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Pender County Commissioners Approve Hospital Ownership transfer to Novant Health; Closing anticipated by mid-October

Pender County Commissioners Approve Hospital Ownership transfer to Novant Health; Closing anticipated by mid-October

Last night the Pender County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to authorize the transfer of Pender Medical Center in Burgaw to Novant Health. This transfer is part of a larger plan to increase access to health care services across Pender County. As part of the agreement, which was announced in June, Novant Health will invest $50 million to improve the hospital over the next 10 years.

When the transaction is finalized by mid-October, Pender County will retain a majority of representatives on the hospital’s board of trustees.

Novant Health Pender Medical Center is a 25-bed critical access hospital with 43 skilled nursing home beds in Burgaw. The hospital offers a range of services including emergency care, surgery, imaging, infusion therapy and skilled nursing, in addition to Novant Health Home Care.

See below for media statements from Novant Health and Pender County:

  • “We are thrilled to celebrate this landmark agreement with Pender County Commissioners that secures a healthier future for the entire community. A strong team is already in place at Novant Health Pender Medical Center, and we look forward to building on their legacy of care in the years to come.” -Jeff Lindsay, executive vice president and chief operating officer
  • “This is an exciting and historic day for Pender County, as we take another step toward improving Pender Medical Center in Burgaw to be a community general hospital within five years. Since the beginning of these negotiations, the Board of Commissioners has been united in securing the best possible future for our hospital and all our citizens, and we have accomplished that by securing a $50 million investment in our hospital that will bring new medical facilities and service providers to Pender Medical Center. The Board’s approval of this agreement today delivers on our promise to ensure the best access and care for all who need it, today and in the future.”- Jackie Newton, Chair of the Board of Commissioners
  • “Our goal is to provide the highest quality healthcare to Pender County’s residents by advancing our community’s health and well-being. With this investment commitment, we will maintain an accessible healthcare destination for our growing community and provide new healthcare career opportunities for our residents.” Wendy Fletcher-Hardee, Vice-Chair of the Board of Commissioners and a county representative appointed to the Pender Medical Center Board of Trustees

Pender County Emergency Management reminds residents it’s time to prepare, stay alert

PENDER COUNTY – The Pender County Office of Emergency Management urges residents to prepare for Hurricane Idalia, which is expected to impact the Gulf Coast of Florida and move up the East Coast. Meanwhile, off the East Coast is Hurricane Franklin, a Category 4 storm that is impacting the coast with dangerous rip currents.

“Pender County Emergency Management is closely monitoring Hurricane Idalia,” said Tommy Batson, Pender County Emergency Management director. “This storm is expected to strengthen and will impact the coast of Carolina.”

According to the latest reports, Pender County will be impacted by heavy rainfall and tropical-force winds Wednesday through Thursday. This could result in fallen trees and downing of power lines. Some coastal flooding may occur, especially with the King Tide on Wednesday and Thursday.

The greatest danger is the spawning of tornadoes and waterspouts.

“This is the time to prepare,” said Batson. “Tropical storms and Category 1 hurricanes cause more deaths than even the most powerful of storms. It’s important to treat these storms with caution and preparation.”

If you don’t have a hurricane emergency kit, there is time to assemble a kit. Have batteries, plenty of drinking water, non-perishable foods, medications, cash, a full tank of fuel in your vehicles, and propane in stock. A complete checklist is available online at The cell phone app is free to download.

Batson said the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) staff will continue to monitor the storm.

“When preparing, keep in mind the items you need to maintain the health and safety of your family and pets,” said Batson. “This is the time to secure lawn furniture and items that can be lifted away by strong winds.”

Free text, telephone, or email alerts are free by opting into the county’s Nixle emergency alerts system. Go to or to sign up. To get information text your zip code to 888777 and get the Nixle Emergency Notifications on your smartphone.

Pender County Emergency Management will post updates on the Facebook page at and on the website, If you need assistance call the EM office at 910- 259-1210.

Sign up now to receive local emergency alerts

PENDER COUNTY –  With a probable tropical storm approaching this week, now is the perfect time to sign up for real-time public safety messages.


Pender County has contracted with Nixle to implement a Community Notification System to alert residents of localized emergencies and relevant community advisories. This will replace CodeRed which has been used by Pender County Emergency Management for several years.


“Our priority is the health and safety of our residents,” said Tommy Batson, Pender County Emergency Management Director. “We urge all of residents, businesses, and visitors of Pender County to register for this free community alert system.”


There are three ways to register:

Go to and sign up via the Nixle Widget

Text your Zip Code to 888777 from your mobile phone

Download the Everbridge (Nixle Alert) App on your mobile phone.


Once registered, residents will receive a confirmation text on their mobile device. Residents may also customize their alert settings by going to to create a User Profile.


Landline telephone numbers are automatically updated every month and will receive voice alerts, so no action is necessary if a resident only uses a landline.


“This service is secure, reliable, and easy to use,” said Batson. “The service will alert residents to weather conditions, wildfires, and more by geographic location.”


All Alerts will be targeted geographically, allowing residents to receive localized, relevant alerts from Pender County. Alerts can be sent via Text messaging, Email, Voice, Web, Social Media, and the Nixle Mobile App in an instant.


Nixle, founded in 2009, is known for its data security. The company serves more than 7,200 agencies within the United States for emergency alerts.


For questions or concerns call Pender County Emergency Management at 910-259-1210.

Pender County Tourism announces another record year in visitor economic impact

Pender County spending increases by 14.7 percent to $189.66 million

PENDER COUNTY – Domestic and international visitors to and within Pender County spent $189.66 million in 2022, an increase of 14.7 percent from 2021. The data comes from an annual study commissioned by Visit North Carolina, a unit of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina.

“The tourism industry in Pender County continues to grow and once again, visitor spending hit an all-time high in our county,” said Tammy Proctor, Pender County Tourism Director. “Tourism is driven by natural resources and outdoor recreation, history, agriculture and aquaculture, and film. Pender County offers visitors all these attractions.”

The travel and tourism industry in Pender County directly employs more than 1,004. The total payroll generated by the tourism industry in Pender County was $39.6 million.

The state tax revenue generated in Pender County totaled $6.2 million through state sales and excise taxes, and taxes on personal and corporate income. About $8.9 million in local taxes were generated from sales and property tax revenue from travel-generated and travel-supported businesses. The taxes generated by visitors save each Pender County resident $231.98.

The statistics come from the “Economic Impact of Travel on North Carolina Counties 2022.” The study was prepared for Visit North Carolina by Tourism Economics in collaboration with the US Travel Association.

Statewide, visitor spending in 2022 rose 15.2 percent to reach a record $33.3 billion. Urban areas, which experienced a decline during the pandemic have rebounded.

“North Carolina’s tourism industry draws its success from the authentic culture and experiences that flourish across a spectrum of settings,” said Wit Tuttell, Visit NC’s executive director. “The new report from Tourism Economics shows growth beyond our celebrated mountains and beaches to our urban centers and surrounding suburban and rural counties. Tourism’s strength across the state underscores the industry’s role as an anchor of economic development. The money visitors spend benefits everyone by sustaining jobs and reducing the tax burden for every resident.”

“The tourism industry is vital to the economic development of our county,” said Proctor. “For the last five years, Pender County has set new visitor spending records and increased the number of jobs. That’s excellent economic development.”

System Pressure Advisory RESCINDED

Pender County Utilities has rescinded the August 16, 2023, System Pressure Advisory, issued to its water customers on the West side of Pender County and Central Pender County.

Bacteriological analysis results of drinking water samples collected after completion of the water system repair show no coliform bacteria present.  The system has resumed normal operations and you may use the water without boiling.

The system pressure advisory is hereby rescinded on August 18, 2023.

System Pressure Advisory


Here is an update on the water line, as of 8 a.m. today, the US 421 repairs are completed. The Malpass elevated tower tank is filling this morning. Crews spent last night bleeding air out of the system.
The water system remains under the pressure advisory.
Bacteria samples will be taken this morning and with good results, the system be removed from under the Pressure advisory. It is the hope of PCU officials that the system pressure advisory will be lifted before noon on Friday.
Hampstead and Topsail held their own and tank levels at Hampstead at its lowest was 118ft and Topsail Tank 120 feet.
The break was found on the 24-inch main. A 16-ft. section of pipe split on the bottom. The suspected cause of the break was poor bedding and roots. The damaged pipe was originally installed in 2013.
PCU officials thank the public for conserving water.


System Pressure Advisory – posted Aug. 16, 2023

Water customers of Pender County Utilities, in Pender County, including all customers except for the Hampstead area may be affected by low pressure or no water service.  Approximately 4000+ customers are impacted at this time on Aug. 16 at 3 a.m.

The water outage is due to the Main water transmission line on 421 that ruptured that feeds water from the west side to all of Pender County. Crews are out working, and some water flow has been established in those areas from other sources and looped areas

Water service will be returned upon completion of the work. Periods of low or no pressure in the distribution system increase the potential for back siphonage and the introduction of bacteria into the water system.

Therefore, consumers in the area noted above are advised to boil all water used for human consumption (including drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and food preparation) or use bottled water until this advisory is lifted. This advisory will be in effect for a minimum of 24 hours.

Vigorous boiling for one (1) minute should kill any disease-causing organisms that may be present in the water. Water customers are strongly urged to conserve water whenever possible.

This advisory remains in effect until further written notification is issued.

This advisory will go in effect on Wednesday 8-16-23 at 3 a.m. Testing will determine after 24 hours that water is safe for consumption or if another 24hrs the boil water will remain.


Pender County WIC receives the highest award of excellence

BURGAW – Pender County’s WIC department received the Premiere Award of Excellence from the US Department of Agriculture. The honor is called the WIC Breastfeeding Award of Excellence Program.

“This is the second time Pender County’s WIC agency has been honored,” said Carolyn Moser, Pender County Health and Human Services Director. “The recognition goes to agencies that have demonstrated model practices in Breastfeeding Peer Counseling as well as those who are at varying stages of implementing exemplary breastfeeding promotion and support practices.”

Only eight North Carolina local WIC agencies achieved the WIC Breastfeeding Award of Excellence. Six of those were Gold Award Winners. Pender County was one of only two agencies that was honored with the Premiere Award. The other county was Buncombe.

According to the US Department of Agriculture, this year North Carolina has the highest number of awardees in the southeast region, including the most Gold awardees and the only SERO State agency with Premiere awardees.

Pender and Buncombe counties have created an elite group, they are the only local WIC agencies in the southeast region to achieve the Premiere Award twice, according to the USDA.

“We are proud of our hardworking staff,” said Moser. “This is an important program that promotes good health for mother and child.”

To qualify for the Premiere Award, local WIC agencies must have a minimum of 15 percent of infants issued the fully breastfeeding food package in the previous year with improvement in the current year or a minimum of 25 percent of infants have been issued the fully breastfeeding food package in the current year.

WIC stands for Women, Infants, and Children.

Multiple All-Way Stops coming to Pender County

Work scheduled to begin this week

MAPLE HILL – Multiple Pender County intersections are scheduled to become all-way stops over the next couple of weeks.

The intersections were selected for the new traffic pattern based on a safety review, traffic volumes, and crash patterns. On the following dates, these crossroads will become all-way stops:

  • Aug. 16: N.C. 53 at N.C. 50
  • Aug. 21: N.C. 210 at Malpass Corner Road/ Bell Williams Road
  • Aug. 23: Piney Woods Road at Horse Branch Road
  • Aug. 23: Penderlea Highway at Coras Grove Road

Drivers are urged to slow down while crews are working and be cautious of the new traffic pattern.

An all-way stop is an effective and cost-efficient way to improve the safety of an intersection and reduce the risk of serious crashes. To learn more about them, visit this NCDOT webpage.

For real-time travel information, visit or follow NCDOT on social media.

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