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Economy & Business

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After 2 attempts and about 78 years, Randolph County voters will get to decide in November if they want alcohol sold within their borders.

Arkansas State University

Dr. Philip Tew has a passion for educating young people about financial matters.  He is associate professor of finance in the Neil Griffin College of Business at Arkansas State.  Tew is also the director for the Center of Economic Education and Financial Literacy and also is the director of the Scarlet to Black financial literacy program on the A-State campus.  

Brandon Tabor / KASU News

In 2016, Arkansas voters passed a constitutional amendment allowing for medical marijuana sales.  In the 21 months since its passage, legislators have adopted rules, a commission has processed applications, and the courts have dulled out legal opinions.  The bottom line is, there still isn’t any medical marijuana for sale in Arkansas, and the prospects look dim to any change in that diagnosis.   Talk Business’ Wes Brown and Roby Brock discuss the most recent Medical Marijuana Commission meeting.


John Brummett, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette columnist
Talk Business and Politics

Constitutional changes, including term limits and tort reform, are likely to be on the November ballot for Arkansas voters.  Could corruption in the state legislature be a factor in either of those two issues this Fall?  Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Columnist John Brummett and Talk Business’ Roby Brock ponder that possibility.


The aquatics center in Batesville is one of the largest in the state, and cost about $25 million to build. It was funded by a voter-approved 1% sales tax increase.
Talk Business and Politics

The city of Jonesboro has experienced impressive economic and population growth during the past decade, and quality of life has become a focus for civic leaders interested in maintaining the momentum. One idea in that effort is an aquatic center.

Arkansas issues 5 medical marijuana cultivation licenses

Jul 11, 2018
Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission announcing the first 5 applicants to receive a cultivation facility license to grow medical marijuana.
Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas' Medical Marijuana Commission has awarded licenses to five cultivation companies after an injunction against issuing the licenses was lifted Tuesday.

O'Reilly Hospitality Management

Embassy Suites and Red Wolf Convention Center in Jonesboro Announces Director of Sales

The 203-Suite property is set to open on Arkansas State's Campus in 2019

Entergy Arkansas President and CEO Laura Landreaux
Talk Business and Politics

Newly named Entergy Arkansas President and CEO Laura Landreaux has the background to run just about any division of the state’s largest energy utility and she plans to use that experience to guide her in her new role.

Talk Business and Politics

After a recent United States Supreme Court ruling, the City of Jonesboro will be closely watching next year’s legislative session in Little Rock.  

Medical Marijuana Commission to explore hiring consultant

Jul 3, 2018
Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission announcing the first 5 applicants to receive a cultivation facility license to grow medical marijuana.
Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission took the first step Monday toward hiring an independent consultant to review about 230 applications for dispensary licenses, a move intended to allay public concerns following allegations of impropriety during the cultivation licensing process.

Talk Business' Roby Brock (left) with Economist Mervin Jebaraj (right)
Talk Business and Politics

Economist Mervin Jebaraj discusses tariffs, trade, deficit growth and personal income data.


Big River Steel

(Osceola, Arkansas) – Big River Steel announced today that it is expanding its LEED-certified, Arkansas-based scrap recycling and steel production facility. The expansion will double Big River Steel’s hot-rolled steel production capacity to 3.3 million tons annually. In addition, the expansion will facilitate the company’s ability to produce even higher grades of electrical steel, demand for which is expected to increase with continued focus on energy efficiency and the increase in hybrid and electric vehicle sales. 

 

Downtown Jonesboro
City of Jonesboro

The Jonesboro Advertising and Promotion Commission has collected over $31,000 through the first six months of the year, which is about $10,000 short from this time in 2017. 

“I feel like the biggest contributor to that was in May, we had a lot of wet weather,” Commissioner Jerry Morgan said at the A & P Commission meeting Thursday.  Morgan explained that the rain interfered with construction projects which had an impact on the number of full hotel rooms throughout the week. 

AHPP Awards Grant For Jonesboro Main Street Program

Jun 28, 2018
Arkansas Historic Preservation Program

       LITTLE ROCK—The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, a division of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, has awarded $2,963,781 in grants for projects in 58 Arkansas counties—including Craighead County—through its County Courthouse Restoration Grant, Historic Preservation Restoration Grant and Main Street Downtown Revitalization Grant programs.

The Downtown Jonesboro Association received a $15,000 Main Street Downtown Revitalization Grant.

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Amidst more revelations of problems tied to Arkansas’s nascent medical marijuana program, the architect of the state’s voter-approved amendment is calling for commissioners to abandon their process of scoring cultivation applications.

Attorney David Couch says the merit-based scoring system has been plagued with allegations that have rocked public confidence in the process.

  In the two years since Peco Foods started operations in northeast Arkansas, one northeast Arkansas town has seen an explosion of growth.  Pocahontas has seen an influx of people coming to the town to work at Peco.  The last Census numbers show that Pocahontas has a population of 6,800…but Mayor Kary Story thinks that number now is close to 8,500..and growing.  Story says when Peco announced they were coming to Randolph County in 2014, a plan was put in place to start building housing.

Angela Lowther, Executive Dir. of the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace, sitting with Paul Gatling, Editor of the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal
Talk Business and Politics

Health insurance—it’s constantly a worry for business owners, and the dynamics are continually changing.  TB&P Northwest Arkansas Business Journal Editor Paul Gatling recently sat down with Angela Lowther, Executive Director of the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace, to find out what’s happening… in the Marketplace.


Talk Business and Politics

About three years ago Ronnie Samuel’s son was searching for a bumper for his ATV. When Samuel saw what was on the market, he told his son they could make something better.

Rage Fabrications was born.

The company opened its doors on a new facility Monday (June 18) in Trumann. Samuel told Talk Business & Politics his company invested about $200,000 in the company and it employs 10 workers. The facility located in the Truman industrial park is owned by the city, but Rage has signed a lease for at least five years and it has options for it to be extended up to 20 years.

Brandon Tabor / KASU News

Hefei Risever Machinery Co., Arkansas' 5th Chinese-headquartered company, broke ground on Friday, in the Northeast corner of the state. 

The ceremony took place at their new location—behind FMH Conveyors at the Craighead Technology Park in East Jonesboro.  Risever makes fabrication parts for various manufacturers, such as Caterpillar and Volvo. Back in 2017, Risever announced their plans to build their first North American plant in Jonesboro. 

Today the state Supreme Court takes up the matter of the state’s medical marijuana program, stalled since March. If it upholds Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen’s decision nullifying the Medical Marijuana Commission’s top five picks for marijuana growing licenses — indeed the very selection process the Commission used — it could push the forecast for available medical marijuana into 2019.

That would mean money out of the pockets of many early investors such as entrepreneur Brian Teeter.

Talk Business' Roby Brock (left) with Economist Mervin Jebaraj (right)
Talk Business and Politics

UA Walton College economist Mervin Jebaraj discusses with Talk Business’ Roby Brock what’s at work in the Arkansas economy, including GDP and population shifts.


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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas' fastest-growing cities are mostly suburbs while more rural, smaller cities are shrinking, according to recent census figures.

The U.S. Census Bureau released data Thursday including the state's population changes between 2010 and 2017, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

EDITOR'S NOTE: In his bid for re-election, Gov. Asa Hutchinson has said he’s helped bring more than 60,000 jobs to the state since taking office. Of course, not all jobs are the same. As part of Arkansas Public Media's ongoing partnership with the School of Journalism and Strategic Media at the University of Arkansas, assistant professor Rob Wells and his students investigated wages in Northwest Arkansas and sought out low-wage workers in and around the flagship university campus for a multimedia project called “Working for Low Wages in Arkansas.” Click to learn more.

Twenty-five percent of families are considered to be in poverty in Northwest Arkansas, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and many of them are working for a living.

What is that like? How do these people make ends meet?

A group of University of Arkansas journalism students set out this semester to examine life for people living at or close to minimum wage. 

(left to right) Arkansas Democrat-Gazette columnist Rex Nelson, Department of Arkansas Heritage Director Stacy Hurst, and Talk Bussiness & Politics' Roby Brock
Talk Business and Politics

Talk Business and Politics’ Roby Brock sits down with Stacy Hurst, Department of Arkansas Heritage Director, and Arkansas Democrat-Gazette columnist Rex Nelson.  They talk about how public-private partnerships are being created to help maintain the state’s heritage and tourist attractions.


Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Sets Hunting Dates

May 21, 2018
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LITTLE ROCK – Commissioners unanimously approved a group of regulations today, effectively setting the season dates and bag limits for the 2018-19 hunting season for all species.

Brandon Tabor, KASU News

Next July, Jonesboro is expected to have a hotel and convention center open.  It will be on the campus of Arkansas State University.  Jonesboro is very similar to Springfield, Missouri.  Comparisons were made between the two cities during last week’s groundbreaking ceremony.  Tim O’Reilly is with O’Reilly Hospitality Management, which is making the project possible.  O’Reilly says this project is a big deal for Jonesboro because of the economic impacts that will open up to the city that have not been in Jonesboro before.  He uses Springfield as an example.

Arkansas Scholarship Lottery Director Bishop Woosley talking with Roby Brock
Talk Business and Politics

The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery, a once troubled and embattled state program that was struggling with legislative oversite and declining revenues, has made a remarkable turnaround in the last couple of years.  About the only headlines you read these days are good ones about the program.  Lottery Director Bishop Woosley sits with host Roby Brock to discuss what’s been the “winning ticket” for the program’s success.


Calstrip Announces $15M Capital Investment in Arkansas, 45 New Jobs in Hickman

May 16, 2018
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Calstrip Industries Inc. announced plans today to build a new processing facility on the campus of Nucor Steel Arkansas, near Blytheville in Mississippi County. Construction will begin during the second quarter of 2018.

Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

HICKMAN, Ark. (AP) - A North Carolina-based steel company is furthering its expansion in northeast Arkansas with a planned $240 million sheet metal production line.

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Gas prices are between 40 to 50-cents higher this year than they were last year.  With record numbers of drivers expected to be on the road for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, high demand could make the price at the pump higher.  Mike Right is the Vice President of Public Affairs for the American Automobile Association. He tells what is causing the gas prices to go higher.  

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