New community health clinic opens in Marion

OPENING SOON: Family nurse practitioners Natali Cabrera, left, and Heather Cook will staff health care providers staffing the Western North Carolina Community Health Services' McDowell Health Center in Marion, which opens April 11. Photos courtesy of WNCCHS

Western North Carolina Community Health Services, a federally qualified health center, will open its McDowell Health Center on April 11. Services provided include primary care, immunizations, substance abuse services, specialty referrals and other wellness resources.

Family nurse practitioners Natali Cabrera and Heather Cook will staff the new location. Cabrera is fluent in Spanish and English. A translation service is also available for non-English-speaking patients. WNCCHS has a sliding fee scale available for both insured and uninsured patients. It also accepts most insurance, including Medicaid and Medicare.

WNCCHS’ McDowell Health Center is at 136 Creekview Court, Marion. Learn more at and call 828-583-6733 to make an appointment

Veterans resources event April 28

Veterans Services of the Carolinas, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and NC Works will host a Veteran Stand Down event 9 a.m-3 p.m. Friday, April 28, in the Acts Building of the Asheville Buncombe Christian Community Ministry Veterans Restoration Quarters, 1401 Tunnel Road.

Health screenings, dental services, mental health services, gear distribution, haircuts and other resources will be available for at-risk veterans of all ages and connection statuses. Breakfast and lunch will be served. Veterans must bring proof of service, such as a veteran ID or a certificate of discharge, or they must be verified by Veterans Affairs upon registration.

Volunteers are still needed for this event. For more information, contact 855-962-8387 or

Buncombe sobriety court honored

The National Center for DWI Courts, a nonprofit that seeks to improve DWI courts nationwide, has designated Buncombe County Sobriety/DWI Treatment Court as an “Academy Court” to serve as a model for other sobriety courts around the nation.

The county’s Sobriety/DWI Treatment Court increases post-conviction supervision for individuals ages 18 and older who have repeatedly driven impaired. Participants must have moderate to severe substance dependence and multiple DWI convictions. The program encourages treatment for alcohol and drug use disorders while aiming to reduce DWI recidivism.

“NCDC’s Academy Court Network identifies exemplary DWI courts to host foundational trainings, receive staff from other jurisdictions for site visits, play a significant role in participating in research and media, and serve as a national model for DWI courts,” according to the National Center for DWI Courts.

For more information visit or contact Sobriety Court coordinator Tiffany Graaff at 828-250-4463.

New cataract surgery available

Dr. Ben Wilson of Woolfson Eye Institute-Asheville, a board-certified ophthalmologist specializing in cataract, cornea, refractive and laser surgery, is now providing a new surgery that customizes a patient’s vision after cataract surgery. The procedure implants an intraocular lens called the Rx Light Adjustable Lens, or LAL. Wilson is the first eye surgeon in the region to offer this procedure to patients. For more information, contact Woolfson Eye Institute-Asheville at 828-651-8662.

Playground reopens with updates

The playground at Cane Creek Park, 590 Lower Brush Creek Rd., Fletcher has reopened. Buncombe County recently updated playground equipment which was 15 years old. The playground now includes two new play structures, musical equipment and two benches.

Sober-curious hangout April 16

Asheville Lose the Booze Crew will host a hangout in the River Arts District 10 a.m.-noon, Sunday, April 16. The group will meet at Summit Coffee Co., 4 Foundy St., and then explore the River Arts District. In the event of rain, the hangout will stay at Summit Coffee Co.

Asheville Lose the Booze Crew is not a 12-step recovery group; it’s a substance-free social group for individuals in their 20s, 30s and 40s.

For more information or to join the social group on MeetUp, visit

MAHEC welcomes med school graduates

Almost 70 graduates from medical schools nationwide were selected for residencies or fellowships through the graduate medical education program at Mountain Area Health Education Center for this year.

The physicians span the fields of family medicine, addiction medicine, surgery, obstetrics/gynecology, maternal-fetal medicine, general psychiatry, addiction psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry, internal medicine and sports medicine.

The first physicians participating in MAHEC’s GME program will begin their work in July.

Community kudos 

  • Buncombe County Emergency Medical Services Director Taylor Jones was named a Top 100 Local Government Influencer by Engaging Local Government Leaders, a professional association for employees of all levels of local government.
  • AdventHealth Hendersonville has named urogynecologist Dr. Jeffrey B. Garris as chief of staff. Garris is board certified in obstetrics, gynecology and female pelvic and reconstructive surgery. He earned his medical degree from Wake Forest School of Medicine.
  • Connie Stec is the new director of the laboratory at AdventHealth Hendersonville. Previously Stec served as the hospital’s laboratory operations supervisor and as a laboratory scientist.
  • Cardiologists Drs. Lillia LaPlace and Marian Taylor have joined Pardee UNC Health Care. The doctors are accepting new patients. Call 828-435-8080 for more information.
  • The executive committee of the board of directors of the Highlands Cashiers Health Foundation has selected Dr. Barbara Bloomer Corcoran as board chair.

Mark your calendars

  • Luke Manget will deliver a free lecture on the history of medicinal plants in Appalachia 10-11:30 a.m., Saturday, April 1, at the picnic shelter of the Zebulon B. Vance Birthplace, 911 Reems Creek Road, Weaverville. Manget is the author of Ginseng Diggers: A History of Root and Herb Gathering in Appalachia. For more information visit
  • Lazy Day Farm will host a goat yoga class 10:30-11:30 a.m., Saturday, April 1, at New Belgium Brewing Co., 21 Craven Street. This is a beginner’s level class accompanied by baby goats; guests should bring their own yoga mats. Tickets are $28 each at
  • Kae Mance will share a presentation about her book, Living Well to Die Well: A Guide for Terminally Ill People and Their Loved Ones, 7-8:30 p.m., Monday, April 3, at Weaverville Center for Creative and Healthy Living, 60 Lakeshore Drive, Weaverville. Mance is a former line-dancing instructor for the community center who was diagnosed with terminal cancer. The book can be purchased at
  • Western Carolina Rescue Ministries is hosting a foot care clinic at 11 a.m., Friday, April 7. Volunteers will participate in foot washing, and shoes, socks and hygiene kits will be provided for those in need. For more information about the location or to volunteer, contact Amanda Putnam at
    A women’s wellness conference with free health screenings, education sessions and resources will be held 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday, April 15 at Long’s Chapel United Methodist Church, 133 Old Clyde Road, Waynesville. The conference is hosted by Buncombe County Communications Office, the Asheville alumnae chapter of Delta Sigma Theta sorority, and Long’s Chapel. For more information, contact
  • The Buncombe County Violence Prevention Task Force will host a community conversation on creating a culture of consent 6-7:30 p.m.,Tuesday, April 25 at the East Asheville Public Library, 3 Avon Road. The free event is open to all ages, but models of consensual interactions will be demonstrated with youths in mind. To RSVP visit
  • Trek Bicycle Asheville, which services bicycles, and Asheville on Bikes, a commuter-cycling advocacy organization, will host a community ride Saturday, April 29. The 16th annual Spring Out ride gathers at 2:30 p.m. and departs at 3 p.m. from Wedge at Foundation, 5 Foundy St. Four route options are available; all cyclists will return to Wedge. From 1:30-5 p.m., a pop-up bike park will be set up at Wedge, courtesy of Kid Cycle Club and Yuba Bikes. For more information visit

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About Jessica Wakeman
Jessica Wakeman is an Asheville-based reporter for Mountain Xpress. She has been published in Rolling Stone, Glamour, New York magazine's The Cut, Bustle and many other publications. She was raised in Connecticut and holds a Bachelor's degree in journalism from New York University. Follow me @jessicawakeman

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