Monday’s Somerset City Council meeting included a response from the mayor on Governor’s Office recommendations, as well as a local veterans group voicing support for first responders.
Mayor Alan Keck spent the last few minutes of the meeting giving his thoughts on new mandates and recommendations from Governor Andy Beshear.
Just a few hours earlier, Beshear announced that in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, he was ordering the closure of all bars for two weeks. He also ordered that all restaurants limit inside dining capacity to 25 percent.
Beshear said both of these followed recommendations from the federal government and White House.
Also, Beshear requested school districts consider delaying the start of school for in-person instruction until the third week of August.
Keck acknowledged that these were trying times for everyone, and urged everyone listening to help out local businesses impacted by the state decisions.
“There’s going to be some business people hurting because of these actions,” Keck said. “...Let’s support our small businesses. Let’s go to those places that are being hurt.”
Keck also asked the community to be unified in its response, and said that people can practice social distancing and wear a mask when possible.
He also asked the public to “push for our kids to get back to school,” acknowledging that not everyone would agree with him.
However, he said that kids need to be in class and in front of teachers.
“Our economy is dependent on our kids going to school. Their futures are dependent on going to school,” he said.
While Keck’s comments closed the meeting, that meeting began with comments from members from the American Legion Post 38 Honor Guard.
American Legion Chaplain Clarence Floyd said the groups mission Monday was to show support for the Somerset Police Department and other first responders.
“We just want you to know, for our police officers, we have your back. We’re here for you,” Floyd said.
The reason for their actions was based on what Floyd said he and other veterans have seen around the country, with large cities across the country dealing with rioting and looting.
Floyd said the residents of Somerset were fortunate to live in a community where the police department protects them and which, in turn, has the cooperation of its citizens.
Eugene Lipps, a veteran with the Honor Guard, also spoke in support of those who wear a uniform to protect.
“You deserve, and I think even more, the respect and to be honored for your service,” Lipps said. “We in the military, as you are today, went through a period of disrespect with people cursing and defaming our service and sacrifices. Over time, people came to realize how important we were to achieve the freedoms we enjoy today.”
He said he hoped that that realization would soon pass on to those who wear a police uniform.
Also at Monday’s meeting, the council approved a joint ordinance with Ferguson that would see the city of Ferguson cede a piece of property to Somerset.
That ordinance paves the way for Somerset to bring the property, where 84 Lumber used to sit, into Somerset city limits.
At the previous council meeting, City Attorney John Adams explained that Somerset now owns the property, and the ordinance is a way to clear up overlaps in the boundaries of both Somerset and Ferguson.