A sailor who can’t bait a hook

Art Johnston’s got a new fundraising website – sorry don’t have the URL yet.

My personal plans are to write a book to help pay off Art Johnston’s legal bills should the Federal Courts fail to order the Duluth School Board to reimburse him for attacking his good character over the past year.

Fortunately for Art his talents as an engineer – the skill that got him involved in helping expose the Red Plan for its flaws – are in such demand by various Department of Transportations, the Forest Service and other public entities that he has managed to keep ahead of the legal bills. I’m still offended that he has to put his retirement time to this purpose and determined to tell the other side of the story if it will help compensate him for his efforts. Geez, being on the Duluth School Board is enough of a sacrifice without having one’s colleagues conspire to blacken your reputation and attempt to drive you into bankruptcy in the attempt.

Even as he continues his service on the Board and pay off his legal bills Art makes time for other community activities. He’s acting as a foster parent delivering Meals on Wheels and the other weekend went fishing on a local lake for some tourney that was raising money for some charitable cause. He told me that five of the homes he took food to had residents that thanked him, out of the blue, for his work on the School Board.

Then he told me that he barely knows how to bait a hook because he doesn’t fish. While he was on a boat with a handful of other folks he was having trouble pinning a minnow to a hook. He didn’t mention to any of his fishing companions that he was a Duluth School Board member but it turned out they all knew it anyway. At some point it came up and he sort of appologized for the Board but everyone laughed and he was told they all supported him. I hear the same from folks in my east end of town but not perhaps quite as often. This is still the end of town with the die hard fans of the Red Plan although few attempt anymore to justify it as our new candidate Dr. Kirby seemed to when he said our new swimming pools were great facilities. They are.

What I found funny was the thought of poor Art killing his minnow. Art comes from a fishing family. His Father was a commercial fisherman on Minnesota’s second larges lake, Lake of the Woods. Art even co wrote a book about his family’s long fishing history which I’d like to get a hold of. Unfortunately, its out of print and I can only find it on Amazon for hundred’s of dollars. Fishing Lake of the Woods made a sailor out of Art and he sails Lake Superior all summer. But his fishing was all done with nets and he never had to bait a hook to haul in a hundred pounds of fish.

That reminds me of one of my great ideas. The first year I was in charge of the Chester Park Carnival Games I thought it would be cool to get a huge net and fill it with balloons to drop on the carnival goers. I called up Duluth’s Commercial fishermen the Sivertson’s of A. Kemp Fisheries and asked if I could borrow one of their nets for this purpose. They said sure and I went over to pick it up.

When I unrolled it on the Chester Park Gym floor it let loose a most powerful fish cleaning table stench that quickly filled the auditorium. I rolled it back up and got it the heck out of the school. Who needs a hook when you’re dragging a net with that kind of fragrance to attract the fishies?

By the way. I love Howard Sivertson’s paintings. I’ve bought a couple of his books. I’ll bet Art would especially like “Once Upon an Isle.”

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