News in 5: New café opens in Historic Toano

Plus: A William & Mary student was killed in Henrico, Newport News awarded over $1 million in funding to prevent gun violence and police are investigating a double shooting in Gloucester.

Good morning!

We can expect the cooler weather to stay around for much of the week this week, according to Meteorologist Myles Henderson of WTKR News 3.

Highs today will remain in the 70s, and the temperatures won’t surpass the low 80s through at least Saturday.

Myles Henderson
Aug 16, 2022 ·

Cool again today, in the 70s
Climbing (slightly) to the 80s for the rest of the week

On and off rain showers are expected today, and we’ll have to keep an eye out for storms as we close out the work week and head into the weekend.

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

Now to the news.


1. Hello Hohl: A new café is now open in Historic Toano.

  • A new café, Hohl, opened in Historic Toano Thursday. With an emphasis on fresh, wholesome foods, the establishment currently serves a variety of baked goods, teas and coffees. Plans are in the works to expand the menu in the near future.

“In the weeks to follow, we’ll then launch our full menu with freshly made to order wholesome meals, sandwiches and salads,” Hohl stated in a Facebook post.

  • The new restaurant is located in the Travers House, a historic home built in the early 1900s. The house was recently restored and augmented with repurposed building materials from two other historic homes from the same era.
    • Hohl is owned and operated by Australian businessman Chris Starke, who led a presentation about his plans for the space at a Toano Historical Society meeting in April. Starke said he hopes the café will become a community gathering space where everyone feels welcome and enjoys freshly prepared breakfasts, lunches and coffee.
  • Toano is rich in history and was once a bustling community. When the Travers House was built in the early 1900s, the town was a vibrant economic hub between Richmond and Norfolk. However, it lost much of its visual and historic character when Route 60 was widened, according to the Toano Historical Society. Now, under the leadership of the Society’s president Jack Wray, efforts are in the works to revitalize the community – and the opening of Hohl is one key step toward making that vision a reality.
  • Hohl is located at 7961 Richmond Road in Toano, near the grounds of the Toano Open Air Market. It’s currently open Monday through Saturday from 7:00 am to 4:00 pm and is closed on Sundays. For updates or additional information, follow Hohl on Facebook and Instagram.

Hohl, a new café focused on wholesome menu offerings, opened in Historic Toano on Thursday. (Photo by Christin Nielsen/The Triangle).

2. A William & Mary student was gunned down in Henrico, and authorities are now investigating the case.

  • Zhykierra Guy, a rising senior at William & Mary, was shot and killed near her home in the Highland Springs area of Henrico County, Virginia, on August 5.
    • Officers responded to the incident around 1:45 am and discovered a wounded 22-year-old woman in the passenger’s seat of a vehicle. Responders tried to help the woman, who was later identified as Guy, but she was pronounced dead at the scene.
  • Police have not yet released any details about a suspect, but neighbors told WRIC the neighborhood is very safe and they didn’t hear any gunshots that night. The incident is being investigated as a homicide, and police say there are still many unanswered questions.
    • Guy was a Government major and was set to graduate next May. She started her own online retail hair business, loved to dance and planned to attend graduate school in either law or business, according to a statement by Ginger Ambler, William & Mary’s Vice President of Student Affairs.

“She was dedicated to giving all her love to family and friends. Her energy and soul touched many students there, and we are grateful as parents for the time she was given to us on earth,” Guy’s mother said.

3. Newport News has awarded over $1.78 million in new funding to help prevent gun violence.

  • The City of Newport News announced over $1.78 million in new funding for 19 anti-gun violence initiatives on Tuesday, August 9. The goal of the investment is to support strategies that help put an end to the cycle of gun violence among individuals most likely to be impacted by it.
  • The selected programs will begin immediately and will run through June 30, 2023, according to city officials. The grants were made possible by a combined funding pool of both city and state investment.
    • Many of the recipients are youth-oriented organizations dedicated to stemming violence before it starts. Awardees include The HEB Foundation, Inc., Quality of Life Counseling Center, THRIVE Peninsula, the YMCA Teen and Young Adult initiative, Youth Volunteer Corps of Hampton Roads, the Community Builders Network and numerous others. For a full list of funded organizations and information about their programs, click here.
  • Newport News started this process by partnering with the Center for Crime, Equity, and Justice Research and Policy at Christopher Newport University (CNU) to develop a Community Assessment Survey. The survey, which sought public input, made it possible for city leaders to gain deeper insights into the root causes of violence and the effects of crime in the community. The preliminary results were shared earlier this summer, and CNU will release a final report in the next few weeks.


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Today the City of Newport News provided over $1.78 million in grant funding to support 19 community-based organizations…

4. Police are investigating after a woman was killed and a man was shot in the leg in Gloucester.

  • An 18-year-old woman was fatally shot and a 20-year-old man was shot in the leg overnight on Bufflehead Drive in Gloucester, WAVY News reports. The incident is believed to have occurred during a home invasion, according to the Gloucester County Sheriff’s Office.
  • Deputies responded to the incident in the Carters Cove subdivision shortly after 2:00 am. The 18-year-old, Skyler Merenda, was pronounced dead at the scene. The 20-year-old survived but stated that he did not know who the suspect was. He and Merenda had reportedly been staying at the home.
    • Neighbors told 13NewsNow there’s a long history of complaints from nearby residents about incidents happening in and around the home, including noise disturbances and persistent traffic at high rates of speed.
  • The case remains under investigation with assistance from the Virginia State Police. Residents of the neighborhood are asked to review their surveillance cameras to look for suspicious behavior or pedestrian or vehicle traffic between 1:00 – 2:30 am Monday.
    • Anyone with information can submit an anonymous tip by visiting or calling 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.

5. A new, interactive space for teens will soon be opening at James City County Library.

  • A cool new space for teens – made possible by a $20,000 grant from the Friends of Williamsburg Regional Library Foundation – will soon be coming to James City County Library, according to WYDaily.
  • The innovative teen zone is modeled after the popular Kiwanis Kids Idea Studio, which is already located in the building. It will be loaded with fun tech features, including Nintendo Switches, an arcade game table and virtual reality headsets. It will also feature a collaborative workspace, board games and crafts, a comfortable study area and magnetic poetry wall.

“Creating a teen room is one of the projects we elected to fund in this grant cycle because teens need a space that feels like their own where they can work, collaborate, and relax in a safe, nurturing environment. We are glad to help provide this for them,” said Friends Board President Sam Sadler.

  • The Friends of Williamsburg Regional Library Foundation supports the library system’s mission through advocacy and fundraising efforts. Since 2013, the foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, has raised more than $1,200,000 in philanthropic support from individuals and businesses.
    • While local governments provide funding for most of Williamsburg Regional Library’s operational costs, the funds received through the foundation make it possible for the library to invest in literacy and offer exceptional programs and services to the community all year long. For more information, visit the organization’s website.

6. Williamsburg’s City Council voted to establish new regulations on street performers in Merchants Square.

  • The Williamsburg City Council voted unanimously Thursday to adopt a new ordinance regulating the “time, place and manner” of street performances in Merchants Square and the Historic Area, according to The Virginia Gazette.
    • The ordinance won’t impact the types of performances allowed or prevent performers from setting out tip jars; however, it will establish a set of guidelines regarding when and where people can perform. It will also regulate how loud performances can be.

“This is not in any way an attempt to prohibit performances on the street. It’s just intended to regulate it enough that everybody can use the street in comfort and together and in cooperation with each other,” said City Attorney Christina Shelton.

  • Shelton stated that the city may also consider making public issuances of short-term special events permits, which could be required for larger performances. Other performers would not be allowed to perform during times when special event permits are in use.
  • In the next few weeks, medallions will be placed in Merchants Square to mark the areas available for street performances, according to City Manager Andrew Trivette.

7. James City County Police will soon be bumping up patrols to prevent drunk driving.

  • James City County Police will send out extra enforcement to deter drunk driving between August 17 – September 5. The effort is part of the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, organized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The goal is to keep the roads safe during the back-to-school time period leading up to Labor Day weekend.
  • In 2019, there were 451 traffic crash deaths on Labor Day weekend nationwide, and 38% of those deaths involved a drunk driver. Additionally, more than 10,000 people are killed in drunk driving accidents annually, according to NHTSA.
  • James City County Police will be looking for drunk drivers when they step up their patrols. The department urges local residents to never drive for any reason if they become intoxicated. Additionally, they ask community members to contact local law enforcement if they see an impaired driver on the road. For additional tips and information about the campaign, click here.


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James City County Police to participate in Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Campaign.

From Aug. 17-Sept. 5, JCC Police w…

Local Covid-19 Update

New cases:VDH reports that an additional 18,867 people in Virginia tested positive for Covid-19 last week (down from the 20,291 cases reported during the previous week). Localities with the biggest increases in new cases (over 100) on the Peninsula last week include Newport News (+333), Hampton (+238) and James City County (+121), according to WTVR News 6.

Hospitalizations and deaths: An additional 310 people were hospitalized with Covid-19 in Virginia last week (up from 296 the week before), according to VDH data. 91 Covid-19-related deaths also occurred in the state last week (down from 136 the week before).

Vaccination rate: 72% of Virginians are fully vaccinated.

Lowest Gas Prices Today

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

In the National News

  • Justice Department Pushback: The Justice Department said Monday it would oppose the release of the FBI affidavit used to justify the search warrant on former President Trump’s home in Mar-a-Lago. In a court filing, prosecutors argued the affidavit contains sensitive information regarding witnesses and may deter future witnesses from testifying. Congressional Republicans, nonetheless, are continuing to push for more answers, USA Today reports. The White House has offered no comment on the situation.
  • Afghanistan Marks One Year Since Takeover: Monday marked one year since the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan. The capture of Kabul and the chaotic withdrawal of American troops and allies sent the nation into turmoil, and today, Afghanistan remains a dangerous place, according to PBS News. Economic conditions have deteriorated substantially, and women and girls lack basic rights and live under Draconian rule. Girls over the age of 14 are now banned from public school, and women have been forced out of the workplace. Women also face arbitrary detainment and beatings for breaking the Taliban’s rules, even when simply leaving their homes without a male guardian. A new U.S House investigation revealed that more than 800 Americans have been evacuated from Afghanistan since the U.S’s withdrawal, Politico reports.
  • Primary Time: Widely-watched primary elections will be held Tuesday in both Wyoming and Alaska. Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, the vice chair of the U.S House’s January 6 investigatory committee, is fighting to retain a House seat she has held for three terms. Cheney has trailed her challenger significantly in recent polling and may be facing the end of her current career, according to the AP. Meanwhile, in Alaska, former GOP vice presidential contender Sarah Palin has re-entered politics after a ten-year hiatus and is running for the U.S House. Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski is also facing a tough re-election race for a seat she’s held for nearly two decades.
  • Woman Killed by Gator in SC: A woman in South Carolina was reportedly killed in an alligator attack Monday, ABC News reports. The large gator was found “near the edge of a pond” in Sun City Hilton Head, where it was said to be “guarding” the body of the woman. The victim has not yet been identified, and authorities are still working to recover the alligator from the pond. Wildlife officials are reminding the public to only swim in designated areas and keep pets away from the water’s edge in areas where alligators may live.

Events This Week

Miss this week’s community calendar of events? You can find it here.


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