Sunday, August 15, 2010

15 AUG 10: Cancer Growth

They're two of the more independent spirits in Columbus. They've attempted several groundbreaking projects in the last 15 years or so. So it's surprising to see them sell the business which made them famous - especially to a local giant. It this was Atlanta, I'd be tempted to say they were "Corporate Challenged."

Jack and Eve Tidwell are selling control of their cancer treatment center on Warm Springs Road to Columbus Regional. The price of the deal has not been announced - but I assume a co-pay was figured in.

The Ledger-Enquirer noted while all the employees of Tidwell Cancer Treatment Center now work for Columbus Regional, Dr. Jack Tidwell is still an "independent practitioner." Does this make him Columbus's version of Dr. House?

Jack Tidwell says he decided Columbus should have "no competing places," when it comes to cancer treatment. Yet the doctor promises his center will stay open as usual, and I assume the John B. Amos Cancer Center will do the same. How will new patients be divided - by having doctors guess the number of cancerous cells?

Another Columbus hospital might take issue with Jack Tidwell's comment about no competition. But St. Francis Hospital issued a statement saying it has a long relationship with both cancer treatment centers, and will continue that. Well, unless plans for that maternity ward fall through....

Dr. Jack Tidwell admits several groups approached him since last year about buying the cancer treatment center. The groups weren't named - but I can't help wondering how many of them dreamed of turning around and selling the center to the U.S. government for national health care.

It's hard to imagine the coming health care reforms were NOT involved in this decision. With only one cancer treatment program in Columbus, critics will say this is an example of limited choices. Those critics might ignore the fact that some people simply leave town, to be treated in Birmingham.

Another question remains unresolved in this buyout announcement - what will happen to Eve Tidwell's TV talk show? "Tidwell and Friends" was the health-focused successor to her old eclectic "What's Up, Miriam?" I suppose the Chair of Columbus Regional could take it over - giving us a new version of "It's Larry Sanders's Show."

Jack and Eve (formerly Miriam) Tidwell had several big dreams in recent years. They organized "God Bless Fort Benning," in response to the S.O.A. Watch protests. They tried to set up the Tidwell Cancer Foundation, with eye-catching art work outside its downtown office. The wife even ran Miriam's Café on 13 th Street - only to see Ruth Ann and Minnie outlast her downtown.

I get the feeling the Tidwells see an opportunity to slow down and take some profits as they grow old. That could be what's behind the sale to Columbus Regional. The couple which once promised "every reason for hope" now will hope the market for investments turns around.

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BLOG UPDATE: The head of the Columbus National Alliance chapter has sent us two "reply cards" from the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia. They note Michael Weaver has requested ACLU assistance - but emphasize, "We are not undertaking legal representation of you at this time." The Hollywood phrase for this is, "Don't call us, we'll call you."

Michael Weaver adds via postal mail he's sued WTVM General Manager Lee Brantley in the past. The corporate office of Raycom Media had no comment on that claim Friday. But I don't think Brantley ever has mentioned the National Alliance in an editorial -- so maybe that's on the advice of attorneys.

If that's not enough, Michael Weaver has forwarded to your blog a recent e-mail he sent to someone he's threatening to sue. He calls Michael King of CCG-TV "The King of Censorship":

The ACLU has been contacted regarding your contempt for the Constitutional rights of the citizens of the people's republic of Columbus,Georgia.Many citizens have confided in me that you are a product of Affirmative Action Aka government sponsored discrimination against better qualified White applicants. For the record, we have many members and supporters of the National Alliance at the government center. Also,many supporters who are employed by the Sheriff's office, Columbus Police dept.and influential people you would never suspect.I strongly suspect that once the city attorney's office is contacted by the ACLU that you will cave in and play my video as required by the highest law of the land,The United States Constitution. After all, we both know that you wouldn't have your current position without Affirmative Action and your Affirmative Action friend Isaiah as the city manager. The White citizens of Columbus, Georgia are fed up with the double standards,non-white crime,illegal immigration and your contempt of the 1st Amendment! You are a disgrace as a public official and to the men and women who sacrificed their lives in the name of defending both freedom and liberty.

Contemptuously yours,Michael Weaver

Columbus,Georgia Chapter of The National Alliance

Why do I have the feeling Weaver never has read the book, "How to Win Friends and Influence People?"

If anyone has sued the city of Columbus over the hiring of Michael King, it hasn't made the news. And if the Government Center and public safety are filled with National Alliance supporters, I somehow doubt any of them are ready to publicly admit it. At least the NAACP holds annual fund-raising banquets, with reporters allowed inside.

In fact, I wonder if any African-American civil rights leader has written a letter like this to a Columbus city official. I'm not sure if the proper protocol is to call names in public before filing a lawsuit, or vice versa.

The City Attorney's office still has not returned our phone call about a possible lawsuit against CCG-TV. But I notice One Columbus is holding a Community Prayer Breakfast at the Government Center Tuesday morning. Would Michael Weaver attend such an event, to pray for local leaders? Or would his idea of a "diverse community" start with segregating schools again?

Maybe some of the other weekend news will bring people together....

+ Columbus Northern won the Little League Southeast Regional title by mauling Melbourne, Florida 9-2. Northern goes to the Little League World Series for the second time in five years - and once again shows why minor league baseball isn't missed very much around here.

(I was surprised to hear an appeal on the late-night news for donations to send the Northern All-Stars to the World Series. I thought the Little League headquarters covered the team's expenses. And here's hoping Aflac hasn't sold its corporate jet since 2006 -- else the moms and dads will have a long drive.)

+ WTVM reported on a public service project by Sew Much Fun. The Veterans Parkway store donates hundreds of bibs to nursing homes. Give away enough of them and Macon could have some competition for "Bib County."

(Such a giving spirit is almost enough to make me shout, "Bib-Bib Hooray.")

+ Former Columbus TV reporter Laurie Bernstein married a soldier she met while covering a story at Fort Benning. The wedding occurred in Destin, Florida - but no, Bernstein did NOT adjust the guest list to gain an exclusive interview with President Obama staying down the highway.

+ Instant Message to the stranger who stopped me as I walked past a downtown bus stop: I asked my pastor about your request - and no, he's not interested in paying your rent.

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