Free-For-All Friday 4/13/12

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.

109 thoughts on “Free-For-All Friday 4/13/12”


  1. Here’s a big thanks to Tom Simon of Decatur’s I Care, Volunteer Drivers for Seniors (icareseniors.org), for agreeing to share the organization’s story with other groups. I Care, an absolutely wonderful local nonprofit, will be featured at a free statewide event called “Safer Senior Ministry Projects: Risk Management for Faith-Based Volunteers,” 4/24/12 in Macon. Everyone’s welcome!

    http://www.eventbrite.com/event/3027590605

  2. Free Movie Monday about Vanishing Bees.

    The Decatur High Beekeeping club is sponsoring a free screening of Vanishing of the Bees, narrated by Ellen Page, on Monday, April 16, at 6 p.m. at the DHS Performaning Arts Center.

    Movie Synopsis:
    Honeybees have been mysteriously disappearing across the planet, literally vanishing from their hives. Known as Colony Collapse Disorder, this phenomenon has brought beekeepers to crisis in an industry responsible for producing apples, broccoli, watermelon, onions, cherries and a hundred other fruits and vegetables. Commercial honeybee operations pollinate crops that make up one out of every three bikes of food on our tables.

    Learn how YOU can help the Honeybee survive!

    This FREE event is sponsored by EcoAddendum.

  3. Recommendations for an upholstery cleaning service? Or can I do it myself? Have a very naughty dog who has “doggied” up our light colored fabric couch and I’d like to give it a revival.

    1. Someone please answer this. My lovable rescue has dirtied up my spring green sofa to a spring mud puddle sofa.

      1. Thanks for this! I have almost purchased this exact product two or three times for our toddler-and-cat decorated cream-colored sofa, but always ended up chickening out and paying a pro. Glad to know it works for this.

      2. Thanks for this! I have almost purchased this exact product two or three times for our toddler-and-cat decorated cream-color sofa. Glad to know it works for this.

        1. Sorry about this, you guys. I will not try posting from my phone again. It kept telling me the comment was being rejected when it was going right through, I guess.

    2. i have heard FABULOUS things about accu care carpet & upholstery cleaners (it is mentioned frequently on decaturmamas)…am planning on calling them myself pretty soon for our basement carpet…770-591-1916…

    3. we used stanley steamer or some other carpet cleaning company for our couch along with the rug… no complaints

  4. Maybe this has been discussed before, but does anyone know why at every crosswalk in Decatur, the pedestrian has to push the crosswalk button in order for it to change? In many other cities and towns, when the traffic light is green, the pedestrian crosswalk light for the same direction automatically turns white. It would seem that this is something that the city probably could change rather easily. If Decatur really wants to promote the walkability of the city, then this relatively simple change would be a good step.

    1. DeKalb County controls all traffic lights still. Decatur now has the ability to take this over, but I believe the city is waiting on some existing scheduled upgrades before considering it.

    1. Yes, we walked in Wednesday night. Soft opening. Lovely people Sirus and his son Sean opened this family business. We actually joked how friendly they were.
      We enjoyed the hummus and the eggplant appetizers. The bread is great. Loved the Persian lentil soup and Persian stew. (even though I have enjoyed Persian food for years still don’t have all the names down.)
      You can order half orders on rice which is plenty for two adults and one child.
      We had half orders on the lamb and chicken skewers.
      There were lots of Persian choices and everything was seasoned well. The odd thing is the large bar left over from Zucca. Seems out of place in a Persian restaurant. We will definitely return many times. Welcome to Decatur.

  5. “Have fun storming the castle!”

    My wife and I are unabashed looky-loos when it comes to open houses in our neighborhood, so we’re very excited that The Oakhurst Castle is having one this Sunday! From 2-5 it’s open to the public, plus they’ve put a bunch of cool photos online at http://138fayetteville.com/. I’ve wanted to go into this home for years.

    1. If you come, please note that neighbors in many cases do not have off street parking on Fayetteville. Please walk if possible. There was an open house last week and several people had no where to park when they got home from work

      1. I can’t walk. I live on the swanker, albeit less hip, north side of town. Plus, it’s my God-given right to drive wherever I damn well please (no, I’m not sure which commandment that is, but I’m Catholic like Rick Santorum so I don’t actually read no stinking bible anyway). So drive I will. But I do get your concern and I will make sure not to block your on-street parking. Hell, if I can figure out which house is yours, I’ll just park on your lawn!

      2. I can’t walk. I live on the swanker, albeit less hip, north side of town. Plus, it’s my God-given right to drive wherever I damn well please (no, I’m not sure which commandment that is, but I’m Catholic like Rick Santorum so I don’t actually read no stinking bible anyway). So drive I will. But I do get your concern and I will make sure not to block your on-street parking. Hell, if I can figure out which house is yours, I’ll just park on your lawn!

                1. I am not positive that I will be able to make it. I AM positive that if I do, and you had a beer concession stand, I would patronize it. I doubt that I’m alone in that sentiment.

                  I also do not know if “puke in her bushes” was meant euphemistically or not. Either way, it’s causing serious flashbacks to some epic college parties…

        1. I don’t know how to clip the scene and link it, but this week’s episode of “Modern Family” had a great send-up:
          Elderly neighbor: “No way I’m voting for that [new stop sign at dangerous n’hood intersection]. Too much government already. I didn’t fight a war so some politician could tell me where I have to stop my car!”
          Phil: “But you don’t even drive!”
          Neighbor: “That’s because that Barack Obama took my license away!”
          Phil: “I don’t think he was involved in that decision.”

    2. speaking of “Have fun storming the castle!!”
      my wife had my wedding band engraved with “To Blave”

  6. The Oakhurst Garden has its big plant sale this weekend. We’ve been on the waiting list for a while and were just assigned our plot this week, so now we need to buy some plants and see what we can turn it into. As a total novice, this should be interesting.

    1. Welcome! We just got our plot about a month ago. Ours is kinda sparse right now but fully planted with some vegetables and some random flowers that our 5-year-old picked out. We’re in the front part so if you see us there yelling to a small boy to come away from the chickens and help in the garden, say Hi. We’ve found everyone to be very nice and helpful so don’t be shy about asking questions.

      Also, there are LOTS of all kinds of plants, vegetables, fruit trees/bushes, etc at the sale. Good prices too. Hope everyone can stop by.

      1. Thanks, and I’ll have plenty of questions. Deciding to jump in completely and will be there first thing on Saturday to help with the plant sale.

  7. Has anyone gone to the new Legoland in Phipps? I want to go, but I’m worried it may still be too crowded.

    1. We’ve been there twice. Went opening weekend and bought a season pass (9 year old loves him some legos) and back once since. They actually do a pretty good job of crowd control, by regulating how many tickets are sold per hour. There may be a wait for some of the attractions, but they move pretty quickly.

      Definitely buy in advance on-line, and think about going in the afternoon rather than morning. When we were there last week around 10:30, they were already sold out until after 2.

        1. My family has been several times. I agree, they do a good job of crowd control (though really there is only so much you can do) and definitely buy in advance. All three of my kids (ages 3, 5 & 8) absolutely loved it. The 8 & 5 year old were a bit more interested in all the attractions and displays, but I think that’s mostly because they actually play with LEGOs themselves. The 3 year old found plenty to do though which is why we’ve gone back and will continue to. It’s one of the few attractions around town that actually holds all 3 kids interest.

    1. I’ll sign that one if folks in Oakhurst will sign one for the NW to Downtown path that DM has proposed–something like Hidden Cove Park to Garden to Lamont to Oakland (or maybe Coventry is involved, whatever!).

      DM: Petition, please? You don’t have enough to do with a youngun’ in the house, job, DM moderation, and marriage!

    2. I have some questions about this, particularly about the South End:

      Are these paths on existing rights-of-way? It is a bit hard to tell from the map with the highlight.

      Also , if there is a right of way, it looks like it extends straight from Feld right down to Ansley – why the zig zag?

      There was some talk about reclaiming alleys a while back. Is this discussion related? Have adjacent properties already claimed these and this is to try to get them back?

      (I am all for it but I can’t help but think something must be complicating this idea. Otherwise – why WOULDN’T city just support this, i.e. why the need for a petition?)

      1. One thing I’ve encountered recently…the city is reluctant to put staff time and resources towards a major project that doesn’t have demonstrated support from a sizable portion of the community. There’s so much already to be done in the Strategic Plan that something that isn’t needs to show that it has similar levels of support.

      2. I can’t speak to the two upper segments but the southernmost one involves a five foot easement granted to the city by a property owner who was doing a subdivision of their lot.

  8. Fernbank Science Center is also having a (native) plant sale on Saturday.

    156 Heaton Park Drive, Atlanta, GA 30307

      1. Not sure what Fernbank is selling but camellias are originally from China, Japan, and Korea. Tea comes from a kind of camellia.

  9. Speaking of the Oakhurst Garden, what do people think about the name change to the Wylde Center? What Sally Wylde did for Oakhurst was great and I realize that they want to honor her, but is taking the “Oakhurst” out of the name of the garden really a good decision? Why not the Wylde Center at Oakhurst Community Garden?

    They are a private organization and can call themselves whatever they want, but I just thought I would throw it out there for discussion.

    1. I was very touched to hear of the name change, as I was lucky to have known Sally, and am still saddened at her passing. And yes, as you say, they are a private organization and call themselves what they want.

      1. Thanks for the link to the explanation. Makes sense to me now.

        And, Melissa, my question was certainly not any knock against Sally Wylde. I knew her too and am aware of the wonderful these she did during her life. Sounds like a terrific honor and I’m glad that the Oakhurst Garden name remains at Oakview and South McDonough as well.

        1. Of course I never thought it was a knock–just still cannot believe she’s gone. Its a good question you asked.

  10. With all the great news from Renfroe and DHS grad stats, I thought this would be a good time as any to voice my disappointment with the 4th/5th Academy experience this year. I had high hopes because of the idea of a pre-jr high sounded interesting and then with a new school and grounds, I was looking forward to a great year. That hasn’t come to pass.
    I’d have to put most of the blame on the administration. They don’t seem to have the same community-minded and kid-focused approach that I liked from the K-3 we are familiar with. There seems to be more focus on scores,appearances, and the admin looking good by academic standards, then helping the kids be excited about learning.
    Just my feeling, but wondering if anyone else has similar (or opposing) ideas on this.

    1. I’m sorry to hear this. I’ve seen a couple of educational establishments (including the one I work at), not in CSD I have to say, spending (what I feel is) too much time on how things look and seem…. I am trying to tell myself that the administrators can’t just be shallow and uncaring people – I am therefore wondering if the logic is that if they create something that looks like what it should be, then then the students/faculty/staff/parents will rise to making it what it should be. I suppose I half understand this, though it is not necessarily what I would want administrators to do….

    2. Be sure and fill out your family survey for FAVE and try to be specific wherever you have a chance to give comments.

      Something that works against the schools is that it’s developmentally appropriate for students to become more independent of their parents as they reach higher grades. That fact is somehow misinterpreted by both parents and school staff as a justification for having less parental involvement in the schools. Wrong. Teens and preteens need parental involvement and a community focus just as much as little ones, maybe even more. It just has to look different than bringing cupcakes to the class party or chaperoning walking field trips to the Square. Unfortunately, public schools are so stretched financially, staff-wise, space-wise, morale-wise that it’s hard for them in invest in real family and community involvement, even though the pay-off is probably worth it ultimately. Some private schools, especially smaller schools with a more wholistic approach to learning, manage to graduate responsible students while still having a huge amount of family participation. But that’s not the culture of public schools in Georgia.

  11. Come review & comment on Decatur’s final draft Environmental Sustainability Plan on Wed., April 18th at City Hall

    As you may be aware, in response to Decatur’s 2010 Ten Year Strategic Plan, the Environmental Sustainability Board, City staff and volunteers have developed a draft of the Decatur Environmental Sustainability Plan.

    The first draft of the plan was shared with the public at an open house held in November. Since then, we have provided several venues for the public to review and provide comment on the overall plan as well as specific issues. We are in the process of finalizing an updated draft that incorporates feedback we have received to date.

    The plan, which targets issues and concerns which came of out of the larger strategic planning effort, is designed to serve as a guide for current and future decision makers, city employees, residents, business owners and others.

    Review updated draft on Wednesday, April 18th – drop by between 7 and 8:30 p.m.

    We invite you to review this updated plan at another open house on Wednesday, April 18th from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the City Commission room at City Hall. Please note, the updated draft will also be available for review on City’s website at http://www.decaturga.com/sustainabilityplan no later than Tuesday morning, April 17th.

    Unable to attend Open House? Provide feedback with our online comment form.

    If you are not able to attend the meeting, you can complete an online comment form – again please visit the website above from Tuesday morning onward to ensure you are reviewing the latest draft.
    Your feedback is important!

    Any themes or key issues that arise from the feedback received for this new draft — both from the online comments and the Open House — will be incorporated into the final plan that is slated to be presented to the City Commission in May.

    Printed copies are available by contacting the City’s Resource Conservation Coordinator Lena Stevens at [email protected] or via telephone at 404-370-4102. You may e-mail comments directly to Lena as well vs. submitting via the online comment form.

    We hope to see you at the open house!

      1. Vacation. My wife and I have accommodations set but the rest of the schedule is pretty open. Looking for things to do and places to eat. So far we’re planning on checking out Sleep No More, top of the Rock, a Broadway show, museums, etc.

        1. Try the lotteries for Book of Mormon and Wicked. You’ll still be able to purchase full-price tix for Wicked if the lottery is a no-go. Grammercy Park Tavern (I think I’ve got that right) is uh-mazingly delish; Shake Shack is also good on the less spendy tip. Even cheaper fun? Central Park Zoo.

        2. Gotham Bar and Grill. Classic NYC and never disappoints. Make reservations at opentable.com. Walking around like Doug said but try to have a destination. The city is so compelling you will get sidetracked. Enjoy!

        3. Grand Central Terminal is stunning. Oyster Bar in the Terminal is fabulous and go have a drink in the Campbell Apartment. Hidden gem.

          The Chrysler Building, Rockefeller Center, Plaza Hotel, Metropolitan Museum are all fun to see.

          1. Forgot about Rockefeller Center. That’s a must in the winter because of the skating rink but interesting other times if you are in the area. There’s roller skating in Central Park during the warmer months. Central Park used to be a no-no after 5 PM back when the nighttime was owned by thugs and druggies but I hear it’s pretty ok all the time now.

          2. +1 re Grand Central Station.

            I am a John Lennon fan so I often visit the Strawberry Field memorial at Central Park. I lurk outside the Dakota too.

    1. Just walk around and explore – don’t overplan with too many museums and sites. That being said, the High Line is a great new park that runs about 20 blocks on an abandoned elevated rail line that is worth exploring.

    2. Amici II is our “Itlalian Restaurant” and Ferrara’s is a must for some Italian tricolored cookies. I miss NYC. Enjoy a bottle of red and a bottle of white for us!

    3. Agree with others that Chinatown and Little Italy are a must if never visited before. You can kill two birds with one stone by eating dinner in Chinatown and then walking north for a cappuccino and cannoli or other dessert in Little Italy.

      I really recommend a Circle Line (may have different name now) boat tour around Manhattan as a good way to get a feel for the geography and scope of Manhattan–the commentary is almost as valuable as the view. A trip to Ellis Island is also valuable but if one wants a cheap version of a tour of that part of the harbor, the Staten Island Ferry, out and back, is fun.

      For museums, my don’t miss museum is the Natural History Museum although I have to admit that I haven’t been there for about 13 years so I’m not up on the latest. I liked the old-fashioned dioramas and the sperm whale and dinosaur skeletons but I’ll bet things are much more techie now.

      Agree with folks who say not to over schedule and just do lots of walking around and exploring, riding the subway, etc. There’s a lot of stuff that’s worth seeing if you within a few blocks of it but don’t plan your whole day around it–St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Soho, Zabar’s or Gristedes (still there?) markets, the NY Public Library, Brooklyn Bridge, maybe Empire State Building (more for history than height), Grand Central Station.

      I can’t advise on World Trade Towers memorial. I still cannot get my head around that. In my mind they are still there. A trip to the top used to be one of my NYC recs just so the visitor understood true skyscrapers. I recently had a plane change in NYC and it made me sick to the see the skyline without the towers.

  12. Anyone have a good recommendation for a piano teacher for kids? Preferably one who will teach more contemporary music and make it fun.

    1. As in “Is that a ‘Bag we bag’ squash in yer pants or are you just happy to see us?” or perhaps you are just referring to your beltline?

    2. honestly, i can’t quite get my head wrapped around this. a total of 658,000 square feet?!
      that’s as big as the Louvre, and perhaps suitably so–it will be a temple of food.

      . . . it’s not as though i’ve ever walked in and said to myself “there just aren’t enough options here!”

      but as i begin to think about it, the first thing that would benefit from expansion is the beer/wine section–if they double or triple that . . .

      OK, so that leaves 500,000 feet . . .
      expand the dining area . . .
      more prepared foods in the cold section (though the whole damn joint is, like, brrrrr ). . .
      more frozen food . . .
      toilet paper and sundries . . .

      really, WTF are they going to do?

      cheese condos?

    3. Jeez, louise, they’re also talking about quadrupling the size of the parking lot!

      Knee-jerk reaction is No-o-o-ooo, then more people will come and get in my way! But now visualizing wider aisles, less congestion, no more gridlock…Could be fabulous!

      Maybe they’ll add little half-size carts, like they have at Whole Paycheck. And pedi-cab shuttles for the outer reaches of the parking lot. (And make them like school buses — you can only use them if you are going beyond a certain distance from the door. But all ages can ride the same shuttle.)

      And maybe they’ll start selling orange oil again. BTW, does anybody know where to find that?

      1. Maybe they will do that silly “one way only”.Harry’s had going on. Just loved going there and going the “wrong” way. Still cracks me up.

      1. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

        OK, now that I’ve stopped laughing, I have a serious question. If Good Growth DeKalb will not actively oppose this expansion, including picketing and distributing literature and more silly signs, can we all agree that they are irrelevant hypocrites? Or can we at least shame them into changing their name to something more geographically restrictive?

        Yeah, I didn’t think so. But I will personally enjoy the dichotomous reaction.

    4. Quadruple the size, quadruple the fish smell! Yummo! I can say that, because I shop there. And yes STG, the first thing I thought of was “yay” for wider isles and spaces. People get major aggressive with their carts on the weekend, and it doesn’t help that they’re all the size of a small car.

  13. Wouldn’t a mini-EPCOT be fun with restaurants and exhibits and goods from all over? Beer halls and pubs and tacquerias and and and…wow the possibilities are endless.

    1. Have you been to Jungle Jim’s in Cleveland? You’d love it. It literally is a grocery store with a monorail outside ( albeit fake).

  14. Bullying was a theme on another thread. I hear that the movie “Bully” that is showing now at the Landmark Midtown is good. Evidently it argues against an approach of letting students work it out and shows the consequences of indifference vs. trying to actively influence a school culture. It might serve as the topic of a good discussion here after several of us have seen the movie.

    1. I haven’t seen the movie, but here’s a review that may be a good discussion point. As much as I am against bullying, I worry the current conversation surrounding it is much too simplified. In this case, one of the boys portrayed had extensive mental health issues that were not mentioned in the film. I also worry about the “contagion” effect, as explained in the article by Ann Haas from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Emily Bazelon at Slate.com has been following these stories; she also did a series on Phoebe Prince. They’re worth a read if you’re interested in the topic.

      From the review:
      “From Haas’ point of view, by presenting such an incomplete version of the facts, Hirsch has created a real risk of suicide contagion—the documented phenomenon of people mimicking suicidal behavior in light of media representations. “I worry terribly about the contagion effect,” Haas said. “One message of this move is: ‘Bullying kills’—as if it’s a normal response to kill yourself, when of course most people who are bullied don’t do that. Young people who feel bullied could harken back to the movie, and it could be a powerful draw to suicide for them. If Tyler had been accurately portrayed as a kid with mental health challenges that were very hard for him to manage, he wouldn’t seem so attractive. We might feel sympathy for him, but he wouldn’t have the emotional pull of a character who is being romanticized. When you turn a real person, who had a very painful, distressing life, into a kind of fairytale character, that’s something young people are much more likely to identify with. And identification is at the heart of contagion.””

      http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/bulle/2012/03/bully_documentary_lee_hirsch_s_film_dangerously_oversimplifies_the_connection_between_bullying_and_suicide_.html

      1. Wow. This is complex. I went to the AFSP website (http://www.AFSP.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.viewPage&page_ID=7A031746-977B-3DC8-6A4E1A5A6AFFE666) and it’s official statement seems to be supportive of the movie’s message about schools needing to be safer, more protective environments but concerned that mental health issues were not addressed. I know from experiences elsewhere that one problem with suicide prevention is that the prevalence and impact of mental health issues are not appreciated by many and their treatment is considered optional. Suicide is a bigger cause of death among us than is homicide.

        Went to the NY Times review of the movie, “Behind Every Harassed Child? A Whole Lot of Clueless Adults” and it was more about the emergence of a movement to resist bullying and the legalistic opposition from school systems that can occur. It noted that the title seemed off. The movie is about victims, their families, their schools, not about bullies. Evidently the first title of this movie was “The Bully Project”. There’s a link to an interview with the filmmaker but I haven’t followed that yet.

        Have to say that just this much reading has made me wonder if I want to see the movie–this topic is so tough. It’s hard to think about children with mental illness, with conditions that make them prone to bullying, who are bullied, and the fact that adults don’t always respond to protect them adequately. But maybe we have to be made uncomfortable before real social and personal change takes place….

        Re contagion–I wonder if the movie makes suicide seem attractive or glorified somehow. How does the need to get the word out about a problem get balanced by the danger of contagion? I guess this is an issue for all media.

  15. OK, where are people going in such a hurry that they pull straight out of Hill St. next to UJ, directly into the mini parking lot and out onto E. Lake without a single stop or even really slowing down? I’m seeing this any time of the day or night and have been nearly hit. Please, I simply can not believe that 20 seconds is worth what you’re risking to the rest of us on the road.

  16. Anyone know if it is normal for a Magnolia tree to be dropping leaves this time of year? I just bagged 4 bags. Bags we Bag!

    1. Yep. Completely normal. And they don’t compress we’ll in bags. Nice blooms after the leaves fall though.

  17. Sitting out on the porch Saturday night and what a beautiful evening. Clear skies. Kinda cool. Dark and quiet… a little too quiet but nice, very nice.

    Thinking about living in this little town. Perfect place. Great Community. Well-educated and prosperous neighbors. Great people. Everyone looks out for each other. A few lower class folks but don’t see them too often. Future looks bright. Ten year plan in place. Environmental plan almost ready. Government really has everything under control. Great schools. . Life is good. We are heading in the right direction. What could go wrong?

    “ Hey Honey, what time is it? 11:39? Thanks. Time to go to bed. Sweet Dreams.”

    1. Well I was born in a small town
      And I live in a small town
      Probably die in a small town
      Oh, those small communities

      All my friends are so small town
      My parents live in the same small town
      My job is so small town
      Provides little opportunity

      Educated in a small town
      Taught the fear of Jesus in a small town
      Used to daydream in that small town
      Another boring romantic that’s me

      But I’ve seen it all in a small town
      Had myself a ball in a small town
      Married an L.A. doll and brought her to this small town
      Now she’s small town just like me

      No I cannot forget where it is that I come from
      I cannot forget the people who love me
      Yeah, I can be myself here in this small town
      And people let me be just what I want to be

      Got nothing against a big town
      Still hayseed enough to say
      Look who’s in the big town
      But my bed is in a small town
      Oh, and that’s good enough for me

      Well I was born in a small town
      And I can breathe in a small town
      Gonna die in this small town
      And that’s probably where they’ll bury me

  18. Forgot to mention this earlier – I saw the Google Street View vehicle driving on W. Howard last week. Maybe we’re getting updates to our street view photos, which would be nice, since the ones on my street are from Christmas 2008.

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