The Good, the Bad and the Profitable (Editorial)

Studying Arkansas Business' list of top 10 business stories for 2011 prompted the realization that though the economy remains sluggish, and unemployment is too high, this soon-expiring year was not so bad for business interests here. The arrows say:

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art finally opened, and upon opening, it dazzled.
Manufacturing took a hit with the closure of Yarnell's in Searcy and the planned closure of the Whirlpool plant in Fort Smith.

Billions of dollars in assets in the Fayetteville Shale Play changed hands, but the new operators indicated they were committed to developing the resources there.

Windstream Corp.'s merger with Paetec Holding Corp. appeared likely to push Windstream into the Fortune 500.

Though not all was rosy for Arkansas-based banks, financial institutions like Bank of the Ozarks, Home BancShares and Arvest reported surging profits.

Three of the South Carolina imports who helped start the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery left amid grumbling about high pay and poor performance. Replacements should be cheaper.

Football fans in Arkansas, whether rooting for the UA's Razorbacks, ASU's Red Wolves or UCA's Bears, had much to cheer about. And ASU's hiring of favorite son Gus Malzahn took the sting out of coach Hugh Freeze's goodbye.

Dillard's turnaround maintained its momentum as the retailer saw income continue to grow.

UCA lost yet another president, Allen Meadors, after controversy  over a food service contract, and former school chief Lu Hardin pleaded guilty to two felonies. But UCA seemed determined to right itself by removing the "interim" from President Tom Courtway's title.