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. 

The Jonesboro Police Department is looking for new recruits to join the force.  The JPD will be hosting a recruitment fair for men and women considering a career in law enforcement. 

Community Outreach and Recruiting Officer Sgt. Cassie Brandon tells KASU News this is the first time the department has had a recruitment fair since she’s been there.

“We’ve never done a recruiting fair before, to my knowledge—at least since I’ve been here,” Brandon said.   Sgt. Brandon has been working with the department for 11 years.   

Arkansas State Parks and Tourism

Hundreds of people gathered in the former Gillett High School Auditorium for the annual Coon Supper Saturday night.  The 73rd event brought many people from across the state, and even from out of state, to gather, eat coon and meet local, state, and federal politicians and candidates for office.  Some have been attending the event for most of their lives.  Gillett residents Margie and Johnny Holzhaeur have been attending the event for over 60 years, and have only missed it twice.  Margie tells the significance of the supper.

Stacy Crawford appointed to ASU Board of Trustees

Jan 7, 2016
Arkansas State University System

Gov. Asa Hutchinson has appointed Stacy Crawford of Jonesboro, a 1997 graduate of Arkansas State University, to a five-year term on the ASU Board of Trustees.

Crawford succeeds Charles Luter of Paragould, who served five years on the board, most recently as chair. Her appointment expires in January 2021.

ASU System President Chuck Welch said Crawford is a longtime supporter of the university who will be a valuable addition to the board.

Formal charges have been filed against the suspect in the December 10, 2015 active shooter case that occurred at Arkansas State University.  The following is a press release from the office of Second Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington's office:

Scott Ellington, Prosecuting Attorney for the Second Judicial District of Arkansas, announced today that his office is filing charges in the Arkansas State University Active Shooter case that gained national attention and shut down the campus during finals week.

Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

The first unofficial political event of the New Year happens Saturday night.  The 73rd annual Gillett Coon Supper will be held.  Originally held as a party and a hunt for raccoon when it first started, it has evolved into a key political function.  Larry Bauer is the treasurer of the Farmers and Businessmen’s Club in Gillett.  He says the small southeast Arkansas town of 700 will have about that many people attend the event.

Bridge Closing

Jan 7, 2016

West College Avenue bridge over Christian Creek in Jonesboro, AR will be closed part of next week for soil borings.

The dates and times of the closings go as follows:

  • Monday 1/11/16 from 10am to 5pm
  • Tuesday 1/12/16 from 7am to 5pm
  • Wednesday 1/13/16 from 7am to 5pm

Please take precautions and plan alternate routes during these times.

Jonesboro E911 Director gives Home Fire Safety Tips

Jan 6, 2016

As temperatures drop this winter, residents in Jonesboro prepare for freezing weather by turning on their heaters.  However, heating equipment is the leading cause of home fire deaths in the winter months. 

Jonesboro E911 Director Jeff Presley says as people work to get use to the cooler temperatures, they think of creative and dangerous ways to keep themselves warm.

"We see a lot of people trying to heat with electric heaters, kerosene heaters, or their oven which is a big no-no," Presley said.

Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

The Jonesboro Metropolitan Planning Organization is working on a 25 year transportation plan.  The plan would involve road and transit projects that would be eligible for federal funding through 2040.  Director of the M-P-O is Erica Tait. 

“We are in the process of updating our long-term plan.  The last one was completed in 2011.  This plan goes out to 204.  The vital part of the process is public involvement. We want to make sure the public has an opportunity to comment on this as we take a look at the transportation needs in the area. ”

9 Simple Tips for Home House Fire Protection

Jan 6, 2016

As temperatures drop this winter, residents in Jonesboro prepare for freezing weather by turning on their heaters.  However, heating equipment is the leading cause of home fire deaths in the winter months.  

Jeff Presley, Director of Jonesboro E911, gives these 9 simple tips for preventing heating-related house fires:

The Jonesboro City Council is expected to pass a nearly 60-million-dollar budget at its next meeting.  The figure is actually two-and-a-half million dollars less than the 2015 budget. Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin tells KASU news that all but one of the city’s departments made cuts in capital improvement.  Jonesboro’s E911 department did not have any cuts to its budget.  Three amendments to the budget have to be approved next week by the city council’s finance committee.

Update on flooding in the region, state

Jan 4, 2016

The US Army Corps of Engineers is closely watching levees along the Mississippi River.  Communities on our listening area are not expected to receive the kind of flooding that has taken place in St. Louis; however, the river is expected to be in major flood stage levels from Cape Girardeau, Missouri south through Osceola, Memphis and Helena-West Helena.  Jim Pogue is a spokesman for the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Buffalo Island Proposes Millage Increase a 3rd Time

Jan 4, 2016

Citizens in Monette, Leachville, and Black Oak are preparing to vote a third time on a millage increase to support the Buffalo Island Consolidated School District.  Since 2014, the district has tried twice to pass a 9 mill increase to construct a new school and make other improvements for the district. 

On this third attempt, which will happen next week, the district is asking for a 7 mill increase.  If it passes, the district plans to construct a new K thru 6 school in Leachville, and a 7th-12th grade school in Monette. 

Jonesboro City Council to Revisit 2016 Budget

Jan 4, 2016

  The Jonesboro City Council plans to discuss the 2016 operating budget at their meeting Tuesday.

The Jonesboro Sun reports the council heard its first of three required reading of the proposed budget on December 15. $42.32 million has been set aside for maintenance and operations in 2016--almost $2.5 million less than in 2015.

Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin says a newly passed Property Maintenance Code will not go into effect until March.  Perrin made the announcement during a press conference, just days after he broke the tie to approve the proposal during Tuesday night’s city council meeting.  The code had been the subject of much controversy over a period of at least six weeks, where both sides adamantly expressed their views about the code.  Supporters say they wanted the code to help reduce dilapidated and neglected pieces of property.  Opponents say they were afraid of the interior requirements, as well as

Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

St. Bernards Healthcare announces a 130 million dollar expansion in downtown Jonesboro.  The Master plan will be done in four phases.  The plans include the Ben E. Owens Cancer Treatment Center and the Heartcare Center---the center will be named after a former president and CEO of St. Bernards.

Bookout Sentencing Scheduled for March 2016

Dec 16, 2015

Former state senator Paul Bookout’s sentencing hearing for federal mail fraud is scheduled for March 2 in Little Rock. 

According to the Jonesboro Sun, Bookout’s request to delay his hearing originally set for November 23 was granted by U.S. District Judge Brian Miller on November 17. 

The former lawmaker from Jonesboro resigned from office in 2013 after news broke he spent more than $150,000 of campaign funds on personal expenses

Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin was the deciding vote on a controversial property maintenance code.  After the city council came to a six-to-six tie, Perrin cast the seventh vote last night, which means that Jonesboro will have a property maintenance code that mirrors the International Property Maintenance Code.  After the meeting, Perrin commented on why he voted the way he did.