KASU

Economy & Business

Little Rock's annual music festival, Riverfest, is suspending operations after four decades.

The Riverfest, Inc., board of directors announced Tuesday that 2017 was the last year for the music festival in downtown Little Rock and North Little Rock. The festival's executive director, DeAnna Korte, says rising costs and more competition from other festivals made it difficult for Riverfest to continue.

Korte says hot and rainy weather in May and June also affected Riverfest's ability to be successful.

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The Jonesboro City Council passed a resolution supporting state and federal legislation that would enforce the collection of sales taxes from online transactions.  The resolution now goes to the Arkansas Municipal League in Little Rock, where officials will ask for Governor Asa Hutchinson to call for a special session in a few weeks to consider the legislation.  The state legislature voted down this legislation in the last session.  Last night’s city council vote was not unanimous as eight aldermen voted in support of the resolution and four voted against.  Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin.

Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

Arkansas State University has launched the A-State Innovation System.  The system is designed to provide opportunities for entrepreneurs to access resources and bring ideas to the marketplace.  Grand opening ceremonies for the Innovation System were held Monday.  Ty Keller is the director of the A-State Innovation System.

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HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (AP) — A group from Little Rock is acquiring the Arlington Hotel in Hot Springs for an undisclosed amount of money.

The Hot Springs Sentinel-Record newspaper reported Monday (http://bit.ly/2ubw3EX) that Sky Capital Group LP is buying the state's largest hotel from Southwest Hotels Inc., which has operated the hotel since 1954.

The Arlington Hotel has 478 rooms, along with a spa, a bathhouse, a convention center, ballroom and a lobby bar. Sky Capital also operates the Four Points Sheraton in Little Rock.

Local leaders are scrambling for solutions in the wake of a mass shooting at a Little Rock night club earlier this month. The Pulaski County Quorum Courts is considering during Tuesday’s meeting on a resoultion encouraging cities to place a 180 day moratorium on musical performances deemed to encourage violence.

Low unemployment, affordable housing, strong healthcare access and below-average poverty rates are the positives in the Little Rock Metropolitan area. Some negatives: a high crime rate, fewer professional and technical jobs than other cities, low employment specialization, and slow growth in the ratio of large to small businesses. That’s according to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Arkansas Economic Development Institute’s fourth annual Little Rock Metro Report Card, released Thursday.

Arkansas finance officials say the state ended its fiscal year with a $15.7 million surplus after a boost in sales tax collections over the past two months helped restore most of the budget cuts enacted earlier.

The Department of Finance and Administration said Wednesday the state ended the fiscal year with $5.3 billion in net available revenue, which was $19 million below the previous fiscal year. Arkansas' fiscal year ended Friday.

In the midst of an overseas trade mission, Gov. Asa Hutchinson spoke to reporters Wednesday about his meetings with industry leaders in Germany and France. Via teleconference from Frankfurt, Germany, Hutchinson said he’s trying to quell anxiety among European business leaders who are concerned about the anti-globalist rhetoric of President Donald Trump.

Jonesboro's Home Ice Company on National Register

Jun 19, 2017
Arkansas Historic Preservation Program

LITTLE ROCK—The Home Ice Company at Jonesboro in Craighead County is among 11 Arkansas properties that have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the country’s official list of historically significant properties.

      The Home Ice Company at 700 Cate Avenue is a 1907 industrial building with a Spanish Revival-style addition.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri officials say that nearly all state tax refunds should be delivered by June 30.

The Missouri Department of Revenue said Thursday the only unpaid returns should be those that were flagged for various reasons.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A monthly survey of business supply managers suggests a slight decline in the economic conditions for nine Midwest and Plains states, according to a report released Thursday.

The Mid-America Business Conditions Index report said the overall regional economic index dropped to 55.5 in May from 61.4 in April. The March figure was 60.1.

The survey results are compiled into a collection of indexes ranging from zero to 100. Survey organizers say any score above 50 suggests growth in that factor, while a score below that suggests decline.

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Kellogg Co. says it plans to shut down a distribution plant in Memphis and lay off 172 workers.

The company said Tuesday in a letter to the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development that the Memphis plant will close by the end of July.

The Battle Creek, Michigan-based company has said it would close 39 distribution facilities across the country, affecting more than 1,000 workers. The company says it is changing how it ships products.

Originally a cereal maker, Kellogg's also makes Eggo frozen waffles, Pop-Tarts and Pringles.

Talk Business and Politics

Jonesboro’s economic growth stumbled in recent months as sales and use receipts and building permit values declined. At least one of those indicators is on the rise again.

Northeast Arkansas’ hub city collected $1.48 million in sales tax in May, a 1.54% increase from the same month in 2016, according to city info.

Rural Arkansas has so much to offer in terms of picturesque surroundings and low cost of living that it should be marketed as the newest retirement hot spot, according to participants of the 2017 Rural Development Conference in Hot Springs this week.

Community leaders gathered at the Convention Center to discuss the quality of life issues for rural residents, such as internet access, better-paying jobs and healthcare.

Despite the perception that health care appointments are hard to come by in rural Arkansas, county judge John Thomison said Lawrence County fares pretty well for medical care.

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Ameren Missouri customers wouldn't likely see a significant increase in their monthly electricity bills under a proposal allowing manufacturers that use a lot of electricity to negotiate lower rates, according to a Missouri Public Service Commission staff analysis presented to a Senate committee Thursday.

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri House on Wednesday advanced a bill that would allow manufacturing companies to negotiate lower electricity rates than currently allowed, a measure supporters say could bring hundreds of jobs to the southeastern corner of the state but critics argue would raise rates for utilities customers.

By JOSH BOAK, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Solid hiring nationwide led unemployment rates to touch record lows in three U.S. states last month.

The Labor Department says unemployment rates declined in 10 states in April, increased in one — Massachusetts — and held relatively stable in the other 39. A significant number of the job gains occurred in nine states, led by Texas, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Indiana was the only state to see a significant decrease in jobs last month.

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By KATIE KULL and DAVID A. LIEB, Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens announced Thursday that he's calling lawmakers back to work about a week after the end of their regular session to discuss legislation that could make it easier to open a new steel plant and reopen an old aluminum smelter in rural southeast Missouri.

A lawsuit has been filed against the general contractor of the Hyatt Place Hotel and Convention Center in Jonesboro.

The Sun reports Midsouth Steel Inc. is suing Construction Network Inc. for a breach of contract in the project to be located near Interstate 555.  Midsouth is seeking nearly $430,000.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Unemployment rates fell to record lows in four U.S. states in March after months of steady job creation nationwide.

Unemployment rates fell in 17 states in March and were mostly unchanged in 33, the Labor Department said Friday. Employers added a significant number of jobs in just three states last month and cut them in four. Employment was mostly unchanged in the other 43 states. Hiring nationwide was weak in March but strong in the previous two months.

After lien filings from 2 companies and an ultimatum from the Jonesboro Advertising and Promotions Commission, another company has filed a lien against Northern Arkansas Hotel and Convention Center, LLC.

The Sun reports that HD Supply Construction Supply of Allen, Texas filed a lien against the company earlier this week.  The lien is in regards to the delayed construction of the Hyatt Place Hotel and Convention Center to be built near Interstate 555 on Browns Lane Access Road.

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One of the proposed convention centers in Jonesboro may not get built if the developer doesn't meet a deadline next month.

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NEW YORK (AP) — Starting next week, Wal-Mart will offer discounts on thousands of online-only items when customers elect to have them shipped to one of the company's stores for pickup.

The move is part of the retailer's efforts to better compete with online leader Amazon.

Initially, the discount will be available on about 10,000 items. But the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer says it will then expand the price cuts to more than one million items by the end of June.

Talk Business & Politics

Plans to build a 165-room Hyatt Place Hotel and an adjoining 78,000-square-foot convention center near Jonesboro’s hotel row off Caraway Road are in peril. Dirt work has been begun at the site, but liens have already been placed against the property, according to the city’s A&P Commission.

Arkansas-based retail giant Wal-Mart in its re-organization of the Walmart U.S. technology division is eliminating around 300 jobs in the Information Systems Division (ISD).

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