Friday, November 16, 2012

Odds & Ends

A reminder that the DHA's Light Up Dunwoody is this Sunday from 3pm to 6pm at the Farmhouse.  Santa will be there with his live reindeer (as always a great photo opportunity) as well as face painting, cookie decorating and singing of carols.  The Christmas tree and Farmhouse will be lit at 5:45pm.  Click on the photo below to watch Good Morning Atlanta at the farmhouse Friday - and yes, a guest appearance by yours truly!

Womack/Vermack Intersection & More

Kudos to Dunwoody City Council, which earlier this week voted 5-1 to continue with the design improvements for the Womack/Vermack intersection.  The vote does not mean that a roundabout will necessarily happen, but that the design work will continue as the city tries to make the intersection more traffic-friendly and pedestrian-friendly.  The project would not be moving forward without the hard work of councilman Terry Nall, who understands that council just can't "stick its head in the sand" when it comes to solving traffic congestion issues.  I also have to give credit to Terry for broaching the possibility of Dunwoody having its own school system (click on link to watch video).  Is it likely to happen anytime soon?  No, but why not get the ball rolling?  It will never happen unless someone takes the first step.  Great job Terry!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Womack/Vermack; Update from Councilman Shortal

Dunwoody city council meets on Monday night, and one of the item added to the agenda is discussion of the Womack/Vermack intersection.  Kudos to the councilor (Terry Nall, I presume) that got this item added, as it gives council a chance to redeem itself for its faulty actions at the last council meeting.
In my last blog post, I didn't do a great job of explaining what council actually did at the October 29th meeting. 
By a 4-3 margin, council voted to remove the remainder of the design funding of an intersection improvement at Vermack/Womack road.  Council did this despite the fact that the designs were not complete, and that the Comprehensive Transportation Plan called for much needed improvements as congestion at this intersection is among the worst in Dunwoody.
The four councilors reasons for voting against the funding were, quite frankly, confusing and without merit.  Two councilors said they heard from their constituents (fact is, the only folks they likely heard from was the small, vocal group of neighbors who live near the intersection, that spoke at the Oct. 29th council meeting), another said let's "kick the can down the road," while the last said it was for financial reasons.  Apparently all four have little interest in fixing "what needs to be fixed."   Why else would they vote against funding that was already in the budget, and on a project that was noted as a "priority" in the Comprehensive Plan? At the very least, let's hire an off-duty safety patrol official for 3 hours a day at $35 an hour.
Let's hope council has the courage to make the right decision on Monday night.

Update from Councilman Shortal

Below is an email update from councilman Denis Shortal.  I appreciate the General sending out these updates, but it would have been nice to hear why he voted against the funding above!

My fellow citizens …, the following is an update of some items of interest ...

1. Recycling Fees ... Correction/clarification .... Below is the info I sent out on my last update. It is true that the "blue box" and the initial 100 "blue bags" are free. After you use up your initial two year supply of "blue bags" you can contact DC for a resupply but, there will be a charge of $15 for an additional 100 "blue bags" ... these additional bags will be delivered to your home within about 10 days. Recycling is still a bargain.
"The DeKalb County (DC) Commission voted last week to remove the $30 recycling fee thus making recycling free. The Blue Box Recycling Brigade should now grow by leaps and bounds. You still must sign up for recycling so that DC can properly route the truck to you area on "recycling day." To sign up for recycling service call 404-294-2900 or email to ... It takes about a week or so for DC to drop off your Blue Recycling Box and a 100 Blue bags. A 100 bags should last you about two years and when you start to run low on bags just call DC and reorder. I am a late convert to recycling but I can tell you it is a win/win situation. Your current annual DC sanitation fee is $265 - this has been the fee since 2006 and as you know you pay this when you pay your annual property taxes."
2. Veteran's Day ... Dunwoody will celebrate Veteran's Day this coming Monday, 12 NOV 2012, at the Brook Run Park Veterans Memorial at 1:00 PM. The ceremony features the Marine Color Guard from H&S Bn, 4th MLG, Marietta, GA, guest speakers ... COL Charles Guta, USA (RET) and our very own Corporal William "Blake" Yeargin, SCNG - you may also know him as Officer Yeargin of our Dunwoody Police Department - who has recently returned from a deployment in Afghanistan. I hope to see a large number of our patriotic citizen attend to give thanks for our freedom by honoring our Veterans.

3. Marine Corps Birthday ... Keeping with a military theme, tomorrow, 10 NOV 2012, Marines around the globe will be celebrating the 237th Birthday of the U. S. Marine Corps. Have no doubt that this is a special day for me and all Marines. I attended a celebration last night and today at 1130 and will be at a Marine Corps Birthday Ball in west Georgia tomorrow night. Happy Birthday to all you Marine Warriors and Semper Fidelis.
5. Paving ...With the completion of the paving on Mt Vernon Rd last week all the paving projects for 2012 are now complete. Acadia Builders came to the city and offered to pay 2/3 of the cost of installing new curb, gutter and sidewalk to Layfield Dr and we accepted the offer. (My note ... to me that was an easy and sound financial decision.) This enabled us to widening Mt Vernon Rd all the way to Layfield Dr which is just a few feet from our western city boundary. In paving the name of the game is quality and in my opinion again this year we received a quality paving job across the spectrum. My thanks to our Public Works Director, Michael Smith and his staff for another outstanding job. Michael, you are a tremendous asset to the citizens of Dunwoody.
6. More Paving ... We were recently awarded a $640,000 grant from the Atlanta Regional Commission for the infrastructure and paving funds for Chamblee Dunwoody Road between Cambridge and Valley View. This grant came up on a short notice and thru the professional work of Michael Smith with the assistance of Ted Rhinehart of DeKalb County we were awarded the grant. To be eligible for this grant the project had to be on the planning schedule and be a multi-mode transportation project (cars, pedestrians and bicycles). We are anticipating funding for construction for next year.
A personal note on grants ... if I ran the federal government there would not be any grants especially in light of the fact the government is financially broke. However, I don't run the government and there are grants available and I think it is financially prudent to aggressively pursue ever available grant. Remember if we don't get the grant then some other city will and I can assure you the grant money will be spent .... not saved. At least this way our citizens would get some return of the tax dollars we pay to higher government levels.
7. More Paving ... At our last City Council Meeting a citizen who lives on Vernon Oaks Dr chastised the City Council and Public Works Dir. for the method and the paving of his street. I don't know if he was speaking for all the neighbors or just himself. Now folks, I have heard a lot of outlandish things in the 4+ years we have been working to make this a better city but that was the most astonishing and surprising statements that I have heard. Suffice to say, if your street is on the paving list please notify us if you don't want it paved. I assure you there are hundreds of street where thousands of our citizens live, including me and my neighbors, that would give their "right shoe" to have their street paved.
8. Light Up Dunwoody ... The annual family friendly event, Light Up Dunwoody Christmas Village, takes place on Sunday, 18 NOV, from 3 PM to 6 PM. The lighting of the tree will take place at 5:45 PM. The center of the activities will be in the area of the Farm House. Santa and the Elves will be there and there will be plenty of photo opportunities … so bring your camera. Admission is free ... you can't best that deal. There are plenty of community volunteer opportunities ... please contact Pam Tallmadge @ 770-393-9647 or
9. That is all for today. Please pass this on to all your friends, neighbors, members of your HOA or anyone else you think maybe interested. If anyone would like to be added to my email list please let me know and I will make that happen. Thanks for your continued support and input.

Let Us Continue To Build Our City Together

Denny Shortal
Dunwoody City Council, District One, Post-1
Mayor Pro Tem
PH (O) 678-382-6700 (C) 678-246-9006

Monday, November 5, 2012

Vote; Womack/Vermack Intersection

Tuesday is Election Day - don't forget to vote!  There is much more on the ballot than the presidential race.  To view a sample Dunwoody ballot, click on the image below.

Womack/Vermack Intersection

Despite the recommendation from staff, last week Dunwoody City Council voted to do nothing to alleviate the congestion at the Womack/Vermack Intersection.  It was a 4-3 vote against the improvements, with Councilors Deutsch, Bonser, Heneghan and Shortal voting to keep this hazardous, congested intersection like it is.  For the life of me, I cannot figure out why.  Hopefully they didn't cave to the pressure applied by a small, but vocal group of neighbors who spoke before council prior to the vote.
The roundabout project proposed by staff will not only minimize the congestion at this intersection, but make it safer for pedestrians and bikers (folks at a dangerous intersection near Emory University had the same concerns a few years back, but since a roundabout was constructed, they have become believers and now extoll the virtues of the improvements).
Council Terry Nall has done more homework on this than any other council member, and is pushing for the project to be funded next year. The Dunwoody Homeowners Association unanimously approves the city's continuing of the design process of this intersection, and the roundabout has the support of Dunwoody High School principal Noel Maloof, as well as Dunwoody resident and former mayoral candidate Bob Dallas, who is the former Director of the state's Office of Highway Safety. 

For more on council's head-scratching actions on this intersection, read I'm Just Sayin' Dunwoody, Dunwoody Farmer Bob and Dunwoody Talk's blog posts.  They are much more direct in their indictment of council on this vote.