Recent News

Over Half of Small Businesses Looking to Hire, Having Difficulty Finding Workers

December 4, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Small businesses reported a historically high level of job openings in November, according to NFIB’s monthly jobs report. Overall, 53% reported hiring or trying to hire in November, down 2 points from the previous month. A seasonally adjusted net 21% of owners are planning to create new jobs in the next 3 months, up…

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NC Homeowners Alliance Opposes Insurance Rate Increase

December 3, 2020

RALEIGH, N.C. — Through the NC Rate Bureau, North Carolina’s insurance companies have collectively proposed a 25 percent increase on property insurance premiums. On December 10 from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey will hold a virtual public hearing on this issue.   “The NC Homeowners Alliance opposes the insurance companies’ outrageous efforts to raise rates by 25 percent…

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Duke Energy Progress says customers will see bills go down in December

December 3, 2020

RALEIGH, N.C. — Duke Energy Progress customers in North Carolina will see more than $4 in savings on their monthly energy bills beginning in December due to the combined impact of annual rate adjustments. Overall, energy costs will decrease 3.9% for residential customers, 3.6% for commercial customers and 2.3% for industrial customers. The total monthly impact for a typical…

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Holly Childs named new CEO of Wilmington Downtown, Inc.

December 3, 2020

WILMINGTON, N.C. — Wilmington Downtown, Inc. (WDI) recently announced that Holly Childs has been appointed as the organization’s new President and Chief Executive Officer. Her first official day with WDI will be January 4, 2021. Childs has 15 years of public sector economic development leadership roles in cities such as Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and metro Phoenix,…

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Local unemployment rates down in October

December 3, 2020

RALEIGH, N.C. — Unemployment rates (not seasonally adjusted) decreased in all 100 of North Carolina’s counties in October. In southeastern North Carolina, Brunswick County’s unemployment rate dropped from 7.7% in September to 7% in October, while Bladen County’s rate dropped from 6.7% to 6.1%, Columbus County’s rate dropped from 7.9% to 7.2%, and unemployment in…

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N.C. Commerce releases 2021 tier rankings

December 2, 2020

The North Carolina Department of Commerce released the county tier designations for 2021 today.  The designations, which are mandated by state law, play a role in several programs that assist in economic development. The 2021 rankings comply with the methodology prescribed by the North Carolina General Assembly in General Statute §143B-437.08, which identifies four economic…

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Wilmington Chamber of Commerce receives grant from The Duke Energy Foundation for talent

December 2, 2020

WILMINGTON, N.C. — The Wilmington Chamber of Commerce team, through the Cape Fear Future Foundation, has been awarded a $10,000 grant from the Duke Energy Foundation to support implementation of talent and workforce development programs that will address the most pressing skills gaps in our community.  “A skilled and ready workforce is vital to our…

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ATMC Recognized in Columbus County People’s Choice Awards

December 2, 2020

WHITEVILLE, N.C. – ATMC has been recognized for providing the Best in Customer Service, Best in Internet Service and Best in Cable TV in the News Reporter’s 2020 “Best of Columbus” People’s Choice Awards. This is ATMC’s first-time receiving recognition through the News Reporter’s People’s Choice Awards program where readers in Columbus County cast their votes…

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Business Advice & Expertise

Tough Love for the Entrepreneurs Can Hack the Complacent Startup Ecosystem

March 12, 2021

The startup ecosystem is a living and growing organism that most cities are trying to add to their modern economic development strategy for job creation. The startup ecosystem is typically a very positive kumbaya environment. There are lots of smiles around town while people with rose colored glasses are selling more commercial and residential real…

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How Changes in Purchasing Decisions Could Affect Your Business

March 11, 2021

Yesterday I was a last-minute speaker for a business group, filling in for a planned speaker who was under the weather. I had to put on my thinking cap and come up with an interesting topic with little time to spare. Given that we are now at the one-year anniversary of COVID-19’s initial impacts on…

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Owned Media: Don’t Put All of Your Eggs in a Basket Controlled by Someone Else

March 5, 2021

When I first entered the public relations profession shortly after college, we typically heard about two types of media: earned media and paid media. Thanks to technology-driven changes, social media and owned media have become increasingly prevalent communication tools in recent years. Paid media refers to tools such as traditional advertising and direct mail. While…

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Opinion & Commentary

OPINION: What to Do When They’re Wrong

July 2, 2021

by John Hood RALEIGH — Here are three true statements, as best I can determine. First, Americans of all backgrounds have experienced gigantic declines in poverty over the past two generations. Second, most diversity training is worse than a waste of time. Third, police officers are no more likely to kill minorities than they are…

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OPINION: Got to Pick a Pocket?

June 29, 2021

June 28, 2021 by John Hood RALEIGH — Did Fagin’s pickpockets stimulate the economy of London? If you’ve read Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist or seen the musical derived from it, you’ll immediately recognize the name. Fagin is the rogue who takes in orphans and runaways, trains them to pick pockets and swindle marks, and then distributes the…

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OPINION: Stop Kicking Social Security Can

June 23, 2021

By JOHN HOOD RALEIGH — Although the politicians in Washington almost never talk about the issue anymore, our entitlement programs are on a collision course with fiscal reality. Let’s zero in on Social Security. Its “trust fund,” which consists entirely of debt the federal government has issued to itself, will be exhausted in a decade…

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