Gobble until you wobble
Maumelle City Council report, A Very Merry Maumelle and no football this Black Friday, plus headlines
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Death toll ticks back up
The total number of dead Arkansans this past week was 17.
Last week, it was 5, with numbers likely unreported due to the Veterans Day holiday, and the week before that it was 17.
The total number of dead Arkansans is now at 12,545
There’s now a one-stop shop to learn about vaccination sites and other Covid related information. Click here to learn more.
If you don’t want to get sick and die, there’s some things you can do:
Wear a mask
Upcoming meetings: The North Little Rock City Council will meet next Monday night.
Upcoming events: Thanksgiving is Thursday, Small Business Saturday is, umm, Saturday. Sandwiched in between is Black Friday. So gobble until you wobble and then shop it up.
Maumelle: City Council Report
Monday night, the Maumelle City Council was presented with the city’s financials through October of 2022. The city continues to have a strong financial position with revenues in the General Fund exceeding expenses by $845,000 through ten months of the year.
Additionally, November is traditionally one of our largest revenue months due to county property taxes being paid to the city. I expect the city’s 2022 surplus to further widen when we receive this month’s financial report. On a related note, the city will also be retiring bond debt in a few weeks.
As I had mentioned in a previous report, this will save the average Maumelle homeowner several hundred dollars annually due to our property taxes being reduced now that the debt is retired. With the debt being retired, a surplus of funds will be returned to the city that will not be needed for debt repayment. I asked our finance director if we knew an estimate of how much would be returned to the city and she said it would likely be well above a million dollars.
I’m extremely proud of how our city has not taken on new debt during an era of low interest rates the last four years and we refinanced existing debt to reduce our rate so we could pay it off at a lower cost. The city’s finances continue to be strong, and I appreciate the administration and council’s efforts to reduce our city’s debt so we’ll be better off in the future.
The only matter of unfinished business tonight was the second reading of Council Member Michael Tierney’s ordinance to increase the fees businesses are charged for operating in our city. Other than a brief statement by Mr. Tierney regarding his proposal, there was no other discussion on this matter. This will be voted on at the Dec. 5 meeting.
In new business, the council interviewed three candidates for a vacant seat on the Civil Service Commission. We had three highly qualified candidates apply and I appreciate them all for volunteering to serve in this capacity.
Sam Williams, John Jones, and Kelley Hughes were the three candidates for the position.
After one round of voting, Sam Williams and Kelley Hughes were the two remaining candidates and we held another round of voting for these two candidates. To be approved for the position, the candidate must earn five votes of the council. Unfortunately, we had two absences at council leaving only six council members who could vote.
Council member Terry Williams recused herself from the vote due to being the spouse of Mr. Williams. This left only five votes available this evening and the two candidates kept splitting the votes. Since the vote had to be unanimous among the five remaining council members, it was clear this wouldn’t be solved tonight. After some discussion, we postponed the appointment to the Dec. 5 meeting so that an additional council member will help the vote total, possibly reaching five for one candidate.
We may find ourselves in the same situation again then, so stay tuned.
Next on the agenda was a resolution brought by Council Member Steve Mosley to call for a special election in Maumelle to ban certain breeds of dogs. This continues an effort to ban dogs he has brought up at multiple council meetings over the course of the last few months and each time it’s been rejected by the council. This trend predictably continued tonight with the motion to call for a special election failing by a vote of 2-6.
This was presented as an effort to let the people decide once and for all through a special election whether we want to allow all dog breeds in Maumelle.
I, on the other hand, believe the residents of Maumelle elect four council members every two years to represent your interests and make decisions for the city. In my opinion, the council shouldn’t punt issues to the voters whenever a council member disagrees with the council’s actions. You elected all eight of us on the council to represent you, the residents, and I believe at the end of the day we’re all doing what we feel is best. The council has repeatedly rejected bans on certain dog breeds and I don’t see this changing anytime soon even though it’s been brought up at most meetings for the last few months.
It’s clear what the council’s stance on this issue is and any further attempts to ban dogs in the coming few years will predictably result in the exact same outcome.
Next the council approved two mid-year budget resolutions for the 2022 fiscal year. The first was to recognize revenue from an insurance company for damage to a fire truck and then allocate that money for repairs to the fire apparatus. This passed unanimously by all in attendance. The second budget resolution was to recognize revenue received by the Fire Marshall this year for fire inspections and burn permits and in turn increase the Fire Marshall’s budget for an identical amount to pay for body armor and fire prevention materials. This passed with only one council member voting against the budget resolution.
The last item on the council agenda was a public hearing to establish a Municipal Property Owners Improvement District for the Devoe Bend neighborhood. State law is very clear on the process for establishing these improvement districts and as long as a valid petition is presented, it is the council’s duty to establish such district. This matter will be discussed again at the next two meetings before being voted on at the last meeting in December.
As an FYI, city offices will be closed on Thursday and Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday. Sanitation routes will be delayed because of this during next week’s scheduled pickups. That’s all for this week’s meeting.
Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. Chad, 501-529-1336, email@example.com
A Very Merry Maumelle is back
Now in its fourth year, A Very Merry Maumelle holiday decorating competition has returned for this holiday season.
First, you have to get everything out of the attic and unboxed. Then you have to decorate. Perhaps with 25 inflatable Christmas decorations.
Once those steps are complete, the home has to be nominated before noon on Dec. 14, with judging and awards to follow on the evening of Dec. 16.
Winning homes will receive a sign.
Light up Maumelle
For more information, or to nominate a home, click here.
Fidelity upgrades in Maumelle
Fidelity Communications announced this week that Maumelle-area internet customers will receive a free speed upgrade – up to five times faster than their existing speeds.
The offer is for those already getting the company’s Gig internet service and the speeds will go from 15 Mbps (megabytes per second) to 50 Mbps.
Among other things, 50 Mbps allows for 4K video streaming and multiple devices can be on at the same time.
“This upgrade is part of our ongoing commitment to investing in the communities we serve,” said Fidelity General Manager Sam McGill in a release. “We will continue to stay ahead of customer demand by tapping into our fiber-powered network to provide our communities with the speeds they need to keep their multi-device homes connected to what matters most – whether that is family and friends, work, school or entertainment.”
The upgrade will be automatic, McGill said, as modems will be automatically rebooted, or, he added, customers can reboot their modems manually, to get the higher speeds.
For more information, click here.
Hydrology IV Therapy and Wellness opens on the Boulevard
Hydrology IV Therapy and Wellness recently opened at 9821 Maumelle Boulevard and will have a ribbon-cutting and open house at 2 p.m. next Wednesday, Nov. 30.
Billed as a “state of the art hydration clinic” Hydrology IV offers IV, or intravenous, therapy without going to a hospital.
“We couldn’t be happier to be in our own space offering this life enhancing product,” said Julie Bane, an RN and the clinic’s owner. “Especially as we go into the cold and flu season our infusions and immune boosting shots may help prevent illness or decrease the length and severity of symptoms.”
IV therapy has grown popular with high-level athletes as “banana bags” are a quick way to rehydrate.
“These drips can enhance a person's natural immunity and help them recover quicker, be it from illness, overindulging at a party or participating in sports,” Bane added.
The clinic also offers a variety of injections along with Cryo T-Shock, a body contouring treatment and home visits are also available.
Fawbush on Wheel of Fortune on Thanksgiving
The first week of school for Alyssa Fawbush, a senior double majoring in psychology and nursing at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, has turned into the most eventful week of the college student's life.
The Sherwood native not only got the chance to fulfill her childhood dream of competing on "Wheel of Fortune," but she also got engaged on the trip home.
You can watch Fawbush at 6:30 p.m. Thursday night, Thanksgiving, on KATV.
Fawbush has been a Wheel watcher since a young age.
"I used to watch it with my grandpa growing up, and we would always try to figure out the puzzles," she said. "I always wanted to be on 'Wheel of Fortune,' but I didn't think it would happen."
Her journey to the wheel started in January after she submitted an online application with the encouragement of a supporter.
"I used to work in senior care. A lot of our older clients would watch 'Wheel of Fortune' at home, and I had a lady tell me that I should be on the show," Fawbush said. "I sent in a picture and a video explaining why I thought I should be on the show. I didn't hear anything for months. The same week I started a new job in Sherwood as a preschool therapist, I heard that I got to move to an audition."
Fawbush participated in an online audition in May and was selected to participate during iconic College Week, which brings together college students from across the country to participate in a week of episodes honoring higher education.
"I filmed the episode during my first week of classes at UA Little Rock in August, so I was doing my first week of classes virtually from Los Angeles," she said. "We got to see the set of 'Jeopardy' while they did our makeup and we rehearsed. The whole experience was really fun. I can say it's a lot different when you are up there versus watching from home. The wheel is very heavy. It takes a lot of strength to spin."
While preparation for the show took hours, Fawbush said the taping of the episode was less than half an hour.
"It was the fastest 20 minutes of our lives!" she said. "When I wasn't playing, I was in the audience. We taped about six shows that day, and I got to watch all the other College Week shows being filmed. College Week is super cool. I got to know a handful of college students from around the country and play with them."
On the way home from Los Angeles, Fawbush and her family made a stop in Las Vegas, where her boyfriend, Layne Sikes, proposed at Bellagio Hotel and Casino.
"It was an eventful trip!" Fawbush said. "Layne was pretty relaxed about it. I knew he was thinking about proposing, but I had no idea he had taken a ring with us on this trip."
Overall, she is thankful to the crew at Sony Pictures Entertainment for giving her the experience of a lifetime!
"This was the most fun I've ever had and absolutely a dream come true!" Fawbush said. "Vanna White and Pat Sajak are sweethearts and are both really nice. The whole crew at Sony Pictures is really awesome, and I loved getting to meet them. They also let us keep our name badges, which was cool."
Arts report: Arts education classes
The new ACT II Education Program will start in January and registration for students in grades kindergarten through 12 and adults are now officially open.
For more information or to register click here.
Education program announced: The Argenta Community Theater will have a new collaborative performer training program for 8th - 12th grade students, said Executive Director Sydney Wolfe and Arkansas Repertory Theater Executive Artistic Director Will Trice.
The program is funded by Will and Tiffany Feland and Jim and Mary Wohlleb.
The audition-only based program will feature the top high school-age singers, dancers, and actors in the area. Pre-pro company members will be cast in the Argenta Community Theater’s mainstage season production of Bring It On: The Musical, running in September 2023. Auditions will be held by appointment on Saturday, Dec. 10 at ACT II. To reserve an audition appointment, and to obtain a list of audition requirements please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here for more.
It is certainly cold enough for a white Christmas, that’s not quite the point of White Christmas, which will be staged at Argenta Community Theater next month.
A schedule of shows is below and performances already sold are noted.
Wednesday, Dec. 7
Thursday, Dec. 8
Friday, Dec. 9
Saturday, Dec. 10
Sunday, Dec. 11 matinee - SOLD OUT
Sunday, Dec. 11 evening
Tuesday, Dec. 13
Wednesday, Dec. 14
Thursday, Dec. 15
Friday, Dec. 16
Saturday, Dec. 17 matinee
Saturday, Dec. 17 evening
To buy tickets, click here or the flyer above.
Football: Black Friday is for shopping
It has been years ago but something a high school coach’s daughter told me has been stuck in my brain.
She always knew it was going to be a good Christmas if her dad was still coaching at Thanksgiving.
Alas, none of the North of the River teams will be playing this Friday as only North Little Rock made the playoffs and the ‘Cats were eliminated last week in the 7A quarterfinals at Bentonville.
North Little Rock was the only 7A-Central team to not make the semifinals as Bryant, Cabot and Conway are all still going.
Conway gets it rematch with Bryant, while Cabot is headed to Bentonville for this night of Black Friday football.
Those four teams are a combined 39-5 with Bryant undefeated.
In other games of note, Pulaski Academy will play Little Rock Catholic this Friday at War Memorial Stadium in the Class 6A semifinals, while Little Rock Parkview will be at Joe T. Robinson in the Class 5A quarterfinals. Both games should be dandies despite the forecast of miserable weather.
The four are the only teams left from Pulaski County still in the playoffs but it guarantees a county school will be in the 6A state championship.
North Little Rock’s season is over
Records: North Little Rock (6-6)
Hootens.com Rankings: North Little Rock ends the season at No. 8 in Class 7A
Last week: North Little Rock lost at Bentonville, 45-0, last Friday to end the season. The ‘Cats were held to nine yards of total offense in the loss.
For stats, click here.
Aug. 26: Little Rock Catholic 23, North Little Rock 6
Sept. 2: Fayetteville 28, North Little Rock 10
Sept. 16: North Little Rock 28, Little Rock Parkview 27 (2 OT)
Sept. 23: North Little Rock 53, Little Rock Central 8
Sept. 30: At Conway 35, North Little Rock 0
Oct. 7: North Little Rock 50, Little Rock Southwest 8
Oct. 14: North Little Rock 28, Jonesboro 14
Oct. 21: North Little Rock 38, Fort Smith Northside 14
Oct. 28: Bryant 45, North Little Rock 14
Nov. 4 Cabot 35, North Little Rock 7
Nov. 11: First round of the Class 7A playoffs | North Little Rock 28, Fort Smith Southside 14
Friday: Second round of the Class 7A playoffs | Bentonville 45, North Little Rock 0
For the roster, click here.