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The Week that was May 30-June 5

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It was a good week for …

ARKANSAS. The state Supreme Court declared the public schools were constitutionally funded and ended the Lake View case.

WAL-MART. Its long-depressed stock price bounced up after officials said they would slow expansion plans, buy back stock and push for better performance at existing stores.

ARKANSAS ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATORS. They had been slow off the mark, but now they are pushing to tighten regulation of natural gas drillers because of pollution problems in exploration of the Fayetteville shale formation.

TIM GRIFFIN. The former Karl Rove aide who was made U.S. attorney in Little Rock without Senate confirmation — thus setting off a national scandal — resigned June 1, though he could have held on several more months. There have been reports he’ll join the Fred Thompson presidential campaign.

It was a bad week for …

NORTH LITTLE ROCK. Mayor Pat Hays has embarked on a city-financed road-building plan to provide traffic access to Bruce Burrows proposed Bass Pro shopping center in Dark Hollow. It will cost at least $8 million (that’s an old estimate and doesn’t count a new access route for westbound I-40 traffic). Source of the money? Unknown. And this doesn’t count the huge annual subsidy (as much as $500,000 annually) Hays would give Burrow for site development from city, county and Children’s Hospital property taxes.

HOUSTON NUTT. The Hog football coach fed the lingering controversy over his mishandling of quarterback Mitch Mustain and his text-message habit by granting a round of whiny interviews to national media outlets. This made the UA a poster child for screwed-up athletic programs.

DENNIS MILLIGAN, the new chairman of the Arkansas Republican Party. He stuck his foot in his mouth by telling the Democrat-Gazette another attack on the U.S. similar to Sept. 11 would make people “appreciate” the war in Iraq. Whatever he meant to say, the dumb non sequitur won him unflattering national media exposure.

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