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Dillard's beats Wal-Mart 

Dillard's beats Walmart

Consumer Reports released results last week of a survey of 30,000 readers on the shopping experience at 11 national chains. Interesting results: Costco, the wholesale store known for sprinkling big specials and high-end items throughout the store, finished No. 1. It is not in the Arkansas market on account of Walmart's local dominance.

But No. 2 was the Dillard's department store chain, based in Little Rock. An article on the survey said Dillard's stood out for knowledgeable service, along with value and good offerings in men's, women's and children's clothing. Walmart finished 10th, barely ahead of Kmart. Those surveyed said they found comparable values at other stores, but also had many complaints about Walmart service and the stores themselves.

The color of Arkansas justice

A new study by the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Ala., finds that Arkansas and seven other S outhern states still have problems with prosecutors systematically excluding blacks from juries, though dismissals theoretically must be only for race-neutral reasons. In Alabama, the study found racially discriminatory jury selection in 25 death penalty cases. The study noted 10 cases in which the Arkansas Supreme Court found discrimination sufficient for reversal. But it also said the law in Arkansas gave prosecutors too much discretion for peremptory challenges that could mask racial motive. At the time of the study, it noted Arkansas has no black elected prosecuting attorneys. But Carlton Jones of Texarkana will change that when he takes office in January.

A generally peaceful Riverfest

Riverfest drew record crowds over the Memorial Day weekend to downtown Little Rock and the combination of heat, beer and people produced a few calls for the law — remarkably few given the crowd.

Many were buzzing afterwards about hearing gunshots following the closing night's fireworks show and concert, but they must have been firings of the celebratory variety. Police could confirm no actual gunshots fired nor could they find anyone injured by gunshot wounds. Other police actions:

• A DWI arrest of a man who drove through a street barricade.

• The arrest of a man attempting to sell counterfeit Riverfest admission buttons. He was also charged with public intoxication.

• Several fights broken up, including one disturbance in which an unruly juvenile was arrested.

• A street vendor reported an attempted robbery of his merchandise.

• 48 arrests for either being a minor in possession of alcohol or for furnishing alcohol to a minor.

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