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[18 Jun 2013 | No Comment | 1,293 views]
Steely announces launch of Sparkible

Mike Steely announced the formation of Sparkible, a non-profit education focused on innovation and startup learning. If the name “Steely” sounds familiar, it should — we visited with him a couple of weeks ago about innovation and economic growth in Arkansas.
Steely, formerly of Arkansas Capital Corporation, has partnered with David Moody to open Sparkible. The new company, according to a news release, is kicking off a series of summer camps established with the goal of teaching Arkansas kids how to harness innovative ideas and build companies based on them. Steely …

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[16 Jun 2013 | One Comment | 5,709 views]
Awesome Site of the Week: The GuitarMann

Welcome to yet another installment in our soon-to-be-ridiculously-famous Awesome Site of the Week series. That series, of course, serves as a guide to some of the great sites out there that you might have missed but should know about and visit often. No, we’re not talking about the ones that everyone knows — we’re talking about some of those out of the way sites that offer great content but might lack the marketing budget to take out television ads that grab your attention.
What site has earned our “certified awesome” designation …

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[13 Jun 2013 | One Comment | 1,488 views]
CCOA observes National Homeowner Month

June is National Homeownership Month, and Credit Counseling of Arkansas (CCOA) is using this month to call attention to the opportunities consumers have to achieve sustainable homeownership through access to professional housing counseling and homebuyer education.
CCOA is a non-profit organization and HUD-approved housing counseling agency that offers services to help people get into, and stay in, affordable housing, a news release states. Although the national housing trend is improving, there are still many homeowners who are struggling to make mortgage payments. CCOA’s free foreclosure prevention counseling sessions help homeowners assess …

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[12 Jun 2013 | No Comment | 1,508 views]
Rascals ruin crepe myrtles in Benton

The Benton Police Department announced that someone — or a group of fiendish someones — destroyed nine of the new crepe myrtle trees that were added as part of the city’s revitalization project on South Street. The trees have a replacement value of $750.
Benton Police want to bring the vandals to justice and are encouraging anyone with information about the crime to come forward and rat out the ne’er-do-well(s). Want to avenge the defenseless trees? Call the Benton Police at (501)778-1171 or (501)315-TIPS.
Individuals can also send anonymous tips about the …

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[12 Jun 2013 | One Comment | 1,295 views]
Southern Baptist Convention opposes BSA ‘homosexual resolution’

According to the Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) on Wednesday adopted a resolution expressing “opposition to and disappointment in the decision of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to change its membership policy” allowing homosexual scouts.
The vote took place on the second — and final — day of the SBC Annual Meeting in Houston. The BSA resolution at issue was adopted on May 23. The resolution states that individuals who are “avowed homosexuals” are still excluded from adult leadership positions, but that youth membership will be extended to …

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[8 Jun 2013 | 2 Comments | 1,503 views]
Innovation key to economic recovery?

It’s no secret that the economy may be recovering but people are wondering where the jobs are. According to the Arkansas Department of Workforce services, the unemployment rate here in the Natural State was 7.1 percent in April — an improvement over 7.3 percent in the same month a year ago.
Here’s something to keep in mind, however — the Department of Workforce Service reported there were 1.236 million Arkansans working in April, down from 1.263 million jobs reported a year ago. How did unemployment decline even though fewer people were …

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[6 Jun 2013 | No Comment | 3,970 views]
Why Wal-Mart’s ‘buy American’ initiative could be significant

KATV-7 — the ABC affiliate in Little Rock — reported today that Bentonville-based Walmart Stores Inc. has pledged to buy $50 billion in goods made or grown in America over the next 10. Wal-Mart also plans to train and provide jobs to 100,000 recently-discharged veterans over the next five years.
Here’s the odd thing — Reuters reported Walmart made those announcements back in January. So, the question must be asked — is KATV just six months behind in its news coverage?
Absolutely not. In fact, one could argue that there can’t be …

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[31 May 2013 | 2 Comments | 810 views]
Judge rejects Shoffner’s plea

According to media reports, U.S. District Judge Leon Holmes on Friday tossed out an agreement under which former Arkansas State Treasurer Martha “Pie Fan” Shoffner was to plead guilty to one count of extortion for allegedly accepting at least $36,000 in exchange for sending business to a broker’s company. It has been alleged that two $6,000 payments were sent to Shoffner disguised in pie boxes that even had pies in them (the desserts, perhaps, were bonuses).
Shoffner, seemingly, admitted to accepting money from the broker but denied that she deliberately sent …

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[30 May 2013 | One Comment | 914 views]
Arkansas homes sales improve again in April

The City Wire in Fort Smith, on Thursday, posted The Arkansas Home Sales Report for April 2013. That report covers four major markets in Arkansas and found that sales were up a cumulative 11.06 percent through April in central Arkansas, the Fort Smith area, the Jonesboro area and northwest Arkansas.
Of those four areas, sales were on the rise everywhere but the Fort Smith area. City Wire Economist Jeff Collins said, on the whole, the rising sales continue a trend that took hold last year — markets are generally on the …

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[29 May 2013 | 3 Comments | 7,429 views]
Your credit history and tightening lending standards

Just a few short years ago, getting a loan for everything from homes to cars was a comparatively easy process. That’s changed a bit and especially when it comes to mortgages, hasn’t it?
So, what happened? The subprime lending market died a sudden death in 2007 due to high default rates leading to foreclosures and financial chaos. Banks responded by tightening lending standards on most consumer loans.
The impact of those new measures — some taken by the industry and some put in place by government regulations — is that a high …