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Published by hudgons
Get the latest DeKalb County news, photos and events at TheChampionnewspaper.com, DeKalb’s most-trusted news source.

Get the latest DeKalb County news, photos and events at TheChampionnewspaper.com, DeKalb’s most-trusted news source.

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Published by: hudgons on Feb 26, 2014
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Bits and pieces from the past tell Greater Piney Grove Baptist Church’s story
by Kathy Mitchellkathy@dekalbchamp.comPatchwork quilts ofen tell a story. ypically, they were made o lefover scraps o cloth with each scrap evok-ing memories o the garment or item made rom the larger piece o cloth— and person who wore or used it. Te committee appointed to plan Greater Piney Grove Baptist Church’s 100th anni- versary recognition decided a patchwork quilt would make a perect emblem or the yearlong celebration.
Miranda Mack McKenzie
, who chairs the committee, explained that squares tell parts o the Greater Piney Grove story. “We invited members to bring pieces o cloth that have special mean-ing to them. Many brought pieces as memorials or am-ily members who had been members here,” she said, pointing out a square rom a robe a deceased choir mem-ber used to wear. Tere is a square made rom a towel the pastor used to wipe his brow as he preached and one the pastor’s wie added to remember her mother, who was also a pastor’s wie. Te center pieces depict the five men who have been the church’s pastors.McKenzie never ails to show visitors the piece she contributed—a pale yellow swatch that was part o a avorite suit that had be-longed to her mother, who died more than 25 years ago. She, like many in the church, comes rom a amily that has been associated with the
Miranda McKenzie shows the quilt that’s at the heart of the church’s anniversary celebration. Photo by Kathy MitchellThe City of Clarkston is one of three cities in DeKalb that made SafeWise.com’s list of the 50 saf-est cities in Georgia. SafeWise stated that Clarkston promotes outdoor activities, including its new renovation of Milam Park. Photo by Carla Parker
by Carla Parkercarla@dekalbchamp.comThe cities of Clarkston, Decatur and Doraville have bragging rights over the other DeKalb cities when it comes to safety.Safewise.com, the online home for security and safety experts, named the three cit-ies as among the 50 safest cities in Georgia with populations of 5,000 or more as of 2012. Decatur led the trio at No. 38, with Doraville right behind them at No. 39. Clarkston was ranked No. 44. According to SafeWise secu-rity analyst
Carolyn Heneghan
, analysts from the website ac-cumulated the list by combining their research with most recent FBI Crime in the U.S. Report.The city of Decatur has con-tinuously been in the news the past year with the number of robberies and burglaries that have been occurring in the city. It may seem as though Decatur has had a large increase in crime, but according to the FBI Uni-form Crime Reporting (UCR) Part 1 report–which calculates the most dangerous crimes–Decatur only had three more robberies in 2013 (28) than in 2012.There were 127 burglaries in 2013 compared to the 92 that oc-curred in 2012. Decatur Police Chief
Mike Booker
 said he is proud that the city was named one of the 50 safest cities in Georgia. “Our officers and staff work
Business ........................17AClassified .......................16AEducation ..............14-15ASports ......................18-19A
championnewspaper championnewspaper champnewspaperchampionnews
We’re Social 
, 2014 VOL. 16, NO. 49 •
Serving East Atlanta, Avondale Estates, Brookhaven, Chamblee, Clarkston, Decatur, Doraville, Dunwoody, Lithonia, Pine Lake, Tucker and Stone Mountain.
See Church on page 13ASee Cities on page 13A
Three DeKalb cities among 50 safest in Georgia
See Dunwoody on page 12A
 by Carla Parker carla@dekalbchamp.comMore than 100 Dunwoody residents questioned the mayor and city manager about a number of issues at a Feb. 20 town hall meeting.During the meeting, held in the Dunwoody High School auditorium. Residents questioned Mayor
Mike Davis
 and City Manager
Warren Hutmacher
 about issues ranging from problems with the ChatComm 911 service to whether the city should build a roundabout at the in-tersection of Vermack and Womack roads.ChatComm was the most dis-cussed issue at the meeting with res-idents voicing their displeasure with the system. In 2011, Dunwoody  joined the cities of Sandy Springs and Johns Creek in their joint 911 center known as Chattahoochee River 911 Authority, or ChatComm. ChatComm is an accredited E911 center that provides service to San-dy Springs, Johns Creek, and Dun-woody. Davis said the city joined ChatComm because they were not
satised with DeKalb’s 911 system.According to city ofcials, Chat
-Comm has proven performance standards and answer all 911 calls within 10 seconds and 90 percent of all calls will be processed for dis- patch within 60 seconds. However,
the city has had issues with re and
recuse calls being transferred from
ChatComm to DeKalb re services
in a timely manner.“The problem that we have was  by switching over to ChatComm we  put in an inherit delay into the pro-
cess of those re emergency service
calls,” Hutmacher said. The city is working to have a
new system for re and rescue calls
in place by March. The other hot topic at the meet-ing was the roundabout at Vermack and Womack roads near Dunwoody High School. The intersection was
identied as one of the worst in the
city by residents. When the city council decided to look at options that would make the intersection safe, Davis said the roundabout was an option that  planners and consultants brought to them. However, work on the inter-section had been put on hold. “As of right now, we’re not mov-ing forward with that intersection at all,” Davis said. “I don’t know when we’re going to come back to it. It’s still the worst intersection in the city I believe, but I don’t think the city council has any real feelings about doing that.“We have 11 intersections that are major problems in Dunwoody and we’ll move on to those,” Davis added.
The State Farm expansion was
also discussed at the meeting. On Feb. 14, State Farm’s developer KDC announced plans for a 17-
Dunwoody residents question mayor, city manager at town hall meeting
 More than 100 Dunwoody residents lled the Dunwoody High School auditorium to question the mayor and city manager about issues around the city. Photo by Carla Parker
Doraville paper plant closing
Decatur commissioner receives bicycle achievement award
See Briefs on page 12A
by Daniel Beauregarddaniel@dekalbchamp.comA Georgia-Pacific (GP) plant located in unincorporated DeKalb County will be closing its doors soon, leaving 90 em-ployees will unemployment. The plant is in an unincorporated area of the county the city of Doraville is trying to annex this legislative ses-sion, an area which Doraville spokesman
Luke Howe
said has been “hemorrhag-ing industrial users.”“Somebody sends me a condolence every time the area loses a business, but it’s not us,” Howe said. A map provided to
The Champion
of the current Doraville city limits and the areas the city is interested in annexing, shows the GP plant sitting just outside the current city limits on an access road. According to the GP website, the plant is responsible for making cor-rugated paper products. The Atlanta-based paper company has 19 locations throughout Georgia and employs more than 6,500 people.
Karen Cole
, a spokeswoman for GP, said the plant will cease operations in April. “Despite our best efforts, we are not able to make this a competitive plant and production can be absorbed at our other facilities in the region,” Cole said. Over the next month, Cole said the plant will work with its customers to transition business to its other plants in the state and wind down operations. Employees will have the opportunity to transfer to another plant in the state.
 by Daniel Beauregarddaniel@dekalbchamp.comCity of Decatur Commis-sioner
Fred Boykin
 received the inaugural Fred Boykin Life-time Achievement Award from the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition. The awards ceremony called the “Blinkies” was held Feb. 14 and honored community mem- bers who have played a sig-
nicant role in advocating for
 bicycle awareness in 2013.Boykin has been instrumen-tal in developing Decatur’s Safe Routes to School program, which encourages students and  parents to walk or ride their  bikes to school every day rather than drive. According to a news release, the Safe Routes to School  program was started in 2005 and currently includes all of Decatur’s elementary schools, Renfroe Middle School and St. Thomas More Catholic School. Each year, Boykin helps organize the Georgia Ride to the Capitol from Decatur’s East Lake MARTA station, where a large number of residents and
elected ofcials gather and ride
to create cycling awareness. Boykin also owns Bicycle South, a shop located in down-town Decatur he started more than 40 years ago.
Mom, boyfriend face manslaughter charges for deaths of two infants
A DeKalb County grand jury on Feb. 20 indicted a mother for leaving three of her four chil-dren unsupervised in a barri-caded room with a space heater.
Angel Johnson
 left her 2-, 3- and 4-year-old children un-supervised in a Stone Mountain apartment complex in De-cember 2010, according to the DeKalb County District Attor-ney’s Office.The space heater caused a fire which led to the death of two of the three children who were barricaded in the apart-ment, according to law enforce-ment officials.“Any time there is a loss of young life, it is a tragic situa-tion. We will do our best to see that justice is done in this case,” said District Attorney
Robert James
. The pair are facing charges of involuntary manslaughter, cruelty to children in the sec-ond degree and making false statements. James, who spent several years as a prosecutor in the Crimes Against Children Unit, will serve as lead prosecutor for this case.
Joint investigation launched into sexual assaults near Emory
The DeKalb County Police Department and Emory Uni- versity Police are conducting a  joint investigation into sexual assault incidents in the vicinity of the Emory campus. The departments have de-termined three open attempted sexual assault cases that oc-curred off campus in DeKalb County are possibly connected to a rape that occurred on Em-ory University’s campus on Feb. 11. The DeKalb County Police incidents occurred between De-cember 2013 and January 2014. According to DeKalb Coun-ty detectives, the victims were young females, walking alone in the Emory vicinity off campus when the suspect approached and attempted to overpower them. The victims, who were not physically injured, were able to fight off the suspect and alert police. The suspect is described as a White man, 5 feet, 10 inches tall, medium build and approxi-mately 50 years old. This de-scription is consistent with the composite sketch the rape vic-tim was able to provide Emory Police.Anyone with information about the suspect or possible  victims are asked to contact the DeKalb County Police Depart-ment’s Special Victims Unit at (770) 724-6111 or Emory Police at (404) 727-6111.
DeKalb County Ethics Board meets March 7
The DeKalb County Ethics Board meets Friday, March 7,

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