The Triangle: News in 5 (Nov 15)

A stabbing in Williamsburg, possible recounts in two key Hampton Roads races, record-high costs for Thanksgiving, local holiday events + more.

Good morning, Historic Triangle!

It’s mid-November, and that means we can enjoy being surrounded by lovely fall foliage. It also means this week is the unofficial start of the Christmas season in Williamsburg. Yes, really!

Just scroll down to the events section to see some of the highlights this weekend: caroling in Merchants Square, the arrival of a Victorian-era Santa, a holiday decorating workshop and the return of ice skating in Colonial Williamsburg.

Other than that, there’s quite a lot going on, but The Triangle‘s News in 5 is breaking down the top local, statewide and national stories into a quick, 5-minute read.

If you haven’t done so already, please be sure to subscribe to The Triangle to make sure you don’t miss any newsletters.

Let’s get started.

Local

1. A woman was arrested and charged in connection with a fatal stabbing that occurred outside Walgreens in Williamsburg on Friday.

  • Police were called to the scene at the 1300 block of Richmond Road around 6:00 pm on Friday, Nov. 12, after a 71-year-old woman reportedly sustained life-threatening stab wounds. The victim was taken to Riverside Doctors’ Hospital, where she was later pronounced dead. Her identity is currently being withheld.
  • Shortly after the incident, police arrested 35-year-old LaTeisha Meekins. Meekins, of Williamsburg. The woman was charged with second-degree murder and is being held at the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail without bond.
  • It is not yet clear if Meekins knew the victim. Police say the two women arrived separately at the Walgreens and spoke briefly outside of the store before the stabbing occurred. The motive for the attack has not yet been revealed, but police say there is no ongoing threat to the public.

2. Ceremonies abounded throughout the Historic Triangle on Thursday in honor of local veterans.

  • Colonial Williamsburg held several events on Veterans Day to honor those who’ve served, including a march and a ceremony featuring the Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums. The museum also offered free admission to active-duty military, reservists and veterans, along with their immediate dependents, between Nov. 11 – 14.
  • The Historic Grace Church in Yorktown held a special ceremony, tolling a bell in remembrance of all the men and women who sacrificed their lives for the nation. Flags were displayed throughout the grounds to honor the 106 veterans who were buried there.
  • At both Jamestown Settlement and the Revolutionary Museum at Yorktown, veterans and active-duty military members – along with up to three direct family members – enjoyed free admission all day. Military veterans past and present were also invited to an exclusive ceremony, featuring an artillery salute, at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown.

Interpreters at the Revolutionary Museum at Yorktown prepare to begin the artillery salute in honor of those who’ve served. (Christin Nielsen/The Triangle)

Local veterans pose for a photo following the ceremony. (Christin Nielsen/The Triangle)

3. Pet Supplies Plus opened a new location in Williamsburg Sunday.

  • The new pet supply store, which is independently owned and operated, is now open in the Lightfoot Marketplace plaza (6493 Centerville Rd.). It features a wide variety of pet products for dogs, cats, birds, fish, reptiles and small pets. The store also offers curbside pickup and same-day delivery, as well as a pet grooming and dog wash center.
  • Pet Supplies Plus fills the spot left vacant by Pet Valu, which announced in Nov. 2020 it would close all 358 of its U.S stores after being unable to survive the fallout of the pandemic. The new store will be open Mon.-Sat., 9 am to 9 pm and Sun., 10 am to 7 pm, according to its website.

Pet Supplies Plus in Williamsburg. (Christin Nielsen/The Triangle)

Statewide

1. Lt. Gov.-elect Winsome Sears says she’s ready to get to work after making history as the first Black woman to win any statewide office.

  • Sears toured the Senate chamber she’ll soon be presiding over and reflected on the significance of her win. She remarked that “a Black lieutenant governor was handing off to another Black lieutenant governor” for the first time in Virginia’s history.
  • The Washington Post reports Sears became teary-eyed when discussing her rise in a nation where her father, a Jamaican immigrant, arrived with $2 to his name. While seemingly in awe of the situation, she expressed total confidence in her ability to do the job.
  • “I can’t believe I get to do this,” Sears rs said. “I really have no words.”

2. Two Virginia House of Delegate races – both in Hampton Roads – may head to a recount, possibly altering the state’s balance of power.

  • The final results in the two races will be key in determining whether the Democrats or Republicans gain control over the House of Delegates. While Democratic House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn already conceded a loss to the Republicans last week, updated voting totals released on Nov. 8 showed those two races tightened more than initially anticipated.
  • As of Monday morning, the unofficial vote totals in both the 85th and 91st House districts showed the candidates were less than .5% apart in both races, meeting eligibility requirements for a state-funded recount, if requested.
  • In both races, the Republican candidates hold slim leads over their incumbent Democrat challengers. In the 85th district, Karen Greenhalgh (R-Virginia Beach), a business owner, is currently leading Del. Alex Askew (D-Virginia Beach) by 127 votes. In the 91st District, A.C Cordoza (R-Hampton), a U.S Air Force Veteran, is currently in the lead over Del. Martha Mugler (D-Hampton) by just 94 votes.
  • Republicans need to secure the victory of either Greenhalgh or Cordoza in order to gain the majority in the House of Delegates.
  • Cordoza said he believes it’s unlikely that a recount will overturn his victory. “Mrs. Mugler has every right to ensure that every legal vote is counted and that the count is accurate,” he told 13 News Now. “However, after a completed canvass and provisional vote tally, I firmly believe the result will remain unchanged. I am proud to have been elected to serve the citizens of the 91st District.”
  • Recounts cannot be requested until after the Virginia Board of Elections certifies the results, which will happen on Nov. 15. The candidate would be required to file a court petition to receive a recount, and the entire process would likely take several weeks.

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National

1. Thanksgiving is going to cost you more this year. You can thank inflation.

  • The latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows consumer prices across the economy rose 6.2% between Oct. 2020 and Oct. 2021. Prices for almost every good and service have also risen in the past month.
  • Of particular concern to economists and consumers alike is the rising cost of food, leading to grocery bills that are 5.4% higher than they were this time last year, according to the BLS.
  • The cost of turkey has increased by up to 22% compared to last year, according to the USDA. Consumers should also expect notable price increases for other common Thanksgiving staples like ham (up 8.7%), canned fruits and vegetables (up 8.3%) and fresh dinner rolls (up 8.1%). Sauces and gravy, as well as frozen and refrigerated bakery products, have also increased by more than 6.5%, BLS data show.
  • Ongoing supply shortages are further amplifying Thanksgiving shopping woes. Grocers suggest shoppers buy ingredients for their Thanksgiving dinner as soon as possible. Those who wait until the day before are likely to face crowded stores with long lines and may struggle to find items they need, experts say.
  • While you’ll still be able to find a turkey for your table, the selection will be more limited. Market Research Firm IRI reported that turkeys were already 60% out of stock by the end of October, a problem partially attributed to the fact that the inventory of frozen turkeys is down by 24% this year, according to the USDA. The nationwide supply of cranberry sauce is also down by 20%, while the stock of sweet potatoes and yams is down by 25%.

A shopper walks past turkeys displayed for sale in a grocery store ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday on November 11, 2021. Consumer prices have increased solidly in the past few months as inflation has risen to a level not seen in 30 years. The consumer-price index rose by 6.2 percent in October compared to one year ago. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

2. The number of people quitting their jobs in the U.S reached a record high in September.

The Department of Labor announced Friday 4.4 million American workers quit their jobs in the month of September alone.

At a press briefing Friday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the mass resignation is a “good sign” as it suggests that workers are leaving their current jobs to find new positions with better pay and benefits.

However, experts say there are numerous reasons so many people are walking out on their jobs. Key factors cited include shifting priorities, difficulty finding child care, concerns about workplace safety amid the pandemic, a mismatch between skills and available jobs, and a surge in retirements.

The situation comes as businesses nationwide are growing increasingly desperate for workers amid the upcoming holiday season. Meanwhile, inflation is causing the cost of products to spike, yet business owners cannot absorb the costs because they’re unable to serve as many customers due to staffing issues.

“The worker shortages are conflating with the supply chain problems. It’s creating this massive shortage of product, and as a result, higher prices and inflation,” economist Mark Zandi told ABC News.

Other top news in the nation:

The start of a winter Covid wave? Experts fear another holiday surge as new Covid-19 cases have risen by 23% in the past two weeks nationwide. After several weeks of declines, cases are already rising again in the majority of states, including those with high vaccination rates. Many health officials say waning immunity and the potency of the Delta variant are to blame.

Vaccine mandate halted: In a major blow to the Biden administration, a federal appeals court ordered a temporary halt to the federal vaccine mandate Friday in response to lawsuits filed by numerous businesses and legal groups.

Kenosha concerns: Tensions are mounting in Kenosha, WI, as the city braces for a verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. Five hundred Wisconsin National Guard troops are currently on standby as the jury prepares to begin deliberating early this week.

Local Covid-19 Update

The community transmission level in Virginia is currently high, according to the CDC Covid-19 data tracker.

New cases ️: VDH reported 1,466 new daily cases in its most recent report issued Friday morning.

Hospitalizations and Deaths : An additional 310 Virginians were hospitalized from Covid-19 in the past week for a total of 39,407 hospitalizations in the state since the start of the pandemic. An additional 196 people died from Covid-19-related complications in Virginia in the past week for a total of 14,321 deaths recorded in the Commonwealth.

Vaccinations : 63.6% of Virginians are now fully vaccinated (up from 63.3% last week), and 71.6% have received at least one dose. That makes Virginia one of the most fully-vaccinated states in the nation.

Schools : WJCC School Division reports that as of Monday morning, Nov. 15, a total of 30 students are in isolation after testing positive, and 168 students are in quarantine. Five staff also tested positive and are in isolation. 91% of WJCC employees and 39.6% of students 12-17 are fully vaccinated.

York County School Division reports a total of 5 active positive cases as of Monday, Nov. 15. The division is not currently reporting the number of students or staff in quarantine or current vaccination rates among its schools.

Level of community transmission in Virginia as of Nov. 15, 2021. Photo courtesy of the CDC Covid-19 data tracker.

Good News

  • The “Feeding 5,000” Thanksgiving event is slated to return to Newport News this coming Saturday, Nov. 20, at New Beech Grove Baptist Church (361 Beechmont Dr.). Organizers hope to feed thousands of residents for the holiday season.
  • The event, which is free and open to the public, will provide a Thanksgiving feast, including turkey and chicken, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce and more. No registration is required, and all meals will be prepared and served in to-go boxes. Covid-19 protocols, including social distancing, will be followed. See the full story on WAVY.com.

Events This Week

Multiple Days

Cry Witch – Mondays & Fridays throughout November. Capitol General Court in Colonial Williamsburg. 7:30-8:30 pm. Not recommended for young children due to the subject matter. Tickets available for purchase online.

Ice Skating at Liberty Ice Pavilion – Open daily, 12:00 – 8:00 pm, starting Nov. 19, 2021, through February 27, 2021! Features ice skating with the sights and sounds of the season, as well as concessions (including hot cider, coffee and other snacks) for purchase.

Father Christmas Strolling the Square – Find the Victorian-era Father Christmas this holiday season as you stroll Merchants Square. Santa will be walking about the square on Fridays and Saturday, Nov. 19-28, 2021 from 1:00 – 5:00 pm and on Sundays from 1:30 – 5:00 pm.

Monday, Nov. 15

DoG St. Running Club Meeting – Meets at Merchants Square in front of DoG Street Pub in Williamsburg at 5:45 pm. Open to all walkers and runners of all ages. Free.

Tuesday, Nov. 16

Dewey Decibel Concerts: Peninsula Concert Band – Williamsburg Library Theater. The all-volunteer Peninsula Concert Band will play a variety of music, including march, classical, and popular music. 7:00 pm. Free.

Wednesday, Nov. 17

Learning @ the Library Nonfiction Scavenger Hunt – James City County Library (7770 Croaker Rd.). 2:00 – 3:00 pm. Enrichment series for elementary and middle school-aged students featuring a new topic every first and third Wednesday of the month. Registration is required.

Environmental Sustainability: Our Local Ecosystem – The Stryker Center (412 N. Boundary St. in Williamsburg). 6:30 – 7:30 pm. Features a talk by the director of William & Mary’s Institute for Integrative Conservation. Guests may also attend virtually. Masks are required for all visitors who choose to attend in person. Free.

To Hang a Pirate – Charlton Stage in Colonial Williamsburg (special outdoor presentation). 7:30 – 8:30 pm. Not recommended for young children due to the intense subject matter.

Friday, Nov. 19

Skulls & Skins – York River State Park (9801 York River Park Rd.) in Williamsburg. 10 am – 12 pm. A ranger will discuss native mammal life along the river. Included with park admission.

Saturday, Nov. 20

Governor’s Land 19th Annual 5K Run/Walk to Benefit the American Cancer Society – Meets at Governor’s Land – Park East (2711 Two Rivers Rd.) in Williamsburg. 8:30 – 11:00 am. Registration fee varies based on the walk chosen; see websites for details.

Litter & Recycling Drive-Thru Expo – Warhill High School in Williamsburg. Includes free paper shredding, furniture and shoe donation drop-off, and recycling for tires, glass, plastic bags and film. 9 am – 12 pm. Free.

Leaf A Long – York River State Park (9801 York River Park Rd.) in Williamsburg. 10:00 am – 12:00 pm. Includes a one-mile hike to explore Virginia’s unique, diverse native trees. Water and closed-toed shoes recommended. Included with park admission.

The British Inner Defense Line Battlefield Walking Tour – Begins at the National Park Service Parking Lot in Yorktown. 11:00 am – 12:00 pm. Focuses on the perspective of Gen. Cornwallis, the commanding officer of the British Army, when he occupied Yorktown on Aug. 2, 1781. Must be able to walk at a leisurely pace for about an hour, with stops along the way. $10; children under 12 are free.

Holiday Decoration Workshop – Colonial Williamsburg Design Studio (500 Packets Ct., Kingsmill’s Mclaws Circle). Choose a time: 10:00 – 11:30 am, 1:00 – 2:30 pm, or 4:00 – 5:30 pm; registration required. A rare opportunities for participants to learn tips for making holiday decorations Williamsburg-style from the Colonial Williamsburg landscape design team. The focus will be on creating a small Thanksgiving or Christmas centerpiece for the holidays. $50 per person.

Annual Heritage Humane Society Holiday Bazaar – Bruton Parish Hall in Williamsburg. Raises funds for homeless pets at Heritage Humane Society. Features homemade baked goods, holiday decorations, gift baskets for both people and pets and more. Gourmet soups from local restaurants can also be purchased online and picked up at the event.

Harvest Market – Riverwalk Landing in Yorktown. Featuring more than 50 vendors as well as special fall events and activities, including a petting zoo, log-carving demonstration, performance by the Fifes and Drums of Yorktown, and hayrides. 9:00 am – 3:00 pm. Free to attend. EBT/SNAP cards are accepted for qualifying items.

Sunday, Nov. 21

Live Holiday Music in the Square – Enjoy music from Fife & Drum performers, carolers, and strolling musicians as they fill Merchants Square with the sounds of the season. 3 – 5 pm. Free.

Nation Builders Discuss the Institution of Slavery – Hennage Auditorium at the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg. 4:30 – 5:30 pm. This live theater performance lasts 45 minutes and is included with CW admission or a Good Neighbor Pass.

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