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How can a Civil War heroine help West Virginia now?

Dear Editor:
The State of West Virginia needs tourism, which requires publicity and publicity is expensive. The State’s tourism promotion budget of $7 million is low compared to that of neighboring states. For example, the State of Michigan, which is also promoting tourism to offset losses in the automobile business, has a budget of $30 million. In fact, Michigan is so serious about tourism that a policeman can be fired for sassing a tourist! These days there is fierce competition for tourist dollars, as tourism returns $3 to $7 for each dollar spent in promotion – an investment well worth the money. If West Virginia cannot attract a sufficient number of tourists to make up for current economic losses, is there a clear alternative?
My vote is for increased tourism, and my plan is to help develop a particular category of the industry – film-induced tourism – through my book, Mary Jane’s War, a fictionalized account of a real-life local heroine from the Civil War era of Southern West Virginia, where I was born and raised. Along with a professional team of non-paid volunteers, including famed television and movie star, Stuart Margolin, and director, Christopher Martini, I plan to create a docudrama to tell the Mary Jane’s story and show the rich history, culture and natural beauty of our State, increase attention through various media channels and ultimately attract more tourists, and therefore, more much needed dollars to Southern West Virginia. History has shown that the public will travel to see and spend time in places where their favorite shows are filmed. And where tourists spend time, they also spend money. Sometimes a great deal of money. Why not in West Virginia as well?
As with every worthwhile endeavor, we can’t succeed without the support of people like you. Please join our team and help create a brighter future for our great State. Donate now via www.maryjaneswarfilm.org or send a check to 7450 Adams Park Court, Annandale, VA 22003. A donation in any amount would be greatly appreciated.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at 703-304-6100, or via joeroles@aol.com.
Sincerely,
Joe B. Roles, President
Mary Jane’s War Film Inc.

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