Grant money helping make health improvements in county

Wil Petty Staff Writer

November 25, 2013

The Appalachian District Health Department (ADHD), which covers Ashe, Alleghany and Watauga counties, continues making improvements to the area with its Community Transformation Grant (CTG).

The three counties, along with seven others in Northwestern North Carolina, received the CTG in 2011. The grant was was given to the N.C. Division of Public Health and is funded by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

“A lot of what we are thinking about in public health is backing up a bit from folks that are not enjoying good health, and figuring out how to help people stay healthy,” said Beth Lovette, health director covering Ashe and Alleghany counties, during the Nov. 18 meeting of the Ashe County Board of Commissioners.

Lovette said the grant works community-wide to promote tobacco-free living, obesity prevention, and active living.

The grant is annually funded over a five-year period and will run through September 2016. Each of the 10 N.C. regions will receive $2 million over the grant period.

ADHD has been working with the Northwest Regional Housing Authority, to implement smoke-free policies within multi-unit housing properties within the county. So far, two apartment complexes in the county have applied smoking limitations through the group’s efforts, they are: Oak Grove Village apartments in Jefferson and Westview Terrace Apartments in West Jefferson.

Region 3 lead coordinator, Beth Fornadley, said that the ADHD has helped smokers in those areas by providing cessation resources, health information and helping conduct tenant meetings.

The CTG has also made its mark in the county through promoting healthy eating.

Funds from the grant helped promote the Lansing Farmers Market by providing materials that were identified as needs by market managers. Fornadley said those needs included permanent signage, tables and tents.

The grant has also been able to support “Growin’ on the Mountain,” a multi-farm community supported agriculture (CSA) program based in Ashe. In its first year as a CSA, Growin’ on the Mountain had 11 members, with seven full shares and four half shares.

Region wide, the grant provides funding for a food availability assessment that will cover the 10-county district. Fornadley said the results should help localize food desert research.

In its active living strategy, funds from the CTG are being used to help design a Greenway Master Plan, at the former location of Beaver Creek High School. The Greenway, if approved, would connect county recreation facilities, a residential neighborhood, industrial park and the Ashe County Project on Aging and Day Facility.

This plan is part of a 15-year project designed by Region 3, to create similar green space areas in all 10 counties.

For more information on the grant, go to