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Tess Vrbin, Arkansas Advocate

Tess Vrbin, Arkansas Advocate

Tess Vrbin came to the Advocate from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, where she reported on low-income housing and tenants' rights, and won awards for her coverage of 2021 flooding and tornado damage in rural Arkansas. She previously covered local government for The Commercial Dispatch in Mississippi and state government for the Columbia Daily Tribune in Missouri. A Midwesterner by birth, she graduated from the University of Missouri's journalism school in 2019.

Arkansas lawmakers mulling improvements to mental and behavioral health policy

By: - November 15, 2022

Arkansas legislators are compiling a report to recommend legislation during the 2023 session aimed at bolstering mental and behavioral health services for Arkansans of all ages and incomes. The Joint Health Services Subcommittee met Monday to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the state’s existing mental and behavioral health care resources, in accordance with a […]

Little Rock housing complex facing AG lawsuit might file to evict some tenants

By: - November 14, 2022

Seven units at a Little Rock apartment complex still have unresolved safety issues after three months because management hasn’t been able to gain access to those apartments, the attorney representing the complex said Monday in city environmental court. Big Country Chateau will return to court Nov. 28, its fifth scheduled appearance, to address multiple city […]

Little Rock housing complex facing AG lawsuit set to go to city court Monday

By: - November 14, 2022

Management of a housing complex on Colonel Glenn Road is scheduled for a Little Rock environmental court hearing Monday after multiple delays. Big Country Chateau faces several city code violations for unsafe and unhealthy living conditions, including mold, broken windows and scattered trash. Tenants have said that management often has not responded to maintenance requests […]

Arkansas health advocacy group urges flu shots ahead of Thanksgiving

By: - November 10, 2022

The Arkansas Center for Health Improvement’s policy arm is urging Arkansans to get vaccinated against the flu before the end of this week in order to be protected and protect others from the virus during Thanksgiving gatherings, the center stated in a Thursday news release. Flu season usually starts in October, and several states including […]

Arkansas medical marijuana sellers sue advising attorneys for alleged fraud

By: - November 9, 2022

The owners of an Arkansas medical cannabis dispensary have filed a fraud lawsuit against the attorneys they claim sought them out as clients to apply for licenses to sell the drug, according to a complaint filed Nov. 4 in St. Francis County Circuit Court. Marshall Wright of St. Francis County and Josh Landers of Saline […]

Arkansas voters reject constitutional amendment to raise ballot initiative approval threshold

By: - November 9, 2022

A proposed amendment to the Arkansas Constitution that would have made it harder to pass future ballot initiatives failed by a wide margin Tuesday. Issue 2 would have increased the threshold for passing constitutional amendments and initiated acts, referred to voters by both the Arkansas Legislature and through citizen-led petitions, from a simple majority to […]

Sarah Huckabee Sanders blows a kiss to a supporter following her victory remarks Tuesday evening at an election watch party in the Wally Allen Ballroom at the Statehouse Convention Center in downtown Little Rock. The Associated Press declared her the winner almost immediately after the polls closed; later returns bore out that call. (John Sykes/Arkansas Advocate/11/08/2022)

Sarah Huckabee Sanders elected first female governor of Arkansas

By: and - November 8, 2022

*This story was updated at 2:04 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9, with complete but unofficial vote totals from the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the former White House press secretary, was elected Arkansas governor on Tuesday. Sanders, whose father served as Arkansas governor from 1996-2007, is the first woman elected to lead the […]

Mary Franklin, director of the Arkansas Department of Human Services' Division of County Operations, speaks during media briefing on Medicaid eligibility Friday at DHS's headquarters in downtown Little Rock. (John Sykes/Arkansas Advocate/11/04/2022)

Arkansas Medicaid eligibility review expected to start in January – DHS officials

By: - November 4, 2022

The Arkansas Department of Human Services is ready to “unwind” Medicaid coverage for thousands of Arkansans who gained access to the health insurance program when the federal government declared a public health emergency in 2020, officials said Friday. The public health emergency (PHE) declared at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic will likely end in […]

UAMS, Arkansas Children’s building children’s mental health training for physicians

By: - November 3, 2022

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences will use just over $2 million in federal grant money to bolster behavioral health care for children across the state, the university announced in a Thursday news release. Children of Arkansas Mental Health in Primary Care (CHAMP) will connect primary care physicians with a three-person team of pediatric […]

A resident of a Chicago area senior center gets an influenza vaccine during an event hosted by the Chicago Department of Health. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Arkansas doctors see flu, RSV uptick in light of pandemic

By: - November 2, 2022

Arkansas has seen an uptick in cases of influenza after only a month of the typical flu season, although so far the state has not seen as many or as severe cases as neighboring states, medical professionals say. Additionally, the prevalence of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) has spiked after the usual season for the virus […]

Issue 2: Should Arkansas make it more difficult to pass laws at the ballot box?

By: - October 28, 2022

A proposed amendment to the Arkansas Constitution would make it harder to pass future ballot initiatives. Supporters of Issue 2 on the Nov. 8 ballot say constitutional changes need a certain amount of public support, while opponents say the current system gives Arkansans the voice they deserve. Issue 2 would increase the threshold for passing […]

Russellville ER doctor recognized for treating opioid patients throughout Arkansas

By: - October 25, 2022

During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Dr. Kristin Martin saw more struggles and deaths from drug overdoses than from the coronavirus, she said Tuesday at an Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care event honoring her efforts to alleviate the ongoing opioid epidemic throughout the state. Martin is an emergency department physician and the CEO and medical […]