News in brief

Video series touts LR

as business friendly

Local business operators are taking a starring role in promoting Central Arkansas to help recruit businesses to the area.

Metro Little Rock Alliance released a video series Wednesday to spread the word on the advantages of locating a business in the region. The videos target the advanced manufacturing, food processing, supply chain and logistics, corporate operations and financial technologies sectors.

"Word of mouth is one of the oldest marketing tactics in the book and our goal with this campaign is to leverage the voices of world-class companies with strong influence," said Jack Thomas, vice president of economic development at the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Nate Westover of Amazon is part of the video pitch. "Little Rock is an area that will truly surprise you," he says in the series. "I would highly encourage anyone to come here because of the strong partnerships that exist and the support you will get when you come here."

Metro Little Rock Alliance is a coalition of economic development organizations in Central Arkansas led by the Little Rock chamber. The videos can be found at

-- Andrew Moreau

Water projects to get

$217M in state funds

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Commission on Wednesday approved more than $217 million in aid for 16 Arkansas water and wastewater projects to benefit more than 622,472 residents.

The larger projects include improvements to water and wastewater treatment plants for Paragould's 31,043 customers and replacement of a failing mainline pipe, water mains along East Street and construction of an elevated storage tank for Texarkana's 29,387 customers. Dorcheat Public Water Authority in Columbia County will use the funding to replace water meters for its 11,562 customers. North White County Rural Water will install new water mains along Rocky Point Road for its 5,973 customers.

In Pulaski County, Central Arkansas Water will receive a loan for the Wilson Water Treatment Plant renewal and resiliency project for its 500,000 customers. Runyan Acres Sewer Improvement District 211 received a $8,155,412 loan to improve their wastewater treatment plant.

-- Cristina LaRue

Arkansas Index falls

1.45, ends at 844.79

The Arkansas Index, a price-weighted index that tracks the largest public companies based in the state, closed Wednesday at 844.79, down 1.45.

"Equities fell in afternoon trading led by the technology sector after a decision by the Federal Reserve to leave interest rates unchanged while reiterating their commitment to lowering inflation," said Leon Lants, managing director at Stephen's Inc.

Shares of Murphy USA rose 1.1%.

The index was developed by Bloomberg News and the Democrat-Gazette with a base value of 100 as of Dec. 30, 1997.