Maumelle City Council hears proposal to increase business license fees by 400%
Salt life; Remembering Ken Stephens; War Memorial's time of hosting the Hogs should be over plus sports and headlines
Note to subscribers: An annual or monthly subscription is billed to your debit or credit card as ARKANSAS.SUBSTACK.COM and if you have questions, please email email@example.com. Thanks for reading and subscribing!
Pandemic deaths jump
The state Department of Health, on its Covid dashboard, showed that in the past week, there were 20 new deaths reported. The numbers were updated Tuesday, Sept. 5.
The total number of reported dead Arkansans remains at 13,247 or the state’s 31st largest city.
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
Meetings: The North Little Rock School Board will have a special call meeting at 5:30 p.m. tonight. For the Agenda, click here. On the agenda is to have the upcoming School Board election as a vote by candidate and not have any open polling places. Essentially, there’s one School Board running for re-election and is unopposed, so state law allows the candidate to vote for themselves and they’re the only person allowed to vote. The district also claimed last week that they were shelving the $75,000 plan to bolster its communications efforts. It had been previously approved by the School Board and the district didn’t elaborate past, “the district will develop a long-term plan to reorganize the Communications Office.” The North Little Rock City Council meets next Monday night at City Hall and for the agenda, click here.
Events: Keep Arkansas Beautiful is this Saturday. There’s events locally and around the state. To find one, or to register, click here. Also, the Patrick Henry Hays Center in North Little Rock will remain closed though Friday as new new air conditioning units are installed.
ICYMI: War Memorial turns 75
Remembering Ken Stephens
Visitation will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Roller-McNutt in Conway for Ken Stephens. The memorial service will be at 10 a.m.on Friday at First United Methodist Church in Conway, 1610 Prince St. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to FUMC or a favorite charity. Stephens is survived by his wife, Dr. Donna Lampkin Stephens, a contributor to ArkansasNewsoom.com and the Director of the School of Communication at UCA.
Other survivors include his sons, Greg Stephens (Pat Parker) of Monticello, Kimbro Stephens (Karen) of Little Rock and Philip Stephens (Krissy) of Sherwood; grandchildren, Kathryn Eastman (Chuck) of Palo Alto, Calif.; Alex Ward (Carri Jo) of Conway; Rachel Herrera (Jose Carlos) of Nashville, Tenn.; Jennifer Stephens of Martinez, Calif.; Joshua Stephens of Clarksville; Grace Stephens of Little Rock; Joy Schulman (Jared) of Pflugerville, Texas; Christina Crawford (Matt) of Lakeville, Minn.; and Savanna Stephens of Sherwood; his in-laws, Don Lampkin, Jerry and Jackie Lampkin, Sherry Young and Becky and Marc Harris of Chidester; nephews, Steve Williams (Julie) of Magnet Cove; David Williams (Kristy) of Alexander; Allen Williams (Shelley) of Rogers; Mark Stephens (Lisa) of Conway; Jared Lampkin (Morgan), Joshua Lampkin (Brooke), Bradley Harris (Kaina) and Brandon Harris of Chidester; Tyler Young (Karen) of Cedar Park, Texas; and Wesley Young (Torie) of Valdez, Alaska; nieces, Jaye Kay Brown (James) of Springdale; Sonya and Stephanie Stephens of Conway; and Peyton Skidmore (Tanner) of Camden; his former daughter-in-law, Jan Bartlett, and her husband, Randy, of Little Rock; as well as thousands of former players across the country who will carry his influence with them forever.
His legacy will live on.
To read the obituary, click here.
The ways of the sea are unknown to me.
That sounds like a preposterous opening to a really bad Hemingway knockoff, yet it is also accurate.
Growing up in Illinois then living in Arkansas, then Tennessee and back to Arkansas again, the ocean was always hundreds of miles away.
Hurricanes. Rip tides. Cones of uncertainty. Those are just words with no personal meaning.
I’ve never been in a hurricane. Nor a warning or even a watch. Arkansas has had few recorded hurricane watches, with one of the most notable being back in 2005 when Texarkana was on the edge of one from Rita.
Until former Arkansas and NFL quarterback Ryan Mallett died earlier this year, I wasn’t even sure what a rip tide was or why they were so dangerous.
Yet, all that and more are things I’m getting up to speed as a week on the Outer Banks looms. My first real beach vacation as I’m seemingly one of the few Arkansans who has managed to avoid Gulf Shores or anywhere else on the Florida and Alabama coast.
I’ve pretty well managed to avoid the eastern seaboard as this will just be my third overnight trip to the Atlantic going back to a childhood, vaguely remembered Florida outing and then a fabulous wedding weekend in Ocean City, New Jersey for and with some very dear friends.
I write this though with a certain amount of trepidation as the flights are booked and the rooms are reserved. We’re going but there’s also Tropical Storm Lee brewing up in the Atlantic Basin.
That’s where the cone of uncertainty comes in. Lord willing and the Creek don’t rise, we’ll be fine. A lovely week of shelling and searching for sea glass and lots and lots of seafood with my love.
Or, however slim the chance might be, we’re smack dab in the middle of a Category 5 hurricane and learning the extremely hard way why it is always good to keep a full tank of gas in your car, just in case.
Again, Lord willing and the Creek don’t rise, that won’t be the case.
Maumelle: City Council Report
Council hears proposal to increase city business license fees by 400%; Council approves annexing land along Short Marche Road; City renames Commercial Park Drive to Maumelle Village Drive
It’s been a number of months since I’ve written a report on the council meetings. With my work schedule, and summer vacation time with family, these reports weren’t on the top of my to-do list. Additionally, the council has a had a fairly light agenda through the summer months, so there hasn’t been a lot to report on. Let me recap a few things that have taken place over the last few months.
The All-Inclusive Playground is under construction! The city held a groundbreaking several weeks ago for our newest city park and the construction team has made rapid progress. I’d encourage you to drive by the site (located next to Maumelle Charter and the library) and check out the progress. This is going to be a wonderful addition to our parks system and will allow kids to run back and forth between the playground and the splash pad. The playground should be completed in the Fall.
The city hosted another groundbreaking recently for the new roundabout that will join Country Club Parkway, Counts Massie Road, and White Oak Crossing. The contract for construction began this week and the timeline for completion will be approximately 9 months. Redstone will be the contractor on this project.
Moving to old business on the agenda from this week’s meeting, the council approved changing the name of Commercial Park Drive to Maumelle Village Drive. This is the street that runs alongside the new housing development being built behind the U-Haul storage facility on Maumelle Boulevard.
Also in old business, the council accepted streets and drainage for Cypress Bend at Maumelle Crossing which is a new development being built along White Oak Crossing.
Finally in new business, the council accepted an annexation request from a landowner that wanted to bring their parcel of property into Maumelle. This property is largely floodplain but bringing it into the city will protect this land from hunting as well as protect the timber from being harvested. The parcel of land also has a few hundred feet of road frontage on Short Marche Road, so this small section of roadway will also be accepted into the city.
Moving to new business, the council heard a proposal from Council Member Michael Tierney to increase business registration fees by 400%. His proposal includes the following fee changes:
Home-Based Business - $100 ($25 currently)
Commercial, retail, or professional business - $200 ($50 currently)
Industrial or warehouse business - $400 ($100 currently)
The proposal would also increase solicitor permits in the city. The new fees for a permit would be:
For any corporation, partnership, association, or entity which is not a natural person - $2,000 (currently $500)
For natural person – $200 (currently $50)
A similar proposal was put forward by Mr. Tierney last year that would have increased the fees by 200% but that was not approved. I didn’t hear much support for this proposal that increases fees by 400% and personally, I don’t believe this is a move the city needs to make. Most residents that work from home or have a side business selling products (cosmetics, athletic-wear, etc.) likely don’t realize they’re supposed to register their business with the city. For those that do register, a $25 fee isn’t too much to pay. I suspect the proposed fee of $100 for home-based businesses will drive most folks away from even registering with the city.
I requested a breakdown of businesses that have registered so we can better understand this rate increase and what revenue that would bring into the city. In the context of our entire city budget, these increased fees would not provide much added revenue and I’d prefer to leave business fees alone. More to come on this in the coming weeks. I’d certainly welcome your feedback on the proposed fee changes.
In other new business, the council heard the first reading of an ordinance that would improve the notification procedures for planning and permit applications. This ordinance would create a consistent set of notification requirements for properties within a certain distance of a proposed development. Additionally, the planning director may increase the size of the notification area if he feels that a larger area should be notified about potential development. One additional item is that a developer would notify adjacent property owners and hold a community meeting to explain the project prior to the plan being submitted to the city for review by the Planning Commission. Overall, these changes are designed to increase public awareness about potential property development.
Finally in new business, the council approved two resolutions. The first resolution approved the retirement and sale of Canine Fox who is nearing the end of his service life with the city. Due to the retirement of Fox’s handler, it’s in the best financial interest of the city to retire this canine a year early rather than spend additional dollars training a new handler for Fox given the short timespan in which Fox could continue to serve the city.
The second resolution was the approval of $15,000 to be used for legal services by outside counsel. This is a line-item in the budget that we never know how much we might need during the year. Due to the city needing outside representation for a Civil Service Commission hearing, the council approved the additional funds.
Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns, Chad. 501-529-1336, firstname.lastname@example.org
Commentary: War Memorial's time of hosting the Hogs should be over
It is time to pull the plug on Razorbacks games at War Memorial.
It isn’t because of the fans, who didn’t really show up, or the university or the lack of recruiting visits or any of the other reasons generally cited.
No, it is because of the incompetence of state government.
War Memorial Stadium is part of the Arkansas State Parks system. It isn’t independent, as it was previously, nor does it answer to Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott.
The person ultimately in charge is Gov. Sarah Sanders. She found the time to have outfit changes and, reportedly, worked hard on her suite’s liquor order, but what she didn’t do is manage the state government she was elected to lead.
What happened Saturday was just inexcusable.
A game already moved up to beat the heat shouldn’t run out of water. But, the stadium did. You couldn’t bring your own water in, as full water bottles were tossed at the elaborate bottleneck of a security checkpoint.
You could bring in empty bottles, but then you had to find a refill station or a bathroom tap, and assuming it worked, the water didn’t come scalding hot.
You could stand in line, at a pitifully understaffed concession stand, for over an hour, and still not end up with any relief.
That’s just failure.
State Parks said it wasn’t.
In a statement, Shea Lewis, the agency’s interim head, said, “like any large-scale event, issues did arise, but the department’s command center alerted each one appropriately and staff addressed those issues in real time.”
I don’t know Lewis, but this is what we call, in the writing world, a lie.
Well-hydrated people don’t leave at halftime because they can’t get any water.
That was not an issue addressed in “real time.”
Nobody cares about the sausage making that goes into media coverage, but as a person who has covered Razorback games at War Memorial going back to the late ‘90s, Saturday’s experience was the worst in 25 years.
It was so bad, it was almost impressive. Like, almost an act of deliberate self-sabotage.
As it stands now, there’s only one Razorbacks game left for War Memorial. That’s Arkansas State in 2025.
It absolutely should not be played in Little Rock.
Will either school pull the plug?
Arkansas State has dreamed of playing the Razorbacks since the school in Jonesboro started football.
Something Arkansas’s athletic administration always denied.
Depending on schedule alignments in the soon to be larger SEC, Arkansas might have to do some rearranging, especially if the league goes to nine conference games.
That might be the only way out, as the political pressure that will be exerted on Fayetteville’s leadership and also the system’s leadership in Little Rock will be immense and intense.
Pulling the plug will take real courage, and it will also be the right thing to do.
Turns out, 75 years was enough.
Jefferson leads Arkansas to win
Maumelle’s Chamblee gets off to a dominant ‘start’
It was the KJ Jefferson show Saturday at Little Rock’s War Memorial Stadium as the Arkansas Razorbacks cruised past Western Carolina, 56-13, in the season-opener.
Jefferson, the senior quarterback, threw for 246 yards and three touchdowns on an 18 for 23 night. He also rushed for a touchdown in three quarters of effort before being replaced by Jacolby Criswel, the North Carolina transfer, who played his high school football at Morrilton.
Jefferson’s performance earned praise from coach Sam Pittman, who said, “you know, he played well.”
Jefferson started the game a perfect 12 for 12 but after the game he was more concerned with the incompletions, then the touchdowns.
“Like I’ve said, there’s always room for improvement,” Jefferson said. “We always want to get better. So we will all go back to the drawing board and correct some mistakes.
“Maumelle High School graduate Andrew Chamblee did indeed start at left tackle for the Razorbacks in the game and was one of four newcomers on the offensive line this season.
Their overall performance drew praise from Jefferson.
“They were really good," he said of the line. "They're starting to gel together and I mean they are always communicating. We meet on the sidelines, they're always talking with each other. Coaching each other up while they're playing. Going over what [the defense] is doing and working together."
Also seeing action from North of the River were defensive linemen Nico Davillier and Quincy Rhodes Jr.
Davillier, a sophomore from Maumelle,, saw action on special teams as well as some spot play at defensive end. That was also true for Rhodes, who played at North Little Rock last year, and is a true freshman.
Rhodes also had a scary moment late in the fourth quarter and got tangled up with a teammate and Western Carolina player. Rhodes hit the turf and stayed there for approximately five minutes while trainers and medical personnel from both teams rushed to his side.
Joining them was Pittman, who came out to check on his player. He addressed the injury in the post-game.
“He hit his head on the ground,” Pittman said. “So, when I got out there he was fine. He wanted to get up the whole time, of course.”
But Pittman said the medical staff was being “very cautious.”
After being on the turf for about five minutes, Rhodes walked off the field under his own power and headed straight for the locker room as his day was over with 1:17 remaining in the game.
Arkansas (1-0) will host Kent State at 3 p.m. this Saturday at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. That game will be broadcast on the SEC Network. It will surely have a larger crowd then the announced attendance on Saturday of 44,397 and nearly 10,000 short of a sellout.
Scenes from the game | Photos by Jaison Sterling
High school roundup
Maumelle stays perfect
The Maumelle Hornets improved to 2-0 on the season as they rolled past Batesville, 41-27, last Friday night.
The Hornets were up 26-6 at the half and only trailed early in the first quarter after a 43-yard field goal by the Pioneers.
Key to the effort was quarterback Andrew Bjork who threw for 211 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for another score and a two-point conversion.
Catching touchdown passes were Elijah Newell and Alan Timmons.
Newell also returned an interception for a score, and Dalen Larry recovered a fumble for another touchdown.
In addition to Bjork's run, Jaiden Worsham also scored a touchdown on the ground. He also led the Hornets rushing game with 87 yards on the ground.
Maumelle travels to White Hall this Friday in the start of 5A-Central conference play.
Around North of the River, North Little Rock and Central Arkansas Christian are headed in opposite directions.
North Little Rock is now 0-2 on the season, after a 58-20 loss to Fayetteville while CAC is 2-0 after beating Perryville, 40-6.
CAC hosts Bauxite this Friday, in a game that should be well attended by college coaches as it features CAC quarterback Grayson Wilson, a junior, who has already committed to the University of Arkansas, while Bauxite has its best player since Dan Dawson roamed the field in safety Marcus Wimberly, who has also is a junior and who has also committed to Arkansas.
North Little Rock has this Friday off.
Friday night lights
Aug. 25 ... Maumelle 20, Sylvan Hills 0
Sept. 1 ... Maumelle 41, Batesville 27
Friday, Sept. 8 ... at White Hall ... 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 22 ... at Pine Bluff ... 7 p.m.
Thu, Sep 28 ... Mills ... 7 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 6 ... at Robinson ... 7 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 13 ... Morrilton ... 7 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 20 ... at Watson Chapel ... 7 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 27 ... Vilonia ... 7 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 3 ... Beebe ... 7 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 10 ... First round of playoffs
BOLD indicates home game
For the roster, please click here.
Aug. 25 ... CAC 52, Lonoke 16
Sept. 1 ... CAC 40, Perryville 6
Friday, Sept. 8 ... Bauxite ... 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 15 ... at (Benton) Harmony Grove ... 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 22 ... Hall ... 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 29 ... at Mayflower ... 7 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 6 ... at Pottsville ... 7 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 13 ... Clinton ... 7 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 20 ... at Dover ... 7 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 3 ... at Lamar ... 7 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 10 ... First round of playoffs
BOLD indicates home game
For the roster, please click here.
North Little Rock 'Cats
Aug. 25 ... Catholic 17, North Little Rock 7
Sept. 1 ... Fayetteville 58, North Little Rock 20
Friday, Sept. 15 ... at Parkview (War Memorial Stadium) ... 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 22 ... at Central ... 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 29 ... Conway ... 7 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 06 ... at Little Rock Southwest ... 7 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 13 ... Jonesboro ... 7 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 20 ... Fort Smith Northside ... 7 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 27 ... at Bryant ... 7 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 3 ... at Cabot ... 7 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 10 ... First round of playoffs
BOLD indicates home game
For the roster, please click here.
Baseball at Dickey-Stephens this week
Six-game homestand against Amarillo
Final home series of the season.
Thursday, Sept 7, 6:35 p.m.
$3 Thursday: Enjoy $3 Beer Garden Tickets and Concessions deals, including Hot Dogs, Soft Drinks, Red Bull, Cotton Candy, and a Select Canned Beer & Seltzer! | Presented By Red Bull
Friday, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday, 7:05 p.m.
Julio Rodríguez ROTY Display Giveaway: Presented By Hardee's | First 1,000 Fans (one item per person)
Kids Run the Bases: Presented By Museum of Discovery
Sunday, 1:35 p.m.
Pre-Game Brunch Buffet: Get a special Brunch ticket that comes with a Field Reserved seat! Buffet will include select breakfast foods, juice, coffee, and soft drinks. (Alcohol will be available for purchase separately.) Food will be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. | Presented By Picnic Brunch
Kids Run the Bases. Presented By Museum of Discovery
Operation: Military Appreciation: Service Members get $3 off General Admission and Field Reserved tickets by presenting a Military ID (only available at DSP Box Office) | Presented By Mid-South Ford Dealers
Family Sunday: Get $2 General Admission tickets by presenting a physical or digital church bulletin and only available at the Box Office.
Sept. 12 - 17 at Northwest Arkansas | Final series of the season.