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The Week that Was, June 27-July 2

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It was a good week for …

LITTLE ROCK. Welspun, an Indian manufacturer, announced plans to build a $100 million plant near the Little Rock Port to produce tubular steel for pipelines. It should employ hundreds beginning in 2008.

The LITTLE ROCK SCHOOL BOARD: On a tie vote, the board failed to ratify a sole-source proposal to audit school district purchasing procedures. If the district needs such an auditor — and it might — a public request for proposals should be sought first.

The SUBURBS. New Census data shows smaller cities such as Cabot, Benton and Maumelle grew robustly while Little Rock and North Little Rock showed little or no population growth in the years 2000-2006.

It was a bad week for …

CONWAY. Two people were killed when a small jet crashed into a house near the city airport, which officials have long said needed to be moved to a new location for safety and other reasons.

SUPERINTENDENT ROY BROOKS. The Little Rock school superintendent fired shots at School Board President Katherine Mitchell that would merit firing for insubordination were he not already headed out the door. (He blamed her for the ill appearance of work she did for the school district under a contract HE signed.) It also turned out that he’d kept secret from the School Board the district’s failure to complete a financial audit required by the state. He tried to blame that on Mitchell, too.

SIMON PROPERTY GROUP. Federal Judge Bill Wilson ordered the mall developer to pay more than $7 million to rehab the decrepit University Mall, plus attorney fees. The mall isn’t likely to be refurbished. The ruling should push Simon to settle with the landowners from whom it leases. The result, eventually, should be redevelopment of the property, whether under Simon ownership or someone else.

LITTLE ROCK PARKING SCOFFLAWS. City officials say they are ready to begin — perhaps by fall — immobilizing cars with a “Denver boot” when they pile up too many unpaid parking tickets.

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