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The Week That Was, Dec. 22-28, 2010

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It was a good week for ...

ARKANSAS. The Census reported population growth in the state of about 9 percent, to 2.9 million, the last decade. That was slightly below the national average, but good enough not to lose representation in Congress.

MAUMELLE. Dillard Department Stores announced it would take over the closed Target warehouse in Maumelle and hire 300 people to work there filling Internet orders.

It was a bad week for ...

The LITTLE ROCK AIRPORT COMMISSION. A meeting to review some new financial procedures occasioned by Airport Director Ron Mathieu's bad habits turned into a lovefest for the wayward director. See Max Brantley's column.

The STATE HIGHWAY AND TRANSPORTATION DEPARTMENT. It insists not a single one of the 135 administrators and office workers with state-provided vehicles should have to give it up because they might find themselves on call some day. The arrogance of independence.

HIGHWAY COMMISSIONER MADISON MURPHY. The Republican oil heir, who's been a long-time advocate for reduced government spending, defended the highway department's free auto policy.

The STATE CORRECTION AND COMMUNITY CORRECTION DEPARTMENTS. They, too, have proved reluctant to give up an excessive number of state-provided vehicles. They also cite the on-call nature of jobs, but have provided little evidence of on-call demand of employees tooling around in free rides. Gov. Mike Beebe is overdue to impose a little executive influence.

P.K. HOLMES. The Senate failed to confirm his non-controversial appointment to the federal bench in Fort Smith, which means he'll have to go through the Senate committee approval process again. It's part of general Republican obstruction to judicial appointments. Arkansas additionally has two open judgeships for which the president has made no nomination.

The AEROSPACE EDUCATION CENTER. The museum and IMAX theater will close Jan. 1 because of declining visitors and other financial support.

WELSPUN. One worker was killed and another injured at the relatively new pipe factory near the Little Rock Port. The accident occasioned a look at the company's safety record, which had several previous blemishes, as well as complaints in other states about product quality.

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