David Monteith

Reporter

David Monteith is a reporter for KUAR news.

The National Weather Service

Arkansas farmers are bracing for another wet winter. Rainfall totals of up to seven inches in parts of the state are already well above average for February. John Lewis, senior forecaster for the National Weather Service, said this wet winter trend began two years ago.

"2018 was the 9th wettest year we’ve ever had in Arkansas, and that goes back to 1895. And 2019 was the 7th wettest, so you had two top 10 wet years in a row and we're certainly starting off that way this year," Lewis said.

David Monteith / KUAR News

The Arkansas Governor's Mansion celebrated its 70th anniversary Monday. Former Governors Mike Beebe, Mike Huckabee, and Jim Guy Tucker joined family members of other previous governors at the mansion.

The campaign to build the mansion began in 1944 with Mrs. Agnes Bass Shinn. Governor Sid McMath and his family became the mansion's first residents on February 3, 1950.

First Lady Susan Hutchinson unveiled this year's commemorative Christmas ornament, a glass replica of the mansion, to mark the anniversary.

David Monteith / KUAR News

Super Tax Day, the annual kick-off event for a series of free tax services for low-income workers, is set for Saturday in several Arkansas cities. Entergy Arkansas has been a sponsor of the event since 2011. The energy provider partners with other state entities and the Internal Revenue Service to help promote the Earned Income Tax Credit, which increases the refund for low and middle-income individuals and families.

Michael Bloomberg
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Democratic presidential hopeful Michael Bloomberg returned to Arkansas Monday, the second time he has visited the state since announcing he was running for the nation's highest office. The former New York City mayor walked near the front of Little Rock’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. parade, surrounded by supporters wearing "I Like Mike" shirts and waving signs.

Arkansas Department of Health
Arkansas Department of Health

Arkansans for whom holiday stress and winter blues turn to more serious symptoms of depression have somewhere to turn as a result of legislation passed in 2017 that created a state-funded suicide prevention call center run by the Arkansas Department of Health.

Tyler West, who works with the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention on both a state and national level, says the strategy is unique.

National Weather Service

Temperatures in Arkansas are expected to swing from well above average to well below average after a powerful cold front moves through the state. After reaching a high near 70 degrees in Little Rock on Monday, John Lewis, senior forecaster with the National Weather Service, says temperatures Tuesday are expected to be cold enough to bring a wintry mix to the area.

GivingTuesday.org

December has traditionally been a time in which donations to nonprofits spike as people, motivated either by holiday generosity or tax breaks, give to their favorite charities. In 2012, a social media event known as Giving Tuesday was launched in an effort to amplify the giving.

Walter Hussman
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette is nearing the day when it will no longer deliver a daily printed paper. The newspaper has been transitioning its weekday service to an app-only format and plans to print only a Sunday edition of the paper by the beginning of next year.

Teresa Knapp Gordon (center), president of the Little Rock Education Association, telling reporters Monday that the union is calling for a one-day strike on Thursday.
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

Arkansas's State Board of Education will be discussing a memorandum of understanding regarding control of the Little Rock School District on Thursday. On that same day, members of the Little Rock Education Association, and the coalition #OneLRSD have planned a one-day strike.

Teresa Knapp Gordon, president of the teachers' union, said state officials have ignored previous requests that control of the district be in the hands of a locally elected school board.

March of Dimes

Babies in Arkansas are more likely to be born prematurely than in most other states, according to a report released Monday by the March of Dimes. It gives Arkansas a grade of F based on measurements of maternal and children's health.

Data from 2018 shows 11.6% of Arkansas babies were born three or more weeks before their due date, an increase of 0.2% over the previous year. The national rate is 10% and only four other states have a higher preterm birth rate.

Faith Sharp, with March of Dimes, said many Arkansas mothers lack access to pre-natal care.

David Monteith / KUAR News

At a cost of $1.2 million, the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office has purchased in-vehicle cameras and body-worn cameras for all of its active deputies. 

Sheriff Eric Higgins said a $440,000 federal grant paid for the body-worn cameras, but the sheriff's office paid for the rest. 

KATV, Channel 7

Final attendance numbers are in and this year's Arkansas State Fair had the second-highest attendance in its 80-year history.

Doug White, in his first year as president and general manager of Arkansas State Fairgrounds, said the lack of rain was one reason for the success of this year's event.

"Having nine days of sunshine, having our only rain-day be on a Tuesday, which is typically a slow day anyway, we couldn't have scripted it any better. My first fair, obviously I’m elated," White said.

Telehealth technologies have high potential to improve oral health in Arkansas. Teledentistry is now widely used by orthodontists across the state, but not yet by most Arkansas dentists.

David Monteith / KUAR News

The Arkansas Attorney General's office is hosting summit meetings to discuss the rise in vaping by the state's young people. On Monday, over 100 educators, lawmakers, and health professionals met at Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock, to hear the latest news on vaping.

Paragould School Superintendent Debbie Smith said having current facts from some of the state's leading medical professionals will help when talking to teens and parents.

gas station
AAA

Starting Tuesday, taxes on gas and diesel fuel are going up and owners of electric and hybrid vehicles will be paying more to register their vehicles. Those increases are the result of legislation signed into law earlier this year by Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

The tax on gasoline is going up 3 cents a gallon, while the tax on diesel will rise 6 cents a gallon. In addition to those new taxes, owners of hybrid and electric vehicles will be paying $100 or $200 dollars more, respectively, to register their vehicles each year.

David Monteith / KUAR News

Little Rock and North Little Rock are one step closer to getting affordable housing and shared work spaces for artists. On Tuesday night, the national non-profit Artspace announced its plan to move forward to the second stage of development in central Arkansas. A feasibility study conducted in July convinced the organization of the region's interest and potential, so a survey of area artists and creative businesses has been launched.

Ernest Mettendorf / wikimedia commons

One of North Little Rock's most famous landmarks is being renovated. If all goes as planned at the Old Mill, water will flow over a 50-foot rock wall for the first time in over 70 years. Sandra Taylor Smith, director of the North Little Rock History Commission, hopes the new waterfall will help make the tourist attraction even more appealing.

"The big pond between where the waterfall is coming and the mill building sometimes would get very stagnant, so we were looking at solutions to try to keep that water moving and not be so stagnant," she said.

David Monteith / KUAR News

As part of his goals related to education in Little Rock, Mayor Frank Scott, Jr. is focusing on chronic absenteeism, after school initiatives, workforce training, literacy and advocacy. Scott hosted a meeting Monday for more than 60 city and state leaders from a variety of education organizations representing everything from pre-natal care to adult education.

After sharing their individual approaches to meeting Little Rock's education needs, the organizations were invited to be a part of workgroups on each topic.

Entergy power line
Entergy Arkansas

Entergy Arkansas is proposing a rate increase for its customers to help pay $135 million in reimbursements to customers in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. According to a 2018 ruling by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Entergy Arkansas violated an agreement it had with affiliates in Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana by misreporting sales of energy to non-network entities from 2000 to 2009.

David Monteith / KUAR News

The Arkansas Arts Center is, for now, saying goodbye to its MacArthur Park location. The Little Rock institution is hosting a farewell party at, and for, its longtime home on Saturday. It was founded as a museum of fine art in 1937 and is temporarily relocating to a former Wal-Mart building in the Riverdale Shopping Center while renovations happen over the next two-and-a-half years. 

David Monteith / KUAR News

Rock Region Metro is field testing a new service in southwest Little Rock. Metro Connect is what those in the transit industry call microtransit: an on-demand, short-range, ride-sharing service. Users can, via app or phone, arrange to be picked up in small vans and dropped off anywhere in a designated service area for the same price they would pay to ride a full-size bus.

Voting Election Day Vote
Sarah Whites-Koditschek / Arkansas Public Media

Tuesday marks the 54th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. Monday night members of Arkansas Community Organizations are holding a rally and candlelight vigil to voice their support for strengthening the act, which was intended to eliminate racial discrimination from the election process.

Early voting in Arkansas starts Monday, October 22nd.
Creative Commons

Early voting begins Tuesday for a special primary election to fill the empty seat in State House District 36. Five democratic candidates are vying to fill the spot left when former representative and House Minority Leader Charles Blake resigned to take a new role as Chief of Staff for Little Rock under Mayor Frank Scott, Jr.

Evelyn Gomez, chair of the Pulaski County Election Commission, says preparations for the special primary election have been underway since the announcement.

David Monteith / KUAR News

Artists in central Arkansas may be getting a new option for affordable places to live and create. Artspace, a non-profit real estate developer, is considering sites in Little Rock and North Little Rock for a new project. The group will be hosting a public meeting to guage community interest Wednesday night at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center in Little Rock.

FEMA / FEMA

Those impacted by the flooding in Arkansas have just a few weeks left to apply for financial help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Tiana Suber, a spokesperson for FEMA, says the deadline to register for disaster relief assistance is August 7.

"If you suffered from damages from the flooding in May, we do ask that – if you are underinsured or uninsured – that you will come down to one of our disaster recovery centers," Suber said.

David Monteith / KUAR News

Martial artists from around the world began gathering in Little Rock Monday for the annual ATA World Expo. Little Rock’s largest annual convention is expected to draw roughly 20,000 visitors per day over the next week for a variety of Taekwondo events.

The convention includes two days of training and seminars followed by four days of competitions, which are open to the public.

David Monteith / KUAR News

Organizations dedicated to reducing food insecurity in Arkansas have a new partner. Telecommunications company AT&T announced its Believe Arkansas initiative Monday at the state Capitol.

The program includes a donation of $100,000 split among various hunger relief groups across the state. According to a 2017 report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Arkansas ranks second worst in the nation when it comes to food insecurity. The president of the AT&T's Arkansas operations, Ronnie Dedman said that is one reason the company chose to focus on that issue.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson says the expansion of the Lockheed Martin facility is "great news for South Arkansas."
Governor's Office

326 new jobs are to be created in south Arkansas as part of a Lockheed Martin expansion. At the Paris Air Show Monday, Gov. Asa Hutchinson and representatives from the company announced the expansion of a plant in Camden. The governor sent a tweet about the announcement Monday morning.

An example of a farmer harvesting soybeans.
Creative Commons

Between President Trump's tariffs on China and an unusually rainy Spring, soybean farmers in Arkansas are bracing for less product and less profit.

David Monteith / KUAR News

The Little Rock Police Department will face continued scrutiny of its use of deadly force with the filing of a federal civil lawsuit Monday. The family James Hartsfield claims the officer used excessive force and that the city is also responsible for failing to properly train its officers.  

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