Glen Roy Robinson – He made a difference!

I have always believed that the best stories have a moral or a lesson to be learned involved. My hope is that the one you will read below conveys the same. Unlike many that have been told before, this one is not a fairytale but about a real person, one that the people of Jackson Parish and the surrounding area knew and loved. This is about the life of Glen Roy Robinson.

For those of you who didn’t know this man he passed away a couple of weeks ago at the age of 88 years old. When you consider the countless number of people he made an impression with you would probably think he was from a large metropolis area. In fact he never strayed far from where he grew up and lived out his life in the small hamlet of Danville, located just south of Jonesboro.

I bring this up because it brings to light the first moral of this story which is it doesn’t matter where you are from, a big city or small rural area, you can make a difference in the lives of people. Glen Roy Robinson is the perfect persona as the title character in this moral.

His impact on those around him began early in his life while going to school at the now defunct Friendship High School. In the late 1940’s this school had the premier basketball program in north Louisiana and for a three year period the home of one of the best prep teams in the state, regardless of classification. The Louisiana High School Association basketball annals verify this as from the period between 1948-50 Friendship played for two Class C titles and barely missed making it three years in a row.

Leading the charge was Glen Roy who along with Odell Thomas and Sonny Parker led Friendship to its most glorious period in school history. Dressed in their all black uniforms adorned with this white side stripes down the sides and with each player wearing black knee pads they not only looked good they played even better. This is verified by them playing for the Class C state title in 1948 and again in 1950 losing close decisions to Meaux and Florien respectively.

Glen Roy’s talents were so respected that even though he came from such a small area he was offered multiple scholarships from school as far away as Baylor University as well as every local university in north Louisiana. He ended up signing with what then known as Northeast Louisiana State College (NLSC) which became Northeast Louisiana University (NLU) and is known today as the University of Louisiana-Monroe (ULM).

The main reason he wanted to go there was that he didn’t want to be too far from the love of his life and high school sweetheart Billie, whom he started courting while he was 16 and she was 14 and shared a wonderful marriage with for 68 years.

Glen Roy made an immediate impact on his coach Cary Phillips who had him in the starting lineup from the very first game he played. While there he later teamed up with Jonesboro native James “Flop” Shively and former JHHS head basketball coach Arnold Kilpatrick.
Upon graduation he served a stint in the Army as all young men were required to do back then before coming home to go to work in the wood procurement office for Continental Can in Hodge where he stayed for 14 years.

Toward the end of his stint as a “working” man he made a decision that ended up changing the lives of all those who were fortunate enough to be associated with him. He decided to begin teaching and coaching and as fate would have it he got the opportunity to do so at Saline High School. His position wasn’t what you would call a “glorious” one as he taught drivers education and junior high studies as well as coaching both junior and senior high basketball, mostly as an assistant.

This leads to the second moral of this story which is you don’t have to be the “top dog” in your profession to make a difference in people’s lives. It all boils down to the character of a person. If you have the right kind of character and the desire to make people’s lives better no matter what your lot in life is you will make a difference in theirs.

Glen Roy lived a simple life. He spent his adult life in the same house on the hill just a matter of yards from where he grew up and spent his spare time raising his cattle, who he loved like his own children. His greatest joy came from taking care of his bride and children.

He left this earth as one of the few that leaves a legacy of making a difference to the people he met. In my opinion nothing can be said finer about a person and nothing is as important as doing so.

NASCAR Legend – Tony Stewart at Chatham Speedway this Past Sunday

It is not often that a NASCAR driver, much less a true legend of the sport can be found in Jackson Parish but that was the case this past weekend as Tony Stewart drove in the Sunday Sprint Race at the Chatham Speedway.

Just a few weeks from the Louisiana Fire Marshall Office limiting the number of people that could attend the local raceway thousands of fans packed the seats as they enjoyed one of the greatest NASCAR driver’s take the wheel.

The next event to be held is the Southern Outlaw Late Models Race that is scheduled to drop the flag on Saturday, June 20th. Entry fee is $35.00 for a Pit Pass, $12.00 for general admission of adults and $5.00 for children from the ages of 6-12. Those five year old and younger get in free.

Eros Woman Arrested After Cussing OPSO Dispatchers

Ouachita Parish sheriff’s deputies arrested an Eros woman on suspicion of harassing through telephone communications and filing false public records last week after the suspect claimed her boyfriend stole her vehicle.

Katie Allen, 29, of 424 Ervin Cotton Road, Eros, could not provide any other information about her boyfriend to the dispatchers. Allen was arrested the day before by West Monroe police for theft, and police told the Sheriff’s Office that Allen gave her vehicle’s keys to her boyfriend.

Over three days, Allen called the Sheriff’s Office dispatchers about six times, cussing and yelling at dispatchers, according to the June 2 arrest report. She was booked at Ouachita Correctional Center.

OLD COLUMN TRIGGERS MEMORIES

By: Glynn Harris

(Thirty years ago, I was hired to write humor columns for the now defunct Louisiana Conservationist. Recently, a friend was using the down time created by Covid 19 to clean out his files. He found some of those old magazines, called me and offered them to me. Here’s one of my favorites from three decades ago…)

Contrary to nasty rumors being spread about me, I’m not all that old. It’s just that I seem to possess the uncanny ability to dredge up and bring into focus vivid details of things that happened to me long ago. It thus seems a paradox that I can’t ever seem to remember where I laid my glasses. It takes very little to set me off on a stroll down memory lane taking with me, kicking and protesting, whoever happens to be in earshot.

My most recent, if reluctant, companion for a trip down the lane was Melissa, our resident teenager. She had no choice because a brief but savage storm had zapped us, rendering inoperative everything electrical. That included TV, stereo and jam box. With no juice, there were no Night Courts reruns; no screeching disc jockey spinning ditties such as “I’m To Broke to Pay Attention, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.’

Boredom was closing in on her, so I came to the rescue. Sitting her down, I began blazing a trail down memory lane, kicking off with a phrase teens love to hear from the lips of their parents….’When I was your age…’

Not wanting to appear overly eager to hear my ‘back when’ stories, she cleverly masked her glee with a facial expression like the one you get when the dental assistant comes to the door, calls your name and says ‘Ready for that root canal?’

Back when I was your age, we didn’t have electricity, television, running water, indoor plumbing or stereo but boy, did we have fun! (I’ll bet.) You wouldn’t catch us sitting around the house getting bored. No sir-ree; we’d go down to the creek and catch us some frogs, crawfish and bugs… (I think I’m going to be sick…)

We’d take the shovel and tomato can out behind the barn and dig in the cow patties for fish bait. Then we’d go catch us a bunch of mudcats. (Well, WHOOP-de-DOO.)

Then we’d go snipe hunting down in the deep woods after dark. You talk about scary, especially when the rest of the kids went off and left you all alone there in the dark, holding the sack and waiting for a snipe. Bet you’d get a kick out of that, wouldn’t you? (I can’t believe I’m missing Three’s Company.)

And the games we played – deer and dog, red rover, pop-the-whip. Then for some real excitement, we’d sneak out after dark and turn over the neighbor’s privy. (Dear Lord, PLEASE make the electricity come back on.)

If you can find an old tire tube, I’ll make us a slingshot. When I was your age, we’d get us a pocketful of rocks, take out slingshots and shoot snakes, turtles and frogs. (Personally, I’d rather have chicken pox.)

Without warning, the electricity came back on and like a shot she was up and to the television. Wait, I didn’t get to the good part about how we used to make flying jennies and cars out of snuff bottles. By the way, have you seen my glasses?

“You’re wearing them.”

“Oh….

EDC Asks Local Banks for Help With Oxidation Pond Project

The Economic Development Committee met Monday, June 15, 2020 at 12:00 PM in the Police Jury Meeting Room of the Jackson Parish Courthouse in Jonesboro. Members present were Mr. John McCarty, Ms. Regina Rowe, and Mr. Lynn Treadway as well as special invitees Christine Rambo from the North Louisiana Economic Partnership, Thurston Allen from Jonesboro State Bank, Rex Johnson from Hodge Bank and Mitch Spillers from People’s Bank.

Chairman Treadway opened by discussing the current state of a property on Industrial Drive He then asked the representatives from the banks to assist the Town of Jonesboro financially to relocate the oxidation pond outfall in order for the property to be certified.

Ms. Rambo followed by giving a presentation on how the area can prepare for economic development and gave details on the site certification process. She also explained the memorandum of understanding between the property owner and the state of Louisiana. Mr. Thurston Allen then asked about improvements to private land and the possible investment returns where upon it was agreed a follow-up meeting that would include Jonesboro Mayor Leslie Thompson would be had.

E-911 Commission to Name New Director

A special meeting of the Communication District E-911 Commission District Board will be held at 12:00 noon on Wednesday, June 17th at the Blake Building located on 319 Jimmie Davis Blvd in Jonesboro where the naming of a new director following the retirement of Skeeter McBride.

Board members Andy Brown, Jackson Parish Sheriff – Chairman, James “Spike” Harris, Jonesboro Police Chief, Brandon Brown, Jonesboro Fire Chief, Jeff Carpenter, David Earl Brown, Freddy Tolar and Sharon Satcher will also discuss the following:


1. 2019 CPA Review Report
2. Purchase of office computers
3. Renewal of the office lease
4. Renewal of the Zuerker and E-Dispatch Notification Software
5. Approval of an official journal

The next meeting date is set for July 22nd with additional dates of September 23rd and November planned for the upcoming months.

Remember This? The Good Samaritan

By Brad Dison

The true measure of our character is often determined by how we treat others, especially strangers. The origin of the Good Samaritan dates back to the Bible. In Luke 10:30-34, Jesus told of a man who was traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. Along his trip, robbers attacked and beat the man. They stole his clothing and left him for dead. The first two men to pass the traveler purposefully avoided him. It was a man from Samaria, the third traveler to come upon the injured man, who showed him mercy. The Samaritan bandaged the injured man’s wounds, took him to a local inn, and nursed him back to health. Since that time, anyone who has helped a stranger with no expectation of personal gain has been referred to as a good Samaritan. The following is the true story of a modern-day good Samaritan.

On June 8, 2013, a group of tourists were taking in the sites in Toronto, Canada, on what was the final day of their cross-Canadian train trip. Jim Walpole, a retired General Motors manager from Defiance, Ohio, and his wife, Marilyn, a nurse, were among the group of tourists who walked down King Street East toward historic Old Toronto. Marilyn led the group, followed by her husband and the other tourists.

Along the walk, Marilyn heard a slight moan coming from behind her. Jim had tripped on the sidewalk and fell into some construction equipment. As Jim fell, a piece of scaffolding gashed his neck. Jim held his hands out to break his fall. When he hit the ground, he broke one of his fingers. Marilyn turned around and saw that Jim’s face and clothing were covered in blood. Jim laid bleeding on the sidewalk in a daze.

The good Samaritan was smoking a cigarette a short distance away, and saw Jim fall. The good Samaritan could have continued smoking his cigarette. He could have looked away, but not this good Samaritan. Before anyone else responded, the good Samaritan sprang into action. Without hesitation, he crushed out his cigarette and ran to render aid to the moaning, bleeding man. He knelt down beside Jim and quickly assessed the situation. The good Samaritan removed his scarf and placed it over Jim’s neck wound to slow the flow of blood. The good Samaritan reassured Jim in a soft, calm voice that he was going to be fine.

Toronto restauranteur Ben Quinn also saw Jim fall and saw the good Samaritan rush to his aid. Ben saw that the saturated scarf was no longer absorbing blood. Ben ran to his car and retrieved a towel. The good Samaritan replaced the saturated scarf with the towel and applied pressure to Jim’s wounded neck. They were afraid to remove the towel and check on the wound because they feared Jim would bleed to death. If the gash had severed Jim’s jugular vein or his carotid artery and had they removed the towel, Jim could have bled to death within a few short minutes.

Although Marilyn was a nurse, she allowed the good Samaritan to help. She later explained; “He really knew what he was doing. That’s why I thought he was a doctor. He had no qualms about getting blood all over him. That would be a real concern for some people.” When the ambulance arrived and medics took over for the good Samaritan, Marilyn asked him “What’s your name, sir?” He simply responded, “John.” Marilyn said “I didn’t ask for a last name because I didn’t figure I would remember it.”

The medics transported Jim to Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital, just a few short blocks away. At the hospital, a doctor carefully inspected Jim’s neck. To Jim’s relief, the doctor reported that the scaffolding had missed the critical vein by only an eighth of an inch. The doctor closed the neck wound with ten stitches and set his broken finger. Jim considered himself lucky.

John contacted the hospital following the incident and was relieved to learn that Jim would make a full recovery. A reporter followed up on the story the following day and asked John why he, a man who had no medical training, had stepped in to help someone he had never met. John humbly replied, “Any citizen would do it. It’s nothing special.” John wanted to avoid drawing attention to his actions. Marilyn and Jim were certain John had saved Jim’s life.

Like Jim and Marilyn, John was only in Toronto for a short time. John was in Toronto for just three days performing as the famed Italian lover Casanova in a traveling opera called “The Giacomo Variations.” Everyone’s focus was on Jim’s neck and not on the good Samaritan who stepped in to help. Under different circumstances, they certainly would have recognized John from movies such as “In the Line of Fire,” “Dangerous Liaisons,” “Johnny English,” “The Man in the Iron Mask,” “Red,” “Con Air,” “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” and a plethora of others dating back to the 1970s. John has appeared in over one hundred film and television productions. He is currently starring in two tv series; “Space Force,” and “The New Pope.” John, the good Samaritan, also starred in a movie which bears his name, “Being John Malkovich.”

Sources:
Luke 10:30-34 (New International Version).
The National Post, (Toronto, Canada), June 10, 2013.
The Gazette, (Montreal, Quebec), June 11, 2013, p.24.
The Desert Sun, (Palm Springs, California), June 12, 2013, p.D7.
IMDb.com. “John Malkovich.” Accessed June 12, 2020. https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000518/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0#actor

Chamber of Commerce holds Golf Tournament

A wonderful day was had by all who participated in the annual Jackson Parish Chamber of Commerce golf tournament that was held at the Jackson Parish Recreation Department course in Hodge. Twenty three teams participated with JJ Culpepper and Josh Stringer winning the Championship Flight and the team of Mark Easley and Dale Middleton taking top prize in the first flight.

After the 18 holes of golf burgers were then served to all participants and the 38 hole sponsors that helped support the event. See below for first through fourth place final standings of each flight as well as the two Closest to the Hole winners.

Championship flight


1. JJ Culpepper and Josh Stringer
2. Willie Burrows and Edward Davenport
3. Stuart Toms & Wade McBride
4. Eddie Permenter & Craig Mitchell


First Flight


1. Mark Easley &. Dale Middleton
2. Bo Teat & Tim Ducote
3. Ross Pullen& Johnny Dye
4. Eddie Langston & Joey Pender

Closest to the hole (#2): Willy Burrows

Closest to the hole (#5): Ritchie Tolar

DART Office Moving to New Location

The Jackson Parish Domestic Abuse Resistance Team (DART) office has moved to a new location now being located at 208 Hudson Avenue in Jonesboro. DART provides help to domestic and dating violence victims and their children in North Central Louisiana in the parishes of Jackson, Lincoln, Union, Winn, Claiborne, Bienville and Grant and has been in service since 1994.

DART also provides leadership in educating its communities about domestic and dating violence and its consequences and creates and implements programs to prevent domestic and dating violence. Hours of operation are 9-5 Monday-Friday with the local phone number being (318) 395-8006. There is also a 24 hour crisis line at (318)251-2255.

Death Notices: June 8th-14th

Mary Claudine Kennedy May 22, 1929 – June 14, 2020

Mrs. Mary Claudine Kennedy, age 91 of Jonesboro, joyfully joined loving family and friends that had preceded her to heaven on Sunday, June 14, 2020. She was preceded in death by her husband, Troy Williams; parents, Henry Claude and Mary Bert (Shively) Crawley; sister, Hazel Crawley Martin; brothers, Bobbie C. Crawley, William Donald Crawley, Alton Crawley, Benjamin Crawley. Her sister, Betty Hall; brother, Henry Bert Crawley; sister in law, Carolyn Crawley, a host of much-loved nieces and nephews are left to cherish her memory.

The family held a viewing Tuesday, June 16, 2020 at the Chapel of Edmonds Funeral Home of Jonesboro with funeral services held 10:00am Wednesday, June 17, 2020 in the chapel with Reverend Brian McAllister and Reverend Trey Etheridge officiating. Interment will follow at Gayla Traina Memorial Cemetery under the direction of Southern-Edmonds Funeral Home. Serving the family as pallbearers are Eric Hall, Colby Hough, Scott Martin, Andrew Martin, Daniel Martin, Stephen Martin.

***A mask will be required for entrance to the chapel and social distancing is to be expected.

Gerald Ray Hinton March 12, 1955 – June 10, 2020

Mr. Gerald Hinton, age 65 of Quitman, went to his eternal home on Wednesday, June 10, 2020. He was an avid hunter and fisherman that enjoyed anytime spent outdoors. He also was fond of gardening vegetables and was gifted with a green thumb. Many may recall an article about Mr. Hinton growing a 36lb cantaloupe. He was a loving husband, father and grandfather. He treasured the time he spent with his family, especially playtime with his grandchildren.

Mr. Hinton is survived by his loving wife of over 46 years, Shirleena Hinton; daughters, Anna Marie (Brian Doyle), Jennifer Lary (Case); grandchildren, Wade Watson, Clayton Watson, Marley Marie Doyle, Easton Lary, Taylor Ann Lary, Waylon Doyle; siblings, Kathy Lowery (Ricky), Barbara Lowery (Mark), Kemp Hinton (Penny). He was preceded in death by his parents, Archie Zabud and Bobbie Jean (Ryals) Hinton.

Burial was at the Antioch Cemetery in Quitman with Reverend Dewayne Monk officiating and under the direction of Southern-Edmonds Funeral Home. Serving the family as pallbearers were Monty Hinton, Cody Hinton, Ethan Walker, Leo Walker, Dusty Hinton and Bradley Keiffer.

Evelyn Ponder Jordan June 19, 1927 – June 08, 2020

Mrs. Evelyn Ponder Jordan, age 92 of Jonesboro, was escorted into heaven Monday, June 8, 2020 after a lengthy period of declining health. Mrs. Jordan was a very bright and intelligent person who enjoyed life to the fullest. She was a loving wife, mother, grandmother and a friend to many. She will be missed greatly by all who knew her.

Graveside services were held at Ebenezer Cemetery, near Jonesboro, with Reverend Bill Strawbridge officiating. Interment followed under the direction of Southern-Edmonds Funeral Home of Jonesboro.

Those left to cherish her memory are her husband, James Jordan; children, Nancy Alexander and husband Rodney, Judy Bell and husband Gary, Larry Allen, Rusty Allen and wife JoEllen; grandchildren, Ginger Robinson and husband Jeff, Rod Alexander, Lisa Lowe, Julie Harper and husband Chris, Benji Bell and wife Kristi; great-grandchildren, Jordon Shaffer and husband Jordan, Jaina Robinson and fiance Caden Thomson, Jackson Robinson, Jorgia Nalley, John Brooks Robinson, Jenna Lowe, Clayton Harper, Cannon Harper, Cason Harper, Brandon Bell, Owen Bell; sisters, Benola Robinson and husband Jerry, Velda Pennington and husband Russ; brothers, Homer Ponder and wife June, Edsel Ponder and wife Carolyn, Bill Ponder and wife Nancy; a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

Mrs. Jordan was preceded in death by her parents, Homer M. Ponder and Pearl McMillan Ponder; sisters, Beatrice Ayres, Jo Guffey, Louise Bott Tolar, Mabel Adams, Vera Edell Ponder, Era Estell Ponder; husbands, Jesse Sutton, Wayne Allen, John Templeton.

State Auditor Clarifies Findings Were From Previous Town of Jonesboro Administration

In a statement issued on June 4th, the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s (LLA) office clarified a previous report regarding the finances of the Town of Jonesboro. In summary, the findings were from the previous town administration and as result no current opinions on the town finances could be issued.

“The report that was just issued related to fiscal year 2018, which was under the previous mayor’s administration,” said Bradley Cryer, Director of Local Government Services for the office of the Louisiana Legislative Auditor. “Upon taking office in January of 2019, Mayor Leslie Thompson hired a CPA firm to address outstanding issues from fiscal year 2018 and the first half of fiscal year 2019. We receive regular updates from the CPA on the progress of corrective actions.”

The town of Jonesboro had 23 findings on an audit that spanned the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2018. Nineteen of the findings were carried over from previous years. Seventeen of the findings were considered material weaknesses.

The auditor found the town failed to properly prepare bank reconciliations or to submit bank statement and bank reconciliation records to the auditor. The town also may not have complied with the state’s Public Bid Law with its fuel purchases and did not comply with its own policies over purchasing.

In addition, the liability for customer deposits exceeded the cash available to refund them, and the utility fund accounts receivable included bad debts. Furthermore the auditor found customer refunds were not in the billing system, and overtime pay to employees seemed to be excessive.

Other findings included poor utility billing procedures, inconsistent reading of meters, late billing of customers, failure to provide monthly financial statements to the Board of Aldermen and a certificate of deposit was cashed with the proceeds deposited into the general fund without the approval of the Board of Aldermen. One finding from the 2017 audit was resolved: a bank account required by the debt service agreement was fully funded. It was initially reported in 2015.

Jackson Parish residents hold “Peaceful Protest”

Their voices were heard locally on the streets of Jonesboro this past Sunday as roughly 200 people took part in a “peaceful protest”. They were far from alone on this day though as the theme they presented resonated all over the nation as collectively America took to the streets to stand against racial inequality and police brutality.

Black and white alike came together to march through the streets of Jonesboro to demand racial equality and bring a stop to the injustice that was brought to the forefront of every citizen in the nation’s mind following the senseless killing of Minneapolis, MN resident George Floyd by Police Officers.

“We felt it was important to give Jackson Parish a chance to unite and support the cause of equality” said protest organizer Jakeshia Lard. “We can no longer abide with racial inequality that is so evident in America.”

Upon arriving at the Courthouse several speakers addressed the crowd including Brown Grove Pastor Quinn Quinten, Richard Jackson, Norman Amos and Lard who asked the crowd to conduct an 8:42 second, silent prayer. The time frame was in reminder of how long that Floyd was pinned to the ground with the knee of an officer on his neck while he was begging for his life before finally succumbing.

Jonesboro Mayor Leslie Thompson, who was one of several local dignitaries present also made a statement to news media in attendance.

“The President called today a good day and I do to” said Thompson. “I hope that these protests that are taking place all over the nation start real change. The reality is that in the past only words were spoken. The day for real action is here and must be taken.”

Arrest Reports June 1st – June 8th

Fourteen arrests were collectively made by the Jackson Parish Sheriff’s Office, Jonesboro Police Department and Hodge Police Department from the period of June 1st – June 8th. Below are details of each.

1. Marcus D. Walker (Jonesboro, LA) – Theft of good under $1000.00
2. Angela L. Frith (Hodge, LA) – Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
3. Tina M. Malone (Winnfield, LA) – Traffic Bench Warrant
4. Daivyan C. Holland (Jonesboro, LA)- Aggravated Assault with a firearm, Resisting arrest (x2), Discharging of a firearm in city limits, Simple criminal damage
5. William A. Barr (Quitman, LA) – Disturbing the peace
6. Tiffani Connor (Atlanta, LA) – First offense DWI, Possession of Schedule 1 drug, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
7. David Lewis (Eros, LA) – Speeding, Failure to use turn signal, Possession of Schedule 2 drug
8. Jaclyn A. Duncan (Jonesboro, LA) – Warrant, Theft of goods
9. Lester Thompson (Jonesboro, LA) – Violation of a protective order
10. Felisha Baker (Ruston, LA) – Failure to appear, Possession of Schedule 2 drug
11. Kimberly Lewis (Jonesboro, LA) – Warrant
12. Danneil Brown (Hodge, LA) – Resisting an officer
13. Heather Frith (West Monroe, LA) – Ouachita Parish Sheriff OfficeWarrant, Registration Exemption, No Insurance, Possession of Marijuana
14. Pete B. Trim (Eros, LA) – Domestic Abuse Battery

OUTDOORS ACTIVITIES PLACE FOCUS ON FISHING

By: Glynn Harris
Okay you can put away your shotgun, your bow, your deer rifle and squirrel gun for awhile. We’re about to kick off the month of June and there’s no hunting season open and won’t be for another couple of months at least.

After you get your hunting stuff put away, you can start concentrating on what’s going strong right now and that will keep you doing fun stuff in the outdoors. It’s time to put new line on your reels, check the line guides for nicks, be sure your tackle box is stocked with what you need for summer fishing. Get out there and do something about it.

A couple of years ago, I kicked off my warm weather fishing quite a bit later than I usually do. By this time in years past, I would have been to my favorite pond half a dozen times already but later than usual, I made my first trip to the honey hole.

Instead of toting a bucket of crickets around, I opted to go artificial all the way. My ultra-light rig was tipped with a tiny spinner bait while the heavier rig was armed with a wacky-worm, my favorite go-to rig for pond bass.

The morning started off just right; cloudy skies and no wind, no problem with sculling the boat and keeping it within casting distance of a bream bed I knew was there because it has been in the same location for years. Sure enough, every cast produced either a big bluegill or half a dozen bumps before the lure made it back to the boat.

Trying the bass, I had several that were intrigued by the funny looking wacky- worm, opening and closing like a two-ribbed umbrella.

Okay so you’ve already caught bream ‘til the world looks level and you’re looking for something else outdoorsy to do. What about catfishing? Our lakes are full of channel, blue and flathead catfish and you can be sitting down to a wonderful fish fry before the day is out if you want to give them a try.

First, let’s talk about the heavyweights of the catfish world. Keith Johnson, my son-in-law, is a serious big cat chaser, setting stump hooks and limb lines on Lake D’Arbonne for big flathead, or Opelousas, catfish.

“I look for water a little deeper and areas where stumps are clustered or maybe an isolated larger stump,” Johnson explained. “Some folks think you have to fish on the bottom but I catch most of my fish setting my lines around four feet deep. I catch more on dark nights and especially on stormy nights. One other thing is that your bait has to be lively or a flathead won’t touch it. I catch bream and use these for bait.”

If a big 50 pound catfish is not your cup of tea, what about channel catfish? Our lakes are teeming with big populations of eating-sized channels and they’re fun to catch.

The thing about these tasty little rascals is that they’ll bite just about anything so picking just the right bait is not all that important. If it’s stinky or slimy, so much the better.

Lots of anglers fish off the banks using night crawlers, cold worms or cut bait to catch channel catfish. However, a more exciting way to catch them, especially if you have youngsters along, is to go the “pool noodle” route. Simply stated, purchase several of the inexpensive foam pool noodles, cut them into sections one to two feet in length, tie your baited line on one end and toss ‘em in the water. Keep an eye and when one tips up and begins moving, you’ve got yourself a catfish.

One of the best baits for catching channel catfish is to purchase cheap grocery store wieners, cut them into chunks and let them soak overnight in a mixture of water laced with strawberry powdered drink and garlic powder. The cats just can’t leave these tasty tidbits alone.

Take your pick. Whether it’s bluegills on a neighborhood pond or catfish on the lake, now is the time to give ‘em a try.

This time of year, bream fishing is good with crickets fished on ultralight a fun way to catch them.