Arkansas Tourism

A sunken ship may turn into a tourist site in eastern Arkansas. A paddle wheel steamboat called the Sultana caught fire in 1865, just days after the end of the Civil War. Over 1,200 Union soldiers died, making it the biggest maritime disaster in U.S. history.

The ship's wreckage currently rests underneath a soybean field in Marion where the Mississippi River once ran. Project Director Louis Intres tells KATV-TV that plans are in progress to build a 10,000-square-foot, $3 million Sultana Disaster Museum.

The Cleveland County town of Kingsland is pinning its hopes of parlaying the birth of Johnny Cash there 83 years ago into tourism gold on an upcoming festival and carnival.

A committee known as Kickstart Kingsland, an off-shoot of Kickstart Cleveland County,  will next meet Friday, Aug. 11, to plan the event, tentatively scheduled for September 16th.

"They're trying to work up a little fundraising festival," Kingsland Mayor Charles Crain said, "have live music, get some local groups, and (have) some vendors in."

Cotham's Mercantile in Scott, Arkansas before it burned to the ground on May 30th.
Kat Robinson / Arkansas Times

The cause of the fire that destroyed an iconic, 100-year old Cotham's Restaurant has been left undetermined, with investigators closing the case. The Pulaski County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday there were "no signs of arson" and that all leads had been followed. Officials say the case is closed unless "further information is developed."

Stan Jones Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
Daniel Breen / KUAR News

Following two years of interviews for the job, Governor Asa Hutchinson appointed Stan Jones to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Tuesday. Jones, a fifth-generation farmer and hunting lodge owner from Walnut Ridge, applauded previous efforts by the commission to promote the outdoors in Arkansas.

“I know we’ve got some difficult situations and issues that we’re going to have to face, but I’ve got a very positive look and attitude on everything, the Game & Fish [Commission] has done a good job, and I’m happy to be a part of it,” Jones said.

The state is poised to hand over control of the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame to the city of Pine Bluff. A bill passed in the Arkansas House on Friday would transfer the operation from the state Department of Parks and Tourism to the city’s Advertising and Tourist Promotion Commission.

Update: The Department of Parks and Tourism provided KUAR with attendance figures for the Hall of Fame. It reveals a dramatic decline in recent years.

2017 – To date 2,675

2016 – 5,793

2015 – 7,125

2014 – 16,932

2013 – 21,102

Police say two suspects have been arrested for the August shooting death of a North Carolina woman at a gas station in North Little Rock.

Sgt. Brian Dedrick says the suspects were arrested about 7 a.m. Tuesday on first-degree murder warrants and are now jailed without bond. Court records do not show that either suspect has been formally charged.

The two are suspects in the Aug. 6 shooting of 39-year-old Amy Southern Ashley of Raleigh, North Carolina, at a gas station just off the Interstate 30 bridge in downtown North Little Rock.

Asa Hutchinson
Arkansas Times

Gov. Asa Hutchinson kicked off the annual Arkansas Hospitality Convention in Little Rock on Wednesday  by touting the impact the fast-growing tourism industry is having on the state's overall economic expansion.

Citing a recent U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis report designating Arkansas as the nation’s economic leader during the first quarter, Hutchinson told convention-goers gathered at the Statehouse Convention Center that the tourism sector has also play a key role in recent job growth and low unemployment levels.

Secretary interior Sally jewell transportation secretary Anthony Foxx National Park Service Ranger Jodi Morris
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Two members of President Obama’s cabinet visited Little Rock Tuesday, getting a firsthand look at the historic Central High School. It was part of a commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.

Almost 20,000 marshal-arts aficionados in their brightly colored uniforms have once again descended on downtown Little Rock for the 26th annual American Taekwondo Association World Expo. 

Jenny O'Conner of ATA International estimates up to 20 nations are represented at the organization's biggest event of the year, which includes the crowning of champions for the just concluded competition year and the opening competitions of the new year.

Governor Radio
Office of the Governor

The following is a transcript of Gov. Asa Hutchinson's radio column for the weekend of June 17, 2016:

Last Friday, I spent the evening with eight Central Arkansas families to celebrate National Great Outdoors Month. The event was part of a nationwide “Governor’s Capital Campout,” and Arkansas was one of 17 states to participate this year.

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