Taking care of your Loved One Is What We Do BEST!

It's no secret, most of us would like to stay in our own home as we age. Yet, sometimes our loved ones just need a little extra help to remain comfortable at home. That's where Always Best Care can help....we are dedicated to exceeding expectations....always

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Home Care In Enka, NC

Home Care Enka, NC

They say that your golden years are the best years of your life. For most older Americans, that's how it should be - a time to relax, reflect, and live life in a familiar place. After all, senior citizens in the U.S. have worked tirelessly to build a better economy, serve their communities, and raise families.

However, as seniors grow older, completing daily tasks like showering and enjoying activities such as visiting the historic Thomas Wolfe Memorial gets harder without someone by their side. Unfortunately, many older Americans aren't able to rely on their adult children for help. The reality in today's world is that family members do not have the skills or time to dedicate to caring for their parents. That's where Always Best Care Senior Services comes in.

Our in-home care services are for people who prefer to stay at home as they grow older but need ongoing care that family or friends cannot provide. More and more older adults prefer to live far away from long-term, institutionalized facilities and closer to the place where they feel most comfortable - their home. Home care in Enka, NC is a safe, effective way to give your loved ones the care they need when they need it the most.

 In-Home Care Enka, NC

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The Always Best Care Difference

Since 1996, Always Best Care has provided non-medical in-home care for seniors to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle as they get older. We are proud to have helped more than 25,000 seniors maintain higher levels of dignity and respect. We focus on providing seniors with the highest level of in-home care available so that they may live happily and independently.

Unlike some senior care companies, we genuinely want to be included in our clients' lives. We believe that personalized care is always the better option over a "one size fits all" approach. To make sure our senior clients receive the best care possible, we pair them with compassionate caregivers who understand their unique needs. That way, they may provide care accordingly without compromising their wellbeing.

The Always Best Care difference lies in life's little moments - where compassionate care and trustworthy experience come together to help seniors live a fruitful, healthy life. Whether you are an aging adult that can't quite keep up with life's daily tasks or the child of a senior who needs regular in-home services, Always Best Care is here to help.


“I am Kathryn Merrell and for the past several months I have been under the care of ABC Senior Services. I have had the privilege of enjoying the care of Lois C. She is the best advertisement for your agency. When I am asked, which happens frequently, about my experience with ABC, I refer to Lois as being your prime example of the type of care they can expect from you. She goes beyond just basic care and does all she can to help remedy any problem we have. I love that I can trust her and feel safe having her share my home with me. She is very professional yet very "down home", a rare combination. You should be very thankful she is on your "team"! Because of her, I have no problem recommending your company to all who ask.”

Kathryn M.

“As a caregiver I am so pleased with the care for the clients. I've never worked for a company that was so dedicated to clients and caregivers. Everyone is always happy, clients and staff. I am blessed to work here.”

Lisa C.

“I would recommend them because they provide good services. I've been down on my health, so it's been a blessing to have them taking care of him for me. I appreciate that the caregivers are friendly.”

Roger M.

“They're very prompt about coming when they're supposed to and they do what we need them to do. They've helped the most just by being here.”

Bob N.

“I am a current client of this provider They've helped the most just by being here, and doing what they're supposed to. They're very prompt about coming when they're supposed to and they do what we need them to do.”

Bob N.

“I have honestly never met a group of people who care as much as the Always Best Care team. I have watched the staff there change lives for the better, not only for clients but each other as well. It is a pleasure to be a part of this team, nothing compares to it!!”

Jennifer H.

“We were blown away and continue to be by the quality of service and care that the team of ALWAYS BEST CARE provides our family. My parents were moving from out of state and were in immediate need of in-home care. Melisa was wonderful! She was able to help us line up the intake paperwork, clinical assessment and a caregiver within 24 hours of my parents’ arrival in to their new home. Millie and Bethany are tremendous support as their clinical nurse team with a very thorough assessment of both parents. Mary is their care coordinator and was very helpful with finding the perfect caregivers and coordinate the right schedule for my parents . Melisa, Nicole, Jennifer and Janet are also a tremendous asset as they handle and place the caregivers! Jim Smeaton, their owner should be proud of his company! We highly recommend them!”

Katherine K.

“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.

“After Many years of retirement from critical care nursing I have found the perfect employment enabling me to to care for others. Working with the staff at Always Best Care has been such a blessing and I love my clients that I work with.”

Kathryn W.

“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.

“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.

“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.

“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.

“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.

“Always best care is a good company for senior services and also for employment. They do great at pairing you with clients! Everyone in the office has such a sweet and positive attitude.”


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

Javell F.

“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.

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

Danielle O.

“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.

What is Non-Medical Senior Care in Enka, NC?


Home is where the heart is. While that saying can sound a tad cliche, it is 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 gets older, giving them the gift of senior care is one of the best ways to show your love, even if you live far away.

 Senior Care Enka, NC

Types of Elderly Care in Enka, NC

To give our senior clients the best care possible, we offer a full spectrum of in-home care services:

Personal Care

Personal Care Services

If your senior loved one has specific care needs, our personal care services are a great choice to consider. Personal care includes the standard caregiving duties associated with companion care and includes help with tasks such as dressing and grooming. Personal care can also help individuals with chronic conditions like diabetes.

Common personal care services include assistance with:

  • Eating
  • Mobility Issues
  • Incontinence
  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Grooming

Respite Care Enka, NC
Home Helper

Home Helper Services

Sometimes, seniors need helpful reminders to maintain a high quality of life at home. If you or your senior has trouble with everyday tasks like cooking, our home helper services will be very beneficial.

Common home helper care services include assistance with:

  • Medication Reminders
  • Meal Preparation
  • Pet Care
  • Prescription Refills
  • Morning Wake-Up
  • Walking
  • Reading
 Caregivers Enka, NC
Companionship Services

Companionship Services

Using this kind of care is a fantastic way to make life easier for you or your senior loved one. At Always Best Care, our talented caregivers often fill the role of a companion for seniors. That way, older adults can enjoy their favorite local activities, such as visiting Carrier Park with friends while also receiving the care they need daily or weekly.

Common companionship services include:

  • Grocery Shopping
  • Transportation to Appointments
  • Nutritional Assistance
  • Conversation
  • Planning Outings
  • Completing Errands
  • Transportation to Community
  • Events and Social Outings
Home Care Enka, NC
Respite Care

Respite Care Services

According to AARP, more than 53 million adults living in the U.S. provide care to someone over 50 years old. Unfortunately, these caregivers experience stress, exhaustion, and even depression. Our respite care services help family caregivers address urgent obligations, spend time with their children, and enjoy nearby activities. Perhaps more importantly, respite care gives family members time to recharge and regroup. Taking personal time to de-stress reduces the risk of caregiver burnout. So, if you've always wanted to eat at the local Vue 1913 or visit Enka Clock Tower, don't feel bad. Doing so is great for both you and your loved one.

At the end of the day, our goal is to become a valuable part of your senior's daily routine. That way, we may help give them the highest quality of life possible. We know that staying at home is important for your loved one, and we are here to help make sure that is possible.

If you have been on the fence about non-medical home care, there has never been a better time than now to give your senior the care, assistance, and companionship they deserve.

 In-Home Care Enka, NC

Benefits of Home Care in Enka, NC

Always Best Care in-home services are for older adults who prefer to stay at home but need ongoing care that friends and family cannot provide. In-home care is a safe, effective way for seniors to age gracefully in a familiar place and live independent, non-institutionalized lives. The benefits of non-medical home care are numerous. Here are just a few reasons to consider senior care services from Always Best Care:

Always Best Care offers a full array of care options for patients at all levels of health. With our trusted elderly care services, your loved one will receive the level of care necessary for them to enjoy the highest possible quality of life.

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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 - something that is unavailable to many older people today.

In-home care makes it possible for millions of seniors to age in place every year. Rather than moving to a strange nursing home, 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:

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, then, that a senior's home is where they want to grow old.

With the help of elderly care in Enka, 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.

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.

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 a nursing home. 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.

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 and more affordable to help seniors age in place than it is to move them into an institutional care facility. According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, seniors who age in the comfort of their homes can save thousands of dollars per month.

In-home care services from Always Best Care, for instance, are often 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 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.

 Elderly Care Enka, NC

Affordable Care

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:

If your loved one qualifies, Medicaid may help reduce in-home care costs. Review your NC's Medicaid program laws and benefits, and make sure your senior's financial and medical needs meet Medicaid eligibility requirements.
Attendance and aid benefits through military service can cover a portion of the costs associated with in-home care for veterans and their spouses.
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.
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.
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.
 Senior Care Enka, NC

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 Enka, 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.

Assisted Living Referral Services

While it's true that many seniors prefer to age at home, sometimes in-home care isn't the best fit. For those seniors and their families, choosing an assisted living facility makes more sense. Unfortunately, finding the optimal care facility is easier said than done in today's day and age. That's when Always Best Care's assisted living referral services begin to make a lot of sense.

Assisted living is a form of housing intended for seniors who require varying degrees of medical and personal attention. Accommodations may include single rooms, apartments, or shared living arrangements. Assisted living communities are typically designed to resemble a home-like environment and are physically constructed to encourage the independence of residents.

Respite Care Enka, NC

At assisted living communities, seniors receive help with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and eating. They may also benefit from coordination of services with outside healthcare providers, and monitoring of resident activities to ensure their health, safety, and well-being. Caregivers who work at assisted living communities can also provide medication administration and personal care services for older adults.

Other services offered within assisted living communities can include some or all of the following:

  • Housekeeping
  • Laundry
  • Recreational Activities
  • Social Outings
  • Emergency Medical Response
  • Medication Monitoring
  • Family Visitation
  • Personal Care
 Caregivers Enka, NC

At Always Best Care, our representatives can match your senior's emotional, physical, and financial needs with viable assisted living communities nearby. Results are based on comparative data, so you can select the best choice for you or your loved one.

Always Best Care works closely with local senior living communities to gain valuable knowledge that we then use to help seniors and their loved ones make informed decisions. This information can include basic care and rent, resident availability, and services provided. Because Always Best Care is compensated by these communities, we provide senior living referral services at no extra cost to you.

Some of the most popular assisted living communities to consider in our area include the following:

  • Oak Hill Assisted Living Community
  • Arbor Terrace Asheville
  • Brookdale Asheville Walden Ridge
  • Brookdale Asheville Overlook
  • Chunns Cove Assisted Living
  • Harmony at Reynolds Mountain
Home Care Enka, NC

For many seniors, moving into a senior living community revolves around how and when they want to make a transition to more involved care. Some seniors are more proactive about transitioning to independent living. Others choose to remain home until their care needs or other requirements are satisfied. Remember - our staff is here to help. Contact our office today to learn more about assisted living communities and how we can find a facility that exceeds your expectations.

 In-Home Care Enka, 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 Always Best Care 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:

A discussion of your needs and how our trained caregivers can offer assistance in the most effective way


A draft of your care plan, which includes highly detailed notes and a framework for the care that you or your senior will receive


Discuss payment options and help coordinate billing with your insurance provider


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.

At the end of the day, we only hire the best of the best at Always Best Care. Whether you need home care in Enka, NC 24-hours a day or only need a respite for a couple of hours, we are here to serve you.

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.

 Elderly Care Enka, NC

Latest News in Enka, NC

Developer has new plan for site of Enka clock tower -- and they could have competition

BUNCOMBE COUNTY, N.C. (WLOS) — A developer has a new plan for the site of the former American Enka Company and the beloved, historic Enka clock tower.WLOSOnce rumored to be the future home of an Amazon distribution site, the land is now the focus of a new, larger proposal from Samet Corporation, which built the Amazon distribution facility in Mills River.It was never confirmed what Samet Corporation's initial plans for the land were, but they had gotten city approval to build an unnamed distribution center there, w...

BUNCOMBE COUNTY, N.C. (WLOS) — A developer has a new plan for the site of the former American Enka Company and the beloved, historic Enka clock tower.


Once rumored to be the future home of an Amazon distribution site, the land is now the focus of a new, larger proposal from Samet Corporation, which built the Amazon distribution facility in Mills River.

It was never confirmed what Samet Corporation's initial plans for the land were, but they had gotten city approval to build an unnamed distribution center there, which many thought would be an Amazon facility. Whatever that plan was, Samet Corporation appears to have scrapped it, in exchange for a new vision.


"They currently are zoned and have the entitlements to do that previously approved project, but for whatever reason, the client they had in mind or the proposal just never materialized," said Will Palmquist, a principal planner for City of Asheville.

The developer's new plan is called "Enka Commerce Park."

"It's a little more than twice as big as the previous proposal, based on the square footage," Palmquist said.

According to city documents, the proposal would involve constructing three one-story light industrial or distribution buildings totaling 585,360 gross square feet. The buildings would be built in phases. Other site improvements would include off-street parking, a new roadway connection, and stormwater retention ponds.

The historic brick clock tower on the site would be preserved, according to plans.

It's unclear who the tenants of the new buildings would be.

As far as parking and traffic accommodations go, access to the site would be provided by a new cul-de-sac roadway extension off Enka Heritage Parkway. The new roadway would be maintained by NCDOT. A total of 463 employee parking spaces are proposed. A Traffic Analysis Impact was performed and concluded that all "analyzed signalized intersections and approaches are expected to operate at an acceptable level of service. Therefore no improvements are necessary."

The proposed Enka Heritage Greenway is planned to cross over the property, along the western boundary of the project area, and will include a 10-foot-wide paved greenway, a 15-foot-wide maintenance easement, and a 25-foot-wide construction easement.

The zoning amendment needed for this new proposal was set to go before the City of Asheville's Planning and Zoning Commission on Sept. 21, but it will be continued to Nov. 2 at the developer's request.

"I don't know the impetus for it or why, but it was continued once. It was originally scheduled for, I believe, the August 3rd planning and zoning meeting, and then they asked for it to be continued one month, and then asked again for it to be continued for a couple of months," Palmquist said.

News 13 has reached out to Samet Corporation multiple times for comment. This story will be updated once a response is received.

If you'd like to submit any public comment about the project to the Planning & Zoning Commission ahead of the November 2 meeting, email [email protected].

"It's a very large, very large site, about 45 and a half acres, pretty strategically located with other, similar light industrial distribution uses nearby," Palmquist said.

Possible competition for the land?

It appears Samet Corporation may not be the only one with eyes on this prime piece of property.

"There's not a lot of sites of this size with that kind of infrastructure that are totally vacant that are left, especially in the city limits, so I could see that as kind of driving just the opportunity for something to be located there. It's a big driver of these different proposals, so that could kind of play into it," Palmquist said.


AdventHealth is competing with other hospital systems to fill the need for more hospital beds in the area, which News 13 has reported extensively on. The hospital systems are waiting to hear from state officials on whose proposal will be chosen.

AdventHealth's plan, coincidentally, would involve constructing a new, 67-bed community hospital in the Enka Center, located off Smokey Park Highway and Sand Hill Road. According to their website, "many people will recognize this property as the former American Enka Co. site and home of the historic Enka Clock Tower."

News 13 has reached out to the hospital for comment. This story will be updated once a response is received.

NC appeals court: Woman brain damaged stopping Enka fight could get big compensation

A former teacher severely injured trying to stop a 2013 Enka High School fight is battling a state commission on how she'll get nearly $1 million in compensation, and a state appellate court is siding with her.A three-judge panel in the North Carolina Court of Appeals on March 1 filed a ruling that vacated an N. C. Industrial Commission’s decision to deny 46-year-old Carmela Blackwell a lump-sum disability payment and told it to go back to the drawing board.Blackwell, according to appeals court documents, w...

A former teacher severely injured trying to stop a 2013 Enka High School fight is battling a state commission on how she'll get nearly $1 million in compensation, and a state appellate court is siding with her.

A three-judge panel in the North Carolina Court of Appeals on March 1 filed a ruling that vacated an N. C. Industrial Commission’s decision to deny 46-year-old Carmela Blackwell a lump-sum disability payment and told it to go back to the drawing board.

Blackwell, according to appeals court documents, was “injured while on the job breaking up a fight. She was diagnosed with numerous physical and mental injuries.”

"The decision bodes well for Mrs. Blackwell," said her attorney, Asheville-based Tom Ramer, who noted the severity of her injuries weren't fully realized in the appeal ruling.

"This is a complete reversal of the Industrial Commission. And it says that they got it wrong. That they misinterpreted the law and the Court of Appeals is sending it back to them with specific instructions on how they should handle it."

The fight happened April 3, 2013, and Blackwell suffered numerous injuries when she intervened, including damage to a hip, her knees, her back, a shoulder and her head.

She was later diagnosed with seizure disorder, migraine headaches, post-concussion syndrome, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, court documents show.

Related:Wrong prescription: Heart attack from penicillin Buncombe County lawsuit upheld on appeal

Related:Homeless man loses appeal bid years after spitting, kicking arrest at Asheville pizzeria

Since she worked at Enka High School, she was employed in 2013 by Buncombe County Schools, a part of the N.C. Department of Public Instruction. Both are named as defendants in the case.

The defendants, who had insurance, admitted liability for Blackwell’s injuries, according to Industrial Commission documents filed in 2019.

Those documents note that ? when Blackwell was 43 ? she was owed $574 a week for another 35.6 years, or a total $1.06 million before the end of her life.

The N. C. Industrial Commission found Blackwell had been “permanently and totally disabled” during the fight intervention and agreed to give her weekly benefits shortly after the incident.

Years after the incident, Blackwell requested her benefits be put into a single, lump-sum payment instead of being distributed over more than 35 years.

That request was denied by the Industrial Commission, and Blackwell worked with legal counsel to appeal her case.

The March 1 ruling by appellate court Judge Chris Dillon — supported by judges Donna Stroud and John Tyson — said the Industrial Commission should reconsider its denial and that Blackwell might be allowed a lump-sum payout according to state law.

Read More: Pretrial release granted for N. Buncombe football player charged with sex offense

Also: Ex-Buncombe middle school teacher could face decades in prison on child porn charges

“The Commission erred in concluding that a lump-sum award under Section 97- 44 is never allowed where the sum of future installments is uncertain,” the ruling stated, referring to the N.C. law under which Blackwell argued she could be paid all at once instead of over time.

The Commission had denied Blackwell’s request based on “its belief that a lump-sum award was not allowed in any situation where the number of future payments was not certain, as is the case here,” according to the ruling’s analysis of the case.

Since it wasn’t certain how long Blackwell would actually live, the money should be handed out weekly for approximately 35 years instead of all at once, the Industrial Commission contended, latching on to a clause in the N.C. Worker’s Compensation Act that stipulated no one can be paid more than future sum they are owed: Paying out the $1.06 million before knowing how long Blackwell would live might result in overpayment.

This specifically applies in “unusual” cases, according to N.C. law cited in the appeal.

Putting the matter back into the Industrial Commission’s hands, the court ordered it to reconsider Blackwell’s case and decide if it was truly “unusual.”

“Should the Commission deem that Plaintiff has met her burden in this regard, the Commission may consider any competent evidence,” the ruling stated, “to determine the number of installments that Plaintiff is expected to receive under her current award. In calculating the lump-sum award, the Commission may discount the expected future installments to a present value.”

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Ramer also said a case of this nature was somewhat unprecedented in the state and that the family hoped it would set a precedent for others like it in the future.

"Mr. and Mrs. Blackwell are very pleased about the ruling, that she is to put an end to at least part of her claim and move forward in her life. But they're also happy about the decision in that it will provide other generally profoundly injured folks with the same opportunity to put the claim behind them and move forward in life," Ramer said.

Andrew Jones is Buncombe County government and health care reporter for the Asheville Citizen Times, part of the USA TODAY Network. Reach him at @arjonesreports on Facebook and Twitter, 828-226-6203 or [email protected]. Please help support this type of journalism with a subscription to the Citizen Times.

Enka clock tower will be preserved, planning meeting next up

ENKA - The historic Enka clock tower, a symbol of the area's industrial heritage that has stood for nearly a century, has gotten a reprieve.The Samet Corp., which wants to build a 129,859-square foot distribution center on the site of the former American Enka plant, has announced plans to preserve the 139-foot tall tower. Initial plans called for the tower's demolition to make way for parking spaces."We are working with the owner’s representatives on an initiative to protect Enka Tower,” Brian Ha...

ENKA - The historic Enka clock tower, a symbol of the area's industrial heritage that has stood for nearly a century, has gotten a reprieve.

The Samet Corp., which wants to build a 129,859-square foot distribution center on the site of the former American Enka plant, has announced plans to preserve the 139-foot tall tower. Initial plans called for the tower's demolition to make way for parking spaces.

"We are working with the owner’s representatives on an initiative to protect Enka Tower,” Brian Hall, Samet’s director of development, said in a press release. "All parties involved in the development of this area recognize the historic role the monument plays in Asheville’s history, and we would like the tower to stand for generations to come."

That's good news to local residents, many of whom worked at the plant, first run by American Enka and then sold to BASF, or had relatives who supported their families by working there.

"It sounds like they’re interested in keeping the clock tower, and being good neighbors," said Enka resident Roger Metcalf, 76. "I'm not sure they knew how important it was to the community, and it appears to me when they found out how important it was, they changed their plans a little bit."

Metcalf, an amateur Enka historian, said his father worked at the plant for 36 years and his father-in-law for 42.

Samet's original plans submitted to the city called for the demolition of the clock tower, originally erected by the American Enka Co., which built the sprawling rayon factory in Enka in the 1920s. While much of the original plant has been demolished, the clock tower has stood for 92 years.

At its peak, American Enka employed about 6,000 locals.

Samet's application to the city states: "The intention is for the clock tower to remain and be protected. A structural determination is currently being performed on the clock tower with the objective to allow the clock tower to remain. Should the final report indicate that the clock tower is structurally sound, it shall remain and be protected."

More:Enka clock tower comments will be heard at Dec. 2 planning meeting

Samet is a construction company headquartered in Greensboro. It's the same company that built the Amazon distribution hub in Mills River.

The planned building in Enka has a similar design, and it will have parking for 696 vans, as well as 278 employee parking spaces, according to application documents. But Amazon has declined to say if it will be the tenant, with a spokesperson saying the company "is a dynamic business" and "constantly exploring new locations" but adding it is "not yet commenting on any specific operations plans in North Carolina."

Samet's press release states it is collaborating with the property owner, Enka Partners, the designer, and subcontractors "to manage the tower’s incorporation into the site design. The project will be subject to the approval of the city of Asheville, and Samet officials are working closely with the city to secure that approval."

The proposal for the warehouse/distribution center, which would stand 48 feet high and be sited on 32 acres, goes before the city's Planning & Zoning Commission at its Dec. 2 meeting. The commission is an advisory board to City Council, which will likely take up the proposal in January.

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The building will go in the Enka Center, originally planned to comprise largely retail clients. Samet has submitted a request to rezone the site from "commercial industrial" to "commercial expansion, along with a change in the future land use map from Urban Center to Employment/Anchor Institution Center," according to planning documents.

Access to the new building will be off Smokey Park Highway, utilizing a new bridge into the Enka Center site. Samet plans to build a new cul-de-sac road off Enka Heritage Way, with the road being dedicated to the state and the N.C. DOT maintaining it in the future.

The new road also will include water and sewer main extensions constructed by Samet.

2 WNC students win titles at NC FFA state competition on Feb. 2 in Raleigh

Two high school students from Western North Carolina took home titles in the North Carolina Future Farmers of America State Championships held on Feb. 2 in Raleigh.For the tractor-driving competition, West Henderson junior Harrison Davis won the title, and it's believed to be the first time ever that West has had a state champion for tractor driving. For the truck-driving competition, Enka senior Coleman Frady took the title, becoming the third student from Enka to win a state title for truck driving (the previous two w...

Two high school students from Western North Carolina took home titles in the North Carolina Future Farmers of America State Championships held on Feb. 2 in Raleigh.

For the tractor-driving competition, West Henderson junior Harrison Davis won the title, and it's believed to be the first time ever that West has had a state champion for tractor driving. For the truck-driving competition, Enka senior Coleman Frady took the title, becoming the third student from Enka to win a state title for truck driving (the previous two were in 2011 and 2012).

Davis said he's been driving tractors ever since his feet could reach the pedals. He lives on his family farm and is used to maneuvering a tractor in all types of spaces, but he said he was still nervous competing against the best in the state.

"I was pretty nervous ... just the anticipation of it. But once I got on the tractor, I was fine," Davis said.

Competitors had to draw numbers to determine the order they'd compete. Out of 34 competitors, Davis drew No. 34.

"That was exactly the number I wanted," Davis said. "I had to wait till the end, so I got to watch everybody. I knew what I had to beat when I got on the tractor."

Harrison's time was 5 minutes, 8 seconds, and his total score was 191.6.

"He won the event pretty handily. I couldn't believe it," said Jason Livingston, the agriculture teacher at West. "The next person behind him had well over 200 points."

Livingston said Davis was "an outstanding representative for the Mills River farming community and the school."

"This is a pretty cool deal. ... It was one of our goals," Livingston said. "One of the goals of the kids is to build our brand and our program here and try to gain interest from a diverse of students here at the school. By Harrison winning this, it sheds some light on what we do."

For Enka's Frady, the margin of victory was much closer, his agriculture teacher, Kevin Franklin, said.

"Coleman won by 19 points, which is a fairly close margin," Franklin said. "The competition is very hard on your nerves. We watch all 34 competitors and then have to wait for the results. It is very satisfying to know the students' hard work and preparation paid off."

Frady said a lot of practice and instruction from Franklin helped him get the title.

"My (agriculture) teacher Mr. Franklin taught me the course and how to do it and after that, I just kept practicing and practicing till I did not mess it up," Coleman, who said he plans on going to a four-year college for a business degree, said. "I would have to say my biggest inspiration would be Mr. Franklin."

299 new apartments proposed off Holbrook Road in Enka

A Greensboro developer hopes to construct nearly 300 new apartments in 11 buildings in Enka, dubbed Hawthorne at Holbrook.Plans on file with Buncombe...

A Greensboro developer hopes to construct nearly 300 new apartments in 11 buildings in Enka, dubbed Hawthorne at Holbrook.

Plans on file with Buncombe County and set to go before the Board of Adjustment April 13 show 11 three- and three-to four-story split buildings on almost 32 acres of open grassland and woods between Interstate 40 and Holbrook Road.

Developers Hawthorne Residential Partners need a special use permit from the county to move forward with the project, set for an initial appearance before the county Board of Adjustment April 13.

The site is currently zoned EMP, or Employment District, described in county code as "intended to provide appropriately located sites for employment concentrations," though including "supportive activities such as community service, commercial service, and residential uses."

According to the application, the EMP district allows up to 12 units per acre, or a total 391 units on what the application lists as a 32.6-acre site, compared to the 299 proposed in the plan.

Listed as 36 Crowell Road, the entire, undeveloped parcel is listed at more than 62 acres, according to Buncombe County records, assessed at $5.3 million.

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Plans show a 31.8-acre "Tract 1" on the western portion of the parcel where the development is planned, as well as a 34.8-acre "Tract 2" where site plans don't show any construction.

The permit application says developers are under contract to purchase the property before construction starts, and that once completed, developers will manage the property.

According to its website, Hawthorne Residential Partners operates more than 42,000 apartments across more than 170 properties in eight states across the southeast.

Also listed on its website are four apartment complexes in the Asheville area: Hawthorne at Mills Gap and Hawthorne at Southside, both in South Asheville on Mills Gap Road and Turtle Creek Drive respectively, as well as Hawthorne at Bear Creek on Bear Creek Lane and Hawthorne at Haywood I on River Birch Grove Road.

Construction for Hawthorne at Holbrook is set to start in fall 2022 and wrap up about two years later, according to site plans.

Those plans show a main entrance on Holbrook Road, near a planned clubhouse and pool, with plans elsewhere on the site for a dog park, garages, car charging station, bike and kayak storage, and grill and gazebo area.

An included traffic impact analysis, which calculates traffic based on 350 units, recommended improvements to four nearby intersections, anticipating 1,623 new daily trips generated by the development, including 142 peak a.m. trips and 137 peak p.m. trips.

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The study recommends aligning proposed access points across from Marathon Lane and Homestead Way on Holbrook Road, where it recommends at least 50 feet in an exclusive right-turn lane along Holbrook Road.

At the intersection of Monte Vista Road and Holbrook Road, it recommends a 100-foot left-turn lane along Holbrook Road and modifying an existing traffic signal's operation to accommodate it.

“Several intersections in the study area, particularly around the I-40/Smokey Park Highway interchange, are currently experiencing failing levels-of-service,” the analysis says.

It notes that the North Carolina Department of Transportation has plans to improve the area through its project I-2513, the Interstate 26 connector project, part of which is improvements to the I-40 interchanges with Smokey Park Highway, I-26 and I-240, and Brevard Road.

That project, according to both NCDOT and the traffic analysis, is set to begin right-of-way acquisition in 2022 and construction in 2024.

More:DOT chooses option for new I-26, $32.5M interchange; Pratt & Whitney impacted

Those listed improvements, the analysis says, “are subject to more review and discussion with the developer, Buncombe County, and the North Carolina Department of Transportation before becoming part of the conditions for the necessary driveway permit applications.”

Derek Lacey covers environment, growth and development for the Asheville Citizen Times. Reach him at [email protected] or 828-417-4842 and find him on Twitter @DerekAVL.


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