It’s almost time to decide who you would like to see run your government. On Nov. 8, you can and should cast your vote for the candidates of your choice. (Early voting begins Monday.) Many interested Maumellians, around 200 in person and thousands more on the livestream, got a glimpse of races important to Maumelle by attending the Candidate Forum sponsored by ArkansasNewsroom.com held Tuesday, Oct. 18 at First Baptist Church in Maumelle.
It can be viewed in its entirety on Youtube by clicking the link below:
The candidates who appeared were:
Maumelle Mayor: Incumbent Caleb Norris vs. Jodie Mahony
Maumelle City Council - Ward 1 - Position 1: David Cole vs. Christine Gronwald
State Representative, District 71: Republican Brandon Achor and Democrat John J. Pack. Libertarian Aaron Raatz did not attend.
Pulaski County Sheriff: Incumbent Democrat Eric Higgins and Republican Paul “Blue” Keller
Unfortunately, three of our City Council members are unopposed: Chad Gardner, Jess Holt and Michael Tierney. The dog debate alone is enough to make it undesirable to run.
Maumelle resident and State Representative Mark Lowery is running for state treasurer. Pam Whitaker, the Democrat running against Lowery, seems to have given up and has not campaigned, raised money, or done anything. Not sure why she ran, but like many Democrats, she doesn’t seem motivated to run anything but a half-assed, underfunded campaign with a few Facebook posts.
Related to Maumelle is the race for State Senate District 13 pitting incumbent Republican Jane English, 81, against Democratic candidate Allison Sweatman, 32, and Libertarian candidate Noah Jones, age unknown. English will most likely win reelection. All three candidates are from North Little Rock.
I predict a Republican sweep for every state office, including governor. Norris should win reelection as mayor, Achor will easily be your new state representative and Higgins will most likely win reelection as sheriff. Sarah Sanders will make her only debate appearance on Arkansas PBS this Friday.
We’ll vote on allowing adults to smoke marijuana without a medical pass. Polls say it will pass. It should. Compared to the ravages of alcohol consumption, it only makes sense to allow adults to make a choice with much less destructive pot. And it would add a massive influx of tax revenue. It’s not a perfect bill but it’s a beginning to decriminalize pot. Now, they need to expunge the records of those with a small possession marijuana on their record.
Maumelle is now home to Arkansas’ largest indoor car wash with the opening of the new Splash Car Wash located in the space once occupied by the Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market. I guess I’m not their target customer. I wash my car every three to four months whether it needs it or not. But since they offered a free wash to everyone who responded to their text or direct-mail, I decided to check it out and used my freebie. It was a visually interesting journey as the sprays, soaps and giant brushes rotated all over my car.
Best I can figure, if you don’t sign up for their membership program, it’s about $10 a pop for the most basic wash and the vacuum is free. There’s a super-complicated pricing structure that I was going to share with you, but you’ll have to figure it out yourself. There’s an annual program that’s almost $400 a year and a lot of other options. More info at www.cleancarfast.com. I’ll go back in about three months for my basic 10-buck wash.
Maumellians get a taste of different restaurants on a fairly regular basis because they seem to come and go on a regular basis.
Goku Ramen opened recently and has gotten favorable notices on social media. I had a pleasant experience there and can highly recommend the Tonkotsu Ramen with braised pork. I only wish they had more toppings such as bean sprouts and jalapenos, but it is definitely a full meal. I do wish they would get higher quality paper towels on the tables. They occupy the space that briefly housed The Pizza House at 1900 Club Manor Drive. It seems to be doing a brisk business.
There’s also a new place with a Cajun theme, called Saps Creole Cuisine. It’s located next to Creole Cuisine next to the Shipley’s Donut shop. Their menu looks intriguing, and I hope to try it soon.
And speaking of car washes, the one near Wal-Mart has been leveled and will be a 7 Brew Drive-Through Coffee. 7 Brew is a franchise operation with 22 stands, according to their website. No food, just coffee drinks and flavored concoctions. Seems to me they are on the wrong side of the Boulevard to attract the morning commuters. At least it’s not a pizza or Mexican food joint.
The Tailgaters2 Go food truck has found a new home in the parking lot of a former church now occupied by an insurance company (behind Kroger and next door to the fire station at 4001 Club Manor). Their featured items are burgers and a Philly Cheesesteak. Gave it a try and the burgers are outstanding. You can find their menu on Facebook.
Foodie tip: If you’re a person of a certain age, over 50, you can get a bargain meal at The Maumelle Center on the Lake located near the fire station on 2 Club Manor Cove. The daily breakfast specials are $5.25, and lunch is $5.75. It’s always good and you can’t beat the price. They post their menus daily on their Facebook page. I think memberships are $35 a year and you also get access to a ton of classes, exercise equipment and a lot of friendly folks. More info at www.maumellecenteronthelake.com.
Money makes the world go around, especially in sports. There may not be any amateur sports in college with the exception of smaller schools. We’re paying the big-school coaches tons of money; we’re paying the top athletes big money, and the transfer portal has made college athletics a revolving door that leaves me and most fans not really sure who their players are and where they came from.
The money has changed everything, and I think for the worse in this case.
The dog debate continues in Maumelle after a citizen and his dog were attacked by two unleashed pit bulls. The dog died and the citizen suffered injuries, and the attack dogs have been euthanized. The City Council in its infinite wisdom has basically decided to do nothing since lifting the breed ban last year. I shall not join the debate of what is the right thing to do. We missed that opportunity when the Council decided to vote on the divisive issue without letting the voters decide. Now they have to deal with the aftermath and will continue to talk this thing to death. No wonder no one wants to run for City Council. It’s a doggone shame.
We mourn the passing of former Mayor Burch Johnson and former Maumelle Chamber of Commerce President, Al Canelli. I knew both men and would often get calls from Burch advising me on the topic for next week’s column. Both will be missed.
See you on the Boulevard.
Neal Moore is an award-winning columnist and public relations consultant and resident of Maumelle. Send your Maumelle news or comments to email@example.com. Thanks, PJ.