News in 5: James City County veteran and family receive mortgage-free smart home

Good morning!

Wind and rain are impacting Hampton Roads today and have led to thousands of power outages across the area. As of 7 a.m., about 2,000 James City County residents had lost power, according to Dominion Energy.

In addition, 6,000 customers were without power in Gloucester and 4,000 in Mathews County early this morning. Some outages have also been reported in Newport News and Virginia Beach. Dominion has begun to dispatch crews to the impacted areas. 

If you need to report an outage or check the status of outages in your area, visit Dominion Energy’s website.

We can expect cloudy skies and rain on and off throughout the day today, according to Meteorologist Myles Henderson of WTKR News 3. Wind gusts will exceed 30 mph, triggering flooding in some areas around high tide midday and overnight. Highs will only reach the upper 60s in the Historic Triangle today.

Thursday and Friday are expected to be cloudy, and more scattered showers and storms may move through on both days. Highs will reach the 80s as we close out the workweek.

The weather pattern will continue for the weekend, with higher chances of rain on Saturday and lower chances on Sunday. Weekend highs will be in the mid-80s, and it will be muggy.

Now to the news.


1. An injured James City County veteran and his family received a mortgage-free smart home.

U.S. Army veteran Logan Brokaw and his family were gifted a mortgage-free smart home built by the Tunnel to Towers Foundation. Brokaw sustained severe, life-threatening injuries while serving in the military in 2018. (Photo courtesy of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation)
  • A U.S. Army Master Sergeant (MSG) and his family were gifted a mortgage-free smart home in Toano.
  • The Tunnel to Towers Foundation – a nonprofit organization that builds specially-adapted smart homes to help catastrophically injured veterans live more independently – dedicated the new home to MSG Logan Brokaw and his family during a ceremony last Tuesday.
  • “Today, as we embark on this new chapter of our lives, I can’t help but imagine the incredible memories we will create here,” Brokaw said in a speech at the ceremony. “Our laughter and happiness will echo through the trees. This home will witness our joys and embrace us through our challenges. To the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, I express my deepest gratitude for the work that you do.” 
  • Some background: Brokaw served in the military for more than 15 years, deploying multiple times to Iraq, Afghanistan and other locations with Army Special Operations. In November of 2018, he participated in a freefall training exercise. As he was preparing to land, a maneuver caused him to hit the ground at 60 miles per hour. The incident left Brokaw with a severe spinal cord injury that led to paraplegia.
  • In attendance at the home dedication ceremony were Brokaw and his wife, Nicole, and their two children; FDNY Lieutenant (Ret); Tunnel to Towers Board Member Jack Kielty; Del. Amanda Batten (R- 96); James City County Board of Supervisors Sue Sadler; James City County Police Department Lieutenant Jason Slodyskyo and VIP partners and sponsors. 
  • The new home features one-story living with automatic doors, wider hallways, lower counter spaces, pull-down cabinet shelves and a stove that adjusts to wheelchair height. The lights, thermostat and security system in the home can all be controlled via an app. Brokaw’s previous home was two stories, and he faced significant accessibility challenges daily. Tunnel to Towers collaborated with a number of local companies while constructing the new smart home, including Harbin Builder Inc.
  • “This smart home is a new start for Logan and his family,” said Frank Siller, chairman and CEO of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation. “It will allow him to do so many of the things we take for granted. He can cook his kids breakfast safely on a stove that lowers to wheelchair height, and tuck his kids in at night as he moves freely through his home without a single obstacle. I wish him many years of health and happiness in his new home.”
  • The Tunnel to Towers Foundation has honored over 1,000 veterans with mortgage-free homes to date. To learn more or donate to the organization, visit
Logan Brokaw. (Photo courtesy of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation)

2. The Wagsters are celebrating the one-year anniversary of their Williamsburg magic theatre.

  • The Wagsters Magic Theatre is commemorating a successful first year in business in Williamsburg after having welcomed more than 10,000 guests across 200 shows. 
  • Brandon and Hannah Wagster opened the doors of their theatre on June 17, 2022, upon moving to Williamsburg last spring. Their goal was to open a state-of-the-art intimate theatre to showcase their award-winning, Vegas-style magic show.
  • Future plans: Brandon and Hannah hope to raise a family and spend the rest of their careers in Williamsburg. Their show will be offered six nights a week, all summer long, and will continue on select dates through the fall. The Wagsters are also working to launch a new “Close Up Magic” show that will premiere this fall. In November, they plan to bring back their Christmas production, which will run through December 31.
  • “We are so blessed that so many locals and visitors have loved what we do, and we hope they will continue to come back again and again!” Hannah Wagster said.
  • For more information about the Wagsters, tickets and showtimes, visit
The Wagsters Magic Theatre in Williamsburg is celebrating its one-year anniversary. (Photo courtesy of Brandon and Hannah Wagster)

3. The Buc-ee’s Super Center opening in New Kent will be even bigger than originally planned.

  • The first Buc-ee’s to ever be built in Virginia will be bigger than initially expected when it opens its doors in New Kent, according to Norfolk-based S.L Nusbaum Realty Co., which is representing the parties involved in the project.
  • The supercenter will feature over 75,000 square feet of retail space and parking to accommodate 650 cars. That’s an expansion of an additional 1,000 square feet and about 100 more parking spaces than first planned.
  • “Buc-ee’s, considered by many as offering a road side ‘Disney World Experience,’ boasts the nation’s largest convenience store footprint and was ranked #1 by Forbes Magazine in their Customer Experience All Stars List for 2023,” Nausbaum said in a news release Friday.
  • The timeline: The New Kent location will break ground “in the coming months,” according to Nusbaum. Construction will be completed within two years. The center is slated to be built along Interstate 64 at the Emmaus Church Road exit, where a grassy parcel of land currently exists. Buc-ee’s plans to open three additional Virginia locations within the next four years. 
The first Buc-ee’s in Virginia will break ground in New Kent County “in the coming months,” according to the real estate firm facilitating the project. (Photo courtesy of Buc-ee’s)

4. A WJCC student won a national poster competition.

  • A Williamsburg-James City Virtual Academy student has taken home the top prize in a national poster contest.
  • The eleventh-grade student, named Faith, was selected as the first-place winner in The Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) annual Kids Safe Online Poster Contest, WAVY News reports. Her creative artwork emphasizes the importance of using strong passwords to protect your personal information online.
  • The purpose of the contest is to inspire young people to create posters that encourage their peers to use the internet safely and securely. Children enrolled in kindergarten through 12th grade are eligible to participate. Winners are selectedin each grade group (K-5, 6-8 and 9-12).
  • Faith was among 13 winners whose artwork will be displayedin the MS-ISAC Kids Safe Online Activity Book. The book will be distributed throughout the country and used in campaigns to raise awareness among children of all ages about the importance of computer and internet safety.
  • The WJCC Online Academy is a 100% online learning opportunity for students in grades 6-12 and features a blend of live and asynchronous instruction led by WJCC school teachers. 
  • For more information about Kids Safe Online Poster Contest and the MS-ISAC, visit the Virginia IT Agency.
A WJCC student won a national award for her creative poster promoting internet safety. (Photo by MS-ISAC)

5. The City of Newport News is hosting its annual Shred Day this Saturday.

  • Newport News Sheriff Gabe Morgan is hosting a free, on-site document shredding event at Todd Stadium (12465 Warwick Blvd.) on Saturday, June 24 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. 
  • The annual event was created to help protect local residents from identity theft. Attendees will be able to securely destroy personal papers containing sensitive information. 
  • All who wish to participate in Shred Day are asked to enter and exit the stadium from Warwick Blvd. The Newport News Sheriff’s Office (NNSO) will direct event-goers to one of the shred trucks in the parking lot. NNSO employees and volunteers will remove the papers from your vehicle.
  • More details: Plastic bags will not be accepted as they cannot be shredded. Attendees should bring papers in paper bags or boxes. Boxes will be emptied and returned. This event is not designed for businesses and is not for disposal of trash. For additional information about the event and suggestions about which documents should be shredded, click here

In the National News

  • Underwater noises heard in search for missing sub: “Underwater noises” were detected Wednesday amid a massive search for a submersible that disappeared while taking five people to the wreckage site of the Titanic in a remote area of the North Atlantic. “Canadian P-3 aircraft detected underwater noises in the search area,” the U.S. Coast Guard stated in a Tweet Wednesday morning. Three vessels arrived on the scene as the search efforts continue to grow increasingly desperate, the AP reports. Experts say as little as one day’s worth of oxygen may be left in the vessel if it is still functioning. 
  • Amazon Prime Day details announced: Amazon has announced that it will be holding its annual Prime Day shopping event from July 11-12 this year. The event features some of the retailer’s best deals of the year on a wide selection of items, including electronics, appliances, apparel and more. Amazon Prime membership is required to participate in the sale. For more information or to see early deal previews, click here

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