Friday, October 30, 2015

So - What's New for October?

Happy Halloween!

It's that time of year again when our family constructs our personal tribute to Code Enforcement on the front lawn and prepares for a few thousand of our closest friends around my birthday-ish.

The super double secret event is on Saturday this year so we're expecting mega crowds that are more mega than usual.  See the link for logistics and details.

Procedures are very similar.  Crossroads Church will allow you to legally park in their lot for a $5 donation to their Academy.  This year, they are including a food truck so you can get there early, get a parking spot, and have dinner before the festivities open at 6 PM.

Please park legally.  Some surrounding residents will have traffic cones or barriers.  Please respect them, including some one-side-of-the-street parking rules implemented this year.  Tow trucks WILL be called for improperly parked cars.  Trust me, use Crossroads Church.

See you this weekend when the weather clears and we're expecting a bright and crisp afternoon and a cool evening.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Main Event - Lee May Town Hall Combined with Nancy Jester's Town Hall TONIGHT

Let's see if Mr. May shows up or if he cancels again.

Dunwoody Town Hall 
with iCEO Lee May 
October 27, 2015: 
6:30pm -8:00pm 
Dunwoody City Hall

Note:  this date was set as one of Commissioner Nancy Jester's regular town hall meetings throughout District 1.  She merged her regular meeting when Mr. May looked to add Dunwoody to his own list of town hall visits in various districts.


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Next-to-Last Food Truck Thursday for 2015!

Looks like great weather this week. 
Come out for the 29th event (and next to last) of the 2015 season

Dunwoody Food Truck Thursdays

Brook Run Park 5 PM ‘til Dark


(8 piece Band with a Brass Section) 

Adult Beverages 

NEXT WEEK - the Grand Finale of Food Truck Thursday 2015 includes Truck or Treat!  Kids - come in costume and "Trick or Treat" among the food trucks.  Get some practice and a meal in before the main event at Briers North!

Monday, October 19, 2015

INTRODUCING: Kenneth Gordon, Dunwoody's Private Jeweler

For all of you gentlemen out there that I have to work with in government or some community group:  cooperate with me or this website will go to all of your wives!

Just kidding but this new website is a unique local Dunwoody resource for gifts for every occasion.

Kenny Gordon is a Dunwoody homeowner and business owner who has a long history in the jewelry industry.   His specialty is in everything you can't find at a mall or department store.  So when he gave me a call one day to discuss upgrading his 2009 website I was thrilled for this unique opportunity.

I get a lot of these requests lately:  upgrade the look and feel, upgrade the animation technology, make it mobile-friendly.  Below is the original site that I worked with.  It was built in 2009 and at the time, it was the state of the art.  The site included Flash animation and an introductory "splash" page and background music.

But redesigning this site was not just a paint-job.  There were some unique challenges.
First, the site was created in a developer's tool called CodeIgniter.  CI is a powerful framework that allows a professional gear head to create highly customized websites with unique features.  The original developer was no longer available, the umbrella company that built and maintained the site had been sold at least once since 2009.  And like any custom code, one developer's "simple" is another developer's Rube Goldberg Machine.  

Most of all, the back-end maintenance of the website's product galleries had to remain intact.  Normally, when a site is being recreated as mobile-friendly for smartphones and tablets, it's often easier to just rebuild the site from scratch.  That wasn't an option.  Kenny and his staff were very happy with the hidden admin panel and the layout of the product catalogs.  If a visitor wants to inquire about a specific piece in the galleries, or add it to their personalized "wish list", the contact form automatically populates with the relevant information.    I have to admit they are a slick piece of work and blazing fast on your browser, even six years later.  I agreed, it was worth it to invest some time in learning about the source code and working around it.

First, I created a design for Kenny that was a more current reflection of his upscale merchandise and impeccable customer service.
The new design  had to incorporate all of his current product photography as seamlessly as the old one.
The navigation bar reflected the original site map and content and work with the dynamic catalogs.  The animation loads quickly and gives a modern feel.
Social media plays a larger role.  Visit the footer for a link to Instagram alongside the previously existing Facebook and Twitter.  Each piece of merchandise has a series of "share" buttons.  Makes it easier to drop a hint when your birthday is coming up.  You can join Kenny's email newsletter (hosted by Constant Contact) in the footer too.
Content styling has evolved a lot in six years.  Spring cleaning took out bloated and redundant code that was replaced with a streamlined styling that loads faster and allows for more styles that don't rely on dozens of tiny little images.  That makes a big difference when it comes to both SEO and smartphone ease of use.
Speaking of search engine optimization:  there wasn't any.  A fresh look gets a fresh start with modern SEO standards; the responsive mobile-friendly layout will boost its search engine rankings too.

Christmas / Hanukkah / 3 Kings Day  and their shopping seasons are approaching fast.  The valuable and unique element of Kenny's service is that it is entirely private.  Review the offerings on the website, then make an appointment at a place and time convenient for you to examine them in person.  (Helpful if you're planning a surprise gift....)  Most of all, you don't have to go far.  This luxury service is a local Dunwoody-based business.  It's not just a shopping service, you're working with a neighbor.  If you intend to Shop Local this holiday season, there's no better place to start.  Don't wait for Small Business Saturday:  this Distinctly Dunwoody opportunity is available all year round.

Happy shopping!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Dunwoody Council Candidates Forum - The Video Recap

I had a front row seat for this spectacle as timekeeper.  Rather than describe the event with my own POV, I'll let you, gentle reader, experience it for yourself.

Courtesy of the Dunwoody Homeowners' Association and posted to YouTube.


Not everything is going to fit in a single event so something is going to get cut.  There just isn't time for everything.

What other questions would you have wanted to hear posed to the candidates?  What information do you need to know to determine who is going to represent your interests and that of your neighbors and friends and families?   How do you decide who is going to benefit your life and livelihood? Comments are open.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Fiat Lux - Dunwoody Needs Light

NOTE:  Light Up Dunwoody is still scheduled for
November 22.
More information as it happens here.

October 4, 7:30 PM

Tonight's Dunwoody Homeowners Association meeting is a full house as city council candidates and other elected officials are visiting tonight.  In an election year this sort of meeting is  ...   tense.

Elected officials make the rounds greeting other visitors.  Some candidates do likewise.  Some seek out their confirmed supporters.  Others grab their seats, fold their arms and sport a Grumpy Cat Face.

Everyone goes through the motions:  candidates are invited to give brief introductions.  Exec board goes through their agenda items.  The Katzenjammer Kids chatter in the back.

Then we get to Light Up Dunwoody.   For years some have wanted to include a Menorah with the Christmas tree because Hanukkah overlaps with the Christmas season and Dunwoody has a major Jewish community that wants to celebrate their traditions with everyone else.  DHA chair Rob Wittenstein announces that the DPT has declined a request to host a Menorah of comparable size to the existing tree.

And for one brief shining moment, all the tension in the room disappears and everyone is of one mind as they respond with ---   "WHAT??"

Thanks to our litigious society and a subset of our population that isn't happy unless they're suing someone, the DPT has had to establish a policy that allows only secular symbols of any given season on their properties.  They're going to have to deal with the interpretation of what is "secular" and what is "religious" in years to come as many of our traditions in the USA have some kind of religious roots.

Light Up Dunwoody is still going to go on.  An update is in the works and the DHA will announce it when the Exec Committee is ready to do so.

Your gracious host of DWG is not going to criticize the Preservation Trust.  It would be way too easy to take the South Park approach and return offense with offense and turn an event that brings people of goodwill together into an appendage-measuring contest over who's the most legally correct and who has the most right to be offended.  Everyone loses out except the lawyers.   DPT has other fish to fry and they're smart enough to know what they're going to get dragged into.

But Opportunity still knocks.

Consider the following for the future...

Dunwoody, contrary to the opinions of its detractors, has many different ethnic and religious components.  It's not homogeneous.  There are several possible "light up" traditions that are celebrated in our borders.   There's Hanukkah, of course; the Jewish population has been a major part of Dunwoody for decades.  There's Kwanzaa.  (Someone asked at the above DHA meeting, "What if someone asked about Kwanzaa?"  "So, what if they do???")
Diwali: the Indian Festival of Light
Who else besides me has heard of Diwali?  There's a substantial and growing Indian population on Dunwoody's end of Ashford-Dunwoody Road, do they get to "light up" Dunwoody too?  Then there's variations of Halloween and the extended Christmas holiday (Epiphany/3 Kings Day and Candlemas) celebrated in Central and South America.

Is Light Up Dunwoody ready to evolve beyond a one-night celebration into an umbrella that encompasses numerous traditions in multiple locations around the city?

The possibilities:

  • Remove legal liability from a City event by opening to more religious and cultural traditions.
  • Place responsibility for cultural or religious celebrations upon the population that contributes to them.
  • Distribute the costs among a wider range of populations looking to participate
  • Encourage more community involvement than just DHA regulars
  • Bring the goodwill of "Light Up" to more areas of Dunwoody, instead of limiting it to just the Farmhouse

I don't see a reason why what is currently thought of as "Light Up Dunwoody" could not grow into a kickoff or climax of a series of events celebrating Fall and Winter.  Is there a problem with "lighting up" the "Everything Will Be OK" sign to tie it all together and remind all of us in Dunwoody that we don't always have to battle to the death over Every. Little. Thing?

Besides, with November elections getting more and more heated every year, don't we all need MORE goodwill, wherever we can get it, when life starts to look dark?

Thursday, October 8, 2015

GLASS Town Hall Meetings

Independent School System Legislation
with State Representative Tom Taylor

Please join GLASS and Representative Tom Taylor for a set of Town Hall Meetings on the Independent School System legislation.

This is a crucial issue for the future of our childrens’ education and for cities throughout Georgia, and we need your help in making this happen.

Rep. Taylor will speak about the upcoming legislative session, and members of GLASS will be available to answer questions, sign up volunteers, and help register voters.

Dunwoody Library

October 12, 2015 6-8 PM

October 13, 2015 10 am - 1 pm

Dunwoody Food Truck Thursday - October 8

Forecast for Thursday is partly sunny with temps in the 70’s. Come out and join us!

Brook Run Park 5 pm ‘til Dark


Pam Tallmadge, Your new Dunwoody City Councilwoman for District 1 Post 1
(Pam is scheduled to be sworn in and officially take office November 9)

Musical Guest

Adult Drinks

Dinner Trucks

Dessert Vendors

Monday, October 5, 2015

Dunwoody Reporter newspaper documents extra fees for home business owners

Posted by Ellen Eldridge on October 5, 2015.

DeKalb sanitation officials considered Duncan’s property “commercial” despite the residential zoning designation and automatically issued larger trash cans, Duncan said. “For all the extra trash not being produced,” she said.

Another resident, Barry Kanne, said his in-home business doesn’t create excess trash that would warrant paying more in sanitation fees.

“I can assure you that in our house we are well served with the current, once per week [trash pickup] schedule,” Kanne said. “Our business deals with writing medically-based journalism. Not much of a sanitation load there.”
Read the entire article here.

Many thanks to Ellen Eldridge for bringing this story to the mainstream media.

Dunwoody was founded so that zoning decisions could be made by the people who have to live with them.  But when it comes to home business owners, city council looks the other way while DeKalb County creates their own zoning rules and levies additional taxes accordingly.

Thankfully, Nancy Jester sees this injustice and will be introducing legislation to eliminate this fine.

Here's the original DWG post that brought the extra tax to light:  Talkin' Trash Too

What kind of impact do Dunwoody's 700 home businesses have on the community?  Check out the map.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Sunday's DHA meeting: Mayor's Presentation + Visiting Candidates = ???

Get your first look at Dunwoody's City Council candidates live and in person on Sunday at the monthly DHA meeting.

North DeKalb Cultural Center
7:30 PM

On the agenda is a presentation by Mike Davis an Eric Linton regarding the 2016 budget.

Also on the agenda is time for candidates to introduce themselves.

Sparks may fly.

DHA meetings are always FREE and open to the public.  No tickets or reservations required.
But for this one, get there early as parking spaces and seats will fill quickly.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

CANCELLED - Dunwoody Food Truck Thursday October 1

Tonight's Food Truck Thursday has been cancelled.

Only 4 Food Truck events left at Brook Run for 20015.  Don't miss out!

Brook Run Park
5PM til Dark

Musical Guest

Adult Beverages