We’ll see sunny skies and high temperatures in the 50s today through Thursday, according to Meteorologist April Loveland of WTKR News 3.
Temperatures will warm up into the 70s on Friday and Saturday, but a cold front is expected to bring rain and storms into the area Saturday. Highs on Sunday will dip back down into the upper 50s.
Now to the news.
1. Remember those giant president heads? They’ll soon be part of a new attraction opening this May.
- 42 giant presidential busts which were once located in Presidents Park near Colonial Williamsburg will soon be featured in a new attraction dubbed “The Ruines at Hankins Folly.”
- The 20-foot-tall sculptures depict every president from George Washington to George W. Bush. They once drew thousands of visitors annually, but when Presidents Park closed down in 2010, the statues – sculpted by 95-year-old artist David Adickes of Houston – were transported to a recycling park in Croaker.
- The heads are now owned by local businessman Howard Hankins. Hankins’ ultimate dream of having an art collector buy the president heads never materialized, but he opted not to destroy them.
- Despite the fact that the busts have fallen into a significant state of disrepair, they have remained on display for people to view. Periodic pop-up tours showcasing the heads at the recycling park have continued to attract local, national and international guests. Hankins told CBS News in an interview last summer that he wants to preserve the busts but hasn’t repaired them because the weathered look “give[s] them more character.”
- The heads also have a huge social media following. One TikTok video showcasing them has generated nearly 8 million views.
- Now, Hankins has decided to open a new attraction featuring the massive sculptures, according to WTKR News 3. Tours launching Memorial Day weekend will offer an “immersion experience in the making,” according to the website. Informal pop-up tours will end in April.
- Hankins ultimately plans to turn the site into a full-blown tourist destination featuring a winery, brewery, horse trails, a 3,000-seat amphitheater and more.
- Reservations for the new Memorial Day weekend tours or the final informal tours can be made here.
- The busts will continue to be displayed in their current state of disrepair in keeping with a Japanese art concept called Kintsugi, which emphasizes the beauty in imperfections, according to The Ruines’ website.
- “They’re our history,” Hankins told CBS News. “You save it and you learn from it.”
2. A Yorktown kindergarten teacher was arrested for assaulting a student. Meanwhile, YCSD parents are voicing concerns about a recent increase in safety incidents.
- A teacher at Yorktown Elementary School was arrested for assaulting a student, according to the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office (YPSO).
- Police began investigating after they received a report that a student was assaulted by a teacher. The investigation revealed that two incidents occurred: one on March 21 and another on March 24. The alleged assaults were brought to the attention ofthe York County School Division and YPSO on March 24.
- Stacy Ames, 53, was arrested on two counts of simple assault. Ames is a kindergarten teacher, according to Yorktown Elementary’s website. She was transported to the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail and later released on bond. The case remains under internal investigation.
- News of the teacher’s arrest broke soon after a separate incident occurred at Yorktown Middle School. The school was placed under a modified lockdown Friday, March 24, after students found a potential threat written on a note in the bathroom. According to the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office, deputies and school administrators then implemented a hold-in-place procedure, which allows in-class instruction to continue while restricting all movement in the building.
- While the school remained in the hold-in-place for the remainder of the day, an initial investigation revealed that the threat did not appear to be credible. However, two bullets were found by K9s outside on school grounds.
- Parents took to social media to express frustration over the situation, with some saying they received very little information from the division regarding the lockdown other than a vague robo call.
- At a York County school board meeting Monday, several parents pleaded with the administration to communicate more effectively with parents and students whenever lockdowns or other safety incidents take place.
- “I would respectfully request that our school division develop a policy of addressing after a lockdown has happened with our students,” said Ashley Smith of Yorktown during the meeting. “When we have a lockdown, often times the next day, no one discusses it with students, and that can be anxiety-inducing for some of our students and drive mental health concerns further up.”
- Some context: Behavioral issues among students have been on the rise nationwide since the pandemic. More than 80% of U.S public schools have reported an increase in student behavior problems, including classroom disruptions from student misconduct, rowdiness outside of the classroom and acts of disrespect towards teachers and staff, according to a recent study by the National Center for Education Statistics.
3. Jamestown Rediscovery is gearing up to kick off its archaeology season with a special event this Saturday.
- Jamestown Rediscovery will celebrate Archaeology Opening Day this Saturday, April 1, with a series of special events.
- Guests will have the opportunity to visit the archaeological site of the 1607 James Fort and meet Jamestown archaeologists to learn about ongoing excavations and the latest discoveries, including a recently-found well. A new gallery exhibit, “From Fort to Port: Legacies of 1619” will also be open, and visitors will be able to visit the Memorial Church and see the re-interpretation of the site’s original 1617-18 church and its foundations.
- Special activities and living history events will also take place between 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Visitors will be able to see demonstrations of historic trades, including Blacksmithing and fort-building. A “Hoops and Staves” program will include demonstrations of traditional methods and tools in creating buckets, barrels and casks.
- An “Archaeology Walking Tour of James Fort” will also be held at the 1607 fort site at 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.
- For a full schedule of the day’s events, click here.
4. A man who was shot by Gloucester deputies has died, and now state police are looking into the situation.
- A 52-year-old man has died from his injuries after being shot by Gloucester County deputies Saturday night. The man has been identified as Willie Dion Giles of Gloucester. State police said Monday they have begun investigating the incident.
- Deputies responded to a call about an armed suspect attempting to break into a residence in the 7000 block of Ark Road on Saturday around 5:25 pm. When they arrived, they found Giles walking down the back steps of the home.
- According to the sheriff’s office, Giles ignored the deputies’ verbal commands, then pointed a handgun at them and shot at them. Multiple deputies then returned fire.
- No deputies were harmed, but those involved in the incident have been placed on administrative leave as the investigation continues.
5. A Newport News-based music program received $677,000 in federal funding.
- More young people in Newport News and on the Peninsula will have the opportunity to receive musical education and developmental support thanks to a $677,000 federal award given to Soundscapes, a nonprofit organization in Newport News. The award was sponsored by Congressman Bobby Scott, according to the City of Newport News.
- Soundscapes seeks to use music instruction to help participants develop social, emotional, creative and critical thinking skills from early childhood through age 25. The organization currently operates a regional youth orchestra, several week-long summer camps and daily afterschool music programs at two Newport News elementary schools.
- A recent feasibility study found that Soundscapes is making a positive impact not only on participants themselves, but also on their families and their communities. The study also concluded that many more students could benefit if the organization expanded to reach more young people through the establishment of a music education hub.
- The new federal funding will help the organization expand its staffing and infrastructure, increase community awareness and engagement and plan and prepare for a building to serve as a community music hub by fall of 2025. More information on the program is available at soundscapes.org.
6. A New Kent man who was wanted in Williamsburg since October was captured in Florida.
- A New Kent man who was wanted for unlawfully filming a woman in Williamsburg was apprehended in Florida.
- Richard Lee Gibson, 59, who has been wanted by Williamsburg police since October, was taken into custody by police in Florida. Gibson is accused of attempting to place his cell phone between the legs of an unsuspecting woman in the 5000 block of Richmond Road on September 30, police said. He was wanted on charges of unlawfully creating an image of another person and possessing obscene items.
- Deputies from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office in Florida found Gibson sailing on the Caloosahatchee River on March 19 after receiving a tip from a citizen. He was extradited to Virginia on March 26 and taken to Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail, where he’s being held without bond.
- According to the Williamsburg Criminal Investigations Bureau (CIB), Gibson fled Virginia via a sailboat in the Intracoastal Waterway. An investigation is underway to determine if he could face additional charges, CIB said.
7. Gov. Youngkin signed a bill that provides a $300 tax credit for gun safes.
- Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin has signed a bipartisan bill that creates a tax credit to reimburse people who buy gun safes or other lockable gun storage containers.
- The legislation was approved by the governor last week after it received widespread bipartisan support in the politically-divided General Assembly, the Virginia Mercury reports.
- “This bill is… not about banning anything. It’s not taking anything away,” said Del. Alfonso Lopez, D-Arlington, at a committee hearing. “This bill simply gives a tax credit to try and incentivize something that many law-abiding gun owners already do.”
- Virginia residents will be able to claim the nonrefundable credit on their state tax returns starting in the 2024 tax return season. The credit is only valid on eligible equipment purchases from firearm dealers that are federally licensed. A total of up to $5 million in tax credits per year are allowable under the new law, and the credit will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis, the bill states.
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