Feb.25-March 3, 2009
It was a GOOD week for …
U.S. SEN. MARK PRYOR. He'll chair a subcommittee looking at improvement of the Federal Trade Commission, mostly a failure in protecting consumers during the Bush years.
A TEST LAWSUIT. A taxpayers' suit was filed to see whether the state Game and Fish Commission controls the revenue from gas drilling on Game and Fish land or whether it should go into general state revenue.
FOND MEMORIES. Former UA basketball coach Nolan Richardson and his 1994 NCAA basketball team were cheered wildly at a Walton Arena reunion, Richardson's acrimonious departure forgiven if not forgotten. It probably helped that it has been a season without a lot to cheer about.
ESTHER PARK. The Joe T. Robinson Middle School 7th grader won the Arkansas Spelling Bee.
It was a BAD week for …
DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES. After a Pine Bluff man was charged with strangling his six-month-old daughter, her grandmother said she'd called the state child abuse hotline and Children and Family Services dozens of times about abuse in the home. The department has still refused to respond to questions about its performance and disciplinary action, if any, in four child deaths and a serious abuse case reported last year.
The UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL ARKANSAS. The Democrat-Gazette reported that five UCA trustees had received cut-rate tuition for their kids. Interim President Tom Courtway, still shielding information about UCA financial practices, also says he intends to continue the policy. Scott Roussel, the one trustee with a kid in school, says he'll keep taking the pay, though it's not authorized by board policy.
NORTH LITTLE ROCK. $100 million in taxpayer-built sports and concert facilities; taxpayer-subsidized core city redevelopment; Tax Increment Finance Districts. All this and the city's tax revenue continues to decline, likely meaning cuts in city services. Message to Mayor Hays: You can't give away enough money to buy prosperity.