KEYSER - The Mineral County Day planning committee hosted a get-to-know-you meeting Wednesday for the members of the Senate and House of Delegates who represent the county in Charleston.

By Liz Beavers
lbeavers@newstribune.info
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - The Mineral County Day planning committee hosted a get-to-know-you meeting Wednesday for the members of the Senate and House of Delegates who represent the county in Charleston.
Although the residents and business people who attend Mineral County Day in January will be meeting with various department heads to discuss issues at that time, the legislators are often too busy to meet for any length of time due to Mineral County Day being scheduled on the first day of the new session.
This is the second year the Mineral County Day committee has therefore invited the legislators to a preliminary meeting where they have more time to discuss various issues of importance to the county.
Legislators in attendance Wednesday included Sen. Charles Trump, Sen. Randy Smith, Del. Ruth Rowan, Del. Gary Howell, and Delegate-elect John Paul Hott.
This year, the Mineral County Day delegation has narrowed the traditionally lengthy list of discussion topics to two issues they plan to focus on: 1. Substance abuse prevention and recovery, and 2. community development and tourism. Several pieces of information under each topic were presented to the legislators on Wednesday.
Substance Abuse Prevention and Recovery
 - Mineral County has recently been designated as a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, which will enable the county to be eligible for some funding to help combat the problem.
 - According to unofficial reports, Mineral County had between 6-15 drug overdose deaths in 2017.
 - During the last Substance Abuse Task Force program held at Keyser High School, one of the speakers, Dr. Kristjansson of West Virginia University, noted that one of the things Iceland did in reducing its drug abuse among teenagers from 42 percent to six percent (over a period of 20 years) was to provide additional activities for family and children and get the communities involved in offering more options for the children and their families.
Community Development and Tourism
 - It was noted that Jennings Randolph Lake is one of the greatly under-utilized areas in Mineral County for both recreation and economic development.
 - Development of hiking trails, hunting areas, ATV trails, additional camping and picnicking, and even a possible lodge, spa and more would help draw people into Mineral County.
 - In order to get outside organizations or businesses involved in helping to development the area around the lake, and to get tourists to travel here, access roads would have to be improved.
Various issues connected to these two talking points, as well as some other issues of importance to specific Mineral County agencies, will be discussed in Charleston on Jan. 9-10.