Axios Northwest Arkansas

Picture of the Fayetteville skyline.

Good morning NWA. It's Monday.

🌀 It'll be partly sunny with a high in the upper 70s.

πŸ—³ Situational awareness: A reminder that the primary election is only eight days away. Early voting has already begun. You can find a polling location in Benton County or Washington County.

Today's newsletter is 915 words β€” a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Bentonville's hotel horizon

Rendering of a boutique hotel.
A rendering of the yet-to-be-named hotel planned for downtown Bentonville. Rendering courtesy of Blue Crane and Ropeswing Hospitality

Bentonville will likely get another 400 hotel rooms in the next few years.

What's happening: Developers submitted plans for two new hotels and a motel to be reviewed by the Bentonville Planning Commission last week.

  • The projects, along with other large-scale developments, will be voted on at tomorrow's planning meeting, which will provide an opportunity for public comments.

Why it matters: Bentonville is growing β€” both in residents and renown.

Yes, and: Walmart's new 350-acre home office campus promises to be an attractive draw for both employees and vendors.

Some highlights of the hotel projects:

1. Walmart's project includes a four-story hotel, with what looks like a rooftop bar and patio area according to rendering. It's part of the retailer's new campus, near the intersection of 18th and J streets.

  • Walmart didn't list details about the size and scope of the hotel in its filing with the planning commission, but renderings represent more than 100 rooms.

2. A yet-to-be-named six-story hotel is planned for the 1-acre lot at the downtown intersection of SE A Street and E. Central Avenue. Steuart and Tom Walton are developing it through their Blue Crane construction and Ropeswing Hospitality companies.

  • The building will be more than 116,000 square feet with 142 guest rooms. About 11,000 square feet will be for restaurant and bar space and another 4,000 square feet will be event space.
  • First announced in 2018, the independent hotel will feature a secured bike parking area, a bike valet and a bike washing station. Parking will be available in a 437-space garage, which is already built about a half-block east of the property. The hotel is expected to open in mid-2024.

3. A seven-building motel named the Detrola is planned for a 7-acre lot at SW 14th and SW I streets.

  • Three of the buildings will be three stories tall. A combined 61,000 square feet of space will provide 162 guest rooms and a total of 239 parking spaces will be created.

2. Report: Tyson pushed plants to stay open

A photo of Tyson Foods' world headquarters.
Photo: Worth Sparkman/Axios

Leaders of several large U.S. meatpacking companies pushed the narrative that meat was in short supply in the country in April 2020, despite sitting on ample supply, according to a U.S. House committee report released last week.

Why it matters: That was one of the narratives used by industry leaders to pass an executive order that protected meatpackers from shutdowns and stricter oversight by local health departments, despite mass COVID-19 infections within factories, Axios Des Moines reporter Linh Ta writes.

Driving the news: The Democrat-controlled committee report details how Tyson Foods and Smithfield Foods claimed in 2020 that there would be "imminent meat shortages," if their plants weren't treated as critical infrastructure that needed to stay open.

Catch up fast: In April 2020, Tyson ran full-page ads in The New York Times and The Washington Post, claiming the food supply chain was breaking.

  • Tyson's legal department also drafted an executive order that was ultimately signed by former President Donald Trump that same month to protect meatpackers, the report states.
  • It protected meatpackers from oversight by local health departments, as well as lawsuits for employee illness and deaths.

The other side: "The report ignores the rigorous and comprehensive measures companies enacted to protect employees and support their critical infrastructure workers," Julie Anna Potts, CEO of the North American Meat Institute said in a statement.

  • In a statement emailed to Axios, a Tyson spokesperson said: "Over the past two years, our company has been contacted by, received direction from, and collaborated with many different federal, state and local officials β€” including both the Trump and Biden administrations β€” as we’ve navigated the challenges of the pandemic."
  • The company also was one of the first to require its entire workforce to be vaccinated.

Of note: Tyson reported its second-quarter net income was $829 million, up 74% from the same period last year.

Go deeper: Read the full report

Disclosure: Reporter Worth Sparkman formerly worked at Tyson Foods.

3. Kitchen Sink: News splash

Arkansas Razorbacks head coach Courtney Deifel accepts the SEC Softball Tournament trophy after playing the Missouri Tigers on Saturday. Photo: Gabriella Whisler/USA Today Network

πŸ₯Ž The University of Arkansas' softball team won the SEC championship for the first time on Saturday by beating Missouri 4-0. (Whole Hog Sports)

πŸŽ“ More than 6,500 students graduated from the University of Arkansas this spring. Many celebrated at commencement ceremonies over the weekend. (Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

πŸ’§A water tower in Kingsland, the birthplace of Johnny Cash, was vandalized when someone shot a hole into the singer's silhouette, making it appear to be relieving itself. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

πŸͺ§ A group protested against the potential overturning of Roe v. Wade in Fayetteville on Saturday. (KNWA-TV)

The remains of 28-year-old Shelby Ratliff who went missing on May 5, were found in a Fayetteville creek on Friday. It's believed she drowned due to the severe flooding event that night. (KFSM-TV)

4. πŸ‘Ά Top names for new Arkansans

Illustration of a baby wearing a "hello my name is" sticker.
Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

The most popular name for female newborns in Arkansas during 2020 was Olivia, according to the Social Security Administration.

  • The most popular name for males was Liam.

Why it matters: Expecting parents frequently wrack their brains for good names they think will help rather than hinder their children.

Yes, and: The next four most popular female names in Arkansas were: Emma, Amelia, Harper and Ava.

  • For males: William, Elijah, Noah and Oliver.

New jobs to check out

😴 Don’t sleep on these new roles on our Local Job Board.

  1. Outdoor Recreation Content Creator at Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas.
  2. Senior React.JS Developer at Inceed.
  3. Sr. Process Project Manager at Garver.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board.

Hiring? Post a job.

5. Pic du jour: Cow Paddy color

A sidewalk chalk drawing of a snail reading "Keep Going."
Photo: Worth Sparkman/Axios

This chalk drawing in Fayetteville's Gulley Park was for runners in the annual Cow Paddy Run on Saturday.

🏝 Alex is off for the day.

🎺 Worth is listening to "Kind of Blue" by Miles Davis, et al. 🟦