Fort Smith

Michael Tilley, with our partner Talk Business and Politics, discusses an apparent reluctance of many firefighters in Fort Smith to accept a vaccine to prevent COVID-19, water bill adjustments following last month's winter storms, and the future of the former Fianna Hills Country Club and golf course.

A new plant is coming to Fort Smith and it's bringing five new jobs with it. Michael Tilley, with our partner Talk Business and Politics, says the annoucement means a lot more than that.

Courtesy / Edwards Funeral Home

Michael Tilley, with Talk Business and Politics, helps us remember restaurant owner Tom Caldarera, Jr. He also discusses a new hire at Leadership Crawford County and the challenges of being a mayor during the last 18 months.

Michael Tilley, with our partner Talk Business and Politics, helps us understand economic numbers from a pandemic year. He says the figures are a mixed bag.

Courtesy / University of Arkansas Fort Smith

The University of Arkansas Fort Smith is receiving $2.755 million in federal relief funding for students impacted by the pandemic. The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, which was signed in December, authorized more than $81 billion in support for education. UAFS officials say they're providing grants to students because many are need.


Courtesy / Fort Smith School District

Fort Smith Public School District is significantly reducing the number of high school students with failing grades during the pandemic by deploying an innovative program called "On Track."  District leaders are using "On Track" teams for each high school campus to work one-on-one with failing students, as well as locating missing ones, to help them achieve career and college readiness. 

As the Fayetteville Police Department launches its social work internship program, the Fort Smith Police Department is waiting to find out if it's been awarded a grant that would fund a part-time licensed counselor that can work on opioid and substance abuse related issues. That's in addition to the department's Crisis Intervention Unit, which was launched last year with two officers and the hope of expanding it to three or four in 2021.

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The Fort Smith Board of Directors repealed a tax increase on some alcohol sales. The measure had been passed last month. Michael Tilley, with Talk Business and Politics, discusses the reversal. He also examines the 2020 numbers at the Fort Smith Regional Airport and a proposed new RV park near downtown Fort Smith.

Mars Petcare's multimillion dollar investment is expected to create 120 new full-time jobs with room for growth in the future. The facility expansion will begin this month and is scheduled for completion in 2022. With the investment, Mars Petcare will add more than 200,000 square feet and two additional production lines, increasing production capacity by more than 40 percent.

Courtesy / UAFS

More than 300 students attending the University of Arkansas Fort Smith had the option to receive the COVID-19 vaccine Monday. A vaccination clinic was hosted on campus thanks to a partnership between Coleman Pharmacy and the UAFS College of Health Sciences.