Axios Northwest Arkansas

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It's Fri-yay! πŸŽ‰

⛅️ Cloudy with a slight chance of showers to start the day, then clearing; highs near 70.

Today's newsletter is 771 words β€” a 3-minute read.

1 big thing: Northwest Arkansas' health ranks highest in state

<span style="text-align: center; display: block"> 2024 County Health Factors rankings</span>
Data: County Health Rankings; Note: Factors include prevalence of healthy behaviors, quality of clinical care, socio-economic indicators and physical environment; Map: Jared Whalen/Axios

Benton County is the healthiest county in the state, and Washington County is right on its heels, a new report says.

How it works: The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps report ranks each county nationwide by health outcomes like premature deaths and factors like obesity, smoking, education and poverty.

The intrigue: While Arkansas trails the nation in overall health, Benton and Washington counties are doing better than the national average.

  • In Benton County, 10% of children live in poverty, compared to 21% statewide and 16% nationwide. The county's rate of injury deaths like homicides, suicides and car accidents is 61 per 100,000 people β€” significantly lower than the state's 89 and the nation's 80 per 100,000 people.
  • Washington County has a child poverty rate of 14%, and the injury-death rate is 52 per 100,000 people.

Yes, but: Benton County still trails the nation in rates for adult obesity (35% vs. 34%), adult smoking (16% vs. 15%) and teen births (21 vs. 17 per 1,000 females ages 15-19).

  • Washington County's obesity rate is slightly lower than the national average at 33%, although 18% of its adults smoke and the teen birth rate is 22 per 1,000 females ages 15-19.
  • Washington County's rate of sexually transmitted diseases is notably on the high end at 675.4 new chlamydia diagnoses per 100,000 people, compared to 592.8 statewide and 495.5 per 100,000 people in the U.S.

Zoom out: Arkansas ranks below the national average for health care providers in relation to population.

  • Nationally, there are 1,330 people for every primary health care doctor, but that number is 1,480 in Arkansas.
  • The state has one dentist per every 2,040 people, compared to one per every 1,360 people nationally.
  • In Arkansas, there's one mental health provider per every 380 people. Nationally, there's one per every 320 people.

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2. XNA beats nation in on-time departures

Data: Bureau of Transportation Statistics; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Northwest Arkansas National Airport posted an on-time departure rate of 90% in December 2023, Axios' Alex Fitzpatrick and Kavya Beheraj report from the latest Transportation Department data.

The big picture: The national on-time rate for U.S. domestic flights in that same month was 83%.

Zoom in: Florida's Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (89.5%), Salt Lake City International Airport (89.2%) and Hawai'i's Lihue Airport (88.8%) had the best on-time departure performance for December 2023 among airports serving more than 1 million passengers annually.

Between the lines: A variety of factors β€” from weather to issues at a particular airline β€” can affect each airport's on-time performance.

The bottom line: XNA's 90% rate last December is a pretty solid performance β€” especially during a month when winter storms can really snarl the entire air-travel system.

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3. Kitchen Sink: News cone

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

🍺 Waldo's Chicken & Beer will open March 26 at 700 SE Walton Blvd. in Bentonville. Two other locations operate in central Arkansas. (Northwest Arkansas Business Journal)

🎬 Pulaski County
Sheriff Eric Higgins may have broken the law when he allowed a film crew to shoot inside his county's jail for the Netflix docuseries "Unlocked: A Jail Experiment," according to a judge. (KNWA-TV)

  • The series is set to be released in mid-April.

🚨 Bryan Malinowski, executive director of Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport/Adams Field who was shot in the head by ATF agents Tuesday, died Thursday. He was 53. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

  • Agents were trying to serve a search warrant at Malinowski's home in west Little Rock when gunfire was exchanged.

4. 2024 Joe Martin Stage Race canceled

The Joe Martin Stage Race in 2022. Photo: Worth Sparkman

The 47th Joe Martin Stage Race will be postponed until 2025, race director and All Sports Productions owner Bruce Dunn announced Thursday.

Why it matters: Competitive pro cyclists have used the race to advance their standings and qualify for larger competitions.

  • Typically, about 800 amateur and pro riders come to NWA, filling hotels, eating in restaurants and drawing spectators.

Rising costs and limited sponsorship and funding led to the decision, Dunn said in a news release.

What we're watching: "With 14 months to plan for 2025, we will be working tirelessly to secure a top-tier lineup of sponsors," he said.

5. Your weekend plans

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

You've got places to go, things to do and people to see:

🎩 Shop retro β€”Β Find vintage clothing and home goods at the Time Travelers Vintage Expo, 10am-5pm Saturday at Rogers Convention Center. Get tickets for $10.

πŸ₯Ž Go to a softball game β€” The Arkansas Razorbacks go up against Mississippi State at 6pm today, 2pm Saturday and noon Sunday at Bogle Park in Fayetteville. Get tickets for $10-$11.

πŸ˜‚ Enjoy some comedy β€”Β It's comedy night at Bentonville Brewing, starting at 8pm. Get tic kets for $15.

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

πŸͺ‚ Alex is out today. Worth imagines she's in West Virginia, learning to base jump.

☹️ Worth is reading about a family in Colorado who died while living off the grid.