JAN. 12 – 18, 2011

IT WAS A GOOD WEEK FOR …

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ERNIE PASSAILAIGUE. The much-criticized state lottery director kept his $330,000 job after an evaluation by the Lottery Commission, some of whose members didn’t seem pleased by the Commission’s decision.

FLORIDA FLIERS. Vision Airlines announced that it would begin nonstop service between Little Rock and Destin, Fla.

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CHARTER SCHOOLS. Two new ones – one in Little Rock, one for all high school students in Cross County – were approved by the state Board of Education.

TOM SCHUECK AND JOHN BURKHALTER. Both of Little Rock, they were appointed by Governor Beebe to fill vacancies on the state Highway Commission.

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BILLY ROY WILSON. A Pulaski Circuit Court ruling formally established that as the true name of a Little Rock federal judge who has also been called William R. Wilson Jr. because of a mistake on a birth certificate.

TEXTERS. State Rep. Clark Hall, D-Marvell, chairman of the House State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee, first banned all kinds of cell-phone use, including texting, by everybody at meetings of his committee, but backed down the next day and said that use of cell phones by the public would be permitted.

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CIVILITY. It wasn’t easy, but Rabbi Eugene Levy of Temple B’Nai Israel and Nader Abou-Diab of the Islamic Center of Little Rock maintained theirs as they argued passionately at a religious forum about the Israeli-Palestinian situation.

IT WAS A BAD WEEK FOR …

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TODD TURNER. The chairman of the state Democratic Party, an Arkadelphia lawyer, announced that he’ll step down next month. Governor Beebe said he’ll recommend former state Rep. Will Bond of Little Rock, also a lawyer, to succeed Turner.

THE LITTLE ROCK POLICE DEPARTMENT. Racial friction within the department over the hiring of an officer who’d attended a Ku Klux Klan meeting as a teenager burst into the open. Police Chief Stuart Thomas defended the hiring.

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