Feb. 9-15, 2011
It was a good week for ...
SNOW. Record amounts fell in Northwest Arkansas and most of the rest of the state was blanketed by life-disrupting piles of the stuff. Days later, unseasonably warm weather set in.
The STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION. It denied an expansion plan by the Academics Plus Charter School in Maumelle, which has failed to serve minority students as it promised and which hasn't demonstrated better-than-typical test scores. After 10 years, the board finally is getting tough on broken charter school promises.
The ENVIRONMENT. Rep. Kathy Webb and others introduced a package of bills aimed at better air and water protection during the drilling for natural gas.
ELVIS. The black-and-tan coonhound owned by a Pearcy couple was judged best of his breed at the annual Westminster Kennel Club dog show.
The DEMOCRATIC PARTY. Will Bond, a former legislator from Jacksonville, was elected the new state party chair.
LITTLE ROCK DIVERSITY. The 2010 Census reports that whites are now in the minority in the state's capital, accounting for 48 percent of the population. Blacks, at 42 percent, and other minorities are now the majority.
It was a bad week for ...
GUN NUTS. A bill to allow open carry of handguns, Gunsmoke-style, was killed in House committee and Republicans led the criticism. Concerns linger that the gun lobby will clean up the measure and try again. ON THE OTHER HAND: The gun nuts moved a step closer to complete evisceration of home rule with a bill that passed the Senate and headed to the House to exempt local governments from any laws on guns, even in states of emergency. It would also prohibit lawsuits by local governments on behalf of the public for gun damages.
U.S. REP. TIM GRIFFIN. The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington complained that Griffin and several dozen other members of Congress were breaking House rules and receiving a taxable benefit by using their offices as living quarters.