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CSD students are headed back to school next Monday, August 1st.  There will be more traffic to include vehicles, buses and big & little pedestrians and cyclists on main roads and neighborhood streets.  Please plan on allowing more time for your commute and PLEASE slow down and pay extra attention as excited students head back to class.  We will have additional officers on duty in and around the school zones to remind everyone school is back in session.

Back to School

Reduced speeds for school zones are indicated by either flashing lights and/or signage with the times for the school zone posted.  Flashing lights are not required or posted for every school zone. You must also obey the times indicated by signage posted for school zones.

 Atlanta Public Schools will also start back Wednesday, August 3rd and DeKalb County Schools start back Monday, August 8th.

School starts on August 1st, so it’s a good time to make sure that the sidewalks adjacent to your home or property are clear and safe for little feet.  Sidewalk that is overgrown with plants, or slippery leaves can create unsafe situations for pedestrians.  Make sure to prune all plants to behind the edge of the sidewalk and make sure there is at least seven feet of clearance above so people don’t need to doge low branches.

If you have any questions, contact Decatur Public Works- 404-377-5571

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The second Storefront Saturday of 2016 will take place on September 24. We got overly excited and published the wrong date in the July/August issue of The Focus. Apologies for the confusion. Stay tuned to this blog for event updates and details about participating shops.

This is a weekly blog post that lists all of the events and sales going on around town. It will be updated daily. If you would like to add an event, email Catherine.lee@decaturga.com.

Tuesday, July 26
• General primary and nonpartisan runoff elections, 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

Wednesday, July 27
Decatur Farmers Market, 4-7 p.m
Iberian Pig cooking class with Chef Eric, 7 p.m.

Saturday, July 30
Decatur Farmers Market, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Decatur Tiny House Festival, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Little Shop of Stories Harry Potter Midnight Release Party, 10 p.m.

Good News

Bike/ped access across E. Trinity Place has been restored!

As of today (7.21.16), bike/ped travelers from S. Candler Street (northbound) and the PATH trail (eastbound) can now safely cross E. Trinity Place. Likewise, bike/ped travelers coming from Barry Street-N. Candler Street – E. Howard Ave. can now safely cross E. Trinity near the Magnolia tree at E. Howard and E. Trinity Place.

Changes Will Continue

As many of you know, major storm drainage work is currently taking place on E. Trinity.  As the project continues, the location of the bike/ped crossing on E. Trinity WILL shift.  Changes will also come about due to the upcoming Candler Street Railroad Crossing Overhaul. Ultimately, the E. Trinity Place crossing will be in a different location.  (Some may notice that the current location of the sidewalk ramp is close to a fire hydrant; this is temporary). For the same reasons, as the school year begins on August 1st, plans are underway to re-rout students away from this area.

Info

For more information, please contact the Design, Environment & Construction Division at 678.553.6570 or visit the City’s new website Decatur Makeover  

 

 

How many times have you heard the old cliche, “It’s the little things.”?

While we certainly wish that life and death situations never happened to anyone, as firefighters we all secretly hope we are the one that’s there at that moment when the opportunity for “the big save” arises and there is no one else trained or willing to do it. We enter our careers imagining the feeling of purpose and value that we’ll get as we delicately extricate someone from a tragic motor vehicle collision, or successfully resuscitate a person from cardiac arrest. We train at rescuing people from their burning homes, once again hoping that the opportunity never arises, while thinking to ourselves “If it does, let it be me who carries the victim to safety.”

Gradually, we discover that we have it all backwards. Yes, we still want to be the one that is there in that life or death emergency. We want to know that we made the difference when it really mattered the most. But these moments are isolated instances. One day we all realize that we have a hundred opportunities every shift to make life a little better for someone when they need it.

For an eloquent example of this revelation, you can watch the following Ted Talk as volunteer firefighter Mark Bezos recounts his moment when he realizes “It’s the little things.”

At Decatur Fire and Rescue we can all relate to this speech because some things resonate profoundly in our minds as well…and they aren’t the big, dramatic emergencies that you see on tv and in the movies.

One call to a fire department required an assist to an elderly woman who had fallen beside her bed and couldn’t get up. After they helped her back into her bed, they stayed and talked with her a while to be sure she was ok. After a few moments, her eyes watered as she mentioned that tomorrow was her birthday and she had no one who would be visiting her, as well as an empty refrigerator. One of the great benefits of being a firefighter is knowing the resources in the community. The firefighters contacted a local not for profit organization who gladly put together a food package, a birthday cake and even a few gifts. The crew that day arrived at her door with the donations, singing “Happy Birthday.” Again, the elderly woman’s eyes watered, but this time it wasn’t from loneliness or hopelessness.

There was no fire, no twisted wreckage, no CPR performed, but the crew felt like they had just been fortunate enough to be where they were needed most.

It’s the little things.

And what’s really amazing is that you don’t even have to be a firefighter to save people. Everyone has countless opportunities every day to help someone when they need it. How many people do we interact with daily who just need a random act of kindness or a gesture of concern to remind them that they aren’t completely alone or forgotten? Probably more than we think.

One thing that is clear about Decatur is that there is a strong sense of community. The neighborhoods are close-knit and welcoming so that you get a sense that most people probably have a good support system and are doing ok. It’s important to remember that people can seem ok and still need that moment when someone makes them feel appreciated or valuable. When you see that big white Decatur Fire truck going down the road with all the dramatic lights and sirens, it’s possible it is on the way to make that save that they’ve trained for. But also remember that you are able  to “save” people every day with those “acts of grace and courage” mentioned by Bezos. Even if it’s just by realizing that there’s always something you can do to make things a little better than you found them.

It’s the little things.

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

 

Join Planning Director Angela Threadgill,  on Thursday, July 21 at 6:30 p.m. at Decatur Recreation Center, where she will discuss innovative housing options in Decatur.  There have been many articles about “Missing Middle” housing – the gap between a single-family house and a multi-unit dwelling. This can also be the gap between an older resident continuing to live in Decatur or a young professional moving into Decatur. , will

Find out about whether you can build an ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit – an additional small dwelling on a single-family lot) on your property. Learn about how a cottage court can provide a lower priced, smaller home option for someone who doesn’t want to purchase a large home. There will even be information on the popular Tiny Houses and on house-sharing (as the “Golden Girls” did on television).

This program is presented by the Lifelong Community Advisory Board. For more information about the Decatur for a Lifetime initiative or the board, contact leeann.harvey@decaturga.com or 678-553-6548.

extrememakeover

We’ve launched a new website and communications program — dubbed “Extreme Makeover: Downtown Decatur Edition” — to keep residents informed and moving throughout an upcoming period of potentially disruptive construction projects.

 

Between streetscape overhauls, infrastructure repair, safety enhancements, and development projects, there’s a lot planned or in the works for the city’s downtown over the next 12 to 18 months. And much of it involves overlapping timelines, which amplifies the potential for inconvenience.

The new site is intended to give residents the tools they need to plan ahead and work their way around any disruptions.

From now until the list of planned projects is complete, DecaturMakeover.com will serve as the hub of a larger program to keep residents informed — offering timely, ongoing status updates, email and social media alerts, and overviews in the city’s Focus newsletter.

Included on the website:

Everyone is invited to visit the site and join the email list at www.decaturmakeover.com.

This is a weekly blog post that lists all of the events and sales going on around town. It will be updated daily. If you would like to add an event, email Catherine.lee@decaturga.com.

Sunday, July 17
Trinity Mercantile & Design pop-up tent sale, items up to 75% off, noon-5 p.m.

Tuesday, July 19
DeKalb History Center Lunch and Learn, noon-1 p.m.

Wednesday, July 20
Decatur Farmers Market, 4-7 p.m

Thursday, July 21
Lifelong Community Advisory Board Third Thursday Series: Innovative Housing Options – Next Door or in Your Own Backyard, 6:30-8 p.m.

Saturday, July 23
Decatur Farmers Market, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
3 Taverns’ 3 Year Anniversary Party, 3-8 p.m.
Ale Yeah’s Barley and Mash Off 2016 at the Marlay House

Dear Decatur Community Members:

Over the past week, many of you have sent emails to the City Commission, the City Manager and Police Department staff providing your thoughts, prayers and support for our law enforcement officers; and, relaying your concerns about incidents of officer involved shootings happening throughout the United States; and, asking what the City of Decatur has done, and is doing, to support a diverse and engaged community, to minimize the opportunity for racial bias in City operations and to have a police department that is open and responsive to the needs of the entire community.

Our City is committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment for all people.  Please know that we take this role very seriously and that the Decatur Police Department, as well as all of our employees, works hard to fulfill this commitment.

In 2014 the City of Decatur signed on to the Compassionate City movement and joined Welcoming America.

In 2015, with the input of over 800 community members, the City of Decatur completed the Better Together Community Action Plan that identified ways in which we could expand and improve on our community’s commitment to being open and welcoming to all people.  Better Together is a citizen-led, government supported effort to build deeper connections, understanding and mutual respect throughout the Decatur community. A more comprehensive look at Better Together and how it furthers our goal of valuing diversity in all its forms can be found at www.decaturnext.com/category/better-together.

We have created a citizen-based Better Together Advisory Board and have received 32 statements of interest from the community which is the most we have ever received for any volunteer board or commission. Members will be appointed in the near future and we look forward to working with them to implement the rest of the plan.

The Decatur Police Department starts its efforts with being open and responsive with how it recruits for new employees. The Guiding Principle of the department is “Community Relations Officers who enforce the law.”  Our printed material and advertisements are different because we want a different type of person to apply.  graphic

An example of a recruitment ad is shown to the right.

The Decatur Police Department has just completed a three-year strategic plan that solicited input from approximately 24 community focus groups. The core values of the department include Approachability, Integrity, Adaptability, Collaboration and Empathy. Eleven teams are working on implementation of the plan.

Since January 1, 2015 a quarterly demographic analysis of police initiated stops has been posted to the City’s website at http://www.decaturga.com/city-government/city-departments/police.

The Decatur Police Department command team has reviewed and analyzed the recommendations included in the “Task Force for 21st Century Policing Report” and has identified the items we currently comply with and are working towards achieving the others.

In November, 2014 all Decatur Police officers and the city’s management team completed a diversity program led by trainers from the Anti-Defamation League’s A World of Difference Institute (ADL.org). Beginning in 2015, Officers have participated in Critical Incident Team (CIT) training which focuses on providing officers with tools to interact with people in crisis situations brought on by mental illness or substance abuse. Currently 29 out of 42 officers (almost 70%) have been trained and the Department’s goal is to have all staff trained. As part of the current fiscal year 2016-2017 budget, funding for training all Police Department staff on fair and impartial policing has been approved. More information can be found at http://www.fairimpartialpolicing.com/.

I appreciated the comments of a local clergy who on Sunday suggested we find someone who is different from us and simply listen to them.  Ask them to tell you more about what they believe- from their perspective.  And that can help us begin to better understand and respect each other.

We in Decatur are becoming a more compassionate community through these actions and I would ask each of you to join me in creating an even Better Community, Together.

View the mayor’s statement here: Community Statement from Mayor Patti Garrett