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.

Hot temperatures have hit central Arkansas after a record cool July. Central and Eastern Arkansas have temperatures in the high 90's with heat indexes above 100 degrees.  According to Charles Dalton of the National Weather Service, these temperatures are not out of the ordinary for August.

“We’ve got really strong upper level high pressure building across the central gulf states including Arkansas. So, we’ve had an a-typical summertime weather pattern stretching back the past couple of weeks and it’s just kind of swapped to a more normal pattern,” said Dalton.

Sarah Whites-Koditschek

The Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport announced a $20.5 million concourse renovation plan Tuesday. The proposal includes a modernized interior, additional gate seating with chargers for portable devices, new jet bridges and new arrival and departure monitors.

According to Ronald Mathieu, Executive Director of the Clinton National Airport, ridership was down five percent last year. He said interior improvements will be good for business.

Little Rock School Board officials are deliberating over whether to re-purpose some elementary schools for older kids after the results of a study from a private consultant recommended repairs and expansions costing up to $500 million.

Carl Baxmeyer of Fanning-Howey architecture and engineering firm of Indianapolis, says his company found some elementary schools might be put to better use.

Sarah Whites-Koditschek

Former President Bill Clinton addressed the Southern Governors’ Association’s annual meeting afternoon in downtown Little Rock Friday.

He spoke on the importance of internet access and educational technology in rural and underserved urban areas to achieve a more egalitarian south.

“Nobody in this room who has been alive at a time of fuller possibility than the the present moment,” he said to the group of lawmakers and industry representatives.

Sarah Whites-Koditschek

A task force on human trafficking has released a report to address the growing problem of forced labor and sexual exploitation in the state.

In 2013, the Arkansas General Assembly enacted the Arkansas Human Trafficking Act and made human trafficking a felony crime. Brad Phelps, Chief Deputy Attorney General, presented the report’s findings to lawmakers today.

State lawmakers are opposing the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed rules to reduce CO2 emissions in Arkansas 44 percent by 2030. 

On Tuesday, the Arkansas Senate and House committees on Insurance and Commerce passed a resolution against the plan.

Duane Highley, President and CEO of the Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation, told lawmakers the new regulations would mean replacing coal energy. He said that would lead to an increase electricity rates and could drive away industry. 

Sarah Whites-Koditschek

The Little Rock Police Department is acknowledging it fails to answer some 9-1-1 calls. According to Police Chief Kenton Buckner, the problem is technological. Phones ring repeatedly before being answered because of the way calls are patched into the department from AT&T.

Buckner met with Ward 2 community members on Monday night. He told the crowd the issue came to his attention after an animal control officer was unable to call the police on Sunday about an escalating situation with a pit bull.

Sarah Whites-Koditschek

The Annual Delta Exhibition is in its 56th year at the Arkansas Arts Center. It includes over 13,000 entries from over 450 artists from the Mississippi Delta region. This year, most of the works in the exhibition are paintings and many have a narrative style. They tell stories about the people or landscapes they depict.

David Bailin draws and paints on large canvases in his home garage studio in Little Rock. He uses erasure marks and paints with coffee rinds to create shape and texture in his pieces.

The Little Rock Police Department has begun encrypting its radio frequencies to limit criminals’ access to information about the activity of officers. The encryption process is expected to be completed by Friday.

“There are those in society who use police frequencies to monitor police presence in an area and use that information to victimize citizens of the city,” the department said in a press release on Monday.

“In some instances they monitor calls to see if a call is being dispatched to the location where they are committing a crime,” it said.

Human Rights Campaign

The Human Rights Campaign is releasing the results of a survey about the challenges and needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered residents. Last year, the organization gathered information from roughly 1,000 LGBT Arkansans across the state.

The Human Rights Campaign wanted some basic information about the lives of LGBT Arkansans: How are they involved in their communities? What type of challenges or discrimination do they feel they face in public settings or with their families?

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