The Keyser city officials had a nice idea. Stay later in the office, put out some snack food and drinks, and invite the general public to come out for an open house.

By Liz Beavers
lbeavers@newstribune.info
Tribune Managing Editor
The Keyser city officials had a nice idea. Stay later in the office, put out some snack food and drinks, and invite the general public to come out for an open house.
Several times since the current administration has taken office the elected officials have lamented that no one comes out to council meetings.
No, the citizens would rather stay at home, hidden behind their keyboards and glowing screens, and complain to other keyboard warriors about how terrible life is in the city.
So, the city officials thought, give them an invitation to come down and chat with the mayor, council members, and city employees face-to-face.
Maybe they’re uncomfortable with speaking publicly in a meeting … well this was their chance to talk one-on-one, without the scrutiny of other citizens or the media.
And it didn’t have to be just someone with a complaint, the invitation was for all citizens to stop by and just get to know their city government a little better.
Well I have to tell you the City of Keyser’s open house Wednesday (which was advertised both in the paper and online) was right up there on the list of top non-events. I stopped by about 6:30 p.m. (the open house was from 5-8 p.m.) and was told “very few” people had been in. And while I was there? No one at all.
Unfortunately, we live in a society where it is far too easy to sit at home and complain, rather than come out in the real world and actually talk to people.
Far too many people sit and complain about things, but if given a chance to actually have a conversation about their issues, or perhaps actually do something about them, they always find excuses to stay at home.
It’s truly a shame that people are so reluctant to get involved. Or just show their face.
Over the years that I have covered the Keyser City Council, there have been a few people that you could always count on to not only be at the meetings, but also to ask questions, raise issues, and yes, even compliment the mayor and council or city employees for a job well done. People like Grace Rotruck. Barbara Tenney. Karol Ashenfelter before she was elected to the “other side” of the podium.
There are still a few, but I emphasize the word “few.”
I realize sitting in on a council meeting may not compete with binge-watching “Game of Thrones” or The Handmaid’s Tale” in terms of excitement, but then again, what affect can any of those shows - or pounding away at a keyboard, for that matter - possibly have on your property or quality of life in Keyser, West Virginia?
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Some other bits and pieces:
 - Keyser Police chief Tom Golden reported this week that his officers average about 350 calls per month, which comes out to approximately 10 contacts per officer per shift.
 - The Keyser City Police Department will host a two-day training session on “Detecting Deception” March 12-13 at Keyser Fire Station No. 2. A nationally-recognized trainer will help the officers learn how to better read body language and other characteristics during interrogation of a witness or suspect.
Due to a grant, the normally $635 training will only cost $25 per officer, and law enforcement from numerous agencies within a 50-mile radius have already signed up to participate.
 - On a motion made by Eric Murphy and seconded by William Zacot, the council voted 5-0 to deny an application to place a mobile home in the area of Baltimore Street.
Their concerns were the location (or lack) of a sewer line to serve the property in question, and not wanting to interfere with the proposal by a developer to utilize a nearby property for a senior housing complex.
 - On a motion made by Eric Murphy and seconded by Terry Liller, the council unanimously approved the purchase of a fire- and water-proof cabinet for the storage of documents in the City Office.
 - Following an executive session, the council voted 5-0 to rehire former employee Jim Baker, whom they said had left on good terms after working for the city for 18 years, but recently asked to come back. Mike Ryan made the motion and Eric Murphy seconded it.
 - During this week’s Mineral County Commission meeting, Dwayne Welch of the Elk District and Matt Doman of the Keyser EMS were appointed to the Mineral County Ambulance Authority on a temporary basis until June 30.