Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Happy and Prosperous 2016 to All!

I hope everyone reading has been able to enjoy some time that does not involve nose-to-the-grindstone work:  by yourself, with family, travelling, or whatever makes you happy.

In the Duncan house we have a mix of work (there is no such thing as "vacation" for entrepreneurs), laundry, cooking holiday specialties, sports, play, and just lounging around until work and school pick up again.

SDOC had a banner year!  We built and launched new websites for:

SDOC returned to Business Radio X for a live interview and discussion of web trends and business needs.

SDOC was accredited by the Metro Atlanta Better Business Bureau - an achievement not made by most website design and development firms.

In addition, we continued our long friendships with these clients via hosting and maintenance services as well as long-needed complete redesigns that were not only more modern but improved mobile usability.

2016 is already looking bright.  We are discussing new projects with their clients.  Upgrades for our current friends are always in the hopper.  SDOC continually reaches out to build new relationships with organizations in need of a modern web presence and lightning-fast communications with people of all ages.  We might even treat ourselves to a new look on the SDOC website.  (Shhh!  Don't tell the owner.  It's a surprise!)  

SDOC is also returning as a Platinum Sponsor of the 2016 Taste of Dunwoody on February 20 at the Westin Perimeter hotel.  Get your tickets NOW before they sell out!

Thank you everyone for a wonderful 2015 and I wish you all the best in the coming New Year!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Dunwoody Crossing Residents Homeless after Apartment Fire

6 PM last night, DeKalb Fire and Rescue responded to a 2-alarm fire at the Dunwoody Crossing Apartments on North Peachtree at I-285.  The fire and extent were very similar to another apartment fire in January of this year.

UPDATE:  Two of the affected families have children at Chesnut ES.  Friends of Chesnut is accepting donations for these families as well.  From Friends of Chesnut on Facebook:

Update #2 (12/22) - per the AhA Connection, one of these families also has a student at Dunwoody HS and is a member of Lady Wildcats basketball.  A separate GoFundMe account is active.

We have two Chesnut families who lost all of their belongings in the fire last night at Dunwoody Village apartments on...
Posted by Friends of Chesnut on Monday, December 21, 2015

From Dunwoody Police on Facebook:

At 5:56pm, the Dunwoody Police Department and Dekalb Fire Department responded to a fire at the Dunwoody Crossing...
Posted by Dunwoody Police Department on Sunday, December 20, 2015

If you are able, please donate online to help get these 10 families through Christmas and the New Year.  (Donations coordinated by ICare Atlanta)

On a related note, incidents like  Dunwoody Crossing and the January fire at Dunwoody Glen are reasons why Councilman Terry Nall proposed requirements for fire retardant building materials on multifamily housing, rather than timbers and wood siding.  It's not about making building more expensive, it's about keeping all Dunwoodians safer - and not having to face Christmas burned out of their homes.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Dunwoody Town Hall Meeting on January 21, 2016

Use the Connect Dunwoody page to submit topics you would like to see discussed at this event.

(Click on "Town Hall 2016" under the "Open Topics" tab to add your feedback.)

Connect Dunwoody requests your address (which is kept private) so that those reviewing the responses can see where they are coming from.  As in which Dunwoody district, or from outside the city.

Anyone can answer and there is one vote/comment per person.

Event details:
Dunwoody Town Hall
All Saints Catholic Church Social Hall (the building next to the sanctuary, closest to the driveway/parking lot)
2443 Mt. Vernon Road
6 PM til 8 PM

Deadline to request a topic for discussion is 12 noon on January 21.

My first request will be to have a live video feed via YouTube, Meerkat, Periscope, Vimeo, etc.  Looking at my calendar I already know that 2 of my children have after-school activities and then I have to get dinner on the table and then my husband may not make it home in time for me to make a 6 PM meeting, and the youngest child has a 6:30 PM bath time.  Listening via streaming media is the only option many of us have to be informed of the conversation.

I'd also like to recommend accepting follow-up questions and commentary via Twitter or similar social media.  Again, this may be the only way of receiving real-time feedback from the demographics that are not able to attend in person.

Third paragraph, same feedback - when will the video on the agendas/minutes management system on the city website be upgraded to function in all browsers (instead of just Internet Explorer) and on mobile devices?

Monday, November 30, 2015

How to Prevent Speeding on North Peachtree Road

Shut the whole street down at its low point over the culvert leading to Kingsley Lake for culvert repairs.
Put up a bunch of signage announcing the detour.
Fine the hell out of anyone speeding through the work area.

Stay safe, folks.  Take this opportunity to remember the regular speed limit is 25 MPH and yes, you do have to ride your brakes on this road to stay at that limit.  No, you do not get a pass if you live in Dunwoody.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Counting Down to Small Business Saturday and the 2015 Holiday Shopping Season

It's just over a week until every retailer's biggest time of year.  Small business - companies with less than 10 employees - make up 80% of Dunwoody's registered businesses.  There's plenty of opportunities for our residents and commuters to patronize a Dunwoody shop or service in the coming months.

Dunwoody's population quadruples during the day, every work day of the week.  Don't forget the commuters in your promotions.

Are you ready for the seasonal stream of customers that November and December bring?  Can your customers find you online?  Take these few days to put your best foot forward online.  SDOC is burning the midnight oil to assist our website customers for the season.

1)  Go Google Yourself  (or Bing yourself.  or Yahoo! yourself)  Search for your company or products online.  See where your company ranks in the results.  You probably can't change your search engine ranking in time for Black Friday or Cyber Monday but you can still create or update your business listing maintained by each search engine.

Even if you are not using e-commerce on your company website, a free business listing in the search engines is critical.  According to Google, almost 90% of shoppers will search for a business type online before shopping.  Your listing makes it easier for your shoppers to find you, or call with questions, or get directions to your door.  Make sure your phone number and hours of operation are correct.   Plus search engines will direct shoppers to the location nearest them.  It's easy and only takes  a few minutes each!

Google Local (requires free creation of a Google+ page, also helpful for search engine rankings)

Yahoo Small Business for local listings. (Customizing your listing for search engine rankings is free, but a paid directory submission service is available.)

Bing Places for Business (Same idea as Google and Yahoo but owned by Microsoft. Requires a free Microsoft account)

2)  Visit your website.  Better yet, have your mother visit.
Have you looked at your website lately?  Do you know what's there?  How do your customers react to it?  Is everything working?  Better to take some time and check.  Get someone who is not familiar with your website to do the same.  A set of fresh eyes will spot mistakes or problems that you might miss.  
  • Click on all of your links.  Fix the broken ones.  
  • Check your website's images.  Add fresh ones if the others are looking stale.  Maybe take some new photos of your store's decor for the holidays
  • Make sure your contact information is easy to find.  
  • Make sure your telephone number is a tappable link on phones.  
  • Does your website have a search function?  Try it out.    Ask your web developer to make sure all of your website pages meet Google's latest SEO guidelines.  
  • Double check your social media links and integrations.  
  • Are you using e-commerce?  Try the store out as a customer and find any mistakes or problems.  Check your inventory.  Remove discontinued or out of stock items and add your new inventory for the holidays.  Are your prices correct?  Coupons and discounts updated?  Added value upsells included?  Gift Certificates configured?  Your web developer can expedite these fixes
3) Take all the free publicity you can get.  Start with #ShopSmall Saturday

American Express began the Shop Small Saturday movement several years ago to bolster their small-business merchants.  Through their website, your business can get more online exposure and marketing materials to use in your shop or online.  

Get signed up at the official Small Business Saturday website.  There is no business too small - home based, solopreneur, Etsy shop, all are welcome if you accept American Express from customers. That also includes PayPal, Square, WorldPay users!

Your online marketing materials will include custom- made Facebook banners and graphics like the ones in this post and on SDOC's Facebook.  There's also some boilerplate copy you can include in social media or website/blog posts.  (Just be sure to customize it for your company and your products.  There's nothing worse than overlooking an (insert product here) tag in your post!

We wish all of our visitors a successful and prosperous holiday season in their enterprises.  For Dunwoody's visitors and residents:  don't forget to patronize local restaurants and coffee shops when you've shopped til you've dropped!

This week, SDOC will be taking exactly these steps to assist our website customers with their online outreach.  Drop a line if you're looking for some last minute help before the big shopping rush hits next weekend!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Can You DIG Infrastructure Improvements?

The following blurb came via the City of Dunwoody e-news updates.  It's easy to get antsy when you see workers near your property and you may not have gotten a heads-up.

AT&T is installing their fiber optic cables and AGL is doing some work on their system.  Call the utility company directly (numbers below) with concerns.  (Read:  don't call the City of Dunwoody, they'll direct you to the utility.)

Many of the commercial areas and some neighborhoods in Dunwoody have recently received visits from utility crews such as AT&T or AGL. At any given time, a number of utilities could be performing general infrastructure, transmission and equipment upgrades for their established services in the city. Oftentimes these utility providers are conducting work in the right-of-way adjacent to streets, businesses and residential properties. Though the work is permitted through the city of Dunwoody the contractors performing the work are hired directly by the utility companies. Concerns related to work being done in the area should be directed to the primary utility provider by calling AT&T (fiber optic installation projects being performed by Ansco) at 800.278.8213 or AGL at 404.584.3142.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Redevelopment by (Alleged) Arson?

Major fire at Bombay Grill Indian Restaurant on Savoy Drive on Sunday morning.   If you woke up to police/fire sirens, that's what they were.

Dekalb Fire is on the scene of a structure fire at the Bombay Grill on Savoy Drive. Savoy Drive is closed between N Shallowford Road and N Peachtree Road. Use Cotillion Drive. (RP)
Posted by Dunwoody Police Department on Sunday, November 15, 2015

Per WSB, the fire may have been arson:

Per Heneghan's Dunwoody Blog:

"The huge piece of property sits between the bowling alley & Wendy's and could be a catalyst for redevelopment of the area. "
And you thought redevelopment by neglect in Dunwoody was harsh!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Dunwoody Elections 2015

First, some caveats before we get down to the endorsements.

1)  Every penny spent during a Dunwoody mayor's administration is a result of at least 4 votes cast together by the entire city council.  Those 4 votes don't even have to include the mayor to carry the day.  The mayor has no veto.   So if you hold any Dunwoody mayor solely responsible for money not being spent to your liking, you are way off the mark.

2)  Dunwoody is far more diverse in lifestyle and thought and ideology than many want to admit.  There is far more to making decisions and planning a future and establishing rules and regs than your preferences in your living room.  That kind of thinking is not "preservation"; it is stagnation.  Expecting all legislation to match your lifestyle without allowing for consideration from other sectors is not how you strengthen a city - it's how you kill it off slowly and painfully.

3)  You're not going to get your way in every vote.  I speak to this from experience.  Voting the bums out is one option.    If you're serious about your perspective you continue to advocate your perspective on another day.  Don't get confused between "S/he's not listening to me." and "S/he isn't doing exactly what I said, the way I said."  They're not interchangeable.

Now for the endorsements:

Mayor - Mike Davis

Mike was elected in 2011.  I supported Bob Dallas in that election.  There wasn't much to do except watch and see what happened.

But after Mike was elected I learned a few more things about him that didn't come out in the election.  No, he isn't a saint,  But he is patient if you're half-way civilized.  I had some time to talk with Mike about decisions being made.  I learned more about the factors and people beyond his control that had to be dealt with and negotiated over to get his vision across.  I was involved in some business and political ventures that ran contrary to Mike's ideals, but he never held them against me.  After some heart-to-heart chats and a few beers, Mike won me over to his side.  We never sat around agreeing on every idea or priority   But I am convinced that he advocated for the best position he could take given a range of circumstances, most of which did not originate with Dunwoody city council.

And as always, any decision made required four votes.  Sometimes the vote went the way he recommended.  Sometimes not.  Once the vote was taken, he had to roll with it, just like the rest of us.  Mike is always aware that present circumstances will not last forever and for Dunwoody to thrive in the future, current signs of evolution in future generations has to be considered.

If Chipka and Grivakis were even somewhat serious about effecting change on city council, they would have run in one of the 3 uncontested seats.  As I said previously, "Save Dunwoody" or any other organized group have a better chance of consolidating their voting power when at-large seats are up for grabs than individual districts.  Those two would have had a better shot at actually winning.

It has been no secret for some time that I think Denny Shortal's days of effectiveness in government are behind him.   His outbursts in city council are documented on video.  He has trouble keeping some basic facts straight:  for example I've heard from several sources that he believes the Chamber of Commerce is a department of the government when it is a completely independent entity.  But it has been extremely disappointing to watch the deliberate misinformation in his campaign.  Either Denny is trying to pander to his demographic's fears, or he really doesn't understand what's happening in city council.

Don't take my word for it if you don't want to.  The following passage was posted to Facebook by Bev Wingate (the person who joined with Denny to form DunwoodyYes as a once and for all campaign for cityhood) in response to a video clip where Denny claims that Mike did not want to spend the finally-won parks bond funds on parks: (emphases added)

This is why I hate small meet and greet gatherings in homes. A candidate can say anything and there is no rebuttal where one is needed. The Mayor Davis comment is taken out of text (and intent). The Mayor was quoting the legalities of the receipt of the bond money - not his personal intent. He had stated so previously and again, quite clearly, at the candidate forum. There is no one, I repeat, no one on council that would consider using that money any other way. They have told me so. This video is disingenuous at best and dirty politics at worst. You guys are my friends, but I don't take kindly to campaigns run on hyperbole and innuendo. Play nice in the sandbox!
And with this, Bev ended her neutral stance and supported Mike's campaign.  That action speaks volumes to anyone who has watched Dunwoody's evolution and the roles of the people involved. 

 District 1:  Terry Nall

Like anyone else on city council, he is one vote of seven and he has always voted and advocated the same way on council that he does in his own living room.  Terry splits his vote with Mike often on some issues (the Dunwoody Village Parkway, for example) but he never lets a disagreement over a policy matter change his relationships with people.  Just this past weekend I looked him square in the eye and pointed out a number of his votes that I disagreed with.  I don't have to worry about getting knifed in the back for it later.  I can't say that with the same certainty about anyone else on city council.  

I don't know Ms Springer personally but she made two grave mistakes in her campaign.  One was accusing city council of bribery over the John Wieland development.  (Dunwoody Green in Georgetown)  I take issue with council members frequently and have even raised questions about some members contradicting themselves numerous times in this blog.  She could have just said "The Dunwoody Green deal was supernaturally mornic" with legal impunity, and maybe even some evidence.  But she didn't stop there - she made an accusation against city council as a whole of a major crime.  If you're going to accuse someone of a crime, have the facts or shut your face.  It's not hard to understand.  

Second was the famous "85% increase in crime and crime is out of control" claim.  Anyone who has ever taken high school statistics and passed knows that when analyzing small numbers (like single digits) percentages are misleading.  Worse, she used manipulation of statistics in an argument with a banker, whose entire job is about analyzing numbers.  I just don't see how that could end well.  

But seriously folks:  vote tomorrow November 3 because every vote is going to count.  Just like my neighbors I argue for positions I think are right, but these days I'm wondering if I'm going to wake up to a burning bag of poo on my front porch or some other backlash down the line.  I hope not.  This is what we signed on for when we voted to incorporate Dunwoody:  not the elimination of all of our conflicts but the ability to settle them amongst ourselves with others who have to live with the consequences together.  

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

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Georgia State University Professor Threatens DeKalb Commissioner and her Family

From Nancy Jester's website at

At the next DeKalb County Board of Commissioners (BOC) meeting, I will begin the process to introduce legislation to provide a pay increase to our rank and file police officers, fire fighters, and 9-11 operators.

Additionally, I will work within the framework of the DeKalb BOC County Operations and Public Safety Committee (COPS), to initiate a process to provide additional funding for the DeKalb County police so that they have every type of (and the necessary amount of) equipment to both protect themselves and the civilian population.

I also will initiate a discussion with the BOC and the DeKalb County Department of Public Safety to examine what types of specialized training needs to be considered for our police officers.

Both our officers and the civilian population will benefit from an effort to determine if our officers should receive training in matters such as, dealing with deaf and blind citizens, veterans, and issues such as, PTSD.

I will also ask the BOC to start the process of supporting the establishment of Veteran’s Courts in DeKalb County.

I strongly feel DeKalb County will be a better and safer place if we move forward and expand our training – to both offer protection to our officers and civilians.

DeKalb County is united in our support for our public safety heroes which include our firefighters, emergency management team, paramedics, 911 operators, and our police officers.

Across every demographic, people of good will in DeKalb, the ones who pay the taxes and obey the law, agree it is the men and women of the DeKalb County Police Department who protect us from those who would do us and our families harm.

Recently, I had the privilege to meet with some family members of DeKalb county residents who have been involved in incidents with the DeKalb County Police.

I, like all Christians, mourn the loss of a life - I know all lives matter.

Regrettably, a small group of political activists have come into DeKalb County – not seeking to unite people, but, rather, to divide our county – and the good people of DeKalb County will not allow any outside group of political activists to divide or define us.

The “so called” DeKalb County Coalition for Justice and Police Accountability has attempted to hijack the dialogue and exploit grieving families in DeKalb County to advance their extreme, anti- police, anti- taxpayer agenda.

They have tried and they have failed.

It is irresponsible and unforgivable that this small group of political activists have exploited grieving families.

It is counterproductive that this small group of political activists have issued a list of demands aimed at degrading the ability of the DeKalb County Police to serve and protect the taxpayers of DeKalb County.

Their agenda is so out of touch with reality as to be dangerous to the safety and well-being of both police and civilians.

The leader of this small group of political activists must be held accountable for the actions of his organization.

The self–identified leader of DeKalb County Coalition for Justice and Police Accountability is Georgia State University Professor Makungu Akinyela.

On Tuesday, September 15, members of Georgia State University Professor Makungu Akinyela’s organization announced via social media their plans to disrupt my Town Hall meeting in Tucker and to demand I attend a meeting the following day.

Their desire to disrupt and hijack the meeting failed to gain traction as I announced I had previously committed to attend the meeting in question.

The following day, Wednesday, September 16 members of DeKalb County Coalition for Justice and Police Accountability did hijack what was supposed to be a private meeting between DeKalb County officials and members of a small number of DeKalb County families.

Georgia State University Professor Makungu Akinyela dominated this meeting and self-identified as the leader of the DeKalb County Coalition for Justice and Police Accountability.

At some point in this meeting, after Georgia State University Professor Makungu Akinyela had already allowed his members to use language which included profanity, threats, and outright hostility towards a number of people from DeKalb County government, Georgia State University Professor Makungu Akinyela’s took no action when one of his members threatened my life. He, likewise, failed to immediately disavow both the person and her threat – he allowed it to stand.

Georgia State University Professor Makungu Akinyela, as the self-identified leader and self-appointed chair of this meeting, failed to address one of his members calling me a BITCH and condoned hate speech.

It is unclear if Georgia State University Professor Makungu Akinyela was on taxpayer time when this occurred.

It is imperative Georgia State University send an immediate and direct message that they do not tolerate hate speech and a “War on Women” from their taxpayer funded employees.

Unfortunately, it gets worse and more dangerous.

On Sunday, September 20, a member of Georgia State University Professor Makungu Akinyela’s organization sent a series of tweets threatening the lives of my minor children.

There is no circumstance, no scenario, where threats against children are acceptable.


These threats, by a member of Georgia State University Professor Makungu Akinyela’s organization, have not been denounced by Georgia State University Professor Makungu Akinyela.

Georgia State University Professor Makungu Akinyela has not reached out to me to apologize.

In fact, Georgia State University Professor Makungu Akinyela has shown no compassion to the reality that one of his members threatened the lives of two children.

Georgia State University must address the reality that they have chosen to give taxpayer dollars to a man who leads an organization whose members threaten the lives of minor children on social media.

Does Georgia State University condone this type of action?

Sadly, there is still more.

I am a Christian. However, I posted a number of statements and photos in support of the DeKalb County Jewish community as they began their holy celebration of Rosh Hannah and Yom Kipper.

I am in possession of posts to my Facebook page where members of the DeKalb County Coalition for Justice and Police Accountability have used numerous anti-Semitic slurs interwoven with insults to women and one which states I am an operator of Satan.

There can be no place in DeKalb County, Metro Atlanta or Georgia State University, for a man who leads an organization which tolerates anti-Semitic posts on social media.

I look forward to Georgia State University reviewing the activities of Georgia State University Professor Makungu Akinyela.

I want to thank all the members of law enforcement at the federal, state, and local level who have enacted protocols regarding the safety of my minor children.

I ask for prayers of safety for both my children and those who are working to protect them during this scary time.

I want to conclude by saying there is difference between the families of DeKalb County, who are grieving the loss of life of a loved one, and the members of the DeKalb County Coalition for Justice and Police Accountability, who are exploiting these families to advance their political agenda.

It is important to note a large number of the members of the DeKalb County Coalition for Justice and Police Accountability do not live in DeKalb County - the good people of DeKalb County – White, Black, Asian, and Hispanic will not allow this small outside political organization to divide us or define us.

I have listened to the DeKalb County Coalition for Justice and Police Accountability and they responded with death threats against my minor children. Moving forward, no one of good faith in DeKalb County should show this organization any legitimacy - because when your members threaten to kill kids and use anti Sematic slurs, we don’t welcome that hate in DeKalb County.

Here is the "professor's" faculty page at Georgia State:

Even though his faculty bio page is blank, here is his CV where he is listed as a professor of African-American Studies.

Here's an image of this person from a search:

President Mark P.Becker's blog and information page is here:
HIs phone number is:  Telephone: 404-413-1300
I encourage every citizen in District 1 of DeKalb county, all students, alumni, and parents of students of Georgia State to complain directly to the president about one of his faculty members issuing death threats against an elected official.  This professor needs to be removed from his position at Georgia State and permanently barred from higher education in Georgia.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Taste of Dunwoody Returns for 2016

After the 2015 hiatus, when they were sorely missed, the Taste of Dunwoody is back in Feburary 2016!
Taste of Dunwoody is a celebration of cuisine in Dunwoody and the surrounding Perimeter area.  It is hosted by the Dunwoody Friends of CHOA and benefits Childrens Healthcare of Atlanta programs.

SDOC has been a local corporate sponsor of this event for several years and will be back to sponsor again for 2016.  Learn more on the official page.  

Get tickets now at the above link.  OR - enter for a chance to WIN two FREE VIP tickets on SDOC's Facebook page.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Public Service Announcement Regarding Dunwoody Government and Elections

Dunwoody has a city council of 7 seats, representing 3 districts.

Each district has 2 representatives:  1 elected from that district itself, and 1 elected "at large" by the entire community.

The Mayor is always an additional "at large" seat.

The form of government is called a "weak mayor" system.  That is, the Mayor in city council matters, has a single vote like everyone else on council and serves mainly as a tiebreaker.  The title itself is a glorified honorific; the Mayor is a representative position only.  The "face of Dunwoody" if you will.

So if you really want to vote as a city council member and "make changes" or whatever the hell else is on your mind, you can run in whatever district for which you qualify.  You'll have the same vote as the Mayor and just as much measurable political power - no more, no less.

Why is this announcement necessary?

Because we have a four-way race for Mayor as of a few minutes ago, while three other seats are going uncontested.  Those with a chip on their shoulder or an axe to grind are more likely to be successful to run a race for the uncontested seats than to join a rat-race for the ceremonial spot.

It's obvious that the candidates we have thus far are all members of the "We Hate Mike" club.  They have no platform to speak of, they just hate Mike and this is the way they express it.  If it was a disagreement over policy, then it would show in their platform.  But there is no difference in policy, so the  motivation must be purely personal.

Those of you supporting these candidates - what are you trying to accomplish?   What kind of Dunwoody will result from your friend getting into office?  No, really, what???  Comments are open below.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Dunwoody City Council Elections Qualifying Period Starts Today

The three at-large seats and Mayor are on the ballot for November 3.  Qualifying period for candidates is today through September 3 4:30 on September 2.

Dunwoody Voter Information

including list of candidates as they quality

As of 11:30 AM on 8/31, the field of candidates is thus:

  • Mayor
    • Mike Davis (Incumbent)
  • District 1 At Large, Post 4
    • Terry Nall (Incumbent)
    • Becky Springer
  • District 2 At Large, Post 5
    • Lynn Deutsch (Incumbent)
  • District 3 At Large, Post 6
    • John Heneghan (Incumbent)
    • District 1, Post 1
      • Pam Tallmadge

(Update:  Denny Shortal qualified later in the day after this post went live.)

When Dunwoody began, we had all kinds of people with all kinds of experience throwing their hats in the ring. No big deal, you have to start somewhere, right?  Then the election cycles adjusted to bring them up to the regular 4-year cycle we have now.  The discourse was polite, the elections mild.  Some seats were not contested, some previous council members chose to resign or not see reelection.

Then 2 years ago, Dunwoody saw its first slate of candidates.  Those who were pissed at Mayor Mike over the suggestion of a novel intersection upgrade rallied to  "Save (sic) Dunwoody" and had partial success with the election of Jim Riticher.  But exactly what "change" or "saving" was effected? Because Jim and Mike almost always vote the same way on whatever issue comes to council.

This year has a hint of a darker turn.  There are no slates of candidates (yet).  The "SD" crowd is active if smaller and have quietly cultivated a single candidate.  There is open conflict over the Mayor's office.  In both of these cases, long-term friendships are going to be strained to the breaking point and there is no discernable difference in policy or vision between the candidates for any given seat.  Yet.

In years past, choosing between friends and acquaintances for an elected office was uncomfortable business, but it had to be done.  In 2015, it looks like it's getting personal.  The structure of our community is going to undergo a radical change in its network of relationships and foundation of trust (or lack thereof) because political business is going personal.

Friday, August 28, 2015

UPDATED: SDOC Returns to Business Radio X at noon today!

Listen to the session online here!

Several weeks ago, Matt Holmes of DeKalb Business Radio X reached out to me via email and invited me to be a guest on his show.  I was thrilled to accept as last fall I was on Lee Kantor's program on the same online radio network.

Hit the link below to listen online wherever you are at 12 Noon EDT

Thursday, August 20, 2015

I Like Big Bugs and I Can Not Lie... Dunwoody Food Truck Thursdays Aug 20 and Comparison Lobster Dining

Dunwoody Homeowner Association's
Dunwoody Food Truck Thursdays

8/20/15 @ Brook Run Park 5 PM until Dark

This Week's Sponsor
Home Energy Solutions 

Guest Musician
Michael "Hurly" Hurwitz

Adult Beverages
Moondog Growlers   

Dinner Trucks
(**DWG Top Picks)

Dessert Vendors

Know Your Lobster Truck 

 No one was happier than I was when the lobster trucks started showing up at Food Truck Thursdays!  My family have been New Englanders going back into the 17th century so seafood and lobster rolls are a dietary requirement.

The offerings between the two trucks in metro Atlanta are not the same.  This is your PSA before you head ot to Dunwoody Food Truck Thursdays, or any other regional food truck gathering.

Tasting Maine (appearing tonight) and Cousins Lobster have been making the rounds in Dunwoody.

I have no idea which one was actually founded first; our family visited Tasting Maine before Cousins.

Tasting Maine

Cousins Lobster

Cousins Lobster was created by two Maine natives and is franchised around the country.  The menu-board-side of the truck features a celebrity collage of the owners mugging with the likes of Gordon Ramsay and Barbara Corcoran of "Shark Tank" who became a company investor after the owners appeared on her show.

Tasting Maine was created in and is local to Atlanta.  Not a lot of other company info is available.

Comparing the goods:

Both trucks provide the traditional lobster sandwich offerings:  the Traditional Maine (cold poached lobster with mayo - best for hot summer evenings) and the Connecticut (warm lobster with drawn butter dressing.  Wait til the weather cools for that one, trust me.)  Cousins Lobster sticks to a variety of lobster concoctions with a limited amount of sides.  Tasting Maine starts with lobster and runs the gamut of Maine seafood including fried clams, haddock, and tuna.

A Traditional Maine Roll at Cousins' will run about $13 (don't make that face, fresh lobster isn't cheap down here).  At Tasting Maine, it runs about $18 and change.  The difference is partially in the side offerings.  Cousins lobster rolls are sold a la carte with small sides like tater tots or bisque/chowder available separately.  Tasting Maine offers a complete meal with seasoned french fries, cole slaw, and a pickle spear.

The rolls themselves are also different.  Each time DWG has visited one of these trucks, the Tasting Maine lobster roll was noticeably larger with more lobster than the Cousins truck.

Whichever truck is present on any given Thursday (they're never in Dunwoody at the same time) grab a beer from Moondog before you get in line.  You'll stay cool a lot longer in the evening.


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Georgians for Local Area School Systems Fundraiser at McKendrick’s Steak House in Dunwoody - August 25

Meet the legislators, citizen volunteers, and concerned parents working to make accountable school systems available to all in Georgia who desire them.
(The real website address is but the one in the ad will get you there too.)

Monday, August 17, 2015

Kosher BBQ Contest Takes Over Brook Run in October!

Back in May, Dunwoody Food Truck Thursdays incorporated Kosher food trucks and related providers with MJCCA sponsorship.  It was a smash!  Largest turnout at FTT EVER.  Playground was packed.  Almost caused panic attacks over traffic and whether the neighboring community could handle it.  (Just kidding - had to get a jab in on those who use "traffic" as an excuse to stall everything.)  The only drawback was the guy with the beef ribs ran out before I could get to him.

Looks like we all get another chance at Beef Rib Perfection in October.  The competition was posted at FTT and now it's official.

All info including team sign up, videos, the works is below.  Remember, this is Kosher, so there are going to be more rules and regs than your typical BBQ fight to the finish.

Thanks to everyone for marking a day on my calendar when I don't have to cook!

Sunday, October 18, 2015
Brook Run Park
11:30 AM to 3:30 PM
Free Admission for visitors
See website for contestant entry fees
Kids stuff, "Live entertainment" (that must be required or soemthing)
Dare someone to enter the Kosher Pickle Eating Contest!