After the Storm
Maumelle, North Little Rock city employees put in the work, Neal Moore offers up his take, R.J. Mazzoni on pit bulls, plus news and sports headlines.
Welcome to Arkansas Newsroom, a bundled newsletter covering news and sports in central Arkansas. For some answers to frequently asked questions, click here.
Subscribe to the site by clicking the button below …
The big item for City Council is Ordinance 1022, which is revising our animal enforcement procedures, consolidates three categories of potentially dangerous dogs into one, and eliminates the ban on specific breeds of dogs (AKA Pit bulls).
At the last City Council meeting, I introduced an amendment to this ordinance to address the concerns I have with it. I wanted to get the focus away from just the breed ban aspect of this proposal and concentrate on the provisions it has for our safety. The pit bull aspect has been, and will continue to be, the main focus of debate, so I’ll just address my amended changes.
My biggest fear with this proposed ordinance was changing the criteria for determining a dangerous dog. Any aggressive approach now “must include aggressive physical contact.” I feel the intent of this ordinance should be to stop dogs before there is an attack, so I changed the wording to reflect that. This mirrors city code for Conway, Jacksonville, Little Rock, Sherwood, North Little Rock, and Little Rock.
I was also concerned that there were no conditions for an owner installing an electric fence. While there are many dogs that will completely respect the electric fence boundaries, many others do not. Electric fences also do not keep other animals out.
The bulk of my changes dealt with conditions for people to keep either a “dangerous” or “vicious” dog. Not a week goes by that a dog owner frantically posts about their escaped pets. We need to be extra vigilant with these dogs to keep all of Maumelle safe. I added provisions to authorize animal services to inspect the exteriors to ensure the fences remain in good repair and that if the animal does get loose, the owner must immediately notify animal services so they would help locate the dog right away. Additionally, a dangerous or vicious animal must be spayed/neutered.
I also added a requirement for all dangerous and vicious dogs to have an annual permit. I feel that a financial penalty would entice owners who knew their dog had aggressive tendencies would work hard to secure their pet.
I’m not content that once a dog got labelled as “dangerous” that it would be hazardous for the rest of its life. A rescue dog could act out of fear of other humans and be labelled “dangerous” but as it warms to its new family, that fear subsides. For dogs like this, the owner could petition Animal Services to remove the dangerous declaration after three years if there were no violations or complaints against the dog and the dog completed a training program from a certified trainer.
The amended ordinance will have its first reading at the next Council meeting.
R. J. Mazzoni is a Maumelle City Council Member and represents Ward 2
My focus this week strays from anything political.
It focuses on “Where’s my damn mail?”
I noticed during the blizzard last week that more and more people were wondering and fretting when they would get their mail. So, I tried a social science experiment and posted the following on Facebook: “I have noticed dozens of posters suffering from mail anxiety. I realize a few of you may receive meds or perhaps a check, but otherwise, it's usually bills and junk. Help me understand. Will write about it next week.”
I received over 100 responses.
The responses ranged from ambivalent to desperate. The ambivalent didn’t surprise me because I fall into that category. Most of my mail is junk or bills. Like most of the world, I depend on technology for my communications and rarely get a letter or anything of substance.
It was the desperate comments that surprised and moved me the most. Many did confirm that they depended on the mail to get medications. Several pointed out that they were waiting on checks and some were waiting on documents to conduct business.
But a few noted that they were waiting on death certificates of loved ones who had recently passed away. These are necessary to close out a person’s connection to all things earthly, including business partnerships, life insurance, retirement funds, etc. One person had been waiting over a month and had to put everything on hold until they received the certificate.
Many wanted their mail just for the simple reason that it’s their right to get it. I think it all comes down to connectivity, something we all need and crave when it’s missing.
So, get out there and connect with someone. They would probably welcome it, too.
Don’t Stop Now
As we reached the gruesome milestone of over 500,000 Covid-19 deaths, but with the numbers seeming to begin going down, it’s not time to let down your guard. Keep doing the smart things like wearing a mask in public, keeping your distance and avoiding group gatherings. The state lowered the eligible age for the vaccine to 65. Get scheduled now if you qualify! We can do this.
See you on the Boulevard.
More news at www.ArkansasNewsroom.com.
Neal Moore is a public relations consultant and resident of Maumelle. Send your Maumelle news or comments to email@example.com. Thanks, PJ.
After the Storm
While people mostly stayed inside during last week’s record cold and snow, that wasn’t the case for city of North Little Rock employees as essential services were still needed and performed.
“I am very proud of the tremendous effort by our police and fire departments and also our Street, Parks and Electric Departments, last week,” North Little Rock Mayor Terry Hartwick said.
He should be, everyone was hopping.
From 218 police department calls for stalled vehicles to 14 residential, commercial and vehicle fire calls handled by the fire department to 169 medical calls to 24 hour days for five days straight for the street department as they salted and sanded and plowed city streets until the work week ended at 10 p.m. on Feb. 19.
The break didn’t last long for the street department.
“Street Department Crew was out [Wednesday] repairing potholes and checking damage to the city streets,” City spokeswoman Shara Booth Brazear said. “Anyone seeing any potholes or damage to the streets should call 501-340-5355 and the Street Department works to repair all potholes within 48 hours of notification.”
The city also provided an overnight warming center for the unhoused that started on Feb. 10 and ended on Feb. 19. It was also busy with dozens staying some nights.
By the Numbers
48: Accidents worked by North Little Rock Police
366: Transports of medical personnel, officers, dispatchers, to and from work by North Little Rock police officers
34: Weather related welfare checks
218: Stalled vehicle checks
11: Police assists for Fire Department calls
58: Fire Department false alarm calls
132: Fire Department assists for local residents
22: Fire calls for alarm malfunctions
34: Fire unintentional alarm calls
29: Fire calls for burst pipes
70: Fire calls for commercial and/or residential alarms, mostly for water flow alerts
9: Fire calls for commercial and/or residential fires
4: Fire Calls for vehicle fires
1: Fire Call for a telephone pole fire
2: Fire calls for electrical lines down
1: Fire call for an elevator emergency
169: Fire calls for medical assists for MEMS
“You also had some residents like Hall Ramsey and he was just out pulling people out of ditches. Giving people rides. Going grocery shopping for those who couldn’t do it. There was him and other folks who were going above and beyond to help their neighbors.” — Maumelle Mayor Caleb Norris
After last week’s record-breaking winter storms, it kept city of Maumelle employees on their toes and out on the snowy streets, doing what they could, said Mayor Caleb Norris.
“The police department had 128 calls for service,” Norris said but explained that wasn’t necessarily crime reports but more like, “motorist assists.”
“The fire department had 84 calls for service,” Norris said. “We had two structure fires and one vehicle fire. Of the structure fires, at least one was a total loss and of those 84, 29 of those were medical calls.”
While police and fire were busy, it was the street department that was hopping.
“It is more than the street department,” Norris said. “We call it the ‘Snow Crew’ because it is more than the street department as we roll some of our sanitation drivers in as they’re not hauling trash.”
The Snow Crew, Norris said, were, essentially, working the length of the storm.
“They were basically running 24/seven,” Norris said. “Eight hours on, eight hours off and we've got a bunk room in the Public Works building where they slept, so for almost a week they didn't need to go home they were just here.”
Norris said a total of 14 were on the Snow Crew and their primary focuses were sanding, plowing and salting the city’s busier streets “followed by the hills, although we couldn’t always get to those hilly streets because those are also the most unsafe for the trucks.”
Norris said a total of four trucks were deployed at the start of the storm but that number had dwindled to one because of vehicle breakdowns and a lack of spare parts.
“They busted their rear ends,” Norris said of the Snow Crew.
The other thing the storm did last week was disrupt garbage pickup but Norris said the city has a plan for that.
“If your bin is full,” Norris said. “Put the extra bags out beside the bin and it will all be picked up. This has the potential to really slow us down some, so if we’re running behind on sanitation routes, don’t worry about it, we’ll get to it.”
Norris said the plan was to run trash and recycling pickups this week, on the normal day, but, “we are not necessarily anticipating yard waste pickup this week.”
The community effort, Norris said, was impressive in response to the storms.
“We had Firefighters helping folks with leaky faucets and pipes that burst,” Norris said. “We had police officers who were giving medical personnel rides to their workplaces because they couldn’t drive themselves.”
At City Hall, “we had some folks in the administrative level, who were still showing up every day to make sure people got paid.”
“You also had some residents like Hall Ramsey and he was just out pulling people out of ditches,” Norris said. “Giving people rides. Going grocery shopping for those who couldn’t do it. There was him and other folks who were going above and beyond to help their neighbors.”
‘We are only halfway done’ Click to read more After the Storm coverage