April 22-28, 2009
It was a GOOD week for …
THROWING GOOD MONEY AFTER BAD. North Little Rock Mayor Pat Hays, who's already invested more than a quarter-million dollars of city money in a barge and towboat for a private riverfront restaurant, says he's in the market for a barge to replace the one that sank recently. The investment has produced only a pittance in sales tax revenue for the city since the purchase five years ago.
It was a BAD week for …
HEIFER INTERNATIONAL. The Little Rock-based hunger relief organization told employees that about 20 percent of the U.S. workforce would be laid off in June because of declining contributions.
CIRCUIT JUDGE WILLARD PROCTOR. A procession of current and former staff members told a state judicial discipline panel of an alarming lack of distance between the judge and probationers and the money he collected from them through the private Cycle Breakers nonprofit he started. The hearing continued at press time.
JERMAIN TAYLOR. The judges had the Little Rock boxer ahead with 14 seconds left in his super middleweight championship bout with Carl Froch. It was too much time. Froch landed some desperate punches that resulted in a technical knockout of Taylor.
HEALTH. Fears of a swine flu pandemic, with roots in Mexico, had health authorities on edge and stockpiling flu treatment medication.
SOUTHWEST LITTLE ROCK. Waste from shale gas drilling was pinpointed as the latest noxious bother from the BFI landfill on Mabelvale Pike. State regulators and the company finally got serious about the problem after city officials threatened to sue to close the landfill as a nuisance.
PINE BLUFF. The Democrat-Gazette featured the declining enrollment in Pine Bluff public schools. The problem is only a symptom of the decline in the population of all of Jefferson County, exacerbated in Pine Bluff by the overwhelming black school population. White flight, in other words.