Business Briefs (Nov. 9, 2009)

● Arkansas' major row crop losses because of the heavy rains could amount to more than $650 million, according to Randy Veach, president of the Arkansas Farm Bureau. Harvesting is already late and the rain has affected the yield and quality or cotton, soybeans, rice and corn. Rainfall this year has been more than 17 inches above normal.

● A recent poll found that 67 percent of consumers approve of the new law restricting credit for consumers under the age of 21, part of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility & Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009, while 33 percent of consumers say it's unfair. founder Curtis Arnold said he believes the law may have gone too far to protect students and young adults, and failed to go far enough in educating credit card consumers.

● The Garrison Financial Institute, in partnership with the Arkansas Chartered Financial Analysts Society, will host Carter Braxton Worth, managing director and chief market technician at Oppenheimer Asset Management Inc. in New York and a frequent CNBC market commentator, at 2 p.m. Nov. 12. The presentation, which is free, will be held in the Global Financial Markets Center in Willard J. Walker Hall on the University of Arkansas campus. Advance registration is required by e-mailing Troy Clark, fixed income strategist for Stephens Inc., will also discuss how current government policies affect the fixed income markets. 

● The Arkansas Export Assistance Center of the U.S. Department of Commerce
will hold a workshop designed to help Arkansas companies grow jobs and profits by expanding international markets from 8:30-10:30 a.m. Nov. 16 in Little Rock in the Metropolitan Tower's 15th-floor conference room. Only 1,300 Arkansas firms export goods or services outside the United States, where more than 95 percent of the world's customers are located. The cost is $20. Call Mary Howard at (501) 324-5794 for more information.  

● The Arkansas Department of Education has signed a two-year agreement with netTrekker to provide districts statewide with access to online instructional resources. Through the partnership, more than 460,000 public school students and teachers will have access to the netTrekker search tool for the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 school years. The state's two-year subscription for netTrekker's service also supports the EAST Initiative.

● Mike Medlock, chairman of the Arkansas State University Board of Trustees, died Oct. 28 at M.D. Anderson Hospital at Houston. Medlock was president of Insurance Network at Jonesboro and was the tax liaison to the Governmental Affairs Committee of Independent Insurance Agents of America. He was past chairman of the Greater Jonesboro Chamber of Commerce board, and a past chairman of the Jonesboro Municipal Airport Commission. He was also a member of the Jonesboro Industrial Development Corp. board. He was appointed to the ASU Board of Trustees in February 2000.

● Amcon Distributing Co. of Omaha, Neb., a consumer products company, has bought the convenience store distribution assets of Discount Distributors from its parent, Harps Food Stores Inc. of Springdale, significantly increasing its wholesale distribution presence in the northwest Arkansas market. The acquisition will be funded through Amcon's existing credit facilities and will add a sixth branch to its system, which will be located in Springdale. Fiscal 2008 sales for the assets acquired were about $59.8 million.

● Rector Phillips Morse Inc./CORFAC International & Coldwell Banker RPM Inc. and Mitchum Auctions & Realty LLC have formed RPM-Mitchum Auctions LLC. Pete Hornibrook is chairman and CEO of Rector Phillips Morse, one of Arkansas' oldest diversified real estate companies, and Johnny B. Mitchum is owner and founder of Mitchum Auctions. The new entity is located at RPM's corporate offices at 1501 N. University Ave. in Little Rock. Hornibrook said real estate auctions are one of the fastest-growing means of selling real estate in today's market. 

● Baptist Health Medical Center at Little Rock says its orthopedic surgeons now can plan a total knee replacement implant procedure before the surgery, using an MRI and Signature Knee Personalized Patient Care System positioning guides, which give a greater level of detail and precision for knee replacement implant position and alignment before the procedure.

● The Cherokee Casino Hotel being constructed just across the Arkansas border in West Siloam Springs, Okla., held a topping out last week of the seven-story hotel, the tallest building between Springdale and Tulsa. Flintco Inc., the country's largest Native American-owned contractor, is the construction manager for the 140-room project, which is expected to be completed in May 2010.

● Retirement Advisors of Arkansas and Shred-It are offering the public an opportunity to prevent identity theft by getting rid of expired documents from 9 a.m. to noon Nov. 14 at 301 Natural Resources Drive in Little Rock. Area residents can bring documents with file folders, hanging files, staples and paper clips, but no binders, hard drives, plastics, discs or cardboard. All paper will be shredded on the spot and sent for recycling. Donations will benefit the Arkansas Prostate Cancer Foundation.

● Kerusso, the Berryville company that produces Christian-themed apparel, jewelry, gifts and accessories, has been named to Inc. magazine's list of America's Fastest-Growing Private Companies for the third consecutive year. The company employs more than 100 people.

● The Women's Foundation of Arkansas has announced its 2009-2010 grant-making cycle. The foundation would begin receiving Letters of Interest from qualified nonprofits through Dec. 31. Organizations will be selected from letters received and invited to submit a full proposal. Selection notices will be sent March 1, 2010. For more information, visit

● Ford Motor Co. has announced the creation of the Ford Motor Company Community Fellowship, a $20,000 full scholarship that will support the education of a future student at the Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock. The fellowship will cover full tuition for the two-year Master of Public Service degree program as well as the costs of the student's International Public Service project, one of three for-credit projects completed during the program.

● Dillard's Inc. is offering the 288-page Southern Living Christmas Cookbook for $10 during the holiday season with proceeds going to the Ronald McDonald House Charities for their 16th annual holiday fundraiser. Ronald McDonald House provides families with seriously ill children a home away from home while their children are receiving treatment at nearby hospitals. The cookbooks will be available in over 300 Dillard's stores as well as online at