February 08, 2023
Hello, Wednesday! It's Laura, making my way back to Charlotte from D.C. with the rest of the team.
Weather: Mostly cloudy with a high of 69.
🥳 Happy birthday to Axios Charlotte members Judy Fahl, Jon S., Kay Tawney and Katie Trotter.
💼 On the job hunt? Here are 50 fresh openings to check out.
Today's Smart Brevity™ count is 823 words, a 3-minute read.
1 big thing: 💰 What our local leaders make
Who doesn't love pay transparency? Axios' Alexandria Sands compiled a list of the highest-paid government employees for Mecklenburg County and the City of Charlotte.
Why it matters: Local government must walk a fine line to retain talent while saving taxpayer money for residents' greatest needs.
Driving the news: Last November, Charlotte City Council members were asked to approve a proposed 14% raise for city manager Marcus Jones, which passed 9-3. One opponent — council member LaWana Mayfield — called the move “tone deaf.”
- Jones now makes an annual salary of nearly $435,000. That’s more than the president of the United States.
Meanwhile, the city and county minimum wage is $20 an hour.
- Charlotte's mayor makes around $41,000 and city council members make nearly $34,000, not including expense allowances, according to a city spokesperson.
- County commissioners are paid $32,666 and the chair earns $40,835. Commissioner Pat Cotham — who declined an across-the-board raise increase in the current budget — specifically takes home $30,964 annually plus allowances, the county budget shows.
2. 🤖 A robot's restaurant reviews
ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence chatbot that answers users' questions, is poised to transform how we learn, work and live.
- But it's also breaking the internet because it's honestly pretty fun!
Zoom out: ChatGPT has already proved to be much more advanced than many in the tech industry expected, Axios' Erica Pandey, Dan Primack and Ina Fried report.
Inspired by our colleagues at Axios San Antonio, we decided to test the chatbot's Charlotte savvy and asked for its hot takes on our city's best restaurants. Here's what it said:
- Fig Tree Restaurant
- 5Church Charlotte
- The Asbury
- Stoke Charlotte
💭 My thought bubble: We can agree on two! But maybe we leave the best restaurant lists to the professionals.
Go Deeper: Catch up on this AI technology and what it might mean for the future via this Axios AM issue.
3. 🥙 Halal cart gets an upgrade
The halal food cart in Uptown has rolled out a fresh new look, Axios' McKenzie Rankin writes.
Why it matters: Charlotteans LOVE their tried and true halal cart. In fact, “Halal white sauce” was Charlotte’s top searched recipe on Google in 2022, as Axios' Katie Peralta Soloff reported last year.
What to expect: The same classic halal foods you know and love — like gyros and chicken over rice — plus, new desserts like flan and cookies.
Details: Find the halal cart on 101 North Tryon St. every day.
- Or check out their brick-and-mortar at MoRa Point.
Plan your future
💼 See current open positions on our Job Board.
- Executive Sous Chef at Best Impressions Caterers.
- Accountant II at Murata Machinery.
- Planned Gift Officer at Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte.
- Manager, Proposal Operations at Passport.
- Assistant Human Resources Director at Town of Matthews.
Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board.
Hiring? Post a job.
4. 🍻 Speed reads: New logo, who dis?
🍺 After 14 years, Charlotte's oldest craft brewery released a new logo and packaging. ([email protected])
📚 Johnson C. Smith University added Onondaga Community College (Syracuse, NY) to its JCSU Connect Program. It's a pathway from community college to JCSU. (Axios)
🚧 Central Avenue’s 1300 block, near Hawthorne Lane, will be closed to through traffic for at least the next two weeks for an emergency repair on a water pipe. (WFAE)
5. 😊 Speaking of beer...
WeldWorks, a popular Colorado brewery, has expanded distribution into North Carolina. The brewery has partnered with Charlotte-based Artisan Beverage Group, an independent craft beverage distributor, Katie reports.
- You'll be able to find WeldWorks favorites at a number of retailers across Charlotte, including Salud, Barley Market, Tip Top Market and Pop the Top, a WeldWorks spokesperson tells Axios.
💭 Axios Denver's John Frank's thought bubble: WeldWerks Brewing is one of the nation’s cult favorites and makes more than 100 different beers a year.
- From the start, the brewery’s special beer releases have excited beer fans across the nation. It's not uncommon to see customers exiting with dollies full of fruity sours and rare stout bottles.
6. Football 🤝 Food
Stay booked and busy
📆 Check out what’s going around Charlotte.
- Real Talk About Homebuying – Is It a Good Time to Buy? at Resident Culture - SE tomorrow: Join them for beer, tacos and the real talk on what to expect from the housing market in 2023. Their panel of local real estate and mortgage experts will answer your questions about today's market and the home-buying process. Leave with confidence in your personal home-buying journey goals. Free.
- Queen City Brewers Festival at Grady Cole Center on Saturday: Queen City Brewers Festival brings together the Charlotte region’s craft beverage producers and celebrates their contributions to the Queen City and serves an organization that helps to improve the quality of life of individuals of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds. Prices vary.
- Valentine’s Day at Museum of Illusions Charlotte on February 14: Make this Valentine’s Day one to remember by giving the gift of a unique night out at Museum of Illusions. Enjoy delicious treats and mock-tails as you immerse yourself in mind-blowing exhibits that will shock your senses. Space is limited, secure your tickets now. $40 per person.
- Mecklenburg County – Fiscal Year 24 Budget Workshop at West Charlotte Rec Center on February 16: Your money. Your community. Your voice. Share your priorities with Mecklenburg County leaders as they plan a budget for next year. Join them for this community workshop in your neighborhood. Learn more about Mecklenburg County programs and how your tax dollars pay for them – and make your voice heard. Take the Budget Survey (available Feb. 6) Free.
- Run Jen Run 5K & Festival at Symphony Park on February 25: This 5K run and Festival is benefitting Go Jen Go and supporting local breast cancer patients. The event includes a 5K, Fun Run, music, a Kids Fun Zone, adult beverages, local food vendors, and community-driven sponsors showcasing their businesses. Register to run/walk with code RJR5OFF. $25+.
- Communication Counts 5k at McAlpine Creek Park on March 25: Join Charlotte Speech and Hearing Center for their 4th annual Communication Counts 5k race and Kids Dash. All 5k racers will receive a t-shirt and medal. This event will raise critical funds that provide access to speech-language and hearing services that empower and transform lives. $10-$45.
Want more things to do? Check out our Event Board.
Hosting? Purchase an Event Listing.
7. 📸 Photos du jour: Charlotte in D.C.
Congresswoman Alma Adams of Charlotte brought Mayor Vi Lyles as her guest to President Biden's State of the Union Address to Congress on Tuesday in Washington.
And, right down the road, the Axios Charlotte team was meeting up with several hundred of our colleagues for karaoke and other shenanigans.
Believe it or not, this photo is as scarce as hen's teeth — even though we all work in the same office, we're rarely in the same room together.
- Axios Charlotte is the largest Axios Local team, with about 18 people in the editorial, revenue and national teams working together to get in your inbox every day. Plus Ted!
📖 For the flight home, I'm trying to finish "Lessons in Chemistry" by Bonnie Garmus before I meet up with a book club at the end of the month.
S/O to Kayla Sharpe for editing and Lucia Maher for copy editing this newsletter.