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The Arkansas Department of Education is recommending that the Blytheville School District no longer be classified as being “in academic distress.”

That classification is given to individual schools and school districts when over a three year period 49% of their students score at or below proficiency in math and reading.  Proficiency is measured by state mandated testing.

Arkansas State University

Arkansas State University is working with some members of the Jonesboro campus who are impacted by President Donald Trump's immigration ban.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas' U.S. senators aren't criticizing President Donald Trump's immigration restrictions as protests spread throughout the country, including in Little Rock.

Republican Sens. John Boozman and Tom Cotton issued statements Sunday regarding Trump's executive order that bans travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries. Cotton said it's "simply wrong" to describe the ban as a religious test, but he said there should be "proper procedures" for green-card holders and immigrants who have served alongside U.S. troops to enter the country.

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Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland calls President Donald Trump's executive order on barring citizens from certain Muslim countries "unwise."

Strickland expressed his concerns over the order to the Commercial Appeal on Sunday before releasing an official statement on Twitter.

Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

The Jonesboro Police Department is looking to increase the ranks of our Reserve Unit and, for the first time since 2008, is accepting applications for appointment to Reserve Police Officer. 

TVA.gov

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The new Tennessee Valley Authority board chairwoman says she hopes the federal utility will maintain its trajectory as President Donald Trump has the chance to pick a new board majority by the spring.

Lynn Evans, the first woman and first African-American to chair the board, spoke with reporters in a conference call Friday.

Evans said three of nine TVA board slots are currently vacant. Her term and another expire in May. Trump will choose nominees for those five slots, and the U.S. Senate will confirm them.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A partner at a global management consulting firm who was hired as Missouri's first chief operating officer is set to begin his job of increasing state government efficiency next month.

The Springfield News-Leader (http://sgfnow.co/2jc9WZL) reports that the start date for Drew Erdmann is Feb. 13.

Press secretary Parker Briden wouldn't say how much Erdmann will be paid. Salary figures for employees of the governor's office are a public record, but not so for Erdmann as he has not yet officially started work.

UNION CITY, Tenn. (AP) — State officials say Williams Sausage Co. plans to build a second plant in Union City, creating 226 new jobs over the next five years.

In a statement, Gov. Bill Haslam and state economic development commissioner Randy Boyd say Williams Sausage will invest about $37 million to build a 180,000-square-foot facility in Obion County. It will include a cold storage distribution center, truck maintenance operations, corporate offices and a sandwich processing line.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Latest on an Arkansas measure that would ban a common second-trimester abortion procedure (all times local):

5:20 p.m.

Planned Parenthood says it will support "any and all" efforts to defend its patients' rights after Arkansas enacted a ban on a common second-trimester abortion procedure.

Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

Record breaking growth expected for Jonesboro.  Mayor Harold Perrin projects that city will see over $200 million in building permits this year….that would set records.  Last year, the city approved over $180 million in permits.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Republican Gov. Bill Haslam is scheduled to release his second major priority item for the 2017 legislative session on Thursday.

Haslam's office says the governor will discuss his proposal before a visit to Cane Ridge High School in Nashville. A news release didn't elaborate on the subject of his announcement, other than to say it is part of his larger effort of "building and sustaining economic growth and the state's competitiveness for the next generation of Tennesseans."

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ST. LOUIS (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that Ameren Missouri's coal-fired power plant near St. Louis violates the Clean Air Act and has created "significantly more pollution" since modifications were made.

U.S. District Judge Rodney Sippel's ruling Monday could require St. Louis-based Ameren to install additional pollution control equipment at the Rush Island power plant in Jefferson County. Ameren Missouri called the ruling disappointing and said an appeal is planned.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Chief Justice Patricia Breckenridge is calling for a review of the way courts hold people in jail before trial.

In her final State of the Judiciary address Tuesday, Breckenridge told lawmakers that costly pretrial incarcerations affect poor people and have negative consequences for the individual and society. She says a Supreme Court task force will recommend changes to current practices.

Breckenridge also called for higher pay for state employees who work in courts.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas-based Windstream Holdings says it has eliminated 164 jobs, including 25 in Little Rock.

Windstream spokesman David Avery says the job cuts came from various areas, including engineering, finance and information technology. Avery tells the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (http://bit.ly/2jNgATd) that Windstream has about 12,000 employees, including 1,450 in Little Rock.

Travel Writer for Arkansas Parks Kim Williams LOVES January.  She loves this month so much that she wanted the weekend of the 27th to start a day earlier... on the 26th!

Williams tells KASU's Mark Smith about a special concert taking place in Southeast Arkansas honoring the Bee Gees on the 26th.  She also has the "dish" on another event for that weekend revolving around "B's" and "G's", as in "Beans and Greens."  It's a cook off for the best beans, greens, and cornbread in the South.

Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

A campaign to attract more jobs to Jonesboro is underway.  Jonesboro Unlimited is starting a 5 year approach to economic development called Momentum Jonesboro.  The goal is to raise three-point-seven million dollars over the next five years to being more than five thousand high-paying jobs to Jonesboro.  Chairman of Jonesboro Unlimited Brad Edwards says the focus areas are for business attraction, talent attraction and community enhancement.  

Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

A partnership is formed to bring job opportunities to young adults with disabilities in northeast Arkansas.  St. Bernards Medical Center is working with Little Rock-based ACCESS and Arkansas Rehabilitative Services.  Educators from area schools are being trained on the program, which is called Project SEARCH.  Vice President of Human Resources at St. Bernards Lori Smith says the project will bring job training and employment assistance for those with disabilities.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas legislative committee has voted to outlaw an abortion procedure that opponents call "savage" and "barbaric" while others deem it the safest way to end a pregnancy in the second trimester.

The proposal by a legislator who is president of Arkansas Right to Life would ban dilation and evacuation, also known as a D&E abortion. The measure passed the Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee on a voice vote Thursday.

BEAVER CITY, Neb. (AP) — A man being held in a south-central Nebraska jail cell is awaiting a Jan. 30 hearing on returning him to face charges in Tennessee.

Furnas County Sheriff Kurt Kapperman said Thursday that 55-year-old Michael Parsons was arrested without incident Jan. 12 at the Arapahoe Airport. Kapperman says the FBI, working with Tennessee authorities, had tracked Parsons' cellphone to the area.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Airport, trucking and business officials all are urging Missouri lawmakers to change state driver's license laws to comply with federal identification requirements.

A Senate committee heard testimony Thursday on legislation that would allow two options for driver's licenses — one that complies with the federal Real ID act and another that doesn't.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A bill prohibiting mandatory union fees in workplaces is moving to the Missouri Senate after winning House approval.

The 100-59 vote Thursday by the House comes after Republican supermajorities made the so-called right-to-work law a priority for this year.

If the law passes, employees won't be required to pay union fees, even though the union may still be required to represent all employees.

Brandon Tabor, KASU News

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A federal civil rights lawsuit has been filed on behalf of five people who say they were discriminated against while trying to take part in a Black Lives Matter demonstration at Elvis Presley's Graceland.

The protest coincided with an annual candlelight vigil held by fans at the singer's home on the Aug. 15 anniversary of his death.

Graceland owner, Elvis Presley Enterprises, and the city of Memphis are named in the complaint filed Wednesday.

TUPELO, Miss. (AP) — Renasant Corp. announced Tuesday that it's buying Metropolitan BancGroup for $190 million in stock.

The Tupelo-based bank says acquiring Metropolitan's $1.2 billion in assets will boost its market share, making it the fifth-largest bank in the metro areas of Memphis, Tennessee, and Jackson, Mississippi. Metropolitan has eight total offices, four in the Jackson area and two apiece in Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A Pulaski County Circuit judge approved paying $29.1 million from a lawsuit settlement fund to more than 21,000 Marlboro Lights users and their attorneys.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (http://bit.ly/2iIDrgI) reports the $45 million settlement fund was set up to end a 13-year-old lawsuit alleging that Philip Morris USA and parent company Altria Group misled smokers in Arkansas by advertising Marlboro Lights and Ultra-Lights were safer than regular cigarettes.

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