Arkansas Business

A view of the Jefferson County Courthouse in Pine Bluff from inside the historic, but crumbling Hotel Pines.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

As officials try to turn Little Rock’s Main Street into a vibrant Creative Corridor other central Arkansas towns are sorting through their own urban plans. Both Hot Springs and Pine Bluff have recently sought solutions to clear debris from collapsed structures with cash strapped owners. 

Mark Friedman has been reporting on the issue with Arkansas Business.

David Monteith / KUAR

Revitalizing the downtown Main Street area by making it a hub for arts organizations is a project first conceived by Mayor Mark Stodola in 2007. Eight years in the making, he looks forward to announcing the completion of the first phase.

Protesters in the Street
Chris Hickey / KUAR News

A group of local fast food workers and community activists calling for a minimum pay of $15 an hour is planning a march on Little Rock City Hall Thursday. The group “Show Me 15,” which originated in St. Louis, is planning the latest rally. It follows other rallies at Central Arkansas fast food restaurants over the past year.

 

Delona Hairrs of St. Louis is a member of the group and spoke with KUAR in June. She said “Show Me 15” and local organizers hope to influence Arkansas municipalities to pass ordinances that can raise pay.

 

  A groundbreaking ceremony has been held for the expansion of Aerojet Rocketdyne's plant in Camden in south Arkansas.

The California-based company was joined by Gov. Asa Hutchinson and state and local officials for Thursday's ceremony.

The project includes new buildings and renovations on the 1,200-acre site and 85 new jobs. The cost of the project was not released, however it is supported with incentives that include funding, tax exemptions, real estate tax grants and reimbursement for training.

The plant produces solid rocket motors used in the defense industry.

The Little Rock Technology Park Authority on Wednesday unanimously approved a measure giving Executive Director Brent Birch the power to negotiate a deal to hire East Harding Inc. as the construction manager for the first phase of the $30 million downtown tech park development.

Fayetteville's City Council in an August meeting on an anti-discrimination ordinance.
Jacqueline Froelich / KUAF

A state judge has ruled a northwest Arkansas city can vote next week on a proposal to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Washington County Circuit Judge Doug Martin on Thursday denied a motion to block next week's special election on the Fayetteville anti-discrimination ordinance.

Opponents of the ordinance had sought a temporary restraining order and had argued, among other things, that the ordinance violated a state law aimed at preventing local anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

New Hog Farms Near Buffalo River Banned For Five Years

Aug 30, 2015

The Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission in Little Rock  on Friday barred any new permits for big swine factory farms on the Buffalo National River Watershed over the next five years.

The new rule prohibits Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality from issuing new permits to operations confining more than 750 swine weighing over 55 pounds, or 3,000 swine weighing less than 55 pounds.

For now the only permitted operation is C&H Hog Farms near Mt. Judy in Newton County situated on Big Creek, a tributary to the Buffalo River—which counts 6500 swine.

The president of First National Bank of Lawrence County in Walnut Ridge says at least $3.9 million has been stolen from the bank - but adds that all customer deposits are safe.

Milton Smith said in a statement to The Jonesboro Sun that the FBI is investigating and that he can't release other details. FBI spokeswoman Deb Green told the newspaper that it would not be appropriate to comment at this time.

The University of Central Arkansas Board of Trustees has approved a lease for an on-campus restaurant that plans to sell alcohol.

The lease with Mosaique Bistro and Grill was approved Friday on a 6-1 vote with board member Kay Hinkle voting against it. Retired minister James Davis of Conway also spoke against allowing alcohol sales on campus.

The restaurant will be in Donaghey Hall. The hall is a four-story, two-building development that is under construction with completion expected by fall 2016.

Natural Gas Drilling Mt. Vernon in Faulkner County
Arkansas Times

Arkansas severance tax collections tumbled nearly 59% in the first month of state’s fiscal year 2016 as Fayetteville Shale drillers were unable to sustain production levels due to continued weak natural gas prices, spending cuts and fewer operating rigs.

According to monthly tax data compiled by the Revenue Division of the Arkansas Department of Finance & Administration, state tax revenue for natural gas production in July (the first month of fiscal 2016) came in at $3.48 million, compared to $8.4 million a year ago.

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