Archive for February, 2008

Mardi Gras? In West Virginia?

February 26, 2008

I was taking up for Tri-State Racetrack when legislators took them to task over their license. The vote in Kanawha County was later than the rest of the state, and then the recount held things up, so it’s fair that they wait until July 1 so they can get a full year out of their casino license.

But in a double-whammy today, Tri-State is changing its name to Mardi Gras Gaming, because it’s owned by a company that has a place in Florida called Mardi Gras Gaming. Now “Mardi Gras” may cut it in Florida, just down the road from the real Mardi Gras, but in West Virginia that just sounds foolish.

The second half of the whammy is that the track has dumped ZMM as its architectural firm for the expansion, switching to a Florida architect. ‘Dan Adkins, vice president of Harman & Tyner, the corporate parent of Tri-State, said, “I did need somebody I can work closely with.” He said he feels more comfortable with Florida architect Glenn Giles.’

I’m sure people didn’t even think about the fact that the track is owned by out-of-staters until something like this comes up.

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Go to college for free

February 22, 2008

College at Stanford is now effectively free. So what’s your excuse?

Quote of the day from Stanford’s own website: “Financial aid was provided to about 77 percent of undergraduate students…in 2005-2006.”

Museum food and gifts

February 22, 2008

The bill to prevent merging the two libraries at the Cultural Center is moving along, but there’s still msinformation flying around.

“I think if you go to any museum in any other place, you will have a gift shop, and you probably have some sort of food service,” he (Morgan) said.

These guys just don’t understand. Very few museums that you visit also have a paper archives contained within. In Washington those things are in separate buildings. Many museums have their artifact collection warehoused separate from the museum itself. You always worry about vermin in the case of the museum artifacts, but it’s even worse when it comes to fragile documents. The issue of theft (with regard to merging libraries) is one problem, but having any food service in close proximity to the documents or artifacts is Bad News. At the Cultural Center, all this stuff is contained within the same set of walls, and many documents are stored right next to the museum artifacts.

The only place to have food is outside the building (such as in the atrium idea), and if you do that, then that’s also where you want your gift shop. Good museum plans have visitors exiting right past the food and trinkets.

That money doesn’t mean a thing

February 22, 2008

By refusing to acknowledge that 3.5 million dollars in contributions might prejudice his opinion, Brent Benjamin sits alongside Arch Moore and Wally Barron in the pantheon of West Virginia dirty politicians.

Backing off on Archives Library

February 21, 2008

Kay Goodwin was overhead telling a History Day participant that they were not going to merge the two libraries.

Of course, maybe the bill being considered today in the House makes the Administration give up now. It couldn’t be all the orange “Save the Archives Library” signs.

Privatizing, one step at a time

February 19, 2008

On the Presidents Day holiday, “scores of state workers” (what, the reporter couldn’t count em?) rallied at the Capitol. Many were DOH employees worried that the recent sell-off of DOH equipment meant privatizing of some jobs.

“I don’t know where they get that idea,” said Delegate Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson.

How about selling off Worker’s Comp? How about creating centralized services that charge back to state agencies for their work? (as in the Office of Technology and Tourism’s media people)  All through state government, positions on the books are vacant while contractors do those jobs, and Joe Manchin claims he’s cut state government.

Privatizing one step at a time.

WV broadband dreams

February 19, 2008

Joe Manchin proposed legislation for a Broadband Deployment fund that “would pay groups and others who successfully apply to pursue expanding access in under- or unserved parts of the Mountain State.”

About a year ago, he thwarted plans for municipalities to create their own broadband internet service, claiming that John Chambers said Cisco would be helping develop rural high speed internet in West Virginia. Whatever happened to that plan?

Cancer in the WV Supreme Court

February 17, 2008

Justice Larry Starcher did the honorable thing by stepping down from cases involving Massey Energy. He takes some serious swipes at Blankenship and Brent Benjamin that are worth reading.

Bruce E. Stanley, a Pittsburgh lawyer who represents Caperton, said Friday, “How Justice Benjamin can ignore the obvious and continue to sit on this case, especially as the acting chief justice with its power of appointment, is disturbing and inexplicable.”

It’s hard to know whether Benjamin is clueless or doesn’t give a shit. One hopes he’s not downright crooked.

History Hero

February 16, 2008

It should be interesting at the History Day event at the Capitol next Thursday. Word is out that the first person on the agenda to receive a History Hero award is fired State Archivist Fred Armstrong.

One can only imagine what accolades his nomination might include.

The question is whether anyone from Joe Manchin’s or Kay Goodwin’s offices will be on hand this year to hand out awards – or if they’ll even be in the city.

Keeping up

February 13, 2008

The US Postal Service is raising the price of first class postage to 42 cents in May. But that’s not the significant item in the report.

…under the new law regulating the post office that took effect in late 2006, the agency is allowed to increase rates with 45 days notice as long as changes are within the rate of inflation for the previous 12 months. The Postal Regulatory Commission calculated that rate at 2.9 percent through January…

Notice Joe Manchin has offered a 3% raise for teachers and state workers for this year? That means they might actually keep up with last year’s inflation.