Talk Business & Politics Staff

This content has been contributed by the staff of Talk Business & Politics.

Follow Talk Business & Politics on Facebook: Facebook.com/TalkBusinessAndPolitics

Twitter: @TBArkansas

In an historic move to more effectively eliminate hunger in Arkansas, the Arkansas Foodbank and the Arkansas Rice Depot announced Thursday, after approval from both organizations’ boards of directors, plans to merge effective Jan. 1, 2016.

The two nonprofits have long been dedicated to serving hungry Arkansans through various programs reaching school-aged children, college students, families and seniors.

Flickr.com

Among the ideas being considered by the Governor’s Working Group on Highway Funding has been transferring some of the state’s 16,418 miles of roads to cities and counties.

The Association of Arkansas Counties doesn’t support the idea.

“Obviously, counties are in no position to absorb additional roads,” said Chris Villines, Association of Arkansas Counties executive director, in an association press release. “For the most part, we run a road maintenance program around the state, not one of new construction, and we can barely handle the 70,000 miles we currently have.”

Arkansas seldom ranks first in any category among the other 50 states, but when it comes to adult obesity the Natural State is at the top of the list, according to a new report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

The report found that Arkansas had the highest adult obesity rate at 35.9%, and one of three states, along with West Virginia and Mississippi, where at least 30% of its adults are deemed obese. In 1980, no state had a rate above 15%, and in 1991, no state had a rate above 20%, which is a major concern to health professionals.

Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR

Hillary Clinton promised a plan to cap the rising costs of prescription drugs and praised her husband’s and President Obama’s administrations in a speech before a raucous crowd at Little Rock’s Philander Smith College Monday.

Arvest Bank

ARVEST TOPS $1 BILLION IN MORTGAGE LOANS FOR 13TH STRAIGHT YEAR

Arvest Bank’s mortgage division topped $1 billion in mortgage loans for the 13th consecutive year, the privately held Bentonville-based financial concern recently announced. Arvest reached the $1 billion milestone more than a month earlier this year than it did in 2014 on Aug. 21, closing on a total of 6,380 loans with a value of $1,008,591,434. In 2014, Arvest didn’t hit the $1 billion mark until Sept. 30.

NASA

Two University of Arkansas researchers working on a promising new material to create more efficient solar cells will lead a corps of Arkansas scientists chosen to develop the next generation of photovoltaic devices used in space missions, the university announced on Thursday.

Organizers for the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, scheduled for October 9-18, announced high profile guests who will be participating.

From a festival press release:

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art recently acquired Maya Angelou’s Quilt of Life, 1989, (acrylic on canvas and painted, dyed and pieced fabrics) by Faith Ringgold, from the art collection of the late author and activist, Maya Angelou. The work hung in Angelou’s home and was commissioned by Oprah Winfrey for Angelou’s 61st birthday.

According to the museum, Ringgold is well-known for her painted story quilts, “which unite a tradition of representational painting with the rich history of quilting in the African-American community.”

The combined impact of proposed mergers among four of the nation’s largest health insurance companies would exceed federal antitrust guidelines designed to preserve competition in as many as 97 metropolitan areas within 17 states, according to new special report on commercial health insurance markets issued recently by the American Medical Association (AMA).

Officials with the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art announced Wednesday that it has welcomed more than two million visitors since opening on November 11, 2011.

Pages