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 latest in an ongoing series of significant drug arrests by the Sampson County Sheriff's Office continued Thursday as two more “Double Tap” suspects were served felony charges.
William Travis Pope, 26, of 897 Renfrow Road, Clinton, was charged with selling methamphetamine, delivering methamphetamine and possession with intent to man

Couple more arrests on 'Tap'

The latest in an ongoing series of significant drug arrests by the Sampson County Sheriff's Office continued Thursday as two more “Double Tap” suspects were served felony charges. William Travis Pope, 26, of 897 Renfrow Road, Clinton, was charged with selling methamphetamine, delivering methamphetamine and possession with intent to man

Investigators with the Clinton Police Department's Neighborhood Improvement Team are looking for suspects in a Thursday night armed robbery at the Sampson Center, in which a man was assaulted and robbed.
According to reports, Michael Watts, 20, was held at gunpoint at 808 Barden St. The armed robbery was reported at 8:21 p.m. Thursday. According t

Barden Street armed robbery probed

Investigators with the Clinton Police Department's Neighborhood Improvement Team are looking for suspects in a Thursday night armed robbery at the Sampson Center, in which a man was assaulted and robbed. According to reports, Michael Watts, 20, was held at gunpoint at 808 Barden St. The armed robbery was reported at 8:21 p.m. Thursday. According t

Local residents may drive past a great business every day and not be familiar with it, while another may have just opened up that does not have the exposure it needs to get the foot traffic a well-established family-owned enterprise already boasts.
Regardless of the circumstances, they are all a fabric of the community and local support is crucial

Upcoming event to showcase Sampson businesses

Local residents may drive past a great business every day and not be familiar with it, while another may have just opened up that does not have the exposure it needs to get the foot traffic a well-established family-owned enterprise already boasts. Regardless of the circumstances, they are all a fabric of the community and local support is crucial

The filing of seven federal lawsuits against Murphy-Brown LLC is “disappointing,” and one that could potentially put hard-working farmers out of business, an attorney for the company said this week.
The suits, filed in U.S. District Court last week, allege the Warsaw-based Smithfield Foods Inc. subsidiary failed to take steps to reduce

Murphy-Brown: Lawsuits could put farmers out of work

The filing of seven federal lawsuits against Murphy-Brown LLC is “disappointing,” and one that could potentially put hard-working farmers out of business, an attorney for the company said this week. The suits, filed in U.S. District Court last week, allege the Warsaw-based Smithfield Foods Inc. subsidiary failed to take steps to reduce

SCC, Meth Task Force ice cream social upcoming

Ice cream will be just a part of a social event aimed at welcoming back Sampson Community College students while offering awareness of substance abuse and the local resources available to those who need them. Courtney Boyette, community relations specialist for Eastpointe Managed Care Organization, said the Sampson County Methamphetamine Task Forc

Seven lawsuits filed against Murphy-Brown

Seven lawsuits filed against Murphy-Brown LLC in U.S. District Court Thursday allege the Smithfield Foods Inc. subsidiary failed to take steps to reduce nuisance and injury caused by its farms in Sampson and five surrounding counties. The suits, brought by Wallace & Graham P.A. of Salisbury, N.C. on behalf of 146 plaintiffs, maintain that Murp

As it develops a road map for future planning, and calls on the community's help to do so, the City of Clinton will soon be unveiling a new-look logo that will assist in marketing every aspect of the city's brand for years to come.
Earlier this week, City Council met for a special planning session, during which it heard an update on the 2035 Compr

New city logo 'milling around' the corner

As it develops a road map for future planning, and calls on the community's help to do so, the City of Clinton will soon be unveiling a new-look logo that will assist in marketing every aspect of the city's brand for years to come. Earlier this week, City Council met for a special planning session, during which it heard an update on the 2035 Compr

The Clinton City Council has authorized up to $7,500 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for vandalizing 20 headstones at Springvale Cemetery over the weekend, an act the police chief called “stupid” and hurtful.
Clinton Police Chief Jay Tilley said the incident is believed to have occurred sometim

Info sought, reward offered

The Clinton City Council has authorized up to $7,500 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for vandalizing 20 headstones at Springvale Cemetery over the weekend, an act the police chief called “stupid” and hurtful. Clinton Police Chief Jay Tilley said the incident is believed to have occurred sometim

Two bid awards will get sizable city projects under way, including the construction of an elevated water tower to serve the southeastern side of Clinton and water line upgrades for various neighborhoods across the city.
“Both came in under the estimate of the engineer,” City manager Shawn Purvis told City Council, which quickly approve

Bids awarded for water tank, line upgrades

Two bid awards will get sizable city projects under way, including the construction of an elevated water tower to serve the southeastern side of Clinton and water line upgrades for various neighborhoods across the city. “Both came in under the estimate of the engineer,” City manager Shawn Purvis told City Council, which quickly approve

With the posting of signs the last official step, the speed limit has now officially been lowered on Pugh Road, the frequently-used cut-over between U.S. 701 Business and N.C. 403 (Faison Highway).
In June, the N.C. Department of Transportation notified City of Clinton officials it would be lowering the limit following the state's study of the roa

Pugh Road signs make reduced speed limit official

With the posting of signs the last official step, the speed limit has now officially been lowered on Pugh Road, the frequently-used cut-over between U.S. 701 Business and N.C. 403 (Faison Highway). In June, the N.C. Department of Transportation notified City of Clinton officials it would be lowering the limit following the state's study of the roa

A room full of lawmakers with influence in Raleigh and Washington, D.C. is a golden opportunity for a citizen to have their voice heard by those who can effect change.
Local citizens will have just that chance — to meet with the legislators and public officials who represent them, while sharing concerns, comments and questions — during

Second annual 'Perspective' set for Sept. 3

A room full of lawmakers with influence in Raleigh and Washington, D.C. is a golden opportunity for a citizen to have their voice heard by those who can effect change. Local citizens will have just that chance — to meet with the legislators and public officials who represent them, while sharing concerns, comments and questions — during

An event in Harrells this Saturday will have free food, live entertainment and a host of other activities — all with the aim of spreading God's love by promoting unity regardless of race, ethnicity and background.
The aptly-named “Unity in the Community Day,” now in its eighth year, will take place this Saturday, Aug. 23, from 9

Harrells event strives to unite community

An event in Harrells this Saturday will have free food, live entertainment and a host of other activities — all with the aim of spreading God's love by promoting unity regardless of race, ethnicity and background. The aptly-named “Unity in the Community Day,” now in its eighth year, will take place this Saturday, Aug. 23, from 9

The Alive After Five Summer Concert Series closes out the season this week but the show's not quite over yet, with a two-day encore to provide the soundtrack to the 28th annual Court Square Street Fair in October.
In the works since the beginning of this year, the lineup for first-ever “Alive After Five Street Fair Main Stage Concert Series&

AA5's encore acts announced

The Alive After Five Summer Concert Series closes out the season this week but the show's not quite over yet, with a two-day encore to provide the soundtrack to the 28th annual Court Square Street Fair in October. In the works since the beginning of this year, the lineup for first-ever “Alive After Five Street Fair Main Stage Concert Series&

Nearly half a century after the deaths of a young mother and her daughter, Virginia Wilkinson still thinks about the fateful day two lives were cut short along a stretch of Sampson roadway, forever shattering a family and haunting loved ones' thoughts.
“Every time we get together we always end up talking about the accident. It was a very piv

Closure to the crash

Nearly half a century after the deaths of a young mother and her daughter, Virginia Wilkinson still thinks about the fateful day two lives were cut short along a stretch of Sampson roadway, forever shattering a family and haunting loved ones' thoughts. “Every time we get together we always end up talking about the accident. It was a very piv

An exclusive five-course farm to table dining experience featuring ingredients farmed in Sampson, prepared by its own chefs and whose proceeds will act benefit this community is again being extremely well-received.
“The tickets are selling very well and people seem very excited,” Nancy Carr, director of Sampson County's United Way, sai

Ticket sales for UW feast 'outstanding'

An exclusive five-course farm to table dining experience featuring ingredients farmed in Sampson, prepared by its own chefs and whose proceeds will act benefit this community is again being extremely well-received. “The tickets are selling very well and people seem very excited,” Nancy Carr, director of Sampson County's United Way, sai

As an added benefit to those thinking about scooping up some last-minute tickets for this Saturday's 7th annual Williams Lake Dance Club Reunion — or those who have had theirs for months now — a pre-party meet and greet is on tap for Friday (tonight) at Coharie Country Club.
The reunion is set for this Saturday, Aug. 16, at the Sampson

Williams Lake Reunion, pre-party tickets still available

As an added benefit to those thinking about scooping up some last-minute tickets for this Saturday's 7th annual Williams Lake Dance Club Reunion — or those who have had theirs for months now — a pre-party meet and greet is on tap for Friday (tonight) at Coharie Country Club. The reunion is set for this Saturday, Aug. 16, at the Sampson

Chris Berendt/Sampson Independent
Sampson High School Alumni Association members earlier this week sorted school supplies into 260 bookbags and backpacks in preparation for its free back-to-school drive set for Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Sampson Center on Barden Street, Clinton. Pictured, Alumni life member and former educator Eloise

Stacks of school supplies readied

Chris Berendt/Sampson Independent Sampson High School Alumni Association members earlier this week sorted school supplies into 260 bookbags and backpacks in preparation for its free back-to-school drive set for Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Sampson Center on Barden Street, Clinton. Pictured, Alumni life member and former educator Eloise

An extended budget process created a domino effect that delayed other aspects of county government, including the annual audit, which has in turn meant a holdup in the completion of a much-discussed and anticipated pay study.
After years of employee concerns and failed pay studies, the Sampson Board of Commissioners voted in March to move forward

Pay plan still in works

An extended budget process created a domino effect that delayed other aspects of county government, including the annual audit, which has in turn meant a holdup in the completion of a much-discussed and anticipated pay study. After years of employee concerns and failed pay studies, the Sampson Board of Commissioners voted in March to move forward

Well before Dairy Queen re-opened Monday, a red truck sat parked at the drive-thru window. A caravan of vehicles soon fell in behind it, spilling out into the road as more filled the parking lot. Just over a year since the popular ice cream place was forced to close down, the wait was over — and the community came out in droves to welcome the

DQ gets red carpet welcome (back)

Well before Dairy Queen re-opened Monday, a red truck sat parked at the drive-thru window. A caravan of vehicles soon fell in behind it, spilling out into the road as more filled the parking lot. Just over a year since the popular ice cream place was forced to close down, the wait was over — and the community came out in droves to welcome the

A venue that regularly hosted large college classes and community events before becoming water-logged, mold-infested and uninhabitable is poised for serious repairs during the fall semester, with a targeted January 2015 completion.
Sampson Community College's Activities Center was the beneficiary of a budget allocation under the county's recently-

SCC targets Activities Center re-opening in 2015

A venue that regularly hosted large college classes and community events before becoming water-logged, mold-infested and uninhabitable is poised for serious repairs during the fall semester, with a targeted January 2015 completion. Sampson Community College's Activities Center was the beneficiary of a budget allocation under the county's recently-




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