Friday, December 28, 2007

No Rise in Electricity Cost

City Budget
Residents’ electric bills will not rise any higher according to North Little Rock’s new 2008 budget. The city must look at borrowing up to $15 million to meet its own higher cost for purchasing electricity.
A $49.9 million general fund budget was approved at Thursday night's city council meeting by a 7-1 vote. The new budget is only 2.7 percent higher than the 2007 budget.

For more information, see December 28's Arkansas Democrat Gazette

A Bookcase for Every Child

Officer Tommy Norman is promoting and chairing the very worthwhile "A Bookcase for Every Child" reading initiative. Officer Norman hopes to get our neighborhood involved in helping North Little Rock kids get a positive start reading books.

Volunteers build oak bookcases – with individualized name plates – containing at least eight books to give to 3 to 5 year old children of lower income families. Syndicated columnist Jim Davidson of Conway started the project to stimulate early age reading. Proceeds from local sales of his book of collected columns contributes to this important community project.

Officer Norman states "My main goal is to include everybody – firefighters, police officers, city employees and just your average citizen ... it takes a village to raise a child."

This project lends itself to a variety of volunteer skills – from those with ability to use a table saw for construction of bookcases to those participating in weekly reading sessions at local Head Start locations and those donating books. New books or books in good condition can be dropped off at City Hall, the City Service Building, the Patrick Henry Hays Senior citizen Center, The Times office, Twin City Bank or Bank of the Ozarks where donation boxes are available.

If you wish to give back to our community and follow his leadership, contact Officer Norman at 366-4330 for further information.

Jo Melton

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Noise Pollution?

Front page article of today's Demo.Gazette dated December 24th: Seems Mayor Hayes, along with fellow neighbor Cliff Hoofman, a member of the Arkansas Highway Commission, find the I-40 traffic running along and below their homes on Cherry Hill Drive just a bit too noisy! It would appear that the extra lane in each direction, coupled with an increased road surface elevation of 5 feet, have brought on such a road noise level that neighbors have requested relief. Some longtime residents want to preserve the neighborhood but don't know if they or their property values will be able to take the racket!

The state Highway Department has retained an engineering firm out of Nashville, TN, Bowlby & Assocs. to study highway noise matters as needed. The company specializes in assessing traffic noise, and it's report on I-40 could be forwarded to the highway department soon. Bowlby may recommend noise barriers such as concrete walls be installed along the expressway bordering the affected homes that can cost $1 million or more per mile!

So an extra lane in each direction, coupled with an elevated road surface, have caused traffic noise concerns over on Cherry Hill Drive. Well we've got one better than that over here concerning Hwy. 67/167 improvements!

In addition to an extra two lanes of traffic we have an elevation factor, too! And it's not a measly 5 feet but more like 30 feet! Right, I'm talking about the 5-Mile Creek elevated turn-around between McCain Blvd. and Wildwood Ave.. Seems some of our neighbors have noticed this increased traffic noise to the point that it is negatively affecting their quality of life! And this without the highway project being completed, which once done will increase it's vehicle volume and speeds producing even more noise!

Measuring the effect traffic noise has on a surrounding community dates to the 1969 National Environmental Policy Act. The act requires state transportation agencies to assess the noise impact and potential mitigation whenever they widen roads or build new ones using federal money. Question needed to be asked: Is there federal money involved in the Hwy. 67/167 improvements currently underway? If yes, does the association need to take a position on the resulting increase of traffic noise and ask for relief from the state Highway Department? Do we have fellow neighbors on Oak Tree Circle, McKee Circle, eastern Valley Brook and Dawson that have maximum exposure to the Hwy 67/167 improvements and would want to seek relief? Perhaps we can begin to talk about this quality of life noise issue affecting our neighborhood at the up-coming January association meeting. If so, we need to hear from you, now!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Ordinances before Council's Dec. 27th meeting

The North Little Rock City Council Meeting scheduled for Thursday, December 27th has on it's agenda three ordinances up for a final vote; two that may directly affect our neighborhoods and one that will indeed impact Lakewood Heights.

Ordinance O-07-124
Regulating Dumpsters and Dumpster Enclosures
Ordinance O-07-127
Regulating Home Occupation's Vehicle Parking Limits & Number of Customers
Ordinance O-07-137
Re-classification from R-5 to R-1 Zone for Lakewood Heights

We are exteremely proud for, and want to extend congratulations to Lakewood Heights for their hard work in achieving this most important zoning change. Welcome to the R-1 Zoned NoLAN Club!

If you can not attend the 7:00 p.m. meeting at City Hall you can still be there in spirit by watching the Council proceedings on Comcast Channel 18. A big thank you to Faye Kirkwood for obtaining the December 27th Council Agenda. Please contact her if you want content details on the stated three ordinances.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Shop With A Cop

By now you may have heard about the NLR Police Department's "Shop With a Cop" program wherein police officers walked the isles of the Wal-Mart Supercenter on East McCain Blvd. with 12 kids ages 4 to 15 in helping them pick presents out for themselves or family members. These families are chosen and screened to ensure a real financial need is present. With the help of donations from local churches, civic clubs, businesses and individuals this program in it's second year has been very successful! And it has been an opportunity for our NLR Cops to give back to the community!

For the past two years the NLR Police Officer heading up this worthwhile event has been our very own Lakewood Substation Patrol Officer, Tommy Norman. Tommy has introduced himself at our last two association meetings while providing us with important area crime reports and pro-active anti-crime pointers we can use to protect ourselves and our families! He currently has the 3:00 to 11:00 p.m. shift out of the Lakewood Substation. And most importantly Tommy, in recognizing that the substation may not be manned every minute of the evening, has provided his personal cell phone number to ensure that we can always reach him! Now that's real dedication to community spirit, way beyond the standard call to duty! His cell phone number is 366-4330. If you can not contact anyone at the substation's phone number of 812-2690 then feel free to call him direct. Please recognize that he may be on patrol while taking your call and may have to get back to you. Of course, in an extreme emergency don't forget that 911 is available for an immediate response to your need!

Indeed it is a very comfort knowing that we are blessed with having Officer Tommy Norman's dedication to service over and above the norm available to meet our personal as well as our neighborhood's safety needs!"

Nate Brandes

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Slate of Officers

Election of association officers will be held at the January 21st meeting. If you or someone you know would like to serve as an officer and be considered by our Nominating Committee, please contact Nate at 758-0228, Lynda at 758-1522 ot Faye Kirkwood at 758-4262 by January 5th. Proposed officers will be presented at the January 21st meeting by the Nominating Committee. Nominations will also be accepted from the floor. The four officers are: President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer.

October 29th Meeting

THANK YOU for taking time to participate in the first "Northeast Lakewood Associated Neighborhoods" meeting October 29th. We were pleased to have Aldermen Murry Witcher, Charlie Hight, Neil Bryant and Alderwoman Debi Ross, Neighborhood Services Director Dan Scott and Officer Tommy Norman involved with our meeting. Sixty three people attended -- and with your help -- even more will attend the upcoming meeting December 3rd at the Lakewood Property Owners Association Activity Center at 7:00PM. It is on the hill by the swimming lake and tennis courts at 4500 Lakeshore.