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Focus on the Marshallese

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“Unnatural Causes,” a TV documentary series airing on PBS examines the huge disparity in health care between the rich and poor in America. The subject took the filmmakers to Springdale for a segment on the Marshall Islanders, a population suffering from high rates of TB and other infectious diseases brought on by societal changes on the Pacific islands after their takeover by the U.S. for nuclear testing. Some 10,000 Marshallese have been able to leave what's left of their native home for work in the U.S. thanks to a treaty, but their access to health care is limited. The program, produced by California Newsreel, is airing on AETN at 9 p.m. every Thursday through April 17, when the Marshall Islander segment, “Collateral Damage,” will show.

Summer black outs

With summer coming on, lots of drivers looking to keep cool will be headed to the tint shop. You might want to hold off on going too dark, however, unless you want to spend some time with Johnny Law. Arkansas state statutes governing “light transmission levels for the tinting of motor vehicle windows” say in part that tinting material on side windows must allow at least 25 percent of visible light to get through. Some police officers carry meters to measure the light that's getting through. Rear windows can be darker, admitting only 10 percent of the light. Windshields are limited to a strip of tinting at the top.

Spokesmen for the Little Rock Police Department and the State Police said that their officers enforce the law, and will stop vehicles that appear to be over-tinted even if there's no other violation evident. Ken Harris, clerk of the Little Rock Traffic Court, said that a court appearance is required of those who violate the tinting law. If it's a first offense, and the over-tint is corrected, the judge is likely to impose no penalty. For repeat offenders, a $170 fine (including $80 of court costs) is standard.

Pedal pushers

A new mode of transportation for Little Rock rolls out today (April 3) when Pete and Stacy Fjelsted debut their My Little Rickshaw pedicab business downtown. The bicycle-drawn buggies for two will cruise the River Market district and other places downtown catering to customers who don't want to move their cars to go to lunch or who just want to have some fun. The Fjelsteds will be joined by two other drivers for a total of four pedicabs in business every day but Sunday, with late hours — until 3 a.m. — Thursday through Saturday. Rides will cost $5, and businesses can advertise on the back. Stacy Fjelsted hopes the company will grow and is looking for other drivers. “You have to be in pretty good shape,” she said, though the pedicabs, more common in big cities, are designed for ease of pull.

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