Economy

Sarah Whites-Koditschek / ARKANSAS PUBLIC MEDIA

Eric Westcott is the manager of Central Rental and Supply, a construction equipment company that sits about three miles from Premium Protein Products, a meat rendering plant that turns animal carcasses into pet food.  

“Imagine the most disgusting smell you’ve ever smelled in your life and then add the heat, and that’s what we deal with here in Russellville,” he said.

Ann Kenda

Describing it as a game changer for both the state's economy and the future of steel, officials cut the ribbon on a $1.3 billion "flex mill" in Osceola Wednesday.  The mill has been online for almost a year, though January was the facility's first at full capacity. Officials say it’s already given Arkansas a place as a leader in the worldwide steel industry.

According to Big River Steel CEO David Stickler, the mill employs some 450 people who earn an average of $75,000 per year (that number may rise to $90,000).  Supporters of Big River Steel said those employees can afford houses, cars, goods and services, which bolster the rural economy and create spin-off businesses that serve Big River employees and their families.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who said he supported the Big River Steel project when he was a candidate for the office, said the flex mill  is not just good for northeast Arkansas but for the entire state.  A flex mill combines an integrated mill with a steel mini-mill.

The growth in online shopping on so-called Cyber Monday is expected to be 10 percent greater than a year ago according to the firm Adobe Digital Insights —  that’s actually flatter than the 17% year-over-year average since the National Retail Federation first used the moniker “Cyber Monday” in 2005. This has coincided with the rise of handcrafted, so-called “Arkansas made” gift items on websites like Etsy, Arkansas-hypen-made-dot-com, and the state government’s own “Arkansas e-store.”

120 students in white doctor coats stood proudly on the Riceland Hall stage in the Fowler Center, reciting the “student pledge of commitment” with the goal of accomplishing a dream.  A dream to practice medicine.

The students are the culmination of a dream for a medical school to be in Northeast Arkansas at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.  They are the inaugural class of the New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at A-State—the first Osteopathic Medical school in the state.

Governor Signs Arkansas Highway Plan Into Law

Jun 23, 2016

The Arkansas Legislature finished up a three-day special session Monday that concluded with Governor Asa Hutchinson signing a $50 million state highway funding appropriation that was initially rejected by the Senate’s transportation committee.