Chris Berendt

Position: Staff writer
E-Mail Address: cberendt@civitasmedia.com
Phone Number: (910) 249-4616


About Chris Berendt

Chris earned a BA in journalistic communication, minor in political science from Purdue University. A North Carolina Press Association award winner, Chris has 10 years of reporting experience, the last 9 with The Sampson Independent covering every aspect news. He currently covers all city and county government reporting for the SI and previously worked as crime reporter.

Latest Stories by Chris Berendt

The cloud of budget deliberations that loomed over the county has finally cleared with the adoption of a 2014-15 plan, but Sampson isn't safe from the storm — not by a long shot, commissioners said.
Following yet another year of budget discussions where it seemed a full fiscal plan may never come, one with a 4.5-cent tax rate was approved by

Budget OK'd, now what?

The cloud of budget deliberations that loomed over the county has finally cleared with the adoption of a 2014-15 plan, but Sampson isn't safe from the storm — not by a long shot, commissioners said. Following yet another year of budget discussions where it seemed a full fiscal plan may never come, one with a 4.5-cent tax rate was approved by

Cindy Cottle and others in the Sampson County Tax Office have been working 12-hour days this week, and she hopes that Thursday's might be the last for a while.
The county's assistant tax administrator, Cottle said local property owners have already been calling the office inquiring about their tax bills. Since the 2014-15 budget was adopted Monday

A taxing effort

Cindy Cottle and others in the Sampson County Tax Office have been working 12-hour days this week, and she hopes that Thursday's might be the last for a while. The county's assistant tax administrator, Cottle said local property owners have already been calling the office inquiring about their tax bills. Since the 2014-15 budget was adopted Monday

Telamon Corporation was recently awarded the Early Head Start grant and will continue to provide those services to an additional 76 children and pregnant women in the county previously served by the Sampson County Partnership for Children, Telamon officials have announced.
“It is critically important that those families who would like to con

Telamon expanding Early Head Start service

Telamon Corporation was recently awarded the Early Head Start grant and will continue to provide those services to an additional 76 children and pregnant women in the county previously served by the Sampson County Partnership for Children, Telamon officials have announced. “It is critically important that those families who would like to con

Anything less than the tax increase of 9 cents recommended to commissioners in early June would defer necessary expenses and put the county firmly behind the fiscal eight-ball going forward, the county manager has implored.
County manager Ed Causey said cuts would usher in an era of “doing less with less,” a twist on the oft-uttered &#

Confronting the budget crisis

Anything less than the tax increase of 9 cents recommended to commissioners in early June would defer necessary expenses and put the county firmly behind the fiscal eight-ball going forward, the county manager has implored. County manager Ed Causey said cuts would usher in an era of “doing less with less,” a twist on the oft-uttered &#

Chris Berendt/Sampson Independent
On Saturday morning, dozens of children and their families gathered at the J.C. Holliday Library for the Summer Reading Program Celebration, which wrapped up the Sampson-Clinton Public Library's program for the season. Bringing the 2014 summer edition to a close was Paul Miller of Flow Circus out of Raleigh, who s

Feeling the 'Flow'

Chris Berendt/Sampson Independent On Saturday morning, dozens of children and their families gathered at the J.C. Holliday Library for the Summer Reading Program Celebration, which wrapped up the Sampson-Clinton Public Library's program for the season. Bringing the 2014 summer edition to a close was Paul Miller of Flow Circus out of Raleigh, who s

Confusion, disarray and division among county commissioners came to an embarrassing head Wednesday night in a debacle that left employees thoroughly perplexed and exasperated and board members speechless, only to approve a historically dubious second interim budget.
That second interim budget, adopted unanimously by the Sampson Board of Commission

Budget charade reaches historic peak

Confusion, disarray and division among county commissioners came to an embarrassing head Wednesday night in a debacle that left employees thoroughly perplexed and exasperated and board members speechless, only to approve a historically dubious second interim budget. That second interim budget, adopted unanimously by the Sampson Board of Commission

In the past five years, Clinton native Donald Ringley has gotten married to the love of his life, watched his granddaughter grow up and shared an emotional experience with fellow cancer survivors celebrating renewed life. If not for quality care and support, none of it would have happened.
Ringley joined more than 100 other survivors from across t

Sowing seeds of renewed life

In the past five years, Clinton native Donald Ringley has gotten married to the love of his life, watched his granddaughter grow up and shared an emotional experience with fellow cancer survivors celebrating renewed life. If not for quality care and support, none of it would have happened. Ringley joined more than 100 other survivors from across t

An exhaustive effort to show the Sampson Board of Commissioners the impacts of a 5 percent across-the-board countywide cut was made moot in a matter of minutes Wednesday.
In a 3-2 vote, the board approved a 4.5-cent tax bump that would take the current rate to 83 cents per $100 valuation, from 78.5 cents, essentially taking a 62-page document summ

County departments dodge 5 percent slash

An exhaustive effort to show the Sampson Board of Commissioners the impacts of a 5 percent across-the-board countywide cut was made moot in a matter of minutes Wednesday. In a 3-2 vote, the board approved a 4.5-cent tax bump that would take the current rate to 83 cents per $100 valuation, from 78.5 cents, essentially taking a 62-page document summ

In a move that shocked the many county department heads and others in attendance for what was supposed to be an all-day affair Wednesday, the Board of Commissioners approved a 4.5-cent tax hike before hearing one word from employees.
After little more than a half hour, the board recessed its meeting following the 3-2 approval of the tax increase t

All-day budget affair averted

In a move that shocked the many county department heads and others in attendance for what was supposed to be an all-day affair Wednesday, the Board of Commissioners approved a 4.5-cent tax hike before hearing one word from employees. After little more than a half hour, the board recessed its meeting following the 3-2 approval of the tax increase t

Series to address minority mental health issues

A monthly education series devoted to informing the public, as well as a variety of medical and mental health professionals, social workers, counselors, educators and many others in the community, will continue next week, recognizing Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. Through the monthly education series, sponsored by Sampson Regional Medical

After a bit of a delay, the first-annual “Movies at the Market” will wrap up this week with the second of two family film outings at the Clinton City Market.
“We will likely be doing this again next year and are hopeful the weather will cooperate with us this week,” Clinton-Sampson Planning director Mary Rose said Tuesday.

Coming to a market near you … 'Movies' set for this Thursday

After a bit of a delay, the first-annual “Movies at the Market” will wrap up this week with the second of two family film outings at the Clinton City Market. “We will likely be doing this again next year and are hopeful the weather will cooperate with us this week,” Clinton-Sampson Planning director Mary Rose said Tuesday.

A purely Sampson showcase, a five-course dining experience featuring foods farmed in Sampson and prepared by a select group of its own chefs — all proceeds from which then go back into the community — is returning for seconds.
“Outstanding in Our Fields,” the aptly-titled United Way of Sampson County fundraiser, is back thi

United Way eyes another 'Outstanding' bounty

A purely Sampson showcase, a five-course dining experience featuring foods farmed in Sampson and prepared by a select group of its own chefs — all proceeds from which then go back into the community — is returning for seconds. “Outstanding in Our Fields,” the aptly-titled United Way of Sampson County fundraiser, is back thi

Local fire departments are facing a 5 percent cut, a prospect that would not only affect the volunteer units themselves but could adversely impact emergency response to citizens as well as their insurance costs down the road.
The proposed 2014-15 Sampson County budget currently calls for a 5.25-cent tax hike (whittled down from an initial 9 cents)

Local fire departments feeling budget burn

Local fire departments are facing a 5 percent cut, a prospect that would not only affect the volunteer units themselves but could adversely impact emergency response to citizens as well as their insurance costs down the road. The proposed 2014-15 Sampson County budget currently calls for a 5.25-cent tax hike (whittled down from an initial 9 cents)

Now that a grant that would have paid in excess of $400,000 for upgraded City of Clinton recreation amenities has gone by the wayside, an adopted naming rights policy for the city's facilities is in a holding pattern — at least for now.
City manager Shawn Purvis said he sees the two going hand-in-hand, with sponsorship money being put toward

With no rec grant, naming rights on hold

Now that a grant that would have paid in excess of $400,000 for upgraded City of Clinton recreation amenities has gone by the wayside, an adopted naming rights policy for the city's facilities is in a holding pattern — at least for now. City manager Shawn Purvis said he sees the two going hand-in-hand, with sponsorship money being put toward

There is one unpaved road in Sampson County set for resurfacing and, now that a new system has officially gone into effect funding roads on a statewide priority basis rather than at the county level, it could be the last one for quite some time.
Reached Thursday, N.C. Department of Transportation district engineer Lin Reynolds noted the change, th

A move to statewide paving leaves Sampson in dust

There is one unpaved road in Sampson County set for resurfacing and, now that a new system has officially gone into effect funding roads on a statewide priority basis rather than at the county level, it could be the last one for quite some time. Reached Thursday, N.C. Department of Transportation district engineer Lin Reynolds noted the change, th

The Alive After Five Summer Concert Series has raised nearly $100,000 this year through the aid of more than 90 sponsors and, despite some weather issues thus far, the events have been well-attended.
The next show, featuring The Magnificents, is on tap for Thursday.
Alive After Five Committee member Ray Jordan said the 93 sponsors and $98,993 ama

AA5 nets nearly $100,000 for 2014

The Alive After Five Summer Concert Series has raised nearly $100,000 this year through the aid of more than 90 sponsors and, despite some weather issues thus far, the events have been well-attended. The next show, featuring The Magnificents, is on tap for Thursday. Alive After Five Committee member Ray Jordan said the 93 sponsors and $98,993 ama

An unsuccessful grant application for the initial stage of a Royal Lane Park revamp has Clinton officials “perplexed and dismayed” and City Council headed back to the drawing board on potential courses of action for the renovations.
The city received news of the announcement by the N.C. Parks & Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF) grant p

Royal Lane Park passed over for grant funding

An unsuccessful grant application for the initial stage of a Royal Lane Park revamp has Clinton officials “perplexed and dismayed” and City Council headed back to the drawing board on potential courses of action for the renovations. The city received news of the announcement by the N.C. Parks & Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF) grant p

Wells that represent a seismic shift in Sampson's water service and will reduce dependence on outside purchases in the coming years will likely come online permanently “within the next three weeks,” the county's Public Works director said Monday.
The wells received the state nod earlier this year and subsequently underwent a battery of

County wells get manual workout

Wells that represent a seismic shift in Sampson's water service and will reduce dependence on outside purchases in the coming years will likely come online permanently “within the next three weeks,” the county's Public Works director said Monday. The wells received the state nod earlier this year and subsequently underwent a battery of

Julie Stadig visited the Ashford Inn for the first time nearly one year ago. This week will make six months she and her husband Eric have owned the well-known establishment on College Street, and she couldn't be happier about how everything has fallen into place.
“It's been a little hectic and busy, but exhilarating,” Stadig said, R

New owners, same 'Ashford Inn'

Julie Stadig visited the Ashford Inn for the first time nearly one year ago. This week will make six months she and her husband Eric have owned the well-known establishment on College Street, and she couldn't be happier about how everything has fallen into place. “It's been a little hectic and busy, but exhilarating,” Stadig said, R

The N.C. Housing Finance Agency has made $7 million available to eligible organizations for the rehabilitation of scattered-site, owner-occupied homes in selected counties, including Sampson, under the 2014 cycle of the Single Family Rehabilitation Loan Pool (SFRLP).
Under this cycle of SFRLP14, funds will be made available to serve homeowners in

Sampson poised to offer housing rehab funds

The N.C. Housing Finance Agency has made $7 million available to eligible organizations for the rehabilitation of scattered-site, owner-occupied homes in selected counties, including Sampson, under the 2014 cycle of the Single Family Rehabilitation Loan Pool (SFRLP). Under this cycle of SFRLP14, funds will be made available to serve homeowners in




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