Nonetheless, the decision of Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and first lady Joanne Jaeger Tomblin to scale back the governor's Christmas parties (to just two, and at the Culture Center, not the Governor's Mansion) is sound, even if the actual savings are probably comparatively minimal: About $30,000 from not having to rent and heat a party tent at the mansion, plus savings on wear and tear to the mansion.
(Presumably, the parties Friday and Saturday evening went well, although that's one of the perils of writing columns Friday mornings and afternoons that are published two to three days later.
I got burned a couple of years back writing about a redistricting suit I had been assured would be filed late that Friday afternoon, and wrote it in the past tense, as opposed to my favorite tense, future perfect, "was to have been filed ..." As frequently occurs in litigation, complications ensued, and the suit, with a few changes, didn't actually get filed until the following Thursday.)
When it comes to budget-cutting, one could raise a question about whether the state needs to have two airplanes, particularly when one -- the $2.18 million 2009 Cessna Caravan -- gets little use.
Excluding maintenance flights, from mid-April through November, the Caravan has been booked for just 11 round-trip flights from Charleston, and only once by the governor's office (to fly the first lady to Morgantown and back June 17.) The Department of Transportation has been the biggest user, with flights July 31 to Elkins, Aug. 29 to Cumberland, Md., Sept. 17 to Steubenville, Ohio, and Oct. 2 to Martinsburg.
During the same period, the state's King Air has had 57 flights -- in itself, not exactly a jam-packed flight log.
In fact, there were only three days since mid-April when both planes were in use -- Sept. 12, Oct. 2, and Oct. 4 -- and without knowing the flight times, it's possible the King Air could have accommodated both trips on those days.
(Some might argue the Caravan's usefulness as a state plane waned after we no longer had a governor licensed to fly it.)
Finally, I found West Virginia Public Broadcasting's informal viewer/listener poll on its most popular programs fascinating, but was somewhat surprised that "Antiques Roadshow" wasn't among viewer favorites.
On the bright side, Public Broadcasting Executive Director Scott Finn said that, after 18 seasons, "Antiques Roadshow" producers are scouting locations they haven't previously visited (and revisited).
He said they're very interested in filming an episode in Charleston, likely next August or September, but nothing's in writing yet.
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.