Axios Charlotte

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January 23, 2024

Hello, Tuesday. It's Ashley.

🌧 Weather: Showers with a high of 49°.

πŸŽ‚ Happy birthday to Axios Charlotte members Karen Roberson, Beth Gordon, Glenda Thompson and Kimberly Cobranchi.

πŸ’Œ A special thanks to our members for supporting our local journalism! Join them.

Today's Smart Brevityℒ️ count is 919 words β€” a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: JCSU's role in a changing West End

Valerie Kinloch is Johnson C. Smith University's 15th president. Photo: Courtesy of Johnson C. Smith University

Charlotte was a different city when Valerie Kinloch arrived at Johnson C. Smith University as a student in 1992.

State of play: Kinloch returned to her alma mater last August not as a visiting alumna, but as the university's newly named president.

  • Now she's tasked with leading Charlotte's historically Black university, which is nearly 157 years old.

Why it matters: As change sweeps across West End, Johnson C. Smith must play a significant role in economic development in the neighborhood, Kinloch tells Axios.

By the numbers: Johnson C. Smith received $80 million in private money through the Mayor's Racial Equity Initiative in November 2021 to help propel the university to become a top 10 HBCU in the nation.

What they're saying: "We have a responsibility to figure out how to support this community, because we are of the community," Kinloch says.

Keep reading

2. πŸ‰ Charlotte's new pro team

The 2023 Major League Rugby championship. Photo: Courtesy of Major League Rugby

Major League Rugby, the sport's top-tier league in North America, last week announced plans to expand to Charlotte.

  • The team is a partnership between MLR, World Rugby (the international governing body for the sport) and USA Rugby (the national governing body for the sport).

Why it matters: The expansion team, called Anthem Rugby Carolina, will primarily be used as a developmental team for the USA Eagles, the men's national team, ahead of the 2031 men's Rugby World Cup.

Details: Anthem RC will play at American Legion Memorial Stadium in Elizabeth. The 18-week regular season runs from March through June. Players will be announced in the coming weeks.

Keep reading

Sponsored job listings

Plan your future

πŸ’Ό See current open positions on our Job Board.

  1. Concierge- Uptown 550 Luxury Apartments at Northwood Ravin.
  2. Outpatient Therapist/School-Based Therapist at Cauthen Counseling and Consulting PLLC.
  3. Registered Behavioral Technician at Compleat Kidz.
  4. Legal Assistant at The Odom Firm, PLLC.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board.

Hiring? Post a job.

3. πŸ• Little Mama's expands

Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

Little Mama's Italian Kitchen's second location opens tonight in south Charlotte.

Of note: It will be open for dinner, but will add lunch starting Monday, Jan. 29.

Why it matters: Little Mama's has surged in popularity since opening in SouthPark in 2020, Axios' Laura Barrero writes.

What to expect: Little Mama's Rea Farms has a similar vibe to the original location with nods to the Italian-American restaurants of the 1960s and '70s.

  • Its menu is fairly similar to the OG Little Mama's, with fresh pasta and mozzarella made daily.
  • The new location will also serve pizza.

If you go: The address is 9825 Sandy Rock Pl. It'll be open 11am-9pm Sunday-Thursday and 11am-10pm Fridays and Saturdays.

Full story

Sponsored messages

πŸŒ€ The loop (we're keeping you in it)

News you can use from our partners.

  • 🏠 New Uptown condos: The Residences at Westbrook, a collection of four luxury condos, were just listed for sale in Third Ward. The homes have rooftop terraces, skyline views, two-car garages and tons of natural light. Take a tour.

4. 🎀 "Run away, but we're running in circles"

Other artists performing at the festival in addition to Post Malone (pictured) include DaBaby, Maggie Rogers and Dashboard Confessional. Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Fontainebleau Las Vegas

Now that you have "Circles" by Post Malone stuck in your head too, let's talk about his trip to Charlotte this spring.

What's happening: Post Malone is one of the headliners for Charlotte's inaugural Lovin' Life Music Fest. Axios' Alexis Clinton has you covered with everything you need to know before Uptown turns into a giant music festival.

Details: The three-day event runs May 3-5. Other headliners include Stevie Nicks and Noah Kahan. Tickets start at $269 for a general admission three-day pass.

  • There will be one main stage and two other stages to watch performances, according to the festival map.
  • Super VIP and VIP ticket holders are closest to the main stage.
  • General Admission Plus ticket holders have an elevated viewing area and the remaining space is designated for general admission.

Keep reading: Everything you need to know about Lovin' Life Music Fest in Charlotte

Sponsored event listings

New events to check out

πŸ“… See what's going on around the city.

  • Laff House Mondays Kickoff w/ the Martin Reunion Comedy Show at Infinity Live tonight: Infinity Live presents the Monday Night Laff House series kickoff with Cole Brown and Bruh Man from Martin. Hosted by Buck Wild. Doors open at 6 p.m. Show time is 8 p.m. $20+.
  • Love Rules at Stage Door Theater at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center February 1 - 3: Enjoy an evening of songs exploring the nature of love, starring Paul Oakley Stovall and featuring Mario Yniguez. Love takes many forms in our lifetime and can lift us to unimaginable heights, baffling us at every turn. Paul and Mario will find new ways to accept and honor love in our lives. $34.50+.

Want more things to do? Check out our Event Board.

Hosting? Purchase an Event Listing.

5. 🏈 A new GM and other speed reads

Dan Morgan played in the Panthers' first Super Bowl appearance during the 2003 season. Photo: Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

🏈 Dan Morgan, a former Carolina Panther, has been named the Panthers president of football operations/general manager. He'll focus on personnel. (WBTV)

🎀 Avril Lavigne will perform at PNC Music Pavilion on Sept. 1 with special guest Simple Plan. (Axios)

πŸ”‹ Charlotte-based Duke Energy will lay off an undisclosed number of employees as part of a "clean energy transition." (WBTV)

πŸ’» SparkNC, which launched labs in 17 North Carolina school districts, is looking to prepare high school students for tech careers. (WFAE)

πŸ”¨ Mooresville-based Lowe's is accepting nominations for its Hometowns program now through Feb. 19. Now in its third year, the program revitalizes community spaces such as food pantries and playgrounds. (Lowe's)

6. πŸ€ The crown of struggle

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As the NBA season hits the halfway point, league experts are evaluating the state of the rankings, including the woes of the bottom five, or as The Athletic's John Hollinger calls them, the "forlorn five."

State of play: The NBA's bottom five teams, in order, are the Portland Trail Blazers, Charlotte Hornets, San Antonio Spurs, Washington Wizards and Detroit Pistons.

What they're saying: "These five teams are more likely to be blown out of the building (43 times) than they are to win a game by any margin (36 times)," Hollinger writes.

  • Of note: The Hornets did win Monday night, beating the Timberwolves 128-125.

Our thought bubble: It's not a glamorous life, but even the "sickly brethren," as Hollinger dubs them, could use a little shine, Axios San Antonio's Madalyn Mendoza writes.

We want to know, if the bottom five had a commissioner, who'd wear the crown ofΒ struggle?

  • Imagine a trophy for the team that triumphs in being not-so-triumphant. What would it look like?
  • Bonus points if you sketch it out and share your masterpiece with us.

πŸ“¬ Let me know at [email protected].

7. πŸŒƒ All of the lights

This would make a great cheap, but cute, date idea. Of note: The art installation pictured here is from a previous year. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

Rail Trail art installations will return this February.

Details: From Feb. 2-18, you can check out free public art along the Rail Trail in South End. The art will light up each night from dusk until dawn.

  • Here are the four artists and where to find their installations:

πŸ€– Oliver Lewis at Atherton Plaza (2102 South Blvd.).

πŸ¦ͺ HNin Nie at Kingston Connection (108 E. Kingston Ave.).

πŸ’‘ Anna G. Dean at Flower Child (1537 Camden Road).

🎨 J. Stacy Utley at The Pavilion at Futo Buta (222 E Bland St.).

🎨 What's your favorite public art in Charlotte? Let me know at [email protected].

Thanks to Katie Peralta Soloff for editing this newsletter and Lucia Maher for copy editing.