Business Briefs for May 22, 2006

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, May. 22, 2006 12:00 am  

• B. Finley Vinson, the banker who grew First National Bank into one of the state's largest banks in the 1960s and '70s, died May 14. He was 92. First National merged with Commer-cial National Bank to form First Commercial Bank in 1993, which is now Regions Bank. Vinson became president of First National in 1963 and became chairman in 1967. He retired 1979 but came back in 1993 to help with the merger. Vinson also had an active role in helping develop the Statehouse Convention Center, the Excelsior Hotel (now The Peabody Little Rock), and the Camelot Hotel (now the DoubleTree Hotel)

• Cooper Realty Investments Inc., a subsidiary of Cooper Communities Inc. of Rogers, has bought the Bank of America Plaza building in Columbia, S.C., for $43.2 million from Columbia SC Owner LLC. The building opened in 1989 and has 302,340 SF of office space in 17 stories. Cooper Realty manages 3.1 million SF of office and retail space in Arkansas, Tennessee and South Carolina worth about $340 million.

• The Arkansas State Board of Health will hold a public hearing at 11 a.m. on May 31 at the Arkansas Department of Health & Human Services, 700 Main St. in Little Rock, to allow comment on the proposed adoption of rules and regulations pertaining to the Arkansas Clean Indoor Air Act of 2006. Copies of the proposed rules and regulations can be viewed at Written comments can be sent to Rick Hogan, Office of Chief Counsel, Arkansas Department of Health & Human Services, Slot S260, 700 Main St., Little Rock, AR 72203-1437, or by e-mail to rick.hogan@, no later than 8 a.m. on May 31.

• Kenneth L. Smith, author of "Sawmill," will speak at the monthly meeting of the Ozark Headwaters Group of the Sierra Club at 7 p.m. on May 24 at Powerhouse Seafood in Fayetteville. "Sawmill," first published in 1986 by the University of Arkansas Press and just returned to print, is "The Story of Cutting the Last Great Virgin Forest East of the Rockies." Smith also authored "The Buffalo River Country" and "Illinois River." For more information, contact Joyce Hale at (479) 527-2777 or e-mail

• The Faulkner County Farm Bureau and Satterfield Oil Co. will conduct a meeting at 6:30 p.m. on May 23 at the Natural Resources Building in Conway to discuss and encourage the use of biodiesel by municipalities and schools in the county. Representatives of local schools and towns have been invited to attend. A representative of Patriot Biofuels in Stuttgart and the Arkansas Oil Marketers Association will make presentations and answer questions.

• The Sam Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville is asking business and community leaders in the state to submit nominations for the 2007 Arkansas Business Hall of Fame by July 1. For a nomination form or for more information, call (479) 575-6146 or click here. The annual banquet will be held Feb. 9, 2007.

• Alltel Corp. and the Communications Workers of America said employees represented by the CWA in Kentucky have ratified a new three-year contract. The current contract expires June 7. The agreement covers about 350 employees from CWA Locals 3371 and 3372 that handle the installation and repair of local telephone services for residential and business customers in central and eastern Kentucky, including Lexington, Hazard and Ashland.

• Tencarva Machinery Co. of Greensboro, N.C., an industrial pump distribution company with a branch office in Little Rock, has bought the municipal division of EmoryWilson Co. The new municipal division now includes Tencarva's current municipal group in Arkansas and Tennessee, as well as the territory of the former EmoryWilson operations in North Carolina, South Carolina, most of Virginia and a few counties in northeastern Tennessee. Jon Watson Sr. is the Little Rock branch manager.

• AT&T Inc. has a new data networking services contract with First Western Bank of Rogers. The three-year contract calls for AT&T to provide a network to 12 First Western Bank locations for access to business-critical data. The network will provide expanded bandwidth to support simultaneous videoconferencing and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) data across the bank's wide area network. First Western Bank is owned by First Western Bancshares Inc.

• The El Dorado Advertising & Promotion Commission, the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce, and Main Street El Dorado have formed the Boomtown Wildcatters as a new way to promote Arkansas' Original Boomtown. This group hopes to make El Dorado a "must see" destination for tourists.



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