News in 5: Princess Cruises shares update on Yorktown plans, but community remains divided

Good morning!

Scattered showers and thunderstorms are expected throughout the day today. Afternoon highs will reach the mid-80s.

The good news is that a powerful dry cold front will move through the area on Friday afternoon, according to Meteorologist Kristy Steward of WTKR News 3. That will bring gorgeous weather to our area for Saturday. Temperatures will be in the low to mid-80s, and the humidity will be nearly nonexistent. There will also be plenty of sunshine throughout the day.

Sunday should also be pleasant, but the temperatures will rise a bit, with high temperatures in the upper 80s and slightly higher humidity.

The heat and humidity will continue to tick up as we move back into the workweek. Highs will be in the low 90s Monday and the upper 80s Tuesday and Wednesday.

Now to the news.


Princess Cruises shared more details about their plans to stop in Yorktown, but some residents are still concerned.

  • Princess Cruises held an informational meeting Monday to provide additional information about their plans to dock in Yorktown in 2024, but the community remains divided over the plans.
  • Yorktown will be added to the cruise line’s itinerary beginning in 2024 as part of Colonial-history themed tours, the company announced in February. Additional stops are possible in 2025. Ships will anchor far offshore, and passengers will be transported to town via ferry, representatives explained during the meeting.
  • Yorktown could become a permanent port of call in the future if all goes well. State lawmakers have already begun working to incentivize continued stops in the area. The State Senate’s amended budget proposal includes an allocation of $7.5 million to support “the initial phase of a major cruise line tourism commitment to Yorktown.”
  • In December, Yorktown Board of Supervisors Chairman Thomas Shepperd, Jr., and District 2 Supervisor Sheila Noll, wrote a letter to state representatives requesting the funds. They said that the arrival of the ships “would create the economic value necessary to progress to a second phase cruise ship pier at York County’s discretion.” They added that the number of cruise visits “could grow from six per year to an increase in frequency over time, with corresponding increases in visitation.” 
  • Princess’ pitch: During the informational meeting, President John Padgett, a native of Seaford, said the arrival of the ships will boost the local economy without bringing disruptive crowding or vehicle traffic. Padgett emphasized that many of the passengers will choose not to disembark upon arrival. Those who do will either walk around Yorktown or venture into the Historic Triangle for the day before returning to the ship. Padgett also said Princess has the most environmentally sustainable engineering machines in the industry and the company is dedicated to ensuring the health of the ocean.
  • “You’ve got an amazing story here to tell and we want to share that story to others in the world,” Johnson said. “No cars, no parking lots, no crowding. It’s kind of the silver bullet for Yorktown.”
  • Local opposition: A group of protestors holding “No Princess” signs gathered for a demonstration before the meeting. Many expressed concerns that the large cruise ships will overwhelm Yorktown, interfere with its small-town charm and cause harm to the environment. A local group called Preserve Yorktown launched a petition in late July calling for community members to speak out to stop Princess Cruises’ plans from coming to fruition. They say the scale of a commercial cruise ship is inappropriate for both Yorktown and the York River. The petition had collected over 1,680 signatures as of Thursday morning.
    • “The character of Yorktown, the home to the final victorious battle of the American Revolution, is threatened by plans to bring massive – over 3 football fields long – Princess cruise ships to this small river community,” the petition states. “The citizens of York County have not been included in the decision about Princess Cruises that has significant impact on our historic community, environment, and the quality of life in Yorktown.”
  • The cruises currently scheduled to stop in Yorktown include a 10/11 day roundtrip Colonial Heritage voyage departing from New York on June 4, June 14 and June 25, 2024; a Canada & Colonial America 14-day cruise departing from Ft. Lauderdale on June 19, 2024; and a Canada & Colonial America 14-day cruise departing from Quebec on October 17, 2024.
The Island Princess – which carries 2,200 passengers – will be stopping in Yorktown three times in 2024, representatives from Princess Cruises said at an informational meeting Monday. (Photo provided by Princess Cruises)

An 11-year-old track runner from Williamsburg recently won three national gold medals.

  • Gunner Hammett, an 11-year-old from Williamsburg, secured three gold medals after competing in the AAU Junior Olympics Games in Des Moines, Iowa.
  • The competition is one of the largest multi-sport events in the nation for youth track and field athletes. Athletes ages eight to 18 perform in a series of 12 sporting competitions. Many participants end up becoming top collegiate athletes, qualifying for the Olympics or pursuing professional track.
  • Hammett scored first-place finishes in the 200-meter dash, 400-meter dash and 800-meter run. He broke the national record for his age group in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:07:45. In the 400 meters, he set a new national record during the preliminary run at 55:35, and then broke his own national record in the final, stopping the clock at 54:53.
  • “I’m really proud of myself because I came a long way,” Hammett told 13News Now. “I would say I’m driven. Motivated.”
Williamsburg track star, 11, brings home 3 national gold medals (13News Now)

A York County teen was a finalist in a national mullet contest.

  • A 16-year-old from Seaford was a finalist in a national competition for the best mullet.
  • Will Joyner was among ten teens to make it into the final round of the 2023 USA Mullet Championships.
  • “I love all things 80’s… cars, music and mullets,” Joyner said. “My mom fought me on growing my mullet but eventually gave in. I get compliments from all types of people, men and women, young and old. My mom loves my hair now.”
  • More than 1,000 kids and teens submitted their photos this year in hopes of being crowned the winner. Joyner placed fifth in the final standings, which were revealed on August 15. 
  • While the USA Mullet Championships are designed to be fun, they’re also for a good cause. Fans of the event donate in honor of their favorite competitors. All of the funds raised are given to Homes for Wounded Warriors, a nonprofit organization that raises money to build and remodel homes for injured U.S. military veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. A total of $176,799 was raised for the organization during this year’s contest, according to the USA Mullet Championship.
  • Winners are selected based on a combination of fan voting, fundraising and judging. For more information, click here.
York County teen makes the finals in the USA Mullet Championship (13News Now)

WRL received $20,500 in grant funding for its culinary literacy program.

  • Williamsburg Regional Library (WRL) will offer culinary literacy classes to underserved areas of the community, thanks to a $7,500 grant from Sentara Health and a $13,000 grant from the Friends of WRL Foundation. 
  • The new initiative, “Better Health Through Culinary Literacy,” is designed to empower families to make informed decisions about their nutrition and diet through classes on healthy eating and nutrition, paired with related cooking demonstrations. The goal of the program is to improve culinary literacy for families, thereby improving their overall long-term health.  
  • Classes will be free and are set to begin in the fall of 2023. Underserved residents will have access to a new mobile teaching kitchen and equipment on an ongoing basis.
  • “WRL is committed to empowering families in our community with the knowledge and skills they need to make healthier choices for their well-being,” said Library Director Betsy Fowler. “By bringing our new mobile teaching kitchen into local neighborhoods and offering free culinary literacy classes, we aim to improve the health of residents who may not have easy access to healthy food and food education.” 
An image of a mobile teaching kitchen that will be part of WRL’s new culinary literacy program. (Photo courtesy of WRL)

A 24-year-old man died after a shooting on I-664 in Newport News.

  • Virginia State Police are investigating after a man was shot and killed on Interstate 664 southbound in Newport News Wednesday night.
  • Police said they received a call for a vehicle crash on I-664 southbound at 39th Street around 6:25 p.m. The driver of a 2008 Jeep Compass was discovered with a gun shot wound and pronounced dead at the scene. The 24-year-old male victim was the only person in the car at the time of the crash.
  • Preliminary evidence suggests that someone fired through the passenger side of the vehicle, but suspect information is not yet available. The incident is being investigated as a homicide, police said.
  • The shooting happened just hours after another person was injured in a shooting on I-664 southbound between Chestnut Avenue and Aberdeen Road in Hampton overnight on Wednesday. Police said that incident appears to have involved two people who knew each other. An altercation ensued, and a 30-year-old man was injured while running from the scene. 
  • The latest shooting on I-664 marks at least the 20th interstate shooting in Hampton Roads so far this year, according to WTKR News 3
  • Anyone with information about either recent shooting is asked to contact state police by phone at 757-424-6800 or by email at

Historic Hilton Village has issued a call for artists ahead of its Art Walk and Busker Festival.

  • Historic Hilton Village is seeking artists and performers to showcase their talents at the upcoming Hilton Art Walk and Busker Festival, which is set to take place on Saturday, September 30, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Now in its fourth year, the festival features the original work of painters, sculptors, photographers, performers and other artists. The goal is to provide a platform for both established and emerging artists to express themselves and connect with a diverse audience.
  • For more information about the festival or to apply to participate, visit

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