Sarah Kellogg

KUAR Morning Edition Host and Reporter

Sarah Kellogg is the Morning Edition host and a reporter for KUAR.

Sarah was drawn towards radio reporting her freshman year in college at the University of Missouri in Columbia, where she already knew she wanted to be a journalist. Throughout her junior and senior years, Sarah reported and produced stories for KBIA, the NPR member station in Columbia. She received her bachelor’s of journalism in Radio/Television reporting with an emphasis on radio.

Immediately after graduation, she wanted to get more experience in political reporting so she went back to Mizzou for her master’s in public affairs reporting, where she spent her final semester as the Missouri statehouse reporter for KBIA.

Now in Arkansas, Sarah is putting that master’s degree to use, covering the statehouse for KUAR. When she’s not in the newsroom, she’s normally watching a lot of movies, hanging out with her cats and trying out new recipes.

Email: sarah@kuar.org

Newsroom: 501-683-7400

Ways to Connect

Arkansas Department of Health

The northwest region of Arkansas continues to lead the state in new cases of COVID-19 as the total number of cases has surpassed 8,400.

According to the state Department of Health, Arkansas added 358 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state’s total to 8,425. Of those new cases, 2,355 are considered active. 151 people have died from the coronavirus in the state, an increase of nine.

Governor's Office

Law enforcement arrested 79 people Tuesday night in Little Rock, the fourth consecutive night of protests against police brutality. The protest was one of many across the nation in response to the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in late May. 

Speaking during a news conference about the protests on Wednesday, Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. said while he wouldn’t be mayor without the work of peaceful protestors before him, as mayor, it’s his job to protect the city.

Stock Photo

Revenue in Arkansas exceeded predictions but fell below figures from a year ago, according to the latest revenue report from the state Department of Finance and Administration.

According to the report released Tuesday, the state collected just under $482 million in Gross General Revenues for May. That’s 15.6% above the forecast, but 2.9% less than last May.

Little Rock Farmers Market
littlerock.com

Despite new regulations and restrictions due to COVID-19, some farmers markets are still opening up for the season, though many are making adjustments.

According to information from the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, 69% of the state’s farmers markets plan to open or already are open for the season. That number is based on a survey of the state’s farmers market operators.

The survey also concluded 56% of market operators surveyed said they plan on limiting the number of customers allowed, while 33% plan to have fewer vendors.

While the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services’ website where residents can apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, or PUA, is up and running, investigations are still ongoing over a past vulnerability in the site that left the financial data of thousands of Arkansans unprotected in mid-May.

KUAR spoke with Lindsey Millar, editor of the Arkansas Times about breaking the story of the flaw in the website and what followed. Below is the transcript of the edited interview that aired on KUAR.

Arkansas Department of Health

The upward trend of COVID-19 cases in Arkansas’s Latino population continues as more than 40% of the state’s daily increase in new cases came from the state’s Latino communities.

Arkansas saw a rise of 261 new cases Thursday bringing the state’s total number of coronavirus cases to 6,538, according to the state Department of Health. Of those new cases, 110 were in Arkansas’s most northwest counties, with Benton County reporting 85 new positive test results and Washington County reporting 25.

One in 10 Arkansans are currently unemployed as the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact the state’s economy. 

According to the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services, Arkansas’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased from 5% in March to 10.2% in April.

UAMS covid-19 coronavirus
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansans seeking a test for COVID-19 now have more options to find one as the Arkansas Department of Health has expanded its testing ability to its Local Health Units, located across the state.

The expansion, which began on Monday, means testing is now available at around 70 of the state’s local health units. The list of health units providing testing can be found here.

Police Car
KUAR News

Little Rock’s mayor is calling for an independent investigation of the Little Rock Police Department to determine "what, if any, corrective actions need to be taken," according to a news release.

The call for the investigation comes after three separate parties within the police department, including two assistance-chiefs, filed lawsuits against both Little Rock Police Chief Keith Humphrey and the city of Little Rock.

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

As Arkansas continues to roll back its prior restrictions on businesses due to the coronavirus pandemic, Rock Region Metro is preparing for an increase in ridership as people return to the workplace.

Since March, Little Rock’s public transportation service has modified both its routes and its policies in response to COVID-19, such as the temporary suspension of certain bus routes.

Talk Business & Politics

The South Central Telehealth Resource Center has received over $800,000 in federal funding to expand its efforts in telehealth education.

The center, housed at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, but a part of the National Consortium of Telehealth Resource Centers, received $825,000 from the Health Resources and Services Administration as a part of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relieve and Economic Security or CARES Act. 

Almost one year since the opening of the first dispensary in the state, Arkansans are continuing to buy medical marijuana, with some dispensaries reporting record sales over the past few weeks.

According to the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, approximately 11,000 pounds have been sold in total. Those sales amount to $73 million.

Scott Hardin, director of communications for the department, says purchasing habits of medical marijuana have changed since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

Arkansas Arts Center

The Arkansas Arts Center is making many adjustments due to the coronavirus pandemic. Though their Riverdale location remains closed because of social distancing guidelines, the center moved classes online for a four-week block. Additionally, the 62nd annual Delta Exhibition, which features 63 works of art from artists across Arkansas as well as from neighboring states, will open for online viewing beginning on June 19. 

Downtown Little Rock
Wikimedia Commons

In order to further combat the coronavirus pandemic, the City of Little Rock is launching a series of services, including a testing site this Saturday at the Southwest Community Center off of Baseline Road.

Announcing the initiatives during a news conference on Wednesday, Mayor Frank Scott Jr. said while the city continues its effort to contain COVID-19, it’s also important to focus on how the virus is impacting minority communities and to provide needed assistance.

Arkansas Cinema Society

While movie theaters remain closed due to social distancing measures brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, the Arkansas Cinema Society is partnering with several local organizations to present a series of documentaries for patrons to watch online.

Little Rock Port Authority Port of Little Rock
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Little Rock Port Authority is seeing a decrease in shipping volume not only because of the coronavirus pandemic, but also due to record low oil prices.

Bryan Day is the executive director of the Little Rock Port Authority. He says the port authority itself as well as other private businesses have seen an impact in the past few months.

Stock Photo

Shoppers looking for certain groceries like beef or eggs might have had trouble buying those products during the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. However, the lack of food in aisles is due to a change in the supply chain and not a shortage.

John Anderson is the head of the Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness Department at the University of Arkansas. He says the abrupt closings of restaurants due to the outbreak caused a major shift in where food was delivered.

"We went virtually overnight to no restaurant trade, no food service trade," Anderson said.

Little Rock Zoo Playground
Little Rock Zoo

With Arkansans practicing social distancing, and unnecessary travel discouraged,  Arkansas tourism has taken a hit due to the coronavirus pandemic, with many tourism destinations shut down indefinitely. 

Travis Napper is the director of Tourism for Arkansas and says tourism has "screeched to a halt" due to the pandemic.

"That’s for, right now the safety of our visitors, the safety of our locals. That comes first before any recovery of tourism," Napper said.

thunderstorm
Stock Photo

Heavy storms featuring high wind speeds swept through Arkansas this past weekend, killing one person and leaving thousands without power.

According to Dennis Cavanaugh, Warning Coordination Meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Little Rock, the storms that hit the state were a part of  the second of two storms systems that hit the southern part of the country this weekend, with the first wave of storms mainly hitting Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama.

USDA - McKeand

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact the economy, sectors involving forestry industry are no exception.

According to research from the University of Arkansas at Monticello’s College of Forestry, Agriculture and Natural Resources, changes in housing, manufacturing as well as consumer goods are also shifting the forest products industry. 

Dr. Matthew Pelkki is the chair of forest economics at the University of Arkansas at Monticello. He says paper products are seeing varying demands depending on the products themselves, with most seeing a decline.

File photo. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge (R).
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

As Arkansans continue to change their routines and lives due to the coronavirus pandemic, some are finding new ways to take advantage of the situation and of  others for their own gain.

KUAR spoke with Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge about some scams that are emerging due to COVID-19. 

Below is a transcript of the aired conversation.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

With over 30 states in the U.S. implementing "stay-at-home" orders due to the coronavirus pandemic, Arkansas is in the minority of states without one. However, Gov. Asa Hutchinson says a targeted approach is currently a better way for the state to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Speaking live on the public radio program 1A Thursday morning, Hutchinson said targeting and closing businesses and other areas that pose a threat of coronavirus exposure is working for Arkansas at the moment.

Central Arkansas Library System

While the Central Arkansas Library System’s branches are currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, patrons still have access to digital entertainment, with the system planning some new events to accommodate social distancing guidelines. Some services are newer, while other have already been a part of CALS’s services.

Downtown Little Rock
Wikimedia Commons

In an effort to get ahead of any negative economic impact from the COVID-19 pandemic, Little Rock city directors have approved a more than 2% cut to the city’s budget for the 2020 fiscal year. 

During a special meeting Wednesday, board members, many of whom were calling in through phone or video chat, voted to pass an ordinance that cuts the city’s budget by $4,928,545.

Those cuts include:

Pinnacle Mountain State Park
File Photo

While non-essential businesses in Arkansas remain closed due to the coronavirus, state parks are still open for the public to enjoy, though some changes have been made to encourage social distancing. 

Earlier this month, the state Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism announced the closures of its lodges at DeGray Lake Resort, Mount Magazine, Petit Jean and Queen Wilhelmina. That’s in addition to the closures of events at the parks and visitors centers at 13 state parks, with exceptions granted for people checking into camp grounds or cabins.

Arkansas State Capitol
Chris Hickey / KUAR News

The Arkansas Senate spent its first day of the special session debating and not passing an amendment to a bill that establishes a COVID-19 rainy day fund for the state.

Amanda Good / Humane Society

Arkansans with pets could face additional dilemmas as the coronavirus continues to spread, including whether a trip to the veterinarian is necessary.

Dr. Eric Jayne is the medical director for Spay Arkansas and a veterinarian. He says the American Veterinary Medical Association has sent out recommendations for veterinarians to follow. One of those recommendations is to suspend non-essential services such as dental check-up, spay and neuter services or other appointments that could wait.

Stock Photo

As the number of coronavirus cases in the state continues to rise, those involved with political petitions are finding it difficult to gather signatures.

According to the 2020 Initiatives and Referenda handbook from the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office, a total of 89,151 signatures are needed for a petition proposing a constitutional amendment. Furthermore, said signatures must come from 15 counties in Arkansas and be completely turned in by July 3.

ShareAlike 4.0 International / Wikimedia Commons

Despite the growing number of COVID-19 cases in Arkansas, long stretches of wet weather are proving to be more of an issue for farmers, but the virus is having an impact.

Jarrod Hardke, rice extension agronomist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, says typically, this would be the beginning of the planting season for rice. However, the excess rain has complicated things.

"The overabundance of rainfall throughout the winter and early spring has the majority of our ground still unprepared for planting at this point," Hardke said.

The main campus of the University of Arkansas For Medical Sciences in Little Rock.
UAMS

While the number of positive COVID-19 cases continues to grow across the country and across Arkansas, seasonal illness with similar symptoms are also circulating in the state. Seasonal allergies, the flu and other illnesses that share symptoms with COVID-19 are causing some to believe they could have the coronavirus.

Dr. Robert Hopkins is the chief of the division of general internal medicine at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. He says the presence of the coronavirus has resulted in more people calling and visiting UAMS over health concerns.

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