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Monday, February 17, 2014

One of the First New Streetcars Arrived Today in Atlanta

 One of the first new streetcars arrived today in downtown Atlanta.

Photo  from
 From Atlanta Streetcar page.
"The initial route of the Atlanta Streetcar will connect the Centennial Olympic Park area to the Martin Luther King Jr. Historic Site. It is a unique effort by the Federal DOT, the City of Atlanta, the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District, and MARTA."


“The Merits of Art: An Expert Panel” @ Decatur Market & Gallery March 12


DATE: Wednesday, March 12, 2014
TIME: 6:00 p.m.
EVENT: “The Merits of Art: An Expert Panel”
COST: Free to attend (RSVP required for seating)
SPEAKERS: Howard Pousner, Catherine Fox

In an informal setting, speakers will discuss the various aspects of the subjective nature of art as well as the potential obstacles and opportunities for working artists. Patrick Dennis, President of the Atlanta Foundation for Public Spaces and owner of the Decatur Gallery will facilitate the discussion with the speakers, encouraging plenty of questions and answers.


Howard Pousner writes about arts, entertainment and attractions for the The Atlanta Journal--‐Constitution. For the last 30 years, he has covered nearly every cultural event held in metro Atlanta from the Olympics to the Rockettes. He also writes a blog for Access Atlanta online.

Catherine Fox is executive director, editor chief and art critic for ArtsATL, an online magazine for arts news and culture in metro Atlanta. Previously Ms. Fox was the art and architecture critic at The Atlanta Journal--‐Constitution for 27 years. She holds a master’s degree in art history from the University of Michigan. She was assistant curator of the Arts Festival of Atlanta’s 1981 Site Works Program, has written for ARTnews and other publications, and is a co--‐author of Noplaceness: Art in a Post--Urban Landscape.


The Decatur Market & Gallery is a co--‐operative gallery for emerging artists and unique artisans in metro Atlanta. Each month, the gallery hosts a free education program to benefit artists as well as hands--‐on workshops to develop techniques. The Gallery also hosts quarterly themed group exhibitions. The Gallery is sponsored by The Atlanta Foundation for Public Spaces.

To view the 2014 gallery event calendar online, visit

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Saturday, February 15, 2014

New Home Construction at 713 S. McDonough St.

 Decatur GA
--During construction at 713 S. McDonough St. ------FOR SALE   INFO HERE
Before construction at 713 S. McDonough St. Decatur GA
photo from google maps.
Wylie Roberts said...I personally am thrilled as every bigger, nicer, new, two-story house goes up in my neighborhood.
However, some have NOT wanted or liked these changes, and pushed for a new rule to be implemented in 2008. It is called the “Floor Area Ratio” (FAR) rule (not to be confused with the Lot Coverage Ratio rule).
Here is a summary of the rule: It governs how much you can add to or renovate your home. At first glance, it appears to be a reasonable rule that prevents “over building”, but in reality, there are already other rules that prevent this (such as the Lot Coverage Ratio, set backs, story limits, and height limits) and instead all it does is prevent reasonable and full use of all of your home, without any benefit to the “public good”. Total Lot coverage has always been limited to 40%. But the new FAR rule added in 2008 mandates that “total floor area” also be no more than this same number of square feet, and garage space and accessory buildings must be counted. This means that a building footprint that covers 30% of a lot (very typical for existing one-story homes) would hit 60% if a full second floor were added, which exceeds the 40% FAR limit. In order to add a full second story, your building footprint would have to be no more than 20% of your lot square footage, which very few homes are. A family should be able to not only add a full second story, but use the attic space under the roof over the second floor as well. Doing so has no detrimental impact to the environment and does not increase “impervious surface” on the property or contribute to run-off issues. To allow these reasonable things, the floor area ratio limit would need to be around 80%, not the absurdly restrictive 40%.
Here is the effect of this new rule:

It prevents many from being able to add a full second story

It hurts property values. One real estate agent estimated that the average home in Decatur would immediately be worth anywhere from $50,000 to $150,000 MORE if this rule were repealed.

A large number of existing homes already exceed the FAR limit. So this rule is arbitrary and capricious, and prevents families from improving their homes as much as many of their neighbors already have.

I have started an online petition at Change.Org to repeal or amend the rule.

Will you take 30 seconds to sign this petition right now?
 Here's the link:

Here is more from: Wylie Roberts:
Lot Coverage Ratio = amount of square ft. covered by house or driveway as a % of total lot square footage. It is set at 40% max, and always has been. This prevents excessive water runoff during rain and allows water to be absorbed by soil.
Floor Area Ratio = Total Square Footage of all enclosed space, on all floors, including an enclosed garage (except for basement space) as a % of total lot square footage.
Most homes are between 20% and 35 % lot coverage with the foot print of the main structure. Very few if any are under 20%.
So here is the problem:
Very common in Decatur is a 30% footprint two story home with a basement and partial use of attic space with a dormer or two.
This gives a floor square footage of 80% ( 30 for basement, 30 for first floor, and 20 for 2nd floor).
But a home right next door with the same size foot print (30%) and no basement can't even add a full second level or use any of the floor space under the attic.
So the rule creates special classes of homeowners with different rights as far as size of home they can have. Which is inherently unfair, and why I am seeking for the FAR rule to either be eliminated or modified to give 80% to EVERYONE, inclusive of basement and garage.
The irony is, that if square footage is so evil, without regard to lot coverage, why do we allow an exception for basements?
If home A can have a basement, why can't home B ,without a basement, have a comparable amount of space by adding a FULL second floor and/or using the space in their attic?
If you want to know why so many of the beautiful old bungalows are being torn down and replaced by new construction (with a basement), it is because that is the only way to get a reasonable amount of home square footage, which the FAR rule otherwise prevents.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Hey, What's the Hurry?

Decatur GA.
Hey, What's the Hurry ?  On East Trinty Place today a  Dekalb County Sheriff escorts a Prison Bus running red light with siren and blue lights flashing.
I guess I was in the right place at the right time to snap this photo.

Souper Jenny Opened Today in Decatur

Souper Jenny opened in Decatur today.
located at: 1 West Court Sq.
Learn more about Souper Jenny in this video with Kathie Lee & Hoda.

Will MARTA Catch up to BART & METRO

Maria Saporta
    Contributing Writer- Atlanta Business Chronicle

MARTA was one of three transit agencies built at the same time — BART in San Francisco and METRO in Washington, D.C.

Both BART and METRO today have about 100 miles of rail, but MARTA only has 48 miles — giving fuel to the argument that it is a skeletal system.

But if its up to MARTA General Manager Keith Parker the transit agency will re-enter into an expansion mode as soon as fiscally possible.
Full story
Photo credit bizjournals 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Flying in The Snow In Decatur

Drone flight over snow covered Decatur. h/t decatur metro

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Decatur Through the Years

Decatur  GA.
 circa 1955
 E. Ponce de Leon Ave. See more photos at ajc

Snow Day at Decatur Georgia's No. 1 Fire Station ... circa 1957

From: http://dlg.galileo.usg
Decatur GA firemen at Decatur Fire Station No. 1 in 1957.

Trapped in your House ? Why not watch a good snow movie.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

DeKalb to open two additional warming centers today

The DeKalb Emergency Management Agency announces two additional warming centers will open today at noon for those who need a temporary reprieve from the current weather conditions.

The two locations are:
Tucker Recreation Center, 4898 LaVista Road, Tucker
Gresham Park Recreation Center, 3113 Gresham Road, S.E., Atlanta.

This is in addition to the warming center at the DeKalb County Jail, 4415 Memorial Drive in Decatur, which is already available.

DeKalb County has not opened any overnight shelters at this time.

County administrative offices, including other parks and recreation facilities, senior centers, water billing offices, recorders court and other administrative divisions are closed today.

Power outages can be reported to Georgia Power at (888) 660-5890 for residential customers and (888) 655-5888 for commercial customers. Snapping Shoals EMC customers can call (770) 786-3484, press option “1”.


If you want to share your ice and/or snow photos send them in.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Decatur Customers Storm Intown Ace Hardware

-- From: ajc
By Ken Foskett

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Nearly 40 customers were lined up at Intown Ace Hardware on Scott Boulevard in Decatur by the time co-owner Tony Powers was ready to open at 8 a.m. Tuesday.

He sold four pallets of ice melt in an hour and seven minutes and by late afternoon had sold all his firewood, kerosene, lanterns and every sled in the store. Generators were also in demand, and Powers said he sold seven in two hours.

“It’s been bananas,” said Powers, who estimated he’d slept only eight of the past 48 hours getting ready for the customer onslaught. “The phone won’t stop ringing – which is a bad problem to have if you don’t have anything to sell.”

Gene Reiley of Decatur stopped by the store to buy small propane tanks to power a small heater that his mother might need if she loses power at her home in Tucker.

“I think she’ll be fine,” said Reiley. “But you never know. You have to stock up just in case.”

Lynda Twilley bought a portable Weber charcoal grill.

“I can eat out of a can if I need to,” said Twilley. “But I need hot water for tea.”

Firewood was selling out at many area stores. Ashley Serebrenik struck out at four before she found a few remaining bags of wood chunks at The Woodshed on Medlock Road in DeKalb County. “This is it,” she said.

The Woodshed’s Bill Godboldt said the establishment had completely sold out of all its seasoned firewood and pointed to a few bags of pecan and hickory chunks – usually used in smokers – as all that remained.

“We’re done,” said Godboldt. “It’s been non-stop for two days.”

Photo credit Google Maps

Decatur Police Investigating Vehicle Break-ins

From Sgt. Ross of Decatur Police.

Decatur Police are investigating reports of seven vehicles entered overnight on the Garland Avenue, McClean Street and Brower Street. On 2-10-14 at approximately 7:00 am, a resident on a morning walk located a wallet in the roadway and observed several car doors ajar and called police. Officers canvassed the neighborhood and located seven vehicles that appeared to have been entered. All but one of the vehicles were parked in driveways. All of the vehicles were unsecured. A GPS unit and the recovered wallet were the only things stolen.                                                               

It is not uncommon for there to be a rash of entered vehicles during inclement weather, which we are currently preparing for in Decatur. Please remove all valuables from your vehicles. Please look out and check on vehicles in the area if you hear something in the middle of the night. Call police immediately if you see anyone going from vehicle to vehicle.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Decatur Estate's Week-long Valentine Celebration

decatur estate and wayback antiques
2272 lawrenceville highway
decatur, ga 30033

Black Hawk Helicopter makes emergency landing in Lilburn

 From ajc
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
It seemed like a normal Sunday for Stacey Schrader and her family as they went to church. When they returned to their Lilburn home however, there was something not quite right about what they saw.
“There were two Black Hawk helicopters in the field across from our house,” she said in a phone interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. (see photo)
Gwinnett County police said one of the helicopters had to make an emergency landing near the 4800 block of Five Forks Trickum Road. A Georgia National Guard spokesperson told Channel 2 Action News that a cockpit warning light came on.
Police said no injuries were reported and a second helicopter arrived to assist the temporarily disabled bird.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Marta Plans Shopping Destinations in unused Parking Lots

from ajc
 MARTA is gearing up to take a big step in its plan to entice more riders by allowing developers to build apartment and shopping destinations on underused parking lots at its rail stations.
 Along the lines of Lindbergh Center Station and One Atlantic Center, MARTA wants to launch five additional “transit-oriented development” projects in the next two years. Next on the drawing board is a development at King Memorial Station, which the MARTA Board will be briefed about on Thursday afternoon.
 If all goes as planned, Walton Communities would be issued a 99-year lease to take over a four-acre parking lot near King Memorial Station and build about 380 apartments there, along with some ground-floor retail space. A second transit-oriented development is in the pipeline for Avondale Station. Several more projects are expected to be announced later this year.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Towne Cinema in Avondale still for Lease

--Now and then photo shows the theatre when it was called Avondale "AVON"
The little theatre in downtown Avondale is still sitting vacant.
Check out story about this over at
This photo left is circa 1975 when theatre still had original Towne Cinema neon marquee.

From cinema treasures
Yes, the Towne Cinema was originally the Avondale Theater. Around 1966, the Avondale Theater came under the management of the late George Ellis. He altered the name and instituted a policy of art films and revivals. Prior to that time, the Avondale Theater had become run down and had a poor reputation.

Although Avondale Estates and the City of Decatur (which was incorporated as a city before Atlanta) bordered each other in DeKalb County, they were seperate and distinct communities. Their respective high schools were arch rivals.
Photo credit: D.G.Whitefield
See old 1960's newspaper listing for this theatre when it was called Avondale Theatre. The Great Escape was playing there.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

What's Next for Jay Leno ?

 From Newser – Jay Leno will host his last episode of the Tonight Show tonight. A roundup of the news swirling around his departure:
  • Sandra Bullock appeared on last night's show, and offered a tearful tribute to Leno, according to the Hollywood Reporter. "You've always been so kind. That's saying a lot in this business, because we like to be mean," she said. "There's not been one time you haven't treated me like I had something to offer—even when the film was awful and you knew it."
  • The Los Angeles Times talked to Leno recently, and he says he's "not unhappy" about leaving. Successor Jimmy Fallon is "really good," Leno says, adding that he even thinks Fallon is "closer to what Johnny [Carson] was when he started."
  • As for what's next, Leno ruled out another late-night TV show. Instead: "I've always been a stand-up comedian that had a day job," he says. "This [Tonight] is my day job. I've always been on the road every single weekend—and the week too—since I got this job. So I'm back on the road. We leave here (today)." His first show is tomorrow.
  • But NBC News doesn't think Leno will stay off TV for long, and offers up seven likely gigs. Among them: variety specials at NBC, an interview show at CNN, a car show on the History Channel or the Discovery Channel, or even a current events show (think a somewhat conservative answer to the Daily Show) on Fox News.
  • On tonight's show: Billy Crystal, Leno's first Tonight guest from back in 1992, and Garth Brooks, the New York Times reports.
Photo credit:
---- Best Wishes to Jay Leno. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The One Ring Scam

From ajc
By Clark Howard

That missed call on your cellphone could cost you $30…but maybe not in the way you think.

One of my Facebook followers let me know about an old scam that has roared back to life. Years ago, crooks found a way to exploit a handful of international area codes that don't require a foreign code to dial up.

Now that scam has resurfaced as what's being called the "one ring scam." Crooks are using robocalling technology to place Internet calls that only ring once to cell phones.

If you pick up, the robocaller just drops the line. But the bigger danger is if you miss the call. Like so many people, you might think it's an important call and dial that number right back.

Bad move.
read more

Senga opened at Ponce City Market


 Have you seen it yet? Tommy Taylor's exhibit Senga opened in the gallery at Ponce City Market last Friday.  We celebrated with our friends at whitespace gallery with an opening reception in the space.  Thanks to those who joined us!

Senga is the Japanese word for line drawing and represents the site-specific installation.  The art of Japanese calligraphy has always inspired Taylor and is evident in this installation.  Taylor opted to "color outside the lines," extending his art outside of frame and canvas and onto the walls of the space, creating an interactive experience.

Senga is the first collaboration between Ponce City Market and whitespace gallery, which represents Tommy Taylor.  Gallery hours are Thursday - Saturday, 12-4 pm or by appointment (404) 849-8176 and will run until March 1, 2014.

Eye on Decatur

Monday, February 3, 2014

Historic Briarcliff Summitt Renovation

Briarcliff Summit Apartments was originally built circa 1900 as a hotel by Atlanta businessman Asa Chandler who is most well known for founding and building The Coca-Cola Company.

 This iconic historical structure operated as a hotel for many years but was converted into its current use as low income housing in the 1980s. The conversion of the property resulted in the creation of 201 units of affordable housing, comprised of a mix of studio, one bedroom and two bedroom apartments which serve elderly and disabled residents. It was also during this period that the property was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, solidifying its importance as a cultural and historic resource within the Virginia Highlands Neighborhood of Atlanta.

Evergreen Partners acquired Briarcliff Summit in August 2012 using the proceeds from a combination of sources including the sale of Federal and State Low Income Housing Tax Credits, Historic Tax Credits, new HUD 221(d)(4) financing and subordinate debt provided by Invest Atlanta (City of Atlanta). The property is currently undergoing substantial interior and exterior renovations, the result of which will significantly modernize the building functionally,but also preserve and stablize of its historic features. To help support the long term affordability at Briarcliff, Evergreen was able to secure a new 20-year Section 8 HAP Contract from HUD which provides much needed rental subsidy to 99% of the apartments at the property. The long term rental subsidy, coupled with our renovation plan for the property, will ensure that Briarcliff Summit remains a stable and high quality source of affordable housing serving the City of Atlanta for many years to come.

Briarcliff Summit Apartments
1050 Ponce de Leon Avenue
Atlanta, Georgia 30306
(404) 872-8214

Photo credits : D.G.Whitefield

Decatur Library Book Sale Feb. 8
The Friends of the Decatur Library will host a book sale on Feb. 8, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., on the lower level of the Decatur Library, 215 Sycamore St.
Thousands of gently used fiction, nonfiction and children’s books, as well as DVDs and CDs, will be on sale at low prices, starting at 50 cents. Only cash or checks will be accepted. Dealers must scan at tables. All proceeds benefit the programs and collections of the Decatur Library. Admission is free. Donations of gently used books are always welcome at the library front desk.

 Library Book Sale
Date: 2/8/2014 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Location: Decatur Library
215 Sycamore St.
Decatur, Georgia 30030

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Neat Decatur Snow Video

Kristian Bush’s first solo concert at The Buckhead Theatre

 By Melissa Ruggieri
 Chances are, fans attending Kristian Bush’s first plugged-in, full-band solo concert at The Buckhead Theatre Saturday night weren’t expecting a 7-foot clown to stroll down the center aisle, hop onstage and start singing Lorde’s “Royals.” But Puddles the Clown (aka Atlanta’s Big Mike Geier from Puddles Pity Party) usually pops up in unexpected places, so why not? The kooky detour about halfway through Bush’s 90-minute set was a contrast to the singer-guitarist’s sincere delivery and “VH1 Storytellers”-esque vibe, but the fun-loving Bush looked happy to cede the spotlight momentarily and provide backup, along with Larkin Poe’s Megan and Rebecca Lovell, for the recently christened Song of the Year. more

"Decatur Frank" Sees His Shadow

h/t Decatur Metro