Here are the week’s top stories.
1. A new hibachi restaurant has opened in Greater Williamsburg.
- A restaurant featuring hibachi-style food opened at 5242 Olde Towne Road in James City County on July 1.
- Hibachi Buddha first began in chef Arnell Moore’s garage on Mother’s Day of 2020 amid the height of the pandemic lockdowns.
- “I couldn’t take my wife out for dinner, and she wanted hibachi,” Moore told The Triangle. “So, being a chef myself, I went out and bought a three-foot Blackstone Grill and all the ingredients needed to make her a hibachi dinner.”
- Moore went live on Facebook while he cooked the dinner from the garage at his home in Carrollton. The next day, he was approached by several neighbors who requested that he make the hibachi meal for them, too. So Moore started cooking on weekends and catering for local events, soon realizing that he had stumbled upon a potentially successful business idea.
- Moore said his initial goal was to open a food truck, but he connected with Corey Bartlett, a longtime local restauranteur who owns several businesses in the Williamsburg area, including Corey’s Chicken Shack and Southern Pancake & Waffle House. Bartlett informed Moore about the vacant spot on Olde Towne Road and encouraged him to consider leasing it.
- “So I stepped out on faith and started a Gofundme to help with some much-needed funds to get equipment, licenses and permits,” Moore said.
- While the restaurant has only been open for a few weeks, Moore is already enjoying some significant successes. Hibachi Buddha’s Facebook page has more than 3,000 followers, and the restaurant has had to close early several times after selling out of food before the end of the day.
- Hibachi Buddha’s menu features made-to-order hibachi-style steak, chicken and shrimp, served with lo mein noodles or fried rice. Other offerings include General Tso’s chicken, shrimp and cauliflower; chicken wings; egg rolls and a variety of side dishes.
- Want to go? The restaurant focuses on take-out and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. It is closed on Monday. For more information, follow Hibachi Buddha on Facebook or Instagram.
2. A fire in James City County left one person dead and sent two others to the hospital.
- One person has died and two others were hospitalized after a house fire broke out in James City County Tuesday in the 100 block of Tarleton Bivouac.
- The James City County Fire Department responded to the fire around 2:40 a.m. Tuesday morning. Upon arrival, fire crews discovered heavy smoke billowing out of the home, and it was reported that occupants were still inside.
- Crews found and removed three people from the home. A man was pronounced dead at the scene, according to officials. His identity has not yet been released.
- A second person was airlifted to VCU Medical Center in Richmond by helicopter, and the third person, who was unresponsive at the scene, was taken to Riverside Doctors Hospital in Williamsburg in serious condition.
- The cause of the fire is being investigated by the James City County Fire Marshal’s Office.
3. An investigation is underway after a child drowned at a Williamsburg-area resort over the weekend.
- An 8-year-old girl from Philadelphia drowned at Greensprings Vacation Resort in Williamsburg on Saturday night. The girl has been identified as Maelynn Reason.
- According to a spokesperson for James City County police, the drowning occurred around 9:30 p.m. while the child was swimming with her family.
- No lifeguard was on duty at the time of the incident. Bystanders sprung into action to perform lifesaving measures on the child until emergency personnel could arrive. She was then taken to Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.
- Luis Belen, a guest at the resort who witnessed the child’s drowning, told 13NewsNow he remains very shaken up by the incident. Belen said he and his family stayed at the resort while vacationing, and he did not notice any lifeguards on duty during his stay.
- “I did not witness a proactive approach, an organized proactive approach from the hotel,” he said. “Why don’t you have a lifeguard who’s certified in CPR that is readily available to assist your members and those that come to stay at your resort?”
- Signs near the pool at the resort warn that there is “no lifeguard on duty.” While many hotels do not provide trained staff to oversee guests at their pools, Belen believes the resort should consider employing lifeguards during peak season, especially because so many families stay there.
- Family members of the girl are also calling for changes to be made. They say CPR-trained staff members should be on-site at hotels and resorts whenever their pools are open. Maelynn’s grandmother said she was keeping watch over her granddaughter as she played in the pool, but the little girl suddenly disappeared “in the blink of an eye.”
- Greensprings Vacation Resort was acquired by Hilton Grand Vacations in August 2021. The company issued a statement expressing condolences to the child’s family.
- “We offer our sincere condolences to the family and loved ones at this difficult time,” Hilton Grand Vacations said in a statement. “The safety and well-being of our guests is our top priority, and the team at this resort continues to make every effort to ensure all practices and standards are in line with strict safety and security standards.”
- Authorities are actively investigating the incident.
4. Virginia is slated to receive more than $1 million in funding to preserve its historic sites, and some of it is heading to Yorktown.
- More than $1.1 million in federal funding is heading to Virginia to help preserve historic state-owned sites in honor of the 250th anniversary of the nation’s founding, which will be commemorated in 2026.
- Yorktown Battlefield is set to receive $75,000 from the fund. The money will be used for a remote sensing survey of “selected areas of the submerged siege of Yorktown Battlefield,” according to the National Park Service.
- Fort Monroe will also receive a $75,000 grant for the Fort George Resource Protection Survey, and the Fairfield Foundation of Virginia has been awarded $180,265 for the second phase of an effort to rehabilitate the Timberneck House at Machicomoco State Park in Hayes. The Belle Isle Manor House in Lancaster, Virginia is receiving a $794,499 grant.
- The funds were awarded through the Semiquincentennial Grant Program, which was created by Congress in 2020 as part of the Historic Preservation Fund. A total of $10 million was allocated across 14 states.
- “The Semiquincentennial is an opportunity for the nation to recognize and reflect on the diverse cultures, events, and places that have helped shape our country,” said National Park Service Director Chuck Sams. “Through the Semiquincentennial Grant Program, the National Park Service is supporting projects that showcase the many places and stories that contributed to the evolution of the American experience.”
5. Four people – including two Williamsburg residents – are facing charges after they brought guns to a Gloucester school board meeting.
- Four men have been arrested after they allegedly brought guns to a Gloucester County School Board meeting earlier this month.
- Derek Coblentz, 32, of Prospect; Christopher Cordasco, 26, of Williamsburg; and Antonion Hernandez, 27, of Fisherville; and Trevor Herrin, 28, of Williamsburg, were all charged with carrying a firearm on school property at the board meeting on July 11. Herrin faces an additional charge of unlawful possession of a concealed weapon.
- Under Virginia Code, it is illegal to possess a weapon on school property. The law applies to public, private and religious school properties, including daycare centers, K-12 schools and properties used exclusively for school-sponsored activities.
- According to the Gloucester County Sheriff’s Office, a deputy was on duty in uniform at the School Board meeting. The building is owned by the Gloucester County School Board and houses a licensed daycare facility as well as a Head Start center.
- What happened: Herrin spoke during the school board meeting. He alleged that during the previous meeting, someone on the board slashed a tire on his truck in an act of political violence. He added that he “would strongly recommend caution and reflection before engaging in anything like that, especially with someone you don’t know.” After Herrin was done speaking, he and four other men – who were there to show support for Herrin – left the building. The group was confronted by the deputy, who noticed that several of the men were carrying concealed firearms. Herrin said he didn’t realize the building was a school,and he was not aware that it was a gun-free zone.
- The situation led to a temporary lockdown at the meeting until an “all clear” was given by police.
- All of the men who were charged are due in court on July 26.
6. The Virginia Peninsula Foodbank is facing a critical need for donations.
- The Virginia Peninsula Foodbank is asking for the community’s help as they face some of the lowest inventory numbers they’ve ever recorded.
- The organization has seen a 30% increase in the number of people who need food assistance compared to last year – and yet donations are down by 50%, according to Executive Officer Karen Joyner. The situation has become so severe that the Foodbank recently had to turn away families in need. The pantry’s food shortages have been spurred by the high costs of gas, groceries and other essentials, which have had the dual effect of pushing more people into food insecurity while also driving down donations.
- The Foodbank serves individuals and families in Williamsburg, James City County, York County, Newport News, Hampton, Gloucester, Mathews, York County, Poquoson and Surry. The organization estimates that more than 48,000 people on the Peninsula are currently affected by food insecurity.
- Ways to help:
- Donate food. You can drop off non-perishable food items at the Foodbank at 2401 Aluminum Ave. in Hampton or at one of the local drop-off locations listed on the organization’s website.
- Make a monetary donation. The Foodbank is able to buy truckloads of food at discounted prices, so cash donations are extremely valuable. A $25 donation provides 75 meals, according to the organization.
- Donate produce from your home garden. The Foodbank accepts donations of fresh fruits and vegetables, which provide much-needed nutrition for food-insecure neighbors.
- If you or someone you know is in need of food assistance, visit the Foodbank’s website for information on their Mobile Pantry schedule. Mobile pantry events are also often listed on the organization’s Twitter page.
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