signs welcome

Money changing hands is the latest signal that construction will come soon to the Interstate 85/Ga. Highway 316 interchange.

Any sign of progress in bringing that project to fruition deserves a thumbs up.

A vote this week to turn over to the state the rest of the project expenses is a sign that construction will start within months.

In fact, the county stands to recoup some of its expenses. On Tuesday, commissioners learned they would receive about $96,000 back from the state for the cost of designing the monstrous project.

The design will allow westbound traffic on Ga. 316 to merge with I-85 traffic on the right side. Drivers now must enter on the left side of the interstate, and, if they want to exit at Pleasant Hill Road, must immediately weave across several lanes of traffic.

Judge tames dog breeders

Judge Patricia Muise this week sentenced two Norcross men to six months in jail - 10 days for each dog they neglected. The judge earns a thumbs up for giving the men a stern talking to in addition to their jail time.

Raymond Barry Washington, 25, and John Holmes, 21, were found guilty on 36 counts of animal neglect stemming from a July 12 bust at a Norcross residence where officers found three dozen pit bulls living in what Muise called "outrageous and absurd" conditions. The two also got a $5,000 fine, which will be waived if they agree to pay the tab for the county's care and feeding of the dogs since they've been at the shelter. The dogs with an agreeable temperament can now be put up for adoption. The others will have to be euthanized.

Washington and Holmes contend they didn't use the dogs for fighting. However, Muise said when issuing the verdict that she had a "difficult time believing that it was only a breeding business because nobody in their right mind would buy a dog in that condition." A vet who was on scene with animal control when the dogs were impounded in July said some of the dogs' ears were clipped in a manner often seen on fighting dogs, and that one of the buildings on the property appeared to have a fighting area in it.

A judge's job is to separate fact from fiction. We believe Muise did just that.

Lock the door

Thumbs up to the Winder board that this week upheld the firing of an officer failed to secure a jail door. Marie Jensen admitted to not locking the door, but didn't think her "first offense" would result in such severe punishment.

Let that be a lesson to aspiring jailers in Winder where they frown on employees leaving the doors to the pokey unlocked.