Axios Raleigh

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March 01, 2024

πŸ™ Friday has arrived. And so has March!

☁️ Weather: Mostly cloudy with rain likely in the late afternoon. Highs around 53°.

πŸŽ‚ Happy birthday to our Axios Raleigh member Donnaly Atajar!

Today's Smart Brevityℒ️ count is 753 words β€” a 3-minute read.

1 big thing: πŸ–οΈ Picking North Carolina's best beach

Bracket: Axios Visuals
Bracket: Axios Visuals

Ask a room full of North Carolinians what their favorite beach is and you'll likely get dozens of different answers β€”Β and maybe start an argument or two.

  • The state's beaches β€”Β famous worldwide thanks to movies and TV shows β€” all offer something different, from the classic boardwalk experience of Carolina Beach to dunes so remote you feel like you're at the edge of the world.

Why it matters: North Carolina's beaches are what make the state one of the best places to live in the country, and they bring in gobs of tourism money ever year.

So in the spirit of March Madness β€” another thing this state loves β€” we've thrown them all together into a bracket for readers to decide which is No.1.

State of play: We had to combine a few to get to 16. So don't throw shells at us if you're a Rodanthe loyalist and are upset with being lumped in with the rest of Hatteras Island. Or if you're a longtime Nags Head person who rejects the growth of Kill Devil Hills. Just have fun.

  • The beaches we selected are also open to the general public.

Even national opinion is split on what North Carolina beach stands out most.

  • Travel + Leisure will point you to the "quintessential beach town" of Wrightsville Beach.
  • U.S. News & World Report pumps up the traditional Outer Banks destinations of Hatteras Island or Kitty Hawk.
  • And Dr. Beach once named Ocracoke as having the best beach in the country.

The verdict: You decide. Vote here by Sunday. We'll have the winners of round 1 β€” and an updated bracket to kick off round 2 voting β€” in Monday's newsletter.

Make your round 1 picks

2. The country's shifting prosperity

Change in economic distress levels, by county
Data: Economic Innovation Group; Note:The Distressed Communities Index combines seven complementary economic indicators into a single summary statistic that conveys each community's standing relative to its peers; Map: Tory Lysik/Axios Visuals

The Southeast has become distinctly more prosperous in just a few years β€” part of a shift in the geography of economic distress in the U.S., according to new data reported first by Axios.

Why it matters: The latest update of the Distressed Community Index, out Wednesday from the Economic Innovation Group, shows large parts of the country becoming more vibrant, Axios' Neil Irwin writes.

  • That is especially true in the counties surrounding fast-growing cities like Raleigh, Atlanta and Nashville.
  • Every county that touches Wake, Durham and Orange counties saw a decline in economic stress in the study.

How it works: The index is based on seven factors, pulled from U.S. census data, and aims to capture in a single number whether an area is rich with economic opportunity or faltering.

  • Those factors include the share of adults who are not working, the housing vacancy rate and growth in the number of businesses.
  • The latest edition is based on data from 2017 to 2021.

Zoom in: The study found that 39.2% of residents in Raleigh have prosperous or comfortable economic situations β€” while 17.8% have distressed or at-risk economic situations.

  • In Durham, those numbers jumped to 45.4% and 23.8%, respectively.

Go deeper

3. The Tea: UNC conference change requirement

Illustration of a wolf, ram, and bull sitting at a table, having a tea party.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

πŸ™οΈ Take the Downtown Raleigh Alliance's annual survey on the state of downtown Raleigh. (DRA)

🏈 Under new UNC system policy, schools must seek approval before changing conferences. (News & Observer πŸ”’)

  • The move comes as the future of the Atlantic Coast Conference, home to UNC and NC State, is in question.

πŸ—οΈ The Centennial Authority's building and construction committee voted to pick Gensler and local partner LS3P as the architecture and design firms for PNC Arena's $300 million renovation. (WRAL)

πŸš‚ Raleigh is the fifth busiest Amtrak station in the Southeast. (CBS17)

4. March's best concerts

ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 13: (L-R) Pete Wentz, Patrick Stump, Andy Hurley and Joe Trohman of the band Fall Out Boy performsat the 2024 iHeartRadio ALTer EGO at Honda Center on January 13, 2024 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Harmony Gerber/Getty Images)

Fall Out Boy performing in Anaheim, California. Photo: Harmony Gerber/Getty Images

Here are some of the best shows happening across the Triangle this month:

🎸 March 1-2: Indie rock stalwarts Yo La Tengo play a two-night stand at the Haw River Ballroom.

πŸ₯ March 8: Indie rock group Cold War Kids comes to the Ritz.

πŸͺ March 12: Neil deGrasse Tyson hosts his "Astronomy Bizarre" show at DPAC.

🎸 March 14: Legendary roots rock group Tedeschi Trucks Band makes a stop at DPAC.

🎀 March 17: R&B singer Ledisi brings her tour to DPAC.

🀘 March 19: Alt rockers Fall Out Boy and Jimmy Eat World takeover PNC Arena.

🎹 March 21: Get your millennial on and sing "Fireflies" when Owl City comes to the Ritz with Augustana.

🎻 March 22-23: The NC Symphony performs Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" at Meymandi Concert Hall.

🌡 March 23: Chapel Hill country duo Blue Cactus plays at the NC Museum of History.

🀠 March 29: Chapel Hill country-punk group Sarah Shook & the Disarmers celebrate their new album at Cat's Cradle.

Share this lineup

πŸͺ± Zachery really wants to go see "Dune: Part Two."

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This newsletter was edited by Jen Ashley and copy edited by Lucia Maher.