Thursday, May 31, 2012

Water Infrastructure: Don't Let This Happen In Dunwoody

(Edited for clarity 6/1/2012)

From the Channel 46 website:

DEKALB COUNTY, GA (CBS ATLANTA) -

The pipe that caused water to flow through a DeKalb County neighborhood was on a list of pipes that needed to be replaced because they were too old.

DeKalb County spokesman Burke Brennan said more than 50 percent of the county's water and sewer lines are more than 25 years old, and about a third are over 50 .   

"These are lines that we have identified as needing to be replaced and, throughout the street within the next year or two, we're going to be replacing the entire water line," he said. "Today it's just a patch, but this is an old line. It could happen again but we're eventually going to put in a new water line off of here."

Angelo Diaz lives in a house off of Rockbridge Drive that was the most severely affected by the flooding-turned-mud.

"Yesterday as it was getting dry, I was hoping it would just be water, but then when that level came down I noticed how much mud was around," Diaz said.

A restoration crew contracted by DeKalb County was assessing the damage on Thursday.

"They didn't say they were going cover things but they did say to make a list of everything that's coming out and put a value on it," Diaz said. "I'm hoping for the best, that they'll be 100 percent responsible for it."

Brennan said that anybody with a claim can contact the county's risk management department and file a claim.

"They'll take a look at and if we're at fault we will deal with it," Brennan said.
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I get that the city has to be a group of multitaskers that don't have the luxury of handling one issue or problem or plan at a time.  The article above refers to water and sewer lines specifically. Dunwoody is in similar dire straits with its stormwater system that was inherited from the same county that neglected the water lines that failed in the news story.  There is similar potential for a catastrophic failure in the stormwater system as well.  The infrastructure issues identified at the beginning of this administration have not gone away and still need to be addressed even as splashier headlines get attention.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"America's Supernanny" is casting in Atlanta

UPDATE:  application deadline has been extended to May 30.


Shed Media US, producer of reality/unscripted shows such as "Who Do You Think You Are?"  on NBC and "World's Strictest Parents" on CMT is looking for families to participate in a new version of the "Supernanny" series in Atlanta.

Specifically, casting is looking for:

  • Families with children ages 5 - 17
  • Families with more than one child
  • Families who are challenged with unique circumstances regarding their children and would like some extra help with addressing them and are willing to participate in a TV show.

About the "Supernanny":

AMERICA'S SUPERNANNY is looking for families that could benefit from the help of child/teen expert, DEBORAH TILLMAN. She founded and runs 3 successful full-time daycare centers in Virginia where she’s worked with children & teens for years; she regularly presents workshops on childcare throughout the country, and she’s the author of Stepping Out on Faith, a guide to operating a quality childcare center. She holds a BA in Business Administration from Upsala College, a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education from The George Washington University, and has also studied at Oxford University.
The production crew will be interviewing families the last week of May and early June, so they have requested that applications be submitted by May 25, 2012.

Get a printable application here. (MS Word)

For more information about the show or to apply online, please contact:
Casting Director Robyn Kiyomi
(323) 904-4680 ext. 1154 phone

(I spoke to Robyn earlier today on the phone and she is super-nice and easy to talk to!)


Feel free to pass this along and refer families that you think may be interested!

You can also print a flyer below for more info and contact options.

Help DeKalb Pets at Stars & Strikes this Sunday

Commissioners Elaine Boyer, Stan Watson & Sharon Barnes Sutton have joined forces to host an event on Sunday, May 20th from 5:00 PM until 7:00 PM to help fund a spay/neuter program for pets of DeKalb families in need of assistance. The event is at Stars & Strikes in Stone Mountain & will include activities such as bowling, laser tag, bumper cars, video games, etc.

There are several ways you can help:

· Purchase ticketsat www.helpdekalbanimals.com. Tickets are $30 for Adults, $20for Kids under 12, or a Package of 4, any ages for $80.

· Donate items suchas leashes, collars (new or slightly used) & laundry detergent (which willgo directly to DeKalb Animal Services for laundry needs). The items willbe collected at the event.

· Circulate our website & press release to friends & family to help promotethe event.

There is much to be done to reverse the horrible situation at DeKalb Animal Services & this is a step in that direction. To help get a handle on the massive number of animals euthanized annually in DeKalb (approximately 5,000) we need to educate the public more and provide assistance to those who have good intentions, but cannot afford to fix their pets. After hearing from many concerned constituents at the commission meetings and reading the influx of emails, Commissioner Boyer wanted to do something to help. She consulted with several members of the Animal Services Task Force and the head of Animal Services and the consensus was that a spay/neuter program would go the furthest to help raise awareness and slow the inflow of animals into the shelter. The program will be implemented through LifeLine Animal Project, who is our partneron this endeavor.

Print the flyer below for more info, including sponsorship opportunities.



(Here ya go, Twinkletoes Bob!)   All of the pets I've ever had (including my current ones) have all been rescued strays so I'm glad to lend some PR for this event.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Dunwoody Village Brusters is Open!

Here's their main site:
http://www.brusters.com/localstores/index.asp?storenum=823

It's right next to (what used to be) Dunwoody Pediatrics.

Here's the page with job application info.  Apparently they like to do things offline so you can print out an application from this page, or ask for one at the store in person.

Now I just have to convince my three munchkins that having ice cream in a store like this is just as good as chasing the ice cream truck down the street.  ;-)

Rumor Has It...Not Everything Belongs on the Internet

If there is anything we have learned from the explosion of the Internet in 1995, it's that no matter how much technology is created, people - human beings - don't change.

The utopian ideal promoted when email services began, both at home and at work, was that faster communication would make the world "smaller" and make it easier to share ideas and information.

However, not all ideas are benign and not all information is reliable.  It is the human part of us that has to discern the difference.  Then that same human part has to decide whether and how to distribute it.  That requires turning off the machines.

My old medical research job trained me for that kind of discernment.  All of us in hands-on clinical research were required to take an intensive seminar in medical ethics with an extensive history component.  

The VP of Translational Research, who was always the "go to" person for international media contacts, summed it up thusly:  "If you're not sure about whether a decision is right, whether it's in research, or a pharmaceutical company in your stock portfolio, think about how it will look on the front page of the New York Times.  Because that is where it is going to end up."  

It's more than just print media and television now.  It's more than just journalists who may or may not take heed of the ethics and standards they learned in journalism school.  Now everyone is their own journalist and standards vary with the individual.   But the majority of the machines that store and transmit the information belong to someone else.  

Take Facebook for example.  Read their terms of service some time.  Everything you post on Facebook, they own and can do with it whatever they wish.  Some acquaintances who have been working with Facebook's marketing leadership had some disturbing opinions about them.  Such as "generation y-ers who have all of this data and little idea what to do with it and shaky ethics on the best of days."

Google seems to be more benign - they don't claim ownership to any posted content.  But they have streamlined the cross-referencing of content across platforms (Google Checkout, YouTube, Blogger, etc)  So they may not claim ownership but they've made it easy for someone else to exploit what you add to it.  I'm not one for conspiracy theories but that one scares the hell out of me.

So when the Internet is used to transmit evolving information - especially in legal cases - the consequences can be more severe.  The ability to be objective and treat all parties fairly fades.  There is potential to violate civil rights.  Notice it's not the machines that make information more deadly - it's the people using them.  People using machines rather than their own discretion and the oft-ignored "Power" button.

Yes, I'm leading up to last night's City Council meeting and the surrounding media.

No one is going to be served best by manipulating evolving information on this case on the Internet.  Within moments of John posting the agenda item (with no commentary, just the text of the resolution) there was speculation on the reason for the resolution (which was confirmed at last night's meeting) and conclusions drawn that the City Attorney had already been fired (which was untrue.)  See how fast a single fact was spun out of control?  

I'm not going to opine over who to trust, because I still don't know.  I'm not privy to the facts involved, by choice.  But I do think this is one for the human beings to work out in real time, with face-to-face consequences, to protect the rights of all involved and leave the machines out of it.  Use some human discretion and the "Power" key, at least until the scenario has played out.

(Good commentary from Kerry DeVallette on this issue last night.  He points out some reasons that I think this process should remain offline.)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Random Dunwoody Whispers

Emory Hospital, Shallowford, Georgetown, Whateverthehellitis Renaissance


I tried to sit down and make sense of all of the messages Dunwoody citizens have gotten about the PVC and hospital site land purchases.  First, it's all about preventing apartments parks.  Then it's about a civic center.  Then sports (I jumped on that bandwagon myself.)  Then bonds.  Then senior housing.  Then senior villages.  Then a "Georgetown Renaissance".  But is it really Georgetown?  Then a developer is selected.  Oopsy-daisy, we got ahead of ourselves, we have to put it out for bid.  RFPs go out.  Same developer is selected as before.  Developer comes out with a pretty-looking plan that barely matches any of the proposals discussed, or "comprehensive plans" that we citizens have become slaves to.   Then a bunch of convoluted financial paths that are so complex you have to wonder if it's a Ponzi scheme or good ole money laundering.   Then Warren points out "features" that citizens have rallied against in the past:  namely duplexes and "greenways" that abut private property in a way that's too close for comfort.  (Dude, do you think we're stupid and won't notice???)

OK, since no one else wants to keep this simple, I'll do it.  

City Hall - this is not "your" city.  The citizens who vote decide what happens here, not you, and if you can't handle that, polish your resume and keep it moving.  Spin does not equal straight talk.

City Council - you were elected by us as one of us to direct what happens at city hall.  Stop hiding behind the "well it was the City Manager's plan..." excuse and take responsibility for what you vote for.

If your "plans" have to have spin to make them palatable, if you contradict yourself without a decent explanation, if the average citizen who gives a damn can't figure out what you're doing, then you're handling it wrong.

Now straighten it out and stop wasting time and money.

Dunwoody Traffic - You Can't Make This Stuff Up

Remember how Dunwoody has always been at odds with GPC in general and Anthony Triccoli in particular over student traffic?

Well part of that equation has been solved.
From Patch:  GPC President steps down.
This was really late-breaking news as our GPC-student nanny didn't even know about it until I told her this morning.

Regardless of who started the conflict with GPC, whether it was the college itself or city government, we're going to have a chance at a fresh start.  Let's get off on the right foot, shall we?  Make nice?  Maybe Dunwoody can have a partner in mitigating traffic congestion instead of an adversary this time.

Q:  When does a pedestrian not have the right of way?

A:  When they're middle-schoolers playing Chicken with cars by jumping out into the street in front of oncoming traffic.

But that won't heal injuries or salve anyone's conscience if the little darlings get hit.

From Dunwoody Police via FaceBook last night:
We received a complaint from a concerned citizen about Peachtree Middle school students walking home from school who are playing “chicken” with passing motorist. The citizen reported that on two different occasions she was forced to slam on her brakes to avoid hitting children running out into the roadway. In response to this complaint, officers patrolled Peachford Rd and also stopped and spoke to a group of students. They informed us 6th graders who live at Camden apartments are the likely culprits. The assistant principle was notified and will be following up on their end. Officers will continue to monitor this issue. We’re asking those who travel on Peachford Rd during AM & PM school zone hours slow down and use caution. We’d also like to thank that citizen for bringing this to our attention.
More reasons to be careful driving in the zones around schools.  It's bad enough drivers are racing through school zones when careful pedestrians are crossing the street, now it seems there's a crop out there looking for trouble.  Speed limits are not mere suggestions in school zones.

Food (Truck) For Thought

So food trucks are currently illegal.  Someone must have had a bad experience with a Ceasar salad.

So if trucks selling salad wraps are illegal ...  that would mean ice cream trucks are illegal too.  Ice cream trucks are making the rounds now that summer is around the corner.  Why hasn't anyone complained about them?  Why just the salad and sandwich truck?

Which one of our local curmudgeons is going to demand code enforcement against the Good Humor man?  Anyone?  Bueller?

Yeah, I didn't think so either.  Maybe someone's just being a little too eager to pull the trigger when something new comes to town and declare it "illegal".


Whew!  OK, now that that's out of my system maybe I can debug that source code that's been giving me fits since last night.  Back into my Bat Cave.  Have a great week, everybody!