Sunday, November 18, 2007






  Eustace site for sci-fi thriller
Monitor Staff Reports
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Cedar Creek Lake and Eustace are the centerpiece of a science-fiction thriller, starring Kevin Sorbo (of “Hercules” fame).
A number of local residents have been included in the filming making up background extras and military personnel.
The Eustace Volunteer Fire Department played an important role in the filming of an explosion Wednesday morning in the town.

The spillway in Tool is seen in the background of this movie poster advertising “Fire From Below” – an action packed, special effects filled sci-fi thriller due to be released in late 2008.

The film includes a crew of about 40 with about 50 cast members (not all included in local film shooting). Scenes of the mine and tunnels are being shot in Indiana.
Film crew members have made Sue’s Roost their breakfast headquarters during area shooting.
“It’s been great,” former mayor and restaurant owner Sue January told The Monitor. “This is a historical thing for Eustace.”
She has really enjoyed having the film crew working out of her place and shooting scenes in her restaurant.
“Kevin (Sorbo) has been super nice – well, the whole crew’s been nice.”
The movie, “Fire From Below” has a late-2008 release date.
It tells the story of seismic investigator Jake Denning’s return to a haunt from his youth – Lost Lake – accompanied by his fiancee Karen, for a vacation that turns into the possible end of life on earth.
Meaghan Albach, an actress from Fort Worth, plays Karen, while Alex Meneses is a supporting actress.
Other cast members include Burton Gilliam (“Blazing Saddles”), Alex Cord (“Airwolf”), and Glenn Morshower (“Friday Night Lights”).

Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrelly
Actors shooting "Fire From Below" for the Sci-fi Channel are Burton Gilliam (left) James Hampton and Kevin Sorbo. The Monitor was on hand at a shoot on the Eustace Town Square Wednesday.

James Hampton, raised in Dallas and most recently seen in “Teen Wolf” – but most remembered for playing the inept bugler Pvt. Hannibal Dobbs in the sit-com “F-Troop”, plays the local sheriff.
While poking around in an old abandoned mine, a careless industrialist unearths a vein of pure base lithium and inadvertently brings it to the surface, where the lithium combusts upon coming into contact with water and begins to wreak havoc across the country side.
Jake and Karen start putting together clues when they find the charred remains of a boater and later discover that the entire town (Eustace) has succumbed to a deadly, noxious gas.
The military is called in to seal off the area. It also comes up with a solution, which calls for blowing up the mine and its tunnels.
In the meantime, the fissure of pure lithium is spreading and will soon reach critical mass, endangering the lives of millions.
Jake must find a way to rescue his co-workers, who are trapped in the mine and prevent a terrestrial holocaust.
State-of-the-art special effects enhance the film’s fast-paced, suspense-building conclusion.
Written by William Langlois and Jim Wynorski – who also is the director, whose name is J.R. Mandish – “Fire From Below” is being produced by Andrew Stevens, who owns a lake home here.

Gun Barrel City optician charged
Monitor Staff Reports
ATHENS–A Gun Barrel City eye specialist surrendered to authorities on a charge of sexual assault of a child Nov. 8.
Curtis Edward Cook, 59, of the Cedar Creek Vision Center was notified of an warrant issued by 173rd District Judge Dan Moore charging him with sexual assault.
Cook, accompanied by his attorney, surrendered at the Henderson County courthouse the next morning, Henderson County Sheriff’s Office public information officer Lt. Pat McWilliams reported.
After being arraigned, Cook posted $40,000 bail and was released, McWilliams said.
McWilliams declined to elaborate on the charges, saying the investigation was ongoing.

Rollback election scheduled
By Michael V. Hannigan
Monitor Staff Writer

MALAKOFF–It’s on now.
The Malakoff City Council Tuesday night set Saturday, Jan. 19, as the date for the upcoming tax rollback election. Polls will be open at City Hall that day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Early voting runs Wednesday, Jan. 2-Tuesday, Jan. 15, during regular business hours at City Hall. Mail-in ballots will be available for return Wednesday, Dec. 5 - Jan.11.
The election is to decide whether the Malakoff ad valorem tax rate should be left at the 35 cents per $100 valuation set by the City Council in September, or set back to the rollback rate of 22.10 cents/$100.
The rollback was initiated when a group called “Malakoff Citizens for Lower Taxes,” led by Phil Tucker and David Thompson, collected 193 signatures on a petition asking for the action.
Tucker and Thompson have led the charge against the tax rate since the City Council increased it a little more than 11 cents. The two men have repeatedly said the increase was too high, pointing out it amounts to a 49 percent jump in one year. Tucker has been a vocal critic of the city’s budget.
City officials said the increase was necessary to offset declining revenue, a problem pointed out by their independent auditor last year. Since a high of 41.538 cents in 1994, the Malakoff tax rate has declined steadily, except for a half-a-cent increase in 2005.
City officials, including Mayor Pat Isaacson, have said in the past that the city may lose personnel if the tax rate is pushed back.
Now that the election is scheduled, it is expected that proponents from the two sides will begin campaigning in earnest.
In other business, council members:
• heard once again from Edward Adair of LPB Energy Consulting. LPB is a consulting firm which works to help cities get a contract for better electric rates, monitor the market for ongoing savings opportunities and conduct monthly energy bill audits.
Adair said the market was very good at the moment and told council members he thought LPB could get a contract for the city between 8.5 and 9 cents per kilowatt hour. Currently the city pays around 15 cents per kilowatt hour.
• tabled action to hire LPB because they want to hear from other consulting firms. Mayor Pro Tem Tim Trimble in particular did not want to go forward without further options.
• tabled action on moving uniform elections – the ones with the city and school board combined – to the Malakoff Community Center.
The move to table was again led by Trimble who said the City Hall was just as convenient, if not more convenient, for voters.