Monthly Archives: July 2017

More Than 200 Arkansans Have Medical Pot ID Cards

Some 220 Arkansas patients have already received medical marijuana registry identification cards, less than a month since state Department of Health (ADH) officials began accepting applications to allow citizens to obtain pot by prescription for medical purposes.

Still, it could still be several months before patients can gain access to medical cannabis with the likelihood that cultivation and dispensary facilities to grow and sell will not be operational until early 2018 or later.

ADH began accepting applications for medical marijuana registry identification cards on June 30. As of July 21, ADH spokeswoman Karen White told Talk Business & Politics, there have been 222 completed and approved applications since state health officials began receiving those submissions at the beginning of July.  That tally is updated by ADH every Friday, White said.   MORE

Economist Hopes For Labor Force Participation Rate Improvement

Economist Mervin Jebaraj sees a lot of positives in the Arkansas economy, but warns that several key indicators need improvement to secure an even stronger future.

Appearing on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics, Jebaraj said despite historically low statewide unemployment of just 3.4%, the state’s labor force participation rate still has room to grow.

“Arkansas’ labor force participation rate has stayed below 60% after it went there in the aftermath of the Great Recession. So currently our labor force participation rate in Arkansas is one of the lowest in the country,” he said. “I think what we can hope to see in the future if the economy continues to grow is the unemployment rate to stay pretty low, and the labor force participation rate to continue to rise. We were at about 58 or so percent in May so we want to see that above 60% soon.”  MORE

AEDC Director Talks China, Rice

Arkansas Economic Development Commission Executive Director Mike Preston said Gov. Asa Hutchinson and President Donald Trump’s administration deserve credit for the breakthrough with the reopening of U.S.-China rice and beef trade. The AEDC chief also said it’s time to review NAFTA, but says it has added caution to economic recruiting.

Appearing on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics, Preston said Hutchinson’s multiple trips to China have not only paid dividends for Arkansas manufacturing and timber, but also for agriculture.

“Both trips that we made to China, we made it part of that mission to make sure that we got that message across and we took it all the way up to the Ministry of Agriculture to make sure they understand about the need to, opening the market up to the U.S. and really specifically Arkansas,” he said.   MORE

Governor Praises Juvenile Detention Center Mural

Governor Asa Hutchinson said Friday (July 28) that murals created by artist Lakwena in the Sebastian County Juvenile Detention Center (JDC) as part of The Unexpected Project provide inspiration for those in danger of being forgotten by society.

Lakwena, based in London, is just one of the international artists in Fort Smith participating in The Unexpected’s third year to bring murals, displays and other art forms to downtown Fort Smith. The privately-funded effort was founded by Steve Clark, CEO of Fort Smith-based Propak Logistics, and is actively managed by Claire Kolberg and John McIntosh. Art is curated by Charlotte Dutoit.    MORE

Wal-Mart Makes Several Leadership Changes

Following news of corporate layoffs at Wal-Mart Stores’ headquarters in Bentonville, several major leadership changes were announced Friday via an internal memo by Charles Redfield, head of the grocery division, and merchandising heads Andy Barron and Scott Pleiman.

In three separate internal memos sent Friday (July 28) more than two dozen promotions and reassignments were announced, according to the documents obtained by Talk Business & Politics. Several positions at the director level were tagged “to be determined later” as a number of directors were laid off over the past two days in the company’s replenishment division.

“With constant change in retail, we’re fortunate to have leaders from across the company who can bring their experience and knowledge to new roles and deliver the results we need to win together,” Redfield said in his internal memo dated July 28 under the subject “Food leadership changes.”    MORE

Second Quarter Income Up 54% For ArcBest

A boost in tonnage and the number of shipments helped Fort Smith-based ArcBest Corp. post second quarter net income of $15.777 million, up 54% compared to the same quarter in 2016. The positive quarter also puts the company in the black following a $7.4 million loss in the first quarter.

The shipping and logistics company reported Friday morning (July 28) that second quarter revenue totaled $720.368 million, better than the $676.627 million in the second quarter of 2016. The revenue was just under analysts’ estimate of $720.54 million.

Per share net income of 60 cents was well ahead of the 48 cents per share that was the average estimate of nine analysts who follow the company.   MORE

ASU Computer Science Receives Grant To Offer Class To Aid Teachers

JONESBORO – Arkansas State University’s Department of Computer Science has received a portion of a $34,685 Google grant that will fund an online computer science course to support educators interested in learning to teach high school computer science in Arkansas. The grant is a part of Google’s CS4HS initiative from which 27 institutions received grants in the United States and 107 worldwide.

A four-hour course (CS 2114) is being offered to over 50 teachers in the spring of 2018. Eighteen of these teachers will receive scholarships for tuition funded by Google. The course will help teachers obtain credit and add-on licensure for teaching computer science.    MORE

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