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MOORE ON MAUMELLE | Lewis considering run for mayor

A few weeks ago, I asked Alderman Preston Lewis if he was going to run for mayor of Maumelle. Here is his answer:

Question: Are you running for mayor? If so, why?

Answer: “It’s something I’m considering. Two years ago, I wouldn’t have thought it possible because of the respect I have for Mayor Watson. I still respect the mayor, but I am deeply concerned we have lost focus on key issues. Top amongst these issues is our lack of tangible progress for Counts Massie and Crystal Hill Road.

“Maumelle voted to leverage $13.2 million of taxpayer money over 600 days ago for those roads, yet we have nothing to show for it. That would be like taking out a loan to build a home and then sitting on the money for two years. It doesn’t make sense. The Counts Massie Road extension is our avenue toward improving traffic on Maumelle Boulevard and attracting retail options near I-40 that aren’t currently available, like a Chick-fil-A or a movie theater.

“We made a commitment to the people in 2012, and I think we have an obligation to show some hustle. The traffic isn’t getting any better, and we’re seeing far too many people lose confidence in our city’s ability to meet challenges. I’ve met with the mayor on many occasions to discuss why we haven’t begun work on Counts Massie Road or Crystal Hill Road, but the explanations don’t make sense. I’m hearing some of the same excuses for why we haven’t started construction that I heard last year.

“There are people who want to help the mayor with these projects, but he hasn’t been willing to accept help. It’s become impossible to explain to residents why there is no progress. The mayor has the staff, the resources, and the collective ingenuity of this community. We are waiting on him to lead.

“I will have a decision soon. It’s my hope that if I do challenge the mayor, people realize it’s not about personalities but about goals for Maumelle.”

Lewis grabbed the headlines last week in getting credit for “killing the indoor pool.” I don’t think that was what really happened. I think the people told their aldermen they were against it and in no way wanted the debt obligation or the tax.

We’ll keep an eye on this one and let you know when we know.

Big D too big for me

Grandbuddy and I just returned from Dallas from a baseball tournament for USSSA baseball’s “World Series.” I will report on their performance next week, but wanted to weigh in on my overall experience.

You couldn’t pay me enough to live there. The maze of freeways and “mixmasters” drove me insane. I was hanging on every word from my GPS guy as we traversed back and forth through DeSoto, Grand Prairie, Irving and Dallas.

The GPS would often take you one route to a location and a different route coming back. Our little traffic jams on the Boulevard pale in comparison.

Wine in the mail only if you visit winery

Eighty-six California wineries have applied for wine shipment permits since the Arkansas General Assembly passed a wine shipment law in 2013, according to the Times Record in Fort Smith.

The law makes it possible for the first time for out-of-state wineries to ship wine to Arkansas. In-state wineries have not been able to ship in-state or out-of-state in seven years. Since the law was approved, only two Arkansas wineries have applied for a permit. I think we have about 11 wineries in the state.

Under the new law, Arkansas wine consumers can only have one case of wine per calendar quarter shipped to them. An added restriction is that the purchaser must have “physically visited the winery and made a purchase,” so online sales are not legal.

What a ridiculous law. That means you and I can’t go join any of the cool “wine-of-the-month” clubs that are all over the Internet. I certainly support our local retail outlets but it would be nice to able to sample other batches of wines not available in our area. Our in-state wineries and local distributors don’t want us to have that freedom.

See you on the Boulevard.

Neal Moore owns a creative consulting firm, Neal Moore Creative. He has lived in Maumelle over 10 years. Contact him at neal.moore@sbcglobal.net. Follow him on Facebook or on Twitter, @kneelmore.

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