News in 5: Newport News man charged in death of Williamsburg teen

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We’ll see unseasonably warm weather today, with highs reaching the mid-60s, according to Meteorologist Myles Henderson of WTKR News 3. 

Tomorrow will be the warmest day of the week, but scattered showers are possible throughout the day. Cooler temperatures in the low to mid-50s are on the way for the weekend, and rain will move in on Sunday.

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Now to the news.

-Christin

1. A missing Williamsburg teen’s death was ruled a homicide. Now, a Newport News man has been charged in the case.

  • An arrest was made Tuesday in the murder of an 18-year-old woman who went missing from Williamsburg, according to the Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office. 
  • Aonesty Selby was found dead on Blue Ridge Trail in Windsor, which is a remote part of the county. An autopsy determined Selby’s cause of death was homicide by a single gunshot wound.
  • Selby was reported missing Friday, the same day her body was found by police. Her family said they had not heard from her since Wednesday, Jan. 11, which was only a day after her 18th birthday. Investigators say Selby had been hanging out with several other people before her death. 
  • “We know on the 11th, she left Williamsburg. She went somewhere in Newport News,” Tommy Potter, a spokesperson for the Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office, told WAVY News. “She was in Newport News on the afternoon of the 11th. We know roughly around 8:30 to 8:40 in the evening on the 11th was the last known communications with the individual,” Potter said. 
  • On Tuesday, Andarius McClelland, 21 of Newport News, was arrested in the case, according to an update by the Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office. He has been charged with second-degree murder and the use or display of a firearm while committing a felony.
  • McClelland was taken into custody at the home he shares with his brother in Newport News, officials say. He was transported to Isle of Wight County to be processed.
Aonesty Selby. (Photo by the James City County Police Department)

2. Parents and teachers addressed the Newport News School Board for the first time since the shooting at Richneck Elementary.

  • Parents, teachers and students spent more than three hours discussing school security concerns before the Newport News School Board Tuesday night, 13NewsNow reports. The meeting marked the first time they were able to speak directly to the board since a 6-year-old student shot his teacher at Richneck Elementary.
  • Dozens of people signed up to speak, with many becoming emotional. A wide range of topics were discussed, including the proposed use of metal detectors and the increase in gun violence in schools. Parents and teachers alike emphasized that children should never be afraid to go to school. 
  • “I send my kids to school and find myself praying to God that they will return safely,” one mother said. 
  • All Newport News schools will soon be installing metal detectors, including elementary schools, according to an announcement made by school officials Thursday afternoon. 
    • A total of 90 detectors will be used by the school system, and all students, faculty and staff will be required to walk through them. 
    • According to School Board Chairwoman Lisa Surles-Law, the detectors will be installed at Richneck first so that they’ll be in place when the building reopens. The remaining detectors will be distributed to all of the other schools in the district, and some schools will have more than one. 
  • Richneck Elementary is also under new leadership following the shooting. Karen Lynch, the district’s Extended Learning supervisor and a former elementary school principal, is now the head of the Richneck administration.
    • The change in leadership comes after the division’s superintendent revealed that administrators knew the 6-year-old boy may have had a gun in his possession prior to the shooting but did not locate the gun despite searching his backpack. 
    • Michelle Price, a spokesperson for the Newport News school district, told the AP that school officials received a tip about the gun but did not find it before the child shot his teacher. 
  • “I’m not able to comment on whether other searches may have occurred, except for the fact that the superintendent has shared that the student’s backpack was searched and nothing was found at the time,” Price said.
  • First-grade teacher Abby Zwerner, 25, of Williamsburg, was shot in the chest during the altercation with the child, and police emphasized that the shooting was “intentional.” Zwerner’s injuries were initially described as life-threatening, but her condition improved and she is said to be in stable condition as she continues to recover at a local hospital. The child is being held at a medical facility as the investigation continues.

3. Hibachi 2 Go! is now open for business in Williamsburg; King Crab Juicy Seafood has closed.

  • Hibachi 2 Go!, a Japanese restaurant in Williamsburg’s Edge District, opened for business on Jan. 1. The restaurant, located at 736 Merrimac Trail, took over the building that previously housed Long John Silver’s, which closed in 2019 after operating for more than 40 years.
  • The new restaurant’s menu features a variety of hibachi dishes and other Asian-style entrees, as well as classic favorites like lo mein, fried rice, egg rolls, cheese Rangoon and miso soup. Online ordering is also available.
  • Hibachi 2 Go! is currently open 11:00 am – 10:00 pm Wednesday – Monday and is closed on Tuesday.
  • Meanwhile, the King Crab Juicy Seafood restaurant, which opened in July in the former Applebee’s building located at 1640 Richmond Road, appears to have closed. The chain seafood restaurant, which is known for its Cajun seafood boils, has discontinued its online ordering option for the Williamsburg location and is not answering phone calls.
  • A new business is already looking to take over the space, according to the Peninsula Chronicle. On Thursday, Jan. 10, the Williamsburg Architectural Review Board met to review a signage application for a new potential establishment called Ramen Talk.
Hibachi 2 Go! has opened in Williamsburg’s Edge District. (Photo by The Triangle)

4. Williamsburg’s City Council passed a new amendment aimed at tightening regulations for vape shops.

  • Williamsburg’s City Council voted Thursday to approve an amendment that would require vape and smoke shops to obtain a special use permit in order to be able to operate in the city. Williamsburg currently has four vape and smoke shops, and a fifth recently obtained a permit but hasn’t opened yet, according to the Council.
  • While the amendment won’t affect current shops, any others that try to open in the city will be required to comply with the new permit law. According to Tevya Griffin, the director of planning and codes compliance, the city proposed the amendments because some of the existing vape and smoke shops in the city have failed to comply with existing laws, including signage and lighting restrictions. Griffin also said the city has logged an increase in complaints against the shops from citizens.
    • Businesses that must obtain special use permits are required to abide by standards, controls, limitations, performance criteria and other restrictions implemented by the City, Griffin explained.
  • “What we are seeing is an uptick in violations for these types of shops, unlawful signage, lighting,” Griffin said. “We’re getting complaints about sale of unlawful merchandise, we’re getting complaints about sale to under-age customers and other complaints about being incompatible with the neighborhood.”

5. Colonial Williamsburg is hosting its 25th annual “Working Wood in the 18th Century” conference this month.

  • Colonial Williamsburg will offer a special 25th-anniversary edition of its annual Working Wood in the 18th Century conference, Jan. 26 – 29, 2023. The program will be offered both virtually and in-person this year and is geared toward woodworking enthusiasts, craftspeople and scholars.
  • This year, the conference will focus on the techniques, people and stories behind ornamentation in woodwork. Guest presenters will include nationally-recognized furniture maker Frank Strazza, professor and author Brock Jobe, professional woodcarver Mary May and author and woodworker Jerome Bias. 
  • “Much like today, ornament is what really gives a piece of 18th-century woodwork its personality,” said Bill Pavlak, master cabinetmaker at The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, “Details like inlay or carving provide a great deal of insight into the material culture of the era by teaching us not only about the tools and techniques of the time, but also about what the people using and creating these pieces valued and enjoyed.”
  • The details: In-person registration for the conference is $395 per person and includes presentations, evening receptions, a conference dinner, continental breakfast and coffee breaks. Virtual-only registration is $150 per person and includes access to all general session presentations through the streaming conference platform. Scholarships are available for in-person attendees. Those who attend in-person will also have access to special pre-conference programs, a woodworking showcase, a tool swap and special room rates. 
  • For additional information or to sign up, visit colonialwilliamsburg.org/working-wood.

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Local Covid-19 Update

An additional 16,010 people in Virginia tested positive for Covid-19 in the past week, a decrease of about 6% from the previous week, according to VDH. 990 hospitalized patients tested positive for Covid-19 (-111 from the previous week), and 135 Covid-linked deaths were reported. Counties in Hampton Roads that logged the biggest increase in cases (100 or more) last week include Newport News (+382), Hampton (+335) and James City County (+100), according to WTVR.

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