Wal-Mart buy a good move for county

Thumbs up this week to the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners, which agreed to make an offer to buy a former Wal-Mart building.

The same week a new mammoth Wal-Mart opened in Lawrenceville, the county's board came up with a plan to put to use one abandoned by the retail giant in 2001.

The county needs space, and the old Wal-Mart needs a tenant. It looks like a win-win all around.

The building on Grayson Highway at Gwinnett Drive would be used for storing the cartons of documents now housed in the basement of the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center, providing a new location for the Lawrenceville health clinic and the environmental health department, and storage of election equipment.

More deputies, more security

Commissioners also deserve a thumbs up for approving hiring 14 sheriff's deputies to implement full-building security at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center.

Only people entering the judicial side of the building are screened by metal detectors, but judges and the county sheriff for years have warned of the need to screen at the entrance. The need for such measures became more apparent after the March 11 shooting in Fulton County's court.

Gwinnett County Sheriff Butch Conway asked for 29 deputies to expand the service at the facility, but commissioners said they could only afford 14.

The cost of the deputies is expected to come in at $650,000 this year and $927,000 next year, along with estimated building costs of $390,000 this year and $1,225,000 next year.

We believe it money well spent to assure safety for patrons and employees of the location, which serves as the hub of county business.

Clean up or close up

County officials have warned a local motel owner his business may be shuttered if things don't improve.

We give a thumbs up to those responsible for the warning and encourage the business owner to cooperate.

A weekend sting netted 25 arrests at Knights Inn, located off Jimmy Carter at 5122 Brook Hollow Parkway.

The Gwinnett County Police Department and sheriff's deputies charged 14 people for pandering, seven for attempting to buy crack cocaine, two for prostitution, one for traffic violations and one man was arrested at a gas station across the street on outstanding escape charges, according to police.

Last month, District Attorney Danny Porter sent a letter to motel owner Mahesh Nichani informing him that if criminal activity continued, the hotel would be deemed a "public nuisance" and closed.

The motel is making progress and Nichani has vowed to not rest until the issues are resolved. He then, too, is due a thumbs up.