David Monteith

Reporter

David Monteith is a reporter for KUAR news.

Hughes Street Interstate 630 I-630 expansion
Arkansas Department of Transportation

U.S. District Judge James Moody said he will likely issue a decision Tuesday on whether to halt an expansion project just getting underway on Interstate 630 in Little Rock. On Monday he heard a full day of oral arguments and testimony that continued into the evening. 

Interstate 630 highway construction
David Monteith / KUAR News

The speed limit is being reduced and concrete barriers are going up along a 2.2-mile stretch of Interstate 630 in Little Rock. Unless the weather causes delays, lanes will be closed beginning Monday night to prepare for the placement of concrete safety barriers along the stretch of the interstate between University Avenue and John Barrow Road.

Rock Region Metro transit buses CAT central arkansas transit
David Monteith / KUAR News

A new executive director is getting settled in at Rock Region Metro. Charles Frazier says he hopes to expand the role of public transit in central Arkansas. Frazier comes to Little Rock from Palm Beach County, Florida where he was an assistant director at Palm Tran, the transit agency there. 

Counties in yellow are under "moderate" danger for wildfires as of July 2.
Arkansas Forestry Commission

Rain is in the forecast for much of Arkansas for July 4th, but the potential for wildfires still exists.

Meteorologist Jeff Hood with the National Weather Service said showers should pass through before the evening fireworks shows begin.

"It doesn't look like a rainout, but some parts of the state are going to be dealing with scattered showers and thunderstorms," said Hood. 

Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola unveils the city's first "digital citizen engagement" kiosk. It provides wifi service and allows people to learn about area events and businesses, get directions, and take selfies.
David Monteith / KUAR News

Making Little Rock a leader in technology is the goal of a new project in the downtown area, the city's mayor announced Monday.

Little Rock's first "digital citizen engagement" kiosk is now active outside the Statehouse Convention Center. In addition to being a wi-fi hotspot, the touch-screen kiosk allows passersby to preview area businesses and events, get directions, and take selfie photographs that are sent to their phones.

Stefano Bolognini

Organizations in Arkansas from both ends of the political spectrum are finding things to celebrate from a ruling Monday by the U.S. Supreme Court.

In a 7-2 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple on the grounds that it violated his religious beliefs.

Jerry Cox, president of the Family Council, a conservative education and research group in Arkansas, sees the ruling as a win.

David Monteith / KUAR News

More arrests are anticipated after an event Tuesday at the state Capitol.

The Arkansas arm of the Poor People’s Campaign has organized a third week of protests, which will end in acts of civil disobedience. Organizer Toney Orr says the rally and arrests have been coordinated with Little Rock police.

“We always anticipate a number of people being arrested. To be honest with you, we really encourage it in a nonviolent way just to let people know that we’re willing to take that extra step to ensure that the message of the Poor People’s Campaign gets across,” Orr said.

David Monteith / KUAR News

The Little Rock Police Department hopes a new hiring process and financial incentives will keep the department fully staffed.

Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola joined Police Chief Kenton Buckner at the unveiling of a new website designed to attract candidates. A $5,000 bonus and a 5 percent annual raise are part of the financial package being offered to new recruits.

Hendrix College / Hendrix College

TRANSCRIPT: KUAR’s David Monteith interviewed Dr. Courtney Hatch, assistant professor of Chemistry at Hendrix College, who received $550,000 from the National Science Foundation.

DAVID MONTEITH: You were awarded a $550,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. Congratulations.

DR. COURTNEY HATCH: Thank you.

David Monteith / KUAR News

Little Rock’s Central High School is one of over 130 locations on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail that spans 14 states.

Lee Sentell, the director of the Alabama Tourism Department, has been a leader in developing the trail. Sentell spoke at the Clinton School of Public Service Monday.

“This is a process that started indirectly about 15 years ago,” said Sentell. “President Obama and the director of the National Park Service decided there needed to be more diversity in our national parks and in our nominations for World Heritage sites.”

Becker1999 / Wikimedia Commons

Advocates for using science and data to drive policy decisions plan to take their concerns to the steps of the Arkansas State Capitol Saturday.

The second annual March for Science happened in many states, including the nation’s Capitol, a week ago on April 14. Arkansas Sierra Club Executive Director Glenn Hooks says each march relates to the environmental issues in that state.

jobs unemployment employment
www.purdue.edu

Three counties in Arkansas are hoping a new initiative will improve the employability of their populations. Monday at the Capitol, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced the ACT Work Ready Communities Initiative.

Jefferson, Arkansas, and Grant counties have begun the process to receive a designation as ACT Work Ready Communities. Lou Ann Nisbett, president of the Economic Development Alliance of Jefferson County, initiated the tri-county effort.

Dick Marsico / New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection

Two events commemorating the 50th anniversary of the assassination of civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr will be held in Little Rock Wednesday.

Governor Asa Hutchinson plans to make comments at the Capitol at 10 a.m. At 5 p.m., a candlelight vigil is being hosted at the Little Rock Central High National Historic Site. According to David Kilton, with the National Park Service, the milestone anniversary has helped bolster attendance, which had already been on the rise in recent months.

David Monteith / KUAR News

Making communities in Arkansas more successful when competing with other states for industries and jobs is the goal of a new program announced Monday by Governor Asa Hutchinson.

The “Competitive Communities Initiative” is an evaluation process developed by the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. It’s intended to help cities identify assets that companies look for when selecting new host sites. Governor Hutchinson spoke to over 100 city leaders at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center in Little Rock about the need for the initiative.

The Gangster Museum of America

Baseball players will join organized crime figures at the Gangster Museum of America in Hot Springs.

Museum owner Robert Raines says a century ago the city played a significant role in spring training and believes what is now a gallery will soon become something larger.

“We do want to put together a national museum, so this is just a little snippet of what is to come. There’s a lot of baseball history here, so we’ll start reaching out to some major corporations here later this summer and hopefully within a couple of years we’ll have it all put together,” Raines said.

The Arkansas Repertory Theater / The Arkansas Repertory Theater

The Arkansas Repertory Theater, or The Rep as it’s known locally, promises a mix of classic and new productions in its upcoming season.

John Miller-Stephany, The Rep’s artistic director since 2016, said he prioritizes variety when choosing shows.

David Monteith / KUAR News

A movement started by civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr is seeing new life in Arkansas, and around the country, 50 years after his death.

According to organizers, the Poor People’s Campaign is “a national call for a moral revival.” Faith leaders from across the state gathered at the Arkansas Capitol to announce the goals of the campaign.

David Monteith / KUAR News

Starting Tuesday history of women’s undergarments will be on display in Little Rock at the nation’s only purse museum.

ESSE Purse Museum’s newest exhibit, Exposed, features what the museum refers to as women’s “unmentionables” from the 1900s to the 1960s.

“We really try and stick with things that can be connected to women and can tell the history of women in a unique way,” said Ally Weaver, the museum’s director.

The first Central Arkansas Music Awards ceremony is scheduled for Tuesday night at the Ron Robinson Theater in Little Rock.

Arkansas Sounds Music Coordinator John Miller says many area artists have shown interest in the event and want it to grow into something beyond a one-night ceremony.

“There’s a lot of folks that really kind of want to hopefully spur this into a bigger recognition of Arkansas artists and hopefully maybe that will spur something along the lines of a music hall of fame or something like that,” Miller said.

David Monteith / KUAR

The Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission and Habitat for Humanity joined forces Monday for a day of renovation at the former home of Daisy Bates in Little Rock to mark the beginning of a week of events leading up to the  national King holiday on January 15.

While volunteers Humanity fixed up the outside of the house, inside, museum board member Mary Hardin gave tours of the civil rights landmark.

Arkansas Forestry Commission

Conditions in Arkansas are still dangerously dry despite rainfall over the weekend.

Much of the western half of the state is under threat of wildfires with 58 of the state’s 75 counties still under active burn bans as of Monday. That number is down from a high of 70 late last week.

US Department of Veterans Affairs

Friday marks the end of the enrollment period for people seeking insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

What was once a three month sign up period was shortened to 45 days under the Trump administration. Jim McDonald, executive director of Enroll the Ridge in Jonesboro, said the decreased timeframe changed the approach of the Arkansas’s navigators who help people sign up for insurance.

David Monteith / KUAR News

A turnip garden in Little Rock marked the site of a major milestone for reducing hunger in Arkansas Monday.

The Arkansas Gleaning Project celebrated its 10 millionth pound of gleaned produce by harvesting turnips from the Western Hills Park Garden. Michelle Shope, with the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, said The Arkansas Gleaning Project has fed hundreds of thousands of people since its inception in 2008.

thanksgiving governor asa hutchinson turkey agriculture
David Monteith / KUAR News

The traditional trappings of Thanksgiving have a significant economic impact on the state of Arkansas, officials said in a ceremony on the steps of the state Capitol Monday.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson declared this Turkey Week in Arkansas. According to The Poultry Federation President Marvin Childers, the state ranks third in the nation in turkey production.

healthcare
File Photo

Arkansans seeking insurance through the federal Affordable Care Act will have less time to enroll this year compared to previous years.

The Trump Administration has shortened the sign-up period to 45 days, cut the advertising budget for the federal program, and pulled cost-sharing payments to insurers. KUAR’s David Monteith interviewed Bruce Donaldson, Navigator Outreach Manager for the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace about the impact of those changes during this open enrollment period in Arkansas.

Children of immigrant families fare worse in Arkansas than those in most other states, according to a report released Tuesday.

The “Race for Results: Building a Path to Opportunity for All Children” report says 69 percent of Arkansas’s children who are either immigrants themselves or have at least one parent born outside of the country are growing up in low-income families. Rich Huddleston, Executive Director of Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families said he hopes this data will inspire policy changes.

AACF / AACF

President Trump is ending some federal insurance subsidies for people covered under the Affordable Care Act. KUAR’s David Monteith spoke with Marquita Little, Health Policy Director for Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, about what the cuts will mean for Arkansans’ access to healthcare.

DAVID MONTEITH: President Trump announced he’s cutting cost-sharing reductions, or subsidies for some people insured under the Affordable Care Act. Can you tell us what’s getting cut and who will be impacted?

Arkansas Nuclear One Entergy power plant
Wikipedia

Arkansas leaders are responding to the expected announcement Tuesday from the head of the federal Environmental Protection Agency to roll back Obama-era regulations.

The Clean Power Plan was intended to significantly curb pollution by regulating the carbon emissions from different types of power plants. Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge was part of a 29-state coalition challenging the legality of the plan. In February 2016 the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to stay compliance with the regulations while it waited to judge legal merits of the plan.

David Monteith / KUAR

The embattled Little Rock School District ceremonially started work on a new high school in southwest Little Rock Monday.

Students from J.A. Fair High School and McClellan High School used shovels to break ground on what will become the first new high school for the district in more than a half century.

The two existing high schools, as well as four other schools in the district were identified as being under “academic distress” by the State Board of Education in 2014, which took control of the district the following year.

Central Arkansas Library System / Central Arkansas Library System

"Harry Potter," "Like Water For Chocolate," and "To Kill A Mockingbird" are some of the books being highlighted by the Central Arkansas Library System as part of Banned Books Week.

It's part of an annual, nationwide celebration of the First Amendment is sponsored by the American Library Association. Brad Mooy, with the library system, says this year’s series of events will be the largest yet for CALS.

“I think we had about four, or five, or six programs last year,” said Mooy. “And I think we have 16 this year and they are all free in ten different venues.”

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