Free-For-All Friday 3/15/13

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.

132 thoughts on “Free-For-All Friday 3/15/13”

  1. Word on the street is that restauranteur Billy Allin is partnering with Lotus of Life for a new concept in the Carpe Diem space. It will be a chiropractic clinic/vegan restaurant called Aches & Kale.

  2. Remember when we had that conversation a while back about using the single spacing, instead of double spacing as the rule now? I’ve been out of school for eons, is there super comprehensiveness site on the web for writing and grammar advice such as that? I needz it

    1. Try Googling “Daily Writing Tips”. You get an email a day with a new tip. Can’t remember site name. Excellent advice, I think.

    2. Try the Purdue Online Writing Laboratory (OWL).

      It is one of the best sites for writing, I think.

      If you have a library card, you can access the which has grammar and spelling books, and a whole host of other self-improvement books and quizzes.

      1. I like the Fake AP Style Book on Twitter for advice like “Always remember to close all parentheses. We’re not paying to air condition the entire paragraph.”

  3. Reading about the 315 W. Ponce development and the concerns voiced by those who live nearby, I have to wonder why we would allow traffic on Ponce de Leon and other streets to get even worse than it already is. Congestion is already terrible during some periods, and this development involves adding a lot of cars right into the middle of the congestion. Presumably there was a traffic impact study; what did it show?

    1. Interesting to see the involvement of a county commissioner now that a development is next door to her residence.

      1. Why would her being a commissioner affect her right to express concerns regarding her neighborhood?

        1. Who said it affected her rights? It’s just interesting to see if/how a politician’s positions change when the decision being debated affects their own personal interests. Like when a Republican senator suddenly becomes pro-gay marriage because his own son comes out of the closet.

          1. Or when a Democratic president converts to the pro-marriage position when it becomes politically expedient to do so. And a former Democrat president, too.

      2. With all due respect to Commissioner Gannon, I’ll be far more receptive to such perspectives once DeKalb government can demonstrate development examples equal to or superior to what’s been fostered in Decatur. I’m glad the neighbors and developer are working together towards a mutually agreeable design, and I hope it proves successful, but I scratch my head when Decaturites come across as ideologically opposed to the very models that have made us the success we are today.

        Just go for a walk downtown. Proof of concept is everywhere you look.

    2. What are you suggesting? That there should be no development allowed there? Because any new development is going to cause some increase in traffic.

      I’ve noticed that the opening of Chai Pani has caused a lot of traffic around there during dinner time, as well.

      At least with residential the traffic might be dispersed to different times of the day than the office tower. Residential developments will result in a lot of less trips than office or retail – particularly in a walk able urban environment like Downtown Decatur.

      But in the end, under Decatur’s zoning code, you’ve got to realize that they have the right to develop this property. It is going to have impact (some positive and some negative).

      1. Is there anyway to encourage people who live and work live there not to drive? Discounted MARTA passes? Lower rents for those who don’t need the assigned parking?

      2. Just that it’s a lot of cars, that’s all. I wholeheartedly believe in non-auto alternatives, and moved here so I could more freely bicycle and walk.

        1. Your opportunities to bike and walk safely are only enhanced by having more people move in who will also have the option to bike and walk more and use their cars less. Considering what it costs to move into Decatur proper these days, I have to think those who are making the investment are attracted to a large degree by our walkable community and clear commitment to continue evolving in that direction.

    3. Annie – this development doesn’t necessarily add traffic. The city will tell you that with all the new development that has happened downtown, traffic counts have actually dropped. That’s because the new development has been compact and caters to pedestrians. 315 will be the same. Currently, the big parking lot there encourages driving, while a compact mixed use development will encourage a mix of transpiration options, including walking. We could stop all development in its tracks to try to curb traffic, but then we’re still stuck in our auto-dependent world. Or we could build compact walkable developments in our current urban centers to try to change the course that we are on.

      1. Warren, I understand that you strongly believe in increased density (at all costs), and I am not arguing the point as I see there are benefits. I only ask that you acknowledge that the addition of 240 apartments, and presumably at least that many cars, has the potential to add traffic on the residential streets surrounding the development. At a minimum, it is a legitimate concern of the neighbors. Many of the new residents will need their cars to go to work, school, run errands, etc., so they will be coming and going notwithstanding the fact they can walk to Jimmy Johns or CVS. Further, I don’t believe that increased development is the cause (at least not the sole cause or even a major factor) in reduced traffic downtown, if any.

        1. Yes, sir. There is potential for more traffic on some streets. But when a person buys a house adjacent to a 10-story high rise, one block off of the city’s busiest street then whines about the potential for more traffic in front of that person’s house? Falls on my deaf ears.

          Also, whining from the residents of building next door to the proposed building that is VERY similar to proposed building seems, well hypocritical at best. They seem to be saying – Decatur’s high density options are great for US, but we don’t want anyone else to have them. They’ve come to Decatur and now they’re trying to close the door behind them. Phoooooooeeey, I say.

          1. “Falls on my deaf ears.”

            So, IF (and this may be a big IF) the development can be designed in such a way to minimize or reduce traffic on residential streets and at minimal costs or efforts to the developer, we shouldn’t encourage such a design?

            But, I wholeheartedly agree with your second paragraph.

            1. “So, IF (and this may be a big IF) the development can be designed in such a way to minimize or reduce traffic on residential streets and at minimal costs or efforts to the developer, we shouldn’t encourage such a design?”

              Absolutely we should. Unfortunately, I think some people fall into the group covered in WB’s second paragraph, the pull up the ladder types.

    4. There was no traffic impact study. However, the city states that there may be one AFTER the development is complete. There may also be some changes to the scheduling of the light at West Ponce and Ponce Place, but DeKalb county is in charge of that, not the City of Decatur. Long story short, no traffic study.

      1. REALLY? You know, some of us have been asking for traffic studies in Oakhurst for over a decade, especially with the new 4/5 and the insanity that is now Oakhurst Elementary. It is a mess over here. I wonder why it is so hard to get that from this city?

        1. My guess is that something that has a 30 minute impact in the morning and 30 in the afternoon is not going to rank high on an overall priority list.

          1. Plus, it’s a matter of perception. To me, Mead is one of the most livable streets in Decatur around 8am and 3pm every weekday. Widths are tight from all the on-street parking and traffic moves very slowly and cautiously. A wily kid could dash out into the street and there’s a a 95-100% chance they would survive being hit. Try that at 30mph (where fatality is almost 50/50).

  4. Anyone else been hearing a rooster in Clairemont-Great Lakes the past week? Either a new addition or someone’s brain was rattled by daylight savings…

    1. Some folks on Superior have some chickens and I am guessing roosters that wander around quite a bit – maybe it is those… Though, they would have to ‘cross the road’ to wake you up if you are not between Scott and N. Decatur.

      I will be here all week, try the veal.

    2. There is a family with chickens at the end of willow by church street but I have never seen a rooster.

  5. Carpet cleaner recs? We don’t want to rent big machine, and the job is too big for our own upright carpet cleaner.

    1. I would not recommend Zero-Rez. They did an okay job, but when they arrived it turned out the agreed-upon price was more of a starting point from their perspective. Overall the service and price were decent, but I was not impressed and would not use them again.

      I’ve since had really good results from a Hoover carpet cleaner I purchased.

      1. If you’ve ever hired ANY carpet cleaning company, you will find that they try to upsell you from the advertised price. I hired one that wanted to charge extra for using detergent to clean the carpets. Whole lot cheaper to rent the Rug Doctor and a teenager, IMHO, if you don’t want to do it yourself.

    2. I’m interested in a carpet cleaner recommendation too, particularly one that moves furniture as part of the service.

  6. Need a recommendation for a basement waterproofer. Must have dry basement before I put this house on the market.

  7. Why so many low health scores at decatur restaurants? (scores in 70s!) Disappointing… and multiple restaurants.

    1. Health scores are not the be and end all that everyone thinks they are. A restaurant can get a low score for a variety of reasons on a one off visit. If it is consistently mediocre, that is one thing. But a low score here or there isn’t as big a deal as people think.

          1. Good question: according to th latest from CDC 1 in 6 people get sick from food. 42% of the people who get food posioning was from restaurant dining.
            Last stats was 1300 people died last year from food poisoning.
            Not a large number; unless you were one of the 1300.
            My thought: better safe than sorry.

            1. If you want to be more safe and less sorry, eat out more often. You are much more likely to get food poisoning from food prepared at home than from food prepared at a restauarnt with reasonable food safety and handling procedures.

  8. Here’s a really cool rumor from Eater Atlanta:

    Rumor has it that Atlanta might be getting its very own Shake Shack. Kim Severson, the Atlanta bureau chief for the New York Times, tweeted this morning: “Heard last night that Shake Shack and even Donald Link might be headed to Atlanta when that old Sears building gets rehabilitated. #2014”

    That old Sears building is Ponce City Market, currently home to a lot of renovations as well as Dancing Goats Coffee Bar. It’s slated to open next year in the style of New York’s Chelsea Market. Inman Park’s similar project, Krog Street Market, has plans to open this summer and will include a Austin, Texas-esque Mexican joint from empire builder Ford Fry.

  9. This one will likely get me in trouble but I wanted to vent some frustration. Regarding the pending development both on West Ponce as well as many that will be coming along Trinity, people need to understand clearly that each of these commercial property owners have the right to develop their land (not yours!) I have watched a select few impose their personal wants, goals and beliefs on many pending projects with growing frustration. First if you live adjacent to commercial property there is a high possibility that some day that land will be changed, developed or sold to someone who will change it. Face it you should have purchased somewhere else if that was such a big deal to you. Second the downtown areas of Decatur as well as these projects are what pay for our great schools, services and government. If it affects a few home owners to benefit the masses so be it. You will never please everyone every time and I get so frustrated watching this same debate over and over again! The reason why Decatur has become such a wonderful place is the balance between a place to live, work and play (someone will likely comment on my opinion of balance). Let the development come for the right reasons, the tax increase, the improvement of the land use, the ability to allow other economic levels enjoy this city and because it is their land and if they want to develop it they should have the right.

    1. I agree with your basic premise about buying next to commercial property (or any property for that matter – if you want to control it, buy it), but you are being just as dismissive as Mr. Warren Buffett. It appears that you are implying that the adjoining homeowners should have no input in the process or that developers shouldn’t bother trying to address some of the neighbors’ concerns.

      Second, these developments have a huge residential component, and it isn’t as simple as they “pay for our great schools”. What I and many others are concerned about is the net effect on the schools. If the schools get an extra $100k but it costs $200k to educate the new students, this is a huge negative. The planning commission and council are aware of this as they are clearly steering projects towards 1 bedroom units which likely would discourage families and reduce the impact on our schools. My concern is not with any one of these particular projects, but rather it is will the totality of them. What is going to happen if we end up adding 2,000 or 4,000 residences to Decatur in the next few years? There undoubtedly will be some benefits, but there will also be some costs.

      1. In 1960, Decatur had almost 2,000 more residents than it has today so the answer, at least at the low end of your window, is “nothing we can’t handle.” At the upper end, I’d imagine Decatur would be noticeably more active downtown and that, while passing through via car might be slowed down to some degree, convenience and other perks for locals would expand.

        On a side note, it’s not the commissioners driving single bedroom units, it’s the market. With the housing crash and the subsequent glut of affordable single family homes on the market, families currently have more choices than they need.

        1. If only traffic could be slowed, especially on the Commerce Avenue Speedway. I’m so fed up with people rounding the curve at Barry Street on two wheels and ramming stopped cars at the Sycamore Street light and crashing into our walls. One lane each way with a landscaped median!

          1. +1, but only if the traffic calming is extended at least to Church Street. I like the idea of the dead man’s curve at the cemetery gates being reduced to one lane each way. If not, maybe we can at least bank the turn to better facilitate the Nascar speeds.

  10. Has anyone tried FitWit classes? Were you happy with the program? Trying to lose my post-partum weight, seeing as how I’m now 5 years post-partum!

    1. Scoutmob has a FitWit deal currently, $119 for a month’s worth (16) workouts. First starts 4/1, includes the Decatur location.

    2. Have you checked out Kick in The Fit? Meets at Agnes Scott 4 mornings a week and is a great group of folks. I think they sponsor FFAF on occasion, send em a note and ask for a promo deal!

      1. I also occasionally do Kick in the Fit, and I highly recommend it. The instructors are great, and so are the attendees.

  11. Heather,
    I’ve done FitWit and enjoyed the program. I would call them an ‘easier CrossFit’ type of workout, meaning it’s not too hard and it’s not going to be easy peasy either. You will be sore!
    Better yet is that they do really great things with their FitWit kids program too. Which I think some of your fee supports.

  12. I am surprised there hasn’t been any coverage of this past Tuesday night’s school board meeting – nothing on Patch or DecaturMetro.

    Did the board pass re-opening Westchester Elementary for the 2014-15 school year? Does anyone know?! Many thanks.

      1. Decatur Metro – thank you! I checked the CSD website but didn’t see anything there either. (I checked last night or so – not today.)

      2. Decatur Metro – I emailed the board and Dr. Edwards this morning, and I got a response from Dr. Edwards. She wrote: “It should be on the website eboard. They voted to approve a resolution to DOE that will open the school.”

        This is big news! There is a story here! This is exciting for ppl who live in Westchester Hills and Chelsea Heights b/c our kids will be able to walk to school, and it’s also good news for everyone else b/c (hopefully) the rest of the elementary schools will be less crowded.

        1. Open the school as what? K-3? K-5? 4/5? Special option school, e.g magnet, math academy, science/tech, whole Spanish, arts academy, etc.?

          1. Those are good questions, and I don’t know the answers, but I would guess it will be a k-3. I believe they first have to get permission from the state to reopen Westchester as a public school again, and they have been saying this for quite some time. My hood was in the Westchester district, moved into Oakhurst, and we want to stay in Oakhurst. My son has attended five different CSD schools due to this school closing…I wonder if that is a record? Ah, I guess’s path would be College Heights, k5, Fifth Ave, Renfroe, DHS. He went to Westchester preK-2.

            1. Some current sixth graders went to four schools in four years: local k-3, Glennwood for 4th (before FAVE opened), FAVE for 5th, and now Renfroe. If they went to College Heights and make it to the high school, they will have been at six different CSD schools. Not necessarily a bad thing, but quite a tour.

            2. This is a chance to get input and look fresh at what should come next, given today’s kids, today’s numbers, today’s schools, and what we predict for tomorrow. The models and arguments of the past are one option, but just one.

    1. Contact your school board rep. In ChelseaH that is Marc Wisnieski (sp?), Garrett Goebel, and Valarie Wilson as the at large member.

      1. Because DM is trying to be fair here. Most commenters like to post anonymously, but when such comments may affect the success of somebody’s business, I applaud DM’s decision to moderate them.

  13. Also – where is there info about who is eligible to vote in the March 19 special election for city commissioner? It’s not the entire city, right? Just an area or district?

    1. It is District 1 only – the north side of the city minus the area around the Allen Wilson project. There is a map and poll info on the City website.

  14. DowgFan I mean no disrespect by my statements but do stand by them, one must deal with things that one cannot change. That is the control over your neighbors be it residential or commercial. I also stand by my thought that it is far more likely that commercial property is likely to have said change. I feel that everyone is due their opinion but think that this continued thread about development bashing is getting old. The developments love or hate them have been a major factor in the growth of Decatur. They will also not appeal to everyone but to reference the fact that someone is frustrated that a 4 story building is going to be built across from their home is something they should have thought about at the time they purchased in that particular location. The limitations on private property rights are crazy. If you have not tried to build a home or commercial property in the area I suggest you review that process before you have too strong of an opinion. I have and the process is a real challenge. There is quite enough restrictions combined with a frenzy of frustrated people. (who more often than not have no clue what it takes to put a deal together or carry a multi-million dollar property) . This property originally failed and went into a receivership partly because of the economy drop but also because of the debates that took place when the development group JLB tried to construct a similar property. Regardless of one’s position and on this I am most frustrated with, the entitlement that people seem to have in our great Decatur community over private property is just crazy. I am sorry but if I want to build a building, kill the trees or have a garden, the topic is not the point it is their land and if they meet the zoning everyone should back off! I myself am pro green, pro smart growth but am also pro personal and private property rights. You can ask people to hear you but when you try to impose your own opinion for your own reason and then call it the collective you step too far.

  15. Just a reminder that online registration for Tour deCatur will remain open until 5pm on Wednesday, March 20th. This will be the biggest turnout yet for this great community event on March 23rd which will raise over $75,000 to support the work of the Decatur Education Foundation! Hope to see you there! Register at

    1. They have a boat load of work to do in 2 weeks. The idea of March is fleeting. I haven’t seen much activity in months.

      I love the concept and space, hope it lives up to potential.

      Good house, Good schools, good restaurants.
      I love to tell people I live!

      1. Ted, have you tried one with Redemption High Rye Bourbon? You get kind of the best of both worlds, and the price isn’t too bad.
        I’d like to know if there is any place on this side of town that sells artisanal vermouth. I didn’t have any luck at Green’s, and I figure there may not be a GA distributor for any of them.

        And it has to be a whole maraschino cherry with a stem, right? 🙂

    1. Definitely rye! Bulleit, Templeton, or High West. With Carpano Antica Formula vermouth and a Luxardo cherry!

      1. +1,000. Bourbon is too sweet for that drink. Maybe you could get away with a rye-heavy bourbon like Basil Hayden’s, but even that is a stretch. Without rye, it’s not a Manhattan, just like a vodka martini is not a martini.

        Also, another thumbs up to Bulleit Rye.

        1. +1000 on a vodka martini not being a martini.

          And I’m not going to dignify chocolate “martinis.”

  16. If you haven’t been to East Atlanta Village for a while, find a reason to go over there. You’ll see something entertaining (best in daylight). I’m not saying what it is because IMO part of the delight is the unexpectedness.

  17. I sometimes get the urge to stand on my front porch or back steps and holler, “Would it kill you to talk to your dog and get it to stop barking?” Love dogs, realize it’s their job to bark at things. But the barking session born of being bored and lonesome is so annoying.

    1. I get that urge too. And I have a dog. It drives me nuts when my neighbor’s dog is out at night barking. He clearly wants to come in the house.

      Maybe next time I’ll do as you suggest. So if you hear another human yelling at nothing in particular, it’s me.

    2. I don’t condone excessively barking dogs… but I wanted to point out that dogs don’t necessarily bark b/c they are bored. My dog loves to hang out in the back yard and bark at people, dogs, squirrels, chipmunks, etc. You get the point. She’s not bored – she’s having a GREAT TIME barking. At that point, right back inside the house she comes. (But luckily, sometimes she will indeed just lounge around in the yard and enjoy the sun, bark-free.)

      However, there are indeed ppl who ignore their dogs, which is not right. But I’m not sure that equals barking. It usually equals destruction!

    3. My 16 year old 3 legged Jack Russell is a little blind, somewhat deaf and has mild dementia. She barks at rustles, the wind, traffic, and nearby shadows. I hope you can forgive the elderly barker laying on her cushion in the sun.

      1. Nellie and Chelsea, I am not complaining about occasional barking or even frequent barking that is directed AT something (real or imagined or suspected). I am talking about the dog that sits outside and barks steadily at the house for a protracted period of time because she wants to be inside with her family and they can’t be bothered to interact with her. The tone is different. It’s annoying and it pushes my Judgmental button.

        1. Ah yes. I believe what you’re talking about’s what I refer to as “go potty” time, whereupon 3-4 times a day, said neighbor will push the dog out the door and leave it to yip and yap and bark for a solid 20 minutes at a crack. God forbid they should accompany the dog outside.

          (Rock on, little nelliedog! Bask in that glorious sunbeam! :0)

          1. Around here, it’s folks who get home from work and do their doggies the favor of turning them into the fenced yard for the evening. Fresh air is good (and potty time), but the dogs have been alone all day, what they really want is to be with their people. (And it often goes on a far sight longer than 20 minutes, I’m sorry to say.) IMO it’s a parenting issue.

  18. I would recommend Exquisite Upholstery, on Ponce past the Farmer’s Market. They did a nice job on a custom piano bench cushion for me.

  19. The Decatur’s Biggest Loser final weigh in was this morning. I don’t believe I won the $500, however, I’m happy with the results. Thanks to the guys at Pinnacle Fitness and CertaPro Painters for running the program.

    Initial Weigh In: 209
    Initial Body Comp: 32.40 (tubby!)
    Final Weigh in: 194
    Final Body Comp: 29.5 (not quite so tubby, but still tubby!)
    Total Pounds Lost: 15
    % Lost: 7.18%

    Also, thanks to Cakes and Ale for helping me celebrate this morning with a delicious slice of coffee cake!

    1. Great job, Keith! You did indeed kick my butt. I skipped the final weigh-in because I knew I had no shot at winning and had some other stuff that needed to get done this morning. I started a little heavier at 223, got down to 210 and then regained a few over the past two weeks. I blame the heavier weights I was lifting in the gym, others may blame the beers I couldn’t put down 🙁

      All in all, the ten pounds off feel pretty good. Got myself back into a more regular workout routine and I think I’ll actually reach my goal of being under 200 pounds (for the first time in 10 years!) by May. I may even get to my ultimate goal of 185 by the wedding in August. Then again that may just be crazy talk. But I AM heading to the gym right now before enjoying this awesome day.

      1. Very cool, and it sounds like our goal weights are about the same. 185 is a goal for me with 180 or less as a stretch. I have not been doing any exercise other than a bit of walking because I needed to get some of the weight off of a bad knee. I am, however, now going to start back in the gym for the final push towards goal and perhaps to find at least a fraction of the six pack abs I’ve been storing in a playmate cooler. Congratulations on the great start.

        1. I noticed neither of you took me up on my offer to go running. I promise it works wonders (lost 27 pounds two years ago and that’s what keeps it off).

          Any takers? 🙂

          1. Running has always been tough for me. 40 years on with a loose ankle tendon, no cartilage in one knee and a torn hamstring several years ago that never healed quite right have made it tougher. I did the Peachtree two years ago and couldn’t walk for a week (maybe I should’ve trained for more than 3 miles!). Been thinking about entering the lottery this year and trying it with better training if my leg can hold up. I’ll probably have a better time of it when I get more comfortably under 210 so there’s less strain. I may take you up on the offer if I can get out there and get started!

  20. This past week, five members of the police dept met with our neighborhood to talk about recent crime (mostly car break-ins) and share tips to be safer. OUR POLICE DEPT IS AWESOME!!!

  21. I am looking for somewhere in Decatur that I can go for a good workout that also offers childcare. I belong to the Y, but the group classes there are not what I am looking for. Hoping for more of a challenge. I like the idea of fitwit or bootcamp, but I need childcare.

  22. Not trying to re-ignite Friday’s nastiness, but we vote tomorrow, right? Or only the northside votes? No other items on the ballot besides the City Commissioner position?

    This has got to be the least known election in recent history. If it wasn’t for Friday’s nastiness, I might have forgotten about it.

    1. Just District 1. No other issues (at least there’s nothing else on the sample ballot, so I hope there’s nothing else we need to vote on). You can go to to find your polling place and see the ballot.

      Phew, got through all that without a trace of nastiness!

      1. I thought you were a little snippy about the sample ballot but that’s probably because you are so anti-establishment! 😉

  23. Hey smalltowngal,

    Got it! That’s indeed bad. I would likely have judgmental thoughts forming in my head as well.

    Also had to say you are SPOT ON about dogs barking at things that aren’t necessarily real but are “imagined” or “suspected.”

    It’s easy (or should be) for an owner to tell the difference between “I’m barking b/c it’s fun and there are so many interesting things at which to bark” and “I’m barking b/c I’m desperate to be inside the house with you.”

  24. I cannot recommend Pinnacle Fitness enough! I LOVE it. I started boot camp there last August and have been there ever since. It’s like being back in middle/high school and having a coach!

    The classes are 5:30am, 6:45am, 8:30am, and 6:30pm during the week (Mon, Tues, and Thurs). The 6pm class has child care!! There are a number of people who take advantage of it. Location is inside Leapin’ Lizards. We are both inside and outside, which is a great combination.

    Try it out!! There might still be a Groupon out there right now. Here’s the website:

    Hope to see you there!

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