Free-For-All Friday 2/10/12

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

Comments close on Monday.

184 thoughts on “Free-For-All Friday 2/10/12”

  1. There should a crosswalk on Clairemont Avenue at the YMCA for Marta bus riders. I’ve repeatedly seen a disabled man struggling to cross. It is too far for him to have to walk to the corner of Clairemont and Scott.

        1. It would absolutely work…if your goal is to kill the guy! Anything short of a traffic light will lead to a worse problem unless, of course, pushing the button also deployed spike strips to stop all the cars ignoring the blinking lights.

  2. Anyone know what is filming over at the old Dekalb high school (later Kittredge, now vacant) that is across from the Greatland Target on N. Druid Hills? I saw all the trucks there a month ago, and I saw them all there again yesterday, so whatever they’re doing has been taking a long time. The directional sign said “TW.”

    1. I’ve seen different things being filmed there off and on nearly every month for the past few years. Seems to be a popular filming location.

      1. For the sake of recent history, Open Campus was there last. We were there for 15+ years. We have been gone for 2 1/2 years.

      1. The former Kittredge is now DeKalb School’s International Center, and there are classes held in there, and hundreds of kids.

  3. Dear Decatur Solid Waste Collection Department, you guys are fantastic, do a great job, are always on time and an asset to our city…but would you mind throwing the lid back on my garbage can when it’s raining outside?

    1. And, if it isn’t too much trouble, can you not place them in front of my driveway? Admittedly this doesn’t happen very often, but it is frustrating when it does.

  4. There was a brief item in today’s AJC on Decatur’s loss of tree canopy (something DM mentioned a while back). Anyone who recalls the deluge of biblical proportions three weeks ago and who lives in Oakhurst may be able to identify with the flooding we experienced. I can’t say that it’s directly related to all of the new development — larger roof areas on McMansions, more impervious surfaces, etc. — but the video I shot of water rushing down driveways along Fayetteville Road into a culvert that empties into an unimproved drainage that runs through many backyards is an eye-opener: http://youtu.be/Z0QYs4blluY

    1. I remember the deluge, and although neither I nor any of my neighbors live in a “McMansion”, we had a similar stream running though our backyards. With every successive house further downhill, the stream got faster and wider. Sometimes too much water falls too fast and the ground is unable to absord it all (especially if the ground is already near or at saturation), and this has nothing to do with McMansions or tree canopies (all of our yards have multiple 60 year old oak trees).

      BTW, the footprint of the home on the left doesn’t appear to be too much larger than the one on the right (although I can’t tell how deep each house is), so the McMansion and “historically accurate” home are pretty equal offenders in this case.

      1. Dawg
        I believe that on a micro level you are correct. One house, in one instance, won’t make a difference in a deluge. But on a macro level, wouldn’t you consider that David’s point carries some weight?

        1. I agree that as you increase the amount of impervious surface, you may also increase the amount of stormwater runoff. But, I don’t agree that McMansions caused the flooding.

          1. I agree with DawgFan about McMansions not causing flooding. Much of the runoff that comes into our yard is from our neighbors gutters (1950’s house). The new owners plan a McMansion. While I am not looking forward to a long, ugly project next door, I am looking forward to the stormwater from them being rerouted or at least taken to the street instead of aimed at our basement. My understanding is that the code is much stricter today than it use to be for stormwater runoff.

            And that rain a couple weeks ago was incredible. Think almost everyone’s gutters and storm drains flooded for a short while. If your basement stayed dry then, you are in the minority for decatur homes.

    2. I am no expert, but I think it must (also?) be related to the fact that so many trees in our ‘hood are approximately the same age and ending the end of their life span. Based on photos I’ve seen of our now-shady street from 100 years ago, it looked like a cow pasture back then. A lot of the big trees seem to have been planted at the same time and are now getting old.

      1. Good point. Whether Decatur has gained or lost canopy depends on the window of time you’re looking at. I won’t say categorically but every pasture-like historic photo I’ve seen of early MAK or Oakhurst construction indicates, counter-intuitively, that the building of upwards of a thousand homes at urban neighborhood densities over multiple decades actually added tremendously to the canopy in southwest Decatur.

        We need to move away from the simplicity of “tree good, development bad.” It’s all about context and execution. Solving for one variable always results in environments of reduced value.

        1. Scott, I don’t think I wrote that trees are good and development’s bad. But I will say that your historical landscape comment doesn’t work here since you’re talking replacement of pasture/fields and grass yards with hardscape. True, some fields are compacted and “natural” drainage patterns are impacted, but when you compare the culturally-influenced alterations to drainage patterns in the early 21st century with those that were here in the early- and mid-20th century, there’s going to be no way you can support a statement that South Decatur’s infrastructure has been adequately improved to accomodate the new loads created by larger houses and more hardscape. I do agree, however, that our romantic notions of more trees in the past is a fallacy and it’s one that was debunked decades ago by historian William Cronon.

          1. All good points, David, and to be clear, I wasn’t making any statement or comparison as it relates to drainage patterns. Only to what appeared to be a connection being suggested between the loss of canopy being reported on in the AJC, McMansion development, and the deluge you observed.

            Regardless, my point was simply that all actions associated with the building of our communities carry with them certain pluses and minuses. No one component is all boogeyman or all savior. Context, intent and execution matter, which it appears we agree on.

      2. Bingo! Our loss of tree canopy is much more related to the age of our city’s trees than it is to development. In fact, since the late ’90s, Decatur’s stormwater ordinance has required any development to reduce its stormwater runoff to below 95% of what it would be under natural (i.e., undeveloped) conditions.

        That said, the city has acknowledged that there still are lots of instances of localized flooding that happen, particularly during the stronger storm events we’ve been getting in recent years. They’ve been trying to address these as they’ve had time. Though neither point is much consolation when it’s your house/property that’s getting flooded… If you’re having issues, best to contact David Junger in Public Works to let him know & make sure it’s on the City’s radar.

        On a related note, the Environmental Sustainability Board will be hosting a conversation in the near future (date still TBD) about how we address Decatur’s ageing canopy. If you’re interested in this topic – or, better yet, have ideas on how to address it – I hope you can make it to the event.

        1. Awaiting a final recommendation (within the hour) on whether or not we have to take down our 100 year old water oak. It will be another hit to Oakhurst’s tree canopy. And my wallet. I’ll keep an eye out for that meeting. While useful overall, it may come too late for us (have to decide what to plant in the tree’s place).

          1. I feel your pain. We had to take down our 100+ year old water oak in the front yard a while back and it was a huge loss. It had been in decline for a while & then was hit by lightning, so we knew it was just a matter of time…

            Steve Provost, a landscape architect who is also on the ESB, has recommended red oaks as a good replacement tree. We’ve got some volunteer water oaks springing up from our old tree’s acorns, but may look into replanting with a larger red oak or two in the near future.

            Good luck!

    3. The argument some have made about more sidewalks for streets that don’t have them is that they result in more imperviable surface and runoff. I think that was just one more rationalization by folks who didn’t want to lose their use of the city right of way for their own landscaping or had some irrational fear of sidewalks bringing in more outsiders to the neighborhood. Certainly the three car garages and additions with extended foundations have more of a concrete footprint that sidewalks do. But I have wondered how much impact sidewalks really do have on runoff.

      1. I am not disagreeing with you about people’s motives to use this argment against sidewalks, but the difference may not be as large as you think. If the city buit a sidewalk across my yard, that would add approx 300 to 350 sq ft of impervious surface, depneding on the width, and I don’t have a wide yard. A 2 car garage is probably a little over 400 sq ft, and many additions to a house are smaller than that.

      2. Interestingly – and unlike most jurisdictions in Georgia – Decatur considers right-of-way subject to its stormwater ordinance. That means that the city must take action to mitigate runoff if it exceeds 95% of undeveloped condition (my understanding is that this applies to new construction since the late ’90s, like sidewalks, not existing impervious surface).

        Other jurisdictions treat their roads & sidewalks as part of their stormwater system (i.e., open sewer)…

    4. I wouldn’t use that deluge as evidence of any problems due to development – I live in a 100 year old house at the apex of a hill, and we had huge streams of water running through our yard, basement, curb, etc.

      I also think you might want to revisit your constant mis-use of the word McMansion. To most people it denotes a large and, most importantly, tasteless style. It seems anything larger than 2,000 square feet meets your definition. You’d probably call my (again, 100 year old) house a McMansion, along with many of the others on Adams Street – even though many of the new builds in the Oakhurst area are very similar in size and style to Adams Street homes.

      1. The National Trust for Historic Preservation definition for McMansion: “bulky, out-ofscale new homes on small parcels where they do not fit the existing character of a community; some additional common terms used regionally are “faux chateaux,” “monster home,” “starter castle,” “hummer house,” “garage mahal,” “trophy home,” “big box Victorian,” “pink palace,” “Tara on a quarter-acre,” and “bigfoot.”” http://www.preservationnation.org/issues/teardowns/additional-resources/glossary_of_teardown_terms.pdf Homes built in a neighborhood characterized by smaller-scale, mostly vernacular housese (many on teardown sites) fit well within the National Trust’s definition. Adams Street has a different architectural history than other areas in Oakhurst and when viewed in context, the larger historic homes are appropriate for their setting.

        1. Here is why your persistent use of “McMansion” with reference to Oakhurst annoys me: while the National Trust’s definition hinges on “the existing character of a community,” reasonable people can disagree about how to define the existing character of Oakhurst. It is a wildly heterogeneous place, in terms of architecture and streetscape, with many small enclaves that are internally consistent but contrast sharply with adjacent areas. I do believe some type of preservation initiative would be a good thing for this neighborhood, however, the current City ordinances paint with an extremely broad brush (a roller, even), which I think would be counterproductive. So I look forward to the next discussion, whenever it emerges, going beyond the up/down vote and accompanying angst and furor that dominated the last time.

          Also, adhering to Scott’s theme of interrelated factors and variables, many of us consider “the character of the community” to comprise more than just buildings and how they relate to each other. At least as important are the people who occupy those buildings. When somebody seems to be getting bossy about what should or should not be built or preserved, our spidey sense starts twitching big-time, because you can’t regulate building without affecting the human part of the community. And we want to be careful about doing that! (Different people have different reasons for that concern, which is another thing that makes the whole topic complicated and nuanced and fraught with the potential for feuding.)

          In any case, having lived here for 12+ years and watched the redevelopment firsthand, I have to say that not every new house and renovation fits my personal taste. But I’ve learned an important lesson: size alone (and that includes mass) doesn’t determine how a new structure (or newly expanded one) settles into its surroundings. How it’s sited on the lot, especially compared to its neighbors in terms of distance from the street, distance from the house on each side, height of the entrance — all of these seem to be more important. And while I hate to see people make unfortunate aesthetic choices, I also value living in a place where everybody can find their own blissful form of tackiness and enjoy the hell out of it. For me, that’s an invaluable aspect of “the existing character of the community.”

          1. +1. Of course, based on the posts on this topic last week, your opinion is irrelevant because his opinion is “professional”, and thus, he is the final arbiter about what is out of scale or character.

            1. As someone who has lived on Fayetteville Road for nearly 15 years, I can pretty much tell you that many of the trees in Oakhurst are, in fact, as other have noted, old and at the end of their lives. We’ve lost three. My husband designs and installs land-and-hardscapes, so this was hard for us.

              As someone who has lived on this road for 15 years and Decatur for 24, I can pretty much tell you Fayetteville Road has always been a river in heavy rains and building up a few houses has had nothing to do with it. When every other lot on the first block was empty and half the houses on the third were empty, there was still plenty of water run off.

              I am just going to go flat out; DM, if I get edited, fine. David, a relatively recent Decatur transplant, posts often on the Oakhurst listserve on some Oakhurst history tidbit. As someone who is a long-term Decatur and Oakhurst resident and someone with two degrees in history and a third in public policy, I was initially open and prepared to enjoy these posts. Yet David invariably peppers these odd little screeds with inviting turns of phrase as “Not many know” or some such off-putting know-it-all nonsense that invariably turns me off completely.

              David has some neat information gathered, but he can’t seem to stop himself from lecturing the rest of us on what is appropriate for our community and chide us for the mistakes we have made in the last 20 or 30 years – you know, things that disagree with his idea of taste and appropriateness. Sadly, I don’t think engaging these conversations with him are fruitful at all if the tone of his blog or listserve posts are any indication.

              And by the way, many more of us know what Oakhurst and Decatur were like than you seem to imagine.

              1. I love getting these little history lessons. I’ve only been in Oakhurst since I was married two years ago. A couple weeks ago I went out for a few beers with long-time resident who grew up here and listening to him talk about how he was afraid of the Oakhurst Castle as a little boy is fun for me. I myself grew up in a family that traversed the country so the idea of a “home” neighborhood is foreign to me. At 50, the longest address I’ve had in my entire life has been eight years in a Chicago apartment. I have every intention of eventually eclipsing that mark right here in Decatur/Oakhurst and look forward to many more history lessons. Where are the best places to get this type of info?

                1. Get acquainted with neighbors who have been here 25+ years. Many are now elderly and don’t get out and about so much, so you have to go looking for them.

              2. Nelliebelle1197, Thank you for your comments. I won’t waste DM bandwidth with my response but if you are interested, I’ve posted it here: http://wp.me/p1bnGQ-1bC

                I get what you’re saying. I’ll refrain from playing in DM’s sandbox in the future. It’s been an interesting visit. Bye y’all.

                1. Why not just take a different tone? I’ve enjoyed some of your links, but I very much agree with what Nelliebelle and Smalltowngail have said. A lot of the things that you’ve posted are interesting, but peppering the comments with an undertone of lecture and criticism about how the neighborhood is developing can be very off-putting. Don’t you think people would appreciate your research efforts more if they didn’t sense an agenda?

        2. I disagree that a 2 story Prairie/Foursquare/Arts and Crafts home is out of character for an Atlanta streetcar suburb that dates to the early 1900s.

          There are some new houses here and there that don’t fit into the period, but the vast majority are respectful of the neighborhood’s era and vernacular.

          My main point is that you are repeatedly using a pejorative, rather than a descriptive, and as such your comments become tinged with bias. Not to go all Dawgfan on you, but your choice of terms communicates to me that you have a problem with these homes that extends beyond architecture and scale.

    5. Oh no, that flooding video is frightening!!! We are looking at that Fayetteville house with the for sale sign since we’re currently renting in Decatur. This video makes me think it might not be a good idea?

      1. There is n reason for that video to worry you. That was a randomly hard rain and it looks like there was just a backup between the chain link and the new wooden fence. The house on the lot that was there before was also two stories and not much smaller than the current house. There have never been flooding problems there.

        Make sure though that you take a hard look at the room sizes. The builder definitely put a lot of small rooms in the space; a friend of mine decided against it because she figured out that the rooms were not as large as they felt upon first glance. On the upside, the house has been on the market for nearly a year. They should be accepting pretty much any offer at this point!

      2. Don’t be afraid. If you can buy on Fayetteville, then buy. It’s a wonderful neighborhood. We’re a few blocks away now, but I generally take the indirect route to downtown Oakhurst when walking from my house just to walk down that street.

  5. Shout out to Viet Nails across from Noodle. I have tried a few places around town recently and they are the friendliest and do a great job. Side note for the guys: she says they have a lot a male customers. Wish I could convince Mr. man to head in with me to get his feet tended to, but not a battle worth fighting.

    1. I have a mani/pedi gift certificate that my wife gave me for Christmas. Tell the hubs it’s a fine, manly thing to do, especially if you’re in the next chair.

    2. Shout out from here too. Also like Nail World across Clairemont from Emory Commons–they are a lot cheaper but not as convenient, you’re best to have an appointment. Viet Nails always has staff ready and able to fit you in.

      1. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news AHID, but the reason I needed a new place is because Nail World closed up shop for good about a month or so ago.

        @Nubbs- Not sure about that. I actually get gel, but they do it cheaper than many other places if you decided you wanted to give it a try.

    3. Don’t stop trying, Becs– my spousal unit resisted for years, until my gently persistent nudging wore him down. Once he tried a spa pedicure (with its accompanying foot & calf massage), he was hooked. Now he goes once a month, which for women wouldn’t be such a big deal, but for a man (especially MY man) is something! Plus, he now realizes how gnarly his feet were before he started having them groomed fairly regularly. He wins (because his feet feel great), I win (because I don’t get scratched in the middle of the night by calloused soles & jagged toenails), and the public wins (because they don’t have to look at gnarly man-feet). Yay! 😀

      1. Do they really not mind gnarly man feet? I thought it was up to me to rehab my husband but maybe I could outsource….

      2. “gently persistent nudging”

        That sounds about like how I won battle for the new hairstyle 2011. The nineties were great and all, but come on baby! I’m definitely not giving up on those feet just yet. My persistence will probably crank up a notch closer to sandal weather.

      3. All of you fancy, metrosexualizing folks are hereby prohibited from talking to Mrs. J_T. I don’t like to touch my own feet and I’m certainly not going to let anyone else do it. As for hair, the 1/8, 1/4 and 3/4 inch guards on my clippers work just fine and save me $25 every time I use them.

        That is all…

        1. With everything we do to doll up, not limited to prodding, plucking, waxing, shaving, filing, painting, dying, sucking in, pushing up, flattening out, etc…, by God the VERY LEAST you could do is let someone file down those talons you call toenails! 😉 But if you’re going to be belligerent on this particular matter, at least keep the nose and ear hair trimmed.

          1. Don’t get me started on the nose hairs. I was appalled a few years ago when this first became necessary. Now, it’s not just that they need to be trimmed more frequently but they are actually gray! Grrrrrrrrrrr.

  6. Most people think that it takes a weekly commitment to help with Meals on Wheels or volunteer driving, but did you know that even a few hours once a month can make a difference? Contact I Care (www.icareseniors.org) to help elders get to medical appointments and Senior Connections (www.srconn.org) to deliver meals in the area. These are both terrific nonprofits with very dedicated volunteer teams.

    1. there is a great one up lawrenceville hwy next to bruester’s…$5 for basic wash plus free vacuuming…it’s been a long week because the name escapes me…

    2. Kirkwood Car Wash. Owned and operated by Decatur Business Association stalwart Stuart Brady. It’s in Downtown Kirkwood next to a newly renovated Atlanta Fire House, which features a pretty cool, but oddly out of place blue mosaic feature that looks like a tidal wave is hitting the building. Now that I think about it, it’s not so out of place next to the Kirkwood Car Wash. Go, your car will thank you.

  7. Anyone been to Harbor Bar lately? How is it? Trying to decide between trying it out for the first time or going back to 246.

    1. We like Harbor Bar. it depends on what you are looking for. A date night – 246. A dinner out with kids – Harbor Bar. It does get crowded later in the evening and those of us with kids go home…but if you got at 6:00, you may be overwhelmed with those of us there with our munchkins. Toddler Nubbs loves his grilled tilapia.

    2. Harbour Bar is nice. Fairly priced, simple but fresh seafood, and great live entertainment on Fridays and Saturdays. Tonight, Decatur’s own Troy Cono will be there. You might even could find a groupon or halfoff depot or the like for it, but those maybe have already happened and expired. Definitely worth checking the place out.

    3. We decided on Harbour Bar after I called 246 and they did not have any reservations until way too late for us to get back to the babysitter. Anyway, it was awesome! We’ve missed having a casual seafood place in Decatur, so we can’t wait to go back! I think my kids would enjoy it next time as well.

  8. Has everyone heard of the South Columbia dragstip?? The racetrack is located between Derrydown and Katie Kerr. The great thing about it is—besides being free for participants and spectators alike—is that you can watch at about anytime of the day or night. My favorite time, for me and my dog, is early evening, say between 6 and 8pm. Wow, speeds up 60+ mph on that stretch!!! Wish we could get more people out to watch…..um like the DPD.

    1. Also free and pretty entertaining is driving the speed limit on it– it totally freaks out the driver behind you! :0)

    2. In a half-hour round of errands around 1:30-2:00pm yesterday, I saw both spectacular speeding and belligerent tailgating on Commerce (the northwest arc), Clairmont (especially between Commerce and Scott, just a few minutes before school was dismissed), and West Ponce. (Had the typical W. Ponce experience: westbound, I waited for a chance to turn left onto Upland, and several cars behind me just swerved into the bike lane to get around me, it was important for them to go racing onward toward the red light at Parkwood.)

      I wish Decatur would implement a Pace Car program. If you aren’t familiar with it: anybody who’s willing signs a pledge to drive within posted speed limits and observe other traffic regulations, and places a decal on their car identifying them as a Pace Car. DPD can’t be everywhere, all the time, and there are lots of sites in town where they can’t practically enforce speed limits (because of sight lines, for example). I think we could do a lot to adjust our traffic culture if enough of us committed to it.

      http://www.waba.org/education/pace_car.php
      http://www.cyclelicio.us/2010/neighborhood-pace-cars/
      http://www.myfortmill.com/fortmillpacecar.html
      http://ibanda.blogs.com/panchromatica/2004/06/the_neighborhoo.html
      cityofdavis.org/police/pacecar/pdfs/Neighbrhd_pledge.pdf

      1. +1 and from what I have read, I think a lot of us do that already. So with that said –
        everyone raise your right hand and repeat:
        As a DM reader/participant to promise to ” to drive within posted speed limits and observe other traffic regulations.” Sorry don’t have any decals to provide everyone here. 🙂

    3. I hear it rivals the east Commerce Drive dragstrip. But the latter has more wrecks, especially ones involving the privacy wall of our condo complex. Added fun: the 6-second pedestrian crossing signal at Commerce and Sycamore. Once the light turns green, it doesn’t matter that there’s still an elderly person or someone in a wheelchair still trying to make it to the other side — the race is back on.

    4. What’s really fun is trying to cross South Columbia at Derrydown. Even with the stoplight there, I have nearly been hit twice by cars that are flying along and apparently don’t see the stoplight. The first time, I had the green light and I was starting to cross when this minivan came flying through and swerved just in the nick of time. The second time, I had learned to delay one or two seconds when the light turns green on Derrydown. This lady was going south on South Columbia and she blazed through the red light, all the while yammering on the dadgum cell phone.

  9. The land of misfit toys (playground at First Baptist) is brought up a lot on this board, and for good reason.

    Why can’t the church clean it up? It’s terrible to see.

    1. Good point. What the hell is wrong with those church people? They should also clean up the mislaid dog poop bags around the corner as well. Let’s hear it for the non-separation of Church and Nanny State!

        1. HA! Bring me one each of the chicken and beef empanadas and an extra side of the hot salsa and I’ll go clean the park up myself! Throw in one of those carne asada tacos you told me about, which I haven’t had a chance to try yet, and I’ll take care of the dog poop too 😉

  10. Warning former Dectur First Bank customers….. you will most likely recieve new Fidelity ATM cards in the mail soon. NOTE – These will NOT activate until February 27th – DO NOT DESTROY your old ATM card from DFB even thought that is the instruction. Unfortunately, I learned this lesson the hard way and leave town for a week trip at 7:00 am! Yikes.

    Currently waiting on a call from the Branch Manager to see if there a solution other than cash. Will report back if I have better news.

    1. Thank you, Spaceman!!!! This is the single most useful thing I’ve ever read on DM. My new card came yesterday and my mental to-do list for today included putting it in my wallet and cutting up the old one. (who’s got time to read cover letters and instructions? not I!) Sorry you learned the hard way!

    2. sheesh, you’re right, it does say “do it today.” -1 for Fidelity (I sure hope they don’t earn any more demerits — changing banks is a pain.)

      1. I should point out that I have been very happy with Fidelity so far. My message is not to bash them, only to save others from doing what I did this AM.

    3. Each member of my family got the new Fidelity debit cards yesterday. I wonder what we’re going to do with them, since we closed our accounts in December. I’m glad we’re out of there, because it looks like the conversion at the end of the month might be a nightmare for DFB customers based on these sloppy errors.

      1. This was one error, not plural. The two of us who have commented who are actually Fidelity customers are not complaining, so why are you?

        1. Looks like a valid comment to me. He received new cards for an account that was actually closed and that’s on top of hearing that others are receiving cards that tell them to activate now even though they can’t. I too would wonder if there’s not going to be end-of-month issues and accept his input as a caution more than a complaint.

        2. Errors plural. The new Fidelity debit cards were sent to us yesterday despite the fact that our accounts have been closed for six weeks. Error number 1. The letter tells customers to destroy DFB cards immediately. Error #2.
          Prior to closing our accounts we had issues with regular automatic debits being rejected that nobody at Fidelity could resolve for us. Due to mistakes on Fidelity’s side I had to go to my storage unit, pay the rent over the counter, and fill out new paperwork for automatic debit. Who am I? I am a dissatisfied former customer.

    4. Thanks for the head’s up! I put the new card in my wallet this morning and (luckily) didn’t have time to destroy the old one. I looked at the enclosed info and I don’t remember it saying anything about a delayed activation date. Of course, I also got a nice packet from them about a week ago that is still sitting unopened so perhaps that would have explained it. Does this mean we’ll have to start paying ATM fees?

      1. Their “disclosure” actually left a lot to be desired vis-a-vis clarity on ATM fees. My wife asked the other day when she stopped in the main branch & was told that Fidelity would cover up to $10 in out-of-network ATM fees each month. I’m not taking that as gospel until we actually go through a monthly cycle as “fully integrated” Fidelity customers, though…

        1. FYI…I asked many questions about this. Fidelity will cover up to $10/month in ATM fees, BUT, you have to request this each month. So, you need to keep your receipts and be prepared to present them. Too much trouble for me.

  11. I’d like to give a huge rave to the guys at #1 Decatur Pro Auto Repair (right where N. Arcadia becomes Dekalb Industrial). We took car #1 in for a $15.99 oil change and $100 new front brakes, prices I find to be very reasonable. On the drive to pick up car #1, the engine light came on in car #2. Jerry (or as we now refer to him, our new best friend) diagnosed the problem with his nifty little computer, found it to be loose wire, spent 30 minutes fixing it, and charged us NOTHING.

    Having been charged upwards of $80 for a simple computer diagnosis, I was speechless – in a good way. I’ll never quit you, Jerry.

  12. Hey, y’all.
    I hope this is acceptable, as I’m not selling anything, and I’m not pushing a business.

    I have a Web site that I maintain for fun and to keep up my writing & interviewing skills. It’s at http://www.tubgoat.com.

    It’s mostly interviews of musicians, artists, tech heads, and Internet personalities, though I’m open to just about anyone. I am a writer/journalist who has been a professional musician, film producer, criminal investigator, and litigation consultant, if it matters.I live in Decatur.

    I would like to interview a few Decatur folk, possibly a local chef, politician, artist, or crazy person. Any takers?

    My preferred medium is online chat, though back & forth via email works, too. I used to do it by phone & in person, but I’m never transcribing audio again unless I get paid for it.

    I’ve checked to be notified of follow-up comments, though you could also contact me through my site.

    Thanks.

  13. Anyone know if the City of Decatur is aware of what’s happening with the proposed GA senate bill 313: “Broadband Investment Equity Act”? http://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/20112012/118556.pdf

    While the premise seems reasonable, it places seriously undue burdens on municipalities that want to provide broadband as a city service. It seems like it would make it very difficult for a municipality to compete with a private telecommunications company.

    1. Not surprising. And no doubt the result of lobbying by big telecom companies.

      If you are interested, there was some litigation a few years ago coming out of the Rural Utilities Services Act of 1934. Under the Act, smaller telecommuncations companies could get grants from the USDA in order to expand their companies and compete in locations that were previously serviced by only one provider. Laying fiber optic cable is notoriously expensive. So the grants were the only way that some companies could afford to expand. The incumbent telecom companies fought the grants tooth and nail, claiming (among other things) that the grants were unconstitutional. Of course, they were just trying to prevent the competiton from driving down prices.

  14. Question: what can anyone tell me about pet laws in Dekalb county / Decatur? I’m asking because my neighbor leaves their dog outside during the day, which is fine, except that the dog sits there and howls and barks and whines nonstop. The owner is gone from early in the morning (8-9am) until late at night (usually 6 or 7pm, though last night not until 11pm). I’m just curious if there are any noise laws about pets and barking. I’ve asked said neighbor to please bring the dog inside or look into doggie daycare, but it’s been 2 months and I’ve heard nothing but howling. I should note that it bothers me so much because I work at home and my home office happens to be separated from the howling dog by only a little strip of yard, so I listen to it pretty much all day. I’m not going to call the police on the neighbor or animal control, I just thought if there was some actual law / ordinance I could quote next time I talked to the neighbor it might have more pull than just me (and several other neighbors, I should add) asking her to please bring the dog inside because of the howling.

    1. Yes there are laws governing such things. They would be somewhat different depending on whether you’re in the City or County. If you need to call the police, do so. They could write your neighbor a ticket.

    2. I believe you would be looking for this if you’re in City of Decatur:

      Sec. 42-59(4) Animals. The owning, possessing or harboring of any animal which frequently, or for continued duration, howls, barks, meows, squawks or makes other sound which creates excessive and unnecessary noise across a residential or commercial real property line or within a noise sensitive area. For the purposes of this subsection the term “barking dog” shall mean a dog that barks, bays, cries, howls or makes any other noise continuously and/or incessantly for a period of ten minutes, or barks intermittently for one-half hour or more to the disturbance of any person at any time of day or night, regardless of whether the dog is physically situated in or upon private property; provided, however, that a dog shall not be deemed a barking dog if, at the time the dog is barking or making any other noise, a person is trespassing or threatening to trespass upon property in or upon which the dog is situated.

        1. I think Decatur is actually a bit unusual in having a noise/nuisance ordinance that specifically addresses animals and puts a nice bright line time limit on it. That said, loud or excessive barking would be covered by most local noise ordinances regardless.

          Scotty, I understand not wanting to call the cops or animal control. But if your neighbor won’t listen to sense, do consider it. They are in violation of local law and you shouldn’t have to put up with it. More importantly, as much as they are disturbing you, they are abusing their poor dog even more.

          1. That’s the first thing I thought of (and this may be jumping to conclusions but) this sounds like animal abuse to me. Is the dog tied? Is the yard fenced? There are coyotes around and a tied up dog in an unfenced yard would make a nice target. Or the dog could choke itself if the chain gets tangled. Not to mention, obviously the dog does not enjoy being stuck outside all day. How about when it’s cold like it’s going to be this weekend? Or when it rains?

            Of course I don’t really expect answers to these questions here but this kind of thing really gets me going. Lock that home owner outside all day with nothing to do and see how she likes it!

            1. Well, I know that the yard is completely fenced (a tall one too, that I think would be hard to jump) and the dog isn’t tied. I think it may have a little dog house out there to lay in, but I really have no idea. I’ve never seen or heard the dog outside on days when it is raining and I’m fairly sure the dog goes inside the house at night and when it is very cold outside. Frankly, I know some people do have “outside” dogs, but it’s always seemed a bit cruel to me. Perhaps it’s just personal preference but I could never leave a dog outside all day long, especially if I weren’t home. I can understand though not wanting the dog left out alone in the house if it has a tendency to chew things up and destroy them. I used to have a collie who had a taste for dry wall and when I needed to be out of the house for a while I would put the dog in his crate (we referred to it has his “house”) with water, toys and bones. He was perfectly happy there. If I was going to be gone an extended time I’d ask a neighbor or family member to come let him out and be with him for a bit. Not a big deal and not hard to do at all.

              1. OK, well then it sounds like she’s not completely cruel although I still think leaving a dog outside all day (when it’s not truly an “outside” dog) is cruel. I agree with you that people do sometimes have their dogs live outside but I never really understood that either. We have an older dog and he’s not completely in control of his bowels anymore so when we leave, we use a baby gate and corral him so he only has access to the laundry room and bathroom (tile floors). He’s got a bed, water, food, etc… just like you described. It breaks my heart to even have to do that but it’s a pretty big space and at least he’s safe.

                It sounds like your neighbor is just oblivious to the fact that she lives in a neighborhood and that other people may be affected by her actions (or inactions). I hope it all works out well for you AND the dog.

              2. I know you didn’t mean to offend but your statement that it is “cruel” to leave a dog outside during the day is a little offensive. Personally I wouldn’t confine a dog to a crate all day, but that is just my preference. My dog has access to the basement from the backyard so she can get out of the cold or rain or heat, and she has a bed, toys, water, etc.. But, most of the time she stays outside where she has room to run around, she suns in different places, and, maybe most importantly, she can go to the bathroom when she needs. She willingly goes outside (and often “asks” to be let out), but doesn’t like her crate at all.

                1. Maybe NewScott’s statement would be less “offensive” if you paid more attention to those quotation marks yourself and didn’t edit his words to take them out of context, noting specifically the “when it’s not truly an “outside” dog”. Given Scotty’s description of the situation, it doesn’t appear that the dog is all that happy with the situation and is likely downright miserable about it.

                  We’ve got two dogs of our own. You can see from my Gravatar how much alike they look. But if we left them outside all day like Scott’s neighbor, Stanley would be happy as could be roaming the yard and chasing squirrels while Stella would sit at the back door barking and whining pathetically until we came home. I’d say that would be pretty “cruel” to her, dontcha think?

                  1. I was referring to Scotty’s post, but it applies equally to NewScott’s. He said it is cruel to leave a dog outside all day. I am not trying to pick a fight here, but I do leave my dog outside during the day while we are at work, and I found his comment offensive b/c I definitely am not cruel to my dog. Maybe it was just an over generalization by both or either of them. Again, I was merely pointing out that the comment could be offensive and I am not trying to pick a fight. How would you feel if he said it was cruel for adog owner to leave a dog couped up inside all day? Your gravatar is your dogs, and I am certain you aren’t cruel to either of them.

                    And given the specifics of Scotty’s neighbor, clearly the dog isn’t happy, but that doesn’t mean the owner is cruel to the dog. That dog may sit and bark and howl at the insdie of the front door all day until the owner comes home. Same for your Stella. Maybe not – I don’t know either dog.

                    1. Bah, I think we are splitting hairs and arguing semantics. It doesn’t help that I responded to you right after getting off the phone with an insurance adjuster.

                      So, let’s just agree to agree that, cruel or not, Scotty’s neighbor needs a lesson in civilized living and awareness of her surroundings!

                    2. And no, Stella certainly does not sit howling at the front door until we come home. That interfere with her sleeping on the couch.

                    3. And one more thing to agree upon: DM, when in the everlasting hell is that EDIT function coming online?!?!?!?

                    4. Let me just clarify – I don’t think my neighbor is cruel to the dog. It is obvious just from looking at the dog that he or she is well taken care of. The dog just doesn’t seem to care for being left outside alone for 8-10 hours a day. I know some people used to think it was cruel to leave my dog in a crate when I wasn’t there during the day, but I know that the dog was happy and safe there – he had toys and water and food, plenty of room to move around and a bed to sleep on. It’s a matter of personal dog rearing preference. I personally would never feel comfortable leaving a dog outside alone all day, but there is nothing wrong with people who do (as long as the dog is happy and isn’t howling and barking and clearly upset as the one next door to me is all day long). In the case of my neighbor, I’m really not sure it’s fair to the dog that his or her owner is rarely home to spend time with the animal. Granted I’m a bit biased because I have a tendency to over pamper dogs and treat them like tiny humans, but it does seem a little cruel or thoughtless or whatever you want to call it to get a dog and not have the time to devote to it.

                    5. Obviously the scenario painted by folks here about cushions and shelter and toys is a completely different situation than the one Scott was talking about with his neighbor and the all-day-barking dog. I apologize if I didn’t completely articulate that.

                2. I’m with you, Dawg. I think you are replacing J_T as my new best friend. My dogs have a stone patio with dog houses and a million cushions underneath our screened in porch. They are 15, 14, and 13 and have always been indoor-outdoor. They were rat killers and great hunters back when Oakhurst was infested (and they weren’t old). I think it is cruel to lock an animal that is naturally a predator and naturally wants to run around explore in a cage when they can somewhat run free. My dogs are in excellent health and well-exercised for such old animals – they run around, lay in patches of grass in the sun and chase butterflies, then curl up on cushions when they need to relax. They come in after our dinner now and hang out with us until their 10 pm bedtime.Two sleep in crates and one refuses (hates it with a passion) so he has a cushion in the laundry room.

                  1. Ah yes, but the difference here is that your dogs like being outside. There is nothing wrong with dogs being outside all day if they are happy with it. You don’t think it’s mean or at least a little thoughtless to keep an animal outside all day when it is visibly (or in my case, audibly) unhappy and disruptive?

                    1. I agree! This dog is obviously under duress.And we have the advantage of a neighbor with a key who has known our dogs for 12 years who can put them up if we are late for some reason

              3. I wonder if this is a home near me as well? If this is just outside the city limits on the north side of town, then I think the dog in question is a rescue with some past issues and a well-intentioned current owner. BUT the constant barking is a problem. I have come close to calling the police myself but stopped. I wondered if the owner was even aware the dog barked this much when she was not home.

                The dog I am referring to does have a house outside for shelter but has also been left out in the rain and cold at night, alone as late as 2 AM – I know as I lay in bed trying to sleep but listening to the barking and howling instead.

                I may have to suck up my fear of confrontation and pay a visit tomorrow and see if we can encourage keeping the dog inside when the owner isn’t home. For the benefit of the dog, for my sanity and for the sanity of my neighbors.

                1. I am on the north side of town, but I’m in the Decatur city limits. I do wonder if the dog I’m dealing with is a rescue as it is definitely not a pure bred. That could mean nothing of course other than that the dog got the short end of the genetic stick. The dog does seem a little aggressive though – I thought one day I would try and soothe the barking by going over and giving the dog a bit of attention, but he/she began growling so I stopped. I’ve never heard any 2 AM barking from this one, but then again all the bedrooms in my house are on the other side away from the barking. I do believe the owner in question in my case does have good intentions – every interaction I’ve had with said person has been pleasant. I suppose I’m dragging my feet on any confrontation again with this person because for starters I hate confrontations and I also don’t know the person particularly well at all and find the whole thing very awkward.

                  1. I’m all of 2 or 3 houses outside the city limits – may or may not be the same dog.

                    I haven’t gone to talk yet because there hasn’t been any barking since I got home Friday night.

                    And am still a little hesitant/fearful of a confrontation. I am a dog owner too and when mine was a puppy (10 years ago) I had no idea that the sweet, whining puppy I thought would quiet down when I left for work turned into a wailing beast at mid-day until my kind neighbors told me she was driving them insane! I stopped crating her and moved her to staying in the gated kitchen with access to a window to look out and bed to lay on all day and the noise stopped.

                    If it starts again I’ll probably extend the same courtesy someone did to me years ago and let her know.

      1. Thanks for finding the exact wording, J_T. I am going to talk to my neighbor once more tomorrow and if nothing changes I think I will definitely call the police about this. It’s gotten ridiculous as this dog has just spent nearly an hour barking. I could understand if there were something on the street (ie – delivery truck, repair people working outside, kids playing, trespassers) but this poor dog is just barking at their back door. I feel so bad for the dog because it seems like no one is ever home to be with him. I wish people who don’t have time for pets wouldn’t get them because it’s really not fair to the pup.

      2. I’ve read the ordinance three times and still can’t understand what it’s telling me. It seems like it is definitions only, but where does it say anything about there being an offense. Is some of it missing?

          1. If she needs the threat of jail time and fines to curtail that, I’d say you guys have a lot deeper problems to worry about 😉

      1. Damn, that last post sounded cold. I am a dog owner and would never suggest anything which might hurt the dog. But, I do know at least 2 people who have used the collars to successfully train the dog, and who occasionally must put the collar back on their dogs.

        1. +1
          I also work from home, and guarantee you that anyone who doesn’t, has no clue how infernally noisy some of our “nice, quiet streets” can be during the daytime.
          good luck, Scotty!

  15. Did I see that a bakery is coming to the place next to Kavarna in oakhurst? If you look in the window as you walk by there is a sign inside saying something about a bakery coming soon! Does anyone know more?

    1. Oooooooooh! That would be so great. The Cakes and Ale Bakery is more of a cafe and dessert and coffee place than a retail bakery. Oakhurst Market has some great pastries and baguettes but baked goods are among many other wares.

    1. Seems like a little odd right hand only/left hand only lane shifting going on, but frankly I’m just happy to have it done. Longest Project Ever.

  16. So let’s try this edit feature out. oogley boogly bim bam bang.
    And hey, you can make the comment block enormous.

    1. It works! And it has a spell check! Excellent. Thanks, DM.

      You get up to five minutes to realize that you can’t spell worth a damn, or you mixed up lie and lay again, or you have launched a malicious screed that you might regret when you are sober.

  17. Ok, I have to trie this edit thing. If I don’t break it, it really works. I have a very bad electronic aura.

    Wow, the spell check really works. It put a little red line under “trie”. I like the big comment screen thing too. Presbyopia is very annoying.

    Now I am going to try the you-can-retract-what-you-just-said feature….

    Wow, that really worked. And the timer is cute. If only email at work could do this. I always think of the most important point right after I hit Send. And retracting is no good because most email programs seem to let the rest of the world know that you had to retract something, and that’s if the retract feature even works. If someone is sitting in their office bored and scoops up your email immediately, you are just plain out of luck….

  18. I am looking for a local carpenter to design and install floor to ceiling book shelves in a small (maybe 10′ X 12′) office. Nothing fancy (like in all those British grand houses) but functional. Between my sister’s 300+ cookbooks and my various and sundry books I need me some organization. Any suggestions?

    1. We had some fantastic and reasonably priced shelves and cabinets done by Ephraim Kivett with Rosewood Renovations. It was a fairly complicated design but he was able to figure out exactly what we needed and came up with the perfect design. [email protected] 404-312-6272.

    1. Yes, and it reports that the location will be filled by a Persian restaurant. I am detecting a trend.

    2. That’s weird. I just called Zyka and they were shocked that this was even a rumor. They said they have no plans to shut down or change locations. Did CL confuse this with Zucca? Zucca in Decatur is shutting down and being replaced by a Persian Restaurant.

      1. Yup; they’ve updated the original post as well. In hindsight, I feel like I should have picked up on the similarities to the Zucca story.

        Sorry to have aided the spread of misinformation!

        1. I had a funny conversation with the intial person I talked to in trying to get in touch with a definitive answer:

          Me: You guys are shutting down or moving locations?
          Zyka: No
          Me: You’re shutting down and not moving locations?
          Zyka: No
          Me: You’re not shutting down and not moving locations?
          Zyka: Yes

          They made me work for it, I’ll give them that.

        2. I feel that way too, Jonathan. I just swallowed the story. “It must be true; I read it on the internet.”

    1. Make a hole with a gun perpendicular
      To the name of this town in a desk-top globe
      Exit wound in a foreign nation
      Showing the home of the one this was written for
      My apartment looks upside down from there
      Water spirals the wrong way out the sink
      And her voice is a backwards record
      It’s like a whirlpool and it never ends

      1. And since tonight is the Lincoln Show, they will be playing that! I feel so old and geeky but gonna have a great time at the show!

  19. If anybody is missing a medium to large size dog with short, tan hair, a build reminiscent of a boxer and no collar you might want to have a look around the Lenox Place neighborhood. It was in my back yard on Drexel a couple of times last night, and it seemed a bit worked up and out of sorts but otherwise fine.

  20. Looking for a local paint/body shop as someone dinged my wife’s car pretty good, any suggestions?
    prefer close to Decatur/Emory area.
    Thanks!

    1. decatur paint & body is fabulous…it is in clarkston but it really isn’t too far…just out past the farmers market…

  21. Last night (Saturday) while driving through the Great Lakes neighborhood, we came upon two HUGE coyotes at Lucerne and Waddell Park. They ran into Waddell Park and we drove up Seneca and flushed them out onto Huron and then up through onto Superior. They ran off into the apartments off Superior and when we caught up, ran off behind one of the buildings. They were the size of big German Shepherds (though thinner) and moved quickly. God help any stray cat, dog, squirrel or rabbit (which I know live around there). These suckers were scary!

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