Business Briefs for Jan. 8, 2007

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Jan. 8, 2007 12:00 am  

• Whirlpool Corp. has sold several Maytag Corp. properties, including a plant at Searcy, to Industrial Realty Group of Los Angeles. The Searcy plant had employed 700 people until production was halted last month. The company did not disclose a sale price for the plants. Other properties in the deal were at Galesburg and Herrin, Ill.; Ranson, W.Va.; and Newton, Iowa. IRG redevelops corporate real estate and manufacturing facilities.
• ABF Freight System Inc. has expanded its regional transportation network, called the Regional Performance Model, to include the central and southern United States. The move brings increased next-day and second-day short-haul freight service to two-thirds of the company's North American service centers.
• USA Truck Inc. has opened its newest regional operations center in Spartanburg, S.C. The new facility will provide an operational base for the company's short- to medium-haul dry van truckload services in the southeastern United States. The new center is the third regional operations center in USA's growing regional freight division, which also includes regional operations centers in Van Buren and Butler Township, Ohio.
• CSH Inc., a convenience store retailer and wholesaler at Jefferson City, Mo., has bought two convenience stores in Arkansas. One location, PJ's Country Store, is a 2.25-acre full service travel plaza at West Memphis. The other store, located in Parkin, is a Family Quick Stop with a Phillips 66 branded gas station. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.
• Arkansas, along with12 other states, has filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of a case against the insurance industry's use of credit scoring to determine auto insurance rates. The brief asks the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold rulings that sided with plaintiffs who claimed Safeco Insurance of America and Geico General Insurance Co. violated the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act by not sending out adverse action notices when a consumer's credit information resulted in the consumer receiving a higher rate.
• A Quality Asphalt Conference will be held Jan. 11-12 at the Wyndham Hotel in North Little Rock. Quality asphalt pavement processes will be the featured topic. Jerry Goodson, chairman of the Arkansas Asphalt Pavement Association, said all aspects of asphalt production, smooth asphalt and construction site safety would be addressed. Speakers include Director Dan Flowers and engineers of the Arkansas Highway Transportation Department and a key address by Kevin Keith, chief engineer of the Missouri Department of Transportation.
• The state Plant Board said all rice seed planted in Arkansas this year must be tested by April 1, a decision made because trace amounts of genetically modified rice were found in one type of long-grain rice last year.
• J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. said Tracy Black, vice president of information systems, had been recognized by IDG's Computerworld as one of the business world's Premier 100 IT Leaders. The Premier 100 IT Leaders Awards Program honors executives who show exemplary technology leadership in resolving pressing business problems.
• BNSF Logistics LLC of Springdale has bought Pro-Am Transportation Services Inc. of Jamestown, N.D. Pro-Am is a third-party logistics company with approximately $25 million in revenue in 2006. Specific terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. The newly acquired company will operate within the Transportation Execution Services unit of BNSF Logistics.
• Windsor Health Plan Inc. of Nashville, Tenn., has signed an agreement with St. Joseph's Mercy Health Center at Hot Springs, making the hospital the newest member of Windsor's provider network. St. Joseph's is a member of the Sisters of Mercy Health System.
• The Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. plans to build a $30 million, 60-megawatt power plant fueled by natural gas near Elkins, southeast of Fayetteville, to meet growing electricity demands in northwest Arkansas, according to documents filed with the state Public Service Commission. The cooperative wants the plant completed no later than June 15.
• The Little Rock Zoo has increased admission prices Jan. 1 but now offers a discount to seniors. Adult admission prices are $8 a person, up from $6. Child admission is now $6 each. Groups of 15 or more with prior reservations will be charged $4 a person, regardless of age. Prices for seniors 60 and older are $6. Children 1 year old or younger are admitted free.



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