Axios Raleigh

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April 26, 2024

๐Ÿ˜ฎโ€๐Ÿ’จ Good morning, readers. We've made it to Friday.

โ›…๏ธ Weather: Mostly cloudy with a high near 70ยฐ.

๐Ÿ’ Situational awareness: The Carolina Hurricanes took a three-game lead in their opening round playoff series, beating the New York Islanders 3-2 yesterday.

๐ŸŽ‚ Happy early birthday to our Axios Raleigh member Danny Schust!

Today's Smart Brevityโ„ข๏ธ count is 915 words โ€” a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: UNC system likely to bring back testing requirements

People walk on the campus of UNC at Chapel Hill. Photo: Eros Hoagland/Getty Images

The UNC system looks likely to raise its minimum requirements for admissions at the state's 17 public universities โ€” and allow individual campuses to bring back standardized testing requirements.

Why it matters: Since the pandemic, the UNC system โ€” which includes campuses like UNC-Chapel Hill and N.C. State โ€” had stopped mandating students submit standardized test scores as part of their applications.

Driving the news: A UNC Board of Governors committee, however, last week approved a proposal that would require standardized test scores for some โ€” but not all โ€” applicants. (These would be minimum requirements to gain admission, though standards vary at the system's 17 campuses.)

  • The full board will vote on the policy at its May 23 meeting.

Zoom in: The new policy would require that:

  • Students applying to a university for the fall 2024 or spring 2025 semesters with less than a 2.5 GPA would need to submit an ACT score of 19 or an SAT score of 1010 or higher to be eligible for admission.
  • For admission during the fall 2025 and spring 2026 semesters, students would need to submit an ACT or SAT score if their high school GPA was between 2.5 and 2.8. But no minimum score would be required.
  • For the fall 2026 semester and beyond, students with GPAs between 2.5 and 2.8 would need to provide an ACT score of at least 17 or an SAT score of at least 930 to be eligible for admission.

Additionally, individual campuses would be allowed to require test scores for students with high school GPAs higher than 2.8 โ€” but this policy would need to be approved by the Board of Governors two academic years ahead of its implementation.

Full story

2. โœˆ๏ธ Let's fly directly away

Waiting to board at RDU. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Trying to get away? The number of direct flights leaving from Raleigh-Durham International Airport continues to grow โ€” with more expected in the coming years as Terminal 2 expands.

State of play: 16 carriers operate more than 350 daily flights through RDU, including a growing number of international options.

Here are a few direct flights recently added to RDU:

๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Frankfurt, Germany via Lufthansa

๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฆ Panama City via Copa Airlines

๐ŸŒด Palm Beach, Florida via Breeze and Avelo

Check out the full list of direct flights

Sponsored event listings

Stay booked and busy

๐Ÿ“…Upcoming events around the city.

Fentanyl Awareness Day at the NC General Assembly on Wednesday: NC Fentanyl Victim Family's educational networking & advocacy event to help you learn how to combat the illicit fentanyl crisis in your community. Spark discussions with elected officials regarding counterfeit pills, protect your loved ones from fentanyl threat. Must register.

Hosting an event? Email [email protected].

3. The Tea: 900,000 could lose affordable internet

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

๐Ÿ’ป More than 900,000 North Carolinians will lose access to subsidized internet services if federal funding for an affordable internet program expires. (WUNC)

๐Ÿšฒ Cycle Logic, Raleigh's oldest bicycle shop, will close its Hillsborough Street shop in June and is offering a close-out sale. (Triangle Business Journal ๐Ÿ”’)

๐Ÿ’ฐ Nearly two dozen counties in North Carolina, including Durham, have yet to spend funds received from a federal opioid settlement. (WRAL)

๐ŸŒฎ Gonza Tacos & Tequila will close its Hillsborough Street location this weekend after eight years in the space. (News & Observer ๐Ÿ”’)

๐Ÿ€ N.C. State forward Mo Diarra will enter the NBA draft after one season with the Wolfpack. (CBS17)

๐Ÿˆ The Panthers traded up for a first-round pick in the NFL draft, selecting South Carolina wide receiver Xavier Legette No. 32 overall. The trade sent picks 33 (2nd round) and 141 (5th) to Buffalo in exchange for picks 32 (1st) and 200 (6th). (WBTV)

4. Downtown Raleigh gains momentum

Change in downtown visitor activity levels from March 2023 to February 2024
Data: University of Toronto; Note: Downtown defined as the central location with the highest concentration of employment in each metro area; Chart: Alice Feng/Axios

Downtown Raleigh has seen a welcome bump in foot traffic in the past year, according to new cell phone tracking data from the University of Toronto.

Why it matters: Raleigh's downtown area has struggled to recover to prepandemic foot traffic levels due, in part, to remote work trends emptying out offices.

Driving the news: The new cell phone data shows that foot traffic in March 2024 was up 19.9% compared to March 2023.

  • That was the 13th-largest year-over-year increase among U.S. cities.

What they're saying: Weekend crowds in downtown Raleigh are above prepandemic levels, said Bill King, head of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance. Downtown has seen a net positive of new businesses and apartments opening, plus lots of weekend events, he noted.

  • While the number of office workers downtown has inched up, it's still influenced by hybrid work and below 2019 rates, he added.

Keep reading

5. ๐Ÿˆ Drake Maye's big night

Drake Maye (left) with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Drake Maye was selected by the New England Patriots third overall in the first round of the NFL draft Thursday night, Axios' Ashley Mahoney writes.

Why it matters: The Charlotte native and former North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback is the third UNC quarterback selected in the NFL draft in the past seven years, in addition to Sam Howell and Mitch Trubisky.

What he's saying: "I'm ready to get to New England," Maye said on NFL Network after being drafted. "Let's have a blast. We're gonna win a lot of games."

Maye was accompanied by his three older brothers at the draft. As the youngest, he says he was always getting picked on. But he kept his head down and kept working, he said on NFL Network after being drafted.

  • "Those are three of my best friends," Maye said.
maye brothers
The Maye brothers from left to right: Luke Maye, Drake Maye, Beau Maye and Cole Maye. Luke and Beau played basketball at North Carolina. Cole played baseball at Florida. Photo: Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images

6. Your weekend plans

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Here's what's happening this weekend around the Triangle, from dinosaur bones exhibits to beer festivals.

๐Ÿบ Brewgaloo, downtown Raleigh's annual craft beer festival featuring more than 100 breweries, returns to Fayetteville Street today and Saturday.

๐Ÿฆ– The N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences opens its newest exhibit, "Dueling Dinosaurs," on Saturday, which shows how scientists uncovered the fossils of a tyrannosaur and triceratops.

๐ŸŽจ Cary's arts and crafts festival Spring Daze returns to Bond Park on Saturday, featuring 170 artists and live entertainment.

๐Ÿš’ Raleigh's Sanderford Road Community Center will hold a free Touch-a-Truck event for children Saturday.

Check out more things to do

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Zachery is reading about how Kyiv's coffee culture has thrived despite routine bombings.

๐Ÿ˜‰ Go ahead: Share our free newsletter around the Triangle.

This newsletter was edited by Katie Peralta Soloff and copy edited by Lucia Maher.