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NEWS-SENTINEL EDITORIAL: Support warranted for extending Electric Works deadline

The suspense behind the identity of the proposed anchor tenant of the Electric Works development continues, but at least the deadline extension needed to move the $230 million project forward has cleared another hurdle.

And just as we encouraged Mayor Tom Henry to approve the extension, we continue to support the remaining steps in the approval as well.

The mayor did give his approval to RTM Ventures’ request recently. And, in a 3-2 vote Monday, the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission took the first of three remaining steps in approving the amendment of the development agreement between the city and RTM Ventures that had required certain financial and leasing commitments to be met by Feb. 1.

Developers requested this third extension of the agreement to move the deadline for leasing, funding and construction documents to April 30, and to June 30 for closing, saying the extra time is critical to finalize an agreement with the unnamed anchor tenant that, as News-Sentinel.com first reported, has signed a letter of intent to occupy about 200,000 square feet of the former General Electric campus on Broadway.

Due to a confidentiality agreement, RTM and local officials have declined to identify the anchor tenant. But Josh Parker of RTM told News-Sentinel.com last month the corporate headquarters would be a “game changer” for the project and bring the total space covered by various letters of intent to 415,068 square feet.

The Allen County Fort Wayne Capital Improvement Board will consider the extension today, while the Allen County Commissioners would have to sign off on the request possibly Friday.

We encourage them to continue to move the process forward.

Kroger helping residents kick tobacco

Kroger Health recently announced a new service to help tobacco users in Indiana and Idaho kick the habit.

Pharmacists at Kroger, Fred Meyer and Smith’s locations throughout Indiana and Idaho will prescribe and supply products to help tobacco users quit. The service combines medications with behavioral counseling, which, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is more effective in stopping tobacco use than using either one alone.

News-Sentinel.com has regularly supported efforts to curb the use of tobacco in Indiana, and we think Kroger’s efforts are commendable.

Indications are that tobacco users are trying or at least showing a desire to quit. CDC statistics show 68 percent of adult smokers say they want to quit and 55.4 percent of those who smoke cigarettes daily have reported stopping for more than one day in attempts to quit smoking permanently.

A Kroger Health news release reported that recent legislation in Indiana and Idaho allows its pharmacists to prescribe a patient-specific quit plan as well as all tobacco cessation medications for patients.

According to Kroger Health, following consultation with a pharmacist, patients will receive a prescription, if appropriate, as well as tobacco cessation therapy, behavioral counseling and a progress follow-up after the initial meeting. Many of the smoking cessation medications are available at a discounted rate through Kroger Rx Savings Club.

“Many customers want to quit but don’t know where to start. Others have tried to quit but were unsuccessful,” Kroger Health President Colleen Lindholz stated in the news release. “We want people to know they can come to our pharmacy and get assistance with what can often be a trying process.”

We support and encourage anyone interested in quitting tobacco products and applaud Kroger Health for its efforts. Other resources include quitnowindiana.com or smokefree.gov.