News in 5: Local kids gain hands-on archaeology experience at Historic Jamestowne

Plus: SeaView Lofts tenants made shocking claims in a suit against the owner, John Hinckley Jr.'s planned Williamsburg show was canceled and a man died after being struck by a train in York County.

Good morning!

We’re in for another scorcher today, and the heat and humidity – with feels-like temperatures in the triple digits – will persist through midweek. But a cold front will usher in a welcome reprieve soon, according to Meteorologist Myles Henderson of WTKR News 3.

Myles Henderson
Aug 09, 2022 ·

Some stormy weather may be on the way for Wednesday and Thursday, but the weekend looks lovely, with lower humidity, highs in the low to mid-80s and mostly sunny skies.

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Now to the news.


1. Local kids are gaining hands-on archaeology experience at a summer camp hosted by Historic Jamestowne.

  • Seventeen campers ages 8 to 12 were welcomed into Historic Jamestowne’s archaeology camp this summer – and they’ve all been given the opportunity to work on a real archaeological dig alongside the Jamestown Rediscovery field team.
    • Kids who participate in the week-long camps are able to learn about excavation methods, artifact identification, historic trades and digital technologies, like GIS mapping and Ground Penetrating Radar.
  • During their excavations, the children uncovered a variety of fascinating new artifacts from different time periods, including European & Virginia Indian ceramics, fragments of glass wine bottles and iron nails. They also discovered a yet-to-be-identified iron object, which may be associated with the Civil War and Fort Pocahontas.

“Our summer camp is a unique experience where campers are working alongside field archaeologists on active projects to help us uncover the history of James Fort,” said Natalie Reid, Staff Archaeologist & Ed Shed Manager. “The history they’re uncovering in the ground cements the history they’re learning in the classroom. It’s also really fun to see their excitement when they find their first artifact or watch them crack up calling corroded iron nails ‘cheetos,’ because they really look like Cheetos!”

  • The Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation is hoping to continue offering unique camp experiences for kids every year. Announcements about next year’s programs will be forthcoming in early 2023, according to the Foundation. For additional information or to sign-up for summer camp announcements, visit

Senior Staff Archaeologist Sean Romo shows a camper how to use a trowel to remove artifacts. (Photo courtesy of Jamestown Rediscovery).

2. Tenants of the condemned SeaView Lofts apartments are now suing the owner – and some of the claims are shocking.

  • A lawsuit filed on behalf of 58 tenants of the recently-condemned SeaView Lofts apartment building in Newport News details stunning allegations of dangerous living conditions, sexual harassment and even a resident’s suicide attempt.
    • The suit was filed by Newport News law firm Consumer Litigation Associates along with the Virginia Poverty Law Center and Kelly Guzzo, WAVY News reports. It alleges that the building’s landlord, Ben Weinstein, invested “almost nothing into the building” since he purchased it in 2020, even though he knew the 15-story complex was unsafe.

“The Seaview tenants suffered from illness and disease because of mold and extreme temperatures in the building,” the lawsuit states. “The Seaview Tenants had to withstand the elements from outside through storms because of faulty doors, windows, and walls. The disabled residents were imprisoned and prevented from leaving their apartments when the elevators were inoperable.”

  • Among the most disturbing claims is an allegation by a 55-year-old, double-amputee veteran, who says the elevators were out of order for months at the building, forcing him to crawl up seven flights of stairs on his stomach and back to access his apartment and retrieve his insulin.
    • Another resident says she was sexually harassed by a maintenance worker, who was fired and then rehired, making her feel unsafe. At least one tenant also reportedly attempted suicide while living under unsafe conditions at the building.
  • The suit also alleges that vacant apartments were left unlocked, and homeless persons and drug abusers frequently camped out in the building, squatting in vacant spots and urinating and defecating in the stairwells.
  • A separate federal action has also been filed by 19 tenants, who claim the residential building is in violation of the Fair Housing Act due to its discrimination against disabled tenants, including veterans and senior citizens with mobility limitations, heart problems, amputations, paralysis and other medical conditions.
    • In a statement responding to the allegations, Weinstein said he has not yet been served with the actions yet and has not had time to properly evaluate or respond to the claims.
  • The next status hearing in the case is scheduled for this Thursday, August 11. Weinstein is currently facing fines of $1,000 per day until the safety issues are resolved.

3. John Hinckley Jr. scheduled a concert at the Williamsburg Regional Library – and then canceled it the same day.

  • John Hinckley Jr. announced on Twitter that he would be giving a free concert at the Williamsburg Library Theatre in November, but the library ended up promptly canceling the event.

“Big news!! I will be giving a free concert in Williamsburg, Virginia at the Williamsburg Library Theatre on November 4. The concert is at 8:00 pm. I suggest you arrive early. The theatre seats 268,” Hinckley said in the Tweet.

  • In a statement, the library explained that it had received “hostile comments through chat and email” after the upcoming show was announced. “This alerted us that the concert was clearly going to become a major disruption to library operations that would impact our ability to serve our community,” the statement said.
    • Williamsburg Regional Library initially accepted Hinckley’s application to rent the theatre on August 2, the same day he announced the show on Twitter, according to The Virginia Gazette.
  • Hinckley was fully released from court restrictions in June of this year, 41 years after he attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan in 1981. He was sentenced to institutional psychiatric care until 2016, at which time he was allowed to live with his mother, Jo Ann Hinckley, in James City County. A federal judge approved his unconditional release in 2021.
  • Since becoming a free man, Hinckley, now 67, has attempted to perform at venues across the country. Earlier in the summer, he announced a “Redemption Tour,” which included three shows in Connecticut, New York and Chicago – but all were canceled.

John Hinckley, Jr. sits in the back of this motioned vehicle outside the federal court in DC in 1990, shortly after asking for permission to visit his family for Easter without supervision. (Photo by Bettmann).

4. A man has died after being struck by a train in York County.

  • A 64-year-old man was found dead next to railroad tracks in York County after being hit by a train Thursday morning, according to a news release by the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office.
  • A caller alerted deputies that the train hit an unknown object near Mooretown Road and Cameron Street around 3:40 am. When officers responded to the scene, they discovered the deceased man.
  • The name of the man will be released once his next of kin has been notified. The crash remains under investigation.

5. A former Heritage High School student was sentenced to 10 years after shooting two other students last year.

  • Jacari Taylor, a former student of Heritage High School in Newport News, has been sentenced to ten years in prison in a shooting that wounded two other students at the high school last fall.
    • The shooting drew widespread national media attention when it occurred last September, just weeks into the new school year. While both of the wounded juveniles survived, the male student victim has permanent injuries, including hearing loss. The female victim now suffers from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, according to WAVY News.
    • The school was closed for more than a month as students grappled with anxiety in the aftermath of the shooting.

“[The shooting] “destroyed the sense of sanctuary we should have in our schools, where kids should feel safe. Every parent was hoping it wasn’t their kid who got shot,” said Deputy Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney Travis White.

  • Taylor, who was 15 at the time of the shooting and is now 16, faced up to 65 years in prison after pleading guilty in April to six felonies, including malicious wounding, felony use of a firearm, possessing a firearm on school property and discharging a firearm on school property. He will serve a blended sentence that will consist of time in both juvenile detention and state prison.
    • Surveillance footage shows Taylor was involved in a fight during lunchtime at the school on September 20, and then proceeded to pull out a gun and fire several shots into a busy hallway.
    • Circuit Court Judge Christopher Papile emphasized that the fallout from the shooting could have been much worse given that the hallway was filled with students at the time of the incident.
  • Taylor’s lawyers say that the act wasn’t pre-meditated. They told the court Taylor is a smart, introspective teen who is committed to improving and redeeming himself, according to the Daily Press.

“I take responsibility for my actions,” Taylor said in a statement. “From the middle of my heart, I really apologize and hope you can see that I’m trying to make it all better… Hurting people doesn’t make me happy or give me confidence… I pray and hope you see that I’m trying to redeem myself.”

6. Olde Towne Medical & Dental Center was awarded a $100,000 grant to expand its services.

  • Olde Towne Medical & Dental Center – one of the few providers that serves uninsured and underinsured individuals and families in the Greater Williamsburg area – was the recipient of a $100,000 grant from Sentara Healthcare, the clinic announced Friday.
  • The grant will be used to support the center’s Comprehensive Integrated Care Model for physical and behavioral health services. It will also make it possible for the clinic to expand access to dental services and telehealth visits for both children and adults.
    • “We could not be more excited to share in this extremely generous opportunity,” the clinic stated in a social media post.


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Lowest Gas Prices Today

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

Local Covid-19 Update

New cases:VDH reports that an additional 20,291 people in Virginia tested positive for Covid-19 last week (down by about 5% from the 21,350 cases reported during the previous week). Localities with the biggest increases in new cases (over 100) on the Peninsula last week include Newport News (+366), Hampton (+327) James City County (+182) and York County (+102), according to WTVR News 6.

Hospitalizations and deaths: 🚑 An additional 296 people were hospitalized with Covid-19 in Virginia last week (up from 264 the week before), according to VDH data. 136 Covid-19-related deaths also occurred in the state last week (up from 51 the week before).

Vaccination rate:💉72% of Virginians are fully vaccinated (up from 71.9% last week).

In the National News

  • Mar-a-Lago Raided: Former President Trump’s home in Mar-a-Lago was raided by FBI agents in an unprecedented move Monday, Politico reports. Though Justice Department spokespeople refused to comment on the search, the investigation was said to be connected to the alleged mishandling of White House records. No former U.S president has faced such public law enforcement actions, and the incident is particularly stunning given that the former president is openly considering another bid for the White House. “They even broke into my safe,” Trump said in a lengthy statement in which he compared the ordeal to Watergate. “After working and cooperating with the relevant Government agencies, this unannounced raid on my home was not necessary or appropriate,” he said.
  • “Inflation Reduction Act” Passes Senate: The Democrats’ Inflation Reduction Act passed in the Senate Sunday on a party-line vote. It is expected to be approved by the House Friday and will then be sent to Biden’s desk, The Hill reports. The controversial $430 billion measure contains numerous climate provisions, including tax credits for consumers and businesses who invest in wind, solar and geothermal energies. It also increases the cost of fossil fuel production on public lands. Moreover, the bill caps drug costs for Medicare recipients, but it won’t impact drug prices for the millions of Americans who are covered by health insurance through their jobs. Additionally, it introduces a higher minimum tax for corporations making over $1 billion per year and allocates $80 billion to double the size of the IRS.
  • Ukraine Resists Russia’s Grip: Guerilla forces loyal to Kyiv are intensifying their efforts to block Russia from expanding its takeover of southeastern Ukraine, ABC News reports. The resistance is chipping away at Kremlin control in the region by killing pro-Moscow officials, helping the Ukrainian military by identifying key targets and blowing up bridges and trains. “Our goal is to make life unbearable for the Russian occupiers and use any means to derail their plans,” said a coordinator of the movement in the southern Kherson region. Meanwhile, the Pentagon announced Monday it will send $1 billion in additional military aid to Ukraine, providing “a significant amount of additional ammunition, weapons, and equipment – the types of which the Ukrainian people are using so effectively to defend their country.”
  • Drills Expand Around Taiwan: The White House expressed concern after China announced it would carry out new military drills around Taiwan on Monday, the AP reports. Beijing says the drills – which are disrupting flights and shipping in one of the busiest areas for global trade – are a response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent visit to the island. China further said the drills should serve as a warning to nations seeking to support Taiwanese independence. “Clearly, [China is] trying to coerce the international community, and all I’m going to say is we’re not going to take the bait, and it’s not going to work,” Colin Kahl, Pentagon undersecretary of defense for policy, told reporters Monday.

Events This Week

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