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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.

Federal judge dismisses challenge to “failure to vacate” law after plaintiffs leave Arkansas

By: - August 25, 2022

A federal lawsuit challenging Arkansas’ criminal eviction statute, the only one of its kind in the nation, was dismissed Monday in light of the plaintiffs’ move to another state. The dismissal upholds a “draconian law” and allows the “discriminatory practice” of eviction for failure to pay rent to continue in Arkansas, according to a news […]

Boozman visits irrigation projects meant to preserve Arkansas groundwater

By: - August 25, 2022

Two water infrastructure projects decades in the making would make Arkansas farmers less reliant on one of the most-used aquifers in the state, officials said Wednesday after U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R-Arkansas, visited both projects. The Bayou Meto and White River water management districts have each been digging canals and installing pipelines to transport surface […]

Federal, state authorities investigating northwest Arkansas police beating in viral video

By: and - August 22, 2022

The FBI is investigating possible civil rights violations after three northwest Arkansas law enforcement officers were shown in a viral video beating a man during an arrest in Crawford County on Sunday morning. Arkansas State Police is conducting a separate investigation into whether the officers’ use of force was justified. The Crawford County sheriff’s office […]

Committee promises American Rescue Plan funds to water and wastewater improvement

By: - August 19, 2022

Several water infrastructure projects will get a financial boost from federal COVID-19 relief funds after a state committee approved the allocation Thursday. $270 million from the state’s American Rescue Plan Act funds, received in 2021, will be distributed among water and wastewater projects if the Arkansas Legislative Council approves the request, state Agriculture Secretary Wes […]

Arkansas DHS official chosen for Medicaid improvement fellowship

By: - August 18, 2022

Arkansas’ Medicaid director is one of six chosen from around the country to participate in the Medicaid Leadership Institute, a fellowship program that will help improve the state’s Medicaid programs and citizens’ health outcomes, according to a Thursday news release from the Arkansas Department of Human Services. Dawn Stehle has worked for DHS since 2006 […]

AG sues Little Rock housing complex for unsafe conditions, deception of tenants

By: - August 18, 2022

The state of Arkansas filed a consumer protection lawsuit against a Little Rock apartment complex and its owner for allegedly violating city housing code and multiple state laws, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced Wednesday. Rutledge’s office is investigating Big Country Chateau, a 151-unit complex on Colonel Glenn Road, and Apex Equity Group, the New Jersey-based […]

A counselor holds a pregnant woman's hands during a session.

Arkansas’ $1M pregnancy resource center grant untouched so far

By: - August 18, 2022

Arkansas’ crisis pregnancy centers so far have declined to apply for a new $1 million grant program created by the state Legislature to help fund their operations. The application period opened Aug. 1 and ends Aug. 26, but no one has applied for the money aimed at helping those facing unintended pregnancy and encouraging them […]

Arkansas Silver Haired Legislative Session to meet after pandemic hiatus

By: - August 17, 2022

Arkansas will hold its first Silver Haired Legislative Session since 2018 today and tomorrow, according to a news release from the Arkansas Department of Human Services. The non-partisan mock legislative session at the Capitol allows senior citizen “delegates” from across the state to write, discuss and vote on legislation addressing issues to older Arkansans. State […]

Drought, inflation strain Arkansas farmers, who see little relief in sight

By: - August 17, 2022

Billy Grace, a Saline County cattle farmer, sold a portion of his herd this summer for the first time in 19 years in the business. High fertilizer prices and intense drought conditions have made it difficult for Arkansas farmers like Grace to grow, buy and sell hay this year.  Grace sold 60 animals because he […]

Arkansas COVID numbers decline, continuing trend

By: - August 16, 2022

Active coronavirus cases continued to trend downward in Arkansas on Monday, according to the Arkansas Department of Health’s COVID-19 data portal. The department considers “active” cases to be currently infectious. The 860 fewer active cases Monday were a sharp dive after Sunday’s decline of 116 active cases, according to ADH data.  Active cases totaled 11,044 […]