Glatfelter, a Pennsylvania-based international manufacturer of specialty papers, will open a new manufacturing facility in Fort Smith, the company announced today. The company stated that it would create up to 84 high-skilled manufacturing jobs at the $80-million plant.
Leila Janah, the CEO of a buzzy nonprofit that helps poor people find tech jobs, has a post on Medium about her experience with systemic racism and the lack of access to high-speed broadband in Dumas. The nonprofit she founded and heads as CEO, Samasource, hires low-income people around the world to perform digital tasks for companies like Google, Walmart and Getty Images.
HBO's "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, which premiered last April, has consistently shown itself to be a Daily Show-level contender for the humor-news crown. Up for discussion on the show last night: the myriad ways major poultry producers exploit chicken farmers. Also featured in the video: Arkansas Republican Rep. Steve Womack, who gets plucked and roasted for placing a rider on the agriculture appropriations bill that forbids the USDA from enforcing already-written protections for the nation's poultry farmers.
Take heed, Arkansas: the same day Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana announced he would sign the state's "Religious Freedom Restoration Act" — an anti-LGBT bill with disturbing similarities to Rep. Bob Ballinger's HB 1228 — a $4 billion tech company announced they're pulling up stakes there rather than "require our customers/employees to travel to Indiana to face discrimination." Ouch.
The Tyson family and Tyson Foods have made a $5 million gift to toward the Don Tyson Center for Agricultural Sciences, a $16.3 million project of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.
Here's a little national coverage on the fight between broadband providers and education advocates (joined by other business interests) who want to allow K-12 schools to access the public fiber optic network for colleges and universities, ARE-ON.
American Bridge, the liberal PAC formed by David Brock, the former Clinton foe now dedicated to round-the-clock Hillary Clinton defender, is out today with a new report on environmental impacts and layoffs from Koch Industries. The report focuses on the business activities of the Koch brothers — more famous for hundreds of millions in political spending aimed at slashing government services, regulation and taxes — in twelve states, including Arkansas. From the report: "The Kochs' extreme, self-serving agenda is bad for working families. And that reality is starkly embodied not only by their political persuasions, but by their business endeavors."
The proposed Keystone XL pipeline brought together campaign rivals Sen. Mark Pryor and U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton this morning at a press conference hosted at Welspun Tubular LLC, the east Little Rock pipe plant, along with U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin and state legislators and business leaders. Because of environmental concerns, the White House is reluctant to approve the Keystone project, which would deliver about 800,000 barrels of carbon-heavy Canadian tar sands oil each day to Gulf Coast refineries and cross hundreds of miles of sensitive lands. Pryor, Cotton and Griffin all urge President Obama to drop objections to the pipeline, which they say are standing in the way of job creation in Arkansas.
Give Arkansas a Raise, the grassroots group hoping to raise the state minimum wage by an initiated act from $6.25 to $8.50 an hour says U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor will join the group for a news conference endorsing the increase at 11 a.m. Saturday at Bullock Temple CME Church.
NPR gives quite a treatment to "The Meat Racket," a new book by former Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reporter Chris Leonard on Tyson Foods. It praises the genius of Don Tyson, but raises familiar criticism of the poultry giant's relationship with contract suppliers of chicken.
New York magazine provides a book excerpt from a man, Kevin Roose, who went undercover in the secret initiation rites of a Wall Street fraternity — the 1 percent of the 1 percent. Shades of Mitt Romney, the sights he saw at the dinner in January 2012. They included Little Rock tycoon Warren Stephens singing new lyrics, tailored to Wall Street, to "Dixie." The performance was captured on audio.
THAT explains it. Idle talk at the Capitol recently has included a professed desire by some legislators to rein in the state Public Service Commission in some fashion, perhaps with legislation in 2015.
Arkansas Business reports a $148 million deal has been reached for Seneca Foods Corp. of Marion, N.Y., t to acquire "substantially all the operating assets" of Allens Inc. of Siloam Springs, the privately held canning company that filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October.
Prime-Line, Inc., a 17-year-old Malvern company that makes fiberboard doors, millwork and mouldings for retailers including Lowe's and Home Depot, announced today that they would expand their operations in Malvern, investing $6.7 million in a new building and manufacturing line there.
Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is an Arkansas Republican. Thus, like the governor and the Republican-majority legislature, she intends to do everything she can to deny women comprehensive medical care, particularly abortion.
No two presidential candidates since polling began have run up negatives as massive as those of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, who yet won their parties' nominations easily. "What gives?" may be the biggest political mystery in history.
A full page ad in Sunday's New York Times, signed by 21 religious figures, was styled as a "Declaration of Dependence Upon God and His Holy Bible." Sen. Jason Rapert, who's gone full-time into the preaching business, was a signatory along with the likes of faux historian David Barton, Kenneth Copeland, James Dobson and Creflo Dollar.
Disclosure about financing of the anti-medical marijuana campaign in Arkansas is so far lacking, but it's no secret what's happened in other states — pharmaceutical companies have worked to defeat medical marijuana laws because they create (safer) competition.
Secure Arkansas, a rabid anti-immigrant voice among other issues, has come out against the amendment to make it just about impossible to sue nursing homes, doctors, hospitals and other medical care providers The nursing home lobby-driven amendment would cap damages as low as $250,000 and also place an arbitrary limit on attorney fees.
The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department has scheduled a "closing ceremony" for the Broadway Bridge at 10:45 a.m. Wednesday, 45 minutes after the bridge is closed for six months or so of work to tear down the old structure and replace it.