Michael Hibblen

As News Director, Michael Hibblen oversees daily news coverage for KUAR. He handles assignments for the news staff, helps develop story ideas and edits copy. Michael is responsible for starting a news-sharing partnership between public radio stations in Arkansas in 2009 which laid the foundation for what became Arkansas Public Media. He is also a regular panelist on AETN's Arkansas Week, where journalists discuss issues in the news.

A native of North Little Rock, Michael started in radio in 1988, spending his first five years as a DJ for music stations in central and northeast Arkansas. After a 1993 internship at the C-SPAN Cable Network in Washington, DC, he transitioned to news, working for commercial radio stations KARN in Little Rock, WRVA in Richmond, Virginia and WIOD in Miami, Florida. In 2000, Michael became a nationally heard, Miami-based reporter for CBS Radio News, covering major stories in the region, including the anthrax attack at a tabloid publisher, an international custody fight over Cuban boy Elian Gonzalez, and the 2000 presidential election recount. He was hired by daily newspaper the Miami Herald in 2003 when it partnered with NPR station WLRN, initially working as morning news anchor. Later Michael became department editor, then assistant news director. He also wrote frequently for the newspaper.

Michael returned home to Little Rock in 2009 to work for KUAR. At that time he also resumed taking classes at UALR to finish his Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication, graduating in May of 2013.

Phone: 501-683-7386

E-mail: michael@kuar.org

Arkansas education officials estimate that each day during the school year, more than a thousand school buses – with an extended stop sign and red lights flashing – are illegally passed by other vehicles. That’s why the Arkansas Department of Education is launching a three week campaign to raise awareness about school bus safety.

Replicas of two ships used by explorer Christopher Columbus, which led to the European colonization of the Americas, are to visit Arkansas in October and November. The replicas of Niña and Pinta are traveling together around the U.S. to help people learn more about the voyage in 1492 that led to the discovery of what was called the New World.

But a recent stop along Lake Ontario in north-central New York drew protests from Native Americans who say the ships only tell half of the story.

A study is to be completed by the end of summer on whether Arkansas should raise the speed limits on interstates in rural areas to 75-miles-per-hour.

One of the new state laws going into effect Tuesday, which was passed earlier this year by the Arkansas General Assembly, opens the possibility.

"It doesn’t mean we will go out and do it, it just enables us to," said Danny Straessle, spokesman for the department that on Tuesday will become known as the Arkansas Department of Transportation.

A fundraising campaign has been launched to create a permanent memorial in east Arkansas for Levon Helm. The legendary drummer and singer, who was best known for his work with The Band, grew up in the Phillips County community of Turkey Scratch, helping his family pick cotton.

Plans are to finish restoring the sharecropper's house his family lived in, which has been moved to the nearby town of Marvell. A statue of Helm is also to be completed and placed downtown.

Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton of Arkansas joined their Republican colleagues in voting to begin debate on repealing and possibly replacing the Affordable Care Act.

In written statements released after the vote Tuesday afternoon, both were cautious in their support with so much unknown about what will be presented. Boozman said it was "just the first step," while Cotton said he will be "carefully monitoring any legislative changes that are proposed."

Two other Republicans in the Senate voted against it, with Vice-President Mike Pence breaking a tie vote.

Pages