Zuzanna Sitek

Reporter, Ozarks at Large
Courtesy / Evelyn Rios Stafford

Evelyn Rios Stafford, who is a Washington County Justice of the Peace and the first openly transgender elected official in Arkansas, met with Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Tuesday after the state legislature passed the SAFE Act, or House Bill 1570, the day before. The bill would ban minors from receiving gender-affirming healthcare and penalize doctors who attempt to provide it. The governor has not yet signed or vetoed the bill.

Courtesy / Catherine Andrew

A Springdale teacher has resigned after administrators were made aware of a video in which the teacher berates a student for acting like Marshallese students because he doesn't look the teacher in the face when the teacher is speaking. The district spokesman issued a statement saying the comments don't reflect the district's values. Marshallese advocates say the video indicates teachers need more cultural training.

 

On today's show, we head to Bentonville where a member of the city council helped organize a Stop Asian Hate vigil after a Bentonville fire captain, who later resigned, was accused of assaulting a Vietnamese man in Hot Springs. Plus, we speak with the director of a TheatreSquared play that was performed in front of a live, vaccinated audience. And, we learn about an infectious disease that's killing migratory songbirds and could potentially spread to birds that call the Ozarks home.

Z. Sitek / KUAF

This past Friday, Gayatri Agnew, who is a member of the Bentonville City Council, and Monica Kumar held a Stop Asian Hate vigil outside The Momentary in conjunction with a national day of action and healing. The vigil comes after a man shot and killed six women of Asian descent in Atlanta, Georgia and a former Bentonville fire captain was accused of assaulting a Vietnamese man in Hot Springs after asking him whether he knew this was America.

On today's show, we learn about a proposed House bill that would eliminate cash bail on misdemeanor offenses, which advocates say can throw people's lives into chaos when they can't afford 10 percent of their bond. Plus, we hear from civil rights advocates after Gov. Asa Hutchinson signs a bill that bans trans female athletes from competing in publicly-funded school and college sports. And, we have voices from the past when Arkansas was in the process of building support for its first nuclear energy facility in Russellville.

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A bill that would eliminate cash bail on misdemeanors is scheduled to go before the Arkansas House Judiciary Committee this week. Criminal justice reform advocates say House Bill 1618 creates a presumption against cash bail and restores the presumption of innocence.

On today's show, we have details about a new workforce housing center launched by the Northwest Arkansas Council to address increasing affordability issues in the region. Plus, we have a conversation with a Harvard Law professor about the problematic and confusing nature of neighborhood covenants and zoning laws. And, we speak with the members of the local band Modeling as they release a new single and continue working on a new EP.

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Earlier this month, the Northwest Arkansas Council announced the launch of a new workforce housing center, which will be tasked with addressing the housing and transportation affordability issues created by a bustling economy and growing population.

On today's show, we find out why home prices across Northwest Arkansas skyrocketed in the last half of 2020 and what that means for homebuyers. Plus, we hear from a transgender advocate after an Arkansas legislator files a bill that would bar public school employees from acknowledging trans students' identities. And, we continue our collaboration with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences with a conversation about ways to prevent colon cancer as we age.

 

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According to Arvest Bank's most recent Skyline Report released earlier this month, the average price of homes across both Washington and Benton Counties rose at a faster pace in the last half of 2020 than previous years. The lack of supply to keep up with high demand is mostly responsible for the rapid increase in prices as buyers outbid each other on a small inventory of real estate.

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