Sunday, February 28, 2010

Update from Councilman Wittenstein

The following is an update from Dunwoody City Councilman Robert Wittenstein. In my next blog, I will tell you how I would vote on the issues if I were on city council (it wasn't for lack of trying, only lack of funding)! By the way Robert, how are you voting? Again, thanks for the update!

Dear Dunwoody Friends and Neighbors,
I've been spending time lately thinking about how much government regulation is the right amount and how much is too much. There have been several proposals or discussions in the last few weeks about enacting new laws or tightening up existing regulations. Not all of these have broad support on the city council, so many of these won't go anywhere, but some might.
Most of us worked to form the city of Dunwoody to improve the level of services and to gain control over zoning. Now that we are a city we need to establish the right level of regulation. Nearly all of us, me included, were in favor of new restrictions on bar closing times (from 4:00 AM to 2:00 AM). But what about other restrictions? Below is a list of several new regulations or increased restrictions that have been recently discussed:

Require all homeowners and businesses to display their street address so that it is easily viewable from the street.
Require all newly constructed single family homes to have sprinkler systems installed. (This is already a requirement for multi-family homes.)
Restrict people who live in subdivisions from parking their cars in front of their homes except for short periods of time.
Restrict the number of cars a homeowner can have in their driveway or visible from the street.
Make participation in the DeKalb recycling program mandatory.
Register, regulate and tax taxicabs and limousines that come into Dunwoody to pick up passengers.
Further restrict the times that a homeowner can have a landscape company working at their home or a construction company or roofing company can work anywhere in Dunwoody.

Which of these would you favor and which seem like government interference? I've gotten enough e-mails on all sides of these issues to know that what seems like government tyranny to some is an important quality of life or safety issue to others. What do you think?
On a somewhat related issue, next month the City Council will decide whether or not to allow Dunwoody homeowners to raise six to eight chickens in their backyard. There are already half a dozen families with children doing this in Dunwoody and their chicken coops are attractive and odor-free. The chickens are a kid-magnet in each neighborhood and the locally produced organic eggs are a prize in certain circles. Sandy Springs, Alpharetta, Roswell, Atlanta and Decatur all allow small numbers of backyard chickens. The Dunwoody Planning Commission recommended approval unanimously. If you would like to learn more about backyard chicken raising check out this link.

Finally, I'm very pleased to report that we have been awarded a grant from the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) as part of their Livable Cities Initiative of $80,000 to help underwrite the cost of creating a new master plan for Dunwoody Village. The master plan will "develop strategies for transforming the area into a vibrant town center, including development of new parks, green space, improved commercial space, and traffic flow." It is very exciting and I look forward to lots of community involvement later this year when we hold public meetings to help establish the vision.

Friday, February 26, 2010

DeKalb Superintendent Takes Leave

Below is one of the stories making headlines in today's Atlanta Journal-Constitution and on local news (click on photo to watch report). I have no idea if Dr. Crawford Lewis did anything wrong, but his behavior of late - his suspicious gas card charges - leaves me wondering.

By Megan Matteucci and Tim Eberly
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Hours after investigators searched his house and office, DeKalb County Schools Superintendent Crawford Lewis asked for a temporary leave.

The DeKalb school board voted Thursday night to accept Lewis' hiatus from the district. The board also appointed an interim superintendent while the district attorney completes its investigation into possible wrongdoing involving multi-million dollar school construction projects. “He has made the offer because, as always, he is putting the best interest of the district and students above his personal interest,” board chairman Tom Bowen said.
Lewis, a DeKalb schools employee for 33 years, didn't attend the meeting or return phone calls.
The board's vote came after investigators with the DeKalb district attorney’s office spent 5-1/2 hours searching Lewis’ Stone Mountain home, seizing three computer hard drives and six boxes.
District Attorney Gwen Keyes Fleming would not say what investigators were looking for, but confirmed that prosecutors executed search warrants at Lewis’ home and three school buildings as part of the investigation into the district’s construction program.
“This is all part of an ongoing investigation which was started at the request of the school system’s administration. After reviewing the information we gathered today, we anticipate bringing this matter to an appropriate conclusion,” Fleming said in a statement.

(for the full story click HERE)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Update from Councilman Shortal

The following is an update from Dunwoody City Councilman Denis Shortal. Great to see the General mention next Wednesday's Walk to School Day. However, I'm not sure about "rain or shine." I go for a jog every morning at 7am regardless of the temperature, however I have no interest in running in the rain, and I'm certainly not walking my children to school in the rain! Now if the General wants to baby sit my kids should they catch a nasty cold and have to stay home from school, then I might, might consider it!

Fellow Citizens ... The following Is an update of some items of interest :

1. Thanks ... Our thanks to all of you that supported our Police Officers, myself, Bill Riley and Bob Dallas in our Polar Plunge last Saturday to raise funds for GA Special Olympics. The DPD won the honors as the top fund raiser in the Law Enforcement Division. A special thanks goes out to Chief Grogan and his Officers for providing the leadership. FYI, one of our Officers won best costume. FYI, a 42 degree water temperature is a lot colder than it sounds! I am challenging the rest of the city council to join us next year!

2. Class "B" Airspace .... By now all of you know that the FAA has a proposal to lower the Class "B" Airspace over Dunwoody by 1000'. We had a presentation at our city council meeting last Monday night. On next Monday - 1 MAR 2010 - the FAA will hold three public hearings - times are 3 PM, 5PM and 7PM - at the Chamblee Civic Center. This Civic Center is part of the Chamblee City Hall complex located at 3540 Broad St in Chamblee. I would urge all of you to attend one of these meetings. I would also urge each of you to write the FAA objecting to the lowering of the Class "B" Airspace. A few bullet point to stress (and I am sure you can think of many more) are ... increased noise, increased pollution, reduced safety i.e. the same number of aircraft in reduced space and lowering of property values for our citizens which also mean less tax revenues for cities and the county to provide services to our citizens. All written comments have to be received by the FAA by the deadline date on 1 APR 2010. Address your comments to: Mark Ward, Manager, Operations Support Group, Eastern Service Area, Air Traffic Organization, Federal Aviation Administration, P.O. Box 20636, Atlanta, GA 30320. Pls take action on this item ASAP.

3. Walk to School Day .... The Safe Walk to School Day in next Wednesday - 3 MAR - and it will be a go rain or shine. Encouragement to increase the number of students/parents walking and biking to school is a win / win situation .... less traffic on our roads and therefore less pollution as well as healthier children and the parents who walk with them to and from school. I encourage everyone to walk to school that day .... adults that don't have children in the school are encouraged to also walk to show solidarity on this issue. For Austin school, folks will be walking from various locations. For those of you who will join us I will be walking with the group that is gathering at Mellow Mushroom and we will depart from there at 7:15 AM to walk to Austin. This would be convenient for those of you coming from south, east and west of Austin. Then we will meet at Austin at 2:20 PM to walk back up Roberts Rd to Dunwoody Village. Remember it is rain or shine! See you there!

4. Road Damage on Meadowcreek Dr. ... No doubt those of you who live in our local area have seen the three large areas where the street was damaged. This damage was caused by A-1 Driveway and the trucks of concrete company they employed to deliver the concrete for a driveway. Our estimate of the damage is $3000. To date, neither A-1 or the concrete company have agreed to pay for the damages in full. We are pursuing the full payment of damages through various channels.

5. City Council Meetings .... At our last meeting the city council voted to change the dates and times of the city council meetings. The new schedule which goes into effect on MAR 1, 2010 is ... the second Monday of the month will now be a work session and it will start at 7 PM. The fourth Monday of the month will be a short work session starting at 6 PM to be followed by a regular voting meeting starting at 7PM. Note there will no longer be a meeting on the 3rd Monday of the month. The new meeting schedule will be on a three month trial bases and will be reevaluated at the end of the three month period. Personally, I was not in favor of changing the meeting schedule but I am willing to give it a try.

6. Noise Ordinance .... A couple of updates ago I discussed changing the construction quiet hours in our city. I received several responses from you supporting slightly later morning start times. I put forth an item in front of the council proposing a change in the Monday - Friday start times from 7:30 AM to 8:00 AM and on Saturday from 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM. For various reasons this proposal didn't receive the support from the council members. One reason given was that no one had complained about the start times. I am currently exploring different wording and limitations to go along with the later start times. I am requesting your feedback to determine if this is an issue that you would like me to continue to move forward.
7. Again, thanks for your support, involvement and interest in our City. Please forward this email to your friends and neighbors. Let me know if you would like to be added to my email list and I will make it happen. Let Us Continue to Build Our City Together!
Denny Shortal, Dunwoody City Councilman, District One - Post 1, Mayor Pro Tem.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Listings in Springfield & Dunwoody

There are currently 3 homes on the market in Springfield, ranging in price from $370,000 to $410,000. To view any of these listings, click on the first Buyer Short Report below.

There are currently 130 homes on the market in Dunwoody in the 30338 zip code ranging in price from $155,000 to $1,225,00. To view any of these listings click on the second Buyer Short Report below.

If you know of anyone looking to buy or sell a home, please give them my contact information. I'll be sure to provide them with exceptional service! For more real estate information, click on my real estate blog at

Thursday, February 18, 2010

SNA Meeting; Are You Paying Too Much in Property Taxes?

The newly formed Springfield Neighborhood Association, a voluntary organization, will meet 7:30 tonight in the upper conference at The Crier, 5064 Nandina Ln. It will be a short meeting in which we will discuss the bylaws as well as the collection for maintaining the front entrance. Sorry for not getting this notice out sooner, but we hope to see you there!
The following article appeared on the front page of today's Atlanta Journal Constitution as well as online at

By Michelle E. Shaw
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Briana Henry-Frisby and Rae Anne Harkness both own homes in DeKalb County, and both suspect they’re paying too much in property taxes. The fact that both work in the DeKalb tax commissioner’s office doesn’t actually help.

“Now is not the time to leave any money laying on the table, or anywhere,” Henry-Frisby said.
But she may well be leaving behind a tidy pile of cash when it comes to property taxes.A report to be released today concludes that property owners in the five core metro Atlanta counties overpaid their property taxes by an average of $244 in 2009. And people who live in areas hard hit by foreclosures, as do Henry-Frisby and Harkness, overpaid by even more, says an analysis commissioned by the Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership.
AJC findings confirmed
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in December reported that tens of thousands of homes across metro Atlanta were overvalued last year by county tax assessors, who didn’t adjust values sufficiently after the historic real estate collapse. Homeowners, the newspaper reported, were being taxed on values their property no longer held. The report today tends to confirm the AJC’s findings and also, for the first time, calculates an average overpayment.
John O’Callaghan, ANDP president, said the report focuses on property tax values from 2009 for neighborhoods with the highest foreclosure rates in metro Atlanta.

“What this does is give a picture of the average homeowner,” he said. “Some are underpaying and others are overpaying by a larger margin. We hope this data and research will lead to changes in the system.”
Calvin Hicks, chief assessor in DeKalb County, balks at the idea that people have “overpaid” taxes. “County services still cost what they cost,” Hicks said. “So maybe it is that property [valuations] should have gone down, but the millage rate should have gone up. That still may have equaled the same amount of tax money, but coming from different directions.”
Hicks said foreclosures affect neighborhood values in different ways and said county officials are working on the best way to reflect those properties in future valuations.
ANDP’s report, prepared by Robert Charles Lesser & Co., breaks out the three ZIP codes with the most foreclosures in Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties and the average amount homeowners overpaid their taxes for 2009.
The study took sales values from the second half of 2008 and contrasted those numbers to the value the county set on the same property.
Analysts then calculated what the tax assessment would have been based on sales figures, compared to actual assessments on the same properties.
Ammo for appeals?

In the 15 ZIP codes with the most foreclosures, the average overpayment for 2009 was $491, the report says. Here are the ZIPs and the total estimated overpayment in each:
● Clayton: 30238, 30274 and 30296, $17 million overpayment.
● Cobb: 30168, 30127, and 30126, $8 million overpayment.
DeKalb: 30038, 30058 and 30032, $16 million overpayment.
● Fulton: 30310, 30315 and 30331, $24 million overpayment.
● Gwinnett: 30039, 30045 and 30044, $17 million overpayment.

In DeKalb’s 30058, Henry-Frisby’s ZIP code, the average overpayment in 2009 was $391.
“There is a lot I can do with that money,” she said.
Harkness said she doesn’t have much hope of getting back the $513 ANDP’s report says was the average overpayment in her ZIP, 30032.
“But it is good to know, and it gives me something else to work with when I appeal this year,” she said.
Both said that working in the tax commissioner’s office does them no good when it comes to their own tax valuations.
“No, I only work for the county,” Henry-Frisby said. “When it comes to my house and things outside of the office, I’m in the same boat as everybody else. I’ve got to call the same people they do and I’ve got to wait for them to call me back, too.”
Said Harkness: “The only advantage I can think of is I know how the system works and who to call, but that doesn’t help change my situation at all.”
Charles Bowman, a DeKalb teacher who lives in Gwinnett’s 30039 ZIP code, said he wasn’t surprised to hear homeowners in his area overpaid by an average of $503 last year.
“This information makes me feel more inclined to act and appeal my assessment than before,” he said of the report. “That money, had we gotten a refund from our escrow account, could have been used to do some badly needed repair on our home.”
Bowman, who has two children with his wife, Tamiko, said that money could have gone to a number of other things, including his Ph.D. studies.
“I think everyone everywhere is trying to be smart about how and when they spend money,” he said. “And right now it just hurts to think there may have been some money that could have been used differently, if we’d had the chance.”

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Are Chickens Ready to Cross the Road into Dunwoody?

Illegal under DeKalb County code, are backyard chickens about to become legal in Dunwoody? Last night the Dunwoody Planning Commission voted 7-0 to legalize backyard chickens. The issue now goes to the Dunwoody City Council for a vote, which will probably be a lot closer.
What potentially does legalizing backyard chickens mean to Springfield residents? Probably nothing, as 99 percent of us will have no interest in raising chickens. However, somewhere along the line, a neighbor will buy a coop and take a stab at it. Let's hope that neighbor does so responsibly. I'll have to admit, I have not seen, first hand, a backyard chicken coop. But from what others tell me, as long as the owner is responsible with the daily upkeep, it is not an issue. Let's hope that's the case.

For more on the backyard chicken issue in Dunwoody visit and

Monday, February 8, 2010

Shortal Update; Dunwoody Real Estate

Update from Councilman Denis Shortal

The following is an update from Dunwoody City Councilman Denis Shortal.

Fellow Citizens ... The following are a few update items of interest in Dunwoody:
1. City Meetings ... There are several meetings of interest in the next few weeks. Your source to keep informed is our Dunwoody website .... On the left side of the Home Page under "Residents" click on "Calendar" and the calendar for the month of FEB will appear. Then click on the meeting of your interest (that is probably all the meetings) and when the meeting page appears click on the date of the meeting (in blue) and the agenda will appear. All meeting are at the City Hall. At the City Council meeting of tomorrow night two items of interest are the Special Land Use Plan (SLUP) for All Saints Church and the reappointment of two members to the Dunwoody Ethics Board. On Tuesday, 9 FEB, the Planning Commission meets @ 7 PM.
An item of interest here is whether or not to allow "back yard chickens" in Dunwoody. On Th, 11 FEB , the Sustainability Commission meets @ 7:45 AM and items of interest are allowing motorized carts in Dunwoody among other items. At 7 PM that night the Community Council meets and they will be discussing the "codification process" for our City in Ch 21 & 27 of our Ordinance. At the City Council meeting of 22 FEB there will be a briefing by the folks from PDK Airport on the proposal to lower the altitudes of the Class "B" airspace in our area by the FAA. This can have an effect on the residents of Dunwoody. We will need to stay informed on this issue.

2. First State of the City Address ... My thanks to everyone who came to our State of the City address/meeting on 28 JAN ... it was a packed house. It was a good time and informative both looking back at the past year and, looking forward. If you missed it this year make plans to put it on your calendar for next year. FYI, it was paid for by private funds.

3. Bike Trails ... We are in the initial stages of setting up two or three bike trails around the city. We will initially be using existing streets in their current design but will be installing "bike trail" signs and other devises to alert motorist to share the road with bike riders. The trails will be aimed at the recreational/family bike riders. This is being done in our effort to make Dunwoody a more bike / pedestrian friendly city. There will be public hearing on this issue as time goes by. Our goal is to have some of this done by this summer. As always, your input is solicited.

4. Dunwoody Volunteer Coordination Committee (DVCC) ... The DVCC has done a lot of work around our City that has enhanced all of our lives.
Community service builds community spirit and makes our City a better, cleaner and more desirable place to live, work and play. We need everyone to pitch in to make this a reality. We would like to see a cast of thousands of citizens join the effort by signing up for the DVCC. Yes, a lot of the work in rolling up your sleeves and doing manual tasks that all of us are capable of doing. Individuals and community/church groups from across our City are joining .... all we need is you to join the effort. We all want our City to be a special place and it is going to take all of us working together to make that happen. You can join by contacting Bill Tobin @ or go to our website … ... and join there. Some examples of things that are going on.... for the second year North Atlanta Church of Christ is sponsoring a work day on
6 NOV (last year they had over 300 workers out doing various tasks), Jewish Community Center is going to pick up the trash along Tilly Mill Rd, All Saints Catholic Church, Dunwoody Baptist Church, Dunwoody United Methodist Church among others are joining the effort. Your City needs you and needs you now!

5. Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) ... Our Vendor, Pond and Company, our CLUP Steering Committee and our staff are working on the rough draft of the CLUP. Rest assured there will be plenty of opportunities for vetting and inputs into the CLUP before it becomes a finished product. In addition to process noted above, the CLUP must go thru the Community Council, the Planning Commission and finally the City Council which includes a public hearing. I would estimate a summer time frame for completion. Remember the CLUP is a legal document that will set the general guidelines of what we want our city to look like going forward.

6. Retreat .... As you probably know the City Council retreat to Franklin, TN was cancelled last weekend due to weather. The retreat was moved to the Embassy Suites here in Dunwoody and was held on last Sunday. It was one of those marathon meeting that started at 0800 and ended at 10 PM. IMO, it was a very productive day. The trip to Franklin will take place at later date. Why Franklin, TN .... because in several publications it is rated as one of the top places to live in the United States. In other words, it is a very successful city. It also mirrors Dunwoody in several aspects ... close to a big city, population, education level, income levels, etc.

7. Fixing Our Roads .... One of the 22 agenda items we discussed at the retreat was a long term plan to fix our roads. We all know the condition of the roads and every road in Dunwoody has been electronically rated. You can go on our website and find the rating of your road/street. The rating system is from 0 to 100 where 0 is the worst and 100 would be a new road. Overall our road's average rating was approx. 68. The ample rain fall we have had is good news for the drought but combined with the hard freeze the rain has taken an extra hard toll on our roads. When we campaign for city hood we were very candied that, due to the deterioration and the need for massive patch work on our roads, there would be little or no funds for paving in the first two years. However, we do have a limited amount of paving funds in the budget this year and if we prevail in the HOST suit vs the County (this suit is current in the Ga Supreme Court with a ruling expect by late spring or early summer) we will have additional funds for paving. FYI, HOST funds can only be used for capital projects. The general plan for paving is to spend a large percentage on paving our main roads that are in the worst condition, spending a certain percentage of the funds paving neighborhood roads that are in the worst condition while saving some funds for strip/large patching to keep other roads in usable condition. Due to the lack of maintenance and the deterioration of our roads ... paving is going to be a long term/several year project. Simply put, it is going to take several years to bring all our roads to the level that we want. The good news is we will have a plan and we will be making progress .... something that hasn't been done in the 23 years that I have lived in Dunwoody.
On a side note, we have secure a grant to redo Dunwoody Village Parkway from Chamblee Dunwoody Road to Mt Vernon Rd. Although still in the planning stage the basic objective is to redo the road and add a path for pedestrians and bikes. The timelines that we are projecting is to start in 2011 with a 2012 completion date.

8. One Last Item .... I know all of you have plenty of competition for your charity dollars. I would ask you to consider sponsoring myself or one of our police officers who are on the Dunwoody Police Team to raise funds for the GA Special Olympics. We are doing this by participating in "The Polar Plunge" at Lake Lanier on 20 FEB .... that is 13 days from now (please pray for warmer weather). FYI, 100% of the funds collected will go to GA Special Olympics. Individual, group and corporate donations are welcome. You can donate by going to
or substitute any of the participating Dunwoody Police Officer's name for my name to sponsor them or by sending a check, made out to GA Special Olympics, to me at 1326 Wyntercreek Lane, Dunwoody, GA 30338.
Please note who you want to sponsor. I will ensure the checks are turned in. Our thanks to all of those of you who have already contributed.

9. That all for now as it is way past my bed time. Thanks for your continued interest, involvement and support of our City. Please pass this on to any of your friends and neighbors that may find this update of interest. If anyone wants to be added to my email list just let me
know. Let Us Continue To Build Our City Together!
Denny Shortal,
City Councilman, District One, Post-1, Mayor Pro Tem.

Dunwoody Real Estate

There are currently 151 active listings in Dunwoody ranging from $155,000 to $2,399,900. To view any or every listing, click on the link below:

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Response From Dunwoody High; Public Safety Director at Council Meeting

In my previous blog entry, I told you that I wrote to Dunwoody High School principal Dr. Kevin Harris asking why head football coach Michael Youngblood was fired. Sunday evening, about an hour before the kickoff to the Super Bowl, I received an email response from Steve Fortenberry, social studies teacher and athletic liaison at the high school. Mr. Fortenberry wrote the following:

Mr. Fiscella-
Thanks for your inquiry about the head coaching position at Dunwoody High. Coach Youngblood was let go for several reasons which we are not able to discuss. Dr. Harris our principal decided to move the program in a different direction and felt it was best to sever ties at this time. It was not because of the incident that was written about in the AJC. That was Coach Youngblood giving his thoughts on the matter.
We will have a strong candidate replacing Coach Youngblood and we appreciate your continued support.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Steve Fortenberry
Dunwoody High School

I thank Mr. Fortenberry for his quick response. Although we still don't know why coach Youngblood was fired, we'll have to trust that Dr. Harris made the right decision.

City Council Meeting Monday Night

DeKalb County Director of Public Safety William Miller (second to left in the photo, click to enlarge) will address the Dunwoody City Council at Monday night's meeting. Of course the hot topic is the death of 74-year old Ann Bartlett, who died in that tragic house fire in Dunwoody Club Forest on January 24. Since that incident, 5 firemen have been fired and chief David Foster resigned. I'm really not sure what Mr. Miller will say to the council, but I'm guessing he will reassurance us that the county will continue to serve Dunwoody the best way possible, and that you can bet a similar incident will never happen again. There is some concern that members of the council will try to play politics with the line of questioning to Mr. Miller, but I don't believe that is the case. Our council is above that. I fully expect the questions to be above board.
For more on Monday night's meeting, see Councilor John Henghan's blogsite at

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Odds & Ends

Why was Dunwoody's Football Coach Fired?

Just why was Dunwoody football coach Michael Youngblood fired after one year on the job - a year in which he led the Wildcats to a 7-5 record and a spot in the state playoffs? I have no idea. I have sent an email to Dunwoody principal Dr. Kevin Harris - if I get a reply I'll send it along.
For now, all we can do is speculate, which the bloggers are doing quite well on The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's website. At last check, there were 156 comments, ranging from "Sounds like Mr. Principal had too big of an ego" to "Maybe the coach filled his gas tank three times in one day on the county gas card. No wait, that doesn’t get you in trouble in Dekalb County….."

Lost Cat
(click on image to enlarge)

Super Bowl

As many of you know I was a sportscaster for CNN and Fox Sports Net for 20 years, and still do a lot of freelance work in my spare time. Thus, I consider myself someone of a football expert. NOT! But I will give you my prediction for the Super Bowl. Peyton Manning is virtually unstoppable, throwing for 275 yards and 3 touchdowns, as the Colts beat the Saints 31-24. And just to clarify - I'm not rooting against the Saints, I simply feel the Colts will win!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Dunwoody Football Coach Fired

By Michael Carvell, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Dunwoody High’s Michael Youngblood was fired as head football coach on Thursday. “Mr. Youngblood is no longer the coach, that is correct,” DeKalb County Schools spokesman Dale Davis said. When asked for the official reason, Davis said, “We decided to go in a different direction.”
Youngblood was still in a state of disbelief on Thursday evening. Dunwoody was his first head coaching job, and he led the Wildcats to a 7-5 record and appearance in the state playoffs this past season. He was informed of the news by Dunwoody principal Kevin Harris.

“When I asked (Harris) ‘What were the grounds for my removal?’ He said the things that they are going to say when the principal and football coach don’t see eye to eye … that they ‘are going to move in a different direction’ and not really give you an answer,” Youngblood said.
Youngblood speculated that his firing was related to an incident between the two men at at halftime of Dunwoody’s homecoming game against Cedar Grove on Sept. 25. Harris entered the team’s locker room and directed several players to leave the team meeting to participate in the halftime activities.
“It was a close game, and I had no idea (in advance) that some of our key players were going to be pulled out of the meeting,” Youngblood said. “I told (Harris), ‘No, please don’t do that.’ Then we went outside and talked about it. The football players ended up being in the halftime activities.”
“(But) I think he interpreted the entire situation as me trying to show him up in front the kids and other coaches.
The following Monday, Youngblood says he was written up for “insubordination” by the principal, and Youngblood responded with a letter of rebuttal, explaining that “everything said in the report was not true.” Youngblood later apologized to Harris, hoping to ease the tension.
“However, from that moment on, I knew that things weren’t how they were supposed to be,” Youngblood said. “Every day, I had to look over my back, while also doing a good job on the football field.”
“The bottom line is that (Harris) never forgave me for that (halftime) incident.”
Youngblood, 30, was assistant head coach for Tucker High’s 2009 state championship team, and was Chattahoochee High’s defensive coordinator the previous two years.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Dunwoody High School Renovation

I was at the meeting last night concerning the upcoming multi-million dollar renovation for Dunwoody High School (there were about 100 parents and concerned neighbors in attendance). As a member of the board of the Dunwoody Homeowners Association, I can tell you there was a lot of concern when the original design for the renovation was presented in October by the architecture firm of Perkins & Will. While some board members liked the renderings, others felt strongly that it did not match the colonial look of our Dunwoody neighborhoods.

Below is a rendering that was presented last night, and while Claire Botsch of the Dunwoody High School Community Design Committee says it is the same design that was presented in October, this picture makes the renovation appear much more palatable. The DHA will meet to discuss the renovation, but personally I don't have any major issues with it, as presented last night. Here's what I do have a problem with - the DeKalb County School System not getting the DHA involved from the start (or involved at all)! Some folks seem to believe the DHA is heavy-handed, but it is not. It is simply looking out for what it believes to be what is best for the community (the diverse DHA board is made up of 35 members who live in various parts of Dunwoody and Sandy Springs, representing different factions of the community). You see what happened when the DCSS allowed the DHA to be active in the construction of Peachtree Charter Middle School - the beautiful, timeless structure speaks for itself. Conversely, in Dunwoody Elementary School - you see what happens when DCSS doesn't allow the DHA to be a part of the process. Everyone loves having their children in the new, state of the art building, but the design will be dated in a decade, and who, in their right mind, got the brilliant idea to put stack stone columns in the gymnasium (it is a major safety hazard to the children, and the columns are now covered by mats)! The DHA is not looking to control the process, but to help DCSS better understand what the community wants.
Concerned Parents

While the DHA focuses on the exterior design, concerned parents are zeroing-in on the interior and just what the renovation will or won't offer their children. To the right is a list of items that has parents concerned (click on the photo to enlarge). Also of concern is the fact that if the project comes in under budget, the money left on the table will no be used to upgrade other areas of Dunwoody High School, but instead will be thrown back into a DCSS general fund, which seems to violate the spirit of SPLOST (special purpose local-option sales tax), which we as taxpayers funded!