Free-For-All Friday 3/22/13

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

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91 thoughts on “Free-For-All Friday 3/22/13”

  1. want to thank you for your support of my new book, “The Red Pill” on Amazon. For a first time, self-published author, seeing hundreds of Kindle downloads in the first week of sales is a inspiration to further plow the field.

    encouraging you all to pursue that bucket list item you’ve left undone. begin it now.

    1. Beyond the Seen Gallery, I mostly duck into shops — Decatur Market, HomeGrown, etc. The visits are brief but enjoyable.

    2. A walk around town is always an entertaining visual experience. People watching in downtown Decatur is fun – that’s why that old couple on the bench never moves.

    3. Atlanta Arts Institute Gallery on Ponce has a good show every once in a while.

      There’s a co-op gallery behind Sawicki’s and the bike shop but I can’t remember the name.

      Little Tree Studios in Avondale has a gallery and you can wander through and poke your head into artist’s studios that happen to be open when you are there. They also have a calendar with regularly offered classes and figure drawing sessions.

      Mud Fire Ceramics on Laredo has a gallery and Atlanta Hot Glass, across the street, is starting a gallery.

      Sq/ft on the square has a nice collection of posters from Methane Studios.

      Decatur Arts Alliance has a new gallery space in the Visitor Center on Clairmont.

    4. If it’s a nice day, hop onto your bike (or in your car) and tour the murals painted in Decatur in 2011 as part of the Living Walls Conference. I wrote a blog post about in at the time, and there’s a map included for their locations. Sadly, at least one of the murals has been painted over, but most are intact.
      I hope this doesn’t look like shameless self-promotion; I enjoyed the day I spent looking at the murals and you might, too.

    1. We liked it. Empanadas were perfectly cooked. Salad was good. I wanted to try more. Jicama tea was nice.

    2. Enjoyed the empanadas I bought there this afternoon. Very tasty. Two empanadas and a little side salad = $5. Nice guy behind the counter.
      I got take-out but I look forward to a sit-down meal and delving further into the menu.

  2. Any more armed robberies since the one at East Lake and Johnston Rd? Or are we holding at six since early February?

      1. I recall reading something from the city that says: Egg hunt to be held at Decatur First Baptist; if the grass is just wet, it’s on. If there’s rain as of 9:30, it’s off — but the message encouraged kids to stop by anyway to pick up bunny ears and a treat bag.

  3. If you’re looking for a fun free event tonight, the DeKalb History Center’s annual silent auction at the Old Court House on the Square runs from 6:30 to 8:00 tonight. The food is always great, as it’s donated by the approved caterers for the Old Court House, and there’s plenty of neat items to bid on.

    1. Thanks, Fatty. I didn’t know about this but I think the Mrs and I will be able to make it. Looks like there will be some good things to bid on so maybe we’ll even do more than eat up the free food!

  4. Tan and white pit bull, intact male, found last night near the Chick Fil A. He is chipped but it is a Japanese chip and not registered here. He was taken to DeKalb County Animal Services.

    If this is your dog, please go get him out as soon as possible. Pit Bulls have a limited life span at DCAS.

  5. Were there any other parents at the Renfroe “new-parents” meeting last night who got the impression they are thinking of having principal Roeden move from FAVE to Renfroe next year.
    I have heard such great things about the principal at Renfroe, I would hate for my soon-to-be 6th grader to lose out on having that experience.

    As you can probably tell, I believe FAVE is a weak link in our wonderful Decatur community schools. It could just be growing pains of a new school, but I have not been impressed.

      1. Please tell me that this is a joke! [edited] Mr. Thomas is amazing for Renfroe and my child feels safe at Renfroe, not always the case at FAVE.

        1. During Refroe parent orientation last night, Principal Thomas would not confirm or deny the rumor, so I believe it is an actual possibility.

          We’ve had a very mixed experience at F.AVE, but I cannot say or guess how much of the good nor bad was due to the principal versus other factors.

    1. Do you think there might be more productive ways to voice your concerns and seek input from other parents, besides slamming a school principal in this public forum? In this small town and small school system, where friendships and community (in its purest definition) are interwoven with professional and parent/school relationships, I don’t see how posting that kind of comment in an online forum contributes in any positive way.

    2. With all due respect, DM, I think that edit was unnecessary. There was not a direct attack. Maybe Arriba just meant that the changing of principals is not good for students. I understand your policy on personal attacks, but if we can’t have an honest conversation on here, then what’s the point?

      1. I see your point Walrus, but that’s not how it read to me. I would argue the same honest conversation can occur without the slights. Little is lost from Arriba’s comment without that particular line. Those comments get people off track from the actual topic at hand. Case in point, this thread!

      2. I can see how that was misconstrued, but was speaking mostly of the disruption an admin switch would entail between the two schools.
        These kids going into 6th were the first class in the new FAVE school, and the transition has not been without bumps. As well, the construction this year is disruptive. They shouldn’t have to put up with Renfroe being another transitional school.
        I’ve been hearing great things about Renfroe and was looking forward to my kid having a good experience next year.
        If this is true, I would not be happy and will let the school board/superintendant know it.
        It doesn’t seem necessary.

    3. Mr. Roaden is the Principal that turned RMS around and started the change into what it is today. Mr. Thomas was his Assistant Principal. I know parents with kids slightly older than mine that have unpleasant stories about their RMS experience. I like Mr. Thomas. He has done a commendable job as well. But, I would not be worried about the rumored switch.

      1. Roaden was the principal my son’s first year at Renfroe, and Thomas had the job his second and third. Both were excellent principals, and the two as a team was unbeatable. They have very different styles, but I wouldn’t select either one of them over the other. I’m just glad DCS isn’t losing either one of them.

        1. +1
          Mr. Roaden has a style all his own. Some people don’t “get” him, but I admire his unique personality. But he’s a great principal, as is Mr. Thomas.

      2. We have not had a great experience at 4/5 either-not because of any one factor but several compounding factors- and were looking forward to Renfroe because of the different environment and administration. Very disappointed to hear that things might be changing over there. 4/5 does feel like a mini middle school yet it’s serving 9 and 10 year olds. I’m not certain that the folks at 4/5 clearly understand the difference and how to best meet the needs of these kids.

    4. I heard a similar rumor a couple of weeks ago although the rumor I heard was that Mr. Thomas might have been offered a job in another system. I didn’t pay it much attention but there’s some other moves going on that would go along with a shift in the principal at RMS.

      I’m in the group that think that both Mr. D. Thomas and Mr. Roaden are well-suited to be RMS principal. However, when FAVE reopened 1 1/2 years ago, I thought it would have been better for Mr. Roaden to return to RMS and for one of the two Mr. Thomas’s to head FAVE. FAVE is an elementary school, not a middle school. Now I really wish it had gone that way. This is going to be an extra transition that didn’t have to happen. (Unless, Mr. D. Thomas is leaving, in which case there’s no choice about another RMS leadership transition. ) Even better would have been if Mr. Roaden had never left RMS in the first place. I know he thought it would be a good opportunity to go work at Central Office but I didn’t. Frontline is always more fun.

    5. It seems to me that no one really likes the 4/5 or the principal of the 4/5, no matter who that principal is. Parents are not quite ready for the switch out of their cozy K-3 school, where they knew all the kids since they were babies and had the room parent thing locked down. The kids have to get to know new kids, it’s a lot of change and before you can get adjusted – boom, you’re out of there.

      But it also seems to me that getting all that change over when the kids (and parents) are younger is a big part of what makes Renfroe a good middle school. In most school districts, everyone hates the middle school. For what it’s worth, we had good experiences at Renfroe with Mr. Roaden and Mr. Thomas.

      1. Re 4/5: Dr. Lee was well-liked by many at the Glennwood 4/5. I think F.A.V.E suffers from being so large that it has to operate more like a middle school than an elementary school. The original idea of a 4/5 school was to increase collaboration and sharing among teachers and students. It’s not happening like it did when Glennwood 4/5 Academy first opened and had pods, co-teaching, and students getting to know at least 2-3 classrooms of students. At FAVE, students only get to know the other students in their one classroom, of which there are now so many. Is Renfroe’s success really due to having a 4/5? Or is it because of the leadership of Bruce Roaden, Cheryl Nahmias, and others from ~2005 on, followed by Mr. Thomas, not to mention dedicated teachers?

        With Westchester opening soon, maybe the concept of the 4/5 should be back on the table for examination. CSD either needs to commit more fully to implementing it as a true 4/5, vs. a mini-middle school, or go to a K-5 elementary model.

        We may be trying too many concepts at once without enough faithful implementation of each of them, ending up in a mish mosh. Initiating new concepts is exciting and resume-building–expeditionary learning, differentiated learning, K-12 Spanish, primary years IB, farm to table, walk and roll, middle years IB (age 11-16 years which doesn’t fit into either our middle school or high school buildings) , career academy, IB diploma program for 10%-20% of DHS students, IB grading, charter system and local school governance, etc., etc., etc. But fully implementing and maintaining these concepts is what will help students.long-term and make families feel engaged. Maybe it’s time to focus on increasing the quality of implementation, especially in an era of growing enrollment, declining resources, leadership turnover, and configuration transitions. If teachers don’t have the training, resources, time, and buy-in for one more new initiative, students aren’t clear on what’s going on, and parents are not engaged in supporting it, a new initiative may not have the intended effect. The dollars might be better spent on making what we’ve already got to work better.
        (IMHO the two programs that have been implemented most completely and faithfully, for a long period of time, are K-12 Spanish and Walk and Roll. There’s a lesson there somewhere but I’m not sure what it is.)

        Final 4/5 comment: I vote for not calling it an academy. What makes it an “academy” vs. any of the other CSD schools? Using “Academy” seems like we’re trying too hard or are private school wannabees. It’s faux preppy. All those failing public schools that are taken over by for-profit charter companies are called “academies”. Then some senior administrator misspends school funds and they fall apart. I think the name should be “Fifth Avenue 4/5 Elementary” or FAVEE.

    6. LOL! Both of these guys are good principals. A switch is not a problem. FAVE is not as warm and fuzzy as the K-3s. It’s not supposed to be. It is where CSD has started the process of pushing parents out of the classroom. It is the same strategy used when Glennwood was the 4/5. However, it does bring the kids together before their hormones are raging and it begins the necessary process of breaking up the neighborhood elementary school parent cliques. None of this is a bad thing. If you want something to worry about as your child moves to Renfroe, worry about the indecipherable way they are implementing IB grading for the Middle Years Program. Worry about how CSD says a 4 is like an 85 while the IB website and most other IB schools say a 4 is in the range of 70-79. Worry about how the difference in the rubric for a 4 and 5 and a 6 is completely subjective and based on a teacher’s whim and rarely backed up with a numerical score. Worry about how the “formative” scores your child earns the entire grading period mean nothing and how it is all based on a “summative” at the end of the grading period (this means final exam or final project or final essay in the edu-speak of the previous era). Worry about how when your child gets to high school and the grades really count, less than 25% of US universities and colleges know what do to with IB grades. (Note: if you plan to send your child to college in the UK, Canada, or India it will be fine). Worry about how AP classes are disappearing for Juniors and Seniors as the IB diploma will be the only option offered. Worry about how in most IB schools less than 20% of the students earn IB diplomas – a low percentage considering how much it costs. Worry about how DHS is opening the remaining AP classes for sophmores to “all students” – and is proud of it! Anybody care to define “Advanced Placement”? Worry about how the school board is run by 3 parents that don’t have kids in the school system, have never experienced a 4/5 or IB, only know what Central Office tells them about IB, and have almost no connection to parents with young children in the system now. (Not a real knock on them, it’s a tough, thankless job and at least 2 of them worked through really rough times in the beginning – just pointing out they have aged out). Worry about the fact that any principal or teacher that voices real dissension with Central Office seems to “retire” soon after or leave the system to work elsewhere. Worry about the fact that the new system charter waters down the already powerless SLTs further with employees that dare not speak up against any Central Office initiative. Worry about the bills the “Queen of Construction” is running up betting on continued SPLOST $ being voted in by all of us. Worry about the way Central Office rarely consults with the SLTs and instead hand picks “yes” parents to serve on ad hocs committees to get them to agree to whatever the latest fad in education happens to be. Worry about the fact that very few parents ever show up at any school board meetings or SLT meetings to voice their opinions (myself included). Switching around a couple of good, experienced principals? Really not an issue.

      1. Yep, what Get a grip said. I’ve tried to understand the IB rubric, I’ve read it more than once, and I still don’t really understand what kind of grades my child is getting. I’m told the high level IB courses are equivalent to AP classes, but don’t know if there’s still the possibility of college credit. I’m still worried about my child getting the same education and opportunities as the IB diploma kids. Plenty to worry about, but principals aren’t on my list.

        1. I think it’s going to end up like old-fashioned tracking. I’m not happy about that. We got rid of advanced college prep courses supposedly to reduce tracking. Now we’ve replaced it with more rigid tracking and fewer AP courses. I know the idea of the IB diploma program is great and the intentions of all involved are good, but I’m afraid that this is going to hurt the 80-90% of students who are not in the program. AP courses allow kids to pick as few or as many as they want to take and can handle. The IB options don’t look that flexible. If IB is implemented really, really, really, really, really well, it may be possible that it can benefit the few without hurting the majority. But I’m not sure CSD has the resources and time to do it that well.

      2. Wow, it’s like Get a Grip and I mind-melded and he/she did all the typing. Thanks for putting all that into words–I agree 100%.

  6. Anybody tried Zoe’s Kitchen? What dishes did you like? Looked in today but was not inspired. Went to Falafel King instead and had an awesome lunch!

  7. Well, it’s official: we have the largest rat known to the civilized world living under our screened porch. Admittedly, it is totally our fault for providing a bird/squirrel smorgasbord of tasty treats. But Ratzilla must go. In the past my husband has put out the famous green rat bait and we are not big fans, both for the indiscriminate nature of the bait (resulting in a memorable, funny-now-but-terrifying-at-the-time small dog sitting experience…who knew that force feeding hydrogen peroxide is the way to induce vomiting in dogs? I do now!) and for the fact that Dear Husband had to dispatch a couple of not-quite-dead rats with a shovel. After seeing the tell-tale signs of visitors last fall we tried a trap with disastrous results involving a trapped but very much alive rat and another need for the shovel. Then we purchased the highly recommended Rat Zapper from Intown Ace after a helpful DM thread and have deployed it per the instructions. Ratzilla is not interested or phased at all. In fact, I think he may actually be laughing at us at this point. Anyone have suggestions? Pied Piper impressions?

      1. We’ve tried peanut butter, the bird seed he/she (please Lord don’t let it me a she) seems drawn to, and even cheese. No luck.

        1. Mix oatmeal and oily natural peanut butter for the best most fragrant rat bait. Sprinkle some bird seed on top to attract as well. Wear gloves when touching the trap to keep human smell off of it and smear the peanut oil around to mask your scent.

          get a big tough cat.

              1. I sent him over to your house from my breeding pool. HAHAHA.

                Be careful if you are seeing him in the day. He may be rabid. I live near you and 10 or so years ago I actually had a turn around and glare at me in broad daylight. I am pretty sure it was rabid.

          1. I will definitely try your recipe this weekend! That is a really good suggestion about the gloves. I know that my husband has just been doing everything bare-handed. Maybe it’s the human scent that is causing the problem.

            If anyone has a big, tough cat they’d like to loan me I’m game. Warning: Ratzilla is bold enough to walk around in broad daylight and he/she is HUGE. At least the size of a young adult cat.

          2. I have a small, tough cat, but that backfires. She proudly practices catch and release. . . In my bathtub. Ugh!

      2. I forgot about the dry dog food. We have tried that as well. I really think this rat is taunting us…

        1. Maybe try some chicken feed, it is really pungent and I’ve heard irresistible to rats.

            1. We use Northwest Wildlife Control for all our pest services. They are really great at taking care of animal problems.

      1. OK, that is hilarious in a very tragic head-shaking sort of way. I can proudly say that will NOT be happening in my back yard!

      2. You have to wonder how the conversation with her claims adjuster went.

        Along those lines… “The Darwin Awards” … One of the few movies I can remember watching during which we had to keep hitting Pause because we were laughing too hard to follow what came next.

    1. This is not for the faint of heart but it works. I figure anybody that has gone the shovel route a couple of times can handle it.

      Suspend a coke can, threaded through its bottom and top, on a wire across the top of a five gallon or larger bucket. The wire needs to be secure enough to carry the weight of the rat and the can must spin freely. Allow for some creeping path, like a board, to one end of the wire.

      Fill the bucket about half full of water. Spread Cream Cheese, (scientifically proven top rodent choice), on the can.

      The rat crawls out on the wire, tries to climb on the can, can spins and dumps rat in the water, I don’t want to think about the rest.

      Google “bucket rat trap” for pictures.

      1. Remove the bait mechanism, quickly add a little clorox & a little ammonia in the bucket (separately, do not premix!), clap a board over it to seal and put a block on it and wait. You’re making chlorine gas, so for crying out loud, be careful. Friend of my sister’s used this method to dispatch a rat that appeared in his toilet one day (having swum upstream to get there). For some reason, I feel compelled to mention that this occurred in the heart of Druid Hills (at least 25 years ago). Old neighborhoods = old sewer lines!

    2. Breda “pest management” (exterminators/wildlife removers) did a solid job with an epic rat removal. The cat was killing a rat per night, but even the Killer couldn’t keep up. I tried many things, but eventually had to call in the professionals.

      1. Winnona Park Stud commends Breda Pest Control. Count yourself lucky if you draw Breda technician Fred: on the surface, he’s a fine young man with a laid-back attitude and thousand-watt smile. But under the hood lies the killer instinct and dogged determination of a stone-cold pest killer (or humane trapper if that’s your thing). Fred works swiftly, silently, a smiling assassin who hits and clears before the critters know he was there. To pests, Fred is death personified (or relocation-personified if you lean that way), with people he’s personable and savvy; Fred deftly navigated a conversation on college football without bruising the feelings of Winnona Park Stud or the Stud’s football-obsessed lady du jour – threading a needle never before threaded. 2016 may be too soon, but Winnona Park Stud endorses Fred for Pres in 2020. Hire Breda so you can say “I knew him when…”

    3. Walmart sells BB guns. 2 in the cap ought to take care of Ratzilla. Soon, you could handle this without even leaving CoD.

      1. I’ve actually done this once. But I didn’t do the ten pumps for a clean kill. I only did one pump, to send a message.

      2. If you don’t want to kill the animal but get it to leave, a bb gun and mustard seeds instead of bbs works

    4. I am laughing so hard right now! Thanks for all the input!!! The weather this weekend put a bit of a pause in Operation Ratzilla Elimination, but I’m printing out the thread for future reference. I’m not sure I have the stomach for the chlorine gas/bucket of water approach. Of course, I am the researcher and not the implementer, so I will pass it all along to my husband and see how much he REALLY wants the rat eliminated. 😛 It is good to know that there are definitely recommended professionals that can be called!

    1. A/K/A a list of the 10 cities where Penske truck rental locations outnumber U-haul locations by the widest margin.

  8. FREE. Tonight at 7 p.m., the Dunwoody Chamber Ensemble is playing at Presser Hall in Agnes Scott College. This ensemble is made up of two players from the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and three faculty members at Agnes Scott. Dohnanyi’s String Trio and Faure’s Piano Quartet are on the program.

  9. From The Decatur Minute:

    Tomorrow’s Easter Egg Hunt has been cancelled

    Due to the forecast of rain for tonight and tomorrow morning (see below), we are canceling the DBA’s Easter Egg Hunt this year.
    We invite you to stop by the Decatur Visitor’s Center, 113 Clairemont Ave., and pick up a treat bag, candy and Easter Bunny Ears.

    The Visitors Center is open Tuesday – Saturday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Stay dry and enjoy your weekend!

  10. Anyone know what will be filming in the cemetery?

    Quite a bit of prep going on, my favorite being the guy who’s tying fake foliage to some of the trees.

  11. If you tossed your copy of “City of Decatur Life” by Hibu into the recycle bin like I did, get it back out. There are coupons for the German Bakery on the inside back cover. 1 Free Cookie! 1 Free Pastry! Monday morning, it’s going to be apple fritters for everyone at work.

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