News in brief: New Mercy clinic set to open in Fort Smith

New Mercy clinic set to open in Fort Smith

A new Mercy Clinic Primary Care location is opening Monday in Fort Smith, replacing an operation that was destroyed by a tornado in May of 2019.

The Mercy Clinic Primary Care is located at 4620 Towson Ave., at the intersection with Phoenix Avenue. It will house Dr. Fareed Kannout, internal medicine specialist, who is moving his practice from Zero Street. Three additional practices are expected to move to the new location eventually. Mercy's Zero Street location, which was used to see patients after the tornado struck, is closing effective Monday, according to a release from Mercy Fort Smith.

"This is a very great moment for us and for the community of Fort Smith," Kannout said in a statement. "We are very excited to be here. It's been a journey -- we had some rough times, bad days with the tornado, as you know. It was a bad time, but it's turned out to be a good time because now we are moving this new clinic that is going to provide great care for our patients and the entire community."

The $3.6 million clinic project is about 6,200 square feet and will offer primary care services, including wellness exams, flu shots and other vaccinations, and offer X-ray and lab services.

-- John Magsam

Meta, IBM take part in open AI coalition

Meta Platforms Inc. and International Business Machines Corp. are joining more than 40 companies and organizations to create an industry group dedicated to open source artificial intelligence work, aiming to share technology and reduce risks.

The coalition, called the AI Alliance, will focus on the responsible development of AI technology, including safety and security tools, according to a statement. The group also will look to increase the number of open source AI models -- rather than the proprietary systems favored by some companies -- develop new hardware and team up with academic researchers.

Proponents of open source AI technology, which is made public by developers for others to use, see the approach as a more efficient way to cultivate the highly complex systems. Over the past few months, Meta has been releasing open source versions of its large language models, which are the foundation of AI chatbots.

The group plans to establish a governing board and technical oversight committee. Participants include Oracle Corp., Advanced Micro Devices Inc., Intel Corp. and Stability AI, as well as the University of Notre Dame.

-- Bloomberg News (WPNS)

State index finishes 7.27 points higher

The Arkansas Index, a price-weighted index that tracks the largest public companies based in the state, closed Friday at 993.59, up 7.27 points.

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

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