It was a good week for...
HYPOCRISY. Arkansas Republican budget hawks suddenly aren't so hawkish when the budget cuts reach programs that serve Arkansas. Naturally, Sen. John Boozman and U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford weighed in with alarm at news of a round of closing of USDA offices and Crawford offered the quintessential cut-thee-not-me quote: "All of Washington must do more with less. However, with one in 10 proposed closures coming from Arkansas, we cannot sit back and let national bureaucrats harm our state's rural communities."
ICE CREAM LOVERS. Schulze and Burch Biscuit Co. announced completion of the purchase of assets of the bankrupt Yarnell's ice cream business in Searcy and said it plans to reintroduce Yarnell's ice cream in Arkansas stores, using the same recipes, by spring.
PARKING AT UALR. UALR began a transit service, the Trojan Trolley, to serve the school's far-flung parking lots. Two trolleys will run three loops per hour on two separate loops. The vehicles won't serve the private lots across University Avenue where a student, later found dead in a pond south of town, parked her car last year. But they will serve remote lots that might have been unattractive alternatives otherwise and perhaps discourage parking on the non-campus lots.
It was a bad week for...
THE VA DROP-IN CLINIC. Members of the Downtown Neighborhood Association predicted economic disaster and a rise in violent crime should a clinic for veterans open north of I-630 in the former Cook Jeep building. The DNA board wasn't as opposed, casting a 6-5 vote against the clinic.
THE STATE HOSPITAL. Randall Fale, interim administrator of the perennially troubled hospital barely six months (several weeks of that spent on a vacation in Germany), is already out. Consultants hired by the hospital said that Fale's "larger vision of what the hospital can become distracts from the issues at hand," according to DHS spokeswoman Amy Webb.
STATE EMPLOYEES. The governor told the Democrat-Gazette "it doesn't look like" his budget proposal for fiscal year 2013 will include funding for a cost-of-living raise for state workers.
GAMBLERS. Slot machine and other gambling at Oaklawn and Southland — apart from wagering on horse and dog races — hit almost $2 billion last year, according to Talk Business. The house take from wagering — after paying bettors but before taxes and overhead — was $79 million at Southland and about $44 million at Oaklawn.