By Peggy Mackenzie
Interim City Manager Misty Hill posed the most pertinent question of the evening to the Lewisburg’s City Council during the Tuesday night meeting. Speaking via teleconference, she asked how was the City to handle the annual Halloween Trick or Treat activities this year what with the “incredibly difficult” pandemic overshadowing everything on a daily basis.
Responses from the local surrounding cities yielded little, she said, except for a plan from White Sulphur Springs to centralize Trick or Treat activities to City Hall, where candies would be gathered and distributed in an organized event. The consensus of the council was that Trick or Treat is an outdoor activity, much like many outdoor school sports events, and could potentially be navigated with proper safety measures in place.
Mayor Beverly White took an emphatic stance, stating, “Halloween is going to happen, no matter what. I have no intention to cancel the children’s Halloween festivities. Our kids have had a lot taken away from them this year. If other cities determine to cancel their events, it may mean there will be more kids coming here to trick or treat. That’s fine,” she said, “But parents need to take responsibility and provide extra safety measures while their children are out on the streets.”
If Trick or Treat is to be allowed in the City limits, the Mayor and City Council are encouraging parents to wear masks and demonstrate social distance for themselves and their children as much as possible. Those Council members with young children were especially vocal. Heather Blake remarked, “It’s better for Halloween to be an organic event rather than an organized event that’s held in one place, for reasons of COVID awareness.”
“No matter what,” she said, “Trick or Treating will happen. But if the porch light is not on, trick or treat participants should certainly know there won’t be any candy offered there.”
Sarah Elkins said, “Let it be what it is, but safely.”
Joshua Edwards observed, “You can’t stop Halloween, it’s on the calendar.” He encouraged citizens to think through their plans for their children on Halloween and to observe safety precautions by wearing masks and maintaining social distance.
This year Halloween will be observed on Saturday, Oct. 31, between the hours of 6 and 8 p.m.
In other city business:
- Described as “being on the right track,” Greenbrier County Visitors Bureau Executive Director Kara Dense laid out the CVB’s annual report describing the combined strategy and strong partnership of the CBV, Airport Authority and the State Fair of West Virginia in seeking the tourist groups most likely to come to our valley when they first began collaborating last fall. Records were set, everything was going great, she said, and then the bottom fell out, and the Covid-19 pandemic set in. “But, we’ve been through this before,” she said. “We know how to pivot.” By Memorial Day weekend, the focus shifted to people who were looking to get away to small places, outdoor spaces and low population numbers. Greenbrier County fit in all those categories. “It’s been a rough seven months,” Dense said, “but we’ll come out on the other side of this.”
- A Resolution to reimburse the City of Lewisburg for capital expenses for the design, acquisition, construction and equipping of a new building to house the Lewisburg Fire Department Station #1 by the Building Commission was approved, as was the appointment of John Stump, with Steptoe & Johnson of Charleston, to serve as bond counsel.
- Police Chief Chris Teubert reported 216 calls for service in the month of August; 186 traffic stops, 53 citations, 136 warnings and 25 arrests, 4 traffic crashes, one special event with the arrival of Vice President Pence to the area, and a citizen donation to the department of $2,000.
- There were 84 emergency calls at the Lewisburg Fire Department, 11 motor vehicle accidents, 40 medical calls, 17 automatic fire alarms, and eight public service calls. Fire Chief Joey Thomas said two inactive department members, Adam Nelson and Mike Kelly, requested to be placed on active status, and Glen Grimmett turned in an application. Grimmett has all the qualifications to be a firefighter in WV, Thomas said. All three were placed on active statue with the department.