A look back at Northwest Arkansas' 2022
We reviewed the most-read stories from this year and considered their collective impact on our community.
- While it all seemed to happen in a mere blink, 2022 brought its fair share of change and forced public discourse on social issues, setting the political stage for next year.
Why it matters: To paraphrase George Santayana: Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it.
Flashback: The year jumped off the starting line with the 2022 Cyclo-cross World Championships in Fayetteville, putting NWA in the sport's international spotlight.
- The COVID-19 pandemic remained high on everyone's worry list as 2022 got underway, but hope dared creep into our lives when Walmart dropped its mask mandate in February.
Spring: Primary election politics and a leaked document showing the U.S. Supreme Court was prepared to overturn Roe v. Wade ruled the news as the weather warmed.
- Now Gov.-elect Sarah Huckabee Sanders won the state's Republican primary and prepared to face off with Democrat Chris Jones and a Libertarian Ricky Dale Harrington Jr. in November.
Summer: In June, Roe v. Wade was overturned and, within hours, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge declared abortion a felony in the state.
- Meanwhile, the Waltons made headlines as reports emerged that Rob Walton and family would buy the Denver Broncos and flight enthusiast Steuart Walton purchased an aircraft museum in Seattle.
- Sadly, the state had its own violent police video in August when three Crawford County law enforcement officers appeared to beat a man during his arrest.
Fall: All eyes turned to politics again, though many of the races were effectively decided in the May primary.
- Issue 4, a bill to allow recreational marijuana, was a talker through the fall as voters weighed their values against a proposal that would economically benefit a relative few.
- Sanders was the first woman to be elected to the state's highest office and is already looking at a 2026 bid for the same seat.
- A federal bench trial to decide the fate of Arkansas' 2021 law banning gender-affirming medical care for minors ended Dec. 1. All still await the judge's verdict.
Meanwhile, in-person events roared back. The Heartland Summit drew a who's who of middle America's economic leadership and the Up Summit advanced the state's narrative as a leader in transportation and mobility.
- And, the Walmart shareholders extravaganza returned from its pandemic pause.
The bottom line: More happened, of course — a new medical residency program, the inaugural FORMAT Festival, and the Market Center of the Ozarks was announced.
- These are just a few of the tales worth remembering from the past year.
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