Daffodils in full bloom
The hope that kills you, The Battle of the Bulge, Electronics recycling next week in North Little Rock, Theater news, Title Town is back plus headlines
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The hope that kills you
For the first time in a long time, a glimmer of hope has emerged on the horizon.
That’s a strange way to think when the Arkansas death toll from the ongoing pandemic stands at 10,999 but, yet, there’s still hope.
The why is for the first time the forecast numbers from the Centers for Disease Control are trending down. As you can see below:
While still not great, the top line forecast still calls for more than 12,000 deaths in Arkansas. Last week, at this time, that same top line forecast was calling for more than 13,000 deaths.
Arkansas is not out of the woods yet. There’s still much death that can be avoided if people take reasonable precautions, get vaccinated and boosted. The globe will continue spinning and there’s troubling headlines coming out of China, again, but, for now, things aren’t looking like the worse case scenario.
History, this pandemic history especially, it has been true more often then not that the worst case scenario has ultimately proven to lack the necessary vision for how things did get.
That lack of vision has been a terrible thing so while there’s hope on the horizon, perhaps it is the hope that kills you.
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
Maumelle Area Chamber of Commerce sets expo, job fair: The Maumelle Area Chamber of Commerce announced this week that the Maumelle Expn and Job Fair will be held this April. The event will start at 2 p.m. on April 7 and be held at the Jess Odom Community Center. It is free and is also sponsored by Farm Bureau and Dillards.
Entergy takes a deep dive into its role and landing Tractor Supply in Maumelle: Tractor Supply Company announced in January it will soon locate a $100 million distribution center for home goods and equipment for farms and families in Maumelle where four-wheelers once rolled through a rugged wooded parcel north of the city’s industrial park. To read more, click here.
ICYMI: The NFL has been using an unproven measure to get players with Covid back on the field fast
Upcoming meetings: The North Little Rock school board will meet tonight. To view the agenda, click here.
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North Little Rock claims basketball titles
While the results were expected, it doesn’t make the satisfaction any less as North Little Rock rolled to a pair of state basketball championships last week in Hot Springs.
On the girls side. North Little Rock beat Fort Smith Northside, 60-38, to win the school’s fifth state title, all under coach Daryl Fimple.
Amauri Williams, who scored 15 points, was named the game’s Most Valuable Player. Williams, a 6-foot-4 center, has signed with Vanderbilt next season and is one of four seniors on the team, and all have signed to play college basketball
In the boys game, North Little Rock overwhelmed Bentonville, 65-47, as coach Johnny Rice won his sixth title in his 10 years as head coach. Rice, a North Little Rock lifer, just added to the North Little Rock’s rich basketball history as it was the 16th title won by the school.
NIck Smith Jr. was named the title game’s MVP after scoring 25 points in the win for North Little Rock. Smith, a 6-foot-5 guard, has signed with Arkansas and is a McDonald’s All-American and is playing in a bevy of postseason high school all star games.
As is teammate Kel’el Ware, a 7-foot center, who has signed with Oregon. He’s also a McDonald’s All-American and is playing in that game as well as the Jordan Brand Classic.
Smith is a finalist for National Player of the Year and is already projected as the No. 3 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft by ESPN.
For a full gallery of pictures from both games by sports photographer Jaison Sterling, click here
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Daffodils abound on Wye Mountain
Hard to believe snow was still on the ground on Sunday as temperatures are now a more spring like 70 degrees and with the warmer weather, an annual tradition like none other is back.
A drive up to Wye Mountain with its thousands of daffodils covering some 10 acres beside its namesake United Methodist Church
The daffodils and the church are both in Perry County and north and west of Little Rock on Highway 10. It is roughly parallel to Mayflower and a solid 40 minute drive from most anywhere with people. While getting there is half the fun, the payoff are the flowers
What you get is a remarkable, near 10 acres of nothing but daffodils, mostly still in in full bloom with most varieties a bright yellow, while some are paler and others nearly white.
In this ongoing pandemic, social distancing is easy given the acreage.
The church there is a former United Brethren congregation with the building raised in August 1928. United Brethren and the Methodists combined in the 1960s to form the United Methodist denomination.
Sister Act coming to Wildwood Park for the Arts
No fooling, “Sister Act” is coming to Wildwood Park for the Arts with the first show to be on April 1.
The play will run for five nights and will end on April 10.
Wildwood, in rural west Pulaski County, is putting the show on in partnership with Praeclara, a Little Rock-based performing arts company.
Now 30 years old, the play is based on the 1992 film of the same name and starred Whoopi Goldberg among others.
The play was nominated for five Tony Awards and is described as being “filled with powerful gospel music, outrageous dancing and a truly moving story.”
Reserved seats are $35 and to buy tickets, click here.
Evening shows start at 8 p.m. with Sunday matinees starting at 3 p.m.
For more information or to buy tickets for a group, email email@example.com.
Puffs, that has nothing to do with Harry Potter, at North Little Rock High School
The first thing you need to know about “Puffs” is that the North Little Rock High School Theatre Arts program is putting on a three-day run of the play starting tonight and continuing through Friday.
The second thing you know is all show performances start at 7 p.m.
The third thing, but perhaps the most important is “‘Puffs’ is not authorized, sanctioned, licensed or endorsed by J.K Rowling, Warner Bros. or any person or company associated with the Harry Potter books, films or play.”
For real, nobody wants to get sued here but, an important but, “Puffs” has been described as a “fast-paced romp through seven increasingly eventful years at a certain school of magic” that is most definitely not Hogwarts, as it is the name that must not be spoken.
The shows will be held at the high school’s performing arts and tickets, that can be purchased by clicking here, are $6 for students and seniors, while $8 for everyone else.
Electronics recycling event to be next week
The Regional Recycling District in Pulaski County will hold a free electronics recycling drop-off event on Tuesday, March 29, and Wednesday, March 30, at the Simmons Bank Arena parking lot on E. Washington Avenue in North Little Rock.
Pulaski County residents and businesses can bring old, broken, or obsolete electronic items from computers and printers to televisions, copiers, cell phones, and fax machines from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. both days.
To read more and see the list of items that will be accepted, click here.
Battle of the Bulge: Obesity on the rise during pandemic
All the evidence you need is to just look in the mirror as anecdotally speaking, weight gain during this ongoing pandemic is a thing.
Now there’s data to back that up, at least for public school students in Arkansas.
The Arkansas Center for Health Improvement released a report on childhood obesity this week that showed the body mass index, or BMI, had increased to a “record level in the 2020-21 school year.”
The numbers show that 26 percent or roughly 1 in 4 students had a BMI that qualified as obese.
The previous year, that number was 22.9 percent.
“Studies in other states have shown similar weight increases among children during the pandemic’s first wave,” said ACHI Director of Analytics Mike Motley. “This is likely a result of decreases in physical activity and reduced access to healthy school meals as schools switched to virtual learning during times of high Covid-19 transmission.”
Obese is defined as having a BMI of 30 or more and the report shows that the increase was among younger students then those older. Being overweight young can lead to pretty profound health issues down the line.
“Overweight or obese children are more likely to be overweight or obese as adults, which can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and many other health problems,” Motley said. “Obesity-related health problems are estimated to cost the United States’ health care system $190 billion each year.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Arkansas ranks 47th among states for obesity among adults, with 36% of the adult population designated as obese in 2020.
ACHI’s local area school and district student BMI dashboard details student weight classification percentages by public school district, school, and grade — information that has been used in the preparation of grant applications and other funding requests to secure support for a variety of obesity-related interventions in the state.
Act 1220 of 2003, passed by the Arkansas 84th General Assembly, spearheaded initiatives to address obesity among school-age children statewide. Under this legislation, schools are required to collect students’ height and weight measurements and estimate a BMI percentile by age for each student.