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Arkansas House Minority Leader and State Rep. Michael John Gray, D-Augusta, was elected as the new chairman of the Democratic Party of Arkansas. He succeeds Vincent Insalaco, who steered the state’s Democrats for two election cycles.

“To the hundreds of Arkansas Democrats who gathered today to elect new leadership, I am humbled and overwhelmed to be the next chair of the Party. To all of the Democrats across our state, I look forward to serving all of you and fighting for a brighter future for all of our fellow Arkansans. To our new officers, congratulations and thank you to all who stepped up to run,” Gray said.

The Delta Regional Authority has donated $1 million toward the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub’s I-Fund, a funding and training program for small businesses started by college students. The program will expand in its geographical reach and will be called the Delta I-Fund, according to an email newsletter from the Hub.

The next two 12-week sessions will be in the fall, offering $50,000 in potential funding for each startup. All companies accepted to the program will receive $5,000. Participants will be selected by a five-person committee, according to the Hub.

Tyson Foods ended its fiscal year with net income of $1.768 billion, 45% more than the previous fiscal year, thanks in part to lower grain costs, better margins in the chicken segment and continued success with its prepared foods business.

Brandon Tabor, KASU News

The Arkansas Supreme Court in a 5-2 opinion has disqualified the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act – Issue 7 – from the November ballot, with the majority opinion saying the act sponsors “failed to meet the constitutional requirements” related to the signature gathering process.

Brandon Tabor, KASU News

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment survived an Arkansas Supreme Court challenge in an opinion issued Thursday, but the court pulled an amendment that would allow casino operations in three Arkansas counties.

Brandon Tabor, KASU News

Former U.S. Senator and Arkansas Governor David Pryor, 82, suffered a stroke Monday and is in recovery after surgery, the University of Arkansas System announced Monday.

The UA System, where Pryor serves as a trustee, said he was transported to a local hospital and was in recovery after surgery it described as successful.

The second quarter economic story of Arkansas’ four key metro areas was much like the first quarter story: unchanged from the previous quarter, but healthy, with continued job gains and sales tax revenue growth, according to The Compass Report.

While a better Arkansas economy has helped lower the state’s 2013-2015 food insecurity rate to 19.2% from the 19.7% in the 2010-2012 period, national and regional food bank officials say more help is needed and the rates remain above pre-recession realities.

Arkansas’ new $1.3 billion superproject, Big River Steel, begins construction soon in Mississippi County, and Arkansas Northeastern College officials announced Monday (Nov. 3) two workforce readiness programs to aid local residents hoping to join the company’s team — both offered at no cost to potential students.