A Great Pumpkin Patch

#NickSmithFreed, Early voting ongoing for PCSSD improvements, Maumelle Planning Commission to meet, Maumelle Charter, Maumelle golfers honored plus sports and news headlines.

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The headlines

Sports headlines

Maumelle Charter, Maumelle golfers honored

The high school golf season ended earlier this month and duffers from Maumelle Charter and Maumelle High School were honored by the Arkansas Activities Association.

In 2A, Luke Hanson, seen above, was first in the state tournament with a 72 and as a team the Falcons finished second with 265, while Melbourne won the boys state title with a 236.

Maumelle Charter's Emily McGee was also named All-State with a round of 93 to finish fourth.

From Maumellle, Chase Tucker was named All-State after shooting an 80 to finish fourth in the 5A state tournament.

As a team, Maumelle finished 8th with a score of 389, while Hot Springs Lakeside won with 341.

No individual golfers from Central Arkansas Christian were honored but the team finished ninth in the 3A boys state tournament with a combined score of 263.

MAUMELLE: With just one game remaining in the regular season, Maumelle is currently fifth in the 5A-Central standings but the Hornets aren’t likely to stay there. Maumelle, 3-6 overall and 2-3 in the conference, hosts winless Watson Chapel this Friday, then the Hornets get Week 10 off as they’ve already played 10 games this season. Read more by clicking Playoffs still in sight for Maumelle

NORTH LITTLE ROCK: There’s two games remaining in the regular season as the ‘Cats jockey for playoff position with games at Bryant and Cabot after beating Fort Smith Northside, 28-21, last Friday. Read more by clicking North Little Rock travels to Bryant this Friday after big win against Fort Smith Northside

CACCentral Arkansas Christian will play host to Bald Knob on Friday for Senior Night at Mustang Mountain. Tommy Shoemaker’s Mustangs are 2-6 overall and 0-5 in league play after a 42-13 loss at Lonoke last week. By Donna Lampkin Stephens and read more by clicking Mustangs to welcome Bulldogs for Senior Night

ARKANSAS As games go, it wasn’t dramatic but it was certainly historic as the University of Arkansas football team faced its first in-state opponent since 1944 when the Razorbacks played the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff on Saturday in Little Rock.

The game’s outcome on Saturday makes one wonder why Arkansas hasn’t been playing more in-state schools, as the Hogs rolled past UAPB, 45-3, in front of a less than full War Memorial Stadium. Read more by clicking Razorbacks roll.

Click headlines to read more

Moore on Maumelle: My Take 

Neal Moore is taking the week off.

Smith ruled eligible to play for North Little Rock

This week has been a rollercoaster and not the fun kind for North Little Rock senior basketball player Nick Smith Jr. and his family.

After some extensive back and forth, and with the national media outlets interested along with catching the attention of NBA players, Smith was ruled eligible to play this season after the North Little Rock and Pulaski County Special school districts worked out the paperwork that allowed Smith to transfer from Sylvan Hills to North Little Rock for his senior season.

The two school districts issued a joint statement that said, in part, that the Arkansas Activities Association was “not prepared to resolve this issue” but, “there was no fault of the student-athlete or his family.”

The statement was mostly a word salad that deflected blame on the AAA when it was the respective districts at fault for allowing Smith and his family to twist in the wind for a few agonizing days

The family sold their home in the county last spring and moved to North Little Rock this past summer and with school choice in play, along with it being a bona fide move, there were no questions that easily appeared Smith should be eligible.

Indeed, Corey Washington, Smith’s teammate at Sylvan Hills, also transferred to North Little Rock for his senior season as did Hot Springs Lakeside junior guard Tyler Frederick, and both are eligible this year, their coach, Johnny Rice, said on Wednesday.

“Right won today,” Rice said. “So excited for Nick and his family.”

Smith is a five-star prospect, who has committed to the University of Arkansas and is considered one of the best high school players in the country. A 6-foot-5 guard, he dominated last season at Sylvan Hills and took the Bears to the 5A semifinals where they lost to Maumelle.

On Twitter, Smith thanked supporters after a #FreeNickSmith hashtag campaign started earlier this week.

Basketball runs in the family as his dad, Nick Smith Sr., played Division I at Jacksonville State. The younger Smith is a high-profile candidate for this season’s McDonald’s All-American game as is North Little Rock teammate Kel’el Ware, who has committed to play at Oregon next year, and is also a five-star prospect.

North Little Rock, the defending 6A state champ, is ranked nationally in several preseason polls and is the only public high school in the country with two five-star prospects on the roster.

The season will start Nov. 13 with an exhibition game on the road at Bentonville and the home opener will be the annual Hooping 4 Hoodies tournament on Nov. 20.

Early voting in progress for PCSSD improvements

Early voting on planned improvements in the Pulaski County Special School District has already started and will continue through Friday or Monday depending on the location.

The early voting locations where ballots can be cast until Friday are:

  • Jess Odom Community Ctr, 1100 Edgewood Drive, Maumelle

  • Dee Brown Library, 6325 Baseline Road, Little Rock

  • Roosevelt Thompson Library, 38 Rahling Circle, Little Rock

  • First Christian Church of Sherwood, 2803 Kiehl Ave, Sherwood

At those locations, early voting will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The location with early voting on Monday is: the Pulaski County Regional Building, 501 W. Markham St., Little Rock. Times are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Voters in the boundary of the county school district will be able to cast ballots on a measure that would restructure bonds, that would in turn fund a total of 10 projects to expand and improve campuses along with new facilities.

As of Wednesday evening, 616 voters has cast their ballots.

Election Day will be Tuesday, Nov. 2 and then those in the Pulaski County Special School District will have the opportunity to vote on a bond restructuring that would in turn fund a total of 10 projects

For a complete list of Election Day polling locations, click here.

Among the North of the River area locations are:

  • Precincts … Polling Location … Address

  • 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 and 9 … Jess Odom Community Center … 1100 Edgewood Drive

  • 6 and 7 … Immaculate Heart of Mary 7025 Jasna Gora Drive

  • 10 and 14… Levy Baptist Church … 3501 Pike Ave.

  • 11, 12 … Graves Memorial Baptist Church … 4617 Oak Grove Road

  • 19, 22 and 24 … Levy Church of Christ … 5124 Camp Robinson Road

  • 52, 53 and 54 Glenview Community Center 4800 E. 19th St.

  • 55 … All Souls Church 4601 Walkers Corner Road … Scott

  • NOTESome precinct polling locations have been changed from previous elections, so make sure to check your precinct is correct before you go to vote if you choose to cast your ballot on Election Day.

Election Day is when the 40.7 mill school tax would be renewed but the district is asking voters to restructure its current debt to allow for nearly $80 million in improvements to seven of its campuses, along with three projects that would make PCSSD more efficient.

The vote to approve the refinancing would not change the tax bill for property owners but it would extend the end payment date to 2048. Currently, the bonds would be paid off in 2032 and 2035.

The previous bonds were issued in 2012, 2016 and 2017 after approval from voters in the school district. The tax rate would remain unchanged.

Maumelle would be one of the biggest beneficiaries if the restructuring was approved.

Not counting lighting and software improvements that would be district-wide, Maumelle would have $15 million in multiple projects slated for its high school campus.

The largest is $11 million for new baseball and softball fields, as well as an indoor practice facility that would be used by all sports teams at the school. There’s also $4 million for the Northwest Transportation Hub that would be at the high school.

The projects, with dollar amounts

  • Robinson High: expansion to increase enrollment to 1,500 students … $35 million

  • Maumelle High: indoor practice facility, softball and baseball fields … $11 million

  • New Northwest Transportation Pound at Maumelle High … $4 million

  • Mills High: multi-purpose facility … $15 million

  • Baker Elementary: expansion to increase enrollment to 700 students … $5 million

  • Harris Elementary: modifications and facility improvements … $3 million

  • College Station Elementary: modifications and facility improvements … $3 million

  • District lighting upgrades … $2 million

  • Sylvan Hills High: band room … $1 million

  • Software integration upgrades … $1 million (contingent on others first being completed)

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Motley’s Pumpkin Patch is worth a visit

It was an unseasonably warm Sunday earlier this month and it didn’t feel at all like fall but it was fall that was on the mind when one takes the trek to Motley’s Tree Farm and Pumpkin Patch.

It has a Little Rock address, 13724 Sandy Ann Drive, but it feels like a long way from anywhere when you make the drive, but thousands, tens of thousands, do so annually either to visit the pumpkin patch or the adjacent Christmas tree farm that allows one to pick the live tree they want.

From Maumelle, the easiest way to get there is to go like you’re headed to the administration building of the Pulaski County Special School District, but take a right instead of a left off I-530, then let GPS take care of the rest. It should take about 30 minutes, traffic permitting.

Once you get there, the Patch itself is family-friendly and geared for the smaller set. There’s a tiny tyke sized corn maze, plus a terrific three-story pirate ship, with a slide, to play on. There’s also pig races and a magic show on the weekend.

There’s plenty of selfie stations scattered across the property with pumpkins and plenty of flowers for those looking for a fall-themed portrait or just something for the ‘Gram.

A grill was also doing a lively business for those looking for something to eat and they also had pumpkins, gourds (it is decorative gourd season after all) and flowers for sale. 

It is worth a visit regardless of one’s age.

The Pumpkin Patch is open today and through Sunday, Halloween.

Today and Friday the hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday the hours are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

General admission tickets are $9.95 and a do-it-all admission is $13.95. That ticket allows unfettered access to the jumping pillow and cow-train ride.

Those 3 and under or 60 and over are free.

For more, click here to see their website.

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