Thumbs up to Milwaukee Street bridge opening. "It's a Christmas miracle," one reader declared. That's not an exaggeration because the bridge isn't actually finished. The state Department of Transportation agreed to open it last week, despite unfinished work on the structure's south side. Shop owners along West Milwaukee Street rejoiced, and the opening arrived in time for the weekend's Jolly Jingle crowds. The bridge's closure last year put a damper on downtown holiday festivities, but nobody thought the closure would stretch more than a year. Many people have been quick to blame the contractor, though the real culprit is Mother Nature. High water continues to delay the project's completion.
Thumbs up to the Janesville Alcohol License Advisory Committee. The committee deserves kudos for rousing the community with its criticisms of Janesville stores that sell alcohol to minors. It spotlighted the problem at its meeting last week, with committee Chairman Barry Badertscher calling the violations "embarrassing." He's right, and we should have been saying so sooner. Janesville Mobilizing 4 Change and local police monitor compliance of alcohol sales laws by having minors attempt to buy alcohol at stores. They're instructed to provide their real IDs and be truthful about their ages if asked. It's unfortunate whenever clerks sell to minors, but it's ridiculous that some clerks sell to minors who aren't even trying to lie about their age.
Thumbs down to South Beloit, Illinois, pot. South Beloit is gearing up to sell recreational pot starting Jan. 1, and Rock County law enforcement is concerned about the potential for more people driving under the influence of marijuana. Illinois authorities are concerned, too, but the difference is that Illinois and South Beloit will be raking in revenue to help offset the cost of legal pot. The state of Illinois adopted a 10% tax on pot sales and a 25% tax on products with a THC concentration above 35%. Pot-infused products such as edibles will be subjected to a 20% tax. In addition, South Beloit will charge a 3% sales tax. None of that money will be coming to Rock County. Local law enforcement maybe doesn't care about the financial implications, but the taxpayers should be paying attention.
Thumbs down to Nass' scorched-earth politics. Sen. Steve Nass, R-La Grange, issued a news release last week blasting the U.S. House Democrats' move to impeach President Trump over allegations he sought to use his office to advance his own personal interests. Nass called it a "political coup," describing the impeachment effort as a "self-serving and ruthless goal." "The individuals, organizations and allies of those responsible must be held to account. That accountability must occur at the local, state and national levels," Nass declared. Whom might Nass pick to hold these "individuals, organizations and allies" to account? We doubt he would enlist Democrats. Warning: Nass has a flamethrower, and he's not afraid to use it.