Michael Wilkey

Talk Business & Politics

Michael Wilkey is a content contributor for KUAR 89.1. He works for Talk Business & Politics and is their Northeast Arkansas correspondent.

He can be reached by email at MWilkey@TalkBusiness.net.

Cuba
Jorge Royan / Wikimedia Commons

Agricultural opinions in Arkansas were upbeat about President Obama’s plan to move towards normalizing relations between the United States and Cuba, but political attitudes were mixed.

On Wednesday, Obama announced a plan to re-establish some diplomatic and economic ties between the U.S. and the communist island nation using Presidential authority and actions.

A new or renovated airport, as well as improvements to the city’s water and sewer system, are near and long-term goals for Osceola’s economic future, the town’s mayor said Tuesday.

Dickie Kennemore said council members met Monday with officials with Little Rock-based McClelland Engineering about the water/sewer projects as well as voted to hire North Little Rock-based firm, Garver Engineering, to complete a feasibility study on the airport issue.

The Material Works Ltd. announced Tuesday it will build an advanced flat rolled toll processing center adjacent to the new Big River Steel mill in Osceola, Arkansas.

Construction will begin in second quarter 2015 with the facility expected to be fully operational to coincide with Big River Steel’s opening in 2016. TMW will invest approximately $20 million in the new facility where 45 new jobs will be created.

Great River Economic Development official Clif Chitwood said Tuesday that Osceola and Mississippi County have been busy in recent years due to persistence.

The state of Arkansas definitely has room to improve in battling other states in the region for economic development projects and the day-to-day economy, Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce president Randy Zook said Thursday. He also declared that the next Governor needs to create a “workforce czar” or an empowered panel on Day One.

Zook spoke to several regional economic development and community leaders early Thursday at the Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce office.

The debates are over but the interest in Arkansas’ U.S. Senate and Governors races remain, according to several national political analysts.

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