Nick Farr is a man in motion
Principal at Maumelle High School always on the go; Park groundbreaking held in Maumelle; Event held for new Dollar General Distribution Center; Clint Reed takes charge of North Little Rock football
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Pandemic deaths still “0”
The state Department of Health, on its Covid dashboard, showed that in the past week, there were no new deaths reported. The numbers were updated Tuesday, Aug. 8.
The total number of reported dead Arkansans remains at 13,205 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 City Council will meet next Monday night at City Hall. The North Little Rock School Board will have a special call meeting at 5:30 p.m. tonight. To view the agenda, click here. In addition to employment there’s an information item on upcoming capital improvement projects. Not on the agenda is a plan to spend $75,000 on a communications consultant. It was tabled last week after some pretty fierce pushback by those in the community and media coverage.
Events: The North Little Rock Community Concert band is having two performances this week of 1943. The first is at 7 p.m. on Friday at Maumelle First United Methodist Church and the second is at 3 p.m. on Sunday at the Hays Senior Center. For more information, check out the flyer below.
ICYMI: Rabbit, rabbit
Something to read: ProPublica, the non-profit news outlet, has yet another article on Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his connections to billionaires and luxury travel. It’s a barn-burner. Click here, to give it a read.
Since ArkansasNewsroom.com was founded in the fall of 2020, the site has published 1,499 articles of local news, sports and commentary. Today’s edition makes it 1,500! Sometimes, we can’t believe it either. Many, many thanks to the readers and paid subscribers who make all of this possible. We couldn’t do this without you. So, again, thank you. – Jeremy
Park groundbreaking held in Maumelle
City and community leaders gathered in Maumelle on Wednesday morning for a groundbreaking of a special sort.
It was for second phase of the Maumelle Play and Splash project that is building an all-inclusive playground next to the splash pad.
As previously reported by ArkansasNewsroom.com here, the playground is expected to cost a little under $700,000 to build and the city of Maumelle has already appropriated $300,000 for the park, while there’s another $240,000 coming from the Arkansas Outdoor Recreation Grant Program that will go towards the park’s construction.
That still leaves some fundraising that needs to be done and Parks & Rec director Phillip Raborn has said donations are still being accepted. If one would like to contribute to that funding, they can contact Raborn by email at Phillip@maumelleparksandrec.com.
Community leaders attend Community Development Institute at UCA
The Community Development Institute at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway recently wrapped up its annual training session.
Now in its 36h year, CDI is an annual conference for community leaders that spans five days on the UCA campus.
Those attending from Maumelle are:
Mayor Caleb Norris (Advanced Year)
City Council members Terry Williams, Christine Gronwald and Chad Gardner
Maumelle Permits and Planning Technician, Lydia Dreher
Maumelle Communications Coordinator Cydney Thompson
Maumelle Area Chamber of Commerce Director, Kellie Wall.
Courtney Dunn, the city’s Director of Economic Development, is also a graduate of the program and continues to participate in activities as well.
CDI says its mission is to “train community leaders and economic development professionals on how to strengthen their local economies and build communities. This is achieved by developing the ability of participants to identify community assets, set goals, encourage collaboration and partnerships with stakeholders, and bring communities, organizations, and businesses together to respond to a broad range of economic and quality of life issues.”
The complete program takes three years to finish. For more information, go to www.uca.edu/cdi.
Event held for new Dollar General Distribution Center under construction
Wednesday afternoon state and community leaders gathered in Little Rock for an event celebrating the new Dollar General Distribution Center currently under construction on the east side of North Little Rock.
The project, 1.2 million square feet, was announced last year and construction is already underway. It is expected to open sometime next year.
“The North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce and economic team in our city have done an excellent job in developing and utilizing property throughout our city,” said North Little Rock Mayor Terry Hartwick. “We are excited to have Dollar General in North Little Rock.”
The facility is near the already Amazon distribution center and another warehouse and distribution center for Lowes is planned for the area.
Also planned is a Tractor Supply distribution center in Maumelle that will join the Dillard's distribution center in that city when it also opens next year.
The Dollar General facility will also feature a refrigerated section for things like produce, meat and dairy items.
Nick Farr is a man in motion: New Principal at Maumelle High School is always on the go
While classes start next Monday at Maumelle High School, administrators and teachers are already hard at work getting ready and among the new faces is Dr. Nick Farr, the school’s new principal.
Farr, above, is a familiar face to some, at least those familiar with the local theater scene, and brings a wide-range of experience to the job. He was most recently the principal at Marianna before accepting this job last spring.
Below is a Q&A with Farr and it has lightly edited and formatted for publication.
» What drew you to work in education?
It was a combination of people who helped me to realize that education was my thing. My teachers Kay Richards, Kris Smith, Michael Johnson, Dr. Houston, and Prentice Dupins all helped to shape me at a young age. There were mentors and showed me that helping others is what gives you the most fulfillment in life.
» Your academics has been remarkably varied -- football coach to choir teacher, etc. -- doesn't seem typical, how will those range of experiences help you as principal?
I believe it’s our past experiences that helped to shape us as people. It’s those experiences that give us the insight to help others. I know the things our teachers go through; I understand the importance of athletics to our scholars; I know that the arts are needed to not only uplift spirits, but to impact education across the board. I’m about diversity, and with my diverse background, I can offer a range of support to continue to impact those areas while being open to learn about others. Education is not one sided, it needs a balance of many things to develop the whole child. I believe I have the background knowledge to help with that.
» Speaking of choir/drama, Maumelle has an incredible auditorium but things have been limited there because of COVID. Do you have plans to bring back performances and such?
As a performer in the Little Rock Theatre Community, I think that I can assist our Fine Arts Department Chair by first supporting the needs of his department, and secondly supporting the talent that all wish to display. I want to see our choir, band, dance, and theatre departments fill the stage each year with performances that showcase diversity, embrace community, and simply get kids excited about coming to school! I want to see our choir, band, dance, and visual arts department in local competitions. I want to see a community of arts as we do in surrounding areas that offer a full season of activities with our supporters purchasing season passes. There is no limit and it is necessary for the advancement of our school.
» What's the thing you most look forward to as being principal?
I look forward to embracing the old and new, to bring our community together like never before. From the green and gold to the red and black, I want to see Maumelle develop a sense of community that is unmatched! I look forward to learning more about our Oak Grove Community and starting more traditions as one. I think this is just a start to the greater goal and mission, which is making Maumelle High School the school of choice for all in Maumelle! That starts with higher achievement, community support, transparency, a shift in culture, and involvement of all stakeholders. The time is now!
» Go-to lunch for a high school principal on the go?
My go-to lunch is probably a meal prepped and sitting in a refrigerator in my office. If not, I’ll take any fruit I can get my hands on! The less salt and sugar I intake, the more energy I can extend, and you can bet that I’ll bring the energy each day!
» Anything else you'd like to add?
I love the job I do. It’s not always pretty and it’s not always fun, but it is always fulfilling! I’m a lifelong learner and I always seek an opportunity to grow and learn more. Mediocrity is not an option for me. Being comfortable is not an option for me. It is in the time that we are uncomfortable, that we truly grow and learn…that’s where I plan to be!
The schools in the Academics Plus system – Maumelle Charter and Scott Charter – have already started classes.
Pulaski County Special and North Little Rock school districts return to class next Monday, Aug. 14 while Central Arkansas Christian’s first day of school will be next Wednesday, Aug. 16.
First Day of School: Monday, Aug. 14
School supplies list: Crystal Hill Elementary
School supplies list: Oak Grove Elementary
School supplies list: Pine Forest Elementary
First Day of School: Wednesday, Aug. 16
School supplies list: North Little Rock Elementary
School supplies list: Pleasant Valley Elementary
School supplies list: Mustang Mountain Elementary | Call 501-758-3160 ext. 224 as Kindergarten enrollment is ongoing.
First Day of School: Monday, Aug. 14
School supplies list: Amboy Elementary
School supplies list: Boone Park Elementary
School supplies list: Crestwood Elementary
School supplies list: Glenview Elementary
School supplies list: Indian Hills Elementary
School supplies list: Lakewood Elementary
School supplies list: Meadow Park Elementary
School supplies list: School supplies list: North Little Rock Academy
School supplies list: NLRMS - Sixth Grade Campus
School supplies list: NLRMS - Seventh & Eighth Grade Campus
School supplies list: Ridge Road Elementary
School supplies list: Seventh Street Elementary
ACHI offers recommendations for parents, caregivers to safeguard children from social media's harms
As evidence mounts about social media’s potential harms to children, parents and caregivers should know there are steps they can take to minimize the risks, the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement said Wednesday.
“Social media can have both positive and negative impacts on young people,” ACHI President and CEO Dr. Joe Thompson said. “Along with providing opportunities for education, entertainment and communication, social media can expose children to cyberbullying, promote bad habits, and fuel depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems. Parents and caregivers need to know what the dangers are and what they can do to safeguard children from harm.”
ACHI offered the following recommendations:
Monitor time on social media.
Research has shown that 12-to-15-year-olds who spend more than three hours a day on social media are at double the risk of depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems compared to their peers who do not use social media. Unfortunately, among 8th and 10th graders who report any social media use, the average time spent on social media is 3.5 hours per day. Parents and caregivers should use screen-time monitoring tools, which are built into most devices, to understand how much time children spend online. Most parental controls also allow time limits to be set on devices or individual apps.
Ensure social media use does not disrupt sleep.
Excessive social media use has been linked to insufficient sleep and poor quality of sleep. Poor sleep in adolescents has been linked to altered brain development and suicidal thoughts, among other issues. To help ensure children get enough sleep, parents and caregivers can work with children to agree on screen-free nights starting at least one hour before bedtime and use parental controls to have devices automatically lock at a set time each evening.
Protect children from inappropriate content.
Almost two-thirds of children say they are “often” or “sometimes” exposed to hate-based content on social media. Nearly 6 in 10 adolescent girls say they have been contacted on social media by a stranger who made them feel uncomfortable. Parents and caregivers should work with children to adopt healthy social media practices such as blocking or reporting unwanted or inappropriate content, reaching out when they see harassment, understanding the implications of cyberbullying, and not sharing personal information online.
Additional information and resources are available on ACHI’s website at: achi.net/youthsocialmedia
A video message from Dr. Joe Thompson, “Social Media and the Well-Being of Arkansas Youth,” available on YouTube below
A video by ACHI on how to find and use parental controls on mobile devices, available on YouTube below
Football: ‘Cats turn to Reed as season starts Aug. 25 for North Little Rock
Clint Reed has put in the work at North Little Rock.
The long-time assistant was named the school’s head football coach earlier this summer and Reed will also pull double-duty as he remains the Dean of Students at the high school.
A graduate of Nashville and a former lineman at Arkansas Tech, Reed brings experience to his new role. He’s been with the district since 2015 before that he was an assistant at Lakeside in Hot Springs, among others, and also spent four seasons as an assistant coach at Tech.
“Drinking water from a fire hose,” Reed said of taking over the program. “. It has been fast and furious, not enough time in the day sometimes. The change has been good for me, and I love the challenge.”
Reed said the coaching part has come relatively easy as, “ I have been blessed to have worked for some really good head coaches that have allowed me to be involved in some of the day to day things that go on as a head coach” and he said “the transition has been awesome so far. … It has been a very good, very positive start.
Reed said his time as a college player, then college coach, helped get him ready for the high school level.
“You are maturing as a young adult so you're starting to understand the game a little better,” he said, “Understanding why the coach is asking me to do it this way vs just doing it because the coach said do,” and added it was “ one of the best things I ever did for my career”
North Little Rock went 6-6 last season and lost in the 7A quarterfinals to Bentonville. This season, the ‘Cats are expected to be solid and Hootens Arkansas Football has them as the No. 10 team in 7A with a fifth place predicted in the conference.
There’s some talent back as well and linebacker Delkarai Davis was North Little Rock’s sole pick to the Hootens preseason 7A Super Team.
Reed said Davis holds down the defense at middle linebacker.
“He has to have patience, and help teach and lead individuals that did not play a lot last season,” Reed said of Davis, the team’s tackler last season on what Reed called a “really good defense.”
“This year will be completely different,” he added. “Two, maybe three, returning starters … Knowing there will be some growing pains and some mistakes made that we will have to overcome can be very difficult.”
Reed also singled out senior center Noah Taylor.
He’s the “leader of a returning group, mostly senior guys that have played and have been in the fight” Reed said. “Sometimes a group of this nature can be very hard to lead. He does a great job making the calls, making the adjustments, holding them accountable. We are blessed to have him back leading this group and offense.”
The season starts Aug. 25 when Little Rock Catholic comes to town and there’s not much travel this season as North Little Rock doesn’t leave Pulaski County until Oct. 27 when the Cats head to defending state champ Bryant. The regular season finale on Nov. 3 is at Cabot.
Reed doesn’t expect perfection this season.
“The trip will not be smooth all the time, there will be obstacles and bumps to navigate,” he said. “Celebrate the good things that happen, battle and fight the bad things. We can't worry about the things we can't control, win the simple victories in a day, Love and believe in ourselves and our team.”
Cats at a glance
Coach: Clint Reed (0-0 career record, 1st season)
Hootens Arkansas Football ranking: No. 10 in 7A and picked to finish fifth in the conference
2022 record: 6-6
Base offense: Spread
Players to watch on offense: RB Jovante Harris / WR Jace White / WR Malachi Muhammed / QB Tyson Bradden / C Noah Taylor
Base defense: 4-2-5
Players to watch on defense: LB Delkarai Davis / LB Skyler Easter / DE AJ Johnson / DE J'Lynn Allen
No baseball at Dickey-Stephens this week
At Midland, now through Sunday
At Amarillo. Aug. 15 - 20