Axios Northwest Arkansas

Picture of the Fayetteville skyline.

December 02, 2021

Happy Thursday.

Today, it'll be warm, around 74.

🥵 Sorta sounds like this Lovin' Spoonful tune.

🎤 Situational awareness: Axios' Monica Eng, who coauthors the Chicago newsletter, wrote and recorded a song to her Chi-town readers.

  • We'd love to do the same for NWA readers, but we'll spare you.

Today's newsletter is 912 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: What SCOTUS' docket means for Arkansas

Data: Myers Abortion Facility Database on OSF; Map: Thomas Oide/Axios
Data: Myers Abortion Facility Database on OSF; Map: Thomas Oide/Axios

A law enacted in 2019 would make abortions illegal in Arkansas if Roe v. Wade is overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Driving the news: The nation's high court heard oral arguments yesterday in a case involving a Mississippi law that would ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

The intrigue: The court seemed likely to throw out the framework established in Roe, but it wasn't immediately clear whether a majority of the justices were inclined to overturn the court's precedents entirely, Axios' Oriana Gonzales reports.

The big picture: Without Roe, abortion laws and access would vary by state.

  • The procedure would immediately become illegal in 12 states, including Arkansas and Oklahoma.
  • Residents living in Little Rock would have to travel more than 350 miles to receive an abortion, as the map above shows. Northwest Arkansans would have to travel more than 200 miles to Overland Park, Kansas.

Go Deeper: Interactive map: What post-Roe America could look like

Flashback: In addition to the 2019 trigger law — a nickname for a law that is unenforceable — Arkansas lawmakers enacted one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country earlier this year. The Arkansas Unborn Child Protection Act would allow abortions only in cases where it's necessary to save the life or preserve the health of the fetus or mother.

What they're saying: Rose Mimms of Arkansas Right to Life said her organization will be watching what the Supreme Court decides on the Mississippi law, but also the Texas law.

  • "We're looking even more closely to the Texas hearing," she said, "to see how that's going to impact abortion in Arkansas."
  • The ability for anyone to sue someone seeking or providing an abortion "could save a lot of babies in Arkansas," Mimms told Axios.

Yes, but: In a statement to Axios, Emily Wales, interim president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains said that if laws like the one in Mississippi are allowed to take effect, people will lose the ability to make their own medical decisions throughout much of the country.

  • “Politicians have no place telling people what to do with their bodies or their lives. Patients turn to health care providers like Planned Parenthood for guidance and support in making medical decisions, including abortion.”

What to watch: A ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court isn't expected until the summer of next year.

Of note: Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Tuesday that abortion laws would not be part of the agenda for the special legislative session that will convene next week.

Read the full story.

2. UAMS training center opens in Fayetteville

A photo of University of Arkansas Medical Sciences.
University of Arkansas Medical Sciences in Fayetteville. Photo: Alex Golden/Axios

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Northwest Regional Campus in Fayetteville has opened a new training site for health professionals.

What's happening: The center will help support the integration of digital health in educational and health care settings through in-person and virtual training, according to UAMS.

Why it matters: Telehealth services make it easier for some to access health care. The center is part of UAMS’s South Central Telehealth Resource Center, which is focused on reaching the medically underserved, particularly in rural states.

Details: The Fayetteville center is one of five of its kind. Training sites, as well as the South Central Telehealth Resource Center, are funded by $1.8 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Health Resources and Services Administration.

3. 🛍 A record market

photo of the record
The Record in downtown Bentonville. Photo: Alex Golden/Axios

The Record, the downtown Bentonville event venue, will begin hosting community markets on several Saturday mornings starting this Saturday through March. The nonprofit organization Downtown Bentonville Inc. announced the markets Wednesday in a news release.

What's happening: Local vendors will sell their products at the market. Think food, drinks, crafts and gifts for sale, as well as performances from local musicians.

Details: The markets at 104 SW A St. will be open 9am to noon on these Saturdays:

  • Dec. 4
  • Dec. 18
  • Jan. 8
  • Jan. 15
  • Jan. 29
  • Feb. 5
  • Feb. 12
  • Feb. 19
  • March 5
  • March 12

4. 💻 Group formed to defend cyberspace

Illustration of detached computer keys spelling out the word cyber
Illustration: Sarah Grillo: Axios

Central Arkansas hopes to take a bite out of crime — cybercrime.

What's happening: The University of Arkansas at Little Rock, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and the Forge Institute are forming the Consortium for Cyber Innovation.

Why it matters: Cybercrime — ransomware attacks and data theft — may cost the global economy $10.5 trillion every year by 2025, according to one estimate.

Details: The consortium will convene industry, academic, nonprofit, government and military partners to collaborate on workforce development and research.

  • The group wants to develop a talent pipeline by including a consistent cybersecurity curriculum in Arkansas' education systems.

What to watch: The consortium will start by seeking grants to build applied learning and research opportunities for students, faculty and industry professionals.

What they're saying: "Because of the state’s deep experience with data management, logistics, fintech and other data-driven industries, Arkansas is well-positioned to become a rallying point for the nation’s cybersecurity efforts," Forge stated in its news release.

5. High school students to host vigil

A photo of Fayetteville High School.
Fayetteville High School. Photo: Alex Golden/Axios

The Fayetteville High School student council will host its 23rd annual homeless vigil tonight.

Why it matters: The students will raise money for the school district’s Families in Transition program that benefits homeless students and their families with enrollment, transportation, school meals, clothing and school supplies, as well as connect them to community resources, according to the district.

Details: Students will sleep in makeshift shelters to simulate what it’s like to be homeless for a night and raise money for Families in Transition from 5–11pm on the north side of the campus, the Fayetteville Flyer reported.

  • You can donate here.

Alex is excited to try the Miracle on 2nd Street pop-up bar.

Worth is dedicating this song to a source he hopes will call him back.