Alexandria Brown

All Things Considered host/reporter

Alexandria Brown is a Douthit scholar and intern for KUAR News. She will graduate from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 2022 in hopes of being a multimedia reporter.

Alexandria has written for UA Little Rock's website and the student newspaper, The Forum. Alexandria is interested in reporting on events and issues surrounding culture, Arkansas news, education, and the human experience. In her spare time, she enjoys being around family and friends, running, and writing.

Dr. Cam Patterson, chancellor of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, speaking at Gov. Asa Hutchinson's weekly press briefing Tuesday.
Governor's Office / YouTube

New COVID-19 cases in Arkansas continue to climb and officials say the rapdily spreading delta variant and people not being vaccinated is the key reason why. The Department of Health reported 479 new cases Tuesday, along with eight additional deaths from COVID-19. 

At his weekly press briefing Tuesday, Gov. Asa Hutchinson urged Arkansans to take safety measures when participating in 4th of July activities to stop the spread of the virus.

Gov. Asa Hutchison at his weekly press conference Tuesday.
YouTube

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he is preparing to send the Biden Administration a waiver application for Arkansas Health and Opportunity for Me or ARHOME. Arkansas Works, the current Medicaid expansion program, expires at the end of this year. If approved, ARHOME would be the latest Medicaid expansion.

The program would provide coverage for low-income families who make below 138% of the federal poverty level. The federal government would cover 90% of the costs, and the state would pay the remaining 10%.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Tuesday Arkansans that get a COVID-19 vaccine can receive a $20 lottery ticket or $20 gift certificate.
Governor's Office / YouTube

Arkansans will have the opportunity to receive incentives if they get vaccinated for COVID-19. Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Tuesday those who receive a vaccine going forward can take their vaccination card to a local health unit starting June 1 to choose between two incentives.

The first incentive people can choose from is the chance to receive a $20 Arkansas Lottery Scholarship scratch-off ticket. Eric Hagler, director of Arkansas Scholarship Lottery, says this could make someone a millionaire.

Rod Cross

Black-owned food businesses in Little Rock are taking part in Black Restaurant Week’s “No Crumb Left Behind” campaign. According to a press release from the organization, this campaign will give restaurants the opportunity to gain more exposure as they recover from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Derek Robinson, Black Restaurant Week's Marketing Director, said in a statement, “The No Crumb Left Behind campaign is to ensure that we are helping as many culinary businesses stay afloat as the world recovers from the pandemic.”

Gov. Asa Hutchinson, seen speaking to reporters last week, announced Tuesday the creation of a panel to oversee how Arkansas spends $1.5 billion in federal pandemic assistance.
Chris Banks / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson says Arkansas will receive $5 billion in federal funding as a result of the American Rescue Plan. At a press conference Tuesday, Hutchinson said some of the money will go to educational institutions, city and county governments, the Department of Human Service, and other areas that need financial assistance.

Mayor Frank Scott Jr. delivers his third annual State of the City Address virtually.
YouTube

Mayor Frank Scott Jr. delivered his third annual State of the City address Thursday where he announced his plans to improve the quality of life for residents. During his virtual speech, Scott listed ways he plans to rebrand Little Rock through his one-cent sales tax increase and “Rebuild The Rock Experience.”  

Scott began his speech with addressing the hardships the city has endured because of the pandemic. Frontline workers, business owners, and students were invited to tell their stories on how COVID-19 has personally impacted them. 

Sarah Kellogg

 

Although the Arkansas General Assembly didn’t meet last week because of severe winter weather, House Speaker Matthew Shepherd, R-El Dorado, still commends the amount of progress that the legislature made this week.

 

While he says the amount of bills that have been filed is down compared to other sessions, he expects those numbers to pick up despite some members contracting the coronavirus earlier in the session.

 

Westbound traffic on Interstate 40 near Hazen was at a standstill for several hours Wednesday because of an accident involving several vehicles. It was one of many crashes that the Arkansas Department of Transportation says halted on interstates and highw
Arkansas Department of Transportation

Arkansas is expected to receive another four to eight inches of snow across the state Wednesday night, forecasters say, but the end is near. Heavy snowfall during the day caused widespread traffic disruptions, including Interstate 40 being closed at times in central and eastern Arkansas because of multi-vehicle accidents.

Meteorologist Dennis Cavanaugh with the National Weather Service says the southern and central part of the state will continue to receive snowfall, but it won’t be as widespread as what has been experienced since Sunday night.

Entergy Arkansas worker Jason Penny works on a problem Monday in west Little Rock.
Entergy Arkansas

Arkansas utility companies are asking people to conserve electricity usage as the state braces for another round of winter weather. Companies say heavy snowfall and unusually cold temperatures have prompted many consumers to use a substantial amount of natural gas and electricity to stay warm in their homes.

Melody Daniel, a spokeswoman for the Arkansas Division of Emergency Management, says lowering thermostats to within the 60 to 65 degree temperature range will help conserve power.

Withrow Springs at Huntsville, which features a 150-foot high bluff overlooking the creek and Ozark Mountains, is one of the places touted for vacations in Arkansas. Arkansas State Parks
Arkansas State Parks

The coronavirus pandemic has prompted officials to encourage people not to travel, causing the cancellation of many vacation plans. But the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism and its partners are urging residents to enjoy some time off while staying in the state.

Tuesday was National Plan for Vacation Day, with officials saying there are plenty of things to do while remaining safe. Tourism is a vital part of the state's economy.

An electric vehicle charging station in Jacksonville, Florida. Arkansas will be launching a program next month that will lead to more than 200 charging stations being placed around the state.
Bill Bortzfield / WJCT News

Arkansas is launching two programs that will expand the number of electric vehicle charging stations throughout the state. $2 million from the Volkswagen Mitigation Trust Fund is going toward providing more than 200 charging stations.

Becky Keogh, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment, says the grant will pay for infrastructure and incentivize private and public investments to leverage their funds.

In this file photo, one dose of the vaccine is shown during a press conference Monday at the Arkansas Department of Health.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

An estimated 443,000 additional Arkansans will be eligible to begin getting vaccinated for the coronavirus next week as the state moves into the next phase of inoculations. This group will include educators and those who are over the age of 70.

But many people are hesitant to get vaccinated because of potential side effects. UAMS said last week that among employees surveyed recently, 30% said they were reluctant to get a vaccine. Some people have also wondered if an employer can require them to get a vaccine.

Lines of cars go through a triage center Monday at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock for people to be tested for the coronavirus. A spokeswoman says the average wait time has been three to four hours, with about 500 people tes
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A study is underway by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences on who is being infected in the state by the coronavirus. Researchers are using blood samples from a control group to better understand how widespread the virus has become.

Early results suggest 3.5% of Arkansas residents have been infected. The study also shows minority groups across the state are disproportionately impacted.

Vendors were setting up for last year's Arkansas State Fair on Oct. 8, 2019. While the fair is not be taking place this year, people can still come to the state fairgrounds this weekend to enjoy eating traditional fair favorites.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Arkansas State Fair is one of many events that have been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. But an alternate event is being hosted this weekend at the state fairgrounds where people can eat their favorite fair foods.

The fair's Director of Sales and Promotions Will Hornburg said he wanted to have an event where people could come out and enjoy food, while also giving vendors the opportunity to generate business since they’ve been severely impact by the outbreak.

Like other events, this year’s Six Bridges Book Festival is being held online because of the coronavirus pandemic. Events begin Thursday, instead of the original schedule for April 23-26. Organized by the Central Arkansas Library System, it features 11 days of events.

Festival Coordinator Brad Mooy says there will be a wide range of discussions that will be streamed live and online, with only one in-person event. There will be 75 presenters, with 61 of those being authors. A game hour and an edible book contest are also being incorporated in this year’s festival.

Jay Barth
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Little Rock School District and the city announced Wednesday that four elementary schools will become part of a new “community schools” model. Little Rock Chief Education Officer Jay Barth made the announcement in a short video posted online. He also spoke with KUAR News about what’s planned. 

Arkansas could lose billions of dollars in future federal funding because of a new 2020 census deadline. On Thursday, a federal judge extended a temporary restraining order that was to expire that day to Sept. 24 because the government had not produced all documents requested by the court.

On Aug. 3, U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham announced the deadline for states to accept responses is now Sept. 30, a full month earlier than the original deadline.