Benton County Named Most Generous County in the US

January 7, 2021

Business

22 Architecture Firms Added to NWA Design Excellence Program

Tamarcus Brown

The Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program was established by the Walton Family Foundation in 2015 with the purpose of promoting growth, preserving natural resources, and achieving a high level of design and development in public spaces.

  • 22 architectural firms have joined or remain in the program, consisting of nearly 50 firms from 14 states.
  • 15 projects are now under the wing of the design program, located in the region's five largest downtowns, art and educational facilities, parks and more.
  • The WFF partnered with Gehl in 2020 to dig deeper into the program's impact. The report found the program aids in balancing authenticity and design excellence, creating community connection, expanding access to the arts and reviving local economies. -Walton Family Foundation
  • View the full list of firms welcomed into the program.

Community

Benton County Most Charitable County in the US

NWA Daily

If you've ever found yourself away from home or on vacation thinking, "You can't beat the people in Arkansas, they're the best," you may be onto something. According to a report released by tech company SmartAsset, Benton County is actually the most generous county in the US.

  • The study is calculates how much county residents donate compared to their net income and the proportion of the population that makes charitable donations. The company also uses data from the IRS to determine how much of the county makes charitable donations.
  • Benton County's contributions as a percentage of income was 11.3%, while 9.1% of returns included itemized charitable contributions. Pulaski County 2.2% contribution rate as a percentage of income landed it the No. 267 spot in the US, but No. 2 in Arkansas. -Talk Business & Politics

Community

NWA Poverty Rate on the Rise, Economist Says Pandemic is to Blame

After years of progress in the region, poverty rates are on the rise in NWA, as COVID-19 complications and housing costs appear to be likely causes.

  • David Sorto, local economist, suggests that "If things are going good, then their rent is going up, likely other costs of input are going up as well.” -KNWA/Fox24
  • Even so, rent prices are remaining stagnant, contributing to the crisis, says Nathan Whisenant with Care Community Center in Rogers.
  • The restaurant business struggling and some are finding it difficult to see past this challenging time. “Some of them are optimistic but there are some who are really worried about what it is going to look like in the future,” says Whisenant. -KNWA/Fox24

COVID-19

Who, What, When and Where You Can Receive a COVID-19 Vaccine

Unknown

2021 brought new hope with the arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine. As you are most likely aware, front-line healthcare workers (thank you!) began receiving the vaccine late last month. So when will it be available to teachers, the food industry, or the general public?

  • Rollout is divided into three parts, Phase 1A (frontline healthcare), 1B (teachers and people 70+), and 1C (high risk, chronic conditions, ages 65-69).
  • 1A began on 12/14/2020, 1B is set to begin February 2021, and 1C is estimated to begin in April 2021. -5 News
  • For a full list of pharmacies providing the vaccine for healthcare workers in NWA, visit HERE.

Politics

Medicaid Restored to Arkansas Marshallese and Pacific Islanders

Last month, Congress passed a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package, part of which restores Medicaid to the Arkansas Marshallese and other Pacific Island migrants.

  • Thousands of those residing in the US under a Compact of Free Association will be able to qualify.
  • The Marshallese community has been hit hard by the COVID-19, with over 3,100 cases (25% of the Arkansas population) since March, and 52 deaths recorded.
  • The CDC and State of Arkansas have stepped in to provide necessary PPE and education for the Marshallese people. However, many decline workplace insurance and have had no good way to receive medical care since the 1980s.
  • Listen to the full story on KUAF.

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