BUCKHANNON – As Upshur County Schools prepared to spread awareness about how to prevent the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, the Upshur County Commission proclaimed the week of Oct. 23 to be Red Ribbon Week.
During Thursday’s commission meeting, counselors and students from several area schools approached the commission with a presentation regarding Red Ribbon Week.
“The goal for Red Ribbon Week is to bring awareness to drug addiction,” said Larry Lance, Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School counselor.
With the national theme being “Life is Your Journey, Travel Drug Free,” Red Ribbon Week will feature guest speakers and community activities throughout the county schools from Oct. 23-31.
Each day of the week will feature themes in which students will wear red to kick off Red Ribbon Week, dress like rock stars, look like tourists, wear their clothes backwards and wear their favorite shirt.
B-UMS students Carlee Champ and Caitlin Oliveto read aloud the proclamation, which was signed by commissioners following the presentation.
The proclamation notes that substance abuse is “particularly damaging to one of our most valuable resources – our children and a contributing factor to leading cause of death to teenagers.”
As West Virginia, and the nation, continues to face the opioid epidemic, Lance said it’s critical to have community involvement in the schools.
“(West Virginia) leads the nation in drug overdoses – we’re first or second – and so it’s really important to us and the counselors and the community to get that community involvement,” he said. “We’re dedicated this month … and year-round to stopping this fact.”
County commissioners also approved an application for the Weyerhaeuser Giving Fund grant in the amount of $315,258.91 on behalf of the Upshur County Youth Camp.
In the application, the Youth Camp Board lists various needs, including general maintenance and upkeep for the entire camp, consisting of 18 buildings.
“If awarded, funds would be utilized for utility bills, chemicals and paint for the pool, cleaning materials, appliance repair (dining hall, water heaters, heating and cooling units), paint and materials for floor stripping and waxing,” reads the application.
The cost of the materials listed is estimated at $50,000.
The application also lists funds for the resurfacing of the access road; replacing the roofs of four cabins; replacing the assembly hall with a new building; and purchasing a lawn mower.
Craig Presar, county program coordinator for 4-H Youth Development, advised commissioners that the current tractor is from 1979, making it difficult to find parts.
The Youth Camp serves 1,200 children and 500 adults on average during the summer months for a variety of events.
Commissioner Terry Cutright made a motion to approve the application, which was seconded by commission president Sam Nolte before passing. Commissioner Buddy Brady was not present during Thursday’s meeting.
Before adjourning, commissioners also:
-Approved early voting poll workers for the November 2018 general election.
-Reviewed and approved the Request for Proposals for a new radio console system and equipment room radio upgrade for the E911 Communications Center. Each distributor shall arrange a mandatory pre-bid tour of the facility prior to bid submission. Sealed bids must be received no later than 4 p.m. Nov. 7 at the Administrative Annex building. Proposals received by deadline will be publicly opened, reviewed and read aloud by the commission at 9:15 a.m. Nov. 8.
-Proclaimed October to be Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
-Toni Newman, fire fee clerk, presented commissioners with the 2017-18 fire board financial reports. Newman advised that currently, the county has received 80 percent of the fire fee collection, noting as of Wednesday, $210,925 has been collected. For 2018, $55,395 is still outstanding. Last year, the county received 79 percent of the collection. For previous years, from 2001 through 2017, “there’s still $155,570 outstanding,” Newman said.