As you might know, the Walmart project on Michigan Road will proceed. We’re absolutely fine with that. We certainly understand the concerns of residents about traffic congestion, public safety, aesthetics and other topics, but in the end it just makes sense. Don’t get us wrong; it is up to the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer to make it right and stick to the standards, if you will. Developing in our community should be treated as a privilege. All along, we have been pro-development where it makes sense. Development for development sake is nonsensical. This doesn’t fall into that category. Essentially, we come down on Walmart’s side on this issue because of one primary tenet in which we wholeheartedly believe, and that’s this: Let the free market reign. But Walmart simply cannot throw open its doors and approximate market dominance. All the other players in the grocery, home goods and other spaces the mass retailer features, now have a chance to get a leg up on planning for incentives to retain and grow their market shares. Competition is good. It keeps everyone on their toes. More than that, it puts the focus squarely on the customer – as it should be. We suspect this will turn out to be a win-win for the community. That is our hope, at least.
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Farewell to Doreen Squire Ficara, who died last week at 88 after a short illness. To the end, she was passionate about the arts in our area. She was a co-chair for Civic Theatre’s gala on June 18, and we know it bothered her to not be able to be in attendance. She will be missed.