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Northeast Arkansas

Talk Business & Politics

A heated debate that has been stewing in Northeast Arkansas for months spilled over into a House panel on Tuesday (Feb. 28) after lawmakers backed a plan to merge Crowley’s Ridge Technical Institute of Forrest City into its next door neighbor, East Arkansas Community College (EACC).

Talk Business & Politics

Doniphan Vitality, a non-profit organization, has received a $100,000 grant from the Delta Regional Authority, DRA, to conduct an innovation hub feasibility study in four southern Missouri counties and Sharp and Randolph counties in Arkansas.

The University of Missouri Extension Office has also pledged a $20,000 match, DV Arkansas leadership point person Graycen Bigger told Talk Business & Politics.

Talk Business & Politics

Ahab Alammar has lived the American dream. The 28-year-old was born in Syria, but when he turned 13 his family was able to secure him a visa to come to the United States. He was the only person in his village of about 5,000 people to get one.

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The unemployment rate in Northeast Arkansas remains low.

The Jonesboro Sun reports, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on Thursday released its report of their most recent jobless rate data.

Employment in nonfarm jobs in the Jonesboro Metropolitan Area rose by about 1,300 with over 55,300 people employed since November 2015.  Last year, the sector saw an increase in November with around 56,800 residents employed, bringing the jobless rate in the area to 2.9%.

Arkansas Economic Development Commission

OSCEOLA, Ark. (AP) — Production is beginning at a new, $1.3 billion steel mill in northeast Arkansas.

According to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Big River Steel has begun operations in its melt shop and hot mill at the new facility in Mississippi County. The steel mill was the first "superproject" to be approved under a 2004 state constitutional amendment that allows the state to borrow money to help lure major employers.

ASH FLAT, Ark. (AP) — A man who has been on death row for the 1986 killings of a man and a woman has been resentenced to life in prison without parole.

The Batesville Guard (https://guardonline.com/?p=225354) reports Steven Victor Wertz was resentenced Tuesday by the Arkansas Supreme Court.

Wikipedia

Four Northeast Arkansas music artists have been nominated for a Grammy Award.

The Recording Academy announced Tuesday the nominees for this year's Grammy Awards ceremony.  Jonesboro natives Zach Williams and Jonathan Smith were nominated for Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song for their song "Chain Breaker."  The duo co-wrote the song with Mia Fieldes who was also nominated in the category.

Brandon Tabor, KASU News

Working as an intern for the Delta Center for Economic Development at Arkansas State University years ago, Hannah Barnett developed a passion for writing grants for local organizations.

"I fell in love with the aspect of indirectly getting to help these people that need it, because I was helping them get money to do what they do," Barnett said.

In October 2016, when she was offered a position to coordinate the new Center for Non Profit and Small Town Support, she saw an opportunity to use her passion to help more people.

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Walnut Ridge and Corning are among Arkansas's top 20 safest cities.

In an annual report released Tuesday on Safewise.com, Corning was ranked number 14 with about 4 violent crimes per 1,000 residents and around 17 property crimes per 1,000 residents.

Walnut Ridge came in at number 16 with 3 violent crimes per 1,000 residents and nearly 20 property crimes per 1,000 residents. 

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Low crop yields could force some farmers in Craighead County to abandon their livelihoods by the spring, Craighead County Extension Agent Brannon Thiesse told Talk Business & Politics.

Rain, humidity, periods of intense heat, and other factors have led to a relatively poor harvest for rice, soybeans, and corn farmers – three of the staple row crops in the region. There are roughly 200 farmers in Craighead County, and Theisse estimates up to 5% of them could go out of business as a result of poor yields.

A private ceremony was held Tuesday in Cash for the 3 young children who died in a house fire last Wednesday.

Cash Assistant Fire Chief Ron Eaton told KAIT the mother of the children was released from the hospital.  The mother, Jennifer Jones, sustained burns from the fire while trying to save her children and was airlifted to a hospital in Memphis.

The Cash Fire Department will have an event on November 18 to raise money for the family.

A bus fatally crashed in Louisiana this weekend while transporting immigrants in the country illegally to a job center owned by a member of the Arkansas House of Representatives.

Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce targets specific sectors to lure job creators

Aug 3, 2016
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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.

When agricultural extension agent Tom Barber drives the country roads of eastern Arkansas this summer, his trained eye can spot the damage: soybean leaves contorted into cup-like shapes.

He's seeing it in field after field. Similar damage is turning up in Tennessee and in the "boot-heel" region of Missouri. Tens of thousands of acres are affected.

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Compared to the rest of the state, Northeast Arkansas has seen an overall growth in employment, sales tax revenue, and new home starts.  Talk Businesses and Politics released their quarterly Compass Report highlighting the economic progress of Arkansas’ key metro areas.  This was the first time the Jonesboro metro area was included in the report.

Crowley's Ridge Development Council

Poverty in Arkansas is an issue.  According to the TalkPoverty.com website, the state’s poverty rate was around 18% in 2015.  Some counties in the state have it worse than others. 

In Northeast Arkansas, Greene County’s poverty rate was below the state average, while St. Francis County exceeded the average at 27.7%.  With so many people living in poverty, something has to be done to correct it.  That is where the Crowley’s Ridge Development Council comes in. 

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Trumpeter Wayne Jackson, one half of the musical duo "The Memphis Horns", passed away at the age of 74 on Tuesday.  Jackson was a native of West Memphis.  KASU's Mike Doyle spoke with two Arkansans who knew Jackson well.  

Brandon Tabor, KASU News

In the latest Governor appointments, 6 Northeast Arkansans were announced on Wednesday. 

Robbie Cline, Danny Finch, and Jason Willis all of Jonesboro were appointed to various state boards.  Larry Jayroe and Vera Dawson of Forrest City and Marcus Creasy of Drasco were also recently appointed. 

You can see the full list of the 23 appointees from the press release below:

Brandon Tabor, KASU News

Two girls are missing and police need your help.  An Amber Alert was activated Wednesday for 12-year-old Jamiria Murray from Edmonson in Crittenden County. 

Jonesboro’s Property Maintenance Code has been repealed and an alderman’s race is heading toward a runoff.  In yesterday’s special election, 4,891 people voted to repeal the Property Maintenance Code, while 2,521 people voted against repeal.  Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin tells what happens next:

KASU news asked Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin about the repeal of a code he supported, as well as the November defeat of a sales tax proposal for highway projects.  Perrin insists that those defeats were not votes against him…instead, they were votes against those issues:

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  Voters in Northeast Arkansas will decide the fate of various issues affecting the area.

Jonesboro voters will decide who will fill the alderman seat for Ward 6, Position 1.  5 candidates are running for the position left vacant by Tim McCall earlier this year. 

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

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