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Remain cautious while moving forward

We are encouraged to see that our area is continuing to open up to events and other activities as the restrictions that were put into place in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 have been eased.

Residents from around the Tri-State Area are once again able to enjoy a meal in a restaurant and have their hair cut. Baseball and softball players have been able to return to fields. Area groups and event organizers are figuring out ways to conduct events that, while not on the scale participants have come to expect, at least allow the flavor of the experience to be shared.

Several good examples have come up during the last few days. On Saturday, for example, the Brooke-Hancock American Cancer Society Relay for Life showed off a new look while continuing its mission of raising money and awareness in the battle against cancer. Instead of the hours-long walk around the Brooke High School track that had been held in the past, this year’s event included just the annual luminaria remembrance.

Riders in more than 20 vehicles rode past the more than 2,000 candles that lined the street, showing that the spirit of the annual event was alive and well.

And while farmers markets have been slow to start this season as officials work through various guidelines, the Farmers’ Gateway Market was set to return today in a virtual format, in which area residents will be able to shop from participating vendors directly and then pick up their orders during the 11-year-old event’s traditional time of 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays at its traditional location, the Eastern Gateway Community College parking lot that sits at the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and John Scott Highway. The market is a partnership between EGCC and the Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District.

In Weirton, the Millsop Community Center and Edwin J. Bowman Field reopened Monday, and in Toronto, playgrounds and batting cages reopen today.

While American Legion Baseball has gone silent for the summer, youth baseball has returned, with games being played at Muth Field in Mingo Junction, for example. The Ohio Valley Baseball League, which offers a place for participants who are out of high school to play, also has resumed action.

Toronto is making plans for its annual fireworks display, which will be moved from Clarke Hinkle Stadium where large crowds have traditionally gathered, and Follansbee’s swimming pool will offer a place to beat the heat.

These are positive signs for our region — we are seeing improvements in local spending and in our general outlook on life as we feel more comfortable moving about in public. More and more people have been able to return to work, and additional services are available with each passing day.

With that comes a warning — the coronavirus remains a real threat. We must continue to remain vigilant and follow guidelines that have been laid out by health officials on the local, state and national levels.

That said, it’s good to know that there are people who are looking at different ways to do things and are taking the initiative to ensure our region continues to move forward.

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