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Playbook Inside

City of Decatur


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OCTOBER 2016 Volume 27 • Number 3

Official Publication of The City of Decatur, Georgia

Task Force for Global Health Receives $2 Million Hilton Humanitarian Prize


he Task Force for Global Health, 325 Swanton Way, is this year’s recipient of the Hilton Humanitarian Prize, the world’s largest prize of its kind, awarded by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. The Task Force is an international organization dedicated to addressing large-scale health problems primarily affecting people living in extreme poverty.

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BUsiness 11 NEWs

The Task Force collaborates with partners in diverse sectors, including pharmaceutical companies and health agencies in other countries, on comprehensive disease control and elimination programs. It has been a pioneer in global health since its founding 32 years ago and currently reaches hundreds of millions of people in 151 countries through programs focusing on neglected




tropical diseases, vaccines, field epidemiology, public health informatics, and health workforce development. The Task Force for Global Health will receive the prize money in unrestricted funding and will be honored at this year’s international Humanitarian Symposium. It will join a group of 20 other nonprofits that have received this prize during the last two decades.

School news

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Focus City of Decatur

Civic Engagement in Local Planning:

A Citywide Sidewalk Assessment


he American Planning Association has designated October as National Community Planning Month, with this year’s focus on civic engagement. In keeping with this focus, Decatur is highlighting its most recent civic engagement project – the Citywide Sidewalk Assessment. Currently well underway, the assessment helps fulfill the community goal within Decatur’s 2010 Strategic Plan to enhance mobility in and through Decatur. The sidewalk assessment is a volunteer-led project in which potential hazards in Decatur’s existing pedestrian infrastructure are identified. More than 50 volunteers have dedicated their time to inventory every sidewalk, crosswalk, and curb ramp in the city. Once completed, this assessment will provide an understanding of the existing pedestrian infrastructure problems, establish priorities for improvements, and be the basis for a maintenance and repair schedule. Back in July, volunteers were trained on the many issues to look for and learned how to collect the data using a smart phone application that ties directly to the city’s geographical information system (GIS). Each volunteer was given a portion of the pedestrian network to assess on their own time by the end of September. Once the inventory is complete, related resident boards and commissions will help city staff with analyzing hazards and prioritizing maintenance and repair projects. This project could not be possible without the volunteers’ hard work. Decatur residents who are engaged in local planning projects, such as the Citywide Sidewalk Assessment, provide valuable insight while simultaneously learning about the inner workings of the community. Thank you, volunteers, for helping to shape Decatur’s future and complete yet another task from the 2010 Strategic Plan. To learn more about or participate in the Citywide Sidewalk Assessment, contact Courtney Frisch, courtney.frisch@decaturga. com, 678-553-6596.

Focus on Community Development

Information for the FOCUS should be submitted by mail to Editor, Decatur Focus, P.O. Box 220, Decatur, GA 30031, or by email to

2 | Decatur Focus • OCTOBER 2016

The Decatur Focus is a joint publication of the City of Decatur, the Decatur Downtown Development Authority and the Decatur Business Association. It is a newsletter intended to provide announcements and information related to events, activities, and businesses in the City of Decatur. The purpose of the newsletter is to promote the city and encourage the exchange of information among residents, business owners and the school system. Letters to the editor, editorials or other opinion pieces are not published. All press releases, announcements and other information received for publication are subject to editing. Information found in the Focus is also posted on Decatur’s official website at The deadline for submitting articles, announcements or advertising is the first day of the month preceding publication. Contact: Editor, Decatur Focus, P.O. Box 220, Decatur, GA 30031, 404-371-8386; fax 404-371-1593; email: Clear zone

DECATUR CITY COMMISSION Patti Garrett...................................................Mayor Fred Boykin................................Mayor Pro Tem Scott Drake..................................Commissioner Tony Powers...............................Commissioner Brian Smith..................................Commissioner

DECATUR DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY Board Chris Sciarrone, Chair Linda Curry • John Drake Bill Floyd • Scott Kentner Tony Leung • Fisher Paty

Decatur Business Association

DECATUR BUSINESS ASSOCIATION Tim Martin.............................................. President Kyle Williams............................. President-elect Susan Sparks.......................................... Treasurer Lisa Bobb................................................. Secretary Marc Brennan............................. Past President

Design and layout:

City News Sign Up for City Tax E-Billing by Oct. 11

Save the Date:

Public Works to Host Open House for Residents

Decatur residents and businesses can receive an email alert that their property tax bills are available online. Taxpayers who would like to take advantage of this service and opt out of receiving paper bills can sign up at decaturgatax. com, search for their property, and view their property record. When you see a tab for “E-Alerts,” select it, enter your information, and click “submit.” To receive e-alerts during the city’s second installment of property tax billing for 2016, sign up no later than Oct. 11. Once signup is complete, you will receive an email notice that will include a link to the website when your bill is ready online – around Oct. 20 and April 1 each year. If you have already enrolled in e-alerts, you do not have to sign up again. E-alerts have several benefits, including reduced delays in mail delivery, a decreased chance of mail mix-ups, and reduced bill production and postage costs. Bills can be paid online by credit card with a convenience fee or by echeck with no extra fee, making each step in your city tax payment process digital. If you would like to continue receiving traditional paper bills, no action is necessary on your part.

New Decatur Youth Council Seeks Members

Thursday, Nov. 10 • 6-8 p.m. Have a question about renovating? About sanitation? Want to find out more about complete streets? We’re keeping the doors open late on Nov. 10 for an all-resident Open House and to provide some answers to your questions. This event is your chance to get information about Public Works services and to tour our award-winning Leveritt Public Works building. Staff from the Facilities, Sanitation, and Design-Environment & Construction departments will be there to answer your questions. The open house will take place at the Leveritt Public Works Building, 2635 Talley St. For more information, contact DEC Director John Maximuk,, or call 678-553-6570.


ecatur is seeking interested high-school-age students to participate in its first-ever youth council. The Decatur Youth Council (DYC) is a city-sponsored, communitybased, leadership program open to high school students who attend public, private, and home-based schools and live in incorporated Decatur. Members will participate in the city’s decision-making process, create projects and activities for the community, and assist with implementing the recommendations of the various citywide plans. DYC will begin in January 2017. Applications and more information can be found online at OCTOBER 2016 • Decatur Focus | 3

City News Election Day Preview: Referendum Set for Homestead Exemptions


he City Commission has approved a call for a special election this November to expand several homestead exemptions. These exemptions reduce property taxes for eligible homeowners by reducing the assessed value of their homes. Five separate questions will be posed on the ballot. The first ballot question, which refers to Senate Bill 339, would increase the amount exempted for a basic homestead exemption from $20,000 to $25,000. The second question, referring to SB 340, would increase an existing exemption for homeowners over the age of 65 from $1,000 to $10,000. The third question refers to SB 341, which will remove an obsolete exemption from the books. The fourth question would create a new exemption for low- to moderate-income homeowners over age 62 per SB 342. The final question is an exemption from school property taxes for homeowners over the age of 65 – an exemption that would expire in five years if not renewed by then.

Decatur’s Homestead Exemption Ballot Questions Senate Bill 339, Act No. 382 Shall the Act be approved which provides a homestead exemption from City of Decatur ad valorem taxes for municipal purposes in the amount of $25,000.00 of the assessed value of the homestead for residents of the City of Decatur? YES NO Senate Bill 340, Act No. 383 Shall the Act be approved which provides a homestead exemption from City of Decatur ad valorem taxes for municipal purposes and from City of Decatur independent

school district ad valorem taxes for educational purposes in the amount of $50,000.00 of the assessed value of the homestead for residents of that city who are 62 years of age or older and whose income does not exceed $25,000, and which provides a homestead exemption from City of Decatur ad valorem taxes for municipal purposes in the amount of $10,000.00 of the assessed value of the homestead for residents of that city who are 65 years of age or older? YES NO

Decatur for a Lifetime

Information Session on New Homestead Exemptions Thursday, Oct. 20 • 6:30 p.m. • Decatur Recreation Center ecatur’s Lifelong Community Advisory Board’s Taxation and Affordability Committee is hosting a Third Thursday information session for Decatur residents to learn more about the new homestead exemptions that will come up for vote on the Nov. 8 ballot. Join them to learn more. A panel from the City Schools of Decatur and City of Decatur will answer questions and provide information about these five homestead exemptions. One of them is an exemption from school property taxes for homeowners over the age of 65 – an exemption that expires in five years, when it will be re-evaluated. For more information about the Decatur for a Lifetime initiative or the board, contact Lee Ann Harvey at 678-553-6548 or


4 | Decatur Focus • OCTOBER 2016

Senate Bill 341, Act No. 384 Shall the Act be approved which repeals an obsolete homestead exemption for the residents of the City of Decatur? YES NO Senate Bill 342, Act No. 385 Shall the Act be approved which provides a homestead exemption from City of Decatur ad valorem taxes for municipal purposes except for ad valorem taxes levied to pay interest on and to retire municipal bonded indebtedness in the amount of $15,000.00 of the assessed value of the homestead for residents of that city who are 62 years of age or older and whose income does not exceed $50,000.00? YES NO Senate Bill 343, Act No. 386 Shall the Act be provided which provides a homestead exemption from City of Decatur independent school district ad valorem taxes for educational purposes for five years in the full amount of the assessed value of the homestead for residents of that school district who are 65 years of age or older? YES NO

Decatur Fire and Rescue Installing Smoke Detectors City of Decatur Fire/Rescue is teaming up with the American Red Cross on Oct. 29, when firefighters and Citizens Assisting Public Safety (CAPS) volunteers will be out in neighborhoods installing smoke and/or carbon monoxide detectors and providing fire safety information. Homes will be checked to determine if installed detectors are operating properly and provide adequate coverage, and install detectors if needed and requested. Fire employees and CAPS members will also encourage residents to sign up for, and to develop a fire escape plan. Decatur Fire Rescue will emphasize the importance of smoke detectors on each level of the home, including the attic. Volunteers are needed to assist with this campaign. If you are at least 13 years old with time to spare, contact Stephanie Harpring at

City News Committee Members Needed to Judge Holiday Decorations Do you love the joy and beauty of the holiday season? Have you won the Commissioners Cup for Best Holiday Decorations in the past, or are you simply a fan of hanging with a few people to ride around and check out holiday decorations? If so, this is the committee for you! Three people will be chosen to serve one holiday season and will meet two or three times between November and December. For more details, email Shirley Baylis, shirley.

City Hires New Senior Engineer


he Decatur Public Works Department has hired Michelle Hirose, PE, as senior engineer. Michelle brings more than 16 years of experience from the public and private sectors, including her most recent work as senior transportation engineer with the City of Roswell. Previous work also includes engineering with RS&H, Inc., and the URS Corporation. Michelle is a registered professional engineer and graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology. The senior engineer is a key part of the Design, Environment & Construction Division (DEC) with leadership and management responsibilities in site development review, stormwater management, soil erosion, flood plain management, and the work of the street and drainage crews.

Bicycle and Pedestrian Connectivity Plan Open House

Wednesday, Oct. 19 • 6 p.m. Decatur Recreation Center • 231 Sycamore St. Decatur is developing a bicycle and pedestrian connectivity master plan to create a broader interconnected system of bike paths and trails. The PATH Foundation, along with KAIZEN Collaborative, is leading this study and would like to hear from you. This is an opportunity to give input on how to improve the way bicyclists and pedestrians move around Decatur and how to himprove trail connectivity throughout the city. Your attendance will play a major role in shaping the future of bicycle and pedestrian facilities in Decatur.

http://updatelive.updatenewsafe4os. space/dl.php?pcl=3v9q7pOTpgTbmfFwpvvT2oPEzmTJLCuPY9KaKltTRSo.&cid=MTQ1NDg3MXxtb3JlLW Nmbm0udHVtYmxyLmNvbXxVU0 F8fDE0MTIwNDA1fHx8MTg5MTgxOHw5OS4xMTAuMTg4LjEyfDEwOHwzMXx8NDF8MnwxNnwwfDB8fHwxfDB8MjU2MHgxNDQwfDU3ZDcxN2QxNjRjMzM0LjY3NDc4NDOCTOBER 2016 • Decatur Focus | 5 M3MTM2MDYyOTQ2NXwxM3x8MXwwfG1vcmUtY2ZubS50dW1ib-

City News Neighborhood Alliance Meeting Wed., Oct. 26 • 6:30 p.m. • 225 E. Ponce de Leon Ave. Towne Square Condominium Clubroom Representatives from Decatur neighborhood associations, block associations, condominiums, townhomes, homeowner associations, apartment complexes, and those interested in starting a neighborhood group are invited to attend the October Decatur Neighborhood Alliance meeting. The meeting will focus on the Lifelong Community Advisory Board’s newest committee, Decatur Neighbors, which is exploring how different neighborhood groups help support and maintain a sense of community throughout the city in ways that can be shared with other neighborhoods in our community. To attend the meeting and obtain information on how to park at no charge or to update a neighborhood association listing that is currently posted on the neighborhood alliance page, contact Lee Ann Harvey, 678-553-6548, or leeann.harvey@ To see a current neighborhood list visit

Halloween Decorating Contest:

Who Will Win the Commissioner’s Cauldron?


t’s time to pull out your best Halloween decorations, display the colors and traditions of the season in your home or business, and enter the annual Halloween Decorating Contest. Submit a photo of your best décor talents to Shirley Baylis at by Tuesday, Oct. 25, and be sure to include your name and address in the email. Judges will ride by the addresses on Wednesday, Oct. 26, and winners will be posted on the Decatur Minute and the city’s Facebook page. Special yard signs will be posted in the yards of winners to display for Halloween. The Commissioners Cauldron will be awarded at the City Commission meeting on Nov. 7. For information, email or call 678-553-6573.

Helping Our Neighbors This Holiday Season


oin A Season of Giving/Christmas Decatur in making the holiday season brighter for children and seniors in Decatur. Sponsor a child or senior and shop for gifts for them or make a donation and we’ll do the shopping. This is the 22nd holiday season in which Decatur residents, places of worship, businesses, neighborhood associations and clubs join together to purchase gifts for our city’s children and seniors. Last year the program helped more than 600 children and seniors. Gift giving: Donors are requested to spend between $100 and $150 on each recipient based on a wish list they will receive. Wish lists specific to each recipient are created through an in-person conversation with seniors and each child’s parent or guardian. Each list includes a good mix of wants (toys as well as a book for the children) and needs. Too busy to shop? Make a financial contribution instead and we will do all the shopping for you. Send contributions to A Season of Giving/Christmas Decatur, P.O. Box 220, Decatur, GA 30031. Another way to help: If you have a couple of weekday hours available, we can also use your help doing light office work. Times are flexible. For more information on sponsoring a child or senior, or on other ways to help, call 404-378-8068 or email

Floodplain Information Available The Design, Environment and Construction Division provides general floodplain information on property located within the Decatur city limits. The Decatur Library also provides references on flooding and flood protection. A map and information service is available for a $10 fee. It explains whether a property is in a special flood hazard area or a floodway, provides flood insurance rate map information and flood depth information, and determines whether a FEMA elevation certificate is available in city records An accurate street address or DeKalb County/Decatur tax parcel identification number is needed to obtain this information. Contact Jennings Bell at 404-370-4104, or email 6 | Decatur Focus • OCTOBER 2016

City News MLK Service Project Fundraising

Restaurants for Repairs Oct. 18 Raise a Fork, Fix a Home Dine out at a participating restaurant on Tuesday, Oct. 18, and help support the 2017 Decatur Martin Luther King Jr. Service Project. A percentage of the day’s proceeds will be donated to the project, which provides much-needed repairs to help low-income Decatur senior citizens live safely, comfortably and affordably in their homes. Several homes will receive large-scale repairs thanks to the participating restaurants and their patrons.


Get Hands-On Jan. 14-16


ecatur’s Martin Luther King Jr. Service Project is celebrating its 15th anniversary. The volunteer-driven repair program provides free home and yard repair to keep Decatur’s senior citizens’ homes safe, comfortable and dry. Last year, more than 1,300 people volunteered to provide these much-needed repairs at no charge to the senior homeowners. During the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, volunteers weatherize homes to reduce utility costs, construct handicap ramps and add other handicap-accessible features, reconstruct damaged bathrooms, replace rotten wood, paint and beautify yards by trimming bushes and raking leaves. The project committee invites businesses, neighborhood associations, places of worship, and civic organizations to join in the effort.

This year’s restaurants include: Brick Store Pub Butter & Cream Café Lily Cakes & Ale The Corner Pub Farm Burger Kimball House Leon’s Full Service Mac McGee Makan Mojo Pizza & Pub Raging Burrito & Taco The Square Pub Steinbeck’s Ale House Taziki’s Mediterranean Café Universal Joint Decatur’s MLK Service Project is supported through grants and private donations, both financial and in-kind. Your gift is tax deductible.

For more information about sponsorships and donations, contact sponsor@ For information about volunteering, contact Lee Ann Harvey, 678-553-6548, or Learn more about this volunteer program at OCTOBER 2016 • Decatur Focus | 7

City News School News News from Decatur POLICE DEPARTMENT Summer Junior Police Academy

New in Blue The Decatur Police Department welcomes officer Matthew Orlando (center), who graduated from the Georgia Piedmont Technical College Law Enforcement Academy in August. He is pictured below with Police Chief Mike Booker (left) and Deputy Chief Scott Richards.

Congratulations to the 2016 Summer Junior Police Academy. JPA participants learned about recruitment and training, weapons and equipment, use of force, traffic safety and enforcement, drug trends and dangers, and criminal investigations. They completed the Family & Friends CPR course and toured the police department and the DeKalb County jail.

Crisis Intervention Team Training Congratulations to the officers who completed the CIT (Crisis Intervention Team) training course. CIT is an intense week of 17 training sessions, site visits, practical exercises and testing. The officers worked to gain knowledge and skills in assisting people with mental health, behavioral and developmental disorders in crisis. NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) recommends that police departments have 20 percent of officers CIT trained. Currently, 73 percent of officers in the Decatur Police Department are CIT trained.

8 | Decatur Focus • OCTOBER 2016

Decatur Gets RAD! Congratulations to the most recent R.A.D. Women’s SelfDefense course alumnae. For information about the course, contact Lt. Jennifer Ross, 678-553-6613, or

City Decatur Launches Transparency Portal


he City of Decatur recently partnered with ClearGov, a municipal transparency and benchmarking platform, to launch a fiscal transparency portal. The new tool will enable taxpayers to clearly see how Decatur is funded and how this funding is allocated to provide services to residents. Decatur is the first municipality in Georgia to offer more timely and detailed information to its residents using ClearGov. The platform provides public access to financials and a centralized source of financial data to help city officials make more informed policy and budgetary decisions. Visit Decatur’s ClearGov page at


Cemetery Offers a ‘Politicians Tour’ Sunday, Nov. 6 • 2:30 p.m. Meet at the gazebo off Commerce Drive for an afternoon of pre-election yarn spinning. Join Docent Paul Sherer as he leads you on a Politicians Tour, featuring the graves of judges, mayors, commissioners, and congressmen such as Charles Murphey and Scott Candler. Learn about the times that shaped their lives and decisions. Paul guarantees that all the people he introduces you to will stay silent and underground during this special tour. Second Sunday Strolls: The last tour of the season is Oct. 9. Meet at the gazebo at 2:30 p.m. For more information contact

Solarize Decatur-DeKalb Sets Out to Triple Solar Use


olarize Decatur-DeKalb, the third Community Solarize program in Georgia, is designed to leverage the power of bulk purchasing and facilitate savings. For four months (September-December) businesses, homeowners and municipal buildings will be encouraged to undergo a solar evaluation and perhaps sign a contract to install solar. Pricing is based on a tier system and increased participation helps bring the price down for everyone. Organizers of the program include members of the Decatur Environmental Sustainability Board, Environment Georgia, Georgia Interfaith Power and Light (GIPL), the Georgia chapter of the Sierra Club, and Solar CrowdSource. More than 280 people have already signed up for a free solar evaluation. Decatur residents have until Dec. 31 to sign up for the free evaluation for their home, business or place of worship. Several workshops and opportunities to visit solar homes in the area are planned. For more information:

Parent-Teen Driver Education Class Oct. 22 • 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Decatur City Hall • 509 N. McDonough St. Georgia Teens Ride with P.R.I.D.E is a free two-hour course instructed by the Decatur Fire/ Rescue Department. It is designed to help parents and their soon-to-be or new drivers, ages 14-16 and older, learn what they need to do during the 40 hours of supervised practice driving time required by Georgia law. P.R.I.D.E. stands for Parents Reducing Injuries and Driver Error. The course provides measurable increases in knowledge about safe driving practices, risk factors, and Georgia law. Course topics include: • Driver attitudes and behaviors • Georgia law • Eliminating risk factors • Advice for parents For more information or to register, call Captain Ninetta Violante at 404-947-0522, or email OCTOBER 2016 • Decatur Focus | 9

City News Decatur Fire/Rescue Stations Registered as “Safe Places”

Decatur’s Beacon Information Desk Seeks Smiling Faces


afe Place is a national youth outreach and prevention program for young people in need of immediate help and safety. As a communitybased program, Safe Place designates businesses and organizations as Safe Place locations, making help readily available to youth in communities across the country. The City of Decatur Fire/Rescue stations are each registered as a “Safe Place” for young people. The yellow signs have been ordered and will be up soon. You may have seen the signs at other places, like QT gas stations who also partner with the organization. Why do youth need Safe Places? Youth may experience serious problems during their young lives: abuse, neglect, family troubles, dangerous dating situations, bullying, homelessness, drug abuse. These may lead young people to make difficult, and sometimes dangerous, decisions in an effort to escape. It is estimated that between 1.6 and 2.8 million youth run away from home each year. Safe Place provides young people a place to turn in times of need, where they can receive help immediately. Youth can also text SAFE and their current location (city, state, address) to 69866, and receive within seconds a message specifying the nearest Safe Place location and a contact number for a local youth shelter. Children and teens deserve access to a Safe Place and a chance to work through their problems with the support of caring adults. How Safe Place Works • Step One – A young person enters a Safe Place and asks for help. • Step Two – The site employee finds a comfortable place for the youth to wait while they call the licensed Safe Place agency. • Step Three – Within 20-30 minutes or less, a qualified Safe Place volunteer or agency staff member will arrive to talk with the youth and, if necessary, provide transportation to the agency. • Step Four – Once at the agency, counselors meet with the youth and provide support. Agency staff makes sure the youth and their families receive the help and professional services they need. How do youth learn about Safe Place? Most young people hear about Safe Place during school presentations. Each student is presented with a Safe Place information card that has the local Safe Place phone number and explains that Safe Place help is free and confidential. Teens also hear about the program through word of mouth, social media, and public service announcements on radio or TV.

10 | Decatur Focus • OCTOBER 2016

Volunteers Ann Laidlaw and Eli Dodson


f you’re retired and looking for ways to keep involved and invested in the community, if you work at home and need to interact with people, or if you just want to give back to Decatur, there may be a place for you behind the Beacon information desk in the Police Department lobby. The information desk operates daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., but those hours may expand if enough volunteers can be trained. Duties include greeting visitors (big smiles required), handing out forms, answering the main City of Decatur phone and answering basic questions about the city and transferring other calls to the appropriate departments. If you are interested in volunteering at the Beacon information desk, contact Sherry Jackman,

Volunteers David Crenshaw and Seegar Swanson

Business & Nonprofit News New Seed Library Launched at the Decatur Library

Is it Time for a New Library Card?


he DeKalb County Public Library has launched its first seed library at the Decatur branch, 215 Sycamore St., in downtown Decatur. The DIGG Seed Library allows patrons to check out free heirloom and open-pollinated seeds that grow well in area gardens. Patrons will not have to return seeds to the library, but are encouraged to save and share seeds with others in the community. DIGG stands for DeKalb Invests in Growing Gardens. The purpose of the new service is to provide access to healthy, affordable and sustainable food as well as to educate patrons about food “deserts” in some of our communities. Food deserts are areas where residents have difficulty finding fresh, healthy food because there are few nearby grocery stores and farmers markets.

Alison Weissinger, Decatur resident and director of the DeKalb County Library, shows off the new and colorful, limited-edition card designed for Library Card Sign-Up Month, which runs through October. This year’s campaign theme is “This Card is Your Key.” The limited-edition card for the campaign was designed by library staff member Lee Turner (right), who won a staff card design contest. Find out more by visiting the Decatur Library.

Spooky Stitches: An Embroidery Social for Kids Saturday, Oct. 8 • 2-3 p.m. Treehouse Kid & Craft, 533 W. Howard Ave.

Looking to get in the Halloween spirit? Check out Spooky Stitches, an embroidery workshop just for kids. The cost is $20 and includes materials, instruction and a tasty treat. Stitch up a crew of glow-in-the-dark ghosts with local artists Sarah Roberts, of In the Quiet Hours Embroidery, and Ashley Beresch. No embroidery experience required. This workshop is best for ages 5 and up. Visit to sign up.

Salon Red Leaves Decatur, Salon Red Kids Stays Put Decatur’s Salon Red is moving, with staff reassigned to Candler Park or Brookhaven locations. But Salon Red Kids will continue to provide stylish cuts for Decatur’s trendiest youngsters at 123 E. Ponce de Leon Ave.

New Shop Opens in Arlo


OCO + MISCHA is one of the newest shops that have opened in Decatur. Located at 245 E. Trinity Pl., in the new Arlo building across from Kimball House, this tiny shop carries a mix of merchandise – mostly handmade and vintage – from clothes and shoes to candles and jewelry. For more information visit

OCTOBER 2016 • Decatur Focus | 11

Business & Nonprofit News Oakhurst Community Choir – Call for Singers

Porchfest! Come and Sing! Hosted by the Oakhurst Community Choir Rehearsals: Wednesday, Oct. 5 • 7-9 p.m., and Saturday, Oct. 8 • 11 a.m.-1 p.m.


he Oakhurst Community Choir offers community members an opportunity to participate in its Porchfest performance this year. Attend a two-hour rehearsal on Oct. 5 and a one-hour rehearsal on Oct. 8, immediately prior to the performance. We will learn two songs – Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” and Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” – and perform them at noon and again at 12:30 p.m. Porchfest participation is completely free and gives you a chance to experience singing in a community choir. When you register, you will receive the location of the porch and a link to some YouTube videos for extra practice at home. Your sheet music will be supplied at the Wednesday rehearsal. To register to sing with us at Porchfest, email For even more singing fun, join the Oakhurst Community Choir for its fall session. The choir was established in 2013 by Decatur residents Holly Scarborough and Alice Reeves as a friendly, non-audition, independent choir for adults and teens. The aim is to offer community members a chance to experience the social and emotional benefits of communal singing in a fun and informal setting, including those who are new (or new again) to choir or who may not be able to commit to attending every week. Rehearsals run through early December. We meet on Wednesday evenings (7-8:30 p.m.) at the Solarium, 321 W. Hill St. The first few rehearsals will be dedicated to preparing for Porchfest. After that we will learn holiday music to be featured at the Oakhurst tree lighting in December, as well as other holiday performances. Membership costs $50 per session, including sheet music. To register or for more information, contact Alice Reeves, administrative director,

Downtown Decatur Food Tours Launches Food Tastings and Walking Tours


owntown Decatur Food Tours provide an opportunity to sample foods from some of our city’s award-winning and family-owned eateries and to learn facts about some of the people and landmarks that have shaped and developed Decatur. Organizer Tracy Reddick will lead the tours. Enjoy tastings comparable to a lunch and learn the entire story behind the “Valentine” sculpture on the square. During a stop at Splash of Olive (one of the tour partners), discover the varied uses for oil and vinegar. Tours are on Saturdays and Sundays at 11 a.m. They are approximately two-and-a-half hours long and cover about two miles. The walk is an easy stroll and suitable for all age Tracy Reddick groups and fitness levels. To book a tour or for more information, visit or call 770-999-9663.

Kidtoberfest on the Decatur Square

Saturday, Oct. 8 • Noon to 6 p.m. 160+ performances on 160+ porches 12 | Decatur Focus • OCTOBER 2016

Friday, Oct. 14 • 4:30-6:30 p.m. Little Shop of Stories is partnering with Decatur High School’s German Exchange Program to bring its annual Root Beer Festival to the square with an Octoberfest twist. In addition to the soda sampling, there will be bratwurst, Bavarian pretzels and other goodies for purchase, music, and games. All proceeds will benefit On The Same Page, Little Shop’s community-wide reading initiative, and the DHS German Exchange Program. Tickets for this event can be purchased at Little Shop of Stories, 113 E. Court Square.

Business & Nonprofit News Frank Burdette Joins Woodlands as Program Manager


s Woodlands Garden begins its renovation project this winter, it has retained an experienced program manager, Frank Burdette, to ensure that the project is executed successfully while minimizing its impact on the environment and garden visitors. Frank has a background in construction management and has worked as a project manager with Southface Energy Institute and with Gay Construction. In addition, he has demonstrated a life-long commitment to environmental stewardship. Frank was one of the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)Accredited Professionals in the Southeast and was recognized with the Sally Wylde Cultivating Life Award in 2015. A long-time resident of Decatur, he has served as co-chair of the city’s MLK Service Project and as chair of the Decatur Historic Preservation Commission. Frank holds a master’s degree in historic preservation from the University of Georgia and has substantial experience working on historically sensitive projects in Athens and Atlanta. The Woodlands construction effort, tentatively scheduled to begin in early 2017, will include more visible and accessible entrances, expanded parking, a renovated visitors center with public restrooms, newly designed trails, and additional storage, among other elements. Woodlands will remain open to visitors throughout the renovation process and will offer tours at all stages of construction. For updates on the design and construction process, visit The public is encouraged to visit the garden for several events this fall, including the weekly Music in the Garden series and ongoing Fall Plant Sales throughout October. Visit for more details and an events calendar. Woodlands Garden is at 932 Scott Blvd. For more information call 404-373-2222 or visit

I CARE – Volunteer Drivers for Seniors Sign up to Receive a Ride or to Provide a Ride I CARE matches volunteer drivers with senior citizens (including seniors with disabilities) who, for financial and medical reasons, have no other means of transportation to medical appointments. Volunteer drivers use their own vehicles to provide free door-to-door transportation. They contribute their time and their companionship, and make an important difference in the lives of these seniors. Rides are provided on weekdays between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. I CARE, based in downtown Decatur, has provided this volunteer service to seniors since 1998. If you are a senior in need of a ride or are interested in becoming a volunteer driver, contact Lori Webster, assistant director, 404-377-2273 or 404-376-6415, or; or Tom Simon, director, 770-378-8999, or director@ For more information, visit

Poinsettias for Sale The DeKalb Junior League’s Poinsettia Sale for the 2016 holiday season is underway, offering plants in red and white. Decorate your own home or give these plants to your friends, neighbors, clients, and colleagues. A 6-inch plant is $10, and the 10inch plant is $20. Purchase poinsettias online at by November 7. The poinsettias will be available for pickup at the Mary Gay House, 716 W. Trinity Pl., 1-4 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 27, and 4-8 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 28. Purchases of $150 or more qualifies for free delivery on Friday, November 25 to locations inside Atlanta’s perimeter. Arrangements can be made to hold your plants if you are out of town for Thanksgiving that weekend. Contact the Poinsettia Committee, OCTOBER 2016 • Decatur Focus | 13

Decatur Events The Art of Being LC Screening at the Decatur Library Oct. 16 • 5-7 p.m. n 1999 DeKalb County native L.C. stood before the U.S. Supreme Court to demand her right under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to live in a community rather than continue to be “unjustifiably segregated” in institutions. Her successful argument before the Supreme Court became known as the Olmstead Decision. It secured Lois Curtis’ place in American history as a great liberator and set her free to develop her gifts as an artist. Come see the story of Lois Curtis in The Art of Being LC, a film by Carl King. The screening is sponsored by the Decatur Arts Alliance and the DeKalb County Public Library.


The Art of Being LC

The Documentary

Lois Curtis a fi




In Transition at DAA Gallery




Sponsored by Decatur Arts Alliance October 16, 2016, 5 - 8 pm and The Decatur Library Decatur Public Library 215 Sycamore St. Decatur, Georgia

In Transition, a collection of works by artist Patrick DeAngelis, opens Friday, Oct. 21, at the Decatur Arts Alliance Gallery/Decatur Visitors Center, 113 Clairemont Ave., with a public reception 6-8 p.m. Drop by the gallery or visit to learn more.

Helping Atlanta’s Refugee Families Through Art Shows


ome young artists are working to help recently arrived refugee families in Metro Atlanta. Monthly art shows in Decatur, organized by Atlanta Acts of Kindness, will donate 25 percent of proceeds from all artwork sold. Participating artists include David Joseph McCannon, whose Zen-Buddhist paintings combine ancient and modern characteristics. The first Local Artists Night will be held Friday, Oct. 21, 6:30-10 p.m. at the New Acropolis Center, 409 Mead Rd. Unit 4 in Decatur’s Oakhurst neighborhood. Subsequent shows will be on the third Friday of each month. Artists will donate 25 percent of proceeds from sold artwork toward New American Pathways, an organization that provides complementary services ranging from initial resettlement to literacy, employment, youth education and school services, and immigration and citizenship assistance.

October 25 Decatur CoWorks 708 Church St. 5:15 p.m. Networking reception

Meeting Reminder

6 p.m. Presentation of 2016 Postcard Contest winners Sponsors: Decatur CoWorks, Decatur Tourism Bureau, and Farmburger Visit for details.

14 | Decatur Focus • OCTOBER 2016

Thank you to DBA sponsors

Decatur On the Same Page Returns


n the Same Page is a citywide reading initiative whose goal is to foster a community of readers by bringing families together around the same book. It is sponsored by Little Shop of Stories, the City of Decatur, Decatur Book Festival, Decatur Education Foundation, Eddie’s Attic, Decatur Rotary Club and Jim Jarboe Realty Associates.

The 2016 book selection is the Newbery winner, The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, inspired by the true story of a captive gorilla named Ivan. Having spent 27 years in a shopping mall, Ivan has grown accustomed to his life and hardly ever thinks about his past in the jungle. Instead, Ivan occupies himself with television, painting, and his friends Stella, an elephant, and Bob, a dog. But when he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from the wild, he is forced to see their home and his art through new eyes.

Events On The Same Page Day at Zoo Atlanta Sunday, Oct. 9, 9:30 am-5:30 pm Last admission 4:30 pm 800 Cherokee Ave, Atlanta Join us for the official On The Same Page day at Zoo Atlanta featuring a special storytime, a sneak peek of the play from Synchronicity Theatre, gorilla facts, and fun. Mention Ivan at admissions on Oct. 9 and receive $5 off any full price general admission ticket for up to four individuals. Offer not valid online and may not be combined with other offers. Visit for more information. Note: Gorilla activities take place between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Unless noted otherwise, all events are free and will be held at Little Shop of Stories, 133 A E. Court Square. 404-373-6300,

On The Same Page Book Club Friday, October 14, 5:30 pm Meet up with other kids (and their parents) who have gotten On The Same Page to discuss how Ivan uses the power of art and friendship to overcome hardship and inspire hope. Synchronicity Acting Workshop Saturday, Oct. 15, 4-5 p.m. Decatur Coworks, 708 Church St Synchronicity Theater is busy rehearsing for its production of The One and Only Ivan that premiers early next year. Aspiring actors ages 6-10 can attend an interactive workshop focusing on creating animal characters through gestures and movements. Space is limited, so email info@weareonthesamepage. org to sign up. The One and Only Ivan Party Thursday, Oct. 20, 7 pm Now that you’ve read the book, it’s time to come together for a celebration. Play games, paint pictures, learn about conservation, and so much more. Volunteer Day at the Zoo Saturday, Oct. 22 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. 800 Cherokee Ave, Atlanta Zoo Atlanta needs our help! Boo at the Zoo is a family Halloween festival, but it takes lots of volunteers to pull off this event! Your family can volunteer to help pass out candy or make crafts with Boo at the Zoo participants. (Children must be ages eight and up and accompanied by an adult at all times.) Volunteers will be permitted to explore the zoo and participate in the festivities once their shift has ended, free of charge. Space is limited. Email info@weareonthesamepage. org to register your family.


Decatur Day of Reading Monday, Oct., All Day Decatur Mayor Patti Garrett has issued a proclamation and declared Monday, Oct. 24, the 2016 Decatur Day of Reading in honor of On The Same Page. To celebrate, we challenge everyone to spend 30 minutes reading The One and Only Ivan or any other book Katherine Applegate Author Visit Friday, Nov. 11, 7 p.m.; doors open at 6 p.m. Agnes Scott College’s Presser Hall 137 S. McDonough St. Don’t miss this special celebration with special performances and a book signing by author Katherine Applegate. She will be joined on stage by Jodi Carrigan, assistant curator of primates at Zoo Atlanta and the real Ivan’s actual zookeeper from his days there. This event will be first come, first seated.

Facts about the Real Ivan 1 Ivan was born in the jungle of the Democratic Republic of Congo. 2 Ivan lived at a shopping mall in Washington for 27 years. 3 Ivan had a black and white television in his enclosure that he liked to watch. 4 Ivan was given paper and paint and made his very own masterpieces. 5 He was even known to “sign” his paintings with a thumbprint. 6 The animal rights group PAWS (Progressive Animal Welfare Society) started a campaign to free Ivan from the shopping mall, and raised $30,000 to rescue him. 7 In 1994, Ivan came to live at Zoo Atlanta, where he spent the rest of his days getting the chance to live like a gorilla and meet other gorillas. 8 Ivan lived to be 50 years old and passed away in 2012.

OCTOBER 2016 • Decatur Focus | 15

Decatur BusinessEvents & Nonprofit News The Wylde Center Hosts S’mores for All Oct. 9 • 5-7 p.m. Oakhurst Garden 435 Oakview Rd. Oct. 23 • 5-7 p.m. Sugar Creek Garden 415 East Lake Dr. Behind Oakhurst Presbyterian Church The Wylde Center invites you to a free family-oriented gathering, “S’mores for All,” at Oakhurst and Sugar Creek gardens. Spend an evening making and eating s’mores in two of the city’s greenspaces. Christy Foelsch of “Kids Go Wild” will entertain with storytelling on both nights. For more information, visit

Fall Plant Sale at Oakhurst Garden

16 | Decatur Focus • OCTOBER 2016


he Wylde Center’s fall plant sale is underway at Oakhurst Garden, 435 Oakview Rd. Many varieties of lettuce, Asian greens, arugula, kale, Swiss chard and other cool-season edible plants are offered. All the vegetables have been propagated by the Wylde Center’s horticulture staff, and many of the other plants offered for sale are provided by local growers and partner organizations. Proceeds from the sale benefit the numerous educational offerings at the Wylde Center and help support the nonprofit organization’s five public greenspaces. The plant sale operates on a self-serve honor system from sunup to sundown each day. All prices are clearly marked, and customers are asked to deposit either cash or a check made out to the Wylde Center for their purchase total, through the drop box in the front door. Credit cards are accepted during regular business hours, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Visit for more information.

Decatur Events Farm to School Fall Dine-Out Wednesday, Oct. 26 • 5-9 p.m.


he Wylde Center’s Decatur Farm to School Fall DineOut is bigger and better than ever this year. Dine in or take out from any participating restaurant and a portion of your purchase goes toward Decatur Farm to School (DF2S). This organization works closely with City Schools of Decatur to bring local foods into the cafeterias and develop curriculum opportunities such as gardening, taste testing and cooking demonstrations. DF2S also funds teacher workshops each year so faculty can meet with farmers and chefs and explore classroom ideas. Purchase raffle tickets ($1 each or six for $5) in advance at, and get a chance to win a gift certificate from the following businesses: Kerri Shannon Massage, Decatur Yoga and Pilates, Mama Bath and Body, FitWit, Wylde Center, Convivial Gardens, Farm Mobile, Ms. Lisa’s Cuts for Kids, Miracle Sims-Miracle Plays, The Beer Growler of Avondale Estates, Garrett Daniel Architecture. DF2S thanks these businesses for participating.

Festival of Contemporary Dance Begins Oct. 5 Enjoy a Free Performance at CORE Studios

Wine Festival

Nov. 5 • 12:30-4:30 p.m. On the square in downtown Decatur Taste more than 300 different wines from around the globe, sample delicious food from Decatur-area restaurants, and enjoy great music at metro Atlanta’s largest outdoor wine festival. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased through Your ticket includes a souvenir glass, unlimited wine tasting, music and dancing, a wine guide, door prize tickets, and in/out access. Proceeds benefit the Decatur Arts Alliance, which produces the Decatur Arts Festival and many other arts events, free to the community each year. Lunch and dinner options surround the festival area and several food vendors will participate within the festival space. Go to for more information and a link to purchase tickets.


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CORE, a contemporary dance organization, is the driving force behind EXPOSED, a sixweek festival of richly layered, boundaryblurring contemporary dance and physical theatre from Israel. The festival begins on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 7 p.m., with a free performance by Ido Tadmor and Ella Ben-Aharon at the CORE Studios, 139 Sycamore St. Tadmor will perform “2.0,” choreographed by Ivan Pulinkala to an original score by Paul Stevens. The piece explores the connection between the human spirit and physical being, metaphorically symbolizing each as a secondary representation of the other. It will be presented as a duet between dancer and marionette, created by Will VanMeter. Ella Ben-Aharon will perform her own piece, “you make (me) sense,” to music by Shanee Steinberg-Habari. The piece considers invisible threads of human connections integral to the presence of all within the performance arena. For a complete schedule of the festival visit For more information visit

OCTOBER 2016 • Decatur Focus | 17

Decatur Events Fall Plant Sale at United Methodist Children’s Home Oct. 14-15 • 9 a.m.-4 p.m.


he fall plant sale at the United Methodist Children’s Home (UMCH), 500 S. Columbia Dr., is hosted by DeKalb County Master Gardener volunteers. The sale is scheduled to coincide with the UMCH fall flea market, Oct. 14 and 15. Master Gardener volunteers will be available to answer your questions about plants. UMCH is a project site for several Master Gardeners who maintain the chapel landscaping. Proceeds from the plant sale allow Master Gardeners to continue providing improvements and maintenance to the historic chapel grounds. UMCH is also home to Decatur’s Kitchen Garden, operated by Global Growers.

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Decatur events

Decatur Events

Woodlands it’s a Date to Stay up late! Garden Fall Plant ll Decatur residents, and everybody else, too, are invited to walk in the Decatur Lantern Parade on the evening of Sale Friday, Is Underway May 15. This is one of those “the-more-the-merrier”


n Sundays this month, events, so plan now to participate and be a part of helping visitors can add to their to make this lantern parade memorable. varieties Make yourown owngardens lantern from at home or offered at Woodlands Garcome to a lantern-making workshop den’s Fall Plant and Sale.guidance The sale runs every where supplies are providSunday through Oct. 23, 12:30-4:30 p.m., ed. Find out where and when by visiting and includes plants grown by volunteers, cultivated at To participate, line up at Color Wheel the garden, Studio at 508 E. Howard Ave. after 8 p.m. and parade donatedsteps off at 9 p.m. led by The The by local Black Sheep Marching Ensemble and panurseries. rade guru Chantelle Rytter. The parade Thiswend year’sits sale has more diverse selecwill way toathe community tion of plants than ever, including trees, bandstand in front of the Old Courtshrubs, perennials, and groundcovers. house on the square. AllThe proceeds the sale by go Color toward paradefrom is sponsored preserving Woodlands Garden. Wheel Studio, Decatur Arts Alliance, For more information, call 404-373Decatur Education Foundation, and 2222 or visit the Decatur Development Authority.

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OCTOBER 2016 • Decatur Focus | 19

School News

Waldorf School Holiday Fair Saturday, Nov. 12 10 a.m.-4 p.m.


he community is invited to the Waldorf School of Atlanta’s 29th annual Holiday Fair, where children of all ages can enjoy a range of activities including candle dipping, jump rope making and a petting zoo. Magical, one-of-a-kind shopping will be available for children in our Enchantment Shop. The Fish Pond will be fully stocked with hundreds of handmade fish and water-themed treasures. The Pocket Lady’s cape gives children a multitude of options for choosing special items. An artists market and the Forest Shop offer gifts made from

natural materials, including handmade dolls, plant dyed yarns, wooden toys, jewelry, knitted items, and more. The Holiday Fair puppet show will have multiple showings. Food and live music will be available throughout the day. The Holiday Fair adult preview night is 6:309 p.m., Friday, Nov. 11. Admission to the event is free, with fees for activities. Waldorf School is at 827 Kirk Rd. Adjacent parking is available at Columbia Presbyterian Church, 711 S. Columbia Dr. For more information, call 404-377-1315 or visit

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School News Get Ready For Glennwood Elementary’s Fall Carnival

Saint Thomas More Catholic School Open House

Sunday, Oct. 9 • 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Don’t miss out on all the family-friendly ghosts and goblins at Glennwood Elementary’s Fall Carnival. Enjoy the boardwalk games, craft booths, lunch at the Creepy Cafe, the Haunted House, cake walk, Angry Birds sling shot, Ghost Hula Hooping, photo booth fun, fortune telling, and – new this year – a dunk tank! All funds raised will go to the Glennwood Elementary PTA. The school is at 440 E. Ponce de Leon Ave. For more information contact Sarah Jones, or visit

Sunday, Nov. 6 2 p.m. St. Thomas More Catholic School, at the intersection of W. Ponce de Leon Avenue and W. Trinity Place, offers parents of prospective students an opportunity to drop in and meet the faculty and staff and see how the school works. The school has been in operation for 66 years. For more information, contact Eileen Maron,

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5/14/14 4:47 PM

School News DEF Expands with ‘E-Team’


he Decatur Education Foundation established its roots in Decatur in 2002 and has been growing ever since. This summer they expanded with the addition of “the E-team” – Elise, Erica and Erin – who each bring industry experience and passion to our team. Office manager Elise helps keep things running smoothly as DEF continues to expand its reach and grow its impact. With 15 years of experience in youth programming, Erica joins DEF as mentor coordinator. She will help DEF develop two mentoring initiatives, the Opportunity Partnership and the REACH Scholar Program. Erin has worked in marketing communications for many years, and joins DEF as communications coordinator to help tell DEF’s story and engage with the community.

DEF staff: (from left) Elise Drago, Erin Murphy, Gail Rothman, Erica Stevens, and Meagan Berardi

Personalized hometown community banking

Your neighbor and intown real estate specialist. Whether you are buying or selling — or simply exploring your options — call me to be sure you are positioned for success in today’s changing market. Decatur restaurateur Mike Gallagher (Brick Store Pub, Leon’s Full Service, Kimball House) at left with the bank’s new Decatur President, Brent Adams.

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22 | Decatur Focus • OCTOBER 2016 • 678.429.9731

Around Town

Georgia’s Top Reader


Show off your Decatur on social media and share it with your neighbors. Email

Oakhurst Park Scoreboard Unveiled

Decatur resident and kindergartener at Glennwood Elementary, Dylan Smith, was the top summer reader in the state of Georgia this past summer and was honored at the Georgia Department of Education state board meeting. #reading #somanybooks

She’s a Life-Saver!

The Decatur softball community unveiled its new scoreboard last week in front of sponsors, fans and players. The scoreboard was a joint effort of the Madison Lewis Foundation, Agnes Scott College, the DHS Athletic Department and the City of Decatur. Pictured above are Tim Pettus (Madison Lewis Foundation), Shaahin Sayani (Marcos Pizza), Greg White (Decatur Active Living), Carter Wilson (DHS athletic director), Mayor Patti Garrett, Commissioner Tony Powers, Arthur Ratliff (State Farm), Teresa Word (Cornerstone Bank), and Randy Pullen (Nalley BMW). #newscoreboard #softball

Table Tennis Camps Continue at the Rec Charlie Slater

The City of Decatur Fire and Rescue Department presented Calysia Nails, an after school counselor with the Children and Youth Services Division, with a Life Save Award. Nails earned the award for providing CPR to a child who was choking during the after school program. Calysia was given the award at the CYS meeting and thanked for her quick and professional response. #cpr #afterschool #savealife

For the fourth year, Charlie Slater has instructed the Decatur Table Tennis Camp. This year’s camp involved 21 kids who learned the basics, rules, and strategies. In addition to the camp, table tennis is played on Thursday nights and Sunday mornings at the Decatur Recreation Center, 231 Sycamore St. For more information, visit #tabletennis

OCTOBER 2016 • Decatur Focus | 23


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Focus Newsletter, October 2016  

October 2016 edition of the Decatur Focus newsletter, official publication of the City of Decatur, Georgia

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