to adopt the 2024-33 STIP in spring 2023.

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