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Breast Cancer Awareness Month proclaimed

The Inter-Mountain photos by Amanda Hayes The Upshur County Commission has proclaimed October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Pictured above left to right, are commission president Terry Cutright, commissioner Kristie Tenney, Upshur County Relay for Life chair Robin Oldaker and commissioner Sam Nolte.

BUCKHANNON — Although the COVID-19 pandemic has most of the attention, the speaker at Thursday’s Upshur County Commission meeting wanted to make sure that another disease gets attention that can potentially save lives.

“In a normal, non-COVID year, the Upshur County CEOS would be here talking to you about Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but they have not been allowed to meet,” Robin Oldaker, chair of Upshur County Relay for Life, said. “This is too important an issue just to let pass.”

Oldaker said it was important to promote early detections and screenings.

“A lot of women choose not to do those, whether it is fear that they may find out they have cancer, or whether they just don’t have time for it, some say it is too painful and some just say they don’t want to find out,” she said.

“One in every eight women in their lifetime will be diagnosed with breast cancer and I am one of those women,” Oldaker said. “Mine was found during a routine mammogram. Although mine was a very fast-growing cancer, because of the early detection I was stage 0.

Robin Oldaker, chair of Upshur County Relay For Life, speaks at Thursday’s Upshur County Commission meeting.

“If I would have waited until I found a mass, I would have been a stage 4 and my diagnosis, my survival rate and treatment would have been totally different. As of October 21 of this year, I am a four-year survivor.”

“The American Cancer Society suggests that women begin having mammograms at the age of 40,” Oldaker said. “Insurance companies say 50. West Virginia is very fortunate to have a program called Bonnie’s Bus which travels the state and gives breast exams and mammograms to uninsured or underinsured women.

“Women as early as 20 years of age should start doing self breast exams and continue throughout their lifetime,” she said. “This combined with yearly physicals and mammograms will save lives.”

Although breast cancer most commonly affects women, men are also at risk with over 3,000 men being diagnosed.

“This year, in West Virginia, 1,600 or more women will be diagnosed with breast cancer which to me is astronomical,” Oldaker said. “Unfortunately, around 300 of those women will lose their battle.”

That is why Oldaker said Upshur County Relay for Life wanted to see October proclaimed as Breast Cancer Awareness Month in the county.

“If seeing a pink ribbon on someone’s lapel, if seeing a sign in a window, if seeing a pink pumpkin sitting somewhere will cause one woman to go make that appointment for a mammogram then we can save lives,” she said.

The commission approved the proclamation request.

The Upshur County Commission tabled the first reading of an ordinance to grant a renewal franchise to Suddenlink by Altice USA after the company did have the renewal proposal ready for Thursday’s meeting.

County Administrator Carrie Wallace shared some information she had received about how cable franchise agreements work.

“Without a cable franchise agreement, a cable provider cannot operate,” Wallace said. “Therefore, if the cable franchise agreement is not renewed by the commission there wouldn’t be an option for cable TV in Upshur County outside the corporate limits.”

Secondly, cable franchise agreements are non-exclusive, according to Wallace.

“If another cable franchise provider would want to come into Upshur County, by all means you could executive a cable franchise agreement with them. Your existing agreement with Suddenlink Altice would not prevent them from coming into this area.

“As of today’s date, we have not been contacted by any other provider that is interested in doing that.”

Wallace said the existing franchise can stay in place until a new agreement is executed.

“There won’t be a lapse in cable coverage,” she said.

The current agreement is set to expire Oct. 30, 2020. A public hearing will be required before the final reading of the ordinance but no dates were set Thursday.

The minimum franchise renewal length is five years and the maximum is 15 years.

In other business, the commission:

— approved the West Virginia SIEEP Grant Program application for the 26th Judicial Circuit Community Corrections Program for $277,744. If awarded, the grant will fund psychiatric evaluations and medical assessments for substance use treatment and co-occurring mental health.

— approved a request from the James W. Curry Advisory Board for an additional 10% distribution of the James W. Curry Trust, held by Fulton Financial Advisors, for operations through fiscal year 2025.

Wallace said the county normally received $77,000-$78,000 from the trust each year for the library and park.

“Back in 2017, you recognized there would be a financial shortfall by the year 2020,” she said. “We were able to get through 2020. Meetings of the James W. Curry Advisory Board were postponed because of COVID-19, so we began meeting in June and working on the budget. At that time, we recognized it would not be possible to pass a budget this year without additional distribution from the trust. If we remove all contingencies from both the library and the park’s budgets, we can fall short around $30,000 combined.”

The additional 10 percent from the trust will get the park and library through 2025 at which time the board wants to recommend a timber harvest on the property, according to Wallace.

— approved the reappointment of Roger Ward to the Hodgesville Public Service District board of directors for a term to expire on Aug. 5, 2026.

— approved the advertisement for a full-time case manager for the 26th Judicial Circuit Community Corrections Program with applications to be received by 4 p.m. on Oct. 5. The starting salary will be $12.50 per hour.

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