Western North Carolina Community Health Services, a federally qualified community health center in Asheville, opened a new branch in Candler on Wednesday, May 4.
The Hominy Valley Health Center is on the same site as the Hominy Valley Crisis Center, 1914 Smokey Park Highway. The crisis center is operated by Asheville Buncombe Christian Community Ministry, a faith-based nonprofit addressing poverty.
Hominy Valley Health Center is supported by Dogwood Health Trust, a nonprofit established when Mission Health was sold to Nashville-based HCA Healthcare for $1.5 billion in 2019.
In a press release, WNCCHS Executive Director Kim Wagenaar says Dogwood Health Trust’s support will allow Hominy Valley Health Center to serve 500 additional patients.
The Hominy Valley clinic is open 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Tuesday-Friday. It serves patients ages 2 and older. Services include primary care, behavioral health, substance abuse, immunizations, minor ambulatory procedures and others.
The physician assistant serving the Hominy Valley clinic is Abbi Fregoso, per WNCCHS’ website. For more information, visit https://www.wncchs.org.
Donate blood for free Tourists tickets
The Blood Connection, the nonprofit providing blood to WNC’s hospitals, and the Asheville Tourists baseball team are hosting two blood drives this summer. The Blood Connection recently announced an urgent need for O negative blood, aka the universal donor.
The first blood drive is Thursday, May 19, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. All blood donors will receive a raglan T-shirt, a clear bag, two tickets to a future Tourists game and a hot dog lunch and drink. The second blood drive will be held Thursday, Aug. 4, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. All blood donors will receive a dugout mug, two free tickets to a future Tourists game and a hot dog lunch and drink.
Walk-ins are welcome, but potential donors are encouraged to schedule an appointment at www.thebloodconnection.org/tourists. Learn more about standalone locations in WNC to donate blood and how to host a blood drive at www.thebloodconnection.org.
Free coffee for veterans
The American Legion NC Post 70 Coffee Shop welcomes veterans and all active-duty military to enjoy free coffee at its coffee shop, 103 Reddick Road. Calling itself “a listening post” for veterans, the coffee shop aims to be a center for camaraderie and healing. Veterans Coffee Shop is open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. For more information, call 299-8463 or visit www.americanlegionnc70.org.
Massage spa opens
Recline & Unwind Social Spa opened earlier this month at 20 S. Pack Square. The spa provides 15-minute sessions for experiences like a salt soak, hand and arm massage or head and foot massage. Recline & Unwind touts its “social wellness twist,” as all spa treatments are held in the same room and guests are encouraged to socialize. For more information, call 348-7650 or www.rusocialspa.com.
‘Firefly forest bathing’ walks available
Asheville Wellness Retreats & Tours announced it will be hosting firefly forest bathing walks — guided walks in nature — Friday, May 27-Sunday, June 12. These guided walks, limited to 15 people per group, will take place on private farmland with a wooded area and meadow. Guests can anticipate seeing several firefly species native to the Blue Ridge Mountains depending on weather conditions.
Public walks will be held Fridays and Saturdays from 8-10:30 p.m.; private tours are available upon request. Guests can register at www.ashevillewellnesstours.com. The cost is $75 per person. The location of the walk will be revealed to guests after registration; organizers say it is 45 minutes from downtown Asheville.
Plant-based cooking class for health care workers
The lifestyle medicine advancement group in the Western North Carolina Medical Society is holding a plant-based cooking class for physicians and physician assistants. The class will be held at Asheville Mountain Kitchen, 332 E. Sondley Drive, Sunday, June 5, 4.-7p.m. Health care workers will learn to prepare a plant-based Moroccan meal and are encouraged to bring beverages of their choice. An RSVP is required for the event, and practitioners must pay $10 to hold their spot. Reserve at spot at http://avl.mx/bky.
- Christopher Munton began as chief executive officer of Harris Regional Hospital in Sylva and Swain Community Hospital in Bryson City on Monday, May 16. Previously, Munton was chief operating officer at National Park Medical Center in Arkansas.
- Mark Starr has joined AdventHealth Hendersonville as director of food and nutrition services. Starr has over 30 years of experience as an executive chef, most recently at the Morrison Healthcare Sector in Spartanburg, S.C.
- Certified family nurse practitioner Vanessa Mugica has joined Pardee Breast Surgery at Pardee UNC Health Care. Mugica has over 10 years of experience as a certified perioperative nurse practitioner.
Mark your calendars
- The Vaya Health GERO Team is holding a free event, “Anxiety: Calming the Anxious Mind,” Tuesday, May 24, 1-2 p.m. at Enka-Candler Public Library, 1404 Sand Hill Road. The event will cover anxiety disorders and how they present in older populations. Registration is required by calling 250-4747.
- An internationally certified lactation consultant will teach a free “Art of Breastfeeding” class, Thursday, July 21, 6:30-8 p.m. at the Pardee UNC Healthcare Hospital orientation classroom, 800 N. Justice St., Hendersonville. Register at http://avl.mx/bku.
- The Henderson County Chamber of Commerce and Hunter Subaru are hosting the Apple Festival Races on Saturday, Sept. 3, as the first event of Hendersonville’s annual Apple Festival. The race starts and finishes on the Pardee UNC Hospital campus at 800 N. Justice St., Hendersonville. More information about fees for participation as an individual or team at http://avl.mx/bkw.
- The Blue Ridge Pride Festival will be Saturday, Sept. 24, 11a.m.-7p.m. in Pack Square Park. Apply to be a vendor, exhibitor, sponsor or volunteer at http://avl.mx/bkv.