Preview of the Upcoming Legislative Session

Jan 8, 2015

When the 90th General Assembly convenes next week, the ghosts of Arkansas’ political past won’t recognize the party make-up of the state capitol.

Republicans will control 23 of 35 seats in the State Senate; 64 of the 100 seats in the Arkansas House; and all seven of the state’s constitutional offices, including the most powerful position in state government, Arkansas Governor.

Hutchinson makes two appointments from NEA

Jan 8, 2015

Governor-Elect Asa Hutchinson has announced the appointments of two Northeast Arkansans to the following boards and commissions:

  • Alec Farmer – Arkansas State Highway Commission (ASHC)
  • Niel Crowson – Arkansas State University Board of Trustees

Farmer’s appointment fulfills Governor-Elect Hutchinson’s campaign promise, in which he pledged to appoint a Highway Commissioner from Northeast Arkansas.

Governor-Elect Hutchinson issued the following statement on Alec Farmer:

New Arkansas Congressional Officials sworn in

Jan 7, 2015

A new session of Congress started Tuesday, as two new congressmen and a new senator made history as an all-Republican Arkansas delegation took office.

The state’s congressional delegation – Sens. John Boozman, R-Ark., and Tom Cotton, R-Ark.; and Reps. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro, French Hill, R-Little Rock, Steve Womack, R-Rogers, and Bruce Westerman, R-Hot Springs – were sworn in around lunchtime during sessions in the U.S. House and Senate.

Top Legislators to watch this session

Jan 7, 2015

Every session brings a mix of old and new legislators to the table with some of the veterans hitting their grooves, while some surprises in the interim rise to the challenge.

The 90th General Assembly will see an unprecedented amount of power concentrated in the GOP with near supermajorities in both chambers. The Senate will house 23 Republicans versus 11 Democrats (there is a special election to fill a vacancy in one seat), and in the House Republicans will rule Democrats 64-36.

Lower gas prices to fuel Holiday travel and spending

Dec 18, 2014

The good vibes that Arkansas and U.S. consumers are getting from lower pump prices this holiday season will also make for hectic highways and busy airports as Americans with more disposable income plan getaways for Christmas, AAA officials said Wednesday.

Arkansas State University System President Dr. Charles L. Welch today announced the appointment of Shane Broadway, director of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education and a 1994 A-State alumnus, as vice president for governmental relations.

Opinons vary on Cuba normalization

Dec 18, 2014

Agricultural opinions were upbeat about President Obama’s plan to move towards normalizing relations between the United States and Cuba, but political attitudes were mixed.

On Wednesday, Obama announced a plan to re-establish some diplomatic and economic ties between the U.S. and the communist island nation using Presidential authority and actions.

U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) discussed a number of topics in the headlines during his monthly visit with KASU. Click on the "Listen" link to hear the interview. It begins with the Senator talking about the measures to be taken this week to extend funding for government operations....

Last week, five leading researchers in the state were recognized by the Arkansas Research Alliance.  The five people selected were named as ARA Fellows, and were awarded a plaque and $75,000 in research grant money, which will be dispersed over three years.  Among those recognized was Dr. Argelia Lorence from Arkansas State University.  She co-leads the Plant Imaging Consortium and leads research for the development of more resilient varieties of crops, such as rice.  Dr. Lorence is a biochemist and she tells about her research.

A rarely seen passenger train made an appearance in Jonesboro yesterday.  It wasn’t just any train.  Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad brought its 15-car Holiday Express to Jonesboro.  The Holiday Express is in its seventh year of operation and it is a way the company can honor the United States military.  Yesterday afternoon, it took 350 military families on a ride from Jonesboro to Marked Tree and back.  Santa was on board to meet with the kids and the families enjoyed refreshments in the different cars.  I boarded the train yesterday morning to take a look.

This Sunday, a special concert takes place at A-State's Fowler Center in Riceland Hall.  This will feature Forum Sinfonia (Polish Chamber Orchestra).  In this Spotlight on the Arts feature, KASU's Mike Doyle tells about this "Holiday Gift to the Community".  It is free, with attendees being asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy for a chronically ill child or a non-perishable food item for a needy family. 

Osceola and Flippin participating in food grant

Dec 4, 2014

Today, on behalf of the White House Rural Council, six federal agencies joined to announce 26 communities selected to participate in Local Foods, Local Places, a federal initiative providing technical support to integrate local food systems into community economic action plans.

Mid South Community College Board sends draft agreement to ASU officials

Dec 4, 2014

Mid-South Community College president Dr. Glen Fenter said Wednesday that a decision whether or not to merge with the Arkansas State University System may be “one of the biggest decisions ever in the life of this college.”

The college’s board voted by voice vote to send a draft agreement on the merger to officials at Arkansas State University for review.

The merger, if approved by both MSCC and ASU, would be a win-win situation for both, Fenter told the college’s board of trustees during the meeting in West Memphis.

A-State returns to the GoDaddy Bowl

Dec 4, 2014

The Arkansas State Athletics Department announced Wednesday the Red Wolves’ football team will compete in a bowl game for the fourth consecutive year after accepting an official invitation to play in the 2015 GoDaddy Bowl at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala., on Jan. 4 at 8 p.m.

A-State, winners of the last two GoDaddy Bowls, will face a Mid-American Conference opponent to be announced at a later date in the ESPN nationally-televised game. The Red Wolves will make their fourth straight appearance in the GoDaddy Bowl and will play their 11th bowl game all-time.

Home sales on the rise in Arkansas

Dec 2, 2014

After seeing a slight decline at the end of summer, home sales are back on a positive track in Arkansas’ four largest markets with year-to-date sales up 4.08% and the value of homes sold up more than 3%. October sales in the four markets were up 9.29% and the sales value was up an impressive 18.16%.

September sales in the four markets were up more than 7% and values were up more than 9%.

Big River Steel says lawsuit has no merit

Dec 2, 2014

A challenge to a $1.3 billion steel mill in Mississippi County could face additional hurdles if a suit against the superproject goes forward, attorneys for Big River Steel said in court papers late last week.

Attorneys for Little Rock-based Mitchell Williams and Washington, D.C.-based Baker Hostetler filed a 50-page reply memorandum in support of a motion to dismiss the suit against Big River Steel.

Nucor Steel filed suit Aug. 11 in federal court at Jonesboro alleging the construction of the steel mill near Osceola would violate the federal Clean Air Act.

More development coming for Jonesboro

Dec 2, 2014

A 26-acre plot of land in northeast Jonesboro is being eyed for retail and restaurant growth in a busy area of town, one of the developers for the project said Monday.

Josh Brown, with commercial development firm Haag Brown, said the land will be developed where Red Wolf Blvd., Johnson Avenue and U.S. 49 north all meet. While nothing is set in stone, Brown said the project has the potential to be a $30-$40 million development.

Arkansas State University’s College of Media and Communications presents the first annual Delta Flix Film and Media Festival, which will be held in conjunction with next year’s Delta Symposium on the Arkansas State University campus. The idea for the festival came from Dr. Michael Bowman, an assistant professor of media at Arkansas State University.

The National CASA Association has awarded a 39,500 grant to CASA of Northeast Arkansas.  CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates, which trains volunteers to be representatives of abused and neglected children in court.  More than 600 children were in the foster care system last year, but the number of CASA volunteers to represent those children are about a third of that number, despite recruiting 45 new volunteers last year.  Executive Director of CASA of the 2nd Judicial District Donna Bowyer tells why CASA volunteers are so important.

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...