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It was a bad week for Big River Steel 

It was a good week for ...

ANOTHER CANDIDATE ANNOUNCEMENT. Former FEMA Director James Lee Witt officially announced his candidacy for 4th District Congress. Janis Percefull of Hot Springs has previously announced as a Democratic candidate. Tommy Moll and Rep. Bruce Westerman are running as Republicans.

HENDRIX COLLEGE. The Conway private college hired Dr. William Tsutsui, who's been dean of the College of Humanities and Sciences at SMU, as its next president. He'll start in June.

It was a bad week for ...

BIG RIVER STEEL. Nucor Steel, already operating in Mississippi County, has mounted a challenge to state approval of an air permit for startup competitor Big River Steel. State lawmakers approved a $125 million incentive package for Big River during this year's legislative session. An Arkansas Economic Development official said the challenge would delay the start of construction of the new steel mill from late 2013 to the first quarter of 2014.

ARKANSANS RECEIVING FEDERAL SUPPLEMENTAL NUTRITION. Half a million Arkansans —17 percent of the state, including 232,000 children and 91,000 elderly residents — saw their food stamp benefits cut by five percent. That may not sound like a sizeable percentage cut, but it's the equivalent to about 16 meals a month for a family of three based on the cost of the U.S. Agriculture Department's "Thrifty Food Plan." These are needed cuts, according to U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton and his ilk.

SOUTH ARKANSAS. If all of the world's ice caps melted, much of south Arkansas would be under water and Pine Bluff would be on the edge of a vast bay, according to National Geographic. Bye to Houston, New Orleans, San Francisco and all of Florida, too.

ALSO: Karen Leveritt, 47, died in Little Rock. The news is sad on many levels for us at the Times. She spent some 20 years with us, at the end as a senior account executive. She was a sales and marketing professional, whose ideas about marketing the Times were a significant part of the survival of a publication that approaches a 40th anniversary next year. She was our friend and colleague and, to others in Hillcrest, a familiar sight striding along the sidewalks at a fast clip. She is a former wife of Times publisher Alan Leveritt. Her survivors include their daughter, Lila, and her husband, Paul Stroube. A memorial service will be held Friday, Nov. 8 at Ruebel Funeral Home at 3:30 p.m. with visitation beginning at 2 p.m.

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