BUCKHANNON — The Upshur County Commission greeted several special guests to their Thursday morning meeting. Ann Slaughter was presented with a proclamation, on behalf of the Tennerton Lions Club, declaring November as Diabetes Awareness Month. She addressed the many dangers and statistics of diabetes and the importance of staying vigilant, while creating awareness for those who are suffering from the disease and the general public.
Diabetes is a devasting disease that many are unfortunately far too familiar with, in which blood glucose or “blood sugar” is too high. Glucose is a main source of energy and comes from the foods we consume. The hormone insulin, produced by the pancreas, helps glucose from those foods make their way to cells in the body that is used for energy.
Slaughter, herself a diabetic, explained that West Virginia is number one in the country for those diagnosed with diabetes. She mentioned, “The worst thing is that from several years ago, the United States was at 10 million for diabetics across the country, and now were close to 30 million. It’s something we need to work on really hard.” She further stated, “Diabetes affects 26 million people in the U.S. and is a serious disease for which there is no known cure. It is the seventh known cause of leading deaths in the country, whereas another 79 million have pre-diabetes, which puts them at a greater risk for type 2 diabetes.” Another terrifying factor she disclosed was that if these current trends continue, one in three American adults will have diabetes by 2050.
Next, the Executive Director of the Upshur County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Laura B. Meadows, addressed their quarterly report covering July to September of this year and expressed the great progress that has been made with The Event Center at Brushy Fork. Everything the CVB does is focused on what they like to refer to as the “small town getaway, big time charm” concept. “Our main focus is always revolved around advertising, public relations and all our social media connections with people. We do, every once in a while, help people coordinate events, but it really comes down to promoting and advertising,” Meadows stated.
She explained that not only do they create advertising in Buckhannon for the local community, but they also really try to push Upshur County to a market out and beyond our immediate area. She mentioned locations in Ohio, Pittsburgh and Washington, DC that have received and produced business through advertising in other regions. “People don’t always want to see an ad in a magazine or on a website; they want something that’s really personal. Folks have shaped a message or story working with local news outlets, but also on a personal means by using their own social media channels to reach that outside market,” Meadows explained. Today’s technology, social networking and marketing have created a remarkable way for people to connect more quickly and accessibly on a digital and geographical spectrum. “We have had people from Texas and Florida that have signed up with our information,” she added.
Here within our home limits, Meadows recognized how much progress the Event Center has achieved in such a short amount of time. “We have one full-time staff person who oversees the entire facility, managing events, answering questions and attending their events. We have had 18 total events in the course of the first quarter from July to September. And at first glance, it didn’t sound that great, but when you think about it, we only had nine available weekends and share that space with a National Guard unit, so that cuts into our weekends and shows we’re doing not just weekends but some week days as well,” Meadows stated. She continued, “The first quarter that we’re in looked pretty decent, but has been absolutely insane because the month of October has been constant for the Event Center. We’re really happy with the progress.”