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The week that was May 25-31

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IT WAS A GOOD WEEK FOR … RIVERFEST. Rain mostly came and went outside prime hours, which meant big crowds and another artistic success for the annual Memorial Day weekend music extravaganza. SEN. MARK PRYOR. Everyone declares the freshman a player for his participation in the judicial filibuster deal. Everyone, that is, except those cursing him for selling out to Republicans. PINE BLUFF. It shows its progressive side (to the shame of Little Rock) with a looming vote on a city ban on smoking in public places. The vote is going to be close. IT WAS A BAD WEEK FOR … ETHICS. A Democrat-Gazette article reveals, using the race for House speaker as an example, the extent to which legislative candidates have been using campaign funds to contribute to other legislators who can return legislative favors, such as votes for speaker. It is odious, particularly so when a candidate, such as Rep. Benny Petrus of Stuttgart, raises $70,000 (most of it after filing closes) when he has no opposition. SQUIRRELS. One of Arkansas’s great high school mascots heads to the history books with graduation of the final senior class of Winslow High. Winslow students will be going to Greenland High School in future years. HOMELAND SECURITY. Turns out Arkansas is a hotbed for bogus driver’s licenses. Hundreds have been issued and state and federal authorities are investigating. DILLARD’S. The department store chain has been beset by allegations of various forms of racial discrimination for years. But the latest is a hair-puller: A lawsuit says salons in Dillard’s stores charge black people more to have their hair done than white people. HOMELESS. A loss of city support (prompted by complaints from downtown neighbors) has forced the closure of the St. Francis House day shelter at Christ Episcopal Church. It will move to a spot off Asher Avenue, far removed from where most homeless congregate.

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