Like all good rail fans, Friends of the Cardinal Chairman Chuck Riecks gets riled up when members of Congress decry million-dollar funding for passenger rail as "subsidies" but don't use the same term for billion-dollar federal underwriting for highways and air transportation.
Regarding last week's decision by the state, and subsequently, the Kanawha County Commission, to fund the $39,000 a week cost of keeping Air National Guard firefighters on duty at Yeager Airport to assure continued commercial air service, Riecks commented: "I guess we had better not call this a 'subsidy.' Seems as how in today's political climate that is reserved strictly for passenger rail."
The parade of legislative fundraisers tied to monthly interim meetings in Charleston seems endless, and some of the latest announced are for: Sen. Ron Miller, D-Greenbrier, on Nov. 18, at Tiano & O'Dell, Capitol Street; Sen. Donald Cookman, D-Hamsphire, Nov. 19, at Appalachian Power Park; Delegate Justin Marcum, D-Mingo, Dec. 9; and a campaign kick-off for Delegate Doug Skaff, D-Kanawha, for state Senate, Dec. 10, at the Marriott.
FYI, a recent item in Readers' Voice decrying a 63 percent increase in PEIA premiums had no basis in reality.
In fact, the PEIA Finance Board doesn't even meet until next week to tentatively set 2014-15 premium rates, and significant premium hikes are not anticipated going into that meeting.
Lucy Suchy, who has been with the Ethics Commission since its inception in 1989, is retiring Nov. 30, but will be working part time as a contract employee, to help with lobbyists' registrations, financial disclosure reports, etc.
Meanwhile, Norbert Federspiel, who has done a great job helping expand community corrections programs into 49 counties as director of the state Division of Justice and Community Service, is retiring at the end of the year.
Finally, belated happy 99th birthday to former congressman and longtime secretary of state Ken Hechler, who not only hit that milestone Sept. 20, but also got married to longtime companion Carol Kitzmiller a month earlier. They're living in Hampshire County.
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.