It has been a trouble-filled year for the Department of Veteran Affairs.
But amid the reports of long delays for some veterans to get health care at VA hospitals, secret waiting lists and the resignation of director Eric Shiseki, there are some “feel-good” stories.
Members of the Cass County Elks Lodge have a tradition of helping patients at the medical centers by putting money raised in an annual buddy bass tournament to good use. This year’s event, which will be at Truman Lake and will be based at Long Shoal Marina, will be from 6:15 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 23. Entry fee will be $100 per boat.
Using money generated from last year’s tournament, the lodge fed more than 900 veterans on Veterans Day. It also provided 600 cups of coffee each day for veterans waiting for health-care appointments. It provided blankets and pajamas for patients, and it coordinated a program to collect deer hides during hunting season and turn them into gloves for patients who use wheelchairs.
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A highlight of this year’s event will be the participation of Wounded Warriors, veterans who were injured in the line of duty. The warriors will have their entry fees paid and they will be paired with other fishermen.
For more information, call 816-456-7350.
Catch of the week
Sam and Betty Sola plan their vacation around fishing.
“We try to go someplace different to fish each year,” Sam said.
Betty caught a huge lake trout at Flathead Lake in Montana last year. And the couple from Grandview has had other memorable moments.
But this year’s trip may be tough to beat. When the Solas hired a guide and fished the Biloxi Marsh in Louisiana, they caught 60 speckled trout casting shrimp and shad imitations.
But it was the huge tug that Sam had that made the trip. He fought the fish for 20 minutes before he got it to the boat and found that he had a trophy redfish.
The monster weighed 25 pounds, and was the talk of the docks.
In February, the couple plans to head to Key West, Fla., for another fishing vacation.
Catfishing’s growing popularity
If you think catfish tournaments are just a gathering of a few “good old boys,” take a look at this.
The Brunswick (Mo.) Wildcat Tournament on the Missouri River last weekend, drew 125 teams of two fishermen or more per boat. For Brad Kilpatrick, the director of the Catfish Masters Tournament Trail, that was yet another sign that tournament catfishing has come a long way in a short time.
“To think back on when we got started eight years ago at Kaw Point with only 13 boats and look where we are now. How could anyone help but be humbled?” Kilpatrick said.
Danny McGraw and Kaleb McAdams won the event with 133.8 pounds of catfish. The team also took big-fish honors with a 64-pound blue cat. They earned almost $8,000.
Celebrating the outdoors at the Missouri State Fair
The Missouri Department of Conservation will make sure the outdoors will have a strong presence at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia now through Aug. 17.
Visitors to the agency’s building will be able to view native fish in large aquariums, and wildlife such as snakes and turtles. The highlight will be special programs each day.
Friday and Saturday: Fish cleaning and cooking at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
Sunday, Monday and Tuesday: Firearms and tree-stand safety at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
Wednesday: Forest products and a circular saw in action at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
Thursday: Missouri wild edibles at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
Aug. 15: Forest health at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
Aug. 16: Raptors of Missouri at 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Aug. 17: Fishing equipment tips at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
A record year for hunting safety
The 2013-2014 Kansas hunting season was the safest on record.
Only six hunting accidents, none of which resulted in a fatality, were reported. That was the lowest total since the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism started keeping records more than 50 years ago.
To reach outdoors editor Brent Frazee, call 816-234-4319 or send email to email@example.com.