I think if you watch the active topics
you'll find that there is still a bunch of activity on the forums. Some folks who might have been extremly active in the past aren't active anymore but its still hard for others to pass their many years of service in terms of post counts. (also, don't let my post count fool you into thinking this low number is all that common)
As for news, nothing worth mentioning has happend.. which I supose is a bad thing, then again noone died recently which is a good thing.
If you have some questions or something you'd like to discuss I'm sure you'll get some responses if its interesting.
Also welcome back