New Site!

1 06 2009

This site is now defunct.  Check out the new and improved Decatur Metro at www.decaturmetro.com!

Here’s the rss feed too, in case you need to update your RSS reader.





Switching Servers This Weekend

29 05 2009

Lord help me, I’m going to try to move DM to a new server this weekend.

In order to accomplish this, I’m going to have to redirect the url “decaturmetro.com”.  This might take a day or so according to the powers that be, so if you get to DM – as I assume most of you do – by typing in “decaturmetro.com” you might not be able to access the site this weekend.

The alternative, and original url for DM is decaturite.wordpress.com and that should still work to access the old version of the site.  Once the url is redirected to DM’s new home, the old site will be abandoned.  If and when that happens, I’ll make sure to write up a post that redirects you to the new site.

So please, if you’re checking in this weekend, have patience.  Things might not be working properly.

Why move? Well, I’m pretty limited with what I can do with the current site in terms of themes, plugins and layout right now.  The new site and server should allow me more flexibility with the site in the future.  Once we’re at our new home, you begin to see gradual improvements to the site.  But don’t worry, my one vow is to keep it relatively clean.

Wish me luck.  I’m gonna need it.





A Thought for Memorial Day

25 05 2009

All day I’ve been trying to think of a few words to write about our fallen soldiers.  This will have to do.

To all those soldiers both long dead and recently buried, today we remember your sacrifice and take a moment to reflect on the freedoms and unique values we owe to both you and those who survived.

We are not a perfect people, but you keep giving us the opportunity to be.

Thank you.





DM: Now With Threaded Comments!

23 02 2009

The wonderful folks at WordPress, which host this lovely site, have finally made “threaded comments” available across its blogs.  What the heck does that mean?  It means you now have the ability to respond directly to an individual comment in a thread as opposed to being forced to place your comment at the very bottom of the screen.

So, say I say something outrageously offensive, but you’ve just gotten around to the post and there are already 8 other comments below mine about sustainable cat food…you no longer have to say “Hey DM, why so cranky?” and have people wondering what that has to do with farm-raised vs. wild salmon by-products.  Now you just scroll up to my blasphemy-laden rant and click the “reply” button below it.  Then you can write your comment directly below mine so readers have a bit more context as to what you’re referencing.

I’ve allowed these “nested” comments to go four levels deep at the moment, which allows a good bit of back-and-forth, but doesn’t let things get completely off-course.

Hopefully this new option gives folks a bit more flexibility when talking to each other in the comments section.  But we’ll see how it goes the next time we hit on a hot topic.  If its not our cup o’ tea, I can just as easily uncheck the box and we can all go back to our old, comfortable ways.

Enjoy!





More Annoying Blog Reflection

14 02 2009

There’s been a lot of discussion flying around the internet as of late about the future of newspapers, thanks in large part to a Time cover story by Walter Issacson that suggests a micro-payment system for papers, similar to that of iTunes. (Jon Stewart built off of Issacson’s idea and suggested making newspaper ink a narcotic)

In this morning’s NY Times, Eduardo Porter weighs in on the issue, restating many of the comments we heard about the necessity of newspapers (many of which I agree with) and makes this statement…

Some alternatives, like Politico.com and ProPublica, an investigative reporting outfit financed by philanthropy, do original journalism. But they are tiny. Cash-strapped TV stations depend on newspapers for much of their local news coverage. Cable news is increasingly commentary. And rather than a citizen reporter, the Internet has given us the citizen pundit, who comments on: newspaper articles.

Its the last sentence that caught my eye. There is a good deal of truth to this sweeping generality. Sitting at your PC and making damning statements about things read in newspapers is certainly the weapon-of-choice of most political/newsy blogs. From personal experience, let me just say that it certainly provides the most bang for the buck. Lord how we ratchet up the hits when we make outrageous comments and inspire all kinds of outrage! All without doing anything more than taking a minute (ok, 30 seconds) to reflect.

But there are some local blogs, like those here in Decatur and John Heneghan’s Dunwoody blog, that do not fit Porter’s model. These blogs often try to go beyond this basic comment philosophy, filling a gap where newspapers have certainly let us down (local news). We do the other stuff too, but we mixed it up. And I wonder, is this all that rare? Like what the $2,650 pint says about our willingness to help each other out, which seems to inspire awe in all parts of the world, does something we take for granted here in Decatur not exist elsewhere? Or perhaps Porter is just a victim of his own filters, since he lives in a major city that still has major newspapers. Why would he ever go beyond the NYC and D.C. blog critics that comment on his beat? Why would he ever click on a link that covers some random town in suburban Atlanta or central Indiana?

I though I’ve yet to personally find all that many examples of similar local blogs, I cannot believe they are all that rare. Though there are few other local blogs that fit this description around Atlanta, I must believe that there are other others out there that do their own reporting (when time permits). I wouldn’t be surprised if they tended to be in strong-community towns/cities like Decatur, where a blog or online news source is merely an extension of a larger feeling of connectedness. Perhaps someone could write a thesis on how the lack of local blogs is due to the lack of community in smaller cities and towns thanks to the makeup and design of the physical environment: like sprawl.

But I digress…too much self-reflection lately! Gotta stop wasting time on digressing and do some more actual reporting!





Random Thought Of The Morning: Atlanta’s New Tagline

11 02 2009

Forget “City Lights and Southern Nights“!   (Yeah, I know…like you haven’t already)  If you really want an Atlanta tagline that works for you, go with something like…

“Atlanta:  It’s February and It’s 70 Degrees”

Put that up in a couple of spots in NYC around mid-winter and just wait for the transplants to start pouring in.

You’re welcome.





The End of Newsprint

14 01 2009

For someone who will see his little blog pass a half -million page views today, you’d think that a post entitled “The End of Newsprint” would be a ego-stroking report on the death of newspapers and the unstoppable emergence of the much mythologized “citizen journalism”.

But its not.

Reading Michael Hirschorn’s “End Times” article in Jan/Feb’s Atlantic yesterday, which chronicles the building death-knell of the hard-copy edition of The New York Times didn’t send me out into the night, twirling and laughing at my good fortune.  Actually, it just left me feeling very unsettled.

Hirschorn’s article documents the well-known descent of the newspaper industry and talks about how the NYT must make drastic changes over the next 5 months or it could default on $400 million in debt.  His analysis concludes that the death of newsprint is inevitable…and he’s probably right.

But my own foray into “citizen journalism” hasn’t done much to placate my fears that something substantial isn’t lost when print media goes entirely online.  Yes, newspapers have had this coming to them for an awfully long time.  In its own attempts of survive, our own AJC still claims that it covers the entire metro-Atlanta area, lulling people into a false sense of security that if news happens in their suburb, the AJC will be there to cover it.  But as we’ve seen here in Decatur, cutbacks have made it nearly impossible for our hometown paper to tell even half of the relevant stories the community should know about (Was there a peep out of the AJC regarding the Fellini’s robbery?).  The success of THIS site would not be possible without the cut backs at the AJC.  My questionably-humorous anecdotes about Decatur politics wouldn’t be able to compete with a paid staff of dedicated full-timers.

If this is where the future is heading, this site is definitely on the right side of the trend.  However, I still have a couple real concerns. Read the rest of this entry »





A Look Back at 2008

1 01 2009

2008 was Decatur Metro’s first full year, and man was it a busy and successful one!  Looking back, our city provided us with more than enough to report on and discuss.

Here are the highlights as I saw them, month-by-month…

In January, we discovered the city was looking into annexation and that the 315 W. Ponce development had strong opposition. Also we worried about the expired liquor license plague that spread thru town closing restaurants the city over, including The Angel.

In February we went to the polls on Super Tuesday, wondered where that tornado siren was coming from, and I lamented our lack of a downtown grocery.

In March, the mayor started his own blog, we watched the ING marathon run through town, and the Relax Inn finally came down.

In April, the Blue Jean Bandits hit Boogaloos, Bernard Sims was beaten to death at a Commerce Dr. bus-stop, we got excited about our charter school application, and I griped about the lack of parking in the CVS plaza.

In May, people got all worked up over vending carts on the MARTA plaza, Oakhurst saw its first rash of flat-screen thefts, we were shocked when our charter school app was tabled, Scott proposed a parking contingency plan for 315, and we learned that the Brick Store was turning Rue de Leon into a gastropub.

In June readership really began to spike as we began to hear a chorus of complaints about the YDFM, Kaleidescope was robbed in broad daylight, a two scooter riders were hit on W. Howard, CSD was finally awarded charter status, we crowed about the recorded bird screeches from the top of One West Courthouse Square, saw the deep divide among drivers and bikers as Critical Mass collided with police, and ruminated on suburbs and Atlanta’s gentrification.

In July, we learned the fate of The Angel, discussed misconceptions about MARTA in the ‘burbs, I coined the phrase “Growth Happens. Mange Wisely, spent a lot of time analyzing Decatur traffic patterns, we boiled our water and took showers with Deer Park, I touted Decatur’s need for a food co-op, we discussed restaurant saturation, and the 315 debate continued.

In August, Wordsmiths asked for donations to remain open, we learned we could now recycle 6 and 7 plastics, the ZBA tabled 315, we discovered the extent of Crescent Moon’s recent troubles, and we tackled the Trader Joe’s rumors head-on.

In September, we took YDFM to task again, worried about a fatal wreck on E. Ponce and speeders on W. Howard, broke the story of the Crescent Moon staff rebellion (and got spammed big-time), recommended Chinese food, learned of Otis White, contemplated the city’s most famous resident, and bit our liberal nails at the seeming increase in McCain yard signs.

In October as the economic recession took hold, we asked Decatur’s business owners how things were going, overreacted to the city’s new blog The Decatur Minute, noted that some 315 opponents also had concerns with Trinity Triangle, disagreed over whether the smell at YDFM had lessened, smiled as Moey’s candy voting machine went from a local to national phenomenon, stood in early voting lines, and wondered about pay-by-cell parking meters.

In November, we enjoyed a flare up on Election Day, questioned the status on Decatur’s wi-fi, enjoyed the city’s new “open city hall”, helped an out-of-towner find a restaurant to take his mother on Christmas Day, laughed and cried after winning a “Best of Atlanta” award, considered higher taxes, and took another potshot at Atlantic Station.

In December, we saw the emergence of a vocal opposition to annexation, questioned the annexation student calculations, were shocked by the blatant Fellini’s robbery, pushed to fill Decatur PD’s openings, predicted a “no” vote on annexation from the school board, cheered as Camille kicked some thieving ass, debated the 315 compromise approved by the city commission, approved of a new online contact system set up by the city, got excited as Thumbs Up Diner opened in Crescent Moon’s old space, and rounded out the year with a new DeKalb Farmer’s Market frustration.

Whew! And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Did I miss anything?

Thanks to all that read, commented, supported and linked to Decatur Metro in 2008! Here’s to an even more exciting and involved 2009!

Cheers,

-DM





Are You A DM Comments Addict?

11 12 2008

Do you find yourself wanting to read every single Decatur Metro comment, but can’t keep up with the torrent that filters through the 15 most recent in the sidebar?

Due to the limitations of WordPress.com blogging software, I’ve never had many options when it comes to organizing and displaying comments.  A recent update of the blogging software has promised threaded comments in the near future, but for the most part, if you’re looking to read all the comments on the site, you’re stuck with the Top 15 or scrolling down and clicking on every post.

This was once an adequate option.  But with the recent popularity of the site, often times you have to check once every 3 hours or you’ll miss stuff as it scrolls off the bottom of the screen.  Its certainly a good problem to have…but it is still a problem.

Ultimately the goal is to revamp the site some time in the new year, improving upon some things (comment organization being the biggie) and adding a few new features I’ve been dreaming up.  But for the time being, I’ve included an option for those that just can’t get enough comments.  If you scroll down the right side of the page, you’ll see the familiar RSS icon for the Decatur Metro feed.  (It looks something like this: Below that you will now also see a new “Feed for Comments” icon.  If you add that feed to an RSS reader like Google Reader, it should retain a list of all comments written on the site, beyond the usual 15.

Obviously this isn’t a perfect solution.  Those without Google Reader aren’t about to go setup an account just to keep track of DM comments.  And its a little clumsy since you have to jump off the site in order to use it.  However, for those with an RSS reader account, this is now an option.

Look for more substantial updates in 2009!





My Thanksgiving Gift

25 11 2008

19 soaking wet Lawn & Leaf bags for the compost pickup guys.

Sorry about that fellas.  Try not to look at my neighbor’s 20 across the street.

This must be one of the worst Tuesday pickups of the year!