On today’s show: former New York City mayor and Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg makes an appearance in northwest Arkansas last night. Plus the US Marshals Museum launches a speaker’s series on civil discourse, how the spread of coronavirus in Italy is restricting travel for Harding University’s Florence campus community, and the singer Meadows stops by the Firmin-Garner Performance Studio.

 

courtesy / Talk Business and Politics

The city of Fort Smith continues to think about moving big trucks away from downtown. Michael Tilley, with our partner Talk Business and Politics, updates us on that story... plus a new medical residency partnership in Fort Smith and how UAFS helps students in need.

Jacqueline A Froelich / Ozarks at Large

Over a thousand supporters crushed into an events venue in downtown Bentonville last night to see and hear former New York City Mayor and Democratic presidential candidate, Michael Bloomberg, up close.

Harding University

Harding University officials are closing its international campus in Florence, Italy for the semester effective Feb. 29 due to the spread of the novel coronavirus in that country. Students will return home and can complete their coursework remotely. 

 

Courtesy / U.S. Marshals Museum

The U.S. Marshals Museum in Fort Smith is hosting a lecture series dedicated to improving public discourse. Lara Schwartz, director of the Project on Civil Discourse at American University, is the first speaker. She says truth is an important place to start to have better, more productive conversations.

Courtesy / Walton Arts Center

Becca Martin Brown, features editor at the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, gives us recomendations for the weekend. One of her top selections is the ensemble Apollo's Fire at the Walton Arts Center Saturday night at 8:00.

Courtesy: Chieko Hara/University Relations

Some of the older parts of Senior Walk at the University of Arkansas are being repaired, but during construction this week, officials say crews accidentally backed into and damaged 'Spoofer's Stone'. Plans to restore one of the university's oldest landmarks is underway.

courtesy / Meadows

Cristoffer Wadensten performs under the stage name Meadows. He visited northwest Arkansas as a guest of the House of Songs, and while he was here, he co-wrote songs with local songwriters, and he also stopped by our studio in advance of a concert in Springdale.

 

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On this installment of Scratching the Surface, Pluto Manager Caitlin Ahrens talks about fero volcanism and NASA's upcoming mission to the asteroid Psyche. 

Today Pete is joined by Rebecca Rivas from the LatinX Theatre Project to talk about the upcoming NWACC Spring Arts & Culture Festival.  The LatinX Theatre Project is an ensemble of young artists in training, professional artists, and community members passionate about the arts and storytelling.  

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World and Area News

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

President Trump tweeted this afternoon that he is nominating Republican Congressman John Ratcliffe to be director of national intelligence again. The president had initially named the Texas congressman to be his intelligence chief last July. But within days, Ratcliffe withdrew amidst controversy. NPR's Greg Myre is here to tell us more.

Hi, Greg.

GREG MYRE, BYLINE: Hey, Mary Louise.

KELLY: So remind us who John Ratcliffe is. And what happened last summer that scuppered his nomination then?

Updated at 8:01 p.m. ET

Rep. John Ratcliffe, a former federal prosecutor and a vocal Republican defender of President Trump throughout last year's impeachment proceedings, will be nominated to be the next director of national intelligence, Trump announced Friday.

The director role is a critical one at the top of the intelligence community, which encompasses more than a dozen separate agencies and organizations including the CIA and the FBI.

"John is an outstanding man of great talent!" Trump tweeted.

Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein is sitting in a prison hospital awaiting his sentencing for rape and sexual assault.

Many thought this day would never come.

"There certainly was a sense of bracing for a much more expected outcome that was much more in line with Weinstein's attempts to evade accountability," Ronan Farrow tells All Things Considered.

Farrow had doubts that the powerful Hollywood producer would be held to account.

A Google employee in Switzerland has tested positive for the new coronavirus, as the tech giant and other American companies crack down on employee travel amid the widening outbreak.

The Google employee was in its Zurich office "for a limited time" before exhibiting symptoms, the company said in a statement.

"We have taken - and will continue to take - all necessary precautionary measures, following the advice of public health officials, as we prioritize everyone's health and safety," Google said.

Updated at 11:35 p.m. ET

A federal appeals court in California on Friday briefly blocked the Trump administration's "Remain in Mexico" program, seemingly dealing a blow to the president's controversial policy requiring asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for their day in U.S. immigration court.

But within hours, a three-judge panel voted unanimously to suspend its own order, giving the government until the end of Monday to respond with written arguments and plaintiffs until the end of Tuesday.

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