Zuzanna Sitek

Reporter, Ozarks at Large

On today's show, we speak with the president and CEO of Washington Regional Medical System in Fayetteville about statewide hospital capacity and his role on the governor's Winter COVID-19 Task Force. Plus, with support from The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, we launch the second episode of "The Movement That Never Was: A People's Guide to Anti-Racism in the South and Arkansas," which examines working class solidarity in anti-racist movements.

Courtesy / Washington Regional Medical System

Heading into November, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced the establishment of the Winter COVID-19 Task Force. One of the task force members is Larry Shackelford, the president and CEO of Washington Regional Medical System. Shackelford discusses his role in the group, regional hospital capacity and his concerns about the numerous holidays coming up in the next few weeks.

On today's show, we have the latest from Governor Asa Hutchinson's weekly coronavirus response briefing, which he held Tuesday in Little Rock. Plus, we have details on the Northwest Arkansas Council's Life Works Here initiative, which aims to attract STEAM talent to the state with a $10,000 incentive. And, we learn about the best ways to dispose of all those leaves in your yard so they don't impair drainage systems and water quality.

Courtesy / NWA Council

The Northwest Arkansas Council is taking applications for its Life Works Here initiative, which comes with a $10,000 incentive and other perks aimed at attracting STEAM talent to the region. The effort has drawn excitement as well as criticism from those who believe the organization and its funders should also focus on Northwest Arkansans struggling during the pandemic.

On today's show, we hear from two teachers about how the school year is going since they returned to the classroom three months ago. Plus, we speak with a former Kyrgyzstani diplomat, who will be the featured speaker at this week's Professor Dick Bennett Lecture, hosted by the Scholars at Risk Committee at the University of Arkansas. And, we launch the RefleXions Podcast, which is a collaboration between the RefleXions Music Series and KUAF 91.3.

Courtesy / Fort Smith Public Schools

Three months into the school year, we check in with two teachers we spoke with ahead of the start of the school year in August. One is a French teacher at Fayetteville High School, the other is a fourth grade teacher at Ballman Elementary School in Fort Smith. They discuss the added workload, student compliance with safety measures and their concerns about the upcoming holidays.

On today's show, we find out how the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted another aspect of education: college entrance exams. Plus, we speak with the superintendent of the Siloam Springs School District about the decision to shut down two schools to in-person instruction this month. And, we hear about the latest design projects funded by the Walton Family Foundation Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program.

This month, the Siloam Springs School District has had to transition to virtual learning at two of its schools for two weeks because of COVID-19. According to Superintendent Jody Wiggins, the virus was spreading among staff at Northside Elementary, which shut down on Nov. 2, and among students at the Intermediate School, which shut down on Nov. 9.

On today's show, we have highlights from Governor Asa Hutchinson's weekly coronavirus response briefing, which included new guidelines for houses of worship. Plus, we have information on how to apply for a new rental assistance program funded by federal money allocated to the state. And, we speak with members of The Crumbs about their newest album in three years.

The Arkansas Fresh Start Stabilization Program, which received $10 million in funds from the state, is now taking applications for rental assistance. The program provides up to two and a half months of rent if tenants and their landlords meet certain requirements. Once a renter applies, their local Community Action Agency will handle the application and make the rent payment directly to the landlord.