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Hang (gliding) around
Mount Magazine is Arkansas in all its glory, Maumelle Area Chamber of Commerce sets annual awards banquet, Maumelle's Bria Allen honored plus headlines
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Pandemic death toll unknown for now
As the Arkansas Department of Health switches over to its new Covid dashboard, there’s no new numbers for the past week. So the total number of dead Arkansans reported to the state remains at 13,054.
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 Maumelle City Council meets next Monday night.
Events: The Arkansas Derby is this Saturday at Oaklawn in Hot Springs and the Kentucky Derby qualifier is always a good time. Also on Saturday, Funland in North Little Rock’s Burns Park opens to the public. There’s new rides!
Get Involved: Arkansas LEARNS is now state law but there’s still much to do and the Arkansas Department of Education is seeking volunteers to help develop rules, policies and procedures for what’s next. The deadline to apply to be on a working group is this Friday, March 31. To apply, or for more information, click here.
ICYMI: Maumelle: State of the City
Check out the informational graphic on Karen Trevino, head of the North Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau, that was put together for Women’s History Month by the city of North Little Rock.
Maumelle Area Chamber of Commerce sets annual awards banquet
The Maumelle Area Chamber of Commerce will host its Annual Community Awards Banquet on Thursday, April 13 at the Venue at Westwind, 7318 Windsong Drive.
The reception will begin at 6 p.m. and the program will be at 6:30 p.m.
This will be a time of reflection over the past year’s accomplishments but also our kick-off to the coming successes of 2023! The theme of the banquet will be “Maumelle, Yeah Baby” with a play on Austin Power’s 60’s vibe. Attendees are invited to dress in 60s attire or business formal.
The Chamber will honor several members and citizens in the community with awards for Person of the Year, Business of the Year, Educator of the Year, Veteran of the Year, and Student of the Year.
The community is encouraged to send in nominations to the Chamber. The deadline for nominations is this Friday, March 30.
The winners will be selected by a secret committee. For an application please visit www.maumellechamber.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 501-851-9700.
Our guest speakers this year will be Holt Condren (CEO/Owner) and Scott Masters (President/Owner) of Maumelle’s own INK Custom Tees. We will hear about their successes, their struggles and the workplace culture that has helped their growth and expansion here in Maumelle.
Dinner will be catered by Cheers Maumelle.
The community is invited to join us to help honor these wonderful individuals and celebrate Maumelle. Tickets are available at www.maumellechamber.com on the events calendar for $60 (tickets will not be sold at the door).
If you would like more information about the banquet, awards, or sponsorships, contact Wall at 501-851-9700 or email email@example.com.
Fidelity Communications opens spring grants
Fidelity Communications, along with the other Cable One® family of brands, will open spring 2023 applications for the company’s Charitable Giving Fund, which annually awards $250,000 in grants to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, from Saturday, April 1 to Sunday, April 30.
Grants will be made available across communities like Maumelle that are served by Fidelity and the other Cable One family of brands and will concentrate support in the following priority areas:
Education and Digital Literacy
Hunger Relief and Food Insecurity
Last year the company awarded grants to nearly 60 nonprofits, including organizations serving the homeless, providing child advocacy, offering senior assistance, and supplying food to those in need, to name a few.
“We are committed to helping strengthen the cities and towns where we live and work by giving back to the local nonprofits who do so much to support our communities,” said Julie Laulis, Cable One President and CEO.
For more information about the Fidelity Charitable Giving Fund, visit www.fidelitycommunications.com/charitablegiving.
Wills for Heroes this Saturday
Online estate planning platform SimpleWill and the Young Lawyers Section of the Arkansas Bar Association are partnering to provide “Wills for Heroes,” a virtual event this Saturday, April 1.
The goal of the event is to “provide simple estate planning documents and basic end-of-life legal documents free of charge to first-responders in Arkansas,” according to a press release on the event.
Among those eligible are: Police officers, firefighters, emergency health care workers and their spouses and partners.
If interested first-responders should contact William Ogles, chair of the Young Lawyers Section of the Arkansas Bar Association, at 501-212-1205 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just hanging around: Mount Magazine is worth it
MOUNT MAGAZINE STATE PARK – Sometimes you get lucky.
And one of those sometimes was last Sunday when an overnight trip to the Lodge at Mount Magazine State Park went from beautiful to majestic.
If you’ve been to Mount Magazine, the state’s highest point at 2,753 feet, you may have seen hang gliders overhead. Circling like birds as you gaze upwards and gawk in wonderment.
But Sunday was different. Sunday was the day that the hang glider launch area was locked and loaded with not one but three hang gliders waiting for just the right moment to take off.
So, obviously, that was a stop and turnaround moment and quick, giddy steps to the launch site, that’s not terribly far from the lodge and amongst the cabins that line the south side of the mountain.
“Patience is a virtue,” one said to me and the others in the crowd waiting.
Then the wind picked up. And with that, the hang glider spit into his gloves, wiped them together and with a “clear” it was time to start recording and not much later he was launching himself off the side of the mountain.
Then another did the same. This time, the video below, was shot in slow motion.
Then a third pilot, this one with a hang glider with a 46-foot wingspan that cost, according to his wife, “a small car” was off.
The wives stayed behind. Armed with walkie talkies and phone apps that would allow them to locate their husbands whenever, or wherever, they landed.
In theory, the landing zone was a plot of farm land, roughly two miles south.
In theory. The reality was the hang gliders could land almost anywhere. One, in fact, had to be fetched from Missouri as he caught a thermal and was off hundreds of miles to the north. Or, at least, that’s what the wife said of a previous launch.
There’s also parachutes, in case the wind stops and the hang gliders need to bail out.
Hang gliding, it isn’t for me.
But to watch it in action, well that’s something I can do and was lucky enough to see it.
About the Park
As the Arkansas State Park system celebrates its 100 birthday this year, ArkansasNewsroom.com is going to be taking at some of the more notable, and less notable, state parks across Arkansas.
First up in this occasional series is Mount Magazine. An old and new park for Arkansas.
As is the case for parks across the state, Mount Magazine started its life as a Civilian Conservation Corps camp. The CCC, still going, was primarily a Depression-era public works program and the camp along with its buildings were there for road projects and other improvements in Logan County.
Mount Magazine was put into the Ouachita National Forest by then President Franklin D. Roosevelt, as the Encyclopedia of Arkansas explained here and the lodge remained in use until it was destroyed in a fire in 1974.
The site was better known as a rappelling site for first responders in training and Cove Lake, a recreation area just south of Paris, was far more popular with locals.
Still, though, Mount Magazine was a draw for butterfly enthusiasts and hikers who wanted to summit to its 2,753 feet. Which is roughly half of Denver’s altitude but still noticeable.
The views at the top are also incredible with Ozark to the north and Oklahoma to the west, both visible on a clear day.
Mount Magazine changed at the start of the 21st century when the park was developed by Arkansas and formally became a state park in 2002 by then Gov. Mike Huckabee.
Now, the lodge is expansive with an indoor pool, wading pool and hot tub. An arcade style game room and 60 rooms that are more like an upscale hotel.
There’s million dollar views from the lodge but it comes with a price tag as queen rooms start at $179 and suites will set you back $255 a night. For Friday night check-ins, most stays require two nights. So double that.
Cabins are even more, as average nightly rates are between $363 to $484 depending on how many beds are needed.
That’s on the high end for here but it doesn’t seem to deter the flood of Texans who treat the Arkansas State Park system as their big backyard.
As for the suite we stayed in, it was showing its age as the furniture, particularly the pull-out couch, had some significant wear. The room’s heating and air unit can also not be turned off.
So despite two screened patio doors, one couldn’t enjoy an old-style sleeping room cooled by the night air that generally runs about 10 degrees cooler than typical.
If you go
Pack earplugs. The heat and air vent sounded like a plane taking off. The food in the Skycrest Restaurant was good! Sunday night dinner was a buffet and you can also order off a fairly expansive menu. Breakfast is dine-in but you can also get carryout. It was also very good. There’s an in-room Keurig if you want a cup of coffee with your sunrise along with free WiFi when you post that picture to the ‘Gram.
Just a note, the pool is going to be closed for repairs for the next three months, so don’t bother packing the swimsuit.
Bookings can also be hard to come by as, again, the Texans are everywhere. A pro tip is, if your schedule is flexible, Sunday nights tend to be the most available.
As the hang glider flies, Mount Magazine is roughly 70 miles from central Arkansas. But roads aren’t hang gliders and driving is more like 100 to 110 miles, or a little more than two hours of windshield time.
There’s several routes as well. You can take I-40 to Pottsville and enjoy the Dardanelle cutoff. Once you get to Yell County, you can take Arkansas Hwy. 22, also known as the True Grit Highway, to Paris and then on to Hwy. 309 South. Or you can turn left in Dardanelle and get on Hwy. 10 and it will also lead to Hwy. 309 North.
You could also take Hwy. 10 out of Little Rock, if, say, you were gassing up at Costco before departing.
In any case, Google Maps is your friend.
Was it worth it?
Yes. Mount Magazine is a beautiful place and a park worth seeing. It can be done as a day trip if one doesn’t want to shell out the money for a cabin or a room in the lodge. Also worth noting there’s plenty of spots for tent camping.
Luckily, as a person, who has done all three, each variation was worth it and I would be more than happy to do again.
Quilting together a community
As part of the upcoming production of RENT The Musical, Argenta Community Theater is putting together an AIDS quilt to be displayed in the show.
The production is directed by Brandon Box-Higdem and will start July 26.
In the meantime, Box-Higdem wants a community AIDS quilt that can be displayed during the show’s final moments.
“We have all lost friends, family, and acquaintances to this horrific disease over the 50 years it has been present in our society and lives,” a press release from the theater said. “The loss has been palpable and … we are asking individuals to create their own quilt block dedicated as a memorial to their loved one who passed away from AIDS. Please include their name and their dates on your block.”
These blocks will then be assembled into “a massive, stage encompassing quilt that will be revealed during the final number of the production.”
So quilters unite!
Blocks should have no backing and not to exceed two feet by three feet. They also need to be a square or rectangle.
The theater also provided a helpful Q&A for people wanting to submit a block.
What are the due dates and deadlines for this project?
July 2nd is the final due date for all quilt blocks. The sooner you can create them and get them back to the theatre, the better for our production team to begin the sewing of them together.
What if I do not sew? Can I still be involved in this?
Have you seen the drag queen’s costumes these days? But seriously, because this is a theatre experience, you can totally use hot glue, Cricuts, permanent markers, photo creators, ANYTHING to the maximum. Just please keep in mind that it should stay intact for the run of show and possibly appear to look like it has been sewn.
Is there a limit to the number of blocks I can submit?
NO!!!!! We will work with you to make sure we are able to incorporate all of your blocks into our massive quilt! We are even asking our cast members to create some of their own during down time in rehearsal. Just make sure they are the required 2’ X 3’ size.
What if I want to create a circular block?
YES, you can be VERY creative in the creation of these memorials!!! If you choose to create a circular block, please adhere it to a rectangular secondary piece (not to exceed 2’X3’) so the block is indeed square in nature and can be sewn in accordingly.
What will happen to the quilt once RENT has closed?
We will display it at the theatre for the season and then a decision will be made as to who will receive the entire piece.
Wildwood auditions: The Wildwood Center for the Arts in rural west Little Rock is seeking performers for its upcoming Lanterns Festival. Auditions are by appointment only and will be held on the Main Stage of the Cabe Theatre at Wildwood Park for the Arts, 20919 Denny Road in Little Rock. To make an appointment, contact Zachary Rhodes at email@example.com. Performers will be paid a stipend for their time and efforts.
Clue: North Little Rock High School is staging Clue: On Stage (High School Edition). The first run of shows has been completed but additional shows have been added for April. Buy tickets in advance by clicking here.
More Jason Isbell: So, as you already know, Running With Our Eyes Closed debuts on HBO next Friday, April 7. In the meantime, check out the newest single from Isbell’s upcoming album by clicking the link below.
Bria Allen of North Little Rock and a graduate of Maumelle High School, is one of three Little Rock track and field student-athletes who received Athlete of the Week honors from the Ohio Valley Conference on March 22.
Allen, Desmond Frazier and Troy McKnight were all recognized for their winning performances to open the outdoor season. All three earned their first career athlete of the week honors during outdoor season while McKnight claims his third overall weekly award.
Allen recorded her second career win in the long jump as she leaped 5.96m (19-6.75) last weekend at the Richard Martin Jr Invitational. Posting the best long jump mark in school history that includes all marks, Allen claimed the win and posted the best long jump mark in the OVC this season while registering a jump that ranks seventh on the West Prelims Performance List.
Allen's honor makes her the first Trojan female to win a field honor since Sanda Dzile was named Sun Belt Field Athlete of the Week on May 9, 2006.
At Maumelle. Allen won three track letters and was named All-State as a long jumper and triple jumper. Her parents are Chet and Candis Allen. Her sister, Brandi, was also a track athlete at Little Rock.