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Craighead County

Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

The Craighead County Quorum Court has approved an ordinance that is designed to make voting easier for residents.  

The ordinance allows for setting up voting centers across the Craighead County.  As opposed to voting in specific polling sites, the voting centers will allow voters across the county to vote at any site.  The improvements are possible with the 120 new voting machines in the county. 

Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

Craighead County has 120 new voting machines. The State of Arkansas has been helping counties statewide with the purchase of new electronic machines.  The state provided matches and will reimburse Craighead County 75-thousand dollars of the 380 thousand dollars that was budgeted for the replacement of the current machines.  Election Systems and Software of Omaha, Nebraska has been in Jonesboro delivering the new machines to where are stored at the Craighead County Election Annex building. 

Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

The Craighead County Judge-Elect has a lot to learn.  Marvin Day has slowly started learning what his new job will be when he takes over January first.  During a transition period, current County Judge Ed Hill has started allowing Day to sit in on meetings and is starting to teach him what he needs to know.  Day tells KASU News tells what he has been doing so far and also tells about a new job he will start July first.

Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

The new county judge for Craighead County will be Marvin Day. He will start his duties January first. I asked him on his reaction to winning the position.

Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

The two candidates for Craighead County judge debated Wednesday on several topics, such as how to address problems with the county’s budget, top priorities, and a crisis stabilization unit.  Marvin Day and Jeff Presley are both Republican candidates that will face off in the May 22nd primary.

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The Jonesboro City Council took its first look at a new sidewalk ordinance Tuesday night.   Alderman Joe Haffner says the new ordinance that he supports would require that all future development in Jonesboro have sidewalks.  

The Justice Complex, Jonesboro. Taken by KASU Photojournalim-Graphics Designer Intern Cynthia Barnhill
Cynthia Barnhill / KASU Photojournalim-Graphics Designer Intern

The Craighead County District Court is again offering amnesty for some minor offenses, which comes amid a lawsuit filed by a company who has managed the county's probation program for over 20 years.

Arkansas Public Media reported that the Justice Network filed a lawsuit against the county and district Judges David Bowling and Tommy Fowler.  The Memphis-based company claimed that they lost revenue because of the program.

In 2005, Jaime Mann was cited for several traffic violations in Craighead County — not having insurance, not wearing a seatbelt, and hazardous driving. She was charged about $500. She paid some of it, but then she started racking up fees and fines for the money and community service hours she owed.  

 

"And then it started spiraling out of control, and I was so mad, I remember, because I thought, ‘I paid this ticket,'" she said.

The mid-term elections are rapidly approaching.  The filing period for candidates is underway and Craighead County Clerk Kade Holliday expects 2018 to be an active election year.

“We have a gubernatorial race, as well as a gubernatorial primary, on the Republican side,” said Holliday.  “There will also be a contested race in the U.S. District 1 race, as well as several state offices that will be contested.  I think there will be a lot of engagement this year.”

Here is a list of the final candidates filing for local offices in Craighead County.  The following list was provided by the office of the Craighead County Clerk.

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JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) — A northeast Arkansas restaurant owner has been charged with human trafficking and rape.

Prosecutor Scott Ellington filed charges Wednesday against 45-year-old Hexin Chen of Jonesboro.

Ellington says Chen was first accused of raping a woman who lived with him and worked at the Kirin Restaurant that Chen owns. Ellington says the woman and a man who also lived with Chen told police they were brought to the U.S. to work at the restaurant but were given "basically slave wages."

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Several road improvement projects totaling over $3.2 million are expected to begin in the next 2 to 4 weeks in Northeast Arkansas. 

In news releases Thursday from the Arkansas Department of Transportation, crews will be working in Craighead, Greene, Lawrence, and Mississippi counties.  In Jonesboro, 2.5 miles of U.S. Highway 63B and State Highway 463 from Watt St. to Ingles Road will be resurfaced. 

State Highway 135 will have 3.1 miles resurfaced in Greene County beginning at the Craighead County line and moving northbound.

This is a press release from Marvin Day:

Jonesboro – Marvin Day of Jonesboro has announced that he is running for Craighead County Judge in the upcoming May 22 Republican primary.

Day, a graduate of Jonesboro High School received a civil engineering degree from the University of Arkansas and is employed as a senior engineer at City Water and Light.  He has previously worked in the highway and heavy construction business and was a co-founder of Asphalt Producers, LLC.

Craighead County Judge Ed Hill says he will not run for reelection.  Hill made the statement on his Facebook page Thursday. 

Participants of the 2017 Craighead County Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade walking across the Jonesboro Main St. bridge.
Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

2018 will be an important year for the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  April 2018 will mark the 50th Anniversary of King’s assassination in Memphis, TN.

Communities across the nation have been remembering King’s legacy in January since 1986, and Craighead County has been no exception.  I sat down with one of the organizers of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day parade for Craighead County, Dr. Lonnie Williams.  He is also the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at Arkansas State University.  We talked about the parade, Dr. King’s legacy, and where he was when he heard the tragic news of King's assassination.  You can listen to the conversation below.


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A prosecutor says the Craighead County town of Cash does not violate the state's speed trap law.

Craighead County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Grant Deprow informed the town's mayor of the determination last month in a letter, which The Jonesboro Sun obtained this week .

Lanes on Monette Bypass to Open on Highway 18

Nov 17, 2017
Brandon Tabor, KASU news

More than three miles of newly constructed lanes on the Monette Bypass (State Highway 18) in Craighead County will be opened to traffic, according to Arkansas Department of Transportation (ArDOT) officials.

Weather permitting, the completed four-lane section will be open to traffic on Monday, November 20, allowing motorists to travel around Monette on the new bypass. Drivers will have to utilize State Highway 139 to travel in and out of Monette until the east and west connectors are constructed, which is expected to take 2 to 4 weeks.

Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

Monday night was the first Craighead County Quorum Court meeting without a longtime Justice of the Peace.  

Jim Bryant passed away recently after an illness.  He represented District 3.  Bryant served on the Quorum Court for 27 years.  Craighead County Judge Ed Hill said it was hard being at the meeting last night without Bryant.  Hill told what he remembered most about how Bryant served on the Quorum Court.

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State officials are traveling across the state visiting sites where crisis stabilization units are to be located.  

Craighead County Sheriff Marty Boyd was not at the Monday meeting of the Craighead County Quorum Court, but County Judge Ed Hill told the public the county is looking at other options while a permanent building could be built.  Hill says officials will look at several potential pieces of property where existing buildings could be leased to the county to act as a temporary crisis stabilization unit until a permanent building is constructed. 

Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

Craighead County Sheriff Marty Boyd is expected to provide an update on how much it might cost to build a facility to house a regional crisis stabilization center when he addresses the Craighead County Quorum Court tonight. 

The county was one of four counties in the state to receive a one-point-six million dollar grant from the state to house a center.  A total of five million dollars was released for the project by Governor Asa Hutchinson. 

Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

Craighead County Sheriff Marty Boyd says he was extremely disappointed that a homeless ministry decided not to accept a donation for a former nursing home to be used jointly by the ministries and the state as a site of a new crisis stabilization center.  Boyd tells the Craighead County Quorum Court that he is back to square one on how to bring the center to Jonesboro.

"There really is no 'Plan B' when it comes to this," says Boyd.  "We are looking at building a facility near the current county jail, but we don't know how much that will cost."

Not So "Silent" Hattie Caraway

Sep 14, 2017

Listen To The Episode 

On this episode of Arts & Letters, we talk with writer, academic and actor Dr. Nancy Hendricks, who sings the praises of the first elected U.S. female Senator, Hattie Caraway  (1878-1950). 

Dr. Nancy Hendricks is the author of Senator Hattie Caraway: An Arkansas Legacy, published by The History Press.  

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Craighead County Sheriff Marty Boyd says the county jail needs an expansion.  Boyd told the Craighead County Quorum Court last night the jail is 29 years old and more beds are needed to properly house the inmates.

“Due to the growth of the county and the age of our facility, we have simply outgrown our bed space,” says Boyd.

Boyd says this is needed because of the rapid growth of Jonesboro.

“We are growing two percent every year and with that our problems grow.  Good things happen when the population grows, but bad things happen as well and crime is one of those.”

It was not a unanimous decision, but the Craighead County Quorum Court passed an ordinance that serves as a nepotism policy.  

The ordinance says that relatives of those who work for Craighead County may not work for a relative that is “in the immediate line of supervision.”  Relatives can work for the county, as long as it is in another position, or in another department. The ordinance would also require that county workers disclose any business the county does with a family member of a county worker…and it deals with potential conflicts of interest. 

Here is the ballot order of the school board candidates for Craighead County's September school board races:

BAY SCHOOL DISTRICT

Position 5

Curtis Hogan

Robert Stotts (Incumbent)

BROOKLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT

At-Large

Jeremy Parnell

Zone 1

Joshua Gallion (Incumbent)

Kyle Windmeyer

BUFFALO ISLAND CENTRAL

Position 6

Scott Colbert (Incumbent

Position 7

Justin C. Hawkins

JONESBORO PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Zone 3

NO ONE FILED

ZONE 7

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Craighead County has ten firefighting districts…mainly in rural areas.  The districts are mostly volunteer.  The Craighead County Quorum Court heard concerns from those fire districts about the need for communication upgrades.  

Arkansas Secretary of State's Office

The Craighead County Election Commission is recommending the Quorum Court follow a state plan for the purchase of brand new electronic voting machines.  The machines would replace ones the county has been using for the past 12 years.  Under the plan, the state would pay half of the cost for new machines and counties would pick up the remaining half.  If the plan is approved by the Quorum Court, the county would pay almost 355-thousand dollars as the county match.  That would cover over 120 machines, as well as associated equipment and software.

Participants of the 2017 Craighead County Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade walking across the Jonesboro Main St. bridge.
Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

Monday, January 16, 2017 was the 15th anniversary of the annual Craighead County Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade and program.  KASU's Johnathan Reaves was there live and captured the festivities with Facebook Live.  Click on the video below to watch the program.

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Craighead County's Treasurer says he is nervously watching the county's year end budget numbers through the rest of the month.  

Craighead County-Jonesboro Public Library

In 2017, the Craighead County-Jonesboro Public Library turns 100 years.   Public Relations Manager Brandi Hodges talks with KASU News Director Johnathan Reaves about the history of the museum and how the museum is evolving in a digital age.  Click on the Listen button for the entire interview.  

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