David Monteith

Reporter

David Monteith is a reporter for KUAR news.

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.  

David Monteith / KUAR News

Breast cancer screenings could become more accurate, more comfortable, and more common in Little Rock. That's the goal of the new Breast Center at CARTI, which officials announced Monday will open in June.

The new center aims to use the latest technology while also making the cancer screenings a more pleasant experience for women. Dr. Stacy Smith-Foley, a graduate of the University of Central Arkansas, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, and the University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine, will lead the new center.

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.”

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