2020 far from a normal year
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The Madison County Record

If this had been a normal spring, Huntsville athletes would have been busy this week.

As we know, schools were closed to on-site instruction due to the covid-19 pandemic. All activities, including sports, were canceled, as well.

The 4A-1 District track meet would have been held on Wednesday. Huntsville had numerous athletes who would have qualified for the state meet, which would have been held on May 4.

The 4A-1 District softball and baseball tournaments would have started this week, as well. Who knows if the Huntsville teams could have qualified for the regional tournaments, which were scheduled for May 7-9.

The 4A-1 District soccer tournaments were scheduled to start this week, as well.

My heart goes out to all the seniors this year, whether they were athletes or not. This was a very strange way for their final semester to end: learning from a distance and having all activities shut down. Students who took part in athletics, band, choir, the EAST program, the Robotics team and more were affected.

Hopefully the seniors will get to have a graduation ceremony this summer. They certainly deserve that.

• • •

In case you missed the story on CNN and other media outlets, there was this nugget of goodness last week.

More than 40 employees at Braskem America in Marcus Hook, Pa., volunteered to work and live at the factory to make polypropylene, which is needed for N95 masks and other protective gear.

The employees worked 12-hour shifts, then hunkered down in their company quarters. The company, in turn, provided beds, kitchens, food, iPads and access to the Internet.

Employees at Braskem America in Texas and West Virginia also did the 28-day effort.

Bravo to all those involved.

• • •

And speaking of a feel-good story, how about the one we had on last week’s front page?

The story was about Huntsville resident Mirna Marquez, who was released from a Springdale hospital on after spending 14 days fighting off covid-19.

Marquez spent from April 6 to April 20 at Northwest Medical Center in Springdale, with 10 of those days on a ventilator. She was the first patient in northwest Arkansas to receive treatment with convalescent plasma through a blood transfusion.

Pretty amazing stuff.

• • •

Withrow Springs State Park, located about 6 miles north of Huntsville, is open for day-use activities such as hiking and picnicking, according to park director Earl Minton.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Tuesday said state parks for in-state visitors would be reopened May 1 for self-contained RVs. Cabins and lodges will reopen on May 15, along with parks, marinas and rental equipment at the state parks.

“We’re getting some day-use visitors,” Minton said last week. All activities must adhere to social distancing, including no groups of 10 or more people.

The swimming pool at Withrow has been closed the past two summers after serious problems were found in structural walls. Plans call for it to be open this summer, if the state allows for such activities during the covid-19 pandemic. The governor has proposed a measured reopening of some businesses, but he hasn’t said much about reopening state and national parks in Arkansas.

“Boy, a lot of that is going to depend on the coronavirus,” Minton said about the pool reopening. Melissa Whitfield, spokeswoman for the Arkansas Department of State Parks, Heritage and Tourism, said the pool will open if and when “we get the go-ahead” from state officials. The leaks have been fixed, she said. Swimming pools at state parks are normally open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. That would be May 25 to Sept. 7 this year.

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