Posts Tagged ‘Georgia’

Dear CEO Burrell Ellis and DeKalb County Commissioners,

I am a lifelong DeKalb County resident, residing at my home on Thompson Mill Road now for the past 31 years.  I have paid my taxes, I have supported my local county as best as I know how.  My husband and I have chosen to remain in  South DeKalb County when many other people were moving further out.  We like where we live.

That is, until today when our water and that of our entire street was cut off without warning and kept off for over 16 hours, before being turned back on for a few minutes, and then back off again.

I first realized that we were without water around 8:45 this morning (Monday).  I knew I had made a pot of coffee at 8:05 and used the water then to fill my coffeemaker.  When I went to take my shower at 8:45 and turned on the water in the shower, I found out there was no water available.

I contacted the regular business number of  DeKalb Watershed Management.  I was told that they were unaware of a water problem and would check on it.  I received a return call  within an hour, telling me that they thought it would be repaired shortly.  This was at 9:49AM.   That was the only call I received from them.

Repeated calls to DeKalb Watershed Management later in the day, beginning around noon, and then every two hours or so resulted in only in being told one excuse after another – “it’s a private contractor working for a developer”  “it’s not the county people”  “they’re working on bringing it back online now” (around 6:30PM), and on and on.

I called again around 9:15PM Monday night and spoke again with the individual at the 24-hour emergency number.  He repeatedly tried to talk over me and wouldn’t listen to what I was asking.  When I finally was able to ask if they had any idea whatsoever when the water would be restored, he said that they had “sent a man out there to check things out, and he was told it would be back up within an hour.”

When I asked *where* the problem was in the water line, I was told the 4400 block of Thompson Mill Road which I knew was inaccurate.  I live at 46** Thompson Mill Road and I had driven down from Snapfinger Road on my way home, driving past the 4400’s.  There was no road crew anywhere, nor was there any work site to be seen.

When I pressed him further, he said that the contractor was actually down near the bridge – which is *past* my house.  I then informed him that the bridge is *not* in the 4400’s of Thompson Mill Road, and his response was basically “so?”

In fact, as I got in my car and drove down to the bridge over Snapfinger Creek, I realized that the work site was actually directly in front of my neighbor’s driveway located at 463* Thompson Mill Road.  There were two unmarked white-panel vans pulled over on the side of the road beside a back-hoe sitting adjacent to an enormous hole in the ground.

A man with a shovel was standing beside the hole, looking down into it.  There was another man actually down in the hole.  I could not see any sign of running or standing water anywhere.  There was obviously no gushing water like from a broken hydrant or something of that nature.

To make an extremely long story much shorter, my neighbor drove down there later after 10PM and stopped to ask the men when the repair would be completed.  One of the men said a couple of hours and the other man, she said, was obviously “wasted” – her words.

When we called the Watershed 24hour number again to ask for help, we were told that it was not a county matter.  It was a private contractor working for a developer. They could not and would not help us.

We can not wash our dishes, our clothes, even our bodies.  We can’t drink water from our faucets nor flush our toilets.  We are thankful that we do have a neighbor on the street behind us that has graciously and generously allowed us to use her facilities.

Well, I will admit to you,  commissioners, that it really disturbs me that the county watershed department (that used to be known as the “water department) will simply stand by and let the county residents suffer at the hands of people who obviously are incompetent and unable to do what they have been hired to do.

If, in fact, a developer hired a private contractor for this job, I assume that he had to have a permit from the county for this individual or company to do this kind of work.  I also assume that this contractor would have to have a license of some kind.

It is my humble, but now well-experienced, opinion that DeKalb County should possibly have this license revoked and some kind of penalty issued for the incompetence and stupidity that I’ve seen from the workers down there.  There were no supervisors present; there was no county supervision even after *REPEATED* calls to the emergency line.

The water was finally turned on tonight at 12:25AM (Tuesday) after being turned off for over 16 hours.  It lasted for less than 10 minutes.  There is now no water *again* and my husband has just told me that, after driving back down to the bridge, there is only one man down there with the backhoe, digging, and there is now water gushing EVERYWHERE.

If this is my county tax dollars at work, then it’s a complete and total WASTE, and, pardon me for saying so, but I’d like to see the entire DeKalb County Watershed Management department as well as the contractor and the developer going without water for 24 hours, unplanned, un-notified, as we have.

This does *not* speak well of DeKalb County.

Respectfully yours,
Merri G. Williams


Read Full Post »

Looking ahead to 2009, we are pleased to offer an exciting line-up of Kindermusik classes with our new semester beginning Saturday, January 24th.  We have something for everyone at Masterworks Studio!

Village – Ages Newborn to 18 months

Hickory, Dickory, Tickle, and Bounce   hickorydickory-sm

Research shows the more you expose your baby to nursery rhymes and songs, the stronger those emerging language-learning skills will be. That’s why these Mother Goose-like stories and rhymes are the main theme of this class. Plus, you’ll develop research-proven communication strategies with your child through listening activities, speaking “parentese,” and sign language.

Home Materials: CD of beautifully arranged nursery rhyme and songs from class, a rhyming picture board book—Hickory, Dickory, Tickle, and Bounce, a set of Art Banners, and an instrument for music-making at home.


rhythm-smThe Rhythm of My Day

This class will help you bring more rhythm and routine to your baby’s day, as well as help develop lasting learning skills. We’ll show you how and tell you why music can help your little one soothe into the day’s schedule and help build a strong body and mind network for learning. You can bring home those same stress-free play and relaxation techniques from class, and incorporate them into your daily routines.

Home Materials:CD of beautifully arranged songs from class, The Rhythm of My Day—a  colorful picture board book with class themes, a set of Art Banners, and an instrument for music-making at home.

For class days and times, please visit our Class Schedule.

Our Time – Ages 18 months to 3.5 years

Fiddle Dee Dee  Fiddle Dee Dee Home Materials

We’ll meet many animal characters in our books, activities, and songs—each specifically chosen for a toddler’s emerging interests and physical skills. With silly, bumpy lap bounces, we’ll help toddlers develop rhythm while further developing their ever-emerging language skills. With a special stringed instrument emphasis in the music from class, parents can bring home the violin, cello, and orchestra sounds to help their toddlers stay happy and engaged learners at home, too.

Home Materials: Two Books—This Little Piggy Played the Fiddle and Animal Serenade, Two Home CDs, Kindermusik-exclusive fiddle sticks, and a Home Activity Book—all arriving in a cute, play-storage box that is environmentally safe and recyclable.

For class days and times, please visit our Class Schedule.

Imagine That – ages 3 – 5 years

Cities! Home MaterialsCities! Busy Places ~ Friendly FacesIn this unit, sidewalks, elevators, skyscrapers, and world-traveling photographers are the theme. Learning through the pretend play that preschoolers adore, we’ll be rhythmically busy playing storytelling games and handcrafting city “buildings” from wax paper at home so we can make a cityscape in class! Plus every activity has some at-home adaptations so the parent can take part in the learning. With a pair of resonator bars as a featured instrument, and a multicultural, jazzy collection of music, preschoolers will develop the social and intellectual skills they’ll need in school.

Home Materials:

Two books—Razupazu Toto and Down Our Street, Cities! Game Board Set, Two Home CDs—collection of multicultural and jazzy music heard in class, Family Activity Book, and a pair of Kindermusik resonator bars with mallets as the featured instrument. 

For class days and times, please visit our Class Schedule.

ABC Music & Me – ages 4 – 6 years

This semester we are offering three 5-week units of ABC Music & Me in our studio for the preschool set. 

Rhythms of the Land – Rhythms of the Land

In class we’ll explore the rhythms and sounds of Native American music. As we investigate, compare, and contrast a wide variety of drums and the materials they’re made from, your preschooler develops the investigative vocabulary needed in the sciences. When you repeat rhythm patterns at home and share the activities in your Home Kit, your child gets an early start in math, too.  

Home Kit: Jingle Stick instrument, Home CD, and magazine-style Family Guide (includes the class story Pedal Pump, Pedal Pump)

Under the Rainbow


Under the Rainbow – Keep your eyes open for a rainbow this month.   In class we’ll explore the concept of high and low sounds with Irish music, tricky leprechauns, and the colors of the rainbow.   We’ll also match sounds with pictures, and match pictures with the written words to build lasting literacy skills.   With more activities sprinkled throughout the story in your Home Kit, you and your preschooler can practice together the skills needed now and later in school.
Home Kit: Home CD and magazine-style Family Guide (includes the class story Under the Rainbow)  


Dance with Me

Dance with Me

This month, we’ll feature the music and dance of “one-two” rhythms and “one-two-three” rhythms.   In class, we’ll hear real instruments from the ballet and learn a few dance steps, too. Activities like dance, where your child follows a short sequence of instructions, helps to strengthen memory and his ability to follow directions.   At home, play the CD in your Home Kit and let your preschooler show you a new step or two. 

Home Kit: a pair of lumi stix, Home CD, and magazine-style Family Guide (includes the class story Dance of Our Own)

For class days and times, please visit our Class Schedule.


Wondering How You Can Afford Kindermusik Classes? 

Financial Aid

Think you can’t possibly afford Kindermusik classes for your child? 

Masterworks Studio is pleased to offer a Payment Plan to fit just about any budget. 

Enroll your child by December 16th with a $75 deposit, and take advantage of our Payment Plan by spreading your payments out from January through April.  Each month’s payment for the first child will be only $38.75,  beginning January 16, 2009.

Take two, three or even four months to pay for the 15-week semester!

Depending on which plan you choose, payments range from $38.75 to $77.50.  We believe so passionately in the power of Kindermusik that we want every child to be able to participate.  Details are available on our Class Schedule

Priority Registration for returning families is currently underway.  Open Registration begins December 16th.  Act now to get the class of your choice.


Kindermusik families currently enrolled receive a Priority Registration discount by having first choice of classes for the next semester as well as $10 off tuition, if registered by December 15th.  They will receive a Priority Registration discount code in their class email this week.  Returning families choosing to use the Payment Plan will have the discount taken off the total tuition, thereby further reducing the amount of their monthly payments.

Early Birds can register by January 3, 2009, and take $5.00 off tuition by using the discount code: EarlyBird31278, redeemable immediately with full registration, and, using the Payment Plan, is taken off of the final payment.

Have more than one child to enroll?  Not a problem!

Siblings receive a 10% tuition discount for the second child and 20% off tuition for the third child.  The Sibling Discount applies to multiple children enrolled simultaneously in classes, even if they are in different classes or age levels.

Do you know someone who would be interested in Kindermusik for their child?  With our Tell-a-Friend Referral Bonus, you earn $10 tuition credit for every paid referral that lists you by name.  These referral credits will be taken off of the last payment for the semester or applied to the next semester, whichever you prefer!

There really is something for everyone at Masterworks Studio this semester!  🙂

Read Full Post »

I’ve had a number of readers contact me, asking for further updates about the Sales Tax Holiday for 2008. 

According to the Georgia Department of Revenue’s website,  Georgia House Bill 948 provides for a sales tax exemption from both state and local sales taxes for certain items purchased July 31 – August 3, 2008.

The Bill also provides an exemption for specific energy and water efficient products purchased October 2 –5, 2008, with information pertaining to that specific holiday being released at a later date.

During the sales tax holiday of July 31 through August 3, 2008, a sales tax exemption applies to purchases of tangible personal property in the following categories:

  • Articles of Clothing. The exemption applies to articles of clothing and footwear with a sales price of $100 or less per item. Clothing accessories such as handbags, umbrellas, cuff links, handkerchiefs, jewelry, key cases, wallets, watches and watch bands, and ponytail holders and/or similar hair products are not exempt.  In other words, they’re taxable.  See link below of exempt items.
  • Personal Computers. A single purchase of $1,500 or less of personal computers and/or related accessories is exempt. If the single purchase exceeds $1,500, the entire transaction is taxable. See link below for exempt items.
  • General School Supplies. The exemption applies to the purchase of general school supplies with a sales price of $20 or less per item.  Exempt items are linked below.

All of these items are intended for personal use and are not for resale.  They do not include items purchased at theme parks, entertainment complexes, hotels, restaurants, or airports. 

For general information about the 2008 Sales Tax Holiday, please visit the Department of Revenue here.

You might also visit your child’s school website for a list of required supplies by grade-level.  Print it out and take it with you.  Many of the local office supply stores such as Office Depot, Target, or Staples also have lists there at their stores, supplied by local area schools for specific grade-levels as well as teachers.   For a printable list of tax-exempt school supplies, go here

For information about children’s books that are exempt, please follow this link.   After last year, when I had a question about a specific book I was trying to locate for my then 12yo daughter, and finding no one in any of the local stores who could verify that, yes or no, it was tax-exempt or not, I’m definitely printing that list out and taking it with me. 

Tax-exempt clothing and footwear may be printed out from this page.  Know before you get to the checkout lane whether or not your selections are taxable.  It can save you money. 

The single purchase of $1,500.00 or less of personal computers and personal computer related accessories for noncommercial home or personal use is exempt during the sales tax holiday. Computer related accessories include keyboards, monitors, other peripheral devices, personal digital assistant, modems for Internet and network access and non-recreational software.

Be very aware of the $1,500.00 limit on personal computers and software.  If your purchase exceeds that amount, even if only by a few cents, you’re liable for the sales taxes on the *entire* amount – not just the difference over and above the $1,500.00. 

For a printable list of exempt computers, software, and related accessories,  please check out this page.

Plan your shopping accordingly ahead of time.  Stores tend to be extremely busy during these days.  A little bit of foresight and planning can pay off not only in big savings, but also less hassle and frustrations.  

I did this last year, checking out recommendations for laptops, and plotted my shopping strategies accordingly.  By visiting major stores’ websites ahead of time and adding my email address to their email newsletters’ list, I received sales flyers *before* the sale dates and shopped at home. 

I found the laptop I wanted on sale at BestBuy.com, visited the local store’s website the night before to verify they had it listed in stock, went there first thing the next morning, and came back home in less than 90 minutes, the proud owner of a new laptop being set up and loaded by the Best Buy Geek Squad with software I had chosen.  I picked it up later that afternoon while others were still roaming around, making their choices.  This process also saved me over $98.00 in sales tax, not including the incentives that Best Buy offered in their promotional sales for laptop computers. 

For additional information and any other questions you may have, visit the Georgia Department of Revenue site.  I do not know if any of these tax-exempt lists pertain to online purchases or not.  That is a question that can be researched at the Revenue site or by contacting them at the Taxpayer Services Division at 404-417-6601 or taxpayer.services@dor.ga.gov .

Plan ahead – it’s worth your money *and* your time!

Read Full Post »


This Saturday from 10AM – 2PM, there will be an Early Learning Expo at all local Babies “R” Us stores nationwide.  Kindermusik educators in all 50 states will be singing, dancing, twirling, and bringing the joy of music to parents and children alike.  Come join us as we offer *free* classes at 10AM, 11:30AM, and 1PM at the Babies “R” Us store located at 8160 Mall Parkway, Lithonia, GA at Stonecrest Mall. 

Families enrolling that day in our studio classes for the Fall Semester will receive a free Kindermusik t-shirt or onesie as well as a “Best of Kindermusik, Vol. 2” CD.  See you there!

Read Full Post »

This Saturday we begin our new Kindermusik semester.  For those of you who are new to our program, here’s a little primer to let you know where we are located and how to find our classroom. 

For the past 18 months, Masterworks Studio has held Kindermusik classes at Columbia Presbyterian Church on  Columbia Drive in Decatur.  I love the old church and its grounds with all of its beautiful foliage and gardens, but we developed a problem there this fall – not enough space in our classroom! Because of the Waldorf School of Atlanta’s need for all the classroom space available there at Columbia Presbyterian, we had to look elsewhere for a larger room.  

Avondale First Baptist Church, Avondale Estates, Georgia

I am very pleased to announce that we found a perfect spot at Avondale First Baptist Church, located at 47 Covington Road in Avondale Estates, just 2 miles east of Columbia Presbyterian.  The folks at AFBC are thrilled to welcome our classes there, and, in fact, have also just begun a Mother’s Morning Out program for the community.  In the picture above, you can see our classroom building (Building C) immediately behind the sanctuary on the lefthand side.

We have ample, FREE parking in the lot directly across Stratford Road beside the church, which you can see in the picture above.  Once you park in the lot, you simply cross the street (which is very easy, and not heavily traveled during class hours) and come up the steps to Building C. 

Stairs to the C Building at Avondale First Baptist Church

The first white door on the left at the top of the stairs is the church office.  Just past the office door is a set of double white doors with my purple Kindermusik sign standing just outside.  There is a sign hanging just over these doors which says:

 Sign outside our double white doors

 Go in the double white doors, and then come up one full flight of stairs.  This is actually a  flight of stairs followed by a very short flight (approximately 3-4 steps).   At the top of this series of  stairs, you will enter a door and turn left.  There you will find the door to our new, large classroom on the second floor which overlooks the parking lot and is the full width of the building. 

 Our Kindermusik Classroom in the Solid Rock Room at Avondale First Baptist Church, Avondale Estates, Georgia

We have plenty of room to continue to grow, and, in the months to come, I will also be able to teach piano and flute private lessons there as well.  Avondale First Baptist Church is in the process of establishing the Avondale Academy of the Arts, projected to open in the fall of 2008.  I will be blessed to be a part of the faculty there.

This location is very easy to reach, located just inside the perimeter highway, I-285, at Exit 41, the Memorial Drive/Avondale Estates exit which is also known as Cynthia McKinney Parkway exit.  For detailed directions and a Google Map, please visit our website here. 



Read Full Post »