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State of the City today
The luncheon is sponsored by the Maumelle Area Chamber of Commerce and will start at 11:30 a.m.; City Council Report; Remembering Al; Slam the Scam plus headlines; Art and Education news and Sports
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Pandemic death toll shoots up
The total number of dead Arkansans this past week was 35.
Last week, it was 23, and the week before that it was 21.
The total number of dead Arkansans is now at 13,015. The Covid-19 death toll is now the state’s 33rd largest city, passing Mountain Home’s 12,722 and nearly to Harrison’s 13,081.
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
Upcoming meetings: The North Little Rock City Council will meet next Monday night at City Hall. To view the agenda, click here.
State of the City: The Maumelle State of the City luncheon is today. It will be held at the Jess Odom Community Center and Mayor Caleb Norris will issue the annual State of the City report. The luncheon is sponsored by the Maumelle Area Chamber of Commerce and will start at 11:30 a.m. with the presentation to follow at noon. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the door. For more details, click the flyer below.
Upcoming events: A memorial will be held for the late Al Canelli that day as well. It starts at 4 p.m. at Lake Willastein and past the suspension bridge. That will be followed by a reception at Cheer’s in Maumelle. Please RSVP with the Maumelle Area Chamber of Commerce so they can have a count for the reception. For details or to register, click the flyer below.
Sports: North Little Rock girls look to defend their 6A state title at noon this Friday at Bank OZK Arena in Hot Springs.
Achor injured: Maumelle state Rep. Brandon Achor has been in the legislature for just a few months and has already had an eventful, and painful, time. Achor suited up in the annual House vs. Senate basketball game and tore his Achilles tendon last week. To make matters worse, the House also lost the game.
Maumelle: City Council report
Maumelle welcomes new Finance Director; Council approves annexation of land off White Oak Crossing; Council approves using Drug Control Funds for purchase of a license plate reader system.
This week’s meeting started off with the mayor introducing Ms. Beatriz Souza, who will be taking over for Liz Mathis as our city’s finance director. Ms. Mathis is leaving the city for a role in the private sector and I’m very happy to see her with this new opportunity. Ms. Mathis has done a tremendous job getting our finance department back on track with timely and accurate reporting. Ms. Souza moved to Maumelle recently after living in Miami for many years. It’s great to have her on board and I look forward to getting to know her in the coming months.
In old business, the council approved the annexation of land to the north of White Oak Crossing. Most of this land is in a floodway and will never be developed, but the owner wanted to bring the land into Maumelle in order to protect it from development. Most of this area lies within White Oak Bayou so it’s important to preserve and protect this property.
In new business, the council approved several budget resolutions. The first was a request from the Police Department to use $60,000 from the Drug Control Fund to purchase a license plate reader system. This system is already in use by neighboring cities and is in place currently along Maumelle Boulevard in North Little Rock. With Maumelle also participating in the system, it will allow our police department to receive alerts when vehicles reported as stolen cross into Maumelle. Another feature is that a car involving an Amber Alert for a missing child would also trigger an alert if the vehicle enters or leaves our city.
The remaining five resolutions were largely administrative in nature so I won’t go into a lot of detail here. The list included:
Moving money between funds to pay for our new all-inclusive playground.
Correcting a salary error for a position in the Planning Department.
Approving additional funds for part-time help in the Finance Department to assist with the transition between directors.
Authorizing the 2022 Audit to be completed by Forvis.
Amending our budget to provide additional funds for audit services.
Last on the agenda was a discussion item regarding the future of Park on the River. This property has been owned by the city for a number of years and was leased to Team Summit who would host events and/or weddings at the facility. This contract expired in November of 2020 and was never renewed even though Team Summit continued to host events at the site. Events were largely shut down due to Covid restrictions during this time, so the site has seen very little use. Discussion among the council largely centered around how to move forward and whether we should renew a shorter lease at the property or explore different uses for the site. This discussion was very preliminary in nature and no action was taken.
That’s all for the week. Please let me know if you have any questions. Chad 501-529-1336, email@example.com
National Slam the Scam Day is today
On National Slam the Scam Day and throughout the year, the Social Security Administration gives you the tools to recognize Social Security-related scams and stop scammers from stealing your money and personal information.
Share this scam information with your loved ones.
Slam the Scam!
Recognize the four basic signs of a scam:
Scammers pretend to be from a familiar organization or agency, like the Social Security Administration. They may email attachments with official-looking logos, seals, signatures, or pictures of employee credentials.
Scammers mention a problem or a prize. They may say your Social Security number was involved in a crime or ask for personal information to process a benefit increase.
Scammers pressure you to act immediately. They may threaten you with arrest or legal action.
Scammers tell you to pay using a gift card, prepaid debit card, cryptocurrency, wire or money transfer, or by mailing cash. They may also tell you to transfer your money to a “safe” account.
Ignore scammers and report criminal behavior. Report Social Security-related scams to the SSA Office of the Inspector General.
Visit www.ssa.gov/scam for more information and follow SSA OIG on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to stay up to date on the latest scam tactics. Repost this #SlamtheScam information on social media to keep your friends and family safe
Chicago in Little Rock on March 17
Chicago makes a two-day, three-show stop at Robinson Center in Little Rock next week.
The shows are Friday, March 17 and Saturday, March 18.
The Friday show starts at 7:30 p.m. while the Saturday shows are a 2 p.m. matinee and then an evening show at 7:30 p.m.
To buy tickets online, click here.
They can also be purchased by calling 501-244-8800 or going to box office at 426 W. Markham.
Spamalot wraps up this week at the Wildwood Center for the Arts in rural west Little Rock
The Friday and Saturday night shows are both at 8 p.m. with the Sunday performance being a 3 p.m. matinee.Tickets are $35 and can be purchased by clicking here.
Next up for Wildwood is the annual Lanterns Festival and will start April 20.
This month, North Little Rock High School is staging Clue: On Stage (High School Edition). First show is March 15 and it concludes on March 17.
Buy tickets in advance by clicking here.
Education news and notes
Fidelity’s ‘Dream Bigger’ campaign now underway
Fidelity Communications is sponsoring the 5th annual “Dream Bigger” social media campaign for schools and organizations serving K-12 students to win $2,500 to fund their science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) project or club.
These schools and organizations in communities throughout the five states Fidelity serves may enter to win simply by sharing a photo and written entry outlining how the money will be used to fund their technology project – whether for equipment, competition fees, curriculum development, field trips or other materials – and how it benefits students. Two winners will each receive a $2,500 donation.
“Fidelity has long recognized the importance of STEM education in equipping students with the skills to overcome the digital divide,” said Trish Niemann, Vice President of Communications Strategy. “Our annual Dream Bigger contest helps support STEM-based curricular and extracurricular initiatives that get children interested in STEM concepts early on, sparking an interest that could last a lifetime.”
Entries will be accepted now through March 22 at fidelitycommunications.com/contest.
Five finalists will be selected by Fidelity and the two winners will be determined by public voting from March 24 through March 31. The finalists, as well as the winning schools and organizations, will be highlighted on Fidelity’s social media channels, including Facebook and Instagram.
UCA names December 2022 graduates
The University of Central Arkansas conferred nearly 500 undergraduate and more than 180 graduate degrees and certificates through the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; College of Business; College of Education; College of Health and Behavioral Sciences; College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics; and Graduate School.
The following are the North of the River graduates:
Sarah Smythe of North Little Rock graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts.
Jada Bass of Maumelle graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts.
Joshua Burnham of North Little Rock graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts.
Rebecca Franke of North Little Rock graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts.
Claire Franklin of Maumelle graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts.
Nicolas Triolet of Maumelle graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Business Administration.
Aaron Little of Sherwood graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Business Administration.
Jasmine Spradlin of North Little Rock graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration.
Kaden Helton of North Little Rock graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts.
Kaleigh Thomas of North Little Rock graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts.
Patric Bearden of Maumelle graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of General Studies.
Hannah Kibbe of Maumelle graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of General Studies.
Bailey Barham of North Little Rock graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science.
Christine George of Sherwood graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science.
Aurora King of North Little Rock graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science.
Tamara Milby of North Little Rock graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science.
Skyler Austen of North Little Rock graduated Summa Cum Laude Undergraduate Scholar with a Bachelor of Science.
Erin Arendt of Sherwood graduated with a Bachelor of Science.
Asya Benson of Maumelle graduated with a Bachelor of Science.
Kyle Bland of Sherwood graduated with a Bachelor of Science.
Alejandro Bran-Barerra of Maumelle graduated with a Bachelor of Science.
Kailie English of Sherwood graduated with a Bachelor of Science.
Calyn Finch of Maumelle graduated with a Bachelor of Science.
Kaitlyn Kelsay of North Little Rock graduated with a Bachelor of Science.
Niyah Lane of North Little Rock graduated with a Bachelor of Science.
Hannah McClendon of Maumelle graduated with a Bachelor of Science.
Dequion Noel of North Little Rock graduated with a Bachelor of Science.
Kiara Penn of Sherwood graduated with a Bachelor of Science.
Laura Priester of Maumelle graduated with a Bachelor of Science.
Tiffany Reed of North Little Rock graduated with a Bachelor of Science.
Ashley Sims of Maumelle graduated with a Bachelor of Science.
Cory Smith of North Little Rock graduated with a Bachelor of Science.
Thomas Stark of Maumelle graduated with a Bachelor of Science.
Calandra Tilmon of Sherwood graduated with a Bachelor of Science.
Luke Vander Lugt of Sherwood graduated with a Bachelor of Science.
Christopher Walker of North Little Rock graduated with a Bachelor of Science.
Sydni Cook of North Little Rock graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Education.
Kyla Lawrence of Sherwood graduated with a Educational Specialist.
Erin Ledgerwood of North Little Rock graduated with a Educational Specialist.
Erica Keen of Sherwood graduated with a Graduate Certificate.
Randall Naylor of North Little Rock graduated with a Graduate Certificate.
Rochelle Flores of North Little Rock graduated with a Master of Arts.
Diana Daniels of North Little Rock graduated with a Master of Arts in Teaching.
Tyler Maynard of Maumelle graduated with a Master of Arts in Teaching.
Amber Mooney-Speights of North Little Rock graduated with a Master of Arts in Teaching.
Jeremy Jeffery of North Little Rock graduated with a Master of Business Administration.
Molly Boone of Maumelle graduated with a Master of Science.
Alexys Ireland of Maumelle graduated with a Master of Science.
Kristin Jones of North Little Rock graduated with a Master of Science.
Anna Mitchell of North Little Rock graduated with a Master of Science in Education.
Alyssa Robinson of North Little Rock graduated with a Master of Science in Education.
Tatum Stanley of North Little Rock graduated with a Master of Science in Education.
Olajumoke Ajayi of Maumelle graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy.
Helen Boone of Sherwood graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy.
Houle named head football coach at Sylvan Hills
Sylvan Hills recently promoted Jason Houle to be its next head football coach.
Houle, below, was previously the offensive coordinator for the Bears and before that was the defensive coordinator at North Little Rock.
He has a total of 16 years of coaching experience.
The move is scheduled to be approved by the Pulaski County Special School District School Board at its next meeting, on Tuesday, March 14.
Houle is a graduate of Sylvan Hills where he won a state championship as a baseball player in 2003.
“I am very blessed to have this opportunity to be the Head football Coach at Sylvan Hills,” Houle said. “This community and school have always been my home and I look forward to working with our great coaches and players to build a program that the community can be proud of.”
Basketball: North Little Rock to play for title
North Little Rock’s girls team, the defending 6A state champs, are the last North of the River team standing as the ‘Cats look to defend their title this Friday at Bank OZK Arena in Not Springs.
North Little Rock’s opponent is a familiar one as they’ll be facing Conway, their 6A-Central rival, for the third time this season in the finals. The game tips at noon on Friday and to purchase tickets, click here.
North Little Rock is 26-5 with two losses to Conway, while the Wampus Cats are 25-5, with just one loss to an in-state opponent, Little Rock Central, back in January.
The other other four losses were to Texas teams and Sidwell Friends, the prestigious academy in Washington, D.C. that has since won they city championship.
North Little Rock and Conway meeting in the state championship was predicted before the start of the season and those lofty expectations have been met.
Maumelle and Central Arkansas Christian both saw their seasons in their respective classifications quarterfinals.
The Hornets (19-12) were upset by Greene County Tech in the 5A quarters at Pine Bluff. Maumelle had entered the game as the No. 1 seed from the 5A-Central while the Eagles were the No. 3 seed from the 5A-East.
CAC’s magnificent 24-8 season ended to Dumas in an overtime thriller. The all-purple and gold matchup saw Dumas come out ahead, 67-65.
Both Dumas and GCT lost in their respective semifinal games.
State basketball finals schedule set
Hot Springs will again host this year’s state high school basketball championships.
Title games begin Thursday and conclude Saturday.
Tickets will not be sold at the door and will need to purchase tickets from the participating schools.
The finals schedule is below:
Unified Game , 10:30 a.m. | Pottsville vs Conway
Game 1: 4A Girls, Noon | Farmington vs Nashville
Game 2: 4A Boys, 1:45 p.m. | Blytheville vs Little Rock Christian
Game 3: 5A Girls, 6 p.m. | Vilonia vs Greenwood
Game 4: 5A Boys, 7:45 p.m. | Pine Bluff vs Lake Hamilton
Session 1 doors open 10 a.m. and Session 2 doors open 5 p.m.
Unified Game , 10:30 a.m. | Hot Springs vs Ozark
Game 1: 6A Girls, Noon | Conway vs North Little Rock
Game 2: 6A Boys, 1:45 p.m. | Jonesboro vs Springdale
Game 3: 1A Girls, 6 p.m. | Mammoth Spring vs Norfork
Game 4: 1A Boys, 7:45 p.m. | Marked Tree vs County Line
Session 1 doors open 10 a.m. and Session 2 doors open 5 p.m.
Game 9: 2A Girls, 11:30 a.m. | Conway Christian vs Mt. Vernon-Enola
Game 10: 2A Boys, 1:15 p.m. | Bigelow vs Marshall
Game 11: 3A Girls, 6 p.m. | Lamar vs Salem
Game 12: 3A Boys, 7:45 p.m. | Manila vs Bergman
Session 1 doors open 10:30 a.m. and Session 2 doors open 5 p.m.