August 22, 2023

Hello, Tuesday. It's Ashley.

⛅️ Weather: High 96. Please stay hydrated.

🎂 Happy birthday to our Axios Charlotte members Amy Dunbar, Chip Wilson, Skip Fox, Paula Conway, Vickie Traynum and Debbie Darden.

Situational awareness: The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education will vote on revised policies today to bring CMS in line with the Parents' Bill of Rights, which requires notifying parents if a student asks to go by a different pronoun or name, including nicknames.

Today's Smart Brevity™ count is 916 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: 🦠 COVID's new variant

Data: CDC; Chart: Axios
Data: CDC; Chart: Axios

COVID is once again on the rise in North Carolina and beyond.

State of play: A variant called EG.5 has become the dominant form in the U.S., per CDC estimates. But it's unclear if that variant is directly responsible for the uptick in cases nationwide, Axios' Alex Fitzpatrick and Kavya Beheraj report.

Why it matters: Many of us put COVID in our rearview mirrors, leaving us both mentally and practically ill-prepared for another wave.

By the numbers: COVID hospitalizations rose 33.6% across North Carolina between June and July and 17% across the nation during that period, per the latest available CDC data.

Between the lines: The surge comes as students prepare to head back to school next week.

Reality check: Nationwide hospitalizations remain well below their pandemic-era peak.

Keep reading

2. Stat du jour: Enough to kill 15 million people

Photo: Courtesy of the DEA

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department's VICE Unit has seized approximately 30 kilograms of suspected fentanyl so far this year in the Charlotte region, CMPD reported Monday.

  • That is enough to kill 15 million people, Axios' Katie Peralta Soloff reports. For context, that's more than the entire state's population, which is just over 10 million.

Why it matters: Overdose deaths are soaring in Charlotte and beyond, in large part because of fentanyl. Even a very small amount of the drug can be lethal.

Context: Fentanyl is sometimes mixed with drugs like marijuana or cocaine, leaving users unaware they're taking it.

  • Counterfeit pills are often made with fentanyl.

What they're saying: "No one should take a pill that's not prescribed and picked up from a pharmacy," CMPD major Luke Sell said in a statement.

By the numbers: CMPD has reported 137 fatal overdoses so far in 2023. That's up 20% from this time last year.

  • For perspective, CMPD reported 134 fatal overdoses for all of 2018.

On the job hunt?

💼 Check out the fresh open positions in Charlotte.

  1. Director of Admission and Financial Support at Trinity Episcopal School.
  2. Surgical Technologist Acute II – Atrium Health Mercy at Atrium Health.
  3. Tutor at Helps Education Fund.
  4. Ticketing Services Supervisor at Blumenthal Performing Arts.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board.

Hiring? Post a job.

3. 🚨Free rent at the Market at 7th Street

Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

Small business owners in Charlotte can now apply to join a new educational program, Axios' Alexandria Sands writes.

Driving the news: ​​Charlotte Center City Partners recently announced its new Charlotte Hub for Inclusivity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (HIIVE) program.

Why it matters: Two of the first cohort's members will get to run their business rent free at the Market at 7th Street in Uptown.

Details: During the nine-week course, students will learn small business skills from local experts, plus get networking opportunities and real-world experience at the Market.

Flashback: CCCP and and Honeywell created the Center City Small Business Innovation Fund to help small businesses impacted by the pandemic. SBIF has helped 143 small businesses in Charlotte.

  • HIIVE, like SBIF, will prioritize entrepreneurs who are people of color, women and/or veterans.

Stay booked and busy

📅 Check out what's going around Charlotte.

  • Jazz & Games on The Loop at Legion Brewing SouthPark tonight: Wind down from your workday on The Loop in SouthPark. Find classic games like chess, Uno, Sorry, and more while you enjoy free, live jazz music on the lawn next to Legion Brewing SouthPark. Free.
  • Meet CLTFC forward Kerwin Vargas at Compare Foods - 818 E. Arrowood Rd. tomorrow: Meet Charlotte FC forward Kerwin Vargas at Compare Foods. You'll have the chance to get his autograph and snap a picture with him. Free.
  • Music at the Met at Metropolitan Every Thursday until October 5: Join Metropolitan on the patio every Thursday evening for good vibes and live music by local musicians. Enjoy food and drinks from surrounding restaurants. Dogs are welcome but must be kept on a leash. Free.
  • Matthews Alive Festival at Stumptown Park, downtown Matthews September 1 - 4: Don't miss this four-day tradition in downtown Matthews. Three stages of entertainment, a parade, 150+ small shops, street food vendors, a full carnival with amusements, inflatable games for kids, indoor exhibits, kid's train and climbing wall, commercial exhibits & more. Free admission.
  • Queen City Saves Lives at The Music Yard @ Southbound on September 13: The first annual DKMS Queen City Saves Lives community event kicks off September 13 in Southend with live music from The Parks Brothers, food, beverages and the opportunity to learn how you can save a life. Free.
  • Adolescent Mental Health Crisis Educational Program at Central Piedmont Community College's Parr Center, New Theater on September 13: Join HopeWay for an educational event about today's adolescent mental health crisis. Dr. Harold Koplewicz, a leading child and adolescent psychiatrist, will address the top challenges youth are facing and ways to offer meaningful support and help build resiliency. $35.
  • 2nd Hispanic Heritage Festival of the Carolinas at Truist Field Stadium on September 23: This year they are bringing in more artisan food and overall culture to Uptown. The chosen headliners are a dynamic duo with their own unique Reggaeton style that's inclusive to their country of Cuba. This Latin Grammy and Latin Billboard Award Winning duo has made classics that will last a lifetime and continue to pioneer a sound all their own. Making their Carolina debut - GENTE DE ZONA. $20.

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

Hosting? Purchase an Event Listing.

4. 🏗 Luxury West End apartments

Broadstone West End. Rendering: Cline Design/courtesy of Alliance Residential Company

More change is coming to west Charlotte.

State of play: An industrial building off Wilkinson Boulevard will be redeveloped into 332 luxury apartments called Broadstone West End, Alex writes.

Why it matters: The apartments are one of several incoming developments along the future Silver Line route.

The big picture: Construction of high-end housing is happening fast on the west side, adjacent to historically affordable neighborhoods, Rickey Hall, of the West Boulevard Neighborhood Coalition, recently told Axios.

  • Development pressure is moving westward from South Boulevard as a result of the Blue Line.

Details: Broadstone West End will be five stories with a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments, ranging from 590 to 1,240 square feet.

  • Broadstone will include a pool with an outdoor kitchen, a fitness center, private coworking offices, a resident clubroom featuring a kitchen and card room, plus a fenced pet park.
  • The exact address is 2130 Wilkinson Blvd.

What's next: Residents will be able to move into Broadstone West End in 2025.

Of note: Developer Alliance Residential Company is opening several other projects in Charlotte soon, including: Broadstone Optimist Park, The Boulevard in South End and Prose NoDa.

5. 🥖 Bonjour, Coquette

Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

A new French restaurant called Coquette opens today at 8am, Axios' Laura Barrero writes.

Details: Only the pâtisserie and cafe portion of the restaurant will be open to start.

  • Coquette will serve pastries, fresh bread and coffee in the morning and cocktails and charcuterie in the afternoon.
  • It will be open Tuesday-Saturday from 8am-6pm at 400 South Tryon St.

What's next: Coquette will start adding limited dinner reservations on Tuesday, Aug. 29.

6. Speed reads

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

🤔 Is former North Carolina representative Mark Meadows, who was indicted along with former President Trump, a criminal or are the charges against Meadows absurd? (WFAE)

🎟 Get discounted tickets to the movies for National Cinema Day on Sunday. (WBTV)

📦 People affected by the devastating Maui wildfires still need donations and supplies, but are overwhelmed by packages and clothing, according to state and local officials. (Axios)

🚨 A massive lakeside home collapsed overnight in Mooresville. (WBTV)

7. 🍸3 new cocktails to go

From left: Le Spritzer, Burning Man and Coco Loco Si. Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios

Dilworth Tasting Room SouthPark added three new items to its cocktail menu, Axios' McKenzie Rankin writes.

Details: The drinks ($15 each) range from refreshing to spicy:

🍫 Coco Loco Si: For something sweet, order this drink with Bacardi silver rum, spiced pineapple syrup, coconut cream, lime, cachaça, oloroso sherry and chocolate bitters.

🍹 Le Spritzer: This traditional spritzer is refreshing. It's served in a wine glass with French rosé and club soda, Ketel One Botanicals Grapefruit & Rose, elderflower liqueur and lemon juice.

🌶 Burning Man: Order this for a kick. It's made with tequila blanco, mezcal and maraschino cherry liqueur shaken with cilantro, orange citrus and pineapple juice and served smoked with a Tajin rim.

Bonus: Burning Man is also available at DTR in Dilworth — the others are exclusive to DTR SouthPark.

Address: DTR SouthPark is located at 4905 Ashley Park Lane.

🏈 Charlotte beat N.C. Central in the first round of our college game day traditions bracket. Now help the 49ers beat Tennessee!

Today's newsletter was edited by Katie Peralta Soloff and copy edited by Lucia Maher.