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Good Week: Arkansas Arts Center

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It was a good week for...

THE ARKANSAS ARTS CENTER. The museum's foundation announced that it had raised $4 million — $2 million of it from two anonymous donors giving $1 million each — and would give the Arts Center $2.17 million to pay off debt linked to the financially disastrous World of the Pharaohs exhibit.

THE UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS IN FAYETTEVILLE. The state's flagship announced that it had enrolled 23,153 students in its fall semester, 1,700 more than last year, with 25 percent more blacks and 28 percent more Latinos enrolling.

GEEKS. The much-hyped and long-awaited Apple store opened in West Little Rock with a crowd of 200 gathering in anticipation on Saturday.

THOSE INTERESTED IN THE WEST MEMPHIS THREE CASE. More than 1,000 attended a panel discussion on the case co-hosted by the Clinton School of Public Service and the Arkansas Times last Thursday at the Statehouse Convention Center. Attorneys for the defendants, Jonesboro prosecutor Scott Ellington, journalist Mara Leveritt and advocate Capi Peck made up the panel. Ellington made news when he said the state crime lab would test so-far unidentified DNA evidence to see if it points to a suspect in the case. And Capi Peck said Damien Echols hopes to tell his life story.

It was a bad week for...

THE ENVIRONMENT. Instead of imposing fines or shutting down the mining company UMETCO, which has long exceeded state water pollution standards on discharges into a Hot Springs creek that feeds Lake Catherine, the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission changed its rules to permit the higher pollution levels.

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION. Attorney General Dustin McDaniel issued an official opinion agreeing that it was legal for the city of Little Rock to withhold hometowns when it released a list of employees. The city asked the opinion because someone sought the list of employees who live outside the city. The statute allows protection of "home addresses" of non-elected public employees and McDaniel's opinion said this "encompasses all components parts of a 'home address'; namely, a street address, zip code, city, and county." A city or a county are far from a home address.

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