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Hutchinson says he qualifies for GOP debate, excessive heat warning issued and more


Updates on AP African American History

The Arkansas Department of Education announced earlier this month it would be removing Advanced Placement African American Studies from schools.

“The department encourages the teaching of all American history and supports rigorous courses not based on opinions or indoctrination," according to a statement from the department released this past Monday.

Ozarks at Large has requested through emails and phone calls for specific examples from the AP African American Studies coursework the department deemed as "indoctrination." On Friday evening, a spokesperson from the department of education sent an email with the subject “CRT Examples." CRT or critical race theory is an academic field taught in law school to analyze and think critically about how laws may be shaped by race and ethnicity.

None of the examples from the Department of Education were from the AP course. Ozarks at Large followed up with Kim Mundell, the department’s spokesperson, this morning requesting examples of "indoctrination" specifically within the AP African American Studies course being taught and have not heard back.

The six schools planning to teach the course this year have announced they will continue to offer the class.

Hutchinson says he qualifies for debate

Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he is qualified to appear in the first GOP primary debate this week. Yesterday, on the CNN program State of the Union Hutchinson announced he had more than 40,000 individual donors, one of the thresholds to be included in the televised debate. The RNC has not announced which candidates have met all qualifications for participation in the Thursday night debate.

State and local law enforcement officers receive 15,000 Naloxone kits

Naloxone, also known as Narcan, reduces the effect of opioid overdose. Officers collected their kits from the Naloxone distribution center at Camp Robinson last week. The Arkansas Opioid Recovery Partnership bought the kits using $675,000 from the national opioid settlement. Arkansas Drug Director Tom Fisher highlighted the dangers of the opioid crisis and encouraged continuing efforts for combating drug-related deaths.

"I agree and I understand the conversation and the approach to attacking violent crime," Fisher said. "But I'd like to argue this epidemic, the overdose crisis, we should be spending at least the same amount of effort if not more addressing overdoses in the state."

Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders also spoke to emphasize the importance of “fighting back” against the opioid epidemic.

"We know that this is something that allows us to fight back against a growing problem," Sanders said. "We want to continue to make sure that every law enforcement agency and individual has the tools and the resource they need to help keep our communities safe”

Fisher said 2,100 lives have been saved since law enforcement officers in Arkansas began to carry Narcan in 2017. 

It's hot out there

The KUAF broadcast area is under an excessive heat warning today and tomorrow. Highs across the region today will be about 101 degrees, with heat index values between 114 and 119.

Arkansas unemployment rate holds steady

The unemployment rate in Arkansas for July was unchanged from June. The Arkansas division of Workforce services reports 2.6% of Arkansans are unemployed. Unemployment nationwide is 3.6%, a 10th of a percentage point decline from June. The civilian labor force rose in July by about 3,200 workers, with 1.3 million people in the state unemployed. This is about 10,000 fewer people than in July 2022.

ACHI provides guidance

K-12 schools are back in session, and the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement (ACHI) is offering steps for parents to protect their children from harmful side effects of social media.  In a YouTube video, Dr. Joe Thompson, ACHI president and CEO, said issues like disrupted sleep, cyberbullying and exposure to hate-based content all negatively impact young people's health.

"There's a growing concern about the mental health of our kids," Thompson said. "Increased rates of depression and anxiety, increased suicide attempts, a real set of issues across a broad swath of our community. The U.S. Surgeon General has made a direct link about the increased exposure of social media and the potential negative impact it has on our kids' mental health."

Thompson offers tips like using parental controls to set time limits on devices and apps, restricting screen time at least an hour before bed and having open discussions with their children about what they see on social media and how it makes them feel. 

Arkansas college students begin classes today

Thousands of college students will begin their fall semester around the region today. It’s the first day of classes at the University of Arkansas, John Brown University, the University of Arkansas Fort Smith and Northwest Arkansas Community College. The University of the Ozarks hosts classes beginning tomorrow and the semester opened at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah last week.

University of Arkansas Chancellor Charles Robinson expects a record fall enrollment this year. In a message to the university community, Robinson writes he anticipates a new record for the number of Arkansans in the incoming freshman class, although the overall size of the freshman class is not expected to be the largest ever. Robinson writes the freshman class has an average high school GPA of 3.81, breaking last year’s record of 3.76.

Former county judge named chairman of state Republican party

Former Washington County Judge Joseph Wood is the new chairman of the Republican Party. Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders nominated Wood, who is also the state secretary of Transformation and Shared Services, and he was elected to the post Saturday.

College soccer ramps up

Not only are college classes resuming, so are college sports. The 20th-ranked John Brown women’s soccer team opened with a 7 - 1 win over Evangel Saturday and the JBU volleyball team won two of three at the JBU Invitational this weekend. The UAFS volleyball team hosts a scrimmage in Fort Smith tomorrow night and the JBU men’s soccer team will host Friends University tomorrow night.

This has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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Daniel Caruth is KUAF's Morning Edition host and reporter for Ozarks at Large<i>.</i>
Kyle Kellams is KUAF's news director and host of Ozarks at Large.
Matthew Moore is a reporter and producer for Ozarks at Large.