DA investigator and law
enforcer dies suddenly
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
CEDAR CREEK LAKEThe Henderson County District Attorneys Office reported the
sudden death of one of its investigators.
Jody Miller was just 42 years old when he
suffered a massive heart attack while off-duty at his Athens residence Tuesday, Dec. 28.
DA Scott McKee hired Miller away from the Sheriffs Office two years ago, and his
death came as a shock, McKee said.
He was not just a great investigator, he was a great friend, McKee said.
You could trust him 100 percent. If you needed to find someone, no matter where he
was, Miller would find him he was just that good and he had a heart of
gold, McKee added.
Sheriff Ray Nutt said Miller started out in law enforcement with the Texas Department of
Criminal Justice, and then served as deputy constable under Precinct 6 Constable Robert
Neff. He was doing that as a volunteer, Nutt added.
Then he served 14 years with the Sheriffs Office in a variety of positions.
Jody was a good guy. Everyone who met him like him. He was one of the
hardest-working individuals Ive ever known, Nutt said. He was like a son
to me in many ways, and he loved to hunt and fish.
Deputy Chief Bodie Hillhouse recalled Millers hard work on the Drug Enforcement
Unit. Hes done a lot for the county, Hillhouse said.
Funeral services were set for 10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 31, at the First Baptist Church of
Athens under the direction of Hannigan-Smith Funeral Home (formerly Cooper Funeral Home)
Survivors include his wife, Valerie, two daughters and a son. See complete obituary
information on page 9A.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made in Millers memory to
the Henderson County Peace Officers Association at any First State Bank Branch.
New minimums for auto liability goes into effect 2011
Monitor Staff Reports
CEDAR CREEK LAKE-About half of all Texas drivers will likely see a rise in their auto
insurance premiums this year as a new Texas law goes into effect.
As the second part of a two-year plan to update minimum liability coverage the average
premium will increase 2 percent to 3 percent.
About 30 percent of Texas drivers carry more than the minimum coverage, and will likely
see no change in their premiums.
The new minimum liability limits are $30,000 for each person injured in an accident, up to
$60,000 per accident, and $25,000 for property damage per accident, which remains the
same. It is also known as 30/60/25.
The old minimum was 25/50/25, implemented in April, 2008, as the first step to increase
the minimum requirement per legislation passed in 2007. Prior to that, the minimum of
20/40/15 had not been increased in about 25 years.
Jerry Hagins, spokesman for the Texas Department of Insurance, told NU Online News Service
the increase is long overdue and is needed to catch up with rising medical
Texas Farm Bureau insurance agent Eric Gilbert of Gun Barrel City reports the change in
minimum coverage will mean a rise of $4 to $6 on a six-month contract for his customers,
or an increase of $8 to $12 annually.
Should one of his clients be in an accident before their policy comes up for renewal,
Texas Farm Bureau will automatically cover them for the new minimums, he said.
However, he recommends carrying more than the minimum because the $25,000 property damage
wouldnt be enough if it were a multiple car accident.
If your actions damaged two cars, and at least one of them was a new car, you could
be stuck for the rest, he said.
He recommends $100,000 per person on bodily injury up to $300,000 per accident, and
$50,000 on property damage.
With 50 percent of drivers seeing a rise in insurance minimums and another 30 percent
already purchasing more than the law requires, that leaves another 20 percent of drivers
in Texas without insurance.
However, it has become harder for uninsured drivers to get away with not having minimum
insurance, since Texas recently implemented a new database program to enforce the law,
Animal shelter sets Jan. 8 groundbreaking ceremony
Monitor Staff Reports
SEVEN POINTSWith a successful year-long Raise the Woof campaign, the
Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake is ready to break ground on phase one of its rebuilding
A groundbreaking ceremony is set for 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 8, with the Rev. Eston Williams
The shelter is located on Forest Acres Road in Seven Points.
Everyones invited to celebrate this momentous occasion with us, shelter
director Krista McAnnally said.
The year-long effort raised $130,000, enough to level the ground, pour a slab and raise a
new metal building. Funds will also complete the kennel area, so about 50 animals can be
transferred to their new home.
The shelter directors are still raising funds to finish out the office portion of the new
building, director Cynthia Walter said.
They lack $50,000 more to complete plans for phase one to build out offices.
Well tackle that work as funds become available, she added.
A second phase will demolish the current building and, if possible, build on the same slab
to add more kennels for $90,000.
A third construction phase consists of refurbishing the fence and quarantine runs for
$30,000, to total $300,000 in all.
Weather permitting, the shelter staff hopes to have the animals moved over into the new
building by February.
The existing building has numerous problems and is just about falling apart, McAnnally
said. Most recently, the furnace has given out and the kennels are being warmed by
electric and butane heaters.
Currently there are about 30 dogs and 20 cats housed there and in need of good, loving
homes, she added.