Free-For-All Friday 6/10/11

Feel free to use this post to make comments and ask questions about local issues not discussed here over the past week.

Comments close Monday.

125 thoughts on “Free-For-All Friday 6/10/11”


  1. A couple of mornings a week I wake up early to ride my bike for exercise. While out at 5:30 a.m. I notice many residences and businesses watering their lawn. In some cases there is more water running through the street and gutters.

    It drives me nuts to see water being wasted for yard decor that we can’t even eat.

    Aren’t we under a water restriction?

    1. Also 4am- 10am is optimal time to water your lawn vs. nightime and middle of day. If it would rain sometime I myself would be happy not to have to water my lawn…..

    1. Well, looky there. Current restrictions are in place. The people you speak of are out of order for sprinkling at 5:30 AM, report them immediately.

      1. Why would they be out of order for sprinkling at 5:30 AM so long as they are following the odd/even rules. You can sprinkle to your hearts content between 4PM and 10AM so long as you do it on the right day of the week.

        1. Actually, you can do landscape watering any day of the week. The odd/even applies to things like washing cars.

    2. Exactly, Sharon. Without our tree canopy- which is endangered- say goodbye to whole ecosystems, shade and our current temperate weather. If anything, keeping large trees healthy is much more environmentally valuable than growing vegetabkes

  2. Anyone else almost get in a wreck this week because the car ahead of them slams on their breaks to look at all the stuff at the Baptist church? Every day, twice a day occurance for me.

    Also, how does the church get so much stuff? There is a TON. Just parisheners donations? There are some cool pieces of furniture.

    1. Re: running into car slamming on brakes

      No, but I know that there was a real rear-ender this week when someone correctly stopped for a pedestrian in the crosswalk on Trinity at the Callaway Building and the person behind them did not. Under Georgia law, the second driver in such an accident is assumed to be at fault.

  3. Does anyone know how to get a pedestrian cross walk painted? There is a long break between sidewalks where Ansley & Jefferson meet, and I am anticipating that these roads will be heavily traveled once 5th avenue opens.
    The kids won’t be able to resist riding bikes down those hills.

  4. Hi Neighbors: I am looking for a part-time nanny/mother’s helper to pick the kids up from school/camp a few days a week, get them started on homework, etc. I’m thinking it would be a good fit for a college student . Does anyone have recommendations or experience with how to find someone? I am a little irrationally anxious about going on craigs list. Thanks!

      1. From 3;00 to 6:00 or 4:00 to 7:00 three times a week. A neighbor is also looking, so between us, we could offer five days a week.

        1. Check with the office of career planning at Agnes Scott. They can post the position for you so students can see it.

  5. Does anyone know what’s happening on East Howard at the old tire place, then the never-happened ceramic place? There is a lot on construction going on there.

    1. A local non-profit organization bought the building in December and is renovating it to be its HQ.

        1. It’s public record. According to the DeKalb County Tax Commissioner’s website, the owner is Community Housing Capital, Inc. at 315 W. Ponce.

          1. They haven’t made their mind up yet whether to run the storefront as a burger joint, a pizza place, or a growler shop.

  6. Isn’t it time for a turn signal onCollege at Commerce/Columbia? There was another nasty accident at the intersection this morning. It looked like somebody t-boned an AT&T van.

    1. That may not have been an accident. AT&T customer service is sometimes not as helpful as you’d like, and it can make you pretty cranky.

    2. There is also a need for a turn signal at College and Candler. Turning left onto Candler from College in either direction is a nightmare for both the cars turning and those that are blindly turned in front of.

  7. Has anyone tried the new Big Tex Cantina? Comments please. I wanted to love this place but was not impressed with the food. Service was friendly tho . . . .

    1. Ditto for our experience. Looks like a good place for beer, wine, sports watching, back room games tables, with adequate southwest-inspired food that is not a draw in itself.

    2. Yes — I was hoping it would be great, but it isn’t. The service is good. The food is average. I was surprised at how small the menu was — not a whole lot of selection there. I did not have anything I disliked, but can’t think of a compelling reason to go back.

    3. Not impressed so far. Food is sub-par in a town with many great tex-mex options.

      I hope they get it together because I want to like the place and think they did a great job of merging the old Nathalie’s and Paris spaces into one.

      Will give them another 4-6 months and try again to see if has gotten better.

      1. I overheard someone that worked there saying it was a limited menu for now, but will be adding to it in the near future. We did not love it, but I hated Fox Bros when it first opened and went back a few months later and liked it. I imagine the same will occur with Big Tex. Wish them the best – and will try a burger next time and some Dr. Pepper cake.
        They did a great job on the renovation.

        1. I too would like to know where to find the best TexMex in the Decatur area.

          Los Loros sure ain’t it.

          1. Yeah we are done with Los Loros too – the staff is not friendly (and sometimes downright rude) and the food has gotten bad (moldy cheese, anyone?). We now go to Los Bravos in the Kroger shopping center off N Decatur and love it. Food is good, staff is friendly and we never have to wait.

          1. Went once. First they got my order wrong, then when they brought my my food, there was a hair in it. Isn’t La Parilla coming over here? If only Nuevo Laredo was in Decatur.

    4. Wasn’t impressed with the food Monday night. The service was over-zealous but friendly. The server got our order wrong and as my husband put the last bite of taco in his mouth, the bus boy whisked the basket away. Let a person finish chewing, for heaven’s sake. Also, we had to refuse more chips and salsa 5 times in 20 minutes. No means no! Stick with beer; the margaritas are terrible.

      1. That reminds me – the chips tasted like they came out of a bag (a stale one at that) and the salsa out of a jar. There really is no good excuse for that.

        Holy Taco it ain’t.

      2. Agree on the ‘Rita. My kingdom for a place that makes a real damn margarita — tequila, cointreau, and lime juice. That’s it. Whoever invested the lime-green cocktail mix most restaurants use should be in prison.

    5. We thought the service was great and the food was good, but not great. Those watermelon Margaritas though – – now THAT was great. Enjoyed the Texas Poutine too, guess it’s their Decatur version of Fox’s Tomminator. Yum!

      I’m looking forward to better days for enjoying the patio.

    6. We’ve been twice. First time, they over jalapeno’d our Tex Taco and were out of the Roasted Cream Corn. The second time ( this past week ) the tacos were better and I wasn’t dying from the jalapenos. The Roasted Cream Corn was delicious. I would eat that all day long. Not crazy about the chili cheese fries. They had brisket chili in multiple incarnations on the menu which makes no sense. The LAST thing I want is chili in 90 degree weather. But my husband got the fries with the chili anyway. They were ok but the portion was enormous for a side plus it had a $2 upcharge. My husband felt the enchilada thing he had was a bit bland but he hates TDS so much that we will probably go back to Tex Mex Cantina a few more times before we call it quits.

      My biggest complaints about this joint is: 1) taco section of menu is too small. I need more choices and the choices have to be different. I would be delighted for an Al Pastor taco in Decatur. 2) the sides are just weird for tex mex. I do not want mashed potatoes. I do not want purple hull peas– though they were ok but its not what I want when eating tex mex. Why is there is no slaw? You have cabbage on the tacos why not create a slaw? A delicious jicama and cabbage slaw with some cilantro and a honey lime vinaigrette. Now that would be refreshing in 90 degree weather.

      I would also like a non-alcoholic margarita. Though they do have an NA beer on the menu which was good. But some of us are preggers in the summer and would love a NA margarita to eat with our chips.

  8. Seen earlier this week at Leon’s: mom and son (maybe 6) on Bocce court. Son is taking Bocce ball and smashing small, sharp rocks with it. Mom hovers over son and praises this activity. Seriously, WTF?

    1. The other night I was there and these tipsy Emory students were actually throwing those big heavy balls through the air and hitting the other balls with them. Their friends were cheering and clapping. I was shocked! Shocked, I tell you.

      1. That’s because when they were young their parents let them smash small, sharp rocks with bocce balls at restaurants. Smashing small, sharp rocks is the gateway crime to throwing bocce balls.

  9. Finding myself eating out more often than I should of late, I decided to share my experiences with such. Assume pleasant service unless otherwise mentioned.
    Brick Store: Huge pretzels and raclette were tasty, although only two pretzels seemed a bit skimpy. Left Hand Milk Stout was a solid drink and flavorfully bitter all the way down; curious if one could intentionally create an all-head glass of such. Pierogi primavera showed a splendid array of veggies, and was more-than-filling. I helped someone finish a mammoth slice of chocolate pound cake. The frosting was deliciously rich, but the cake itself wasn’t very moist; I had to take sips of water to be able to finish it, even the frosting edges.
    Capozzi’s: Excellent service; attentive, friendly, and knowledgeable. The spinach garlic manicotti with cream sauce was probably an overdose on the fat factor, but it tasted fantastic. I’m used to tiramisu with more lady fingers, but I can’t fault them; the creaminess was wonderful, and the flavor layers lovely.
    Doc Chey’s: Miso soup really hit the spot. Teriyaki noodle was not great, not bad; made for pretty tasty cold leftovers. Thai tea was okay – now that I think about it, I never think it’s great anywhere, I need to stop drinking this stuff.
    Ihop: Like the mango tea. Love the salty-tangy-sweet combination of the lingonberry butter in the Swedish crepe, and the crispy edges are both a texture treat and a reminder of my hardening arteries.
    Mint2Thai: Hard to go wrong with edamame, delicious masaman curry.
    Red Mango: The (non-alcoholic, despite the flavor/title) mojito yogurt with sweet and tart toppings and a sprinkle of nutmeg was a deliciously refreshing treat.
    Vortex: Sweet potato fries are quite tasty, but get boring after eating too many, and an order ends up being too many for one person. The berry sauce (I’m curious about the ingredients) that comes with them is quite delicious, although it runs out rather quickly; I’d suggest asking for a double order of sauce and/or sharing with friends.

  10. technically not decatur but did anyone else notice the dekalb police setting up shop at the curvy corner of ponce and s. ponce heading into decatur? they had some fancy binocular/radar gun type contraption and they were pulling people over in droves….saw this every morning this week…and happy, too, considering ponce can be a scary road upon which to travel…

    1. My wife not only noticed it, she got pulled over… to the tune of $144 speeding ticket. I joined her life of crime on Buford Highway last week returning to work from my daughter’s art camp gallery showing a little too hastily. Be forewarned, peeps, DeKalb police are cracking down on the speeding.

  11. No Pain No Gain: I travel that route everyday and just recently reported the crosswalk to Public Works.

    FM Fats: Agreed. I wait and wait for it to be clear to turn left at that location and about the time I do, someone comes around that curve and I have to gun it or slam on the brakes. I’m gonna research how to request the DOT look at that intersection

    Tried Big Tex Cantina for the 1st time this week and while I liked the setup and the service was great, I was not impressed by the food. One taco was bitter (I think that particular sauce and type of cheese was not a good combo) and the other one was just ok. The guacamole was really good but the tortillas chips are too thick. I will try it again in a few weeks but TDS tacos are still my fave.

  12. Anyone else get an insane property appraisal from DeKalb Co lately? Mine came in at almost three times what I paid for my home in Oct. of last year. Needless to say, I have to appeal. Just curious if this is a complete outlier, mistake, or they are jacking up appraisals in lieu of a millage increase that may or may not pass.

    1. Interesting, DEM. Our house was valued over a third LESS than last year, and my next door neighbor’s was valued at about half of last year’s appraisal. We are not in the Dec, but our properties border the city limits. So we are in a pretty great location. I have to say we were quite shocked and dismayed by the low appraisal, but I guess it’s good. Less taxes, and we’re not planning to try to sell the place.

      1. I also live outside the Invisible Wall, and agree that the county has really screwed up the property assessments this year. The Board should take no action on millage increases until the assessment problem is worked out.

    2. @DEM – Mine was also flat. Get to work on your appeal and good luck.

      @Luggage – this is apparently a more common occurrence and there have been several news stories about it.

    3. I came here to ask the same thing! Mine came in 200K over what we paid for the place. We appealed of course but apparently it can take months for them to get back to you. If anyone has any insight, please share!

      1. Mine was the same.And it’s three times more than I paid for it, but I for one am happy about that!

      2. I filed an appeal for my 2010 assessed value and I’m happy to say I won the appeal. However, the appeal was held just a couple a weeks ago on June 1, 2011. To be fair the assessed value for 2010 came out around May, I appealed and the first hearing was scheduled for November. You get one chance to reschesule the hearing and just when I thought DeKalb had lost my paperwork, I got a notice of a new hearing in June.

        Winning the appeal is not a long shot, as long as you have proper documentation. There were three people ahead of me and they also won their appeal. Therefore the process can take a while, but it is worth it if you win and if you don’t you are in the same place you were before so if you are willing to invest the time, then you might have a favorable outcome.

        1. Doesn’t an appeal by statute also freeze you at current level pending outcome or did I make that up?

          1. It depends on what the basis for the increase or decrease of your property value was. That information should be listed at the bottom on your assessment value letter.

            I had three comps in my neighborhood that showed the sales price and then calculated the price per square foot of my home and the comps. I also had pictures proving there was not a new addition which was stated as a reason for the increase. Since I recently bought my home I also had the disclosure statement outlining the years renovations were completed along with the information from the DeKalb Property Tax website illustrating the dates of permits for the renovation.

            The lady before me provided an appraisal of her home along with comps…

            Depends on your situation, but the more documentation the better.

    4. My “successful” appeal in 2009 reduced appraised value by $3000. Value was frozen for 2010 and after going through what I perceived as a rigged exercise, I did not appeal again. Newest appraisal for 2011 is reduced by $20,000 – probably fair but does not make up for the scam in 2009.

      My theory on “the plan” for 2011 …
      ~ Lower the appraised value by excessive amounts. Owners get giddy.
      ~ Raise the millage rate now with minimal dollar impact (or as southern me grew up hearing, “How much da pay-mint?”). Owners blase.

      2012 and beyond … increase appraised values without lowering the millage to get a bigger bottom line. Owners incensed but again caught in the appeal-delay scam. The county outsmarts the Georgia Senate Bill 346 legislation.

      The coffers will fill and Dekalb County can continue what I call “7 Men and a Shovel” management.

    1. Pretty cool upside-down street light on the left side of the page at that link. Wonder if that is “influenced by the early 1900s craftsman bungalow style”?

  13. Forgive me if this has been covered recently, but what’s up with the fire station on Trinity? It’s surrounded by chain link fencing, so I assume renovations have started? Is the fire station behind U-Joint where all the fire trucks are coming from for the time being? (envisions fire trucks caught by super-long, slow-moving train)

  14. You’re fogiven – There are firefighters with equipment using a location on Church St. Where a Roly Poly used to be. (assuming nothing has changed). Not sure about the status of the work on Station 1.

    1. Ahhh, thank you, Eric. I had noticed city vehicles over there on that dead-end road next to the old Roly Poly. That explains it. In my quick drive by Station 1, it didn’t look like much has been done yet other than the fencing and closing off of that drive that comes down from the library, past the fire station and out onto Trinity.

  15. Anybody have recommendations for a place that can do some metal work? Simple cutting, nothing fancy. I’ve got some shelves to put up in the garage and need some of the hang tracks and standards cut to shorter lengths. Close by would be great, but I have no problem going OTP if I have to…

  16. I don’t care if Monday’s blue
    Tuesday’s gray and Wednesday too
    Thursday I don’t care about you
    It’s Friday, I’m in love

  17. I just want to thank everyone who posted comments regarding dentist recommendations. I HATE going to the dentist. After reading many recommendations, I decided on Dr. Mark Hastings and couldn’t have been happier. That’s a huge compliment coming from me. I may even go every 6 months now.

  18. Happy Friday, folks. Can anyone recommend an amazing and wonderful local piano teacher for an amazing and wonderful 6 year-old?

    1. Barbara Brown. She’s on linkedin. Send me an e-mail if you have any problem contacting her. bkalex[at]hotmail.com.

  19. Has anyone held a birthday party at Fernbank Science Center? Not the Natural History Museum, but the science center across from the elementary school. I just called to ask about it and the group coordinator nearly bit my head off.

  20. Never knew that Decatur Wine and Spirits on Lawrenceville Hwy. had such a large selection of single, craft beers that you can mix and match to your hearts content. Any other places offering that kind of selection?

    1. I’ve been a patron of Ale Yeah! for a while now, but it wasn’t until recently that I discovered that you can purchase any single beers you’d like right out of the 6-pack. They ask that you first peruse the single beer displays, but if you don’t see what you want you are welcome to take any combination of single beers off the shelves. Maybe I’m the only one who didn’t know this?

    2. Apparently they switched over to this format a few months ago. I live close by and consider it a hidden gem. For being such a small store, they really have an awesome selection of craft beer singles and great prices (good prices to begin with, with an additional 5% discount for 6 packs and 10% discount on 12 packs).

    3. Hop City on the Westside has the best selection by far. Total Wines and More in Dunwoody has a great selection and let’s you mix and match.

  21. Happy Friday, folks. Can anyone recommend an amazing and wonderful local piano teacher for an amazing and wonderful 6 year-old?

    1. My son Sam Levy teaches beginners piano–he has five students already, and is doing this as a bridge for parents that don’t want to immediately invest in a professional teacher. Sam has studied piano since he was 6 (he’s 16 now) and is an accomplished classical pianist. Consider this if you want a fun once-a-week half hour piano lesson for your child at modest cost until you see whether your child is really going to love it.

      1. Julia,

        I was looking into finding a teacher for my grandson who will be 7 in July. He wants to take guitar lessons, but I feel strongly that piano is a good foundation for other instruments. How do we get in touch to get further information.

        Winnona Park resident

      2. He is the one who is doing the baseball camp? That email was flipping adorable. I wanted to adopt him.

      3. Julia’s son, Sam, taught my daughter her first piano lesson last week and she absolutely loved him. I hesitate to recommend him because I want first dibs on his teaching schedule. 🙂 But he is precious and we are going to continue the lessons for my 7-year old!

  22. Speaking of terrible food … the Decatur Diner.

    Again, I really wanted to like it, but it was awful!

    There are plenty of places that aren’t too good (Big Tex) but were not so offensive that I won’t go back, but Decatur Diner? Not even for free!

  23. We currently have a dumpster in front of our house for a minor house renovation. I totally do not mind that people (other than us) have put some small items into it on occasion, however yesterday someone hoisted in their blood-stained double-sized mattress.

    Come on, that is super obnoxious.

    1. Sorry this happened but it is illegal for them to do this and you can submit a police report. Good luck.

  24. Accck! Help Decatur Metro! Moving in this weekend and still have no water! We submitted our application for new service on Monday and I called to verify that everything was received. I was told that I would be contacted if anything was missing, and that although they say 1 to 5 business days, it is usually on within 24 hrs. Fast forward to today, still no water (I’m out if state and sent my mother to check.). Called and was told a piece of our app was missing (but I was never contacted about this). Sent my mother in with a hard copy since they lost the middle of our fax, and she was told the water would be on today by a customer service rep. Guess what? Still no water! Called the emergency number and they say it’s a different dept and there’s nothing they can do. We’d turn it on ourselves, but it’s actually got a lock on it.
    Any ideas on who to contact to get our water on before Monday?
    Also, why on earth is Dekalb wasting money/resources turning the water off and then on when a new resident moves in??? It would seem the potential for fraud/ abuse would be pretty low in this scenario. I’m jumping through more hoops to get the water turned on than to qualify for the mortgage on this house!
    Sorry for the rant, I’ll be much more relaxed once I’m actually a Decatur resident.

    1. Hey, New, don’t know if you are still reading and this may be really terrible advice, but what we’ve done is check the shut-off valve/meter at the street where the water is turned on and off and turned it on ourselves. (had to use a wrench) They will bill you what you use post-dated to the time you submitted your application. In my experience with DeKalb it’s only locked out if there is a significant unpaid bill for the property.

      When people move out, they often turn it off at the street to prevent any leaks or taps left dripping from running up a bill. But the service is still there. If you really have no water service vs. it just not coming through the tap, then I don’t have a good answer sorry…

      Here’s a link I found on accessing your water valve:
      http://www.acmehowto.com/howto/homemaintenance/plumbing/general/watermain.php

      Hope this helps, sorry if it’s redundant information.

      1. Ack. Sorry about the useless info. Just re-read and see that there is a lock on the valve. I hope you were able to get it turned on.
        Apologies for cluttering up the thread.

        1. Thanks for the reply; we’re here now and somehow the water is on. I don’t know how or why, but I’m thankful I can take a shower in the morning! And happy to finally be back in Decatur!

  25. Does anyone know what was filming downtown earlier this week? The parking lot behind Raging Burrito was taken over by film crews during the day on Tuesday.

  26. We had dinner there tonight, and we liked it. The patio is really nice. My husband got the perfect way to describe this place “Half way between Taqueria del Sol and Fox Bros”

  27. Something crazy going down on our quiet streets tonight. heard decatur’s finest blow their “crazy” siren, and saw one kick up some serious dust on the gravel street of Norris.

  28. Went to Big Tex last night and was pleasantly surprised after reading all of these negative reviews. Food was freat, service was great, draught beer selection was great. It is definitely Tex-mex, not Mexican food. Fried avocado taco-mmmmm.

    1. DITTO! Fortunately I went before reading the blah reviews here. Big Tex Taco was da bomb (that’s still a hip term, right?)! Homemade chips and salsa were way above average. Anytime I don’t need to ask for hot sauce to add to the salsa I consider it a huge victory for the restaurant. Gotta admit that the fried avocado taco was a slight miss, at least when I had it a week ago. A little salt and garlic added before frying would have kicked it up a big notch.

      Asked the manager about the small menu and it is indeed just the opening menu. They plan to expand it. Personally, I’m looking forward to some good fajitas.

      Funny thing is that I commented that the Fox guys learned a bit from the early kinks they had and seemed to get this place up and running a lot smoother. But it’s early and some ups and downs are not unexpected. Give them another chance if you came down on the “blah” side. I know I will!

      1. Hmmm, just saw who I responded to. Does this mean I need to change my name to MyNameIsNotJT, or AnotherJT?!?

  29. Does anyone know of a place I could rent a double jet ski trailer? Or have one I could rent? I know it’s an odd request, but I just need it for a trip to Brunswick in a week or so–we only have one jet ski and we’re borrowing another. Thanks in advance if *anyone* can help out with this request.

  30. A bathtub? Really? Intown Hardware on Scott is planting flowers in a bath tub at the front of their new shrub center. What’s next? Flower beds made out of old tires painted white?

    Tacky. Very tacky.

    1. There was the coolest tire planter on Craigslist a couple of weeks ago. It was a painted inverted tire cut to look like a flower. Hated that I was out of town!

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