David Monteith

Reporter

David Monteith is a reporter for KUAR news.

UCA / University of Central Arkansas

A preview of a scene from an opera depicting the desegregation of Little Rock's Central High School in 1957 is scheduled for Monday evening at the University of Central Arkansas.

The event is one of several commemorating the 60th anniversary of the desegregation of the school. UCA’s College of Fine Arts and Communication commissioned the opera, entitled “The Little Rock Nine,” which is being composed by Tania Leon. In an interview for KUAR’s Arts Scene program, Leon said she didn’t know much about the event when she was first approached to compose the opera.

David Monteith / KUAR

Even though Arkansas wasn’t in the path of totality for Monday's solar eclipse, people in the state came together at different locations and took joy watching as the moon covered much of the sun.

Phil Stein was among the hundreds who gathered at Riverfront Park in Little Rock at one of several watch parties organized by the Central Arkansas Library System.

North Little Rock Mayor Joe Smith
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

North Little Rock voters will decide the fate of a proposed sales tax increase Tuesday. If approved, the city’s portion of sales tax revenue would increase from one percent to two percent, adding another penny to every dollar of taxable items. Half the increase would be permanent, but the other half cent would last for only the next five years.

Kenny Wallis, a conservative activist and North Little Rock resident, has campaigned against tax increases in central Arkansas since 2011.

USDA / United States Department of Agriculture

A group hoping to address the food insecurity, which affects nearly 1 in 5 Arkansans, is scheduled to stop in Little Rock this weekend.

The “This Is Hunger” exhibit, most recently in Fayetteville, began its nationwide tour in California in late 2016. Little Rock will be the 47th stop in the 35th city in the 25th state of the tour.

NASA

NASA’s presence in Arkansas may be increasing thanks to recent grants and potential contracts.

Earlier this month the University of Arkansas was awarded two grants by NASA to fund space technology research, one of which could include conducting experiments on the International Space Station. Following that announcement, Governor Asa Hutchinson probed Space X CEO Elon Musk for his thoughts on the federal space program at last week’s meeting of the National Governors Association.

Arkansas Department of Information Systems / Arkansas Department of Information Systems

Before the start of the next school year, Arkansas may be among the few states providing high-speed internet access to all of its public school districts.

In the 1990’s Arkansas developed a system for providing internet access to schools, but its capabilities were limited and it became outdated quickly. Now, fiber optic cables running throughout the state have replaced the old infrastructure and currently reach 233 of the state’s 238 school districts. The updated system, known as the Arkansas Public School Computer Network (APSCN) will increase access speeds from 5 kilobits per student to 200 kilobits per student.

Daisy Outdoor Products / Daisy Outdoor Products

Young marksmen from across the country will gather in Arkansas this weekend to compete for the title of National BB Gun Champion.

The Daisy National BB Gun Championship Match is expected to draw competitors from 17 states to Rogers– where the company is headquartered. Lawrence Taylor, spokesman for Daisy Outdoor Products, says BB guns are a safe way to introduce young children to guns.

David Monteith / KUAR

Wal-Mart unveiled new signs at its stores promoting its “Arkansas Grown” program Monday.

Company officials say the marketing strategy is part of the Arkansas-based retailer’s commitment to purchase an additional $250 billion worth of products assembled, made, or grown in the U.S. by 2023.

Michael Hensley, a tomato farmer from Bradley county, Arkansas, said his farm’s 15-year relationship with Wal-Mart has given him peace of mind.

The theme for 2017's nationwide summer reading program is "Build a Better World."
Collaborative Summer Library Program / Collaborative Summer Library Program

Libraries across Arkansas will join libraries nationwide to encourage patrons to “Build a Better World” this summer.

The summer reading program is an event in which libraries across the country, united by a common theme, promote reading and educational activities during the months most schools are closed.

Each month, Arkansas Works, the state’s Medicaid expansion program which provides health coverage for low income residents, refers new and renewed enrollees in the program to the Department of Workforce Services. The Arkansas Department of Human Services issued a report Monday on the number of enrollees referred to employment services this year. 

In the first quarter of the year 144,716 referrals were made. According to the report from DHS, the number of people actually acting on those referrals rose from 628 in January to 2,792 in April.

City of Monticello / City of Monticello

In the aftermath of the resignation of Monticello’s mayor, two of the city’s former mayors are in a special runoff election to see which of them will complete the remaining 18 months of the term.

In January, Zack Tucker resigned as mayor and pleaded guilty to abuse of office after misusing city funds. David Anderson, a Democrat, and Joe Rogers, an Independent, and are both vying to fill the position and become the city’s 8th mayor since 2014.

Harold Coggins, the editor of the Advance Monticellonian newspaper, covers local politics.

Department of Finance and Administration

Business leaders from across Arkansas will join with community leaders from the Delta Friday to develop strategies for improving the impoverished region. Simmons Bank, based in Pine Bluff, is sponsoring the second annual conference, “The Arkansas Delta: Why It Still Matters.”

David Monteith / KUAR

The Little Rock School District millage extension will be decided by voters on Tuesday.

One focal point of opponents and supporters is a promise made over two years to build a new high school in southwest Little Rock. Greg Adams was president of the Little Rock School Board when the state took control of the district. Under his tenure the district completed a plan, which included building new schools in west Little Rock and southwest Little Rock.

David Monteith / KUAR

The official grand opening of Little Rock’s Tech Park is scheduled for Monday afternoon. The mission of the facility, located in the heart of downtown Little Rock, is to foster innovation and collaboration among entrepreneurs and established technology companies, and to spur economic growth.

Kevin Zaffaroni, chairman of the board for the Tech Park, says the project is showing success.

AETN / AETN

Trailer for the film:

KUAR’s David Monteith interviewed Tanisha Conway, producer of the film “Dream Land: Little Rock’s West 9th Street.”

DAVID MONTEITH: Give us a preview of the documentary. What is it about West 9th Street that made you want to make a movie about it?

Arkansas Department of Workforce Services / Arkansas Department of Workforce Services

According to the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, unemployment in the state dropped to 3.8 percent in January, which is a record low. The national unemployment rate was 4.8 percent.

The report released Monday reflects data on jobs and joblessness from January 2016 to January 2017. The sector showing the most growth in Arkansas over the year was "professional-scientific-technical services," which added 2,400 jobs.

National Weather Service / National Weather Service

Teaching Arkansans how to rate and report the severity of storms is one goal of a program being hosted by the National Weather Service Tuesday night.

Spring storms often bring tornado warnings in central Arkansas. The Skywarn Storm Spotter Training is designed to help community volunteers monitor and report storms as they develop.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Jeff Hood says firsthand accounts are a useful addition to the weather reports gathered via radar.

Charlie Collins
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

Another concern is being raised about legislation that would require public universities and colleges in Arkansas to allow licensed faculty and staff to carry concealed handguns on campus.

John Pijanowski, chair of the campus faculty senate at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, believes the campus carry bill could be in conflict with existing laws regarding guns in churches.

Butler Center for Arkansas Studies / Central Arkansas Library System

Gov. Asa Hutchinson is scheduled to proclaim February 7 as “Women’s Primary Suffrage Centennial Day” during an event Tuesday at the state Capitol.

One hundred years ago Arkansas lawmakers introduced legislation allowing women to vote in primary elections. Kathleen Pate, president of the non-profit Arkansas Women’s History Institute, says Arkansas was the first non-suffrage state to enact such a law, which, while progressive for its time, was still limited.

Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR News

Arkansans with an interest in issues related to children and a desire to engage in the political process and will have the opportunity Tuesday at the state Capitol.

At the beginning of every regular legislative session Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families (AACF) and the Arkansas Kids Count Coalition organize Kids Count Day at the Capitol. The event is a full day of activities including a rally, meetings with legislators, and information on upcoming bills related to children and families.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Several central Arkansas organizations are joining communities across the country as they take a census of the homeless population.

Every two years a Point In Time count is mandated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The local census will include Pulaski, Saline, Prairie, and Lonoke counties and is scheduled for Tuesday night.

David Monteith / KUAR

Hoping to show solidarity with the Women’s March in the nation’s capitol, a large crowd gathered in Little Rock Saturday.

Thousands of people, many dressed in purple, chanted “Women united will never be divided,” and “This is what democracy looks like,” while marching down Capitol Avenue before a rally was held on the steps of the Arkansas Capitol.

Little Rock Police Department / Little Rock Police Department

Bringing attention to the sharp rise in homicides in Little Rock is the goal of organizers of an event being planned on the steps of the state Capitol.

The central Arkansas chapters of Parents of Murdered Children and Stop the Violence are hosting a candlelight vigil Sunday night in response to the 33 percent increase in murders in the city last year.

National Weather Service

The coldest temperatures of the year in Arkansas are expected to arrive later this week.

Meteorologist Jeff Hood with the National Weather Service said the temperatures, which have already been unseasonably low, are expected to drop even lower. Rain is expected for much of the state, but no significant snowfall is anticipated.

Hoga
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

The Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum is highlighting a week of events commemorating the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

North Little Rock may seem an unlikely site of naval significance but those with the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum say it’s the only place in the U.S., other than Hawaii, where visitors can tour U.S. Navy ships present at the beginning and end of U.S. involvement in World War II. The museum claimed this distinction when it became home to the U.S. Navy Tugboat Hoga one year ago.

Michael Poore Little Rock Superintendent
Jacob Kuaffman / KUAR News

The Little Rock School District is continuing to host community meetings regarding possible school closures, but critics are concerned the decisions have already been made.

Five schools in LRSD are being considered for closure in a proposal by superintendent Michael Poore. Three community meetings to gather public feedback on the proposal were hosted before Thanksgiving, and four more are on the schedule before the district closes for the winter holiday.

telemedicine
www.rochester.edu

Students in four Arkansas school districts could help shape the future of medicine in the state.

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and the Arkansas Department of Education are partnering to pilot a telemedicine program in Jasper, Lee County, Malvern, and Magazine School Districts. The four districts were chosen partly because they have existing school-based health centers.

Tina Benton with the UAMS Center for Distance Health says the program is designed to reach students in rural parts of the state.

Hillary Clinton
John Locher/AP/npr.org

Hillary Clinton’s defeat in the presidential election may have some women getting more involved in state level politics.

Nearly a year ago, well before the election results, Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families (AACF) began hosting regular conversations about the impact of state policies on women and children in the state. The discussions were open to all women, and only women. The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 15.

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

Rock Region Metro is joining several other public transit organizations across the nation who hope to help voters on election day.

With candidates from all parties encouraging people to vote, residents of central Arkansas are being offered free bus rides on election day. A handful of cities in the U.S. have tried similar programs, but Jarod Varner, executive director Rock Region Metro, says this is the first time for such a service in central Arkansas.

USGS / USGS

Arkansans are being asked to join others across the country as they participate in an earthquake drill.

The “Great Central U.S. Shake Out”, is one of many regional earthquake drills being held at 10:20 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 20. The organization ShakeOut claims to have had over 43 million participants worldwide for the drills in 2015 and hopes for more this year.

Whitney Green, with the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM), said a geological fault line that runs under Arkansas makes it important for the state to practice preparedness.

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