The Arkansas Farm Bureau’s 27th annual Thanksgiving dinner survey shows that families will only pay 1 cent more on average for their traditional Turkey Day meal. According to the survey, it will cost $45.12 for a family of 10, or $4.50 per person. Last year’s average was $45.11.

The statewide average is based on responses from members of the Farm Bureau Women’s Committee and other volunteers who surveyed food prices at nine grocery stores and supermarkets across the state. The survey period was Oct. 26 – Nov. 5. The shopping list has remained unchanged since 1986 to allow consistent price comparisons. Items on the list include turkey, milk, sweet potatoes, rolls, cranberries, coffee, pumpkin pie mix, whipped cream, stuffing, green peas, celery and carrots.

Home BancShares buys another Florida Bank

Centennial Bank, a wholly owned subsidiary of Home BancShares Inc., announced it has acquired all of the deposits and substantially all of the assets of Heritage Bank of Florida, with offices located in Tampa, Lutz and Wesley Chapel, Fla., through an agreement with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

As of Sept. 30, Heritage Bank of Florida had approximately $225.5 million in total assets and $223.3 million in total deposits. In addition to assuming all of the deposits of the failed bank, Centennial Bank agreed to purchase approximately $193.7 million of the failed bank’s assets. The FDIC will retain the remaining assets for later disposition. The acquisition adds three new branch locations in Florida for Centennial Bank.

Dillard’s sales climb, profits fall

Dillard’s Inc. reported higher revenue but substantially lower profits as the Little Rock-based mall retailer exited its third quarter. The company disclosed third-quarter revenues topped $1.486 billion and net income of $48.5 million. One year ago, Dillard’s posted $1.418 billion in third-quarter income and $228.2 million in profits. For the nine months ended Oct. 27, Dillard’s eclipsed $4.597 billion in sales and revenue and $174.5 million in net income for the period.

Windstream profits fall on restructuring charges

Rising business service revenue and increases in consumer broadband products drove Windstream Corp. third-quarter revenues to higher ground. The Little Rock-based communications company posted sales and revenue of $1.552 billion for the quarter compared to $1.023 billion one year ago.

Profits were lower in part due to $12 million in restructuring charges as Windstream alters its work force to accommodate its changing business model from a rural telecom to a broadband and infrastructure company in the modern world of telecommunications. Net income fell from $78.1 million one year ago to $53.7 million in the current quarter.

Voters approve road tax, defeat marijuana, financing measures

Arkansas voters approved a temporary half-cent sales tax for highways in Tuesday’s general election, while rejecting proposals to allow for medical marijuana and to give cities and counties more financing tools.

Issue 1 allows for a 10-year, temporary half-cent sales tax increase for four-lane highway construction and repairs. It passed 58 percent to 42 percent. Issue 2 was defeated by a margin of 56 percent to 44 percent. The proposed constitutional amendment would authorize cities and counties to create districts for development and redevelopment projects that would be funded by bonds tied to a sales tax collected within the district. Issue 5, the medical marijuana initiative, stirred the most passion among voters this election cycle. The proposal, which was defeated narrowly by 51 percent to 49 percent, would have allow for up to 30 nonprofit dispensaries in Arkansas.

AT&T says $14 billion national investment to benefit Arkansas

AT&T announced plans to invest $14 billion over the next three years nationwide and Arkansas leaders say the state will benefit. AT&T’s announcement comes as hyper-growth in wireless and mobile devices has placed stress on telecommunications companies’ infrastructure. The company did not disclose state-by-state investment under the new program, but AT&T typically announces its annual capital expenditures around year’s end.

$2.4 million given to cities and counties for economic projects

Gov. Mike Beebe presented grants totaling nearly $2.49 million to 13 Arkansas cities and counties. The funds originate from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. The grants will be administered by the Arkansas Economic Development Commission’s Grants Division and will be used for a variety of projects ranging from wastewater lines to child care centers to youth entrepreneur activities.


Roby Brock, a freelance journalist based in Little Rock, writes weekly for the Arkansas News Bureau. His weekly television program airs at 10 p.m. Sundays in Central and Northwest Arkansas. His e-mail address is; his Web site address is