Local & Regional News

KASU is your connection to local news and views.  Here are a list of stories which affects you and our friends who listen to us here in Northeast Arkansas, the Missouri Bootheel, and West Tennessee.

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This release from Arkansas State University:

The three Arkansas State University students – Casey Sherwood, Daiki Itoh and Daisuke Takagi -- lost in a cave in near Cushman, Ark., have been located alive thanks to the efforts of rescue teams in Independence County.  (Arkansas State is in Jonesboro, Ark., and Craighead County)

UPDATE: 3 A-State students missing in cave

Aug 11, 2016
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Three Arkansas State University students are reported missing in the Batesville cave system in nearby Independence County.  Katherine Sherwood, the wife of one of the three students, reported them missing to the A-State University Police Department last evening.  Her husband, Casey Sherwood, who is a senior at Arkansas State, was leading the group on the spelunking trip.  We are currently reaching out to the parents of the two other students that accompanied Casey, Daiki Itoh and Daisuke Takagi.  Daiki and Daisuke are incoming first-year students from Japan.

Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

    Jonesboro’s population continues to grow as it is just under 70,000 people.  Roughly nine percent of that total population comes from a growing Hispanic population.  To accommodate the needs of that many Hispanics in Jonesboro, the Hispanic Community Services Incorporated are moving to a new location.  A groundbreaking occurred at the site of the 5,500 square foot building, which should open by spring or early summer of 2017.  Gina Gomez is the executive director of Hispanic Community Services Inc.  She tells what services are provided at the center.

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.  

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.  

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."

Michael Black takes over Jonesboro JETS

Jul 19, 2016
City of Jonesboro

Michael Black has been named transit coordinator over of the City of Jonesboro’s JET transportation system after a lengthy search.

Black, 53, has served as transportation supervisor the past four years, assisting Steve Ewart, who is retiring after eight years as JET director. Together, they oversaw huge growth in the public transit service. Black and Ewart have been with JET since 2008.

Pixabay

As plans are being made for Independence Day celebrations, one popular stop that many will make is the local firework stand.  From bottle rockets to sparklers, fireworks are very popular.  They are also very dangerous.  Dr. Amanda Deel is Assistant Dean of Clinical Education at the NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University. 

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's Chief Operations Officer Comes Back

Jun 20, 2016
City of Jonesboro

L.M. Duncan's retirement was a brief one.

The City of Jonesboro is rehiring its former chief operations officer to his old position – less than a month after he retired.

Duncan spoke with Mayor Harold Perrin on Sunday. Duncan said he offered to return to the city, knowing the workload faced by the city in the wake of the May 24 flood.

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.

Arkansas State Police

A Silver Alert has been activated for a Crittenden County man.  West Memphis police are looking for 81 year old Lee Henry Jackson. 

He was last seen Friday wearing a gray shirt and khaki pants.  Jackson is a black male about 6ft weighing 165 pounds with short gray brown hair.  Authorities believe he may’ve been traveling in a 2000 beige Buick Century with Arkansas license plate 390 NLI. 

JETS Summer Youth Fare runs through September 2

May 31, 2016
City of Jonesboro

The JET Summer Youth Fare program begins again Tuesday, May 31, and runs through Sept. 2.

Riders ages 12-18 will be able to ride JET for a discounted cost of 25 cents per ride or $10 for a pass with unlimited rides. Children under 12 also qualify for discounted rates but must be accompanied by an adult.

To receive this discount, riders must present a school-issued picture ID to enter the bus. Unlimited-ride passes may only be purchased at the City Collector's window at the Municipal Center, 300 S. Church St.

City of Jonesboro

The city of Jonesboro is asking residents who have sustained damage from this week’s flooding event to contact them immediately.  City officials Thursday estimated 75 properties that sustained flood damage and are expecting the number to increase.  Reports of damage will be used to help the city receive state and federal assistance to help those affected.  

Please read the press release below for  more details on how to contact the city for assistance:

Brandon Tabor, KASU News

    Jonesboro city officials continue to assess the response after record rainfall pounded Jonesboro Tuesday night.  Over six inches of rain fell in a few hours, leading to hundreds of calls to 911, dozens of vehicles being stranded, 56 people being evacuated out of homes and led to shelter, 18 streets flooded out, and a 13-year-old boy being saved from rushing water.  In a press conference, Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin says he has been talking with other officials about the response to Tuesday’s

Brandon Tabor, KASU News
Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

Groundbreaking ceremonies took place at the site of the new FMH Conveyor’s facility off of East Highland Drive in Jonesboro.  The 12-point-five-million-dollar project will be completed in November and 110 new jobs will be created as a result of the new facility.  President of FMH Kurt Heulsman tells what the expansion will mean to FMH.

"This will help us increase our efficiency in our operations and will allow us to better serve our customers.  We are excited about being in Jonesboro and we are excited about the workforce that is here."

Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

Arkansas State University has announced a new celebration of the life and music of international music icon Johnny Cash.  In October 2017, the Johnny Cash Heritage Festival takes place in Dyess, Arkansas, which is Johnny Cash’s Boyhood Home.  The announcement was made over the weekend.  The Heritage Festival will take place over three days, and will combine an academic conference with concerts that will take place in the town square, and in the cotton fields that surround the home.  Dr.

Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

Hytrol officials showed off their newly expanded space in Jonesboro, as they added 62-thousand square feet to their facility.  The ribbon cutting and open house showcased the new air conditioned production facility, as well as their new paint system.  Hytrol President David Peacock tells how the expansion will help their 1,000 employees:

  

Peacock tells about how the expansion will help the company:

Wikipedia.org

O’Reilly Hospitality Management has been rejected again for getting A&P funding for the Arkansas State University Hotel and Convention Center Project. 

YouTube

  The U. S. Senate has passed the 2017 Transportation Appropriations Bill in which includes a provision to designate a portion of U.S. 67 as “Future I-57”.  Senator John Boozman (R-AR) authored the provision to the bill earlier this month.  Boozman told fellow lawmakers on the Senate floor Wednesday about the support the measure has received from communities along US 67.

Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

Representatives from the Arkansas World Trade Center toured several businesses in Jonesboro  and gave information about how to trade with companies around the world.  President and CEO of the Arkansas World Trade Center Dan Hendrix says one foreign market that a lot of attention is focused on is the Cuban market.  He says besides agriculture, Arkansas provides many other products:

Hendrix also says Arkansas is located in an ideal place that is perfect for trade opportunities. 

Pixabay

What are the most popular baby names in the Mid-South? 

According to data released by the Social Security Administration, “Emma” was not only the most popular girls’ name in the nation in 2015. It is also the most popular girls’ name in Arkansas, Tennessee, and Missouri.  Also in the top three girls names for all three states were “Olivia” and “Ava.” 

In Arkansas and Tennessee, “William” was the most popular boys’ name.  The name “Liam” beats out “William” in Missouri, but remains as one of the top 3 boys’ name.  Nationwide, the most popular boys’ name was “Noah”. 

Arkansas State University

  O’Reilly Hospitality Management is asking the Jonesboro Advertising and Promotions Commission to reconsider supporting the Arkansas State University convention center project. 

In March, the A&P Commission voted to fund the Keller Hyatt Place Hotel and Convention Center project to be located near I-555 along Browns Lane.  The 159-bed hotel and convention center is expected to cost about $27 million.

Arkansans React to New SNAP Ruling

May 16, 2016
Wikipedia.org

Healthy single adults between the ages of 18 and 50 in Arkansas with no dependents who’ve relied on USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will no longer receive food assistance if they are not working or in a job training program at least half time, or 80 hours per month.

That’s about 14,000 individuals who have been affected, according to Amy Web, Communications Director for the Arkansas Department of Human Services.

ADH began notifying SNAP beneficiaries about the rule change last fall.

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