Free-For-All Friday 11/9/12

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.

162 thoughts on “Free-For-All Friday 11/9/12”

    1. just had this done yesterday and was looking forward to recommending:

      Atlanta Chimney Worx
      Arvydas Didas

      he’s in kirkwood…great guy!

      1. I will second the recommendation to Mr. Richardson. He took a look at our chimney just last week.
        Liked him a lot! Seemed honest and told me what pieces to buy on internet myself to save money in refurbishing our old fireplace.

      2. LM Richardson looked at our 115 year old chimney and wondered how we were still alive. Chimney is now retired. He also did great work tuck-pointing where water was coming in.

    1. Not based on my experiences eating outside — but that may be because people don’t know and restaurant workers aren’t going to cause a problem by mentioning it.

  1. Big thanks to Juliette Sims-Owens, City Clerk @ Avondale for having the shredded American flag at the old James Joyce was removed.

  2. Any Twitterers out there? JunderscoreT is officially on Twitter now but, like when he joined facebook and Google+, has no idea how to start doing stuff. Will this be a success like facebook or a failure like Google+?!?

    If you have any ideas of fun folks to follow or anything that will make this worth doing, let me hear it. You can respond here or, even better, come find @JunderscoreT on twitter.

    1. If you’re at an event where there are really smart people, like the Decatur Book Festival, go to the “discover” function and search for the event’s hashtag, like #dbf. You’ll see hilarious and insightful tweets by people tweeting about the event.

      1. Who was that? Since I unprotected my account, I’ve had a few spam-type followers sign on. Did I miss something good?

    2. OK, so unprotecting your Twitter account and letting people follow you indiscriminately is a #fail. Let’s try this: come find me on twitter and REQUEST to follow me. If you seem like a real, normal person, I will accept. Maybe even if you are Republican 😉

      1. Yeah, I just got on recently, too, & am finding out there are LOTS of people plugging their personal porn sites! I just block anyone who looks weird. I talk to a bunch of politically like-minded folks, though, so I haven’t protected my account. Also, if you respond to someone public who doesn’t follow you, they won’t be able to see what you say. I’m hoping @DonaldTrump (or his Twitter lackey) actually saw my response to his election night ravings!

        1. I get sent stuff occassionaly with a tag called #freakyfriday, that well, isn’t too kid friendly… I suggest checking it out just to validate you don’t want to follow it.

        2. If you respond to someone’s tweet, that person can see your response. One thing that surprised me when I first got on Twitter is that a person is much more likely to respond back to your reply on Twitter than on blogs or message boards. I had been used to posting a comment on a blog and just having it sit there. I’ve been taken aback at who has actually responded me on Twitter and I’m more careful now about what I say!

          1. They can’t see your response if your account is protected & they don’t follow you (according to Twitter’s Help). If your account isn’t protected, anyone can see a response you send. That was what I meant, but inarticulately posted!

    3. I have the hashtag #DecaturGA as a saved search. I’ve found that helpful to find out very time-sensitive information (why a road is blocked/helicopters circling near my house, etc.) as well as info about local events. If I see anything relevant, I also tag my tweets this way.

      Now following you, btw. I am @slowcat.

    4. A few things to know — most spam followers will be deleted pretty quickly. I’ve never had a problem with an open account. If someone objectionable begins following you, just block ’em!

      In additon to the obvious places you’d want to follow, Like Eddie’s, the Brick store, Farmburger, etc. there are several Decatur-ish folks who tweet some interesting stuff. I don’t know any of them personally, FYI, but that’s often what Twitter is about…

      @MaxBlau ‏ @austinlouisray @Carl @kimseverson

      Twitter is useful for different things to different people. For me, it’s mostly for listening and posting the occaisional instagram for followers that I know, not so much tweeting. But if I ever get around to setting up an account for the dogs – watch out. The Z-monster has a much more interesting life than anyone else at our house.


      1. Agree with you about spammers. I received a number of “follows” from porn sites when I first opened my account. I blocked them and after a month or so they stopped.

  3. Woo Hoo! Friday! Just 7 hours and 10 minutes to go for a long 3 day weekend! Thanks to all vets! Just wish CSD could have moved the Teacher work day to Veteran’s Day. Weird how they can’t match up with recognized holidays and then put a work day in the middle of the week on Tuesday.

    1. +1
      Boy Scout troop and Cub Scout pack 175 will be at Decatur Cemetery tomorrow morning to place American flags at all veteran’s graves. This is one of the highlights of the scouting season, and gives us a chance to show our gratitude to all vets.

      And thanks to Chik Fil-a for their always generous donation of chicken biscuits and hot coffee every year.

      1. Thanks Eric. The DHS Girls basketball team and Coach Bill Roberts will be one of the groups representing Decatur High. The DHS Close Up club will be involved in Rake&Run but will support all flag placers in spirit. God Bless all our veterans, living and deceased.

    2. Teacher work day was on a Tuesday in order to accommodate using the schools as an election site. Only happens for the ones so next year the TWD should go back to being a Monday.

  4. If anyone is interested in making sure the little shopping strip at College and Mead gets developed and the new Candler Park Market can go in, there is another variance hearing for the parking strip. Last time, only the two people who were opposed showed up. They guys developing need some support Monday at 6:45 the commission meeting. I can’t make it because of a medical appointment but am hoping some other folks interested can! The people developing it are Decatur residents, by the way.

    1. You beat me to this post, but for some reason I thought this issue was being discussed at the Tuesday meeting. When you click on the agenda link for Tuesday on the CoD website, it kicks you back out to the main page.

  5. Does anybody have any experience with the Bean Work Play Cafe on New Street off College? Any experiences both positive or negative would be appreciated. We are considering using their services in the next few weeks. My MIL watches our child most days but one day a week she has other commitments and I would like to get into the office for a few hours to get some basic stuff done.

    1. We took our 6 yr old there for PNO this past summer and had a great experience. I know lots of other parents who take their kids there and like it, as well.

    2. I have absolutely nothing but good, great, sparkly things to say about Bean. Their staff is top notch and everything about it is simply amazing. Seriously. And no, I don’t work there or have a relative who works there or anything. I just have had very positive experiences there.

    3. I have only used Bean a few times, but they were excellent with my sensitive child. I will definitely use them again when needed.

    1. Well damn. I just removed the “followers” who were obviously spam but I didn’t see what they had written. Doh!

      1. I’ll admit I haven’t seen the word “belly button” in ages, but I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen it used like that. 😉

  6. Does anyone still wear a paper poppy on Veteran’s Day? Any organization sell them? When I was growing up, everyone did. I can’t remember who sold them — the American Legion? VFW? Lions Club? Pilot Club? Rotary Club? (Those were the active civic organizations in my little hometown back then.)

    1. From a government website:
      “The wearing of poppies in honor of America’s war dead is traditionally done on Memorial Day, not Veterans Day. The practice of wearing of poppies takes its origin from the poem In Flanders Fields, written in 1915 by John McCrae. For information on how to obtain poppies for use on Memorial Day, contact a veterans service organization, such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW) or The American Legion, as a number of veterans organizations distribute poppies annually on Memorial Day. You can find veterans groups in the Veterans Service Organization link on VA’s Veterans Day web page. Veterans groups in your area can be found in your local phone book. Look in the yellow pages under “Veterans and Military Organizations” or a similar heading.”

      1. I happened to be in Canada in November several years ago and they had veterans groups selling poppies to commemorate their veteran’s day, which they call Remembrance Day.

      2. I saw that site, but it does not align with my memory. I’m quite sure we wore poppies on Nov. 11 when I was a child. (Although I am going to check w/ siblings and childhood friends to be sure I’m not hallucinating.)

        Most adults called it Armistice Day (although it had been officially changed to Veterans Day in the 1950s). In contrast with Memorial Day and July 4th, which were mostly about parades and picnics and going swimming and not going to school (ironic, since Memorial Day is about honoring those who died in service), Armistice Day had a certain solemnity about it and even as children, we knew that “the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month” was significant. There may even have been a moment of silence observed. My grandparents’ generation fought WW I, there were still plenty of them walking around in the ’60s and early ’70s, and the day was most strongly associated with them, at least as I experienced the way my elders observed it. (Armistice Day was originally proclaimed to honor those who fought in WW I; a day honoring veterans of all wars was proclaimed in 1945, and in the ’50s they changed Armistice Day to Veterans Day.)

  7. After reviewing the precinct by precinct voting numbers, all of the talk of a Republican “invasion” of Decatur turned out to be a lot of talk and that’s about it. We have actually become more Democratic over the past four years.

    President Obama met or exceeded his % of the Decatur vote in all precincts in the City of Decatur except for one (Clairemont West) just barely. Overall, President Obama got 76.6% of the COD vote this year. In 2008 he received 74.5% of the COD vote.

    Precinct by precinct numbers for the percentage of vote Obama got in COD precincts are as follows. Again, the Clairemont precincts continue to have the most Republican voters in Decatur, and the southside precincts (Renfroe, Oakhurst, Winnona) continue to be the least.

    Clairemont E 69.3% (2012) 63.64% (2008)
    Clairemont W 69.4% (2012) 69.88% (2008)
    Glennwood 76.6% (2012) 73.59% (2008)
    Oakhurst 83.6% (2012) 81.77% (2008)
    Ponce de Leon 78.8% (2012) 75.10 (2008)
    Renfroe 83.0% (2012) 78.15% (2008)
    Winnona Park 80.9% (2012) 80.25% (2008)

    1. would you mind posting a link to your source? i am curious about the amendment 1 breakdown at the precincts. folks voting at renfroe were about 45% supporting and 65% against, and i’d like to know if that was a consistent across the city.


        1. Yes, I got it from the GA SOS website. It takes a bit of hunting around, but it is in the reports section and you have to download a spreadsheet.

          Looks like for Amendment One in COD precincts the No votes were 53% and the Yes votes were 47%.

          1. Speaks well of Decatur’s critical thinking skills of state. (Not against charters or holding public schools to high standard, just deceptive wording of amendments and giving charter approval to inept state that doesn’t support public schools adequately.)

    2. Thanks PW. Decatur conservatives and Republicans are already planning our comeback. Liberals Beware! We will improve our percentages in 2014 and sweep in 2016.
      Just you wait, Henry and Henrietta Higgins! Just you wait!

      1. That is an interesting prediction. Would you care to share with the class what you are basing it on?

      2. It should be noted that Georgia has the second lowest percentage for Romney of states that he won – only North Carolina was lower.

      3. This kind of sounds like the same thing as saying that you just watch in the next election Republicans will get a majority of the Hispanic vote, the African American vote, the Jewish vote. Right. It never happens.

  8. Seeking feedback on an idea I’ve been noodling for a while…

    If Decatur were to partner with a company to offer clean energy to residents for less than what Georgia Power sells it for (GA Power is at roughly $5/100kWh; target for this would be $2.50/100kWh), would you be interested in – and more importantly, buy – clean energy through such a program?

    Other elements of the program could include:
    – Creating an investment pool from the revenue to install more clean energy within the City (likely solar on school/gov’t buildings, at least at first, but I could see this expanding to residential/commercial without too much problem)
    – Offering people who buy a certain amount of clean energy (10 100kWh blocks/month or so) discounted and/or free energy audits + weatherization services

    The city’s role in this program would be primarily marketing (e.g., announcing through the Focus, etc.) and helping source projects for the local clean energy fund. So minimal (if any) budgetary impact.

    Any & all feedback welcome!

    1. Not a bad idea, but doesn’t GA Power have a government sanctioned monopoly to provide electricity in this area? Perhaps the city’s efforts should be spent to partner with GA Power on such an initiative to promote and reduce the costs of clean energy.

      1. The way this works with both Georgia Power and the program I proposed is through Renewable Energy Credits (RECs). RECs are essentially the quantified environmental benefits of clean energy being produced somewhere – could be in Georgia, could be elsewhere.

        Your electrical service is agnostic to how the electrons get generated…without having either on-site renewable generation or a secondary “clean” grid, it’s impossible to direct renewable generation to a specific customer…it just goes into the grid.

        RECs allow you to support clean generation, and if there was a local investment fund created (which, BTW, is completely permissible…you can install PV on your house today if you’d like without running afoul of Georgia Power’s monopoly), we could increase the % of clean power generated within our city.

        1. I’d be interested in a full DM post about this subject, w/ maybe some links to how other communities do it. I’m interested in the concept, and it would be great to have a full attention discussion on this rather than buried in FFAF…

        2. But GA doesn’t have RECs yet (or in the foreseeable future.). New Jersey seems to have the most advanced REC system, and even they have issues.
          GA also is one of the very few states without any legislated renewable energy goals either by MW production or percentage of total output. Hmmmph

          I would love for Decatur to be able to put solar panels on our govt and school buildings at least. Not sure what we’d need to do to get that happening, but I’m willing to look into it. I wonder if the city would open to a community task force on this?
          It’s worth a try.

        3. YES, I would definitely sign up. I finally signed on to Ga Pwr’s program but I would prefer to support another source of clean energy. In regard to cost, if you think clean energy is expensive, wait til you see the cost of climate change, including insurance premiums, decreased food production, etc, etc.

    2. Against. The pressing need for renewable, (and possibly “clean”) power has changed dramatically in the last three to five years.

      1. Who bears the cost of the REC’s? REC’s are a fairly complex process and somewhat confusing proces. Anytime you introduce this “crediting” concept you introduce a) inefficiency and b) potential for gaming the system. How does one get from $5 electricity to $2.50 electricity with “clean renewables” when the cost of producing a kWh of electricity is so much higher with wind and solar than Hydro and Gas (and Coal,which is on the decline because of abundant and cheap natural gas)? It is my understanding that wind and solar simply aren’t currently viable without subsidies. Decatur should not be providing these subsidies and neither should our cliff-facing federal government.

      3. Aside from encouraging low cost service providers, I don’t think our City needs to be in the business of providing power let alone subsidizing things like renewable energy.

      1. Just to be clear, this idea is not a proposal that the city pay for or subsidize power. The city would simply be working with a provider of RECs to provide them at a lower cost – and with some potential additional local benefits – to electric consumers. The difference between the $5 Georgia Power charges and the $2.50 target is a result of buying RECs on the open market and GPC’s utility monopoly.

        The cost would be voluntary and borne by those who opt in to the program, just like how Georgia Power’s current “Green Energy” program works. In that sense, the subsidy for clean energy would be paid for by those who choose to, but they would potentially get some additional benefits like subsidized (again, through the REC revenue stream, not a subsidy from the city) weatherization and seeing more locally-generated clean energy.

        Did you have a point #2? (Just curious…your numbering skips from 1 to 3.)

      2. The cost of solar has been falling through the floor due to the imports from China, so it actually has gotten more competitive. Gas is still dirt cheap, but I predict it won’t be for long. Just as gasoline was dirt cheap fifteen years ago and then rose, so will natural gas. Fracking has too many environmental impacts that will slow its growth. The natural gas companies will start dialing back production to get better returns. As for hydro, there are no new dams going in, but electricity consumption will continue to rise, so something needs to fill the gap. Let’s not get on the topic of who is getting subsidies.

        This is an interesting talk about the future of our production, distribution, and use. Video at the bottom.

        1. KC- Point 2 got mixed in with point 1 while editing.

          Mr. Boh. Portions of the solar value chain may be getting cheaper, but the overall cost of producing electricity and getting it onto the grid is still far too expensive to be practical. It’s good that folks are working on making it viable, for when we do run out of fossil fuels, but that is a long time away.

          Also – There is VERY little danger to the environment related to fracking. It’s not nil, but it’s also not significant. Most notions about that are a result of hypotheticals and green-driven scare tactics. (Lighting tap water on fire in PA? Not a result of fracking! There have always been high concentrations of gas in the ground water in those parts…)

          To echo macarolina, maybe its worth its own post because if this is on CoD website, I’m not sure I can find it. It’s not that promoting clean and renewables is not an admirable effort, I’d just like more information about who would bear the ultimate cost, i.e. to what extent would this demand additional resources from the city?

          1. “There is VERY little danger to the environment related to fracking. It’s not nil, but it’s also not significant. Most notions about that are a result of hypotheticals and green-driven scare tactics.”

            I disagree — there are several ways in which fracking poses significant danger to the environment. A lot of the effects are poorly understood so far, but just because it offers substantial benefits doesn’t mean we shouldn’t study the process and its effects, and regulate it in such a way as to optimize benefits and minimize dangers. Fracking requires vast quantities of water, up to several million gallons, most of which isn’t recovered. Fracking has been connected with — and the companies doing the fracking have acknowledged this — triggering seismic events. We don’t really know what contaminants might be getting into the ground water as a result of fracking because the companies doing it are not identifying the chemicals they are using or how they are disposing of them. And they are not required to share that information because fracking is exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act.

            1. I think the danger related to the chemicals is overstated, but your point about the water not being recovered is a good one that needs more attention (IMHO). There is another older technology that is applied to these operations to pressure oil and gas out of wells: water filling. I don’t understand why that issue is not raised as a bigger concern – especially in the drier west.

              The drilling and fracking is done thousands of feet below the water table, under layers of impermeable rock (the whole reason for needing to fracture it to allow the molecules to flow) making it virtually impossible for any chemicals used in these operations to get back to the surface.

              But I’ve never gotten a good answer about what happens to the water that gets trapped so far below the ground. To me that is a net loss of water to the ecosystem but it has to be so small in comparison to the surface water as to be meaningless – maybe. I don’t really know.

              One thing is for sure: This is REALLY bothersome to Fraggles and Doozers.

              1. Re. methane contamination of drinking water wells, you might find this of interest:

                It is not true that “it is virtually impossible” for chemicals used in fracking operations to get back to the surface. They actually are allowed to inject into and adjacent to UDWSs (Underground Drinking Water Sources). For the 20-80% of the water that stays underground, the full landscape of faults and fractures is not adequately mapped, much less what it looks like after they’ve created the fractures needed to liberate the gas they’re after. So they don’t really know, and certainly can’t control, what happens to it. For the waste water that is recovered: it is referred to as “backflow” and contains any number of chemicals, many of which are known toxins (some even in minuscule amounts), and is designated hazardous waste. It is supposed to be handled and disposed of accordingly, but there are already many documented cases of accidental spills. Worse, there is a severe shortage of waste disposal facilities capable of handling the waste, which in some cases may contain radioactive substances. The scariest part of this, IMO, is except in the few states that have implemented disclosure laws, the companies engaging in these operations are not even required to identify which hazardous materials they are using. It can be done non-toxically — has to be, in offshore operations to protect marine life — but nobody is forcing that to happen on land.

                Not only are they drawing down aquifers (100s of 1000s of gallons for each coalbed methane well, many millions of gallons for each shale well, but all that water has to be trucked around which creates another cascade of environmental impacts that need to be factored in.

                Each well uses from several hundred thousand to several million pounds of sand as proppant. The sharp increase in sand mining and transport (which obviously creates jobs) also has its own train of environmental damage and fossil fuel resource consumption.

                There are also well-founded concerns about the degradation of air quality, particularly around the flowback operations.

                I’m not advocating a knee-jerk opposition here. It should be obvious to everyone that we can’t simply stop using fossil fuels overnight. But by now, we should all be alert and aware, and when new resource extraction methods are being implemented, we should demand that it all be done carefully and responsibly.

                There is tons of information available.

                1. Not to pile on, but you should check out “Gasland”, a little documentary currently out. It’s pretty eye-opening, especially when you see water running out of a kitchen faucet burst into flame when a match is struck near it! I’m not rabidly anti-fossil fuels, but I really don’t think fracking has been made safe enough for the surrounding environments where it’s being done. There HAS to be a serious effort to start finding/using alternative fuels, because methane, coal, etc. are finite resources.

  9. What is the safest humane way to catch a rat in the house? (I’m being serious) 🙂

    I also believe in the process of nature, so does anyone have a cat I can borrow? (again, serious)

    1. There are no kill traps you can buy to catch small rodents. My brother in law trapped their rats and took them out to Stone Mountain Park. He released them in a field where red tailed hawks like to hunt. Best rat bait is peanut butter and oatmeal.

      1. Red tailed hawks rarely take rats. Rats are nocturnal, hawks are daylight hunters. Exceptions happen at dawn and twilight though. Rats and mice are most often taken by owls and coyotes. At least the coyotes that aren’t already full of domesticated pets.

      2. I understand where you are coming from. We had rats several years ago and I tried several no-kill options. I rented catch and release traps. Seriously. Tried the glue traps. The problem is, the no-kill options just don’t work. They just don’t. Trust me.
        I went round in circles for many weeks. Seems hard to believe now, but I did. All it got me was a lot more rat poop to clean up and holes where they gnawed through the baseboards. Rats are masters of escape. They ate my peanut butter right out of the traps and kept right on going.
        Use the spring loaded traps. Get the ones with the very sensitive yellow paddle food levers. Find out the entry point to the house too, and seal it. I promise, it’s the only way.

        1. Revvie’s absolutely right, it’s ESSENTIAL to find EVERY place they are entering, or could enter, and seal it effectively. Otherwise, trapping them just amounts to a relocation program, making room for more.

    2. I can promise there will be some disagreement on this, but those spring loaded rat traps are actually designed to kill instantly. With the glue traps, the rat may be stuck for a while and you will have to either release it or kill it yourself. If you use the poison, you run a risk the rodent will die in your walls or attic or basement, and you will smell it for months.

      1. So, would a poisoned rodent pose a health risk to a raptor that happened to eat it?

        I’m wondering since we haven’t seen the hawk around that was tearing up the neighborhood during the summer.

      2. My Oakhurst family (or more accurately, my Oakhurst husband) has had bad experiences with both spring loaded traps and poison. Unfortunately, the poison does not work as fast as one might hope and we found a terminally poisoned rat virtually on our doorstep. Hubby had to take matters into his own hands with a shovel to end the misery. Then, we had another one get just a leg caught in the spring trap which led to another need for the shovel. I will definitely be telling him about the Rat Zapper.

        1. I have neither a husband nor the wherewithal to deal with a snap-trap mishap myself. I would have to simply move out of the house and put it on the market as-is, rat corpse and all. Consequently, the zapper has been a godsend.

    3. In Town hardware sells the best rat trap ever. It’s a rat zapper. Looks like a silver mini-trailer for rats. Works with D batteries. Open on one end. You put bait in and slide it down to the dead end – we used cat food as that was attracting the rats in the first place. Place the trap open end near the place where the rat is getting in to the house. The rat smells the food and steps in the trap, once the rat is all the way in, the floor is electrified and bye bye rat. Then the best part, you don’t have to touch the nasty thing, there’s no blood either. You just turn off the zapper, pick it up and tilt the rat into the trash bag. Take it immediately outside and hope the trash runs soon, dead rats smell to high heaven. Add more bait, turn the trap back on and put it back and get the next rat! Trust me, there is never just one. Go to Ace, Tony will hook you up! You can even leave it overnight and throw the rat away in the morning.

      1. Even though I have not had to use it in years, the rat zapper is one of my favorite household necessities. (My cat is a skilled huntress but adheres to a strict catch-and-release program.) If I were a rat, I’d rather get zapped instantly than munched by a coyote or owl.

      2. The Rat Zapper does indeed rule. We’ve been through every type of killin’ you could think of and only the Zapper has performed consistently with no side effects.

        1. Mr. Decaturkj notes that while the zapper is effective on the smaller rodents, it won’t take out a 2-pounder. Unfortunately, he apparently knows this from experience.

          1. 2 pounds?!? You’re talking about some trophy rats. Is it possible it was a baby possum? Morbid curiosity demands the complete story, please! (Among the many surprises of home ownership has been a growing fascination with varmints and vermin.)

            1. Sadly (or happily, depending on your POV), there were some sightings of it still alive that confirmed its massive size. It started coming into our yard from a demo’ed lot 2 doors down– I shudder to think what it was eating to achieve such, er, stature. It later met its fate beneath the wheel of a car just past our driveway. Ah, city living. I guess that was before the coyotes came to town.

      3. How expensive is it? & is it small enough so that other small animals couldn’t get a paw in by mistake?

        1. I’m thinking I paid $35-40 at Ace (plus 4 ‘D’ batteries), maybe 10 years ago. A small cat could probably get in trouble with it, as could a dog that could get its muzzle into it. (You bait it by smearing peanut butter on the far end wall, so the varmints go inside to get at it. Not sure what it takes to trip it. But it works like a charm. If you’re super-squeamish like me, you set the trap on a piece of cardboard or a beer flat, so you don’t even have to touch the trap while the carcass is in it.)

        2. I think ours was $40 a few years ago. Most other animals cannot get hurt. It works on a tilt plate mechanism. The animal has to get all the way in and level out the plate by going for the food in the back of the zapper. If the plate is only pushed down in the front by the paws of a cat or a dog for instance, there is no contact and no zap. Most cats are too big to get in except the Ultimate model. Even a dog muzzle would not likely set it off, no even weight distribution. Kittens might be problematic. I would recommend use outside, it will short out on a wet floor. However, it worked well in our garage on a piece of cardboard as someone else mentioned using.

          1. Thanks, I never understood exactly how it works.

            I’ve used it in the attic and in the house behind big furniture where dog & cat couldn’t go. I feel compelled to mention that both times I’ve had rats in my living space (as opposed to attic or crawlspace), the cat brought them indoors and released them.

            Since our booming coyote and owl populations can’t seem to keep up, I’d love to see more snakes around here!

          2. Thanks for the info! Going to hit Intown tomorrow afternoon…did I really see where someone had a TWO POUND rat in their house? *feeling faint*

    4. Oh my gosh I have the killer cat for you! Squirrels, chipmunks, rats, Luna moths! I can’t contain her and she is years past her medical death sentence. Maybe a new business renting ” skittles” out!
      Seriously, there are traps you can buy or hire a guy called trapper John

  10. Has anyone used a local title and settlement firm that you would recommend. I’m refinancing and not sold on just accepting the one recommended by my lender.

    1. Origin Title in the Fidelity building. John Bennett is the attorney. 404-377-6783. He handled my HARP refinancing for much less than the Bank of America recommended firm was charging. I have referred him to others and all have been satisfied.

  11. Last night was graduation night for the 20th City o’ Decatur Citizens’ Police Academy.

    The first I ever heard about the academy (“…the ACADEMY!” –Major Monogram) was here on the Decatur Metro or, as everyone seems to call it, “The Blog.” With my wife holding back mocking comments, I signed up, thinking that any chance to improve my family’s safety is worth eight evenings out of my life.

    The experience was awesome, despite Deputy Chief Keith Lee haranguing me at every opportunity for posting a comment in the thread about their recruitment video that the only thing funny about it was his toupee. For the record: CITY OF DECATUR DEPUTY CHIEF LEE DOES NOT WEAR A TOUPEE. That glorious head of hair is 100% natural. …minus any product he may use.

    Patrol Captain Kris Boyett ran most of the show, and her knowledge, compassion, and humor immediately made me feel that the citizens of our city are in good hands. From the patrol division, to CID (what we regulah folks call Detectives), to Support Staff–I learned quite a bit about policing in general and a whole lot about policing the City of Decatur in particular. The bottom line: We have an extraordinary bunch of people looking out for us. Having grown up in and around NYC, and spending 20 years in Boston, I know what good urban policing is, and deeze people is it.

    A few cool things I learned: If you call Decatur 911, you will always get a human being. 911 response time is under three minutes (the two times I called, I thought the rapid response was just a fluke). All cases that require it are fingerprinted, and the processing is done in-house. Decatur Police have not had to shoot anyone in almost 30 years.

    A ridealong is required for graduation. For my ridealong, I ended up with Officer Robert Lindsey, whom many of you may know as the traffic officer on the Harley. We rode in a car. I am totally sincere when I say that Officer Lindsey is an awesome guy and an excellent cop. His favorite band is Van Halen, so you know I’m right. It gains me nothing to say any of this–I’m sure if I run a red light on my bike again, he’ll nab me just like he did the last time. I posted a long-winded recollection of my ridealong on my blog.

    If you haven’t done the Citizens’ Police Academy and you have the time, do it next year. There’s cake at the end of it.

    1. This has been on my Bucket List for while. Thanks for encouragement. I’m upping my resolve. What kind of cake?

    2. +1.
      The Decatur ridealong was much, um, quieter than the one I did with a DeKalb officer for Leadership Dekalb some years back. In Decatur, though, I found a guy’s dog while the officer was answering a possible domestic dispute call in the complex on Coventry.

  12. Yard Sale at the Art Shack – Saturday, November 10 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
    The Decatur Arts Alliance is moving uptown….we are having a huge yard sale at our beloved “Art Shack” located at 903 Church Street tomorrow from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
    We have accumulated over 20 years worth of festival posters (framed and unframed), vintage glassware from the wine and beer festivals, office furniture, printers, home furnishings and much more….come get your yard sale fix and support the arts!

  13. Why does WGTV (channel 8) broadcast such a weak signal? (21kW compared to 55.4kW for ch 30, 80 kW for ch 11, 500 kW for ch 36, 1000 kW for 2, 5, 14, 17 and 46) Does it have to do with their license? Can they not afford a bigger transmitter (or whatever)?

    Haven’t cut off the dish yet, but plan to. Have connected an antenna and digital converter box and happily get all local stations of interest EXCEPT ch 8. Is this going to require an outdoor antenna?

    1. Channel 8 is on top of Stone Mountain. I have heard their weak signal is due to everything from not interfering with the police repeaters also on the mountain to Decatur being in the signal shadow from the mountain to interference from the volcano under Stone Mountain.
      I suspect it’s old equipment and lack of funding to upgrade. Now that President Romney has been elected we won’t have PBS to kick aroun…what? Really? Oh well.

    2. For over the air viewing the trick that has worked for us is to have 2 antennas. We have the larger anternna pointed toward the main broadcasting towers in the city and then a smaller one pointing just at stone mountain, both in the attic. Both go into a splitter so you are left with one cable to your tv’s with signals from both antennas.

      1. For the antenna to pick up the signal from Stone Mtn, is there a chance that positioning it up next to the ceiling would work? (TV is in a room on the east side of the house, but house sits near low point of n’hood) Not prepared to run wire into the attic right now. Also, what is the least I could spend on that type of antenna?

    3. I’m a block east of the square using an amplified antenna. Channel 8 and its two accompanying sister channels come in great. Channel 30, on the other hand, is the weakest. It’s been a while since I looked at map of where the transmitters are so 30 may be on the wrong side of one of downtown’s taller buildings.

      Anyway, my point is that an unobstructed shot of a weak signal on top of nearby Stone Mountain may not be as bad as you think.

  14. Thinking ahead to Thanksgiving and finalizing my travel plans — can anyone recommend a reliable cab company to pick me up at my Decatur house and take me to the MARTA station on Wednesday morning? I am thinking that the airport lots will be full by then, but if anyone can speak to that, I’d love to know. Thanks!

    1. We have great service for this very trip from Decatur’s Best. Used them many times. Reserve the previous day and for good measure call 5-10 min. before the time. Usually they are already on the way.

    2. I like Decatur’s Best too. But agree about calling as a reminder. One out of every ~10 times I’ve used them, they’ve forgotten. But the ratio is higher for other taxi companies I’ve tried. We’re not NY, London, or Paris, with taxis roving the streets at all times, looking for fares. Airport limo services can work well too if there’s just one of you traveling. Taxis are more economical if a family is traveling.

  15. What is your opinion of the IB system of grading that Renfroe and the High School are using? Has anyone else had problems deciphering the grades? Or feeling that the system is fair to introverted children who are loathe to speak up. I thought it was supposed to recognize and reward different types of learners but it seems to penalize those who don’t exhibit all the qualities that various learners have. I am wondering if Decatur High is the right school for my kid. Any opinions or advice? Besides talking to the teachers. I’ve got that one.

    1. A few issues to start with:
      – Fidelity of implementation–according to IB experts, CSD is not implementing the full IB grading package. I suspect that one should stick to traditional, well-understood grading or go the full nine yards with IB grading. Partial implementation may be the worst choice.
      – Conversions that are not completely transparent and maybe not mathematically defensible–DHS IB grades get converted to traditional grades for the GPA. RMS report grades use a different scale for report cards than for intra-term grades.
      – Need for more training, feedback from users, and upgrades. Many teachers report quietly that they feel uncomfortable with the implementation and interpretation of IB grades. Some of that may be just that more training is needed or lack of experience, but some may be concern with the validity of the process.
      – DHS recently had a well-received DHS 101 for new students and families. Maybe it’s time for an IB Grading 101. Not a 45 minute lecture, but a true several hour training for students and families with hands-on practice with the reporting software, real life examples of IB rubrics and how students can succeed at them, how to interpret IB grades over the course of a year–e.g. when to start worrying if “mastery” is not increasing, and a chance to ask questions and give feedback. The IB experts in CSD may not be aware of the many, many questions people have. This would be perfect material for SLTs.

    2. The IB Programme is one of the top reasons we left CSD. The IB grading system and the report “cards” used in CSD are very difficult to decipher. For example, I did not find out until the end of the year, when I received a form letter with my son’s name misspelled, that he was in danger of failing a class. (Never heard from the teacher – even in response to my inquiries. Another problem with CSD…) Does not work for special needs students who have difficulty expressing their thoughts and feelings. Also abhor the idea of a public school system trying to force-feed a particular social / political agenda disguised as education. I am an old-school reading, writing, and arithmetic gal. It disturbs me to watch CSD waste (my) money and (their) time on this trendy and expensive program.

      1. Jane, I am surprised you didn’t know about the parent portal. It’s a place where you can log in, daily if you like, and check on your child’s grades, assignments due, absences, tardies. They mention it at every opportunity.

        The IB grades are more complex, but they can be deciphered.

        For the record, my DHS graduate daughter entered UGA with 16 credits under her belt from the AP and other rigorous curriculum at DHS.

        1. Parent Portal is not designed for IB grades and is one of the reasons for the distortions in grade conversion. And it’s only as good as the data put into it and the data is often old. That’s because it’s such a cumbersome system for the teachers to use. They’ve showed me what you have to do to enter information and it’s not user friendly. Managebac is better in that it is tailored for IB but the version CSD uses doesn’t seem to have full functionality–unclear if that’s a problem with the software or how the software is being used. The reporting is limited and information from the previous term disappears as soon as the new one arrives. You have to be lightning quick to see it.

          Not saying that these systems aren’t better than nothing but they are not being used to their full potential nor are they transparent for all parents. Hence the need for IB 101, the Course (as opposed to the lecture or handout.)

      2. @ Jane: as a parent of a potential DHS student, I appreciate your thoughts on the IB program. What is the social / political agenda you believe is being forced on students?

      3. Jane, so sorry to hear about your experience. But it’s troubling to hear you refer to IB programs are “trendy.” I’m in my 40s and graduated from an IB high school back in the dark ages. I went to a top-rated college and an Ivy League grad school, and my experience isn’t unique among those in my high school class. It’s a well-established and well-respected system. I find that hard to square with its “trendiness.”

      1. We did this one year to keep stress levels down and were less than impressed. The special price did not seem justified by the experience. But we’re not Ted’s types and maybe that was the problem.

          1. Yeah, I thought about it and if Ted wasn’t a good fit for Jane Fonda, he’s not for me either.

    1. Not in Decatur but not far, The Shed at Glenwood is offering a Thanksgiving buffet dinner from 1:00-7:00 for $45 a head. It’s one of my favorite restaurants, and it’s got one of Atlanta’s better known chefs, Todd Richards, in the open kitchen. And the housemade Ding Dong is killer. The Shed is in the Glenwood Park development between I-20 and Glenwood Avenue and between East Atlanta Village and Grant Park.

        1. What is the restaurant supposed to do about snarky, picky children? Aren’t they the parents’ responsibility?

          1. Right, some restaurants just appeal to adults more than kids. That’s not the restaurant’s problem and why parents like to scope things out ahead of time, especially before spending $45 per head. If a restaurant is likely to inspire snark about my so-called taste in food or pickiness so that I feel like I just spent $15 per bite, I’d just as soon leave the kids at home. But since it’s Thanksgiving, a revered family holiday, I can’t. DFACS territory.

        2. Not sure about the Thanksgiving dinner, but I’ve been 4-5 times, and there have been kids each time.

          The new chef is formerly of the Oak Room in Louisville, KY, one of the finest restaurants in a city with some really great restaurants (really). I like him a lot.

  16. A suggestion on the disposal of rodents caught several days before trash pickup: put them in a plastic bag in the freezer! But don’t forget to put them in the trash frozen on pickup day.

  17. One of the very few negatives about living in Decatur is rats. Palmetto bugs too but they are not associated with disease. If we could eliminate rats, palmetto bugs, and kudzu, and add mountains and ocean, this place would be nirvana. But then where would we go on vacation? Ok, I change my wish–just eliminate rats, palmetto bugs, and kudzu.

    1. When I lived in New York, I went into the bathroom, opened the lid on the toilet, and found a huge brown rat swimming the the bowl.

      I’ll take Decatur’s rat problem over New York’s any day.

      1. Yuk, just reading that gave me the heebie jeebies.
        Rats are everywhere. Palmetto bugs and kudzu are how we know we’re not in NY. (Well, one of the ways.)

      2. Funny, I lived in NYC for 4 years and never saw a rat and it’s not like I was living on Park Avenue. There were probably rats in the subway but you never want to get close enough to the edge of the platform to look down in NYC–someone might push you off, inadvertently from the crowding, or purposefully. And no question that the hordes of swarming German cockroaches when you turn on the lights in NY are worse than the occasional flying palmetto bug here. But NYC was never in contention for my nirvana, nor is Atlanta; Decatur is the only place south of the kudzu line that is a contender for me. Funny that Decatur is the only place that I’ve ever seen rats–didn’t see them in Los Angeles, NYC, Portland, Santa Fe. We must not have hospitable enough sewers–the rats have to come up to forage.

        1. That is amazing – the part about living in NYC for 4 years and never seeing a rat. I’ve probably visited 4 or 5 times in my whole life, but one night walking through Chinatown after they had put up all the food they sell on the sidewalk I saw rats all over the place. Big ones too.

          1. I certainly smelled a lot of rank things in Chinatown and other parts of the City, especially around alleys. So I’ve got no doubt that rats abound there. But never saw one. Whereas here I have seen them in my driveway, basement, attic “chase”, and garage, on telephone wires, and all over the MARTA tracks at Five Points. I even saw one in our house when my son was still in the crawling stage–I believe they saw each other. I mentioned in daycare that I saw a large mouse in our house and the staff roared with laughter. They told me that large mice are also known as rats. That’s when I banned birdseed from the property. When we remodeled ages ago, I was told that dead rat skeletons were throughout the removed walls. Gross.

      3. I’ve had some toilet rat action…right here in the COD. It was early in the morning and I ran to the bedroom, screaming for my sleeping husband. My knight in shining armor didn’t even open his eyes, “Pretend it’s a giant turd and flush it” was his advice. I don’t remember what happened after than, but I think it involved a shoe being thrown at husband’s head.
        yep, some rats like to swim in the pipes, I suppose.

      4. After we solve global warming and terrorism, I would like to ask the world’s leaders to please focus on the elimination of rats, cockroaches, kudzu, and cold viruses. It would be a cause that all political factions could unite against and I don’t believe there would be any negative fallout other than the ruin of the pest control and over-the-counter pharmaceutical industries.

        1. You left Mosquitos! They provide nothing beneficial to an ecosystem, and like my mutt blood so much that I act as a beacon, much to my families delight.
          Mosquitos would top my list. We have both palmettos and rats, but neither of those try and suck my blood.

          1. I stand corrected. Mosquitoes belong at the top of the list in terms of disease risk and near the top in terms of annoyance. They just aren’t as gross as rats or cockroaches.

      1. Well it is public green space and Decatur’s charter states ” We are committed…, preserving and promoting an appreciation for our green spaces…” An Atlantic style Broadwalk doesn’t appear to preserve green space my dear friend.

        1. The specs call for the boardwalk to be six feet wide and 139 feet long.

          Never seen the Atlantic City boardwalk, but I thought it was a little larger than that.

            1. Check out the “boardwalk” in Medlock. It’s not what you are envisioning. Which sucks, because I would kill for real pizza and funnel cake that close!

          1. Again very interesting. I was told several years ago that even though part of Dearborn Park is in the City of Deatur, the original deed to the property stated that this would be a DeKalb County park, and that if the City of Decatur ever gained control of the park, ownership of the property would revert to the original owners. The City of Decatur recreation department has not provided any upkeep to the park because of this stipulation in the deed.
            One thing is true, the park is covered with English Ivy, privit, and neglect.. I would like to see a better partnership between the City and DeKalb County. The Renewal competition is a good start.
            But an interesting question. Who the hell owns Dearborn Park? What agreements exist between DeKalb County and the City as to who does what to the park? Is the City spending money in a DeKalb County park?

  18. Would love recommendation for my 10 yo son who wants to believe he’s as cool as a teen, and has occasional night terrors, asthma/allergies (special needs/chronic condition). Good availability would be helpful.


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