Sunday, October 3, 2010




Seven Points theater closes
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

SEVEN POINTS–A poor economy and no summer blockbuster movies have prompted the Main Place Cinema to close.
Cinema manager Mary Valentin confirmed the closure Wednesday afternoon. “This is our last day,” she said.
Originally built and owned by Lucy and C.D. Smith, Main Place Cinema opened in December, 2002, with two screens, showing “Santa Clause 2” and the James Bond film “Die Another Day.”
Always planned as a four-screen theater, the other two screens opened soon afterward.
Dec. 4, 2007, the Smiths sold the theater to Summit Events, who hired Valentin as manager.
“I see the economy as one of the biggest reasons (for the closure),” Valentin said. “People who used to come to the movies all the time just can’t do it anymore.
“It was short notice (one week), but we knew it was coming,” she added. “The owners have really been working hard to keep things up.”
In addition to converting one screen to enable 3-D movie showings, the owners also had to deal with several unexpected expenses this summer, such as replacing air conditioners, she said.
Valentin said she had to release two employees two weeks ago, but noted the nearly week-long closure of the State Highway 334 causeway bridge Sept. 15-22 was a crushing blow.
“When the bridge closed, it was terrible,” she said. “The last couple of months have been really rough on us.”
It didn’t help that there wasn’t a huge, runaway hit movie this summer – no “Spiderman” or “Harry Potter” – so movie sales nationwide have not been robust.
“I have had some really loyal customers, our seniors, especially,” Valentin said. “I hope the new theater (Moviestar Cinema in Gun Barrel City) makes enough, because it would be terrible to lose us both.”
Community support has been strong, particularly from gamers – who play video games on a big screen – and the “Twilight” movie series buffs, she said.
The theater has sponsored a religious-themed free movie each second Tuesday, but that will not be happening Oct. 12, she said.
Main Place Cinema is not the only area theater closing. The Majestic Theater, a fixture in downtown Wills Point for 84 years, will be closing this weekend (see related story, page 11A.).
Summit Events is not 100 percent certain what will become of the Main Place Cinema building and property.
“The owner told me he was looking at other options,” she said. “I don’t know what those will be.
“The sad part is that this is our normal slow period. At Christmas, it picks up,” she added. “We are going to miss everybody, and we wish everybody well.”


Early voting starts Oct. 18, continues through Oct. 29
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

CEDAR CREEK LAKE–It has become the method of choice to dodge long lines at the polling place by voting early.
This year for the Tuesday, Nov. 2, General Election, officials have predicted even more voters will take advantage of the two-week early voting schedule from Monday, Oct. 18, through Friday, Oct. 29.
But if you want to be able to vote, you must be registered by Monday.
“More and more people are early voting,” Kaufman County Tax Collector Assessor Richard Murphy said.
“In November, 2006, about 45 percent of the voters turned out for early voting. In November, 2008, the number had increased to 65 percent,” Murphy explained.
State offices include the governor’s race, with three candidates vying to unseat Gov. Rick Perry.
Democrat Bill White, Libertarian Kathie Glass and Green candidate Deb Shafto are on the ballot.
Looking for the lieutenant governor’s seat are David Dewhearst (R), Linda Chavez-Thompson (D), Scott Jameson (L) and Herb Gonzales Jr. (G).
Other state races include Attorney General incumbant Greg Abbott (R), challenged by Barbara Ann Radnofsky (D) and Jon Roland (L), and Comptroller of Public Accounts incumbent Susan Combs (R), who faces Mary Ruwart (L), Edward Lindsay (G).
Commissioner of the General Land Office candidates are incumbent Jerry Patterson (R), Hector Uribe (D) and James Holder (L).
Candidates for Commissioner of Agriculture are incumbent Todd Staples (R), Hank Gilbert (D) and Rick Donaldson (L).
Staples was the former representative for Henderson County in the State Senate, while Gilbert was a former ag teacher at LaPoynor High School.
Railroad Commissioner drew four candidates, David Porter (R), Jeff Weems (D), Roger Gary (L) and Art Browning (G).
There are also a number of supreme court justices, appellet judges and a board of education seat.
In Kaufman and Henderson counties, early voting will take place at the central courthouse and sub-courthouses. Kaufman subcourthouses are in Forney, Kemp and Terrell and the Crandall/Combine Center in Crandall. Sub-courthouses in Henderson County are in Seven Points, Chandler and Brownsboro.
State Rep. Lance Gooden (R-Dist. 4) is running unopposed in the general election, as are many Kaufman County candidates, whose seats were determined in the March primary, including 86th Judicial Judge Howard Tygret, Criminal District Attorney Michael McLelland, County Judge Bruce Wood, Court at Law judges Erleigh Norville Wiley and David Lewis, District Clerk Rhonda Miller Hughey, County Treasurer Johnny Countryman and County Surveyor Greg Sjerven.
Precinct candidates that are unopposed and declared elected are Precinct 2 Commissioner Ray Clark and Precinct 4 Commissioner Tom Manning.
Justices of the peace Patricia Ashcroft, Mike Smith and Johnny Adams are unopposed.
About the only county office voters will have to choose between candidates is the county clerk’s office, where Republican incumbent Laura Hughes will face Democrat Sophia Clemon.
Henderson County voters also prefer early voting.
In 2006, early voter turnout was a bit more than 38 percent. By 2008, more than 58 percent of Henderson County voters cast their ballots early, a 20 percent increase.
Henderson County voters will choose Robert Nichols (R) or David Scott (L) in the State Senate race.
Precinct 4 county commissioner candidates are incumbent Jerry West (D) and Ken Geeslin (R).
Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace candidates are Sue Tarrant (D) and Kelly Harris (R).
Kemp ISD voters will choose a trustee to fill an unexpired term, and Trinidad voters will vote on a proposition to rase the cap from 3 to 5 cents for Emergency Service District No. 1.
Candidates running unopposed include 173rd District Judge Daniel Moore, County Judge Richard Sanders, Court at Law judges Matt Livingston and Nancy Perryman, District Clerk Jean Godwin, County Clerk Gwen Moffeit, Treasurer Michael Bynum, Precinct 2 Commissioner Wade McKinney and Justice of the Peace Dale Blaylock.
Those registering to vote should be U.S. citizens, county residents, aged 18 by the day of the election, not a convicted felon who has not fully served the sentence, and not been declared mentally incompetent.


Mediation solves little for Seven Points
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

ATHENS–Little came out of a lengthy mediation process Monday involving Seven Points Mayor Joe Dobbs, city councilman Bubba Powell, their attorneys – James Owen and Steve Starks, respectively – and city attorney Blake Armstrong.
Of course there was also the unnamed mediator and Henderson County District Attorney Scott McKee.
And after nearly 12 hours, nothing was settled and no winners named, least of all the citizens of Seven Points, who remain deprived of a functioning city council.
“We mediated for almost 12 hours. Nobody left the chambers, not even for lunch,” McKee said. “We had food brought in to the mediation room.”
The group met at the Groom & Starks law offices in Athens.
As to what might have been said or agreed to, that remains unreported, but the mediator told those present not to talk about the process, McKee said.
An agreement was reached to meet again at another unspecified time and place, but the question remains whether any solution will come in time to benefit the city at this late date.
In addition to payroll and court fees owed to the state that are stacking up late charges, a much sought-after grant to repair roads in the Nob Hill addition is in danger of being lost, according to statements at the last regularly scheduled, but canceled, city council meeting (Sept. 14).
The city has been unable to adopt a budget – the fiscal year 2010 budget officially ended Sept. 30 – or to clear other items of business from its agenda, due to a lack of a quorum.
No regular council meetings have successfully met since the election in May, and city business is almost at an impasse, as the second approved signatory for city checks, mayor pro tem Hank Laywell, refuses to add his signature to city checks.
Payroll for city employees has been made from other funds.
While attorneys debate what is and isn’t legal, city employees are holding their breath for each paycheck they have earned.

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