Picture of the Fayetteville skyline.
21 hours ago

Axios Northwest Arkansas

Well, hello there. Today's Tuesday.

  • Today's weather: Mostly sunny with highs in the upper 30s.

🦠 Situational awareness: NWA has its highest-ever number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients with 183 currently hospitalized, according to the Northwest Arkansas Council.

Today's newsletter is 932 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: What we're watching at city hall(s)

Where decisions get made. Photo: Alex Golden/Axios

We have a sneaking suspicion some of you aren't religiously attending your city council’s meetings or looking at the agendas. That's why we keep an eye out.

  • Here are 4 highlights on deck for today’s meetings in Bentonville and Rogers.

1. Bentonville Library could get a boost.

  • The public library could receive $56,856 in CARES Act money, $40,000 of which would be used to expand the library's ebook collection.
  • The money would also help expand WiFi and buy COVID-19-related supplies such as hand sanitizer.

2. More booze in Rogers.

  • Rogers City Council will vote on whether to extend the boundaries of the Railyard Entertainment District where you can drink alcohol outside, a little farther down West Chestnut Street until First Street.

3. Bentonville will decide who will improve Greenhouse Road.

  • An affirmative vote would allow the mayor to enter into a $1.3 million contract with Burns & McDonnell Engineering Company to design safety improvements at Greenhouse Road.
  • Federal grant money will pay for 80% of the project.

4. Trail repairs in Rogers.

  • Rogers City Council will consider spending $101,000 on repairs for trails that were damaged by flooding in April 2021.

Full story: City council items to watch in NWA

2. The road to safer roads
Expand chart
Data: Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety; Map: Jared Whalen/Axios

Arkansas is in the middle of the road compared to other states when it comes to enacting laws to make driving safer and reduce traffic deaths.

Why it matters: Action is needed to make roadways safer as traffic deaths climb at record rates despite fewer miles being driven, according to a new report from Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.

Driving the news: Two Arkansas Department of Transportation workers have been killed by vehicles since early December.

  • A public safety awareness campaign and increased law enforcement near work zones is planned by ARDOT beginning Feb. 2.

What they did: The report ranks states based on 16 "optimal laws that every state should have as part of a comprehensive safety program."

  • Arkansas has enacted just nine of the 16, a middle ground ranking shared with 30 other states.

What we're missing: Per Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety...

  • A rear seat belt requirement.
  • An all-rider motorcycle helmet law.
  • A law requiring rear-facing booster seats for children under 2.
  • Stricter permit rules requiring a minimum age of 16 for a learner's permit, 50 hours of supervised driving for teens, and a nighttime driving restriction for teens.

Keep reading: Traffic deaths are up. Here's how to make Arkansas roads safer

3. What Worth ate: Doe's Eat Place

The Queen cut filet from Doe's Eat Place in Fayetteville. Photo: Worth Sparkman/Axios

Worth here. My wife and I recently had dinner at Doe's Eat Place in Fayetteville.

  • It can be tricky writing about a place with a long history, but here goes.

Flashback: Doe's hails from Greenville, Mississippi, where it was established in 1941.

  • Both the Fayetteville and Bentonville locations have been open for more than 20 years.

The setup: These aren't fancy places — checked tablecloths made of vinyl, concrete floors, haphazard decor. But because the food is good, you wouldn't be surprised to see former President Bill Clinton or the CEO of a major corporation dining there.

  • It's the kind of Arkansas place where politics, money, beer and food meet, and business gets done.

The food: Doe's is known for its tamales as appetizers, and every table is set with a basket of wrapped saltine crackers.

  • Yes, but: Steak is why you come to Doe's and, for me, a filet is the best of all the cuts.

Worth's thought bubble: This is really the best steak in NWA as far as I'm concerned. It's consistent, cooked the way it's ordered and the outer "crust" has never disappointed.

Got a favorite steak place? Reply to this email.

4. Input sought on monument law
A generic confederate soldier statue that formerly was in the center of the Bentonville square. Photo: Elizabeth W. Kearley/Getty images.

The public is invited to provide input on proposed rules for the Arkansas State Capitol and Historical Monument Protection Act of 2021, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette first reported.

Why it matters: Some of the historical monuments the legislation seeks to protect celebrate the Confederacy. Many see these as embracing the violent, racist ideology that drove the Civil War.

  • Calls for the removal of Confederate monuments have gained momentum across the country since the murder of George Floyd in 2020.

Context: The act became law in April. It prohibits removal, relocation, alteration or renaming of a memorial on public property.

  • Public entities can petition for a waiver if the monument will be moved or relocated for more than 60 days.

Driving the news: Arkansas Heritage drafted the rules that would provide guidelines for how the Historical Monument Protection Act is executed.

Keep reading

Your future begins here

We handpick the best among the rest with our local job listings.

  1. Director, Marketing Planning and Strategy - Toys at Walmart.
  2. Sr. Process Project Manager at Garver.
  3. Relationship Manager at BancorpSouth.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board

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5. 💸 1 big check to go
The David W. Mullins Library. Photo: Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The University of Arkansas Libraries just got its largest donation from individuals ever, according to the university.

Why it matters: The $5 million check will establish two endowed faculty positions as well as help pay for phase 2 of the Mullins Library renovation, a materials and preservation area in special collections and an office suite for the libraries' Arkansas Folk and Traditional Arts program.

The intrigue: The new positions, a dean’s chair and a professorship in special collections, will be the first endowed faculty positions for the University Libraries.

  • The dean's chair will be responsible for recruiting the dean and providing the dean with the resources to further scholarly contributions to teaching, research and public service, according to the university.
  • The professorship endowment will “enable the Special Collections Division to amplify many of its existing programs, including collection development, paid student internships, public exhibitions and programming, as well as emerging needs such as multi-modal learning and digital preservation,” Lori Birrell, associate dean for Special Collections, said in a statement.

Of note: The donors are anonymous.

🎄 Alex still has her Christmas tree up. Please send help.

⚰️ Worth is listening to "Bat Out of Hell." RIP Meat Loaf.

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