It's Thursday, friends. We're coming to you from Charlotte with our Axios Local colleagues.

β˜€οΈ Sunny β€” 91Β°/71Β°.

Today's newsletter is 864 words, a 3-minute read.

1 big thing: How we do it

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

πŸ‘‹ Hey, Axios Local executive editor Jamie Stockwell here!

Back when the reporters and editors of Axios Local first gathered about a year and a half ago, we sent an update on our progress to readers in 14 cities. (Some of you old-timers might remember it!)

  • That was my first day on the job. Now, we're sending today's update to 30 cities, reaching nearly 2 million subscribers coast-to-coast.

Why it matters: We dreamed up Axios Local three years ago as we watched local news outlets shrinking and shuttering across the country. We knew there was a need for smart, trustworthy, sharply reported local coverage, and we wanted to be that solution.

I joined Axios Local from The New York Times, but I've spent half my career in local newsrooms. I understand what it means to be a member of the communities we cover, and the best part of this job has been getting to know our reporting teams and seeing the incredible journalism they've been able to do, like:

  • Our look at how Florida's tilt toward aggressive immigration reform drove some of Tampa Bay's undocumented residents out of the state.
  • The tender story of a 72-year-old woman reading to kids at a time when children's and young-adult books are fraught with politics.
  • A journey with local drag queens to protest anti-LGBTQ bills at the state capital.

We've also been able to leverage our journalists nationwide to tell important stories about what's happening across America, like how a chronic teacher shortage and a housing affordability crunch has pushed school districts into the homebuilding business.

What's next: We're bringing more Axios events to our local audiences.

  • We're already planning coverage of the 2024 election and what it will mean to you.
  • And we recently launched our second annual Axios Local Power Players in Business in Denver, Chicago and Charlotte.

The bottom line: Our dream has been to do impactful, sustainable journalism in communities around the country. And so far it's working!

  • Thanks for reading (tell your friends to sign up here,) thanks for advertising (learn more here), and thanks for becoming members (learn more here).

πŸ“¬ Got an idea to make us better? Just hit reply to this email or email me at [email protected].

On the job hunt?

πŸ’Ό Check out who's hiring on our Job Board.

  1. Plant Finance Manager at Ball Corporation.
  2. District Manager at Extra Space Storage.
  3. Senior Manager Finance, Procurement at Refresco.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board

Hiring? Use code FIRST50 for $50 off your first job post.

2. πŸ‘Ž Rays season ends in disappointing fashion

Randy Arozarena reacts during Game 2 of the Wild Card Series. Photo: Mike Carlson/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The Rays started this season with a bang, but the team fizzled out yesterday losing 7-1 to the Texas Rangers ending their 2023 title hopes.

Why it matters: The Rays set the modern-era MLB record, winning 14 consecutive home games to start the season, but they couldn't win two when it mattered most.

  • The Rangers beat Tampa by a combined score of 11-1 in the American League Wild Card round.

Of note: The Rays have now lost a franchise-record seven straight postseason games.

What they're saying: "We didn't expect to be out right now," starting pitcher Zach Eflin said according to ESPN. "There's no easy way to say it sucks. I really didn't have any offseason plans until the first week of November and the second week of November. It's not a good feeling."

  • Rays manager Kevin Cash called the early exit "frustrating."

What went wrong.

3. The Pulp: Your daily dose of news

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

βš–οΈ Hillsborough County's chief judge denied a request from prominent lawyers to reverse Gov. Ron DeSantis' appointment of Suzy Lopez as state attorney. She was picked by the governor to replace Andrew Warren. (Tampa Bay Times)

πŸš— Tampa's Downtown Area Shared Hubs will open in mid-October. The ride-share service is designed to assist people in navigating through the downtown area. It contains a fleet of six all-electric vehicles. (WFLA)

🚢 The American Lung Association is launching a new fundraiser along the Pinellas Trail called "the Gulf Coast Bike Trek." It focuses on children and families diagnosed with asthma. (WFTS)

4. Inside Sarasota's conservative transformation

Christopher Rufo, a conservative activist and New College of Florida trustee, walks through protesters at the campus. Photo: Thomas Simonetti for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Donald Trump lost, and the red wave never materialized. But in Sarasota County, the "MAGAmerican dream" is alive and well, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: Hardcore conservatives in Sarasota County elected three vaccine skeptics to the local hospital board, helped write Florida's "Parents' Bill of Rights," and led efforts to limit teachings of race and gender.

  • The Post recently published a deep-dive into Sarasota County's conservative makeover, which detailed how activists and Trumpworld celebrities have made an already red county redder.

Zoom in: YouTube's conservative rival, Rumble, and the parent company of Truth Social are based in Sarasota County. It's also home to the Hollow, which says it's a place for conservatives to "lawfully take back our country."

  • Sarasota County's New College has been the center of controversy since Gov. DeSantis appointed new board members in January. The board members' mission is to turn it into a conservative Christian institution like Hillsdale College in Michigan.
  • Michael Flynn, Trump's former national security adviser, moved to Sarasota County two years ago and has led aggressive efforts to urge more active support for Trump and conservative activism on local boards.

Yes, but: Their power over the region could be waning, per the Post. Flynn failed to elect his favored candidate for the head of the Sarasota County GOP, and a local proposal to cut funding for social and emotional learning failed.

Check out the story.

πŸ‚ Selene, Yacob and Kathryn are finally experiencing proper fall weather with their colleagues in Charlotte, North Carolina.

This newsletter was edited by Ross Terrell and copy edited by Azi Najafi.