Business Briefs for Sept. 18, 2006

• A Catastrophic Disaster Conference, focusing on the earthquake threat in Arkansas and six other states, will be held 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. on Oct. 10 at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. Cosponsors of the conference are the Arkansas State Bank Department, Arkansas Bankers Association and the McAdams Frierson Chair of Bank Management at ASU. Speakers will focus on how banks can cope with disaster. For more information, call John W. Ashby at (501) 324-9019 or e-mail jashby@banking.state.ar.us.

• Heifer Foundation will host an open house and ribbon cutting at its new headquarters at 1015 Louisiana St. on Sept. 26 beginning at 10:30 a.m. Heifer Foundation purchased the property, the former Heifer International headquarters, when the international development nonprofit moved into its new facility at 1 World Ave. near the Clinton Presidential Library earlier this year.

• The Arkansas Community Development Society will host its annual conference at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway on Oct. 4. Louise Hill of the Fanning Institute at the University of Georgia in Athens will open the conference with a talk on "Local Leadership in the 21st Century." Other topics include "Lessons from Disaster," "Redevelopment: What to Do With Empty Buildings" and "Show Me the Money: Grants and Loans." The $35 cost includes an annual ACDS membership as well as lunch and snacks. For more information, call Steve Jones at (501) 682-7311 or e-mail sjones@1800arkansas.com.

• A Small Business Council seminar will focus on state employment law and high-tech privacy from 9-11 a.m. on Sept. 26 at the Hot Springs Convention Center as part of the Arkansas State Chamber/AIA annual meeting. Allen Dobson of Cross Gunter Witherspoon & Galchus PC will present "State Employment Law 101 - The Basics." Carolyn Witherspoon, of the same firm, will present "High-Tech Privacy: Employees' and Managers' Rights Concerning E-mail, Voicemail and Internet." To register, call Jeff Thatcher at (501) 372-2222 or e-mail jthatcher@ascc-aia.org.

• Chesapeake Energy Corp. of Oklahoma City plans to build a $1.5 million regional headquarters at Searcy that will employ about 30 people. Chesapeake, the nation's third-largest independent producer of natural gas, said heightened activity in the Fayetteville Shale Play was the primary reason for a regional headquarters.

• More samples of illegal genetically modified rice have turned up in Europe. All shipments and consignments that have tested positive have been recalled or withheld from the market. The 25 members of the European Union have adopted emergency measures to step up border controls on all imports of long-grain rice from the United States to ensure they are free from the Liberty Link Rice 601 strain, which actually comes from Germany's Bayer AG's Bayer Crop Science.

• The Arkansas Children's Hospital Research Institute in Little Rock has received a $3.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to continue studies that began in 2000 on the causes of congenital heart problems and other birth defects.

• Arkansas Tech University at Russellville is offering a Level 1 Spanish course for human resource managers and supervisors. The course will be held each Tuesday from 6:30-8:30 p.m. beginning Sept. 26 through Dec. 12. The cost is $375, which includes all training materials, textbook and on-site visit by the instructor to determine specific language and phrase needs. To register, visit http://commed2.atu.edu/pdi-central/registration.php.

• A 256,700-SF Columbus McKinnon plant on 37 acres at Forrest City has been sold for $1.65 million to Lindsey Cot-ton Manufacturing LLC. The Bins-wanger real estate company brokered the deal.

• Entergy Corp. has been chosen as the only U.S. utility for listing on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index-World. Entergy also is the only U.S. utility to make the DJSI five years in a row.

• Robert L. Shoptaw, CEO of Arkansas Blue Cross & Blue Shield, has joined the board of directors of Simmons First National Corp. Shoptaw also serves on the board of Easter Seals, the Little Rock Metro Centre Improvement District and the National Institute for Health Care Management.

• Arkansas Sate University will be sponsoring a Basic Disaster Life Support training course from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on Oct. 6 and an Advanced Disaster Life Support course from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 3-4. The basic course is $75 and the advanced course is $175. The courses are recommended for community and civic leaders, educators, health professionals, law enforcement officers, and anyone interested in being prepared. For more information, call Brenda Goodwin at ASU's nursing department at (870) 972-3074.