Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department

The Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department is exploring the possibility of placing high-speed passenger rail service in the state.  Public meetings will be held Tuesday, September 23rd in North Little Rock and Thursday, September 25th in Fort Smith to get the public’s input on high-speed rail. Additional meetings will be held October 14th in West Memphis, October 15th in Monticello and October 16th in Texarkana.  Danny Straessle is Public Information Officer with the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department.

Public Meetings to be held about developing high speed rail in Arkansas

Sep 16, 2014

The Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) will hold a series of public meetings on Tuesday, September 23rd and Thursday, September 25th, between 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. The purpose is to seek input about a new statewide rail plan and the possibility of extending high-speed passenger rail service. The two meetings are listed below.

Tuesday, Sept 23, 2014

Arkansas Transit Association

Transit Safety & Resource Ctr.

620 W. Broadway Street

Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe has named a replacement after a judge was removed from the bench last week by the Arkansas Supreme Court.  Governor Beebe's office has announced that Michael Murphy of Conway has been appointed as Circuit Judge in the 2nd Division Court of the 20th Judicial District.

The Craighead County Sheriff’s Department says smartphone users can find out who is in the detention center, as well as those who have been released.  Craighead County Sheriff Marty Boyd says a free mobile app is now available that will allow for more transparency into the detention center.  According to the Sun, the app is an extension of the Relativity Police Systems, which is a jail management software company.  The app will allow people to see who has been placed in the facility, which people have been released, as well as photos, charges, court dates, and bond.  The app has be

The Jonesboro City Council is expected to decide whether to allow a rezoning proposal to pass concerning a 201-acre site located at Hilltop.  Tomorrow night is the third reading on an ordinance that council members must consider about Greensborough Village.  If approved by the Jonesboro City Council, the ordinance would allow for a mixed use of commercial and residential properties, with over half of the residences being single family detached and attached residential.   The plan for the new area reportedly includes 200 single-family lots on the north and south sides of Greensboro road, as

Jonesboro is receiving a $1.2 million grant to help build a railroad overpass at Highland Drive.  An Associated Press report states that Arkansas Senators Mark Pryor and John Boozman have made the announcement.  The funds will be used to conduct reviews and create design plans for the overpass.  The funds come from the U-S Department of Transportation's TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) program.  The program provides funds to projects and areas that are expected to have a large economic impact. 

15 finalists named for Arkansas Teacher of the Year

Sep 12, 2014

Fifteen outstanding teachers from around the state have been selected as 2015 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Regional Finalists. Gov. Mike Beebe will recognize them at a ceremony scheduled for 10 a.m. Sept. 16 in the Old Supreme Court Room at the Capitol. The top four finalists will be announced at the event.

“Each year we are pleased to recognize some of the best teachers around the state,” said Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Tony Wood. “Their commitment to their students and community is exemplary, and we applaud them for their dedication to education.”

USDA Forecasts record-high corn and soybean production this year

Sep 12, 2014

U.S. soybean producers are expected to produce a record 3.82 billion bushels in 2014, up 16 percent from last year according to the Crop Production report issued today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). Growing conditions were conducive for corn growers who are also expected to produce a record-high crop at 14.0 billion bushels of corn, up 1 percent from 2013 which was also a record at the time.

Domestic Violence Awareness Week at A-State

Sep 12, 2014
Arkansas State University

In an effort to focus attention on the upcoming Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Arkansas State University Counseling Center is sponsoring Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Week, Sept. 15-18. 

Pryor and Cotton will debate October 14th

Sep 12, 2014

Republican Congressman Tom Cotton and Democratic Senator Mark Pryor will debate in Fayetteville on October 14th from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. in a one-on-one forum.

The debate, sponsored by the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, will be broadcast live on KATV,, KAIT in Northeast Arkansas and KHBS/KHOG in Northwest Arkansas. The debate will originate from the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville’s Global Campus.

One of the millage issues that are on the school election ballot Tuesday involves the Trumann School District.  Officials with the district say a new elementary school is needed to replace to aging Cedar Park Elementary School.  According to the Sun Newspaper, the current school is over 50 years old and has numerous issues, including plumbing, electrical, space and wheelchair accessibility issues.  The district will ask for a 2.8 mill increase Tuesday to help fund construction of a new elementary school for kindergarten through fourth grade.  The project is expected to cost 11-mill

Lane closures in West Memphis

Sep 11, 2014

Improvements to Highway 38 (Martin Luther King Drive) will require lane closures in West Memphis, according to Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) officials.

Crews will be repairing Highway 38 between Interstates 40 and 55.  The work will occasionally reduce northbound and southbound traffic to one lane.

After receiving a complaint, Arkansas State University has announced it is modifying its helmet decals.  The decals were worn by the team to honor former player Markel Owens and former equipment manager Barry Weyer.  The decals were in the shape of a cross, with Owens' initials on one side and Weyer's initials on the other side.

Judge grants extension in suit against Big River Steel

Sep 11, 2014

According to a one-page order signed by U.S. District Judge J. Leon Holmes, the attorneys for Big River Steel asked for the extension in light of the suit filed by Nucor in federal court on Aug. 11.

Nucor filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Jonesboro, alleging that a $1.3 billion steel mill being built south of Osceola by Big River Steel would violate the federal Clean Air Act.

Nucor, which is based in the Charlotte area, has stressed its opposition to the project at the legislative and environmental agency level.

Fowler Foods and A-State College of Nursing and Health Professions present "An Evening with Bob Hope" benefiting the A-State Beck PRIDE Center for America's Wounded Veterans. This features Bill Johnson, a Bob Hope Impersonator. Johnson has performed as Bob for the USO, as well as military groups, conventions, festivals, and corporations. The night also features Two on Tap. Melissa Giattino and Ron DeStefano perform a variety show that feature dancing and music of the golden age of the silver screen.

Fowler Foods and A-State College of Nursing and Health Professions present "An Evening with Bob Hope" benefiting the A-State Beck PRIDE Center for America's Wounded Veterans. This features Bill Johnson, a Bob Hope Impersonator. Johnson has performed as Bob for the USO, as well as military groups, conventions, festivals, and corporations. The night also features Two on Tap. Melissa Giattino and Ron DeStefano perform a variety show that feature dancing and music of the golden age of the silver screen.

Add Jackson County to the list of those counties in the state that want a new maximum security state prison.  KAIT television reports the Jackson County Quorum Court is expected to approve a resolution tomorrow night that will support building a new state prison in Jackson County.  Jackson County houses two state prisons: Grimes and McPherson are both located just miles northeast of Newport.  Director of Economic Development in Newport Jon Chadwell says the new $100 million, 1,000 bed maximum security prison would provide a stable income for those in the community.

Two overpasses in Jonesboro have been given the green light to move forward.  During a meeting of the Jonesboro Area Metropolitan Planning Organization yesterday, Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin excitedly announced the city has been awarded a $1.2 million federal grant.  According to the Jonesboro Sun, the money will be used to finance environmental review and design plans for a railroad overpass on Highland Drive.  The city will have to pick up $300,000 of the cost of the $1.5 million study.  The city applied for the grant in April and learned yesterday they had been approved for th

The Matilda and Karl Pfeiffer Museum and Study Center in Piggott present the 11th annual “Native American Day” Saturday afternoon.  The event will be held on the grounds of the Museum and will focus on the lives and history of Native Americans who lived in northeast Arkansas.  Museum Director Teresa Taylor tells how the idea for this annual event got its start. 

The Battle for Arkansas Governor heats up

Sep 10, 2014

Asa Hutchinson is fond of saying that he hasn’t changed, but the state has. And he’s right, at least on his analysis of Arkansas’ political landscape.

Since 2010, Arkansas has shifted to a lean Republican electorate thanks to an unpopular Democratic president, Barack Obama, and a nearly as unpopular health care law that continues to stoke political backlash across the state.

The Dean B. Ellis Library presents an exhibit and subsequent events that are taking place on the A-State campus.  Here is an event that will take place today at the Fine Arts Auditorium on the Jonesboro campus.

Arkansas State University's C.A.R.E. Program to open

Sep 9, 2014

Arkansas State University’s C.A.R.E. (Community Action Reinforcing Empowerment) organization is hosting an open house to showcase its new location. 

The event is Thursday, Sept. 11, from 3-5 p.m. The new location is the Community Services Center at the Magnolia Baptist Church, 911 Magnolia Road in Jonesboro. Refreshments will be served.

The Arkansas Department of Health reports the number of young people smoking in the state is rising.  The reason is the electronic cigarette.  State health officials report that almost one-quarter of high school students in Arkansas never smoked a regular cigarette, but did admit to "vaping", or using an e-cigarette.  More information is available in this press release from the Arkansas Department of Health:

In 2013, 263,000 youth who had never smoked a cigarette used an electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Lawsuits filed over closed Crittenden County hospital

Sep 9, 2014

The Crittenden Hospital Association was negligent in not paying the insurance premiums for an employee for nearly a year, an attorney alleged in a lawsuit filed in Crittenden County Circuit Court in Marion.

Also, a second lawsuit will seek to determine what happens with a local sales tax that recently passed to help support the now closed Crittenden County hospital.

Governor Mike Beebe today announced the following appointments to State boards and commissions:

Dr. Sameh Abul-Ezz, Little Rock, to the State Kidney Disease Commission. Appointment expires January 14, 2015. Replaces Dr. Tim Langford.

Richard Benson, Forrest City, to the Mississippi River Parkway Commission. Appointment expires June 8, 2016. Replaces Weston Lewey.

Stephanie Bland, Alexander, reappointed to the Arkansas State Board of Acupuncture and Related Techniques. Appointment expires July 31, 2017.