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  The Jonesboro Police Department is investigating a rash of weekend pharmacy break-ins in Northeast Arkansas. 

Police Chief Rick Elliot told the Jonesboro Sun they believe one group is responsible for breaking into the Woodsprings Pharmacy in Manilla and The Medicine Shoppe in Jonesboro early Sunday morning.

Both break-ins occurred within a span of 2 hours.  Elliot said security camera footage from the businesses showed the same white Chevy Suburban. 

Arkansas State University

  The Arkansas State University Red Wolves will play 4 games against the Memphis Tigers in a home-and-home series beginning in 2020.

A-State announced Monday the two teams will alternate venues, reviving A-State's longest running series against any opponent in school history.  Since 1914, A-State has played Memphis 57 times.  The last time the two teams faced off was in 2013 when A-State visited Memphis.

The press release and full schedule can be read below:

Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

Arkansas State University has created a way for entrepreneurs to be able to advance their ideas for innovation across the region.  The East Arkansas Regional Innovation System is a collaborative effort to give entrepreneurs the state and federal resources for success.  The

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Wednesday Night storms caused major flooding around Jonesboro.  E-911 reported 32 calls within an hour for vehicles that were stalled out or flooded.   

Flash flooding on the east side of the city also prompted emergency officials to open the Allen Park Community Center on Race Street for shelter.

Storms also caused major to minor flooding for various rivers in the area.  The National Weather Service in Memphis reported major flooding at Nonconnah Creek at Riverport Road in Shelby County.  The river was observed at about 63 feet; about 17 feet above flood stage.

Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families is making an appeal for the need for more money for pre-K programs in the state.  Director Rich Huddleston appeared at the Jonesboro Pre-K Center and said that more money is needed by the state to keep pre-K programs going at current levels:

Huddleston says funding for pre-K has been flat for at least eight years.  Not only will they ask for the 43-million dollars, but they will also ask for additional bumps in funding yearly to provide pre-K to more children, and to recruit and retain pre-K teachers in the state. 

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  Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families is calling on lawmakers to make additional funding available for Pre-K events. KASU’s Johnathan Reaves reports from their press conference at the Jonesboro Pre-K Center.  

The Craighead County Quorum Court has approved an amendment to the 2016 budget that would allow for grant money to be accepted by the county and used as directed.   

The money is broken down for different Craighead County Courts as follows: $30,938 for the Mental Health Court; $27,435 for Accountability Court, Veterans Diversion Fund; $24,458 for DWI Court, $64,000 for Adult Drug Court and $30,935 for Crittenden County’s Mental Health Court. 

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  While Craighead County has seen small gains in March sales tax revenue compared to last year, revenue in Jonesboro shows a small decrease.

The Jonesboro Sun reports the 1% county sales tax brought in $1,369,216, an increase from March 2015 of 0.32%.

Jonesboro only earned $1,237,155 from its separate sales tax revenue; a decrease of $8,591 from March 2015.

City Water and Light officials say the decrease in the city sales tax could be contributed to an 8% decrease in January electricity sales.

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  In preparation to his upcoming trip to Cuba, U.S. Representative Rick Crawford educated listeners on how the embargo affects Arkansas in his “Tune In” web series.

Crawford asks one simple question:  “who are we really punishing with the embargo?”

He said unlike other countries like China the embargo in Cuba has helped the Castro Regime make the case that America was the “bad guy"--a dynamic he says lawmakers are trying to change to improve relations with the country. 

FMH Conveyors Expansion to Create Jobs in Jonesboro

Mar 23, 2016
Brandon Tabor, KASU News

 

  FMH Conveyors will be expanding their Jonesboro operations to the new lot on Highland Drive.   The announcement was made at Wednesday’s unveiling ceremony at the Hames Room in the Arkansas State University Convocation Center. 

Company officials announced they will invest $12.5 million in a new 195-thousand square foot facility.  The expansion is expected to create 110 new jobs for the region.

Crawford Delivers Cuba Bill Update at Agri Roundtable

Mar 23, 2016
Wikipedia.org

U. S. Representative Rick Crawford told state agricultural leaders Tuesday his believes his Cuba bill could get passed sometime next year. 

Talk Business and Politics reports the Jonesboro Republican addressed participants via Skype at the Cuba Consortium Agriculture and Food Roundtable.

Crawford said his bill could also be moved as a stand-alone bill after the November elections during the lame duck session. 

Brandon Tabor

  A grant worth $404,983 has been awarded to Arkansas State University from the Delta Regional Authority.

Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill notified Chancellor Dr. Tim Hudson about the award Tuesday. 

This announcement will assist the University with site preparation and improvements of the 11-acres where Arkansas State's new Embassy Suites hotel, convention center, and Houlihan's Restaurant will be located. 

The location is  the former track and field complex on campus.

O'Reilly Hospitality Management has announced that it is moving forward with plans to build a 202-room Embassy Suites Hotel and a 40,000 square foot convention center, as well as a Houlihan's Restaurant. 

TimO'Reilly, CEO and Managing Member of O'Reilly Hospitality says they are finalizing their Embassy franchise application and will turn in a financial package in the next 30 days. 

He says the project has received a "significant grant" from the Delta Regional Authority and is partnering with Arkansas State University to make the project a reality. 

FEMA: 2 NEA Counties have 2 Weeks to Apply for Aid

Mar 22, 2016
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Two Northeast Arkansas counties have about 2 weeks to receive federal relief from severe storms that hit the state in December and January.

The Associated Press reports the Federal Emergency Management Agency says residents in Jackson and Lee Counties have until April 5th to register for federal disaster aid.

11 counties who were affected by severe storms are eligible for assistance.  Funds can be used for rental assistance, repairs, and other damages caused by disasters not covered by insurance.

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  The deadline for Missourians affected by winter flooding early in the year is today. 

KOLR-TV reports that 33 counties have been approved for individual assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  Scott County in the KASU listening area is the only county to have been granted assistance. 

governor.arkansas.gov

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson is set to be in Jonesboro this week as part of an announcement of a new industry coming to the city. 

The Jonesboro Sun reports Hutchinson will be in town at Wednesday’s ceremony along with Jonesboro Unlimited at the Hames Room at the Arkansas State University Convocation Center. 

The Metropolitan Area Planning Commission is expected to review the plans from the unknown company Tuesday. 

Arkansas State University

The 22nd Delta Symposium takes place April 13th through the 16th at Arkansas State University, with the Saturday afternoon events taking place at CWL Park in Jonesboro.  The theme for this year's symposium is "Representing Cultural Heritage".  KASU's Johnathan Reaves talks with the symposium's chairman Dr. Gregory Hansen about this event.  Listen to the full interview by clicking the button. 

You can view the entire Delta Symposium schedule here

Brandon Tabor, KASU News

UPDATE 3/29/16:

Road work continues this week on Red Wolf Blvd between Johnson and Aggie. 

On Tueday, the inside southbound lane and both northbound lanes are open.  The outside southbound lane is closed as construction begins to create a 200-foot deceleration lane for right turns on to Alumni Blvd. 

Last week, crews worked to remove the median and create a turning lane.  City officials say the project which was estimated to take 2 weeks is now ahead of schedule.

The Jonesboro Metropolitan Planning Organization is holding two public meetings next week about improvements in transportation. 

Public forums will be held concerning the Transportation Improvement Program over the next four years. 

The first meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 29th from one to three at the Jonesboro Municipal Center.  The second meeting will be held on Thursday, March 31st from five to seven at the Jonesboro United Way Building in the Board Room. 

Brandon Tabor, KASU

If the city had the money, what do you want to see happen to blighted areas?   

That was the question University of Memphis School of Architecture students and Kansas State University Technical Assistance to Brownfields representatives were asking citizens as they discussed 4 areas in North Jonesboro.  The areas are located along the railroad corridor expanding from Arkansas State University to Riceland foods.

Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce

Meet Scott Calloway:

“I went to the University of Georgia.  I was a marketing major, and it's funny because as soon as I got out of school there was no job for me.”

Calloway’s story is similar to many students who graduated from a four-year-institution.  After graduating from high school, he went to a four-year institution to get his degree in marketing.  He said he felt like he had to go there in order to become successful out of peer pressure. 

A public meeting on developing the “Railroad Corridor” from Aggie Road at Arkansas State University to Riceland Foods will be held this afternoon. 

The City of Jonesboro will use the input from citizens to apply for a “Brownfield” grant with Environmental Protection Agency to use towards the project. 

Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

Baylor Assistant basketball coach Grant McCasland is the new men’s basketball coach at Arkansas State University.  He was introduced today during a press conference at the Convocation Center. 

McCasland addressed the crowd and said he will establish a family atmosphere with the team:

McCasland says he will fly back to help coach Baylor while they are playing in the NCAA tournament tomorrow afternoon.  He says he will wear a red tie, representing the Red Wolves, and also promised the Wolves will be in the tournament in years to come. 

Local Church Offers to Purchase District Fairgrounds

Mar 16, 2016

Nettleton Baptist Church is offering to purchase the new fairgrounds location on Highway 49 North in Jonesboro. 

Little Rock Attorney Rick Ramsey is the bankruptcy agent in charge of liquidating the property owned by the Craighead County Fair Association.  Ramsey told the Jonesboro Sun the offer from the church has not been accepted yet. 

The ballot order for an alderman race in Jonesboro has been set.  The Craighead County Election Commission conducted a draw in Jonesboro for the five people that are running for the Ward 6, Position 1 position that was left vacant by Tim McCall.  He resigned in January after serving 15 years on the Jonesboro City Council. McCall resigned after he moved out of his ward.

Here is the ballot order:

1.  Bobby E. Long

2.  Joseph R. Woodbury

3.  James W. Bowman

4.  Phillip Cook

5.  Richard Wang

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