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Downtown Decatur Clock

I figured we’d be learning about several individuals interested in becoming a city council member, since petitions are beginning to circulate around town.  Apparently there are a number of people who intend to run for one of the three seats on the city council up for election in 2017.  The mayor’s seat is the fourth seat.  So far, there are only two running for mayor but I expect more.  Mayor Julie Moore-Wolfe is running as well as John Phillips, a regular face in the city council audience and the current president of the Decatur Library Board.

To be honest, I’ve been urged this year by some to run for city council and I have thought long and hard about it over the last couple months but the timing is wrong.  I’m still a full-time student finishing up a degree with Oregon State and will be starting a new career next summer.  I think that’s just a little too much on my plate to devote enough time and thought into a campaign.  Plus, a citizen doesn’t have to be on the city council to have an impact in the community.  I’ve learned that over and over again.  I’ve noticed ideas that I’ve suggested have worked their way into the political process.

Part of me would love to run because because I think I’d be good at it.  It would be interesting to experience.  However, I’m also the pragmatic type.  Possibly in the future, I’ll give it a go but until then, all keep on blogging.

With that out of the way, it seems like the race is shaping up to be what it usually is.  There are the “safe” candidates that have the blessing of the powers that be and then there are the renegades and newcomers who face an uphill battle.

For those newcomers, I’ll give a little bit of advice because I’ve been watching these elections for quite a while.  If you want to win, go positive.  Share your ideas, be reasonable, listen to all sides, and learn.  If you don’t do that I can almost guarantee you won’t win.  The majority of people who show up to vote in Decatur’s municipal elections don’t like negative messages or negative people.  Some voters do but not the majority who show up and vote!  There are certainly legitimate issues and concerns to address but do it without attacking individuals in the community.  Then, you’ll have a shot.

I’m eager to learn about all the candidates we’ll be introduced to soon.  Like I’ve said before, it’s always interesting!

 

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20160909_090723

Video gaming, landscaping requirements and paddle boarding… what do they have in common?  Nothing, other than they’re the topics I’m discussing today!

Restricting The Number of Gambling Parlors to 30

I’m glad that the city council decided to limit the number of gambling parlors.  Not that I have spoken to everybody in the city but of those I have spoken to, all are glad as well.  Nobody foresaw such establishments setting up shop in Decatur after video gaming was made legal in the city.

I guess I’m against gambling parlors partially for prudish reasons but for many others as well.  To put it bluntly, I think they make the city look cheap, trashy and desperate.  Plus, I see nothing of real benefit from their existence.  They’re kind of like mosquitoes.  So, I guess I’m record for really not liking them. Ha!

McDaniel On Required Landscaping

Councilman McDaniel suggested a couple week ago during a council meeting that the city should scale back landscaping requirements for businesses.  If we’re getting too nitpicky and ridiculous, okay, but I think the requirements are needed.  In fact, I’d like the requirements to be tweaked.

I’ve noticed that new businesses look great at first but as trees and shrubs die, they’re often not replaced.  I’ve also noticed some commercial properties, after a few years, simply cut down and remove living trees.  So, we end up with the same cruddy looking commercial properties as we had before.  I’m not sure if there is a requirement for continued maintenance (I don’t think there is) but I think such a requirement should be set in place.  Maybe we can require a little less landscaping up front to make it more cost-effective long term for businesses, but continued upkeep should be enforced.

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Dead trees in front of Decatur’s Walmart (North) that need replaced and I think Walmart can afford new trees

This goes for the city as well!  I noticed a lot of the trees planted along MLK Jr Drive north of Mound Road were cut down last year but have not been replaced.  When the road was widened and expanded, the trees with thrown in as a nice gesture to the neighborhood for aesthetic reasons.  That commitment needs to continue.  It’s kind of like letting yourself go after getting married.  Nobody wants to be in a relationship with someone who doesn’t even bother trying to look half-way presentable.

Unless we want all of Decatur to look like 22nd Street, we probably should demand a little more!

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Only the stumps remain from trees the city cut down last year on MLK Jr Drive

Paddle Boarding and Kayaking on Lake Decatur

I was happy to read this morning that paddle board and kayak rentals are going to be available on Lake Decatur, at least for a trial run.  Standing Paddle Company is providing the service.  As I’ve vacationed in several other places, I’ve noticed that both of these activities are very popular. Considering Decatur has a lake in the middle of it, it always seemed to me that we should have the same recreational opportunities.  I’m glad someone has stepped up to give it a go and I’ll be trying them out.  Kayaking has been on my bucket list for a long time.  For more information visit their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/standingpaddleco/?fref=ts or their webpage at: http://www.standingpaddleco.com/

 

 

 

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mikeydiscgolf

Last weekend I experienced disc golf for the first time at Nelson Park’s course.  I brought along my 11-year-old son with me and we had a good time.  For the first go around, we didn’t do terrible.  It’s not like I was expecting much other than a learning experience but I discovered that disc golf is like a lot of other things.  It’s looks so much easier to master than it really is in practice.

I don’t know how it was possible but I was able to throw a circular disc, which is essentially a frisbee, and make a boomerang out of it.  My discs seemed to do things that were against the laws of physics, and not to my advantage.

One of our biggest problems was trying to figure out how the course was laid out.  I wasn’t sure where the next target was.  There are 18 of them but we played them completely out of order and skipped a great deal of them.  If I have any suggestions for the park district, it’s to have better signage.  As you can see, we wandered around quite a bit looking for the next target.

discgolf-course

Still, it was great exercise and we’ll be going back.  It’s free to play on the course.  All you need are your own discs, which aren’t very expensive.  In the end we both felt pretty good about ourselves, even though as I was pulling away in the car another player launched a disc about 200 yards, almost effortlessly in front of us.  Show off!  One day I’ll do the same!

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flowers

It’s officially the end of summer, well for me anyway.  I consider September 1st the first day of fall.  Looking back over the last few months I’ve realized something.  I did almost nothing fun or even borderline recreational throughout the entire summer.  Basically, I spent the summer in my basement, hauling out 20 years worth of stuff, painting and organizing but it’s finally done. Sometimes I sit and just admire how empty it is.

It truly was a disaster, beyond words.  Only pictures can tell this story.

The before:

basementbefore2

basementbefore1

The after:

basementafter1 basementafter2

In this last picture, I’ve never actually been able to stand in this part of my basement before.  It’s now my fitness area.  When we bought the house, it came with a pool table that weighs about 6,000 tons.  That’s why the previous owners left it for us!  It’s still down there but I took the legs off of it and have it propped against a wall.  I might have to take a saw to it to get it out the basement but at least it’s finally out of the way.

When I wasn’t cleaning the basement, I was doing homework.  Thankfully, this summer my class load wasn’t terrible.  In fact, this was the first summer in four years that I had enough time to get stuff done around the house.  Hence, the awful condition of the basement in the before pictures.

And when I wasn’t in the basement, or doing homework, I was walking back and forth to my car, running errands, and wow, my life sounds really lame.

flowers

But I did meet up with a friend or two here and there on my way to the car:  A fire hydrant, a tree, and a squirrel!

afriend

A few weeks ago I got a new fitness tracker.  I love trying these things out, mostly because they give me inspiration to work out more and help keep off the weight I lost last year.  Boy, that’s been a challenge and half.  I keep gaining and losing the same 5 pounds after gaining almost 10 pounds back but I’m determined to be a healthy weight.

Below:  Samsung GearFit2

fitness tracker

This weekend I plan to go out and try disc golf for the first time.  It’s basically a poor person’s version of golf using frisbees.  My discs are supposed to be arriving tomorrow and I also ordered a set for my son.  I’ll share our experience later.  When I was in Forsyth Park taking this photo, a young man lost one of his discs in the creek and another in a tree, so I expect some disasters.  I think I’ll try Nelson Park, however.  It’s more open, so there’s less chance of losing things.  Plus, if Forsyth knew a Decaturite was walking through its park, they might just lose it.  That kinda makes me want to go to Forsyth now.

disc golf

And lastly, here’s a pic of Rock Springs I took a couple weeks ago.  I didn’t get a chance to do much hiking this past summer.  Hopefully, before school begins again, I can get out there.

rocksprings

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ash ave

Another week, another request for rezoning at Ash Avenue in Decatur.  This time the planning commission rejected the rezoning request to build an insurance office on the corner of Ash Avenue.  The city indicated that they are interested in planned development for the area, which on one hand I’m very pleased to hear but on the other, I’m concerned that the public won’t know what those plans are or be instrumental in developing them.

I’ve written several times about this issue because this particular area of the city is constantly in the crosshairs of commercial development.  The area is primarily residential today, though Mound Plaza and the Walmart shopping area, has entered the picture over the past 20 years or so.  Finding the right balance in the area is going to require a strong commitment to preserving the character of the neighborhoods.

ash west

Neighborhood on the west and part of the property requesting rezoning

I’m always concerned that the persuasive power of big business and the lure of tax revenue will cause the council to lose focus.  So I hope that planned development will help but I’d like to see the plans.  What is the vision?  I’d also like the opportunity to be involved with the planning.

ash avenue east

Southeast corner of Ash Ave

What District 61 did for the high schools a few years ago is a great template to use.  That was something I participated in and it was a transparent process.  The public was extremely instrumental in choosing the renovation plan the school district put forth.  The blueprints were literally rolled out on tables for all to see and comment on.  It was a bottom up approach to governing that worked very well.  I’m encouraging the city to do the same, not just for Ash Avenue, but for many other parts of the city as well.  It’s a process that builds trust, a greater sense of community, and ultimately a more prosperous city.

 

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