Covid just gets worse
Schools go virtual this week, Chad Gardner with the Maumelle City Council report, Maumelle's Chamblee to play in All-American Bowl and yard waste gets kicked to the curb for pickup plus headlines
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It goes from bad to worse with Covid
It should really not be a surprise that Pulaski County Special and North Little Rock school districts have made the pivot this week to virtual classrooms.
Covid cases in Arkansas are exploding and there’s no end in sight.
On Christmas, Arkansas had 9,942 Covid cases. This time last week, that number had not quite doubled to 18,644, on Wednesday, it had more than doubled to 38,154. New numbers won’t be released until later today, but there’s a 100 percent certainty that the state will see more cases.
The reality is, there’s many, many more active cases in Arkansas as home tests aren’t recorded by the Arkansas Department of Health and given the lines at the drive-through test sites, more people are seeking out tests. More people are concerned and, frankly, they should be.
The ongoing pandemic is still ongoing. There’s tools to fight it – vaccines, masks – but some are unwilling to use them, which is stupid.
Look at the deaths.
This time last week, Arkansas had 9,113 Covid fatalities. On Wednesday, it was at 9,256. That means 143 more people have died. Deaths are what’s known as a lagging indicator. It means that, roughly, as cases go up, it takes about two weeks for deaths to catch up.
Two weeks ago it was right before Christmas and Arkansas had 9,572 cases. The state has since added nearly 30,000 cases. With a 1.5 percent mortality rate, and some quick math, that would mean weekly deaths would increase to 450 here.
That’s also the forecast by the University of Southern California and last week, USC had projected total deaths in Arkansas to be 10,700 by Jan. 22. That forecast is now calling for more than 11,500 dead by Feb. 1. The report for Arkansas from the Centers for Disease Control is above. It is from Jan. 3 and nationally, the CDC projects that the country could see a top end total of 99,008 additional deaths in the next four weeks. Last week, that forecast was for 40,000 additional deaths.
It is not complicated. The people who are getting sick and dying are people who chose to not get vaccinated. It is, as President Joe Biden said, “this is a pandemic of the unvaccinated.” What’s more important to note is that he said that last September.
Of the eligible population, 5 and up, 53.1 percent of the state is vaccinated. That’s too low.
The best way to protect yourself against this fatal disease is to get vaccinated. And if you have done that, then get boosted.
Again, act like your life depends on it because it does. So get vaccinated, get boosted, wear a mask and avoid crowds to see another day.
Record Covid increase seen in Arkansas school districts
In a single week, the number of Arkansas public school districts with Covid-19 infection rates of 50 or more new known infections per 10,000 district residents over a 14-day period has seen a nearly five-fold increase, going from 28 last week to 138 this week, the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement said Wednesday, citing its analysis of Arkansas Department of Health data current as of Monday.
Of those districts, that includes North Little Rock and Pulaski County Special as both have a “rate of 100 or more new known infections per [10,000] residents.” Both districts that some or all campuses were making a pivot to virtual education for the remainder of this week.
Jessica Duff, a spokeswoman for PCSSD, said, in a release, that school leaders will “meet over the weekend to determine if further … days are necessary next week.”
North Little Rock spokesman Dustin Barnes said that the Seventh and Eighth Grade Campus will continue this week virtually. The campus had gone virtual earlier this week. In a later email, Barnes said all campuses will be virtual this Friday and and next Monday.
To read more, click Record Covid increase seen in Arkansas school districts
Soon to be Maumelle graduate Andrew Chamblee is in San Antonio this week to practice in this Saturday’s All-American Bowl.
Chamblee, a 6-foot-7 and 300-pound offensive tackle starred last season for the Hornets and he signed with the Arkansas Razorbacks last December.
He will graduate early and enroll in Fayetteville later this month to go through spring practice with coach Sam Pittman and the Hogs.
Chamblee is one of 100 players from across the country who will play in the game that will be televised on NBC this Saturday.
Neal Moore is taking the week off.
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The sun sets over Maumelle on the first day of the new year in this photo by reader Steve Sharp.
This past Monday’s meeting led off with a report from Fire Chief Gerald Ezell on the service calls they responded to in 2021. The fire dept went out on 2,038 calls this past year which is up about 200 calls from 2020. Of these calls, medical made up about two-thirds of the calls with fire calls being a little over a third of their calls.
Chief Ezell also used this time to tell us he will be resigning from the city later this month as he has taken the position of Fire Chief in Joplin, Missouri. This is a great opportunity for him to return to his home in Missouri, and we will certainly miss him here in Maumelle. He’s become a great friend to many and I’m excited to see him take this promotion to lead the city of Joplin’s Fire Department.
Moving on to old and new business, the council unanimously approved a zoning change, along with companion development resolutions, for a 4 acre parcel of land that was previously the site of the old Maumelle Water facility. The applicant was requesting Commercial Zoning so they could build an event center on the site to host weddings and other public or private events.
The applicant has worked with Maumelle Country Club to develop this in a manner that will benefit the country club and they plan to donate a portion of the property back to the club to help them expand their driving range. From the renderings, seen above, of the proposed event center that were shared with the council, this will be a top-notch facility and should be a very popular and beautiful site for hosting events. I certainly wish them well with their project and look forward to seeing it completed in the future.
In other new business, the council unanimously approved a resolution accepting right of way in public areas for the Bradley Property that was recently annexed into the city.
Lastly, the council discussed three different proposals for ward redistricting that will rebalance our city’s population into our four wards. I’ve shared a copy of the proposed map, see above, that was advanced forward Monday night by a majority vote of the council. This map will now be put forward in an ordinance at the next meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 18 where it will be open for public comment. This map will be voted on at the final council meeting in February.
Overall, I’m very pleased with this proposed map since it reallocates Wards 1 and 2 and moves the population from these wards into 3 and 4. Residential growth over the past decade has taken place predominantly in wards 1 and 2, so it was necessary for these two wards to shrink and move population to wards 3 and 4. Additionally, many of the active home construction sites continue to be in wards 1 and 2, so these wards were purposefully left with a smaller population than 3 and 4 to plan for future growth. If you have any questions about the proposed ward boundaries or why specific changes have been proposed, please let me know.
Chad, 501-529-1336, email@example.com
Since, maybe, Maumelle was incorporated, it was the city’s practice that yard waste would not be picked up curbside if it was from contractors.
Meaning, if you hired someone to pick up and bag your leaves, they had to haul it off as the city would not remove it.
That all changed last week.
Mayor Caleb Norris said in a lengthy Facebook post that “ I have overturned the practice of not picking up standard yard waste when the waste was generated by contractors. The Sanitation Department will now pick up curbside bagged leaves and lawn clippings from residents regardless of whether the residents hired a service to do the yard work.”
The cheers heard around Maumelle were audible.
Norris said that the city picking up that yard waste would only marginally increase costs as Sanitation already picks it up if it was done by the resident.
It was a common sense conclusion after Norris met with Sanitation and they were “unable to come up with a good reason for the practice” and “unable to identify a compelling reason why this practice is in place.”
Norris added that its practice “predates the employment of everyone in the Department” and the city had, “no compelling reason for the practice.”