Free-For-All Friday 8/5/11

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.


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197 thoughts on “Free-For-All Friday 8/5/11”

  1. Why is the guy on Adair across from the park allowed to keep those bikes in the street? If I left a car parked in front of my house and never moved it I’m sure I’d get one. Does he own the road in front of his house?

    1. I was wondering that too. He seems to be a grumpy old man who doesn’t want people parking in front of his house to go to the park. He yelled at my sister for parking in front of the park a couple weeks ago. She wasn’t near a “no parking” sign, so I don’t know what his issue is.

    2. Can I save everyone the trouble of responding? A few people are going to say, “Yeah, I was wondering that too, it seems really weird and rude.” Some others will chime in about personal experiences with the guy yelling at them for parking anywhere near his house or for making noisd in the park. And then one or two people will defend him, claiming he’s really a sweet old man. They will now, however, provide a reasonable explanation or defense of his attempt at adverse possession of the public street in front of his house.

      Does that cover it?

      1. It was never much of a problem when I read DM on a big computer screen but now that I have this fancy smart phone, I’m in the “We need an edit feature” camp! I sound even crazier than usual with the typos!

        1. Maybe he needs to move somewhere where there are no other people. What he does is rude, anti-social, and a blight on that neighborhood.

      2. I’ve suspected it’s because his lawn might get trampled too much by people parking in front of his house and getting in and out of cars.

        Maybe he needs a fence instead.

    3. The bikes have been there for 142 years. From what I heard, he gets mad that people going to the park leave cars in front of his house. I have no off-street parking so I totally get that, except he has off street parking….so I don’t get it. Anyway, his bikes were parked there first, so he has first dibs on the spaces.

      1. Is it actually legal? Someone might come around that curve at night and run into them. I think its a hazard aside from just being unneighborly. You own a house across the street from the park, so get over it. Not sure why it annoys me so much as I walk to that park, but it’s just super uncool IMO.

        1. I think legally if cars can park on that street then bikes can too. They really have been there for eleventy hundred years, so the coppers do know they are there and would have taken action by now if it was illegal. BTW, I do agree with you. I want to run them over every time I see them. I have an old car we use to just take the kids to CHECLC and when it is ready to hit the scrap yard, watch out bikes!

        2. Is it Legal? It does not appear so from what I have seen. When I have been by there the bikes ARE NOT parked along the curb. From the city code:

          Sec. 98-13. – Bicycles—Parking.

          No person shall park a bicycle upon a street other than upon the roadway against the curb or upon the sidewalk in a rack to support the bicycle or against a building or at a curb, in such manner as to afford the least obstruction to pedestrian traffic

          One time leaving the park a few months ago when they were filiming in that sunken garden, I asked a nearby police officer about it. He did not seem at all interested in discussing matter and basically told me I shouldn’t worry about it since I can park further up the street. At the time, I figured he was right, but then I looked into the City Code. He was probably too busy waiting to ticket cyclists for running stop signs at clear intersections. (Cheap shot . Sorry DPD, most of you that I encounter are friendly and helpful, but there are a few of you that can be rude, unhelpful and unnecessarily heavy-handed.)

          Please correct me if I am interpreting this ordinance incorrectly. I suspect that the intent is to not block pedestrian traffic, which is why no one does anything about this.

          1. He was probably too busy waiting to ticket cyclists for running stop signs at clear intersections. (Cheap shot . Sorry DPD, most of you that I encounter are friendly and helpful, but there are a few of you that can be rude, unhelpful and unnecessarily heavy-handed.)


            Bravo, Chewey. Bravo.

        3. This question comes up alot on the Friday comments. Why?
          I guess I am feeling like a grumpy old man today. But I will ask this anyway, and I do not mean to insult: Are you complaining because you think he hurts your property value. Will you not be happy until all the eccentric people are driven out of Decatur?
          I talk to him several times a week and he is extremely nice and courteous. He may be old, but he is not grumpy.

        4. Seems that for some people, there’s a big difference between the idea of living “where Mayberry meets Berkeley” and the reality of it.

      2. Legal or not, nice guy or not, it’s still a pretty selfish move. No doubt they/ve been there for a while…even Google maps has them captured!! Very funny:


        1. Agree with Keith on this. Leaving a junked bike in the street as a means to control parking on a public street is obnoxious, not eccentric.

    4. I really don’t know why he does that. But I do know he’s actually a very nice guy. After meeting him, I was kind like, whatever. It doesn’t really bother anyone and in the big scheme of bad neighbors and their annoying bad habits, it’s totally minor.

      Maybe it’s against some law, but I don’t know what that would be since they don’t really seem to be abandoned, or trash. Who knows…

      1. Take a good look at those bikes. Doubtful even the bike thieves want them. The last time I was over there, at least two tires were flat. Never really looked more closely than that.

        Which actually raises another point/question:

        Certainly there are ordinances against leaving plain old junk (couches, washing machines) out on the street. Are old bikes any different?

      2. If you look closely, you will see they are attached to each other with a small chain and locked. Also, they are in such poor condition, they are worthless, except as a way to protect his view of the park and to generate discussion on this website. I suspect he does read DM occasionally.

      3. I’m surprised T.J. Apllebees hasn’t come along and taken the bikes to bolt to their wall with all the other crap.

        1. I could care less if he puts his bikes there. I just wanted to see how worked up I could get y’all by posting the comment. Thank you all for entertaining me today.

    5. He wants to park bikes in front of his house, fine by me.

      If he had 2 cars parked there that never moved, I’m 100% sure this discussion would never have been brought up in the first place.

      I don’t have off street parking, and if I had 2 extra bikes I’d do the same.

    6. Ok everyone. They just called and it’s official. We now hold the Guinness record for most posts about bikes parked on a street. We Are Decatur!

        1. Anyone, who parks old crappy bikes in the street, and complains about old crappy bikes parked in the street.

    7. Happened to go by that house today and am surprised that everyone is focussed on the bicycles. What grabbed me was the elephant’s eye high corn in the front yard next to the bicycle yard!

  2. Are “historic district” and “Oakhurst” mutually exclusive concepts? Considering the number and types of teardowns and new infill houses going up, has anyone considered revisiting the debate from a few years ago?

    1. Please don’t confuse infill regulations with the creation a historic district.

      That is what caused the controversy and outrage the first time a few years ago.

  3. I just have to share that I had the best experience with a house/pet sitter I have ever had in 15 years of pet ownership in Decatur. This person not only came with glowing references and has experience taking care of every kind of animal (chickens, horses, birds, lizards, guinea pigs, dogs, cats, etc), she was reasonably priced and left my home spotless. She even fixed a loose towel rack! If anyone wants her info, I am happy to share; it was just really nice to to come back to animals who for once didn’t even know we were gone!

    1. Hi! Would love the info for your awesome dog sitter, please

      Thanks for your time
      Oakview Rd

    1. Take a right out of CH on McDonough, McDonough becomes Spence in a couple of blocks (entering ATL), Take a right on Memorial Dr. Memorial will take you straight to the Capital/Grady area.

      1. Thanks – I wondered about that route this morning. Does it seem more efficient than Dekalb Ave?

        1. No; there is much more traffic taking the memorial route- you end up around the courts’ morning sessions, etc. I have worked or gone to school in or around DT since 1994. I have traveled from Decatur that whole time to three different jobs in three different areas – the zoo, John Wesley Dobbs area, and Centennial Park area- plus attending grad school at GSU for two different degrees, and DeKalb has always been the best route. And I have tried to weasel out of that being the best way for over a decade since my husband is the one who insisted that it was 🙂

          1. ok NB – tell me if I should turn somewhere else, but this is what I am currently doing: leave the school, turn left on Hill, go thru Oakhurst, follow East Lake – turn left on Paden Circle and end up on Dekalb Ave. Should I stick with that route or should I get on College for a little while and then Dekalb Ave? Also, is there a way to avoid downtown Oakhurst?

            1. I can’t think of a way to avoid the INTERSECTION FROM HELL other than sprouting wings or really wasting time twisting back roads. I go down East Lake to Ridgecrest and turn left then right onto DeKalb. Now that the huge bushes have been cut down there, it’s an easy shot.

            2. In an effort to avoid the 4/5th traffic you could try taking a right onto S. McDonough, right onto Hosea, right onto 2nd Ave, left back onto East Lake.

              This would probably only be quicker in the thick of the 4/5th traffic at East Lake/Oakview and you may still feel some of that traffic at the 2nd/Oakview intersection.

              Another option would be to continue on Hosea through Kirkwood and take a right onto Rogers St (next to Toomers Elementary). That would put you back onto DeKalb right by the Arizona Lofts.

              I don’t have any experience with any of these routes during rush hour so take them with a grain of salt.

              1. PLEASE do NOT use 2nd Avenue as your commuter route! The residential street is already filled up with double Marta routes, tractor trailers making restaurant deliveries, Dekalb County emergency vehicles cutting through Decatur, school buses, and everyone else who want to get from south Dekalb to Ponce, etc. w/o using I-20 or Memorial. We have more traffic than East Lake AND speed humps. It’s a contest to see who can make the fastest time between the speed humps.

                1. It’s already being used as the preferred route to FAVE from the northwest side of Decatur, makes the most sense and it’s what Google directions gives you. Maybe 3rd Ave. could be pushed. New school brings new traffic.

                  1. • The original poster (Nubbs) requested suggestions from College Heights to downtown ATL. The reply from Brady Lewis suggested 2nd Avenue from Hosea Williams to East Lake as a drive around.

                    • Commuters to/from the new school is expected additional traffic. Routing others on to 2nd Ave. is not, and with so much traffic already, is unlikely to make for a speedy route to work.

                    • The East Lake Marta station lot was suggested as a meeting place/drop off point for the north west Decatur kids to begin Walk & Roll Routes to F.AVE – are NW area folks following through with this suggestion? Makes great sense and makes for a wonderful, independent experience, much more so than driving the children to the school door.

                    • 3rd Avenue is the Safe Routes to School designated route. Does that mean 4+ wheels should avoid the street?

                    • One can travel 3rd Ave. from Hosea, across Oakview, across East Lake once until 3rd dead ends into East Lake again near the Baptist church and Marta station (or the reverse).

      2. Depending on the time of day, you could do the above but save a little time by hopping onto I-20 at Wyman (it’s signed; take a left and then a right onto I-20 East), and I-20 to downtown.

  4. New oakhurst crossing guards….I don’t think they have any idea how to efficiently stop traffic. Probably zero training. I have a pool going on when the first road rage accident happens because of how they let every ant cross once they reach the intersection. Let things queue and then stops only the lanes needed. They have created a mess in the center of oakhurst during the week. It’s TSA level inefficiency going on.

    1. Give the Police Department a call or send them email describing the problem or issue, trust me they will get on top of this because the safety of the kids, parents and the crossing guard is important.

    2. BUT, a big thank you to that citizen safety patrol for pitching in at a couple of places. I’m assuming those folks are volunteers, so a big thumbs up for helping.

    3. Are the crossing guards at fault or is there a general perception that should be a ‘quick’ intersection because 99% of drivers currently fail to come to a complete stop at that four-way? Have a beverage on the patio at the U Joint and count the number of rolling stops.

      1. + freaking 1

        (How about going around when school is opening? I know, a whole–what?–two, three minutes. You can’t blame the crossing guards for volume, time of day, or your impatience.)

    1. Official answer: 9:30 PM

      Unofficial answer: It’s unenforcible since I am in bed before that.

    2. 9pm on school nights, sets own bedtime on weekends. Once they turn 12, they set their own bedtime every night. There will be a few disasters when they stay up until 3am reading, but once you make them go to school exhausted a few times, they’ll become pretty responsible. Of course, this goes with the understanding that as the parent, you dictate when the screens get turned off in your house. Our rule was no screens after 9 pm, and only 1 hour of video games/tv/internet per school night, after homework was done. Nothing destroys sleep worse than a screen. My kids are 13 and 18, and tend to go to bed around 10 or 1030 on school nights. My advice, just to beat the dead horse, is to keep the sleep rules and the screen rules separate. My other screen rule during the school year was that if they have anything other than A’s and B’s for grades, there is no screen during the week. Good luck!

    3. What time do they get up? Get them to bed early enough to allot at least eight hours for the night.

    4. When you say so, like my mother and grandmother said . . . ‘do what I say and ask no questions.’

  5. Where did the fire dept. go with their building being renovated?
    (I must have missed the memo on that one.)

    1. they are sharing station #2 as well as occupying the former roly-poly building on church st.

  6. I have to give a shout out to the new gas statin in Decatur. Pure is great – locally owned, friendly and FULL service. Plus prices are not out of line!! Nice addition and thanks to the local guys and gals who made this come to fruition.

    1. I second the love for Pure. Those guys are awesome!! Can’t wait until they start carrying the Oakhurst Market to-go items. Let’s all support our local gas station!

        1. In the past, I think people tipped for this service, but I don’t think there was ever a rule-of-thumb percentage. I can remember as a child going to North DeKalb Mall with my aunt, who always got her gas pumped at a station (Exxon?) on N.Druid Hills near Lawrenceville Hwy. (where the Chic-fi-li is now, or maybe the Checkers?) She would usually tip two dollars, but more during the Christmas season.

        2. In the olden days, when an attendant pumped your gas, he also cleaned the front and rear windshields and offered to check the oil and other fluid levels, and if asked would check tire pressure and add air if needed. I don’t remember tipping back then, but nowadays for that kind of full service, I’d be inclined to tip a couple of bucks. I was delighted when the attendant pumped the gas I purchased at Pure recently, but he didn’t offer to do anything else. I don’t mind pumping gas that much, and if I have to get out and attend to the other stuff myself, then definitely no tip.

          1. Not only did people NOT tip, but they used to give the customer free knives and forks and LP records with every fill-up.

          2. Has anyone been in Decatur long enough to remember the original Pure station? It was located where Burnt Fork is now. The owner was Jake the Snake. He use to wash your windshield with Coca Cola because it dissolved the bug splats better.

    2. Couldn’t be happier with the service I’ve been receiving there. I hope they stick around a long, long time.

    3. Add me to the list of loyal Pure customers. They are so friendly, the prices are good and it’s wonderful to have a locally-owned and operated gas station so close to home.

  7. Shout out for the ground round at the Oakhurst Market! Bought some soon after they opened and froze it. Thawed it out and made hamburgers last night and everyone agreed that they were the best hamburgers we’ve ever had. I was running late so nothing was done to doctor them up.

  8. ventured outside the 30030 zip and took the family to Kitch’n 155 last night (the old Athens Express spot on Clairmont). Everyone had a great meal. Staff/owners were very friendly and food was delivered to the table very quickly. Kids loved the chicken tenders & burger (son said they were the “best tenders ever”). Meatloaf sandwich was wonderful. Everything seemed really fresh and makes me wish that the Decatur Diner had this same quality of food and decor. Menu is a little limited but we had no trouble finding something for everyone.

    1. Thanks for the rec. I’ve been curious but waiting until I heard more to try it. I’ll be sure to give it a shot in the next week!

    2. We might have crossed paths last night, Mike!

      I stopped in there to pick up some side dishes for our dinner – just got a veggie plate which gave us plenty of choices. The collards were fresh and tasty, the sweet potato casserole put my MeMa’s to shame, but what really had us wanting more were the grilled mushrooms and the creamed corn. Mmmmmmm, the creamed corn! It was fresh off the cob and even if you don’t think you like creamed corn, I encourage you to give it a try. It’s nothing like that mess that comes out of a can. We’ll be going back!

    3. I am already addicted to the Kitsch’n! Have not had anything there yet that wasn’t delish (especially the peach pie and anything with chicken). A nice couple trying to make it in the restaurant biz, and their food is wonderful.

    4. Just scarfed up a side order of fried okra. Delicious! Sweet potato fries are good, too. I like their burgers, but they’re pretty greasy. I think they fry, rather than grill them. The owners are very friendly. I hope they’re doing good business!

    5. Just scarfed up a side order of fried okra. Delicious! Sweet potato fries are good, too. I like their burgers, but they’re pretty greasy. I think they fry, rather than grill them. The owners are very friendly. I hope they’re doing good business!

      1. I’m reminded of a scene from Groundhog’s Day: “Don’t you worry about calories?”

    6. After all the reviews I took my two “eaters” to try it out. Awesome all around! I can’t to take my picky eater there. Probably the best veggie burger I’ve had.

    1. Giving you a hard time. New Yorkers are supposed to be able to take a little heat.

      Anyway – I think its a sound analogy. Right up to the point that anything in Atlanta (city of) is worthy of comparison to anything in Manhattan. I’d say you could even pinpoint it to neighborhoods Williamsburg or Park Slope maybe? Don’t know, never went too far into Brooklyn after I saw The Warriors.

  9. I have jury duty this week for the seventh time since I registered to vote in DeKalb County in 1999. Anyone else had this experience? Before that, I lived, and voted, in two Florida counties (successively, of course) over an 11-year span and got called once. Seems excessive to get called every 18 months or so in a county this size…

      1. I used to never be called and now I’m called at least once every two years. Have no idea whether that’s due to random forces or a change.

    1. I was called once, 5 months after I registered to vote at 18, and was chosen for a trial. I have not been called since. Hmmmm….

      1. Thanks, folks.
        AT: All of these calls have been for normal DeKalb County court — no grand jury or federal jury duty, though I was called for a federal grand jury once some years ago in FLA. At DeKalb, I’ve served on two juries, both for criminal trials. Wasn’t picked the other four times, though I was in voir dire three of them.
        Needless to say, I’m as puzzled as ever. But when I report, I’m going to have a talk with the jury administrator to see what’s going on. Having some reference points about other people’s experience helps…

        1. Invincible Summer: True — we should never underestimate the economic impact of the courthouse, or of that $15-$20 they give you for spending the day there. Juries keep a lot of our restaurants in business.

        2. I understand they were all in DeKalb and not for Federal court but there are state court criminal trials and there are superior court criminal trials. State court misdemeanors and Superior Court are felonies with some misdemeanors sometimes. The last time I served it was in state court and they said DeKalb had a two year rule before they would call you again. However, if they are pulling jurors for state court trials independent of superior court trials then I could see how you might be picked more than once in two years — one for each court.

        3. I have been registered to vote here since 1990 and have been called twice- both times I was massively pregnant. I was called twice in Fulton County because I have a PMB there. A friend of mine gets called probably once a year- and once she got both county, state, and federal summons within a few months of each other. Well, either that or that what she tells her boss when she’s way hungover 🙂

        4. FYI, while jurors used to be selected from voter rolls, now juror names are now pulled from the list of registered drivers along with registered voters. Supposedly, some folks avoided registering to vote because they did not want to serve on a jury. Also, litigation centered in Gwinnett (if I recall) showed how much more representative of the underlying population drivers records are than registered voters. Legislation was passed this last session aimed an broadening the pool of names from which jurors are selected even more. I can never figure out how some folks seem to get called frequently and others almost never get called.

    2. Wierd. I have lived mostly in Decatur and/or Dekalb for over 40 years. Also mostly as a homeowner and always vote. Only been called to jury duty 2x.

    3. I’ve been here since 1997 and I think I’ve been called four or five times. Only served on one jury but it was a month-long murder trial. Been called once since then and was not picked for the jury. I think once defense attorneys learn that I was on the jury that convicted someone of murder, I’ll going to be sent on my way.

    4. I’ve been in Decatur since 1990. Called 6 times, served on a trial twice. I found it interesting both times and don’t really understand why people try so hard to get out of it. If I ever find myself in court, I’d really hope that some of you fine people on Decatur Metro might be among the jury pool.

      1. I’ve been called twice in twenty years of living in DeKalb. The first time I was employed by a county government so there was no problem missing work (though I was eventually dismissed from the pool anyway). The second time I had an an employer actually try and tell me what to say so I would be dismissed quickly. I will never forget that time because, during the questioning, a man said if he were chosen he would vote to convict no matter what because his vacation was scheduled for the same time. The judge was not pleased to say the least.

    1. Yes! I’ve been wondering for a couple of years if I could get approval for a windmill. These technologies sound intriguing.

  10. Giving a shout out to McKinney’s Apothecary! I was at CVS and after 45 minutes, could not even get close to dropping off a prescription… much less actually getting it filled. Several people ahead of me were complaining about prescription screw ups (very scary in my mind). It was like being in a tiny, indoor third world country (not commenting on the clientele … just the incompetent management).

    I concluded I could either take a hostage right there at CVS and demand service or just leave and go to McKinney’s. Thankfully, I chose the latter option. It was my first time there. They were friendly, helpful and incredibly fast. It took them about 5-10 minutes to process my insurance and actually fill my prescription… that’s all.

    1. Why anyone would go to CVS when we have McKinney’s is beyond me. Even for the emergency scripts, I’d rather go to Target!

      1. Really, an independent pharmacy is a smart choice! The service is unbeatable–McKinney’s is a great store, a very professional pharmacy. Independents are service oriented, that is their main product. With available delivery, fast in and out at the store, and over the counter items accessible also, an independent is an obvious choice. And I assure you, the people at McKinneys appreciate your business more than you can know.

    2. Agreed. I have had several bad experiences at CVS (the one near Dekalb Medical). While waiting for over an hour, I watched at least a dozen people encounter problems ranging from not getting all of their scripts, their scripts getting lost, and most frightening – getting the wrong pills. Then I was called over and they said they lost my script. They found it a few minutes later, but I never got an apology or even an indication that this was anything unusual. Never again.

  11. After all the frozen yogurt talk a few days earlier, I got a chance to go Wednesday night to Yogurt Tap with daughter. For $4.39, a “small” container full of frozen yogurt was enough for both of us, even in this heat. I forgot how delicious it is because frozen yogurt is usually not my thing. The honey orange and lime were especially good. And the staff (owners?) were friendly and helpful, even when my daughter and I got flustered at the cash register over how to use one gift card towards a container being shared by two people.

  12. Today, I have a huge decision to make. Almost life altering. It’s been plaguing me all day.

    What flavor snoball to go get??

    1. my all time fav snoball- half grape, half cherry, stuffed w/ chocolate ice cream, add choc syrup and condensed milk on top.

  13. Speaking of frozen summer treats, welcome to the square King of Pops! My daughter and friends deemed the banana pudding pop the best.

  14. OK, here’s a bit of trivia that has nothing to do with anything. How many times have you stayed in a hotel room when you were the first person ever to have stayed in that room, either because the hotel was new or because the space was previously used for something else and was remodeled into a a room? My number is two, actually three, because one time I was the first person but the AC wasn’t working so they moved me to another brand new room.

    1. Once, sort of. Hotel was totally renovated.
      My only vacation out of the US ever, I went to Ireland with my mom and partner. Our flight home through London was cancelled due to bad weather and the airline put all the passengers for our flight on a bus and took us to the Royal Albion Hotel on the beach in Brighton. It had just gone through extensive renovation after a huge fire and was about to reopen. The paint was still wet in the hallways and the staff was, well, in training. But it was heaven after spending the day at the airport. Although the long winding hallways did make me think of the Shining.

  15. I am curious as to the best way to request a sidewalk on our street. We live on Fayetteville in Oakhurst and while most of the street has a sidewalk, the two blocks where I live do not. Any ideas?

  16. Fourteen of the “Champion Trees” (largerst trees inside I-285) as compiled by Trees Atlanta are in Decatur! Three of them, a Red Cedar, a Black Locust and a Sassafras, are in our very own Decatur Cemetery. The good folks at Friend of Decatur Cemetery ( can probably point these thre beauties out to you. Full Champion Tree list here as a pdf:

    1. This is absolutely fascinating to me. I must go find some of these! Especially the ‘redwood – coastal’ that’s in Inman Park. Who knew?!

      Thanks for the info!

  17. Any idea how much an 800-900 square foot addition — master bedroom, bath and maybe some other room, if it’d fit — would be? Can rough estimates of such things be made?

    1. If you already have a plan, a competent contractor can do that. If you don’t have a plan, you definitely need an architect for something that big. My purely layman’s guess would be $100 per square foot.

    2. We have had two additions put on our house, and I would second Steve’s ballpark estimate of $100/sf (and the hiring of a competent contractor). Here are some thoughts to consider:

      1. You going up or out? Up is usually more expensive, but out cuts into your yard.
      2. If I remember correctly, there’s a limit to the percentage of your plot that can be impermeable surface (e.g. house, driveway). You’ll need to work with your architect and the CoD development office on that.
      3. Speaking of the development office, get to know Rick and the guys/gals there. They are competent, knowledgeable, helpful and very good at their jobs.
      4. Do you have an old house? If so, you may need to upgrade your systems (electrical, plumbing, roof, etc.). It was expensive, but we now have all modern systems in the house, which makes me breathe easier.
      5. Another system to keep in mind is your HVAC. Is it large enough to handle the increased square footage? Figure about 500 sf per ton. Most likely, you will need to replace it.
      6. What foundation are you planning? CBS over a crawlspace? Concrete slab? For our first addition, we had them dig a hole underneath the room for an unfinished basement of about 225 sf. It was expensive, adding about $8,000 to the total cost, but it was worth it for us.
      7. Think long and hard about your bathroom, which will be the costliest area. Fixtures, tile, big tubs and square footage can add a surprising amount to the overall expense.
      8. Hire good painters and buy quality paint. This will protect your new exterior.
      9. If you have an old house, think…closets and storage space. People own so much more crap than when a lot of Decatur houses were built, so the more closets and storage space you add, the happier you’ll be.

      There’s so much more, but that’s a start.

      1. you’re 100% right about the old houses in Dec. Mine was built in 23, and i’ve been slowly working on it since 06, wife wants new closets now, lol the tiny one that holds about a dozen items is too small for a woman with a lot of clothes 🙂

        adding the basement, did they have to reinforce anything under the house? did you already have anything other than a crawlspace?

        1. Our original structure has a crawlspace. When they dug the hole for the basement, they had to dig it far enough away from the existing foundation (4 1/2 feet, I think) so that it didn’t destabilize that foundation. That prevented the need to reinforce it.

  18. Just left the Glenn Creek Nature Preserve where 20 DHS worked from 11-3 mulching trails and removing privet and ivy in the heat. Incredible kids and an amazing teacher. Be sure to cheer them on as they march to Eddie’s attic in a March for America. Mr. B. also dedicated the project to 20-30 DHS grads that have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. What service at home and abroad!

    1. We need a Survey Monkey poll to decide how many folks think we should take up a fund to keep Mr. B from ever retiring vs. how many think we should pass an ordinance forbidding him to do so.

  19. Dekalb County Property Tax info is up on Tax Commissioner’s website. First hit due date is now Sept 30.

  20. I am moving into a home on fairview ST in NE decatur. My wife and I both work downtown and our kids daycare will be there. We are trying to figure out the fastest commute route to get to midtown. Does anybody have suggestions?

    1. North Avenue is generally less congested than Ponce. W Howard/Howard Circle/McLendon/Oakview/North Ave.

  21. Only problem with that route is that I am in Northeast decatur and starting off taking scott would be easier. From sycamore through howard and mcClendon – Is it stop and go btwn 7 and 7:30 every morning?

    1. Depending on exactly where you need to get “downtown,” there are several alternatives. To the extent your destination is more of the midtown area (think Bank of America Building/Fox Theater), Scott to Ponce is clogged, but your most direct route. You could turn left off of Ponce onto Ridgecrest (a street just across from Deep Dean Park), then right onto McLendon, right onto Oakdale and left onto North if you want to circumvent the area around Paideia. Once Paideia comes back to school, the stretch of Ponce from East Lake to Moreland becomes even more clogged.
      If your destination is closer to the heart of downtown, such as the five points/state capitol/federal buildings area, then I suggest you take Scott to Ponce, left onto Ridgecrest and then right onto DeKalb Avenue. DeKalb is the fastest way to the heart of downtown.
      If you are going towards upper midtown, such as Colony Square, then Ponce to right on Monroe and left onto 10th will put you in that general area. Again, though, it will be clogged.

    1. OK, the Tom’s first route would be pretty good. Scott / Ponce / Ridgecrest (just beyond the RR overpass) / McLendon / Oakdale / North Ave / Piedmont / 14th St. Piedmont & 14th will back up some due to screwy intersection and light, but I imagine going all the way to Peachtree and up Peachtree would be worse. I imagine going down Monroe to 10th and jig-jogging from there wouldn’t be very good due to, among other things, Grady High School.

      Coming back, just reverse except you’ll be on Juniper instead of Piedmont.

    2. Both routes are good, but you could avoid a lot of turns, lights, residential areas, etc. by taking Dekalb Avenue all the way to Peidmont, then right onto Peidmont all the way to 14th. With rush hour traffic factored in, that might be the shortest commute time-wise.

    3. If it weren’t for the two little ones, I’d suggest MARTA. You could drive to the East Lake station, but if one of the two is heavy to carry or a slow toddler the hike up the stairs, over the tracks, and down to the platform would add a lot of time, not to mention changing trains and I don’t know how close your daycare is to the Arts Station. But maybe you could do it every once in a while. Kids love MARTA.

    1. Why not weave up to North Decatur (on Clifton, Lullwater, Oakdale – any of those), which becomes Rock Springs, which turns into Morninside, left on Piedmont, right on 14th – and boom – you are at the Colony Square parking deck?

      If you are going each day between 7/7:30, you should be fine and not have too much congestion.

    2. After Dekalb crosses over I-85/75 (the Connector) at Grady Hospital and GA State University it intersects with Piedmont which is one way headed north “forever.” Not saying it’s your best route. I like Nubbs’ idea too. Great for you to be familiar with several routes. In the ATL one never knows when a tree will fall or a crazy person becomes a bridge jumper! Welcome!

      1. DeKalb does intersect Piedmont, but coming the other way, Courtland does not, mean you’d have to drive around the block to come back to DeKalb.

  22. isnt it murder on N decatur? heard it is worse than ponce. when school is in – doesnt it back up where morningside elementary is?

    I drove that route a couple of weeks ago and it was alot of stop and go.

    1. N Decatur would be on the bottom of my list – 2 lanes, many intersection, a very busy school, etc.

    2. That’s my old route – but then again, I was taking it at 830 or so – so school may have already been in for the day. I guess driving it later in the morning is not bad – and I rarely went to work early….

      1. Agree. That route isn’t bad at non-peak hours and I do use it sometimes, but I imagine it would suck around school time (Emory, CDC, public school, etc.)

    3. Any route can be murder on any given day. Experiment and figure out which ones seem to work better for you, and also know that your most powerful tool is an exit strategy. That is, get to know the byways and work-arounds so when things get unusually bogged down you have options. Getting across Morningside, for instance, it is sometimes worthwhile to go jump off the main drag and follow a circuitous route — what seems like miles out of your way — in order to get around a clog. Also, learn your way through Ansley Park — it’s kind of a Bermuda Triangle, but it can be the next best thing to a helicopter when you’re trying to get to or from the Colony Square vicinity.

      Pack water and snacks. May the Force be with you!

  23. geeze, didnt realize living so close to downtown that I would have to endure a commute like this….

    1. And it gets much worse when school is in–as I’m sure others have pointed out. From now until the holidays always seems to be the worst part of the year for traffic. I expect it to be extra bad this fall, after the big jump in MARTA fares puts more discretionary drivers on the roads.

    2. If you actually worked downtown, then it wouldn’t be a problem. A lot more routes into downtown.

      But since you work in Midtown (north of North Ave), you really don’t have any good routes north of Ponce to take into Midtown.

    3. if you have any flex in your work schedule, that will be your best commute tool. I take DeKalb Ave into (true) downtown, and the trip can vary by 10-20 mintues in time depending on when I drive it- leaving at 9 or later (or 7:20 or earlier) really cuts the time off the drive.

  24. Hi Everyone,
    My cousin from Mexico is interested in finding an Au Pair position in Atlanta. Can anybody recommend a good agency that she could get in touch with?

  25. Does anyone know what happened in the parking lot on the corner of Ponce and Commerce right in front of Mellow Mushroom earlier today? Three police cars, lights on, and cops out of their cars with guns pulled and aimed at someone in a white car.

    Crazy, man.

      1. I believe so. My husband saw the incident, not me. Apparently freaked a lot of people out, though.

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