Axios Northwest Arkansas

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Welcome to Tuesday.

☀️ Skies will be sunny with highs in the low 80s.

Today's newsletter is 890 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Walmart's on-campus child care center ready to open

A classroom inside the Little Squiggles Children's Enrichment Center. Photo: Alex Golden/Axios

A day care/preschool will be the second major amenity to open on the new Walmart campus next week.

Why it matters: The company wants its 350-acre campus in Bentonville to be a modern workplace that helps retain and attract talent. And that means making it an easy place to walk, bike, eat, work out, and to drop off or pick up kids.

  • Parents can also pop over to the center to join their kids for lunch or just to check on them, and there's a nursing room for breastfeeding.

State of play: The 73,000-square-foot Little Squiggles Children's Enrichment Center includes 38 classrooms, all of which open to outdoor playgrounds for ages 6 weeks to pre-K. The children also have access to STEM labs, movement rooms and outdoor gardening spaces.

  • The center will take up to 500 children. It'll start off with about 210 when it opens Monday and gradually add more, center executive director Lauren Floyd told Axios during a media tour.
photo of Little Squiggles
Photo: Alex Golden/Axios

What they're saying: "Convenience is so huge," Walmart spokesperson Raven Washabaugh told Axios.

  • "You're doing school dropoff in the morning — that is a full morning routine for most parents, and to know that if you forgot something, you can just run over here on campus," she said.

How it works: Bright Horizons, a company with 600 child care centers nationwide, will operate Little Squiggles. The company already runs the Sam's Club equivalent — the Sam's Club Kids Club that opened in 2020 and has space for 170 children, Floyd said.

  • Walmart corporate employees will receive priority at Little Squiggles, but Sam's Club corporate employees may also be able to send their children if there is space.

Keep reading for prices for the new center

2. AG's office could net 26 positions under house bill

Photo: Courtesy Attorney General Tim Griffin

A net of 26 positions would be added to Attorney General Tim Griffin's office if lawmakers approve House Bill 1037, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports.

Why it matters: Griffin told the Democrat-Gazette that "... if we are serious about improving public safety and maintaining law and order — just like with national defense — you have to pay for it."

State of play: The bill would increase the maximum salaries for positions in the AG's office by 9%-22%.

  • Griffin said the AG's office budget is being cut in other areas.
  • Chief Deputy Attorney General Ryan Owsley told a subcommittee last week that the office's total appropriations increase for fiscal 2025 is only 2.2% over 2024.

The intrigue: During her inaugural address, Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced a hiring freeze for state jobs.

Between the lines: The opinions division of the AG's office has been rebuilt, with the average turnaround time dropping from about five months during the previous administration — under now-Lt. Gov. Leslie Rutledge — to about 40 days, Owsley told the subcommittee.

What's next: The House will consider the bill when it convenes today.

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3. Kitchen Sink: News load

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

🤖 SandBots, a sixth-grade robotics team from Greenwood's East Hills Middle School, are headed to a world competition in Dallas, set for Wednesday-Friday. (KNWA)

🎰 The state Department of Finance and Administration projects sports betting will top $500 million this year — the second full year since mobile sports betting was legalized in Arkansas. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

👷‍♂️ Rogers-based engineering and design firm Crafton Tull announced Monday that it has acquired Prism Design Studio of Huntsville. (Northwest Arkansas Business Journal)

4. NWA on the edge of "cicadapocalypse"

Data: USDA and University of Connecticut; Graphic: Jared Whalen, Will Chase and Kavya Beheraj/Axios

In 2024, a double brood of periodical cicadas will appear across the U.S. Some have called the emergence a "cicadapocalypse" — but is it really?

Why it matters: Axios Visuals fact-checked the insect hype and found that no matter how one crunches the numbers, 2024 will likely offer just a taste of the cicada spectacles to come, Axios' Will Chase reports.

What's happening: There are 15 surviving periodical cicada broods, each identified by Roman numerals. This year marks the first time in 221 years that Brood XIX (on a 13-year cycle) and Brood XIII (on a 17-year cycle) will emerge together.

Zoom in: Though some of Brood XIX will emerge in NWA, they'll be thickest north and east of here.

Reality check: A co-emergence of 13-year and 17-year broods is fairly common, occurring every 5–6 years.

  • Adjacent co-emergences, where the two broods overlap geographically, are less common, happening every 25 years on average.
  • Don't confuse cicadas with locusts. Although both species come in great numbers, cicadas do not swarm, are not a plague and should not be killed.

Check out the full project from Axios Visuals

Data: USDA and University of Connecticut; Map: Will Chase/Axios

📚 Out today: Inside Axios

"Just the Good Stuff: No-B.S. Secrets to Success" is out today.

My co-founder, CEO and friend Jim VandeHei is out today with a new book — "Just the Good Stuff: No-BS Secrets to Success" — about lessons learned starting and running Politico and then Axios.

Why it matters: Jim offers dozens of easy to understand — and implement — ideas for dealing with the tough stuff of life and work: picking careers, dealing with bad bosses or jerks, overcoming insecurities or health scares, and more.

Cool twist: All net proceeds go to students who need help with vocational school, or 2- or 4-year-college.

🎓 It's a terrific graduation gift: Jim details how he went from a 1.491 GPA in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, to success on the national stage.

  • The book also provides an inside look at the Axios culture animating this newsletter.

Order here bulk discount here

Thanks to Fadel Allassan for editing and James Gilzow for copy editing this newsletter.

👨‍🍳 Alex is on a Gordon Ramsay kick and watching "Kitchen Nightmares." She is here for the drama.

🦵Worth is reading up on runner's knee.