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Frame The Importance of

Commercial Truck Insurance in Asheville, NC

  • Let's face it - truckers in America have always been the backbone of our great country. They still are in modern times. On any given day, thousands of trucks traverse our highways and local roads, delivering goods and products on time so that businesses and consumers have what they need to live life. And while commercial trucking can be an incredibly lucrative way to make a living and put food on the table, it can also be risky and expensive.
  • Whether you're the owner of a fleet, an independent trucker, or have a business that uses big rigs to transport goods, you need commercial trucking insurance to protect you and your client's investments, shield you from liability, and more.
  • That's where working with a reliable truck insurance agency comes into play. Unfortunately, for many commercial truck insurance providers, serving the needs of truckers is low on the proverbial totem pole. At Independence Insurance Agency, nothing could be further from the truth.

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percent The Commercial Truck

Insurance Agency in Asheville, NC You Can Trust

Much like you pride yourself on running a successful trucking business, Independence Insurance Agency prides itself on its years of experience providing truck insurance for hardworking men and women across the country. And in our experience, insurance rates for truckers are just too high - so high, in fact, that they eat away at their bottom line, making it more difficult to run a business and make a profit. Fortunately, at Independence Insurance Agency, we provide truckers the freedom they need from astronomically high insurance rates so they can stay on the road and keep driving America forward.

As one of the most trusted commercial trucking insurance agencies in the U.S., we understand the challenges that you face daily as a trucker. We also know how important it is to protect your business. That's why we go above and beyond to find you the best-priced coverage available, whether you're an operator, own a small fleet, a large fleet, or something in between.

Commercial Truck Insurance Asheville, NC

We Put Truckers First Because Others Don't

 Truck Insurance Asheville, NC

Truckers across the country choose to work with Independence Insurance Agency because we put their needs first before anything else. As experts in transportation insurance, we proudly offer a range of quality insurance products that are both practical and affordable for them. Our industry-leading carriers provide coverage that caters to the unique challenges faced by the trucking industry, ensuring that your business is protected at all times.

At our core, we are committed to finding the best possible price for your coverage without compromising the quality of service you deserve. The truth is, we understand how essential truckers are to the United States and take pride in making their insurance experience more streamlined and affordable.

One way we do so is by simplifying the insurance process. Our transportation specialists take the time to understand your specific needs and budget to tailor a comprehensive plan that works for you. You won't ever have to worry about cookie-cutter plans or uninterested agents when you work with our commercial trucking insurance agency. We take an educational approach to ensure that the entire big rig insurance process is quick, painless, and easy to understand. If there's something you don't understand, we're happy to take the time to explain. After all, the success and safety of your business are on the line.

Looking to the future, we are committed to providing innovative new products that cater to the ever-changing needs of truck drivers. As your one-stop shop for commercial trucking insurance, we are dedicated to your success, one policy at a time.

If you're a commercial trucker looking to ensure your rig, you can rest easy knowing that Independence Insurance Agency provides:

  • Affordable Trucking Insurance Plans for Any Budget
  • Exemplary Customer Service
  • Seasoned Transportation Specialists Who Customize Plans to Your Needs
  • A+ Carriers Across the Country
  • Simple, Easy Quote and Bind Process
  • Multiple Insurance Carriers Quoted to Find You the Best Rates
  • Truck Insurance for New Ventures

Call us or send us a message today to learn more about the best 18-wheeler insurance options for your trucking business.

chart The Commercial Truck

Common Types of Big Rig Truck Insurance in Asheville, NC

At Independence Insurance Agency, we offer several types of insurance coverage for local, intermediate, and long-haul trucking needs. Here are just a few categories of trucking insurance coverage that our agency offers.

As the foundation of your insurance policy, liability coverage is required by law in most states in the U.S. It provides coverage for damage or injuries caused to properties or other people if your 18-wheeler is responsible for the crash. Without liability coverage, it's almost impossible to drive a truck or run a trucking business without major legal consequences.

Having physical damage coverage is an essential component that shouldn't be overlooked. This insurance is responsible for covering the expenses related to repairing or replacing your truck in situations such as accidents, theft, vandalism, and other damaging events. By having this coverage, you can rest assured that your business won't be affected significantly by unexpected incidents, and you can continue running your operations smoothly even in challenging times.

For trucking companies, the goods they transport are crucial to their operations. To protect these goods from damage, loss, or theft while in transit, cargo insurance is essential. This coverage provides much-needed peace of mind for both you and your clients, allowing you to reimburse clients for any losses sustained while protecting your reputation and brand identity.

Non-Trucking Liability Insurance is designed to cover property damage or bodily injury that may occur during personal time when the driver/truck is not under dispatch. This coverage can be applied with or without a trailer and is added to a commercial policy as an endorsement.

While Independence Insurance Agency has built a reputation of excellence in serving the needs of truckers, we also offer general liability. Also known as Truckers General Liability, this coverage insures for bodily injuries or property damage that happen due to business activities that are NOT the cause of operating a truck. It covers accidents that occur in parking lots, rest stops, also while loading or unloading. General liability can also cover losses related to theft and vandalism. Most brokers and shippers will require this coverage to work with you.

Bobtail insurance is a type of coverage that is comparable to non-trucking liability, which is designed to offer protection when driving a truck without a trailer attached. This is commonly referred to as "bobtailing." With bobtail insurance, the tractor is covered at all times, even when it is not attached to a trailer, regardless of whether or not the truck is under dispatch.

Trailer interchange insurance is a must-have if you're involved in a trailer interchange agreement. This essential coverage offers protection for trailers owned by other parties that you're using under a contractual agreement. It covers damages caused by collisions, fire, theft, and vandalism, providing assurance to all parties involved.

Curious whether our commercial truck insurance agency in cityname, state offers additional coverage? The following options can be bound in your insurance policy:

  • Business Interruption Insurance
  • Reefer Breakdown Insurance
  • Occupational Accident with Contract Liability Insurance
  • Rental Reimbursement Insurance
  • Underinsured or Uninsured Motorist Insurance
  • Towing Insurance
  • Electronics Insurance
  • Much More

Three plus 3 Safe Driving Tips to

Lower the Cost of Truck Insurance in Asheville, NC

Keeping your drivers safe on the road is crucial not only for their own well-being but also for the safety of other motorists and the financial stability of your business. The Department of Labor has identified the trucking industry as one of the most hazardous sectors in the U.S. In fact, trucking and logistics fleets are known for their high injury and fatality rates. By improving how safely your truckers drive, you can help reduce expenses related to claim payouts, accidents, and insurance premium hikes.

Whether you own a large fleet or you're the owner and operator of a single rig, keep these safe driving tips in mind to help lower your insurance costs.

Implement Preventative Maintenance Plans

Ensuring the safety of your drivers begins with the safety of their vehicles. Trucks and tractor-trailers that do not receive regular maintenance, such as oil and brake pad changes, are more likely to experience breakdowns while on the road. Telematics devices provide real-time insight into engine and odometer data, including fault codes.

This information enables your mechanics to create comprehensive preventative maintenance schedules based on mileage, history of previous breakdowns, days, and more. Additionally, they can receive immediate notifications for critical fault codes. By implementing routine maintenance and proactive repair schedules, you can ensure that your vehicles are in top condition, minimizing the likelihood of breakdowns, which can help reduce the cost of trucker insurance.

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 Trucking Insurance Asheville, NC

Practice Defensive Driving

This approach aims to mitigate the risk of fatal crashes and injuries by proactively identifying and responding to potentially dangerous situations and making informed decisions while driving. By adopting defensive driving techniques, drivers can reduce their likelihood of accidents, thereby minimizing the need for expensive repairs, claim payouts, and increased insurance premiums.

Some of the easiest ways for you or your drivers to practice safe driving include:

  • Be Wary of Blind Spots: Operating a reefer or tractor-trailer means driving high off of the ground, which can make visibility limited, especially in blind spots. To check your blind spot, look over your shoulder and out of your windows while changing lanes.
  • Be Ready for Emergencies on the Road: It's important for drivers to be ready for unexpected situations when driving, especially during long trips. They should be equipped to handle emergencies such as poor driving conditions or big rig breakdowns.
  • Use the Three-Second Rule: Truck drivers should try to maintain a three-second gap between their vehicle and the car in front of them. This means that the truck driver should reach a certain point on the road three seconds after the car in front of them has passed that same point.
  • Always Use Right and Left Turn Indicators: It's important for drivers to always use their turn signals when changing lanes or exiting highways, even if they don't see any other cars around. This is not only required by law, but it also reduces the chances of accidents occurring on the road.
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 Commercial Liability Insurance For Truckers Asheville, NC

Find Ways to Prevent Distracted Driving

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), distracted driving is the primary reason behind truck driver accidents. Any activity that takes a driver's attention away from the road or the steering wheel is considered distracted driving. Distractions can come in various forms, such as eating while driving or gazing at a billboard outside the window. However, the most frequent form of distracted driving is the use of cellphones, specifically texting while driving.

Assuming you or your driver's rigs are equipped with dual-facing cameras, try reviewing footage of an unsafe driving incident. Coach your drivers on ways to correct their unsafe behaviors or look up ways to do so yourself if you're the one operating the big rig. The bottom line is that when your drivers aren't distracted, they drive safer. And when they drive safer, the cost of 18-wheeler insurance in cityname, state can be reduced.

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 Commercial Truck Insurance Quote Asheville, NC

Ensuring the safety of your drivers begins with the safety of their vehicles. Trucks and tractor-trailers that do not receive regular maintenance, such as oil and brake pad changes, are more likely to experience breakdowns while on the road. Telematics devices provide real-time insight into engine and odometer data, including fault codes.

This information enables your mechanics to create comprehensive preventative maintenance schedules based on mileage, history of previous breakdowns, days, and more. Additionally, they can receive immediate notifications for critical fault codes. By implementing routine maintenance and proactive repair schedules, you can ensure that your vehicles are in top condition, minimizing the likelihood of breakdowns, which can help reduce the cost of trucker insurance.

 Low Priced Commercial Truck Insurance Asheville, NC phone Call Now

This approach aims to mitigate the risk of fatal crashes and injuries by proactively identifying and responding to potentially dangerous situations and making informed decisions while driving. By adopting defensive driving techniques, drivers can reduce their likelihood of accidents, thereby minimizing the need for expensive repairs, claim payouts, and increased insurance premiums.

Some of the easiest ways for you or your drivers to practice safe driving include:

  • Be Wary of Blind Spots: Operating a reefer or tractor-trailer means driving high off of the ground, which can make visibility limited, especially in blind spots. To check your blind spot, look over your shoulder and out of your windows while changing lanes.
  • Be Ready for Emergencies on the Road: It's important for drivers to be ready for unexpected situations when driving, especially during long trips. They should be equipped to handle emergencies such as poor driving conditions or big rig breakdowns.
  • Use the Three-Second Rule: Truck drivers should try to maintain a three-second gap between their vehicle and the car in front of them. This means that the truck driver should reach a certain point on the road three seconds after the car in front of them has passed that same point.
  • Always Use Right and Left Turn Indicators: It's important for drivers to always use their turn signals when changing lanes or exiting highways, even if they don't see any other cars around. This is not only required by law, but it also reduces the chances of accidents occurring on the road.
Commercial Truck Insurance Asheville, NC phone Call Now

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), distracted driving is the primary reason behind truck driver accidents. Any activity that takes a driver's attention away from the road or the steering wheel is considered distracted driving. Distractions can come in various forms, such as eating while driving or gazing at a billboard outside the window. However, the most frequent form of distracted driving is the use of cellphones, specifically texting while driving.

Assuming you or your driver's rigs are equipped with dual-facing cameras, try reviewing footage of an unsafe driving incident. Coach your drivers on ways to correct their unsafe behaviors or look up ways to do so yourself if you're the one operating the big rig. The bottom line is that when your drivers aren't distracted, they drive safer. And when they drive safer, the cost of 18-wheeler insurance in cityname, state can be reduced.

 Truck Insurance Asheville, NC phone Call Now

check light FAQs About

Independence Insurance Agency

If you're looking for a commercial trucking insurance agency for your business, chances are you have some questions - and we've got answers. Keep reading to learn more about some of the most commonly asked questions we hear from truckers like you.

Why go with a "jack of all trades" when you can work with specialists who focus exclusively on transportation insurance? We have excellent relationships with major trucking insurance carriers and, as such, can provide the best assistance and reasonable rates.

Typically, companies will look at claims that date back three years or less.

We proudly work with more than 20 carriers to provide our clients with the most advantageous options at competitive prices, catering to the needs of owner-operators and big fleets alike.

Permit filings are typically done by insurance companies on the next business day. Federal (FMCSA) filings are completed online and updated immediately, while some states may take up to three weeks to process.

Independence Insurance Agency: Committed to the Trucking Industry

There's no question about it - you've got to protect your staff, your rig, and your trucking business with insurance. But choosing the right insurance partner isn't always easy. Thankfully, with Independence Insurance Agency by your side, you can rest easy knowing you're covered no matter where the road takes you. If you're in need of a commercial truck insurance agency in Asheville, NC that caters to truckers like you, pick up the phone and contact one of our transportation specialists today. That way, you can get back on the road with confidence tomorrow.

 Trucking Insurance Asheville, NC

Latest News in Asheville, NC

Bundle up! Blast of cold air bringing some snow, slick roads to higher elevations in NC

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WLOS) — All eyes are on our next system bringing the first notable winter weather event of the year. A fast moving Alberta Clipper brings cold, wind and even some snowfall to Western North Carolina Tuesday night through Wednesday.Moisture moves in late Tuesday evening beginning as a wintry mix. Colder air spills into the region overnight transitioning any remaining moisture over to snow by Wednesday morning.Bundle up! Blast of cold air bringing some snow, slick roads to higher elevations in NC...

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WLOS) — All eyes are on our next system bringing the first notable winter weather event of the year. A fast moving Alberta Clipper brings cold, wind and even some snowfall to Western North Carolina Tuesday night through Wednesday.

Moisture moves in late Tuesday evening beginning as a wintry mix. Colder air spills into the region overnight transitioning any remaining moisture over to snow by Wednesday morning.

Bundle up! Blast of cold air bringing some snow, slick roads to higher elevations in NC

STATE, LOCAL OFFICIALS USE WINTER WEATHER PREPAREDNESS WEEK TO URGE RESIDENTS TO PLAN AHEAD

It won't be a snow-shovel kind of event for Asheville and the surrounding valleys. While we will be seeing some flakes flying, we aren't anticipating much if any accumulation in these areas. This is due to a lack of moisture and "warm" ground temperatures.

The chance for accumulating snow climbs with elevation. Measurable snow is likely in some spots above 3,500 feet. Higher terrain along the TN line could pick up around 3 inches of snow. Higher peaks in the Smokies could add up as much as 6-8 inches.

Some slick roads will be possible for the Wednesday morning drive in areas that do see snowfall. Any remaining snow tapers off Wednesday afternoon. A Winter Weather Advisory is in place for areas above 3,500 feet in Madison, Yancey, Mitchell, Swain, Haywood and Graham Counties from 10 p.m. Tuesday night until 4 p.m. Wednesday afternoon.

NCDOT CREWS PREPARE FOR WINTRY WEATHER IN MADISON COUNTY

More widespread impacts will be felt in the cold and wind sticking with us through the day on Wednesday. Gusty northwest winds could reach 40 mph at times. Wind combined with already cold temperatures will make it feel more like the 20s across the mountains for the middle of the week.

The cold doesn't stick around for long. Sunshine returns Thursday and Friday. Highs are warming to the 60s by the end of the week!

CLICK HERE to see the latest weather forecast. And CLICK HERE to view News 13's Closings & Delays page.

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CLOSINGS & DELAYS: If you want to stay up-to-date on the latest closings & delays, local news, weather and traffic, consider getting the News 13 WLOS App! You can find it by searching for "WLOS" in the iPhone App Store or Android Market.

Be sure to turn on notifications in your settings to get updates sent directly to your phone. To do this, click the settings button in the lower right of the WLOS app, then click "Manage Notifications." Once in your phone settings, click "Notifications" and enable "Allow Notifications."

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Asheville-based addiction recovery provider embroiled in $46M suit; Services impacted?

ASHEVILLE - In June 2022, Jon Wood and Danny Dillow opened Asheville Detox Center as the co-CEOs of the Asheville-based management firm Health Care Alliance North America. The location is one of the only private alcohol and drug detox centers in the region.A little over a year later, Wood is facing a lawsuit from former business associates — including Dillow — claiming misleading statements led to "unfair and deceptive" business practices after Wood and his business partner, David Glenwinkel, faile...

ASHEVILLE - In June 2022, Jon Wood and Danny Dillow opened Asheville Detox Center as the co-CEOs of the Asheville-based management firm Health Care Alliance North America. The location is one of the only private alcohol and drug detox centers in the region.

A little over a year later, Wood is facing a lawsuit from former business associates — including Dillow — claiming misleading statements led to "unfair and deceptive" business practices after Wood and his business partner, David Glenwinkel, failed to pay over $15 million in promissory notes.

As a result, over $46 million in damages are being sought from Wood — CEO and President of Asheville-based Oasis Recovery and owner of HCANA — and Glenwinkel. Both are now the primary owners of Health Care Alliance North America, or HCANA.

Eastern Recovery Management LLC — a group of former stakeholders in HCANA — filed the lawsuit Nov. 9 in the Buncombe County Superior Court.

HCANA is a management company for nine addiction and mental health treatment centers primarily across the Southeast. In Asheville, HCANA manages Oasis Recovery Center and Oasis Recovery II, along with Asheville Detox Center, employing roughly 180 people in the area, according to Wood.

Oasis Recovery Center is located off at 191 Charlotte Street and Asheville Detox Center is located just around the corner at 25 Choctaw Street.

"Defendants, through statements from Mr. Wood and Mr.Glenwinkel, were tricked into believing that Mr. Glenwinkel had sufficient resources in his individual capacity to pay at least the ($10 million) owed under the Short-Term Note," the lawsuit reads.

"The misconduct and misrepresentations alleged above constitute unfair and deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce in violation of the North Carolina Unfair and Deceptive Business Practices Act codified in Chapter 75 of the North Carolina General Statutes," the suit continues.

Wood spoke with the Citizen Times about the case, stating the suit was partially the result of a capital investor dropping out at the last minute — just prior to two promissory notes being due — leading those who were owed capital from the HCANA buyout to pursue legal action as they were not immediately capable of producing the over $15 million required.

Wood and Glenwinkel operate the Wyoming-based companies Glenwood Enterprises LLC and Glenwood Real Estate LLC. Both companies are named in the suit.

Julian Wright, a business litigation attorney representing Eastern Recovery LLC, said the $46 million is the result of "treble damages" which result from the violation of North Carolina law.

"The roughly $46 million sought by our clients is the amount owed under the two notes, multiplied by a factor of three (or treble damages)," Wright said in an email with the Citizen Times. "In this case, our clients are seeking treble damages for a violation of NC’s Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act."

In communication with the Citizen Times, Wright could not comment on the misleading statements provided by Glenwinkel or on ongoing litigation.

The Citizen Times reached out to Glenwinkel, but he was not available for comment by deadline.

While not directly impacting patients or recovery services, Wood said the suit has placed the company in a "vulnerable spot," where the himself and Glenwinkel have "gotten creative in continuing to make payroll."

2 different management styles; 2 experiences

Wood told the Citizen Times that the decision to buy out Eastern Recovery Management from HCANA came from a "difference in management styles."

"It was very challenging having multiple chiefs trying to run the company in kind of different directions," Wood said.

According to Wood, the conversations to buy out Health Care Alliance North America started after Eastern Recovery LLC decided against moving forward with capital requests that came along with 2023 being an "expansion year" for the company. The requests involved opening Oasis River Recovery in Oconee, Tennessee, and opening the second Oasis location in Asheville.

Eastern Recovery was hesitant to put forth the capital after plans had been agreed on to open the centers, Wood said.

"That's what triggered all the conversations that formed the buyout. Technically, in our operating agreement, there was not a specified buy-sell," Wood said. "But that's where really we asked them. We said: 'Look, either you guys have to put in the capital or we have to figure out a price that we could buy you out on.'"

Wood had previously run the company alongside Danny Dillow, the registered CEO of Eastern Recovery Management LLC and former co-CEO of HCANA. Both say they were inspired to enter the industry after their experience in recovery.

Dillow and Wood had worked together for several years as co-CEO's HCANA, even being jointly named on a $5,000 donation to the city of Asheville to open a Merrimon Avenue bus stop in 2021. In total, HCANA has served over 6,500 clients during the company's over 5 years of business, according to the HCANA website.

Dillow's experience was similar, but came down to "pace of expansion."

"We had different views on how potential expansion of the company would proceed," Dillow said of working in HCANA.

"When we were an ownership group together, you know, one side had certain dreams and aspirations, and the other side had certain dreams and aspirations for what we wanted to do, and who we wanted to serve," he said. "And, unfortunately, those didn't match up."

The disagreements led to the buy-out conversation, Wood said, which then led to the promissory notes.

A strange investor disrupts promissory payment

Because Glenwood Enterprises did not have the capital to purchase the shares from Eastern Recovery outright, the promissory purchased the shares using promissory notes to allow for a 90-day "fundraising period," where Wood and Glenwinkel would reach out to capital investors to help buy out Eastern Recovery's stake in the company.

The two promissory notes were for $10 million and for $5.5 million, totaling around $15.5 million, according to court documents.

The agreement for the promissory notes was followed with a 90-day fundraising period, Wood said.

By the end of it, his company Glenwood Enterprises LLC, jointly managed by himself and Glenwinkel, had not gathered the capital in time for deadline, which triggered Eastern Recovery Management to file the suit.

Wood said that the situation was not the result of misleading statements or misrepresentation, but was the result of a "really weird" situation with a private investor who suddenly dropped out not long before the Sept. 29 due date.

Wood only addressed the investor by his first name: Todd.

After pushing possible capital partners aside to bring Todd on-board to invest, wire transfers from the investors began to bounce, Wood said. Even after a background check came back clean, no money came through.

"I confer those with my financial institutions. First Bank, along with Morgan Stanley, just to say: 'Is this stuff credible?'" he said of the situation. "Everyone said: 'Yes, it looks very credible.'"

"I even went as far as to do a full background check on Todd to make sure there's no funny business," Wood continued. "Because throughout the process, there was about a three week span where he sent in three different wire confirmations, and none of them actually hit. And it turns out, he didn't have full access to his trust."

Todd didn't actually have access to the final funds to invest, Wood said. Instead, they were locked up in a family trust, inaccessible for investment.

"We didn't understand his angle," Wood said of the investor. "Why make three trips to Asheville? Why meet our team, talk about marketing, talk about the future, talk about growth and spend hours and hour and hours with us when you couldn't access the funds?"

Neither Wright or Dillow could not provide comment to the Citizen Times on whether Eastern Recovery Management knew of the investor.

What do recovery services look like in Asheville?

Dillow, while being the primary manager of Eastern Recovery Management, is also involved in running Asheville Recovery Center — a local non-HCANA managed addiction recovery center not involved in the suit.

He opened the center with the belief his team "could do it better." The Asheville Recovery was modeled after the center he attended to get clean, prior to the time when it "became a factory, so to speak."

"That's where our treatment center was born," Dillow said. "We modeled it very much after that other treatment program when it was great. You know — intimate."

Asheville Recovery Center has served "thousands" of those recovering in the area, according to Dillow. Looking forward, the goal is to continue to serving the community.

"We are excited to continue to serve the community of Asheville, and keep bringing the latest technologies and the utmost level of care for our clientele," Dillow said.

For Wood, the goal is to work with Eastern Recovery to resolve the suit by paying more capital upfront to expand the period for capital fundraising.

After that, the goal is to refocus on HCANA.

"The entire year of 2024 is going to be dedicated to normalizing all the new growth, to come up with some new marketing strategies, and to get the company back to a very, very healthy spot financially to where we can start to do more for our team," he said.

Court orders highlight bank accounts, property

The lawsuit led to two bank accounts being seized by Eastern Recovery Management, according to court orders filed in November. Real estate owned by the companies was also included in the order.

Real estate in the court order included a condo unit at 7 Patton Ave. — or the Arras Hotel — which is owned Glenwood Real Estate.

Wood said his entry into recovery management came from his experience in recovery, along with his experience in real estate — through Glenwood Real Estate — which helped finance the venture into the recovery industry along with investments from Glenwinkel.

The orders have not had any impact on recovery services but made the situation "very stressful," Wood said. However, he stated he had to "get creative" in order to make payroll amid a situation that has put the company into "a more vulnerable spot."

"No employees were damaged as a result," Wood said. "We made sure of that."

More:Answer Man: How can shoppers find spaces at Asheville Trader Joe's parking lot?

More:600,000 North Carolinians now have access to health insurance as expanded Medicaid begins

Citizen Times County Issues and Health Care Reporter Mitchell Black contributed to this article.

Will Hofmann is the Growth and Development Reporter for the Asheville Citizen Times, part of the USA Today Network. Got a tip? Email him at WHofmann@citizentimes.com.

Northern Lights: Will we see it in North Carolina, Virginia? Check out the best chances for viewing in the United States

Editor's Note: Video features Northern Lights captured originally on March 31, 2023.The Northern Lights could be visible over part of the United States on Thursday and Friday nights.Already, the aurora borealis or Northern Lights have been viewed in both North Carolina and Virginia previously this year on two separate occasions.On March 24, sightings were reported along the ...

Editor's Note: Video features Northern Lights captured originally on March 31, 2023.

The Northern Lights could be visible over part of the United States on Thursday and Friday nights.

Already, the aurora borealis or Northern Lights have been viewed in both North Carolina and Virginia previously this year on two separate occasions.

On March 24, sightings were reported along the Blue Ridge Parkway just outside of Asheville.

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There were also reports of sightings in Virginia. Peter Forister Photography shared his stunning images with WXII 12 after capturing the explosion of colors over the Shenandoah Valley.

“This night will go down in my memory as one of the most unexpected but remarkable experiences I've had living in Virginia,” Peter Forister posted on his Facebook page. The images were captured near the Big Meadows in the Shenandoah Valley.

This content is imported from Facebook. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

Additional sightings were reported a month later along the Blue Ridge Parkway in the Craggy Gardens area and also along the parkway in Floyd, VA.

Check out the Northern Lights captured along the Blue Ridge Parkway in April, here.

Forister said he would be out again, this time around looking for the Northern Lights.

So, what will the forecast for the Northern Lights be this time around?

According to NOAA, the aurora borealis forecast graphic models for tonight and Friday night reveal the southern-most locations from which people could view the aurora on the northern horizon.

Thursday Night's Graphic Model

The best time to view would be between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. NOAA said the aurora is typically shown as a green oval centered on Earth’s magnetic pole. They reveal the green ovals turn red when the aurora is forecasted to be more intense. Aurora can often be observed somewhere on Earth from just after sunset or just before sunrise, according to NOAA.

Friday Night's Graphic Model

The Northern Lights could be visible in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Oklahoma but here's to hoping we see something spectacular in North Carolina and in Virginia. However, there will be considerable clouds around Friday night and perhaps some rain too.

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Asheville, N.C.'s Best Festivals Celebrate Yoga, Pride, Black Culture, and Much More

For years the North Carolina mountain city Asheville was known for its craft beer and fall foliage (thanks to its Blue Ridge Mountain highs), but of late, the city has outgrown the clichés to become a multicultural, year-round destination for travelers. The food scene is booming—and award winning—and Asheville’s neighborhoods overflow with festivals: Celtic, Black, Latinx, and...

For years the North Carolina mountain city Asheville was known for its craft beer and fall foliage (thanks to its Blue Ridge Mountain highs), but of late, the city has outgrown the clichés to become a multicultural, year-round destination for travelers. The food scene is booming—and award winning—and Asheville’s neighborhoods overflow with festivals: Celtic, Black, Latinx, and a lively Pride; along with an annual event named for the city’s most beloved condiment and an all-things-bread fest.

As you explore these festivals, you’ll not only savor the flavors and sounds of the city but also experience the warmth and inclusivity of the mountain community. So mark your 2024 calendars and plan a trip to Asheville with these events in mind.

Asheville Celtic Festival

In the dead of winter, the Asheville Celtic Festival shakes things up with the essence of the Seven Celtic Nations (Brittany, Cornwall, Galicia, Ireland, Isle of Man, Scotland, and Wales) in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It’ll feel like a step back in time with characters dressed in c. 1700s period costumes. At the Davis Center at the WNC Agricultural Center, warm the soul with two days of live Celtic folk music, Celtic crafts, armored sword fighting, traditional Irish step dancing, and many more traditions steeped in each Celtic heritage.

Asheville Bread Festival

If carbs are your thing, then this is the festival for you. Come to the Asheville Bread Festival hungry and indulge in bagels, the perfect sourdough loaf, Spanish-style laminated pastries, baguettes, croissants, and even a few gluten-free options. As the first of its kind in the Southeast (yes, there are bread festivals abundant throughout Europe), the festival leans into the making as much as the eating, with some of the country’s most respected bakers joining the show. In 2023 Lionel Vatinet, a French master baker at La Farm in Cary, N.C., and Peter Reinhart, a baker, author, and one of the world’s leading authorities on bread, were some of the top talents in attendance. The two-day event brings together local farmers, millers, and bakers who break bread and divulge skills, and hands-on workshops and lectures about grains and breadmaking.

LEAF Global Arts Festival

Leaf peeping” is a popular affair in the Blue Ridge Mountains but this is not what you’re thinking. LEAF Global Arts Festival, which uses an acronym for the Lake Eden Arts Festival, has taken place twice a year since 1995 and proves to hold its golden reputation for one of the best festivals in the Southeast. It’s best described as a party in the woods, with folks jamming, singing, performing, and dancing around the lake. The nonprofit organization was originally established to bring the community together through music and arts, both local and global, with educational programs, events, and mentoring. Participants can groove to the music, learn a new skill from one of the countless workshops, and camp under the stars with friends.

GRINDfest

“Let’s show the world that the celebration is louder than the pain and the future is brighter than the past,” the festival’s site reads. A newer event in the city, GRINDfest is a three-day gathering of Black entrepreneurs and business owners in a block party–style event at 8 Rivers Arts Place. Last year, OutKast’s Big Boi and rapper Waka Flocka Flame performed and festival goers were also invited to screen Black in Asheville, a documentary produced by Asheville community elder Todd Gragg documenting the Black experience here, from the Antebellum period to present day, through interviews with local historians and residents. There’s Poetry Slam, a Black Wall Street AVL marketplace, “extreme hip-hop aerobics,” Black Asheville storytime with the elder residents, cooking classes, a standout entrepreneurship lunch, and lots of delicious food.

Blue Ridge Pride Festival

The largest LGBTQ pride festival in western North Carolina, attracting upwards of 15,000 people, the Blue Ridge Pride Festival is a testament to the city’s “come as you are” vibe: one big, inclusive, very fun party in downtown Asheville’s Pack Square Park. More than 100 vendors set up shop, and the entertainment starts early with a dedicated kids area, live music all day, pool parties, a Silent Disco, and—perhaps the highlight of the festival—an annual Drag Pageant where contestants compete for the title of Miss/Mr./Mx. Blue Ridge Pride. The festival’s mission is to advocate, celebrate, educate, and serve, and it hits all its marks. Your cheeks will be tired from smiling nonstop.

Hola Asheville

Hosted by Hola Carolina, an Asheville-based nonprofit, this multi-day festival pays tribute to the city’s Latinx community through food, art, dance, and community togetherness. Try dishes inspired by Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela; dance the salsa, bachata, zamba, tango, or merengue; and shop handmade goods from local artisans. Last year’s highlights include comedian Nélida López-Fernández, a community Zumba class, and Chilean reggae band Petah Iah and The Mind Renewing. This Asheville-based nonprofit is vital to the Latinx community, distributing Spanish news and sustaining the Hola Community Food Bank, VAMOS Carolina transportation services, and the Latino Economic Empowerment Program. Eat and dance your way through Pack Square Park while giving back to the community.

LoveShinePlay

LoveShinePlay yoga festival, established in 2016, unites yogis, artists, friends, and crafters in the heart of Downtown Asheville. The expansive four-day schedule includes more than 70 styles of offerings: Bhakti and anatomy, Kundalini and Yin, and of course, lots of yoga. By day, world-class presenters offer everything from “yin yoga and story time” to practical astrology. During down time, participants can enjoy evening concerts, hikes in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and stand-up paddleboarding on the French Broad River. Mountain Air Market—where more than 65 vendors hawk herbs, bodycare, amazing teas and health elixirs, and yoga apparel brands—is the hub of the festival. It’s often considered a reunion for yogis who will meet at the same time, same place, each year.

Mountain Dance and Folk Festival

Bascom Lamar Lunsford, a folklorist and lawyer from Western North Carolina, started Mountain Dance and Folk Festival in 1928 and it’s the oldest fest of its kind in the country. He wanted locals and visitors to appreciate the music and dance that’s a hallmark of Southern Appalachia, and to showcase the best Appalachian singers, string bands, and square dancers around. Each night, the songs and dances reflect the diverse cultural heritage of the Great Smokies and Blue Ridge Mountains with influences from Scottish, English, Irish, Cherokee, and African tradition—and showcase the talent and dedication of hundreds of musicians, dancers, and storytellers at Lipinsky Hall on the campus of UNC Asheville. It’s truly one-of-a-kind.

Chow Chow

When Chow Chow made its debut in 2019, Nobel Peace Prize–nominated chef José Andrés showed up to cook an oversized paella in a park—a testament for his appreciation of the community and tight friendship with chef Katie Button. The festival was originally founded by James Beard Award–winning chefs Button, Meherwan Irani, and John Fleer, plus East Fork Pottery’s co-founder Connie Matisse, and has since evolved into a really fun, educational few days showcasing the culinary landscape of Southern Appalachia.

Named after the iconic pickled relish, chow chow, native to Southern Appalachia, the festival’s focuses on the abundance of produce, purveyors, makers, chefs, and bakers in the creative economy—and it goes above and beyond sampling food and spirits. Go foraging for ingredients with a local chef, learn about the spiritual significance of a community Fish Fry, and even visit local farms to see some of the city’s prized purveyors. The festival has “pay what you can” events to encourage locals and visitors of all ages and backgrounds to participate.

Jenn Rice is a nomadic food and travel journalist with over a decade of international digital and print experience as a writer. She currently splits time between the Southeast and Europe and her work has appeared in Food & Wine, Wine Enthusiast, Vogue, The Washington Post, Thrillist, Eater Carolinas, and more.

9 Hottest Restaurants in Asheville Right Now, November 2023

More often than not, tipsters, readers, friends and family of Eater have one question: Where should I eat right now? What are the new restaurants? What’s everyone talking about? While the Eater 18 is a crucial resource covering old standbys and neighborhood essentials across the city, it is not a chronicle of the “it” places of the moment. Enter the Eater Heatmap, which will change continually to highlight the spots cro...

More often than not, tipsters, readers, friends and family of Eater have one question: Where should I eat right now? What are the new restaurants? What’s everyone talking about? While the Eater 18 is a crucial resource covering old standbys and neighborhood essentials across the city, it is not a chronicle of the “it” places of the moment. Enter the Eater Heatmap, which will change continually to highlight the spots crowds are flocking to at the moment or generating a big buzz. Folks are asking, “Have you been yet?” Try one of these newbies today.

November 2023: Laila, Golden Hour and the RoofOctober 2023: Avenue M, Mother Cafe, the West End Bakery September 2023: The Restoration, Botiwalla

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Eater maps are curated by editors and aim to reflect a diversity of neighborhoods, cuisines, and prices. Learn more about our editorial process.

Owen and Mindi McGlynn of Grove Arcade restaurant Asheville Proper opened their second restaurant, Little D’s, with an emphasis on small plates and seasonal produce. Current dishes include crispy pork belly with cider maple glazed Brussels, scallops with mushroom risotto, and sweet potato gnocchi with bacon jam.

Located in a former Greyhound bus station, the Hound comes from Zambra owner Peter Montague and the Copper Crown owner Adam Bannasch. The East Asheville lounge offers an extensive cocktail list, along with a list of snacks like boquerones or duck pastrami on rye. For more substantial meals, guest food trucks and chefs show up with various cuisines (watch Instagram for details).

Posh hotel the Restoration offers several dining and drinking opportunities on its property. The main restaurant, the Exchange, offers brunch, breakfast, lunch, and dinner with modern Southern and Appalachian cuisine (think local trout with black rice or pork chops with jalapeno grits). The Observatory rooftop bar offers botanical cocktails and small bites. The basement bar the Draftsman boasts a bowling alley, Skee-Ball machines, and local draft beers.

Barbie pink paints the street-side window frame of Laila, the new Indian restaurant that has filled the prime downtown space unexpectedly vacated by Holeman & Finch in April. The owners — who also run the popular Andaaz in Biltmore Village — have razzle-dazzled the former new South country club cushiness interiors with vibrant colors, eye-catching art, and a menu that pops with dishes showcasing the coastal regions of the vast country of India.

A century-old former cereal factory in the RAD — Asheville’s funky River Arts District — has been reclaimed and reimagined into the Radical boutique hotel with food and beverage destinations conceived by visionary chef/restaurateur Jacob Sessoms (Table and All Day Darling). Golden Hour’s wood-fired menu sources heavily from local farms for produce and proteins. Overlooking the French Broad River, the Roof proves there are never too many rooftop bars in Asheville, Land of the Sky.

Baker Heidi Bass’s focaccia built a fervent following in Asheville, taking her from front porch pop-ups to a storefront bakery and wine shop (with partner Brett Watson) in the River Arts District in 2022. Mother’s charming new eat-and-drink in cafe expands their operations to plates, toasts, sandwiches— the classic jambon beurre baguette is a mainstay — sweets, wine by the glass, and breads by the loaf.

West Asheville mainstay Tastee Diner finds new owners with former Jargon chef Steve Goff and partner Sam Goff. They still serve comfort food, but now it’s a bit more interesting, like Slim Jim dip, roasted bone marrow with okonomiyaki, or a giant smoked bologna stack with whipped pimento cheese. Tastee serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

A West Asheville favorite since it opened in 2001, in recent years the purple-painted neighborhood landmark has gone through multiple hands and reinventions. Since taking over the business in 2023, Stephanie Hand and Donnie Hutchins have staged a successful comeback, fueled by the return of the giant cinnamon roll and a seemingly infinite number of doughnut flavors — dirty chai, coconut, s’mores, and strawberry among them. The cafe menu offers breakfast and lunch.

The team behind popular Indian restaurant Chai Pani has opened street food cafe Botiwalla in West Asheville. Away from the hustle and bustle of downtown, the new spot offers many of the same flavors of Chai Pani, but in a family-friendly, fast-casual setting. Look for okra fries, lamb sliders, Desi salads, and grilled hot buttered naan wrapped around chicken tikka, malai chicken tikka, boti lamb kofta balls, or paneer tikka.

Owen and Mindi McGlynn of Grove Arcade restaurant Asheville Proper opened their second restaurant, Little D’s, with an emphasis on small plates and seasonal produce. Current dishes include crispy pork belly with cider maple glazed Brussels, scallops with mushroom risotto, and sweet potato gnocchi with bacon jam.

Located in a former Greyhound bus station, the Hound comes from Zambra owner Peter Montague and the Copper Crown owner Adam Bannasch. The East Asheville lounge offers an extensive cocktail list, along with a list of snacks like boquerones or duck pastrami on rye. For more substantial meals, guest food trucks and chefs show up with various cuisines (watch Instagram for details).

Posh hotel the Restoration offers several dining and drinking opportunities on its property. The main restaurant, the Exchange, offers brunch, breakfast, lunch, and dinner with modern Southern and Appalachian cuisine (think local trout with black rice or pork chops with jalapeno grits). The Observatory rooftop bar offers botanical cocktails and small bites. The basement bar the Draftsman boasts a bowling alley, Skee-Ball machines, and local draft beers.

Barbie pink paints the street-side window frame of Laila, the new Indian restaurant that has filled the prime downtown space unexpectedly vacated by Holeman & Finch in April. The owners — who also run the popular Andaaz in Biltmore Village — have razzle-dazzled the former new South country club cushiness interiors with vibrant colors, eye-catching art, and a menu that pops with dishes showcasing the coastal regions of the vast country of India.

A century-old former cereal factory in the RAD — Asheville’s funky River Arts District — has been reclaimed and reimagined into the Radical boutique hotel with food and beverage destinations conceived by visionary chef/restaurateur Jacob Sessoms (Table and All Day Darling). Golden Hour’s wood-fired menu sources heavily from local farms for produce and proteins. Overlooking the French Broad River, the Roof proves there are never too many rooftop bars in Asheville, Land of the Sky.

Baker Heidi Bass’s focaccia built a fervent following in Asheville, taking her from front porch pop-ups to a storefront bakery and wine shop (with partner Brett Watson) in the River Arts District in 2022. Mother’s charming new eat-and-drink in cafe expands their operations to plates, toasts, sandwiches— the classic jambon beurre baguette is a mainstay — sweets, wine by the glass, and breads by the loaf.

West Asheville mainstay Tastee Diner finds new owners with former Jargon chef Steve Goff and partner Sam Goff. They still serve comfort food, but now it’s a bit more interesting, like Slim Jim dip, roasted bone marrow with okonomiyaki, or a giant smoked bologna stack with whipped pimento cheese. Tastee serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

A West Asheville favorite since it opened in 2001, in recent years the purple-painted neighborhood landmark has gone through multiple hands and reinventions. Since taking over the business in 2023, Stephanie Hand and Donnie Hutchins have staged a successful comeback, fueled by the return of the giant cinnamon roll and a seemingly infinite number of doughnut flavors — dirty chai, coconut, s’mores, and strawberry among them. The cafe menu offers breakfast and lunch.

The team behind popular Indian restaurant Chai Pani has opened street food cafe Botiwalla in West Asheville. Away from the hustle and bustle of downtown, the new spot offers many of the same flavors of Chai Pani, but in a family-friendly, fast-casual setting. Look for okra fries, lamb sliders, Desi salads, and grilled hot buttered naan wrapped around chicken tikka, malai chicken tikka, boti lamb kofta balls, or paneer tikka.

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