Talk Business & Politics Staff

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Ben Carson in Little Rock during the Republican Presidential primary election of 2016.
KARK-TV 4

The frontrunner in the Republican presidential field will pay a visit to Northeast Arkansas, just days before the presidential filing period begins in Little Rock. 

According to a post on his presidential website, Republican Dr. Ben Carson will be in West Memphis Friday afternoon (Oct. 30) for a campaign stop.

Flood garland city, arkansas red river
Sabrina McCormick Norton / KTXK News

Among those wishing for rainfall, well, get ready. AccuWeather is reporting that Arkansas and several other south central U.S. states could see “catastrophic flooding” beginning as early as Friday and continuing into early next week. The rainy weather prediction has an Arkansas River operator securing barges.

The announcement Tuesday night that U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., will consider running for House Speaker drew the support of one of four Arkansas members of the U.S. House.

Collections for the Arkansas tourism trust fund continue their steady increase, according to a report given to the Arkansas Parks, Recreation and Travel Commission. Collections for the 2% tourism tax for July were $1.656 million, up 14.83% compared to the same month in 2014.

Year to date collections are up 7.85%

The tourism trust fund tax is usually considered one of the most reliable indicators of the health tourism industry. The 2% tax on hotels and an assortment of other hospitality services is used as the measure for how many people are traveling in Arkansas.

Arkansas Children's Hospital
Wikipedia

Blackhawk helicopter maker Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. has delivered two state-of-the-art helicopter units that will provide air medical transportation services to Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the California defense contractor announced Monday.

File photo: Former US Attorney Conner Eldridge formally launching his US Senate campaign from his family store in Augusta.
Arkansas Times

Eldridge Supply Company in Augusta provided the backdrop Saturday as former U.S. Prosecuting Attorney Conner Eldridge announced a bid for the U.S. Senate.

In front of about 75 people, Eldridge, 38, said he was running as a Democrat against incumbent U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark. in the 2016 general election. In his remarks, Eldridge criticized both parties in their response to the Affordable Care Act also known as Obamacare and other issues like the federal debt.

Eldridge said the debt, at $18 trillion, “has more than tripled since my opponent took office.”

Former Arkansas Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller (R) joins William Dillard II, Dr. George Mitchell and Patricia Upton to be inducted into the 2016 class of the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame. The four join 70 men and women in the Hall of Fame, with the induction ceremony set for Feb. 12, 2016.

The Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas and the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame Board announced on Wednesday (Oct. 14) the inductees.

August home sales in Arkansas’ four largest markets were off the pace of the previous three months, but sales for the first eight months of the year are up more than 8% and the value of those sales is up more than 13.5%. Homes are also selling faster in the four markets.

The healthy year-to-date pace in Arkansas is driven by an almost 14% gain in Northwest Arkansas home sales and a more than 6% gain in central Arkansas.

File photo: Then U.S. Representative Tom Cotton (R-4th District) at the Clinton School of Public Service (2013).
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The nominations of three people selected to serve as foreign ambassadors were put on hold by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, after the state’s junior senator called on the Department of Homeland Security to investigate Secret Service background leaks involving Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, a candidate for House Speaker.

Cotton placed the hold on Cassandra Butts, who was nominated for ambassador to the Bahamas; Azita Raji, for ambassador to Sweden; and Samuel Heins, for ambassador to Norway.

The owners of Talk Business & Politics and The City Wire have agreed to merge their two media companies into a new entity that will become a statewide platform providing reporting and analysis on business and political news.

There was some debate between Jonesboro city leaders and officials with Arkansas State University in regards to the construction of at least two conference centers in the town, according to emails obtained by Talk Business and Politics.

Talk Business and Politics on Tuesday requested copies of any and all correspondence between Arkansas State University and Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin about the projects.

2016 GOP presidential primary candidate Mike Huckabee
C-SPAN

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who is vying for the GOP Presidential nomination, announced his leadership team in Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee – all states with early primaries in 2016.

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who faced scrutiny from conservatives over policy issues, announced his resignation Friday during a Republican conference meeting.

A flurry of reports hit the newswire when Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Michigan, tweeted: “Speaker Boehner just announced in Conference that he will resign as Speaker and from Congress at the end of October” on Friday morning.

In an historic move to more effectively eliminate hunger in Arkansas, the Arkansas Foodbank and the Arkansas Rice Depot announced Thursday, after approval from both organizations’ boards of directors, plans to merge effective Jan. 1, 2016.

The two nonprofits have long been dedicated to serving hungry Arkansans through various programs reaching school-aged children, college students, families and seniors.

Flickr.com

Among the ideas being considered by the Governor’s Working Group on Highway Funding has been transferring some of the state’s 16,418 miles of roads to cities and counties.

The Association of Arkansas Counties doesn’t support the idea.

“Obviously, counties are in no position to absorb additional roads,” said Chris Villines, Association of Arkansas Counties executive director, in an association press release. “For the most part, we run a road maintenance program around the state, not one of new construction, and we can barely handle the 70,000 miles we currently have.”

Arkansas seldom ranks first in any category among the other 50 states, but when it comes to adult obesity the Natural State is at the top of the list, according to a new report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

The report found that Arkansas had the highest adult obesity rate at 35.9%, and one of three states, along with West Virginia and Mississippi, where at least 30% of its adults are deemed obese. In 1980, no state had a rate above 15%, and in 1991, no state had a rate above 20%, which is a major concern to health professionals.

Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR

Hillary Clinton promised a plan to cap the rising costs of prescription drugs and praised her husband’s and President Obama’s administrations in a speech before a raucous crowd at Little Rock’s Philander Smith College Monday.

Arvest Bank

ARVEST TOPS $1 BILLION IN MORTGAGE LOANS FOR 13TH STRAIGHT YEAR

Arvest Bank’s mortgage division topped $1 billion in mortgage loans for the 13th consecutive year, the privately held Bentonville-based financial concern recently announced. Arvest reached the $1 billion milestone more than a month earlier this year than it did in 2014 on Aug. 21, closing on a total of 6,380 loans with a value of $1,008,591,434. In 2014, Arvest didn’t hit the $1 billion mark until Sept. 30.

NASA

Two University of Arkansas researchers working on a promising new material to create more efficient solar cells will lead a corps of Arkansas scientists chosen to develop the next generation of photovoltaic devices used in space missions, the university announced on Thursday.

Organizers for the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, scheduled for October 9-18, announced high profile guests who will be participating.

From a festival press release:

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art recently acquired Maya Angelou’s Quilt of Life, 1989, (acrylic on canvas and painted, dyed and pieced fabrics) by Faith Ringgold, from the art collection of the late author and activist, Maya Angelou. The work hung in Angelou’s home and was commissioned by Oprah Winfrey for Angelou’s 61st birthday.

According to the museum, Ringgold is well-known for her painted story quilts, “which unite a tradition of representational painting with the rich history of quilting in the African-American community.”

The combined impact of proposed mergers among four of the nation’s largest health insurance companies would exceed federal antitrust guidelines designed to preserve competition in as many as 97 metropolitan areas within 17 states, according to new special report on commercial health insurance markets issued recently by the American Medical Association (AMA).

Officials with the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art announced Wednesday that it has welcomed more than two million visitors since opening on November 11, 2011.

Former Fayetteville Shale producer Chesapeake Energy Corp. has finalized two new gas gathering agreements with Tulsa-based Williams Companies for its production in the Haynesville Shale and its dry gas operations in the Utica Shale located in eastern Ohio.

rocket lockheed martin
Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin announced that it had received a $227 million contract from the U.S. Army for the first order of the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System alternative warhead, which will be produced at the defense contractor’s missile production facility in Camden.

“GMLRS is a combat proven precision-strike system,” said Ken Musculus, vice president of Tactical Missiles for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “We are confident that the new GMLRS Alternative Warhead will also provide reliable, highly accurate capability for our domestic and international customers.”

UAMS researcher Vladimir Zharov, Ph.D., D.Sc., was awarded a $1.7 million grant by the National Cancer Institute to clinically test a technology that uses lasers to detect and destroy melanomas without harming normal cells.

Former U.S. Attorney Conner Eldridge, a Democrat, announced Wednesday (Sept. 9) that he will challenge incumbent U.S. Senator John Boozman, R-Arkansas, in 2016.

In a press release put out Wednesday morning, Eldridge said, “Washington is broken. I’m running for the Senate because I’m committed to doing everything I can to fix it for Arkansas and for our country.”

marijuana
npr.org

While Arkansas voters are not for completely legalizing marijuana, they are overwhelmingly supportive of a restrictive usage of marijuana for medical purposes, according to a new Talk Business & Politics/Hendrix College/Impact Management Group survey.

In the latest poll of 400 registered voters conducted on Aug. 20-23, 2015, 84% said they agreed with legalizing marijuana for medical purposes.

Q: Do you agree or disagree that adults should be allowed to legally use marijuana for medical purposes if a physician prescribes it?

56% Strongly Agree (84% Agree)

Average U.S. gas prices this week are at the lowest levels for this time of year since 2004 due to the steep decline in the cost of crude oil, according to AAA.

Gas prices have dropped recently despite ongoing refinery problems, and prices should continue to fall this autumn due to declining demand and the switchover to winter-blend gasoline. Today’s national average price of gas is $2.53 per gallon, which is 12 cents less than a week ago and 90 cents less than a year ago. Pump prices are now 33 cents per gallon below the 2015 peak price reached on June 15.

On Wednesday, Democrat Dianne Curry announced she will run for the U.S. Congress in District 2, the seat currently held by first-term Cong. French Hill, R-Little Rock.

No other Democrats have announced for the seat.

Curry was elected to the Little Rock School Board in 2006 where she served three terms. She retired from state government after 27 years of service in education and the public audit of banks.

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