Zuzanna Sitek

Reporter, Ozarks at Large

Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks Director Bryan Matthews is leaving Fayetteville after two years to take a post as director at a veterans’ health care system in Biloxi, Miss.. Matthews raised the ranking of the VHCSO from a three-star facility to a five-star facility in less than one year. In our interview, Matthews discusses his accomplishments, the projects the VA is in the process of building and the challenges the VA faces going forward.


courtesy: Specialized Real Estate Group

The building at 15 N. Church Ave. in Fayetteville, which is home to Specialized Real Estate Group and Modus Studio, received a LEED Platinum certification this week. Platinum is the highest Leader in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) designation that is awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council. The building was designed by Modus Studio and developed by Specialized Real Estate Group.

courtesy: Larry Oelrich

After Walmart closed all of its Walmart Express stores in 2016, Prairie Grove was left with an empty building that was later acquired by Harps Food Stores. Now, the city is planning to turn it into a new library citing concerns that their current space is too small for the number of people moving to town.

Z. Sitek / KUAF

The McDonogh Three--Gail Etienne Stripling, Leona Tate and Tessie Prevost Williams--spent Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Fort Smith after the U.S. Marshals Museum invited them to share their story. Gail, Leona and Tessie helped desegregate schools in New Orleans by attending McDonogh No. 19 elementary school in the 9th Ward on Nov. 14, 1960, six years after the Brown v. Board of Education ruling. The U.S. Marshals Service escorted and protected many black students, including the McDonogh Three, as public schools were desegregated across the country.

The Jones Center in Springdale recently received a $1.1 million grant from the Walton Family Foundation to construct a mountain bike skills park on three acres of land the center acquired about a year ago. The idea behind a skills park is to teach children bike handling skills so they are encouraged to later venture out on the hundreds of miles of soft surface and paved trails in the region.