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George Bailey, the well-known spokesman for the Niagara Parks Commission, is retiring as director of communications, a post he held for 20 years, the commission announced Friday.

Although the 55-year-old Bailey is taking early retirement, he said he won't disappear from the scene entirely. Bailey has formed a public relations, television/video production company called "It's a Wonderful Life Productions." The name is borrowed from the 1947 Frank Capra movie, which has become a classic Christmas film, in which the lead character played by actor Jimmy Stewart was named George Bailey.

Although the retirement officially becomes effective at the end of October, Bailey said he would leave the post at the close of business Friday for a short vacation before he begins pursuing his new interests, which in addition to public relations, will include event planning and promotion and film production.

"I've enjoyed my years with the commission and I feel I'm at a time of my life where I want to seek more challenges," Bailey said.

His retirement was announced by John Kernahan, general manager of the Niagara Parks Commission.

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