IT WAS A GOOD WEEK FOR …
DAVID QUALLS. The 35-year-old Morrilton National Guardsman bravely signed his name to a lawsuit challenging the Army’s “stop loss” program. Qualls had signed a contract for an additional year of active duty. He’s served 17 months, mostly in Iraq. He wants out to return to his family and his job. The lawsuit will focus attention on the administration’s back-door draft.
GRANDIOSE PROMISES. The University of Arkansas was given Winrock International’s former facilities on Petit Jean Mountain and $53 million to set up a conference center and a grab bag of other programs (weekend cooking courses?). UA officials promised no state money will be required to support the operation. Ever? Not a dime for payroll? We’ll check back on that pledge in a couple of years. Did we mention that Lt. Gov. Win Rockefeller (isn’t he a candidate for governor in 2006?) helped drive this gift?
SECRET GOVERNMENT. Vice President Dick Cheney flew in to Stuttgart for a duck hunt and the local newspaper was not only barred from the airport but from two miles of airport access road when he arrived.
PROSECUTOR LARRY JEGLEY. His call for outgoing County Clerk Carolyn Staley’s instant resignation prompted her to rethink her refusal to meet with successor Pat O’Brien. She invited O’Brien in for a session on transition.
IT WAS A BAD WEEK FOR …
The NURSING HOME INDUSTRY. They say there are no bad nursing homes. So how do they characterize the Little Rock “home” reported by state regulators for a profusely bleeding patient, a couple of poorly treated injured patients and rampant urinary tract infections? Another example of why Attorney General Mike Beebe had no cause to apologize for saying there are bad nursing homes.
ST. FRANCIS HOUSE. The long-time mission to the homeless will lose a $100,000 grant from the city to operate its shelter at Capitol and Scott. It apparently was far too successful in attracting people who need help. The homeless caused discomfort for neighbors. The city will look for another place for a homeless center it can support.
Hog fans just can't quit blaming the refs for the NCAA men's basketball tournament loss to North Carolina. Now the Arkansas Senate has gotten in on the act, with this resolution introduced by Democratic Sen. Keith Ingram and getting bipartisan co-sponsorship from that brutish and short sandlot roundball player, Republican Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson.
IndieWire breaks news long whispered downtown — a more ambitious successor to the Little Rock Film Festival is in the works, with backing from writer/director Jeff Nichols, a Little Rock native. His "Loving" has won wide acclaim recently.