Garvan Gardens is a delight, Scott gets national teaching honor, Ben Krain to have photo exhibition, Derby Day is Saturday, Turning the corner on Covid, Maumelle Task Force meets tonight and headlines
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Turning the corner on Covid?
Arkansas, it seems, is starting to turn the corner on Covid as weekly deaths dropped to 66, since this time last week.
The total number of dead Arkansans is still staggering at 11,218 but given where it could have been, there’s no doubt that vaccinations saved lives in this state.
Yes, the vaccination rate is still low at 53.9 percent overall, but there’s some light creeping through when you drill down into the numbers.
Namely, that the vaccination rate for the at most risk group, those 65 and over, is at 80 percent in Arkansas. That’s really good news.
Especially when you consider the number of total dead in that age group.
In Arkansas, that’s currently at 8,283 and of those 66 deaths this last week, 57 of them were people 65 and over. So the more people who get vaccination and get boosted in that age group the better.
As for the national trends, the forecast numbers from the Centers for Disease Control are below and through April 23.
The forecasts seem to be settling in between 11,500 and 12,000 total deaths in the next four weeks.
There’s some real divergence in the new weekly death forecasts with the topline number a real outlier at nearly 250 new, weekly deaths while the low end looks to be in single digits.
The reality, is, and has been, get vaccinated and get boosted.
The harsher truth is, if you’re over 65, you should have already done those things months ago. Years ago. There’s still time.
If you don’t want to get sick and die, there’s some things you can do:
Wear a mask
Maumelle task force meeting is tonight: The second meeting of an elected officials salary task force meeting for Maumelle will be held at 6:30 p.m. tonight, City Clerk Tina Timmons said on Wednesday.
The committee has a total of seven members, five residents of Maumelle and two members of the City Council. They are:
Jeff Van Patten, Chairman
Michelle Strange Elliot
Council Member RJ Mazzoni
Council Member Doug Shinn
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 on Friday. The play will run for five nights and will end on April 10.
Upcoming meetings: The Maumelle City Council will meet Monday night.
There’s now a one-stop shop to learn about vaccination sites and other Covid related information. Click here to learn more.
Derby Day is Saturday at Oaklawn
By Robert Yates
HOT SPRINGS – The last name called during the post position draw for the $1.25 million Arkansas Derby, the richest Kentucky Derby prep, was Secret Oath.
But, regarding the race, could it be another case of “ladies first” for her Hall of Fame trainer, D. Wayne Lukas?
After winning the 1984 Arkansas Derby with a filly, Althea, Lukas attempts to do it again with Secret Oath, who headlines a nine-horse field for the 1 1/8-mile event Saturday at Oaklawn. Probable post time for the Arkansas Derby, which goes as the 12th of 13 races, is 6:35 p.m.
Racing begins at noon. The infield will be open and will feature live music, food trucks, Beer Garden and Kids Zone.
Saturday’s card also features the $600,000 Fantasy Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles, $400,000 Oaklawn Mile for older horses and the $200,000 Carousel Stakes for older fillies and mares at 6 furlongs.
The Arkansas Derby will offer 170 points (100-40-20-10, respectively) to the top four finishers toward starting eligibility for the Kentucky Derby. A top two finish likely would give Secret Oath enough points to run in the Kentucky Derby, which is limited to 20 starters.
In other racing news: Oaklawn will add Thursday, April 7 to its schedule after racing was canceled Jan. 21 due to inclement weather.
Oaklawn’s live meet runs through Sunday, May 8.
Crystal Hill’s Scott gets national teaching honor
Christal Scott, a science teacher at Crystal Hill Elementary School, was honored this week by the National Science Teaching Association.
Scott, above, received the Shell Urban Science Educator Development Award from the organization and was the only teacher from Arkansas that was honored.
“I have always been intrigued by science, with a passion for science extending from grade school to the present,” Scott said. “Science was the first subject I truly fell in love with. My school, team, community, and especially my students are an essential part of my love for teaching. I appreciate NSTA for helping me to serve them effectively. With this award, I will develop and improve my own instruction to improve my lessons, the motivation of my students and my learning community.”
“Scott is only two years into her teaching career and is already making a significant impact on the lives of young people,” said her principal, Stacy Bottoms. “She epitomizes professionalism, dedication, and true care and concern for her students. I can't wait to watch her reach her goals as an outstanding leader in our profession.”
Awardees will be recognized during a special evening celebration taking place during the NSTA National Conference on Science Education in Houston, Texas on Friday.
“Congratulations to all of the award winners on their success,” said Eric Pyle, NSTA President in a release. “Each one of these incredible educators has repeatedly gone above and beyond their role as a teacher to inspire their students and colleagues, helping them move towards a brighter future, and demonstrating what is possible in science teaching and learning.”
The complete list of winners can be found by clicking here.
Maumelle: Tree Board has openings
Looking for a way to serve your community?
Then Maumelle has an opportunity for you as the city’s Tree Board currently has vacancies that need filling, City Clerk Tina Timmons said this week.
The posting is below and for more information, contact Timmons by calling City Hall at 501-851-2500
CITY TREE BOARD VACANCIES
The Mayor and City Council are accepting resumes from residents interested in serving on the City’s Tree Board. Three citizens will be appointed to three-year terms ending June 30, 2025. An applicant must be a resident of Maumelle. Desired backgrounds for applicants include land development, forestry, landscaping or horticulture, utility industry, and City Beautification Committee, but any with a desire to serve are encouraged to apply. The Director of Planning & Zoning and the Director of Parks and Recreation serve as permanent non-voting members of the Board.
Resumes should be submitted to the City Clerk/Treasurer, Tina Timmons, 550 Edgewood Drive Maumelle, AR 72113, no later than April 13, 2022. Resumes will be reviewed by the Mayor and appointments will be made at the regularly scheduled City Council meeting on April 18 at 6 p.m. at City Hall.
Please contact Scott Grummer, Director of Planning and Zoning, at 501-851-2500 with any questions.
Maumelle's Krain to have photo exhibit
Maumelle photographer Ben Krain will have an exhibition of his work at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock starting next week on April 4 and continuing through May 6.
Krain’s exhibit is titled “Encounters” and will be on display in the Focus Gallery in the Windgate Center of Art and Design.
The gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, and 2-5 p.m. Sunday. The exhibit is free and open to the public.
Technically and impressively skilled, Krain currently works as the university’s photographer and has been a working photojournalist, he said, for more than 20 years.
“The more challenging photographs are those of everyday life,” Krain said describing the exhibit. The simple exploration of nothing. The moments in-between the moments. I find these unplanned encounters the most interesting. The content is not about the news. It is about the human spirit. These are the photographs in this exhibit. They can be taken by anyone. There is no special access or credential required other than just being present. (Although a few may have needed a plane ticket to get there or an event ticket to get in), they are still accessible to anyone with a camera and desire to explore.”
For more information, contact Focus Gallery Director Joli Livaudais at email@example.com.
Peak Tulip: Garvan Gardens is an Arkansas wonder
HOT SPRINGS – The drive is absolutely worth it.
Yes, there’s beautiful flowers in North Little Rock at the Old Mill and there’s some pretty great tulips downtown but there’s just something about Garvan Gardens that seems otherworldly.
The Hot Springs botanical garden is operated by the University of Arkansas and covers roughly 210 acres along Lake Hamilton.
Named by national publications as among the best places to visit, Garvan Gardens has always attracted a crowd.
That was certainly the case on a recent visit as we were lucky, and early enough, to score a spot in the main parking lot. That isn’t always the case for some as the crowds have been overwhelming enough to the point that the parking lot was closed and people were turned away.
It is extremely handy to check the Garvan Gardens Facebook page as they provide regular updates on parking, and, for example, today is a cash only day because the credit and debit machines are down.
Today is also the last day admission is $15. No fooling, it goes up to $20 a person on Friday, April Fool’s Day.
Dogs are also charged a $5 admission fee.
The gardens open at 10 a.m. daily and close at 6 p.m.
Best tip is to go during the week if you’re able. If going on Saturday or Sunday, be in the vicinity between 9:30 and 9:45 a.m. so you can park and stand in line. There’s three lines for admission – one for paying cash, one for credit/debit cards and another for those who are members as they’re allowed entry for free. Memberships start at $65 and are probably worth it if you visit the gardens regularly.
For the real garden enthusiast, it is worth noting that the Garvan Gardens also “participates in the AHS Reciprocal Garden admission program.” So, essentially, if you live elsewhere and are a member of a botanical garden that participates, you can also get in Garvan Gardens.
And, if you’re one of those people and are reading this, please give us a shout. We’d like to know more for a future story.
Once you get aside, the trails are mostly paved and relatively flat. They’re an easy walk. For those with mobility issues, the gardens also offer golf cart tours for a charge.
The gardens have also opened up additional trails, that were once service roads, to some of the different attractions, like the especially impressive children’s area with what’s possibly the best tree house that’s not in a tree, you’ll ever see.
For more information on the gardens, go to garvangardens.org.