If you read this column regularly, you know that I have written several articles and am involved with the effort to raise funds for accident victim J.D. Bruning of Maumelle. J.D. was injured in a diving accident back in July and is now undergoing therapy back in Maumelle after several months in a rehab facility in Atlanta. Parents Jacki and Dave Bruning of Maumelle have transformed their home and are working through the difficult transition of helping J.D. adjust to life in a wheelchair and working through all the associated issues that come with an accident such as this.

He will be in Maumelle for just a few months and might return to Atlanta for additional therapy if the proper therapy can’t be found in Little Rock. Working with spinal-injury patients is very specialized and there are very few specialists in our area. Keep the Brunings in your prayers and consider a gift at jdbfoundation.org or at any Bank of the Ozarks locations. As readers will understand, the financial burden is huge and will be ongoing. I’ll keep you posted.

Don’t miss The Hallelujah Girls on stage

Be sure and support the Maumelle Players’ production of "The Hallelujah Girls" coming up Oct. 25 through 27 and Nov. 1 through 3 at the new home of the players, Little Scholars Academy, located behind the Shell station on Maumelle Boulevard. According to their website, maumelleplayers.org, tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for everyone else. Performances are set for 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday.

Glad to see a cooperative effort of a private business allowing a local community group to use their facility. I plan to see the show and report on their efforts. Support your local arts organizations!

Starbucks is the gathering place

One thing that Maumelle is missing is gathering places. Starbucks and BJ’s both serve as a place to get something for breakfast and hang out. BJ’s does not have Wi-Fi but has great breakfasts. Starbucks has WIFI, breakfast sammies, pastry or oatmeal.

BJ’s has one big round table that seems to attract a few regulars who drop by for an extended coffee break, and Starbucks has a large table that could serve as a meeting place, but rarely do I see a group. Most folks are in their own world, usually buried in a laptop or iPad. In most smaller towns, there was usually a community roundtable where you could count on stopping by and seeing the regular wags commenting on everything from local government to national politics to the prospects of the town’s football team winning on any given Friday.

On any given morning at Starbucks there will be a handful of folks either actually doing work or just surfing the net and getting 50-cent refills for an hour or so. Not a bad deal. I encouraged BJ’s to provide Wi-Fi, but so far they haven’t offered it. The only problem with Starbucks is that between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. there are tons of folks who order a drink that requires them to blend ice and it really gets loud. I usually stop by there at least once a week to work on this column and drink way too much coffee. A tip: refills are only 50 cents.

Changes in the Maumelle area landscape

It looks like the used car lot by American Pie on Maumelle Boulevard has been shut down by placing several mounds of dirt at each "entrance." I haven’t heard if that means something is going to be built there, but I would assume so. According to one source, lieutenant governor candidate John Burkhalter owns the land. It’s a pretty prime piece of property and we can only hope it won’t be an apartment complex, Mexican, Asian, fast food or pizza restaurant.

I just heard that Cheers in Maumelle has a new owner. The story I heard is that owner Chris Tanner, who has done a great job with bringing the restaurant back to life after a close brush with death, has sold it to another individual. Chris will continue owning the land and building. I’ll try to get by there and snoop around and report back. My only complaint is that the prices have crept up pretty high. But it’s still good food and the only finer restaurant in the area without going "into town."

I’ll see you in the Boulevard.

Neal Moore is COE (chief of everything) at Neal Moore Creative, a PR, advertising and marketing consultancy. He has lived in Maumelle over 10 years and is native of Fordyce where he was a Chigger, Babybug and Redbug. Contact him at neal.moore@sbcglobal.net. Follow him on Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter, @kneelmore.