Hot air balloons to soar Memorial Day Weekend
Sandefur gets North Little Rock coaching job, Maumelle's Donnerson signs with Carolina, Neal Moore offers up his take, plus news and sports headlines
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Monday night’s Maumelle City Council meeting was short and sweet so this is the same. Mayor Caleb Norris recognized Lt. John Thomas as the city’s employee of the month for November 2020. Be sure to celebrate John Thomas Day in the city of Maumelle this Friday. — Chad Gardner Read More by clicking this link: Maumelle: City Council meets
High School graduation roundup:
Randy Sandefur will be named North Little Rock’s next head football coach at Thursday night’s meeting of the North Little Rock School Board.
Sandefur is currently the school’s head baseball coach and is also a football assistant. Sandefur led North Little Rock to the Class 6A semifinals in baseball this season and the team won the 6A state championship in 2019. He’s also a graduate of North Little Rock Northeast High School and the University of Arkansas at Monticello.
When former coach J.R. Eldridge unexpectedly left last December, Sandefur was one of the assistant coaches who applied for the opening. Then applied again and then applied for a third time as the coaching search dragged on into May.
Messages sent to the school district’s superintendent and spokesman weren’t returned Wednesday evening or Thursday morning, and Sandefur’s name was added to the agenda for the School Board on Wednesday night.
The news was first reported by RockTownSports.media’s on its Twitter account.
Sandefur inherits a big job as North Little Rock has played for the Class 7A state title the last five seasons, winning once in 2017.
BASEBALL ON BROADWAY is the new weekly newsletter that spotlights the Arkansas Travelers. It is published on Monday and click the link to give it a read.
Facebook Is Not 9-1-1!
I’ve noticed an increasing number of people are turning to their Facebook friends for advice on how to handle encounters when their safety is in jeopardy, or a possible crime is being committed. One couple reported being bullied on the walking path around Lake Willastein. Another reported being racially harassed in their car. Another reported misbehavior by a group of young pre-Hell’s Angels bicycle riders who were also yelling expletives at other kids. There are also similar posts on the whiney-complain-about-everything site, Nextdoor.
Some of the responses to the posts included advice to use pepper spray or getting a concealed-carry permit and a gun. What could go wrong with those ideas? If you are harassed or otherwise molested, you can and should use your mobile phone to take pictures or videos and record license plate numbers. Then, let the police do their job.
If you think your rights are being violated or you are physically at risk, call 9-1-1. That’s why we pay taxes to support a system of emergency help. The Maumelle Police Department also has a non-emergency number, 501-851-1337. But for heaven’s sake, don’t depend on the collective wisdom of Facebook or Nextdoor. They are usually good for helping you to find a plumber or a lost pet, but not emergency help.
Sad News for Flavours Fans
I got a text yesterday telling me that Terry Schwarz West had passed away. If you ever went to Flavours, you know Terry. She was the food architect and created delectable dishes including many vegan dishes that she got me to reluctantly try. I even liked most of them. I would visit Flavours at least once a week and would also have a good chat with Terry about food or local restaurants, kids and grandchildren and her cousin, actor Peter Coyote. I always loved getting news about Coyote, one of my favorite narrators.
Many times, she would bring me a taste of something to see what I thought. Her food was always delicious, and our visits were always fun and informative. She was a foodie’s foodie.
After Flavours closed, Terry moved to Kentucky to be near family, having lost her husband just a few years ago. What did she do in Kentucky? She found a place to cook of course, which was her passion. All of us are lucky to have had her food and her friendship. She was truly a lovely person.
She was planning a trip home this week to see her granddaughter graduate. Many of us were hoping to have a visit with her while she was here.
I’m sure she’s already finding her way around a heavenly kitchen. Until we meet again, we’ll miss you, Terry.
Snitch on Your Neighbors and They Won’t Even Know It
Did you know you can snitch on your neighbors anonymously? You can report such egregious crimes as an unmowed yard, or a boat or camper left in the driveway too long. You can report your heart out on the city’s website, www.maumelle.org. Click on the “How Do I” tab and then select “Report a concern.”
You can also report other things such as an abandoned vehicle, dead animal, pothole, or a street issue, and so forth. Check it out. You can choose to make yourself known or not. In today’s world, somebody’s watching.
Nightmare on I-430
I’m sure most of you have had the occasion to travel on I-430 northbound over the Arkansas River bridge. Talk about a disaster waiting to happen. The nightmare starts just after you pass the Cantrell exit. All of sudden you’re looking at “merge now” signs, eliminating the inside lane. Then you approach a split where you have to choose left or right. And at night, you are met with blinding lights from the work areas. The next obstacle is hundreds of orange barrels and a small opening to take the Maumelle exit. These are the same people who brought you a cracked bridge on the Mississippi River crossing into Tennessee.
Camps for Kids in Maumelle
Maumelle Parks and Rec is offering several summer camps for kids:
Survivor Camp - June 15-18, for kids ages 6 -12, $55
Art Camp July 7 - 9, for kids ages 8 -14, $65
Fun and Games Camp - July 13 - 15, for kids grades 3 - 6, $55
Chef Camp - July 21- 23, for kids ages 6 -10, $60
I have sent my grandbuddies to these camps for several years and they are usually well organized and worth the money. Visit www.https://maumelleparksandrec.recdesk.com or call 501-851-6990 for more details. You can also sign up in person at the Community Center. The camp size is limited.
Until you get the hang of it, the new Community Center website is a bit confusing and clunky to navigate.
Maumellian Featured in Garden and Gun
One of my favorite magazines is Garden and Gun. No, it’s not an NRA publication. It’s a national magazine focusing on the American South. The magazine reports on the South's culture, food, music, art, literature, and its people and their ideas. The gun part comes from their occasional coverage of high-end hunting excursions and equipment.
An excerpt from the story:
Linda Grossman of Maumelle was recently featured describing her journey of visiting every county seat in Arkansas. “My late husband and I traveled until we’d been to all fifty states,” she says. “I’ve been all over the world, but then I wasn’t sure I’d seen all of Arkansas.”
With her bridge club canceled and Sunday school convening virtually, the then-seventy-four-year-old embarked on solo daytrips from her home in Maumelle, taking anywhere from a thirty-minute jaunt from her house into downtown Little Rock, to a fourteen-hour-round-trip drive to explore the north-central part of the state.
You can read the story at www.gardenandgun.com.
'The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.” – George Orwell
Stay safe and wear your mask in crowds. And get your shot!
See you on the Boulevard.
More news at www.ArkansasNewsroom.com.
Neal Moore is a public relations consultant and resident of Maumelle. Send your Maumelle news or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks, PJ
Kendall Donnerson’s professional football career lives on after the former Maumelle High School star recently signed a free agent contract with the Carolina Panthers.
Donnerson, a 2014 graduate of Maumelle, played his college ball at the Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau and was originally a seventh-round pick of the Green Bay Packers.
Donnerson also went to camp with the now Las Vegas Raiders and Cincinnati Bengals and was on the practice squad for his three previous teams. Donnerson also made the active roster his rookie season with Green Bay but didn’t play in a game.
A 6-foot-3, 250 pound defensive end and linebacker, Donnerson compiled 135 tackles in his college career with 32.5 tackles for loss and 11 sacks. In his junior and senior years at Maumelle, he combined for 220 tackles and 45 sacks as denominated the offensive lines of opposing teams.
He was twice named all-state in football and was a 2013 nominee for the Hootens.com Farm Bureau Defensive Player of the Year award. He also played basketball, and was named all-conference as a junior and senior.
The Northshore Golf Range in North Little Rock will host a new, three-day festival on Memorial Day weekend that will feature musical acts at night and during the day, hot air balloons will be soaring over in the sky.
The range is located at 5401 Northshore Cove and in the business park by the Arkansas River.
Rodney Williams, formerly of Little Rock, is with Branson Balloon in Branson, Missouri and is responsible for getting the festival, umm, off the ground and soaring.
“Previously, RiverFest took place on Memorial Day Weekend, but it's been gone for several years now,” Williams said in an email and, “we aren't affiliated with the RiverFest event in any way, but this event does offer a similar experience.”
Williams said the “almost 200 acres on the Northshore Golf Range” and with “very easy to access from Little Rock, North Little Rock, Maumelle” and “lots of parking” made it an attractive location for the festival, plus the dozen hot air balloons, one of which will look like a golf ball, that will be in operation.
“I've been flying hot air balloons for 31 years,” Williams said. “In 2003 I moved to Branson and have owned and operated a balloon ride business called Branson Balloon. I've been attending balloon events for the past 30 years and have been organizing balloon and music events for the past 10 years.”
The mornings will start with a sunrise balloon flight, and reservations for the $250 flight must be made in advance and can be done by calling 417-336-6060. In the evenings, there’s tethered balloon flights and the cost is $20 for adults and $10 for children under 12. Rides start at 6:30 p.m. and continue until 9:30 p.m. Thirty minutes before sunset, and for 30 minutes after, all the balloons will light up and glow, that is free to watch. The sunrise and tethered balloon rides are all weather permitting.
Individual tickets for the entertainment lineup can be purchased and for Friday night it is $20, while Saturday night is $35 and Sunday is $30, while a pass for all three nights is $45. All tickets can be purchased by clicking here.
Music starts at 4 p.m. on Friday and the lineup, dubbed “Bluegrass and Balloons, is:
The Finley River Boys, 4 - 5 p.m.
Route 3 Bluegrass, 5 - 6 p.m.
Goldwing Express, 6 - 7:15 p.m.
The Cleverlys, 7:30 - 9 p.m.
Saturday, Urban Cowboy
Jettway Performance, 2 - 5 p.m.
Marty Haggard, 5 - 6:15 p.m.
Johnny Lee, 6:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Mickey Gilley, 7:30 - 8:30 p.m.
James Carothers, 8:30 - 10 p.m.
Sunday, Motown and more
Jettway Performance, 2 - 5:30 p.m.
James Brown Tribute Show, 5:30 - 6 p.m.
The Best of Motown and More, 6 - 7 p.m.
Richie Rodriguez, 7 - 8 p.m.
The Best of Motown, 8 - 9 p.m.
For more information, go to www.northshoreballoonfest.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/northshoreballoonfest.