The following is a news release from 2nd Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington:

Scott Ellington, District Prosecuting Attorney for the Second Judicial District of Arkansas, announces today that he will seek the death penalty against a Bay man accused of abducting and killing an elderly Bay woman last July. 

Governor Asa Hutchinson is set to be in Forrest City today at a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new regional Veterans Affairs’ office. 

This will be the fifth regional office to open over the past 3 months.  According to the Governor’s Press Release, Arkansas has nearly 250,000 veterans. The ceremony will be at the Arkansas Workforce Services Center at 2.

Jonesboro City Council's Nominating and Rules Committee votes to forward to the full city council a request for a special election for Ward 6, Position 1.  If approved, it will be held May 10th.  Those who want to run should file by March 11th and candidate draws would take place March 15th.  This is to replace Alderman Tim McCall's seat.  He resigned his position because he moved out of his ward.  The unexpired term will end at December 31, 2018. The cost of a special election would be $20,000.   The city council will vote on this Tuesday night.

Depleted underground aquifer levels in the state will be one of the key topics during the Arkansas Soil and Water Education Conference in Jonesboro tomorrow.  Kevin Cochran is with the Natural Resources Conservation Service.   He says northeast Arkansas and Arkansas’ Grand Prairie are areas where the most damage has taken place.  Cochran says while municipalities use the Alluvial aquifer, farmers use it the most to irrigate the state’s rice and soybean crops.

Governor Asa Hutchinson continued his statewide computer coding tour in northeast Arkansas yesterday.  He made stops at a career and technical center at Jonesboro High School and then went to Nettleton High School, where he met with students involved in computer coding classes and the EAST Lab.  Hutchinson says four-thousand students across the state are involved in the computer coding classes, which is part of his STEM initiative.  Republican State Senator John Cooper of Jonesboro says the computer coding classes will have a direct impact on the economy of Arkansas:

  JONESBORO – Arkansas State University is closed on Friday, Jan. 22, due to winter weather. All classes in Jonesboro and at the Paragould campus are cancelled.  Online courses continue.  A-State offices are closed.  University essential personnel will report to work Friday.

Students are encouraged to check their official A-State student email accounts as well as the Blackboard shells for their courses for materials or updates from their professors.

Preparations for a major winter storm are underway by crews from City Water and Light in Jonesboro.  Click the Listen button to hear what crews are doing to prepare for the storm, what they do during the storm response, and how they help those who need shelter.  You can access City Water and Light's website here

Winter Weather Forecast and Preparations

Jan 21, 2016

  Forecasters are predicting more winter weather and have issued a Winter Storm Warning for most of the KASU Listening area. 

The National Weather Service in Memphis issued the warning to include all of the listeners in Arkansas, Tennessee, and the Missouri Bootheel, which does include Craighead County. 

National Weather Service Meteorologist Taylor Trogdon says heavy winds are expected to create blizzard like condition which could impact travel:

Trogdon says travel will be an issue Friday morning and advises to take care of business today.

The Jonesboro City Hall is the first municipal building in the state to try a program of emergency response that is currently in all of the state’s schools.  The RAVE Panic Button will be implemented in the city hall this month and is being used as a pilot program.  Jonesboro Police Chief Rick Elliot explains what the Panic Button is:

Elliot tells KASU news Jonesboro is the first city in the state to try the program in a municipal building:

The RAVE Panic Button was approved by the Jonesboro City Council’s Public Safety Committee last night.

City of Jonesboro

After 15 years on the Jonesboro City Council, Alderman Tim McCall is resigning his position.  McCall tells KASU news the resignation is the result of moving out of his ward.

Tim McCall.  He served in Ward 6, Position 1.  He tells KASU news that he is moving out of his ward and has to resign, due to Arkansas law.  McCall says he has served under three mayors, and tells what he is most proud of:

An announcement on McCall’s replacement could come soon.

A transportation plan through 2040 has been approved by the Jonesboro Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Transportation Policy Committee.  The coverage area for the plan covers Jonesboro, but also includes Brookland, Bay, Bono and other outlying areas in Craighead County.  As federal funding becomes available, specific transportation priorities will be focused.  The main transportation needs were making more bicycle and pedestrian paths available in the area, as well as adding more sidewalks in areas that are close proximity to parks and schools.  Other projects that are high on the list

Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

The legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior was remembered yesterday through a parade, a program at St. Bernards Auditorium in Jonesboro, and an afternoon service project at Arkansas State University.  Reverend Dr. Ray Scales is the chairman of the Northeast Arkansas Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior Parade Committee.  He says he put it together in 2002 and has seen how it has grown over the years.  He tells what it means to see so many people from towns across the region to come together for the event:

He also tells what Dr. King’s message means to him:

Walnut Ridge Council Cuts Wasteful Spending at Meeting

Jan 19, 2016

Employee raises, wasteful spending cuts, and the demolition of several houses were discussed at the Walnut Ridge City Council meeting Monday.

The Jonesboro Sun reports the council passed the 2016 budget with no objection.  The budget included a $350,000 spending cut of what  Mayor Charles Snapp of Walnut Ridge called “waste.”  $2.35 million was budgeted for 2016 expenses--a $45,000 decrease from 2015. 

The budget also included a $100,000 increase for the Fire Department, a $40,000 increase for the Police Department, and a $0.50 raise for city employees.

The National Weather Service in Memphis has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for much of the KASU listening area.

Counties affected by the advisory include Randolph, Clay, Lawrence, Greene, Craighead, Mississippi, and Poinsett in Arkansas.  All of the counties in Missouri in the listening area are included in the advisory.  In Tennessee, the counties of Dyer, Lauderdale, Obion, and Tipton are in the advisory.

Zach Maye, NWS Meterologist, said Northeast Arkansas and the Missouri Bootheel is expected to see winter weather through the overnight.

4 Locals Appointed by Arkansas Governor

Jan 18, 2016

Governor Asa Hutchinson has appointed 4 residents in our listening area to various positions.

Hutchinson announced 28 appointments Friday in a press release.  Among them were Claude Graves of Bono, Linda Prunty of Jonesboro, Samuel Jackson of Blytheville, and Joe Morgan of Beebe.

Graves replaced Max Tackett on the Arkansas Rural Development Commission.  Prunty was appointed to the Arkansas Real Estate Commission, replacing Sherman Tate.

The number of counties experiencing power outages in the KASU listening area has dropped since this morning in the aftermath of winter weather overnight.

According to the Entergy website, the counties of Lawrence, Crittenden, Independence, Izard, Stone, and White,  are without power.

726 customers are affected by the outage, with Izard county being affected the most.

A community conversation on race relations took place yesterday in Jonesboro.  It was part of the legacy of celebrating the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior.  That celebration continues today.  During yesterday’s conversation, Assistant professor of Journalism at Arkansas State University, Dr. Gabriel Tait, read a passage from Dr. King:

Tait was part of a panel discussion that took place about race.  He says in order to bring more equality to all people, conversations about race must take place:

An analysis of race relations in Jonesboro is to be provided during a special event Sunday afternoon.  Known as “Community Conversations”, the two hour program will feature a panel discussion, a question and answer session, and a time to discuss what can be done about race relations.  One of the panelists for the event is Dr. Gabriel Tait.  He is an Assistant Professor of Journalism at Arkansas State University.  Tait tells KASU news about some of the topics that will be discussed. website

 One local organization is actively looking for volunteers to tackle the overcrowded foster care system in the state.

Member station KUAR reported Thursday Arkansas has a high recidivism rate of 48% and over 1,00 foster care children in need of a home.  Arkansas’ foster care issue is also having a huge effect on a Northeast Arkansas organization who works often with children in the system.

Holiday Donor Shortage Causes Urgent Need of Blood

Jan 13, 2016

A shortage of donors during the holidays has prompted the American Red Cross to host blood drives across Northeast Arkansas for National Blood Drive Month.

The Red Cross received 50-thousand fewer donations in November and December of 2015 which has contributed to a reduced blood supply.  

Dan Fox,  Communications Director for the American Red Cross, explains that hectic holiday schedules make it difficult to collect blood to meet medical demands.

Fox says that even though this is National Blood Drive Month, blood donations are important every day.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is reducing its flood watching efforts in all areas of the Mississippi River.  This is thanks to the receding river, which has swollen in many areas due to heavy rains in December.  Another factor that helps is the lack of any measurable rainfall that is forecast over the next several days.  Below is a news release from the Army Corps of Engineers:

With river stages falling in all locations, the Memphis District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has lowered its floodfighting response activation level to Phase I in all active areas.

The Buffalo Island Central school district has passed its millage issue on the third try.  In unofficial numbers released from the Craighead County Election Commission, 669 people voted for the measure, 434 people voted against.  That is a 60% to 40% split.  The approval means a new kindergarten through sixth grade school will be built in Leachville and a new seventh grade through 12th grade school is coming to Monette.  Both projects will be a combined 123-thousand square feet and will cost 16-million dollars.  The square feet will be divided evenly with both schools, as well as the cost. 

Apartment Developments Receive Approval from MAPC

Jan 13, 2016

The Jonesboro Metropolitan Area Planning Commission has approved proposals for 2 new apartment developments.

According to the Jonesboro Sun, the commission passed the proposals Tuesday for rezoining 4.69 acres of the former Craighills Golf Course and the preliminary layout of University Woods.

Both plans were passed without any opposition.

Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

Craighead County has been stepping up its efforts to collect delinquent taxes from businesses.  Craighead County Tax Collector Marsha Phillips provided a report to the Craighead County Quorum Court’s Public Service Committee.  She says some businesses owe taxes as far back as 2008.  She tells KASU news her staff of ten have been making a lot of phone calls over the past month to collect, and she says the efforts have been working.  Phillips provided the latest collection efforts over the past month:

Buffalo Island Millage Tax Increase Goes to Vote Today

Jan 12, 2016

Residents in Monette, Leachville, and Black Oak are voting today to pass a 7 mill increase for the Buffalo Island Consolidated School District.