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Good week for Mike Beebe 

It was a good week for...

MIKE BEEBE. Governing magazine named the governor one of its 2011 public officials of the year and the University of Arkansas's Arkansas Poll reported that he enjoys a stratospheric 72 percent favorable rating in the state.

PROTECTING THE OZARKS. The Ozark Society has sued to stop gas drillling in the Ozark National Forest until an adequate environmental impact statement has been completed. Federal agencies haven't adequately considered impact on endangered species, roadless areas and wild and scenic rivers, the suit said. It also said they particularly have failed to consider the fallout from hydraulic fracturing wells. The suit asked for a preliminary injunction against further exploration until the suit can be tried.

WALTER KIMBROUGH. The highly-regarded, self-styled "hip-hop president" of Philander Smith College is leaving Little Rock to become the president of Dillard University in New Orleans. It's a move up for Kimbrough, 44. Dillard has long been considered one of the country's top historically black colleges and universities and recently won a $25 million National Institutes of Health grant to research disparities in health care.

It was a bad week for...

RICK CRAWFORD AND TIM GRIFFIN. A poll by Public Policy Polling showed voters favor replacing the First District's Rep. Rick Crawford 48-43 and the Second District's Rep. Tim Griffin 49-44 with "someone new."

FORT SMITH. Whirlpool announced that in 2012 it will close a plant in Fort Smith that currently employs some 1,000 workers. Several hundred jobs in related industries will also be lost.

SCOTT FORD. In a speech to the Fort Smith Chamber of Commerce, the former Alltel CEO drew a comparison between the 99 percenters of the Occupy movement demonstrations with those responsible for genocide in Rwanda.

SHERIFF KENNEY CASSELL. Prosecutor Cody Hiland of Conway will seek to remove Cassell from office as Searcy County sheriff for a misdemeanor federal conviction in 1979 for possession of stolen Cornish hens. Cassell, like Hiland, a Republican, admits his past and notes that he disclosed it to voters when he ran. Hiland said the Arkansas Supreme Court case law is clear; that a conviction of this nature requires removal from office.

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