AA Learn more about in-home care options for your loved ones

Given the choice, most of us want to stay in our homes. Sometimes, people need help to remain at home. That's where Always Best Care Senior Services comes in.

Personal Care Consultation

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TESTIMONIALS

“ABC in Fletcher has an amazing team, and they made a huge difference for myself and my mother. We had them as in-home caregivers for 10 months. They are responsible, flexible and just a solid group with whom to work. I could reach them by phone immediately almost every time I needed to contact them. They handled billing and insurance claims and kept the caregiver plans absolutely up-to-date. As well as the regular RN visits. Jan, Mary and Melissa rock in addition to our caregivers. My only reason for not giving five stars has to do with the systemic challenge of finding enough caregivers. And in our case, caregivers who are proficient with Parkinson’s patients.”

Jennie G.
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TESTIMONIALS

“I feel like I'm part of the family every time I'm there! A lovely bunch of ladies! The best quality care provider in the business!”

John Z.
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TESTIMONIALS

“I have had many dealing with Always Best Care during my professional healthcare career. They have always provided great care to the seniors they serve. Jim and his team are great to work with and always go above and beyond not only in serving seniors but supporting many events in the community. I would highly recommend ABC for any in home needs.”

Bob P.
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TESTIMONIALS

“I like working with Always Best Care Senior Services because the office staff are so nice and understanding and I have gotten to know them on a level that I know they are here to help me, when I need help or have a questions. From day one when I have called, they have ALL been here to help guide me and they have been there every time I’ve had a questions. Working for ABC has been an honor because I really do love the company and we have some sweet clients. The ladies that work in the office are amazing and without them I do not think our company would thrive like it does. When I did an application, it was on accident and then I got a phone call asking me to come in and interview and honestly I’m so blessed. I love my job because it is my passion to help people and to do what I can to make their daily living better and easier. I honestly don’t think there is anything that needs to change about ABC. I have never worked for such an amazing company before”

Craig R.
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TESTIMONIALS

“I own a financial services business and share clients with Always Best Care. Recently, one of our shared clients experienced a fall which resulted in a broken hip. One of my first calls, after EMS, was to ABC. Mary Steiner responded immediately and offered to meet the client at the ER. She was wonderful and so very professional in the manner in which she handled the entire harrowing experience. She arranged for overnight care since the family had to arrive from out of town. I am so grateful for her genuine care for our client and stepping in during an emergency to help us handle the situation. I would recommend ABC for services because they absolutely go above and beyond with such a special touch. Robbie Chenault, Elevated Living Services”

Elevated L.
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TESTIMONIALS

“I love working here! Jim truly cares about his clients and employees. The staff goes to great lengths to make sure that the clients are cared for. I am proud to represent Always Best Care.”

Sandra D.
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TESTIMONIALS

“My husband was placed with always best care after leaving the hospital. he has received outstanding care from this company, The caretaker taking care of my husband did an outstanding job working with him , helping with daily care , cleaning, and his physical therapy, would recommend her and this company to anyone looking for home Assistant to take care of a loved one! Thank you always best care for being there for us and my family .”

Diane M.
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TESTIMONIALS

“Always Best Care is one the best company’s to work for. Treats everyone like Family”

Danielle O.
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TESTIMONIALS

“Always best care is very professional and they love the clients and their patients”

Javell F.
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TESTIMONIALS

“From the first day that I started it was an experience to learn your ways but with all the staff people that I became aware of oh my gosh it was wonderful. I have been very pleased with Mary, Melissa, and Danielle of letting me decide if my clients are a perfect match for me and them. I am pleased that I chose this company. Jim is doing a very good job of hiring a amazing staff in the office to work with. Thanks to all!”

Vicki B.
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TESTIMONIALS

“Absolutely the best staff. They come to the house for 4 hours to take care of my dad and are so friendly. My dad loves the attention. Thanks so much for seeing to the needs of dad.”

Tom J.
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TESTIMONIALS

“My mom and her husband are 80 and 92 years old. They’ve both had Covid, pneumonia, and heart issues among many other things. Always Best Care sent out a caregiver named Pat. Pat is incredible! She cooks homemade meals for them, grocery shops for them, goes to the post office, bank, and anywhere else they need, helps with showers, takes them to church, and visits them when they have to go to the hospital or nursing home. Pat truly cares about them! It’s such a blessing to have a caregiver who really cares! They love her and she loves them! Pat is truly amazing and we are so grateful that Always Best Home Care sent her to our family!”

Lu A.
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TESTIMONIALS

“It is a privilege to serve this company's clients and staff. I am impressed every day by the lengths that all will go to to make sure people's needs are met.”

Mary S.
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TESTIMONIALS

“ABC Asheville was always prompt and responsive to our family needs. Mary was thoughtful and efficient in all communications.”

Joel A.
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TESTIMONIALS

“Always Best Care has helped me grow so much as a person and it is truly the best company I have ever worked for.”

Melisa L.
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TESTIMONIALS

“Great home care agency who really cares about their clients. Highly recommended.”

Nate R.
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TESTIMONIALS

“I wanted to say thank you to all the ladies that helped look after Mom. I'm so appreciative. And thank you for all the times you helped me over the phone. I surely am thankful for your services!”

Becky C.
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TESTIMONIALS

“I've been a business peer of Jim Smeaton's at Always Best Care Senior Serivces for several years. Jim is one of my favorite leaders in the local buiness community. This is because of his ethical and service-oriented mindset. I have seen first hand that Always Best Care, who specialize in providing personalized, in-home care for seniors, is the best way to keep your loved ones independent and safe in the comfort of their own home in order to maximize their quality of life. Thank you Jim & team for all you do for our community!”

Jared B.
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TESTIMONIALS

“I’ve known Jim Smeaton and his company for several years. His energetic and genuinely caring spirit inspires Always Best Care which has an excellent reputation for always providing the best home care for it's clients. If your loved one needs support in living independently at home, you can't go wrong with Always Best Care.”

Mark W.
 In-Home Care Columbus, NC

How does In-home Senior Care in Columbus, NC work?

Home is where the heart is. While that saying can sound a tad cliche, it's especially true for many seniors living in America. When given a choice, older adults most often prefer to grow older at home. An AARP study found that three out of four adults over the age of 50 want to stay in their homes and communities as they age. When you begin to think about why, it makes sense. Home offers a sense of security, comfort, and familiarity.

The truth is, as we age, we begin to rely on others for help. When a family is too busy or lives too far away to fulfill this role, in-home senior care is often the best solution. Home care services allow seniors to enjoy personal independence while also receiving trustworthy assistance from a trained caregiver.

At Always Best Care, we offer a comprehensive range of home care services to help seniors stay healthy while they get the help they need to remain independent. As your senior loved one ages, giving them the gift of senior care is one of the best ways to show your love, even if you live far away.

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 Senior Care Columbus, NC

Aging in Place: The Preferred Choice for Most Seniors

While it's true that some seniors have complicated medical needs that prevent them from staying at home, aging in place is often the best arrangement for seniors and their families. With a trusted caregiver, seniors have the opportunity to live with a sense of dignity and do so as they see fit.

In-home care makes it possible for millions of seniors to age in place every year. Rather than moving to a unfamiliar assisted living community, seniors have the chance to stay at home where they feel the happiest and most comfortable.

Here are just a few of the reasons why older men and women prefer to age at home:

Comfort
Comfort

How much does a senior's home truly mean to them? A study published by the American Society on Aging found that more than half of seniors say their home's emotional value means more than how much their home is worth in monetary value. It stands to reason, that a senior's home is where they want to grow old. With the help of elderly care in Columbus, NC, seniors don't have to age in a sterilized care facility. Instead, they can age gracefully in the place they want to be most: their home. In contrast, seniors who move to a long-term care facility must adapt to new environments, new people, and new systems that the facility implements. At this stage in life, this kind of drastic change can be more harmful than helpful.

Healthy Living
Healthy Living

Institutional care facilities like nursing homes often put large groups of people together to live in one location. On any given day, dozens of staff members and caregivers run in and out of these facilities. Being around so many new people in a relatively small living environment can be dangerous for a seniors' health and wellbeing. When you consider that thousands of seniors passed away in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, opting for in-home care is often a safer, healthier choice for seniors. Aging in place has been shown to improve seniors' quality of life, which helps boost physical health and also helps insulate them from viral and bacterial risks found in elderly living facilities.

Independence
Independence

For many seniors, the ability to live independently with assistance from a caregiver is a priceless option. With in-home care, seniors experience a higher level of independence and freedom - much more so than in other settings like an assisted living community. When a senior has the chance to age in place, they get to live life on their own terms, inside the house that they helped make into a home. More independence means more control over their personal lives, too, which leads to increased levels of fulfillment, happiness, and personal gratification. Over time, these positive feelings can manifest into a healthier, longer life.

Cost and Convenience
Cost and Convenience

More independence, a healthier life, and increased comfort are only a few benefits of aging in place. You have to take into consideration the role of cost and convenience. Simply put, it's usually easier to help seniors age in place than it is to move them into an institutional care facility. In-home care services from Always Best Care, for instance, can be less expensive than long-term solutions, which can cost upwards of six figures per year. To make matters worse, many residential care facilities are reluctant to accept long-term care insurance and other types of payment assistance.

With Always Best Care's home care services, seniors and their families have a greater level of control over their care plans. In-home care in Columbus, NC gives seniors the chance to form a bond with a trusted caregiver and also receive unmatched care that is catered to their needs. In long-term care facilities, seniors and their loved ones have much less control over their care plan and have less of a say in who provides their care.

Empowers Seniors

Affordable Care Plans

In-home care is a valuable resource that empowers seniors to age in place on their own terms. However, a big concern for many families and their loved ones is how much in-home care costs. If you're worried that in-home care is too expensive, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that it is one of the most affordable senior care arrangements available.

Typically, hiring an Always Best Care in-home caregiver for a few hours a week is more affordable than sending your loved one to a long-term care facility. This is true even for seniors with more complex care needs.

At Always Best Care, we will work closely with you and your family to develop a Care Plan that not only meets your care needs, but your budget requirements, too. Once we discover the level of care that you or your senior need, we develop an in-home care plan that you can afford.

In addition to our flexible care options, families should also consider the following resources to help offset potential home care costs:

Veteran's Benefits
Veteran's Benefits

Aid and Attendance benefits through military service can cover a portion of the costs associated with in-home care for veterans and their spouses.

Long-Term Care Insurance
Long-Term Care Insurance

Many senior care services like in-home care are included in long-term care insurance options. Research different long-term care solutions to find a plan that provides coverage for senior care.

Private Insurance
Private Insurance

Home care can be included as part of a senior's private insurance plan. Read over your loved one's insurance policy carefully or speak with their insurance provider to determine if in-home care is covered.

Life Insurance
Life Insurance

Depending on the life insurance plan, you may be able to apply your policy toward long-term care. You may be able to use long-term-care coverage to help pay for in-home elderly care.


Respite Care Columbus, NC

During your Care Plan consultation with Always Best Care, your Care Coordinator will speak with you about in-home care costs and what options there may be to help meet your budget needs.

Compassionate Care. Trusted Caregivers

When you or your senior loved one needs assistance managing daily tasks at home, finding a qualified caregiver can be challenging. It takes a special kind of person to provide reliable care for your senior loved one. However, a caregiver's role involves more than meal preparation and medication reminders. Many seniors rely on their caregivers for companionship, too.

Our companion care services give seniors the chance to socialize in a safe environment and engage in activities at home. These important efforts boost morale and provide much-needed relief from repetitive daily routines. A one-on-one, engaging conversation can sharpen seniors' minds and give them something in which to be excited.

At Always Best Care, we only hire care providers that we would trust to care for our own loved ones. Our senior caregivers in Columbus,NC understand how important it is to listen and communicate with their seniors. A seemingly small interaction, like a short hug goodbye, can make a major difference in a senior's day. Instead of battling against feelings of isolation, seniors begin to look forward to seeing their caregiver each week.

Understanding the nuances of senior care is just one of the reasons why our care providers are so great at their job.

Unlike some senior care companies, our caregivers must undergo extensive training before they work for Always Best Care. In addition, our caregivers receive ongoing training throughout the year. This training ensures that their standard of care matches up to the high standards we've come to expect. During this training, they will brush up on their communication skills, safety awareness, and symptom spotting. That way, your loved one receives the highest level of non-medical home care from day one.

 Caregivers Columbus, NC

Taking the First Step with Always Best Care

The first step in getting quality in-home care starts with a personal consultation with an experienced Care Coordinator. This initial consultation is crucial for our team to learn more about you or your elderly loved one to discover the level of care required. Topics of this consultation typically include:

An assessment of your senior loved one

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An in-depth discussion of the needs of your senior loved one to remain in their own home

02

Reviewing a detailed Care Plan that will meet your senior loved one's needs

03

Our caregivers are trained to spot changes that clients exhibit, like mental and physical decline. As your trusted senior care company, we will constantly assess and update your Care Plan to meet any new emotional, intellectual, physical, and emotional needs.

If you have never considered in-home care before, we understand that you and your family may have concerns about your Care Plan and its Care Coordinator. To help give you peace of mind, know that every team member and caregiver must undergo comprehensive training before being assigned to a Care Plan.

When you're ready, we encourage you to contact your local Always Best Care representative to set up a Care Consultation. Our Care Coordinators would be happy to meet with you in person to get to know you better, discuss your needs, and help put together a personalized Care Plan specific to your needs.

Latest News in Columbus, NC

Sophia Trucker Charged in Fatal Crash in Columbus County

SOPHIA N.C. – A local trucker has been charged by the North Carolina Highway Patrol, in connection with a fatal crash that occurred on NC 87 in Columbus County last week.According to a press release from the NC Highway Patrol, at 2:46 p.m. on Thursday, August 10th, 2023, Troopers responded to a crash on NC 87 near John L Riegel Road in Columbus County.Investigators say that Nicholas Reid Felle...

SOPHIA N.C. – A local trucker has been charged by the North Carolina Highway Patrol, in connection with a fatal crash that occurred on NC 87 in Columbus County last week.

According to a press release from the NC Highway Patrol, at 2:46 p.m. on Thursday, August 10th, 2023, Troopers responded to a crash on NC 87 near John L Riegel Road in Columbus County.

Investigators say that Nicholas Reid Fellers, 28, from Sophia, N.C., was traveling south on NC 87, in a Freightliner box truck when he failed to reduce speed striking the rear of a tractor-trailer that had stopped due to road construction.

Fellers received serious life-threatening injuries and was transported to New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, N.C.

A front seat passenger in Fellers vehicle, Gabriel Ahmaad McCurdy, 35, of Thomasville, N.C., died on-scene.

The driver of the other truck that Fellers struck was uninjured.

Fellers was charged with failure to reduce speed and misdemeanor death by motor vehicle.

ASHEBORO N.C. – There are several upcoming events for former employees of Klaussner Furniture who are seeking resources to move forward.

In partnership with Randolph Community College, NC Works will be hosting a series of career fairs to provide next steps to former employees of Klaussner Furniture. All events are open to the public.

Aug 15th 2023, 10am – 3pm at Randolph Community College (Asheboro)Aug 22nd 2023, 10am – 3pm at Randolph Community College (Archdale)Aug 29th 2023, 10am – 3pm at Randolph Community College (Asheboro)

To further assist the community and employees impacted by the Klaussner closing, Truliant Federal Credit Union will be hosting a Financial Open House this at the Asheboro Chamber of Commerce. Thier goal is to help answer any financial questions or help those impacted plan for what comes next. One on one sessions are available via sign up.

Aug 16th, 2023, 10am-11am & 4pm-5pm, at the Asheboro/Randolph ChamberAug 17th, 2023, 10am-11am & 4pm-5pm, at the Asheboro/Randolph Chamber (*En Español)

On Thursday Aug 17th, 2023, from 11am to 1pm Our Daily Bread Kitchen will be hosting a job fair / financial consulting event. Services are set to include applications & interviews on site, information about retirement & 401k, and housing.

Aug 17th, 2023, 11am-1pm, at Our Daily Bread in Asheboro

Know of any events we should add? Contact us or submit them to our event calendar.

It’s not Columbus Day in Wake schools. Most students are off for Indigenous Peoples Day.

Most Wake County students don’t have classes on Monday, but it’s not to celebrate Columbus Day.The Wake County school system annually recognizes the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples Day, and not as the federal holiday of Columbus Day. Students at most district schools have the day off as a teacher workday with no classes.“Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a holiday that municipalities and cities throughout the United States celebrate to honor Native American peoples and commemorate their histories...

Most Wake County students don’t have classes on Monday, but it’s not to celebrate Columbus Day.

The Wake County school system annually recognizes the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples Day, and not as the federal holiday of Columbus Day. Students at most district schools have the day off as a teacher workday with no classes.

“Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a holiday that municipalities and cities throughout the United States celebrate to honor Native American peoples and commemorate their histories and cultures,” Wake posted for last year’s holiday. “The holiday recognizes the legacy and impact of colonialism on Native communities, and it also celebrates the cultures, contributions, and resilience of contemporary Native peoples.”

This year’s commemoration isn’t as large as last year. But the school district’s Office of Equity posted its recognition of the day on social media.

pic.twitter.com/hk3f3YXFYB

— WCPSS Equity Affairs (@WCPSSEquity) October 9, 2023

District planners try to schedule Indigenous Peoples Day as a teacher workday each year for at least traditional-calendar schools.

Since 1892, Columbus Day has been recognized as a federal holiday in honor of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the New World. But in 1977, the International Conference on Discrimination against Indigenous Populations in the Americas said it should be celebrated instead as Indigenous Peoples Day.

Joe Biden became the first U.S. president to officially recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day in 2021. Former President Donald Trump charged that “radical activists” are trying to undermine Columbus’ legacy.

In a 2022 presentation, Wake school administrators said Indigenous Peoples Day is meant to honor the accomplishments of indigenous people “even as they faced assimilation, discrimination, and genocide spanning generations.”

The North Carolina Association of Educators and the the group’s Wake County chapter posted about Indigenous Peoples Day.

“We live on the traditional lands served by the Tuscarora Nation,” Wake NCAE posted Monday on X, formerly called Twitter. “We honor America’s First People & all elders, past, present, & emerging. We’re called on to learn & share about the tribal history, culture, & contributions that have been suppressed in telling the story of America.”

North Carolina has the nation’s largest Native American population east of the Mississippi River. The state officially recognizes eight Native American tribes.

According to state records, there were 15,865 Native American students enrolled in public schools last school year.

Earlier this year, state lawmakers passed a law requiring public high schools to allow students who are members of a state or federally recognized Indian tribe to wear objects such as bird feathers and plumes at graduation ceremonies.

This story was originally published October 9, 2023, 10:51 AM.

Columbus County educator of nearly 70 years, Everlene Davis, shares her story

COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — One teacher in Columbus County has dedicated nearly 70 years of her life to being an educator.That teacher is showing no signs of slowing down.In Tabor City, at South Columbus High School, longtime teacher, Everlene Davis, is marking yet another year off of her academic calendar.“I have touched the lives of many many students,” Davis said.Davis started teaching in 1956 and hasn’t stopped since.As the decades have passed, Davis has taught a variety of stud...

COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — One teacher in Columbus County has dedicated nearly 70 years of her life to being an educator.

That teacher is showing no signs of slowing down.

In Tabor City, at South Columbus High School, longtime teacher, Everlene Davis, is marking yet another year off of her academic calendar.

“I have touched the lives of many many students,” Davis said.

Davis started teaching in 1956 and hasn’t stopped since.

As the decades have passed, Davis has taught a variety of students in a variety of circumstances as the world has changed around her.

Davis said all of her teaching experience has been in Tabor City.

“I’m familiar most of the time with the parents, their grandparents, and sometimes the great grand parents,” Davis said.

Douglass High School is where she got her start during segregation.

When the schools were integrated, she relocated to Tabor City High School, and now South Columbus High School — where she teaches family and consumer sciences.

She said this is not her job but her passion. She takes pride in educating children to become successful adults.

“I am so happy to know that I taught something in my class, you learned something in my class, that has contributed to the success of your job. That means a lot to me. Very much so, very much so,” Davis said.

Davis said she roots for all children who have sat in a desk of hers but don’t let her age fool you. She’s quick to let you know she still knows how to command a classroom.

“Those grades got to get up in this classroom here, if you plan to pass this course. So, they work – I work them hard. I was trained hard, I guess,” Davis said.

Davis said people often ask her age and she has a ready response.

“I am using the phrase that I am a very seasoned senior citizen in education as well as other areas,” Davis said.

Davis said as long as her health allows it, she will continue to live out her passion as a teacher.

Davis has received hundreds of awards over the span of her career and is recognized as one of the longest serving educators in the state.

Columbus County’s municipal elections are Nov. 7. Here are the candidates

From staff reports Voters across Columbus County will go to the polls Nov. 7 to choose mayors and local board members.Municipal governing boards, which are typically led by mayors, are responsible for using taxpayers’ money to fund services such as law enforcement and trash collection. They also have the final say over proposed development projects, including new homes and businesses, within town limits.Here are the candidates.Bolton Mayor Shawn Maynor (incumbent)...

From staff reports

Voters across Columbus County will go to the polls Nov. 7 to choose mayors and local board members.

Municipal governing boards, which are typically led by mayors, are responsible for using taxpayers’ money to fund services such as law enforcement and trash collection. They also have the final say over proposed development projects, including new homes and businesses, within town limits.

Here are the candidates.

Bolton Mayor

Shawn Maynor (incumbent)

Bolton Board of Aldermen

Randolph Pringle

Jimmy Bowen

Cynthia Mitchell

Eugene T. Neal, Jr.

Ruth Waddell

Chadbourn Mayor

Ruth Ann Haynes

Phillip C. Britt (incumbent)

Myles Cartrette

Chadbourn Town Council

Danny W. Clewis, Sr.

Tony Carson Jordan

James Green (incumbent)

Colene (Tootie) Kelly Faulk (incumbent)

Antonio Ashley (incumbent)

Fair Bluff Board of Commissioners

Kathy Horne Ashley (incumbent)

Ralph Daniel McCoy (incumbent)

Robert Taylor

Fair Bluff Board of Commissioners (unexpired)

Spruell R. Britt

Lake Waccamaw Board of Commissioners, East Ward

Joseph Karl Bracey (incumbent)

Lake Waccamaw Board of Commissioners, West Ward

Terry Littrell (incumbent)

Sandyfield Mayor

Garry A. Keaton (incumbent)

Sandyfield Town Council

Randolph Keaton (incumbent)

Joe Brown (incumbent)

Azalie P. Graham (incumbent)

Tabor City Mayor

Royce Harper (incumbent)

Tabor City Town Council

Emory Cox

David E. Mincey (incumbent)

Nelson Lee (incumbent)

Kelly Beck

Whiteville Mayor

Terry Mann

Whiteville City Council, District 1

Josh Harris

Emory Worley (incumbent)

Kevin G. Williamson (incumbent)

William “Alex” Meeks

Shaq Davis

City of Whiteville City Council, District 2

Jimmy Clarida (incumbent)

Brunswick Board of Commissioners

Everlene Davis

Shirley Moore

Jackie Williams-Rowland

Jason W. Elleby

Brunswick Board of Commissioners (unexpired)

Curtis Lamont Hill

Ricky Mason

Cerro Gordo Mayor

David White (incumbent)

Cerro Gordo Town Council

David Prince (incumbent)

Brenda Mckenzie (incumbent)

Pamela Specht

Columbus County considers 15th solar farm, as the industry continues to look to rural areas

A 25-Megawatt solar farm has been proposed in Columbus County; it’s not the first, and likely not the last. WHQR’s Kelly Kenoyer has this report, in partnership with Diana Matthews of the News Reporter in Whiteville.This story is in partnership with the News Reporter in Whiteville. You can read their original reporting h...

A 25-Megawatt solar farm has been proposed in Columbus County; it’s not the first, and likely not the last. WHQR’s Kelly Kenoyer has this report, in partnership with Diana Matthews of the News Reporter in Whiteville.

This story is in partnership with the News Reporter in Whiteville. You can read their original reporting here.

Another new solar farm may be coming to Columbus County — although local residents have pushed back on the development.

The first solar farm came to Columbus County about 10 years ago, and solar farms have proliferated there since.

Many solar developments show up in rural areas of the state, since land prices are a bit lower. Columbus County has 14 farms so far. Data from NC Sustainable Energy Alliance (NCSEA) shows that Robeson County has the most farms, with 40 individual solar farms, while Nash County produces more energy with its 29 systems.

Most solar farms are installed on former agricultural land, and there are more than 700 solar power farms across the state already.

The Whiteville News Reporter had a journalist at a recent Board of Adjustments hearing for the development. Diana Matthews told WHQR the proposed solar farm is eight miles from Whiteville.

“It's proposed to occupy almost 250 acres northwest of Whiteville, that would be medium-size as local solar farms go,” she said.

Solar farms have been touted for bringing jobs to rural areas, but much of the economic benefit comes from tax revenue.

“During the construction phase, the applicants told the board of adjustment that they would use local labor for construction,” Matthews explained. “But once it's in operation, it's a pretty low-maintenance thing.” She added that most of the local jobs would be routine maintenance and landscaping.

The 25-megawatt farm will generate enough electricity to power 6,000 homes if it’s built, but the vote to approve it has been delayed till next month. The Board of Adjustments said they wanted to take the time to allow any opponents to submit legally admissible testimony before they make their decision.

Opponents say the farm would harm the “rural character” of their neighborhood and would hurt their property values.

“The attorney for the applicant stood up after that comment and called it ‘classic hearsay.,'" Matthews said.

Matthews reports Midfield Solar would be building the farm, and it would be owned and operated by Oakhurst Energy. The Raleigh-based companies have developed more than 400 megawatts worth of solar farms in the Carolinas.

The state government has mandated that Duke cut its carbon emissions, and Duke agreed to a carbon plan at the end of last year. While the plan is flexible, it does include a requirement that Duke buy more than 2,300megawatts of new solar capacity to be in service by 2028.

Advocates like NCSEA actually pushed Duke towards even more solar. They said it would be the most cost-effective method for Duke to keep rates low while dropping coal plants and other carbon-intensive methods of energy production.

Columbus County is at the forefront of some of those efforts, as one of the top 20 counties for solar energy in the state. NCSEA provided WHQR with data on North Carolina's top solar-producing counties.

CountyNumber of SystemsInstalled Capacity (MW)
Robeson40205.524
Duplin35188.0637
Wayne34143.802
Nash29276.994
Johnston29106.288
Cleveland23138.239
Randolph1660.16
Scotland16141.5719
Cumberland15208.444
Bladen15259.568
Martin15101.612
Northampton14223.193
Columbus1468.17
Catawba14174.673
Hertford14174.899
Lenoir14108.348
Halifax13222.339
Sampson1349.747
Vance13107.583
Wilson13128.465

Solar farms aren’t the only developments in Columbus County. While the area’s population has declined in recent years, Diana Matthews says the exploding population in nearby Pender and Brunswick counties and across the state line may come into Columbus in the next decade.

“We anticipate seven to 10,000 new homes possibly being built in the next decade at least, according to our County Planning and Economic director,” Matthews said. “The first couple thousand of those homes are already at different stages of possible approval process going through the planning board and the county commissioners.”

Matthews says new housing developments are mostly cropping up where Columbus County borders South Carolina.

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