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Shale gas inspires optimism

West Virginians are optimistic about the potential impact the natural gas-rich Marcellus and Utica shales will have on their economy, according to a poll conducted for Huntington Banks.

Seventy five percent of West Virginia respondents believe that development of shale gas will provide economic opportunity to their area, according to the survey. Of those, 24 percent believe shale gas will provide "significant opportunity," while 25 percent do not anticipate an economic impact.

Overall in the shale exploration areas from West Virginia through Michigan that Huntington Banks serves, almost 60 percent of respondents believe the shale gas industry will provide economic opportunity in their areas.

Steve Steinour, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Huntington Banks, said in a prepared statement, "Huntington commissioned the survey by an independent research firm because we are committed to helping our customers understand the economy in our markets.

"While many inside and outside of the energy industry are predicting growth, we wanted to find out how the residents of our markets perceive the potential economic impact of the industry on their communities," Steinour said.

"Many of these industrial areas have been known as the Rust Belt. With manufacturing growing again, and aggregate employment in these areas outpacing the national economic recovery, we prefer to call this swath of the country the Recovery Belt."

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Bids for renovation of the old Medical Examiner's Building next to the West Virginia State Police headquarters in South Charleston were originally scheduled to be opened on Tuesday.

But Department of Administration spokeswoman Diane Holley-Brown said the bid opening was moved back a week, to this coming Tuesday.

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A total of 25 people attended an orientation meeting last week for the Charleston Area Alliance's upcoming trade mission and cultural tour of northern Italy.

The Alliance's Jeri Adkins said, "Most of those attendees are planning to go although deposits aren't due until Feb. 2. Our goal is 35 to 40 travelers."

The trip will be from May 7-17.

The $4,099 cost per person, double occupancy, includes round-trip airfare from Charleston. Adkins said this is a first for the Alliance's trade missions and cultural tours. It eliminates the expense of getting to JFK International Airport or Dulles International Airport.

For more information or a tour brochure, email Adkins at JAdkins@charlestonareaalliance.org.

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Snowshoe Mountain's media relations, previously handled in-house, is now being handled by SJ Communications and Krysty Ronchetti, SJ's chief executive officer and founder.

According to SJ's website, the company has offices in Los Angeles, Calif., and Albuquerque, N.M. The website says SJ's clients include Ski New Mexico, a nonprofit trade association that promotes that state's ski resorts, and Angel Fire Resort, which is about a three-hour drive northeast of Albuquerque.


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