News in 5: Jamestown Rediscovery expands living history programming

Plus: Shentel has begun installing broadband services in Williamsburg, new details emerged in a road rage case that turned deadly in Newport News and York County taxpayers are set to receive a rebate.

Good morning!

We can expect sunny skies, slightly cooler weather and lower humidity for the rest of the week, according to Meteorologist Myles Henderson of WTKR News 3. The weekend should be mostly dry, but showers and storms are possible for Labor Day.

Myles Henderson
Aug 31, 2022 ·

Thursday’s weather may be the nicest of the week. If you’re looking for something to do that evening, there’ll be a free Virginia Symphony Orchestra concert at Lake Matoaka in Williamsburg beginning at 7:30 pm. You can read more in my updated weekly community calendar of events.

Have questions, comments or suggestions? Reach out any time by hitting “reply” to this email.

Now to the news.

-Christin

1. Historic Jamestowne is expanding its living history programming.

  • Historic Jamestowne’s living history programming was expanded over the summer – and will continue into the fall – thanks to the support of the Jamestowne Society, whose members funded the creation of a new program, “Maids to Virginia.”
  • “Maids to Virginia” is set in 1621, shortly after the arrival of 57 women who were recruited to marry planters in Virginia in an effort to help stabilize the colony. The program allows visitors to meet two of the young women who made the life-altering decision to travel across the ocean to Virginia.
    • Between 1619 and 1621, the Virginia Company of London recruited and transported dozens of young women to Jamestown as potential brides for the colonists, who were overwhelmingly male at the time.
    • The women went through a rigorous eligibility process which included inquiries to parish priests and others who could speak to their good character. Though none of the women were forced to marry against their will, most eventually married one of the male colonists living at Jamestown, and historic records shed light on some of their experiences. To date, 300 members of the Jamestowne Society have been able to trace their ancestry to women who traveled to Virginia on the bride ships.
  • Funding provided by the Jamestowne Society supported the work of two historians, Kaylan Stevenson and Amy Stallings. Stevenson and Stallings researched the women who came to Jamestown on these voyages and then built personas, wrote biographical scripts and hand-crafted their own historically-accurate costumes.

“Through Kaylan and Amy’s work, visitors can get a closer understanding of the motivations of the young women who arrived between 1619 and 1621,” said Willie Balderson, Director of Living History & Historic Trades. “How did they feel walking into an entirely unknown future? What opportunities were they seeking and how did their lives change in Virginia? The experience seems unfathomable to today’s audiences, but this program helps us better understand the significance of the women’s arrival in Virginia.”

  • “Maids to Virginia” will be offered on select Sundays throughout the fall in Jamestown’s Memorial Church and is included in regular admission. For an up-to-date program schedule, visit historicjamestowne.org.

Historic Interpreter Amy Stallings portrays one of the women recruited to marry a Jamestown planter alongside Director of Living History Willie Balderson. (Photo courtesy of Jamestown Rediscovery).

2. Shentel has begun installing broadband services in Williamsburg.

  • Residents of the City of Williamsburg are one step closer to having an additional internet service option. While Cox Communications has been the only provider in Williamsburg for years, Shenandoah Cable Television LLC (Shentel) has begun to install Glo Fiber, a high-speed, 100% fiber-optic network.
  • The installation work has begun in five neighborhoods, including Skipwith Farms, Longhill Woods, Highland Park, Piney Creek Estates and Savannah Green, according to the Peninsula Chronicle. The new network is expected to go live in those areas by early next year.
    • City of Williamsburg residents can find out when Shentel will begin work in their neighborhood by visiting glofiber.com/construction.
  • Both James City County and York County also recently signed agreements with Shentel. Construction in James City County is expected to begin this year and will deliver an alternative high-speed internet option to more than 20,000 homes and businesses, according to a Shentel spokesperson. Construction in York County is expected to begin in 2023.

Residents of the City of Williamsburg will soon have another internet service option now that Shentel has begun installing its Glo Fiber network in the city. The company also signed agreements with York County and James City County in 2021 and will continue to expand its network throughout the area in the coming months. (Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique via Getty Images).

3. New details have emerged in a road rage incident that turned deadly in Newport News.

  • A deadly shooting on Oyster Point Road in Newport News last Friday began with a road rage incident, according to Newport News Police. New court documents reveal that the victim, 51-year-old Crystal Mittelstadter, was shot and killed on August 26 by As-Siddiq Abdul-Aziz, 22, a resident of Norfolk.
  • The incident began around City Center Boulevard and Warwick Boulevard, according to 13NewsNow. A video recording taken by Abdul-Aziz’s girlfriend’s cell phone shows that both he and Mittelstadter exchanged words before driving off. Abdul-Aziz was allegedly heard saying Mittelstadter was going to “die today.”
    • Mittelstadter and Abdul-Aziz then both drove into the Food Lion parking lot. Multiple witnesses say they saw the two arguing. Video footage from the shopping center parking lot shows Abdul-Aziz running toward the victim’s car, holding a gun. A witness reported that Abdul-Aziz then shot the victim.
    • Police recovered a gun at the scene. While Abdul-Aziz claimed he believed Mittelstadter had a gun, no gun was found on her body or in her vehicle.
  • Abdul-Aziz was arrested Friday night and has been charged with one count of second-degree murder and one count of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. He remains in custody at Newport News Jail.

“Crystal was she was such a beautiful person. She had a beautiful soul,” Sandra Farnum, Crystal’s neighbor and friend, told WTKR News 3.

4. Charges have been filed against two suspects in a 7-Eleven shooting incident in James City County.

  • Police are searching for two men involved in an altercation in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven on Longhill Road last week.
  • Officers responded to the convenience store, located at 4840 Longhill Road, after receiving reports that shots were fired in the area. According to witnesses, the two men got into an argument in the parking lot before the shots were fired. Both individuals then fled the scene before officers arrived.
  • James City County Police identified the two suspects as 18-year-old Jacari McNair and 22-year-old John Futrell, both of Hampton.
    • Shell casings were located in the area, but there were no injuries reported. Damage to the property was minimal.
    • Police have obtained warrants for both men for Attempted Malicious Wounding, Firing into an Occupied Dwelling or Building, Reckless Handling of A Firearm and Carrying a Concealed Weapon.
  • Anyone in the public with information about either of these individuals is asked to contact JCCPD at 757-566-0112 or call the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP. Tips can also be submitted anonymously online at p3tips.com.

5. Taxpayers in York County are set to receive a rebate in December after excess personal property taxes were collected.

  • A $3.4 million rebate was approved by the York County Board of Supervisors after excess personal property tax revenue was collected from fiscal year 2022. The rebate will be applied to the December 2022 personal property tax statement, The Virginia Gazette reports.
    • Upon approval of the ordinance – which was unanimously passed by the Board – Supervisor W. Chad Green said taxpayers will receive “a real, substantive rebate.” The Board noted that the action is rare but acknowledged that other local governments are making similar moves.
  • The rebate was proposed by the Board after citizens expressed frustration with their bills, which in some cases were 40-50% higher than their December 2022 tax statement. In a memorandum submitted to the Board on August 2, County Administrator Neil Morgan said the measure is an attempt to “limit the impact of the recent increases in personal property taxes on residents.”
  • In addition to the rebate, the Board also approved two measures to lessen the strain of the increased tax burden. The Treasurer agreed to delay the 10 percent late penalty until September 30, rather than imposing it after 30 days as is typically done. A hardship program was also established to assist those who qualify for direct relief. About 30 residents have participated in that program, according to Morgan.
  • Used car values have risen substantially since 2021, causing vehicle tax assessments to increase. An online tool will soon be available on the County’s website to allow taxpayers to estimate the value of the discount they can expect to receive, according to the Board.

Lowest Gas Prices Today

All prices listed are per GasBuddy. To check the latest prices based on zip code, click here.

Local Covid-19 Update

New cases:VDH reports that an additional 17,422 people in Virginia tested positive for Covid-19 last week (up slightly from the 17,183 cases reported during the previous week). Localities on the Peninsula with the biggest increases in new cases (over 100) last week include Newport News (+255), Hampton (+208) and James City County (+151), according to WTVR News 6.

Hospitalizations and deaths: An additional 280 people were hospitalized with Covid-19 in Virginia last week (down from 284 the week before), according to VDH data. 107 Covid-19-related deaths also occurred in the state last week (up from 104 the week before).

Vaccination rate: 72.2% of Virginians are fully vaccinated (up from 72.1% last week).

In the National News

  • NASA Rocket Launch Foiled: A fuel leak, followed by an engine issue during liftoff preparations, caused NASA to call off the launch of Artemis I Monday. The new rocket was scheduled to embark on a six-week mission during which a crew capsule would be sent into orbit around the moon. NASA officials announced they will make the next launch attempt on Saturday, September 3. The mission is considered the first major step toward getting humans back on the moon.
  • Federal Covid Test Program Ends Soon: The federal government’s free Covid-19 test program will be halted after this week, according to ABC News. Americans will no longer be able to order free at-home rapid tests through Covid.gov after Friday, September 2. The move, according to the administration, was made because “Congress hasn’t provided additional funding to replenish the nation’s stockpile of tests.” Tests will, however, continue to be distributed through the end of the year to 15,000 federally supported community sites, such as local pharmacies and libraries. Americans may also be able to receive reimbursement for at-home tests through their private health insurance, Medicare and Medicaid.
  • Safeway Shooting: Three people are dead after a shooting at a Safeway grocery store in central Oregon Sunday night, NBC News reports. The gunman – now identified as Ethan Blair Miller, 20 – began shooting an AR-15-style rifle in the Safeway parking lot before going into the store, according to police. A customer, Glenn Edward Bennett, 84, was shot and killed by the entrance. A store employee, Donald Ray Surrett Jr., 66, heroically attempted to disarm the shooter but was also fatally shot. The suspect then died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police found Molotov cocktails, additional ammunition and “digital devices” in Miller’s vehicle.
  • Taliban Seeks to Buy Russian Oil: Taliban officials are in the process of finalizing a deal with Moscow that would allow the rulers of Afghanistan to purchase fuel while boosting the heavily-sanctioned Russian economy. The deal would provide isolated Taliban leaders with access to badly needed imports of wheat, gas and oil, according to Reuters. Contracts are expected to be finalized soon, according to an unnamed source in Afghanistan’s office of the Minister of Commerce and Industry. No governments formally recognize the Taliban’s government since its brutal takeover of Afghanistan, but Russia, China and other countries that have icy relations with the U.S have kept their embassies open in Kabul.

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