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It was a good week for Tracy Steele 

It was a good week for ...

TRACY STEELE The former legislator was named to head the Arkansas Division of Youth Services. He'll be paid $100,077.

ACXIOM The company announced that it would open the landscaped park behind a fence next to its Little Rock headquarters to the public. The city approved a $36 million municipal bond issue to finance the Acxiom building in 2000. Acxiom was given a total exemption from property taxes on the building for 30 years as well as the preferred city financing. Since then, many in the community have grumbled about the inability to use either the park or (in non-business hours) the building parking deck.

MIKE ROSS He's raised a massive amount of money and now doesn't have to spend any of it in a Democratic primary. Meanwhile, his presumptive Republican opponent, Asa Hutchinson, has significantly less cash on hand and two primary opponents.

It was a bad week for ...

BILL HALTER He withdrew from the Democratic primary for governor. He cited "another strong candidate" and avoiding a "divisive primary" as reasons for his exit. No word on whether he'll seek other offices, like, say, Rep. Tim Griffin's 2nd District seat.

A MERGER After months of consideration, UAMS and St. Vincent Health System announced they would no longer negotiate towards an alliance between the hospitals. The talks were spurred in large part by each institution's financial difficulties.

EXXONMOBIL The company began contacting residents displaced by the rupture of the Pegasus pipeline to tell them it would cease paying for housing assistance on Sept. 1. After much outcry from residents and politicians, the company reversed its decisions. Now, it says it will continue paying expenses for as long as residents need.

CENTRAL ARKANSAS WATER The ExxonMobil Pipeline Company told the utility and stakeholders, including both of Arkansas's U.S. senators and Rep. Tim Griffin, that it couldn't release data the utility has requested to ensure the Pegasus pipeline doesn't pose a threat to the Lake Maumelle watershed because that federal regulatory agency the oversees pipelines, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), determined what information should be released and to whom. PHMSA has said that ExxonMobil has requested that the information not be released.

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