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.

Arkansas's Department of Community Correction is developing new strategies for reducing recidivism and decreasing the state's overflowing prison population.

One plan includes releasing offenders into supervised transitional homes early.  On Monday, the legislature reviewed the Parole Board's procedures for releasing prisoners.

Dina Tyler, deputy director at the correction department said these transitional environments are necessary to help offenders leave prison and stay out.

Little Rock’s Police Chief, Kenton Buckner, spoke to a packed crowd of around 200 people at a community forum on racial profiling and citizens' rights Thursday night.

The town hall was sponsored by the National Bar Association, the W. Harold Flowers Law Society and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock's Black Law Students Association.

The evening’s panel included Benjamin Crump, attorney for the families of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, unarmed teens recently shot by police officers in Florida and Pamela Meanes, head of the National Bar Association.

Early voters
Sarah-Koditschek / KUAR

On the final day of early voting, the wait was about a half-hour for those casting a ballot at the Pulaski County Regional Building in downtown Little Rock. Some said they were surprised by the wait, but that the line was moving at a moderate pace.

Several said they were ambivalent about the major races, but always vote. Others said ballot issue five, which would raise the state’s minimum wage to $8.50 an hour by 2017, spurred them to turnout.

The Legislative Arkansas Blue Ribbon Committee on Local 911 Systems will hear an update on early findings of a statewide report on emergency call systems Friday. The committee aims to set quality standards and address issues with 911 systems around the state.

In its preliminary report, the committee identified issues, including funding gaps for certain counties that have not passed a local surcharge for 911 service.

Ethics Trojan horse
Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR News

Crowds strolled along a busy street fair in downtown Russellville last weekend,  talking shop about antique cars. Tachany Evans, a Democratic candidate for District 68 of the state House of Representatives, stood with her pet Rottweiler near a 10-foot wooden statue of a Trojan horse that sat on a trailer bed.

Arkansas Senate

The future of Arkansas’s lieutenant governor’s office is unclear. After Mark Darr resigned the post amid charges of ethics violations earlier this year some called to abolish the office altogether.

Despite talk of its demise, three men are running to fill the seat. U.S. Congressman Tim Griffin, a former federal prosecutor and republican national committee staffer, is the Republican candidate. 

Gloria Smith Canvasses To Get Out The Vote
PBS NewsHour

Arkansas' highest court says the November ballot can include a proposal to gradually increase the state's minimum wage.

The Arkansas Supreme Court's ruling on Monday rejects a challenge by a Little Rock businessman who wanted to block a ballot question that asks voters to raise the state's minimum wage from $6.25 an hour to $8.50 gradually by 2017.

Arkansas is one of the few states with a minimum wage below the federal level of $7.25 an hour.

Democrats had pushed for the issue to be on the ballot.

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel announced a school safety initiative as part of the state’s Special Investigations Division at a press conference Tuesday.

McDaniel said the program is to increase preparation for school shooting incidents around the state. He says teachers, law enforcement officers and first responders need to know what steps to take in a school emergency.

prison jail department of correction
Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR

Arkansas Community Corrections presented a proposal for transitional  centers for ex-offenders to a legislative joint committee Monday. The plan would provide 800 transitional beds statewide over two years at a total cost of nearly $9 million. 

Sheila Sharp of the Community Corrections said that could help ease prison crowding as it looks to release inmates and avoid recidivism.

Authors of a study on the importance of 3rd grade literacy presented their findings to legislators today. They say, according to state benchmark exams, 77 percent of the state’s third graders read at grade level and that’s a pivotal measure of their future success.

The legislative interim study, complied by the Winthrop Rockefeller foundation and Arkansas Advocates for Children and families made several recommendations to the state legislature Monday.  Recommendations including high quality Pre-k and afterschool programs and improved school attendance.