BUCKHANNON – Upshur County topped the list of planet-friendly places in West Virginia, county officials learned Thursday.
Terry Carrington, the statewide program manager for the West Virginia Make it Shine program, officially presented the Upshur County Commission with the first-place Make it Shine Clean County Award at Thursday’s commission meeting. Carrington said the stellar efforts of the Upshur County Solid Waste Authority had propelled to the top of the list of green counties for the period between July 31, 2016 and Aug. 1, 2017.
“It’s nice to get out from behind my desk and recognize the people who are in the trenches, trying to improve their communities and their counties,” Carrington said. “Last year, I had a very lackluster turnout of applications, so after excoriating everyone at last year’s Solid Waste Authority Board meeting, here I am with more applications than I even know what to do with, so it’s very competitive. I want you to know that, so you can appreciate the value of Upshur County.”
The Clean Counties Awards, which were first announced at the Association of Solid Waste Authorities/Rehabilition and Environmental Action Plan Oct. 24 at Pipestem Resort, aim to promote environmental stewardship and volunteerism in West Virginia communities, Carrington said.
“I feel that people who volunteer in their communities have a certain sense of ownership in their surroundings and as such, take pride and treat it better,” Carrington told the commission. “And Upshur County certainly excelled at that.”
Carrington said participation in REAP programs – like Adopt-a-Highway, Adopt-a-Spot and the Youth Environmental program – is “far and above” greater in Upshur County than anywhere else in the state.
“You have 25 groups with 280 citizens participating in various cleanups and 71 miles of highway totaling over 11,000 pounds of trash,” Carrington said. “Your recycling program is marvelous – there are others in the state, but this one is really good compared to, say, Kanawha County, which doesn’t even have a recycling program anymore, so I just wanted to point that out.”
Carrington also acknowledged the activity of the Buckhannon River Watershed Association in the area.
“I just wanted to impress upon the commission how hard the Solid Waste Authority has been working to make Upshur County shine,” Carrington concluded.
Commission president Terry Cutright congratulated UCSWA director Burl Smith, who attended Thursday’s meeting.
“Burl, I would like to thank you and your board for an excellent job,” Cutright said.
Smith credited county-city cooperation for the achievement.
“So much that makes it a success is with the city of Buckhannon’s cooperation,” Smith said. “The Solid Waste Authority has a cooperative agreement with the city of Buckhannon, and with the Waste Department, in particular, working to address recycling and waste control issues, so it’s been a very successful endeavor. The Recycling Center at Buckhannon Crossroads by Walmart is one of the best used and most efficient drop-off points in the state because everybody goes to Walmart.”
In other news, the commission:
-Approved a proclamation presented by Ann Slaughter on behalf of the Tennerton Lions Club, declaring November Diabetes Awareness Month.
-Approved granting a 60-day extension to Thomas Moates, who is in the process of cleaning up property he owns in Warren Tax District, Parcel No. 41 on Tax Map 6C.
-Approved and signed a resolution of participation for the West Virginia Certified Development Community program for Upshur County Development Authority.
-Approved and signed a service contract between Valley Business Systems and the Upshur County Commission for the color copier located in the commission office for an annual amount of $584.
-Approved and signed a service contract with the Cleveland Brothers to perform semi-annual service and yearly maintenance service for the engine, generator and GENSET located at the E911 Communication Center for $1,268.30.
-Received correspondence from Melissa Garretson Smith, executive director of the W.Va. Courthouse Facilities Improvement Authority announcing that the requested time extension for the Circuit Courtroom project has been granted. The new deadline is Feb. 28, 2018.