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 OPINION PAGE - AUGUST 25, 1999 - DANIELSVILLE, GA

 

Column
By Margie Richards
The Madison County Journal
August 25, 1999

The passing of a good and loyal friend
I know I'm overdue to write about my vacation - it was great, by the way, just too short - but this week I'd like to share a sad, yet sweet story with you.
It's about an old dog.
I've written about her before - she's my little Bichon Frise, Bridgette, as sweet and loyal a little dog as could ever be wished for.
I decided to have her put to sleep a few weeks ago - a long and agonizing decision that I probably put off too long.
You see, Bridgette was born in January of 1983 - making her 16 and one half years old.
I acquired her when she was 5, when her first owner decided it was in the best interest of Bridgette's health not to be bred anymore.
I'd been looking for a small dog who could stay in or go out, not a puppy, and who would be good around small children and cats.
Bridgette fit that bill completely. A white ball of fluff, she would pause and daintily raise one paw whenever she heard her name or stopped to investigate something, a trait she never lost.
As I wrote in my previous column about her, the only things that ever needed to fear that little cotton ball were chickens.
Having never seen a chicken, cats or any other animal really besides other little dogs like her, the world was a whole new experience for her at our house.
The first time she ever came in contact with a chicken involved the business end of one. The sharp peck sent her racing for safety and trembling all over.
But as the days went by and she experienced something else she had never known before - table scraps - she developed a particular fondness for the taste of chicken.
Finally, it dawned on her that the delectable smell of the meat sometimes in her dinner plate was exactly the same as the smell parading around in front of her.
You could see her little mind working - chicken anytime she wanted it. It's the only time in her life timid little Bridgette became a murdering, bloodthirsty animal. She would lie in wait for the chickens, attacking them at unsuspecting moments, sometimes actually catching one and then running for cover.
One day when I called her to me for a scolding after yet another chicken-chasing episode, she crept up, profoundly ashamed, and promptly threw up a baby chick at my feet.
After that, we decided it was easier to just not have any chickens.
As her eyesight failed, and she had numerous surgeries for cancer, she never lost her fondness for chicken, even to her dying day.
As she grew more feeble and confused, she spent a lot of time just walking, walking, in circles around the house. She had her own little trail worn out. Sometimes she knew her name and sometimes she seemed not to.
Just this year she underwent yet another surgery for a cancerous mammary gland tumor and a painful ulcer on her eye. After surgery, she just seemed to go down hill rapidly.
Finally, I just couldn't put it off any longer - nor justify the pain I knew the stoic little animal had to be going through. My decision became final when she began to stagger a little and to whimper - something Bridgette never did unless in complete agony.
I had it done at home, in her own bed - so she wouldn't have to go through the confusion of being taken out of her known environment.
Little Bridgette went as she had lived - quietly and without complaint. And I just know she is somewhere in heaven chasing chickens once again.
Margie Richards is a reporter and office manager for The Madison County Journal.

Column
Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
August 25, 1999

Frankly Speaking
Highway project raises concerns at Dogsboro intersection
Recently announced plans to rebuild U.S. 29 from Dogsboro to Danielsville caused me to revisit an old concern, the Dogsboro intersection.
Many drivers think that any four-lane expressway is designed for high-speed travel. When the road is an open access route, as this will be, high speed and merging traffic will create very dangerous driving conditions.
Hwy. 316 between Athens and I-85 near Lawrenceville is just such a roadway, the scene of numerous multi-vehicle crashes that have killed or injured hundreds of people. Speeding cars and trucks fail to stop at traffic lights, or overrun slower traffic. Private vehicles intermingle with heavy truck traffic, creating other problems.
Especially dangerous are left turns through oncoming traffic.
These same problems already exist at Dogsboro, even though the expressway reverts back to a two-lane road to the north. They are only slightly mitigated by the need to slow for the two-lane road just past the intersection. Building four lanes to the north will cause more motorists to pass through the intersection at high speeds.
While the DOT is working on design for Hwy. 29 north of Dogsboro, they must take a closer look at the present intersection. Some better method of speed control is essential. Clear left turn lanes on all approaches must be build with turn only lights installed so that drivers do not take their lives in their hands to make a left turn.
Expanding Hwy. 29 north of Dogsboro is necessary. The heavy traffic on that route requires the extra lanes to allow for better flow and less gridlock. However, that same heavy traffic is overwhelming the present intersection. And it will only get worse. A new school just a mile away on Hwy. 106, the rapid growth of commercial activity resulting from the new county water system and the constant expansion of private housing in area subdivisions will each contribute to an ever expanding traffic flow through this already overcrowded intersection.
Plans for rebuilding Hwy. 29 list the year 2006 as a target date. The Dogsboro intersection cannot wait that long. The new school, new Ingles MegaMarket and other business expansion will take place within 12 months, not seven to eight years.
The Dogsboro Intersection must have clearer turn lanes in all approaches, especially Glenn Carrie Road, new traffic lights with left turn arrows, and a reduction of the average speed as soon as possible. Without these improvements, our new E-911 system is likely to be flooded with accident calls from Dogsboro.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal.


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