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Big news for Crystal Hill
$28 million project set, Covid deaths back up, Maumelle gets new band uniforms, Teachers of the year named, Feds prosecute copper caper, Lanterns starts today, Off to see the Wizard plus headlines
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Weekly death toll nudges back up
The weekly death toll from Covid went back up to 35 with the total number of dead Arkansans from the ongoing pandemic now at 11,360.
Last week, the weekly death count was 29.
The Arkansas Center for Health Improvement has called for a day of reflection and healing next Wednesday, April 27, and you can read more about that by clicking here.
As for the national trends, the forecast numbers from the Centers for Disease Control are below and through May 14.
Most of the forecasts are still between 11,500 and 12,000 total deaths in the next four weeks.
If you don’t want to get sick and die, there’s some things you can do: Get vaccinated Get boosted Wear a mask Avoid crowds
Choral Society to have concert on Friday
The Arkansas Choral Society will celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven with a concert at 7:30 p.m. this Friday, April 22, in the worship center of Calvary Baptist Church, 5700 Cantrell Road, Little Rock.
Tickets are $20, $15 for students. Visit lovetosing.org for more information.
In a story close to my wrist, Kaiser Health News has some news to read for those who wear Fitbits and Apple Watches. Heartbeat-tracking technology raises patients’ and doctors’ worries
Upcoming meetings: The school board for the North Little Rock School District will meet tonight. For the agenda, click here. The North Little Rock City Council will meet on Monday night and for that agenda, click here.
There’s now a one-stop shop to learn about vaccination sites and other Covid related information. Click here to learn more.
Travs road swing continues
The Arkansas Travelers are on the road this week but return to North Little Rock’s Dickey-Stephens Park on Tuesday for an 11:05 a.m. game. That night the Arkansas Razorbacks will face the University of Central Arkansas.
Today, 6:35 p.m.... at Corpus Christi; Friday, April 22 ... 7:05 p.m. ... at Corpus Christi; Saturday, April 23 ... 7:05 p.m. ... at Corpus Christi; Sunday, April 24 … 1:05 p.m. ... at Corpus Christi
Tuesday, April 26 … 11:05 a.m. vs. Wichita; Promotions: School Day
Wednesday ... April 27 ... 6:35 p.m. vs. Wichita; Promotions: Dog Days Of Summer
Thursday, April 28 ... 6:35 p.m. vs. Wichita; Promotions: $3 Thirsty Thursday
Friday, April 29 ... 7:05 p.m. vs. Wichita; Promotions: Fireworks, 501 Night and Jersey Auction
Saturday, April 30 ... 7:05 p.m. vs. Wichita; Promotions: Dizzy's Birthday Bash and Dog Collar Giveaway
Sunday, May 1 … 1:35 p.m. vs. Wichita; Promotions: Operation: Military Appreciation and Family Sunday
Malys Entertainment Center coming to Crystal Hill
In more good news for North of the River, Malys Entertainment Center will have a formal press conference at 1 p.m. on Friday at North Little Rock’s City Hall to announce its upcoming development.
The $28 million project will be on Crystal Hill Road and occupy the site that was once Wild River Country.
The developer is Conway cardiologist Dr. James Thomas and construction will start this this year with an open date sometime in 2023.
The 30-acre site will be a one-stop attraction, said North Little Rock spokeswoman Shara Booth Brazear, and “will have something for everyone.”
It will include, among other things:
T-Time golf, an electronic driving range
A virtual arcade
“We are thrilled to welcome Malys Entertainment Center to North Little Rock,” said North Little Rock Mayor Terry Hartwick. “As an avid golfer, I am pleased Dr. Thomas chose North Little Rock to showcase T-Time, HyperLanes and all of the other attractions the entertainment center will offer all of Central Arkansas, surrounding areas as well as visitors to our city. Economic Development in North Little Rock has an exciting momentum and innovative possibilities.”
PCSSD names Teachers of the Year
For the second year in a row, the Pulaski County Special School District is participating in the Arkansas Teacher of the Year program.
Each of the district’s 27 campuses – 25 brick-and-mortar and 2 virtual – selected one teacher as that campus’s teacher of the year. The Maumelle-area teachers are:
CRYSTAL HILL ELEMENTARY: Laura Campbell
OAK GROVE ELEMENTARY: Jacqueline Thompson
PINE FOREST ELEMENTARY: Erin Dearasaugh
MAUMELLE MIDDLE: Andrea Johnson
MAUMELLE HIGH: David White
See the complete list of teachers by clicking PCSSD names Teachers of the Year
A banquet will be held Friday, May 13 to announce district’s teacher of the year
That teacher will then be the district’s candidate for the state-side teacher of year award from the Arkansas Department of Education.
Maumelle’s Marching Hornets to get new band uniforms
The Maumelle High School marching band is going to get a little jazzier and a little bit snazzier this next school year.
The school board for the Pulaski County Special School District signed off on new uniforms for the Maumelle and Joe T. Robinson high school bands.
The Maumelle band will get 130 new band uniforms (seen above) that will include, among other things, band coats, bibs, and plumes. The band will also receive 134 garment bags and specialized hangers for the uniforms to be stored and for traveling purposes.
The total cost is $79,270.38.
The supplier is Fruhauf Uniforms of Wichita, Kansas and Kerry Blakemore serves as the Maumelle band director.
Wizard of Oz coming to North Little Rock
The Wizard of Oz, one of the most beloved movies of all time, will be performed as a stage production at North Little Rock’s Argenta Community Theater starting on Wednesday, April 27.
The production run will end May 7.
Show times are 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday with Friday and Saturday night shows starting at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, May 1 will be a matinee that starts at 2 p.m.
The April 27 show is a fundraiser for the Arkansas Hospice Foundation and those tickets are $50 and include free beer and wine. The April 28 show is a preview performance and will cost $25. All other tickets are $35.
Doors will open one hour before curtain at 405 Main St., in downtown North Little Rock and to buy tickets to any of the shows, click here.
Proof of Covid vaccination is required to attend and attendees must wear masks when inside, unless eating or drinking.
Three student-only matinees will also be held on April 28, May 3 and May 5 at 10:30 a.m. To arrange tickets to any of those, contact Sydney Wolfe at email@example.com.
The shows are directed by Vincent Insalaco with Assistant Direction and Vocal Direction by Jamie Stewart. Orchestrations are by Michael Heavner. Choreography is by Brian Earles. Technical direction and Set Design is by Sara Cooke, with Lighting Design by Dena Kimberling, Costume Design by Shelly Hall and Props by Lauren and Rick Nicholas. Trystan Benson is the Stage Manager.
The cast for the musical is: Madisyn Sallas as Dorothy Gale, Shelly Hall as the Wicked Witch of the West, Matthew Sewell as Scarecrow, Caroline Perry as Tinman, Brandon Nichols as The Cowardly Lion, Jessica Mylonas as Glinda, Keith Norris as The Wizard and Rizzo the Dog as Toto.
The remaining ensemble includes: Ava St. Ana, Harper Baehr, Olivia Blasdel, Paxton Bowsman, Robin Campbell, Olivia Evans, Rory Gasper, Bee Golleher, Claire Hettinger, Lily Hirscheider, Emerson Jones, Lauren Lassiegne, Braden Lisowe, James Stewart, Tip Sopel, Sarah Stewart, Melissa Thompson, Carrington Turner, Piper Wallace, Walt Wenger and Evie Williams.
Feds prosecute copper caper in Hot Springs
For federal purposes, Arkansas is split into two judicial districts between East and West.
The main courthouse for the Eastern District is in downtown Little Rock, while the main courthouse for the Western District is in Fort Smith.
The split is based on counties, so while most of central Arkansas is in the Eastern District, Garland County, home of Hot Springs, is in the Western District. So, occasionally, things related to federal prosecutions along the district lines have a way of slipping through those cracks.
One such example was pointed out to ArkansasNewsroom.com by Seamus Hughes, the Deputy Director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University in Washington D.C.
The filing was from March 7 and in the Western District. It is related to a Garland County case and involves "receiving stolen property within the Special Maritime Jurisdiction of the United States."
Your immediate reaction now should be, "what? Arkansas doesn't have oceans!" Both would be correct.
The case is against Austin Grisham, a resident of Hot Springs, and is based on an affidavit by Zach Summerlin, a ranger with the U.S. Park Service.
Summerlin said as he was performing his duties as a ranger in Hot Springs National Park, he saw Grisham at the Arkansas Career Training Institute, which is inside the park and is part of the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.
Grisham was told he was there illegally and ordered to leave but he refused and "began screaming" that "he was not going to come out."
Hot Springs police also responded, along with a hostage negotiator, officer Mike Brown, from that department.
Brown, after a short standoff, was able to convince Grisham to leave the building.
He was detained by police and searched. Among the things found were "a broken glass pipe" that Summerlin described as something "typically used to smoke illegal drugs."
The building Grisham was in was then searched and that's when things got weird. Really weird.
In addition to lawn mowers, power tools and other pieces of equipment and tools, many with property tags from the training institute, was an enormous amount of copper.
Copper downspouts, pipes, wire, cables and unidentified pieces "throughout the building."
In addition, "many cables that were found were in the process of being separated of their copper components."
Grisham, in handcuffs, was brought into the building to help identify what was found but he, "began shouting again, stating that he wasn't doing anything wrong, had been there for three months, that we (the rangers) were stealing from him" and that it was unacceptable to Grisham that he was in handcuffs.
The next day, Summerlin used a federal database that tracks items that have been scrapped or pawned. It was determined that since Jan. 14, Grisham had sold a total of 730 pounds of copper to a recycling facility in Hot Springs for $2,178.
Rangers estimated that the value of the equipment in the building was in the neighborhood of $10,000. They did not put a dollar value on the copper that was found.
Copper theft has been an ongoing problem in Arkansas and across the country with construction sites to buildings from homes to businesses to even churches having been hit by thieves.
Online records show that Grisham was booked into Sebastian County jail on April 7 and then transferred to U.S. Marshals on April 8.
Lanterns at Wildwood starts today in west Little Rock
The annual Lanterns at Wildwood festival starts today in west Little Rock and will continue through Saturday.
In case of inclement weather, the festival will be delayed by a day with Sunday as the designated rain day. No rain is in the forecast with highs expected in the low 80s today and through Saturday.
Gates open at 5:30 p.m. each night with the attractions opening at 6 p.m. Parking is in the overflow parking across from the park with additional parking at the Promenade Shopping Center, see map below, with a courtesy shuttle running every 20 minutes all evening.
Admission is $12 for adults and $7 for children between the ages of 6 and 17. Those younger than 6 are admitted for free. Tickets purchased online come with a $2 discount.
To buy tickets or for more information, click here.