Jonesboro

Brandon Tabor, KASU News

Public meetings about flood insurance will take place next week.  Much of Jonesboro is in a flood plain and the city experienced record flooding in late May, which damaged numerous homes.  Jonesboro is spending about $2 million dollars to clean out many miles of ditches and officials are working with the Army Corps of Engineers to help clear out Big Bay ditch, which is near the Craighead and Poinsett county lines.  This is a release from the city of Jonesboro:  

Jonesboro Police Department

Jonesboro police officer Adam Shipman has resigned from the force following a criminal investigation. 

Police Chief Rick Elliot told media outlets Shipman submitted his resignation on Aug. 11, 2 days after being placed on administrative leave following allegations involving a cyber tip from a cell phone provider. 

Elliot declined to comment on the details of the investigation or the charges Shipman may face. 

Shipman joined the JPD in mid-2015.

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  With the start of classes just days away, Arkansas State University’s Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) organization is joining forces with the Target store at the Mall at Turtle Creek to hold a back-to-school event, Saturday, Aug. 20, from 9 a.m.-noon. The store is partnering with the College of Business student group for this effort.

The store will have 2,000 coupons toward purchasing school supplies and 1,000 gift bags to give to A-State students at the store while supplies last. In addition, Target plans to create a fun shopping experience for the students that day.

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Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin and the city’s Parks and Recreation Director Wixson Huffstetler are looking at placing a new aquatic center in Jonesboro.  City officials plan to visit Bentonville, Tupelo and Tunica, Mississippi as early as next week in looking at other water parks.

According to a press release, Perrin is looking at building an Olympic-size pool, a therapy pool with zero-depth entry, and an indoor splash pad.  The goal would be to provide citizens with places to swim for recreation, as well as to hold swim meets at the pool. 

City of Jonesboro

The City of Jonesboro has hired Derrel Smith as the new City Planner. 

On Tuesday, the city announced that Smith was hired to replace long time city planner Otis Spriggs who stepped down in June to work in Huston, TX.  

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The Jonesboro metro area has enjoyed historically low unemployment during the last two years, but city leaders knew wage stagnation was a problem, and there was a need to be proactive in creating new job opportunities.

Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

The City of Jonesboro has a new Chief Operations Officer and a new JETS director.  Retired United States Air Force Lt. Col. Edward Tanner has been named as the city’s new Chief Operations Officer. Tanner replaces L. M. Duncan, who has retired.  

Chief Operations Officer for the city of Jonesboro L. M. Duncan has again resigned from his office.  The Jonesboro Sun reports Mayor Harrold Perrin sent an email to department heads on Wednesday about Duncan’s departure. 

Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

    

The City of Jonesboro is spending over one-and-a-half-million dollars on trying to fix drainage issues in Jonesboro.  This after record flooding in May where six inches of rain fell in a three hour time frame.   Jonesboro is dedicating full time resources to five major projects that include clearing out and stabilizing over 60 miles of ditch maintenance in the city.  However,  that work might not be enough.

Jonesboro Officials Still Pushing to Build $12 millon Shooting Range

Jul 21, 2016
Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

The city of Jonesboro and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission are hoping to build a state of the art, $12 million shooting range, and could recoup some of the cost by charging the public to use the range.

Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

The Police Officer Compensation Committee has a plan for addressing Jonesboro Police salary

Chairman of both the Officer Compensation and Public Safety Council Committees, Alderman Mitch Johnson briefly revealed the plan to the Jonesboro City Council at on Tuesday’s meeting. 

City of Jonesboro

    The Jonesboro City Council has tabled an ordinance that would annex 20 acres into the city.  The property in question is located in north Jonesboro near Highway 49.  While 20 acres doesn’t sound like a lot of property, Jonesboro Fire Chief Kevin Miller told the Jonesboro City Council the city’s services already cover a huge area.

"We already cover at least 80 square miles of property in Jonesboro.  While this 20 acres does not sound like a lot, this can open the door for larger annexations, which could cause problems for us in the future."

Jonesboro Police Department

Recent fatal police shootings of 2 African American men, followed by violent retaliation by some against officers in Dallas & Baton Rouge has the nation on edge.

Black communities and law enforcement are struggling to find peace, unity, understanding, and trust with each other in cities affected by violence, even here in Arkansas:

“We already have a target," said Keithston Page.  "Not only being Black, but being a man, period, in this White man’s world."

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Officials for Jonesboro and Memphis are facing disciplinary action for posting  racially controversial messages on social media.

Jonesboro Parks and Recreation Director Wixson Huffstetler was suspended for 2 weeks without pay  on Wednesday after sending a racially controversial tweet.

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  Jonesboro Parks and Recreation Director Wixson Huffstetler is to be reprimanded by Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin after a comment was released on Twitter that some say is racist.  

City of Jonesboro

Jonesboro’s mayor says clearing out the city’s ditches will be a full time job.  The Jonesboro City Council has approved the purchase of a Caterpillar excavator and hiring two employees to the city’s street department.  Harold Perrin tells KASU news the new equipment and manpower will be clearing out and maintaining the more than 60 miles of ditches in the city that are blamed for historic flooding that occurred in May.  He says it was deemed to be more cost effective to do it this way than to bring in an outside contractor to do the work “one-time”.

Brandon Tabor, KASU News

Around 200 people in Craighead County have applied for state assistance after the May 24th rains that flooded significant parts of Jonesboro and Craighead County.  Most of the applicants live in Jonesboro and county officials are now in the process of visiting each applicant.  David Moore is the Director of the Craighead County Office of Emergency Services.  He tells what is going on now.

“We are processing the applications and we have someone who is doing inspections at the sites.  Applicants will be interviewed and information will be collected at this part of the process.”

Doreen Selden, KASU

Students from the Arkansas State University Department of Art have been working on painting this mural in downtown Jonesboro.  On Friday,  the students were joined with city officials for a ribbon cutting of the unveiling of their work.  Thanks to KASU's Doreen Selden for taking the pictures of the festivities.

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                The City of Jonesboro’s Grants and Community Development Department is conducting an analysis of impediments to fair housing.  Two public hearings will be held and your participation is requested.  

Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

  The Arkansas Department of Human Services could be reorganized soon.   Earlier this year, Lt. Governor Tim Griffin was directed by Governor Asa Hutchinson to look at how to make the state agency more efficient.  

Jonesboro.org

  Jonesboro City Planning Director Otis Spriggs announced Monday he will be resigning from his office.  According to a press release from the city, Spriggs has accepted an offer to become a development director in the greater Houston area. 

The Baton Rouge native served as city planning director for 10 years.  Spriggs helped the city create a Development Review Guide for developers working in Jonesboro and digitizing the department’s paperwork. 

Mayor Harold Perrin said finding a replacement for Spriggs will be difficult, but a priority.

Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

The names of those who lost their lives in a mass shooting in Orlando were read during a candlelight vigil at Arkansas State last night (Monday).  A light rain fell over a crowd of concerned citizens and members of Jonesboro’s LGBTQ community who mourned those who lost their lives early Sunday morning. 

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  Craighead County has been declared a disaster area by Governor Asa Hutchinson. 

The official announcement came from a press release of the Craighead County Office of Emergency Management over the weekend.  Public Assistance Programs and Individual Assistance Programs have been authorized to assist eligible applicants affected by the May 24th Flood. 

  Arkansas joins the rest of the nation in reacting to Sunday’s shooting massacre in Orlando, FL at a Gay nightclub.  Senator John Boozman (R-AR) called the shooting a form of radical Islamic terrorism and as an “attack on our freedoms.”

He said the country should “do whatever it takes to destroy ISIS using whatever means possible to protect Americans at home and abroad.” 

Here's Boozman's full official statement:

Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

The look of downtown Jonesboro is changing.  A $130 million renovation of St. Bernards is underway.  The work is being done in four phases and is expected to be complete by 2019. 

Construction is taking place on the Ben E. Owens Cancer Treatment Center and it should be finished this fall. 

Initial work on phase two is also underway, which includes adding new catheterization labs, hybrid labs and additional invasive services to the Heartcare Center.  That will be complete in the winter of 2017. 

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