Paul Leavy | The Valdosta Daily Times

Healthcare is a business whose ownership will be decided in the coming weeks when we’ll find out if there’ll be a semi-hostile government takeover or a friendly cease fire, or a laissez faire directive to let the free market control itself.

In light of the upcoming debates in Congress, the Times is taking a look in next Sunday’s paper at the issue of healthcare reform. We’re talking to a number of people in town who are on all sides of the issue to present a balanced look at the topic so that our readers have a better handle on the debates.

Regardless of whether you back the government’s plan or private industry, the emotions displayed in discussing this topic are in many cases, out of control and irrelevant. I heard a relatively well known national personality Friday say that those who opposed the government’s reforms “hated poor Americans.”

In light of the amount of misinformation out there, it’s difficult at best to understand exactly what is and isn’t being proposed. However, after spending the better part of the last few weeks reading everything I can get my hands on to try and understand the issue, I can honestly say I understand why so many folks are confused, because the material itself is contradictory.

I can’t wait to talk to some of our elected leadership in D.C. about how they view the proposals, and I’m looking forward to separating the fact from the fiction and the emotion from reality.

If any readers would like to add their two cents, we may not be able to publish all the letters to the editor but we will certainly get them all online so that your opinion will be heard as well. And if you’re an expert on healthcare reform, please call and leave me a message this week.

Business Roundup

A groundbreaking was held this week for the new North Ashley Retail Center. The professional offices there are nearly full of tenants, and the new center at the front of the property, facing Ashley, will house Quiznos, in addition to several other retailers.

Buffalo Wild Wings by the Valdosta Mall is on target for a Nov. 9 opening. If the food is as good as the TV ads are, this should be a really cool place to eat and hang out!

The Kiddie Korral Child Development Center on Slater Street is under new ownership. One of the oldest private daycares in the community, it is undergoing lots of wonderful changes and will soon have a pre-K program as well. On the downside of things this week, the Lincoln Mercury dealership on North Valdosta Road is reportedly closed, and I can’t find out the status of the Dodge Jeep dealership beside it. It’s supposedly for sale, so we’ll see what happens in the next few weeks. Also on the downside, the Phillips 66 is closed in front of Lowes. At first, I thought it was just a temporary thing, but it doesn’t look that way.

As for construction around town, things are going to significantly pick up with PCA’s announcement that they are refitting the plant with state-of-the-art boilers that will bring the plant from the ‘50s into the new millenium.The $225 million investment is the biggest single investment ever by an industry in Lowndes County, and this ultimately means lots of construction jobs and the folks at PCA will be around for a long, long time.

Other construction projects include the new Chick- fil-A on Inner Perimeter and the new Southwest Georgia Bank on North Valdosta Road.

That’s about it for this week, but if there’s anything I missed, please let me know!

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