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Sgt. Jennifer S. Ross, Community Information & Education Officer for the City of Decatur Police Department, shares the following information: 

On 04/20/14, Decatur Police responded to a residential burglary in the 100 block of Springdale Street.  The victim reported the burglary occurred between 9am-9 pm.  Entry was made by breaking a sliding glass door.  Electronics were taken.

On 04/22/14, Decatur Police responded to a residential burglary in the 500 block of Nelson Ferry Road.  The victim reported the burglary occurred between 12pm-7pm.  Entry was made by kicking in a rear door.  Electronics and bicycles were taken.  Based on the size and amount of items taken the suspect(s) were most likely in a vehicle.

No police department can function effectively without the concerned assistance of community members. There is no way for officers to know where approximately 20,000 residents live and who or what vehicles normally come and go from individual homes.  The police are dependent on you to call whenever you observe suspicious persons, activities or motor vehicles.

We sometimes fail to call the police simply because we are not aware of what seemingly innocent activities might be suspicious. Other times we may notice suspicious activity and be hesitant to call for fear of seeming nosey or rude. Sometimes we assume someone else saw or heard something and already called.  Call the police immediately about all suspicious activity and do it yourself, anonymously if you wish. You may have more information than another caller. Do not worry about bothering the police or being embarrassed if your suspicions prove unfounded. Officers can quickly check out a person who may end up being a repair worker or friend who stopped by unexpectedly and make sure everything is okay.  Think of what might have happened if you didn’t call.

HOW DO I IDENTIFY A SUSPICIOUS PERSON AS SUSPICIOUS?

People aren’t suspicious, behavior is.  Although we say “suspicious person” or “suspicious vehicle”, it is in fact the behavior that is suspicious.

-       Do you see someone you do not recognize loitering on a neighbor’s property or going to/coming from the side or rear of the house?

-       Do you see a vehicle in your neighbor’s driveway, especially backed-in, that you do not recognize or at a time when nobody is usually home? 

-       Do you see person(s) going door to door, especially if they go to the side or rear of the house?

-       Do you see someone waiting or loitering near a neighbor’s house, looking around as though they are trying to check to see if anyone is watching them?

-       Do you hear glass breaking or the striking, banging noise caused by a door being kicked in?

-       Do you see the same unknown vehicle circulating the area, driving slowly, stopping in front of your neighbor’s houses?

REMINDER: The Decatur Police Department will be hosting a burglary prevention presentation to provide an accurate overview of trends and methods seen in Decatur, show you what products and methods are available to reinforce common entry points and to provide prevention tips from a former burglar to help you make your home a less desirable target.

When: Tuesday, April 29, 2014 from 6:30-8:00pm

Where: Decatur Recreation Center, 231 Sycamore Street, Decatur, GA 30030

There is NO COST to attend. To reserve a seat for the presentation, click here or contact Sgt. Jennifer S. Ross at 678-553-6613.

A production crew will be working on a project on Church street today that may cause some brief, intermittent traffic delays. This is a one day project and things will be back to business as usual by Wednesday night.

 

PushPushSmalltall Pic 7PushPush, in association with its new GRFX Series, is announcing an exciting new advancement to its signature summer camps: a hands-on filmmaking program that will give participants the opportunity to develop and produce an original, festival-worthy, short film with industry professionals.

The four-week intensive will be led by PushPush Theater’s Artistic Director, award-winning Writer/Director/Producer Tim Habeger, along with a wide array of instructors from organizations including: the Atlanta Film Festival, Pop Films, The Plaza Theater, Tyler Perry Studios, Screen Gems studios, and more. These professionals will provide hands-on instruction in their field during the making of the film. This program will culminate in a rough-cut screening for family and friends, followed by a larger premier screening of the finished film at Atlanta’s historic Plaza Theater this Fall.

The program is open to highly motivated youths age 12-18 (special consideration needed for younger participants) interested in a focused and collaborative filmmaking experience – in front of the camera and/or behind the camera. Through concentrated teamwork and leadership opportunities, participants will not only have professional work to show for their efforts, but also increase their knowledge and skills in such areas as:

  • Film Set Etiquette
  • Acting on Camera
  • The Director’s Job
  • Story Architecture
  • Cinematography & Camera Operation
  • Costumes & Make-up
  • Editing
  • Art Direction
  • Lighting and Grip
  • Production Assistance

Experience is helpful but not required. However, each candidate must complete our review process, before the course begins, to ascertain their level of participation, motivation, and ability to work within a team.

Space is limited due to the nature of the program, so start the process early.

Dates: June 23 – July 18, 2014

Times: Monday – Friday, 10am – 3pm

Ages: 12-18 (special consideration is needed for participants under 12)

Fee: $1000 (for full session) or $350 per week (two week minimum) + $50 for supplies

There are a limited number of need-based discounts available for ideal candidates that demonstrate a clear financial need.

Visit the PushPush website for more information and contact them at pushpush.smalltall@gmaill.com to schedule preliminary interview.

Originally posted on DecaturNext.com

The Missing Middle: UDO meeting April 23 explores new zoning categories

NEW/AMENDED ZONING DISTRICTS
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 23 | 7-9PM | DECATUR CITY HALL

The Strategic Plan’s goals for a more diversified housing mix reflect a gap — what we’re calling the missing middle — between our predominantly single-family residential and our downtown. This session explores the idea of transitional districts to accommodate things like live/work units, downtown-friendly townhouses, small-scale apartment buildings, neighborhood-scaled mixed use, cottage courts, and more, and gauges the circumstances under which such solutions might make sense.

FOR EXAMPLE

Consider R-60. Currently, some residents are concerned that market demand for large houses is leading to a reduction in the number of small, neighborhood homes suited to empty-nesters and young professionals — the results of which has a direct impact on diversity across a wide range of factors.

However, others are concerned that certain limits on house size hamper the market’s ability to respond to demand and may make it difficult for growing families seeking additional space to remain in their homes.

If you’re looking solely at the rules for R-60, it’s obvious that both cannot be accommodated at the same time. No rule can allow for a bigger house while simultaneously limiting development to smaller houses. But maybe there’s another way for everyone to get some sense of what they want.

One idea that’s been raised during both the Strategic Plan and UDO processes is the cottage court, a neighborhood-friendly approach gaining traction nationwide — typified in the work of architect Ross Chapin, who wrote the book “Pocket Neighborhoods.” It works like this:

Today, given the price of land in Decatur, if a builder/developer were able to buy 2 or 3 contiguous lots, the typical response would be the construction of a single large home on each lot. There’s certainly demand for it and the obstacles to doing so are limited. But perhaps these lots are on a street with predominantly smaller houses. Maybe from a neighborhood perspective, people prefer the existing, single-story character of the street. What to do?

Enter the cottage court. Cottage courts are collections of small, single or 1.5 story houses, ranging from 800 to 1,200 square feet, arranged around a common green space. They would exist as a separate zoning category that a landowner, if so inclined, could pursue, resulting in a zoning hearing in which neighbors could be heard: Would they prefer a smaller number of larger homes (as we’d typically have today) or would they prefer a larger number of smaller homes? If agreement could be found, a builder would then have an option to meet demand for smaller homes while still accommodating the cost of the land — an alternative that does not presently exist.

A cottage court. Image credit: http://www.thetinylife.com

A cottage court. Image credit: http://www.thetinylife.com

As a result, we’d have a viable new option — one that acknowledges the challenges of high land cost yet is suited to both those starting out and those looking to downsize while remaining in the same neighborhood. Is this a tool the community might be interested in? In what ways or under what circumstances?

ALSO BEING DISCUSSED

The session will also look into a number of other items:

1) A variety of clean-up modifications to existing zoning categories for consideration, including some suggested tweaks to C-1, Neighborhood Commercial, that would allow live/work units and other mixed-use buildings, as well as some design standards rooted in walkability and transitions;

2) The possibility of a new, R-50 zoning category, which could be tailored to large swaths of R-60 lots that, in reality, are closer to 50 feet wide (categorizing something currently addressed by our zoning code’s “sliding scale” for nonconforming lots); and

3) A suggested “neighborhood mixed-use” category that, over time, would afford Decatur’s single-use neighborhoods the option of adding in very small increments of neighborhood-serving retail or office.

SEE YOU THERE

It’s a lot to chew on, so make plans to come and contribute. We look forward to seeing you there.

The Decatur Makers, a community organized makerspace for adults and school-aged kids, are busy readying their new space in the First Christian Church of Decatur, 601 W Ponce de Leon Ave. On Saturday, March 22 Makers big and small participated in a clean up day. Volunteers carried out over a ton of garbage, which Decatur sanitation workers crushed with a garbage compactor and hauled away. (Check out this impressive video of a couch being crushed during the clean up.)

The Maker movement promotes creating, repairing, repurposing and otherwise making things from electronics to textiles, usually around shared equipment and community space. More information about Decatur Makers, including how to join as a founding member, is available here or by calling 404-822-2279.

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2014 Earth Day TShirt Winner

Ahoy! The 2014 Decatur Earth Day Festival is charging ahead.  So put on your boots, grab your pirate hat/umbrella, and join us at the Oakhurst Garden.  The parade starts at 12:30 from Harmony Park in Oakhurst, and the event is from 1pm-4pm.  See the website for more details: wyldecenter.org/decatur-earth-day-festival

  • Earth Day Festival at The Wylde Center this Saturday, April 19, 12:30-4 p.m.
  • The 2014 Southeastern Craft Brewers’ Symposium is this Saturday, April 19 at the Decatur Courtyard Marriott.
  • The 2014 Decatur Active Living Neighborhood Basketball Tournament Championship is on Saturday, April 19 at 6:45 p.m. at the Decatur Recreation Center.

There are 15 days left to weigh in about the updated tree ordinance draft on Open City Hall. The question is “Do you support the adoption of the UPDATED Tree Conservation Ordinance?” You can select from “Strongly Support, Support, Neutral, Oppose, Strongly Oppose” and also have the option to submit a written statement.

What is Open City Hall?

Open City Hall is an on-line forum for civic engagement. Read what others are saying about important Decatur topics, then post your own statement. City officials will read the statements and incorporate them into their decision process.

When you post your first statement, you will be asked for your name and home address. This confidential information is only used to identify statements from residents in and near Decatur – so that users know which statements are from local residents.

Open City Hall is run by Peak Democracy, a non-partisan company whose mission is to broaden civic engagement and build public trust in government. They will keep your information confidential per their strict privacy policy.

As with any public comment process, participation in Open City Hall is voluntary; city officials will consider input from this forum along with all other channels for participation. However you choose to participate, thanks for helping us build a better Decatur.

Share your opinion about the updated tree conservation ordinance right now, online

trees square

Sales, art openings, picnics, pop ups and more:

boogaloos

  • Through April 17 (today!): Boogaloos is having a dress sale. 20% off all full price dresses.
  • April 18 • 6-9 p.m.: The Decatur Arts Alliance’s opening reception for People and Places, images by Decatur area women capturing the diversity of people and places in the moment at the Decatur Arts Alliance Gallery, 113 Clairemont Ave.
  • April 19: Eyeworks of Decatur is hosting a one-day frame and lenses sale. Stop by and pick your sale discount out of the rabbit’s hat (up to 50% off).
  • April 19 • 11 a.m.-2 p.m.: Mingei World Arts Pop Up Shop will be open and set up in the courtyard with baskets and fun goodies to fill them for Easter. Then, bring your Mingei Receipt to Duck’s for lunch and get 10% off.
  • April 23 • 7:45-10:15 p.m.: Fieldwork Workshop Session 2 at CORE.
  • April 23 • 6-8 p.m.: Ale Yeah’s Mother Earth/Caly Road Creamery Earth Day Beer & Cheese Pairing. $5 for 3 cheeses and 3 beers.
  • April 25 • 6 p.m.: Celebrate Quasimodo Day and join 3 Taverns at their tasting room as they in the new seasonal, Quasimodo, a belgian-style quadrupel ale.
  • May 1, 2, 15 and 16 • 11 a.m.-2 p.m.: Makan lunch pop up at Parker’s on Ponce.
  • Starting May 3: Call Souper Jenny 24 hours before Decatur’s Saturday Concerts on the Square to reserve picnic that includes 1/2 sandwich, salad, and a cookie. $12 per person, two person minimum, 404-378-1500.
  • June 1, 8, and 22 • 5 p.m.: Makan dinner pop up at Parker’s on Ponce.

Disasters not only affect community infrastructure and public works, but they often overcome family finances, making recovery difficult and sometimes impossible. But being ready for a disaster is more than storing water and supplies. You also need to be financially ready. Starting early and having a plan to pay your bills and access your important records and accounts help you get back on your feet faster and avoid problems with your credit when you need it most.

Safeguarding your finances and important records is easy if you start now. These steps can help you get started:

  1. Identify your important documents and place them in a safe space: You can use the Safeguarding Your Valuables activity and Emergency Financial First Aid Kit to help get you started.
  2. Download phone applications that can help during emergencies: Use the FEMA phone application to access to disaster preparedness, response and recovery resources including disaster assistance.
  3. Enroll in Go Direct to minimize disruptions to receiving any federal benefits you may receive.
  4. Plan ahead of time to recover: The USDA and its partners have created great resources to help get you started including Recovery After Disaster: The Family Financial Toolkit and the Disaster Recovery Log.

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