Renea Goddard / ARKANSAS PUBLIC MEDIA

Virginia Duck is the mother of Sequoia and Cheyenne, two young girls with growing feet. She and her daughters wait in line with nearly 60 other people who are in need of new shoes and footcare. She explains that her oldest, Sequoia, outgrows her shoes constantly.

"My oldest one here, she wears a size 11, bigger shoes than me, so, you know her feet are growing," says Virginia. "She’s only 13, so she’s growing bigger and bigger and bigger." 

Jacqueline Froelich / ARKANSAS PUBLIC MEDIA

Sending children to the principal's office has long been a traditional punishment for unruly students. But Principal Michelle Hutton at Elmdale Elementary in Springdale offers safe haven where children can talk about what's troubling them, including traumatic events.

Elmdale faculty and staff have partnered with Ozark Guidance, a regional community mental health center, to learn how to assess students struggling with trauma to provide them proper help.

Bobby Ampezzan / ARKANSAS PUBLIC MEDIA

 Prompted by the Phoenix scandal three years ago, a team of journalism professors and students at the University of Arkansas took a hard look at the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks, and they're giving it a good grade.

But the semester-long investigation does highlight two devastating trends surrounding veterans' and their quality of life.

As part of an ongoing collaboration, students and professors in the Walter J. Lemke Department of Journalism have teamed up with Arkansas Public Media and partner radio station KUAF to publish a series of reports and broadcast the findings.

Sarah Whites-Koditschek / ARKANSAS PUBLIC MEDIA

As Congress hashes out the final details of its tax bill this week, a $250 tax credit for teachers who buy classroom supplies has been returned following a public outcry over an earlier draft that had removed it.
 
Kyla Lawrence is a high school Social Studies teacher at the North Little Rock Academy. She buys extra pencils, paper, binders and basic school supplies for her students throughout the year.
 
“That tax credit has been very helpful in the past in trying to recoup some of the money I spend out of my own pocket because I want children to be successful.”

More Arkansas Veterans Face Suicide Risk, Homelessness

Dec 18, 2017
Erin McGuinness

Seated in the middle of a crowded room, David King, a homeless Army veteran, belted out lyrics to a gospel song.

 

“Oh God, you're not done with me yet,” he sang from the song “Redeemed” by Big Daddy Weave. “I am redeemed. You set me free.”

 

Between their bites of hot dogs and chocolate chip cookies, other homeless patrons at the Seven Hills (or 7hills) Homeless Center in Fayetteville shouted at him to be quiet, but King continued.

King, 54, is one of at least 195 homeless veterans in Fayetteville, where the number of homeless vets has grown 34 percent (from 146) in 2015, according to data provided by the Community and Family Institute at the University of Arkansas.

Sarah Whites-Koditschek / ARKANSAS PUBLIC MEDIA

State lawmakers took a step toward enhanced concealed carry on college campuses Friday in spite of some pushback from firearm trainers who don’t want to be required to teach the new class for compensation they say is too low.
 
State Rep. Bob Ballinger (R-Hindsville) was among the majority of lawmakers who voted to approve the plan anyway.

“You know, when this is done, there will be less gun-free zones which are soft targets in Arkansas. There will be more people, carrying in more places, being able to protect themselves and others in more places when this rule is implemented. That’s called liberty,” he said at Friday’s legislative council meeting.

Arkansas’s health groups are reacting to corrective statements the tobacco industry began airing on network TV in late November with some optimism that they will help reduce the state’s high smoking rate as well as concern the ads won’t reach young people.

Bobby Ampezzan / ARKANSAS PUBLIC MEDIA

Bill Essert hasn't lived in Arkansas in years. He's a businessman for an agriculture technology company in Cotati, California — BioTherm.

"What we do, we’re showing two things, the O2 Tube, which is all about dissolved oxygen and enhancing the amount of dissolved oxygen by infusing oxygen into your irrigation water, and the benefits of this is enhancing growth, plant growth, higher yields, less fungus and more yield for the amount of bud as well as higher levels of THC."

His parents still do, though. Live in Arkansas, that is — Conway. 

Jacqueline Froelich / ARKANSAS PUBLIC MEDIA

When a school bus crashes, upset parents may ask, “Why aren’t my children wearing seat belts on the bus?”

Some state lawmakers are listening. California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York and Texas have passed mandatory school bus safety restraint statutes. Earlier this year, the Arkansas General Assembly did, too. But Arkansas's new school bus seat belt law is no cinch. 

Sarah Whites-Koditschek / ARKANSAS PUBLIC MEDIA

Eric Westcott is the manager of Central Rental and Supply, a construction equipment company that sits about three miles from Premium Protein Products, a meat rendering plant that turns animal carcasses into pet food.  

“Imagine the most disgusting smell you’ve ever smelled in your life and then add the heat, and that’s what we deal with here in Russellville,” he said.

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