Posted by : May 19, 2016| On :
Monitor Staff Writer
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Few people ever get beyond wishful thinking when it comes to working toward and achieving their goals and dreams, like traveling and seeing the world. However, some have, like Josephine and Bill Miniat of Cedar Creek Lake.
The retired couple are approaching their 60th wedding anniversary Sept. 1 and have clocked hundreds of thousands of miles and a total of 900 days on the water (by cruise ship or river boat) over the past 10 years.
They look forward to several more trips, hopefully to Israel and Egypt; also areas around Alberta, Canada, and northern Africa are yet to be explored. Other places they have visited several times and observed the changes taking place, such as those in China, Russia and Southeast Asia.
Bill got a taste for such exotic destinations while working as a manufacturing executive in the electronics industry with Magnovox and Curtis Mathis. His business dealings often took him to Southeast Asia. Since retiring from a second career as a local home developer during the real estate boom of the early ’90s, he has booked numerous cruises and inland jaunts, along with his wife Jo. Together the pair have catalogued numerous photos and kept a travel journal of their experiences and observations.
“Americans better wake up,” he said. “We need to get out of our comfortable little bubble and expand our vision of the world,” he surmises from his nearly three trips a year.
He believes instead of becoming more and more like Europe with its political correctness, Americans need to rediscover their own inventiveness, reinvigorate a strong work ethic and blaze new trails in the current economy.
In his travels, he said, the middle class is practically non-existent, while the poor and super rich stand in stark contrast to one another. He also noted a veneration of past greatness as evidenced by the many beautiful temples and the worship still offered there, while power brokers seemingly ignore the potential of the present, as they guard the status quo.
Visits to Moslem and Communist-controlled countries reveal the tight control the government holds over its people and tourists to its countries. Armed men were frequent sights on the streets of countries like China, India, Dubai and large cities in Indonesia, Bill said.
“There were many places where taking photographs are not allowed. And taking photos of the guards, forts or security points are strictly forbidden,” he said. “Crossing a border can take hours,” he added.
In Dubai, no one can gain citizenship who is not native to the country. He also noted “enslaved labor” from India is one of the oil-rich country’s major imports.
While visiting Petra near the shores of the Dead Sea, a hike back to the bus seemed impossible for Bill who was growing ill by the moment. So the couple went “off tour” to find a donkey and local help to take him up in elevation where a cab could help the couple reconnect with their bus. “Upon arrival, the guards with the tour bus were visibly upset that they had lost track of us,” Jo said.
The couple also noted that other well-off travelers (mostly from Europe) and a few from the U.S. form their own sub-culture, running into one another on various trips, enjoying each other’s company and becoming fast friends as long as the trip lasts. They learn what things to guard against in various ports of call and tourist attractions.
In Naples, Italy and Ho Chi Min, Vietnam, tourists are warned against pickpockets from brazen gypsies or slick operators, who lift a wallet and elude discovery for hours afterward.
While in Prague, Bill admitted to being hood-winked during a monetary exchange. “I exchanged American dollars for worthless currency,” he said. “We’ve learned to be very careful.”
In other places, such as Singapore and Myanmar (old Burma), where values of honesty and hospitality hold weight with those who hope in an afterlife, a local store manager has chased Bill down as he departed having purchased a book to restore money wrongfully collected in the transaction.
When asked if the couple have ever gotten cross-eyed with one another while on a trip, the answer was no. “We’ve learned, at our age, there aren’t that many things worth getting upset about,” Jo said. “Age and experience has put things into greater perspective.”
This local couple have gained a ‘greater perspective’ in a lot of areas from their travels. Neither spend time watching television anymore, but rather enjoy learning through reading and thinking.
The couple also shared stories of how they dealt with illness while on their various journeys. Both he and Jo have experienced various health challenges during their retirement. Though on one of their first trips, Bill said his body shut down and he had to be hospitalized for a week in England, the experience hasn’t dampened his enthusiasm for travel.
“I’ve had a great ride, to be able to do these things is a blessing,” Bill said. “I’ve learned what the world is all about, having seen it with my own eyes, and greeting people of different cultures, seeing how they live and get along. It’s been worth all the hard work, saving and sacrificing to be able to travel. I highly recommend it.”
Posted by : May 11, 2016| On :
Monitor Staff Reports
CANTON–Veteran law enforcement officer C.B. Wiley died Friday, having served a 50-year career in Van Zandt County. The Precinct 2 Constable was 79. Funeral services were set for Tuesday with Van Zandt County Justice of the Peace Ronnie Daniell preciding at Eubank Funeral Home in Canton. He was under hospice care the last days of his life.
Wiley made it his business to know most everyone in his precinct and had a warm working relationship with neighboring law enforcement agencies, including Henderson County.
He began his career in Van Zandt County in 1974 and served as Justice of the Peace and then as Constable.
He founded the Van Zandt County Bloodhound Team about 35 years ago. The team has been used on numerous occasions to search for lost children, elderly and fugitives.
Over his adult life, he was a member of the American Cancer Society, Canton Lions Club and presided as president of First Monday Centennial. In 2001, he was selected by the Chamber of Commerce as Citizen of the Year.
He was married to his wife, Mary, for 54 years. Together the couple raised three children and have four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Many may recall the time a Van Zandt family brought a child to Wiley’s home office in the middle of the night. The child was not breathing. Wiley began CPR and the child’s life was saved.
See obituary information on page 6A.
Posted by : May 11, 2016| On :
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
ATHENS–Henderson County Commissioners accepted the resignation of Sheriff Ray Nutt Tuesday. His last day will by May 31. In his resignation letter, Nutt states that the goals he came into office with Jan. 1, 2009 have been met.
“I would like to thank the Court for their support during my time as Sheriff. I also appreciate the support of the citizens from all across the County. Although my term runs through Dec. 31, 1 feel it is in the best interest of the Sheriffs Office and the County, for me to step aside,” he wrote.
Commissioners agreed to name Sheriff-elect Botie Hillhouse to begin serving in Nutt’s place beginning on June 1, as Nutt recommended. “The new sheriff-elect is ready to continue our goals and to implement his own,” Nutt stated.
“After more than 47 years in law enforcement, I am looking forward to being able to spend more time with my wife. Lee and my children and grandchildren.”