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Native says she never really left the state

After Alisa Bailey returned to Charleston following a nine-year stint as the head of tourism in Virginia, the editors of Blue Ridge Country Magazine asked her why she moved back to West Virginia.

Bailey explained her move in a guest column that appears on the back page of the February 2013 issue of the magazine.

"No native West Virginian ever really leaves West Virginia - at least not in their hearts," Bailey wrote.

Bailey said she left in 2003 because the Virginia Tourism Corporation made an offer she couldn't refuse, which included a paycheck that was more than twice what she was earning at the time as head of tourism in West Virginia. With two girls to put through college, Bailey took the offer.

"Yet the call of West Virginia was always in the back of my mind," she said. "It wasn't just the grandeur of the West Virginia mountains, the world-class outdoor adventure opportunities, or the promise of walking in solitude on a trail in the third most-forested state in the Union. It was the people I really missed.

"I missed my family, I missed my friends, but most of all I missed my home state," she wrote. "So when the job to head up the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau opened up, I jumped on it."

"In Charleston, I can watch wildlife from my back desk - yes, in the city limits of Charleston - or be on world-class whitewater or on a zip-line through the tree canopy in an hour," Bailey wrote.

"You see, to West Virginians the mountains enclose our souls like a mother holding her newborn. The mood of contentment to be constantly surrounded by nature and some of the truest people in the world transcends any challenge of the day."

Blue Ridge Country Magazine's website is at http://blue

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The South Charleston Chamber of Commerce has published its 2012-2013 Membership Guide and Directory of Products and Services. It is a handy directory of who offers what in the city.

On the topic of the chamber: The organization's 21st Annual Groundhog Breakfast & Economic Forecast will be Feb. 1 at the Holiday Inn & Suites Charleston West, 400 Second Ave., South Charleston. The chamber is offering numerous sponsorship opportunities.

For a copy of the membership guide and directory or for more information about breakfast and forecast sponsorships, contact Amanda Ream, the chamber's executive director, by calling 304-744-0051 or email her at

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    A recent column reported that on a night flight from Minneapolis to Pittsburgh,

    my nephew said the pilot banked over North Dakota

    to point out the bright lights - a telltale sign of the oil and gas shale boom in that state.

    An alert reader pointed out a flight from Minneapolis to Pittsburgh doesn't go over North Dakota. My mistake. My nephew was flying from Seattle to Minneapolis.


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