It was a good week for...
JOHN L. SMITH. The former Arkansas assistant, who left the program in December to become head coach at his alma mater, Weber State, was named head coach of the football Razorbacks. A former head coach at Louisville and Michigan State, Smith is often described as disgraced former coach Bobby Petrino's mentor. He'll be paid $850,000 for a 10-month contract.
TOM PETTY FANS. Fourteen thousand packed into Verizon Arena to see Petty and the Heartbreakers play their first concert in Arkansas in 35 years. Petty promised to return soon. See more on page 48.
AN EVICTION NOTICE. Little Rock Police Chief Stuart Thomas personally delivered word to the Occupy Little Rock encampment at 4th and Ferry Streets Monday evening that a city permit for the occupation, previously open-ended, would not be extended past May 16.
It was a bad week for...
WALMART. The New York Times reported that the Arkansas-based retailing giant, after uncovering use of bribery to dominate the Mexican market in 2005, took steps to cover it all up. This is a big, very bad deal that reaches to the very highest ranks of Walmart, including the former CEO, H. Lee Scott, and the former director of the Arkansas State Police, Tom Mars, who was general counsel of the company in 2005 and is now executive vice president and chief administrative officer. Board chair and Walton heir Rob Walton reportedly received an e-mail about the bribery in 2008.
STATE SEN. JOYCE ELLIOTT. The Democrat-Gazette reported that Elliott was hired by UALR to run the Central Little Rock Promise Neighborhood for $80,000 even though state law prohibits hiring sitting legislators for state jobs. It was an oversight, all say. It will be corrected by funneling the money through the city of Little Rock first. As far as bookkeeping and the statute are concerned, yes, all may now be well. As far as appearances, not so much. It doesn't erase UALR's selection of a legislator for a publicly financed job. She's permanently conflicted as a legislator, of course, on matters relating to UALR or the city of Little Rock, if she's elected to another term. Rep. Fred Allen is challenging her in the Democratic primary.
ALSO: Turkey Scratch native Levon Helm, beloved musician famous for his time in The Band, died at 71. His songs will live forever. See more on page 13.