Business Briefs for Dec. 1, 2008

Arvest Bank and its parent, Arvest Bank Group Inc. of Bentonville, said neither would apply for capital funds through the U.S. Treasury Department's Capital Purchase Program. "Arvest evaluated the provisions of the Capital Purchase Program carefully and made a business decision not to apply for the funds due to the strength of our balance sheet and our capital exceeding federal standards for being well-capitalized," said Kevin Sabin, president and chief operating officer.

Arkansas Federal Credit Union has opened its newest branch at 727 West Beebe Capps in Searcy. AFCU now has 12 branch locations in Arkansas. A grand opening of the Searcy branch begins Dec. 1. During the past five years, Arkansas Federal has opened nine new branches and remodeled two.

QualChoice of Arkansas Inc. of Little Rock will open a full-service office at Springdale on Dec. 12 to serve the northwest counties of Washington, Benton, Carroll, Madison, Crawford, Franklin and Sebastian. The staff of the office at Suite 102 at 4100 Corporate Center Drive will include sales and marketing, network services, claims and customer service.

QualChoice also recently completed an agreement with PremierCare Northwest that brings the Northwest Health System facilities and many of the PremierCare doctors into the QualChoice provider network. The partnership gives QualChoice members in-network access to the Northwest Medical Center at Springdale, Northwest Medical Center at Bentonville and Northwest Medical Center Willow Creek Women's Hospital.

Carl Rosenbaum of Little Rock has been elected chairman of the State Highway Commission after the resignation of Jonathan Barnett of Siloam Springs, who was elected to the state House of Representatives. Rosenbaum, a businessman, was appointed to the commission in 2000 by then-Gov.Mike Huckabee.

J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. has been named to G.I. Jobs magazine's annual list of the "Top 50 Military-Friendly Employers" for the third consecutive year. J.B. Hunt was ranked 14th overall and is the only Arkansas company to make the prestigious listing.

Economics Arkansas, the educational nonprofit that seeks to increase economic literacy in schools, will hold its Bessie B. Moore Teacher Awards Luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Dec. 5 at the Chenal Valley Country Club. Eighteen elementary and secondary teachers will be honored at the event, and Ken James, Commissioner of the Arkansas Department of Education, will be the recipient of the 2008 Economic Education Advocate award. For more information, contact Sue Owens at (501) 682-4349, or e-mail

The Arkansas Department of Health set a new record for its mass dispensing flu exercise by immunizing 123,172 Arkansans against influenza in November. The shots were dispensed during the mass flu vaccination clinics held statewide in 81 health units. All 75 counties were involved again this year, but the totals significantly surpassed last year's number of 103,541 vaccinations for the exercise.

Dec. 7 is the deadline for submitting conference papers and participation in the 2009 Arkansas Identity Solutions Symposium and the 2009 Acxiom Laboratory for Applied Research Conference on Applied Research in Information Technology, which are being held along with the 2009 Acxiom Collegiate Programming Contest on Feb. 13 at the University of Central Arkansas. For more information visit

U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., has been named the Arkansas Agriculture Coalition's "2008 Champion of Agriculture." Lincoln received the recognition during the coalition's annual awards dinner, which also served as a fundraiser for the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance.

Metropolitan National Bank was recently awarded the Community Impact Award from the Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation. The foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Memphis, works with banks to fulfill their federally mandated Community Reinvestment Act requirements.

University of Arkansas architecture professor Marlon Blackwell's Blessings Golf Clubhouse at Johnson, completed for John Tyson in 2006, is one of 1,037 projects from 89 countries showcased in the recently published Phaidon Atlas of 21st Century World Architecture, which focuses on the best buildings of the new millennium.