Business Briefs for August 7, 2006

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Aug. 7, 2006 12:00 am  

• Weyerhaeuser Co. of Federal Way, Wash., has completed the sale of its composite panel mills, including one at Malvern, to Flakeboard America Ltd. for an undisclosed sum. Flakeboard America is based in Fort Mill, S.C., and is a U.S. subsidiary of Flakeboard Co. Ltd of Markham, Ontario. Weyerhaeuser said the mills no longer fit the company's strategic direction.

• Whirlpool Corp. of Benton Harbor, Mich., says it will lay off 950 workers at its Fort Smith plant rather than the 730 it first announced as the appliance maker tries to match production with demand. The Sept. 1 layoffs at the plant will cut its labor force by nearly 25 percent from its current 4,000 workers.

• Poe Travel of Little Rock, which had planned to take a small group to North Korea in September, says severe flooding that has killed hundreds has forced the cancellation of the North Korean 2006 Arirang Mass Games event. In addition, Poe Travel said it has been informed that, without exception, no visas will be issued for U.S. citizens at this time.

• SelecTrucks of Little Rock, a used-truck dealer, has launched a new Web site that features the scenic beauty of the state at The site also includes up-to-date inventory searchable by mileage, make, model and price. SelecTrucks is a division of Freightliner LLC of Portland, Ore.

• The Arkansas Ready Mixed Concrete Association Inc. will hold a seminar for homeowners, builders and contractors from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. on Aug. 22 at the Holiday Inn Select in west Little Rock. The seminar will focus on new storm-resistant construction techniques. For more information, call Rita Madison at (501) 663-8335 or (501) 766-8338.

• The Food & Drug Administration's National Center for Toxicological Research at Jefferson will celebrate its 35th anniversary on Aug. 9 at the Jefferson Laboratories. The celebration will begin at 9:30 a.m. Democratic U.S. Sens. Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor and Rep. Mike Ross will speak, and Dr. Janet Woodcock, the FDA's deputy commissioner for operations, will be the keynote speaker.

• Entergy Corp. has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to dismiss a complaint filed in June by the Arkansas Public Service Commission, which is hoping to cut an expected rate increase for Arkansas customers because of the company's multistate rate-equalization plan.

• A University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences at Little Rock obesity researcher has been awarded a contract by the National Institutes of Health to study the chemical mechanisms of fat cells. Dr. Philip Kern received a five-year grant worth about $225,000 a year with a renewal of up to five more years for a total of $2.79 million.

• EDS of Plano, Texas, the Medicaid-services company that has handled patient and provider services for the BreastCare program in Arkansas for seven years, has a new $12.7 million contract, which is for a year but has six one-year options. The BreastCare program provides breast and cervical cancer screenings, diagnosis, and treatment for low-income women across the state.

• Sandra Wilson Cherry, 64, a federal prosecutor in the U.S. attorney's office for the Eastern District of Arkansas for 30 years, died Aug. 1 at her Little Rock home of cancer. She was the first woman appointed to the Arkansas Public Service Commission, and the second woman elected president of the Arkansas Bar Association, serving from 2001-02. She won the ABA's Golden Gavel Award for service to the legal profession in 1992.

• Skip Rutherford, dean of the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock, will speak at the monthly meeting of the Sales & Marketing Executives Association of Arkansas on Aug. 8 at The Little Rock Club. His presentation. focuses on the importance of public relations. A networking and social hour runs from 5:30-6:30 p.m., with dinner and the presentation from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The cost is $20. Call (501) 425-7781 or Jeanie Reed at (501) 834-0511 or e-mail for reservations.

• Crye-Leike Franchises Inc. of Nashville, Tenn., the real estate franchiser subsidiary of Crye-Leike Realtors, has signed a franchise agreement with The Anderson Co., managing company of Brock Real Estate in Heber Springs and Greers Ferry. Crye-Leike Brock Real Estate and Crye-Leike Brock Real Estate-Greers Ferry branch will be managed by C. Larry Anderson, principal broker. The firm will specialize in lakefront and riverfront properties, as well as general residential and commercial real estate, investment properties, and real estate development throughout Cleburne County and into the counties of Faulkner, Stone, White and Van Buren.

• The Arkansas Center for Space & Planetary Sciences at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville has been awarded a $1 million grant by NASA to continue its work creating missions to asteroids, as well as exploring the possibilities and chemistry of water on Mars as part of the nation's space effort. The center also has received a grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation to support its laboratory for space simulations.

• The Talent Search program at Henderson State University at Arkadelphia will receive five years of federal funding totaling more than $1 million from the U.S. Department of Education. The program identifies and assists individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds living in southwest Arkansas who have the potential to succeed in higher education.



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