Business Briefs for Sept. 4, 2006

• The Army Corps of Engineers' Little Rock District is seeking public comments through Sept. 25 on a proposed reallocation of storage in Greers Ferry and Ouachita lakes to provide additional water supply for 27 utilities in central Arkansas. A series of three public workshops is planned for Sept. 12-14. The documents can also be reviewed here. Written comments should be mailed to the Planning & Environmental Office, Little Rock Engineer District, P.O. Box 867, Little Rock 72203-0867. For more information, call Jonathan Long at (501) 324-7342.

• Saline Memorial Hospital at Benton broke ground last week on a new emergency department expansion, which is expected to be completed in early 2007. The new facility will offer more square feet of space, additional patient rooms, and technologically advanced equipment for diagnosis and treatment of patients needing emergency services.

• North Little Rock will host the 2006 annual Rural Telecommunications Congress conference Oct. 22-25. The Arkansas host organization is the Association of Users of Telecommunications & Information Systems. The event, to be held at the Wyndham Riverfront, will focus on broadband telecommunications and the uses of broadband connectivity. For more information, visit www.ruraltelecon.org or www.autis.org

• Bell-Corley Construction Co. of Little Rock ranks No. 44 in Inc. magazine's Top 500, a list of the nation's fastest-growing private companies. The commercial construction company boasts a three-year growth of 1,266.8 percent and revenue of $24.2 million. It was founded in 2001 by brothers-in-law Matt Bell and Boyd Corley.

• Henderson State University's Educational Opportunity Center at Arkadelphia will continue to receive a U.S. Department of Education grant of about $1 million over a five-year period.

• Gary George has been elected to the board of J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. of Lowell. George, 56, is vice chairman and CEO of George's Inc., the large private poultry company in northwest Arkansas. He currently serves as chairman of Legacy National Bank and is on the board of the National Chicken Council.

• Best Western has added the Best Western Luxury Inn & Suites at 8219 Interstate 30, Exit 133 in Little Rock. The completely renovated hotel, owned by Dilip and Hansa Patel, offers 40 rooms including 18 suites. The hotel features a complimentary deluxe hot breakfast, outdoor swimming pool, and truck and RV parking at no charge. Rates start at $60 a night.

• The Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce has extended its deadline for receiving applications for its Leadership Arkansas program because of Labor Day. Applications must be postmarked no later than Sept. 8. Leadership Arkansas applications are available for download online at www.ascc-aia. org. For more information, call (501) 372-2222.

• Harvest Rice Inc. of Houston, a rice distributor that bought the former Delta Rice mill at Otwell earlier this year, plans to invest $3 million to $5 million to create 50 new jobs on the project to add more storage bins and beef up infrastructure with a $300,000 grant from the Arkansas Department of Economic Development. The project is expected to take up to two years.

• Richard BerMeulen, president, and J. Larry Garner, secretary-treasurer and general manager, have bought Northwest Arkansas Sheet Metal Inc. at Rogers. The pair bought the company founded in 1951 by Carl C. "Buddy" Woods from Woods' son-in-law, George Blue, who bought it about 1968. The company employs 60 workers and has annual revenue of $5 million to $7 million.

• The University of Arkansas' supply-chain management and logistics program ranks No. 14 in the nation among undergraduate business programs, according to "America's Best Colleges 2007," published by U.S. News & World Report.