BUCKHANNON — West Virginia has one of the highest rates of lung cancer in the United States, and Upshur County is hoping to bring more attention to this deadly disease.
Susie Haught, social worker for Pressley Ridge, presented the county commission with numerous statistics regarding lung cancer at the Nov. 15 meeting, and then asked that Upshur County proclaim the month of November as Lung Cancer Awareness Month.
According to Haught, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in West Virginia. Nearly one in three of all cancer deaths in the state are from lung cancer. Not only that, but West Virginia has a higher rate of lung cancer than the nation as a whole.
“This is so important to me; it touches home,” Haught said. “When I was in high school at the age of 18 my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer and they told me that he would not be able to see me graduate. Well, he made it through graduation, and for two years he battled.”
Lung cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men and women combined, with 2,011 new cases diagnosed each year.
“This does not discriminate,” she continued. “Yes, the leading cause of cancer is from smoking, but a lot of things can cause it. Lung cancer can also be caused by air pollution and a lot of people don’t know that. There is also an invisible gas called radon that can cause lung cancer as well. So, it’s not just from smoking.”
Haught continued on to say that awareness, early detection and treatment are crucial in both the prevention and the slowing of lung cancer.
“Believe it or not, but lung cancer can be cured,” she said. “It can be stopped before it spreads, but a lot of people don’t recognize the symptoms or are afraid to go get checked out.”
According to Haught, white ribbons are used to symbolize lung cancer awareness, and she asked that the county place white ribbons to show support for this disease. The commission unanimously voted to approve and sign the proclamation.
Also during Thursday’s commission meeting was the second reading of the proposed revisions to the Upshur County Safe Structures and Sites ordinance. During last week’s first reading of the suggested revisions, some members from the public expressed their concern to the commission. Local resident Larry Carpenter said that he was unaware that such an ordinance ever existed.
“This is going to waste tax payer’s dollars the way I understand it,” Carpenter said. “Most of the people in Upshur County don’t even know about this. If a person can’t afford to tear a house down and the county hires a contractor to do it, they could lose the property that they may have spent 15-20 years paying for. That’s not right.”
According to county administrator Carrie Wallace, this ordinance was originally passed on April 13, 2000. She said right now they are just making revisions to the wording in it such as defining a compliance officer, adding a methamphetamine use clause, defining reasonable time, and outlining the condemnation procedures.
Sam Nolte, Commission President, said, “This ordinance was passed 18 years ago. No one is looking to come out and tell you how to handle your property. We’re only making the few adjustments, but it’s nothing that hasn’t already been in place.”
Commissioner Terry Cutright said, “This was passed before we were commissioners. We’re just cleaning it up because there were some things that weren’t clear in it.”
The commission unanimously voted to approve both the first and second readings of this ordinance. The final reading and public hearing will be held at the Dec. 6 meeting.
In other business, the commission also:
* Approved to request bids for pest control services. All sealed bids must be received no later than 4 p.m. on Dec. 5, 2018. Sealed bids will be opened, reviewed and read aloud by the Upshur County Commission at 9:15 a.m. on Dec. 6.
* Approved to request for proposals for soil remediation services for the Upshur County Youth Camp Brownfields Cleanup Project. All sealed bids must be received no later than 4 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018. Sealed bids will be opened, reviewed and read aloud by the Upshur County Commission at 9:15 a.m. on Dec. 13, 2018.
* Tabled the approval of the Addressing and Mapping Assistant job description until the Dec. 6 meeting.
* Tabled the approval of the Addressing and Mapping, Building Permit and Floodplain Coordinator job description until the Dec. 6 meeting.