ILA News and Current Events

The ILA News is distributed weekly by e-mail to the Lake Vilbig residents. Current events are now posted on our facebook sites. There is also a private facebook group for Lake Vilbig residents.


Here are a few old news stories


Lake Vilbig Fireworks 2011

Click on the link


Vilbig Bass Club banquet - February 7, 2009

Fifty three VBC members, family, and friends attended the 2009 Vilbig Bass Club Banquet at Angelo's restaurant.   

Congratulations to Tammy Hinojosa! She was voted "Sportsman of the Year".  Tammy does so many things for the club.....When Tammy and Robert host meetings you won't leave their house hungry and if you ever were lucky enough to draw Robert as a fishing partner then Tammy probably brought breakfast down to your boat.  One time she cooked breakfast burritos for everyone fishing in the tournament! Tammy has gone above and Bass Club garage sales, serving on the ILA board, and being a key contributor to the ILA social committee.   I have never heard Tammy complain once......and to sum it all up, Tammy Hinojosa best exemplifies our club's purpose. 

Congratulations to Steve Dillon.  He was voted "Most Improved".  Steve finished 3rd overall in tournament points, had a triple crown win in November, and caught the big bass in two tournaments.  Twice this year Steve just missed the exact-o pot because he was just an ounce over the 4 pound mark.  Picture:


The other major awards presented were:

Angler of the Year : Brandon Wooddell with 964 points

Big Bass : Brandon Wooddell 9-lb 4-oz (the new lake record!)

The Classic Tournament : Jon Griffin 11-lbs 9-oz

Presidents Award: Matt Howell

358 raffle tickets were sold. Cole Howell won the grand prize!.....A Exceler 100H Daiwa reel
Black Angel Jigs  .....Tom Root, Darcy Howell, Iris Dillon, Debi Grigsby, and Brandon Wooddell won a package of high quality hand tied Black Angel Jigs.  There were 2 jigs to a package.


Guess how many candies in a jar and win it (by Iris Dillon).....Sheena Love won. She guessed 291 and there was 293 in the jar.

Are you Smarter than fish bait? (by Debi Grigsby).  The person to unscramble the most words in 2 minutes on a list wins.  Congratulations to Brandon, Buzz, Laura, & Cory, they all unscrambled 9 of the 11 words.  The words were.....Vilbig Bass Club, tackle box, fellowship, plastic worm, rod and reel, largemouth bass, competition, offset hook, fishing line, batteries, and motor. Brandon won the tie breaker. The prize was a big spool of Yo-Zuri 12-lb test line.

Harry 'N Charlie Quizzes (by Steve Dillon). Cole Howell answered the most correctly and won a lure retriever.

Door prizes: Dwain Howell and Debi Grigsby won a 2009 Lake Vilbig calendar 

Special thanks to........Tim Casbeer for printing the brochures and ballots. Mark and Debi for reserving the banquet room. Jon for ordering the awards. Matt Howell for being the MC.  Beverly Root for selling raffle tickets. Brandon & George & Matt for getting the raffle items.  Iris & Steve for organizing the games and getting the game prizes. John Mikalik and Debby Kohutek for taking pictures. Angelo's restaurant for hosting the banquet.  And finally to Tom and Bev for hosting the "After Glow" party. 

Group Picture - The 2009 Officers:
President: Steve Dillon, Vice President: Mike Grove, Tournament Director: Cory Hubbell, Treasurer: Jon Griffin, Secretary: Tim Casbeer

Voting results - 2009 VBC rule modifications - All the proposed items on the ballot passed. 

Pictures of the banquet




ILA Wins "Best Float" and "Best Costume" in the 2008 Irving Christmas Parade.


By Greg Hoffmann

Our Social Committee did a spectacular job on the ILA float this year. This was the first time we have entered a float in the City parade and the ILA took first place for "Best Float". This was great exposure for our association and truly showed our civic pride. Congratulations to all who helped and participated.

The theme was a fishing sleigh pulled by 8 Rein Bass led by Rudolf (complete with antlers). Becky and Mike Grove's pontoon boat was decorated to the hilt with festive Christmas decorations (lights, garland, ornaments, Christmas presents, music, and lots of candy). There was blue (wave) skirting around the pontoon to represent waves. Nine, large bass pillows were decorated with reindeer antlers and harnessed from the boat to the a decorative stand, in the bed of Cher and Tom Kressley's truck, which also had the blue wave skirt. All of our participants wore green or red festive outfits. We even had Debi Grigsby as Kermit the Frog, who won first place for "Best Costume".
There were numerous helpers who put this all together. The ILA Board wants to give special appreciation to Cher Kressley and Debi Grigsby for their extra hard work and long hours.

More pictures by John Mikalik:


Fall Festival Fun - 2008


The 2008 ILA Fall Festival held Oct 11 at the ILA Park was a huge success and fun was had by all. Neighbors brought together to share laughter and fellowship. Activities of all kinds were provided for the children, running through the haunted cemetery, making crafts and getting their hair spray- painted rainbow colors to name a few events.  Assorted foods, drinks, and cake walks fit the Fall Festival Theme.
Fourteen lucky winners walked away with cake, cookies, or brownies from the “pass the pumpkin” cakewalk.
The costume contest was the hit of the night.  Some of the adults got into the theme this year such as Bobette the Construction Worker - Beverly Root, Candy Corn Witch - Debi Grigsby, Big Scary Man - Mark Grigsby, Warriors - Robert & Tammy Hinojosa. Assorted children costumes including Starlet, Kermit the Frog, Cheerleaders, Batmen, little Witches, Darth Vader and many more…..
Costume contest winners:
Scariest - Scary Man - Mark Grigsby
Funniest - Kermit the Frog – Chandler Cox
Best Overall - GI Joe -
Most Original - Bobette the Builder – Beverly Root
Pictures pictures:


National Night Out - 10/04/2008
By Tammy Hinojosa
National Night Out was a great success.  Approximately 100 people from the South Irving community came and went throughout the night.  The Local fire station, Fire Station #5 came and educated the kids along with letting them climb all over the fire truck.  Our beat officer from the Irving Police Department made an appearance to show IPD support.
With the support of our sponsors Target, State Farm Insurance and Pizza Hut, there was plenty of food and entertainment to go around.  Pizza Hut provided pizzas.  Target supplied and cooked hot dogs, chips and drinks.  They also gave away door prizes.  State Farm had plenty of give aways along with a Grand Prize Drawing for an Apple IPOD, which went to Hanna Beauchamp.
Some of the other prizewinners were:
Jennifer Walters - $20 Gift Card from Target
John Mikalik – Football
Marilyn Wilson - $20 Gift Card from Target
Rachael Oyler -$20 Gift Card from Target
Kristi Trimble – Basketball
Tim Casbeer - $20 Gift Card from Target
The kids ate up the snow cones then burned up the sugar rush in the bounce house, running through the park, playing ball and hula hooping.
National Night Out is designed to:
1. Heighten Crime and Drug prevention awareness
2. Generate support for, and participation in, local anticrime programs
3. Strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships
4. Send a message to criminals that we as a community are fighting back.
I would like to give a BIG thanks to everyone who helped bring this together and make it a success.  Cher Kressley, John & Linda Mikalik, Becky Grove, Lisa Hamner, Iris Dillon, Gene Stoneburner and everyone who attended to show their support.
If you are in the neighborhood please take the time to say thanks to our sponsors also.
Target – Jeremy Fincher (183 & Beltline)
Pizza Hut – Armondo (Story & Shady Grove)
State Farm – Jonathan Jackson (183 & Beltline)
NNO Pictures from John Mikalik:


VBC June tournament recap


June 14, 2008  6:00 am to 11:00 pm
The lake record is broken with Brandon Wooddell's 9-lb 4-oz bass!  Brandon had a triple crown victory today with the tournament big bass (9-lb 4-oz), 1st place individual stringer (11-lb 13-oz), and 1st place team stringer (15-lb 10-oz). 
Conditions: Partly cloudy with light winds.   The lake was down and the water was murky.   The air temperature was 79 at 6:00 am and rose to 84 at 11:00 am.  The water temperature was 84.  
The 4th tournament of the year drew 19 anglers.  42 bass were weighed-in with an average of 2-lbs.
There were 2 zeros and 12 limits.
Big bass - Brandon Wooddell - 9-lb 4-oz
1st place individual - Brandon Wooddell 11-lb 13-oz
2nd place individual - Steve Hamner 7-lb 6-oz
3rd place individual - Cliff Cook 7-lb 3-oz 
1st place team - Brandon Wooddell / Jon Griffin 15-lb 10-oz
2nd place team - Cliff Cook / Cory Hubbell 13-lb 4-oz
3rd place team - Jack Teal / Matt Howell 11-lb 12-oz
Scatter shooting.............It was a beautiful morning.  As the sun came up it glistened off the highlights on Tim Casbeer's new hair doo..........Talk about heartbreak! Cliff Cook just missed the 4 pound exacta pot by 1 ounce. There is now over $450.00 in the pot......Mark Grigsby missed the draw at the Thursday meeting so he fished just for fun in Tom Root's boat since Tom's partner Shannon Beavers was not feeling well........Steve Hamner overslept and missed the start of the tournament.....Good news / Bad new concerning Tom Kressley. The good news is he caught a really big bass. The bad news is while he was putting her in the sack at the weigh-in, she bolted out of his hands, up in the air, and back into the lake.........This was Dakota Trimble's first VBC tournament.  It was also George Walker's first VBC tournament fishing with membership status.  Welcome to the lake guys!.........Dave Maskarinec said he lost 3 pigs. Al Kohutek lost 2 good ones on a crank bait.  Matt Howell also lost a few nice bass but Brandon was able to get his monster in.  It's the new club record bass and the new lake record bass...........Dakota Trimble has a hot spot guaranteed for at least one good bass.........Steve Mee and Mike Grove hung out mostly on the north end of the lake...................Beverly Root caught her bass on a wacky rigged worm...........Tim and Al had a side bet going.. Al bet that his team weight would beat Tim's team weight. There was no winner. Al's team tied with Tim's team. Both weights were 8-lbs 9-oz.  There was also another side bet between Al's team and Jon's team. This bet was won by Jon and Brandon.  They had a nice 9-lb 4-oz anchor fish thanks to Brandon (psst....he caught it on a jig, most likely on the deep side).  Good net job Jon!........Cliff Cook and Cory Hubbell got 3rd place team by spending most of their time in fish bowl area of the lake. Cliff said he was throwing trick worms...........Al is still wearing the points yellow jersey. He is in the lead by 1 point (1 ounce).  
The Leader Board / top ten overall points:
Al Kohutek......................405  
Steve Hamner..................404  
Matt Howell....................349  
Brandon Wooddell..........337  
Cory Hubbell...................309  
Cliff Cook.......................297  
Tim Casbeer...................295  
Jon Griffin.......................258  
Robert Hinojosa..............265  
Steve Dillon.....................204

More pictures of the June tournament:



VBC March tournament recap

March 15, 2008  8:00 am to 1:00 pm

2005 "Angler of the Year" Steve Hamner caught the 2nd biggest bass ever weighed in a Vilbig tournament.  It weighed 8-lb 1-oz.  Steve also took the triple crown with first place individual and team stringer.  Congratulations Steve!
Lake Conditions:  The air temperature was 55 at 8:00 am and rose to 65 at 1:00 pm.  The water temperature was 59-60 and the wind was gusty and we had blue sunny skies. The day before the high temp was 87 but a cold front blew in a few hours before the tournament started.....some say that slowed the bite.  The water clarity was murky and the aquatic weeds next to the shore are last year's old brown stubble stalks. Most bass are probably still in the pre spawn stage.
The first tournament of the year drew 30 anglers.  42 bass were weighed-in with an average of 1-lb 8-oz.
There were 9 zeros and 7 limits.  Eight women including 4 young girls fished.
Big bass - Steve Hamner - 8-lb 1-oz
1st place individual - Steve Hamner 8-lb 1-oz
2nd place individual - Matt Jackson 5-lb 8-oz
3rd place individual - Ryan Shelley 4-lb 15-oz
1st place team - Steve Hamner / Steve Porter 9-lb 8-oz
2nd place team - Jim Young / Matt Jackson 8-lb 8-oz
3rd place team - Cory Hubbell / Brad Dale 7-lb 11-oz
Scatter shooting.............Steve Dillon caught a nice bass, it weighed as much as all 3 of Al's bass.......Ten year old Michelle Wilson caught a bass on her first cast. She weighed in a limit and caught 8 total.  Her partner, 10 year old Ali Kohutek caught 5 bass and weighed in two.  They caught their fish on wacky rigged worms, Carolina French fries, and tiny brush hogs.........According to some, red crank baits were hot fishing just outside the weeds...........Robert's pontoon boat ran out of battery power and had to be towed home.........Brandon Wooddell and George Walker struggled. Brandon said he was throwing big baits and was only catching small bass.  Early on they threw back several keeper bass thinking they would not need them.  As the day progress they were wishing that they kept those fish.  Brandon was 1 fish shy a limit and George was 2 fish shy a limit...........Michael Collins skipped the tournament to work on "Honey-Dos".......Al Kohutek fished with 3 females in his boat and caught 12 bass. Over 1/2 of Al's bass had cormorant wounds.  Al's partner Debby Kohutek caught 4 bass on plastic worms............Jon Griffin caught his 1st bass around 11:00 am.  After the first bass was boated he picked up his other two pretty quickly.  Most of his bass were caught on Carolina rigged worms.  His partner zeroed...........Tim Casbeer said he scratched out a limit on a variety of lures.  He did not find a pattern...........Tom and Beverly decided to take it easy and slept in during the first hour of the tournament........Fish on beds were scarce. Brandon said he had located a big momma bass the day before, but when he went to see if he could pull her off the nest, he found a boat tied up right over the nest.......Steve Hamner caught his monster bass on a spinner bait near the Emerald shoreline fishing in a pontoon boat........Ryan Shelley caught his big bass on a red crank bait fishing down Mike Walter's bank. It was 1 ounce shy of the 5 pound mark.
There was a good turnout for the cookout following the tournament. Over 70 hotdogs were eaten.  Big thanks to Frank Newman and Jim Young for cooking and setting up.
Video of Ryan and Steve's big bass - By April Kohutek
Video - Announcing the winners - By April Kohutek


Kathy Nagel Receives The Volunteer Award - May 1, 2007

Kathy Nagel received the volunteer award from the City of Irving for her hard
work and dedication for the care taking of the traffic islands on Garden Isle.

Kathy Nagel has voluntarily maintained the traffic islands at the entrance of our
development at Garden Isle for the past 15 years.

Fifteen years ago there were a few small oak trees and a couple of Crepe Myrtles and
lots of weeds on these areas.  She took it upon herself to start maintaining the
islands.  Working with the Boy Scout and the Girl Scout organizations they planted
more plants.

Kathy started out carrying buckets of water to irrigate the plants, now there is an
irrigation system.  She used to take her electric weed eater and a very long
extension cord and bum electricity from the closest homes (we thank you, also!).
The association has since provided her with a light weight gas operated weed eater.

The entire Nagel family has put in time and effort in maintaining this neighborhood
common area.  Her husband, Al, took over all of the
responsibilities (under Kathy’s direct supervision) when she was not able to due to
an injury.

Kathy decorates the areas during the holidays.  It is a personal touch that makes
you smile every time you pass by.

When asked “Why does she do this”, her response is “For her own pleasure to see
something nice coming home to the neighborhood”. 

We want to let her know that we recognize her years of hard work and appreciate all
that she does to make it nicer for all of us.

Thank you Kathy, you are a special person and we are blessed to have you and your
family as our neighbors!     


The Bonnette's are setting records!
By Al Kohutek - April 9, 20077

ILA member David Bonnette and his 9 year old son Joseph have 31 Texas fishing records and Joseph holds 2 International Game Fish Association world records.

David said several of the Texas private lakes records came from fish that he and his son caught in Lake Vilbig.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department are the keepers of the records and there are several categories that include junior anglers, adult anglers, private lakes, public lakes, rod & reel, bow & arrow, fly rod, other, and there is also a catch and release category.  If a junior angler's catch beats an All-Ages record, the young angler will receive recognition in both divisions. David said there are fourteen different state records for any species of fish.

Before 1981 there were no private lake records.  What caused the split was on Jan. 10, 1981, John Alexander caught a 14.23-pounder from a private lake called Echo Lake, near Athens. Less than a month later, Alexander topped his own mark.  Back-to-back private waters records caused TP&W to panic. Fearing that Florida bass nurtured in private waters would dominate state records, the agency created a separate private-waters record category.

David told me that he and Joseph would sometimes set a record and it would be the first for a species of fish or category.  As soon as it was posted on the Texas Parks & Wildlife website, someone else would see it and go out and break it.

Here are just a few of the Bonnette records that are still standing on the TP&W website:

State Private Water Records - Rod/Reel Category
Species / Weight / Length / Date / Angler / Bait or Lure
Gar, Spotted  6.01 34.00  Sep 17, 2006  David Bonnette  / treble hook
Sunfish, Redbreast  0.30 7.75  May 29, 2005  Joseph Bonnette / worm
Topminnow, Blackstripe   0.02 3.00  May 22, 2005  Joseph Bonnette / worm

State Private Water Records - Bow fishing category
Species / Weight / Length / Date / Angler
Bluegill   0.19 6.50 Jul 8, 2006  Joseph Bonnette
Carp, Common 9.19 28.25  Oct 15, 2006   David Bonnette
Gar, Spotted  6.42 34.50  Sep 17, 2006   David Bonnette

State Freshwater Records - Rod and Reel - Junior Anglers Division
Shad, Threadfin  0.10 2.75 Jul 13, 2004 Purtis Creek State Park / Joseph Bonnette / treble hook
Shiner, Golden    0.18 8.00 Apr 20, 2006 Canton City / Joseph Bonnette / worm
Sunfish, Spotted  0.09 4.63 Jul 13, 2005 Caddo Joseph Bonnette / worm

State Freshwater Records - Other Methods
Species / Weight / Length / Date / Water Body / Angler / Method
Shiner, Golden 0.03 3.50 Dec 14, 2004 Canton City Joseph Bonnette Cast Net
Shiner, Red 0.03 4.60 Sep 15, 2004 Canton City David Bonnette Cast Net
Shad, Threadfin 0.01 3.50 Dec 8, 2004 Canton City David Bonnette Cast Net
Sunfish, Green 0.07 4.72 Nov 5, 2005 Tyler State Park Joseph Bonnette Cane Pole
Sunfish, Longear 0.07 4.50 Sep 8, 2004 Canton City David Bonnette Cast Net
Sunfish, Other Hybrid 0.04 4.17 Nov 5, 2005 Tyler State Park Joseph Bonnette Cane Pole
Warmouth 0.07 4.50 Nov 3, 2004 Canton City David Bonnette Cast Net

David said the TP&W are no longer accepting cast nets records in the "Other Methods" category.

What's next for the Bonnette's?  Joseph caught a red drum on Lake Fairfield with a cane pole that will probably set a records in the "other" and "junior" category.  They also caught  some more Lake Vilbig fish that are heading to the record books. 

If you catch a record, how do you get in the record books?

First read the rules on the parks and wildlife website.

Then print out the application form on the webpage and fill it out.

You will need to weigh the fish on certified scales. There is a time limit, you have 3 days to get the fish weighed. The Bonnette's said they have been using the scales at Lynn Creek Marina on Joe Pool Lake.  I also found out that David Short at Bass Pro Shops in Grapevine can certify records too.

Some fish species will need a biologist approval.  For example, white bass, stripe bass, yellow bass, and hybrid stripers all look similar so a biologist will be required to examine the fish.  The Bonnette's usually call the TP&W program director Joedy Gray first to see if a biologist is needed to examine the fish. 
If a biologist is required they take their catch to Texas Parks & Wildlife office in Fort Worth. There is a time limit of 60 days from the time it was caught to get the
biologist certification.

After all the paperwork has been filled out the applicant will have to sign the form in front of a notary, then mail it in.  Once the fish record has been validated, the applicant will receive an official certification (suitable for faming) from the TP&W and your name will be posted on their records website.

Looking at the TP&W website I see plenty of opportunity to set and break records using Lake Vilbig fish.  


The Bonnette's live at 1161 Bayside.  Daivd and his wife Regina moved to Lake Vilbig in October 2006.  They are members of First Baptist in Irving.


Quick Reference and contact information:

Certified Scales: Lynn Creek Marina on Joe Pool Lake -  or  Bass Pro Shop (Grapevine) - See David Short

TP&W Program Director: Joedy Gray  - Inland Fisheries TP&W  (512) 389-8037 Contact this person if you have any questions


Local Biologist:  Rafe or Tom at 817-732-0761  / 5400 Airport Freeway, Suite E, Fort Worth, TX 76117; 817/831-3128 Call 817-732-0761 first to make sure that Rafe or Tom are available to take your fish.

Rules and Info: 

Application Form: 



Lake Clean Up - 03/24/2007

by: Greg Hoffmann     March 27, 2007

The weather forecast was for another bleak and dreary spring day. The past four were gray with a few sprinkles. But this day was going to be different. By 7:30 the set-up had begun, coffee was made, juice and breakfast were on the table by 8:00. The sky was still overcast and the wind was gently blowing from the south the temperature was in the low 60’s. The first of the volunteers started arriving and they just kept coming, by car, by boat, and by foot. In a short time there was a small army, 30 of your friend and neighbors, ready to tackle the semi-annual lake clean-up. The sky started to lighten and the temperature was going up slightly. By 9:00 everyone was busy gathering the debris that regularly defiles our environment and degrades the Vilbig Lake area. The clouds were now giving way to the sun and the day was becoming picture perfect. At 10:00 the first load, 1,440 lbs. was at the landfill. That was followed throughout the morning by four more loads totaling over 4,380 lbs.
By 12:00 the crews were back at Cypress Cove Park, tired and hungry, ready to enjoy a pizza lunch and the camaraderie of their neighbors. To make this effort a fun event we held a contest were each of the volunteers placed a guess at sign in as to how many balls we would collectively gather throughout the lake. The guesses ranged from 9 to 84. It was interesting to see the type and quantity we actually gathered. The final count was 146 and Jerry Mullendore was the lucky winner of $50 in gift cards, provide the ILA. The total cost for this clean up was $248.21. Special appreciation goes to Tim Cabeers for printing the flyer, Nancy Love for getting the drinks and ice, Joanne Hoffmann for getting the breakfast items, the ILA board for the gift cards, Mr. Jim’s for the Pizza discount, and Bob Horton, Keep Irving Beautiful for the trash bags and coordinating with the landfill.

The volunteers agreed it was a good job, however, there was still more to do to get ALL the lake areas cleaned up. Everyone seems to think there is more trash and debris since the city installed the new drain where Jade Lane used to be. We will be doing our next semi-annual clean-up in the fall toward the end of September or early October. We sure could use your help!

The event was made possible by the combined effort of the Environmental Committee, (scheduling, coordination, procurement, logistics, and management); the Irving Lake Association (funding); the City of Irving (trash bags, access and documentation at the landfill); your neighbors, the 30 volunteers, who spent a day to make our environment a better place. Thanks to all of you.       



Purple Martins to return to Lake Vilbig, Texas
February 16, 2007
Jon Griffin
1411 Lakeshore Drive
As we all continue to survive another winter in North Texas…yea, we really have it bad, winter lasting just a little more than 2 to 3 months, thoughts of spring are as close as the most recent 5 day forecast.  Finally after one more blast of bitter air, it appears warmer weather is back with forecasted 60 degree days over the next week.  Nothing excites me more than thoughts of big female bass becoming a bit more active in the warmer waters of Lake Vilbig preparing for the spring spawn.  A close second is the return of the most amazing birds I’ve come to know and love-the beloved purple martin. 
Many of you may be familiar with these incredible migratory flying experts…for those of you who are not, now is the time to get prepared.  In now, I mean this weekend, or the coming week. 
Here’s the general background of the purple martin.  They winter generally thousands of miles south of Texas including far southern Mexico, but primarily in the steamy jungles of Brazil.  The birds are fairly easy to identify.  A member of the swallow family, martins have broad knife-like wings and a v-shaped tail.  The male birds are black in color, black beaks, with a beautiful purple sheen to their feathers.  The females have similar features, yet have colors including a mixture of black with white & gray.  The purple martins are incredible air-acrobats.  Gliding, swooping, sailing, slicing.  You will never see them on the ground
I’ve grown up with purple martins, always having a purple martin house ready for their arrival in early spring growing up on the shores of Hubbard Creek Lake near Breckenridge, Texas.  Upon moving here to Lake Vilbig in the summer of 1995, my martin house quickly went up. 
Over the past decade here in south Irving and Lake Vilbig, here’s the pattern I’ve observed regarding the arrival of the 1st purple martin scouts.  Typically, the 1st scouts can sense the end of winter, generally beginning to arrive here in North Texas close to the last freeze.  In the past 12 years on Vilbig, I begin to see the scouts right around this time, mid to late February.  Very soon, the females & youngest of the flocks follow.  Sometimes days after, sometimes hours.  This is why now is the time.  Look high in the sky for sailing black birds.  Listen for the “chortle”…the unique language communicated only by the purple martin.   If you wish to attract purple martins to your home, you need to have your house up and ready now, when the scouts first make their presence known.  If you already have a purple martin house, this weekend is the time to clean it out completely.  It’s very important after cleaning to then plug the compartment holes until the scouts are first observed.  When they land on the house, or on trees and fences around your property, remove the plugs & open for business!  Remember, if you wait til March or later…your martin house will most likely remain empty.  Timing is of the essence.
Here’s another very important tip:  Wooden bird houses generally will not attract purple martins.  This is because the martins are very clean birds, preferring to steer clear of anything that would retain moisture, thus attract mites and bugs in the cracks & crevices of the porous wood.  Purple martins prefer cool, modern, ALUMINUM houses with bright, clean compartments.  Use telescoping poles and fold out doors so that annual maintenance is made easier.  Many hardware, feed stores & specialty stores carry the martin house.  Ask around, but whatever you do, get the right one.  Most complete systems will be in the $90-$150 range.  Every February, I simply telescope down my house, fold out the doors, clean out all of the compartments, plug it up, then wait for the scouts.
I’d also recommend you get the style with fencing around the compartment, as the hatchlings will eventually wish to stretch their legs…once they fall out & hit your yard, there is very little you can do.  I’ve telescoped the pole down & placed them back in the house, then hoped for the best.    Experts say the same purple martin families return to the very same area every year following their trans-continental migration…often times to the exact same house. 
Lake Vilbig purple martins typically arrive in late February, will then work building nests of lake water, twigs & dirt (amazing since you’ll never ever see the martin on the ground).  The females will lay eggs, babies will hatch in late spring, babies will grow & learn to fly by June…then when it’s the hottest days of the summer in mid to late July, they bunch up by the hundreds and leave.  It’s my theory that they fly several thousand miles further north and do it all over again before winter, then head back way down south again for the winter.
Beside the absolute enjoyment of watching the purple martins perform amazing aerial feats, the birds feast on thousands of flying insects every day and evening.  Many experts estimate they eat 2,000 mosquitoes apiece per day, as well as flies and dragonflies.
If you’d like to know more, the purple martin “bible” is “Purple Martin-America’s Most Wanted Bird” by the nation’s authority on the subject, the late J.L. Wade.
Yes, spring is coming soon….the next week is forecasted consistently in the 60s, and my eyes will be looking upward for the return of my buds-the purple martins!  Let’s all be on the lookout & report to Al Kohutek as soon as they’re first sighted!  Now pardon me, I’m gonna get my martin house ready…then I’m going bass fishing!


ON THE COVER: Lake Vilbig neighbors Dottie and Craig
Watson stand in front of the barbecue line after the Vilbig
Bass Club’s fishing tournament in November. Club member
Tom Kressley smoked the pulled pork and beef brisket.


Dallas Morning News
December 2, 2006
Irving Neighbors



Vilbig Bass Club members recently enjoyed a day of fishing on Lake Vilbig in Irving.

Twenty-seven club members fished in the November tournament. Dave Maskarinec, Steve Dillon, Jim Young, Matt Jackson, Tim Casbeer and Al Kohutek all
caught their limit — three bass.

Jackson won first place individual by cranking a white-colored crankbait.

Maskarinec and Dillon won first-place team by tossing plastic worms on the north side of the lake. Dillon was hot and able to also snag second-place individual stringer as well.

Tom Kressley and Ariel Mendez had a pair of lucky sunglasses that they were sharing. The guy wearing the sunglasses was the one who was catching the bass, so they would swap the glasses back and forth with each other after each fish was caught.

Jon Griffin, who was number one in club points this year, stayed on the deep side of the lake most of the day. Griffin’s mother-in-law got married the day of the tournament but Griffin skipped the wedding so he could fish.

Following the tournament, Kressley and fellow Vilbig bass club members headed up a barbecue lunch at Cypress Cove Park, also on Lake Vilbig, and raised $455 for the 2007 Lake Vilbig fish stocking program. What a deal it was — eat a wonderful lunch with your neighbors and help contribute to the Vilbig fish stocking fund at the same time.

This event, combined with the September garage sale, brings the 2007 fish stocking funds to $1,705. The Vilbig bass club started its fish stocking program in 1993
and has since raised $29,785. Club members are also looking forward to Saturday, Dec. 16. There will be a showdown between bass club members Matt Howell, Jon Griffin and Al Kohutek for the coveted Angler of the Year title.

Established in 1993, the Vilbig Bass Club is comprised of Irving Lake Association bass fishing neighbors who live on the shores of beautiful Lake Vilbig, a private 130-acre lake nestled in the middle of the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Fellowship, competition and improving bass fishing are the club’s top priorities with cookouts, tournaments, environmental maintenance and fish and forage stocking year-round. For more information, visit

November fishing tournament results:
Big Bass: Matt Howell — 3 pounds, 2ounces
First-place Stringer:Matt Jackson —6 pounds, 5 ounces
Second-place Stringer: Steve Dillon — 5 pounds, 1 ounce
Third-place Stringer: Al Kohutek — 4 pounds, 15 ounces
First-place Team: Dave Maskarinec and Steve Dillon — 8 pounds, 8 ounces
Second-place Team: Al Kohutek and Ricky Jennings — 6 pounds, 15 ounces
Third-place Team: Matt Jackson and Mike Nelson — 6 pounds, 5 ounces



Bass Club Raises $455.00 at BBQ - November 11, 2006

The lake has an additional $455.00 in the fish stocking fund from this event.

There was so much good food.....pulled pork, beef brisket, baked beans, potato salad, macaroni salad, hot dogs, cole slaw, and 3 different kinds of homemade BBQ sauce.

And what a deal it a wonderful lunch with your neighbors and help contribute to the stocking fund at the same time.

Thanks to ........Tom Kressley for heading this up, cooking, donating food and the equipment.  Thanks to Cher Diggs and Marty Tackett for being the major helpers. Cliff Cook for keeping the event alive, Jane Heater for doing the flyer, Tim Casbeer for printing the flyers, and Gene Stoneburner for making sure our park look so nice for these events. And finally thanks to all the neighbors who donated the money!

57 Pictures:

Didn't make the BBQ but want to place an order with Tom
Tom is starting a BBQ at home side business.  You can place an order with him at 
Fall Lake Cleanup - Saturday, September 23, 2006.      

Storms roll in during the lake cleanup! 

But that did not stop 41 volunteers at Cypress Cove Park who collected 2,140 lbs. of trash.   Debby took some notes and said Andrea Perez found what looked like a homeless person's campsite off in the ILA forest. Mike Grove found an aluminum boat floating on the lake.  Another volunteer found a machete. The rain killed the picnic lunch but Gene suggested saving the food for the bass club garage sale next weekend.    

These are the volunteers who help keep our lake looking good: Tim Casbeer, Clint Casbeer, Cody Wilson, James Gunn,  Debby Kohutek, April Kohutek, Ali Kohutek, Iris Dillon, Steve Dillon, Joanne Hoffmann, Greg Hoffmann, Craig Watson,  Jim Young, Rose Stoneburner, Gene Stoneburner, Jonathan Kirk, Eric Kelcher, Mark Grigsby, Bill Grigsby, Tom Root, Beverly Root, Hanna Beauchamp, Ricky Jennings, Kyle Jennings, Rick Huffman, Gary Eddy,  Mathew Chittatil, Matt Middlebrook, Dana Grove, Becky Grove, Mike Grove, Jim Ferguson, Abigail Cantwell, Rita Gathright, Libby Perez, Andrea Perez, Jessica King, Rick King, Cliff Cook, James Eidson, Ina Eidson, and Bill all, 41 friends of Lake Vilbig gave up a Saturday morning for the community. 

Steve and Iris Dillon, Rick and Jessica King, Kyle and Ricky Jennings, James and Ina Eidson worked in the Rusdell channel.

Eric Klecher and Rick Huffman used their pickup trucks to take the trash to the sanitation landfill....A total of 2,140 pounds of trash was properly disposed of (pickup truck1=460 lbs, truck2=860 lbs, truck3=820 lbs).  The thunderstorms cut our time and impacted how much trash was weighed.  Some volunteers never made it back to the park with their boat load of trash because of the storm. The volunteers who did not make it back, will put the trash that they collected out with their home garbage.   

These volunteers provided boats: Ricky Jennings, April Kohutek, Gary Eddy, James and Ina Eidson, Tom and Beverly Root, Mark and Bill Grigsby, Mike and Becky Grove, Jim Young, Tim Casbeer, Rick King, Steve and Iris Dillon, and Cliff Cook

Special thanks to all the helpers.....Rose and Gene Stoneburner for purchasing the food and making sure the park was ready. Greg Hoffmann brought the breakfast. Tim Casbeer made copies of the flyers and Hanna Beauchamp, Matt Howell, Dave Maskarinec, Brandon Wooddell, Tim Casbeer, April Kohutek, Ali Kohutek passed the flyers out around the neighborhood.  Craig Watson got the door prizes. Alfred Schram purchased the cups. Debby got everyone signed in. 


Door Prizes: Eric Kelcher - $25 + car wash,  Rick Huffman - car wash,  James Eidson - $25,  Tim Casbeer - $25,  April Kohutek - $25,  Mike Grove - award winning fishing lures

Lake cleanup pictures:



Lake Vilbig Neighbors featured in the Dallas Morning News

Neighbors savor the lake effect
Irving: They share, care for, build camaraderie around cherished Vilbig
12:00 AM CDT on Friday, May 5, 2006
By MONTY MILLER JR. / Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News

On a quiet morning, a close-knit group of friends and neighbors gathers on the shores of Vilbig Lake in Irving to fulfill their duties as stewards of the lake. Some have donated their boat, some their truck and some just their precious time, but all have the same goal: to keep their private lakeside paradise clean and beautiful.

"It's about taking pride in where you live and taking ownership of it," longtime Vilbig Bass Club member Mark Grigsby said.
The lake functions as a 150-acre back yard to the 234 homes in the Irving Lake Association, the governing body over Vilbig Lake.

"By and large, the Bass Club is kind of the core of the [association] functions," Mr. Grigsby said.
From March through December, the club hosts one fishing tournament a month. Five are draw tournaments, in which anglers draw names from a jar to determine their fishing partner for the day. Club members rave about them because, they say, it gives them an opportunity to get to know their neighbors.

"It's definitely brought the development closer together," charter club member Tom Root said. "I mean, you spend five hours in a boat with a guy, and you get to know him."

The idea for the Vilbig Bass Club, established in 1993, grew out of a weekly Tuesday night poker game involving Mr. Root and some other association members.

"It's as much a social element as it is competition," Mr. Grigsby said.
Members say their neighbors become like a second family, considering all the cookouts and backyard barbecues throughout the year.

"The ILA and the water bring all these people together," club treasurer Jon Griffin said. "It's one of the really beautiful things about this lake."

Some of the more enthusiastic members even go on vacations together.

"Last year, we went on a Caribbean cruise for an entire week," Mr. Grigsby said. "I guess there were 17 or 18 people there."

Lake residents also help each other in times of need. The community recently rushed to the aid of a neighbor who suffered a heart attack.

"We had a three-day garage sale where everybody donated stuff that they could have sold to make money," club member Yo Maskarinec said. "But they gave it, and we raised over $9,000 for that man."

The association charges $50 in dues each year, and it's an additional $60 a year for the bass club members. But the association uses volunteers for nearly all lake maintenance. On a recent spring cleanup day, more than 50 residents collected 2,800 pounds of trash.

"It can be a challenge, especially after it rains," club member Steve Dillon said.

Monty Miller Jr. is a North Richland Hills-based freelance writer.


Spring Lake Cleanup  - Saturday, March 25, 2006.      

We prayed for good weather and God gave us a perfect day for a lake cleanup.  It was sunny, no wind, and pleasant temptures.

From the sign-in sheet: Tim Casbeer, Clint Casbeer, James Gunn, Tony Honardar, Al Kohutek, April Kohutek, Ali Kohutek, Jim Pilarski, Dave Maskarinec, Iris Dillon, Steve Dillon, Matt Howell, Greg Hoffmann, Jon Griffin, Dave Donley, Craig Watson, Dottie Watson, Jim Young, Darlene Young, Alfred Schram, Eleanor Schram, Roy Jones, Jan Goodson, Rose Stoneburner, Gene Stoneburner, Joanathan Kirk, Kim Kirk, Mary Boudreaux, Brian Boudreaux, Janie Parker, Shane Parker, Jon T. Mackoy, Bill Heater, Eric Kelcher, Mark Grigsby, Bill Grigsby, Jeremy Hoffmann, Shelby Childress, Scott Childress, Sarah Butler, Sarah Classen, Leigh Butler, Wojciech Kedzierska, Leokadia Kedzierski, Debi Grigsby, Cher Driggs, Sheena Lore, Nate Howell, Cole Howell, Tom Root, Beverly Root, and Steve all, 52 friends of Lake Vilbig made a difference on the lake.

Special thanks to all the helpers.....Rose and Gene Stoneburner.  They purchased the food and cooked lunch.  There is a lot involved in this.......they were the last ones leave the park.

Steve Dillon, David Donley, Mark Grigsby, Bill Grigsby, and April Kohutek took on the job of working the Rusdell channel.

Jon Griffin, Tom and Beverly....They stayed out on the lake working the longest. 

Eric Klecher and Tim Casbeer used their pickup trucks to take the trash to the sanitation landfill....I think Eric was the last to eat lunch...both Tim and Eric made 2 runs to the landfill.  A total of 2,800 pounds of trash were properly disposed of (pickup truck1=540, truck2=1,300 truck3=500, truck4=460  total=2,800 pounds).

These volunteers provided boats.....Jon Griffin, Matt Howell, Mark Grigsby, Michael Collins, Steve Dillon, Craig and Dottie Watson, Jim Young, Toney Honardar, Leigh Butler, Alfred Schram, Wojciech Kedzierski, Tom and Beverly Root, and Tim Casbeer.

Greg Hoffmann brought the coffee, cream, and sugar.....Tim Casabeer made copies of the flyers and Brian Boudreaux, Beverly Root, Hanna Beauchamp, Matt Howell, Dave Maskarinec, Brandon Wooddell, Tim Casbeer, and Jim Young passed the flyers out around the neighborhood.......The Dillon's and Root's put out the neighborhood event signs......Steve Martin purchased trash rakes for the crew.......Bob Horton with the City of Irving made the arrangements with the sanitation land fill and providing the bags, gloves, and vests.

Some high school students completed a 1/2 day of community service......The flood pushed a lot of the trash past the shoreline making recovery difficult in some locations on the north side of the lake.........A dock that broke loose during the flood was found and returned in the Rusdell channel......We will try and schedule the next fall lake cleanup during the Trinity Trash Bash.

If you see any of these neighbors, please thank them for giving their time and keeping our lake looking so good!

Lake cleanup pictures:


Lake Vilbig Featured on the Irving Neighbors Cover - Saturday, March 25, 2006.      


ON THE COVER: Lake Vilbig resident April Kohutek, front,
and friend Emily McClure teamed up during the Vilbig
Bass Club’s fishing tournament March 11 in Irving. The girls
are students at Elliott Elementary School in Irving

Gone fishing
Irving bass club unites
neighbors along Lake Vilbig



Dallas Morning News  Saturday, March 25, 2006

Vilbig Bass Club members are more than fishing buddies.

They also live next door to each other.

“You get to really know your neighbor when you spend five hours out on the lake fishing together,” club member Al Kohutek said in an e-mail.
The club started in 1993 and is made up of Irving Lake Association bass fishing neighbors living along the shores of Lake Vilbig, a private, 130-acre lake nestled in the heart of Dallas-Fort Worth.

Every other month, club members throw their names in a hat and draw each other for fishing partners. During months in between, members get to select whom they want to fish with, including neighbors, family members or friends not living on the lake.

It’s at these monthly gatherings where strangers become friends and Lake Vilbig neighbors become, well, better neighbors.

Although fishing is the group’s passion, members also organize other neighborhood activities, such as cookouts, social events, lake cleanups and fundraisers.

Twice in the past three years, the club has banded together to help two different neighbors during times of need.

“As a neighborhood, we were able to rally together and raised about $15,000 to help them out,” Kohutek said. 

Members also helped build a park on the north shore of the lake for social events.

To maintain the beauty of the lake and its surroundings, the organization relies on volunteer work.

The club’s first bass tournament of the year was held March 11.  Forty-one participants came out to the event in addition to families and
friends. Membership is limited to homeowners on Lake Vilbig in Irving.

For more information about the club, visit the group’s Web site at

ILA Christmas Hay Ride December 17, 2005

Annual Christmas Caroling Hayride with Santa

Submitted by Jane Heater and Judy Drumm
    At the annual Homeowners’ Association meeting in November (to back up a bit), when Iris Dillon announced that she would not be able to host the hayride, Judy Drumm and I raised our hands, thinking we could step in where Iris had been so successful and help out.  Little did we know that Iris makes all her projects look so easy, when they really take work by a lot of wonderful volunteers.  So, on Saturday, after much planning, we had our Annual Christmas Caroling Hayride with Santa, and if you missed joining us, I hope you could at least hear us as we wound our way throughout the neighborhood. 
 This year, we grew to two trailers of merry carolers, thanks to Cliff Cook and Steve Hamner providing the trailers for us, and Steve and Rick Huffman pulling them.  Dottie Watson had designed such a cute flyer and Tim Casbeer got the copies printed.  Many thanks to our distribution elves: Craig Watson (getting his exercise) Beverly Root, Jim Young, Steve Dillon, and Yasmeen and Sharref Drumm.  Mark Grigsby and Steve Hamner picked up the hay bales on Saturday (it was touch and go there for a while if we would get rained out or not, but we got lucky) and then a small army of volunteers had a great time decorating the hay wagons. Many thanks to Craig and Dottie, Hanna Beauchamp and family, Bill Heater, Judy, Ali Kohutek, Carla Leatherwood, Tom and Beverly, Sandi Collins and our newcomer from New Orleans, Barbara Crowley.  Craig, Tom and Dave Maskarinec assured that our trailer lights all worked off the truck batteries. 
 Then later with the weather still favoring us, we all met again, and using flashlights and the song sheets that Judy had run off , some 60 of our friends and neighbors waited for Santa and then proceeded along the caroling route, as Santa surprised the children with gifts and candy canes.  The merriment continued at Steve and Lisa Hamner’s beautifully decorated home on Lakeshore Court, where Judy, Darlene Young, Steve Dillon and Bill and I got to serve hot chocolate, cookies and roasted marshmallows.  Gregg Hoffman, we always appreciate using your monster sized coffee pot.  Delicious mini Snowman cupcakes were donated by Ellen Nevil and children.  Thank you’s go out to Dave and Yo Maskarinec for the use of their fire pit to keep warm and to roast marshmallows, while being kept at a safe distance with a toddler fence borrowed from Sandi and Michael Collins.  Terry Leatherwood took pictures of children and families with Santa and Sandi Collins provided the children with parting favors of “Reindeer Food”.  Santa Claus continues looking truly fine in his striking attire and we always appreciate his taking time to come see us at this very busy time of year.
 As we said, if you missed out, you truly did miss out.  Warm Holiday feelings were shared and many of us big kids got to see and remember some of the enchantment of Christmas in shining, little faces.  As you read this, you probably noticed many familiar names that you’ve seen and heard before, as members of the Bass Club and the Lake Association all worked together to bring off another free, successful event for the benefit of our Lake, continuing to make it the very special place it is.  If you weren’t there, we always have room for you the next time.  The planning and doing of these festivities is always fun and light hearted, so we’ll save you a spot, plan to be there and you will be rewarded as we all were this weekend.  It just gets better and better.
 On a reflective note, when our neighborhood was just getting started, so to speak, a few really hard workers started many of the “Traditions” that we are trying to carry on today.  Certainly Gregg and Joanne Hoffman, Peggy and Marty Tackett, Margo and John Quinn, and Wayne and Lisa Lee (before they moved), and some I may have forgotten, are to be recognized for their vision in starting such a unique “village” atmosphere that bonds us all today.
  Thanks to everyone for their contributions and warmest Holiday wishes to everyone.


Santa Pictures:

Lake Cleanup October 1, 2005

Thanks to all the giving neighbors!  We had about 39 volunteers signed-in at the park for 2005 fall lake cleanup.

A total of 1,560 pounds of Styrofoam cups, plastic water bottles, aluminum cans, soccer balls, juice boxes and even a wood stepladder and trolling
motor were picked up along the shores of Lake Vilbig.  The volume of trash was enough to fill 3 pickups trucks.  In addition to the trash, an
aluminum boat was found floating on the north area of the lake.   Must have gotten loose when hurricane Rita hit us last Saturday... it's in good
shape so contact Gene Stoneburner if you lost a boat.

Jim Young, Matt Middlebrook, Angela Middlebrook, Ali Kohutek, April Kohutek, Al Kohuitek, Steve Dillon, Iris Dillon, Alfred Schram, Craig
Watson, Dottie Watson, Michael Collins, Sandi Collins, Daniel Beauchamp, Hanna Beauchamp, Ricky Jennings, Tim Casbeer, Clint Casbeer, James Gunn, Tom Root, Beverly Root, Rick Huffmann, Joanne Hoffmann, Greg Hoffmann, Rose Stoneburner, Gene Stoneburner, Sandra Cole, Mark Grigsby, Steve Martin, Bill Heater, Rick King, Jessica King, Jon Griffin, Matthew Cittatil, Jessie Leatherwood,  Terry Leatherwood, Brandon Wooddell, Clint Casbeer, and James Gunn

Special thanks to:
Chef Rose Stoneburner, the food was delicious!
Gene Stoneburner for the setup at the park.
Greg Hoffmann for breakfast.
Iris Dillon for the eating utensils and assisting the chef.
The Roots for the ILA reminder signs around the lake.
The Rusdell canal crew: Steve Dillon, Brandon Wooddell, Al, Ricky
       Jennings, Mark Grigsby, Matthew Cittatil,  Rick Huffman.
Volunteers with boats: Michael Collins, Matthew Cittatil, Jon Griffin, Al,
       Alfred Schram, Tim Casbeer, Jim Young, Tom and Beverly Root.

The Beauchamps, Maskarinecs, Roots, Huffmans, and Casbeers for delevering the flyers.
Tim Casbeer and Steve Marting for the use of their pickup trucks.
Bob Horton, City of Irving for the bag, gloves, and vests.

If you see any one of these guys, please thank them for making your lake
view more pleasant:



Lake Cleanup / work day - May 21, 2005

About 32 lake residents showed up for the spring lake cleanup and picked up 980 pounds of Syrofoam cups, water bottles, cans, plastic lawn chairs, etc.

Special thanks to Frank Newman for cooking, Rose and Gene for the setup, Eric Kelcher for use of his pickup truck, Debby Kohutek for getting the food, Greg Hoffmann for the breakfast coffee / donuts & OJ.

Thanks to Harvey Drumm, Jim Ferguson, Tom & Beverly, Steve Mee & Cody, April & Ali for taking on the Rusdell canal.  These are the ones who cleaned the most challenging part of the lake.

Thanks to all the boaters: Jon Griffin, Craig Watson, Tom Kressley, Alfred and Eleanor Schram, Mark & Manga McFadin, Shane and Cheryl Suckla, Steve Mee & Cody, Eric Kelcher, Wojciech & Leokadia Kedzierski.  These are the folks who hit the shoreline by boat. 

Thanks to all the non-boat support: David Donley, Steve Martin, Greg & Joanne Hoffmann, Jeremy Hoffmann, Rose and Gene Stoneburner, Sandi Cole.

Thanks to Bob Horton and the City of Irving for supplying the trash bags.


Lake Survey

The aquatic lake survey has been posted on the web.


Lake Vilbig Christmas Hay Ride December 18, 2004

The annual ILA hay ride and Christmas caroling and holiday party 


The weather was great!  It looked like over 100 neighbors participated in the festivities. Thanks to all the volunteers: Iris Dillon, The Hamners, Debi & Mark Grigsby, Carol & David Kern, Cliff Cook, Dave Maskarinec, Jane Heater, Bev & Tom Root, Michael & Sandi Collins, Craig & Dottie Watson, Joann Hoffman, Jim Young , Rick Huffman, Tim Casbeer, and anyone else who helped that is not listed.

Lake Vilbig Resident Voted Irving High School  Teacher of the Year

Mathew Chittatil receives the Teacher of the Year award for the 2004 - 2005 school year at Irving High School

Lake Vilbig resident Mathew Chittatil recently received both the admiration and recognition of his fellow teachers as they honored him as Irving High School’s 2004 -2005 Teacher of the Year.  Mr. Chittatil, who teaches English as a second language and American History to 9th through 11th grades, was born in India and came to the United States in 1989.  Mathew then graduated from Fordham University in New York, then arrived in Texas teaching at Irving High for the past eight years.   

So what attracted Chittatil to Lake Vilbig?  “As a boy in India, I grew up canoeing & swimming in the river next to my home.  It was those memories that attracted me to Lake Vilbig,” said Mr. Chittatil from his Garden Terrace lake front home.  If Mathew is not seen in his canoe or bright blue v-bottom boat on the lake, you’ll find him strolling around the neighborhood, or out eating at his favorite Indian or Mexican food restaurants.   

If you see him, be sure and congratulate Mathew on his honor and his role in shaping the youth of Irving.  He’s another outstanding neighbor in the greatest neighborhood in Texas!  


ILA Lake Cleanup - 9/18/2004

18 people showed up on September 18, 2004 for ILA Fall Lake Cleanup and 2,300 pounds of trash was collected.   The ILA schedule the event to coinside with the annual  “Keep Irving Beautiful Annual Trinity Trash Bash” at Irving Veterans Memorial Park.  Lunch was served at the Veterans Memorial Park from Noon to 1:00 pm and there were games, booths, exhibits, and displays.

Thanks to Greg Hoffman for organizing the event and bringing donuts and coffee,  and thanks to Tim Casbeer for using his truck and making the dump run.  Thanks to Bob Horton and the City of Irving for supplying the bags, gloves, and t-shirts.

If you see these guys give them a thanks for keeping our lake beautiful:  Tom and Beverly Root, Greg, Joann & Jeremy Hoffmann, Iris and Steve Dillon, Dave Maskarinec, Brian Rubin, Hannah Beauchamp & Daniel, Tim Casbeer, Al K., Gene Stoneburner, Brandon Wooddell, Michael and Sandi Collins.


Lake Vilbig Patriot's Day Picnic - 9/11/2004


This is what living on the lake is all about! 
The wonderful food was catered from Chester's Chicken. The weather was beautiful, and there was plenty of fun activities for the adults and kids.  
About 120 members and visitors attended the picnic and the bass club held it's weigh-in on the new park dock.
If you left early, you missed Irving's Mayor Joe Putman who made an appearance as the party was wrapping up.
Big Thanks to ILA President Rick Huffman, Iris Dillon, Steve Dillon, Gene Stoneburner, Rose Stoneburner, Dottie Watson, Craig Watson, Debi Grigsby, Mark Grigsby, Yo Maskarinec, Beverly Root, Bill & Jane Heater, and Nancy Love for putting this patriotic party together.
To view the pictures go to:

8/22/2004 ILA builds a new community boat dock at Cypress Cove Park   

ILA members will now have dry feet when accessing Cypress Cove Park by boat!

Click here for more pictures  

It was reminiscent of an old fashion barn raising as the Lake Vilbig neighbors came together to build the dock. 

Rick Huffman was the project manager and began working on the dock many months before the first pole was set.  Rick was able to secure a $1,500.00 grant from the City of Irving’s Community Partnership Fund.  That along with $509.89 from the ILA general fund was used to purchase the materials. 
Special thanks to Cliff Cook of Crossroads Trailer Services for donating the use of a trailer to pickup the material.  Marty Tackett for rigging up the pneumatic tools to use around the water.  Gene Stoneburner for donating electrical power near the dock.  Jane and Bill Heater for providing the lunch on the last day of the project and Tom Root for acting as crew chief while Rick was away Saturday morning. 
A total of 19 ILA volunteers put in a total of 254.5 hours on the project.  Some volunteers took vacation time off at their place of employment to help during the week, some worked in the rain, and some brought the tools needed for the project. 
Volunteers & hours worked: Rick Huffman 56.5 hrs, Beverly Root 17.5 hrs, Tom Root 40.5 hrs, Andy MacAbee 21.5 hrs, Steve Dillon 11 hrs, George Denton 14 hrs, Jim Young 6 hrs, Jon Griffin 5 hrs, Marty Tackett 6 hrs, Tom Kressley 7 hrs, Tim Casbeer 8 hrs, Gene Stoneburner 14.5 hrs, Bill Grigsby 10 hrs, Chris Huffman 9 hrs, Al Kohutek 6 hrs, Eric Donley 3 hrs, David Donley 3 hrs, Peggy Tackett 8.5 hrs, Kevin Stiegler 7.5 hrs.
The new dock extends 24 feet into the water, is 39 feet long, and it’s measurements are within the ILA’s lake easement restrictions and covenants. 
A big thanks to all who helped make this possible!

3/2/2004 - Lake Vilbig in Pond Boss Magazine 

Lake Vilbig was mentioned in the March/April 2004 issue of Pond Boss magazine.  The article in the Wildlife at Large section talks about Lake Vilbig's cormorant scarecrows.  Visit Pond Boss at   The article is below.

10/3/2003 The Lake Cleanup is featured in the new Irving Journal news paper



9/27/2003 Lake Cleanup

It was a beautiful day to be on the lake.  40 volunteers pulled 1,800 pounds of trash out of  Lake Vilbig.  Some volunteers also helped with the Cypress Park maintenance.  Life is good on the Lake!  

Thanks to all our helpers (from the sign in sheet): Gene & Rose Stoneburner, Steve, Sheena, & Iris Dillon, JD Love, Alison Tucker, Don Thrash, Park Aron, Tom Kressley, Phil & Racheal Nailing, Yo & Dave Maskarinec, Marty & Peggy Tackett & Granddaughter Taylor, Matthew Cittatil, Rick Huffman, Michael & Sandi Collins, Mark Grigsby, Beverly Root, Steve Hamner, Brandon, Kristi Wooddell & friend, Al, Debby, April, & Ali Kohutek, Jan Goodson, Craig & Dottie Watson, & Jim Young, Linda & Robyn Jackson, Dave & Carol Kern, & Greg Hoffmann.

Special thanks: Marty Tackett for organizing the lake assignments.   Bob Horton and The City of Irving for the gloves and trash bags.   Gene and Rose Stoneburner for the ice/drinks and great hamburger/hotdog lunch.   Rick Huffman for the Donuts and OJ, All the volunteers who passed out the cleanup flyer, Craig and Dottie Watson's for use of their pickup and trailer, Beverly and Tom Root for putting out the reminder yard signs and anyone else missed who helped bring this ILA event together.    


New Bridge at Cypress Cove Park
September 20, 2003 

Thanks to Marty Tackett, Rick Huffman, Gene Stoneburner, Jim Young, Greg Hoffmann, and Tom Root for designing and building the a new foot bridge at Cypress Cove Park.  The funding came from the City of Irving's Community Partnership Fund.




3/29/2003 Lake Cleanup

The day started out windy, cold, and dreary but as the sun came out and the burgers were cooking everyone realized they had made difference on our lake. 2,520 pounds of trash were removed.  

Thanks to all our helpers (from the sign in sheet): Tom Kressley, Beverly and Tom Root, Dave Donley, Sarah Sterns, Shane Suckla, Gary Eddy, Debi and Mark Grigsby, Steve Martin, Joanne and Greg Hoffmann, Michael and Sandi Collins, Roy Jones, Jon Griffin, Marty Tackett, Hanna Beauchamp, Charli Lyman, Steve and Iris Dillon, Gene and Rose Stoneburner, Jim and Darlene Young, Wayne Lee, Linda Jackson, Rick Huffmann, Al and April  Kohutek, Terry, Carla, & Jesse Leatherwood. 

Special thanks: Marty Tackett for organizing the lake assignments.   The City of Irving for the gloves and trash bags.   Gene and Rose Stoneburner for the great hamburger/hotdog lunch.   Wayne Lee and Terry Leatherwood for the use of their ice chest.  Greg Hoffmann for the coffee/cream/sugar.   Rick Huffman for the donuts.  Linda Jackson for bringing the OJ.   Charli Lyman for the drinks.  Dottie Watson for creating the flyer.   Debby K, April K, Ali K. Sydney F, Beverly R., Jon G., Rick H, Jim Y., Brandon W., Steve M., for delivering the flyers.  Debby Kohutek for the ice.   Jon Griffin and Rick for the use of their pickup trucks. Alfred and Eleanor Schram for the coffee cups.  Beverly Root for the drink cups.  Beverly and Tom Root for making the reminder yard signs and anyone else missed who helped bring this ILA event together.    


September 7, 2002 - New BBQ grills and picnic tables at Cypress Cove Park

Thanks to Jim Young for purchasing 3 new picnic tables and 3 new BBQ grills.  The funding came from the City of Irving's Community Partnership Fund.  Greg, Jo Ann, & Jeremy Hoffmann, Jeremy's friend, Rose and Gene Stoneburner, Al Kohutek, Paul Poole, Wayne Lee, Bill Heater, Jim & Darlene Young, and David & Carol Kern, helped assemble the tables and build the foundations at the park. About 3 yards of cement were used to build the foundations.


August 8, 2002 - Annual Bass Club Raffle Nets $546.00 For Fish Stocking.

The annual Bass Club Raffle added $546.00 to the Lake Vilbig fish stocking fund. 

Raffle winners:
Smoker - Steve Dillion sold the winning ticket to Greg Terry 
DVD - Brandon Wooddell 
Rod / Reel - Chris Marks

The next fish stocking fund raising event will be the annual neighborhood garage sale on October 4 - 6.



July 4, 2002 - Irving Parade

Brandy Hathcox and Noah, Debi Grigsby, Jan Goodson, Darlene & Jim Young, Bonnie Newman, Sydney, April, Ali, and Debby Kohutek, Anna, Libby Perez represented the ILA at the Irving 4th of July parade.



04/20/2002 Lake Cleanup

The lake cleanup was as success! 2,500 pounds of trash and timber were removed from the lake on Saturday, April 20, 2002.  The weather was pleasant, the food was great, and the fellowship can't be beat.  

Thanks to the workers:  Dave & Yolanda Maskarinec, Steve & Iris Dillon, Brandon Wooddell, Alfred & Eleanor Schram, Greg & Joanne Hoffmann, Roy Jones, Hanna, Daniel & Xaver Beauchamp, Mary Evans, David & Carol Kern, Craig & DottieWatson, Al Kohutek, Tom & Beverly Root,  Steve Martin, Rick Huffman, Cliff Cook, Peggy & Marty Tackett, Michael Jackson and family, Tom Kressely, Mark & Debi Grigsby, Jon Griffin, Gary Eddy, Bill Heater. 

Special thanks to: Marty Tackett and Peggy for coordinating the lake cleanup,  Greg provided the coffee, grill & a table, Jane for a table, Craig for scheduling the mowing, Peggy for all the food, drinks and cooking the burgers, Craig for the trailer, Jon and Rick for their pickup trucks.    

04/13/2002 Irving Lake Association Receives "Outstanding Neighborhood Web Site" award

02/05/2002 The Vilbig Bass Club goes to Athens and attends a hearing on the double-crested cormorants.

On Monday, February 4, 2002, Al Kohutek, Jim Young, Tom Root, and Paul Poole traveled to Athens, Texas to attend a hearing on the double-crested cormorant. This meeting was held at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center and conducted by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service. Al, Jim, Tom, and Paul represented the Vilbig Bass Club and testified on the impact of the cormorants on Lake Vilbig.  The testimony was tape recorded and court reporter took notes for the US Fish and Wildlife Service.  This was the fourth of ten hearings being held across the US as part of an environmental impact study.   There were about 30 other concerned Texans in attendance.  It addition the testimony, Al presented pictures of Lake Vilbig injured bass. 

Anyone wanting to send written comments about the cormorants should send them to:

Division of Migratory Bird Management,
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
4401 North Fairfax Drive, Room 634,
Arlington, Va. 22203.

All letters should be postmarked by February 28, 2002.


Bass Club raised over $2,938.00 for the 2002 fish stocking fund.

Over $2,100.00 was made on the Bass Club Garage Sale October 4 - 7. Thanks to Sandi for Hosting the sale and all the Lake Vilbig neighbors for their donations.  The BBQ grill raffle that was held on July 1, 2001 raised $838.00.  This gives the stocking fund over $2,938.00 for next years fish stocking.  Way to go Bass Club! 


09/22/2001 Fall Lake Cleanup.

1,300 lbs.

Thanks to the cleanup crew:  Dave Maskarinec, Steve Dillon, Iris Dillon, Brandon Wooddell, Alfred Schram, Eleanor Schram, Greg Hoffmann, Roy Jones, Hanna Beauchamp, Daniel Beauchamp, Xaver Blaschamp, Mary Evans, David Kern, Carol Kern, Craig Watson, Dottie Watson,  Sandi Collins, Al Kohutek, Tom Root, Beverly Root, Gene Stoneburner, Jim Young, Darlene Young, Steve Martin, Sandy Cole, Rick Huffman, Chris Huffman, Tom Kressely, Mark Grigsby, Jon Griffin, Jim Pilarski, and Angle Pilarski.

Special thanks to: City of Irving and Bob Horton for providing the cleanup kits. Iris Dillon for lunch, drinks, ice, and ice chests.   Brandon for getting the ice.  Al Kohutek for the ice chests, water, sign-in sheet, coffee, cream, sugar, outboard motor boat, OJ, and flyers.   Gene Stoneburner for his tractor.   Mary Evans for getting the donuts.   Alfred and Eleanor for the coffee cups.   Tom Root, Jim Young, Mark Grigsby, Steve Dillon, & Tom Kressley for delivering the flyers.   And anyone else missed.      

Cleanup Drawing Prizes (2 Sam's/Walmart gift cards provided by the City of Irving):  Dave Maskarinec and the Beauchamps



Residents savor 'hidden jewel'
(Taken from the Sports & Recreatons of the Dallas Morning News, Irving section)

Vilbig Lake presents great bass fishing to South Irving anglers


By TODD JORGENSON / The Dallas Morning News

Mark Grigsby speaks of Vilbig Lake as though it's his next-door neighbor. And actually, for him and more than 300 south Irving residents, it is. Take two steps past the grass of Grigsby's back yard, and you'll be swimming with catfish in 10 feet of water.

Invisible from any street with a traffic light, Vilbig Lake is lined with 234 middle-class homes on more than a dozen winding streets west of MacArthur Boulevard and north of Hunter Farrell Road.

Yet many locals are shocked to find out such a place exists in Irving. A place where you can satiate your appetite for fishing in the back yard and get a good view of the Dallas skyline in the front. A place where you can see picturesque sunsets and hear coyote calls on a dock 20 feet from the back door.

"I lived in Irving for five years before I even knew this place existed," Grigsby said. "You take a new vacation every week."

Grigsby is president of the Vilbig Bass Club, which seeks to enjoy sport fishing on the obscure Irving lake, but also to promote environmental health on its 154 acres.

That's one reason the club is closed to outsiders – just like the lake itself. Vilbig residents bond around their "hidden jewel," as Grigsby calls it. The common denominator is what makes their community unique, and they'd like to keep it that way.

"It's kind of its own society," said Grigsby, who bought his home on Vilbig Lake in 1997. "Everything I know about fishing I learned from people on this lake."

And the fishing is pretty good, too. The bass club has been active since 1993 and holds monthly member tournaments that typically attract dozens of competitors. It also raises money through fish fries, garage sales and raffles to fund fish-stocking projects.

The Irving Lake Association – a resident-operated organization that oversees Vilbig Lake and its shoreline development – first stocked Florida bass in Vilbig in 1993. Since then, the ILA has spent more than $16,000 and stocked almost 50,000 fish. The association also conducted a wildlife habitat survey in 1998.

"It's paying off. We're seeing some definite fish improvements," said Al Kohutek, a two-year Vilbig resident and the bass club's vice president. "[The lake] is just the right size where you can get around the whole thing with a trolling motor, but you can't fish the whole thing in one day. There's no crowding."

Besides the growing bass population, which included nine 8-pounders in 2000, Vilbig also has plentiful catfish, crappie, bluegill and carp, Kohutek said. The lake has a maximum depth of about 30 feet.

The bass club, which has sprouted from its humble beginnings as a neighborhood poker club to a membership of about 40, has a common structure to its tournaments. At the end of the five-hour tournament, anglers weigh their top three bass in competition. Highest cumulative total wins. A dead fish constitutes a one-pound penalty.

The lake originally was open to outside fishermen but has been exclusive to residents since the late 1980s. Not that many hard-core anglers would want to compete for trophies in lieu of cash, like the Vilbig faithful, anyway. But that doesn't decrease the level of competition at tournaments.

"I'm worn out after one of these things," Grigsby said. "It's intense. We go at it 100 percent."

Several steps have been taken to ensure the continued high water quality in Vilbig Lake. No gas motors are allowed, and residents schedule biannual drainage clean-ups. They help perpetuate the ecosystem by stocking crawfish and perch and by building duck boxes for waterfowl on the lake's north side.

"Most people that live on the lake use it as a backdrop, so I don't think they would do anything to intentionally hurt it," said Brandon Wooddell, who holds the club record with a 9-pound bass caught in June 2000. "I think most of the people who live here are conscious of that."

Among the projects in the planning stages are a park with picnic tables, a clubhouse and a baseball field on the north side of the lake. Erosion controls, including sea walls, already are in place to alleviate the need for dredging.

"There's a lot of growth yet on this lake. We're only in the beginning stages," Grigsby said. "People who live here are willing to make that investment once they realize what a jewel we have."

Wooddell said that's because Vilbig residents appreciate the value of the lake, not only as a backyard novelty but as a source of community pride.

"The club has helped us grow closer as neighbors, but the lake itself brings everybody together, too," he said. "For some of us, it's the view. For some of us, it's the fishing. It offers something different for everyone."



Life on the lake
Taken from the Dallas Morning News, Irving Section

Families enjoy hidden surprises of the Vilbig area


By Barrie Page Hill / The Dallas Morning News

When the urge to feel a little sand in our sandals beckons us to the beach, many pack up and head south. The Drumm family steps out their back door.

Harvey and Judy Drumm and their three children live in the Vilbig Lake area of south Irving. The neighborhood, off of South MacArthur Boulevard near Oakdale Road, is a well-kept secret, even for many Irving residents. Families who live in the close-knit neighborhood are sold on its convenient location and lakeside lifestyle.

"I've lived in the Dallas area for 50-plus years, and I've never run across a neighborhood like this," says Jim Young, president of the Irving Lake Association, a group of lakelot homeowners. Mr. Young and his wife, Darlene, moved to the neighborhood in 1994. "You have the lake atmosphere, but you're right here in the middle of Dallas-Fort Worth. Living here gives us the best of both worlds. As my wife says, it's like being on vacation all the time."

Ducks waddle across lawns. Turtle heads bob on the 125-acre lake. An occasional crane dots the horizon. Residents park boats in driveways and prop fishing poles against backyard decks and docks.

The neighborhood association schedules regular activities for residents and conducts lake cleanups, with homeowners pitching in to tidy up the lake and shoreline. The association stocks the lake with a variety of fish each year, Mr. Young says, and the Bass Club hosts monthly activities for fishing enthusiasts.

Judy Drumm and her ex-husband bought a home on the lake 12 years ago.

"I'm from Puerto Rico, and when I saw this neighborhood and the lake, I just loved it. It was just breathtaking," she says. "It was a beautiful, beautiful day, and when I saw the lake, I knew this is exactly where I wanted to live."

Mrs. Drumm remarried two years ago.

"She came with the house," teases her husband, Harvey Drumm. "It was a package deal. I told her it was the lake and the house, or no deal."

Living on a lake is a great deal for this family, who enjoy fishing, boating and the view from their back yard.

Mr. Drumm hauled in several truckloads of white sand to make the backyard beach. He's built a hexagon-shaped deck – which extends over the water – and is putting in new stone retaining walls. A hammock sways under the mulberry tree. A blaze of red roses and golden marigolds brighten the yard.

"This is my therapy. I love to spend time in the gardens and working outside," Mr. Drumm says. "This is our retirement home. We love it. We don't plan on going anywhere else."

Mornings on the lake

Like many residents, the couple's lifestyle revolves around the lake. They sip morning coffee on the patio. Friends gather for dinner and conversation under the glow of patio tiki lights. Their children invite school chums over for fishing and swimming. Shareef, 11, says having a lake in his back yard is "pretty cool."

"My friends come over, and we get to go swimming and have parties and stuff," Shareef says. "Sometimes they come here instead of all of us going to Wet 'N Wild. It's fun to live on the lake."

Across the street at the Parson home, Gail Parson and her sister, Angela Williams, are watching Ms. William's 3-year-old daughter, Amarah. The little girl is making mud pies on the lakeside deck. A breeze blows across the water as several brown-and-white ducks circle near the shoreline.

Gail and Mike Parson didn't know the home was on a lake when a Realtor showed them the property two years ago.

"My husband about knocked me over to get outside to take a look at the lake," Mrs. Parson says. "We'd lived in Irving a long time, but we didn't even know the lake was here until we came to look at this house. We grew up on a lake in Minnesota, so we all loved the lake right away. ... When Mike and I were dating, we'd go out on the lake and talk about someday owning our own lake home. Here we are."

Mrs. Parson's father and mother, visiting from Minnesota, also fell in love with the neighborhood. They bought the home next door as a second residence. Ms. Williams is living in the home until her parents permanently relocate. A gate has been added between the two homes for easy access.

Mrs. Williams hopes to buy a home on the same street. "I'm a single mom and was living in downtown Chicago. This is a much better place to raise children," Ms. Williams says.

The family members take their boat out for evening spins and enjoy fishing from their dock. Robert, 11, practices his swing, batting rocks over the water.

"I caught a catfish my first time fishing," Robert says.

'Nice place to live'

John and Ronda Cornwell also moved to the neighborhood about two years ago, when their son was a baby. Now Jack fishes with his dad.

"You don't have to head to the lake; you just go to your back yard," Mr. Cornell says. "I grew up in Irving, but I didn't know about this lake. I've had friends tell me they used to ride their bikes out here when they were kids before any of these houses were here. ... It's a really nice place to live. We have all kinds of people who live in the neighborhood – Indian, Chinese, African. People here are all really friendly."

Under the shade of a large tree, two ducks nest in the family's back yard. One has made a nest in the top of a large trashbag.

"I start my day out here feeding the ducks," says Mark Withers, the Cornwells' neighbor. He and his wife, Robin Strouse, are computer consultants who work in downtown Dallas. "We definitely moved here for the lake. We'd call Realtors and tell them we wanted a house on Vilbig Lake, and most of them didn't know what we were talking about. It's a pretty well-kept secret."

Quarry days

Vilbig Lake got its start as a series of gravel pits.

"The lakes were my grandfather and great-grandfather's gravel pits," says David Vilbig, owner of Vilbig and Associates, a Dallas civil engineering and surveying firm. Mr. Vilbig's great-grandfather, August Vilbig, and August's brother, John Vilbig, opened Vilbig Brothers Excavation in 1886. Mr. Vilbig's grandfather, J. Lee Vilbig, took over the business, operating it for many years as one of the area's premier galena pits.

The Vilbig family sold the land to Centennial Homes in 1972, and the developer built homes around the lake.

Kevin Kendro, an archivist with the city, turned up several maps and aerial photos of the area. The lake doesn't exist in a 1930 aerial photo, but it does appear in a 1959 aerial shot. In 1964, an Irving road map indicates the lake had been named Lake Vilbig.

"I've also heard it was a catfish farm at one time," says Wayne Lee, senior civil engineer with Irving's Public Works Department. Mr. Lee has lived in the neighborhood since 1992. "We really don't know a lot about the history of the area, but we know we all like living here."

Staff writer Barrie Page Hill can be reached at 972-594-7198, ext. 2001, or by e-mail, at



04/21/2001 Lake Cleanup.

Thanks to all who helped with the Spring lake cleanup.  2,440 pounds of trash was collected and taken to the City dump. A couple of sections on the lake were not cleaned due to a shortage of cleanup boats.  Hopefully we will get to those sections missed during the fall cleanup.  



Thanks to the cleanup crew:  Dwain Morgan, Dave Maskarinec, Steve Dillon, Brandon Wooddell, Alfred Schram, Greg & Joanne Hoffmann, Roy Jones, Hanna, Daniel, & Xaver Beauchamp, Mary Evans, David Kern, Craig & Dottie Watson, Jason Burnette, Michael & Sandi Collins, Al, Debby, April & Ali Kohutek, Sydney Furgerson, Tom & Beverly Root, Gene Stoneburner, Jim Young, Steve Martin, Wojciech Kedzierska, Cliff Cook, Peggy Tackett, and whoever else that forgot to sign-in.

Special thanks to: City of Irving and Bob Horton for providing the gloves, trash bags, Sandi for making lunch plans, Brandon for getting the ice, Greg Hoffmann for the coffee, Al for the ice chests, water, sign-in sheet, cream, sugar, use of his pickup truck and outboard motor boat, Steve Martin for the use of  his pickup truck, Craig & Dottie for the use of their big trailer, paper plates and paper towels, Mary Boudreaux movie tickets prizes, Jason for the use of his pickup truck,  Mary Evans for getting the donuts, Eden Cook for the cokes, and anyone else missed.      

Cleanup Prize (movie tickets for two with popcorn):  Greg Hoffmann won the prize for the most unusual trash item (a bag of VHS movie tapes) and he declined the prize so the move tickets went into and drawing and the Beauchamp family won!  

Next Lake Cleanup is September 22, 2001.


04/01/2001 Kraig Brabson Puts Client on Record Fish.

Kraig Brabson lives here on Lake Vilbig but works on Lake Texoma as a professional striper guide.  On March 23, 2001 while guiding a striper fishing trip he put one of his clients on a record 139 pound gar.  

Kraig said he plans to stuff the fish and put it on display at his cabin on Lake Texoma.

 Kraig Brabson and Joe 

If you are interested in booking a guided striper trip, duck hunting trip, or having some taxidermy work done, contact Kraig at Brabson Taxidermy & Guide Service, 972-986-5146.

The following was taken out of the Dallas Morning news on 04/01/2001    

By Ray Sasser / The Dallas Morning News
Rugged fishing

Late March was a hot time for rough fish at Lake Texoma. On March 23, Johnny Wilson of Plano caught a 139.5-pound alligator gar nearly twice as big as the existing lake record. Wilson was casting a Roadrunner jig for striped bass when the 85-inch gar bit the lure. 


Firmly planted

Irving farmer rooted to rural way of life despite decades of suburban encroachment


By Roy Appleton / The Dallas Morning News

IRVING - A row of houses rises just beyond his sheds. Concrete drainage pipes for a growing region cover land to the south along Interstate 30. The urban rush presses ever closer to Doug LePori's vegetable farm.

That's OK, except city rules sometimes get in the way.

"You can't shoot a shotgun in Irving," Mr. LePori says, gazing across furrowed earth toward the home of his enemy - lousy, leaf-chomping nutria.

"Wait till they get in some of these [neighbor] ladies' flowerbeds," he says of the beaverlike raiders that live around a nearby lake and some nights clip him for a hundred dollars worth of green.

That's a bite out of the bottom line, another challenge like hail and bugs and too much sun, but not one that's slowing this 78-year-old grower.

There's work to do, people to feed, the furry beasts to battle. And here in the land of rooftops and plentiful change, he's holding his ground.

"I enjoy it. I like to watch plants grow. It's life to me," said the farmer, who is thought to be the last of his kind in Dallas County.

Mr. LePori remembers Irving with 27 commercial vegetable farms in 1948, when he joined his father, Cyril, in working 25 Trinity River bottomland acres along a gravel road later renamed MacArthur Boulevard.

A year later, theirs was one of 115 Dallas County farms reporting vegetable production on 1,139 total acres. Another 378,000 acres was in other crops or pasture.

Today, the county has about 70,000 acres of agriculture, 13 percent of its total area, and a landscape much removed from its midcentury look. The LePori farm has been sold down to 93/4 acres. Cyril LePori died almost six years ago at age 96, farming three weeks before his passing.

But the constants include Doug LePori and his steady offering of turnip greens, mustard greens and collard greens to area Tom Thumb stores.

The farm has been supplying the supermarket chain since 1950. These days the company buys 98 percent of the crop, with the remainder going to Traci's, the Dallas restaurant owned by his niece, Traci Owen, sales at the farm and freebies to friends.

Endless flow

Last Thursday's morning sun finds him and Tim Krause, his longtime hand, preparing for the day's shipment to the grocer's Roanoke warehouse.

A serenading mockingbird hushes the city hum as Mr. Krause boxes 20 dozen bunches of Florida broadleaf mustard greens. Gathered the previous day, the pickings were washed and cooled overnight. And now, another harvest ready for the world, Mr. Krause applies a label of authority to each box: "LePori & Son Farm, July 6, 2000."

Mr. LePori's wife, Molly, arrives on schedule, and by 9:30, with the mockingbird still going, she is off on one of her five weekly warehouse deliveries, one that will bring $105. By afternoon, some of the peppery leaves will be sold, and on into pots and bellies by suppertime.

"I've always enjoyed helping people eat," Mr. LePori said.

That means helping himself to the endless flow of farm work. "You've got to be aggressive," he said. "You've got to make every hour count."

One order filled, it's time to think of tomorrow. And Mr. LePori, his padded right knee resting in the dirt, joins a seated Mr. Krause in gathering and tying another 20 dozen bundles. "Each one should be a good handful," the farmer says.

Before his day sets, Mr. LePori will prepare for a planting of beets. He will pump water from his irrigation pond and help along a patch of collard greens. If the weather and bugs cooperate, they will be ready in two weeks.

That's a big reason he grows greens. "In 30 days you've got a crop."

Four generations

Mr. LePori has been making crops for most of his life, starting early on the family's 11 acres near Fishtrap Road in West Dallas. The farm hands included a kinder, gentler Bonnie Parker, who picked beans one teenage summer to earn money for a dress. When she came up $1.68 short, his father fronted her the money.

"He was such a pleasure to be around. We worked hard but you didn't mind it," Mr. LePori recalled. "I'd like to take up in his footsteps."

He walked and planted and harvested with his father for almost half a century after the West Dallas place was sold to make way for public housing. They joined the post-war shift to the suburbs, moving to the still-open spaces of Irving, near where sand and gravel were being harvested for concrete. From those now water-filled pits, called Vilbig Lake, come his nemesis nutria.

Cyril LePori may be gone, but he's not forgotten. His son sometimes wears his white hat in the fields. And inside a shed hangs a photograph of four LePori generations: Cyril, Doug, Doug's sons Marlyn and Mark, and one of his grandsons, Ryan. They, and another grandson, Kelly Bicknell, help out on the farm.

"Our little business is a family business," Doug LePori said as a shirtless Ryan worked flowing water toward a crop row. A senior at Baylor University, he comes home most weekends to work with his grandfather.

"You won't have a fight with him as long as you do what you're supposed to do," Ryan said.

For his grandfather, that means steady, efficient work and respect for others. "It doesn't take much to be kind to people," said Mr. LePori, whose friends return his garden generosity in pickled beets, preserves and sweets.

Mr. LePori has learned about more than human nature over the years, like reading the sky, measuring the temperature with his skin, taking a day's pace as it comes. And then there's the power of leafy greens.

"The older ladies appreciate their value as a laxative," he said. "The young girls, they don't have time" to mess with them, just as "lots of the young people don't know where food comes from."

But "you bet" he enjoys a helping every week or so with a few strips of bacon, pepper sauce and hot cornbread.

He has learned that turnip and mustard greens need irrigation and "don't like water from the overhead." Recent rains cost him three crops. But collard greens, being from the cabbage family, "like it top down."

Safe crops

He has learned that consumers' changing tastes can change his routine. "A new recipe will come out and it takes over the land," he said. "It came out for the women that carrots were a beauty food and we couldn't pull enough."

He has learned that greens are a relatively safe crop. "They're one thing most people won't steal," but watermelons: "that's one thing in life people will steal. I'd have to be up all night with a shotgun."

And he figures it's best to use old equipment as well. "You don't want them too shiny," he says of his 1964 and 1984 Ford tractors. "If they're brand new you better put your bed next to them."

The tractors' engines have been rebuilt once and power his plowing and other fieldwork. Two walk-behind, tillerlike machines are used for planting. Two pickups, a flatbed wagon, an old golf cart and assorted rakes, shovels and hoes complete his tools.

They've helped keep the place growing these years, helped the farmer make "a decent living" inside the ring of pecan and cottonwood trees and now the new houses that have cut off some of the ventilating wind.

Nothing but clouds block the sun that has left his skin a deeper chocolate than his soil and flirting with cancer. Both knees have been replaced, the last one in January. "Baseball," he said, too much running and sliding in the early years.

But two weeks after his surgery, he was back harvesting from a stool. And still feeling right in the field, he has no plan to call it a career.

"If you've got something you love and you feel good, why not do it?" he said.

That's not what Molly, his wife of eight years, wants to hear. She wants him to retire, give up the 12-hour days and join her around the house or on the road.

"It's time he learned to play," she said. "He's been doing a man's work since he was 5. ... He refuses to discuss it."

"The worst thing I can imagine is four walls," Mr. LePori said. As long as I can maneuver around out here, I'm OK," he said. "As long as my boys are with me, it's a good place to have."

Land developers have felt the same way about this prime residential real estate. And Mr. LePori knows they will return. Imagine that gated community with six or so one-acre lots: LePori Farm Estates.

"They haven't been working on me lately," he said. "But if they want it bad enough ..."


Doug LePori started farming 25 acres of Trinity River bottomland along what is now MacArthur Boulevard in 1948. Land sales have reduced the farm to less than 10 acres.


  Tim Krause, a hand for Mr. LePori, picks greens. About 98  percent of the farm's crops go to an area grocery store chain.




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