Washington County

Courtesy / Lindsey Management

The state's Fresh Start Program, which allocated $10 million in federal CARES Act funding for rental assistance, opened to applicants on Nov. 9. In Washington County, the Economic Opportunity Agency, which is administering the funding to renters in the area, received over 900 applications in just one week.

Courtesy / Evelyn Rios Stafford

Governmental bodies are becoming more diverse in some communities around the state. While the 15-member Washington County Quorum Court is losing one Hispanic Justice of the Peace, it’s gaining two more—Kenny Arredondo Loyola and Evelyn Rios Stafford. The latter also has the distinction of being the first openly transgender Arkansan elected to office in the Natural State.

Courtesy / Washington County Election Commission

Both the Washington and Benton County Clerks' offices will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Saturday in October to collect absentee ballots from voters who requested them. The ballots can also be mailed. The last day to register to vote in the Nov. 3 general election is Monday, Oct. 5.

Z. Sitek / KUAF

Rep. Nicole Clowney, D-District 86, represents west Fayetteville and for the past two months she's been concerned about the 25 to 29 percent positivity rate of COVID-19 testing in Washington County when the CDC recommends that figure should be below 10 percent. In this case, a high positivity rate means there aren't enough people being tested. Clowney discusses why that might be and ways to increase testing in the county.

Courtesy / Lester Jones, c.1934, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

A new website recounts the lynching of three men in Washington County in 1856. The creators of the website also want to establish a memorial to the men and say we have to understand how the past, present and future of the region are deeply linked.

Z. Sitek / KUAF

On Wednesday morning, Washington County Sheriff Tim Helder announced there were at least 15 cases of COVID-19 at the county's detention facility. The cases were identified in a group of 40 quarantined detainees using rapid coronavirus test kits and than confirmed through lab testing that was recommended by the Arkansas Department of Health. All sheriff's office staff and jail detainees will now undergo testing. Earlier this week, the Benton County Sheriff's Office also announced one staff member and one detainee had tested positive for COVID-19.

Courtesy / Central EMS


In recognition of National Emergency Services Week, Northwest Arkansas Central EMS, which provides emergency ambulance services to Fayetteville and most of Washington County, is launching a new awareness campaign and celebrating a 40th anniversary. Chief Becky Stewart is encouraging county residents to consider enrolling in Central EMS cost-saving Paramedic Ambulance Membership Plan.

Courtesy: Central EMS / J. Froelich KUAF

John Luther, the director of Washington County Emergency Management, and Becky Stewart, chief of Central EMS, the county's ambulance service, describe how they and their teams are faring and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in the county.

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As local law enforcement has adjusted to new restrictions and guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic, there has been a marked drop in the number of people who are arrested and transported to county jails. The outbreak has also caused a noticeable shift in the types of crimes that are being committed. Despite the operational changes, authorites still want people to know they continue to respond to calls and are not turning a blind eye to crime.

Courtesy / Washington County

This week, Washington County Sheriff Tim Helder announced he plans to end the sheriff's office's participation in the federal 287(g) program, which creates partnerships between U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and local law enforcement agencies. Helder says he believes the program has been effective in the area, but because of the coronavirus outbreak his employees' time and energy need to be directed elsewhere.