Local elected officials were back in meetings this week, and it's time for another installment of “Bits & Pieces.”
By Liz Beavers
Tribune Managing Editor
Local elected officials were back in meetings this week, and it’s time for another installment of “Bits & Pieces.”
As I explained in my column of Aug. 25, this gives us a chance to fill you in on some of the action taken by city councils, the board of education, county commission or other groups which don’t necessarily call for a full-blown story, but are nevertheless just as important.
And, of course, there is always room for a comment or two on the items!
- The Keyser City Council unanimously granted permission for Keyser High School to hold its annual Homecoming Parade on Wednesday, Sept. 26, at 7 p.m.
Line up will begin at 6:45 p.m. and the parade will take the traditional route down Main Street and right onto Armstrong.
COMMENT: I have a lot of fond memories of spending after-school hours stuffing toilet tissue into formed chicken wire to create the colorful Homecoming floats we had back in the ’70s. How wonderful it would be to resurrect that tradition for the parade. These kids don’t know what they’re missing (including sore fingers!).
- The Potomac Valley Transit Board asked the Keyser City Council to re-appoint former council member Sonny Alt to represent Keyser on the board.
The council members decided, however, to continue the request until the next meeting when they can discuss it further.
- T.J. Coleman of the Aubrey Stewart Project requested placement of a sign honoring Clifton Brooks Sr. at one of the entrances to the city, much like Piedmont has done for Aubrey Stewart.
Mayor Damon Tillman said he and Coleman have agreed to pay for the sign.
COMMENT: A great gesture by the mayor and T.J., and a very well-deserved honor for Mr. Brooks, who will also have Keyser’s South End Park named after him.
- Acting Keyser police chief Chase McKenzie announced that a new officer, Mark Yonker, and new meter attendant, Lacy Bowman, have been hired.
- Keyser city administrator Buck Eagle announced that T. Shane LaRue has been hired to serve as the city’s code enforcement officer.
He will be allowed 40 hours per month, and Eagle said LaRue will be “very aggressive” in pursuing those who are not keeping their properties up to city code.
COMMENT: Mr. LaRue has much work ahead of him, and I hope he will be able to make some headway in either getting some of these properties cleaned up or torn down. Keyser deserves it!
- During Tuesday’s Mineral County Commission meeting, it was announced that Luke McKenzie, director of Mineral County Emergency Services, has fulfilled the stipulations of his hiring in 2016 that upon completion of a master's degree and all needed certifications, he would receive a $1,000 yearly pay raise.
The commission approved that raise.
- Westernport's police commissioner, Judy Hamilton, is seeking funding grants for the hiring of several police officers for the town.
She said that the salary needed for a police force would drain the budget, and a law enforcement presence is needed in the community.
COMMENT: The problem with grants is, they are limited. When the grant money is used up … Westernport will either be faced with coughing up the cash to keep their cops or lose them - again.
Other towns around here have faced the same dilemma with the former “Cops Fast” grant. I hope the Westernport commissioners will make sure they can financially afford to continue the program and yes, law enforcement is very much needed in our town!
- Piedmont parks and recreation commissioner Paula Boggs made an announcement during Piedmont’s Wednesday meeting that on Wednesday, Oct. 3, an event named “Coffee with a Cop Day” will take place at the Piedmont Library.
Boggs said this event is to “bridge the gap between the town’s police and the community,” and the happening is open to all residents.
COMMENT: A great idea!