Essential reporting in volatile times.

Click here to stay informed and subscribe to the Coal Valley News.

Click #isupportlocal for more information on supporting our local journalists.


Sylvester Mayor Harvey Ferrell addresses the town council regarding Halloween festivities.

SYLVESTER — The Sylvester Town Council collectively decided to abolish the process of traditional trick-or-treating in 2020 as council members committed to delivering bags of candy to the youth in the community while observing precautions related to COVID-19.

In a unanimous vote, the council also outlined plans for Halloween that included the handing out of the candy bags on the evening of Oct. 29.

Normally, Sylvester follows Boone County’s trick or treat schedule, which is currently set for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 31, but is subject to change.

Council members Sheila Anderson, Inza Hapney and the rest of the council discussed a schedule for preparing treat bags for local children in lieu of trick or treating.

“Just for the record, I think we made the right decision tonight for the kids,” said Mayor Harvey Ferrell. “I think that we as a council can come together and do something nice for them.”

In other Town of Sylvester news, Erin Ellis-Reid with Active Southern West Virginia spoke to the council about her organization’s programs, which are offered free to the community.

The non-profit provides programs of physical activity for residents of southern West Virginia led by trained volunteers within the community they serve.

The sponsored activities include group walks, bike riding, trail running, hiking, fishing and aerobic dance, among others.

“I invited Miss Reid to come down and speak to our council because I think that what they have to offer would be of interest to our communities,” said Mayor Ferrell.

Ellis-Reid spoke about the goals of the organization and how the programs work.

“Our goal was to help communities get healthier through community activities,” she said. “All of the programs we offer are free to the public.”

Active also sponsors initiatives that provide local businesses with healthy habits and activities for the workplace.

“We utilize community volunteers and leaders, so it isn’t someone from outside of the community,” she said. “We are continuously looking for volunteers and ways that we can improve and increase our recruitment. We are a boots-on-the-ground organization and we want to get our volunteers trained and out working in your community.”

Ferrell inquired about a group bike ride for kids and what the program would provide.

“We would provide helmets, lights and reflective tape and safety equipment and the riders who participate would bring their own bikes,” she said.

The activities are led by community captains who, according to Active’s website, are champions in their communities who want to lead others to live healthier, more active lives. They remove barriers that prevent community members from being active by providing free weekly and monthly physical activity programs.

The Sylvester council requested time to discuss the possibility of using the service and wanted to discuss it with community members.

Visit for more information.

The Sylvester Town Council meets at 7 p.m. on the first Monday of each month at Town Hall, 32832 Coal River Road. For questions regarding the town’s Halloween distribution of candy to the youth, call 304-854-0580.

Reporter Phil Perry can be reached at or at 304-307-2401.