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Upshur Circuit Court moving jury selections

BUCKHANNON – The Upshur County Commission signed an order Thursday to move jury selection for the Upshur County Circuit Court to the Event Center at Brushy Fork for the remainder of the year.

West Virginia Code 51-3-7 gives county commissions the authority to appoint locations to hold court when the county courthouse is not able to be occupied.

The existing Upshur County Circuit Court space is not feasible for jury selection without creating a substantially increased risk of transmission of the COVID-19 virus, according to the commission agenda.

Commissioners thanked event center manager Sean Harris for helping to facilitate this.

The Event Center at Brushy Fork reopened in July and has begun to host meetings and events with social distancing guidelines in place due to the COVID-19 virus.

Laura Meadows, executive director of the Upshur County Convention and Visitors Bureau said the event center had held 47 events in the last year as part of her annual report.

“The past four months can’t completely wipe out the entire year,” she said.

That number was down about 10 from events that were not able to be held there between March and the end of the fiscal year.

“Our revenue is a little less than previous years,” she said.

The center brought in $22,600.

Although there have been challenges for the CVB, Meadows said she has used this time to re-evaluate.

“We already know it’s going to be completely different,” she said. “It’s frustrating, but I’m also taking an opportunity to really evaluate everything that we are doing. The biggest thing I want to tell people is we are open to collaborate with everyone. We are going to do the best we can.”

Meadows said that website traffic is slightly higher than last year and e-newsletter sign-ups have continued to increase.

The CVB produced and printed Audra State Park rack cards since that is a frequent request at the CVB and the state no longer produces individualized literature for each state park.

James W. Curry Park and Library also had rack cards produced.

Meadows also reported that the Upshur County CVB received its accreditation for another three years and she is working on a new West Virginia Strawberry Festival website.

Kevin Nicholson, president of the Upshur County Youth Soccer Association, thanked the commission for their lease agreement in 2017 for the wellness complex property on Brushy Fork and asked that the lease be renewed.

Nicholson said volunteers have spent thousands of hours and the league has invested in making the property more suitable for soccer games.

Over 150 children have been able to play on the fields.

The organization is pursuing grant opportunities and many of those require a 10-year lease. In the future, Nicholson said the association may ask for a longer lease. However, Nicholson asked that the three-year lease be renewed which was granted by the commission.

In other business, the commission:

–approved an order to permit jury selection to be moved to the Event Center at Brushy Fork for August, September, October, November and December. *approved the Help America Vote subgrant agreement of $23,591.28 for funds that have been made available for preventing, preparing for and responding to COVID-19 for the 2020 federal election cycle.

–approved the hire of Tim Bennett as part-time court security officer to begin Aug. 9 at the rate of $11 per hour.

–approved the employment of Evan Carpenter as full-time telecommunicator, effective Aug. 17 at $11 per hour.

–approved the resignation of two employees – the names of which are no longer being listed on agendas or released by the commission due under WV Code 6-9A-4.

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