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Good week: The state budget 

July 6-12

It was a good week for...

THE STATE BUDGET. Arkansas finished its budget year with more than $90 million in excess of expected revenue. Gov. Beebe wants to devote money to a looming Medicaid financial crisis, while Republican leaders, such as Rep. John Burris, want to cut taxes despite a proven pile of important needs.

THE UNIVERSITY OF ARK-ANSAS SYSTEM. The University of Arkansas Board of Trustees announced that its search to replace B. Alan Sugg as president of the UA System has yielded four candidates: banker Frank Oldham of Jonesboro; Marianna farmer and lawyer and former Arkansas Farm Bureau president Stanley Reed; Arkansas native, Rhodes scholar and CEO of the Phi Beta Kappa Society in Washington John Churchill, and former dean of the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas and current provost of the University of Texas at Arlington Dr. Donald R. Bobbitt.

BIKERS AND HIKERS. Federal Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood helped dedicate the Two Rivers Bridge, the pedestrian bridge that goes over the Little Maumelle River and connects the River Trail with Two Rivers Park. The bridge will officially open to the public on July 23.

THE UA ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT. The university announced that its RSVP plan, which requires most people who purchase tickets to home football games to make a donation to the Razorback Foundation, has raised $6.5 million for athletics. Though public employees were used in the ticket efforts, the Razorback Foundation still maintains that its revenues and expenditures shouldn't be open to public inspection.

JOE BLACK. Gov. Beebe appointed the Newport resident and president of Southern Bancorp Capital Partners to the state Board of Education. That the non-profit arm of Southern Bancorp has pumped money into charter schools in the past might suggest Black's support for the expansion of charter schools.

It was a bad week for...

TRANSPARENCY IN THE ARKANSAS LEGISLATURE. The state Senate continues to resist streaming video of its proceedings or committee meetings, even when the meetings take place in rooms already outfitted with the necessary video equipment.

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