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MARIE RICE LEAVING CHANNEL 4

Marie Rice, who has been a valuable, respected and no-nonsense reporter at WIVB-TV for more than 27 years, is moving back to her native Ohio.

Her last day at the station will be Friday, Oct. 29.

"It's very uncomplicated," Rice said on Wednesday. Her mother's death in January in Ohio after a two-year struggle with heart disease "caused me to reassess my whole life and the direction of my life," said Rice. "And I want to be with my sisters (who live on Ohio) and my brother."

Channel 4 General Manager Chris Musial dashed off an emotional memo to the staff Tuesday that put Rice's career and departure in perspective.

"There is so much to say about this woman," wrote Musial. "Marie has been the consummate professional, always representing this station, news operation and community with passion and dignity."

He then enumerated several of Rice's accomplishments.

"Marie is known far and wide for her role in helping uncover and report on the Love Canal chemical saga," he wrote. "Whether it was toxic chemicals, major crime stories or even bigger high-profile murder trials, Marie has been there to bring the story to viewers in Western New York."

Musial's lengthy and moving departure memo is a rarity in local TV circles, but then again so is Rice.

"This is a tough one for me," said Musial, who was the station's news director before being named general manager a few weeks ago. "I kind of grew up under her wing."

e-mail: apergament@buffnews.com

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