Although the $24,500 lease with A-to-Z Rentals of Huntington runs through March 15, 2013, Tomblin spokeswoman Amy Shuler Goodwin said the administration has exercised a 30-day out clause, so the tent will come down at the end of the month. (Under state purchasing law, the state can get out of any contract on 30 days' notice.)
After the holiday parties this month, plans were to use the tent for inaugural and legislative receptions, but the decision was made that those events aren't sufficient to justify the cost of renting it for an additional 2 1/2 months.
Rental costs run about $6,600 a month, including costs of propane to fuel the heaters in the tent.
Finally, more on the saga of the black bears outside Attorney General Darrell McGraw's office at the Capitol.
Linda Harvey, administrative assistant to Ken Hechler, said Hechler has notified the state that he would like to have at least the larger of the two bears relocated to his office in Imperial Tower, where he now resides, upon completion of McGraw's term. (Hechler purchased the two bears while secretary of state, and loaned them to McGraw after leaving office in 2000.)
Harvey said Hechler intends to donate the bears to the state at some point, presumably after Patrick Morrisey is out of office.
"These are Democrat bears," she said.
A similar fate probably awaits the third, "baby bear," which I was advised had been in Warren McGraw's office in the state Supreme Court. After losing his re-election bid to Brent Benjamin in 2004, McGraw gave that bear to brother Darrell to add to the display.
Department of Administration spokeswoman Diane Holley-Brown said none of the bears are state property, so their disposition is a matter to be resolved between Hechler, McGraw and Morrisey.
Meanwhile, former secretary of state Betty Ireland reminded me that the taller bear made a return to its original location during her tenure (2005-09).
She recalled chiding McGraw at her first Board of Public Works meeting, calling on him to let her display one of the bears in its rightful location outside of the secretary of state's office.
McGraw didn't seem very receptive to the idea during the meeting, but about a half-hour afterward, there was a great rumble in the Capitol hallways -- as workers wheeled the bear back to her office.
Ireland said McGraw insisted that she sign legal documents verifying that the bear was on loan from his office.
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.