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Covid cases skyrocket in state, Planning Commissioners sought in Maumelle, Let your Christmas Tree swim with the fishes, Dollar General distribution center coming to North Little Rock plus headlines
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Covid outlook grim for state as deaths could pass 10,700 next month as cases skyrocket in Arkansas
Act like your life depends on it is an old saying but still holds true today when it comes to Covid.
If you want to live, get vaccinated and if you have, get boosted. Keep wearing a mask and avoid crowds.
The world is in the middle of a plague that has killed millions globally and more than 820,000 in the United States. In Arkansas, the death count passed 9,131 on Thursday as an additional 18 people have died as the result of Covid the previous day.
For context, the Covid cemetery would be the state’s 43rd largest city, ahead of Hope’s 8,952 people but behind Clarksville’s 9,381.
In a Thursday afternoon press conference, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the state added 4,978 positive Covid cases in a single day. Of that, 1,158 cases were reported here in Pulaski County.
The total amount is the highest number the state has seen in one day and Hutchinson pointed out that those numbers don’t include home test results.
The governor also announced he was going to make 1.5 million home tests available for free and was going to use the National Guard to help distribute them.
In terms of death, the ongoing pandemic is far and away the state’s largest mass casualty event as it heads into year three and across two presidencies.
The closest comparisons now are war deaths.
According to the U.S. Army Center of Military History, 3,814 Arkansans died in World War II with 409 dying in Korea and 397 dead in Vietnam. Those 4,620 dead aren’t even half of the Covid deaths.
The only thing left is the Civil War.
The Encyclopedia of Arkansas tells the tale, it was, “one of the greatest disasters in Arkansas history. More than 10,000 Arkansans — black and white, Union and Confederate — lost their lives.”
The exponential growth of the Omicron variant and the reality that only roughly half of all Arkansans are vaccinated means the death toll is only going to climb.
The Centers for Disease Control issued a report this week that estimated that the U.S. could see as many as 40,000 additional deaths by Jan. 22.
The Arkansas forecast, above, is grim. There’s no other way to put it as lots of people here are going to die in the next four weeks.
The top-end number from the University of Southern California estimates the death toll in Arkansas will be over 10,700 and other forecasts call for weekly deaths at more than 250.
The best way to avoid that death is to get vaccinated, get boosted, wear a mask and avoid crowds.
Maumelle: City Council to meet Monday. This post will be updated when the agenda for the meeting is released.
Sports were played but we’ll catch up next week as the sportswriters took some time off for the holidays.
Neal Moore is taking the week off.
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The City of Maumelle is looking to fill two appointments on the Planning Commission in the coming year.
The two terms will end on Jan. 31, 2026 and the vacancies are in Positions 2 and 3.
City Clerk Tina Timmons said resumes will be accepted until 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 2 and then interviews at the City Council meeting on Monday, Feb. 7 will follow.
The Council will vote and appoint at that meeting as well.
Resumes can be mailed to 550 Edgewood Drive, Maumelle, Arkansas 72113 and for more information, call 501-851-2500.
When the Amazon distribution center was announced, then-North Little Rock Mayor Joe Smith promised more was coming.
That promise was officially fulfilled on Monday night when the North Little Rock City Council signed off on a $140 million bond issue that would bring a Dollar General distribution center that would be located off the Galloway exit and near the new Amazon facility.
Codenamed “Project Cedar” the distribution center is expected to employ close to 400 people and a public meeting will be held on Jan. 10 on the bonds. Jobs are expected to start at more than $10 an hour and supervisors can make as much as $31.
According to the company website, Dollar General has 28 distribution centers scattered across the country with most in the southeast and midwest. There’s currently none in Arkansas and the closest to the state are in Indianola, Mississippi and Longview, Texas.
Dollar General now has more than 16,000 stores across the country as the company has been pursuing a rapid-growth strategy with more than three dozen locations in Pulaski County as it seems every crossroads now has the familiar yellow and black signage.
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has the answer to a most pressing holiday question: What to do with that tree in the living room.
Donate it to them and they will convert it into a fish habitat.
No, really and Game and Fish has been doing it for years, making it as much a local tradition as going to the Nutcracker or driving around looking at Christmas lights.
In central Arkansas, the easiest dropoff point is Riverview Park in North Little Rock. Better known as the park where skateboarders go, it is located at 2800 River Road. Other locations in central Arkansas include:
Lake Barnett – Reed Access
Lake Conway – Lawrence Landing Access
Greers Ferry Lake – Sandy Beach (Heber Springs), Devils Fork Recreation Area and Choctaw Recreation Area (Choctaw-Clinton)
Harris Brake Lake – Chittman Hill Access
Lake Pickthorne – Boat Ramp Access
Lake Overcup – Lake Overcup Landing
Cox Creek Lake – Cox Creek Lake Public Access
Lake Hamilton – Andrew Hulsey State Fish Hatchery Access Area
Jack Nolen – Boat Ramp Access at Fire Station
Sugar Loaf Lake – Boat Ramp Access
In a release, Game and Fish said old Christmas trees offer “small spaces and dense cover” and “make excellent nursery habitat for small fish as well as great places to fish.”
But, let’s see you’re a fisherman and have a spot for a tree. Well, you're in luck, because Game and Fish says you can take a tree from a drop-off point to make your own fishing habitat.
The key is the tree or trees need to be tied down with cinder blocks to help them sink.
Game and Fish also advised, “it’s best to sink the trees in groups. The trunks of the trees will last much longer, offering some woody cover long after a single tree’s attractiveness wanes.”
Donated trees should have all ornaments, lights and tinsel removed and, of course, artificial trees aren’t welcome.
Trees can be donated until the end of January.
Other dropoff points across the state by region can be found by clicking here.