News in 5: Jamestown Rediscovery releases new book dedicated to local historic interpreter

Plus: A Williamsburg Chef is competing on Hell's Kitchen, a garden outlet store opened in the former JCPenney building near Water Country and early voting has begun in Virginia.

Good morning!

We can expect comfortable weather with highs in the 70s and low humidity today and tomorrow, according to Meteorologist Myles Henderson of WTKR News 3. Some rain may develop Thursday.

We’ll need to watch the forecast closely as we head into Friday. Hurricane Ian’s remnants will continue to move up the coast, and while it’s too early for forecasters to fully predict the impacts for Virginia, it seems likely that our area will experience rain and storms. Heavy rainfall and strong to severe storms are possible over the next few days. See Myles’ latest full forecast here.

If you’ve been making plans to attend any events this weekend, be sure to check for updates from the event organizers. An Occasion for the Arts 2022 has already been canceled due to the threat of Ian.

Now to the news.

-Christin

1. After a multi-year research effort, Jamestown Rediscovery released a new book uncovering the history of the First Africans who were brought to Jamestown.

  • In a new book, Angela: Jamestown and the First Africans, The Jamestown Rediscovery team chronicles the life of “Angela,” one of the first Africans who lived in Jamestown. The information revealed in the book was gathered through a combination of archaeological and historical research compiled during a multi-year journey.
    • The book seeks to recover the untold story of Angela and other Africans who were forcibly brought to the colony of Jamestown from their homeland in Angola.
    • Angela – who was listed in the household of Captain William Pierce in Jamestown in 1625 – was a victim of brutal wars in West Central Africa. She and hundreds of other Angolans were made to board a slave ship bound for Veracruz, Mexico. The ship was attacked by English privateers who then sailed to Virginia, and later to Bermuda, to sell the Africans as enslaved laborers to wealthy tobacco planters. After arriving in English America, Angela and the other Angolans survived and adapted to an unfamiliar new world. In doing so, they changed the course of American history.
  • The Jamestown Rediscovery team collaborated with the National Park Service to learn more about Angela by excavating the site where she lived and labored. Rediscovery archaeologists were able to make impactful discoveries about Angela’s daily life experiences.

“Our books are portable exhibits that weave history, science, and archaeology to discover our shared American past,” said primary author and Director of Archaeology at Jamestown Rediscovery David M. Givens. “The story of Angela and the First Africans is a key part of our collective history that has been hidden for far too long. This new book shines a light on the lives of the First Africans, and explores Angela’s experiences through the physical traces she left behind at Jamestown.”

  • Angela: Jamestown and the First Africans is dedicated to Valarie Gray Holmes, who powerfully portrayed Angela at Jamestown Rediscovery in a way that brought her story to life for thousands of visitors.
    • The book is available online at historicjamestowne.org or at the Historic Jamestowne museum store. All proceeds from the book’s sales directly support Jamestown Rediscovery’s archaeology program and its mission to uncover and share America’s diverse past.

Authors of Angela: Jamestown and the First Africans present Valarie Gray-Holmes with a copy of the book dedicated to her. Photo courtesy of Jamestown Rediscovery.

2. A Williamsburg chef will be competing in season 21 of “Hell’s Kitchen.”

  • Ileana D’Silva – a young chef who lives in Gloucester County, trained to cook in Newport News and now works at Casa Pearl in Williamsburg – will be appearing on the 21st season of the show “Hell’s Kitchen,” 13NewsNow reports.
    • D’Silva, 24, said a casting agent reached out to her on social media to ask if she would be interested in appearing on the show. She participated in a series of interviews and was ultimately selected.
    • The theme of the season will be “20-somethings vs. 40-somethings,” D’Silva said. According to D’Silva, the concept underscores the differences between the younger group, which is energetic and eager to learn, versus the older group, which has a more traditional style – but also more experience.

“Once you’re in there, and you’re on set, and you’re all sharing your dorm together, the age gap kind of disappears or blurs a little bit, because you kind of realize, ‘Hey, we’re all chefs,'” D’Silva said.

  • The show, which first premiered on Fox in 2005, features celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay. Every season, the show recruits two teams of chefs who compete for a life-changing grand prize: a Head Chef position at one of Ramsay’s restaurants and the title of Hell’s Kitchen winner.
  • D’Silva said she’s learned a great deal while working as a sous chef at Casa Pearl, which is located on Merrimac Trail. In addition to the formal training she received at the Culinary Institute of Virginia in Newport News, she credits numerous talented chefs in the Williamsburg area for pushing her to reach new heights. She also said she’s received an outpouring of support from members of the community since appearing on the show.

“It’s an incredible feeling,” DSilva said. “I’m so blessed to have the community that I do and see all the incoming love. I never thought I’d be here.”

  • Season 21 of Hell’s Kitchen premieres at 8 p.m on Thursday, September 29 on FOX.

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3. A home and garden warehouse store, Plum & Post Garden Outlet, opened in the former JCPenney site in Williamsburg.

  • Plum & Post Garden Outlet held its grand opening last weekend in the old JCPenney building in the Marquis Shopping Center, near Water Country USA.
  • The store features a variety of home items, including discounted holiday decor, an assortment of bedding, kitchen accessories, furniture, garden supplies and more.
  • Plum & Post will be open two weekends a month through at least December, according to its website.
    • In October, the store will be open on Friday, October 7 (9 am – 6 pm), Saturday, October 8 (10 am – 4 pm), Friday, October 21 (9 am – 6 pm) and Saturday, October 22 (10 am – 4 pm). For a full list of hours, visit the store’s website, plumandpost.com.
    • Foundations Church Williamsburg has expressed interest in purchasing the site along with its 105,270-square foot building for long-term use, according to The Virginia Gazette. The church hopes to build a large auditorium there as well as a gathering area and child care center. A local lawyer for Foundations Church said the church has submitted a contract for the company and he does not believe the Plum & Post lease is long-term.

Plum & Post
Sep 22, 2022 ·

4. A Newport News Home Depot donated nearly 800 buckets of supplies to disaster victims in Kentucky.

  • Last week, team members at Newport News Home Depot spent the day filling nearly 800 buckets with much-needed supplies for flood victims in Kentucky. The big, orange buckets contained items like trash bags, gloves, bleach cleaner, N-95 masks, paper towels, scrubbers and sanitizer, according to WTKR News 3.
  • The effort was carried out in collaboration with Operation Blessing, and it’s the fourth time the store has filled buckets for the organization. A representative for Operation Blessing said some of the supplies may also be sent to Puerto Rico, where hundreds of thousands of people remain without power in the wake of widespread destruction caused by Hurricane Fiona.
  • At the end of July, eastern Kentucky faced an onslaught of record flooding, which damaged or destroyed more than 10,000 homes. Thousands of people living in the area are still homeless as they await aid to help rebuild. According to local news sources from the area, many of those residents will have years of rebuilding ahead of them.

“It’s immediate assistance for someone who needs some help,” store manager Greg Hyatt told News 3. “We love to help people. People helping people, that’s what it’s all about.”

5. Early voting has begun in Virginia.

Early and absentee voting for the Nov. 8 general election began Friday, Sept. 23. Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know if you’re considering casting your ballot early.

  • Anyone who is eligible to vote in Virginia can choose to vote early or request an absentee ballot. Over one million Virginians voted early or through absentee ballot during the state’s elections in November 2021.
    • Virginians who vote early in person must bring a valid form of ID, a Virginia driver’s license or a U.S passport. The Virginia Department of Election website contains additional information about how to vote early or by absentee ballot.
    • If you need to register to vote or need to update your existing registration, the deadline to do so is Monday, Oct. 17 at 5:00 pm. For more information or to register, click here.
    • As a result of recent redistricting, some voters will find that their polling location or voting district has changed. If you need to verify your district and/or polling location, you can do that here.

Early Voting Location Sites

  • James City County residents can vote early at the James City County Office of Elections, 4095 Ironbound Road in Williamsburg (located behind the courthouse). The James City County Office of Elections is open from 8 a.m – 5 p.m, Monday-Friday. It will also be open on Saturday, Oct. 29 and Nov. 5, 8 a.m – 5 p.m.
  • Williamsburg residents can vote early at the Office of Voter Registration, 401 Lafayette St., Monday-Friday, 8 a.m to 4:30 p.m. The office will also be open on two Saturdays: October 29 and November 5, 8 a.m to 4:30 pm.
  • York County residents can vote early at one of two York County Registrar’s Offices: 5322 George Washington Memorial Highway or 6614 Mooretown Rd., Suite A. The offices will be open 8:30 a.m to 5 p.m, Monday-Friday and Saturdays, October 29 and November 5, 9 a.m to 5 p.m.
  • Newport News residents can vote early at City Hall, 2400 Washington Ave. (6th floor). The office is open from 8 a.m to 5 p.m, Monday-Friday. A satellite location with limited hours also opened Tuesday at 700 Town Center Drive in the first-floor conference room. It’s open Tuesday through Thursday, 8 a.m to 5 p.m. Special voting hours will also be available at both locations on Saturday, October 29 and Saturday, November 5 (9 a.m to 5 p.m) and Sunday, October 30 (11 a.m to 4 p.m). More information is available here.
  • Hampton residents can vote at the Voter Registrar’s Office, 101 Kings Way. The office is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m to 5 p.m, Saturday, October 29 and November 5, 9 a.m to 5 p.m and Sunday, October 30, 11 a.m to 5 p.m.
  • Those living in other towns or counties in Virginia can find out early voting information by visiting the Virginia Department of Elections website or their local voter registrar website.

Crime Notes This Week:

  • A York County bank robbery suspect, Justin Michael Craver, has been arrested in Elmhurst, Illinois, according to the York Poquoson Sheriff’s Office (YPSO). Last week, The Triangle reported that Craver was wanted by police after robbing the Old Point bank on Kiln Creek Parkway, allegedly while wielding a hatchet. Craver escaped from police at the time, but YPSO announced Tuesday that the man was apprehended by the Elmhurst Police Department and is now in custody.
  • Williamsburg Police are seeking help from the public after about $39,500 worth of landscaping equipment was stolen from the Colonial Williamsburg area. Investigators say the equipment was taken from a shed and enclosed landscape trailer sometime between 4 p.m September 6 and 5:30 a.m September 7. The stolen items included two Exmark lawn mowers and a variety of tools. Anyone with information on the theft is asked to contact the Williamsburg Police Department.
  • A Newport News man has been charged in the shooting death of 38-year-old Alfred Lamont Johnson, a resident of James City County. Lee Rondell Richardson, 40 of Newport News, was charged with second-degree murder, according to James City County Police. He’s currently being held at the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail without bond. Police responded to reports of shots fired in the 2600 block of Chickahominy Road near Little Creek Reservoir in James City County on September 13. There, they found Johnson suffering from a gunshot wound, and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
  • A teen was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries after a shooting in Newport News Tuesday morning, WAVY News reports. Police say the incident happened shortly before 1 a.m in the 1100 block of 36th Street. The teen was immediately transported to a local hospital for treatment. No other information has been released at this time.
  • A Newport News mother and her boyfriend have been charged in the accidental death of an 11-month-old baby, according to The Daily Press. According to court documents, Porshea Tanika Evans brought the “unconscious and unresponsive” child into Riverside Regional Medical Center on the morning of September 4. The baby was pronounced dead after doctors were unable to revive him. Evans, 33, and her boyfriend, Dequan Foreman, 31, were charged with felony child neglect in the case. Investigators say the child died after falling from a bed and hitting his head on the floor. The accident happened while the boy was left unattended with his 4-year-old sister for about an hour.
  • Williamsburg police arrested an 18-year-old man in connection with a home burglary last week. The suspect, Jacob Gomez, 18 of Williamsburg, was arrested on multiple charges, including residential burglary, larceny, destruction of property and indecent exposure. The breaking and entering incident happened on Sept. 21, shortly after 8:00 am in the 800 block of S. Henry Street. Gomez is now being held without bail at the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail.

Lowest Gas Prices Today

All prices shown 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 10,080 people in Virginia tested positive for Covid-19 last week (down from 11,600 cases reported during the previous week). Localities on the Peninsula with the biggest increases in new cases (over 100) last week include Newport News (+202), Hampton (+180) and James City County (+111), according to WTVR News 6.

Hospitalizations and deaths: An additional 228 people were hospitalized with Covid-19 in Virginia last week (down from 231 the week before), according to VDH data. 90 Covid-19-related deaths also occurred in the state last week (down from 92 reported in the week before).

Vaccination rate: 72.6% of Virginians are fully vaccinated (up from 72.5% last week).

In the National News

  • Hurricane Ian Barrels Into Florida: Hurricane Ian intensified into an “extremely dangerous Category 4 storm” – and was just shy of the most devastating Category 5 status – as it approached Florida Wednesday morning, the AP reports. The storm gained top winds of 155 mph off Florida’s southwest coast, where damaging winds and rain pummeled the highly populated Gulf Coast. The Naples to Sarasota region is expected to see the greatest storm surge threats. The hurricane center has warned that storm surges could reach as much as 18 feet for some coastal areas. “This is about as serious as it gets,” Michael Brennan, Deputy Director of the National Hurricane Center told ABC News.
  • Putin Likely to Proclaim Annexation of Ukraine: President Vladimir Putin is expected to proclaim the annexation of a swatch of Ukraine within days, according to Reuters. The move comes after Moscow released what it says are vote tallies showing Ukrainian support for four partially occupied provinces to become part of Russia. Kyiv and the West, however, have denounced the so-called referendums, saying residents were forced to vote with guns to their heads. Russian-backed authorities say they carried out the referendums in the four provinces of Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, Kherson and Luhansk, but residents who escaped to Ukrainian territory told of people are being forced to vote by officials at gunpoint. Footage filmed during the referendum period show armed men bringing ballot boxes from house to house.
  • NKorea Fires Missile Ahead of Harris Visit: North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles toward South Korea on Wednesday, the AP reports. The move comes a day before Vice President Kamala Harris is scheduled to stop in South Korea as part of a broader trip to Asia. Harris will be the most-senior Biden administration official to visit the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), which separates the two Koreas. North Korea has increased its missile testing activities to record levels in 2022, launching more than 30 ballistic weapons this year. South Korean officials said the country is boosting security and surveillance measures ahead of Harris’ visit.

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