Sept. 2-9, 2009
It was a GOOD week for …
FOOTBALL. The opposition wasn't much, but fans loved the Hogs' season opener, a high-octane 48-10 blowout of Missouri State.
UALR. With a 10 percent enrollment increase, it claimed the No. 2 spot in college enrollment (after UA), thanks also to a reduction in enrollment at the University of Central Arkansas, the previous No. 2.
POLITICS. Republican state Sen. Gilbert Baker added his name to a growing list of primary contenders for U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln. Green Party candidate John Gray also added his name to the list of potential opponents.
WISHFUL THINKING. State revenue continues to run behind last year and well below forecast, but state fiscal officials continue to insist things will pick up by the end of the year.
SURVEILLANCE. North Little Rock called for bids to add 20 surveillance cameras, some hidden, to its existing spy cam inventory. Cops call the gadgets a deterrence to crime, though the scenes they record are rarely monitored “live” by cops.
It was a bad week for …
NORTHWEST ARKANSAS. The Hussman (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette) and Stephens (Morning News) media empires have proposed to end Northwest Arkansas daily newspaper competition by merging their papers into a single operating newspaper company. Meaningful competition will end. In time, dozens will lose jobs if the feds sign off on the deal.
HOUSE SPEAKER ROBBIE WILLS. He fired the House's long-time information officer, hired his own former PR consultant as the House's PR consultant and announced he was preparing a new-age communications strategy that would be more of an “advocate” for the House. As if a fractious body of 100 disparate members is a monolith with a single point of view.
CHARTER SCHOOLS. The latest batch of applications for charter schools included at least a couple aimed at avoiding consolidation or majority black classroom settings.