Talk Business & Politics Staff

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Governor Asa Hutchinson
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced his initial campaign team structure on Monday, Jan. 1. Five positions were filled as the governor embarks on his re-election bid. The staff and consultants include:

Campaign Manager – Robert Moery. Moery most recently served as Director of Legislative Affairs in the Office of the Governor. During the 2014 campaign, he served as Executive Aide to then candidate Asa Hutchinson. Prior to joining the 2014 campaign, Moery worked for Senator John Boozman. He is a graduate of the University of Arkansas.

The University of Arkansas has announced it will hire Hunter Yurachek as its new athletics director. The announcement followed several media reports that Yurachek had been hired.

Bret Bielema
KATV-Channel 7

University of Arkansas head football coach Bret Bielema was fired on Friday following a 48-45 loss to Missouri and capping a 4-8 season.

Interim athletics director Julie Cromer Peoples notified Bielema shortly after he left the field following the season-ending loss.

rice fields
Mickey Liaw / Flickr.com

Plumes of smoke fill the autumn skies in the Delta as farmers burn row crop field refuse, and many complain about the side-effects of the smoke. Arkansas rice industry leaders have decided to form a task force to examine the issue, Arkansas Rice Federation Executive Director Lauren Waldrip Ward told Talk Business & Politics.

How many members the task force will have and when it will meet have not been determined, but it will include stakeholders from across the state’s agricultural industries and there will be communications with those who oppose field burning, she said.

Elizabeth Eckford only had one concern before her first day of school. She wanted to make sure her white dress was finished so she could wear it. The next morning she was wearing the dress as her father paced back and forth in the hallway. She took a city bus to Little Rock Central High School. It was Sept. 4, 1957.

Philanthropists Alice Walton has formed Art Bridges, a nonprofit foundation with a mission to expand access to American artworks, the foundation announced Wednesday.

“Collaborating with museums and institutions of all sizes and in all regions of the country, Art Bridges will help create and fund exhibitions, bringing together art from museums, private collections, foundations and a collection established as a part of Art Bridges,” the foundation noted.

Dicamba damage
University of Arkansas

Dicamba Task Force charged with providing the Arkansas State Plant Board with a recommendation about the use of the controversial herbicide, will recommend it not be allowed for use after April 15 for the 2018 growing season, according to a report it released Monday.

Fayetteville-based Arvest Bank is acquiring Little Rock-based Bear State Bank in a deal valued at $391 million that is expected to close no later than the first quarter of 2018, and will push Arvest to almost $20 billion in assets.

The deal was announced early Tuesday and equals $10.28 per share of Bear State stock.

Thinly-traded Bear State shares (NASDAQ: BSF) closed Monday at $9.20 and were up almost 11% in Tuesday morning trading. During the past 52 weeks, the share price ranged between $8.65 and $10.95.

U.S. Senator John Boozman in the Republican Party of Arkansas headquarters.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

U.S. Senator John Boozman, R-Ark., has scheduled a follow-up surgical procedure next Tuesday (Aug. 15) that’s related to an emergency heart surgery he underwent a little more than three years ago.

Boozman, Arkansas’ senior senator, had surgery April 22, 2014, to fix an aortic dissection. The procedure was performed at Mercy Hospital in Rogers. The medical staff at the time said the surgery went as planned.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump
NPR

Arkansas voters are relatively split on President Donald Trump’s campaign ties to the Russian government, but a majority are not ready to impeach him over the matter or call for his resignation at this time. That's according to a new Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College survey that shows voters are keenly aware of the issue.

Q: Do you think the Trump campaign coordinated with the Russian government during the 2016 presidential election? 

41% Yes
43% No
16% Don’t Know

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