Johnathan Reaves

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The Arkansas Waterways Commission is working with the U-S Army Corps of Engineers in developing a dredging plan for the White River.  The White River is the only river in the state that is not navigable for river traffic.  That is due to the 2011 river flooding.  Executive Director of the Arkansas Waterways Commission Gene Higgenbotham says the problem is that huge trees and other debris from the flooding in 2011 is in the navigation channel, which is making the river impassable. 

Osceola High School is receiving a one-point-three million dollar grant over a three-year period to help with teacher retention and developing strategies to boost student scores in math and literacy.  The Sun Newspaper reports the funds are part of a federal school improvement grant program.  Part of the funds will allow for the district to give bonuses to teachers who decide to stay at the high school for four years.  This is in response to a reported high turnover rate at the school district.  Funds will also be used to compensate teachers for additional training they take above and beyon

The U-S Army Corps of Engineers is about to start a major dredging project involving the White River.  The three-year project would take place from Newport down to Clarendon.  Vickie Wilson is with the Army Corps of Engineers in Memphis.  She told the Arkansas Waterways Commission the first year would be gathering permits and conducting environmental studies.  She tells what else is involved.

Bridge repair on State Highway 75 north of Interstate 40 in Poinsett County has required immediate closure of a section of the route 2.86 miles north of the Cross County Line, according to Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) officials.

Cracks in several of the structure’s wooden support columns have rendered the bridge impassable. This section of State Highway 75 will remain closed to through traffic until repairs can be made, which is estimated to take approximately two weeks. Local traffic, however, will be permitted in this area.

Two years ago, Newport put in a bid to be a city where the new Veterans’ Home would be located.  Jacksonville landed the 22 million dollar facility.  The 20 acres of land the home would have been placed could be available again to try to persuade the Department of Veteran’s Affairs to place a regional center in Newport.  A report by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette stated that five regional centers in the state are being planned.  Newport Mayor David Stewart says the city will apply for a VA regional center.

Next year, Arkansas should have a new water plan in place.  Since 2012, The Arkansas Natural Resources Commission has been working on drafting a plan that will be in place until 2050.  Final public meetings on the final rules in the plan are taking place across the state.  Meetings have been held in Russellville and Jonesboro, with five more meetings yet to be held.

Arkansas Judiciary

2nd District Circuit Judge Lee Fergus is being remembered for how he helped children, and for establishing a juvenile drug court in Craighead County, and surrounding counties.  KASU's Johnathan Reaves interviews 2nd Judicial Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington about Fergus.    Click Listen to hear the interview. 

The State Alcoholic Beverage Control Board has approved a permit for alcohol sales at certain Arkansas State University venues.

Speaking before the Craighead County Bar Association yesterday, Governor Asa Hutchinson touted Arkansas’ continuing economic growth.  Over the past year, 73 of the state’s 75 counties have seen economic gains.  Governor Hutchinson says that is a key to combat some of the challenges the state faces.

“Whether it is overgrowth of our prisoner population, improving education, paying teachers more, or building more highways, much of the challenge we face can be met by consistent and dynamic economic growth.”

Arkansas State University is receiving a one million dollar gift from Mississippi County’s Wilson family.  Perry Wilson, the great-great grandson of R.E.

The first African-American Class in the United States to integrate into an all-white school was recognized over the weekend. In Hoxie, Arkansas, the 60th anniversary of the “Hoxie 21” took place Saturday.  On July 11, 1955, 21 students left the colored school in Hoxie and went to the Hoxie Schools, two years before the Little Rock Nine entered Little Rock Central High School.  Ethel Tompkins is a member of the class of the Hoxie 21 and remembers that day and says the differences in schools were stark.

Tomorrow will mark the 60th anniversary of the integration of African American students into the Hoxie Schools.  This occurred on July 11th, 1955, two years before the Little Rock Nine attended schools at Little Rock Central High School.

    A French-based company has entered into America’s cable market by expressing interest in purchasing St. Louis-based Suddenlink Communications.  Altice is wanting to buy the company for just over nine-billion-dollars.  Roby Brock with Talk Business and Politics tells why Suddenlink is attractive to Altice.

NPR member station KBIA in Columbia, Missouri sent two reporters to the Bootheel of Missouri to report on health and economic issues in the region.  The station will hold a community engagement event in Kennett and the First Presbyterian Church  on May 20.  A panel discussion about health and development issues will take place at that  time. The event is open to the public and starts at six.  KASU's Johnathan Reaves interviewed KBIA's health reporter Bram Sable-Smith in this interview. 

Four people went before the Jonesboro City Council last night, pleading with the council to include language that guarantees discrimination protection for gender identity and sexual orientation.  They stated that it was necessary to put those words in writing into the city’s employment handbook.  Dr. Joseph Rukus is the faculty advisor for the Gay-Straight Alliance at Arkansas State University.

A coalition of students at Arkansas State University will ask a committee of the Jonesboro City Council to consider a proposed anti-discrimination resolution that would guarantee employees would be protected from discrimination against sexual orientation and gender identity.  During last month’s city council meeting, Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin stated such a resolution for city employees was not necessary, because he said the city already complies with state and federal regulations concerning discrimination.

Renovation work is expected to start this summer on the location of the new Osteopathic Medical School at Arkansas State University.  According to releases from Arkansas State University and the New York Institute of Technology, Wilson Hall will be transformed into the new school, which will include teaching labs, high-tech classrooms, simulation labs and more.  Officials with Arkansas State University held a luncheon in Jonesboro yesterday where they welcomed officials with the New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine, which will lease the site.  40 to 50 faculty me

DeValls Bluff, Arkansas is a small town in Prairie County that is located on the White River.  During the Civil War, this small town played a pivotal role in how the War was fought in Arkansas.  This weekend, the 5th Annual Fort Lincoln Freedom Fest will take place to show the significance of the region in the Civil War.  KASU's Johnathan Reaves interviewed Curtis Arnold with the Arnold Family Foundation about this annual event.  Listen to the interview above.  

Jonesboro residents are paying much less for electricity in Arkansas.  The Sun newspaper reports that a recent survey conducted by Entergy Arkansas found that customers without a water heater averaged about 889 dollars in charges last year, compared to Entergy customers who averaged over eleven hundred dollars a year.  Customers in Conway paid the second-lowest amount.  Mississippi County Electric Cooperative ranked fifth in the survey.  Entergy Arkansas ranked eighth.  Clay County Electric customers paid the most at over 15 hundred dollars a year.  Paragould Light, Water and Cable were not

A body discovered in the Mississippi River Monday has been identified.  The Sun Newspaper reports an unnamed resident of Phillips County was positively identified by local and state officials yesterday.  The body was found near Helena-West Helena Monday, but it was not whom many expected it to be.  Many people were expecting to hear the body was that of 36 year old Aaron Lane of Blytheville.  Lane fell off of a boat near Osceola earlier this month and several agencies have been searching for him since the incident happened.  Lane worked as a watchman on a boat and was climbing a ladder betw

The City of Jonesboro could be debt free after tonight’s city council meeting.  A proposal to make an early final payment on a 10 and a half million dollar loan is to be considered by alderman.  The Sun newspaper reports Jonesboro took out the loan in 2011 to help pay for construction of a new city hall, a fire station and public works facility.  Instead of building a new facility, city officials decided to renovate an old bank building, which is now the new Municipal Center on Church Street.

Arkansas is one of ten states that that have multiple courthouse seats in some counties.  The average per county is two courthouse seats, typically one of the northern district and one for the southern district.  Mississippi County is looking at the possibility of merging those county seats.  The Sun newspaper states one of the main reasons for this possibility is the mounting utility and maintenance costs for both aging courthouses in Blytheville and Osceola.  County officials have been exploring the possibility of building a new courthouse, but there has been some backlash to that proposa

Students in Arkansas are not the only ones that receive report cards.  Schools across the state are also receiving letter grades for their students’ performance on statewide math and literacy tests.

Tributes have been pouring in to KASU as many have taken the time to remember Greg Chance.  Members of KASU Radio's staff compiled some of those remembrances for this tribute that aired on KASU.

KASU is saddened to learn from family members of Greg Chance, that he died last night from a heart attack.  He was behind the wheel of his car when he was found.   Greg has worked for KASU since 1982.  He started working as a farm director and then moved to the news director role, which he held for many years.  The staff and management of KASU extend our sympathy to his wife, Cindy, and his many friends and colleagues in the community.  Out of respect for Greg, KASU is suspending the spring membership drive.

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