Thomas decides to return to Memphis

BALTIMORE (AP) - Wendi C. Thomas, a newly hired columnist at The Baltimore Sun, has decided to return to her former employer, The Commercial Appeal in Memphis, Tenn., The Sun reported Monday.

Her first column was to appear in the paper Tuesday.

"The Sun is a wonderful paper and the staff at The Sun welcomed me with open arms and incredible support," Thomas said in an e-mail message Monday. "My decision to return to Memphis is a personal one."

Thomas, 34, was hired after the resignation in January of longtime columnist Michael Olesker.

Timothy A. Franklin, The Sun's editor, said he was disappointed in Thomas' decision to return to The Commercial Appeal, where she had worked for two and a half years. She also has family in Tennessee.

"She's a gifted writer, and I think she would have had a major impact at the newspaper and as a commentator in the region," said Franklin, whose staff includes two veteran metro columnists, Dan Rodricks and Gregory Kane.

Franklin said the opening for a metro columnist at The Sun attracted "terrific candidates from all over the country."

"There's no shortage of interest in the job and no shortage of talent in the ones who applied," Franklin said. "These columnist jobs at major, urban dailies don't open up too often. We'll do what's best for the paper."

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)