News

Last week, five leading researchers in the state were recognized by the Arkansas Research Alliance.  The five people selected were named as ARA Fellows, and were awarded a plaque and $75,000 in research grant money, which will be dispersed over three years.  Among those recognized was Dr. Argelia Lorence from Arkansas State University.  She co-leads the Plant Imaging Consortium and leads research for the development of more resilient varieties of crops, such as rice.  Dr. Lorence is a biochemist and she tells about her research.

A rarely seen passenger train made an appearance in Jonesboro yesterday.  It wasn’t just any train.  Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad brought its 15-car Holiday Express to Jonesboro.  The Holiday Express is in its seventh year of operation and it is a way the company can honor the United States military.  Yesterday afternoon, it took 350 military families on a ride from Jonesboro to Marked Tree and back.  Santa was on board to meet with the kids and the families enjoyed refreshments in the different cars.  I boarded the train yesterday morning to take a look.

This Sunday, a special concert takes place at A-State's Fowler Center in Riceland Hall.  This will feature Forum Sinfonia (Polish Chamber Orchestra).  In this Spotlight on the Arts feature, KASU's Mike Doyle tells about this "Holiday Gift to the Community".  It is free, with attendees being asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy for a chronically ill child or a non-perishable food item for a needy family. 

Osceola and Flippin participating in food grant

Dec 4, 2014

Today, on behalf of the White House Rural Council, six federal agencies joined to announce 26 communities selected to participate in Local Foods, Local Places, a federal initiative providing technical support to integrate local food systems into community economic action plans.

Mid South Community College Board sends draft agreement to ASU officials

Dec 4, 2014

Mid-South Community College president Dr. Glen Fenter said Wednesday that a decision whether or not to merge with the Arkansas State University System may be “one of the biggest decisions ever in the life of this college.”

The college’s board voted by voice vote to send a draft agreement on the merger to officials at Arkansas State University for review.

The merger, if approved by both MSCC and ASU, would be a win-win situation for both, Fenter told the college’s board of trustees during the meeting in West Memphis.

A-State returns to the GoDaddy Bowl

Dec 4, 2014

The Arkansas State Athletics Department announced Wednesday the Red Wolves’ football team will compete in a bowl game for the fourth consecutive year after accepting an official invitation to play in the 2015 GoDaddy Bowl at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala., on Jan. 4 at 8 p.m.

A-State, winners of the last two GoDaddy Bowls, will face a Mid-American Conference opponent to be announced at a later date in the ESPN nationally-televised game. The Red Wolves will make their fourth straight appearance in the GoDaddy Bowl and will play their 11th bowl game all-time.

Home sales on the rise in Arkansas

Dec 2, 2014

After seeing a slight decline at the end of summer, home sales are back on a positive track in Arkansas’ four largest markets with year-to-date sales up 4.08% and the value of homes sold up more than 3%. October sales in the four markets were up 9.29% and the sales value was up an impressive 18.16%.

September sales in the four markets were up more than 7% and values were up more than 9%.

Big River Steel says lawsuit has no merit

Dec 2, 2014

A challenge to a $1.3 billion steel mill in Mississippi County could face additional hurdles if a suit against the superproject goes forward, attorneys for Big River Steel said in court papers late last week.

Attorneys for Little Rock-based Mitchell Williams and Washington, D.C.-based Baker Hostetler filed a 50-page reply memorandum in support of a motion to dismiss the suit against Big River Steel.

Nucor Steel filed suit Aug. 11 in federal court at Jonesboro alleging the construction of the steel mill near Osceola would violate the federal Clean Air Act.

More development coming for Jonesboro

Dec 2, 2014

A 26-acre plot of land in northeast Jonesboro is being eyed for retail and restaurant growth in a busy area of town, one of the developers for the project said Monday.

Josh Brown, with commercial development firm Haag Brown, said the land will be developed where Red Wolf Blvd., Johnson Avenue and U.S. 49 north all meet. While nothing is set in stone, Brown said the project has the potential to be a $30-$40 million development.

Arkansas State University’s College of Media and Communications presents the first annual Delta Flix Film and Media Festival, which will be held in conjunction with next year’s Delta Symposium on the Arkansas State University campus. The idea for the festival came from Dr. Michael Bowman, an assistant professor of media at Arkansas State University.

The National CASA Association has awarded a 39,500 grant to CASA of Northeast Arkansas.  CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates, which trains volunteers to be representatives of abused and neglected children in court.  More than 600 children were in the foster care system last year, but the number of CASA volunteers to represent those children are about a third of that number, despite recruiting 45 new volunteers last year.  Executive Director of CASA of the 2nd Judicial District Donna Bowyer tells why CASA volunteers are so important.

Construction jobs on the rise in Arkansas

Nov 14, 2014

Arkansas had the nation’s sixth highest increase in construction employment from September 2013 to September 2014, according to Ken Simonson, chief economist with the Associated General Contractors of America.

Simonson was in Little Rock Thursday to speak at the state AGC’s annual meeting. He said Arkansas’ 9.9% increase was almost triple the U.S. rate of 3.9% and was the state’s largest year-over-year gain since the recession.

Governor's transition underway, Hutchinson launches website

Nov 14, 2014

While the rest of the state learned that Asa Hutchinson was the next governor of Arkansas by watching the news last Tuesday, Hutchinson himself was learning it from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Mike's Music News

  Suddenlink, in cooperation with KASU and the Arts@311, presents "Book Signing Boogie," with author Marvin Schwartz and the only original rockabilly band still performing regularly,Sonny Burgess and the Legendary Pacers. The event will be held at 311 South Church  Street in Jonesboro Tuesday November 18 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., beginning with  the author's presentation and a concert by Sonny Burgess and the Legendary Pacers immediately following.

Arkansas State University's Theatre presents Deathtrap – one of the great popular successes of Broadway.  The script for Deathtrap was the work of Ira Levin, a notable writer.  KASU Station Manager Mike Doyle talks with director of the play Molly Simpson, professor of theatre at A-State.  Just a reminder,  Death Trap opens Friday and continues Saturday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights, with performance time  beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the ASU Theatre, a part of the Fowler Center.   Tickets are available through A-State Central Box Office . . .

The 2011 shooting death of a Jonesboro businessman is the focus of a show that airs tomorrow night on “Dateline NBC”.  The show is titled “The Root of All Evil”, and it will focus on the death of Marc Despain.  The 34-year-old was found dead in his home from a gunshot wound on August 24, 2011.  Marc’s wife, Michelle Despain, plead guilty August eighth to three counts of hindering apprehension in the death.

U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) talked about veterans' issues, fighting ebola, and the priorities of the new Congress, in this month's visit with KASU. Click on the "Listen" link to hear the interview. It begins with Boozman sharing what he did on Veterans' Day...

What can be done about Turner Grain?

Nov 10, 2014

The loss by Arkansas farmers of millions of dollars unpaid by Brinkley-based Turner Grain Merchandizing likely will result in state legislation next year. What that legislation will look like is a long way from final form.

Dealers such as Turner Grain buy and resell grain from producers. Dozens of farmers say they have not been paid by that company and others owned by the same people, and the grain has not been located. Many are taking legal action to try to recover losses from a dealer that no longer is in business.

Hutchinson says there will be "significant changes" coming

Nov 10, 2014

Newly elected Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson said with huge Republican gains across the state, voters have sent a clear message for change, but he warns that expectations must be kept in check.

“You’ve got to keep it in perspective. The expectation level is going to be very high. That, ‘all right, you’ve got the wheels of government, now what are you going to do with it?'” Hutchinson said in his first in-depth interview since winning Tuesday’s gubernatorial race.

The City of Jonesboro has launched a new website that is designed to be more interactive.  Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin tells the Sun the new site is expected to “enhance community engagement and communication”.  The redesigned site is at www.jonesboro.org, and provides information on a wide range of services the site provides.  It also allows citizens to reserve facilities for special events, report unsightly conditions and problems, and will tell citizens about upcoming meetings.   Information on pending action, as well as past decisions, is also av

County Judge

Ed Hill (D) Incumbent  14,142     57%

Wes Ward (R) 10,778     43%

Circuit Clerk

Ashley Broadway (D)  13,523    55%

Candace Edwards (R)  11,081   45%

Tax Collector

Marsha Phillips (D) Incumbent 14,214  57%

Timothy Simmons (R) 10,546   43%

County Clerk

Kade Holliday (R) Incumbent 17,644   71%

Nancy Robbins (D) 7,279    29%

County Assessor

Toni Oden (D)  9,696 40%

Here is a look at the Arkansas House and Senate results for the KASU listening area:

House District 51 (West Memphis area)

Deborah Ferguson (D) Incumbent- 4,081 74%

Rodger Paxton (Libertarian)- 1,453  26%

House District 52 (Most of Poinsett County/ SW Craighead County)

Radius Baker (D)- 3,007  36%

Dwight Tosh (R)- 5,401   64%

House District 53 (Eastern Half of Craighead County)

Homer Lenderman (D) Incumbent- 3,401 47%

Dan Sullivan (R)- 3,821  53%

October state tax revenues up slightly from last year

Nov 5, 2014

October state tax collections rose a healthy 8.1% above last year and pulled 4.7% above forecast, but that simply moved year-to-date numbers into a slightly better position.

The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration released its October revenue report that showed net available general revenues totaling $402.8 million for the month, up $30.0 million above last year and $18.2 million above forecast.

4 of 5 Arkansas Ballot Issues Pass

Nov 5, 2014

Four of five ballot issues were passed by Arkansas voters on Tuesday (Nov. 4) instituting legislative oversight of the executive branch, raising the minimum wage and new ethics rules and an extension of term limits. A proposal to expand alcohol sales failed.

Issue No. 1 allows the state Legislature to review and approve regulations submitted by executive agencies. It cleared voter approval handily by a 60-40% margin.

Issue No. 2, which altered how ballot signatures are reviewed by the Secretary of State’s office, passed 53-47%.

Asa Hutchinson to be the next Arkansas Governor

Nov 5, 2014

Republican Asa Hutchinson’s three previous statewide campaigns had ended the same way – with a concession speech. Tuesday ended with a victory speech after Hutchinson was elected governor of Arkansas over Democrat Mike Ross.

Hutchinson was leading with nearly 55% of the vote compared to 42% for Ross. Libertarian Frank Gilbert had about 2% of the vote, while Green Joshua Drake had 1%.

Pages