Sarah Whites-Koditschek

Reporter / Anchor

Sarah Whites-Koditschek is a reporter and anchor for KUAR 89.1.

She was a production assistant and reporter for WHYY in Philadelphia. She also interned at NPR’s Morning Edition in Los Angeles.

Sarah is a graduate of Smith College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in American Studies. She was a student at the Stabile Center For Investigative Journalism at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

Saint Mark Baptist Church

About 200 homeless and hungry Arkansans had a Thanksgiving meal Tuesday at Saint Mark’s Baptist Church in Little Rock.

A church band played while guests ate Thanksgiving lunch. Volunteers handed out winter clothes.

"The survival kits consist of blankets, backpacks, sleeping bags for those who are out in the elements, hand warmers, gloves, hats and scarves," said Shayla McCullough, who works in outreach at the church.

Bernard Baker says he came for the Thanksgiving meal. He said he’s retired, lives alone, and can’t afford to make a nice meal.  

KUAR Week-In-Review Podcast
Michael Hibblen

On this edition of the Week In Review podcast:

Governor Asa Hutchinson and the Congressional delegation weigh in on Syrian and Iraqi refugees.

Department of Humans Services officials tell lawmakers the shortage of foster homes in the state is becoming worse.

A group charged with finding funding for highways in Arkansas inches closer to final recommendations. The governor suggests three of four are dead on arrival (no new taxes).

Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR

Foster care officials are pointing to a shortage of caseworkers as numbers of children in the state's system steadily increase.

Division of Children and Family Services director, Cecile Blucker, and staff from the Department of Human Services, spoke to lawmakers Wednesday.

They said the number of foster kids has grown by about 700 in the last few months to 4,600. According to Blucker, 7,600 children are protective service cases and are living at home. 

ForwARd Arkansas is launching a statewide community-level education initiative. 

ForwARd's Jared Henderson told the State Board of Education Thursday the collaboration has a set of recommendations and will invite local communities to  implement them.

"In some of these communities the progress might not necessarily be in academic outcomes, it might be in parent engagement outcomes," he said.

"It might not be in kids reading better next year, it might be in more parents coming to parent-teacher conferences next year."

KUAR Week-In-Review Podcast
Michael Hibblen

Machinations over widening I-30 are met with public scrutiny as highway officials make their case in Little Rock.

Candidates officially throw in their hats for 2016. A new poll and a closed door discussion have put some heat on an otherwise thought safe seat. Attitudes in 2015 assessed by the Arkansas Poll.

Six migrant farm workers are killed in an interstate bus crash outside of North Little Rock. Federal officials are on the scene.

Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR

Some Arkansas lawmakers are pushing for an end to sales taxes on donations to charity.  

A legislative committee Thursday reviewed a sales tax on some types of charitable gifts. 

Republican State Senator Alan Clark sponsored the study. Clark said he owns a hardware store and often can’t sell all his merchandise, including rugs and machine parts.

“You'd put them in the dollar bin and nobody was glad to take them. The Fire Department was glad to get them," he said.

"What's the state of Arkansas going to charge that retailer a sales tax for?” he asked.

Department of Human Services.

The Department of Human Services is hiring businessman John Parke to lead its new Medicaid Payment Integrity Unit.

According to department spokeswoman, Amy Webb, the unit is meant to prevent instances of waste and fraud to save money for the state.

“The goal is to prevent abuse of Medicaid funds. So they'll look at policies and see if there are policies that can be made stronger,” she said. 

John Parke is a former data analyst. 900,000  Arkansans received Medicaid in 2014, up 16 percent from 2013.

KUAR Week-In-Review Podcast
Michael Hibblen

Listen Here to KUAR's Week In Review Podcast.   

Topics on this week's program:

* The Little Rock City Board of Directors considers whether to oppose I-30 expansion.

*Politicians promise statewide broadband access will be 2017 legislative focus.

*The Arkansas Supreme Court throws out a suit against the LRSD takeover.

*The state launches a new health insurance marketplace.

KUAR Week-In-Review Podcast
Michael Hibblen

On KUAR's Week-In-Review Podcast:

  • Questions for former Arkansas Senate President Michael Lamoureux over consulting fees. We’ll talk with Associated Press reporter Claudia Lauer who has been digging into this.
  • Arkansas’s high court weighs in about whether executions should proceed while a case is pending.
  • Concerns are growing louder about what an expansion of Interstate 30 would be mean to Little Rock.
  • Changes to Medicaid are being considered by state lawmakers.
  • And a new parks and tourism director was announced.