Patti’s Applause: Archive

Patti’s Applause Goes To . . .

Goes to the Decatur Public Works Department for their exemplary work during the storm cleanup response. Thank you!

The 2020 graduates of Decatur High School and all college and high school graduates, who are and finding alternative ways to celebrate. Congratulations on your achievements!

2019 Hometown Heroes, including Lisa Daly & Jim Rabb, Thanh Doan, Jennifer Gonzalez, Happy Harold, Ashley Howle, Carroll Knabe, Terrie Moore, Clare Schexnyder, and Alix Wagner. Find out more:

AND Commissioners Scott Drake and Brian Smith

The Decatur Youth Council for their Arbor Day Orchard Planting of fruit trees in Legacy Park. The trees were provided through an Atlanta Local Food Initiative Grant (ALFI) and the DYC will continue to work with Global Growers on the care of the site. And they are actively seeking volunteers! Click here for more info on volunteering. For pictures, see:

Peggy Merriss! Help us thank our now former City Manager who served the City of Decatur as its City Manager for 25 years.

The Decatur Arts Alliance in cooperation with the Decatur City Commission is spearheading a community fundraising effort to purchase a piece of public art to honor Peggy Merriss upon her retirement from the City of Decatur.

The Arts Alliance has commissioned Corrina Sephora to create a sculpture to be placed at Decatur Legacy Park in Peggy’s honor. It is to be the first piece of what we anticipate will become Decatur’s sculpture garden.

Peggy served as Decatur’s city manager for 25 years and worked for Decatur for 35 years. Her ongoing commitment to public art is one of many hallmarks of her career. Your generous gift will help make this sculpture a meaningful tribute to Peggy’s service to the city and contribute to public art for all.

Julie Wilson, Executive Director for the AJC-Decatur Book Festival for a terrific job in her first year as Executive Director!

The All America City of Decatur and the family of Isabelle Daniels Holston. Ms. Holston was an outstanding track athlete at Tennessee State University and won a Bronze Medal in the 4×100 meter relay in the 1956 Olympics. Ms. Holston was posthumously inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in June of this year. Ms. Holston was a long time resident of Decatur, and her husband, Reverend Sidney Holston, still resides in Decatur.

Mrs. Mary Whitehead. Mrs. Whitehead lived on Second Avenue for more than 50 years until due to health concerns moved in with her daughter.  She was a long-time member of the Oakhurst community and was instrumental in the formation of the Oakhurst Neighborhood Association. She was recognized as a 2001 City of Decatur Hometown Hero for all of her contributions to the community including providing homemade desserts for the MLK, Jr Project for a number of years; getting speed bumps placed on 2nd Ave to keep the kids safe; and, establishing in the 1980’s the “Christmas Tree Lighting” in Harmony Park, that included a visit from Santa and gift giving at the Solarium. She was truly a neighborhood treasure.

Mrs. Mary Whitehead passed away on April 16, 2018.

Emily Berg, organizer and founder of the Mead Road Mardi Gras Parade. Read about the history of this homegrown event here:–history.html

Rev. Kate McGregor, who was recognized yesterday at a public event for her hard work on energy efficiency by, a national group focused on clean energy.  She and two other women were recognized by having billboards with their photos placed around the city.  Kate’s billboard is located on Marietta Street near the CNN Center and Olympic Park.  You can read about it at

Mayor Pro Tempore/Vice Chair, Tony Powers. I’m so excited to be working with Tony as the new Mayor Pro tem. Tony is a native Decaturite and a rabid Georgia Bulldogs fan. Read more about his dedicated service to Decatur here.

Mayor Pro Tem Fred Boykin for his 16 years of service on the City Commission. Wishing him the best of luck as he retires from his dedicated service to Decatur! Read more about Fred:

Oakhurst Porchfest Hosts, Organizers, and Musicians

YEA to all of the young artists and performers who participated in the Young Emerging Artist (YEA) event!

Safe Routes to School Volunteers AND to Jackson Swann who was named National Miss reigning America preteen and Preteen Georgia United States. Jackson lives in Oakhurst with parents, Julie and Bryan and brother, Taylor. You can follow her on her Facebook page.

Master Police Officer C.J. Gresham and Officer Anthony Robinson, who both received 2017 Officer of the Year awards from the DeKalb Bar Association.

3 worthy organizations that recently received grants from the Community Center of South Decatur:

Grant #1) Wylde Center for Healthy Living by Healthy Growing at the Decatur Housing Authority – Providing high-quality educational after school programming for at-risk youth living at the DHA.  Will focus on increasing gardening/science knowledge, physical activity, preparation & consumption of fruit & veggies. 3 – eight week sessions serving approx. 15-25 kids per session.

Grant #2)  Community Farmers Market – Will provides an Educational Chef booth at each Decatur Farmers Market (both Wed & Sat markets) for the 2017 season.  Chefs will provide nutritional info, a cooking demo, a healthy sample of the featured fruit/veggie,  and offer shoppers market tours to make the market more approachable & less intimidating.  The Market offers double SNAP benefits so a diverse population is expected.  Estimated that in 50 weeks of markets approx 11,000 people could be reached.

Grant #3)  Art of Wellness/R2ISE –  Will provide participants an opportunity to learn about multiple pathways to successfully practice recovery from substance abuse through an interactive arts experience presented by peers and allies for recovery.  Drumming/percussion, dance/movement, visual art, music & creative writing are integrated into a wellness plan that promotes creativity, inner healing, self-confidence & hope.  Appox 160 participants are expected at the event.

Facebook-InstagramQuality-9Beauty and the Beast! Kudos to Decatur High School for this amazing production – the cast and everyone who worked behind the scenes to bring this story to life.

All the volunteers during the 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service!

Reverend Nibs Stroupe, who is retiring after 34 years of service at Oakhurst Presbyterian Church. He and his wife, Caroline Leach, have served our community in immeasurable ways over the years and we wish them well in retirement! Find out more about Nibs here.

The Madison Avenue Soapbox Derby and Marc Brennan, winner of this year’s Decatur Business Association’s Alma Fleetwood Spirit award.

ALL those who volunteer for Decatur events throughout the year. YOU make a difference!

Myles, the 13 year old who noticed the house fire in Oakhurst last Sunday, had his dad stop, and alerted the folks inside.

Judy Turner for her many contributions to the City of Decatur. If you have not seen the interview with Judy on Decaturish, link here.

Erin Johnson, recipient of this year’s Sally Wylde Award by the Wylde Center. To read about Erin and the award:

Debra Furtado, for her leadership in getting our senior citizens to the Capitol to let Representatives know the importance of Senate Bill 343.

The over 1300 volunteers that participated in the MLK, Jr Service Project.

Per Lee Ann Harvey:

This year, over 1,300 volunteers showed their greatness by bringing action to Dr. King’s vision of a “Beloved Community.” A total of 34 homes of senior citizens were repaired during the three-day service weekend. In addition, volunteers did yard work and landscaping at those homes and 16 more, leading to a total of 50 senior citizens’ homes benefiting from this service weekend.

The breadth of work done was remarkable. There were many simple, yet life changing, tasks, such as simply de-cluttering decades of former treasures that had accumulated within the homes. The seniors had been overwhelmed by the thought of clearing out these items and physically were not able to take them out of their homes for pick up by Sanitation. A steady stream of volunteers helped the homeowners sort through the items before taking the items to the five rolloff dumpsters that were filled. There was such a large accumulation that many items were still left at the curb for future pick up.

Yard crews did a massive amount of work. During the first shift of the weekend, they had already filled 1,200 lawn and leaf bags. Throughout the weekend, they filled one and a half pallets of bags. Numerous volunteers worked to deep clean homes and a vast amount of painting was done.

This year’s Hometown Heroes:

Special Hometown Hero Award presented to Mayor Jim Baskett and his wife, Mickey.

Others include:

Sally Brozek, Eli Dodson, Larry Holland, Sherri Kennedy, Helen Lowenthal, Lorri Mills, Anne Morris, Jeff Newberry, Kathy Phillips, Michael Rossi, Clay Scarborough, Danielle Suchdev, Kelly Walsh, Marty Wood

Read their bios here.

Scott Doyon and all of the Oakhurst Porchfesters for making the first annual OH Porchfest a smashing success!

and Commissioner Bill Bolling, who was recently recognized as the second recipient of the Harry West Visionary Leader by the Atlanta Regional Commission!

A building!

“Decatur’s Eloise T. Leveritt Public Works Building Project was recently named a 2015 Public Works Project of the Year by the American Public Works Association (APWA). This year, the team of winners includes the City of Decatur, GA as the managing agency; Hogan Construction Group as the primary contractor; and Stevens & Wilkinson as the primary consultant; these winners were presented with the award during APWA’s 2015 International Public Works Congress & Exposition Awards Ceremony in Phoenix, Arizona held August 30-September 2, 2015.” Read the complete announcement here:

Kecia Cunningham, Decatur Mayor Pro Tem. Kecia was elected to the City Commission in 1999 and was elected Mayor Pro Tem in 2013. She graduated from Agnes Scott College and has claimed Decatur as home since the late 1980’s. Kecia resigned her seat on Monday, August 17 to take a job as key accountant for Public Financial Management Inc. in Harrisburg, PA and to join her long-time boyfriend.

It has been an honor and privilege to serve with Kecia – I will miss her and wish her all the best. We are indebted to her for her service to the City.

Amanda Thompson, who has been offered a great opportunity to serve as the Arts Program Officer for the Knight Foundation and will be relocating to their Miami office. Amanda will be working with the Knight Foundation’s resident community program to make recommendations for funding for arts programming for participating cities in their program.

Here is a link to an interview in the AJC that was published several years ago – the interview provides great insight into Amanda’s ability to mix creativity, process and smart decision making.

Best of luck Amanda – we will miss you!

Mayor Emerita Elizabeth Wilson for her role in making the History Exhibit such a remarkable tribute to the Beacon Community. Visit the exhibit at the new Beacon Municipal Complex!

Frank Burdette,  this year’s recipient of the Sally Wylde Environmental Award by the Wylde Center – for his work in leading the home insulation efforts of the MLK, Jr Service Project each year.

Chris Billingsley for his dedication in recognizing veterans each year on Memorial Day by coordinating the placement of flags on graves of those who have served our Country.

Oakhurst Elementary for celebrating its 100th year anniversary and for winning the GA Safe Routes to School Resource Center Partner of the Year for 2015!

Amanda Thompson, for heading up the first ever danceDanceDANCE event, transforming E. Howard St into an EcoArts District with street dancing, performances, and fun!

Agnes Scott College, which recently celebrated the opening of its most recent solar array adjacent to the soccer field, adding to their solar arrays on the roof of the Bullock Science Center and the parking deck. Check them out!

Dr. Phyllis Edwards in recognition of her twelve years of service to the City of Decatur Schools as Superintendent.  Many thanks to Dr. Edwards and I wish her well with her move back to Florida.  A letter from Dr. Edwards can be found here:

Lena Stevens
Project Manager, City of Decatur for her work with the Environmental Sustainability Board and for the City’s Google Fiber efforts

MLKlitterOakhurst neighborhood Clean-up crew: 11 families found a fun way for younger kids to participate in the volunteer spirit of MLK day with an Oakhurst neighborhood litter pick-up, covering 11 miles of sidewalk. Each family filled a miminum of 2 garbage bags. some filled 3 or 4!

MLK HVAC volunteer Mitch Sosebee, who repaired two furnaces for seniors during the recent frigid weather. What a volunteer!

This year’s Hometown Heroes!                   

  • Mary Davis                                                   
  • Gayle Gellerstedt & Bill Funk                       
  • Annie Godfrey                                               
  • Michelle Kuperman                                       
  • Joann Majercsik                                             
  • Rob Pegel                                                       
  • Jennifer Rhett                                                
  • Brian Smith                                                    
  • Deanne Thomas                                             
  • Michael Vajda            

Decatur Makers for a terrific MakersFaire

City Schools of Decatur – winner of a 2014 prestigious Golden Radish award presented by Georgia Organics. 

The Farm to School Program is a collaborative effort between the Wylde Center and the City Schools of Decatur; winners of the Golden Radish Award are  selected by the Georgia Department of Education, Georgia Department of Agriculture, Georgia Department of Public Health and Georgia Organics.  CSD was one of 30 school districts throughout the state to receive the honor.
  • Locally grown food items were featured in school meals 32 times, and menus included a fun fact about that month’s produce.
  • Over 75% of schools in the district have edible gardens.
  • Teachers integrated farm to school into their curriculum at least 300 times by incorporating the school garden into lesson plans. Some lessons were provided by The Wylde Center.

Haints and Saints Halloween Parade – sponsored by HomeGrown

Pictures can be found here:

Mary Flad– winner of DBA Alma Fleetwood Spirit Award for 2014 Congratulations to DBA member Mary Flad, Volunteer Extraordinaire, who received the 2014 Alma Fleetwood Spirit award at the October DBA meeting. Wendy Watkins, a past DBA president, made the presentation and Alma Fleetwood’s family was present. The award honors the memory of long-time Decatur resident and City of Decatur employee Alma Fleetwood, who always had a smile, a kind word and a hug for everyone.

The many Decaturites, businesses, and even the City itself for being chosen Best of ATL by Creative Loafing. There are even some best of the Best of–ers …see how many you can find!

Mike Vajda, chair of the BBQ, Blues and Bluegrass Festival Committee, other committee members and Volunteers!

Evan Hynes and Spencer King, both DHS 2012, street artists who completed the mural projects along College Avenue on the back side of the Valero gas station building.  Read more about this project in the September FOCUS.  Thanks to their efforts, instead of graffiti we now see art!

Students recognized at the 23rd Annual Decatur Housing Authority Excellence Awards.

2014 Decatur Postcard Project winners; 12 new unique Decatur postcards have been chosen and are available at the Decatur Visitors Center.

Long time Oakhurst resident Louise Jackson, who was presented with the  2014 Sally Wylde Cultivating Life Award at the city of Decatur and Wylde Center Earth Day celebration on Saturday, April 19,  at the Oakhurst Garden. Mrs. Jackson was honored as a founding member of the garden, along with Sally Wylde.

Oakhurst Community Choir, who recently performed at Sidewalk Saturdays; their Maytime Madrigal performance was lovely and inspiring. This choir was established in 2013 as a non-audition choir welcoming all teens and adults. For more information: [email protected].

City Public Works for our spring neighborhood clean up days!

 Trees Atlanta, who celebrated the contribution of100,000 trees to Atlanta’s urban forest since 1985! 

MLK Volunteers! Special thanks to Paul Mitchell, chair of the MLKing Jr Service Project, who provided this “MLK By the Numbers” info-graphic after presenting this at a recent City Commission meeting.

City staff for their efforts during the 2 snow/ice events in January and February – many thanks!!

Melissa Stratton, Mark Brennan and other volunteers for another successful Oakhurst Wine Crawl.

Mayor Jim Baskett and Mayor Pro Tem Kecia Cunningham on their re-election for 2014.

School Board Chair Bernadette Seals and Vice Chair Garrett Goebel on their recent election to these leadership positions.

Mark Wisniewski and Valerie Wilson for their service to the Decatur Education Board.

The 2013 Hometown Hero Awardees! Kristin Allin, Richard Blackwell, Kurt Buchsteiner, Lee Goldsmith, Jack Jackman, Tamara Jones, Diane Loupe,  Lucia Pawloski, Nia Schooler, Amy Weaver

Arthur Ratliffe, recipient of the Decatur Business Association’s 2013 Alma Fleetwood Spirit Award

Decatur Housing Authority, recipient of the Atlanta Regional Commission’s 2013 Development of Excellence Award for the Oliver House at Allen Wilson

The participants of the 3rd annual Madison Avenue Soap Box Derby, who braved the rainy weather and raced to raise money for the Samuel L Jones Boys and Girls Club of Oakhurst!

All of the Decatur Book Festival volunteers!

City of Decatur Police!

Our wonderful community volunteers! Special recognition to those who recently volunteered for the Decatur Arts Festival, the Decatur Beach Party and to those who will be volunteering for the Decatur Barbeque, Blues and Bluegrass Festival!

Agnes Scott College! Agnes Scott has been selected for Georgia Power’s Advanced Solar Initiative. Their projects are two 98 kW roof-mounted  photovoltaic systems to be constructed on the Bullock Science Center and the Office of Facilities.

Beth Vann-Turnbull, who after almost 12 years as the Executive Director at Decatur Cooperative Ministry, Beth will be relocating to her home state of Virginia at the end of March. She has provided extraordinary leadership and service to DCM, which now helps over 750 local families per  year prevent and overcome homelessness. She has collaborated with many city leaders, business and civic organizations to build partnerships that are putting Decatur in a national spotlight as a model for sustainable solutions for homeless families.

The Seen Gallery: On Saturday, March 16, 7-10 PM, The Seen Gallery celebrated its 10th anniversary. Opening its doors in October of 2002, housed in the Old Scottish Rite Hospital in the Oakhurst business district, the gallery moved to its present location at 415 Church Street in March of 2009. 

The City Schools of Decatur for the historic visit of President Obama to College Heights Early Learning Center and the Decatur Recreation Center!

The more than 1200 volunteers who worked on the MLK Project this year.  I will provide more information about this year’s project in my next newsletter when all the statistics are finalized – more kudos to come! Learn how to donate or participate next year at

The 2012 Hometown Heroes!  Peg Bumgardner; Jim Clanin; Lynne Curtice; Victor Donham; Vinny Ferguson; Eddie Fowlkes; Mike Killeen; Walt and Ally McMann; Paul Mitchell; Jim and Claire Newbury; Arthur Ratliff; Margaret Schuelke; Susan Sparks; Stephanie Van Parys; Greg Wiseman; Marc Wisniewski                                                 

The Housing Authority of the City of Decatur, Georgia, which was named Multifamily Project of the Year by Southface and the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association at the EarthCraft Celebration of Excellence held at the Southface Eco Office in Atlanta.  EarthCraft, the Southeast’s premier green building program, promotes energy efficient, healthy, comfortable and durable new construction and renovation. 

 The Decatur Housing Authority and NorSouth Construction were honored for leadership and excellence in green building design and construction for Oliver House, a multifamily senior living development in downtown Decatur.  The project exemplifies high-performance green building and includes features such as a 50 kWh photovoltaic system, a Huber Zip weather resistant barrier, and geothermal HVAC and water heating. 

Decatur Housing Authority, for the recent opening of Oliver House!

2nd Annual Madison Avenue Soapbox Derby Congratulations to all of the participants and organizers; this event raised $12,196 for Our House, A Childcare and Support Center for Homeless Families (  A great day and fun for all. Hopefully we will see some of the cool cars in the Oakhurst  Arts and Music Festival parade.

City of Decatur awarded Most Fit City for third year in a row at the Kaiser Permanente Corporate Run/Walk. Go Team Decatur!

Edward McNally for organizing, recruiting and securing such great music for Jazz Nights!

Anne Clarke for her service as ONA President 2011-2012, after serving as President-Elect and Treasurer.

Rebekah Borse, who continues to organize and coordinate the volunteers for the Decatur BBQ Blues and Bluegrass festival each year.

Natasha Trethewey The United States named its 19th poet laureate June 7, 2012:  Natasha Trethewey, a professor of English and creative writing at Emory University in Atlanta and a resident of Decatur. She is the nation’s first poet laureate to hail from the South since the initial laureate — Robert Penn Warren — was named by the Library of Congress in 1986. Ms. Trethewey will also be the Keynote speaker for the AJC Decatur Book Festival, Aug 31-Sep 2, 2012.

Caroline Leach, who recently retired from active ministry as Associate Minister with Oakhurst Presbyterian Church after 27 years of service at Oakhurst Presbyterian. Many thanks to Caroline for her contributions to the Oakhurst community both within the Church community and the community at large.

Public Works Department Kudos to the PW department for another successful Spring Neighborhood Cleanup Days. PW provided up to eight (8) employees and four (4) trucks on the Saturdays in April , May and June from 8:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. to provide this service.  Thank you!

Margaret Schuelke Decatur resident and executive director of Project Community Connections in Oakhurst. Margaret was recently named one of the nation’s thirteen Champions of Change in the Fight Against Child and Youth Homelessness by the White House! She will travel to Washington on July 12 to be honored at a ceremony at the White House. Congratulations!

The Decatur High School Graduating Class of 2012!

Greg Levine, recipient of the Sally Wylde award presented by the Wylde Center on Earth Day

Decatur Farm to School,  recognized as Partner Up! For Public Health Hero! The Decatur Farm to School Initiative (DF2S) was named one of the first “Partner Up! for Public Health Heroes” as part of a new recognition program sponsored by the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Partner Up! for Public Health Campaign.

The joint DPH/Partner Up! for Public Health program is aimed at recognizing Georgia organizations and individuals who make important contributions to the health of their communities. DF2S was selected for effectively addressing the public health challenge of student nutrition in their community.

Greg Levine, Trees Atlanta and volunteers for planting almost 80 trees along Howard Avenue and College Avenue.

Publix Marathon Decatur cheering groups!

Paul Pierce, Decatur Housing Authority. After 38 years of service to the Decatur area at Decatur Housing Authority, Mr. Paul A. Pierce has retired from DHA.  I appreciate the leadership he has provided at DHA and wish him the best in his retirement.

MLKing, Jr Service Project Volunteers All 1258 of them this year! “In 1994, Congress designated the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday as a national day of service …, the MLK Day of Service is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service – a ‘day on, not a day off’.” ( More than 1200 volunteers worked this past weekend to help make homes for seniors safer and warmer. This remarkable event that celebrated its 10th Anniversary this year could not be possible without the generosity of neighborhood groups, churches, scout troops, and the many volunteers who work on the organizational team, as house captains, yard captains, and as individual volunteers.  Read more about the MLK project at  The MLK Jr. Service Project is sponsored by the Decatur Preservation Alliance in partnership with the City of Decatur and other organizations.

Bill Bolling, 2012 Georgian of the Year Bill Bolling, Executive Director of the Atlanta Community Food Bank, has been named Georgia Trend’s 2012 Georgian of the Year.  Bill started the first food bank in the South in 1979 and continues to lead the remarkable work of the ACFB which distributed about 34 million pounds of food in fiscal year 2010-11.  Read more at

Mayor Bill Floyd and Attorney Bob Wilson Were named by Georgia Trend magazine in their listing of 2012’s Most Influential Georgians! Read more at

2011 Home Town Heroes! Decatur honored 14 Hometown Heroes for contributions made to the Decatur community on December 6 at the December Decatur Business Association meeting. District 2 Hometown Heroes include: Alan Ashe, Marc Brennan, Daniel Flores, Lori Leland Kirk, Mark Sanders, Melissa Stratton, Seegar Swanson, and Kyle Williams. Other Hometown Heroes recognized are: Roger Bryant, Jodi Dick, Walter Kellar, Louis & Sandra Rice and Susan Riley.

Lyn Menne, Decatur’s own Assistant City Manager, Community & Economic Development, was recently honored with Georgia’s Department of Community Affairs Leadership Award. Presentations took place during the Georgia Downtown Association Conference September 28th– 30th in Rome, GA. As the premier conference on downtown revitalization in the state, the Georgia Downtown Conference promotes downtown and economic development through public awareness, governmental relations and education. Congratulations, Lyn!

Jim Baskett (at-large) and Kecia Cunningham (District 2) and Bill Floyd (District 1) on their recent re-elections to the Decatur City Commission

Julie Rhame (District 2) on her re-election to the City Schools of Decatur School Board and Garrett Goebel (District 1), newcomer to the CSD Board

Paul Pierce, Executive Director and the Decatur Housing Authority, who were recognized in the Southface Journal of Sustainable Building for DHA efforts in pursuing EarthCraft certification for all three phases in the demolition, construction and reconfiguration of the Allen Wilson Terrace apartments.

Park Renewal Day winners:

  • First Place: Troop 18-Prepared to Pulverize Privette
  • Second Place: Decatur High School Super Close-up
  • Third Place: Ivy League-Midway
  • Fourth Place: Beasts in the Brush-Academe of the Oaks

Thanks to all who participated – and if you have not visited Dearborn Park recently, go see the progress and take a walk in a wonderful linear park!

Madison Avenue, for hosting its first ever soapbox derby! By all reports, this will become an annual fall event.

Winnona Park Environmental Committee and the Avery triangle landscaping group!Hopefully those who drive past the Avery-Kirk Triangle every day have noticed something new! Thanks to Gibbs Landscape Co., we have a brand new island design. It incorporates a wide and winding gravel path with benches that should serve as a nice place for pedestrians to stop and chat. Please note that we are still in phase one of the design. So be on the lookout for more seasonal color plantings and a more established landscape as our new plantings take root and grow. Also, we’re still debating the color of the gravel (“crimson stone”). It gives the island a woodland look, but another color choice could provide a better contrast.

Mrs. Louise Jackson and Mrs. Mary Whitehead, Grand Marshals for the Oakhurst Arts and Music Festival Parade.

The MAK District, which was recently approved by the Georgia Historic Preservation Committee. The MAK District is also on the agenda for approval at the Nov. 4th National Historic Board. In order to finalize everything we will need to host a MAK Meeting where the state officials will discuss all of the details of how this will positively affect our district. Please understand there are no additional restrictions against our properties resulting from this approval. There are significant benefits which will be outlined at that meeting. The meeting is tentatively scheduled for the last week in October and notices will be sent to MAK residents when the date and location are set.

City of Decatur, winner of the Kaiser Permanente Corporate Run Walk “Fit City” award for 2011.  The City had 256 registered participants for the September 8 event!

Greg Levine, who has been named co-executive director of Trees Atlanta. Levine will be chief program officer. He’ll head up all program functions (including NeighborWoods, the urban forestry crew, and forest restoration), education functions and building maintenance. Levine has been instrumental in developing Trees Atlanta programs by building relationships with community leaders and making strong connections with volunteers.

City Schools of Decatur, for a beautiful new 4/5 school at Fifth Avenue!

Decatur Public Works Department and Active Living, for the new crosswalks, sidewalk medallions and coordination with City Schools of Decatur for Safe Routes to School!

Oakhurst Market, which will be opening very soon! Owner Marc Brennan says that the Oakhurst Market should officially open by next week. Located in the old Real Source real estate office at the intersection of Oakview and Eastlake, the market will have

  • Butchered high-quality, grass-fed meats
  • In-house roasted turkey, beef, pastrami
  • Steinbeck’s signature pimento cheese
  • In-house baked bread
  • To-go dinners
  • Fresh herbs and vegetables from the Oakhurst Garden and Sugar Creek Farm
  • A seven-foot wine wall
  • Growlers

Trees Atlanta, which was recognized at the July 5 City Commission meeting for its work in Decatur. Trees Atlanta has collaborated with the City of Decatur to plant more than 1200 trees in Decatur with over half of these trees being planted in Oakhurst. The tree plantings in addition to an initial value of almost $200,000 provide annual benefits approaching $50,000 for improved air quality, energy savings, increased property values, CO2 absorption and better storm water management. The City has also proclaimed Saturday, December 10th to be Trees Atlanta Day in Decatur.

Vision Properties and Bruce Cohen and PRI for bringing a little “Hollywood to Oakhurst” this month with the filming of Jayne Mansfield’s Car.

City of Decatur Public Works Department – check out the video for “Enthusiasm for Your Curb”

College Heights Early Childhood Learning Center (in partnership with their PTA), who won a Fruit Tree Planting Foundation grant ( to plant 25 fruit trees around their school!!! The purpose of the foundation is to bring orchards to school yards to improve school lunch nutrition. The educational component to this grant teaches the students the importance of fruit in their diet and how to care for the trees. Thanks to Ellen Mathys for organizing some 15 volunteers (including Principal of CH, Suzanne Kennedy) who planted the trees on Memorial Day.

Winners of the Decatur Design Awards 2011, including the following businesses, homes and schools in District 2:

  • McGowan’s Oakhurst Pub
  • Columbia Theological Seminary (new Graduate Student Residence Hall)
  • 230 5th Ave
  • 239 W Hill St
  • 120 Adams St
  • 601 Third Ave

The Decatur Farmers Market, which is celebrating its one year anniversary on Saturday morning, June 11. The Market is pleased to start its second year of offering a gathering space that supports organic, local, and sustainable foods in Georgia on Saturday mornings. Residents can comfortably enjoy the two new picnic tables under the shaded magnolia. And for those who travel on two wheels, a bike rack has been recently installed for your convenience. Four wheelers have plenty of free parking in the Calloway Building lot at the corner of Trinity Place and Commerce Dr.

Claire De Pree and Mary Pousner!

The artwork for this year’s Decatur Arts Festival posters and T-shirts was created by Decatur artist, Mary Pousner and the 2011 Kids and Teens poster was created by 16 year-old, Claire De Pree. Congratulations to Mary and Claire, both Winnona Park residents.

Peter Michelson! Local CEO Nominated for National Award

Peter Michelson, founder and CEO of Decatur’s Renewal Design-Build, is one of only thirty individuals nominated for the national Fred Case Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Out of these thirty, four finalists and one winner will be chosen by a panel of judges from Case Design/Remodeling, Hanley-Wood, and Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. The award “looks to honor those individuals who best exemplify strong business acumen, financial strength, community and industry involvement, and entrepreneurial spirit.

The City Schools of Decatur, which received funds from the Great American Salad Bar Project for three new salad bars! City Schools of Decatur received funding from the Great American Salad Bar Project for three new salad bars valued at $3000 each. The new portable salad bar kits will be installed at Glennwood Academy, Renfroe Middle School, and Decatur High School this semester. The middle and high schools introduced limited salad bars this fall, however the new equipment will allow these schools to offer full salad bars every day. Glenwood does not currently have a salad bar. “The new salad bars are a perfect fit for our Farm to School efforts: we can use them to introduce a variety of fresh and local produce,” says Allison Goodman, Director of School Nutrition. “Besides,” she adds, “students really enjoy customizing their salads.” The Great American Salad Bar Project, an initiative of and Whole Foods Market, aims to put a healthy salad bar in every school across America so all school kids may have access to fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and healthy proteins, every school day.

The City of Decatur! The City of Decatur was recently named Georgia’s “most walkable city” with a walk score of 66; Brunswick, the second most walkable city in Georgia followed with a score of 54. To find out more, see:

Winnona Park Elementary School! Winnona Park Elementary School was recently awarded the Platinum (highest) award for the greatest gains in CRCT scores. According to Bruce Roaden, CSD, Winnona Park met Adequate Yearly Progress three years in a row, had more than 35% of students exceed standards and was in the 98 percentile of Georgia schools that made the greatest gains in the meets or exceeds levels in the CRCT.

Don Rigger! Don has been selected as the 2011 Lacrosse Man of the Year by the Georgia Lacrosse Foundation. Don introduced the sport to Decatur in 2002 and started teams at Renfroe Middle School and Decatur High School.

East Decatur Station! Creators, Jack Honderd, Pat Murphy, and Chuck Bosserman, took an exciting step toward sustainability and installed a 147 kW photovoltaic (PV) system, one of the largest commercial rooftop systems in metro Atlanta and Georgia. Made up of three different arrays, the system produces 198,134 kWh of energy a year and will help offset the electricity load. Drive by and take a look for yourself!

The City of Decatur, which was recently recognized by the Atlanta Regional Commission as a certified Green Community, achieving the GOLD (highest) level of certification. This is the first year for any cities to be recognized at the GOLD level (we achieved BRONZE level last year), and Decatur is only one of two cities to achieve the GOLD! According to Lena Stevens, Resource Conservation Coordinator, “ the City of Decatur has an ongoing commitment to creating a sustainable community, and we strive to be a leader in the municipal marketplace. We have worked hard to find ways to reduce waste, improve energy and water conservation, preserve greenspace, and use nonpolluting transportation alternatives. The Green Communities program provides an excellent opportunity for our community to be recognized for these efforts, and to share what we have learned with other communities Georgia.”

Highlights from our 2010 application included: Fire Station #2 achieving Silver LEED Certification; the creation of an Environmental Sustainability Board; Green Building Incentives Policy; Government No Net Loss of Trees Policy; Green Fleet Policy (5 hybrid vehicles and EV panel truck); Smart Growth and Revitalization Strategies; Electronics Recycling and Pay as You Throw programs and Education and Outreach.

Decatur’s 2010 Hometown Heroes! Decatur honored 14 new hometown heroes at the annual holiday Decatur Business Association meeting this past week. Hometown heroes are recognized for their contributions to the Decatur community and in a variety of ways – serving on boards, volunteering at schools, volunteering at events and festivals, leading neighborhood association groups , etc.

Details about each of these hometown heroes will be in next month’s FOCUS. Our Hometown Heroes for 2010 are:

  • Michele Hillegass
  • Suzie and Ricky Jacobs
  • Reagan Koski
  • Terry LeCount
  • Dr. Lew Lefton
  • Gardner Neely
  • Joy and Steve Provost
  • Morgan Rowe
  • Christine Russell
  • Nancie Sill
  • Jimmy Smith
  • Bryan Swann

Congratulations and thanks to all of you for your contributions to our community!

Oakhurst 100 celebration organizers (Jessica Castle, Melissa Stratton, Marc Brennan, Vandy Dickson, Julie Rhame); Trolley Tour Leaders (Jack Krost and Charles Cope) & Participants

Trees Atlanta and volunteers who planted trees in memory of Sally Wylde and in celebration of Oakhurst’s 100 Anniversary

Park Renewal Day winners!

1st prize – tie between Ivy League [Midway Woods Neighborhood Association] and the Decatur High Close Up Club. They shared the grand prize of $1k and took home $500 each.

2nd prize – P.I.G.S(People in Gloves Pulling Ivy Gleefully) [Decatur First United Methodist]

3rd prize – Beast of the Brush [Academe of the Oaks]

Judges included Mayor Floyd and former Hawks player and current sports analyst, Mike Glenn.

The Annual Decatur Garden Tour. As always it was a great time to see the finest gardens in Decatur and was particularly exciting for me this year as the event featured a large number of Oakhurst gardens in celebration of the 100 year anniversary of the founding of the former City of Oakhurst. All proceeds are shared by the Oakhurst Community Garden Project and the Decatur Preservation Alliance and used to support their operations and programs.

Team Decatur: Thanks to everyone who participated as a part of Team Decatur in the Kaiser Permanente Fitness Walk/Run. Thanks to all 134 of you, Decatur was awarded the “Most Fit City” award at the awards ceremony after the race. Congrats- and look for the lime green ‘Team Decatur’ tee shirts around town!

Elizabeth Kiss, who will remain president of Agnes Scott College for the next six years.

“These last four years have been transformative for Agnes Scott,” said Clyde Tuggle, chair of the board. “Since President Kiss took the helm in 2006, the college’s reputation has grown, attracting more diverse, high-caliber students and faculty and drawing more donor support. Additionally, President Kiss has placed a high priority on environmental and workplace sustainability, fulfilling the college’s mission to ‘live honorably.’ She has our full support as she continues to build on the college’s extraordinary legacy.”

The Decatur Bar-B-Que, Blues and Bluegrass Festival for another successful community event!

Juanchella Francis, community relations specialist for the City of Decatur Police Department. Here’s a note from Juanchella, who has been a real advocate for our city and for us as residents:

Dear Decatur Colleagues and Community Members,

It has been a joy working in the capacity of Community Relations Specialist for the last 16 years. Though a tremendous amount of work was done; many lasting friendships were developed and I will miss all of you. With that said, it is time for me to move on. I have been blessed with an opportunity to work in an area I am most passionate about and “called” to do. So, though saddened to leave my colleagues and so many others, I’m excited about the new opportunity to explore all of the dimensions this next position will offer me.

Effective Sunday, August 29, 2010, please direct all community related issues or concerns to Deputy Chief Lee. He can be contacted via email at [email protected] or by telephone at 678-553-6620

The Decatur Police Department, which was notified that they had received re-certification by the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police. The Decatur Police Department first received state certification in 2002 and was re-certified in 2007. In a letter sent to the Chief Booker this week, Mr. Frank Rotondo, the executive director of the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police stated, “Congratulations for achieving Re-Certification. This accomplishment establishes your agency as one of the top agencies in Georgia. Less than 15 percent of law enforcement agencies eligible to achieve State Certification have accomplished this objective. You can clearly be proud of this achievement.” The current re-certification is valid through July 2013.

Decatur News Online Heroes Bill Bolling of Atlanta Community Food Bank and LeeAnn Harvey of Volunteer! Decatur. Decatur News Online has begun a new series highlighting the efforts of our city’s non-profit and volunteer organizations and the Decaturites who keep them running. “Decatur Difference Makers” will feature interviews with non-profit community leaders sharing how their connections to Decatur inspire them to serve others.

This series will showcase some of what makes our city the best it can be, and each story is an opportunity for readers to find out how they can get involved with the groups we feature. Readers with comments or suggestions for future interviews with non-profit organization executives or regular citizen volunteers who deserve recognition should can leave their thoughts at the end of the articles or contact the author, Jillian Wells ([email protected]). See for updates.

All those honored, especially students, at the Decatur Housing Authority “ Above and Beyond” 19th Annual Excellence Awards program on June 1. Guest speaker Mr. Rayshawn S. Carson, a Decatur High School graduate and local humanitarian who is involved with disadvantaged youth through Ordered Steps Youth Enrichment, Ladies of Integrity and Usher’s New Look Foundation, challenged the students, teachers, parents, mentors and friends to Rewind and stay focused on the dreams of success: “It’s Time to Rewind.” Besides a significant amount of college scholarship money awarded, a number of student achievements were also recognized and celebrated. Among those attending were former Decatur Mayor Elizabeth Wilson, fellow commissioner Kecia Cunningham, Police Chief  Mike Booker and Assistant Chief Keith Lee.

Agnes Scott College for being named Top in State for RecycleMania Grand Champion Division! RecycleMania is a national college and university recycling competition. About 600 colleges and universities signed up for the 10-week competition, which pits institutions all over the country against each other in several categories to see which school can recycle the largest portion of their waste. The Grand Champion Division is based on a school’s combined results in the Per Capita Classic and Waste Minimization competitions and takes a school’s size into account. Agnes Scott’s cumulative recycling rate was 44.5 percent. The average cumulative waste pounds per person was 51.57, almost half that of other Georgia colleges competing in the waste minimization category according to Susan Kidd, director of sustainability at Agnes Scott.

Brick Store Pub Futbol Club for winning the Decatur Cup (adult soccer teams) on Saturday, June 5, as a “kick off” to the World Cup festivities that began June 11.  Check out the games at your favorite Decatur pub!

City of Decatur Staff and Officials, for winning a School Safety Infrastructure Award from the Georgia DOT for the Safe Routes to Schools Program!

David Junger, Assistant City Manager – Public Works, who was successful in being awarded a grant from Coca Cola and Keep America Beautiful to get recycling bins for Glenlake Park!  Thanks go to David Junger for submitting this application twice!

We do not yet have details on how many or the types of bins we will be receiving, but we will pass along that information as soon as it becomes available.   The city of Decatur award was one of 82 chosen from over 1700 applications for the Spring 2010 cycle.

The Decatur Farm to School program, which hosted a screening of the movie ‘DIRT’ at the new Decatur High School Auditorium in celebration of Earth Day events April 17.

Lindsey Mann and all the members of the Oakhurst Community Garden Board and staff for asuccessful “tomato planting” to open the new Sugar Creek Community Garden behind Oakhurst Presbyterian Church in April.

Students of Oakhurst Elementary, who raised over $2000 for UNICEF in their “Change for Haiti” drive!

Lena Stevens and all the City of Decatur Staff who worked on the Energy Efficienty Conservation Block Grant

Decatur is one of sixty-four communities in Georgia that have earned grant funds for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program, which is administered by the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority (GEFA).

Decatur received a grant in the amount of $500,000. The city will partner with the cities of Chamblee and Dunwoody to offer funding to schools, non-profit organizations, authorities and local government agencies. Activities include the installation of energy efficient lighting and HVAC upgrades, and establishing a revolving loan fund for future energy efficiency projects.

EECBG funds totaling $13.3 million were available to small-to-medium sized cities and counties through GEFA as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The state’s largest cities and counties received direct EECBG funding from the U.S. Department of Energy.

For more information, see

Winnona Park Elementary for the great performances in their Talent Show on Sunday, March 14.

Reverend Jack Marks, pastor of Thankful Missionary Baptist Church, for his Tenth Anniversary of service.

Glennwood and Renfroe cyclists involved with the Georgia Rides to the Capitol on March 23

Trees Atlanta and Greg Levine, neighbor and Trees Atlanta Program Director, for his active involvement in getting 65 trees planted in the Oakhurst Arboretum late February in honor of Georgia Arbor Day February 19.  Trees were planted on East Lake, Second Avenue, Olympic Place, Lenox Plac,e and West Hill, along with the Fire House Number 2 and the Scottish Rite.  Hats off to Olympic Place resident Tania Herbert as well, who helped organize the activities.

Juanchella Francis, Community Relations

Decatur Police Department, who organized the MADD Underage Drinking Town Hall meeting at the Decatur Housing Authority Resource Center in early February! A packed house of teens, parents and community leaders discussed issues that lead to underage drinking and how the community leaders can be role models.

Safer Crosswalks!

Newly installed, more visible Brick patterned Crosswalks on S Candler, Howard Ave, Clairmont Road, Ponce de Leon and W Ponce de Leon

MLK Service Project Volunteers

All those who came out in the blustery weather over Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend for Decatur’s annual Day of Service

Eagle Scout project at College Heights

A big “Thank You” to Lloyd Wingard, a Decatur High student who built a covered bench by the garden at College Heights Early Childhood Learning Center as his Eagle Scout Project.