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'Footloose' scene to be filmed in Covington
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Later this year, the Newton County Historic Courthouse will be filled with people vigorously debating the morals of rock and roll and dancing — and it’s all being filmed.

The1984 classic "Footloose" is being remade, and a courtroom scene is expected to be filmed at the Historic Courthouse on Sept. 17, 20 and 21. The original film starred Kevin Bacon as Ren McCormack, a Chicago teen who experiences culture shock when he moves to a small town where dancing and rock music are banned, but manages to sway the townspeople from the influence of a strict preacher.

The remake is due in theaters April 1, 2011 and will star Dennis Quaid as Rev. Shaw Moore, two-time "Dancing With the Stars" champion and country music singer Julianne Hough as Ariel Moore and Kenny Wormald as McCormack. Wormald has previously appeared as a dancer in several previous films and was on the MTV series "Dancelife." 

"High School Musical" star Zac Efron was originally cast as McCormack, but dropped out of the role last year. Craig Brewer wrote the screenplay and is directing the film; he has previously written and directed and a handful of films including "Hustle & Flow" and "Black Snake Moan."

Newton County would be paid rental fees of $13,500, but it has not yet signed a contract with the filming company. The Board of Commissioners still has to decide whether it wants to reschedule or move the location of its Sept. 21 regularly scheduled meeting.

A handout given to the board listed reasons why the board should consider allowing the filming.

"(The) film industry brings in not only one-time money to our community on actual production dates, but also tourism money for people wanting to see where things were filmed," according to the handout. "We want to be a "film-friendly" community and have a reputation for being easy to work with."

The CW television series "The Vampire Diaries" is actively filming its second season, and scenes for "The Walking Dead", a six-episode series on AMC, were recently filmed near Mansfield.

"The Vampire Diaries" have recently had security concerns and residents are urged to not interfere with shooting.

Bear Creek

In other county news, the BOC approved four reservoir related permit applications Tuesday night for Lake Varner and the proposed Bear Creek project.

County Attorney Tommy Craig, who has worked on several reservoir projects in Georgia, said the applications are housekeeping issues. He said new Georgia Environmental Protection Division Director F. Allen Barnes, who was appointed Oct. 28, 2009, was not satisfied with all of Newton County’s records concerning Bear Creek and asked the county to resubmit some of them.

The county is still working to get its state Section 401 Water Quality Certification, so it can get a federal permit to allow it move ahead with the project, which was first planned in 1996.

According to previous stories in The News, the project has been delayed partially because of red tape and a failed collaboration attempt with Jasper County.

The reservoir is intended to serve, along with Lake Varner and City Pond, a projected county population of 375,000 by 2050. According to the county's previous calculations such a population would need 47 million gallons per day.

According to the permit applications, the county currently can produce 29.5 MGD, following the recent expansion of the Cornish Creek Water Treatment Plant. Bear Creek would supply approximately 28 million gallons per day at full pool.

The proposed site of the reservoir is directly downstream from Henderson Mill Road Bridge where it crosses Bear Creek in the southeastern end of the county. Once complete, the reservoir will encompass 1,242 acres. The impact area is 36 acres of wetland and 24 miles of stream.

The Lake Varner applications are to renew the county’s current water withdrawal permits.