The sky's the limit


OUR LOCAL ASTRONOMER, Tommy Robinson is opening the hatch to his observatory in preparation of the Great American Eclipse August 21. The solar eclipse will be darkening a 71-mile-wide path of totality across the United States from Oregon to South Carolina. That doesn’t leave the rest of us out as we will be experiencing about a 76.69 per cent shadowing or darkness in Kilgore.

Tommy’s “hobby” started over 20 years ago when his wife bought him his first telescope as a Christmas present. His hobby soon turned very serious to the point of owning an Orion Star Seeker 650 mm refraction scope. And a larger four-foot barrel Orion scope rests inside a rolling-roof building that he designed as his private observatory also became part of his collection.

He laughs when asked about protecting his eyesight as retailers everywhere is now in on the action of providing the right eye protection for a seemingly once in a lifetime eclipse.

“I will use a 130 Star Seeker Scope with a reflector filter and probably a 40, maybe a 50 millimeter lens,” said Tommy. “I will just have to play it by ear. The filter will protect the eye from harmful rays, but it will give a better range for viewing the eclipse.”

“This (the eclipse) is a good thing,” said Tommy. “I haven’t used the scopes in a while because of the mosquitoes and the West Nile Virus they carry. But, this gives me reason to get back out there.”

Tommy’s friends will be filling his yard starting around 11:45 a.m. to take a close up and personal view of the Great American Eclipse.

“I will turn eighty on August 30th,” he added. “The eclipse is going to be my birthday present.”

With or without a scope this event has added excitement to the fall season.

CHARLES WHITESIDE stirred up the Texas Association School Board recently in Austin, Texas.

“I was the oldest in age and tenure of all the past presidents,” said Charlie. “ “I had a good time reminiscing and letting them know the old man was still alive and kicking,” he laughed.

Approximately 300 attended the meeting. Charlie had been attending the meetings since 1979.

“I didn’t attend them all,” he said. “But, I sure attended a lot of them.”

IT WAS A TRICK STATEMENT found on Facebook for racing drivers and enthusiasts Jeannie and Monte Barber.

The post said, “Last Friday night race for Thunder Road Raceway (Gilliam, LA) and the couple took it heart to mean the last race at a track that they had spent many hours with their dragsters.

“Monte had been finishing upgrades on Lemon Ice, his ’89 Z28drag car and wanted to make this event…after all it did say LAST,” said Jeannie. “With a new shifter presenting unexpected problems, he thrashed all week building, adjusting, changing to finish in order to make the ‘date night’ races we always enjoyed participating in only to find out it was the LAST night the current managers would be at this track. New staff would be taking over after that weekend.

“Alas, we were perturbed, elated, and relieved all at the same time,” she confessed. “We’re making plans to hit the track in September when the temps will hopefully be more to our liking.”

SKINNERS GROCERY at Lakeport has decided to close doors at the end of August reports Joe M. Jones.

“The store lasted through three generations and served Elderville, Lakeport, Peatown and Cherokee Lake,” he said. “Every Sunday, after church we would drive by that store heading to my Aunt’s house. It is sad to know it will be closing, but it is understandable.”

May His Love and Laughter Fill Your Hearts and Homes Throughout the Week. In the meantime, we may be reached at or 903-984-2593.


Special Sections