Free-For-All Friday 2/26/15

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

58 thoughts on “Free-For-All Friday 2/26/15”

  1. Did everyone know that the new Avondale MARIA mixed use development was inside the City of Decatur? Lots of new units. Surprised not to see the flurry of issues and comments about school impacts. Thoughts?

    1. 380 units total but a quarter of them are affordable apartments specifically for seniors. I’m guessing the balance will skew towards studios, 1 and 2 bedrooms, as that’s where the in town market seems to be doing best, but they haven’t announced the configurations just yet (as far as I know).

      1. Actually, the courbanize site for the development lists 377 market rate apartments and an additional 34 condos. Still a lot less units than the PoP/Alexan/Arlo that are currently/soon-to-be leasing, which I think total 624.

        1. The Courbanize numbers reflect what the site is entitled for but the only active development proposal is as detailed in my previous comment.

  2. Oakhurst streetscape update? Why does it take so long to plant trees, have been staring at the 5-6 trees leaning up behind Oakhurst Market for 3+ weeks? 14 months and counting on this “project”

    1. The city had a lousy contractor. Hugh Saxon said their hands were pretty tied because of federal contractor regs. He is not a happy camper.

  3. Anyone have recs for a landscaping company to do some grading and maybe a retention wall in my backyard? Good and cheap, but mostly cheap.

    1. I don’t recommend the harmony park landscape company, that is unless you have a decade to get the project done..

  4. I am looking to turn my deck into a screened in porch. Do any of you have any recommendations? Thanks!

        1. Brooks Meeks has done renovation work for me and a few friends. Very professional, very solid work. Lives nearby in Dekalb Co. 404-310-5530.

    1. Odds are high the deck wasn’t built to the structural standards necessary to support a roof, but maybe you’ll be lucky. You might inquire with Pine Hill. Never done business with them, but they were responsive and through when we had them quote an outdoor project.

        1. That goes with the fresh one no responders yet about 1:45 involving three cars with one up a pole at Oakdale and Ponce by the Lutheran church.

  5. What’s a school community to do when a beloved, 19-year veteran, mother to many of Decatur’s teens and Hometown Hero is fired on a Friday afternoon without being given a reason?

    It’s a sad day in Decatur.

    1. Thanks 30. Figured this out and called maybe the most loved staff member at DHS over the past twenty years. We had an emotional conversation that ended with me saying, “I love you and thank God you were able to hold so many hands over the past ninteen years”. I am thankful that I had the opportunity to work with this wonderful person as long as I did.
      Please keep her, as well as all the teachers and staff, in your prayers.

      1. Totally agree, chris.

        Rally this Monday morning across from DHS at 7:30-9 a.m to show support for longtime CSD staff member terminated without cause. Come if you can!! Decatur needs to fix this injustice.

    2. +1 It is truly shameful. As a Decatur High graduate and someone who grew threw the entire CSD system starting in Kindergarten, there is not a single person in the entire system that had a larger impact on my life growing up. Susan Riley was there day in and day out for every student who needed her. She taught all of us how to be a more caring and better person through the love she showed each and every one of us.

      I hope the Decatur High and CSD Administration realize what they have just done, and the outcry they will hear from the entire Decatur community will be noticed.

      As someone who loved and cherished their time in CSD, today I am truly ashamed to be a graduate of Decatur High School and the entire system. My only hope is that the administration will reconsider this decision and show the compassion for Susan Riley that she would show for us.

    3. This is certainly unsettling if true as reported here. I don’t know this educator but people I trust who do know her can’t imagine a plausible reason to fire her. I understand it might not be wise and/or legal for the school system to share the reason for her firing with the public but I hope it lets her know why she was let go. That only seems decent no matter what the reason. Georgia is a right to work state and most state employees can be terminated without cause just as long as they are not fired because of race, color, sex, age over 40, or disability. I believe that might apply to public school teachers in Georgia too; I know there’s no true teacher’s union.

      1. This just makes me sick. When I taught at DHS, I saw on a daily basis the compassion and generosity Ms. Riley displayed to students, teachers, and staff. She was kind, competent, and courteous. She is a fine, upstanding woman of good character. CSD has lost its mind. Glad I don’t work there any more.

    4. If she taught for 19 years, isn’t she tenured, and doesn’t that give her the right to a termination hearing?

      1. Good question. Is that the procedure for public school teachers in Georgia? Is there real tenure? I always had the sense that teachers are less protected in Georgia than in many other states. Also, media clerk may not be a position that is eligible for tenure. Kind of double whammy–less pay, less protection.

    5. I don’t know Mrs. Riley but I have several friends who I trust and admire greatly who are devastated by this news and who have vowed to fight her termination in whatever way possible. All of the online comments echo their sentiments and some bring up even more disturbing allegations of cynical, small town politics. I think it’s safe to say that, short of there being concrete evidence of a serious crime or dereliction of duty that has not been disclosed, and which would fly in the face of all evidence of this woman’s character, this Dr. Dude dude has got a whole of ‘splaining to do…

  6. This is simply a horrible loss. I don’t know who our superintendent listened to to make this decision but it was not the right people. Susan Riley is an institution. She has helped throngs of high school students get through those difficult days of high school. She has saved numerous teachers’ butts out of AV nightmares. She was beloved by all who knew her. Mr. Dude your honeymoon is officially over.

  7. The City Schools of Decatur fired Susan Riley today. Susan Riley was named a City of Decatur Hometown Hero in 2011, just a few short years ago. In the award description, she was called “the heart of the school” and described as a “stand-in mother for many kids”. Why was she fired? What have we come to? Anyone and everyone who has been helped by Susan Riley, please, let your voices be heard.


    For the complete description of why she was named a hometown hero, go here:

  8. So the principal who washes out after one disastrous year at the high school gets a plum, high-paying job at the central office while a much beloved media assistant gets fired with no reason given. Do you still feel good about your $75 million Decatur?

    1. “while a much beloved media assistant gets fired with no reason given.” To you. No reason given to you, as it should be.

        1. In state agencies, the lawyers and personnel folks instruct to give no reason since none is necessary to let someone go. That cuts down on the chances that something will inadvertently be said that can be used against the agency. But what’s legal isn’t necessarily the just and decent choice. Someone should know why they are being terminated. If it’s about their performance or getting out of date, they need to know that for the future. Even if the reason is simply to save money or get someone CSD likes better, at least a reason gives some closure. I hope that CSD lets this educator know why she was terminated if they haven’t done so already. Unfortunately, we on this blog may never know the reason which is unsettling and not good for school community trust. And if this educator was truly blindsided by her termination, I imagine that other CSD teachers and employees feel uncomfortable, insecure, and less committed to CSD. And of course there’s the impact on the students.

        2. There’s a discussion going on on the Oakhurst listserv that suggests this is rooted in an old-skool power struggle. Ms. Riley was assigned new supervisors who, in theory, hold the power. But they didn’t from a practical standpoint, because of Ms. Riley’s longstanding contribution and popularity. If one’s to believe the story as told, she was railroaded so that the institutional hierarchy could be comfortably maintained. And the appropriate paper trail was carefully and intentionally constructed to justify the desired outcome.

          Don’t know and can’t attest to these details but that kind of stuff’s as old as Cain and Abel. Wouldn’t surprise me a bit. I hope our local news services don’t leave this particular stone unturned.

          1. If this is the case, and I have zero knowledge other than what I read here and on Facebook, she hopefully documented, documented, documented. That is the best defense for an employee who encounters unfairness. Unfortunately, good employees can be too busy doing their work to do what feels to them like petty and time-consuming documentation. But documentation is key. It’s probably the reason that teachers and staff who have been problematic for years, and everyone knows it, are either still around or took years to terminate. Meanwhile, a beloved media staffer who apparently was doing a good job for a long time–if the Facebook attestations from staff, students, and faculty are to be believed–seems to have been let go abruptly.

              1. Too bad, but documentation still helps protect her reputation if erroneous information is disseminated, is needed if discrimination is claimed, and will be useful if other employees are similarly treated and a pattern emerges. If a mistake has been made by CSD, I hope it is recognized and remediated. No matter what, this is an unsettling situation.

          2. If you don’t know and can’t attest to the details, then why are you posting this? The speculation can often be worse.

            1. Because it was content already in the public domain, and it was offered with the appropriate caveats as to source and lack of authentication. If the school system is legally protected and under no obligation to voice their side of the story (and they choose to act upon that right) then the public discourse is the only avenue by which people can get the answers they appear to be craving. It’s sloppy, sure, but we take the hand we’re dealt.

                1. Well, with all the angst over Decatur’s urbanization, call it an effort to maintain our credibility as a small town.

                2. Bulldog, you obviously do not know Susan Riley. If you did, you would be just as shocked and saddened as the rest of us are.

                  1. I do, and I am just as shocked as the rest of the city. It was an absolutely terrible decision to let her go. Ms. Riley was the heart and soul of our school. I just don’t understand why some people think it is a good idea to toss around speculation. That can be hurtful even if it is well intentioned.

                    1. Decaturish has now referenced the exact same online exchange in a news article. Does it pass the smell test now?

                3. It is natural for friends, family, students, ex-students, co-workers, neighbors, and just plain people who care about DHS and CSD to want to understand what has happened. That’s a consequence of abruptly terminating someone who has been highly regarded and CSD has to expect it. Whether it is gossip or rallying around someone you care about depend on your perspective.

      1. No reason given to Susan Riley either. They fired her without telling her why, even when she asked. Is THAT they way it should be?

  9. For those interested, there will be a rally at Decatur High School (before school starts, as not to disrupt the academic day) this Monday morning at 7:30am. I hope any of you that have been lifted up by Mrs. Riley, as I have, will come out and support her at a time when she needs us most.

    Facebook event link:

Comments are closed.