Business Briefs (Dec. 15, 2008)

Arthur Hart & Co., a Little Rock accounting firm, has become Hart Chandler & Associates PLLC with the addition of Blake Chandler as a partner. Chandler will be responsible for management of the company's audit department, compliance with American Institute of Certified Public Accountants professional standards and client service. He joins the firm from an S&P 500 telecommunications company where he held several positions, including director of general accounting and director of financial planning.

FedEx Corp.'s less-than-truckload units, FedEx Freight and FedEx National LTL, have each set a 5.7 percent general rate increase, effective Jan. 5, 2009. FedEx Freight, a regional LTL carrier that operates out of Harrison, delivers about 80 percent of its shipments next-day and second-day, while FedEx National LTL provides long-haul service. After Jan. 5, the new base rate and rules tariffs for FedEx Freight will be available at www.fedex.com/us/freight/main.

Robert Balfe, 40, who has been U.S. attorney for the Western District of Arkansas since November 2004, will join the law firm of Mitchell Williams Selig Gates & Woodyard PLLC in January. He will head Mitchell Williams' new government investigations, enforcement and white-collar crime practice at the firm's office at Rogers.

Lyon College at Batesville has received an $800,000 gift from the Rogers Foundation of Fairfax, Va. The gift will be used for scholarships for music students and for Christian education. The foundation was established by W. F. Rogers Jr., a 1933 alumnus of Lyon.

The Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas will hold its 15th annual Business Forecast luncheon on Jan. 23, 2009. The event will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the John Q. Hammons Convention Center in Rogers. Speakers include Dave Rader, EVP and CFO of Frito Lay; Ross C. DeVol, director, regional economics, at the Center for Health Economics, Milken Institute; Thomas F. "Mack" McLarty III, president, McLarty Associates; and Katherine A. Deck, director, UA's Center for Business & Economic Research. To register online, visit http://cber.uark.edu/383.asp.

 The Public Building Authority of North Little Rock will hold a public hearing at 10 a.m. on Dec. 22 on the question of issuing Public Facilities Refunding Revenue Bonds, Series 2008-2, not to exceed $5.5 million in principle amount. The bonds would be issued to provide funds to finance the buying and equipping of public facilities at the Dickey-Stephens Baseball Stadium, which will be leased to the city of North Little Rock.

 John Brown University, the private Christian college at Siloam Springs, has received a four-star rating for sound fiscal management in the nonprofit sector from Charity Navigator, an organization that evaluates the efficiency of charitable organizations. Charity Navigator, www.charitynavigator.org, is the nation's largest evaluator of charities

The Arkansas Hospitality Association is searching for stars to honor at its ninth annual Stars of the Industry Awards. These awards recognize outstanding performance, commitment and achievements by employees in the food service, lodging and tourism industry. The recognition and awards will be presented at a dinner at the Wyndham Riverfront in North Little Rock on Feb. 24. Nominations are being sought for the Hospitality Employee of the Year and the Hospitality Manager of the Year. For more information, call (501) 376-2323.

Baptist Health, the state's largest health system, has expanded its use of Clinical Xpert CareFocus, a real-time clinical surveillance service from Thomson Reuters that enabled the system's pharmacists to increase necessary clinical interventions and save more than $1 million.

Arkansas Heart Hospital and QualChoice of Arkansas Inc. have signed a three-year agreement that adds the hospital to the QualChoice provider network. QualChoice also has expanded its physician provider network in central Arkansas to include all of the medical staff at Heart Hospital.

Arkansas Mutual Insurance Co. of Little Rock has received approval from the Arkansas Insurance Department to offer medical liability insurance to Arkansas physicians. The firm said it's the only Arkansas-based company approved to offer medical liability insurance in Arkansas. Corey Little is Arkansas Mutual's CEO; its board of directors includes physicians and two former Arkansas insurance commissioners, Mike Pickens and Dick Horne.