Samantha Romano

Samantha Romano is a CLC scholar and intern for KUAR News. She will graduate from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in December 2020 with a degree in Professional and Technical Writing.


Samantha has tutored at the University Writing Center and worked as an editor on the 2020 edition of Quills & Pixels. Samantha aspires to use her skills to write for a fashion magazine and become a published author.

restaurants faded rose
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A new survey conducted by the Arkansas Hospitality Association shows that restaurants are still struggling as the coronavirus continues spreading through the state. According to the survey, 36% of restaurant operators believe it is unlikely they will still be in business six months from now without additional federal aid.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Education Secretary Johnny Key and Health Secretary Dr. Jose Romero enter Thursday's press conference at the state Captiol.
Governor's Office / YouTube

The coronavirus is continuing to spread rapidly in Arkansas, with Gov. Asa Hutchinson announcing 2,789 new cases had been reported Thursday, making it the largest one day increase since the pandemic began. He also said there had been additional 33 deaths, for a total of 2,555.

Hospitalizations – which had been reaching new highs each day this week – declined by 31 to 1,072. But the number of people needing treatment is expected to surge in the coming weeks, which will put a strain on facilities statewide unlike anything Arkansas has experienced before, Hutchinson said.

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences UAMS
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences has received $2.83 million to address a shortage of doctors in rural parts of the state. The funding is the latest from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which previously awarded $4.6 million to the program.

Nice-Pak company officials announced Monday they will be doubling production capacity at their Jonesboro facility that makes disinfectant wet wipes.

A company that produces disinfectant wet wipes is expanding its facility in northeast Arkansas. Gov. Asa Hutchinson joined Nice-Pak officials online Monday to make the announcement. The New York-based company is among the world’s largest wet wipes producers.

Chairman and CEO Robert Julius says the Jonesboro facility has shifted to around-the-clock operations to meet rising demand amid the pandemic. Even prior to the pandemic, the company employed about 400 people at the plant.

UA-Monticello Political science professor John Davis (left), KUAR's Michael Hibblen (right) and UCA political science professor Heather Yates.

As polling has continued to show the race for Arkansas’ 2nd congressional district to be extremely tight, outside political groups have spent millions of dollars in advertising to try and influence the race. Republicans are hoping to keep the state’s congressional delegation solidly red, while Democrats view this as an opportunity reclaim a district that had been a longtime stronghold for the party.

Incumbent Rep. French Hill of Little Rock, a banker, is being challenged by state Sen. Joyce Elliot, a retired educator.

Candidates for Arkansas' 2nd District Congressional seat speaking with the Delta Grassroots Caucus on Oct. 14. Democratic state Sen. Joyce Elliott (left) spoke first, followed by U.S. Rep. French Hill.
Delta Grassroots Caucus

With recent polling showing a razor-tight race for Arkansas’ 2nd congressional district, money from national political organizations is flowing into Arkansas. As voters are being inundated with negative advertising between the two candidates, they are about to get another chance to hear the candidates’ views.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announcing Wednesday that Arkansas will be able to expand testing for the coronavirus as it acquires a large number of Abbot BinaxNOW rapid antigen test kits.
Governor's Office

Arkansas is getting a large supply of antigen test kits which will greatly expand the screening of individuals who are in positions that put them at a high risk of catching the coronavirus.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Wednesday that the state has received 100,000 Abbott BinaxNOW rapid antigen tests and will get an additional 50,000 per week until it reaches a planned allotment of 900,000. The test kits provide results within 15 minutes, which will allow health officials to take a new approach to screening.

Supreme Court justices are to hear oral arguments Tuesday in the appeal of an Arkansas case regarding an attempt by the state to regulate pharmacy benefit managers.
Scott Applewhite/ AP / NPR

The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments Tuesday in Arkansas’ appeal of a case regarding reimbursements pharmacies receive from insurance providers. At issue is a 2015 law passed by the Arkansas General Assembly which has the potential to be a precedent-setting case.

John Karwoski / Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany

A new report released Wednesday details just how little younger generations of Americans know about the Holocaust, especially those in Arkansas.

The U.S. Millennial Holocaust Knowledge and Awareness Survey breaks down state-by-state what Millennials and Gen Z know about the deaths of Jews by the Nazis during World War II. It was commissioned by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.

Gideon Taylor is president of the group and spoke with KUAR’s Michael Hibblen about the report.

September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in Arkansas. Data shows fewer men are getting regular prostate screenings, likely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s a concern for health officials because if detected early, prostate cancer is survivable.

Election vote
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

With the coronavirus continuing to spread in Arkansas, the number of people wanting to vote by absentee ballot has risen sharply compared to the last presidential election year.

In Pulaski County, 10,039 registered voters had requested an absentee ballot as of Thursday, according to the office of Pulaski County Clerk Terri Hollingsworth. At this point in 2016, there were 1,545 requests, an increase of 550%.