The Triangle: News in 5 (Nov 8)

Millions in unspent Covid relief funds in Williamsburg, unexpected Republican victories throughout the Commonwealth, possible new Covid treatments and local Veterans Day discounts + events.

Good morning, Historic Triangle!

November is now in full swing, and that means many of us are starting to gear up for the holidays. But on the more immediate front, Veterans Day will be commemorated throughout the country this week. For our area, that means there will be a flurry of related events, many of which are family-friendly.

If you’re a current or former member of the military – or know someone who is – be sure to take a look at the “Good News” and events sections, which highlight deals and local happenings geared specifically toward those who’ve served. The events listed are also open to the general public.

In addition, Colonial Williamsburg will be offering FREE admission Thursday through Sunday, Nov. 11-14, to all active-duty military, reservists, retirees, veterans, National Guardsmen and their immediate dependents.

There’s a lot happening this week, but The Triangle is breaking down the top local, state and national stories into a quick, 5-minute read.

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Let’s get started.

Local

1. The City of Williamsburg needs to spend millions in federal Covid relief funds – and the public is invited to weigh in.

  • The city expects to receive $18.9 million from the American Rescue Plan Act. The funds are part of a Covid-19 relief bill that was signed into law by President Biden in March.
  • A leadership team initially identified 70 possible investments and then worked together to narrow those down to 11 possible options, The Virginia Gazette reports. A survey was sent out to residents to help the city identify the public’s preferences as far as how the funds should be spent.
  • Some of the potential projects include: free internet for residents; a new youth park featuring attractions, such as a carousel and jumbo outdoor games; a new mixed-use, mixed-income development featuring a modern library and affordable housing and a regional amphitheater project at the Colonial Williamsburg visitor center.
  • Residents can complete the survey here. The city reported that more than 300 people have responded so far, and the survey is expected to remain open until the end of the month.
  • “This is a remarkable opportunity for our community. We want to make sure we make the right decisions for the long-term health of Williamsburg,” said Williamsburg City Manager Andrew Trivette.

2. Local delegates Mike Mullin and Amanda Batten held onto their House seats.

  • Del. Mike Mullin (D) maintained a narrow lead over his challenger, Jordan Gray (R), a Social Studies teacher at Warhill High School. Mullin, who represents the 93rd district, secured 51.5% of the vote to pull off a victory on Tuesday.
  • Meanwhile, Del. Amanda Batten (R) also won re-election after defeating local pediatrician Dr. Mark Downey (D). Batten, who represents the 96th district, secured 55.7% of the vote while Downey took 44%, according to the most recently updated Virginia Department of Elections data.
  • The final 2021 voting results will be certified by the Virginia Department of Elections on Nov. 15 after all absentee ballots are officially counted.

3. Ollie’s Bargain Outlet is opening in Williamsburg this week – just in time for the holidays.

  • The new store, which will be located in the old Kmart building on Waller Mill Rd., will open on Wednesday, Nov. 10 at 9 am, according to the retailer’s website.
  • While Ollie’s currently has other stores located in the region – including Hampton, Gloucester, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach – the new location is the first in the Historic Triangle.
  • Ollie’s is a large nationwide retailer that sells closeout merchandise and excess inventory at discount prices. The store sells a wide variety of products, from housewares to food to sporting goods. WYDaily reports that York County was not made aware of any plans for a ribbon-cutting ceremony; however, a grand opening flyer for the new Williamsburg store is available here.

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Statewide

1. Tuesday night was a rough one for Virginia Democrats.

  • The hotly contested elections for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general were closely watched throughout the nation. After Republican victories were called in all three statewide races, some high-ranking Democrats acknowledged the results were a wake-up call.
  • Tim Kaine and Mark Warner – both former Democratic governors and now senators – say they warned their colleagues of the possibility for sweeping losses throughout the state. On Wednesday, Kaine said he believes “Dems blew the timing” by failing to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill before the election.
  • “I hope the [Democrats] view this as the ‘Ghost of Christmas Future’ experience,” said Sen. Tim Kaine. “Like this isn’t what the future has to be, but if you don’t change your ways, this is what the future will be.”
  • Meanwhile, other Democrats have had different takes on the loss. Sen. Joe Manchin of neighboring West Virginia argued the Republican victories reflect voters’ widespread anxieties about other key issues, including supply chain problems, excessive government spending and rising costs from inflation.
  • An already bad week for state Democrats worsened on Saturday when Democratic leaders conceded that the Republicans won control of the Virginia House of Delegates. The announcement came soon after Democrat Del. Martha Mugler came up short by 94 votes in her race against her Republican challenger A.C Cordoza in the 91st District in Hampton Roads.
  • After Tuesday’s losses, Del. Sam Rasoul will now be the only Democratic member of the House in the entire western half of the state, according to Roanoke-based WSLS News. Reflecting on the losses, Rasoul said the Democrats needed to do a better job of conveying their plans to improve the lives of the Virginians they represent. “It’s clear to me that people want us to be able to focus on their needs, how we’re going to improve their future,” Rasoul said Friday.

CHANTILLY, VIRGINIA – NOVEMBER 02: Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin takes the stage at an election-night rally at the Westfields Marriott Washington Dulles on November 02, 2021, in Chantilly, Virginia. Virginians went to the polls Tuesday to vote in the gubernatorial race that pitted Youngkin against Democratic gubernatorial candidate, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

CHANTILLY, VIRGINIA – NOVEMBER 02: Virginia Republican candidate for lieutenant governor Winsome Sears takes the stage with her family during an election night rally at the Westfields Marriott Washington Dulles on November 02, 2021, in Chantilly, Virginia. Virginians went to the polls Tuesday to vote in the gubernatorial race that pitted Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin against Democratic gubernatorial candidate, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

2. Leaders in Hampton Roads are calling for change after three women were killed – and two others were injured – in a ‘mass shooting’ in Norfolk Wednesday.

  • The five women were shot in the Young Terrace neighborhood. Three of the shootings led to fatalities; two other victims survived and were taken to a hospital. Those two women are expected to recover.
  • The man responsible for the shooting was identified Thursday morning as Ziontay Plamer, a 19-year-old resident of Virginia Beach. According to Norfolk police, Palmer shot his pregnant girlfriend, her mother and three other women that night.
  • On Saturday, Hampton Roads organization Stop the Violence held a rally to raise awareness about the urgent need to take action to reduce escalating crime in the city and prevent similar tragedies.
  • “The community needs healing,” said Stop the Violence team chairperson Bilal Muhammad. “We agree that it’s going to take everybody. The police department can’t do it alone, the City Council can’t do it alone it takes the community, the community groups, the community leaders. Department[s] of different agencies, bring your resources together.”
  • Meanwhile, Norfolk Police Chief Larry Boone is also calling for immediate, meaningful change. At a press conference Thursday, Boone said that in the past 30 years, there have been over 1,000 homicides in Norfolk. “How many times do we have to do and say the same things over and over and over before we do something?” Boone asked.

National

1. After months of tense negotiations and party infighting, the House passed a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill on Friday.

  • The passage of the bill is widely considered to be a much-needed victory for President Biden, whose approval rating has slumped to a new low of just 38%, according to the latest USA TODAY polling. The infrastructure measure is a key component of Biden’s signature domestic agenda.
  • Thirteen Republicans – including Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois and Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania – voted in favor of the bill. Six progressive Democrats – including Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York – voted against it.
  • The bill includes $110 billion in funding for roads, bridges and other infrastructure repairs, $73 billion for the nation’s rail services, $65 billion for broadband investments and $55 billion for water infrastructure.
  • The legislation also features funding for climate-related issues, including $47 billion for flooding and “climate resiliency,” $21 billion for environmental remediation, $7.5 billion for electric vehicles, $2.5 billion for zero-emission buses, $2.5 billion for low-emission buses and $2.5 billion for ferries.
  • “Tonight, we took a monumental step forward as a nation,” said President Biden in a statement on Friday. “The United States House of Representatives passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, a once-in-generation bipartisan infrastructure bill that will create millions of jobs, turn the climate crisis into an opportunity, and put us on a path to win the economic competition for the 21st Century.”

2. New Covid-19 treatments may soon be available in the U.S.

  • According to CBS News, an FDA panel will meet at the end of the month to discuss a possible emergency use authorization for molnupiravir, a new antiviral drug manufactured by Merck that was recently authorized in the UK.
  • The news comes on the heels of what many experts believe may be a rough winter marked by a new wave of Covid-19 cases as Americans spend more time indoors.
  • Merck says its pill halved the risk of hospitalization and death in trials among patients with underlying health conditions.
  • Pfizer also claims it has developed its own new antiviral drug that reduced hospitalization and death in high-risk patients by 89% in trials. A spokesman said the company plans to submit data to the FDA as soon as possible.
  • Meanwhile, a new Covid vaccine may also be making its way to the U.S in the near future. Stanley Erck, the CEO of Maryland-based biotech Novavax, says he expects his company to seek emergency use authorization for its protein subunit vaccine in the coming weeks.
  • The new vaccine, which was developed using a more traditional approach than the current offerings available in the U.S, may help increase vaccine uptake throughout the world and may also be available as a booster. In phase 3 trials conducted in the UK, it demonstrated 90.4% efficacy and good safety data.
  • “We’ll have a file in the U.S hopefully before the end of the year,” Erck told CNN in an interview Friday. “In the U.S, the primary market I think in 2022 is going to be to supply a vaccine, our normal two-dose regimen, to a lot of people who have been hesitant to get other vaccines.”

Good News

Local restaurants and retailers are honoring those who’ve served by offering up an array of freebies and special deals for Veterans Day this year.

U.S military soldier being welcomed home by his family. He wears his military uniform and is excited to see his family. His little girl is eagerly giving him a big hug while holding a flag. Thank you, veterans, for your service to your country!

  • Autobell will offer free car washes for veterans and active-duty service members at all 84 locations.
  • Great Clips is offering free haircuts or free haircut cards to active military members and veterans on Veterans Day. Non-military customers who get a haircut that day will also receive a free haircut card to give to a military member or veteran as a way of thanking them for their service.
  • Office Depot is offering veterans, active-duty and retired military 25% off on qualifying regular and sale-priced purchases Nov. 11 to Nov. 13.
  • Red Lobster is offering free appetizers or desserts to veterans or active-duty military members who dine-in on Veterans Day.
  • Several retailers and other establishments offer year-round discounts to active military and veterans, including: Footlocker (15% off), Dickies (10% off), Carrabba’s (10% off), Michael’s (15% off), Lululemon (15% off), Champion (10% off), The North Face (10% off) and Under Armour (20% off).

Events

Multiple Days

Lighting of the Cressets – East End of Duke of Gloucester St. in Williamsburg, Nov. 13 & 14. 6:00 – 8:00 pm. Take an evening walk along the 18th-century streets and listen to strolling musicians. Free.

Quilting Retreat – Williamsburg Christian Retreat Center. Nov. 10 – 14. Share quilting ideas, skills and techniques with other quilters. Beginners welcome.

Free Colonial Williamsburg Admission for Veterans – Nov. 11 – 14. Open to all active-duty military, reservists, retirees, veterans, national guardsmen and their immediate dependents.

Tuesday, Nov. 9

Placing of Flags for Veterans Day – Cedar Grove Cemetery in Williamsburg. 9 am. The City of Williamsburg invites the public to help place flags on the graves of veterans in the cemetery. Flags will be provided. Masks and social distancing recommended.

Wednesday, Nov. 10

Veterans Day Open House – Swem Library in Williamsburg. 5:00 – 7:00 pm. See a variety of collections relating to those who’ve served. All are welcome.

Monthly Folk Jam – Watermen’s Museum in Yorktown. 5:30 pm – 9:00 pm.

Thursday, Nov. 11

National Park Free Entrance Day – National park service fees will be waived for everyone on Nov. 11 for Veterans Day.

Historic Grace Church Veterans Day Ceremony – Grace Episcopal Church in Yorktown. 10:00 -11:00 am. Featuring the playing of the “taps” and “honors” and reading the names of the 104 known veterans buried in the historic cemetery.

Veterans Day Proclamation Ceremony – Palace Green Colonial Williamsburg. 10:00 – 11:00 am. Featuring a ceremony on Palace Green at 10 am honoring the men and women who have served. Presented in partnership with the Williamsburg Sons of the American Revolution. Free.

York County Veterans Day Ceremony – York Hall (301 Main St.) in Yorktown. 12:00 pm. Featuring a “Letters and Portraits from War” theme that shares photographs and excerpts from letters written during wartime deployment from local soldiers, sailors and airmen to their loved ones back home. The program will also include the tolling of the bell, presentation of the colors, singing of the National Anthem, Pledge of the Allegiance and playing of the “taps.”

Veterans Day: A Military March Honoring America’s Veterans – Colonial Williamsburg. 3:30 – 4:30 pm. Featuring an afternoon march and ceremony with the Colonial Williamsburg Fife and Drums. Begins at Capitol Circle and concludes behind the Courthouse. All armed service members are encouraged to participate.

SCORE Workshop: How to Start a Non-Profit Organization – Williamsburg Regional Library (515 Scotland St.) 5:30 – 7:30 pm. Free; advance registration required.

In Defense of Our Liberty – Colonial Williamsburg. 7:00 – 8:00 pm. Learn how 18th-century soldiers lived, fought and survived in the Continental Army. Outdoor event.

Saturday, Nov. 13

Williamsburg Walking Club Series – Powhatan Creek Trail. 8:30-9:30 am. Free.

Maritime Market – 331 Water St. in Yorktown. 9:00 am – 3:00 pm. Pirates will take over the waterfront for this special fall market. They’ll share stories about seafaring live with kids and sea lovers of all ages. The Fifes and Drums of York will be on-site for a special performance at 10 am. They will also perform at 12, leading into the Yorktown Tea Party Re-enactment. Free; EBT/SNAP accepted for participating items.

James Madison Dukes vs. William & Mary Tribe – Zable Stadium in Williamsburg. 3:30 – 8:30 pm.

Relay for Life – Riverside Doctors’ Hospital in Williamsburg. 5:00-7:00 pm. Drive-thru event featuring a survivor/caregiver walk and a luminaria ceremony. See website for additional details.

Sunday, Nov. 14

2nd Sundays Williamsburg Street Festival – 205 N. Boundary St. in Williamsburg. 11 am – 5 pm.

Beauty and the Beast 30th Anniversary Celebration – Williamsburg Regional Library (515 Scotland St.). 1:30 – 3:30 pm. All ages welcome.

John V. Quarstein Lecture – Brass Cannon Brewing Co. in Williamsburg. Featuring award-winning historian, preservationist and author John V. Quarstein. 4:00 – 5:30 pm.

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