There’s sad news on the medical front, dear readers. One of our local physicians is leaving town for the frigid environs of North Dakota.
Dr. Michael Questell is closing Warren Family Practice on Friday, July 15 and returning to below-freezing North Dakota. Warren Family Practice serves about 1,300 patients, according to Dr. Questell’s wife and office manager, Becky.
“We hate to leave and this is a very hard decision,” said Becky. “We’ve gotten attached to the area and the people. In addition to our patients, we have two nurse practitioners and a full office staff and they’re all looking for jobs right now so this was not easy for us to do.”
Becky said the toxic medical landscape has reached the point where it’s miserable to do business. This is due in large part, she said, to government meddling and general indifference from insurance companies.
“The state of healthcare is really bad,” said Becky. “The government hasn’t thought it through. There are so many government regulations and the insurance companies just don’t care. I’ve heard from so many people that if you’re not attached to a hospital, you just can’t make it in private practice. You can’t pay your employees enough. You can’t give them good benefits. You just can’t do it.”
Becky says the system works better in North Dakota so they are returning to Rolla, a tiny town about 15 miles from the Canadian border. This is where they lived before moving to McMinnville in 2008.
I remember writing Dr. Questell’s story when he arrived in Warren County over eight years ago and he mentioned how bone-chilling cold it is in that area. He also said they were about 75 miles from the nearest McDonald’s. I’ve given it some serious thought and I don’t think I could live that way.
For Dr. Questell to leave shows just how badly our healthcare situation has deteriorated. He appeared to have a thriving practice with 1,300 patients and two nurse practitioners. If he can’t make it, what’s the incentive for a person to attend all those years of medical school, and amass all those student loans, to become a doctor? How can we hope to recruit bright, young physicians in the future?
The insurance companies have certainly done an admirable job of fouling things up. I remember the good old days, which were only about 15 years ago, when I could visit a doctor, write a check for services on my way out the door, and that would be the end of it.
Now I have a co-pay, and I get terribly confusing statements in the mail that tell me my in-network and out-of-network charges. I get statements for what my insurance covers and what it doesn’t. Sometimes my insurance covers 35 percent. Sometimes 50 percent. I have no idea how all this works.
Here’s a newsflash. The doctors don’t know either and it’s nothing but a headache to them.
I thought Warren County was in need of another family doctor before Dr. Questell decided to close his office. Now the situation is even more pressing. Perhaps Saint Thomas River Park Hospital can do some recruiting and land us a new doctor. This community needs it.
DTC has new CEO
DTC Communications has a new CEO in Chris Townson, who has 22 years of experience in the telecommunications industry.
DTC Communications has a local office in the Foodland Plus shopping center as it has taken over Cellective Accessories.
“These are challenging times for the telecommunications industry,” said Townson. “We are facing changing regulations, rapidly evolving technologies, and the need for broadband expansion. But when local people work together to keep each other connected, we can accomplish great things. I’m proud to have the opportunity to lead DTC during this important period.”
In a day when many of us strive to be connected every waking moment and don’t go to the bathroom without a cellphone, communication products matter.
DTC Communications is a member-owned telecommunications cooperative established in 1951 and based in Alexandria. It provides communication, entertainment and security products throughout Middle Tennessee.
Chris and his wife, Melissa, a high school language arts teacher, have two sons, Christian, 17, and Ethan 12.
Chris began his work in the industry in 1994 at Farmers Telecomm-unications Cooperative based in Rainsville, Ala. He gradually worked his way up the ladder to senior management positions.
Congratulations Chris! May your life be filled with great cellphone reception.
Fast food briefing
I’m asked regularly about Hardee’s and Captain D’s.
Specifically, folks want to know when Hardee’s will be demolished and when Captain D’s will start on its new building next to Bojangles on The Strip.
To show I care about your questions and I’m not ignoring them, I called both Hardee’s and Captain D’s on Friday. I was given nearly identical responses at both places. A firm date has not been set for either project.
As some of you may know, plans call for our Hardee’s on West Main Street to be leveled and a new store built in its place. At Captain D’s, a new store will be built next to Bojangles and the current store will be closed. Both projects were expected to be under way by now.
I’ll give it a few weeks before I call again.
Trading post offers bargains
If you’ve ever wondered what happens to all those returns at Walmart, Kmart and other stores, I have an answer. Some of them are bought by the people at Eddie’s Trading Post on Beersheba Street and sold at drastically reduced prices.
“Everything we have here works just fine,” said Shelby Boles, who co-owns the store with Lebanon resident Eddie Williamson. “We wouldn’t sell it if it wasn’t in good working condition. There’s no point in that. If you have a problem with anything, just return it and we’ll take care of it.”
Shelby said some of the returned items require minimal work to get in tip-top shape. She said a Hello Kitty car that normally retails for $369 was returned because it didn’t steer properly. She said it was only missing one screw on the front axle and she’s selling it for $150.
“Some items we get haven’t even been opened,” said Shelby. “I call those buyer’s remorse returns. They’re taken back before they’re ever taken out of the box.”
Shelby says in most cases her merchandise is more than 50 percent off what you’d pay in a regular retail store. And she stands behind her merchandise.
Walking around the store Friday morning, there were a number of fans, coffee makers, microwaves, flashlights, blenders, hats, seat covers, and an entire wall of new items that cost only 50 cents.
“This has been a really popular area and for 50 cents, I can see why,” said Shelby.
Eddie’s Trading Post is located in Mt. Leo at 817 Beersheba Street. Store hours are Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The phone number is 808-2996.
“If we get a lot of business, I’ll expand the hours,” said Shelby. “We have a vision of what we’d like this store to be, but we decided to start small and see where it goes. We try to get new stuff in every week.”
J’s Restaurant to stay at mall
It seems every time a restaurant location opens up, there are rumors J’s Restaurant might be interested in relocating there. I’m not exactly sure the reason for this, but Captain D’s was the latest example.
When it was announced Captain D’s was leaving its longtime store on Smithville Highway, rumors circulated J’s Restaurant would be moving there. Go figure.
To show J’s Restaurant won’t be leaving Three Star Mall anytime soon, owner Junior Petit has announced he’s signing a five-year lease extension to stay at the mall.
“It wouldn’t be right to come to the mall and not see J’s,” said Junior. “J’s is the mall. We’re an anchor store here and business is super strong.”
It was in May 1983 when the Petit family took ownership of J’s Restaurant. All of their years in business have been spent in the mall. This five-year lease ensures the legacy will continue.
Junior says J’s has recently introduced eight new menu items which include coconut shrimp, hot fudge cake (yummmm), and tea by the gallon. “I think you have to expand and try new things at least once a year,” he said.
So look for J’s to maintain its familiar spot at Three Star Mall for the next five years at least. Perhaps this will put some of the rumors to sleep.
Save on your appliances
If you want to save money on your appliances, DoMost Appliances and More has opened at 333 Garfield Street in front of Grand Rental.
George Bartz started the business out of his garage in November and he quickly outgrew his home.
“People would notice the appliances and stop in and ask about them,” said George. “But appliances take up a lot of space so it didn’t take long for me to outgrow the garage. I’ve been here for three months and business has been good.”
When it comes to appliances, George has everything you need. Stoves start at $75, refrigerators and dryers start at $100, and washers start at $125. He will work with customers on payment plans, if necessary.
“A lot of people are looking for used products because they can only afford so much,” said George. “Used products make up most of my inventory. I do get some scratch and dent items, but it’s mainly used.”
George makes sure all of his products are in proper working order. A former auto mechanic, he does all the work himself. To give his customers peace of mind, he offers a 45-day warranty.
“I have a huge parts selection I use to make sure everything is working properly,” said George. “It keeps prices down.”
Because he is frequently on delivery or out and about, DoMost Appliances doesn’t have regular business hours. Instead, George is on call at all hours and you can call or text him at (615) 318-0680 if he’s not at the store.
“If you don’t get off work till 7 p.m., I can meet you here at 7:30 p.m.,” said George. “I think it’s easier for people to give me a call when they want to be here.”
Unemployment still crazy low
I’ve been talking for months about how Tennessee unemployment seems stuck in a perpetual game of limbo. How low can it go?
The unemployment rates released Thursday by the state show Tennessee is still rocking when it comes to having plenty of jobs. The statewide unemployment rate for May was just 4.1 percent. That’s below the national average of 4.7 percent.
As amazing as it may be, Davidson County has a reported unemployment rate of 2.9 percent. I didn’t think that was possible.
Warren County unemployment continues to be absolutely amazing. The reported rate for our county is a mere 3.7 percent.
I could probably pour hours of work into researching Warren County’s unemployment rate over the decades to determine its lowest point in history, but I’m not going to do that. Instead, I’m going to say 3.7 percent unemployment is ridiculously low and leave it at that.
Williamson County has the lowest unemployment in the state at 2.7 percent. Houston County has the highest rate in Tennessee at 6.6 percent.
You can’t sling a dead cat in Tennessee without finding a job. And if you do sling a cat, please make sure it’s dead.
If you’re sitting at home wanting a job right now, the toll-free number to call is 1-800-I AM LAZY.
That’s all folks
Next weekend will be an extended Fourth of July weekend. While that’s great for cookouts and lake trips, it’s traditionally a nightmarish time for business news. I’m just saying.