Topping the discussion on the latest Arkansas Week was violence in state prisons with recent incidents sending inmates and guards to the hospital. Gov. Asa Hutchinson has called for a plan to address the problem and I discussed testimony that week by the director of the Department of Correction to a legislative committee. Also on the panel was political scientist Heather Yates with the University of Central Arkansas as we talked about the status of healthcare, an executive order on environmental regulations, and President Trump’s level of support from the right.
Unless it can be moved by the end of the year, the century-old Rock Island depot at Perry, Arkansas will be torn down. The shortline Little Rock and Western Railway, which nows owns the property, wants to get rid of the dilapidated structure, but is working with local preservationists who are looking at whether it would be possible to move the depot so that it can be preserved. I’ve talked with those on all sides of this and recently was allowed inside the building to take photos. READ MORE.
As Republicans in the U.S. Senate struggle to pass a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, I filled in hosting AETN’s Arkansas Week on July 21, 2017. It came as the two senators from Arkansas, who had mostly been quiet on the issue, finally weighed in with their thoughts. We also discussed former Circuit Judge Michael Maggio reporting to begin a prison sentence and the head of the Environmental Protection Agency visiting Arkansas touting changes in federal regulations.
I was able to talk about my book Rock Island Railroad in Arkansas on the program Barnes and… on the Arkansas Educational Television network, which is the local PBS outlet. The program, which was aired July 17, 2017 at 6:30 p.m., also features many of the photographs included in the book. You can find a list of upcoming public events and a link to buy the book here.
I filled in hosting this week’s edition of Arkansas Week on AETN, focusing largely on the escalation of violence in Little Rock. The city has seen a 24 percent increase in violent crime from a year ago, but what finally prompted action from Gov. Asa Hutchinson was an outbreak of gunfire at a Little Rock nightclub early Saturday, July 1, with 25 people being shot. Amazingly no one died. Hutchinson announced the creation of a multiagency partnership that includes the FBI, Arkansas State Police and the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office working to get a handle on the situation. I opened the program interviewing Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola, then talked with our panel made up of political science professor Heather Yates from the University of Central Arkansas, Wes Brown of Talk Business & Politics, and Independent journalist Steve Brawner. The program will be aired tonight at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 11 a.m., or you can watch the program below.