David Monteith

Reporter

David Monteith is a reporter for KUAR news.

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences UAMS
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Some doctors and hospitals have adopted new practices to encourage women in Arkansas to get breast cancer screenings. Dr. Ronda S. Henry-Tillman, a breast cancer surgeon at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, says fewer women are getting checked since Gov. Asa Hutchinson issued a directive on April 3 banning elective medical procedures amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Pulaski Circuit County Clerk

Tuesday is National Voter Registration Day. The holiday, which occurs the fourth Tuesday of every September, is designed to encourage an increase in voter participation, but efforts to get people registered have been happening for weeks in Arkansas. Pulaski County Circuit and County Clerk Terri Hollingsworth says there are already 12,000 more registered voters than at this time four years ago. She credits new collaborations for the increase.

Arkansas Department of Health

Arkansans with symptoms of COVID-19 may be able to get test results more quickly. This week, the Arkansas Department of Health expects a shipment of almost 13,000 individual antigen tests usable with the BD Veritor System machines purchased in July.

The department's Deputy Director of Administration, Don Adams says the antigen tests can deliver results in less than 30 minutes.

Mosaic Templars Cultural Center

Recording the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Black Arkansans is the goal of a new project by the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center in Little Rock.

On Tuesday the museum will begin collecting video, audio and written commentary to document the experience of Black people in the state. Christina Shutt, the museum's director, says the staff began collecting newspaper articles and other artifacts when the pandemic began, but wanted to expand their efforts.

David Monteith / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson's plan to reopen schools for in-person instruction on August 24 continues to draw criticism from some parents and community members. Thursday, a group of close to 40 demonstrators drew 95 chalk outlines of bodies on the street outside the governor's mansion in Little Rock.

Veronica McClane, parent of a Little Rock School District 2nd grader, says the display was meant to show the potential consequences of reopening.

classroom desks
http://www.nctq.org

With Gov. Asa Hutchinson mandating the reopening of brick and mortar public schools in Arkansas for in-person instruction during the week of August 24, some parents are looking at other options, like homeschooling, or one of the state's virtual charter schools.

Jennifer Chosich, who lives outside of Little Rock, has homeschooled her 8th grade daughter for her entire life. She believes interest in the homeschool network has increased over the summer.

US Census Bureau

Arkansans could lose billions in federal funding as a result of changes to the 2020 census. Earlier this week, the U.S. Census Bureau announced the deadline for states to accept responses is now September 30, a full month earlier than previously planned.

Brad Cameron, spokesman for Arkansas Counts, says more than four out of every 10 households in the state have not yet submitted responses to the census.

Pulaski Circuit County Clerk

Election officials are preparing for an expected increase in the number of voters casting absentee ballots in November. Pulaski County Circuit and County Clerk Terri Hollingsworth is hosting an on-line training Tuesday night for those interested in learning how to help others register to vote or cast an absentee ballot.

"We usually send out about 8,000 or 9,000 absentee ballots. That's what we sent out in 2016 and right now, we're already at the point where we have 4,261 people who have requested to vote absentee."

Dr. Joe Thompson
Arkansas Center for Health Improvement

Former Arkansas Surgeon General Dr. Joe Thompson praised recent efforts by Gov. Asa Hutchinson and state health officials to curb the spread of COVID-19, but said even more steps need to be taken.

David Monteith / KUAR News

Most movie theaters in Arkansas closed in mid-March, around the time the first confirmed case of COVID-19 was announced in the state. The state, despite never meeting the re-opening criteria suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, began Phase One reopening in early May by proclamation of Governor Asa Hutchinson. According to the governor's guidelines, indoor movie theaters were allowed to resume operations on May 18.

Arkansas State Parks

Visitors to any of the Arkansas state parks now have the option to add stamps to a park passport. The new program was announced last week. Grady Spann, the director of Arkansas State Parks, says other park systems around the county have similar programs.

"The national parks do have a passport program, as do other state's park systems around the nation. And so, this is Arkansas’s version of that same concept to encourage people to visit all 52 of our parks."

David Monteith / KUAR News

Despite Arkansas seeing a record number of COVID-19 cases, the state is moving on to Phase Two of reopening, guided by the Trump Administration's Opening Up America Again Guidelines. Under Phase Two, which began Monday restaurants are allowed to operate at two-thirds capacity for dine-in services. Not all restaurants are eager to reopen however.

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

People suffering from anxiety or depression have a new resource available in the form of new technology, according to a research study by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. The study says a group of apps, usable on most smartphones, achieved significant improvements in the mental health of primary care patients.  

Dr. Carolyn Greene, an associate professor at UAMS and the project's lead scientist, says the goal was to provide the public with something effective and easy to use.

Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott, Jr. and Police Chief Keith Humphrey speak to reporters today about credible threats of violence by outside agitators.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

More protests over police brutality and systemic racism are scheduled in Little Rock, with a memorial walk planned to begin at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Arkansas State Capitol.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Tuesday that he was spending time listening to the concerns of demonstrators and community leaders. One of those was a Little Rock artist who goes by Drekkia Writes.

Bumble

Some Arkansans are finding ways to date new people without risking spreading the coronavirus. KUAR spoke with three people who've tried to maintain a social life while practicing social distancing. The names used in this report are pseudonyms.

Daniel, Victor and Sharon, all in their early to mid-thirties, take official warnings regarding the coronavirus seriously. Despite that, they are among the many who haven't given up on dating during the coronavirus pandemic.

National Association for Education of Young Children

Licensed childcare providers in Arkansas can now apply for funding to help pay for costs associated with COVID-19. The state's Department of Human Services announced on Friday the receipt of $41 million in federal assistance from the  Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Mark Abernathy Loca Luna
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas restaurants were allowed to begin reopening for dine-in service Monday, but many are waiting until they feel more comfortable letting patrons back in during the coronavirus outbreak. Some also said that with already thin profit margins, it doesn’t make sense from a business perspective to reopen.

David Monteith / KUAR News

Numbers from Arkansas's monthly revenue report are beginning to show the economic impact of the coronavirus.

The report was released Monday by the state's Department of Finance and Administration. John Shelnutt, an economist with the department, pointed out the data represents transactions from March and social distancing measures were only in effect for half that month.

"We expected large losses in major categories, and, in most cases they were not as bad as we predicted." Shelnutt said.

ShareAlike 4.0 International / Wikimedia Commons

One of the state's biggest crops could help some Arkansas farmers stay afloat during the economic challenges caused by COVID-19.

Arkansas is the nation's leading rice producer and that may benefit the state in the coming months, says to Dr. Tim Burcham, Director of the Northeast Rice Research and Extension Center for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

stock photo

The number of calls being made to Arkansas's hotline for child abuse is down, but some are concerned that may not be an accurate indicator. With schools closed for the remainder of the school year, experts say one of the primary safety nets for helping abused children has been removed.

According to Elizabeth Pulley, the Executive Director of the Children's Advocacy Centers of Arkansas, most reports of abuse come from educators trained to spot the signs.

Little Rock Family Planning Services
Arkansas Times

COVID-19 safety precautions have become the backdrop for the latest abortion arguments in Arkansas. Lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union, on behalf of Little Rock Family Planning Services, filed a lawsuit Monday contesting a cease and desist order issued by the state last week.

U.S. Census Bureau

Arkansas officials are hoping more people in the state will choose to use mail, phone, or internet options to be counted in the census.

Shelby Johnson, the director of the state's Geographic Information Office and co-chair of Arkansas's Complete Count Committee, said, prior to COVID-19, census takers planned to use face-to-face meetings to increase participation in the event that happens once a decade.

Governor's Office / YouTube

Four weeks after the first confirmed case of the coronavirus was identified in Arkansas, 1,023 people in the state have tested positive for the virus. Gov. Asa Hutchinson made the announcement Wednesday, noting there were 77 additional cases over the previous 24 hours.

Wikimedia Commons

As many people are using delivery services to limit their time in public during the current health crisis, those who deliver the goods are in high demand. But one delivery driver who spoke with KUAR News expressed grave concerns about her job. We're not naming her employer.

Sarah Chaney delivers pizzas and says she wanted to raise attention that many like her aren't being adequately protected or compensated. A key concern is that her restaurant delivers to a Little Rock nursing home that has had over a dozen confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration building in Little Rock.
KUAR News

Small indications of the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak could be showing in Arkansas's most recent revenue report. The March report, released Thursday, reflects mainly taxable transactions from February, before local and national recommendations for social distancing were widely in effect.

Amy Klobuchar
Daniel Breen / KUAR News

Democratic presidential candidates are hoping to rally momentum in Arkansas during the final week before the state takes part in Super Tuesday's primary election.

On Monday, Michael Bloomberg’s campaign said the former New York City mayor will return to Arkansas on Thursday to speak at a rally in Bentonville. The announcement comes one day after Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota spoke to an enthusiastic crowd in central Arkansas.

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.

Pages