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The Week That Was, Aug. 19

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It was a good week for ...

POLITICKING. With $3 million in his campaign bank, Gov. Mike Beebe put his mouth to work first, blasting Republican opponent Jim Keet for "trashing" Arkansas. The state has done pretty well in the midst of a recession, Beebe said.

SWELTERING. Temperatures stayed on pace to set a summer record in Little Rock, with steady daily averages of the high and low temps around 90.

The ECONOMIC OUTLOOK. UALR economists saw a third consecutive quarter of growth in Arkansas retail sales, a trend that accelerated in the latest quarter.

CITY DIRECTOR MICHAEL KECK. The lame-duck director urged his colleagues to begin talking about next year's budget NOW and the likelihood of budget shortfalls that could dictate more wage freezes and possibly furloughs or layoffs. Those running again this year would prefer to delay this discussion until AFTER the election.

It was a bad week for ...

DEBATING. U.S. Senate opponents — Republican John Boozman and incumbent Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln — appeared jointly in a forum at Hot Springs. They disagreed, mostly agreeably. The underdog Lincoln squandered an opportunity to draw sharp distinctions with her opponent.

LOTTERY SCHOLARSHIPS. More than 25,000 students received notice of lottery-financed scholarships, but almost 30,000 were turned down and that set off a firestorm of complaints that worthy older students had been overlooked. Rules set priorities for awards to older students, however.

The LITTLE ROCK HOUSING AUTHORITY. Its Parris Towers high-rise has been the source of persistent pellet gun sniping on a neighbor. Then, last Friday, he was subjected to a death threat by a Parris Towers resident. He was urged to fill out a police report.

LAND COMMISSIONER MARK WILCOX. He was forced to amend an earlier story and admit he'd used office money to repair damage his wife had done to another vehicle in a hit-and-run during a shopping trip in a state-owned vehicle. He repaid $995.

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