To quote the Grateful Dead, “What a long, strange trip it’s been.”

And although most states are starting to reopen for business, this COVID-fueled strange trip seems like it’s going to last quite awhile, although we are a little freer now to get out and about … as long as we are responsible with our actions.

The past two months have definitely been a strange trip in the news business. Never in my entire career have I seen the news of a single topic be so far-reaching and so fast-paced in terms of updates sometimes literally coming by the minute.

It has definitely emphasized the need for news media - even hometown newspapers like us - to have an online presence. There is no way a four-day-a-week newspaper - or even a seven-day-a-week newspaper - could keep up with the rapidly developing stories on some days.

That is why this particular newspaper offers our readers the best of both worlds - keep up to date 24/7 online and get a bit deeper examination of things in the paper.

One frustrating thing coverage of this pandemic did do is overshadow some things that would normally have been noted in the paper but, frankly, we just didn’t have the time or space to cover.

So I present to you another “Bits & Pieces” column, highlighting some of the things you may have missed over the past weeks:

- The Keyser Police Department has added Officer Talley to its ranks. Officer Talley comes to the local PD already certified as an officer and did not require the expense of training at the West Virginia State Police Academy.

- The Keyser City Council approved the purchase of a new fire truck for the fire department. The truck will be financed through First United Bank and Trust at 3.65% over ten years. The motion to approve the purchase was made by council member William Zacot and seconded by Jennifer Junkins.

- Attorney Scott McClure, who has been handling the ongoing litigation between the City of Keyser and former council member Karol Ashenfelter, told the city officials they “did exactly what legal counsel advised” in leaving a seat open on the council in case Ashenfelter would be reinstated.

Ashenfelter was ousted by a vote of the council in 2018. Mike Ryan was appointed to fill her position soon thereafter, but when Terry Liller resigned in October 2019, his seat was not filled. Mayor Damon Tillman announced it was left open in case Ashenfelter chose to come back.

- The Keyser city officials are planning to put the former Limestone Dam property up for auction, just like they did for the Alkire Mansion, but have been waiting to set a date once the stay-at-home restrictions were lifted.

The dam property is on the agenda for the next meeting on May 27.

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Have a happy and safe Memorial Day holiday, and please take some time over the weekend to pause and reflect on those whom we remember at this time - those who fought for our freedom and paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Liz Beavers is managing editor of the Mineral Daily News Tribune. She may be reached at