Friday, December 31, 2010

More Police = Less Crime?

Chip is filling in for the day here at DunwoodyTalk.   All other staff members are on vacation until Monday.  
Chip, at his desk, using a fresh #2, remains anonymous

What a difference 2 years can make.  Back in April, 2009 Dunwoody rallied around its brand-spanking new police department, with 40 officers, 40 patrol cars and a lot of enthusiasm.  Since then, the police department has added another 6 officers, two sergeants, and joined with neighboring Sandy Springs and John’s Creek in a regional S.W.A.T team.

Voters who approved the formation of the City of Dunwoody did so, in part, to improve neighborhood police presence.  Many implied that DeKalb County had all but abandoned Dunwoody neighborhood patrols, and that Dunwoody was not the safe, secure environment it should be.

Thoughts of a bright, secure future were all around on the night of March 31/April 1, 2009 when the Dunwoody Police Department went “10-8” for the first time.   The Crier quoted then City Councilman Tom Taylor this way,” To the folks on the other side of the law, the season is now open."   The Crier also quoted Chief Grogan’s message to all the bad guys, “We want to make it uncomfortable for you to come here. You won't be tolerated in the city of Dunwoody."

The question has to be asked seriously if the amount of personnel, equipment, and money that the City of Dunwoody has committed to its police department has made good on the expectations of its citizens regarding neighborhood crime and the deterrent of “bad guys” from our neighborhoods.   Crimes of opportunity like vandalism, car break-ins, car thefts, etc. don’t seem to have changed much since Dunwoody PD took over.   Bank robberies also seem to have risen, with two in the last month joining three in the summer for a total of five in the last part of this year.   With the exception of one robbery, all the rest remain “open.”

Dunwoody  and especially Dunwoody Village seems destined to become the banking Mecca of north Atlanta area, with 14 banks within a two mile radius plus an application before the City for a new, larger Chase bank on Chamblee-Dunwoody in the works.  Maybe the number of bank robberies is simply a reflection of the law of mass action.  “Build them and they will come” both customers and robbers, alike.

I’m tempted to suggest that pretty soon the Dunwoody Police Department will ask to open a satellite office in the Village to provide more protection against these types of incidents, which will mean more staffing and equipment requirements.  I know this is a “straw man” that I’m creating, but knocking it down may be useful.
No one is saying that the Dunwoody Police aren’t doing their jobs, or trying hard enough, or aren’t up to the task.  In fact, the Dunwoody Police department has done a great deal to bring about citizen participation in the police process, sponsored many outreach programs, and by all accounts is a tremendous addition to the culture of the City of Dunwoody. But the point still remains, we’re spending almost 1/3 of our city budget on public safety and protection which is allegedly twice what DeKalb County was providing, and the crime rates and visible, public crimes don’t seem to have lessened.

Maybe the idea that “more and more” police presence is the answer to security, isn’t the answer that many hoped for when they voted for the City of Dunwoody.    I hope the City Manager and the City Council take a hard look at the cost/benefit ratio before they continue to add to the Dunwoody Police Department.

No trouble here, DPD at Safe Night Out at Target.  A community event.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Music Hall of Fame Documents

Proposals for the Georgia Music Hall of Fame have found their way online.  No, Julina Assange had nothing to do with it.  The Athens Banner-Herald newspaper made an opens record request for the proposals.  All the proposals are viewable here, except for Macon.  Macon is fighting in court the release of their proposal.  Not sure what they have to hide.  Either their proposal is very weak or it suggests using more public funds than have been reported to Macon residents.

But we here at DunwoodyTalk could care less about Macon's proposal. Macon residents have shown over the past decade that they could care less about the music museum.  Were it not for school kids visiting the current Macon site the floors inside would have a foot of dust.  Macon had its chance and blew it.  Time for another community to give it a go.

I've read through the documents and the Dunwoody plan looks great.  Biased?  A little.  But keep in mind i was 100% opposed to the Hall coming here until I studied it.  It makes sense for the Hall, and for local residents.

Dunwoody's efforts to bring the Hall here is led by a newly created non-profit called The Dunwoody Music Conservancy, Inc.  This group has some heavy hitters as part of its leadership team.  They include Danny Ross, Robert Kinsley, William McCahan, Bryan Tate, Brad Sturgeon, Bill  Grant, Yvonne Williams, and Del Moon.  Complete resumes for this posse can be found here.

Hall at the Mall
To start, the Dunwoody proposal may seem to have a major weakness in attracting the hall - it does not have a home for it yet.  But the proposal addresses that issue in a clever way.  The GA Music Hall of Fame (GMHF) will be temporarily housed inside Perimeter Mall. Perimeter Mall attracts 18 million visitors a year.  Lots of marketing opportunities exist by having the Hall at the Mall.  Mall anchor stores could easily use the Hall as a marketing tool - offering prepaid passes during sales and for frequent shoppers.

Center for Performing Arts of Dunwoody (C-PAD)
Note: I would prefer it be called Dunwoody Performing Arts Center (D-PAC) 

If the Dunwoody group is successful in bringing the hall here it will take a monumental fund raising effort.  in looking over the resumes of the leadership group, they fave the right folks in place.  I'd estimate $25 million is needed.

D-PAC would be located on Ashford Dunwoody Road, where the Spruill building is now.  That building would stay.  Two separate buildings would be built.  The buildings are connected.  Building #1 is 25,800 square feet.  It would be home to the GMHF and also exhibit space for the Spruill Arts Center.

Building #2 has a 43,200 sq foot footprint and could possibly have a Class A hotel above an art gallery.  Four levels of parking (800 spaces) are part of Building #2.

Dunwoody's proposal is strong.  I think the Woodstock proposal is also attractive.  Both locations tout the potential number of visitors as their strong points.  If you were to ask 1000 random metro Atlantans today if they have more recently been to the Perimeter Mall area or Woodstock area I'd say 75% were in Dunwoody as to Woodstock.  In Woodstock's favor is the city's new amphitheatre being built with SPLOST funds next year. (side note, the Woodstock amphitheater is being designed by Clark Patterson Lee.  Clark Patterson Lee is currently under contract with the City of Dunwoody for various items).  Woodstock's proposal puts the Hall beside this 6000 seat amphitheatre and across the street from a 550 seat performing arts center.  But I think Dunwoody's location is much better.

Both Woodstock and Dunwoody proposals mention schools.  This is a big deal.  Many of Macon's visitors are school kids.  There are thousand and thousands of kids in both Woodstock and Dunwoody.  School tours alone could easily triple Macon's visitor rates. I can see school groups from across the metro area signing up for field trips to such a venue, just like they now go to the Puppetry Arts place and Fernbank.

The Woodstock proposal included some nice bar graphs that not only helped sell Woodstock, but also shows the advantage of Dunwoody.

This is design of Woodstock logo, but not their actual color scheme.  I added the color scheme.  D-CAP can hire me for a large pizza and pitcher of beer from Mellow Mushroom and I'll create a logo for them.

The Georgia Music Hall of Fame Authority will make the decision on where this thing goes.  There will be a political battle behind the scenes to keep it in Macon.  Hopefully the Authority will carefully review all the proposals and make a selection that has the most potential.

Better School Equal Better Education?

Does having a great new school help children learn? Does more money spent on a school improve student performance?

DeKalb School System recently published findings from school inspections.  These inspections are to be used not only for redistricting but hopefully for future improvements.

Chamblee High School scored 32 out of 100 while Lakeside High School scored 22 out of 100.  These scores would be OK if we were talking football (Chamblee's football team won only two games and only scored more than 10 points in a game twice all year, but their math team placed 6th in the UGA math tournament in October and their TEAMS squad was #1 in the state).  But we are not talking football, we are talking School Adequacy ratings based on an independent company conducting site inspections at all DeKalb schools.

Chamblee, a magnet school, had the top SAT scores in DeKalb and ranked 20th in the state.  Lakeside students earned a #25 ranking in the state.  Based on scores of 32 and 22 it's safe to say these schools are in bad shape. It was recently announced that a new Chamblee High School will be built at a cost of close to $70 million dollars.  Hopefully the school system will do better than Pat Pope and Co. in designing the school.  Someone please tell the person in charge of school instruction for DeKalb how big classrooms need to be and how many seats a cafeteria should have.  So Chamblee and Lakeside seem to have the best performing students yet the worst conditions.  Of course many of you already know that no matter how nice a building is, what matters is the effort put forth by not only the students, but also the parents and teachers.  DeKalb can build school shrines all over the place but student performance will not improve until students and parents take it upon themselves to learn.

On the elementary school level Austin Elementary has always had student test scores well above county, state, and national averages.  Yet Austin's School Adequacy score of 32 puts it at the bottom of all elementary schools in the county and second from last overall (only Lakeside High school had a lower score).

Even though the students at some of these run-down schools perform well on standardized tests, the kids deserve better learning environments than is offered currently.

Why has this school (and the others scoring below '40') been ignored by the current school board and central office staff while the school board built a $30 million facility (Mountain Industrial Blvd) for themselves and central office staff that includes $2000 chairs and a wellness center equipped with a weight room, basketball court, Cybex machines, etc. Meanwhile we have 3rd graders in Dunwoody spending the entire school year in trailers. 

Residents in other parts of DeKalb complain that the district spends too much money in the northern section of the county.  Take a look at the map below: (you can click on the map to enlarge)

The light blue colored circles are buildings scoring 90+. You will not find any of those light blue colored circle anywhere close to the north side of the county map.  See those red colored circles?  Those are schools below 50.  A majority are in the mid to north part of the county.  Now that the Board has blown any chance of ever getting another SPLOST approved by beefing up the retirement pay of Ramona Tyson, perhaps they can get around to fixing some schools. Chamblee is slated for a new building. What about Austin, Pleasantdale, Coralwood, and others?

Even if Chamblee, Lakeside, and Austin school buildings were to remain in poor condition, the students would continue to be top-notched learners.  But that's no reason to ignore the situation like the current Board has done for years. 

current school board members

Friday, December 17, 2010

What Does $20 Million Buy?

$20 million buys a nice school, most of the time.  But in DeKalb County, where some in positions of 'leadership' appear to be lacking the necessary skills to perform their duties, $20 million buys a school with many shortcomings right out of the box.

Dunwoody Elementary School, opened three years ago, is currently at 65% capacity hosting 4th and 5th graders.  Next year, after redistricting, this school will be at 100% capacity with grades K-5.  How will the school handle a full load? Probably not as well as it should. The cafeteria is too small, many classrooms do not meet the required size guidelines, and noise form the music rooms disturbs regular classes (yes, these kids are lucky to have a music program).  You'd expect these types of inadequacies in a school built in 1967,  but not one built in 2005.

Who is to blame for the $20 million dollar error?  You first have to start with Pat Pope, former construction guru with the school system.  She is no longer employed by the school system.  The engineers hired for the buil dof this school should be banned from future work in the county as well. Next blame former superintendent Lewis and our school board members.  None of them took the initiative to make sure the classrooms and other amenities were built to meet standards and 1000+ kids. And what about our local volunteer review committee?  Were they given the tools needed to make sure this school was built correctly?

Teachers at Dunwoody Elementary are planting the seeds with the students, telling them that the school is great with 4th and 5th graders only.  Staff warns the students (like the students even care or have any power to take action) that the cafeteria can barely handle 65% and will be a disaster if put at 100%.  From a teacher/administrator perspective, having a specialized school with only two grades is great.  Easier to manage the kids, plenty of resources (other teachers) to 'share' lesson plans, etc.  But is having 9 & 10 year-olds in a mini middle school a good idea for the children?

Today the school system released finding from school inspections.  I was expecting the worst for some of our older elementary schools, but had no idea how bad our 'leaders', 'planners' and 'design review' folks blew it on the community's newest school. Any surprise that three of the people most responsible for this blunder are either off the county payroll now or will be by January 3rd?  The poor design is a big deal to us in Dunwoody, but a drop in the bucket of poor decision making across the county.

Here are notes from the recent school inspection of Dunwoody Elementary School on Womack Road:

Suitability - Elementary
Dunwoody Elementary was built in 2005 as a K-5 school, but houses only grades 4-5. The site has several classes that are appropriate for kindergarten.

The school is traditional with a focus on math and science and has gifted and special education programs.

Suitability - Elementary->Site-->Traffic
The parent and bus drop zones conflict with parking and the parents back up onto the main road in the mornings.

Suitability - Elementary->Site-->Pedestrian Traffic
The pedestrians from parking lot cross the parent and bus zones without a designated crosswalk. The site also lacks adequate space outside the fire lanes for the students during an evacuation The site lacks sidewalks behind the building.

Suitability - Elementary->Site-->Playground
One of the two play structures is for lower grade level students and two play structures are inadequate for a school of this size. Structures are on wood chips.

Suitability - Elementary->Safety and Security-->Signage & Way Finding
Rooms are marked, but the site lacks wayfinding signage.

Suitability - Elementary->General Classrooms-->Size
Some classes are smaller than the size guidelines.

Suitability - Elementary->General Classrooms-->Adjacencies
There is not sufficient acoustic separation between first and second floors, especially under the music room.

Suitability - Elementary->General Classrooms-->Storage\Fixed Equip.
Rooms have inadequate backpack storage for the kids, but deemed acceptable. Other concerns noted that there are inadequate electrical outlets near the teachers desk and that the east side upper windows need blinds for the mornings, but deemed okay.

Suitability - Elementary->Library-->Size
The library is below the DCSS size guideline.

Suitability - Elementary->P.E.-->Storage\Fixed Equip.
Complaints about the two small doors for egress and the acoustics noted, but deemed adequate.

Suitability - Elementary->Music-->Size
All four of the music rooms are below the DCSS size guidelines and the band and strings classes are both in a regular classroom.

Suitability - Elementary->Music-->Adjacencies
All are isolated near each other, but are near regular classes and noise permeates the classes below on the 1st floor.

Suitability - Elementary->Performing Arts\Auditorium-->Size
The drama space is appropriate, but the stage area is small.

Suitability - Elementary->Performing Arts\Auditorium-->Storage\Fixed Equip.
The stage sound is poor and the curtains and lights are mounted near the back of the stage, decreasing the utility.

Suitability - Elementary->Kindergarten
The school has about 10 classes that are suitable for kindergarten.

Suitability - Elementary->Administration-->Adjacencies
Sight line to entrance is a little obscured, but deemed acceptable.

Suitability - Elementary->Restrooms (Student)
Boys urinals lacked privacy partitions, but excellent otherwise.

Suitability - Elementary->Cafeteria
The cafeteria is below the DCSS guideline, making circulation difficult.

Suitability - Elementary->Food Prep
The kitchen was a little small for a school of this size, but kitchen staff reported it was good.

Suitability - Elementary->Custodial & Maintenance
When the hot water is used in custodial closets, the fire alarms go off.

You can review the report online here  Hopefully we'll have some real experts and real review committees in place when Chamblee High School is built.

Next we'll take a look at the 2nd lowest rated elementary school in the entire county - AUSTIN ELEMENTARY

Back to Dunwoody Elementary for a minute or so. In less than a month the school system will reveal two options for redistricting.  The superintendent will make her selection from the two, then the new school board will vote on that selection.  I have little doubt that Dunwoody Elementary will become a K-5 school in both plans.  The school will be at 100% capacity with many homes zoned out of their current elementary school. 

I think Dunwoody Elementary will become 'the' premier elementary school in the cluster.  It will have the newest facility (even with the faults shown above, it it a much better building than the other elementary schools in Dunwoody) and will have the same kids in it that now attend Austin and Vanderlyn.  Test scores at the school will be equal to those of Austin and Vanderlyn.  No more parking on the streets for special events.  No rowdy car pool lines, no trailers or 'modulars'.

Side Note on Modulars: The modular trailers at Vanderlyn DO NOT count toward the school's capacity.  Although they have plumbing and bathrooms and cost eight times more a month to rent than the trailers at our other schools, they are still trailers.  Call them modulars, call them classrooms, call them what you want.  But they are not permanent.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Firkin Gryphon

Although unemployment nationwide is hovering around 10%, things seem to be OK in Dunwoody.  Several restaurants have opened recently, and we've heard about a new bank along with a few other vacant retail spots being filled.

DunwoodyTalk staff was invited to get a sneak peak at the new Firkin Gryphon restaurant on Ashford Dunwoody Road.  If you are in a hurry with not time to read, then simply go there for a nice atmosphere and some great food.  The End.

The new restaurant is in the former Smoky Bones location.  In the same strip mall is Macaroni Grill, a mattress place, Pella window, and a few other things I can't remember.

For those wanting a little more detail, thanks for sticking around.  Firkin Gryphon is a Canadian tavern chain, now with three Atlanta locations (Cumming & Lindbergh).  This place is different than Tilted Kilt, different compared to Macaroni Grill, and different to most other eateries in Dunwoody.  It has by far the widest beer selection I've seen in the Perimeter area.  According to an alert reader, Taco Mac has a wider beer selection than this place, so I'll give Firkin a 2nd place trophy regarding beer choices.  31 beers on draft, and another 30+ in bottles.  Lots of mixed drinks, wine, and even tap water.  But it's not a beer & shot type saloon.  It's a nice atmosphere; a place to take a client, a place you can take the kids, and a place to hang out with friends.  The servers dress differently than those at Tilted Kilt (although they do wear kilts, but the kilts are longer and the Firkin girls wear blouses that actually have buttons) and the atmosphere itself is also different.  When you enter you immediately smell smoked ribs and other foods cooking. It's not a powerful BBQ smell like at Hickory House, but something unique. Being a Canadian franchise, the place has a British feel to it. Native Atlantans, transplant Yankees, and even visiting limeys will feel at home in this place.

I was there during a soft opening for family, friends, and bloggers (sorry King john and BloggerBob, I forgot to get you invites) so it was not real crowded and not much noise.  There are about 20 flat screens, mostly all tuned in to a sports channel.  I did see one tuned to Fox News and a token TV tuned to CNN.  I was told the place will have football, soccer, and all other sports on all the time.  A few booths had their own private TV.

In the back (the place is over 7000 sq feet) was a nice pool table and a couple dart boards.  Not sure how many people will throw darts.  I throw at the Tavern once in a while.

Back to the beer.  of course my first question was regarding Hoegaarden.  Again, another restaurant with no Hoegaarden.  31 beers on draft an no Hoegaarden?  But, they do keep one of the 31 taps as a rotating selection which means it may from time to time have Hoegaarden. I already put a plug in for it.  So today for lunch I had Smithwick Ale draft.  For the pre-opening event they had a limited menu so I can't talk about too  many foods.  But I did read the full menu and there are lots of things for everybody.  Also a nice kids menu.

I ordered up a full rack of ribs.  Very tasty.  Meat fell off the bone and you could eat this slab with a fork with little effort. I had real (not instant) mashed potatoes as a side - very good.  Just to make my wife happy I added a side of fresh steamed vegetables but I pretty much ignored them and focused on the ribs, potatoes, and beer.  I forgot to mention the beef sliders as the appetizer.  For dessert was a fudge brownie with ice cream.  All the food was excellent. No frozen food on site.  Everything is prepared fresh.The food is upscale, but not overly expensive. 

I think they will do well for lunch and dinner.  I also feel the place will be going after the 8 PM - 2 AM crowd by having some live music.  I'll be sure to make a late night visit soon and report back on the late night crowd. 

I met the owner before I left.  He lives here in Dunwoody and has lived here for 30+ years.  Although the place has a goofy name I think they will do well.  Give it a try.


Monday, December 6, 2010


Property managers over at Walgreens / Fresh Market need to understand that if you run sprinklers in the morning when the temperature is 26 degrees, the water from those sprinklers will turn to ice.

"If there was a problem, YO I'd solve it."

Chase Plans to Help Dunwoody Overcome Bank Shortage

Recognizing the shortage of banks in the Dunwoody area, Chase Bank wants to take over the abandoned Texaco station by Publix and put in a new bank.  Chase would also take over the space now occupied by a dry cleaner.  The current Chase branch in the Publix shopping center will close and the dry cleaner will move into that building (where he was originally).  The Pilates folks next to the dry cleaner may switch gears and open a pizza shop combined with a P90X infomercial/training center. The new business will be called
Smart Pizza, Smart Workout.

this Chase will move about 50 yards across the parking lot and the dry cleaner guy will move in here

early rendering of a new Chase bank

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Water Rate Increase

Dekalb County is hosting a public meeting for the purpose of discussing water/sewer rate for all of DeKlab, including Dunwoody.  I suggest you put it on your schedule now and plan to attend. The fine folks at DeKalb Public Works are even coming out to Dunwoody to make the meeting more convenient for local residents.

From DeKalb County Pubic Works:

Infrastructure Capital Projects Information Meetings Scheduled in Dunwoody

DECATUR – Representatives from the DeKalb County Public Works/Infrastructure group will hold a public meeting to discuss upcoming infrastructure capital improvement projects (CIPs). 

The meeting is scheduled as follows:

  • Tuesday, December 7, at the Dunwoody City Hall, 41 Perimeter Center East, Suite 250, Dunwoody, Georgia from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.

County staff is currently assessing the water, sewer and infrastructure needs, and watershed experts have identified critical capital improvement projects that are needed over the next five years to ensure our water supply is adequate and safe for drinking, fire protection, our anticipated growth and development, and that the county is in full compliance with all state and federal regulations.

The meeting will provide an explanation of the repairs and upgrades needed in the water and sewer division, in order to preserve accessibility and maintain quality.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Back to Nature (Center)

It's been a while since I've taken the kids to the Dunwoody Nature Center, so we stopped by today for a special event.  As advertised here and on other blogs, today was Gifts for the Earth day at DNC.  The event was sponsored by Councilwoman Bonser and her husband.
The Steelers have a big game this week against the Baltimore Ravens
kids shown mixing lard and bird seed in a bowl.  A string is added so it can be hung on a tree limb

Kids rotated to different stations, creating some simple bird-feeders and other crafty things.  My 8 year-old was thrilled to take possession of the electric glue gun (a slightly smaller grip on the glue gun compared to her Ruger Mark II, but a sense of power and responsibility just the same).
cookies, hot chocolate, snacks
give boys a football, a little bit of outdoor space, some cold weather and they take care of the rest

I was impressed with the high school kids their to volunteer.  Kids were from Chamblee High School and also Riverwood Int'l Charter School  volunteered at today's event. Not sure if the two groups of high-schoolers squared off later in a High School Quizbowl or not, but these were some really nice kids out there today. 
Su Ellis and Adrian Bonser with a few participants
I kept my Hoegaarden bottles cold in the stream, then a few other dads sent their kids in 'fishing' for the cold refreshing Belgian  beer

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Two New Board Members

Jester 3482  (55%)
Redovian 2806 (45%)

More Results
 Jester 321  Redovian 81

Jester 150  Redovian  254

Jester 129  Redovian  45

Jester 83  Redovian  134

Huntley Hills
Jester 121  Redovian  26

Jester 171  Redovian  209

Nancy Creek
Jester 135  Redovian  23

Jester  71  Redovian  154

Approx Total so far:
Jester 2287, Redovian 1942

Looks like Doona Edler in s DeKalb taking care of business with Zapora Roberts soon to pack her bags.  I'd like to quote the great Kenny Powers here, but I'll refrain.

Voting Results

N Peachtree
Jester 79  Redovian 59

Jester 71  Redovian 154

Dunwoody library
Jester 150  Redovian  247

Dunwoody Elem
Jester 136  Redovian  235

All Saints
Jester 135  Redovian  233

Jester 283  Redovian  34

Henderson Middle
Jester  227  Redovian  67

P-Tree Middle
Jester 50  Redovian  35

Atl Church of Christ
Jester 150  Redovian  254

Jester 56  Redovian  100

More to follow

Jester Wins

In the bunker on a cold rainy night, drinking a few tall White Russians (Sky vodka, Kahlua, Horizon Dairy brand milk).  Results to follow, but looks like a blowout.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Saturday at Dunwoody Nature Center

Dunwoody Nature Center
Dear Friend,
We are grateful for the generosity of Adrian and Brian Bonser, and the Gendell Family Foundation, for sponsoring Gifts for the Earth.  As a result, this special Saturday event is free, and a great opportunity to explore Dunwoody Park if you haven't visited us before. The weather forecast promises sunshine, so bundle up and join us for great family fun!
Gifts for the Earth
Saturday, December 4
10 am - Noon
A Family Program Sponsored by Adrian and Brian Bonser and the Gendell Family Foundation
Turnabout is fair play: make something special for the earth that gives us so much. Create natural animal feeders and other gifts for the creatures who call Dunwoody home. Make one for Dunwoody Park and take one home to share with people you love.  Walk the trails, explore the wetlands along our boardwalk, and enjoy the fall foliage from our treehouse learning pavilion.
This FREE family program is sponsored by Adrian and Brian Bonser and the Gendell Family Foundation. Marion Gendell and her late husband, Gerald Gendell, established the foundation to make philanthropic contributions supporting Jewish organizations, the arts, education and medical research.  Their daughter, Adrian Bonser, continues the family’s support of education, including the environmental education programs of Dunwoody Nature Center.  Councilwoman Bonser and her husband Brian chose to sponsor Gifts for the Earth because they believe in the mission of the Center and wanted to make a gift to the City of Dunwoody. As a result, there is no charge for participating in this fun family event.
Coming Soon ...
  • Lunch & Learn Adult Lecture Series in January and February
  • 2011 Summer Camp Registration begins for Members February 1
What's Happening
at YOUR Dunwoody Nature Center?
November 29, 2010
Dunwoody Park is open 7:00 am to sundown, seven days a week, free of charge. Dunwoody Nature Center is open Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. Visit us soon!
Our Mission
Dunwoody Nature Center inspires the love of nature and cultivates environmental understanding and stewardship by:
  • Conserving and enhancing Dunwoody Park
  • Educating children, families, and adults of all ages about the natural world and our place in it
  • Motivating environmental awareness and responsible action.
Dunwoody Nature Center is located on the grounds of Dunwoody Park.
Learn More about Dunwoody Nature Center
Contact Us
What's In The Park?
Dunwoody Park is beautiful in every season. Turn into our lane, walk through the woods, and enjoy Dunwoody's hidden treasure.
Get a sneak peak at some of the special places you can enjoy at Dunwoody Park. 
Dunwoody Nature Center
5343 Roberts Drive
Dunwoody, Georgia 30338

Friday, November 26, 2010

Important School Survey

It's a holiday weekend so go ahead and take time for the SCHOOLS survey and also the Parks and Rec survey mentioned in the previous post.

The schools survey is here (look under the 'Stakeholder Input' heading for "Take the Survey")

It's quite entertaining/sad to read the comments. The anti-redistricting crowd has made plenty of comments.  If you think the schools need to be zoned based on a school's capacity, make sure you note that in the survey. If you want to stay where you are even if 200 more trailers need hauled in to your school, note that as well. 

You can view Survey (and the comment replies) HERE
a state of the art Dunwoody classroom being hauled

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Garden Harvest

Important Update: Three alert DunwoodyTalk readers let me know I was wrong in regards to Yard Waste pickup this week - It ain't happenin'.  Don't drag those brown bags to the street 'cause they will get wet, fall apart, and make your neighbors mad that they have to look at your yard waste all Thanksgiving weekend.

Time to take a break from the school board race and city council meetings (at least for a couple of hours).  Here's a photo of this week's harvest from the Dunwoody Community Garden:

Monday, November 22, 2010

DeKalb Sanitation Pick Up Schedule

UPDATE: No Yard Waste PickUp this week

During Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays the DeKalb Sanitation schedule changes a bit.  No recycling this week.  Also, trash pick up normally on Thursday will be Wednesday. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dunwoody Makes List as Most Expensive

See the story here:

Most Expensive Suburbs 2010

By Venessa Wong and Joel Stonington , Bloomberg Businessweek
Nov 17, 2010
Suburbs generally provide a respite for young families and spacious dwellings for city professionals who prefer a quieter home life. Despite these broad similarities, a survey of high-end suburbs around the country shows they are not created equal -- in cost, that is, as expenditures vary greatly by state.

Take Maumelle, Ark., for example, the most expensive suburb outside of Little Rock, where the median home price is $191,000 and the average household spends $12,510 on transportation per year, according to data from real estate researcher Onboard Informatics.
Compare that with Scarsdale, N.Y., a suburb of Manhattan where the average home sells for nearly $1.2 million and household transportation costs can add up to about $32,000 per year. worked with Onboard Informatics to identify the most expensive suburbs outside the largest cities -- those with populations over 250,000, or the most populous city in the state if none are so large.
The ranking is based on costs from housing and other nonretail expenditures to taxes and transportation costs. We define "suburb" as a Census place within 40 miles of city borders, including incorporated cities, towns, villages, and unincorporated areas. There are more than 25,000 places identified by the U.S. Census Bureau nationwide. We only surveyed places with populations larger than the state median.
The following are the most expensive suburbs in the 10 biggest states by median home price.

10 Most Expensive Suburbs by State

Most Expensive Suburb in Georgia: Dunwoody
Median home price: $305,000
Cost-of-living index: 156
Nonretail spending index: 157
Location: about 17 miles north of Atlanta
Population: 40,501
The City of Dunwoody, which was settled in the 1800s but only incorporated on Dec. 1, 2008, has a downtown commercial and shopping area in addition to the residential subdivisions, according to Per capita income in 2008 was $50,951, according to Census data, and median household income was $90,355.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Random Photos from the Smart City

The DunwoodyTalk staff photographer was out and about today taking a few photos and some video for the upcoming DunwoodyTalk public access TV show (our show will be called Smart-TV now, not D-Town TV as originally planned). Shown above is Dunwoody's very own Goodwill Donation Center.

Jett Ferry Gateway folks can put down their pens - no need to write a letter to the editor or to your local council member. No need to picket at the Kroger either.  This is a drop-off location only and won't attract any miscreants from abroad. Wide sidewalks at Williamsburg so visitors to this shopping center can keep a safe distance from the Goodwill door. 

Paving starts Monday on Dunwoody Club Drive so my back way to Dun Elem is gone for a week.  Looks like I'll be sitting at the nice 4-way stop on Womack Monday morning. The RX-500, featured above, is a fine machine by Roadtec.

The RX-500 is a 630 hp (470 kW) cold planer with sufficient conveyor swing (60° left or right) and turning radius to accommodate today's demanding urban milling conditions. The RX-500 is available in either the three-track or four-track version. The RX-500 can easily change between several narrow cutter widths and pattern choices to make this one of the most versatile machines in its class. With the horsepower, maneuverability, and versatility, you will operate the RX-500 more days per year than any other of its size.

For those in need of firewood and/or pine straw there is no need to visit a licensed Dunwoody business.  Instead just find one of the Smart City's gypsy vendors (see below)
Their gas is much higher than Costco's, but the firewood vendor is convenient for these 70-degree days
That's a very nice tree, once cut down Chick Fil A can sell it to the guy across the street at the Chevron. I think that would be an example of recycling and being sustainable - bonus point for our city!  It may earn us the Golden Chainsaw award.
Having two pine straw gypsies = competition = better prices

NY Butcher may soon be able to sell wine and 40 ounce Colt 45, but look for city council to put an end to outdoor smoking in parks, in homes, in your mind, and in the parking lot.

I don't get over to the Willamsburg area much, and it appears the city's code enforcement sign guy doesn't as well
You know it's almost Christmas when Big John sets up in Da Vil.  Sign or no sign, Big John is ready to sell you a tree.

Indoor gardening at Brook Run Green House.  Frosty the Snowman needs to stay out of there - it was 80-degrees inside here today.
 My grave sites garden plots over at Brook Run Community Garden are still doing well.  Collards and broccoli look good, as is the cilantro.  
production from the bed has increased since the Rutger tomato incident
Tis the season for holiday signs for not only Big John's Christmas trees, but also holiday signs for haircuts, professional detailed hand car washes behind a gas station, a holiday F-150 for sale, as well as holiday limo rides, holiday flu shots, holiday free coffee, and other fine holiday signs.  

As a reminder, tomorrow is Light Up Dunwoody.  See you there.  Just look for the signs.  I spoke with councilman Heneghan today and he told me that he and the mayor are singing at least one song, maybe two, from atop the FarmHouse balcony.