University of Arkansas Professor Wins Grammy

March 16, 2021


Fayetteville Star Stuns on American Idol

Fayetteville local Madison Watkins stunned on American Idol Sunday night, earning a ticket to Hollywood and a chance at the legendary title. If the name sounds familiar, its because Watkins also appeared on Season 11 of America's Got Talent.

  • The 25-year-old moved to Los Angeles a few years ago to pursue her dreams of becoming a singer - she said she is excited for her friends, family and fans back in Arkansas to watch her on national television.

  • On Sunday, Watkins performed a song titled "Your Little Girl", written about her father. Judges called Watkins "the whole package" and unanimously sent her on her way to Hollywood, where she will continue to compete for the title of American Idol.

  • Watch the full story HERE.


Working on Your Exit Strategy

NWA Daily

Fayetteville, some major traffic changes are coming your way in the next few years. The City of Fayetteville and the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ArDOT) are working on a $50 million project to build Interstate 49 interchanges at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and 15th Street with other multi million dollar projects scheduled to begin.

  • MLK & 15th Street exit: The Arkansas Highway Commission recently approved the city's plan for the intersection between MLK and 15th Street, which includes street extensions west, roundabouts, and an overpass that will allow the street to intersect with frontage roads South Futrall Drive and South Shiloh Drive.

  • Wedington Drive exit: In the meantime, construction is set to begin on a $37.6 million I-49 interchange at Wedington Drive. The northbound on ramp loop that is designed for the site will eliminate the need for a traffic light and reduce traffic sitting on the overpass. If you've ever been caught on Wedington after work, you know why we're cheering this project on.

  • “The interchange design by ArDOT is a welcome improvement overall," said said Chris Brown, public works director for the city. Read more on the project HERE. -5 News


Winrock Launches E-Commerce Support Program for Small Businesses

Winrock International

Even after a year, small businesses are still being challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic Winrock International has just announced the launch of it's Small Business E-commerce Local Learning (SELL) project to support small businesses in NWA.

  • Some helpful context: Winrock International is a recognized leader in U.S. and international development with a focus on social, agricultural and environmental issues, founded by Winthrop Rockefeller.

  • Funded by the Walton Family Foundation, the SELL program fuses Winrock’s entrepreneurial programming support, coaching, and mentorship. The goal - to provide 150 small businesses in NWA with websites, e-commerce platforms, training, and long-term consultation.

  • The pandemic has created a new set of challenges for small business, particularly for those lacking an online presence. However, having an online presence is almost essential to any modern-day business. According to Clutch, e-commerce is growing 23 percent a year, yet 46 percent of American small businesses do not have a website.

  • “Traditional brick and mortar small businesses have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 global pandemic because of lower foot traffic... We look forward to connecting small businesses in NWA with the capabilities, training and support to break into online sales.” said U.S. Programs Senior Director Linsley Kinkade. -Winrock International


Hogs Are Going Dancing

NWA Daily (Bud Walton Arena; Fayetteville)

Woooooooo Pig Sooie! For the first time since 2018, The Arkansas Razorback Men's Basketball Team has been selected to take part in the NCAA Tournament, landing the No. 3 seed spot. The Hogs will battle Colgate the first round and are one of the 68 teams picked to play in the tournament.

  • On Friday, the 22-6 Hogs will dance into the tournament after a humbling loss to LSU in the SEC Tournament (ending a 12-game SEC winning streak). Their first game is against Colgate, not the toothpaste, on Friday at 12:45pm.

  • Secret Sauce: We're excited to watch SEC Freshman of the Year, Moses Moody, and SEC Sixth Man of the Year in, J.D. Notae make a spectacular display of talent under the leadership of Head Coach Eric Musselman.

  • The entire 2021 NCAA Tournament will be held in Indianapolis to help limit travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. -40/29 News


Arts & Culture

UA Professor Scores Grammy Educator Award

University of Arkansas

“This is absolutely surreal,” said Jeffrey Murdock, an associate professor of music education at the U of A and winner of the 2021 Grammy Music Educator Award. The highly sought-after award recognizes current educators who have made a significant contributions to the music education and are committed to maintaining music education in schools.

  • Murdock was one of 10 award finalists that were selected from among thousands of nominations earlier this year. “There are so many deserving music educators in this country who are in the trenches doing this work. I’m honored to have been chosen from among them," Murdock said.

  • The UA professor will also receive a nice $10,000 honorarium and matching grant for the university's music department. Awards and accolades aside, Murdock said that his ultimate goal as an educator is for all students to have access to high-quality music education.

  • Due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Murdock did not attend this year's awards but will join next year's ceremony. Until then, he will take part in many Grammy camps and school events, along with serving as a world-wide music education ambassador for the Grammys. -University of Arkansas

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