Sarah Whites-Koditschek

Reporter, Arkansas Public Media

Sarah Whites-Koditschek is a Little Rock-based reporter for Arkansas Public Media covering education, healthcare, state politics, and criminal justice issues. Formerly she worked as a reporter and producer for WHYY in Philadelphia, and was an intern and editorial assistant for Morning Edition at National Public Radio in Los Angeles and Washington D.C.

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.

She has won awards from the Associated Press in Arkansas as well the Public Radio News Directors Inc.

Contact Sarah at sarah@arkansaspublicmedia.org or 501-683-8655.

30 Crossing
Arkansas Department of Transportation

A final public meeting on plans to expand a 6.7 mile stretch of Interstate 30 in Little Rock took place Thursday evening in North Little Rock. The Arkansas Department of Transportation presented an environmental assessment on the project, which would run through the downtowns of Little Rock and North Little Rock.

The environmental assessment is a nearly 4,000 page report on the proposal to expand I-30 to 10 lanes. Department spokesman Danny Straessle says the $630 million project is necessary to fix unsafe ramps downtown.

A final public meeting on plans to expand a 6.7 mile stretch of Interstate 30 in Little Rock took place Thursday evening in North Little Rock. The Arkansas Department of Transportation presented an environmental assessment on the project, which would run through the downtowns of Little Rock and North Little Rock.

The environmental assessment is a nearly 4,000 page report on the proposal to expand I-30 to 10 lanes. Department spokesman Danny Straessle says the $630 million project is necessary to fix unsafe ramps downtown.

Sarah Whites-Koditschek / ARKANSAS PUBLIC MEDIA

Arkansas is one of just two states in the country that has criminalized drowsy driving, but it’s almost never enforced.

Just three convictions have occurred under the state’s 2013 law, according to the most recent data from 2016.

To convict someone under the law, a death must occur, and there must be proof a driver had not slept for 24 hours before the accident. New Jersey, the other state that criminalized drowsy driving, requires proof that a driver missed 16 hours of sleep in order to convict them.

Arkansas is one of just two states in the country that has criminalized drowsy driving, but it’s almost never enforced.

Just three convictions have occurred under the state’s 2013 law, according to the most recent data from 2016.

To convict someone under the law, a death must occur, and there must be proof a driver had not slept for 24 hours before the accident. New Jersey, the other state that criminalized drowsy driving, requires proof that a driver missed 16 hours of sleep in order to convict them.

Air quality changes made in 2010 raised the threshold for how much air pollution a company can emit without a permit. On Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency approved those lower air quality standards. 

 

Chuck Buttry, a board member for the Arkansas Environmental Federation, an industry lobbying group, says the higher threshold allows companies with low pollution levels to make changes, like upgrade equipment, without a long permit process.

Sarah Whites-Koditschek / ARKANSAS PUBLIC MEDIA

Arkansas has received a federal stamp of approval to make permanent standards the state has been operating under for nearly a decade.
 
Air quality changes made in 2010 lowered the bar for how much air pollution a company can emit without a permit. On Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency finalized those changes.
 

Shennel Douglas is a nursing student at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway. She says she hesitated when deciding to study in the U.S. after watching U.S. police shootings of unarmed civilians on television at home in the Caribbean.

 

“Coming to UCA, my main concern was being, what should I say, marginalized? Because not only am I an international student, but also I’m a black international student.”

 

There are now less international students on American college campuses than any time in the last decade.

University of Arkansas

Shennel Douglas is a nursing student at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway. She says she hesitated when deciding to study in the U.S. after watching U.S. police shootings of unarmed civilians on television at home in the Caribbean.

"Coming to UCA, my main concern was being, what should I say, marginalized? Because not only am I an international student, but also I’m a black international student." 

There are now less international students on American college campuses than any time in the last decade.

Sarah Whites-Koditschek / ARKANSAS PUBLIC MEDIA

James White stands in front of what he says will be the site of a small museum memorializing the state’s largest massacre of blacks in 1919.

It’s a boarded up storefront — a brick corner building on the main drag of downtown Elaine, Arkansas, a town of just over 600 people in the Arkansas Delta.

Melissa Stone of the Arkansas Department of Human Services
Bobby Ampezzan / Arkansas Public Media

Arkansas's Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson and conservative legislature have planned ambitious cuts to the state’s Medicaid spending on people with disabilities.

As those cuts to the program are implemented, some children with disabilities may no longer be eligible for Medicaid-funded programs.

Pages