Maumelle, Entergy tangle
Maumelle's Gustafson appointed to School Board, Covid case count, quarantines increase at schools, High School football is back, plus news and sports headlines
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Maumelle’s Lindsey Pierson Gustafson was appointed to the School Board of the Pulaski County Special School District at a special call meeting on Tuesday night.
Gustafson, above, replaces Alicia Gillen Wilmoth, who resigned last month, and she will serve out Wilmoth’s term that ends in November 2022 as the appointment comes after the filing deadline for the school board election this fall.
Wilmoth, who was formerly head of the Maumelle Area Chamber of Commerce, had accepted a job in economic development for the city of Cabot earlier this year and is in the process of relocating to Lonoke County.
Gustafson previously served on the advisory board for the school district from 2013 to 2016, when it was under state control, and is currently the associate dean of academic affairs at the Bowen School of Law at UALR, where she has worked since 1998.
Her undergraduate and law school degrees are both from Brigham Young University but went to high school at Oak Grove.
MAUMELLE: Joe T. Robinson will host Maumelle this Friday night in a Pulaski County rivalry game. The game had originally been scheduled to be at Maumelle but the new turf there is not quite ready for action and the game was moved. The Hornets are coming off a 31-21 victory at Sylvan Hills last Thursday, while Robinson took one on the chin in a 60-27 loss to Pulaski Academy. Read more by clicking Maumelle travels to Robinson this Friday
NORTH LITTLE ROCK: North Little Rock opens its football season this Friday when the ‘Cats host Springdale Har-Ber. Har-Ber (0-1) lost its season opener 35-28 to McKinney, Texas last Saturday, while North Little Rock played El Dorado in a varsity/junior varsity scrimmage on Friday night with the final being 38-28, but for the varsity portion it was 31-7 in the ‘Cats favor. Read more by clicking North Little Rock hosts Har-Ber
CAC: It’s a week late, but Central Arkansas Christian’s Mustangs are ready to open football season Friday at Mustang Mountain against Riverview. Last week’s scheduled opener against Mayflower was postponed until Sept. 17 after the Eagles had 11 starters out following Covid exposure. By Donna Lampkin Stephens and read more by clicking CAC starts season Friday
BASEBALL ON BROADWAY is the weekly newsletter that spotlights the Arkansas Travelers. It is published on Monday and click the link above to give it a read.
Neal Moore is taking the week off.
The Covid case count at area schools is on the rise on Wednesday afternoon.
The Academics Plus System, which includes the Maumelle Charter and Scott Charter elementary schools as well as Maumelle Charter High School, have a total of six Covid-postive cases in the system.
The bulk of those six cases are at Maumelle Charter Elementary with five, the system said on its website, with numbers updated on Monday. They will be updated again on Thursday.
Maumelle Charter High … N/A
Maumelle Charter Elementary … 5
Scott Charter … N/A
The Pulaski County Special School District released numbers on Monday for the previous and that report can be viewed by clicking here.
The five schools considered feeders for Maumelle are Crystal Hill, Oak Grove and Pine Forest elementaries as well as Maumelle Middle and High School.
That report shows a total of 45 students and staff in quarantine. Last week, it was 18 students and staff in quarantine.
The school breakdown follows.
School ... Student Positive ... Staff Positive ... Student Quarantine ... Staff Quarantine ... Total Out
Crystal Hill Elementary ... 4 ... 0 ... 24 ... 0 ... 28
Oak Grove Elementary ... 0 ... 0 ... 0 ... 0 ... 0
Pine Forest Elementary ... 0 ... 0 ... 3 ... 0 ... 3
Maumelle Middle ... 2 ... 0 ... 3 ... 0 ... 5
Maumelle High ... 2 ... 0 ... 7 ... 0 ... 9
The Arkansas Department of Health report from Monday, Aug. 30, shows a total of 88 active cases across the Pulaski County Special, North Little Rock and Academics Plus school systems. Last week it was 50
District … Active Cases … Cumulative Faculty/Staff … Cumulative Student … Cumulative Total
PCSSD … 51 … 13 … 82 … 113
North Little Rock … 31 … 11 … 56 … 81
Academics Plus … 6 … 0 … 25 … 36
North Little Rock School District is doing a daily dashboard that can be found by clicking here, and these are numbers from this afternoon:
Total Number of Employees Testing Positive ...4
Total Number of Employees in Quarantine ... 9
Total Number of Students Testing Positive ... 24
Total Number of Students in Quarantine ... 117
On Tuesday, it was 106 students in quarantine. North Little Rock High School has the most active cases with seven, and they also have 16 students in quarantine, and of the district’s campuses, that number is tied with Meadow Park Elementary.
A dispute between the City of Maumelle and Entergy has now stretched into September as the two parties continue to wrangle at the Public Service Commission.
It was in July that Entergy filed its complaint against the city, Mayor Caleb Norris and the City Council.
Initial coverage can be found by clicking here.
Maumelle filed its initial response on July 30 and Administrative Law Judge Connie C. Griffin was named as Presiding Officer on Aug. 16 with Entergy filing a motion to dismiss Maumelle’s response on Aug. 23 and Maumelle responding on Tuesday, Aug. 31.
The Public Service Commission docket for this can be viewed by clicking here.
The dispute is over power poles and in the initial response, City Attorney Melissa Krebs wrote, “Maumelle admits that it identified multiple poles and [Entergy[ facilities that must be relocated for the Crystal Hill Project” as the city has ongoing plans “to widen and improve the road.”
Maumelle wanted Entergy to pay for the relocation, but Entergy was nope, and Krebs wrote that the utility,” would not relocate its facilities unless [Maumelle} paid $142,563.60 in costs for the relocation.”
Krebs added that Entergy’s refusal to move the power poles, “has resulted in a public safety hazard” and that the City Council “passed the resolutions ... as a result of the public safety concerns that resulted from their refusal to relocate their equipment.”
Previously adopted by the City Council were Resolution 2021-17 and Ordinance 1036 and both are related to Entergy.
The initial complaint against Maumelle was previously described as “unusual” by Entergy Arkansas Communications Manager Kacee Kirschvink and she said there’s nothing “in recent memory” of Entergy filing a similar complaint against another city.
In the Aug. 31 response, Krebs brought the heat and Entergy’s “refusal to comply with a mandate of Arkansas law should be sanctioned” and that the utility “should, at the very least, be willing to cooperate with a municipality in providing business records.”
Krebs added, “this refusal has been frivolous and a waste of taxpayer resources.”
Entergy had previously described the Crystal Hill Road widening as a “beautification” project, while Krebs also took exception to.
“[T]his is a misrepresentation of the project at issue, and there are no facts that support this mischaracterization. This project was undertaken to widen the road to create a safer route and to assist in an untenable traffic situation in this area. It is for the health and safety of the public and will benefit all who travel the route, whether a citizen of Maumelle or not.”
Due to its unusual circumstances, there’s no clear timeline on when this issue will be resolved, Public Service Commission Executive Director Donna Gray previously said.