Passport service now available in Pender County

BURGAW – The office of the Pender County Register of Deeds is now offering passport services in their Burgaw office, 300 E. Freemont Street.

“You don’t have to leave the county to apply for a US Passport,” said Sharon Willoughby, the register of deeds. “Our office provides the applications and for a small additional fee, we can take the passport photo as well.”

US citizens planning international travel should make an appointment with the register of deeds office. Walk-in applicants are welcomed, if staff is available to assist.

Willoughby urges citizens to make an appointment to receive personalized assistance.

“We are here to help you with your passport needs,” said Willoughby.

The office of the Pender County Register of Deeds is open Mondays through Fridays, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

For more information call 910-259-1225.


Road Closure on Atkinson Point Road (Pender County) May 21 to June 4, 2018

The North Carolina Department of Transportation will close Atkinson Point Road, just North of NC50/210 in Surf City, Pender County beginning Monday May 21, 2018 at 6:00am until Monday, June 4, 2018 at 6:00am for installation of water and sewer utilities, weather permitting.

“During this time, please use caution as crews will be monitoring and maintaining this detour”.  “The Contractor will be working around the clock to deliver the utility work in the allotted time frame”, said Project Engineer, Ben Meyer of the Jacksonville Resident Engineer’s Office.


DETOUR:  Follow NC50/210 to onsite temporary detour alignment

The NCDOT reminds motorists to STAY ALERT, use alternate routes when possible during this period, drive with caution, obey the posted speed limits, and allow extra travel time.

For additional information regarding the dates and times of this closure, please visit and click on “Travel & Maps” then, click on “Traveler Information Management System” and use the dropdown menus for county or route, or call “511” from any phone.  For real-time travel information, visit or follow NCDOT on Twitter.

To obtain more information about this work, you may contact Ben Meyer, Project Engineer, at the Jacksonville Resident’s Office (910) 467-0520.

Ambassador Mattie R. Sharpless Recognized On May 10

During a September 2017 Pender County Board of Commissioners resoundingly approved the idea of naming a portion of US Hwy 17 after Ambassador Mattie R. Sharpless, a Hampstead native.

On May 10, Pender County turned out to honor one of their own as the idea became a reality.

A dedication ceremony, conducted on the steps of Manhollow Missionary Baptist Church, named a portion of US Hwy 17 was named in honor of Sharpless.

Sharpless, a graduate of Pender County Training School in Rocky Point, was nominated by President George W. Bush to serve as Ambassador to the Central African Republic. She was nominated Oct. 1, 2001 and just weeks later was confirmed by the U.S. Senate. She began working from the Central African Republic’s capital, Bangui, by mid-December of the same year. She served as the U.S. Ambassador for two years.

Sharpless was not a career diplomat. She started her government career in 1965 with the Department of Agriculture (USDA).  She worked with the United States Foreign Agriculture Service.

The child of a tobacco farmer, Sharpless lost her father, James Sharpless, when she was just 11 years old. Her mother, Lecola, made money from selling the tobacco from the 12 rows left by her father.

“I washed dishes at the restaurant and I scrubbed the church,” said Sharpless at the May 10 ceremony at Manhollow Missionary Baptist Church.

Sharpless pursued higher education and attended North Carolina College in Durham, a historically black college, in which she earned a degree in business education. The school became North Carolina Central University and she returned to Durham to earn a M.A. in business administration and economics.

Sharpless is an example of a person who dreams and works hard to achieve great things, said Pender County Commissioner David Williams.

“It’s a pleasure to honor one of our own,” said Williams. “In September 2017, the board of commissioners read about Ambassador Sharpless’ accomplishments. We were asked to pass a resolution to honor her. It was a no-brainer to honor this humble, confident, and genuine lady. This is a big deal to have a portion of US Hwy 17 named in her honor.”

“This highway was only two lanes as we grew up,” recalled Glorious Leaven, sister of Mattie Sharpless. “We walked this way to the schoolhouse and the church and we didn’t see many cars on the highway.”

Today the North Carolina Department of Transportation dedicated signs along the highway from Union Bethel Road to the Pender/Onslow county line in honor of Mattie R. Sharpless. Her life’s journey has taken her to Africa, Belgium, Switzerland, France, and points beyond.

Joining in the dedication ceremony were Landon Zimmer, a member of the NC Board of Transportation; NC District 5 Court Judge James H. Faison III, NC Attorney General Josh Stein, Pender County Commissioner David Williams, Surf City Mayor Doug Medlin, Warsaw Mayor A.J. Conners, Chief of Staff at North Carolina Central University Dr. Al Zow, NAACP Director District 16 Deborah Dicks-Maxwell, and Manhollow Missionary Baptist’s Rev. Dante A. Murphy. Also attending the ceremony was Sharpless’ 96 year old mother, Lecola.

“Ambassador Sharpless has raised the level of education in North Central Africa,” said Stein. He commended Sharpless for her efforts of stressing education for girls. “She was extremely influential and a school in Africa was named after her.”

Surf City Mayor Doug Medlin said it was the “perfect day to honor a perfect lady.”

“You make us proud,” Medlin said. “You have given our students, especially our girls, an example to look up to.”

Topsail High School Jazz Band performed during the ceremony. The Pender High School JROTC presented the colors. Christa G. Faison played Amazing Grace on a violin as a musical tribute to Sharpless.

Sharpless thanked her many friends, colleagues from Washington DC, high school and college classmates, and her family for their support. She especially thanked Rev. Dante A. Murphy for spearheading the effort with NCDOT to have the honorary signs installed.

She joked that there were more steps and regulations regarding getting signage along the state highway than there were steps in a career in the federal government.

Sharpless retired in 2005 but she remains active in community projects, especially projects involving education, youth, and the elderly.

Illnesses from Mosquito, Tick, and Flea Bites Increasing in the US

Illnesses from mosquito, tick, and flea bites have tripled in the U.S., with more than 640,000 cases reported during the 13 years from 2004 through 2016.  Nine new germs spread by mosquitoes and ticks were discovered or introduced into the United States during this time.

These findings are in the latest Vital Signs( report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is CDC’s first summary collectively examining data trends for all nationally notifiable diseases caused by the bite of an infected mosquito, tick, or flea. It provides detailed information on the growing burden of mosquito-borne and tickborne illnesses in the U.S.

“Zika, West Nile, Lyme, and chikungunya—a growing list of diseases caused by the bite of an infected mosquito, tick, or flea—have confronted the U.S. in recent years, making a lot of people sick. And we don’t know what will threaten Americans next,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, M.D. “Our Nation’s first lines of defense are state and local health departments and vector control organizations, and we must continue to enhance our investment in their ability to fight against these diseases.”

Read full article here:

Collins will serve as a panelist at Disaster Preparedness Forum, June 6

PENDER COUNTY – Pender County Emergency Manager Tom Collins will serve as an expert panelist in the upcoming Disaster Preparedness Forum June 6, 7-9 p.m. in the auditorium of Cape Fear Community College’s Union Station, 502 N. Front St.

“The forum will provide hurricane preparedness information to residents in Pender, Brunswick, and New Hanover counties,” said Collins. “Many of our residents have not experienced a serious hurricane and do not understand the warnings and safety precautions necessary to protect themselves in the event of a hurricane.”

Collins will join emergency managers from the region as well as Steve Pfaff from the National Weather Service, James Jarvis of the Red Cross, and Mark Suddeth, a local storm tracker. Si Cantwell, the community editor at StarNews Media, will moderate.

“Hurricane season will begin June 1,” said Collins. “Now is the time to learn evacuation routes and prepare emergency kits.”

The forum is a community outreach program of the Star News. Admission is free. The public is encouraged to attend and ask questions pertaining to storm preparedness.


Pender County Selected To Host 2019 Annual Mountains-To-Sea Trail Conference

Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail announced at the Pender County Commissioners meeting on Monday, May 7 that Surf City and Pender County will host its Gathering of Friends, March 22-24, 2019.

The Gathering is the annual membership meeting and weekend of excursions for the Friends group that supports the 1175-mile Mountains-to-Sea Trail. The weekend will bring hundreds of visitors from across North Carolina to the area.

The conference will kick off with a Friends’ reception on Friday, March 22 at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center, followed by dinner at the Surf City Community Center. A member meeting will occur on Saturday at the Surf City Community Center. Throughout the weekend, guided hikes and excursions will showcase the natural beauty and special places along the route of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail in Pender and Onslow counties.

Pender County was selected from a group of nine communities from across the state who submitted bids to host the event. The Town of Elkin hosted the event in 2017 and 2018 and found it to be a great opportunity to showcase their region’s natural beauty and hiking trails.

“Staff and board members from Pender County and Surf City have so many fun, creative ideas for activities that we know our members will enjoy,” said Kate Dixon, Friends of the MST’s executive director.  “This will be the first time we’ve held the conference in Eastern North Carolina, and we’re excited to have our members learn more about this special part of the trail route.”

“The Coastal Crescent through Pender County spotlights diversity in scenery, from battlefields, blueberries, and beaches,” said Tammy Proctor, Pender County Tourism Director. “We are pleased to showcase the beauty of Surf City, Historic Burgaw, and the natural resources of our county.”

Friends of the MST is a non-profit whose volunteers support building and maintaining the statewide trail.  The MST crosses North Carolina from Clingmans Dome in the Smokies to Jockey’s Ridge on the Outer Banks.  More than half of the trail is in federal, state and local natural areas with the remainder along roads in rural areas.

In Pender County, the route traverses many special places including Moores Creek Battlefield, Burgaw, the Northeast Cape Fear River, Holly Shelter Game Land and the boardwalks and beach in Surf City.

For more information about the trail, visit

Mayor Medlin and Pender County Tourism Assistant Olivia Dawson

Passing of the Hiking Stick

Pender County earns national achievement award for Ghost Walk: Ghosts of Pender’s Past

WASHINGTON –  Pender County’s Ghost Walk: Ghosts of Pender’s Past has been recognized with an Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties (NACo). The awards honor innovative, effective county government programs that strengthen services for residents.

NACo recognized Ghost Walk: Ghost of Pender’s Past, in the Arts, Culture and Historic Preservation, for bringing an innovated presentation of art while spotlighting the county’s culture and history.

“We are honored by this national recognition by NACo,” said Pender County Manager Randell Woodruff. “Ghost Walk: Ghosts of Pender’s Past is a collaboration of our tourism department, Pender County Historical Society, the Historical Society of Topsail Island, Moores Creek National Battlefield, Pender Arts Council, and students and staff from Pender County School District.”

NACo President Roy Charles Brooks said, “Counties seize opportunities to deliver services more efficiently and build stronger communities every day. Achievement Award-winning programs are examples for counties that are determined to enhance services for our residents.”

Nationally, awards are given in 18 different categories that reflect the vast, comprehensive services counties provide. The categories include children and youth, criminal justice, county administration, information technology, health, civic engagement and many more.

NACo will recognize award-winning counties at its 2018 Annual Conference and Exposition July 13-16 in Nashville/Davidson County, Tennessee.

Started in 1970, NACo’s annual Achievement Awards program is designed to recognize county government innovations. Each nominee is judged on its own merits and not against other applications received.

NACo 2018 Achievement Award Logo

The National Association of Counties (NACo) unites America’s 3,069 county governments.  Founded in 1935, NACo brings county officials together to advocate with a collective voice on national policy, exchange ideas and build new leadership skills, pursue transformational county solutions, enrich the public’s understanding of county government and exercise exemplary leadership in public service.  Learn more at

Public Notice: Water & Sewer System Development Fee Analysis Available for Review and Comment

In accordance with the Public Water and Sewer System Development Fee Act, also known as House Bill 436, Pender County is seeking public review and comment on an analysis that has been prepared by Stantec Consulting Services Inc. which analyzes the maximum fee the County may charge for System Development Fees on new water and sewer connections.

This report presents the results of the comprehensive study, including background information, legal requirements, an explanation of the calculation methodology employed, and the results of the analysis. This analysis is strictly for water and sewer System Development Fees that are designed to recover the cost of water and sewer capacity collected from new connectors to each system. This analysis does not include the evaluation of water and sewer rates paid monthly by existing customers.

A paper copy is available at Pender County Utilities, 605 E. Fremont Street, Burgaw, NC 28425.
This analysis is open for public comment for a period of 45 days and expires on Friday, June 22, 2018. Consideration of adopting the fees will take place on July 2, 2018 at the Pender County Commissioner’s Meeting.

Written comments can be submitted to Pender County Utilities prior to June 22, 2018 by mailing to:

Margaret Gray, Utilities Director
Attn: System Development Fee Comments
605 E. Fremont Street
Burgaw, NC 28425

Or by email to:

Scallywags Weekend: Family-fun for Mateys

Scallywags Weekend has several components – a movie night, a pirate encampment, a low country shrimp boil, Pirate Olympics, a scavenger hunt, Blackbeard’s Market, and rides aboard The Raven and a Pirate Show at The Raven!

The weekend will kick-off Friday, May 4, with the Pirate Encampment and the movie, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales at Soundside Park. The movie will begin around 8:15 p.m. Bring your blanket or lawn chair. Jack Sparrow and pirates will join us before the movie, so be sure to bring the camera or smartphone.

Saturday’s events include rides aboard The Raven, a Pirate Show at The Raven, firing demonstrations by the pirates camped at Soundside Park, Pirate Olympics, Blackbeard’s Market, a low country shrimp boil, and more!

Saturday’s events begin with a bang as Surf City Mayor Doug Medlin fires the cannon at Soundside Park, 10 a.m. Living Series Demonstrations will be given by the pirates. And what pirate would be complete with parrots? See the parrots and play games.

Meanwhile, speaking of games, the Historical Society of Topsail Island will host Pirate Olympics. Get your team of four family and friends to compete. Spectators are welcomed! The Olympics begin at 10 a.m. but you must register to compete before 9:30 a.m. (online registration is available on the HSTI website). The games will be hosted by the Topsail Beach Town Park Center.

Also in Topsail Beach, visit Blackbeard’s Market for a wide variety of vendors.

On Saturday, the Greater Topsail Area Chamber of Commerce and Topsail Steamer will serve up lunch and dinner with a low country shrimp boil for only $20 a plate at Soundside Park from noon – 6 p.m.

Don’t miss the Scavenger Hunt! Businesses will be listed on a special poster for our visitors who are encouraged to find their treasure in our local business.

The Hampstead Methodist Church’s Boy Scout Troop will serve Pirate Grub and Gold Doubloon Pancakes at the Surf City Welcome Center from 8 – 11 a.m.

The Scallywags Weekend planning committee will met Monday, April 30, at noon, at the Greater Topsail Area Chamber Conference Room.

Visit The Scallywags Weekend Events Page on Facebook by clicking the icon below:

Emergency Closure of Azalea Drive (SR1750)

NCDOT Bridge Crews will close Azalea Drive beginning on Tuesday, April 23, 2018 through Friday April 27, 2018 at 5:00 pm. The closure is necessary due to heavy rains in the area that was already narrowed to one lane for a planned pipe replacement.

Weather permitting, the closure will end on Friday, and crews will return to a single lane closure in order to complete the project.

Please direct your questions to Larry King at 910-296-8730.

The NCDOT reminds motorists to STAY ALERT, encourages motorists to use alternate routes when possible during this period, drive with caution, obey the posted speed limits, and allow extra travel time.

For additional information regarding the dates and times of this lane closure, please visit and click on “Travel & Maps” then, click on “Traveler Information Management System” and use the dropdown menus for county or route, or call “511” from any phone. For real-time travel information, visit or follow NCDOT on Twitter.

Translate »

COVID-19 vaccination appointments are NOW being accepted for everyone 12 years and older. Schedule your appointment in Burgaw or Hampstead. (Moderna vaccine is only approved for age 18 and up.)