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Good week: turkeys

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It was a good week for...

TURKEYS. No live turkeys were dropped from an airplane during the Yellville Turkey Trot Festival. The drops, in which panicked birds have often dropped like stones to their deaths during past festivals, apparently were discouraged by a $5,000 reward offered by PETA for the identity of the so-called phantom pilot and the Federal Aviation Administration's promise to go after flight safety violations.

DARRELL BROWN. An unsung civil rights hero, Brown was the first black man to play on the University of Arkansas football team. He never played a varsity game, but paid a big price at practice for trying to integrate Frank Broyles' Hog team in 1965. On Saturday, he was honored as a trailblazer during the Auburn game.

FREE SPEECH. Eighteen Central Arkansas Transit buses are now carrying the disputed ads bearing the legend: "Are You Good Without God? Millions are." They'll run for four weeks, including during the highly attended Arkansas State Fair. Under terms of an injunction issued by federal Judge Susan Webber Wright, the Central Arkansas Coalition of Reason had to post a $15,000 bond to cover potential damage to buses and ads. The bus company and its ad agency had originally refused to run the ads, fearing backlash, though they had accepted church advertising previously. 

It was a bad week for...

MARISSA WRIGHT. Authorities found the bodies of Joe Lee Richards Jr. and Randal Anderson in the backyard of Traskwood resident Marissa Wright, who at one time dated Richards. Wright, who was charged last Thursday with capital murder, has been linked to murder before, when she was identified as an accomplice in a 1993 slaying. She was charged, then given immunity for testifying against a man convicted of capital murder. Authorities have said there's no connection between the bodies or Richards and Anderson other than the yard in which they were found.

ERNESTINE MIDDLETON. The vice president for administration at the Arkansas Lottery was fired. She was the last of three lottery officials who came from South Carolina to get the lottery started to leave after lottery director Ernie Passailaigue and vice president for gaming David Barden both resigned. Middleton, like Barden, made more than $225,000.

MARK DARR. In his weekly column, the lieutenant governor defended partisanship and confused the rules of the state Senate, which he nominally leads, when he suggested that currently Democratic senators get to choose their committee preferences before Republicans, when, in fact, committees are selected by seniority.

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