David Monteith

Reporter

David Monteith is a reporter for KUAR news.

David Monteith / KUAR News

A crowd of roughly 60 people gathered at the Arkansas state Capitol Monday to protest the exoneration of Little Rock police officer Charles Stark. He shot and killed Bradley Blackshire during a traffic stop earlier this year. The 30-year old black man was driving a stolen vehicle and footage released by the department showed Blackshire refused the officer's order to exit the car, which then slowly moved toward Stark. 

David Monteith / KUAR News

The 18,000 Arkansans who lost healthcare due to the state's work reporting requirement could begin receiving coverage again if a bill introduced Monday passes in the legislature.

Last week a federal judge ruled the requirement was unconstitutional. Rep. Reginald Murdock, D-Mariana, is the bill's co-sponsor. During a press conference Monday, he said the Department of Human Services has been unwilling or unable to share contact information for those who have lost coverage.

Brandon Markin / The Arkansas Repertory Theatre

After financial troubles last year, officials with the Arkansas Repertory Theatre hope their first show of the season is a sign of future success. The Rep's production of the musical "Chicago" finished its run Sunday.

Karen Rudolph, the organization's director of marketing and audience engagement, said tickets sales from the show were encouraging.

Rock Region Metro
Rock Region Metro

Central Arkansas public transit could benefit from national bipartisan support for infrastructure spending. Charles Frazier, the CEO of Rock Region Metro, traveled to Washington D.C. as part of a national delegation of transit officials requesting federal funding.

"There are backlogged 'state of good repair' projects – upwards of $90 billion – and without the appropriate support from the federal government that work gets kicked down the road," Frazier said.

Frazier was one of several members of the American Public Transportation Association to present data from a report generated by the APTA to members of the U.S. Congress. In addition to repair projects, federal dollars could also help pay for new projects, like an expansion of the transit hub in Arkansas's capital city.

David Monteith / KUAR News

Arkansas could join 10 other states with refundable bottle deposits as the result of legislation filed Monday in the state legislature. Rep. Vivian Flowers (D-Pine Bluff) is sponsoring the bill to introduce a Container Deposit Law.

The proposal would increase the cost of certain bottles by 6 cents. A refund of 5 cents would be available at certified drop-off locations. Flowers said the program could reduce litter on Arkansas roads, bring recycling to many rural communities that currently have no access, and generate revenue for a variety of state and local organizations.

David Monteith / KUAR News

Improving the employment opportunities of Arkansans with developmental disabilities is the goal of a program announced at the state Capitol today.

Melissa Stone, Director of the Division of Disability Services at the Department of Human Services says the number of people with disabilities in the workforce has increased over the past few years.

"We have people of all different capacities working at grocery stores, at gas stations, answering the phone for the governor's office, working at our store at DHS. I think these people are capable of doing everything," Stone said.

ShareAlike 4.0 International / Wikimedia Commons

Arkansas is expected to get a break from an unusually wet winter, but it may not be enough of a break for farmers.

Some Arkansas counties have received two to three times their average amount of rainfall over the last six months. The frequent and heavy rains have made it difficult for many farmers to work their land. Rice Agronomist Jarrod Hardke with the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service says the return of cold weather could offset any relief from the rain.

National Weather Service

Heavy rains are predicted throughout the week for much of Arkansas. According to the National Weather Service, the eastern part of the state could see as much as 8 inches of total accumulation over the next several days.

"What this is likely to cause is prolonged issues with the rivers," said Brian Smith, a senior forecaster with the National Weather Service. "We are expecting continued river flooding, especially along the White River, the Black River basin, as well as the Cache River. We could see some flash flooding issues in places as well."

David Monteith / KUAR News

Providing tax cuts for low- and middle-income workers in Arkansas is the goal of a new tax plan released by leaders in the state’s Democratic Party. Speaking at the Capitol, House Minority Leader Charles Blake said an earned income tax credit will benefit more Arkansans than the current plan being proposed by Governor Asa Hutchinson.

“We are not against tax cuts,” Blake said. “We are not trying to oppose the Governor. Arkansans have said that they want tax relief, but let’s be smart. Let’s give tax relief to 99% of Arkansans.”

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

The Department of Finance and Administration says Arkansas was $13.1 million below projections for January, but the state's revenue is still up for the fiscal year. According to the DFA, the year-to-date net available general revenue is $3.4 billion, which is 4.1 percent higher than this time last year.

John Shelnutt, an economist with the department, said a drop in January revenue was forecasted, but not to this degree.

National Weather Service

Another blast of cold air is expected to enter Arkansas Monday. Meteorologist Chuck Rickard with the National Weather Service says temperatures will drop well below freezing, with snow and ice expected in part of the state.

"Parts of southeast Arkansas could see some light snow. It could change over later on tonight once that cold air moves in, but we are not really looking for much in the way of snippy accumulation," Rickard said Monday.

City of Little Rock

A donation drive to help furloughed federal workers in Little Rock is scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday. The initiative, known as Little Rock Cares, was started by federal employees at the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport as a way of helping each other during the partial government shutdown.

Airport spokesman Shane Carter said it was expanded to a citywide effort when the needs outstripped the resources of airport employees.

SNAP
Department of Human Services

As the partial federal government shutdown continues, ripple effects are being felt by more than federal employees. Monday the Arkansas Department of Human Services announced that qualified Arkansans will receive their Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits earlier than usual.

The money that allows low-income participants to purchase food is released monthly, and February's allotment will be distributed on January 17, according to DHS spokeswoman Marci Manley.

Frank Scott Jr. Transition Team
David Monteith / KUAR News

New Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. has begun working to determine how best to achieve the goals he laid out during his campaign. On Monday, Scott convened the first meeting of his transition team which includes a board of directors and a team of advisors.

"What I hope will come out of this is a transition report that will serve as a playbook for my administration the next four years," Scott said.

gas station
AAA

Motorists in Arkansas can expect the price of gas to hover just over two dollars per gallon, according to experts.

Mike Right, a spokesman for Triple A says this holiday season could be busier than most as far as travel is concerned.

"We're predicting that the Christmas, New Year's holiday period this year will set an all-time record. We're anticipating 112 million Americans will be on the highways, the airways, the railways over this holiday period and that's an increase over last year of 4.4 percent," said Right.

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