Nutt vows to be ‘aggressive’
on fighting drug trafficking
Monitor Staff Reports
GUN BARREL CITY–New Henderson County Sheriff Ray Nutt promised to be
“aggressive” in attacking drug trafficking throughout the county.
Speaking at the Cedar Creek Lake Kiwanis club’s weekly luncheon Jan. 7,
Nutt told the group he planned to meet with other clubs and
organizations throughout the county and encourage residents to get
“I want every citizen of this county to get involved, any way that you
feel you can,” Nutt said.
Saying he wanted to avoid any lapse in responsibility, Nutt took the
oath of office in a brief 6 a.m. ceremony Jan. 1, as interim sheriff
Mark Jordan’s term ended at midnight. Other county officers were sworn
in during a courtroom ceremony Jan. 2.
Jordan, who was appointed last year as interim sheriff following the
mid-summer retirement of veteran lawman Ronny Brownlow, had promised the
county commissioners and others he would not seek election to the
office, as he also intended to retire Dec. 31 to go into business.
Nutt said Jordan had “helped me any way he could” during the transition
period following Nutt’s victory in the Nov. 4, 2008, general election.
During a meeting with Jordan, the sheriff’s office warrant clerk came in
and announced she had 198 persons on a list of outstanding warrants, and
Nutt “suggested” deputies should take a list of those names with them on
“Monday, she said we had served 76 warrants,” Nutt told the gathering.
Nutt said Dan Parker has been selected as the new chief deputy, with
Kevin Hanes remaining in charge at the county jail.
Hanes will be joined by Mike Starkey, who teaches how to meet Texas
Commission on Jail Standards (TCJS) requirements, he added.
Kay Langford, who had headed the sheriff’s office narcotics unit, was
promoted to captain, and will oversee both the criminal investigation
division and the patrol division, with Lt. Botie Hillhouse as the patrol
“Everybody who ran for this job were all good people,” Nutt said. “(They
all said) we need more people on the street.”
Currently, there are 21 deputies to patrol a county with about 85,000
people. Nutt said he plans to add two patrol deputies (to make 23), plus
two special assignment deputies.
“I’m telling my deputies to talk with people, and wave at folks,” Nutt
Deputies currently work a 12-hour shift, but that means every deputy
accrues eight hours of overtime per pay period.
“We have accumulated a huge amount of overtime and comp time,” he said.
“If we continue to accumulate overtime, we’ll have to go back to an
Also, those patrol deputies need newer vehicles. The current 66-vehicle
fleet has gone more than six million miles, Nutt said.
“The truck I’m in today has about 160,000 (miles) on it,” he said.
Adding deputies and replacing patrol cars takes money, but Nutt had
nothing but praise for the county commissioners.
“The commissioners have been great to us,” he said.
When asked about the new district attorney, Scott McKee, Nutt replied,
“I think Scott will do his level best to do what he has promised to do
“I’m looking forward to working with Scott,” he added. “He is going to
be aggressive like we’re going to be aggressive.”
The new county jail has its final TCJS inspection Wednesday, Jan. 14,
and once it passes, will be able to accept out-of-county prisoners.
“That’s a big concern, because of the expense of medical treatment,”
Nutt said. “We have three nurses now. If they fill up the jail with
outside prisoners, we will need four nurses.”
Employee retention is always going to be a problem at the jail, because
the pay is not great, and many folks discover being a jailer is not what
they thought it might be, Nutt said.
Some prisoners are released to work outside the jail as trustys,
although every trusty represents a huge liability exposure for the
county, he said.
“We had an unfortunate accident this morning, when a trusty cut the end
of his thumb off,” Nutt reported. “I just put out a memo this morning
that trustys were not to handle power tools.
“As we are talking, we’ve got 20 trustys out over the county,” Nutt
added. “That’s a lot of people and a lot of liability, although it is a
good program, and it saves the county some money.”
As it’s set up, any non-profit organization could request trusty labor,
although the organization must have a state-licensed jailer or a
state-licensed peace officer on hand when the trusty is working, he
Nutt promised to be available to anyone calling for him, and he also
promised to have deputies respond to calls in a timely manner.
“If we get behind (in calls), I’ll pull investigators out,” he said.
“When you call, you need to be answered.”
In club news, Kiwanis members heard:
• the club raised more than $460 during its Saturday bell-ringing for
the Salvation Army kettle in front of Walmart.
Overall, the annual kettle fund-raising drive garnered more than $5,000
for the Salvation Army, past club president Dr. Jeanne Caillet reported.
• the club benefited 25 families through the Trinidad School’s Builder’s
Club kids, and benefited 25 more needy families in the Seven Points area
through Christmas food and gift donations.
In addition, the club helped 45 families through Angel Tree programs,
and with last-minute donations, helped more than 60 families, club
president Denise York reported.
Club members put together gift bags for more than 230 Head Start
students in Mabank, Eustace and Trinidad, York added.
Mabank historian visits with
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer
GUN BARREL CITY–A petite grandmother (and great-grandmother) figure was
the main speaker at the Rotary Club of Cedar Creek Lake’s weekly
In her early 80s, Opal Toney says she can remember most of Mabank’s
It’s certain she knows a lot about Mabank, her favorite subject.
It began as the little community of Lawndale, out east of present-day
However, word that the railroad was coming caused the townspeople to
pack up and move everything, buildings and all, to a new location.
“Texas railroads had a lot to do with the (survival) of small towns,”
It helped a lot that a townsite was donated by local ranchers Eubank and
Mason (Ma plus bank), whose combined names made up the town’s new name.
“ More than 4,000 acres were donated, and the town’s new owners sold the
western section to Sam Houston,” she said. “So, we are in a good part of
There were several newspapers in the community, and a brand new brick
$10,000 two-story school house.
The young Opal went to work for the Mabank Banner and wrote a lot of the
“For years, I would make my rounds to every business (searching for the
news),” she said. “I used to ride a mule all around Prairieville,
“But, many of the people I knew are dead now,” she noted. “Now, I try to
meet all the new people coming. I help when I can. Sometimes all it
takes is a pat on the back.”
There have been some interesting times in her life outside Mabank, she
Toney visited her sister in Los Angeles. The sister worked at the police
department, and after a short time, found a position for Toney.
“I worked for the LA Police Department,” she said. “I have been to
Hollywood and New York, but I’m still a country girl.”
In other business, Rotarians heard:
• Lee Montgomery and Robert Blaase will be taking a trip to Marshall to
attend a Rotary meeting.
• there will be a special meeting to talk about the club’s financial
plans an hour before (about 11 a.m.) the regular meeting Friday, Jan.
AARP offers free income tax help
Special to the Monitor
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–AARP volunteers will once again provide free income tax
help through Monday, April 13.
This free service will be provided in the lake area at three locations:
• 8 a.m. to noon Mondays at the Library at Cedar Creek Lake, Seven
• 8 a.m. to noon Wednesdays at the Senior Citizens Center, 503 N. Terry
• 8 a.m. to noon Fridays, at the Henderson County Senior Center, 3344
State Highway 31 East, Athens.
Important features and rules of the program follows.
• Services are free and include electronic filing.
• All eligible returns will be filed electronically.
• All returns are completed with computer software.
• Taxpayers do not have to be elderly or members of AARP.
• Busiest times are the first few weeks of February. If taxpayers are
patient and come later in the season, the wait will probably not be as
• Married taxpayers should both come to the site unless one is
• Extremely complicated returns will not be serviced.
However tax payers with such returns will be advised what steps they
should take to get their return completed.
• Counselors may not be present for the entire posted hours, if there
are no taxpayers present.
On the other hand, service hours will be extended, if demand is
• This service is provided by the AARP Foundation in cooperation with
the Internal Revenue Service.
• Taxpayers who are unable to travel to one of the above sites may phone
Gil Betts at (903) 778-2423. to request tax assistance in their home.
Items taxpayers should bring with them include:
• a copy of any return for the prior tax year
• a record of any Economic Stimulus Rebate received in 2008, or 2007
• all other tax-related documents received, such as: W-2s, 1099s, SSA
1099s, broker’s statements showing interest, dividends, capitol gains
distributions, sales of capital assets (stocks, bonds, mutual funds,
• Social Security cards for all taxpayers and dependents.
• date of birth for all taxpayers and dependents.
• property taxes paid (may be added to standard deduction without
The Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake
My name is Nelson. I am a
beautiful male Dachshund. I was brought to the shelter by animal
control, so I have no history. So far, I seem pretty laid back
and gentle. I am a wonderful boy looking for my new forever
My name is Oreo. I am a beautiful
female black Lab. I was brought to the shelter by animal
control, so I have no history. I seem to get along with other
dogs. I need help with leash training. I have been started on my
shots and need to be fixed. I am a beautiful girl looking for my
We are a whole litter of Shepherd
mix babies. We were brought to the shelter by animal control, so
we have no history. We have been started on our first set of
shots. We are good kids looking for our new forever homes.
I am a beautiful Border Collie,
who is four months old, or so. I was brought to the shelter by
animal control, so I have no history. I have not been at the
shelter long, so not much is known about me. I am a beautiful
kid looking for a new home.
Pictured are just a few
animals at the Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake in Seven
Points in dire need of a good home. Please call or stop by the
Humane Society today and rescue one of these forgotten animals.
The Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake is located on 10220
County Road 2403 in
Seven Points. For more information, please call (903) 432-3422
after 11 a.m.
We are closed on Wednesday and Sunday.
For further information
visit our website at