1. Pierce’s Pitt was named among the best barbecue restaurants in the south by Southern Living.
- Pierce’s Pitt Bar-B-Que has been named the best barbecue restaurant in Virginia by Southern Living magazine. A favorite among locals and tourists alike for more than 50 years, the Williamsburg restaurant has now been recognized by the magazine as the #1 barbecue joint in Virginia four times. They also won in 2022, 2019 and 2006.
- “Pierce’s Pitt was opened in 1971 by Julius ‘Doc’ Pierce, and its eponymous cinderblock pits are housed behind the restaurant in a metal-walled building with tall chimneys rising high above,” the Southern Living article explains. “The rich aroma of hardwood smoke wafts from those chimneys across the large parking lot.”
- According to the magazine’s editors, the rankings are based on feedback from readers, who have “mapped out a tempting sampling of the best Southern barbecue in all its tasty variety.” While about half of the restaurants that made this year’s list are new, many represent older, more traditional styles, like Pierce’s.
- “We’ve been voted the best barbecue in Virginia by the readers of Southern Living!!” Pierce’s wrote on its Facebook page. “Thank you for all the love and support!”
- The winners of Southern Living’s “South’s Best” awards are announced annually, and the issue recognizing this year’s top picks will hit newsstands on March 17. The magazine reaches nearly 19 million people each month.
- Pierce’s Pitt is located at 447 East Rochambeau Drive and is open daily from 11 a.m to 8 p.m. To view the menu or order online, visit pierces.com.
2. Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation has received $150,000 to preserve the historic church tower in Jamestown.
- The Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation has been presented with a $150,000 donation from the Jamestowne Society to support the preservation of the 17th-century church tower in historic Jamestown. The Jamestowne Society – which has supported archaeology and preservation of the original fort since the inception of the Rediscovery Project nearly thirty years ago – consists of descendants of early settlers of Jamestown.
- The donation came after Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation launched a national campaign in the spring of 2021 to protect the iconic church tower.
- Recognizing the tower’s significance to American history, the Jamestowne Society pledged to raise $150,000 towards the preservation project. The organization reached that goal this past December, and in January, members of the Jamestowne Society and the Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation staff came together to celebrate this achievement.
- The church tower is the only 17th-century structure still standing on the island. Dating back to approximately 1680,it has remained a symbol of America’s beginnings and a reminder of the importance of historic preservation.
- “This historic church tower is the reason Jamestown was saved more than 100 years ago,” said Jamestown Society’s Executive Director Bonnie Hofmeyer said. “It represents the very beginning of the American story, and Jamestowne Society members want to help save it to that future generations can stand in the place where history happened.“
- Early conservators used the preservation techniques of their day to fend off further deterioration of the bricks, but they opted not to rebuild the tower or roof. To preserve the tower for generations to come, Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation has created a comprehensive plan to address both current and future threats to the historic church tower while respecting the building’s original form. An interior roof project will begin in the coming months and will be led by professionals skilled in historic preservation, architecture and construction. The project is expected to be completed in 2023.
- Members of the Jamestowne Society are descended from early settlers who lived or held colonial government positions in Jamestowne, Virginia prior to 1700, or who invested in its establishment. More information about the Jamestowne Society, including genealogy information, can be found at jamestowne.org.
- Jamestowne Society’s leadership gift is joined by major funding from the Randolph D. Rouse Foundation, the Richard S. Reynolds Foundation, the Roller Bottimore Foundation and the Robert G. Cabell III & Maude Morgan Cabell Foundation. Project updates will be posted on the Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation website at historicjamestowne.org.
3. A church has entered into a contract to purchase the vacant JCPenney building in the Marquis Shopping Center in York County.
- Foundations Church Williamsburg is moving forward with plans to purchase the former JCPenney building in the Marquis Shopping Center near Water Country USA. According to the Virginia Gazette, the church’s lawyer has confirmed that while several approvals are still needed from adjacent property owners, the process of buying the property “is now underway.”
- The 105,270-square-foot building stands on 8.8 acres of land and has been vacant since the JCPenney closed in 2015. Sam’s Club previously acquired a parcel on the property but informed the county in 2019 that it was no longer interested in moving forward with its original development plans. The Dick’s Sporting Goods in the plaza also closed in January of 2022; however, Target, Best Buy and Kohl’s remain.
- The church’s plans to purchase the property have been in the works for several years. In early 2021, the York County Planning Commission approved the church’s proposal to build a 1,540-seat auditorium as well as a 9,312-square-foot meeting space, a childcare center and a chapel. The church reportedly draws members from all across the Peninsula.
- A redevelopment proposal was submitted to the county’s planning division by representatives of Foundations Church in 2020. The proposal emphasized that while commercial development has stalled in the plaza since 2012, the church was prepared to “change the trajectory by converting 500 Marquis Parkway (the former J.C Penny building) into a multi-use facility that includes retail, childcare, and assembly opportunities.” Church representatives also argued the daycare would benefit the local economy by generating regular daily visits to the Marquis shopping center from young families with children.
- About 20,000 square feet of the building would be reserved for retail, other businesses, professional or educational space within the building. York County is also considering creating a new park on the property as part of its 2023-2028 capital improvement plan.
- “What that area needs is people; they need people,” York County Supervisor Thomas Shepperd said while discussing the proposal during a meeting in February 2021. “Normally, we see a church moving into a shopping center. Now, we’ll have businesses moving into a church.”
4. Police are looking for two unidentified suspects accused of shoplifting at a store in Williamsburg.
- James City County police are asking for the public’s help in identifying two suspects who stole thousands of dollars of clothing from the Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Outlet located at 5755 Richmond Road in Williamsburg. The incident took place on March 9 at approximately 2:15 pm.
- The suspects are described as Black males, one wearing white pants with a white HBCU jacket and black skull cap and the other wearing tan pants with a brown coat and a brown and white hat.
- Authorities say the men walked into the store, stole stacks of clothes and then ran out the front door. According to witnesses, the men left in a silver sedan.
- Anyone with additional information about the suspects or this incident is asked to contact Officer Randy Matthews. Tips can also be submitted anonymously at p3tips.com.
5. A James City County daycare teacher is facing charges after allegedly hitting a child.
- A daycare teacher in James City County is facing assault and battery charges after she allegedly hit a five-year-old girl and caused her nose to bleed. The worker is no longer employed by the daycare, WAVY News reports.
- The incident reportedly happened at the Childcare Network location in Williamsburg on February 20. The child gave a statement to James City County police the following day. Authorities say an investigation was carried out and a warrant was issued for Alexandra Jackson on Monday, March 13.
- “The teacher involved in this incident is no longer employed with Childcare Network. We notified the proper authorities and are cooperating fully with the investigation,” the daycare said in a statement released to WAVY. “We follow all state and federal requirements when hiring our employees, which include state and federal background checks.”
- The child’s mother, Jasmine Gaither, said she’s frustrated that the daycare’s corporate office has failed to apologize to her or her daughter for the incident. “They don’t care,” Gaither said.
In the National News
- Russia to attempt to retrieve downed U.S. drone: Russia is working to intercept and study the wreckage of the American MQ-9 drone that crashed into the Black Sea after Russian fighter jets damaged it, USA Today reports. The unmanned drone was reportedly flying over international waters and sank into water that is 4,000-5,000 feet deep after the collision. Russian authorities authorized fighter jets to dump jet fuel on the drone and disable it, according to a report by NBC News. Meanwhile, Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Russian Security Council, accused the U.S of “participating in hostilities” by flying the drone. ” This is yet another confirmation that [the Americans] are directly involved in these events, in the war,” he told Rossiya-1 TV on Wednesday.
- $24M class action lawsuit launched against IKEA: Americans who shopped at IKEA between October 18, 2017, and December 31, 2019, may be entitled to participate in a new $24 million class action lawsuit against IKEA, NewsNation reports. The lawsuit was launched against the furniture retailer’s U.S branch over claims it included more than the last five digits of customers’ credit and debit card numbers on printed receipts. The deadline to participate is May 4, and claim forms can be submitted by visiting the IKEA US FACTA Class Action webpage. Customers won’t need to submit receipts; claims will be cross-referenced with IKEA’s data.
- U.S. to ban TikTok unless app is sold to new owners: The White House is warning TikTok that it will be banned in the U.S. unless its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, sells its stake in the app’s U.S. version. TikTok currently has over 100 million U.S. users and is one of the most popular mobile apps used in the country, but government officials on both sides of the aisle have warned for years that the app may pose national security concerns. Legislators are particularly concerned that U.S user data could be passed on to China’s government, Reuters reports. In 2020, the Trump administration similarly threatened to ban TikTok if it didn’t sell to a U.S. company. A ban on the app would immediately impact millions of Americans and would underscore rising tensions between China and the U.S.
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