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Circuit court jury selections to be at Phil Gainer Center

ELKINS — County officials have approved the temporary relocation of Randolph County Circuit Court to the Phil Gainer Community Center for jury selections during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Randolph County Commission voted unanimously to approve the measure at their most recent meeting.

“We are temporarily relocating the circuit court because of COVID and social distancing,” Commissioner Mark Scott said. “The current courtroom is not large enough, especially during jury selection, for them to be able to have everyone in there six feet apart.

“This would move the circuit court to the Phil Gainer (Community) Center. That area is large enough to be able to socially distance everyone, and to do jury selections and whatever else the court needs to do.”

The Phil Gainer Community Center is owned by the city of Elkins.

“The city had no problem with this, but we do have to sanitize” after any court events at the facility, Scott said.

He added that the temporary relocation of the court is “not necessarily restricted to jury selection,” as Circuit Judge David Wilmoth “did mention to us that if there was an instance where there was a high-profile court case, with dozens of people, then he might have to do those proceedings there simply because it’s large enough to accommodate that type of thing,” Scott said.

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Commissioners also heard from county officials about changes made in the courthouse facilities to increase safety during the pandemic.

“We’ve had to be a little bit inventive in our office so that we can comply with the rules of the state and the governor, including the masks and the six-foot distancing,” said Randolph County Assessor Phyllis Yokum.

“As you know, our lobby was very, very small,” she added. “So I appreciate the commissioners and (Sheriff Mark Brady) who contributed in allowing me to extend my lobby … we have guidelines in place where we can have two people in our office at a time, because if there’s more than that you can’t do social distancing.

“We have two counter windows open, and I’ve been trying to encourage people to mail their assessment sheet back. They can also file online at randolphassessorwv.com. And I do have a dropbox in my hallway for people who have completed their assessment sheets.”

Brady added residents can pay their taxes online at wvpropertytaxes.com. He also thanked Hopes and Dreams Construction of Elkins for “working with us through this whole remodeling process. We were able to use the COVID-19 money that the county commission received, so that has been put to good use, to protect the residents and protect the employees.”

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