Sarah Kellogg

KUAR Politics and Government Reporter

Sarah Kellogg is the Politics and Government 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

Governor's Office

The total number of coronavirus cases in Arkansas has officially passed 30,000 as the state saw more than 500 new cases on Wednesday. 

According to numbers from the Arkansas Department of Health, there are 564 new cases of the coronavirus in the state, bringing to the total number of cases to 30,297. The death toll also increased by four, for a total of 335. Hospitalizations for the coronavirus increased by 13, for a total of 458. There are now 94 Arkansans on a ventilator, an increase of three

Dicamba damage
University of Arkansas

Though a federal appeals court ruling in early June overturned the Environmental Protection Agency’s approval of three variations of a controversial herbicide, the impact of the court’s decision was initially unclear.

Governor's Office

After what appeared to be the beginning a downward trend, Arkansas had its highest ever recording of new COVID-19 cases, with the total now surpassing 22,000.

The state saw 878 new cases, a number that more than doubles the number of new cases announced on Wednesday.  The total number of coronavirus cases is now 22,075.  Of the total number of cases, 6,098 are considered active, an increase from Wednesday, when the state saw its first day of fewer active cases in days.

Governor's Office

Arkansas appears to be on a downward trend of COVID-19 cases as the total number of cases falls short of 21,200.

According to numbers from the Arkansas Department of Health, the state saw a total of 420 new cases Wednesday, bringing the state’s total to 21,197. Of those cases, 5,757 are considered active. That’s a decrease of 219 compared to Tuesday’s numbers.

The number of Arkansans hospitalized also went down by 15 for a total of 275. The state did see an increase of seven in coronavirus deaths, with the total now 277.

Governor's Office

The number of active cases and hospitalizations due to COVID-19 continues to reach record highs in Arkansas, as the number of total cases surpasses 18,000.

According to the Arkansas Health Department, the state saw 687 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday, bringing the state’s total to 18,062. Of those total cases, 5,695 are considered active. That’s the fourth highest number of daily cases the state has recorded.  96 of the new cases were from Washington County, while 45 were from Benton County and 44 from Pulaski County.

Central Arkansas Library System

Though the Central Arkansas Library System is in the middle of reopening all of its branches since closing them in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, patrons visiting their local branch will see some changes.

Monday, June 22, marked week three of CALS's reopening strategy, with the Children’s, Thompson and Williams libraries opening for the first time. The system’s largest branches, the Terry and Main libraries will open last on June 29.

Stock Photo

For the first time in months, Arkansas’s unemployment has dropped, though the number of those unemployed still remains higher than before the coronavirus pandemic hit the state. 

Arkansas’s unemployment rate dropped to 9.5% in May, around 1.3% lower than its April percentage of 10.8%. The decrease in unemployment follows the national trend, though the United States’ jobless rate is almost 4% higher at a rate of 13.3%.

Governor's Office

Arkansas’ governor is extending the state’s public health emergency for an additional 45 days as the state continues to see more cases of the coronavirus.

According to the Arkansas Department of Health, the state saw 322 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday, bringing the state’s total to 13,928. 11 more people have died from the coronavirus as well. The state’s death count is now at 208.

Governor's Office / YouTube

Arkansas saw its third highest number of new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday as the total number of cases in the state nears 11,000.

According to the Arkansas Department of Health, 448 new cases have been recorded. The total number of cases is now 10,816. Of those cases, 3,294 are considered active.

The total number of Arkansans hospitalized with COVID-19 is now 187. That’s an increase of six. 171 Arkansans have now died from the coronavirus, also an increase of six compared to yesterday.

City of Little Rock

The City of Little Rock has announced the members of the independent review committee that will investigate the practices and procedures of the Little Rock Police Department.

Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. announced the creation of the committee back in May as a response in part, to multiple lawsuits against the department’s chief Keith Humphrey as well as the city by LRPD officers and employees. 

Downtown Little Rock
Wikimedia Commons

The City of Little Rock has announced an initiative that allows restaurants that want to temporarily expand their outdoor dining availability due to the coronavirus pandemic to do so.

In a news conference Friday, Mayor Frank Scott Jr. said the city should give restaurants a greater flexibility on where they can place tables for outdoor dining.

"So what that basically means is this dine-out initiative is the allowance of more tables at restaurants’ parking lots, sidewalks and lawns in a very socially-distant way," Scott said.

City of Little Rock

The city of Little Rock is pushing its curfew back a couple of hours for the weekend, with plans to lift it Monday morning.

The curfew, previously beginning at 8 p.m. is now from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Friday through Sunday.

Speaking during a news conference on Friday, Mayor Frank Scott Jr. showed his appreciation for the peaceful protesters, and the protests themselves, which he called "very effective."

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.

Arkansas Unemployment
Stock Photo

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.

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