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Smyrna man charged with murder

A 35-year-old Smyrna man was arrested last week after fatally shooting one woman and sexually assaulting another, according to police.

John Brice Cormier allegedly shot Petra McElwaine Franklin, 28, after having an argument with her at her Powder Springs home. After shooting Franklin, Cormier forced a different woman into another room and sexually assaulted her, trying to rape her, police said.

The 27-year-old woman was held at gunpoint, but eventually was able to escape and call police.

Officials said police arrested Cormier at Franklin's front door on Forelock Place. The victim's body and a gun were found inside the residence.

Cormier has been charged with murder, aggravated sodomy, aggravated sexual battery and attempted rape.

Reward offered in hotel slaying
Wingate Inns International and The Cendant Corp. are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of those responsible for the shooting of Rodney Castlin, a Kennesaw hotel manager.

Castlin, 36, was working as the night manager at a Wingate Inn near Barrett Parkway Dec. 7 when robbers shot him in the chest, police said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Cobb County police at 770-499-3945.

Watering ban still in effect for north Fulton
Although you and your neighbors may not know it, officials have not yet lifted the area watering ban, which has been in effect since 1996. The statewide ban allows each municipality to make its own decision regarding the ban.

The ban prohibits watering from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. except on the days specified for certain addresses. Odd-number addresses are allowed to water their lawns on odd days and even addresses on even dates.

Both Roswell and Alpharetta are enforcing the ban. The issue was brought to light again when the community development department in Alpharetta received funds to put two new fountains in separate locations in the downtown city area. The Alpharetta City Council eventually voted to give the $166,051 to the department to fund the fountains.

Fulton has highest number of families losing welfare benefits
At the end of December, about 1,361 families -- many headed by single moms -- are expected to lose cash benefits as their 48 months of welfare eligibility runs out. Fulton County has 343 families losing the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, which is the largest number of families in the metro area.

Many of these families have been living in low-cost housing for the past two years in return for agreeing to participate in different programs to help them become self-supporting. Programs include helping them earn their GEDs, finding jobs and managing their finances.

According to news reports, homeless advocates say they are seeing more and more women who are out of time and benefits. Women and their children are expected to be most hurt by the reform, because they make up the majority of those welfare recipients.

Teen still in jail for attack
An 18-year-old Norcross man was denied bond late Tuesday on charges he cut a woman during a gang-related robbery, police said.

Michael A. Granado is charged with aggravated assault and criminal attempted robbery in the Sunday attack. The teenager is accused of holding a steak knife to a woman's throat while demanding money. He cut the woman's threat during the attack, according to the arrest warrant.

Granado was denied bond because the judge considers him a threat to the community.

A hearing has been set for this week.

Superior Court clerk begins fourth term
Juanita Hicks was recently sworn in to serve her fourth term as clerk of Fulton County Superior Court.

In the past, she has worked as a program analyst and insurance manager in the county finance department and is now president-elect of the National Association for Court Management. She is the former president of the National Association of Recorders, Clerks and Election Officials.


Fulton County School Superin- tendent Stephen D. Dolinger was named Georgia School Superintendent of the Year by the Georgia School Superintendents Association.

As the superintendent, Dolinger manages 70 schools with 70,000 students, 8,000 employees and a half-billion budget.

Dolinger was appointed to the position in 1995.

Compiled by Debra Warlick. Additional reporting by Lea Keel. Source information from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Roswell/Alpharetta Neighbor.

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