Happy new year! May this be the year that more people get involved in making our community a better place to live.

We have a vision for 2020.  At our final meeting in December, we all spoke about our hopes and prayers. Here is an abbreviated list:

  • More foot soldiers in the community development effort (Join us!)
  • Permanent legislation to restrict dollar stores
  • A working Tree Bank program
  • Local businesses that support the community and show pride
  • Stronger code enforcement (more officers!)
  • People stop littering (and more people help pick up litter)
  • A pavilion in Hairston Park – finally using the 2017 grant we received
  • Responsive elected officials and public servants
  • Passing of necessary amendments to the overlay code

 

The Greater Hidden Hills Community Development Corporation (GHHCDC) represents dozens of neighborhoods in and around our 4-square-mile overlay district.  Make this the year to get involved.  The following short items tell about upcoming community meetings and news concerning our community.

 

Self-storage facility – 2nd community meeting this Thursday

Jan. 2, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m., Crossroads Presbyterian Church, 5587 Redan Road, Stone Mountain, 30058

The developer agreed to Community Council’s request for a follow-up meeting with the community to discuss the self-storage facility being considered for 5636 Redan Road (between small shopping center and tire shop, across from the fire station. Please attend.

You can also speak at the Jan. 7. 6:30 p.m. Planning Commission meeting, and at the Jan. 28, 630 p.m. Board of Commission meeting.  Maloof Auditorium, 1300 Commerce, Decatur.

 

The County Issued a 45-day Moratorium Against New Dollar Stores

County commissioners heard the complaints and took action. Let by Super District 7 Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson, the county enacted a 45-day moratorium on new dollar stores in the unincorporated parts of the county.  The City of Stonecrest has already banned them.

During the moratorium, the County will develop legislation that can curb the proliferation.

“We have to watch out for oversaturation and proliferation,” said Cochran-Johnson.  “I don’t think they should be on every corner.”

These stores may give consumers small bargains, but they retard good economic development and lead to the closure of grocery stores that carry fresh produce and healthy items.  Dollar General and Dollar Tree (which owns Family Dollar) operate 30,000 of these stores, and 10,000 of them were built in the last 10 years.  They plan to open 20,000 more.  The firms target rural areas and low-income urban neighborhoods.  They are part of a dystopian economic outlook that says there will always be a permanent underclass and firms should make a buck off the people.

When decent businesses look for a place to invest, they do not choose locations near dollar stores. Think about what kind of community you want to have when you spend your dollars.

 

Code Enforcement: Small Victory against Family Dollar

In December, the Family Dollar at 1800 Panola Road had 4 citations issued and received a court fine at $250, $250, $200, $200 plus 35% court fee added to the total.

The store did repair the exterior ceiling damage and cut overgrown vegetation. However open storage remains to be an issue. Code Enforcement Supervisor Lorena says that the property will continue to be monitored.

Vigilance pays off. After talking to the unresponsive management, Erica Weaver turned in many complaints against this facility, and we appreciate her efforts.

 

Slaughtering Continues, Trial Looms

The slaughter of animals at Bradford Homes & Grounds, 1676 Rice Road, Lithonia, GA 30058, continues. In October and November 2019, Rudolf Bradford slaughtered 153 animals.  This brings the total of animals slaughtered since the DeKalb County cease-and-desist order to 468 cattle, goats and sheep. He has slaughtered 2,642 animals since Jan. 1, 2016.

We continue to monitor the case.  Mr. Bradford has a court appearance Jan. 6, for the routine Motions Calendar.  Then, there will be a Calendar Call on Feb. 7 at which time the trial date will be set. At either of these appearances, he could plead guilty. Senior Assistant Solicitor-General Thomas Kemp is doing an excellent job keeping us informed of the case.

When the trial is set, it will be helpful for the public to attend.

 

The Next Greater Hidden Hills Community Development Meeting will be Jan. 18, 2020, 10 am.  We meet at Mainstreet Community Center, 5001 Mainstreet Park Drive, Stone Mountain. You are welcome to attend.

Students Win Prizes for Anti-Litter Songs and Videos

The winners of the anti-litter campaign school contest are E.L. Miller Elementary School and Martin Luther King, Jr. High School!

 The Greater Hidden Hills Community Development Corporation (GHHCDC) in partnership with DeKalb County Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson launched the Your Community, Your Litter – Pick It Up! campaign this past March to encourage DeKalb residents to clean-up their communities and eliminate litter throughout the county.

As of part of the campaign, a jingle contest and video contest took place to build litter awareness and promote community pride. Students from DeKalb County were invited to participate and develop original content supporting the campaign theme.

(from left) Gwendolyn Stegall (GHHCDC), Joel Kight (teacher MLK High School), Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson (DeKalb County), De’Ziya White (senior MLK High School), Phyllis Frierson ( (GHHCDC) , and Jan Costello ( (GHHCDC) . Photo by Ennis C. Harvey.

Several entries were submitted for both contests and a committee of judges from the GHHCDC and DeKalb County’s 7th District office came together to tally scores and select winners based on a number of criteria including lyrics, originality, music, interpretation and creativity.

“All of the schools and students that participated were phenomenal and extremely talented,” said Commissioner Cochran-Johnson. “DeKalb County is truly home to some of our country’s most creative youth!”

Miller Elementary School, under the guidance of Victoria Waterman and Raphael Habeen-Ullah led 5th grade students in creating a catchy jingle that reminds people to “Stop, Drop and Pick It Up.  (Click here to hear the jingle.)

MLK High School senior De’ziya White created a video that calls out the senselessness of littering. (Click here to see the video.) The sponsoring teacher was Coach Joel Kight.

The runner-up in the jingle contest was Rowland Elementary School. In the high school video contest, another team from MLK High School came in second, and Miller Grove High School came in third.

GHHCDC awarded prizes: $25 Amazon gift cards for each participating teacher; a $100 gift card to the elementary school winner; a $200 gift card to the winning high school.  

The Your Community | Your Litter Campaign is designed to encourage pride in our communities through education and community collaboration. It is time to clean-up DeKalb!”

It culminates with a guerrilla-style marketing event on June 1, 9 a.m. noon. GHHCDC invites you to meet at the staging area, 1215 S. Hairston Road (just south of Redan and S. Hairston).  This event is an opportunity to remind people that “the only cure for littering is YOU!”