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The latest...

Here’s what’s happening now:

What to know about the Omicron variant: A South African research center identified a new Covid variant, but we don't know much yet.

Why people are talking about it: It's raised concerns because it's significantly mutated and is different than previous variants, like the currently dominant Delta variant.

Early signs could show that Omicron doesn't make people more sick, but that it could be more contagious.

What we don't know: How current COVID-19 vaccines or immunity from previous infection hold up to the Omicron variant.

Yes, but: This isn't like the beginning of the pandemic; vaccine companies are already testing. We should know more about vaccine efficacy with the Omicron variant within 2 weeks. If new versions of vaccines are needed, those could ship as early as 100 days, Pfizer said.

What else to know:

✔️Take the Live Well Wake Community Needs Health Assessment to have input on health priorities for the next three years. [survey]

🗓️ Reminder: This is the last regular newsletter before the weekly editions for the editor's maternity leave begin on Thursday! Changes are outlined here.
Raleigh Jobs: 
 
Hiring? Post a job for inclusion in this section.
Local Culture:
Find light art installations downtown
Illuminate Art Walk will return to Downtown Raleigh beginning Friday.

💡What to see: Chimes, pictured below, is a highlight of this year's series of large-scale light-based art pieces. Chimes will span half of City Plaza on Fayetteville Street. 

💡Find it: Other installations in Downtown Raleigh's Fayetteville Street and Glenwood South districts are at storefronts and public spaces. 

💡When to go: The self-guided tour can be done anytime, but a kickoff event at City Plaza will be 6-8 p.m. at First Friday. 
📸: Frederique Menard Aubin, Chimes shown at a previous installation.
Community:
Giving Tuesday shoutouts

Our Contributing + Sustaining Members share the local nonprofits they love (and why!) on this Giving Tuesday:

❤️ Raleigh Rescue Mission: "An amazing organization doing great work right in downtown!" --Claire S.

❤️ Lung Cancer Initiative: "Lung Cancer Initiative specializes in connecting patients, survivors and loved ones with the medical and research community to advance survivorship while providing support to those affected by lung cancer via research, education and access programs..." --Emily P. 

❤️ Help One Now: "Help One Now empowers families and children in developing countries through local leadership. They make a huge difference through sustainable development, and after a hard year around the world - every dollar to these kids and families makes a HUGE impact." --Brigid B.

Thanks to our members for supporting Raleigh Convergence and these local nonprofits! Learn more about membership benefits: [membership]

Local Ideas:
New beverages from Slingshot's founder
Raleigh-based Slingshot Coffee entrepreneur Jenny Bonchak has launched a new line of sparkling, plant-based superfruit teas, Needs & Wants.

The context: Slingshot Coffee is a Raleigh success story, having grown its cold brew-centric business to a national level. Now you can find Slingshot Coffee in Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream, at national grocery retailers, as well as online. 

Needs & Wants, a sister brand to Slingshot Coffee, includes a 100% women-led supply chain and ethically-sourced ingredients
Flavors available now include Blackberry Hibiscus, Blueberry Jasmine, Citrus Elderflower and Peach Mint. 

What makes it different: Needs & Wants is developed with ingredients such as lemon balm for stress relief support, dandelion to support digestive health and immunity-boosting Cascara, Jenny shared with Raleigh Convergence.

The drinks are sweetened with fruit juice and 5 grams of less of organic cane sugar. A small amount of caffeine is in each.
Where to find it: Local spots currently stocking Needs & Wants include State of Beer, Junction West, Layered Croissanterie, Flourish Market, (ish) Delicatessen and Wye Hill, with more to come. Online is still the best way to find all flavors. 🍋
Briefly, 

Shake Shack is coming to PNC Arena's concessions, Wake County's second Shake Shack location (Cary's Waverly Place is first). No info on timing yet. [@pncarena]

Winner, winner: Congrats to Brittany G., who won a pair of tickets to Wednesday's Celebrate the Season through our giveaway with Walter Magazine! Brittany's favorite local tradition: "My favorite seasonal tradition is attending Ira David Wood’s A Christmas Carol at Raleigh('s) Memorial Auditorium! We go every year and love it so much that when it was virtual in 2020 we had a watch party at our house." 🎟️
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Raleigh Convergence is a modern local media company owned and operated here in Wake County by Minerva Media Co. Read more about our ethics, values and mission here.
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