Friday, May 31, 2013

Jen Hatmaker - Worst End of School Year Mom Ever

Jen Hatmaker - Worst End of School Year Mom Ever

Cobb Schools Looking More Like Gwinnett, DeKalb and Fulton?

The AJC has a piece online about the changing demographics of the metro Atlanta area and its schools.

A few odd statistics jump out.  First, DeKalb adds 480 white students in the schools but loses 13,000 white residents. Perhaps a lot of elderly people left and some young families moved in.  DeKalb also lost 6,000 black students but gained 6,000 Hispanic students. DeKalb is the least diverse (by Race) school district in the metro area at 70% black, 11 % white, 10% Hispanic, but was the only school district studied to show a decrease in black students.

Cobb County Schools lost 32,000 white students, gained 53,000 black and 37,000 Hispanic.  Cobb Schools are now 42% white, 31% black, 17% Hispanic.  

Fulton schools added kids from all races, Hispanic being the biggest group at 7,700 students.  Fulton added slightly more white students than black students.  A large increase of Asian students in Fulton.

Gwinnett hides (or does not show) its demographics on its web page,  Based on one site: 33% white, 27% black, 24% Hispanic, 10% Asian - the most diverse of all metro school districts.

At the recent Georgia GOP meeting the changing demographics of Georgia was discussed.  How will these changes affect schools in future school legislation?  Do these numbers help or hurt the move to create independent school districts?  Will data modify the language, allowing any city, regardless of incorporation date, to create its own district?

DeKalb School Board Old New Elected Appointed

A couple of big things happening in DeKalb the next two weeks.  Number One is the Gene Walker case in front of the Georgia Supreme Court. This takes place early next week.  I have no idea if this is a one day or one week ordeal.  And we do not know when the GA Supreme Court will voice an opinion.  Gene Walker's position is that SB 84 is unconstitutional.  Walker contends he had no due process and the governor should not be allowed to rule against the voters of DeKalb.  Walker has not been accused or convicted of any crimes relating to his performance on the school board.  Same goes for the other removed school board members.  In summary, Mark Elgart from SACS put DeKalb school kids in a headlock, put the school board members in a figure-four leg lock, and referee Governor Deal made everyone tap out.  The victor?  Mark Elgart.  Nothing has changed in DeKalb since the Board was removed.  Test scores have not changed.  graduation rates won't change, classrooms are still crowded, and teachers' pay is the same.  And the new Board's first action was to buy new cars for central office employees.  Ramsey and Ramona Tyson are back in control.  I contend DeKalb school system is in worse shape now compared to a year ago.

If the Georgia Supreme Court finds in favor of Gene Walker, he and the other five board members will be back on the job immediately.  Their first order of business will be to fire SACS, switch to GAC accreditation, and have individual schools accredited.  The appointed school board members can go back to their day jobs.

If Gene Walker loses, the appointed members stay until next year when most are voted out of office by the voters of DeKalb.  By next election cycle the voters in DeKalb will have a bad 2013-2014 budget to point to as reason to vote them out. 

The hearings for the removed board members see here: ) are a formality.  No way the governor puts any back on the board.  The funny part of these hearings are the four witnesses.  Elgart is no surprise.  But the other three witnesses are surprising: Melvin Johnson, Jim McMahan, Marshall Orson.  One of these three members was referenced in the critical SACS report.  He was mentioned as already visiting 'his' schools and making a scene.  And all three witnesses fought to keep the old (original) board members on the board, until the State of Georgia used some sort of 3rd World legal logic interpreting SB 84 to determine the newly elected members could stay.  SB 84 make sit clear that all board members should be removed.  My how the winds have changed for those three.  It will be quite the 'welcome back' party should Gene win his case.

And one board member who was present during part of the time SACS determined to be The Dark Ages, nancy Jester, is not named as a witness.  Jester is not seeking reinstatement, is not on the board, but was on the board, so why is she not a witness? 

So we all need to wait around and see if Gene wins. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Brook Run Food Truck Event

Tonight at Brook Run is Week 2 for Food Truck Thursday at Brook Run. I heard last week lots of people showed up and this week they expect an equal number of people plus another truck or two.

The Dunwoody city council likes the event enough to donate $4,500 or so for police and trash. Some council members like the idea of bringing people together for an event. I agree it is nice to mingle with neighbors at a food event.

Fellow local blogger Dunwoody Working Girl has a piece out on local events. She puts forth the thought that money is flowing out of Dunwoody at events where the profits are not earned then banked by a Dunwoody resident. From her blog:

 Dunwoody as a city and community is losing money with most of these festivals.  Vendors and organizers set up shop to sell to the Dunwoody community, and then take the money elsewhere.  We're a cash cow.  Is that OK?  Or do we want to generate festivals and events that bring money into Dunwoody's coffers?  Dunwoody Working Girl

She makes some good points and some new comments add to the discussion. Thanks to Dunwoody Working Girl for bringing up the issue. She asks good questions.  Lemonade Days is a big money maker for the Dunwoody Preservation Trust.  It's a great event.  No other event brings together the kids of Dunwoody.  It is THE ONLY thing that actually attracts children to our largest park.  Yes, a carnival with rides and games of chance is the only time 99% of Lemonade Days attendees enter Brook Run Park.  That in itself is sad. But no money really stays here.  DPT hires a design firm from outside Dunwoody to craft the plans for the Donaldson-Bannister house.  So the money earned at Lemonade Days flows north to a firm, and then a DVD with renderings and plans flows back south in a few months.  Sure, the Donaldson-Bannister house will eventually benefit from Lemonade Days, but no money stays 'here'. At some point DPT will hire contractors and laborers to start the Donaldson-Bannister project.  The odds that a Dunwoody construction company employing only Dunwoody construction workers will be hired is quite slim, as such an entity does not exist.  So in the end, the community has an improved asset, not a pile of money.  Same for the Arts Festival.  The artists (or is it artisans?) make money and leave, but Dunnwoody residents keep the byproduct (the pieces of art) here in Dunwoody.

The Dunwoody Homeowners Association likes the Food Truck event as well. The DHA also likes community events. The city does not really benefit from the event and nor does the DHA. So why do these two groups support it? Both get warm fuzzies seeing a bunch of Dunwoody folks together at an event. Lemonade Days and the Dunwoody Arts Festival also bring us together and are well received by residents.

One thing these 'big' events have in common is they impact local Dunwoody businesses.  The Arts Festival has a negative impact on the gas station and some restaurants, but some other businesses see a bump.   Lemonade Days is contained to Brook Run, but if all those kids are at Lemonade Days they are not at Mellow Mushroom, Smoothie King, or the mall.  Food Truck Thursday - are the attendees skipping a meal at Marlow', Alison's, or Chick-fil-A?

It is a shame the only way to get moms, dads, and kids to assemble in our 100 acre park is to bribe them with food. But when your big selling point of a 100 acre park is a concrete jungle skateboard park is it any wonder why no one goes to Brook Run? You want to build community and have families gather in public spaces, then offer more than a concrete hole and a dog park.

There is another option. I would like the city council members, the city manager, and the DHA board members to go to Murphy Candler park and Morgan Falls park any day of the week. Here you will see hundreds of Dunwoody families gathered together, OUTSIDE of Dunwoody. Parks are great gathering places,..... When the park has real amenities that people want. A dog park is not an amenity that brings families together for fun. A dog park is a place for a dog to run around for awhile with other dogs while the dog owner scoops up poop with a plastic glove.

The multi-purpose trail at Brook Run is a great start to making Brook Run a destination park, but we want more. If you want to bring together families of Dunwoody then let's build softball fields, lacrosse fields, soccer fields, volleyball courts, and maybe a few more swing sets.

Sports fields obviously cost more than picking up trash after a Food Truck convoy, but how about some new discussion?

In the end, what matters to a community is infrastructure and people.  The people of Dunwoody choose to attend festivals and events regardless of who profits from said events.  People gather, they converse with each other, they eat together, their kids play together, then they go home to their Dunwoody home. They visit with neighbors and friends at the pool, at local festivals, at places of worship, and at local eateries and taverns. If we stop soliciting these venues, they leave.

In regards to infrastructure, we have schools and parks.  Many new friends are made every year at our local schools.  Families from one side of Dunwoody get to know families from the other side of Dunwoody via the middle and high school.  Parks?  Not really.  As mentioned before, head to Murphy Candler and Morgan Falls and you will see hundreds of local families.  These families would like to play lacrosse, soccer or softball or baseball here in Dunwoody, but the city as a whole has not come together on a plan.   

So until we have a plan in place, the kids and parents of Dunwoody will continue to leave Dunwoody for fun and activities, and those outside of Dunwoody will bring their dogs here to poop and pee in the park where your kids can't play.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Dunwoody Week 1 Swim Results May 2013

The weather was perfect for a swim meet Tuesday evening.  Sun, not too humid, no rain, no thunder.  Two soccer clubs had tryouts so a few athletes from most of the teams were not in action, and some viral thing floating around took out a few youngsters for Week 1.

Brittany Club 453  Mill Glen 339
Mill Glen had a great year last year, and they have a tougher schedule for 2013.  Brittany Club dominates across the board.  Brittany Club (located in the Brookhaven area, inside 285) hosts Wynterhall next week then heads to Redfield in Week 3.  Expect Brittany Club to go to 3-0 to start the season.  Mill Glen needs to get healthy quick as it faces crosstown rival Georgetown next week.  It may be Week 3 at Village Mill before Mill Glen tastes victory.

Chastain 483  Vermack 307
As predicted SuperClub Chastain takes out Dunwoody's Vermack in Week 1.  Chastain has 850 swimmers on its roster, 275 are college-bound with swim scholarships so it's a tough place to swim.  The pool at Chastain is simply awesome.  Chastain makes the drive to The Branches next week and will be 2-0 to start the season, as usual.  Vermack hosts Redfield next week.  DJ Vermack has his 2013 playlist saved on his i-Touch and 1000 watts x 3 of audio will fill the air next Tuesday.  Super-Secret video surveillance installed at Vermack in the off-season to keep an eye on all the trophies and the sno-cone machine.  As a bonus, 4000 tadpoles were released by the Georgia DNR in the storm water ditch  creek by the Vermack pool so the young boys will be entertained all evening. Vermack gets in the win column next week as Vermack looks to start a 3-week win streak, the Redfield SunDevils don't have the depth this year to handle Vermack.

Chastain pool

Dunwoody North 408  Dunwoody Country Club 373
A few days ago we predicted a close match, and close it was on Tuesday.  Dunwoody North starts the season strong and visits rival Kingsley next week. The Dunwoody North versus Kingsley match-up will be a close match.  It will be broadcast on Dunwoody's public access channel (Comcast channel 24) live and then in replay throughout the week.  Dunwoody North has a chance to go 4-1 or possibly 5-0 this season.  We had many emails looking for info on the Dunwoody North Memorial Day pool volleyball games, but sorry, we did not have a staff member there.  We have no official results of the Dunwoody North volleyball, but we heard of several face plants.  Also, a kid named Jimmy set a new Memorial Day record playing 4-Square at Dunwoody North. He held the 'king' square for 12 minutes, knocking out 37 kids in a row.  Congrats to the Dunwoody North 4-Square players.  DCC visits Roxboro next week and visits Kingsley in Week 5.

Georgetown 468  Gainsborough 325
We thought this would be close but it was not.  Georgetown takes care of business in Week 1. Like Dunwoody North, Georgetown can go 5-0 this season.  A week 4 meet with The Branches stands in the way of an undefeated season for Georgetown.  Rumor has it many G-Town swimmers have been beefing up at Farm Burger the past few months, gaining strength for the IM races.  Georgetown goes to Mill Glen next week in a must-win meet for both teams.  Mill Glen does not want an 0-2 start, and G-town swim moms already ordered "Undefeated" temporary tattoos for the swim team.

Kingsley 462  Fontainebleau 328
We were wrong on this meet.  We picked Fontainebleau based on the odds at the HorseShoe Casino in Tunica, MS.  We are glad to see Kingsley won.  Did that Captain Kingsley guy make a guest appearance to fire up the swimmers in the bullpen?  In pre-season previews, the Week 2 match-up between Kingsley and Dunwoody North was not a hot item and no TV or radio stations put it on the schedule, but things may change.  At the least, one of the Dunwoody HAM operators may put this meet on the airwaves.  No offense to the fine folks at Kingsley, but we pick Dunwoody North next week.  If Kingsley wins, we'll buy a round for a few of the Kinsgley Posse at O'Brians.

Redfield 454  Wynterhall 335
Redfield moms served up their famous pasta bowls to the many kids in attendance, keeping the concession stand area busy.  An informal study of all the swim/tennis clubs shows us that the people from Wynterhall are the most pleasant (no, I am not a member there nor am I receiving commissions for any new membership sales) to hang out with at a pool.  The DunwoodyTalk staff travels all around Dunwoody on swim night, taking in the sights, sounds, and tastes of Dunwoody, and anytime we mingle with Wynterhall it's a good night. Of course ALL the swim/tennis clubs are full of great people.  Well, enough of that soft talk.  Redfield easily handles Wynterhall in the pool and starts out 1-0.  The meet ended at 8:58 PM, a new record.  The pool deck was cleared of youngsters and left-behind goggles by 9:45 PM.  The referee at a meet sets the tone and pace, and the ref at Redfield last night was awesome.  Too bad not all meets ended by 9 PM.  Next week Redfield invades Vermack.  As mentioned earlier, Vermack will take care of aquatic business next week and go to 1-1. Redfield may have had their first and only taste of victory in Week 1, but the meets are decided in the pool, not by a keyboard.  Redfield has a tough schedule, finishing the season in The Branches Zone.

Zaban 401  Deerfield Spd Lake 317
Our apologies to the Zaban swimmers.  We left Zaban out quite simply because we did not know Zaban was the team from Dunwoody's MJCCA.  Now we know.  Zaban wins in Week 1 and hosts Hampton Hall next week.  Zaban finishes the season at Wynterhall.  If someone from the Zaban Sharks can send us some info we'd like to include it for next week.

We really don't like to do Dunwoody rankings after Week 1, but our sponsors think it boosts web traffic, so here we go:

Week 1 Rankings
#1  Georgetown
#2  Dunwoody North
#3  Vermack
#4  Kingsley
#5  Redfield

Week 1 Sponsor is ?????.  Our ad salesperson was out of town all week so no sponsor for Week 1.  Week 2 we expect to have a sponsor.  Email us at dunwoodyparent@gmail for sponsorship information.  The going rate is (not in this order necessarily) 1. a large pizza or four hamburgers, 2. beer (any volume will suffice) 3.  beer (any volume will suffice) 4. other food

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Future Dunwoody and the Future of the Perimeter

Last month the Dunwoody Homeowner's Association discussed and voted on a zoning issue for a piece of property on Ashford Dunwoody Road.  The issue was/is a curb cut for restaurants and retail.  The curb cut may have a negative impact on traffic on Ashford Dunwoody Road.  The curb cut would most likely not directly impact homeowners in Dunwoody.  So, should the DHA be involved and take a stance on issues in the PCID?  Can the PCID police itself?  After all, the Perimeter area (PCID) is full of CEOs, CFOs, UFOs, and business tycoons.  Surely they know what is best for progress.  They know how to zone and manage the affairs in the Perimeter area.  They may not own a home here but they work here.

The DHA and its board is comprised of old people, middle-aged people, parents, and just average home-owners.  What do they know?  Surely they are out-classed and out-gunned by the CEOs.  "Let the Perimeter leaders do what they want.  They know what is best for Dunwoody" is what I've heard lately.  "Don't impose impact fees as that will scare away business" I was told during the past campaign.  "Impact fees are anti-business and so is the DHA", are some other comments.

But the truth is, the Perimeter does have an impact on homeowners now and that impact will increase more in upcoming decades.  The DHA does need to keep informed and does need to continue to voice its opinion on issues in the PCID. Our schools are impacted by growth.  Our police force and our zoning officers are impacted.  Developers tell us how very few children actually live in apartments and condos.  I suppose they never sat behind a 40-foot yellow beast unloading 60 kids at one stop.

The bisnow (Real Estate Now) sends out weekly emails and I suggest you sign up to receive these emails.  Here is part of a recent email blast:

We held our third annual Future of Central Perimeter last week where Kris (center, flanked by Seven Oaks' Bob Voyles and Cresa Partners' Billy Hobbs) offered his strong prediction for the submarket: "More money will be made in the Central Perimeter in the next 15 years than any other market in Atlanta, probably by a factor of two."

 It's the retail hub of the Southeast; the medical nexus of the Southeast; largest office market in Atlanta; and one of the most desirable neighborhoods for executives.

 It's the retail hub of the Southeast; the medical nexus of the Southeast; largest office market in Atlanta; and one of the most desirable neighborhoods for executives.
 Add to the fact you have transit and you have the making of what Hines Interests' John Heagy calls "the emergence of a new urban core... When you look at the generational swings that we're seeing in terms of where people want to work and people want to live, it's in markets like this," he told an audience of 300 at The Retreat at Perimeter Summit. "It's been a long time coming." And he says a demographic shift is at work: Boomers make up 26% of the workforce. By 2014, 36% of the workforce will be made up of the Millennials. By 2030, 75% of our workers will be Millennials. (And by 2060, 100% of seniors housing will be occupied by Millennials.)
 With 35,000 employees in Central Perimeter and 123,000 vehicles commuting there each day, traffic will always be a fact of life for the area, says Perimeter Community Improvement District's Yvonne Williams (center). But with four MARTA stations, a huge corporate branded environment—with names like UPS, Newell Rubbermaid, Cox and Airwatch—a $3B medical industry, and a focus on creating greenspace walking environments, Yvonne says the area has all the characteristics companies look for when seeking cities that will attract a strong workforce.
Creating Greenspace?  Did Yvonne Williams mention greenspace?  It appears so.  This is a new development.  Where will the PCID create this greenspace?  I can't find greenspace in the PCID's own "Envisioning A New Urban Center" document. Is the PCID building a park or simply trying to build a 12-foot concrete path to Brook Run?  Brook Run is a great place for apartment dwellers.  They can walk their dog(s) to the newly planned $145,000 dog park.  But these 'urban core' residents don't need to bring a baseball glove or a volleyball or a tennis racket because Dunwoody's largest park has no use for such devices.  If going to Brook Run you need:

a) a plastic glove/bag to scoop up your dog's poop.
b) a skate board
c) a sense of direction to walk back to your urban core because Brook Run is not a park for active adults and children.  It is a 5,000 year-old Big Forest Preserve wooded lot for the protection enjoyment of one flood-plain neighborhood to keep out the sounds of children and active adults.  And Brook Run will soon be home to the Metro Atlanta Dog Park.People from all over Atlanta will drive in cars here so their dogs can poop and pee on Dunwoody dirt.  We should be so proud to soon have a new Urban Core and the Metro Atlanta Dog Park.  The Dunwoody P.R. Department needs to get the word out.

I look forward to attending a PCID event where Yvonne announces a new park (greenspace).  Perhaps the PCID will also soon announce an elementary school or a cooperation with the local schools and become a true partner to Dunwoody.

Should the DHA and city council members and the mayor get in line with the PCID and agree that the New Urban Core / aka the TOD (Transit Oriented Development) is the future for Dunwoody?  Or do we not allow any new residential development that is not owner occupied and  multi-family?

Perhaps at Food Truck Thursday there will be a new vendor, the Purina Chuck Wagon.  They can help promote the Metro Atlanta Dog Park.

This week's The Dunwoody Crier has an article on a similar issue HERE.