The Triangle: News in 5 (Oct 11)

The top local, statewide and national news stories, broken down into a quick, 5-minute read. Plus: a listing of local events happening this week.

Good morning, Historic Triangle!

It’s shaping up to be another beautiful autumn week, with highs reaching back up into the 80s and lows dipping into the 50s at night.

As we reach mid-October, there are a ton of local events taking place – including a multitude of activities to commemorate the 240th anniversary of the 1781 Revolutionary War victory at Yorktown – so be sure to check out the events section this week.

Also, new this week, you’ll notice the addition of a separate local weekly Covid-19 update section.

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There’s a lot happening, but The Triangle is breaking down the top local, statewide and national stories into a quick, 5 minute read. Let’s get started.

Local

1. The original foundation of one of the nation’s oldest Black churches has been discovered by Colonial Williamsburg’s archaeologists.

  • Officials say the 16×20 foot brick building structure dates back to the early 1800s and was found buried under a parking lot near the intersection of Francis and Nassau streets.
  • The foundation was identified as belonging to First Baptist Church, which was formed by free and enslaved Black people. The church’s founders met secretly under trees in the fields beginning in 1776. The church building was ultimately constructed in 1818, but it was destroyed by a tornado in 1834, PBS News reports.
  • First Baptist Church was rebuilt in 1856, but the building was buried a century later after the site was acquired by Colonial Williamsburg. The church was then relocated to 727 Scotland Street.
  • “We always hoped this is what we’d find,” Jack Gary, Colonial Williamsburg’s Director of Archaeology, said in a statement. “Now we can move forward to better understand the footprint of the building. Is it the only structure on the site? What else was around it? What did it look like? How was it being used? This is really only the beginning.”

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2. Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport is developing plans to expand its reach to more passengers in the near future.

  • During a virtual panel discussion for the Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce’s 757 Vision Series on Sept. 28, Mike Giardino, Executive Director of the Peninsula Air Commission, said that the anticipated return of American Airlines could attract many passengers, Daily Press reports.
  • Talks with all the airlines in the marketplace are currently underway, Giardino said. Last month, the airport broke ground on a $15.3 million expansion that will create a 60,000-square-foot hangar facility and engineering tech center with direct access to the airport. The project will bring 211 new jobs to the area, according to 13NewsNow.
  • Giardino said the airport has continued to endure income and business loss in spite of the recent projects but stated that those challenges are largely a result of Covid-19 and were unrelated to the airport’s ability to provide service.
  • Moving forward, the airport plans to focus on ensuring that locals can travel more quickly and affordably to and from Newport News than from Richmond or Norfolk.
  • “We were one of the fastest-growing airports in the country and we’re going to regain that status,” Giardino said.

Statewide

1. McAuliffe and Youngkin are locked into a dead heat, according to the latest polling.

  • The contentious, closely-watched race is in a virtual tie, according to a new Nexstar/Emerson College poll, which shows Democrat Terry McAuliffe with support from 49% of likely voters and Republican Glenn Youngkin with 48% of the vote – a slight difference that’s well within the poll’s 3.9% margin of error. The survey also revealed which candidate Virginians believe would best handle certain key issues:
  • On Covid-19: Voters are split nearly evenly – 51% for McAuliffe and 48% for Youngkin – when asked about which candidate would better handle the pandemic.
  • On education: 52% of respondents agreed that parents should have more influence on school curriculum than school boards, a number that appears favorable for Youngkin. However, 33% said school boards should have the greatest say, and 16% were undecided or had no opinion on the issue.
  • On the economy: Voters polled were evenly split when asked which candidate would better handle the economy, with 49.2% saying McAuliffe is most up to the task and 49.1% believing Youngkin would do a better job.
  • On abortion: The majority of Virginia voters polled – 59% – said they believe abortion should be legal either always or with some restrictions, while 23% said it should be legal only in special circumstances. 14% said abortion should always be illegal, and 4% were unsure. McAuliffe recently argued Youngkin would support the restrictive abortion bill recently signed in Texas, but Youngkin denied the accusation, saying the Texas bill is “unworkable and confusing.”
  • The state’s attorney general race is also very close, with Democrat Mark Herring receiving the support of 45.6% of likely voters and Republic Jason Miyares receiving 43.7%, which is also well within the poll’s margin of error.

2. There’s no longer ‘Something in the Water’…

  • The popular Something in the Water music festival will not be held in Virginia Beach in 2022 – and it may not ever return. The event, created by rapper and songwriter Pharrell Williams – a Virginia Beach native – was canceled after Williams wrote a scathing letter on Tuesday to Virginia Beach City Manager Patrick Duhaney accusing the city’s government of harboring “toxic energy,” WAVY News reports.
  • In the letter, the singer stated that Something in the Water has succeeded in achieving its intended purposes: easing racial tension, unifying the region and bringing about economic development opportunities. Nonetheless, Williams accused city officials of failing to adequately handle the shooting death of his cousin, 25-year old Donovan Lynch, who was killed in March by a Virginia Beach police officer.
  • Police claim Lynch was wielding a handgun before he was shot – and a gun was discovered at the scene – but Lynch’s family argues Lynch would never have brandished the weapon and said he was licensed to carry. Because the officer involved in the shooting did not have his body camera running at the time, there is no footage of the incident. No one has been charged in Lynch’s death.
  • The news comes after Something in the Water was already canceled for the past two years because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The local economic impact of the event was more than $24 million in 2019, data suggests.
  • “I wish the same energy I’ve felt from Virginia Beach leadership upon losing the festival would have been similarly channeled following the loss of my relative’s life,” Williams wrote in the letter.

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National

1. Supply chain shortages are continuing, and now even your favorite snacks might even be hard to find.

  • Many consumers are struggling to find popular food items like McCormick spices, Kellogg’s cereal, Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream and frozen pot pies, Business Insider reports.
  • In an email to grocery store distributors last month, Kellogg’s warned that some of its most commonly purchased products – including Rice Krispies Treats, Eggo pancakes and Pringles – will be in short supply through the end of the year.
  • Meanwhile, economists are urging Americans to shop early for the holidays due to ongoing anticipated shortages.
  • Shortages have been noticeable in stores throughout the U.S because of significant supply chain disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, worker shortages and ongoing strikes. The problem extends worldwide and is impacting everything from medical supplies to computer chips to pet food.
  • Other items expected to run in short supply in the lead up to the holiday shopping season include carbonated beverages, dry ice, electronics, toys, shoes and sportswear, Apple iPhones, cars, food – especially packaged varieties – and Christmas decorations, CNBC reports.
  • “Major retailers are expecting a strong holiday shopping season but have warned of limited inventories, longer shipping times, labor shortages and fewer discounts,” Morgan Stanley economists wrote in a recent letter to investors.

A sign apologizing to customers for a lack of stock. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

2. Protection from the Pfizer vaccine may begin to wane after two months, researchers say.

  • The findings were based on two new significant studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday. The studies also found, however, that the vaccine is effective in helping prevent hospitalization and death for at least six months.
  • The first study, conducted by researchers in Qatar, found that protection against the disease was “negligible” after the first dose, peaking at about 37% in the third week. A month after the second dose, protection climbed to about 78%, but the efficacy began to drop gradually after that – to as low as 20% between 5 and 7 months after the second dose, a WebMD news brief explains.
  • The second study published by the Journal found that antibody levels in the blood declined rapidly after six months. Men, people over the ages of 65 and those with weaker immune systems experienced the steepest drops in antibody levels.
  • The new data is consistent with another recent report published in the peer-reviewed journal, The Lancet, which found that the effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine drops from 88% a month after the second dose to 47% six months later.
  • “These findings suggest that a large proportion of the vaccinated population could lose its protection against infection in the coming months, perhaps increasing the potential for new epidemic waves,” the New England Journal of Medicine researchers wrote in the study.

Local COVID-19 Update

On Friday, October 8, Virginia reported 44 new Covid-19 deaths and 2,836 new cases. There are currently 1,781 patients currently in the hospital. The state’s average test positivity rate is 8%, but the average positivity rate in Hampton Roads is slightly higher, at 10.9%.

Community transmission of Covid-19, based on the 7-day metrics from the CDC Data COVID tracker, is:

  • HIGH in Williamsburg (New positive cases: 22, percent positivity: 18.92%, percent of eligible population vaccinated 41.8%)
  • HIGH in James City County (New positive cases: 195, percent positivity: 8.35%, percent of eligible population vaccinated: 57.8%)
  • HIGH in York County (New positive cases: 116, percent positivity: 9.17%; percent of eligible population fully vaccinated 59.9%)

WJCC School Division: Students currently in isolation (active positive): 37; Students in quarantine: 156; Staff in quarantine: 2

York County School Division: Students currently in isolation (active positive): 46

Image provided by the CDC Covid Data Tracker on Oct. 11, 2021.

Good News

LINK – the largest provider of services to homeless individuals in Hampton Roads – has been awarded a national renovation grant.

  • LINK, a Newport News-based nonprofit organization, serves about 26,000 people in need every year, providing food, shelter, clothing and support to homeless veterans, families and individuals. The group also provides emergency services to ensure men, women and children are able to meet basic needs, avoid housing crises or manage other emergency situations.
  • According to WKTR News, LINK was performing its vital work from a run-down building in desperate need of repair, but now community members served by the program can pick up food, do laundry or receive other services in LINK’s newly renovated building.
  • The renovations are made possible by the Lowe’s 100 Hometowns grant, which provided $35,400 to the organization.
  • “All of our money goes to programs,” said Lynne Finding, executive director of LINK of Hampton Roads. “Just about 1% goes to operations. 99% goes to our programs, so we were really living in substandard conditions.”

See the full story on WKTR.

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Events this Week

Multiple Days

Haunted Williamsburg – 214 Palace Green St. in Williamsburg. Official ghost tour of Colonial Williamsburg. Nightly at 7:00 pm or 8:30 pm through Nov. 24. $19 for adults, $12 for kids. 25% off discounts provided with a Good Neighbor’s pass.

Angel Tree Applications – Salvation Army Offices at 216 Ironbound Road. October 12, 13 and 14, 12:00 – 6:00 pm. See link for a list of documents to bring to apply for Christmas assistance. Masks required for all.

Williamsburg Greek Festival – St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Williamsburg. Featuring home-cooked Greek food and pastries, boutique shopping and more. October 15 – 16, 11 am – 9 pm and October 17, 12 pm – 7 pm. Online ordering available. Free admission.

Williamsburg Artists Group Art Sale – Bruton Parish House (331 W. Duke of Gloucester St.), Friday, Oct. 15 4-7 pm and Saturday, Oct. 16, 9 am – 3 pm. Features the work of 20 independent artists; 10% of sales will be donated to Heritage Humane Society.

Bits and Bridles Walking Tour – Colonial Williamsburg. Daily through November 24 from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. $5 in addition to CW admission ticket, membership or Good Neighbor Pass.

Wednesday, Oct. 13

Monthly Folk Jam – Watermen’s Museum in Yorktown. 5:30 – 9 pm. Free.

Thursday, Oct. 14

Rhythms on the Riverwalk Concert Series: Good Shot Judy. Riverwalk Landing in Yorktown. 6:30 – 8:30 pm. Free.

Friday, Oct. 15

The Siege of Yorktown Backyard Talk – Mobjack Bay Coffee Roasters. 4-5 pm, Free.

Williamsburg Shrine Club Fall Spaghetti Dinner – Capitol Pancake House (802 Capitol Landing Rd.) – Adults $12; children under 12 $6. Raises funds for causes such as the Shriners Children’s Hospital.

Saturday, Oct. 16

Heritage Humane Society FURever Homes Runs – Heritage Humane Society (430 Waller Mill Ed.) 7:30-10:30 am. 1-mile Fun Run (and Pet Run) – $20; 5k or 8k run – $40, Virtual – $25.

Yorktown Market Days Recognizing First Responders – at Riverwalk Landing in Yorktown. 8 am – 12 pm. Thank the first responders who keep the community safe and enjoy food trucks, seasonal produce and other unique items from a variety of vendors. Free; EBT/SNAP cards accepted for qualifying food items.

Williamsburg Farmers Market – 410 W. Francis St. in Williamsburg. 8 am-12 pm. Free.

Yorktown Victory Celebration – American Revolution Museum in Yorktown. 9 am – 5 pm. Events included in museum admission. $16 for adults, $8 for children 6-12, complimentary for children under 5. Free admission with proof residency for residents of York County, JCC and the City of Williamsburg as well as W&M students.

Williamsburg Walking Club Series – Greensprings Interpretive Trail. 9:30-10:30 am. Ages 14+. Free; pre-registration encouraged.

Victory at Yorktown Weekend – at Watermen’s Museum and Historic Main St. in Yorktown. Fun family-friendly event featuring living history, cannon demonstrations, maritime and folk music and more to honor the 240th anniversary of America’s victory at Yorktown. 10 am-5 pm. Free.

Bookmobile Funfest – Abram Fink Jr. Community Center (8901 Pocahontas Trl.). Features educational programming, activities and free pizza and ice-cream. 10 am-1 pm.

The British Invasion Walking Tour – Mobjack Bay Coffee Roasters in Yorktown. 11 am-12 pm. $10; free for kids under 12.

Boo Bash at the Beach – Jamestown Beach Event Park. Trick-or-treating onsite for kids 12 and under; costumes welcome. 1-4 pm. Note: Pre-registration by October 13 is required, and families must select a visit time (1-2:30 pm or 2:30-4 pm to ensure social distancing). $5 per family.

Walking Tour of Redoubts 9 & 10 – Yorktown Battlefield Visitors Center. 2-3:30 pm. $10.

Dewey Decibel Concert: Jae Sinnett Trio – Williamsburg Library Theatre (515 Scotland St.). 7:30 – 9:30 pm. $5; $4 for Friends of WRL.

Sunday, Oct. 17

The French Connection Walking Tour – Mobjack Bay Coffee Roasters in Yorktown. 11 am – 12:30 pm. $10; free for kids under 12.

Yorktown Victory Monument Public Lecture – York Hall (301 Main St.) in Yorktown. 3-4 pm. Free. Masks are required for all attendees.

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Another reason to join us on Saturday, October 16 for our FURever Homes 8k, 5k, & 1-mile Fun Run…we will have contest…

Don’t forget!

Williamsburg was recently nominated for “Best Historic Small Town” in the USA Today Reader’s Choice Awards. You can vote for Williamsburg here. Voting ends Oct. 25.

Have questions, comments or an event you’d like to tell me about? I’d love to hear from you! Please email me at [email protected].

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