CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- After much hewing and crying about possible damage to the Capitol dome from the sesquicentennial fireworks shows in June, looks like the Tomblin administration is going to go ahead with an independent inspection.
Turns out that the architectural firm hired in 2002 to oversee the most recent restoration of the dome, Swanke Hayden Connell Architects of New York, included in its recommendations that once the restoration was completed, the dome should get a thorough inspection every 10 years.
The current restoration was completed in 2005, meaning the inspection would be due in 2015.
However, given concerns raised by Joe Mullins, David Riccio and others over whether direct pyrotechnic strikes during the June 20, 21 and 22 shows may have damaged the dome or its gilding, the administration has decided to move that inspection up a couple of years.
Administration spokeswoman Diane Holley Brown said a request for bids for an architectural and engineering study of the dome is being readied.
(I've been told that, despite official statements to the contrary, General Services workers who've been up on the dome say it's dinged up pretty good -- they just have no way to know if the damage was caused by the fireworks or eight years' exposure to the elements.)
Meanwhile, the previous gilder of the dome, Emmanuel Tsitsilianos was in town last week to plead his case to the state Court of Claims for some $108,000 he contends the state owes him from that 1988-90 project.
(Tsitsilianos is a colorful storyteller, sometimes to the point where it's difficult to discern story from fact.)
I asked him if he'd heard about the controversy over the fireworks displays over the dome. His reaction: He covered his face with his hands, and went, "Ohhhh ..."
Speaking of court, in its latest attempt to get an injunction blocking West Virginia University's broadcast rights contract with IMG Sports, West Virginia Radio Corp. attorneys correctly note that the loss of its affiliation with WVU sports "will damage WVRC's reputation."
However, considering that WVRC had the opportunity to bid on the third-tier contract, and failing that, to enter into agreements to carry WVU sports on its stations as IMG affiliates, that sounds like the proverbial man who shoots his parents, and then begs the court for mercy since he's an orphan.
Meanwhile, little WZST-FM becomes the Morgantown "flagship" for Mountaineer sports because WVRC has entered into an option-to-purchase agreement with the only major non-WVRC station in Morgantown, WCLG, and that agreement prevents Bowers Broadcasting from entering into any contracts during the option period.