May 13, 2021

Hello, Thursday. It's Michael.

  • Weather: Back up to 70° today, with some clouds.

🍰 Happy birthday to Axios Charlotte members Deborah Halliday and Gina Sheridan.

Situational awareness: Colonial Pipeline resumed operations yesterday evening, days after it was hacked. This marks the beginning of the end of the wild gas crunch of 2021.

Today's Smart Brevity™️ count is 929 words, a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Innovation in recycling

The Innovation Barn is on Seigle Ave. Photo courtesy of Innovation Barn

After three long years of preparation, the Innovation Barn is looking at a summer opening in the Belmont neighborhood.

  • Why it matters: The 36,000-square-foot former horse barn is designed to be the region's new centerpiece of sustainability and proving grounds for a circular economy.

What to expect: The city-funded project, managed by the nonprofit Envision Charlotte, will include:

  • A composting lab that employs soldier flies to decompose food waste.
  • An aquaponic garden that will work with 100 Gardens to supply greens for local schools.
  • A teaching kitchen with classes on how to limit food waste and canning vegetables 101.
  • A plastics lab where something like a takeout container can be turned into filament, which can be used in a 3-D printer to create new products.

The big picture: North Carolina is in the middle of the pack among states with an overall recycling rate of 44%, according to a recent Eunomia report.

  • But our plastics rate is just dismal: 8%.
Data: 2021 Eunomia report. Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: 2021 Eunomia report. Chart: Axios Visuals

What's next: The barn's first big project will be a partnership with Coca-Cola Consolidated to collect and recycle all of the plastic bottles from the Coca-Cola 600 race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Full story: 'Recycling is so broken.' Could Charlotte's Innovation Barn help mend it?

2. This front page is from May 13, 1979

Charlotte Observer front page, May 13, 1979. Source: Charlotte Observer archives via Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library. Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Headlines seem familiar?

These are two stories driving the Charlotte news today, on May 13, 2021:

Why it matters: Maybe we're the cicadas.

3. About the gas: CATS is going fare-free

CATS transit center in Uptown. Photo: Katie Peralta Soloff/Axios

CATS is offering free rides throughout the city during the temporary shortage.

Why it matters: @gasbuddyguy reported nearly 3/4ths of all gas stations in the Charlotte metro area were out of gas yesterday.

  • Gov. Roy Cooper said the outages were largely because of panic buying, and "please don't buy gas unless you're low."

My thought bubble: If unfounded worries lead to panic buying, which lead to founded worries, were the worries founded all along?

  • I don't know, but the bus is free.

Follow the Gas Buddy tracker to see where gas is available.

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4. Vaccine authorized for younger teens

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The FDA and CDC issued an emergency use authorization for the Pfizer vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds, and local health care providers say they should be able to offer it to eligible kids as early as today, Axios' Paige Hopkins reports.

What to expect: The two-shot Pfizer vaccine will be the same as the one offered to adults. During trials, kids who took the Pfizer vaccine experienced similar symptoms.

By the numbers: Axios/Ipsos data show that parents are split nearly 50-50 on whether they will allow their children to get vaccinated as soon as possible, Axios’ Marisa Fernandez writes.

  • Atrium Health pediatrician Lyn Nuse says she understands parents have concerns, but the benefits of taking the vaccine for children outweigh the risks.

Full story: Where and when to get your 12- to 15-year-old vaccinated, plus advice from a pediatrician

5. The "mullet house" is for sale

From the back. Photo courtesy of Mickey Gold

Humble cottage in the front, party in the back.

If you see this Wilmore home, you won't soon forget it, Axios' Brianna Crane writes.

  • Address: 1825 Merriman Ave.
  • Space: 2,481 square feet, with four beds and two baths.

Full story: $750K “mullet house” for sale in Wilmore

humble house with brick foundation and white siding
View from the front. Photo courtesy of Mickey Gold

6. Neighborhood guide: 18 things to do in Elizabeth

Trolley tracks heading up the hill into the heart of Elizabeth. Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios

The Elizabeth neighborhood has its own pumpkin wall and 8K run. It has fourplexes next to mansions next to soon-to-be-teardowns. You could spend a week there and not eat everything and never tire of the sound of the wind through the trees.

Here's a short itinerary, pulled from Axios' Symphony Webber's guide to the neighborhood:

My thought bubble: If I may add one of my own, start with lunch at Sandwich Max.

  • And stand at the corner of 7th and Pecan and look up at that big new apartment complex under construction, and pour one out for the Philosopher's Stone. Miss you, P-Stone.

Full story: 18 things to do, eat and drink in Elizabeth — from $1 tacos to Cajun Queen's beignets

Healthy eats around town

Photo: Acai bowl from Smooth Monkey in Plaza Midwood. Alivia McAtee/Axios

Trying to up your healthy food game while exploring local spots? OrthoCarolina helped us round up a few of our favorite places around town for a healthy (and tasty) bite. Check it out on our Instagram.

The pros at OrthoCarolina know that a high quality diet filled with fruits and veggies is 🔑 to staying healthy. Check out their blog for more wellness tips.

7. Weekender: What's happening in Charlotte

Free workouts at Victoria Yards in Uptown. Saturday, 9am to 2pm. Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios

Good news for a city low on gas: There's stuff to do here this weekend.

🍷 South End Wine & Hops Festival. Saturday and Sunday, 1-6pm. Details and tickets.

🌎 Science on Screen: War Games at Discovery Place. Saturday, 5:15pm. Details.

🐶 Pamper Your Pet Pop-Up at Skiptown. Sunday, noon-5pm. Details.

Full story: 21 things to do this weekend, including a roller skating pop-up and a drive-in concert.

8. Speed reads: Catch up quick

Rep. Madison Cawthorn, a Republican from Asheville, just before going in to vote on Wednesday. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc., via Getty Images

  • N.C. Congressman Madison Cawthorn taunted Liz Cheney after her removal from a House GOP leadership position, tweeting "Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey, goodbye Liz Cheney." (Asheville Citizen-Times)
  • CMS approved a new elementary school for Mint Hill. It'll cost $24.5 million and is scheduled to open in 2022. (WFAE)
  • Regal will reopen three more movie theaters around Charlotte this Friday: Phillips Place in Charlotte, Franklin Square in Gastonia and Manchester in Rock Hill. (Regal)
  • In a sign of the hiring times, Mac's Speed Shop is offering paycheck bonuses, signing bonuses and health insurance for those who work more than 25 hours a week. (Mac's)

The loop (we're keeping you in it)

🌀 News you can use from our super cool, very important Axios Charlotte partners.

  • Ballantyne's first high-rise apartment building is now pre-leasing. 🎉 Towerview Ballantyne, a Northwood Ravin community, has gorgeous 1-3 bedroom units and next-level amenities like a rooftop lounge and resort-style pool. 

9. 1 delicious thing to go

Styled this shot myself in my kitchen. I call it the leaning tower of Popeyes. Photo: Michael Graff/Axios

Waiting for the line to die down is an important piece of my brand, so yesterday I scooted around a few overwhelmed gas stations and finally got one of those Popeyes spicy chicken sandwiches.

⚾️ The Oakland A's say they're looking to move to another city. Of course Charlotte folks jumped to say, "Hey, why not us?"

  • Whenever this arises I laugh and think of my freshman year of college in 1997-98, when I became a registered N.C. voter to support a tax referendum to build a stadium for the Minnesota Twins in the Triad.
  • The referendum failed, and turns out the Twins were just messing with us to get a new stadium up in Minnesota anyway.