Whataburger to open Tuesday
Football tonight; Private school in Maumelle focuses on students with dyslexia; Education notes plus sports and headlines
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Pandemic deaths climb, again
The state Department of Health, on its Covid dashboard, showed that in the past week, there were 22new deaths reported. The numbers were updated Monday, Aug. 14.
The total number of reported dead Arkansans remains at 13,227 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 School Board will meet at 5:30 p.m. tonight in a regularly scheduled meeting. As expected, sadly, the $75,000 plan to bolster the district’s communications efforts is back on the agenda after being previously tabled. The plan, as previously detailed, would hire a Washington, D.C.-based consultant to assist and who would then report back to the superintendent. It will be interesting to see if the consultant, if approved, would return simple media emails requesting information, which is something the district’s leadership and spokesman don’t currently do. To view more, click here for the agenda. The Maumelle City Council also meets next Monday night at City Hall.
Events: The Maumelle Area Chamber of Commerce will have its Food for Thought luncheon at 11:30 a.m. today. It will be held at the Jess Odom Community Center and the lunch is $15. For more, or to RSVP, click here. The Whataburger is expected to open next Tuesday, prepare for traffic jams and for more, keep scrolling.
ICYMI: Nick Farr is a Man in Motion
High school football starts tonight, after a fashion, as Central Arkansas Christian travels to Des Arc for a scrimmage game.
It will be Ryan Howard’s first-ever game as a head coach when he trots out with the Mustangs. All eyes will be on junior quarterback Grayson Wilson, who has already committed to the University of Arkansas and head coach Sam Pittman.
That’s followed by two more scrimmage games on Friday as Maumelle travels to Marion for a 6:30 p.m. start while North Little Rock will host El Dorado in a game that starts at 7 p.m.in Clint Reed’s head coaching debut.
The regular season begins the following Friday.
Whataburger to open Tuesday
Get ready, traffic is about to get dumb.
That's because the Whataburger off Maumelle Boulevard is slated to open on Tuesday.
While a company spokesman said Wednesday afternoon that an opening date had not yet been confirmed, Lt. Amy Cooper, the public information officer with the North Little Rock Police Department, said officers had been asked to assist with traffic control that day, due to the restaurant opening.
The Whataburger website says the location is already open but that’s incorrect said a person who answered the phone there also on Wednesday afternoon.
She said that the opening was planned for 11 a.m. on Tuesday and helpfully noted that the first customer in line would get free Whataburger for the year.
The location in North Little Rock is the second Whataburger in central Arkansas as the other is in west Little Rock near the Costco.
At that location, even with a heavy police presence, traffic was still a nightmare as cars lined up for nearly one mile on the day it opened earlier this year. Then traffic stayed bad for weeks.
The Texas-based restaurant chain also has plans for other locations in central Arkansas, with another restaurant planned for Benton. There’s a total of 13 Whataburgers in the state now.
Also coming soon is Scooter’s Coffee. Or at least that’s what the sign says on the new Scooter’s Coffee in front of the Holiday Inn Express just off the Morgan exit of Interstate 40. There’s still no word on when though, as calls to the media relations office of the Omaha-Nebraska-based company weren’t returned as of this writing. There’s another location planned for Maumelle Boulevard as well.
Private school in Maumelle focuses on students with dyslexia
The Friendship Aspire Lab School for Dyslexia is still relatively new to Maumelle.
Formerly known as the Hannah School, it moved to 2 Country Club Circle, near the Country Club of Arkansas, in 2020, and became affiliated with the Friendship system just last year.
The school started on Monday with 38 students and 11 faculty and staff said Cathy Dille, who works in administration and also serves as bookkeeper. Her double duty is actually triple as she’s also the parent of one of the students at the school.
“We are the only dyslexia school in the state of Arkansas,” Dille said in a phone interview earlier this week. “For schools, the reading ready percentages are sad, really sad. That's why we are here. For those kids.”
Sometimes called a reading disability, dyslexia is a learning disorder that impacts how people process language.
Dyslexia can involve transposing letters or words but Dille had a useful analogy.
“You know that junk drawer you have in your house,” she said. “And it is full of stuff. Scissors. Rubber bands. A hammer. If you think of a dyslexic as a junk drawer, everything is all jumbled up and they have a hard time finding things in their junk drawer.”
Dille said the advantage Friendship had over schools is that it is an immersive experience.
“A public school, you might get three, 45-minute classes a week,” she said. “Here, from when they walk into the building, to when they leave, they’re working.”
Dille added the exceptions were for breaks for lunch and PE.
“These kids, with very structured interventions,” Dille said. “They can be taught to read or write. It just takes longer.”
For that reason, while students range from Kindergarten to eighth-graders, classes aren’t structured by age, but by where they are in the learning process.
“A fifth-grader, who just started here, isn’t ready for that level of curriculum,” she said. “So they might be with a second-grader. It is about structuring the classes so the students can succeed.”
She added that a student without dyslexia might start Kindergarten, and they’re ready to move on to the next grade.
“It might take these kids two years, or three years, depending,” Dille said. “We have a very structured intervention and it is all day long.”
It also just isn’t teaching as Dille said the school has speech, occupational and physical therapists on staff and in the building working with the students.
Friendship uses the Wilson Reading System, among other interventions. It is described as, “a Tier 3 program that works with students in grades 2-12 (and adults) with language based learning disabilities, like dyslexia,” according to the school’s website.
Dille noted that teachers for all the classes work together to help educate the students.
“Our school is different in that way,” she said and added that about one in five students have a form of dyslexia. More than 40 million Americans have dyslexia, with only about 2 million diagnosed.
All that work isn’t cheap.
“Our school is expensive,” Dille said and the price tag comes with a bit of sticker shock as tuition is $12,500 with another $1,000 for books and supplies. There’s also a $400 assessment before the student can start.
Dille said the recent LEARNS Act and the school vouchers that came with it, can be used to offset some of those costs, with about half of the expense being covered by the state. The school also accepts some scholarships.
Because dyslexia is considered a disability, students are also immediately eligible for the funds.
For more, check out the school’s website, by clicking here or call 501-800-1080.
School starts with some bad news
North Little Rock and Pulaski County Special school districts both started classes on Monday and both had no good, very bad days but in very different ways.
The first was at Amboy Elementary where a student brought an unloaded handgun to school. That didn’t prompt a lockdown though.
District superintendent Gregory Pilewski said on Tuesday in a statement released to stakeholders and parents, "there was no immediate threat to the students and staff; therefore, there was no need to go into a lockdown.”
The other incident was at Joe T. Robinson Elementary where school safety officer Victor Montgomery was hit and killed by a distracted driver while working traffic control on Hwy. 10.
Known as “Paw-Paw,” Montgomery, above, was a former football player at Arkansas State and beloved at the school where he had worked the last seven years.
“It is imperative for motorists to slow down in school zones,” the district said in a press release announcing Montgomery’s death. “... There is absolutely no reason for any motorist to drive above the speed limit in this area any time day, much less during school drop off and pick up time. This could have been avoided if motorists were more attentive and aware of their surroundings.”
Funeral arrangements were not available as of this writing.
Moore honored as Student Making a Difference
Chantel Moore of North Little Rock was recognized by the UA Little Rock Department of Applied Communication as one of the 2023 students who are following the department's mission of "co-creating better social worlds through positive communication."
Chantel Moore is the graduate winner of the Distinguished Student Scholar Award. Moore worked with Dr. Gerald Driskill on a grant-funded project to study foster care collaborative networks in Arkansas, which resulted in her own award-winning student expo presentation, "Mothers' relationships with their adopted teens through the lens of positive communication." "Chantel is hard-working and has shown her work ethic through class discussions, research, and her community," Driskill said. "Her goal in researching mothers and their adopted teens is to show the importance of positive communication in these relationships, spread awareness of the positive communication model, and learn about these interpersonal intricacies for adoptions/fosters in the future."
Each student award recipient received a special heart paper weight designed by UA Little Rock artist and alumni Linda Pledger, a certificate, and medallion.
Myton gets 2023-34 Stonewall Scholarship at UA Little Rock
Jamaica "Soliel" Myton, a senior anthropology major at UA Little Rock from North Little Rock, has been named the recipient of the 2023-24 Stonewall Scholarship.
The Stonewall Scholarship is awarded to a student who demonstrates knowledge of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) history, an understanding of current events as they relate to the LGBT community, and a commitment to advancing LGBT civil rights in the form of demonstrated substantial leadership. This year's scholarship is $2,500.
"I feel very honored to receive the Stonewall Scholarship, a scholarship that recognizes those who are working to advance the LGBTQ community," Myton, above, said. "I am a part of the community, and I feel happy, excited, and blessed to receive the scholarship."
Dr. Laura Barrio Vilar, head of the scholarship selection committee, noted the committee members were impressed by Myton's academic achievements and commitment to advancing LGBTQ+ rights in Arkansas.
The 20-year-old Little Rock native works as the communications and media director for Lucie's Place, a nonprofit dedicated to helping LGBTQ young adults facing homelessness in central Arkansas. Myton runs the nonprofit's social media accounts, creates newsletters, and helps run programs, events, and fundraisers.
Myton also serves as an intern in the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the City of Little Rock, where they are working to increase the city's Human Rights Campaign Municipal Equality Index, which rates cities on anti-discrimination laws, benefits for public employees, and other factors that contribute to a positive climate for LBBTQ+ people.
"Overall, my advocacy work has been driven by my personal experiences, love for the LGBTQ+ community, and my commitment to creating a more inclusive and equitable society for all," Myton said. "I believe that everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity, regardless of their sexual or gender identity."
Austin gets Master's Degree from Frostburg State University
Atreyu Austin, of North Little Rock, recently received a Master of Science degree in Recreation, Parks and Sport Management from Frostburg State University in Frostburg, Md., during its 162nd commencement ceremonies.
FSU President Dr. Ronald Nowaczyk conferred more than 550 undergraduate and graduate degrees at this May commencement.
Situated in the mountains of Allegany County, Frostburg State University is one of the 12 institutions of the University System of Maryland.
Toney graduates from Avila University
Monte Toney, of North Little Rock graduated from Avila University with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts Studies from Avila University during the May 13, 2023 commencement exercises.
Avila University, a Catholic University founded and inspired by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, provides undergraduate and graduate education in the liberal arts and professional studies, preparing lifelong learners who make meaningful contributions to the global community. Toney was also named to the university’s Spring 2023 Dean's List. To qualify, students must earn a GPA of 3.5 or higher and the school is in Kansas City.
No baseball at Dickey-Stephens this week
The two-week road-trip concludes at Amarillo, now through Sunday.
Six-game homestand against Wichita
Tuesday, Aug 22, 6:35 p.m.
Two for Tuesdays: Get two General Admission tickets for the price of one and only available at the Box Office.
Mug Club: Membership costs $30 and includes your first beer plus $3 select draft beer every Tuesday night Travs home game.
Sponsorship: Treasure Hunt Tuesday | Presented By Arkansas Auditor of State
Wednesday, Aug 23, 6:35 p.m.
Dog Days of Summer: Human fans can get $3 Berm tickets by bringing their dog to the game and only available at the Box Office. NOTE: Dogs are only allowed in the Berm areas | Presented By Moix RV Supercenter
Thursday, Aug 24, 6:35 p.m.
$3 Thursday: Enjoy $3 Beer Garden Tickets and Concessions deals, including Hot Dogs, Soft Drinks, Red Bull, Cotton Candy, and a Select Canned Beer & Seltzer! | Presented By Red Bull
Friday, Aug 25, 7:05 p.m.
Pyro in the Park VII: Don't miss the biggest Fireworks Spectacular of the season!
Maumelle Community Night (Click below for more)
Saturday, Aug 26, 7:05 p.m.
Isaiah Campbell Bobblehead Giveaway: Presented By First Arkansas Bank & Trust | First 1,000 Fans (one item per person)
Kids Run the Bases: Presented By Museum of Discovery
Sunday, Aug 27, 1:35 p.m.
Operation: Military Appreciation: Service Members get $3 off General Admission and Field Reserved tickets by presenting a Military ID (only available at DSP Box Office) | Presented By Mid-South Ford Dealers
Family Sunday: Get $2 General Admission tickets by presenting a physical or digital church bulletin and only available at the Box Office.
Kids Run the Bases: Presented By Museum of Discovery