David Monteith

Reporter

David Monteith is a reporter for KUAR news.

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.

David Monteith / KUAR

The Robinson Center is eager to show off the expanded capabilities of its new theater once renovations are completed in November.

Ed Payton, CEO of Celebrity Attractions, announced Monday that The Lion King will be in the theater’s lineup of Broadway musicals for the 2017-2018 season. It and Broadway’s longest running musical, Phantom of the Opera, are shows that were not physically possible in the musical hall prior to the Robinson Center’s renovations.

Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance / Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance

Arkansans are being asked to spend the week of September 26-30 feeding themselves on no more than $4 dollars per day to better understand food insecurity in the state.

What used to be known as food stamps is now the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. In Arkansas, qualified low-income individuals receive an average of $3.74 per day from SNAP to help them afford groceries.

David Monteith / KUAR

Low-wage workers and local leaders are continuing to push for an increase to the minimum wage in Arkansas.

Local protests for a $15 an hour minimum wage were first seen in late 2014 outside fast food restaurants in central Arkansas. Those efforts were part of a nationwide movement known as Fight for 15.

In this election year organizers took their protest to the steps of the state Capitol. Jay Harris, a member of Fight for 15, said there are many reasons for supporting an increased minimum wage.

McPherson Prison Unit in Newport
Arkansas Department of Correction

A campaign aiming to reduce the prison population in Arkansas plans to unveil its legislative goals at a public meeting Thursday.

Arkansas Department of Education / arkansased.org

School bells are ringing and buses are rolling at the start of this new school year for public schools in Arkansas.

Despite the lack of a brick and mortar building, hundreds of families across the state who’ve chosen to home school their children are also marking the beginning of school.

Jacksonville High School
ourowndistrict.com

The Jacksonville North Pulaski School District is getting ready to open its doors to students for the first time.

In September 2014 nearly 95 percent of voters in the Jacksonville area supported creating their own district by detaching from the larger Pulaski County Special School District. It has taken nearly two years to staff the district and make preparations, such as planning bus routes and student schedules.

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

The cost of a bus ride in central Arkansas is under review after voters denied a quarter-penny tax increase to Rock Region Metro earlier this year.

A policy, which will outline if and when to consider fare increases, as well as more clearly defining who qualifies for discounted passes, will be proposed to the board of directors in the coming months.

Becca Green, director of public engagement for the transit system, says no specific fare increases have been proposed yet.

Historic Arkansas Museum / Historic Arkansas Museum

Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola will proclaim Tuesday “Historic Arkansas Museum Day” at a celebration commemorating the museum’s 75th anniversary.

The Little Rock museum, once known as Arkansas Territorial Restoration, officially opened in July 1941. Chris Hancock, spokesman for the museum, said having a day declared as Historic Arkansas Museum Day honors both the museum and the city.

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

Rock Region METRO plans to share details of proposed route and system changes at a series of public meetings beginning Tuesday night. Becca Green, director of public engagement, said the changes proposed appear minor, however it’s hoped they’ll have a big impact.

“They transfer into things that are very meaningful for our riders,” said Green. “In some cases there’s a more direct path to a shopping destination, that’s a major destination on a path, or in some cases there are less transfers, or better stop placement, things like that.”

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling against a Texas abortion law has advocacy organizations in Arkansas evaluating their approach to reproductive rights in the Natural State.

David Monteith / KUAR

Summer vacation sometimes means extra work for a team of search dogs in Arkansas  that are asked to find hikers who've gone missing or people who may have drowned.

A wooded area of Burns Park in North Little Rock is one of several sites used by volunteers dedicated to training their dogs to find missing persons. Present for the training on a hot Sunday afternoon earlier this month were Donna Waugh, Mike Cope, Terri Alpe, Jason Woods and Kimberly and Hugh Wright with their dogs John D, Jude, Brandi, Lucy, and Finn.

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