Moore on Maumelle; LRAFB town hall tonight
Plus, this week's news and sports headlines
Moore on Maumelle: My Take
Our attention has turned from standing in line to get a test to standing in line to get the vaccine. The attention to the vaccine gave me pause to ponder all of the vaccines we have taken and continue to take in order to stay alive on this petri dish of a planet.
Most of us have taken a long list of vaccines. A partial list would include Hepatitis B, DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis), Pneumococcal, Polio. MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), Varicella (chickenpox) and more.
Those of us of a certain age have taken shingles shots and senior booster shots for pneumonia and, of course, the good, old, annual flu shot. My point is: Most of us came into the world disease free and they immediately started stabbing us with various antivenins.
Now we must make the decision to take the Covid-19 vaccine. I can only speak for myself, but I’ll be glad to take it and I don’t care where they stab me. I’ve taken a slew of the other ones and suffered no major side effects and have only contracted a few of the diseases such as mumps, which was awful in my case.
I believe that masks, social distancing and extreme hygiene will become the norm and that’s probably a good thing going forward.
Keep your mask on in public. Keep your distance. Wash your hands, etc. Those who don’t are selfish. It’s far from over, but there’s hope.
I’m in it to win it. I hope you are too.
R.J. Mazzoni — One of your New Council Members
I conducted an online interview with newly elected Maumelle Council member R.J. Mazzoni. Mazzoni defeated one-time Council member Rick Anderson to win the Ward 2, Position 1 seat.
Are you glad you got elected? Why?
“I was more humbled than anything else that so many people placed their trust in my message. Rick Anderson has done a lot for the city, so I knew it wouldn’t be easy. I will definitely work hard to justify that trust. This is a great honor and I want to thank everyone for their support.”
What excites you about serving?
“Right now, Maumelle is a city in transition. We have outgrown our business structure, and finances are tight. However, we also have opportunities to develop, and we need to take advantage of them. The decisions we make now will impact us for years. I’m very excited to be joining the city council during this time and I look forward to helping shape Maumelle’s future.”
What concerns do you have for the city as we face 2021?
“Definitely our budget. Since 2015, our spending has increased at almost twice the rate our revenue has increased and it has finally caught up with us. Mayor Norris and all the department heads did excellent work on the 2021 budget, and we will break our 3-year streak and we will not pull from our city’s emergency fund in 2021. However, we need to realize that it will take some time to get back to where we were. I will definitely continue to be focused on our finances and present a complete picture. There will be a lot of uncertainty next year until we see the full impact from the pandemic both on us and the rest of the country. While I’m convinced Maumelle will weather this storm very well, we will still need to adapt to any significant downturn and minimize any impact to us.”
Are there any particular issues you will be focusing on?
“I would like to develop a strategic plan for Maumelle. We have the “Maumelle Forward” that outlined a comprehensive vision of our city, and goals to get us there. It’s time to take that framework and create a plan that we can implement to get us there. This will definitely be a challenge, but I think it will be worth the effort”.
Note: I have extended an offer to Doug Shinn for an interview, but I haven’t heard from him.
Restaurant Battles on Facebook
If you want to start a fight on Facebook, just say something negative about a restaurant. Over the past few days, there has been a constant barrage over a certain (un)popular pizza restaurant. It started with an unhappy customer complaining about a salad and led all the way to hurting our economic prospects if we can’t be nicer online. I agree with one premise: First, you complain to the management, give them another chance, and don’t go back if you’re still not happy. No need for a public hanging. Your incident might be isolated so don’t drive business away when they all need it desperately. To the restaurants: Step up your game. I’ve been disappointed more than once with take-out offerings.
Squirrels Attack Maumelle Christmas Decorations
Two Maumellians were featured in a KARK-TV news report sharing their story of vicious squirrels chewing the electric cords leading to their lighted Christmas decorations. In two separate incidents, Michelle Elliot and Erin Scoggins both reported attacks by the annoying rodents. Elliot actually caught one of the varmints sitting on a decorative angel staring into her security camera as if to say, “Bring it.” Both of the ladies have plans to keep their decorations up and lit. There have been other posts on Facebook with similar reports, but no certainty it was a furry attacker or just a mean, old Grinchy type.
In any case, it brings to mind a saying I heard a lot as a child: “Get out of my yard!”
“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” — James Sherman
See you on the Boulevard.
Neal Moore is a public relations consultant and resident of Maumelle. Send your Maumelle news or comments to email@example.com.
Town Hall tonight for Little Rock Air Force Base
A virtual town hall will be held at 6:30 tonight, Thursday, as part of the Compatible Use Study being conducted by Little Rock Air Force Base in Jacksonville.
The study started in 2019 and the White & Smith Planning and Law Group, a consulting firm that served as lead, will make its final recommendations for the air base and the communities it serves, along with the Blackjack Drop Zone.
The study has been a cooperative effort between Pulaski, White and Lonoke counties and the cities of Maumelle, North Little Rock, Jacksonville, Sherwood, along with Cabot and Lonoke along with the other smaller communities inside what the air base considers its “footprint.”
Despite its Little Rock name, the air base is located in Jacksonville, at a former World War II ordnance plant. What is now called Maumelle also had a World War II ordnance plant, and the bunkers at Lake Willastein still stand as a reminder of the city’s past.
The study is also looking at the Blackjack Drop Zone, and is mostly in rural White County. The C-130s based at the air base also use the All-American Landing Zone at Camp Robinson for its practice runs.
Camp Robinson forms the western city limit of North Little Rock and extends to Lake Conway to the north and west.
There’s approximately 64 C-130s in Jacksonville and the base is the only training facility of its kind in the United States military and is also used for training by America’s military allies from around the world. The base is home to the largest international flying school in the world and has trained pilots, flight engineers and loadmasters from some 47 countries.
The study’s goal is to promote “responsible land use” while also, “accommodating compatible growth and economic development, protecting public safety and quality of life, and sustaining the mission of the Air Force in the region for the long-term.”
The nearly two-year study began in 2019 and included interviews with:
Community and business stakeholders
Local utility providers
The Arkansas Economic Development Commission
The Arkansas Department of Transportation
Rob Ator, a retired Air Force colonel and former commander of the 189th Airlift Wing, who is now Director of Military Affairs for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission said in a December 2019 Arkansas Inc. podcast with Clark Cogbill, that the actual sponsor of the study is, “the city of Jacksonville and Mayor Bob Johnson out there.”
Ator added that it wasn’t just Jacksonville.
“We've brought in all the county judges and Barry Hyde and Metroplan and Entergy, and we've brought in all the partners that have a stake in making sure that base is viable,” he said. “We're all sitting around the table discussing the base. And so it's knocking down a lot of walls.”
Some of that is because the Air Force has made a huge investment in the base, but also Arkansas.
“You know, flying the C-130, we have military training routes that cover the entire state,” Ator said. “When you bring all that into noise abatement and those kinds of issues, really it covers about 70-80 percent of the state and so that's a very large study.”
There’s also the importance of the base in the state’s economy.
“The economic impact of [Little Rock Air Force Base] alone for central Arkansas is over $1.2 billion,” Ator said. “We have over 6,000 almost 7,000 military members who are going to work every day” there and, “It is by far and away the largest installation that we have in this state.”
The study is co-funded by the Department of Defense and the Office of Economic Adjustment and expected to cost more than $500,000 when completed. It is being administered by the Jacksonville Economic Development and Cultural Alliance, with Marstel-Day, LLC and Benchmark CMR, Inc. assisting.
For more information, contact Dr. Robert Price, firstname.lastname@example.org or 501-681-2288 or Col. (Ret) Nancy Shefflette, email@example.com or 501-279-6544.
Facebook Live: Go to @LittleRockAirForceBaseCUS, and click the link to see the livestream.
By Zoom | Telephone: Dial 346-248-7799 or 312-626-6799. When prompted for the Meeting ID, enter: 838 1519 2355. When prompted for the Passcode, enter: 450 976. If prompted for a Participant ID, press #
Web: The one-click link for our December 17 Town Hall is https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83815192355… or go to https://zoom.us/join When prompted for the Meeting ID, enter: 838 1519 2355. When prompted for the Passcode, enter: 450 976