Business Briefs for April 16, 2007

• Entergy Arkansas has named the Southern Good Faith Fund as the administrator of Project Deserve, a fund established 25 years ago to help elderly and disabled customers pay their electric bills. Project Deserve donations totaled $317,413 in 2006, of which $135,512, the corporate match portion of contributions from Entergy customers and employees, was presented to Southern Good Faith Fund last week.
• The Arkansas Travelers baseball club has named long-time general manager Bill Valentine, 74, to be executive vice president/chief operating officer. Pete Laven, 37, the 2006 Texas League Executive of the Year, has been promoted to general manager.
• Arvest Bank has created an Equipment Leasing Division for businesses to make financing business purchases, particularly depreciating equipment, easier by providing them with an option to traditional financing methods. The division will serve all of Arvest's community banks from offices at Fort Smith. Kyle Gilliam will serve as president of the new division; Michael Kelly as executive vice president.
• Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has created two new positions within its U.S. segment to revive growth. The company named Bill Simon as chief operating officer and Pat Curran as executive vice president for human resources. Both will report to Eduardo Castro-Wright, president and CEO of the U.S. stores division, which account for four-fifths of all sales.
• Delta Dental of Arkansas recently donated $500,000 for various projects designed to meet the oral health needs of Arkansans. The donations are part of Delta Dental's Smile! Arkansas initiative. Among the funding: $200,000 for grants to increase access to oral health care for the needy through charity dental clinics and $100,000 to help fund the 2008 Arkansas Mission of Mercy, a two-day, free dental clinic available to the public.
• ABF Freight System Inc.'s U-Pack Moving now offers guaranteed delivery dates and expedited transit backed by a 100 percent customer service guarantee. Additional service improvements include expanded storage options, trailers equipped with loading ramps, and longer loading and unloading times. With U-Pack Moving, ABF delivers a 28-ft. trailer to the customer's home and charges only for the space used. It combines the professional driver and equipment of a traditional full-service mover with the cost savings of a rental truck.
• The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation has awarded $330,000 to fund a two-year educational project by the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies to explore the role of race relations in Arkansas history and continuing efforts to come to terms with the state's growing population diversity. The project is called "Ruled by Race? A Classroom Exploration of Arkansas's Past and Future."
• The Arkansas Historical Association's 66th annual conference, to be held April 26-28 at Little Rock, will look at the history of civil rights in Arkansas. The theme is "Not Just Black and White: The Fight for Civil Rights in Arkansas." The conference will feature 37 speakers, including former Sen. Dale Bumpers. Registration is $5. For more information, contact Donna Ludlow at (479) 575-5884 or e-mail dludlow@uark.edu.
• Metropolitan National Bank opened a Sheridan location last week — its first location in Grant County. The Sheridan branch is located at 1210 South Rock Street, also known as Highway 167-South. Debbie Webb is the branch manager and Brandi Summit will act as assistant manager.
• The Arkansas Bankers Association has endorsed BSG Financial LLC's Re$ubmitIt, an electronic check and item recovery service targeted to a bank's business accountholders and which doubles collection rates on NSF checks, to its member banks. BSG Financial of Louisville, Ky., is a provider of profit-enhancing programs and marketing services to the financial industry. The Re$ubmitIt program utilizes electronic check processing technology to recover more funds from NSF items at no cost to business accountholders.