Friday, September 16, 2011

Yard Signs

The 'Rick Callihan for City Council' signs have arrived.  Please email me at if you'd like a sign or two.  Your support is greatly appreciated.


Rick Callihan

A Problem That Needs Fixing

We became a city for many reasons; local control of zoning, code enforcement, increased police protection, control of taxes (some), etc.  The city has made good on lots of promises.  We now have control of zoning, we have our own code enforcement, council has kept taxes as is, and we do have more police on the streets.

Take a look here: VIDEO

Watch the video and you'll hear concerns from a parent and Councilwoman Bonser.  Listen carefully at the 2:00 minute mark of the video where the reporter says an officer will be there to assist with traffic.  To put in context, this video is from a couple years ago.   Still no traffic control officer and no traffic light.

It's my understanding the traffic counts do not qualify that intersection for a traffic light, so we need to move on (unless a waiver is possible).  The traffic officer - the reporter from the above video indicated that would be an expense for the school system, but I'm not sure.  But I know no one is there for traffic control in the mornings.   I'm not sure if DeKalb promised to provide funds to direct traffic or not.  Do any other schools in DeKalb (unincorporated or a city) have police directing traffic?

BloggerBob wrote a piece recently talking about a 45 minute 1.8 mile car ride.  And he's not alone.  The issue of a bunch of schools within close proximity of each other will not change.  It's not Nancy J's fault and it's not Jim R's fault, so let's not point fingers there.  But something needs done to correct the issue.  For those of you long-time visitors to my blog, you know I complain about things, but you also recognize I try to provide solutions to the problem.

The best solution is for more kids to ride the buses.  That won't happen for many kids due to the time issue.  DeKalb has one set of buses/drivers.  These buses first do elementary school kids, then high school routes, then middle school routes.  Buses start picking up kids at 6:40 AM, and school begins at DES at 8:00 AM.  This means your kid awakens at 6:15 AM for a two mile bus ride, to start school at 8:00 AM. That is not good use of time.  Riding a bus at 6:40 means the kids have to go to bed sooner.  Factor in the early bed time and the early bus stop time, and you are losing 5-10 hours of week with your child - family time that you should not be handing over. 

Here is the current carpool plan at DES:
current traffic plan for DES carpool

One issue is the car pool does not open until 7:30 AM.  Teachers are not in place yet and not enough room in the cafeteria for all the kids.  Under the current plan there is not a long enough car queue.

Also, people are forced to exit at the same spot as the crosswalk.  The crossing guard's job is to make sure kids cross safely, I know.  But can the crossing guard can allow more than one child to gather on the curb prior to stopping traffic? The pedestrian at a crosswalk has expectations for cars to yield and allow the pedestrian to cross.  The law requires for cars to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, but the pedestrian should not enter the roadway in front of a moving vehicle.  Perhaps Tom or Joe S. can weigh in more on the legal aspects of children at a crosswalk. No doubt, the goal is to encourage walking and parents need to know safety is goal number one. Is the guard required to immediately stop traffic when a child arrives at the cross walk? Can the child remain safely on the curb for one minute?  Please note the crossing guard cannot direct traffic, so don't blame him for the mess.

I feel the city manager should coordinate with our police for an officer to be positioned at DES for 30 minutes every morning.  This goes back to why we became a city.  Are we as a city so obsessed with signage rules, banning chickens, and being too Smart that we can't get an officer over at DES in the mornings? Over on my area of town is Woodland Elementary.  An officer is there every morning.  She directs traffic every morning.  She may be paid by the school system, or maybe the PTA, or maybe Sandy Springs - I don't know.  But the point is, she IS there. How does DES get an officer at the school?  One note - it is possible that an officer may not help the situation, but I think we should try.

One concern is that if the city puts an officer at DES, then why not every other school?  Same argument could be made for officers anywhere in the city.  Why do officers go where they go?  They 'go' due to demand - they go where they are needed. And I argue that enough city residents are affected by the traffic situation at DES to warrant an attempt to fix the problem.

Imagine a neighborhood where there have been very few, if any, issues that required officer assistance.  No break-ins, no traffic problems, a nice quiet area.  Police probably don't patrol that area as much as an area that does have frequent requests for services.  Just on Monday night a nice lady told me how the Dunwoody police (since being formed) have made a major difference in her area.  That's fantastic, that's why we became a city and why we have our own police.  It's nice to hear stories like that.  Her neighborhood had a need, and the police responded, with intended results.

Back to our topic - there is a need for assistance at DES in the mornings, just like the nice lady on Monday had a need for her neighborhood.  Austin and Vanderlyn do not need an officer to direct traffic.  There is a traffic light on Roberts for Austin that allows car pool to move okay, and traffic is at a crawl there so no speeding can take place.  Vanderlyn has a long queue and an officer there would do nothing to help.  Same for the high school.  That leaves Chesnut and Kinsley.  I think Kingsley sits back off the main road that it does not need an officer.  I can't comment on Chesnut so maybe Lynn D can comment.  It may be that only DES needs an officer in the morning.

A proposal for carpool at DES

The plan above moves the exit away from the crosswalk.  It creates a longer queue.  But it may require an officer on Womack, at least to implement the plan.  Some may be concerned about buses being in the same car pool lane as cars.  Unless there is a law against this, what's the problem?  Most likely the buses will arrive before the cars.  If not, no big deal.  All kids exit the vehicles, then get on a sidewalk.  Once the entire queue (from red bar to red bar on map) empties and moves out, the cars all move up.  This plan may work, it may not.  Maybe the folks in charge can try it.  I don't think it would make things worse.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Have a Kid Who Uses Internet or Cell Phone? CBS TV Special Report

I know, Friday nights we have high school football, dinner parties on the back deck, or maybe even a family visit to Mellow Mushroom or Village Burger.  I'm not  a huge fan of network news or their special news shows, but an airing this Friday is something you should consider viewing with your kids (or have your kids watch without you). One thing that puzzles me about the CBS special is that they are encouraging using Facebook and Twitter for viewers.  So, there is a problem with bullying on social media and while using electronic devices, so they are encouraging more use of these?  Anyway, hopefully the TV episode will be educational.  Since your tween or teen already has plans for Friday night, DVR the event for later in the weekend.

The show is called "Bullying: Words Can Kill".  Below is the official press release from CBS:

Hello –

I am touching base from CBS News to inform you that for the last year CBS News has been working on a special report about bullying in the digital age. Produced by the team behind the award winning, 48 Hours this primetime special called “Bullying: Words Can Kill,” will air Friday, September 16th at 8:00 PM on your local CBS station.

While bullying is not a new phenomenon, cyberbullying is—and it has turned up the heat on peer-to-peer harassment.  Computers and cell phones now bring children and teens closer to their friends, as well as their enemies—sometimes with fatal results. This special report is an in-depth look at how this serious issue is affecting hundreds of thousands of students across the country—and what parents, educators and legislators can do to help keep children safe.

Viewers will be given a firsthand look at bullying and cyberbullying through the eyes of those who are targeted, their parents, and a middle school in Rhode Island that is proactively working on alleviating and preventing bullying in their school. The report also includes interviews with parents who have lost their children to suicide, because they couldn’t live through another day of bullying. Those parents have now dedicated their lives to saving other children from the same fate. To see more about the show please visit our webpage HERE.

During the broadcast on September 16th, correspondent Tracy Smith and producers of the show will be live on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE  taking questions from viewers. We sincerely hope that the discussion continues in homes and schools around the country.

We invite you, your faculty, students and parents to tune in to this important broadcast. Attached are materials we hope you will use to help us get the word out about the documentary.  Please feel free to post the attached flyer around your school, encourage your school community to participate in our Tweet-up, and to forward the contents of this email to the decision-makers in your district, including teachers, parents, guidance counselors and administrators.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact us.

Elizabeth Wasden
Director, Communications
CBS News

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tour ChatComm 911 Center





Dunwoody and ChatComm Host 911 Open House

City Prepares for Transition of 911 Communication Services

Dunwoody, Ga. – September 14, 2011 – Residents and businesses in Dunwoody are invited to a behind-the-scenes look at the City’s new 9-1-1 communications services provider during a 911 Open House on Wednesday, September 28, 2011.
Beginning October 3, the City of Dunwoody will join the cities of Sandy Springs and Johns Creek in their joint 9-1-1 center known as the Chattahoochee River 9-1-1 Authority or ChatComm.
“With the transition to ChatComm, Dunwoody ensures a high level of service for our citizens while limiting our expenses to a fixed fee,” said Mayor Ken Wright. “Moving to ChatComm solidifies a vital part of Dunwoody’s public safety efforts by improving our 911 communication services."
Based on an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) signed earlier this year, ChatComm will answer and dispatch Dunwoody’s police emergency calls. Performance standards in the IGA stipulate that at least 90 percent of 9-1-1 calls be answered within 10 seconds and at least 90 percent of calls be processed for dispatch within 60 seconds.
ChatComm dispatches emergency calls for Sandy Springs and Johns Creek police including fire departments and the Rural Metro Ambulance services for Sandy Springs. In 2010, ChatComm received over 110,000 9-1-1 calls and dispatched to 114,122 incidents.
WHAT:          911 Open House
                      (tours, light refreshments, and information on ChatComm)
WHERE:   ChatComm
                   859 Mount Vernon Highway, Suite 400
                   Sandy Springs, GA 30328

WHEN:      Wednesday, September 28
                   10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
                   7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Free Progams this Fall at Marcus JCC


Judaism 101: Curious about Judaism?
Fridays, September 16 and 23
10:30 – 11:30 am
MJCCA - Zaban Park
5342 Tilly Mill Road
Dunwoody, GA 30338
Free to the community

Curious about Judaism? The MJCCA invites you to a series for inquiring minds with Rabbi Brian Glusman. Learn the basics of Judaism including Shabbat, holidays, ethics, and community.  Engaging classes for adults interested in learning more about Judaism. All are welcome – Jewish or not: unaffiliated Jews, and those of any religious backgrounds. For more information please contact Rabbi Brian Glusman,

Sweeten the New Year at Yogli Mogli
Tuesday, September 20
6:00 – 8:00 pm
Yogli Mogli in Dunwoody
Orchard Park Kroger Shopping Center
2090 Dunwoody Club Drive (at Mount Vernon)

The MJCCA invites you to Sweeten the New Year at Yogli Mogli of Dunwoody (next to Kroger) on Tuesday, September 20, from 6:00 – 8:00 pm. The event will feature children’s songs, stories and crafts. All participants will be treated to special event pricing. Bring your own Shofar for the official Dunwoody Shofar Blowing Contest. This event is free and open to all. Event partners include Congregation Beth Shalom, Pathways, Temple Emanu-El, and The Weinstein School.

Ribs in the Shack Sukkah Dinner
Tuesday, October 20
5:00 – 7:00 pm
MJCCA at Zaban Park
5342 Tilly Mill Road
Dunwoody, GA 30338

All are invited to the celebrate Sukkot (Festival of Booths) at the MJCCA with "Ribs in the Shack." This fun Sukkot holiday program will feature authentic pit smoked BBQ ribs which may be purchased directly from Goodfriend's Grill along with other great menu items. Enjoy live Bluegrass music with The Farmland Band and crafts for children. Learn how to do the "Lulav shake" with guest rabbis and more! This event is free and open to all. For more information about this and other great holiday programs, please contact Rabbi Brian Glusman,

Lunch ‘N Learn Featuring Rabbi Joshua Heller
Thursday, October 6
12:00 - 1:00 pm
MJCCA at Zaban Park
5342 Tilly Mill Road
Dunwoody, GA 30338
Free to the community

Make your lunchtime a little more meaningful and a lot more fun. You’re invited to join local congregational rabbis for a lively monthly discussion on a variety of topics, including the weekly Torah portion, current events, Israel, Jewish customs and ceremonies, Jewish holidays, and more. Each class features a different Atlanta rabbi. This program is free and open to the entire community; you may bring a dairy lunch or purchase a kosher lunch from Goodfriend’s Grill. For more information please contact Rabbi Brian Glusman,

Monday, September 12, 2011

Join 'Grow Dunwoody'

When:  September 14 (Wednesday)  6:30  - 7:30 PM

Where: Dunwoody High School

Who:  All Dunwoody residents (and students from any Dunwoody/DeKalb school) interested in working with the 'GrowDunwoody" program.

What:  See HERE