Ball is Life
March Madness leads to sadness for some, Neal Moore offers up his take plus news and sports headlines
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Tonight's basketball games
Maumelle will travel to Little Rock Parkview of the 5A-Central district semifinals and the game will tip at 6 p.m. The district finals and consolation game will be played on Friday. Both games will start at 6 p.m. The games will determine seeding for next week's 5A state tournament in Hot Springs.
North Little Rock will have Senior Night when they host Fort Smith Northside. Win or lose, seedings have already been decided for next week's 6A state tournament.
Johnny Rice's squad get the bye as the No. 2 seed from from the Central and won't play until 7 p.m. on March 12.
Daryl Fimple's team will be the No. 3 seed and will start at 4 p.m. on March 9.
The opponent isn't known yet as the West is having a district tournament to determine seedings. As the 3 seed, North Little Rock will be in the top half of the bracket with, you guessed, Fort Smith Northside.
Teams eliminated from state tournament contention due to district or regional losses include: the Maumelle Lady Hornets, both teams from Maumelle Charter, and the previously undefeated Lady Mustangs of Central Arkansas Christian who were upset by Lamar on Wednesday.
Matt Hall's CAC team won and will play in next week's 3A state tournament. The updated regional bracket can be read by clicking here.
What a big, beautiful damn mess it was. The recent blizzard certainly left its mark: Busted pipes, no mail delivery, food running low, car wrecks and feeling a bit trapped. But, hey, we’re used to that.
It was all part of a short-lived reminder of winters past. There was also a lot of sledding, sliding and snowballs, although there was no break from school because they have the virtual thing down pretty well.
And then it was spring one week later. Welcome to Arkansas weather.
I’ve observed some of the last two Maumelle City Council meetings, particularly the dog ban ordinance discussion. I don’t have the patience to report everything that has happened, but it seems to have developed into a comedy of errors including the hypnotic shot of Ken Saunders’ ceiling fan whirling throughout the meeting.
One ordinance was introduced and then another. Parliamentary procedure confusion ensued. Some Council members read the revised ordinances and some seemingly didn’t. And, as expected, it’s certainly caused division among locals. Social media is abuzz, and the tension is evident. Seems as many are against the proposal to revise the vicious-dog ordinance as are for it. Some are indignant and some are insulted. The revised ordinance is confusing and complicated. I’ll leave it to you to do your own research, including watching the last two Council meetings and trying to understand what has happened and read the proposed ordinance. When you figure it out, let me know. It’s all at www.maumelle.org.
I have my opinion, but I’d like to save it for a vote of Maumelle residents in a referendum that could be folded into the next primary election in May. I’m telling Council members to let the people decide. It’s our town and we all need more information before anyone makes a decision. There should be more discussion and less politicking. Perhaps a series of town hall meetings featuring real experts would be appropriate leading up to an election. I’m not sure if the Council can truly represent the people’s wishes at this point. And they have done a disservice to the voters by making it their personal battle instead doing the will of the people.
Where is the leadership?
Antique Show Set for This Weekend
The Antique Alley Arkansas Antique Show will be Friday and Saturday, March 5 - 6, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, March 7, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 9300 Maumelle Boulevard, North Little Rock. Over 100 exhibitors from 10 states will bring architectural salvage, old advertising, antique toys, linens, primitives, glassware, antique furniture and more from the 1950s and before. Friday’s admission is $8 for adults. Saturday and Sunday's admission is $5 for adults and free for children 12 and under. Admission is good for the weekend and parking is free.
Call Ashley at 501-230-5728 with any questions about the show. More information on Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/antiquealleyar.
The McClard’s BBQ Truck will be returning to the Boulevard at Brandon Moving and Storage (10505 Maumelle Boulevard) from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 3 - 6 and March 10 - 13.
Drama Kids Takes It Outside
When it comes to signing your child up for summer activities, check out the creative arts right here in Maumelle. Drama Kids International has announced its in-person classes in the community to offer a program designed to build the speaking skills and confidence of children and high school students.
According to Melissa Diller, owner of Drama Kids of Pulaski County, Drama Kids’ curriculum emphasizes activities that focus on confident acting skills, creative movement and dialogue development.
“I am very excited to offer an opportunity for children to take part in face-to-face outdoor drama activities that will enhance their socialization after the past year!” Diller said. “In addition, we will be getting some fresh air and sunshine.” Classes start May 5 and run until mid-August. The tuition is $225 for most classes.
Kinderkids Program (4-6 years): Introduction to the long-term benefits of dramatic arts participation. New scenes and activities are held in each class.
Elementary programs (K-2 and Grades 3-5): Participation in a wide range of creative activities including speech, creative movement, and improvisation.
Comedy Club: Friday Night Out (Middle and High School): Activities include speech training, mini-scripts (in pairs or threes), monologues, small group improvisations and character analysis.
Extremely limited spots. Socially distanced. Masks required. Outdoor covered locations throughout Maumelle. For complete information visit www.DramaKids.com/AR1 or call 501-420-4024.
The Fight Is Not Over
The fight against the Covid-19 virus is far from over despite Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s easing up on directives and now calling them “guidelines.” People are still getting sick and dying and the UK variant is here. Some restaurants are already packed with disregard for the mostly unvaccinated restaurant waiters and staff. It’s too soon.
Fortunately, I got my vaccine, and I would urge you who are eligible to do so as soon as you can get it. Trust the science. I do.
The regular flu numbers are way down because we’ve worn masks, kept our distance and avoided large gatherings. Keep it up. Keep it covered.
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.
It only took 31 years, but Little Rock developer Gene Pfeifer finally has a plan for Maumelle property he purchased in 1990.
The property, roughly 13 acres, along Commercial Park Drive had been zoned commercial and Pfeifer wanted it changed to Special Use Residential.
The proposed development would build 101 senior residences along the east side of Maumelle Boulevard, across the street from First Baptist Church of Maumelle.
The proposal got a “do not pass” recommendation from the city’s Planning and Permits department, explained Scott Grummer, who serves as director.
Ron Harris was the applicant representative for Pfeifer and both were in attendance at the meeting last week. Representatives from Holloway Engineering were also on hand and in support of the proposal.
The property in question has sat vacant for decades, Grummer told the Planning Commission and, “not seen any commercial development since the old Kroger was repurposed into a storage facility.”
Indeed, the former Kroger was key.
Pfeifer called the grocery store, “the only retail establishment in Maumelle” when he purchased the property in 1990 and had envisioned it as being an “anchor” for future development. That all changed when Kroger built its current location near Odom Boulevard.
What the property became was the source of some ire from Pfeifer, who said it, “didn’t do me or the city a favor when you allowed one of the major corners in this town to become a parking lot for a U-Haul center and long term storage of RVs.”
With commercial development not an appealing option, Pfeifer has attempted to give the property away on multiple occasions and noted that plans for a library and a new City Hall for the area had all come and gone.
“I'm here to plead with you,” Pfeifer said. “What we have here is detached, single family, market rate residences for sedate seniors. … What in the world would you like me to do with it because I've tried everything else.”
Grummer noted, “I'm not opposed to the project itself” and that his concerns were rooted in the nearby industrial park and that residential property near it might hamper economic development there.
“We are in need of a diversity of housing types,” Grummer said. “[Commercial 3] has not worked for the area for the last 20 years.”
After some discussion about tabling the request, a motion for a “Do Pass” to the Maumelle City Council was passed unanimously on a voice vote.
A related and second request to rezone from C3 to Planned Residential Development also received a “Do Pass” on a unanimous voice vote.
For Pfeifer, now 83, the next step is approval from the Maumelle City Council. So the journey isn’t quite over, but a destination is in clear sight.
The unanimous votes received a quick round of applause from one member of the public at the meeting.
In other business, St. Nicholas Episcopal Church’s request for a conditional use permit to allow church activities at 2001 Club Manor Drive, Suite N was approved.
Video of the Maumelle Planning Commission meeting can be viewed by clicking here.