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, 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%.

GOP sweep in Arkansas races

Nov 5, 2014

In a historic election, Arkansas Republicans took all four of Arkansas’ seats in the U.S. Congress.

Incumbents Rick Crawford (AR-1) and Steve Womack (AR-3) cruised to easy re-election bids in a year that saw major Republican gains across the state.

In Congressional District 4, Republican Bruce Westerman outdistanced Democrat James Lee Witt to win by about 10 points 53-43%.

In Congressional District 2, GOP nominee French Hill won a close battle with Democrat Pat Hays 49.6-46.1% in a race that was the last to be called.

Arkansas’ new $1.3 billion superproject, Big River Steel, begins construction soon in Mississippi County, and Arkansas Northeastern College officials announced Monday (Nov. 3) two workforce readiness programs to aid local residents hoping to join the company’s team — both offered at no cost to potential students.

Boozman says EPA water regulations are "harmful", calls for changes

Oct 29, 2014

Sen. John Boozman, R-Arkansas, on Monday, joined with several of his Senate colleagues to document abuses in the Environmental Protection Agency’s rulemaking process and called on the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to immediately withdraw the proposal to claim federal control over almost all state and local waters.

Boozman also joined with fellow members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, to urge the withdrawal of an “Interpretive Rule,” which is causing significant confusion about which farm and ranch activities will be affected by the new EPA and Corps mandates.

U.S. Senate race reaches $52 million mark

Oct 29, 2014

It should surprise no one who has been watching television, opened their mailbox, or answered their telephone in the past couple of months that spending in the U.S. Senate race between Sen. Mark Pryor and Rep. Tom Cotton has reached unprecedented levels. According to the latest numbers from the Federal Election Commission, the total amount reportedly spent by outside groups on this race has reached just over $34 million.

After several weeks of legal wrangling, a key component of the Democrats’ get-out-the-vote strategy will remain on the ballot this November.

Billionaire businessman Jackson T. “Steve” Stephens’ legal challenge to a citizen-led petition to raise Arkansas’ minimum wage to $8.50 per hour will be voted on in the November general election as Issue No. 5, the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled Monday.

A steel processing center is coming to Osceola.  In conjunction with the opening of the $1.1 billion Big River Steel Mill, local and state officials announced the 2016 opening of The Material Works Limited.

Paul Holmes / Jonesboro Police Department

Jonesboro police have confiscated over 200 pounds of marijuana during the execution of a search warrant.  Jonesboro Police Department Public Information Officer Paul Holmes says the discovery was made yesterday morning after police went to an apartment at 111 Daybreak Drive.  Authorities reportedly found wrapped bales of suspected marijuana in the apartment and in a vehicle parked at the apartment.  Seven bundles of marijuana were found, with about 150 pounds of pot found in the apartment and 60 pounds of the drug found in the car.  Police arrested 31 year old Danny Ray Williams, Junior of

2014 Farm Bill workshops to be held

Oct 27, 2014

Arkansas crop producers will have more than a dozen opportunities to get up to speed on the 2014 Farm Bill and its anticipated effects on their operation in the more than one dozen workshops planned in Oct. and Nov. across Arkansas.

The workshops are being offered jointly by the Farm Service Agency and the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

There is no cost to attend and the daytime meetings include lunch.

To celebrate the National Day on Writing, the ASU Writing Center invites the campus community and the public to an event that will be held Wednesday at noon,  near the ASU Fountain by the Carl R. Reng Student Center.  KASU’s Mike Doyle has this feature.

In last night's gubernatorial candidate debate, Republican Asa Hutchinson and Democrat Mike Ross were asked about the Affordable Care Act. One of the questions from the public addressed concerns that some workers have experienced a reduction in the number of hours that are worked, which they tied back to the ACA.  The question was whether the candidates supported a minimum wage hike to help those who have lost hours.  Click on the Listen button to hear the response. 

In last night's gubernatorial candidate debate at Arkansas State University, Democrat Mike Ross and Republican Asa Hutchinson were asked about whether they would repeal a state law that requires small Arkansas school districts to consolidate if they fall below 350 students.