David Monteith

Reporter

David Monteith is a reporter for KUAR news.

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.

My Arkansas Insurance Marketplace Affordable Healthcare Coverage
https://myarinsurance.com/

The deadline for purchasing health insurance through the Affordable Care Act is this Saturday. Bruce Donaldson, Navigator Outreach Manager for the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace, says consumers are more comfortable with the enrollment process, which has been in place for four years, but there are still common questions.

Hoga
David Monteith / KUAR News

Three years ago, the World War II tugboat Hoga arrived at the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum. Friday, at an event commemorating the attack on Pearl Harbor, the public will be allowed to tour the boat for the first time.

The Arkansas House of Representatives chamber.
arkansashouse.org

Now that bill filing for the 92nd General Assembly of the Arkansas State Legislature has opened, both new and experienced advocacy groups have begun looking for sponsors for legislation they hope will become state law.

Zachary Crow, the head of Decarcerate, an organization dedicated to reducing the prison population in Arkansas, said his group is looking forward to being more active in this session.

election vote
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Voter turnout in this midterm election is expected to be higher than in recent years, both nationally and in Arkansas. Chris Powell, spokesman for the Arkansas Secretary of State, said predictions of high turnout are holding true in some parts of the state.

"Some counties are reporting pretty high turnout," Powell said. "Saline County reported that they're already at 31 percent turnout, and Craighead County's got 22 percent. It's going to vary across the state. I think the statewide numbers [for early voting will be about] 23.5 percent of total registered voters."

David Monteith / KUAR News

Little Rock School District teachers and staff are considering a walkout or a strike as a contract between the district and the collective bargaining group representing many of the district's teachers is set to expire Wednesday.

The options were discussed at a meeting Sunday night organized by the Little Rock Education Association, Grassroots Arkansas, Our Community Our Schools and Save Our Schools. On Monday, some teachers were taking part in public demonstrations, with many critical of state Education Commissioner Johnny Key.

David Monteith / KUAR News

A final report of recommendations for protecting Arkansas school children and personnel is set to be completed next month.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who created the Arkansas School Safety Commission in March, spoke at their meeting Monday and gave some feedback on the draft of their recommendations.

“I like the direction to have a security coordinator in each school. And you have put a plan in place that’s unique to that school. And your recommendations enhanced the training and coordination with local law enforcement,” Hutchinson said.

Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford and Democratic candidate Hayden Shamel
AETN

The two top candidates from Arkansas's District 4 Congressional seat faced off Monday. Issues in the AETN debate ranged from the minimum wage to the opioid epidemic.

Recent tariffs imposed by the Trump administration, and the responses from other countries were points of criticism brought by Democratic candidate Hayden Shamel.

"These tariffs are doing nothing but hurting American consumers and American farmers. In fact, we've had to give welfare to our farmers here in Arkansas just to make for the problem that we created," Shamel said.

David Monteith / KUAR News

Reducing the number of people in Arkansas prisons is one of the goals of gubernatorial candidate Jared Henderson.

Monday Henderson released his plan for reforming Arkansas’s criminal justice system to address what he calls the "epidemic of mass incarceration" in the state.

David Monteith / KUAR News

The United State Supreme Court opens its new session the first Monday in October. Monday, the current dean of the UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law, Theresa Beiner, and one of its former deans, John DiPippa, shared their predictions for which cases the court will agree to hear at a public lecture in Little Rock.

David Monteith / KUAR News

Candidates for Arkansas Attorney General are responding to recent headlines regarding corrupt legislators in the state.

Arkansas Governor's School

A summer program for some of the state’s gifted and talented high school students, could be moving to Arkansas Tech University in Russellville.

A site selection committee for Arkansas Governor's School rated Hendrix College in Conway higher according to their criteria, but then voted to recommend Arkansas Tech to the State Board of Education. Jason Rapert, the Republican Senator from Conway opposes the move and the process used to make the decision.

David Monteith / KUAR News

The Little Rock School District is gathering public input on a new long-range plan.

Superintendent Michael Poore announced a "community blueprint" Monday, which outlined the district's intentions to close some schools, repurpose some land and buildings, as well as build new schools.

National Weather Service

Late summer usually means hot, dry weather in Arkansas, but according to National Weather Service meteorologist Dan Cook, predictions for the middle of  this month include highs in the 80s and the poential for heavy rain, "which is a little bit unusual." While rainfall is helping the state avoid wildfires, it's a mixed bag for agriculture industry.

David Monteith / KUAR news

Little Rock is getting help in its fight against childhood hunger. On Monday officials announced a $139,500 grant had been awarded to the city by the Food Research Action Center and the National League of Cities.

Mayor Mark Stodola said the efforts of multiple partners helped Little Rock become one of six cities nationwide to receive the grant.

Satanic Temple

A 3,000-pound goat-headed statue of the Satanic idol Baphomet is to be part of a protest of the Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the Arkansas state Capitol, organizers say.

The statue is owned by the Satanic Temple, which describes itself as "non-theistic religious organization." The co-founder of the temple, who uses the pseudonym Lucien Greaves, announced Monday the statue will be part of the protest on August 16.

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.

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