It has been good to be able to start getting out and about in the past few weeks as the positive coronavirus numbers continue declining - at least in our area.


I told someone the other day that we have been blessed here in Mineral County as far as the virus is concerned. We have not been hit as hard as other counties or other states and I hope it stays that way.


Of course, with that blessing often comes a false sense of security and accompanying lack of caution. I still wear my mask when I go in to a store, the post office, or a meeting that I have to cover. Once I get inside those meetings and I see opportunities to practice appropriate social distancing, I do usually lose the face covering for comfort more than anything. Those things get quite warm in this summer weather.


I notice many around me however have abandoned the practice altogether (or in fact, never practiced it), and I try not to be judgmental, but I have to wonder if that isn’t one of the reasons many other states - and some areas in our own state - are beginning to see a resurgence of positive COVID cases.


Anyway, getting back into the swing of things with the various governmental bodies that I cover has given me the opportunity to catch up on a lot of things that have been going on in the local world around us.


So, for your information, here are some bits and pieces to catch us all up:


- The Keyser City Council set the date of July 18 for the auction of the former Limestone Dam property. The dam, which formerly served as a water supply for Keyser, was breached several years ago when it was determined that it did not meet regulations for even a backup source of water.


Council member William Zacot made the motion to set the sale and Mike Ryan seconded it.


- With a lot of unpaid fines on the books for property owners who have been cited for unkempt properties, the Keyser City Council gave the go-ahead this week to take all citations over 30 months old to Mineral County Magistrate Court.


Consideration will be given, however, for any property owners who are elderly or disabled.


The motion to take the citations to court was made by council member Zacot and seconded by Jennifer Junkins.


- The Keyser City Council voted unanimously to terminate its contract with NexGen, which had agreed during the previous administration to provide internet fiber to the city in exchange for using space in the upstairs of City Hall for offices and equipment.


According to the current council members, however, the promised service never materialized and the space has basically just been used for storage.


Zacot made the motion to terminate the agreement and Junkins seconded it.


- City administrator Amanda Brafford announced that City Hall would be extending hours on two Saturdays, July 18 and July 25, for early voting. Polls will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on those Saturdays.


The city election is July 28.


- Councilmember Junkins announced that Elon Patterson of Minnich’s Flower Shop had once again provided the flowers for the decorative baskets in downtown Keyser.


- Keyser fire chief Tim Evans reported that the fire department answered 27 calls in May, which included one structure fire, one gas leak, one brush fire and five vehicle accidents.


- Keyser police chief Paul Sabin reported that the police department has answered 252 calls so far this month, and officers are spending a lot of time trying to educate people about the fireworks ordinance and fireworks safety.


- Piedmont City Council member and Homefest coordinator Susie Clark announced that Homefest has been postponed this year due to the ongoing pandemic concerns.


- Piedmont City Council member Greg Harvey announced that he has completed an audit of all the vehicles owned by the town, and five surplus vehicles will be put out for bids to be sold - a 1985 dump truck, 1999 Superduty, 2002 Cadillac, 2009 Crown Victoria, and 1999 Chevy 2500.


Council member Clark made the motion to sell the vehicles and Rhonda Niland seconded it.


Liz Beavers is managing editor of the News Tribune and can be reached at lbeavers@newstribune.info.