Soccer rules the roost

Legislature cuts tax burden to PTOs, PTAs; Neal Moore offers up his take plus news and sports headlines

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The headlines

Maumelle: City Council report; The Maumelle City Council had a lengthy agenda and meeting this week, but I must say I’m really encouraged by the amount of discussion that takes place in our council meetings. While we don’t always agree on issues, we’re having a lot of good discussion prior to voting and that is very helpful to hear other thoughts on matters.Chad Gardner Click the headline to read more.

Sports headlines

Soccer: Falcons ready to soar in state tournament; Maumelle Charter will play at 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 13 against the No. 2 seed from the 3A-West at North Little Rock’s Burns Park. Click the headline to read more.

Soccer: Maumelle Charter girls are a ‘special team’; With one game remaining in the regular season, the Maumelle Charter Lady Falcons have even more matches ahead with the start of the Class 3A state tournament next week. Click the headline to read more.

Click headlines to read more

Moore on Maumelle: My Take 

Neal Moore

When I was in college I appeared in a production of Edward Albee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, “A Delicate Balance.” I may have been 20, playing the patriarch of a very complicated family that featured themes way beyond my comprehension of the challenges and intensity of living life in the real world with seriously flawed people. Kind of like real life. But at 20 years of age, I wasn’t ready to think about real life. Because a lot of real life sucks. 

That phrase, “a delicate balance,” has been on my mind a lot lately. That seems to be the world we are living in, and I certainly have a better understanding of what it means. The world is in a state of delicate balance. 

Almost weekly we have a mass shooting with random innocent targets. Asian Americans are being targeted in random acts of violence. Flags are at half-staff more often than not and I can’t remember why or for whom. Our state legislature is focused on an agenda that isn’t relevant to their constituents. And on and on. 

I miss the America I thought I knew. But maybe it never was what I thought it was. 

The Bill of Rights seems to be on shaky ground. 

Please Get Your Shot: You’ve Been Doing It a Long Time 

Polio, tetanus, influenza, hepatitis A and B, rubella, measles, whooping cough, pneumonia, mumps, chicken pox, diphtheria and shingles are diseases that we either cured or controlled by a vaccine. That’s science. 

Only 28 percent of us in Arkansas are vaccinated against the Covid-19 virus, but yet we want everything to open up. The numbers are surging again, and we continue to believe it can’t happen to us. I continue to hear people say: “I have concerns about the vaccine.” A totally myopic viewpoint. I could even support a vaccine passport. 

Gov. Asa Hutchinson outlined his goal to have at least 50 percent of Arkansans vaccinated with at least one dose within the next 90 days. Reaching that goal would mean vaccinating 467,206 additional Arkansans, he said. We need to get busy. 

I asked a friend of mine, a pediatrician and former professor at UAMS, about the safety and efficacy of having adolescents getting the Covid vaccine. His response? 

“Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. The vaccine is safe, astoundingly effective, and free. The sooner we get our kids immunized the sooner they will be protected, and virtual school learning can become just an unpleasant memory. The more children we immunize the sooner our nation can achieve herd immunity, protecting not just those who are immunized but also those who are not. “Remember, too, those who are not immunized are not simply people who have chosen to forego the vaccine. Herd immunity works for the 6-year-old child in front of you at the grocery store, who has early-stage undiagnosed leukemia, and due to his immunosuppression would do very poorly should he become infected by sitting next to another child at school who is in the early stage of a Covid-19 infection.” Thank you, Dr. Burke. 

Foodie Notes 

Good news for veggie lovers: Rick’s Farm Stand is open again. I made my first trip to pick up some tomatoes from Florida, a Vidalia onion and a big bucket of strawberries. The tomatoes were fair but certainly not up to Arkansas ‘mater level. The strawberries were delicious but a bit pricey. 

It seems that Captain Express BBQ has shut its doors. There’s a sign on the door saying so but don’t know if it’s for good. I tried it a couple of times, but never got a taste for their odd combinations and huge portions. Maybe they will retool and come back. 

I had a great experience recently at Cypress Social (formerly Cock of the Walk). It was an actual sit-down meal shared with several of my family members. The food was excellent and the service attentive. My only complaint is that the area where we were seated, which is the main dining room, was extremely loud and we had to shout at each other to be heard much of the time. So, if you’re going on a busy night, ask for a side room or sit outside. 

The Man in Black Day 

In spite of all of the damage our state legislature did this session, they did pass one bill that I can fully support. In a unanimous vote, they voted to make February 26 Johnny Cash Day. The day won't be a legal holiday but will be a memorial day marked by an annual proclamation from the governor.

The Man in Black was born in Kingsland, a tiny town only nine miles from my hometown, Fordyce. The Legislature in 2019 voted to replace its two statues at the U.S. Capitol with ones of Johnny Cash and civil rights leader Daisy Bates. A fundraising effort is underway for both statues.

Stay safe out there. Wear your mask, especially around the unmasked. Get your shot. 

See you on the Boulevard. 

“It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble, it's what we know that ain't so.” -- Will Rogers 

Neal Moore is a public relations consultant and resident of Maumelle. Send your Maumelle news or comments to neal.moore@sbcglobal.net. Thanks, PJ

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PTOs, PTAs to benefit from new state law

Jeremy Peppas

In a rare show of unity and bipartisanship in an unusually contentious Legislative session, Arkansas legislators were unanimous in support of state Rep. Mark Lowery (R-39, Maumelle).

Lowery, last December, filed a bill that would reduce the taxes paid by public school groups like Parent Teacher Associations, Parent Teacher Organizations or similar on various fundraisers.

The House vote was held Feb. 25 and passed 94-0, with six not voting.

Along the way, Lowery’s measure, now known as House Bill 1023, picked up additional co-sponsors in Representatives Joe Jett (R-56, Success) and David Ray (R-40, Maumelle) while state Sen. Mark Johnson (R-15, Little Rock) was the primary sponsor in the state senate.

It went to the state Senate on April 20 and passed 34-0, with one excused absence.

The bill can be read by clicking here, but the relevant portion is:

“Arkansas Code § 26-52-401, concerning sales tax exemptions for various products and services, is amended to add an additional subdivision to read as follows:

(42)(A) Gross receipts or gross proceeds derived from sales of tangible personal property, specified digital products, a digital code, or services by a parent teacher organization, a parent teacher association, or a similar organization that is:

(i) An organization described in 26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(3), as in effect on January 1, 2021; and

(ii) Affiliated with a public school.

(B) As used in this subdivision (42), "public school" means any school operated by a public school district or any open-enrollment public charter school, as defined in § 6-23-103.”

The PTO of the Maumelle Charter School brought the situation to Lowery’s attention, and as noted in the school newsletter sent to parents and other stakeholders last week, that it “was required to pay state and local sales tax on the proceeds obtained from the fall festival ticket sales. This equated to the PTO paying several thousand dollars in sales tax.”

It was sent to the governor’s office on April 21 and on April 25, the bill became law as Act 873.

The bill will become effective on July 1.

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