CSX will close the McDonough St. railroad crossing Mon., Feb. 2 and Tues., Feb. 3 for railroad tie maintenance. The Candler St. crossing will be closed Tues., Feb. 3 and Wed., Feb. 4. Drivers, cyclists and pedestrians will be directed to detours at either the East Lake Drive or Commerce Drive underpasses. For more information, contact Project Civil Engineer Jennings Bell at 404-370-4104 or CSX Railroad at 877-835-5279.

You will hear screams and yells this Sunday, hopefully all aimed at the television. People will be cheering for the Seahawks or the Patriots. And according to Rita Hodges, County Extension Agent – Family and Consumer Sciences in Texas, Super bowl Sunday is the second most food consumed day.

That means there will be a lot of barbecuing, baking, frying, and eating.  There will be wings, dips, and chips galore; but, with more food, comes more opportunity for people to “fumble” at home while cooking. The NFPA has these basic cooking fire safety tips:

  • Keep an eye on what you fry
  • Be alert when cooking
  • Keep things that can catch fire away from cooking area
  • Keep handles pointed away from where you walk

More  tips can be found on NFPA’s cooking fire safety central webpage. Be safe and may the best team win!

Ninetta Violante

Captain with City of Decatur Fire Department

356 West Hill St

Decatur, GA 30030

678-553-6583 office

404-947-0522 work cell

404-457-3289 personal cell



ARC platinum green communities 1.28.15This week, the City of Decatur was one of seven local governments to be recognized by the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) for leadership in implementing policies and practices that contribute to efficient and sustainable use of resources in metro Atlanta.   The city became the first jurisdiction in the 10-county region to achieve Platinum level as a Certified Green Community, the highest certification level. Representatives from the city received its award at ARC’s January board meeting.  ARC recognized the City of Decatur, along with two other cities – Alpharetta and Sandy Springs, and Cherokee, DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties, which either renewed or upgraded certification in ARC’s five-year-old Green Communities program.

Commenting on Wednesday’s presentation, ARC Chairman Kerry Armstrong said, “The seven local governments the Atlanta Regional Commission recognized today are working hard to use resources wisely and well, and I commend them for their achievements. Their efforts are contributing to cleaner air, reduced water demand, less waste going into landfills and more. As a result, we have a cleaner, greener region.”

After first achieving Green Communities certification at the Bronze level in 2009, and upgrading to the Gold level in 2010, the City of Decatur has renewed its certification at the Platinum level this year, the first local government to reach the highest achievement possible. Some of the actions Decatur took to become certified include:

  • Developing an Environmental Sustainability Plan as direct response to a charge from the people of the city seeking to become even more environmentally responsible. The plan outlines goals and strategies that the city and community should take to deepen their commitment to serving as good stewards of the environment and resources.
  • Expanding the Safe Routes to School program to include all eligible elementary and middle schools in the City Schools of Decatur system along with College Heights Preschool and two private schools. An average of 55 percent of students participate in International Walk and Roll to School Day each year.
  • Committing to building LEED certified facilities, the latest of which, Fire Station No. 1, is on course to obtain LEED Platinum. Sustainable technologies include high efficiency equipment and lighting, green roof garden, a geothermal vertical-closed loop heat pump system, solar water heating, rainwater harvesting and greywater reclamation. The building is designed to achieve a 33 percent reduction in energy consumption and in water usage.
  • Supporting several community gardens with financial and in-kind support. At Decatur’s Kitchen Garden, more than 30 refugee families grow hundreds of pounds of fresh food each season, combating hunger that their families and neighbors face. The produce is also sold at the Decatur Farmers Market and a number of Decatur restaurants.

ARC developed the Green Communities Program to foster greater environmental stewardship and to recognize local governments that invest in programs leading to a more sustainable region. The nationally recognized program showcases the ways in which local governments are helping to transform the region by reducing their environmental footprint. Since 2009, 18 jurisdictions in the 10-county region have been certified. Cities and counties earn Green Communities certification by implementing practices and policies in 10 categories, ranging from energy efficiency and green building to transportation and water efficiency. ARC’s Green Communities program was the first program in the country seeking to transform a region by promoting sustainability through a “green” certification program for local governments.

Complete information about ARC’s Green Communities Certification Program, including the measures each community has implemented, is available on the agency’s website.

The Atlanta Regional Commission is the official planning agency for the 10-county Atlanta Region, including Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry and Rockdale counties as well as the City of Atlanta and 69 other cities.  The Atlanta Regional Commission serves as a catalyst for regional progress by focusing leadership, attention and planning resources on key regional issues.

willow-school-logo_with-taglineOpening March 2, the Willow School, 141 Sams St., a Reggio Emilia inspired school will offer learning opportunities and care for children ages 3 months through 5 years. The school is offering tours for interested parents on the following dates:

  • Saturday, January 31 at 11:00 am
  • Monday, February 2 at 9:00 am
  • Friday, February 6 at 3:00 pm
  • Sunday, February 8 at 4:00 pm
  • Monday, February 9 at 9:00 am
  • Saturday, February 14 at 11:00 am

The Willow School is currently accepting enrollment applications for its opening day on March 2, 2015.  In addition, the school is enrolling students for the 2015 – 2016 school year beginning in August 2015. Enrollment will be ongoing until all classes are full.

For more information about the school or to inquire about enrollment, email Teresa Cole at willowschoolga@gmail.com.


google fiber cupcakes

It’s official, Google Fiber is coming to metro Atlanta. Google will be working closely with Decatur and other local city leaders on the next steps to build a brand new fiber-optic network capable of delivering gigabit speeds.

“We are here because of the hard work, passion and commitment of the city and its leaders,” said Kevin Lo, Director of Business Operations for Google Fiber. “The next chapter of the Internet will be written at gigabit speeds.”

Google Fiber is an Internet and TV service that provides Internet speeds up to one gigabit per second, along with hundreds of HD TV channels. Google Fiber is currently available in Kansas City, Provo, Utah and Austin, Texas.

“The City of Decatur is thrilled to be one of the metro Atlanta cities that will get connected to Google Fiber,” said Mayor Jim Baskett. “We are a community of homes, schools and places of worship. And we know that Google Fiber’s incredibly fast internet will benefit our community greatly. The entire city looks forward to partnering with Google to make the process of installing Google Fiber as easy and seamless as possible.”

The next stage of work includes designing and planning a new fiber-optic network down to a very detailed level. After this process, which will take several months, Google Fiber will begin constructing the network.

For more information about this announcement, visit the Google Fiber blog.  You can also sign up here and be the first to get updates.

edit_google valentine

FAQs from Google

Now that you’ve announced Google Fiber is coming, what happens next?

In order to make the construction of Google Fiber as smooth and speedy as possible, Google will be working with city leaders over the next several months to complete a detailed design of a fiber network — an important step before starting construction, since building a network from scratch is a “measure-twice-cut-once” type of project.

Do you have a date when Google Fiber will start service?

It will take some time before Google Fiber starts signups. In the next several months they will be working with city leaders to design the network. Once there is a detailed plan in place, they can begin initial construction.

You mentioned that the next step is “designing your network”. What does that entail, exactly?

Google Fiber needs to build thousands of miles of fiber throughout the city – but they can’t just put it wherever they want. They take all of the information submitted during the planning process to create a comprehensive plan for building their fiber network. The design helps enable Google Fiber to do construction more efficiently and smoothly once they get going. Some concrete steps they will take during this next phase:

  • Use the infrastructure data that the city has shared to create a map of where they can put fiber (e.g., existing utility poles, conduit) and areas to avoid (e.g., water, sewer and electric lines), as well as the most efficient sequence of construction within the city.
  • A team of surveyors and engineers hits the streets to fill in any missing details. You may see crews out doing detailed surveying work — lots of staring up at poles and even a bit of geological rock-testing.
  • They take this information back to the office and create detailed network design maps, do work with the city to locate network infrastructure and fiber huts, and start to prepare permitting packages.
  • Then they design the network, street by street.

Winter hazards can strike before you’re ready. Recently, a raging snowstorm in Buffalo trapped drivers in their cars for 24 hours. Would you be prepared? And last year, the Atlanta metro area was reduced to gridlock by a couple inches of snow. If the roads were impassable, could you survive at home for several days?

Preparing for winter isn’t complicated or expensive. While winter is dangerous, a few simple steps can help you and your family stay safe this season. Here is what NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS) recommends:

1. Know Your Risk  Blizzards, ice storms and freezing temperatures can be a killer for the unprepared. Make sure that you’re aware of the risk that winter brings. Here’s what you need to know:

■A few inches of snow or ice can shut down a city and leave you trapped at home for days.
■Driving on ice and snow-covered roads can lead to car wrecks, injuries and death.
■Snow, ice and wind associated with winter storms can have a huge impact on travel, infrastructure, schools and businesses.
■Some winter storms can cover nearly half the nation, affecting tens of millions of people.  Annually, damages from winter storms add up to over $1 billion.
■Frostbite may develop on exposed skin when temperatures are below freezing. Add wind to below freezing temperatures and frostbite can set in even quicker.
■Other winter dangers include hypothermia and avalanches.
■Flooding is also possible due to snowmelt, ice jams and coastal storms such as Nor’easters.

2. Take Action While the weather outside might be frightful, it doesn’t mean that you’re powerless. Prepare for winter with these simple steps:

■Before you go out, check the forecast at weather.gov to make sure you’re prepared for the elements. Follow NWS on Twitter and Facebook to stay up to date with the latest weather news
■At home: have an Emergency Preparedness Kit with three days of food, water, prescription medications and other supplies. Also consider obtaining a NOAA Weather Radio.
■Make sure your cell phone is fully charged when a storm is approaching and also anytime you’re planning to leave the house. It could become your life-line should disaster strike.
■In your car: make sure you have food, water and blankets in your trunk. Stay off the road when advised to do so by local authorities.
■Dress for the season: wear loose, warm clothing in layers.
■Don’t forget your pets! Keep them inside during cold weather.
■During and after the storm: never use a generator or kerosene heater indoors – carbon monoxide poisoning is a silent killer.
■After the storm: take breaks when shoveling snow and stay clear of downed power lines.

3. Be a Force of Nature Being an example works. By sharing your preparedness story, you will inspire others to also prepare for winter. Be a Force of Nature in your hometown:

■Create a Family Communication Plan so that your loved ones know how to get in touch during an emergency.
■Help your neighbors before and after winter storms – especially the elderly, who are particularly vulnerable.
■Look for opportunities to help your town prepare, such as volunteering with the American Red Cross.
■Stay tuned to www.decaturga.com and thedecaturminute.com for up-to-date information.

These simple steps will help keep you safe from blizzards, ice storms and other winter hazards. A little bit of preparation can make a big difference. And many of these steps – such as preparing an Emergency Supplies Kit – will also come in handy for other hazards, such as hurricanes or power outages.

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The Decatur Citizen’s Police Academy (CPA) is normally held once per year in the Fall.  However, due to increased interest in the CPA program, we are planning to host a special Spring 2015 CPA class if we have a minimum of 12 participants register.

The Spring 2015 Citizen’s Police Academy classes will be held Tuesday nights for 10 weeks starting March 3rd and ending May 5th.  Class times are 7-9:30pm.

If you would like to learn more about police operations in general and how your Decatur Police Department works from the inside, this is a great opportunity to have many of your questions answered.  You will meet the officers who serve our department and go on a ride-a-long with an officer during a patrol shift.

Firearms Safety & Familiarization

Firearms Safety & Familiarization Class

Feedback from graduates of the 2014 CPA class:

“I have a better understanding of the challenges any police force has and how Decatur handles these challenges.”

 “CPA is a glimpse into the life of the City of Decatur police department that allows you to truly appreciate and experience, first hand, the service they provide to us as citizens of Decatur.”

 “I never realized all of the intricacies, pitfalls and difficulties of a police officer’s job; now I do.”

 “Fantastic course – I wish it lasted another 10 weeks!”

 “This was such an interesting and informative look at our community and our police department.”

Completed applications can be mailed or dropped off to Sgt. Jennifer Ross, Decatur Police Department, 420 West Trinity Place, Decatur, GA 30030.

Deadline for submission of applications is Monday, February 23, 2015. 

The City of Decatur fire department assisted with various homes from the MLK project on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. The department checked over 30 homes for fire safety, assessed if there was adequate smoke and/or carbon monoxide alarms, checked and replaced batteries, and more. Residents may not know, but they can request the fire department to inspect their homes for safety and to assess if their home has enough smoke alarms in their homes. They can call station one at 404-373-5092, station two at 404-378-7611, or email Captain Violante at ninetta.violante@decaturga.com to schedule an appointment.

DecMakerLogoThe Decatur Makers invite everyone to an open house tomorrow night, Wed., Jan. 21 at 7:00 p.m.  The Decatur Makers space is located at 605 W. Ponce de Leon Ave. (behind First Christian Church).

More information: http://decaturmakers.org/open-house



Mayor Jim Baskett’
State of the City Address
at the Decatur Business Association Meeting

Tuesday, January 27, 6 pm
Networking reception
at 5:15 pm
Marriott Courtyard Hotel/Decatur
Conference Center
130 Clairemont Ave.