Wednesday, October 19, 2016

DeKalb County launches ethics website

h/t AJC...
"The DeKalb Ethics Board was established in its current form in 2016 when a referendum vote overwhelmingly approved of the restructuring of the Board and the addition of a full time Ethics Officer. By law, the Ethics Board is completely independent of the DeKalb CEO, Commissioners and any officers or employees of DeKalb County government. 
The Board consists of 7 volunteer members who are appointed by independent organizations: the DeKalb Bar Association, the DeKalb Legislative Delegation, the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce, DeKalb Universities, Leadership DeKalb, the DeKalb Superior Court Chief Judge, the DeKalb Probate Judge. The appointment of board members by independent organizations ensures that the Board is not established with an inherent conflict of interest – appointment of Board member by the same officials whom they also regulate. The Board Members serve staggering terms of three years."
The website,, lists the Board's members, meeting schedule and minutes from past meetings, and links to the County's Code of Ethics (2015). Additionally, under "Advice" there are a series of case studies (organized by code or subject). Other links offer educational resources (definitions and examples pertaining to ethics) and recent filings.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Haunted Trail and Harvest Festival [Oct 29]

Hope all of our neighbors can join us Saturday, October 29th from 5:30-8PM for a
Haunted Trail and Harvest Festival at the Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve!

What: Haunted Trail and Harvest Festival 
Who: Hosted by MANA and the Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve 
Where: Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve (of course!) 
When: Saturday, October 29th, 5:30-8:00PM 

The haunted trail will feature spooks for all ages - the further you go, the spookier it gets!

Food will be available for sale from our local Girl Scouts, and there will be games and crafts as well.

We encourage you to come out and celebrate Halloween with your neighbors. Come in costume if you like, and bring a flashlight!

We are looking for additional volunteers to help with the event. If interested, please email Adrianne Leonard at Thanks!

NOTE: Parking is available at the school - please take advantage of that rather than parking on Pine Bluff or Harrington. It is about a half mile from the trail.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Water Billing Issue Resolution (from DeKalb Co. CEO)

UPDATE: DeKalb Disconnection Moratorium and Billing Dispute FAQ

via Commissioner Rader:
DeKalb Interim CEO, Commissioners Address Water Billing Issues
with New Resolution
New water meter installation halted

DECATUR, Ga. – The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution introduced by DeKalb Interim CEO Lee May which empowers the chief financial officer (CFO) with discretion to address unusually high water bills due to billing or meter errors.

The legislation clarifies code sections 25-106(f) to specify that the CFO has the authority to make adjustments to a customer’s account for billing errors, as long as the dispute was recorded within two years of the billing error itself.

The resolution also stops the installation of the new iPerl water meters and calls for the establishment of convenient bill resolution sites around the county during the moratorium.

Another proactive step addresses excessively high bills. In these cases, Chief Operating Officer Zach Williams has directed the Utility Customer Operations Center to send out estimated bills with messaging that indicates that the county is investigating the cause of the variance. Once a high variance is detected, a work order for a water meter inspection will automatically be generated.

“Sending out estimated bills will let our customers know what is going on with their accounts in a timely manner, as well as provide a mechanism for them to pay their average amount due while we get to the root of the problem,” COO Williams said.  

On Sept. 20, Interim CEO May issued a moratorium through the end of 2016 on the disconnection of residential water accounts that have been contested through the Utility Customer Operations Center.  

Water customers who believe their bill is in error should notify the Utility Customer Operations Center at 774 Jordan Lane in Decatur, or call (404) 371-3000to speak with a customer service representative. Account holders with disputed balances are required to pay their average amount due until the case is resolved, with the balance, if any, due at the time the investigation is complete.  

Further, a third-party dispute process is being developed to provide customers an additional avenue to resolve their disputes. This process will be implemented during the moratorium.

There will be no water service disconnections for customers with account balances in dispute who have paid their average bill through the end of 2016.  

Jeff Rader

Monday, October 10, 2016

Suburban Plaza wins redevelopment award

The AJC reports that Suburban Plaza was recognized at the Metro Atlanta Redevelopment Summit this week with the 2016 Regional Redevelopment Award.

See the press release here.

To see our Suburban Plaza posts, click here.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Cox Conserves Heroes program: VOTE for Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve's President!!

This is a great chance to support the volunteer projects that have made the Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve such a gem, not just for our neighborhood but for nature lovers all over Atlanta.

"For more than 10 years, Chris Beck, our current president, has worked as a volunteer at the Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve. He was recently named a finalist for the Cox Conserves Heroes program. Voting for the winner is now open. The finalist with the most votes will receive another $5000 for their non-profit. In our case, we would use the funds for ecological restoration at the Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve.

Cardinal flower.
To see a video, click here.
To vote, go to
As always, thanks for your support of the Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve."
Box turtle
The Rock: our baby Stone Mountain
A place of wonder.
Ten or so years ago, an American Bittern stopped by for a few days, to the delight (and eyestrain) of many birdwatchers. About that long ago, hundreds of crayfish made an afternoon quite memorable by making a beeline across the street, business unknown. These 28 acres just keep on giving: "...beavers, foxes, turtles, snakes, frogs, rabbits ...166 species of migratory and resident birds including wood ducks, pileated woodpeckers, and sand-hill cranes..."  And let's not forget the many plant species, fungi, invertebrates and microbes that make a home at the Preserve.
A fallen tree now nurtures a shelf fungus and moss.

Pileated woodpecker feather
Please vote for Chris. This award will help him and his volunteers fight invasive species and as he explains in the video, bringing back native vegetation is a key component of restoring this habitat.

Deer track
Here's a link to some of our prior posts with photos of the Preserve. If you have not visited, now's a great time. The weather's cool and there's always something to see if you look closely...

The Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve is located at 2580 Pine Bluff Drive Decatur, GA 30033.
For Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve updates, follow them on Facebook.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Level-One Drought declared for DeKalb County

Per the September Drought Indicators Report (link below), it's dry and expected to stay that way...
The AJC reports that we are on a level-one drought response holding pattern due to low rain levels. We should limit outdoor watering to the hours of 4pm - 10am. According to the AJC, "One inch of rain or water every 7 to 10 days is all your plants need."

See the GA Environmental Protection Division announcement here.

The September Drought Indicators Report for September 2016 is available here.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Emory Campus Traffic Advisory [Oct 1]

via Emory University...
"Several roads on and adjacent to the Emory University campus will experience lane closures between 8:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 1, due to the 6th annual Winship Win the Fight 5K, in which more than 3,000 walkers and runners are expected to participate: 

• North Decatur Road between Haygood Drive and Clifton Road will have only one lane open in each direction from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. 

• The westbound lane of North Decatur Road, from Clifton Road to the roundabout at Oxford Road, will be closed between 8:30 a.m. and 8:50 a.m., open eastbound only. 

• Oxford Road, from the roundabout to Eagle Row, will be closed northbound between 8:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m., open southbound toward the roundabout. Motorists should avoid the area if possible. Those traveling in the area should expect delays until 10:00 a.m"
Registration for the Winship 5K ends September 29.