The generosity of the community has been overwhelming this week. More than $100,000 was raised by the local Red Cross chapter, with the help of RTG Media's radio broadcasts. Ambling Co. is matching the contribution, and these donations will go far toward helping in the relief efforts.

There were so many businesses and individuals who contacted the newspaper this week about how they are contributing to the cause that the story (which should also be located on this page) contains the names of more than a dozen who are helping in a wide variety of ways, from providing transportation to providing fuel to take all of the donated items to the affected coastal areas.

Although this is a tremendous time of need and the community has been so generous, we've also heard from individuals this week who are in need in our own community, who are afraid they will be forgotten in the rush to help those affected by Katrina. It's a good reminder that charitable works should be a year round effort and we need to be mindful of those right in our own backyard as well. Also, this effort will be a long term commitment, and we need to be in just as giving a mood in a few months as we are today.

Business Roundup

Biggest news I heard this week was that Pipkin Motors is now an official Hyundai dealer. It's my understanding that they will have to build a whole new dealership on their site in Camelot Crossing before we may see any of the cars roll in. Apparently, competition for a dealership is pretty tough, so this is a big deal for them and also for Valdosta, as more choices is always a good thing.

I received a press release from Hobby Lobby this week, saying the store should be open on St. Augustine in the next couple of weeks. They are remodeling the space in the strip center near where Tractor Supply Co. just opened.

I also heard from the folks at Bojangles restaurant chain, saying they are building 30 new stores in the state, with at least one of those in Valdosta. They didn't give a site for the store, so I'm sure they're one of the many who are currently looking for land. The restaurants sell chicken and biscuits, and are known for their Cajun style.

It looks like Kohl's is nearly a sure thing. The company is telling folks around town that they will be locating in a new upscale strip center on Inner Perimeter Road near the Harveys store.

No word from the mall people, although I get asked about it several times a week. I do know they are one of the many chasing after Olive Garden, so for those who have been waiting for one for so long, this is the best shot Valdosta's probably ever had at getting one.

At the city council meeting this week, the owner of Peachtree Plaza on Gornto Road successfully had zoning changed to allow the center to put in a restaurant, although lack of parking will limit the size and the amount of seats inside. Best guess is some type of sandwich shop or dessert place to catch the theatre and mall traffic.

That's it for this week, although I'm sure if I've missed something, someone will let me know.

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