Arkansas Business: Stocks dip during international unrest

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Arkansas Business) -- The Dow logging its worst loss in six weeks as investors grow more worried about developments in Ukraine.

All this, ahead of a weekend vote in Crimea over whether to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. Still, there was some good economic news, with the Labor Department reporting that the number of people seeking unemployment benefits dropped 9,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 315,000.

That's the lowest level in three months. It was also the second straight decline in that figure.

More changes for west Aransas health system

There are still more changes at Sparks Health System and Summit Medical Center in western Arkansas. The health system has named Tim Schmidt interim CEO following the resignation of Charles Stewart on Wednesday.

Stewart left after less than six months on the job. The position oversees hospitals in Fort Smith and Van Buren.

Donna Bragg -- local director of marketing and communications for Sparks and Summit -- told Arkansas Business she couldn't discuss the reason for Stewart's resignation.

Schmidt's interim role is effective March 20. The hospitals will begin searching for a permanent replacement immediately.

Suddenlink expands services to Arkansas

Suddenlink of St. Louis announced that it plans to spend about $29 million in capital expenditures in Arkansas this year. A spokesman indicated that its customer base for telephone and broadband services was growing and it would need to grow its infrastructure accordingly. Suddenlink has about 110,000 household and 7,000 business customers in the state.

Groundbreaking for new operations center

Gov. Beebe and other economic development officials will be holding a groundbreaking mid-morning for a new regional operations center that employ at least 50 people.

The Midcontinent Independent System Operator, or MISO, based in Indiana, is establishing the center at 1700 Centerview Drive in west Little Rock.

MISO, which oversees power delivery in the region, is using the center as a regional hub. Entergy Arkansas is part of MISO's power delivery system.

MISO announced plans to build the center -- whose employees will have an average salary of $85,000 -- last May.


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