The Maumelle Chamber of Commerce and the sales tax-proponent group Vision for the Future held their last Town Hall meeting this week. There was a good turnout for the meeting and everyone behaved for the most part.


The Vision folks did a good job keeping it succinct and to the point with several compelling presentations that went beyond just their simplistic “Fix Our Traffic” battle cry. Everyone in the room got a chance to ask questions and, for the most part, they all seem satisfied with the answers.


But Vision for the Future is far from done before the election. They have several events scheduled, including a cookout, a lunch-and-learn, a wine-tasting fundraiser and so on. Check out the schedule on their Facebook page.


The Vision group’s cookout was originally scheduled to be held on the parking lot of Kroger this Sunday, but after the store received letters and calls from a few disgruntled citizens, Maumelle’s only grocery store changed its mind and asked the group to find another place to woo voters. The cookout will now be held on the lot referred to as “Tract D,” which is the vacant lot next to the abandoned Wal-Mart Neighborhood market.


I have seen very little activity other than a few yard signs that would appear to be an organized effort to defeat the tax proposals. Most of the opponents seem to be focused on social media with primarily uninformed, sophomoric, snarky jabs. Sideliners for the most part.


The opponents also made a few appearances on the Doc Washburn radio show (KARN/FM 102.9). Washburn, who was totally unprepared for the “interview,” played along with whatever the guest had to say. He is a sensationalist and a Rush Limbaugh wannabe, so I’m sure only a small core group take him seriously.


I think it will be a close vote on March 13, but I encourage you to learn the facts and make an informed decision. I will publish my voting preference next week.


America’s preacher


I was saddened to learn of the passing of “America’s pastor,” Billy Graham. I had the opportunity to sing in the choir and hear him preach when he spoke at War Memorial Stadium in 1989. He was an incredibly powerful and charismatic speaker and thousands responded when he issued the altar call while the choir sang “Just As I Am.”


The billboards posted around the country said it all: “Gone Home.”


High School class gets in the coffee business


There’s a new coffee shop at Maumelle High School, “Maumelle Mug,” and a business class at the school operates it. The “Small Business Operations” class at Maumelle High recently opened for business on campus and Maumelle-based West Rock Coffee provided the class with a coffee machine and is selling the school the coffee product. Besides coffee, they sell cookies. They sell to both teachers and students and are open before school, during both lunches and at the end of the day. Some of the specialties include Maumelle-themed drinks including the Carnahan, the Odom and the Hot Hornet. They will soon start taking online orders with delivery to teachers.


The Department of Career Education kicked in $38,000 to fund the project. Michelle Camp, recently named Educator of the Year by the Maumelle Chamber of Commerce, is the class adviser. She is says the class is also starting a printing company called Maumelle Merch to sell imprinted items to the school and community.


Congratulations on a great idea! By the way, the prices are about half the cost of the other boutique coffee shops.


Scott-Coney gets the long term


Alderman Rick Anderson had hoped he would get Marc Kelly’s vacated seat and be allowed to serve until the end of 2020, but the votes didn’t go that way. He and R.J. Mazzoni received one vote each and Marion Scott-Coney received four. She will now be serving until the end of 2020 while Anderson will run this year if he chooses to run for reelection.


Bella Rustina Market to occupy empty building for a few days


The Bella Rustina Modern Vintage Market will occupy former Walmart Neighborhood Market in Maumelle with almost 200 booths March 9-11, with antiques, vintage, “upcycled/repurposed” antiques and vintage, as well as vintage-inspired handmade items, according to the organizers.


The hours are: Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to - 5 p.m. Admission is $8 per adult and $1 per child 12 and under on Friday and $5 per adult and $1 per child 12 and under Saturday and Sunday. Admission is good all weekend.


For more information, contact Ashley Norris at 501-230-5728 or check out their Facebook page at www.BellaRustina.com. Note: Ashley happens to be the wife of Maumelle City Attorney Caleb Norris.


It’s a shame that Wal-Mart won’t allow any business to locate there that is a remotely a competitor, keeping away other grocery stores and retail outlets including a possible Goodwill store. Skating rink?


See you on the Boulevard.


Neal Moore is a public relations and advertising consultant and freelance writer. If you have a community concern, Maumelle news tip or if you’re just irritated about something, contact him at neal.moore@sbcglobal.net. Follow him on Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter, @kneelmore.