Johnathan Reaves

News Director/Morning Edition host

Ways to Connect

Paul Holmes, Jonesboro Police Department

Jonesboro’s first responders are now the recipients of advanced first aid kits, which all include tourniquets.  After an 8-hour course at the Arkansas Fire Academy in Jonesboro, 42 kits were distributed. 

Dr. Spencer Guinn has advocated for tourniquets to be in the hands of all first responders in the state, as well as citizens.  He tells why this would be important:

A lack of foresight in the overall transportation planning process and the focus on short term transportation projects without considering long term needs were the main concerns that came out of two public forums last week. 

Members of the Jonesboro Metropolitan Technical Advisory Committee heard those concerns about the Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Transportation Improvement Plan that would run through 2020. 

Arkansas State University is holding the annual Middle Eastern Studies night.  The event takes place tomorrow night at six.  A buffet featuring Middle Eastern cuisine will be offered and two students will present their research from trips that were taken overseas.  Dr. Bill Roe is with A-State’s College of Business. 

Dr. Bill Roe.  The event will be held at A-State’s Fowler Center.

Brandon Tabor, KASU news

The following are releases from the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department about roadwork in the region.

The Arkansas State Highway Commission has approved a bid for improvements to a roadway in Craighead County, according to Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) officials.

The purpose of this project is to resurface 1 mile of State Highway 49 between Old Bridger Road and Paragould Drive, in Jonesboro.

Atlas Asphalt, INC. of Batesville was awarded the contract at 278,778.68. 

Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

Arkansas State University has created a way for entrepreneurs to be able to advance their ideas for innovation across the region.  The East Arkansas Regional Innovation System is a collaborative effort to give entrepreneurs the state and federal resources for success.  The

Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families is making an appeal for the need for more money for pre-K programs in the state.  Director Rich Huddleston appeared at the Jonesboro Pre-K Center and said that more money is needed by the state to keep pre-K programs going at current levels:

Huddleston says funding for pre-K has been flat for at least eight years.  Not only will they ask for the 43-million dollars, but they will also ask for additional bumps in funding yearly to provide pre-K to more children, and to recruit and retain pre-K teachers in the state. 

Pixabay

  Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families is calling on lawmakers to make additional funding available for Pre-K events. KASU’s Johnathan Reaves reports from their press conference at the Jonesboro Pre-K Center.  

The Craighead County Quorum Court has approved an amendment to the 2016 budget that would allow for grant money to be accepted by the county and used as directed.   

The money is broken down for different Craighead County Courts as follows: $30,938 for the Mental Health Court; $27,435 for Accountability Court, Veterans Diversion Fund; $24,458 for DWI Court, $64,000 for Adult Drug Court and $30,935 for Crittenden County’s Mental Health Court. 

Brandon Tabor

  A grant worth $404,983 has been awarded to Arkansas State University from the Delta Regional Authority.

Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill notified Chancellor Dr. Tim Hudson about the award Tuesday. 

This announcement will assist the University with site preparation and improvements of the 11-acres where Arkansas State's new Embassy Suites hotel, convention center, and Houlihan's Restaurant will be located. 

The location is  the former track and field complex on campus.

O'Reilly Hospitality Management has announced that it is moving forward with plans to build a 202-room Embassy Suites Hotel and a 40,000 square foot convention center, as well as a Houlihan's Restaurant. 

TimO'Reilly, CEO and Managing Member of O'Reilly Hospitality says they are finalizing their Embassy franchise application and will turn in a financial package in the next 30 days. 

He says the project has received a "significant grant" from the Delta Regional Authority and is partnering with Arkansas State University to make the project a reality. 

Arkansas State University

The 22nd Delta Symposium takes place April 13th through the 16th at Arkansas State University, with the Saturday afternoon events taking place at CWL Park in Jonesboro.  The theme for this year's symposium is "Representing Cultural Heritage".  KASU's Johnathan Reaves talks with the symposium's chairman Dr. Gregory Hansen about this event.  Listen to the full interview by clicking the button. 

You can view the entire Delta Symposium schedule here

Brandon Tabor, KASU News

UPDATE 3/29/16:

Road work continues this week on Red Wolf Blvd between Johnson and Aggie. 

On Tueday, the inside southbound lane and both northbound lanes are open.  The outside southbound lane is closed as construction begins to create a 200-foot deceleration lane for right turns on to Alumni Blvd. 

Last week, crews worked to remove the median and create a turning lane.  City officials say the project which was estimated to take 2 weeks is now ahead of schedule.

The Jonesboro Metropolitan Planning Organization is holding two public meetings next week about improvements in transportation. 

Public forums will be held concerning the Transportation Improvement Program over the next four years. 

The first meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 29th from one to three at the Jonesboro Municipal Center.  The second meeting will be held on Thursday, March 31st from five to seven at the Jonesboro United Way Building in the Board Room. 

Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

Baylor Assistant basketball coach Grant McCasland is the new men’s basketball coach at Arkansas State University.  He was introduced today during a press conference at the Convocation Center. 

McCasland addressed the crowd and said he will establish a family atmosphere with the team:

McCasland says he will fly back to help coach Baylor while they are playing in the NCAA tournament tomorrow afternoon.  He says he will wear a red tie, representing the Red Wolves, and also promised the Wolves will be in the tournament in years to come. 

The ballot order for an alderman race in Jonesboro has been set.  The Craighead County Election Commission conducted a draw in Jonesboro for the five people that are running for the Ward 6, Position 1 position that was left vacant by Tim McCall.  He resigned in January after serving 15 years on the Jonesboro City Council. McCall resigned after he moved out of his ward.

Here is the ballot order:

1.  Bobby E. Long

2.  Joseph R. Woodbury

3.  James W. Bowman

4.  Phillip Cook

5.  Richard Wang

Arkansas State University

Arkansas State University will introduce its new men’s basketball coach Wednesday.  The Red Wolves have hired Grant McCasland to take over the program.  According to Arkansas State University’s Department of Athletics, a press conference will be held at the Convocation Center’s Auditorium at eleven.   

Pixabay

Construction on extending Parker Road to Washington Street in Jonesboro is underway.  The two-point-two million dollar project is funded by federal funds that have been passed through the State Highway and Transportation Department and the City of Jonesboro.

Questions concerning how special revenues are accepted by the county were debated last night by the Craighead County’s Finance and Administration Committee. Those special revenues are in the form of grants the county receives.  Members of the Finance and Administration Committee questioned some of the grants and what they were used for. Some were concerned that grants were used inappropriately for salary increases or other uses. 

The Craighead County Quorum Court is reviewing questions that are expected to be forwarded to the Arkansas Attorney General concerning operations of both the eastern and western districts of the county. The debate centers on how the Circuit Clerk’s office is able to do its business at courthouses in Jonesboro and Lake City. 

The City of Jonesboro is applying for federal funds to help low-income families.  Jonesboro’s Communications Director Bill Campbell says the funding would come from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  If approved, Jonesboro would receive almost 600-thousand dollars under next year’s Community Development Block Grant program.  Jonesboro has used previous funds from the program to make improvements to homes, such as winterization, installing insulation, and replacing windows.  The public can comment on Jonesboro’s proposed projects if the city gets next year’s grant.  More info

US Representative Rick Crawford is taking a trip to Cuba next month to work on opening up markets in that country for trade.  Crawford says commodities, such as American-grown crops, can go to Cuba now, but there are hefty restrictions that make trade difficult:

He says two top staples that are grown in Arkansas meet a huge demand in Cuba:

Arkansas leads the nation in the amount of rice grown and is the second largest poultry producer in the United States.  Crawford’s trip takes place April sixth through the ninth.  

During Friday’s I-555 dedication ceremony in Jonesboro, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced that he will be introducing a new highway plan to state lawmakers.  That announcement is expected to take place during a special session of the legislature this spring.   This year’s session will focus on budgets.  Governor Asa Hutchinson:

This year’s special legislative sessions are also expected to address funding of education, the state’s private option Medicaid expansion, and look at the budgets of all state agencies.

Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

Touted as “Making the Connection”, today’s dedication ceremony of the new Interstate 555 was a culmination of work that has been done on the highway since 1968. 

US Highway 63 was turned into four lanes in the 1980’s, was made interstate quality in the 1990’s and has been ready for the interstate designation.  That happened today at St. Bernard’s Auditorium in Jonesboro. 

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson tells about the significance of the designation. 

City of Jonesboro

The Jonesboro Economic Transit System is working on fixing a fare-collecting system that has been malfunctioning.  Director Steve Ewart says revenue numbers have been down this year from last year because of the software glitches.  While numbers of riders continue to increase, the number of fares that have been collected are lower than this time last year.  Ewart says some rides have been given away because of the failures.  Two motherboards will be shipped to Chicago for repairs over the next two weeks.  In other news, Ewart says JETS has surveyed all 135 bus stops in Jonesboro to be plac

Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department / Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department

Friday will be a day that has been 40 years in the making.  

In the 1970’s, work started to turn Highway 63 into the Jonesboro bypass project.  Highway 63 eventually became a four-lane road that would connect Jonesboro to I-55.    

After four decades and $250 million of work on the highway, the numbers will change. 

During a ceremony at St. Bernards Auditorium, US 63 will become the new Interstate 555.  The new I-555 will consist of 44 miles from Highway 49 in Jonesboro to I-55 in Crittenden County. 

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