Monday, December 29, 2008

City Council with Final Session in 2008

The Dunwoody City Council will hold its final public meeting of 2008 at 7 p.m. Monday night at United Methodist Church. The council will review the proposed $14.4 million budget, of which $5.25 million is allocated for police. Newly named police chief Billy Grogan has proposed a 40-person staff with patrols working 12-hour beats.

In order to keep the budget as lean as possible, the latest plan for the police department calls for pool cars in the first year instead of each officer having his/her own take-home vehicle. While this sounds like a good idea on the surface, it has a major drawback. Take-home cars are an enormous perk for attracting quality officers. If the city of Dunwoody cannot afford such a perk, and with other benefits likely less than those at DeKalb County and neighboring Sandy Springs, how difficult will it be to hire top officers? This should be a major concern to the council.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays

Wishing you and your family a safe and happy Holiday!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Has Housing Crunch Hit Springfield?

How much is your home worth in today's market? Probably not as much as you think. Eight homes have sold in Springfield since the beginning of the year, with the average sales price $362,400. In 2007, seven homes sold with the average sales price $360,600. As a whole, the statistics say values are up slightly. That's the good news. However, if you breakdown 2008, the picture is not as rosey. The last three home sales in Springfield are, in order: $320,000, $385,000 and $295,000 (pictured - 4955 Springfield Dr. which closed last month).
The Atlanta housing market will probably not see an upward tick until late 2009 at the earliest. With that said, it is an amazing time to move into a larger home or for first-time homebuyers, as interest rates for a 30-year fixed mortgage are below five percent. Now may be the perfect time to refinance. If you need a qualified mortgage professional, please give me a call.
The glass is always half full!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Dunwoody Player Eyes Georgia

(This is a re-print of an article that appeared in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, written by Scott Bernarde)

Dunwoody High School defensive end Malcolm Mitchell says he will wait until January to take official visits, but he’s excited about a meeting at his school with Georgia recruiters.
As one of the AJC’s The Georgia 150 prospects, Mitchell said UGA plans to meet with him on Thursday. He says Georgia has been in contact with him for most of the season.
“I’m pretty nervous, excited,” said Mitchell, a 6-foot-2, 225-pounder, who has not been offered by Georgia. “But if they offer, I’ll probably commit there very quickly. … They’ve had one d-end already committed. I’m hoping I can be the second one.”
Mitchell said he will take official visits on consecutive January weekends to Alabama-Birmingham, Central Florida, Tulane and Troy. He originally had wanted to take some visits this month, but they could not be worked out.
Last week, recruiters from Tulane and Western Kentucky came to see him.
Other offers for Mitchell have come from West Virginia, South Carolina, Louisville, Marshall and Indiana. Georgia Tech has Mitchell on its recruiting board, but told him they are waiting to see what some other players are going to do before making a final decision on an offer.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Tradition Continues at St.Luke's

One of the charms of the Holiday season in Dunwoody is the live Nativity scene at St. Luke's. Unlike past years when freezing temperatures made it unbearable for those participating, this year's balmy weather was warmly welcomed.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Police Department, the Academy, DHA

Just when will the city of Dunwoody Police Department be up and running? April 1 at the earliest. Just named police chief Billy Grogan told the city council at Monday's meeting that it would be impossible to get a department up-and-running by March 1 but that April 1 was the goal, although he could not guarantee that date. Councilman Denis Shortal stressed to Grogan that he expected the department to be "lean and mean" and that he wanted as many officers as possible on the street and not in the office. Grogan said that was his goal as well.
Controversy at the new 4th/5th grade Academy over the proposed color of the new roof. For some bizarre reason DeKalb County School System chief operating officer Patricia Pope choose an eye-popping red roof. The Dunwoody Homeowners Association, which had a great amount of input on the construction of Peachtree Middle School but which has not be consulted on the academy, is suggesting a more neutral brown or green. (The Atlanta Constitution reported last week that Pope is the subject of an internal review over school construction contracts.)
Speaking of the DHA, I was invited to join the board and have graciously accepted. I feel as a member of the DHA, I will be able to give Springfield a greater voice in the new city.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Don't Forget to Vote

A reminder that Tuesday is the runoff election, not only for the hotly contested senate race between Saxby Chambliss and Jim Martin, but a DeKalb County School Board position that will have just as much impact on our community. Dr. Pam Speaks is in a tight race with Pam Buncum. The letter below, which was circulated around our neighborhood, explains why Dr. Speaks gets our website's endorsement.
Dear Neighbors,

This is a simple reminder to vote on Tuesday! Not only is there an important senate race to be decided, but also a DeKalb County School Board election that is vital to our neighborhood, even if you don’t have children in the school system.

Dr. Pam Speaks is committed to the 4th/5th grade academy, making sure that it becomes one of the finest schools of its kind, which would not only benefit Dunwoody in general but all of the Vanderlyn neighborhoods south of Womack Rd. in particular. Her opponent, Pam Buncum, is non-committal on the academy. If Ms. Buncum eventually decides to vote against the academy, it would likely rezone our neighborhood to a new elementary school. And if that happens, the consequences could be devastating. It would likely put us into a school that could not ensure the same quality education as Vanderlyn, while at the same time have a negative effect on our property values.

Please make your voice heard on Tuesday by voting!


Your neighbors

Monday, December 1, 2008

Dunwoody Identifies Police Chief

Dunwoody City Manager Warren Hutmacher announced Monday that William “Billy” Grogan has been named as the sole finalist in the search for Dunwoody’s first Chief of Police. Over 100 resumes were received by Hutmacher since the position was advertised in October. Eight interviews were held and Grogan was named the sole finalist.
Grogan currently serves as the Deputy Chief of Police in Marietta, a city that employs 138 sworn police officers. Grogan has overseen every department of the Agency over his career. He has over 27 years of experience in law enforcement, the last 13 years in command positions. Grogan earned a Bachelors Degree in Political Science and will be awarded a Masters Degree in Public Administration this month. Both degrees are from Kennesaw State University. Grogan is a graduate of the FBI National Academy. For more on the man pegged as Dunwoody's first police chief, go to

It's Official: City of Dunwoody

As of midnight Sunday, Springfield is officially located in Dunwoody, which officially became a city. There are still issued to be resolved, one is finding a permanent home for city hall, which currently it located in Sandy Springs! While we are now a city, most of our services are still being handled by DeKalb County. The city of Dunwoody will take over many of these services on January 1. Meantime, the city's official website is up and running:

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Wildcats Fumble Away Chances

The Dunwoody Wildcats dream football season ended unceremoniously Friday night at North DeKalb Stadium as they were beaten by LaGrange 20-5 in a state AAA quarterfinal playoff game. Three fumbles in the second half doomed coach James Teter's team, which was playing without its top three running backs. It was the Wildcats first loss of the season. Dunwoody finishes the year 12-1.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Dunwoody Wildcats Seek Spot in Semifinals

The Wildcats of Dunwoody High School are back in action tonight at North DeKalb Stadium in Chamblee squaring off against LaGrange High in the AAA quarterfinals. Dunwoody is 12-0, on pace to replicate its 1993 season when the Wildcats went unbeaten and won the state championship. Friday night's game is a 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10, available at the stadium box office.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The New City is Coming Along

Just a week away from the new city of Dunwoody becoming reality - the wheels are not only in motion, but at warp speed. The city council has reached agreements with private contractors to handle a broad range of services from public works to community development. And all at a price tag that councilman Denis Shortal said is $3 million dollars less than the deal put on the table by the spurned CH2M Hill.
The city is also hoping to get DeKalb County to agree to binding arbitration to continue providing police services until the city's new police department is up-and-running, which will likely be in early Spring. Dunwoody and DeKalb appear to be in agreement on all aspects of a deal except for price, which has long been the sticking point.

City officials are still in search of a police chief after backing away from a deal with Marietta Deputy Chief Billy Grogan. Doraville police chief John King is said to be the favorite, but reportedly may have issues of his own.

The council also reached an agreement with DeKalb County to continue to provide 911 services.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Light Up A Smashing Success

If you missed Light Up Dunwoody Sunday night, you missed a great family environment. The parade was a hit, great food to be had and even the stellar tones of the Vanderlyn singers (pictured). A big pat on the back to our Springfield neighbor Mari Ann Gallant for all of her efforts in making this year's event a smashing success.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Light Up Dunwoody

As you head into a busy weekend, a reminder that Sunday is Light Up Dunwoody. Hope you plan on attending - it is a fantastic way to get into the holiday spirit!

Holiday Parade
Chamblee Dunwoody Road from Dunwoody Village Parkway to Shops of Dunwoody
Beginning at 4:00 p.m.

North Pole Playground
Shops of Dunwoody and Burger King parking lots 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Chesnut Singers, Vanderlyn Singers & Dancers, Kingsley Singers, Peachtree Charter Majorettes & Color Guard, Dunwoody High School Marching Band DHS Steppin' Wildcats, Stage Door Players (more to be confirmed)

Open House at the Farmhouse
4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Meet your City Council
5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. (at the Farmhouse)

Light Up Dunwoody, Farmhouse and Tree Lighting, Area Merchants
6:30 p.m. Light Up Dunwoody Program
6:45 p.m. Light Up

Cocoa and Candles Dunwoody
Nature Center 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Jobs in City of Dunwoody, School Board Election

The new city of Dunwoody, which is now less than two weeks from becoming reality, is seeking qualified workers for the positions of police chief, finance director, city clerk and clerk of courts. Below are the salary ranges for the four positions:

Police Chief - $94,120-$127,254
Finance Director - $102,884-$133,733
City Clerk - $59,821-$74,384
Clerk of Courts - $48,266-$68,349

Interviews for police chief began on Tuesday. Reportedly the search is down to four candidates.
The runoff elections for US Senator and DeKalb County School Board, among other positions, is December 2nd. The runoff for school board matches Pam Speaks against Pam Buncum. The attached (click on the letter) is a letter written by one of our neighbors detailing reasons why Pam Speaks would better serve Springfield. If anyone would like to print a similar letter in support of Pam Buncum, please contact me at 404.644.5220 or

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Light Up Dunwoody

Keller Williams is once again a partner in Light Up Dunwoody. Hope you make plans to come - it's always a great time for the family (ignore the request for volunteers)!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Dunwoody High Wraps Up Perfect Regular Season

Dunwoody High School put the finishes touches on a perfect regular season Friday night by holding off previously unbeaten St. Pius 20-14 to capture the region 5-AAA championship. But on a rainy evening, the Wildcats (10-0) hopes of their first state championship since 1993 may have been washed away. Star tailback Treavor Scales and blue-chip linebacker Malcolm Mitchell both went down with leg injuries. Both are questionable for next week's first playoff game.
Before going down, Scales ran for 147 yards and two touchdowns, as Dunwoody build a 14-0 first half lead, and never looked back. (Pictures courtesy of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

School Officials Discuss 4th/5th Grade Academy

DeKalb County School System Chief of Operations Patricia Pope was at Dunwoody High School Wednesday night giving a construction update on the new 4th/5th grade academy. Pope said the project is ahead of schedule, due to be complete in early July 2009. Project manager Barry Booth said the building, designed with a brick and metal panel exterior, is 50 percent complete.
Pope said a principal will be named later this month - expect the PTA to get started shortly thereafter. About 100 to 150 parents attended the meeting. A blueprint is available here (courtesy of Dunwoody City Councilman John Heneghan):

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Elections Roll On, Meeting on 4th/5th Grade Academy

Election Day may have come and gone, but the elections roll on. In the all-important race for the DeKalb County Board of Education District 8 position, there will be a runoff between Pamela Buncum and Pam Speaks. With 97 percent of the vote counted, Speaks received 37 percent, Buncum 34 and Dunwoody resident Michael Culver 29. Of the two runoff candidates, Speaks (pictured), and educator for 30 years, appears to be the most qualified and has the best interests of our neighborhood.
Speaking of the 4th/5th grade academy, the DeKalb County School Board is holding a meeting at 6 p.m. tonight (Wednesday night) at Dunwoody High School to answer questions about the new school. The school board did not release details of the meeting, but it is assumed that superintendent Crawford Lewis will be in attendance.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Friday, October 31, 2008

Fall Fun Day at Vanderlyn

Friday was Fall Fun Day at Vanderlyn and the kids weren't the only ones having a great time. Ships ahoy, Matt! On second thought, that's not a pirate - it's the neighborhood's first president, by George???

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Halloween Comes Early

Halloween came early for many members of our neighborhood who took part in Wednesday night's Trunk & Treat party at St. Luke's. Great costumes, candy and fun - even for the adults (recognize your neighbors in the picture)?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

New School on Schedule, City Manager

Construction on the new 4th/5th grade academy appears to be moving at warp speed. School officials expect the yet-to-be-named academy to be complete in time for the start of the 2009-2010 school year. Still to be determined - if one bus will be used for the academy and Vanderlyn, dropping off children at one school first, and then the other. Stay tuned.
The Dunwoody City Council will next meet at 7 p.m. on Monday, November 3 at Dunwoody United Methodist Church. Among the items on the agenda: the council's approval of Mayor Ken Wright's choice for the all-important position of city manager. Wright's choice appears to be Norcross city manager Warren Hutmacher. While we certainly hope Hutmacher is the right man for the job, I wonder why Sandy Spring assistant city manager Steve Rapson was not given more consideration. Rapson is not only experienced in public administration, but is a financial whiz and has experience in starting up a city.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Halloween Celebration A Smash

Under sunny skies and warm temperatures, Sunday's Halloween Celebration was a smashing success. Thanks again for the hard work by Betsy Wagner, Eileen Webber, Dori Miller and Kimberly Kirkland. A great time was had by all.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Halloween Celebration on Sunday

As you probably surmised due to the rain, the Halloween Celebration has been pushed back to Sunday - 4-6 p.m. The bouncy will be up-and-running from 3-7 p.m and the potluck-style buffet is still on tap:
  • A-I please bring a side dish for 12
  • J-S please bring an entree for 12
  • T-Z please bring a dessert for 12

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Halloween Celebration, Eagles Win, Home Sale

With a 90 percent chance of rain on Friday, the Springfield Halloween Celebration is up in the air, an announcement will come ASAP. There is still a small chance the party will go on as planned Friday night, however in the case of rain it will be moved to Sunday from 4-6 p.m. (the bouncy will be available from 3-7 p.m.).
Congratulations to Ben Hogan's Eagles who won their first game of the season earlier this week at Murphey Candler. After 4 loses and 2 ties to start the year, the Eagles finally notched their first win by shutting out the Cowboys 13-0. After the victory, as promised, the coach let his team of 6-and-7-year olds shave his head!
This past week, the home listed at 4915 Leeds Court sold. It was listed for $449,500 (the home had many upgrades including a new kitchen and finished basement that included a wine cellar) and sold for $415,000. For more details, click on the link:

Monday, October 20, 2008

Cub Scouts Camp out, Kingsley Elementary Honored, City Council Agenda

Cub Scout Pack 434, which includes Springfield scouts Durham Wysocki, Victor Chiles, Andrew Mills and Jack Fiscella, spent the weekend at Providence Canyon State Park, a three-hour drive south off Dunwoody. The Cub Scouts had, arguably, their best camp out ever as close to 100 family members took part. Please contact Steve Wysocki (404.392.6110) for more information on how to become a scout.
(Atlanta Journal-Constitution) The school council at Dunwoody's Kingsley Charter Elementary School has been named by the education publication PTO Today as its national parent group of the year. Parents last school year put in 8,002 volunteer hours - a 333 percent increase over the year before.
Kingsley council members are the first group from Georgia awarded the publication's national honor. If the school's name doesn't ring a bell, consider this: It is also the place where Sally Foster - yes, there really is one - started a school fund-raising effort that grew into the empire we know today.
The Dunwoody City Council holds a work session at 7 p.m. Monday night at Peachtree Middle School. Among the items on the agenda: staff discussion (perhaps the all-important position of city manager) and city implementation. All work sessions and council meetings are open to the public.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Dunwoody Resident for School Board Confirms his Stance

One of the most important races in the November elections is that for DeKalb County School Board. Dunwoody resident Michael Culver is among those running for the position. Considering Michael's commitment to the community - both past and present - he has my vote. What follows is a email that Micheal sent to a Vanderlyn parent who lives south of Womack Rd. and was concerned that Michael was trying to get the school lines redrawn. That is not his intention.

Thank you for contacting me. I said nothing of the sort. I am not opposed to the 4/5 academy but am willing to listen to people's concerns as we move forward. I did say that I am confident that Dunwoody can make the 4/5 school outstanding if we come together and discuss the concerns that some have had and determine the best way to go forward. I did say that we could deal with concerns about transportation and PTA if we come together now. I did say that I would propose having the K-3 and 4/5 students ride the same buses with a certain drop off and pick up order to help keep the traffic concern to a minimum. I did say that we need to work with the City of Dunwoody, Perimeter College and other local traffic entities to devise an effective traffic routing and timing plan. I did also say that I would bring a majority of the board and Dr. Lewis to Dunwoody prior to the New Year to hear what parents thoughts and ideas were. I did say that there has never been a consensus on attendance numbers at the school and I did say that the board made a decision that it truly thought was best based on the arguments and concerns expressed last Spring about equitable redistricting in Dunwoody. And I did say that the board would not change its position. I also commented that it is unfortunate that Kingsley and Hightower are not directly a part of the new 4/5 academy and that we need to make sure that the cluster does some cooperative programs with these schools to make the transition to PCMS as smooth as possible when the schools come together. This is not a diversion from any previous position. Please feel free to contact me with any other concerns.


Michael Culver
770/630-9371 (c)
678/495-1818 (o)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Bonser Wins; Fireside Chat at Vanderlyn

Adrian Bonser won the final seat on the Dunwoody City Council by defeating Larry Pankey in Tuesday's runoff for the District 2 Local position. Bonser got 59 percent of the vote (970 votes) to Pankey's 41 (678). The turnout was 17 percent. Bonser's seat is for one year, after which the position turns into a four-year term.
The Vanderlyn PTA Parent Education Committee invites you to attend a “Fireside Chat” and Planning Session on Wednesday, October 15, 2008 at 6:00 PM at Vanderlyn Elementary’s Media Center. Although there will not be an actual fireplace by which to sit, there is certain to be some “hot” topics/issues on your mind about which you would like to hear more. Please plan to join us if you have topics/issues to share, know of someone that might give a presentation about a topic of interest, or just would like to become involved in a PTA committee. If you plan to attend, please RSVP to the Parent Education Committee Chairperson Dave Fuss at:

Monday, October 13, 2008

Election Day

A reminder that Tuesday is Election Day for the runoff for Dunwoody City Council District 2. St. Luke's will have the normal voting hours of 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. The race is between Larry Pankey and Adrian Bonser. While I feel the best candidate already has been eliminated (unfortunately I did not make the runoff), it has been a hotly contested race and every vote counts. I will not tell anyone how to vote, except to tell you that I will be voting for Larry Pankey. While both candidates behavior has been unbecoming the last week of the campaign, I feel Larry gives the council a diverse voice that it sorely needs, as all the other members of the council came from the Citizens for Dunwoody and the Dunwoody Yes sector. See you at the polls.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Springfield has its First $1 Million Home

The bottom may be dropping out of the stock market, but the price of homes in Springfield has gone through the roof! At least the price of one home in particular. The tear down and first rebuild in Springfield is now on the market. The home at 1539 Summerford Ct. was listed on Friday. The price tag: a cool $1.15 million! While that is the list price, I believe the builder is going to have a very difficult time finding a buyer. He has three major obstacles working against him:
  • The current economy
  • The current real estate market
  • Resale value
While this particular home may, indeed, be worth $1.15 million in the Spalding area of Sandy Springs, it will be a long time before it is worth that price in Springfield. With that said, Springfield has maintained its value better than many Dunwoody neighborhoods. For more on this home, click on the link: Buyer Brief Page

For all of your real estate needs you can contact me at or 404.644.5220.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Goodwill In the Heart of Dunwoody?

Is Dunwoody about to get a Goodwill collection store right in the heart of the city? I don't have all the hard, cold facts, but Kroger Corporation, which owns the lease on the property where the old Ace Hardware was located off Jett Ferry Rd., reportedly is negotiating with Goodwill. While I have nothing against Goodwill, and certainly admire the charity work that the organization does, one of its stores does not seem to be the best fit for this location. What do you think? Post a comment.
For more information, visit John Heneghan's website at

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Springfield Halloween Celebration; CH2M Hill Drops Out

The Springfield Halloween Celebration, the annual subdivision block party, will take place Friday, October 24. Click on the flyer (right) for details. Hope to see you there!
The Dunwoody City Council held a work session Monday night at Peachtree Middle School, at which time it was announced that service provider CH2M Hill had withdrawn its offer to the city, leaving Boyken International with the only offer on the table. The withdrawal by CH2M Hill comes after months of negotiations with city officials. It is not yet known if this is a contract negotiation ploy by the Denver-based company. CH2M Hill is the provider that all of the other new cities in the area have contracted for services.
Meantime, Boyken International made a formal presentation to the council, which called for CEO and longtime Dunwoody resident Don Boyken to serve as interim city manager. Boyken would hire an interim finance director and police chief, with recently fired Sandy Springs chief Gene Wilson serving as the latter. The police department would consist of 33 officers.
The council holds it's next formal meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday night at Peachtree Middle School.

Monday, October 6, 2008

City Council Work Session Tonight

The Dunwoody city council's next work session is 7 p.m. tonight at Peachtree Middle School. The mayor and city councilmen are expected to discuss whether to hire CH2M Hill or Boyken International to help the city get up and running. The council's next voting session is 7 p.m. tomorrow night at Peachtree Middle School. The public is encouraged to attend both sessions.

The Dunwoody Homeowners Association's monthly meeting was last night. Among the proposals made by developers: a new restaurant and 6 or 7 story hotel on Ashford Dunwoody Rd. across the street from California Pizza Kitchen. The developer says he will improve the street scape as well as add greenspace.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Vanderlyn Social

Friday night is the Vanderlyn Social at Brook Run Park from 6-8 p.m. This event is for the entire family and children will not be admitted without an adult. Please carpool with your friends if you can. There is parking available at Brook Run Park and St. Barnabas Anglican Church, across the street from the park. Bring your picnic dinner and your family can enjoy an evening of music, Maggie Moos ice cream and all your Vanderlyn friends! If you have any questions contact Christine Houk, or Hunter Snyder,

Unbeaten Dunwoody High School has an open date before returning to action next Friday night at Towers High. James Teter's Wildcats are 5-0, already having scored at least 50 points in three separate games.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

An Uneventful First Council Meeting for Dunwoody

If you were expecting fireworks from Dunwoody's first official city council meeting, they never materialized. One of the first acts by the council was to table the highly anticipated vote on a service provider, much to the dismay of representatives from CH2M Hill and Boyken International.

Wednesday night's meeting at Peachtree Middle School, which drew a gathering of approximately 50, was almost as much comical as productive, as the council struggled to follow procedures. Among the first votes by the council, to name Brian Anderson as acting city attorney and to adopt an official city seal (pictured).

The council's next work session is 7 p.m. Monday, October 6. It's next meeting is 7 p.m. Tuesday, October 7. The public is encouraged to attend.