Maumelle goes green(way)
City Council also funds all-inclusive playground, Covid deaths continue going up, All-State basketball players named, The Great Cookie Hunt, Waldo's hits the spot plus headlines
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The absence of bad news
Good news, by definition, is good.
Sometimes though, good news is the result of the absence of bad news.
That’s the case with Covid in Arkansas as there’s news and it is better then weeks, and years, previous, and while the death count in the state now stands at 11,152, as of Wednesday afternoon.
Things are starting to trend down.
Where once topline forecasts called for more than 13,000 dead Arkansans from the ongoing pandemic, now that number is under 12,000.
As you can see below:
The forecast numbers are from the Centers for Disease Control and are through the middle of April.
Most forecasts are calling for around 11,500 deaths by April 16, or an an average of roughly 90 deaths a week.
Curiously, though, there’s some real divergence on weekly new deaths. With roughly half calling for 100 to 150 new deaths a week.
Which was this past week with 153 deaths. There’s also some real outliers with more than 250 new weekly deaths or over 1,000 people in the next four weeks.
Time will tell but, regardless, that’s still a lot of people.
If you don’t want to get sick and die, there’s some things you can do: Get vaccinated Get boosted Wear a mask Avoid crowds
To families’ dismay, Biden nursing home reform doesn’t view them as essential caregivers
Maumelle Area Chamber of Commerce sets expo, job fair: The Maumelle Area Chamber of Commerce recently announced that the Maumelle Expn and Job Fair will be held this April. The event will start at 2 p.m. on April 7 and be held at the Jess Odom Community Center. It is free and is also sponsored by Farm Bureau and Dillards.
Sister Act coming to Wildwood Park for the Arts: No fooling, “Sister Act” is coming to Wildwood Park for the Arts with the first show to be on April 1. The play will run for five nights and will end on April 10.
Upcoming meetings: The North Little Rock City Council will meet Monday night. To view the agenda, click here. The big news there is the Council will look at replacing the Main Street Viaduct, a project first proposed by then Mayor Pat Hays, more than a decade ago.
Need a Covid test?
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Basketball: All-State high school players named
With basketball season complete, now comes the post-season honors and it should come as no surprise that 13 players were honored for having All-State seasons.
Leading the pack was a quartet from North Little Rock, the back-to-back Class 6A boys state champs.
Nick Smith Jr. and Kel’el Ware, already McDonald’s All-Americans, the most prestigious honor in high school basketball, were also named All-State. Joining them were Corey Washington, a senior forward, who is still working through where to play next season, and junior guard Ty Frederick.
North Little Rock also claimed the 6A girls state title and named Al–State were Destinee Duckworth and Amauri Williams.
In Class 5A, Maumelle guards Carl Daughtery Jr. and Colby Garland, were both named All-State. Daughtery has signed with the University of Central Arkansas, while Garland, like Washington, is still mulling his choices for next season.
Central Arkansas Christian has a total of four players named All-State.
On the boys side are Andrew Haughaboo and Steven Massey, while for the Lady Mustangs it was junior Riley Bryant, and senior guard Ava Knoedl, who has signed with Mississippi College.
The lagniappe of the dozen was guard Caleb Ross of Class 2A Maumelle Charter.
The complete list of All-State players named by the Arkansas Activities Association can be found by clicking here.
The All-State tournament teams were also announced and as previously reported Smith and Williams were both the Most Valuable Players.
Ware and Washington were both named to the 6A boys All-State tournament team as was North Little Rock’s April Edwards, a senior guard.
In 5A, Maumelle’s Kaleb Thurman was named All-State tournament, and in 3A boys it was CAC’s Tyler Williams. Bryant was named to the 3A girls All-Tournament team for the Lady Mustangs.
And in 2A, Ross, of Maumelle Charter, was named All-State tournament.
The complete list of players honored can be found by clicking here.
Maumelle: City Council report
It was a big Monday night for the Maumelle City Council as they approved two big projects that will greatly impact the city
At this week’s meeting, the council started off with a report on the city’s financials through the first two months of the year. While this is only a short period of time, the city’s general fund revenues are ahead of budget by $253,000 and expenses are below budget by $513,000. Our city remains in a strong financial position as we head into 2022 with a balanced budget.
Under unfinished business, the council heard the third reading of an ordinance that would affect how we regulate the right-of-ways within our city and specifically how we work with utilities and other entities that use our public right-of-ways. This ordinance has been discussed off and on for about six months and at the meeting this week, it was modified once again to include language our city attorney felt better protected the city’s interest when dealing with utilities.
This change pushed the ordinance back to first reading again so it will be on second reading at the first meeting in April.
The council unanimously approved a grading permit which will allow property owners to apply for a grading permit in order to begin land preparation in advance of a building permit being issued. This is another tool that land owners and developers can use in order to get a site ready for construction. This grading permit won’t be used all the time but allows for an alternate method to begin site prep if needed.
Moving to new business, the council heard a presentation from Dave Roberts with Crafton-Tull regarding a study to redesign and improve the Club Manor Corridor.
Club Manor is approximately one mile long and runs directly through Maumelle’s downtown retail corridor. The proposed redesign of Club Manor would convert this road to a 2-lane vehicular roadway rather than the current 4-lane road that is too wide and not needed for the volume of traffic that it handles.
After converting the roadway to 2-lanes for vehicles, a 12-foot sidepath for pedestrian traffic would be added along with a 10-foot median to separate the traffic from the pedestrians. In my opinion, this is an important project for Maumelle.
Metroplan has committed millions of dollars over the next 10 years to build out a regional greenway system for pedestrians throughout central Arkansas. This greenway will run directly through Maumelle and will potentially lead to economic growth similar to what’s been seen along the Razorback Greenway in northwest Arkansas.
By planning ahead for where we want the greenway to run, we’re a step ahead with Metroplan and can shape the design of how this will run through Maumelle. Additionally, by moving the greenway off the boulevard, it will bring cyclists and pedestrians directly through our city and spur retail and restaurant development within this corridor.
This project will also serve to better connect our residential communities to the west of Club Manor and make it easier for pedestrians to access all of the retail areas along Club Manor and the Boulevard. This will be an exciting project for our city and I hope to see it come to fruition soon.
In other exciting news for our city, the council approved $300,000 to be used towards the construction of an All-Inclusive Playground that will go on the site next to our newly completed splash pad. This playground will finish out the Maumelle Play & Splash Park that has been in the works for several years.
While $300,000 is approximately half the funds needed to complete the park, this will allow the city to apply for matching grants through the state that should get us nearer to our final goal of approximately $600,000 for the playground.
There will still be opportunities for local businesses, residents, and civic groups to contribute to this project so stay tuned for donation opportunities.
Finally in new business, the council approved the purchase of street equipment to be used during winter weather events in upcoming years.
Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. firstname.lastname@example.org, 501-529-1336.
Cookie monster: The search continues
The perfect cookie, one assumes, exists, right?
And that perfect cookie might be very different from person to person.
Perhaps one appreciates the crisp, biscuit-style, while others might want more of a chewy masterpiece. Then you have so many other options:
Oatmeal and Raisin (In this economy?)
And so many others
The perfect cookie is a conglomeration of sugar and butter and magic that somehow comes together after a few minutes at 350 degrees.
Part of the joy is the search and when word filtered down that Bryant, or is it Benton?, had opened a Crumbl franchise, it was worth a drive to Saline County.
The second in Arkansas, the Saline County storefront is located at 20770 Interstate 30 N, Suite 135 in Benton. The other in-state spot is in Bentonville,
There’s nearly 400 locations in 36 states, and more are underway.
>> For more on Crumbl, click here.
It ended up being two drives.
The first ended in disappointment after seeing a line that stretched out of the cookie shop and down the stripmall sidewalk. The disappointment was lessened by hitting a Dairy Queen that was next door.
The second trip was better. No line, at least not one that ran out of the building.
The in-store ordering experience can be done two ways. There’s two tablet kiosks that allow you to order and pay when you go in, or you can stand in line and order from a clerk.
As a first-timer, the clerk seemed a better option plus it had the benefit of having that week’s cookies on display.
That’s one of Crumbl’s hooks. The cookies change from week to week with six options available.
On that day, they ranged from basic chocolate chip and sugar cookies to more elaborate Lucky Charm Cereal and salted caramel chocolate cookies. On that particular visit, the chocolate chip was sold out for the day.
The cookies are substantial. Measuring some three inches across and thick.
They also came with some serving advice, with some meant to be eaten warm, while others, like a chocolate frosted, mint cookie was chilled.
They’re also expensive.
A four-pack of cookies was not quite $15 and, truthfully, at that price point, they’re not worth it.
It was oddly reminiscent of Hurt’s Donuts in downtown Little Rock. Big, elaborate confectionary concoctions that also came with a large price tag that made the whole experience a little unsettling.
I mean, the cookies were all eaten. Let’s not be crazy. They’re cookies.
But, big but(t), at that price, four boxes of Girl Scout cookies could have been had and it would have been much more satisfying.
If you want to give it a go, feel free, but the price, plus the drive, makes for an expensive and unsatisfying combination.
The search continues.
What’s your favorite cookie? Take our online poll by clicking here and we’ll post the results.
North Little Rock’s Waldo’s hits the spot
There’s plenty of chicken joints in and around town.
The list of local spots is long and has plenty of good choices, depending on your personal taste.
You can also get some pretty good chicken, along with adult beverages, at Stickyz Rock ‘N’ Roll Chicken Shack in downtown Little Rock, among other places.
So, chicken and beer isn’t exactly a new combination here but there’s a new entrant in an already competitive market in Waldo’s Chicken and Beer at 4221 Warden Road in North Little Rock.
The building occupies the spot once held down by the late Johnny Carino’s along North Little Rock’s venerable restaurant row. Covid hasn’t been kind to the local dining scene as the ongoing pandemic has left some spots empty, while others have been moving around.
Still though, given the pedigree, Waldo’s is a worthy new restaurant that’s certainly worth checking out.
There’s already a handful of Waldo's around the southeast as the restaurant concept was brought here by Jim Keet, the brains behind many of the very good places to eat in central Arkansas already.
There’s the eponymous Petit and Keet in Little Rock. There’s Cypress Social on the Boulevard and then there’s half a dozen and counting Taziki’s.
Waldo’s has been open, of the soft sort, for the past week, and on a recent Sunday night, it was doing a brisk business as people were there checking it out.
It was a little hectic, given the crowd but things moved fast and one can peruse the menu while waiting to order.
Directly behind us was a customer who was already on his third trip to Waldo’s in the six days it had been open, so that’s pretty high praise.
The menu is straight forward – chicken. You can get it fried, grilled and as tenders. You can also get the yardbird in sandwich form. Salads for the health conscious and your normal selection of soft drinks and tea. There’s also a full bar. Because “Beer” is in the restaurant’s name.
Lifetime dining companion had already studied the menu online, and determined that the “Feed the Flock tender meal” was the best choice.
She was right, as usual.
The meal came with 12 big, and well made fried chicken tenders, some very good cole slaw and four misnamed cheddar biscuits. They’re really more a mini-muffin, not that that’s a bad thing.
Two sides were also included and we went with french fries and collard greens, that were also really, really good.
The dipping sauces were also made in-house and of the three flavors we sampled, all were tasty.
If you didn’t know the Keet connection, the Taziki’s cups they were using for soft drinks gave away the game but we were told branded cups would eventually be available.
Plenty of tables, both inside and out, made for plenty of seating, despite the crowd.
The one downside was the “booty buster” metal chairs out of the patio. Good for the restaurant as “table turn” is important though as no one wants to sit in them for very long.
On the plus side, it was a shocking amount of food that checked in at under $40 that was dinner for two, plus three leftover lunches during the week that followed.
There’s also a drive-thru, that wasn’t open yet and a grand opening will be soon.