Northeast Arkansas

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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Jonesboro’s Property Maintenance Code has been repealed and an alderman’s race is heading toward a runoff.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

Every vote will be an important one in November’s election.  That was the message that was delivered to members of the Political Animals Club in Jonesboro.  This is especially true in Northeast Arkansas, which appears to be changing its political stance.  For many years, northeast Arkansas joined the state in voting majority Democratic.  Over the past several years, that is changing as the state has voted for more Republican candidates.  Republican Strategist Clint Reed, Talk Business Editor Roby Brock, and Hendrix College Professor Jay Barth spoke about the important role northeast Arkansa

The next Making A Difference story features CASA of the Second Judicial District.  CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates.  KASU's Johnathan Reaves tells how CASA volunteers represent abused and neglected children in the court system and tells why this program is important.