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Well it looks like a rumble folks! Maybe even a skirmish! A “friendly competition” you ask? Yesterday Mayor Patti Garrett of Decatur and Mayor Jonathan Elmore of Avondale Estates met at the border and things did not go well. In a heated exchange they were heard criticizing each other’s noise ordinances and threatening to arm wrestle over public art. But the real point of contention was about who would have a higher response rate in the 2020 Census. So here today at this hour the challenge is being levied by the City of Decatur to its neighbor of Avondale Estates – try your best to beat our response rate by the end of the counting period on 9/30/2020. This one’s worth fighting for!

Our two fine DeKalb County gem cities are neck in neck right now with their census response rates (Decatur = 74.1% and Avondale Estates = 74.6%). Does Avondale Estates “have the right stuff” to best its longtime friend and neighbor, the City of Decatur? That’s the question on the table, dear residents, and we know who’s ready to be counted! Much is at stake and iron sharpens iron.

What do we win?

Here’s the deal, every person counts! By responding to the census each resident ensures that Georgians receive their appropriate share of over $675 billion in federal aid that is distributed to state and local governments using Census numbers every year. These monies support a host of projects that are instrumental in keeping us safe and improving our quality of life right here at home. Census data is also used for federal, state, and local funding distributions, intergovernmental agreements drawing state and federal legislative districts, school districts, and congressional reapportionment. As a result of the 2010 population count, Georgia gained a congressional seat. The 2010 Census yielded a count of 9,687,653 people in Georgia and provided the state with $15.88 billion. Each Georgian that participated in the 2010 Census effectively brought $1,639.10 to the state.

What do we really win?

Decatur will certainly win some bragging rights first and foremost. The details of the championship prize(s) are being worked out now. Ideas are welcome! If they lose should Avondale Estates have to brew a craft beer and name it after us – a 30030 IPA? Or if Decatur loses we may have to hang a large banner at City Hall congratulating Avondale Estates and our mayor will have to post on social media a top 10 list of her favorite things about their city. Let’s not make her do that!

Let’s get started!

Here’s how we win this thing and also meet our stretch goal for the 2020 Census!

1. Visit 2020census.gov to find out everything you need to know and to respond for your household 2. Visit https://countallkids.org/fixing-an-incorrect-census-submission/ if you need instructions on how to make changes to the response you already submitted

3. Share the link widely through your network via any social media channels you use

4. Place a sign in your yard to alert neighbors to the Census count

5. Visit www.decaturga.com/census find out more and help us super charge the census count the City of Decatur

The National Weather Service in Peachtree City has advised of the potential for severe weather conditions tonight into Thursday due to Tropical Storm Sally.

Currently, much of north and central Georgia are under a wind advisory as well as a flash flood watch. The main impacts include:

• Heavy Rain (Widespread 3-8 inches possible)

• Flooding and flash flooding. (The watch is in effect until 8 AM on Friday, 9/18)

• Strong and Damaging Winds (Could down trees/power lines)

Here are ways you can get prepared now:

  • Keep updated on the latest weather by tuning in to your local weather channel and downloading a weather notification app so that it will notify you when a television or radio isn’t nearby.
  • Sign up for the City’s Smart911 notification system to receive emergency weather alerts should your property be included in a storm predicting polygon.
  • Determine a safe place to shelter in the event of damaging winds or a tornado. Look around your place for helmets, pillows, e.g. anything you can use to protect your head in the event of flying objects in high winds. As always, it’s good to be on the lowest floor of a house or structure since winds are less strong near the surface.
  • Charge your devices including smartphones, laptops, etc. now, and leave them charging. 

Nearly two years in the making, Decatur’s emerging Storm Water Master Plan is now ready for prime time. For the next month, we’ll be collecting final input on the present draft as we move our way towards formal adoption later this year.

Hundreds of residents and others helped shape this draft and together we’ve identified 101 areas of concern with appropriate ways to address them. We now have 73 proposed storm water projects to decrease flooding, protect water quality, provide flexibility in implementation, and increase the capacity and stability of stormwater management in the city.

Need to drill down on specifics? Mark your calendar and join us online September 16 at 6 p.m. for an overview presentation and opportunity to ask questions of city staff and their consultant team. For more information and to register, visit www.decaturnext.com.

Register to join the Better Together Advisory Board and the City of Decatur for the second installment of our 2020 Anti-Racism Speaker Series. The Speaker Series seeks to mine the knowledge and wisdom of numerous thought leaders to challenge and inspire our community to take actionable steps to instill anti-racism throughout our norms and practices. Don’t miss this Thursday, September 17 at 6 p.m. where we’ll hear from the Executive Director of the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing, Dr. Catherine Meeks. Visit decaturga.com/speakerseries to register for this session and the upcoming speakers.

The Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights is fighting to educate the residents of Decatur through art but they need your help! Donations will go to the artists who contribute their talent to creating art from the perspectives of communities who are often marginalized. You can place donations through Beacon Hill’s ‘Art for the People’ GoFundMe! #DecaturGA

City Commission Meeting Notice

During last night’s meeting, Decatur City Commission approved an amended meeting schedule moving the second September meeting back to its regular third Monday, Sept. 21 as it no longer conflicts with the City Schools of Decatur Fall Break (which has been canceled). Meetings are currently conducted online via Zoom due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Meetings are also streamed live on the website. Visit decaturga.com/citycommission for meeting details and to register for alerts.

Lane closures associated with a DeKalb County Department of Watershed Management (DWM) sewer replacement project will impact traffic on E. College Avenue between New Street and Sams Street from September 8-19, between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.

Motorists and MARTA passengers that use East College Avenue should expect delays and plan for extra commuting time. Message board signs and traffic flaggers will assist drivers in moving safely around the lane closures. For updates, visit Decatur Makeover.

Virtually In Decatur

The 2020 AJC Decatur Book Festival presented by Emory University kicked off today, September 4! This year’s virtual festival will run until October 4 and include a variety of experiences. Check out a few upcoming events below:

The Decatur Book Festival is partnering with the Dekalb Entertainment Commission and Georgia Humanities to distribute free books to Atlanta communities during several of the festival’s virtual events. Volunteers will deliver free signed copies of ‘I Am Every Good Thing’ to kids throughout Dekalb County who have signed up to watch the virtual Kidnote on Saturday, Sept. 5 at 10 a.m. On Sunday, Sept. 6, volunteers will deliver free copies of Toni Tipton-Martin’s award winning cookbook, Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking, in conjunction with the Cooknote that begins at 6:30 p.m.

Also, chef-author Alexander Smalls will discuss his book, Meals, Music, and Muses: Recipes from My African American Kitchen on Tuesday, Sept. 8 at 6:30 p.m. Steinbeck’s Ale House in Oakhurst will prepare the book’s recipe Oxtails, Turnips & Okra braised slowly in red wine and plated with Buttered Jasmine Rice. The first five people who order takeout or dine-in the night of Sept. 8th and mention the festival will receive a free copy of Smalls’ book.

For more info on upcoming events, view the full festival lineup here!

Labor Day weekend is here but you don’t have to miss out if you #MaskUpDecatur! Let’s do our part to get #GetGeorgiaWell.

Photo Credit: Get Georgia Well

As we prepare to observe Labor Day on Monday, September 7 this is a friendly neighborhood reminder of the holiday scheduling for City of Decatur Solid Waste and Recycling Services. Also, please note the regular City Commission meeting will be Tuesday, Sept. 8.