The Triangle: News in 5 (Feb 28)

The Toano Open Air Market returns Saturday, CW launches special Women's History Month Programming and Virginia ABC stores will stop selling Russian vodka. Plus: The latest on the Russia-Ukraine war.

Good morning!

It’s hard to believe that February is already coming to an end. The good news is that spring is now just 20 days away.

We can expect a mostly dry work week ahead, with some major shifts in temperatures again, according to News 3 Meteorologist Myles Henderson. While our Monday started out in the low 30s, highs are expected to reach into the 60s mid-week before dropping back down into the 40s on Friday.

There are several events happening on the Peninsula this week, including a Yorktown Winter Market, special Women’s History Month events at Colonial Williamsburg, a Virginia Symphony Orchestra concert in Newport News and a fireside history chat in Yorktown.

There’s also a whole lot happening news-wise, so let’s get to it.

-Christin

Local & Statewide

1. The Toano Open Air Market will return for the season on March 5.

  • The Open Air Market – which was launched by local resident Maureen Anderson in 2020 – started out as a way for local farmers and artisans to safely support themselves after other markets shut down during the pandemic, according to The Virginia Gazette.
    • The Market continued to grow in popularity even as Covid-19 lockdowns were lifted, and Anderson made the decision to continue offering them. The weekly events now regularly include a variety of local vendors, food trucks and even musicians.
  • The Market’s opening day will feature live music, pony rides and a petting zoo, WYDaily reports. People planning to attend are encouraged to pre-order the items they would like to purchase to ensure they will be available.
  • The Toano Open Air Market is held on Saturdays, 9 a.m – 1 p.m at Toano Station Green (7891 Richmond Rd.)

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2. Colonial Williamsburg is gearing up to offer special Women’s History Month programming throughout March.

  • CW is seeking to tell the stories of some of the many women who played important roles in Virginia during the 18th century and beyond, the Foundation said in a news release. Special programming to achieve this goal will include a mix of dramatizations, short plays, interpretations and live-streamed online events.
    • While Martha Washington and Abigail Adams are household names, this month’s programming will focus on other influential but often overlooked female figures, such as Ann Wager, Elizabeth DeRoasario, Sarah Ponsonby and Hannah Corbin.
  • “All too often – both historically and today – women are reduced to the roles they played in society: wife, mother, sister, daughter,” said Beth Kelly, Colonial Williamsburg’s vice president for education, research and historical interpretation. “But we know that women played surprising roles in the founding of our nation. By sharing women’s perspectives, we tell a more complete story of life in colonial America. And in doing so, we gain a more complete understanding of the character of American women today.”
  • A full list of upcoming in-person and virtual Women’s History Month events can be found here.

3. A Yorktown organization is in need of volunteers to help with two big upcoming events.

  • Sister Cities Yorktown is seeking volunteers to help with its annual French Market on April 16 and the Yorktown Blues, Brews, and BBQ event on May 7.
  • The French Market is “a nod to the Saturday Market in Port Vendres, France that has been Yorktown’s Sister City since 1990,” according to Don Willis, President of Sister Cities Yorktown.
    • The event will feature a wide variety of vendors with a focus on French items. Other highlights will include a flea market, French Wine Garden, silent auction and student raffle. Proceeds will be used to benefit the organization’s adult and student exchange programs.
  • The organization is also the main nonprofit sponsor for the annual Brews, Blues, and BBQ event. Volunteers who help with this event will also receive free admission, which includes tasting privileges and a souvenir beer glass.
  • Sister Cities Yorktown is a nonprofit initiative chartered by Sister Cities International. Launched in 1990, it seeks to facilitate meaningful citizen exchanges between both countries. For additional information or to sign up to volunteer, contact Don Willis at [email protected].

4. Virginia ABC stores are removing Russian-sourced vodka from their shelves.

  • Virginia ABC announced Sunday that seven brands will be removed from their stores, including Beluga, Hammer & Sickle, Inperia, Mamont, Organika, Russian Standard and ZYR. The agency said the decision is intended to show support for Ukraine amid Russian President Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine this week, according to 13NewsNow.
  • The move comes after Gov. Glenn Youngkin directed his administration to review the state’s contracts to determine if any Virginia tax dollars are spent on goods or services primarily from Russian companies.
    • “In the spirit of Gov. Youngkin’s call for decisive action in support of Ukraine, Virginia ABC is removing 7 Russian-sourced vodka brands from our store shelves,” Virginia ABC said in a Tweet on Sunday.
    • The agency also clarified that other Russian-themed products, such as Stolichnaya and Smirnoff, will not be impacted because they are not produced in Russia.

Virginia ABC will be removing seven brands of Russian-sourced vodka from store shelves, including Russian Standard, the agency announced. The move is an effort to denounce the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Photo by Creative Touch Imaging Ltd./NurPhoto via Getty Images)

5. Meanwhile, Norfolk is ending a partnership with a Russian city as the governor calls for “decisive action.”

  • In a statement Saturday, Gov. Youngkin called on mayors in Virginia to end sister city partnerships with Russian cities. Included among those partnerships is the City of Norfolk, which has had a sister city program in place with Kalinigrad, Russia – a city of about one million people – since 1992, according to the Daily Press.
  • “The invasion of Ukraine by Soviet dictator Vladimir Putin cannot stand, and the people of the Commonwealth are ready to rally in opposition to this senseless attack on a sovereign nation and western ideals,” Youngkin said. “Today, we are acting to show our solidarity with the Ukrainian people as they defend their country.
  • The sister city partnership includes a series of exchange programs for teachers, medical practitioners and university professors. It’s designed to facilitate valuable global relationships through cultural, informational and educational exchanges. Norfolk also has sister city partnerships with cities several other countries including Germany, Ghana, India and Japan.
  • In statement released soon after the governor issued his request, Norfolk Mayor Kenneth Alexander said he requested that the Norfolk Sister City Association end its relationship with Kalinigrad, Russia, immediately.
    • “We continue to be inspired by the resilience and courage of the Ukrainian people and their leadership,” Alexander said. “Norfolk is proud to join many throughout the world who are rallying behind Ukraine, while calling out Russian President Vladimir Putin for his senseless, inhumane, and tyrannical acts of violent aggression against a sovereign and democratic nation.”

Local Covid-19 Update

New cases: ➕ VDH reports that an additional 13,825 people in Virginia tested positive for Covid-19 last week. That’s down from 19,994 last week. The highest numbers of cases on the Peninsula this past week were reported in Newport News (+139) and James City County (+107), according to WTVR.

Hospitalizations and deaths: A total of 940 patients are currently hospitalized with Covid-19 in Virginia. That’s down from the 1,270 reported last Sunday, according to VHHA data. 186 of the currently hospitalized patients are in the ICU, and 134 are on ventilators.

An additional 520 Covid-19 related deaths occurred last week in Virginia, according to VDH.

Vaccination rate: 71.9% of Virginians are fully vaccinated (up from 71.7% last week).

Good News

A nonprofit in Williamsburg is aiding in the evacuation of Ukrainian orphans amid the Russian invasion.

  • The local organization, Heart for Orphans, was founded to help children without parents learn important life skills. Now, their overseas team is helping kids in war-torn Ukraine to flee, WTKR News 3 reports.
  • Nancy Hathaway, one of the founders of the organization, adopted three children of her own from an orphanage in Ukraine twenty years ago. Today, the nonprofit has helped provide programs and transitional homes for hundreds of children in Ukraine, Belarus and Kenya. Most of that work has been in Ukraine, Hathaway says.
  • Hathaway said all of the organization’s children were in cities that were shelled. The children are now being transported to the western border and are heading to countries like Hungary and Slovakia.
    • “These are people I love very much. They’re like my kids and my grandkids,” she said. “I will be so happy to get them out of the country, and then we will look at what the future holds.”
  • Heart for Orphans has set up an emergency fund to help get the children to safety. Click here to donate or learn more.

Nationwide

1. As the Russian invasion of Ukraine enters its fifth day, the world nervously wonders what’s next.

  • Five days after Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation” in Ukraine, the Ukrainians are continuing to hold onto control over their nation in the face of incredible odds.
    • But as Ukraine continues to resist, three miles of Russian tanks are advancing on Kyiv, the nation’s capital city, as of Monday. Heavy explosions were heard throughout Kyiv as well as in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, as Ukrainian officials attempt peace talks with Russia in Belarus, according to ABC News.
  • More than 500,000 Ukrainian refugees have fled into neighboring countries, and that number is expected to continue to rise, the AP reports. This morning, Ukrainian officials announced that 352 Ukrainian civilians, including 14 children, have also died during the unprovoked invasion. An additional 1,684 were wounded, 116 of whom are children.
  • Fallout for Russia: Sanctions imposed by the West are beginning to heavily impact Russia, causing the rouble to collapse and forcing the stock market to close Monday. The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a Tweet that at least 4,500 Russian troops were killed as of Monday. Russian authorities have also arrested nearly 6,000 people for participating in anti-war demonstrations across the country. Under Russian law, protests can lead to heavy fines and even prison time.
  • Western response: Meanwhile, the U.S, Britain, Europe and Canada all announced new sanctions against Russia Saturday, including blocking certain lenders from accessing the SWIFT international banking system. The UN voted to hold a rare emergency General Assembly session on Ukraine on Monday. The US is urging Americans in Russia to consider leaving the nation immediately, Axios reports. Germany also announced it will send 1,000 anti-tank missiles to Ukraine, reversing its historic policy of never sending weapons to combat zones.
  • Nuclear war jitters: In a dramatic escalation of tensions, Putin said Sunday he was putting Russia’s nuclear forces on high alert.
    • The move – which Putin said was a response to economic sanctions imposed by the U.S and other Western countries as well as “aggressive statements” regarding Russia – implies that Putin is willing to expand the Ukrainian war into a broader, possibly global, nuclear conflict.
  • This is a rapidly-evolving situation. For continual updates, check out ABC News’ live Russia-Ukraine blog. Several brave photojournalists – such as @erintrieb, @wolfgang_schwan and @emilio_morenatti – are also doing amazing work on the ground.

Events This Week

Multiple Days

  • Spring Homeschool Days – Colonial Williamsburg. Homeschoolers and their families can enjoy special deals on admission, hotels and interactive program experiences during CW’s annual Spring Homeschool Days, Feb. 26 – Mar. 6. Single-day and multi-day tickets are available during this period for 50% off retail. Special programming like private history walking tours, an 18th-century science lecture and a behind-the-scenes tour of CW’s stable and carriage facilities are also available. See website for additional details.
  • Hornsby Middle School Presents Moana – Lois Hornsby Auditorium – Thursday, Mar. 3 – Sat., Mar. 5 – Disney’s Moana Jr. will be presented through a special arrangement with Music Theater International (MTI). Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students. See website for times and details.
  • Busch Gardens St. Patrick’s Day Celebration – Fridays through Sundays, March 4-27 (including St. Patrick’s Day). Features family-friendly fun and authentic live entertainment, including performances by local dance schools. See website for times and additional details.
  • Busch Gardens Spring Job Fair – Learn about positions currently available at Busch Gardens. Positions are currently available in the areas of photography, food service, merchandise, guest services and more. All who apply online and attend the job fair will receive one free single-day ticket. This event will be held Friday, March 4; Saturday, March 12; Friday, March 18 and Wednesday, March 23. See website for details.
  • Women’s History Month at Colonial Williamsburg – Features a mix of dramatizations, short plays, interpretations and online live-streamed special events. Many of the events are included with Art Museum Admission or the Good Neighbor Pass for locals.
  • VITA Free Tax Preparation Service – Free tax preparation and electronic filing services are available to the public this year. Offered by the Greater Williamsburg Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, the goal is to offer assistance to those who would find the cost of a paid preparer burdensome. Includes basic federal and state income tax returns. Offered on a first-come, first-served basis on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1:00 pm – 5:30 pm and Saturdays, 9:00 am – 1:30 pm through April 16. Covid-19 precautions will be followed and masks are required. See website for details.

Wednesday, March 2

  • Making 3D Objects from Drawings and Images – The Hennage Auditorium at Colonial Williamsburg. Learn about how 18th-century tinplate objects are reproduced at the Armoury Tin Shop when only an image is available. 4:00 pm.

Thursday, March 3

  • To Her Heirs Forever – Meet Anne Blair Banister, a citizen of Williamsburg, and hear from the woman who portrays the historic figure. This special Women’s History Month event will be live-streamed and will feature a conversation with interpreters Hope Wright and Michelle Greensmith, who will discuss their research and experiences in interpreting 18th-century women. Livestream the event here. 1:00 pm.
  • VSO Presents: Kishi Bashi Meets the Symphony – Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News. Featuring internationally-celebrated singer and songwriter Kishi Bashi, a native of Norfolk. 7:30 pm.

Saturday, March 5

  • Yorktown Winter Market – Riverwalk Landing in Yorktown. This special winter waterfront market offers a variety of vendors and artists. Find seasonal produce, fresh meats and breads, homemade soaps and candles and more – all while enjoying the view of the York River. 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
  • Turf University – Stryker Center in Williamsburg. Learn about how to grow and maintain a healthy, environmentally-friendly lawn from regional experts. This is a free seminar but registration is required. Masks are required for all visitors in the Stryker Center. Register on the website or by calling 757-645-4895. 10:30 am – 12:30 pm. Free.
  • Pop-In Saturday: St. Patrick’s Day Celebration – Main Street Library in Newport News. This St. Patrick’s Day-themed event features crafts and activities for kids ages 3-11.

Sunday, March 6

  • Fireside Talk: The Women of Yorktown – Mobjack Bay Coffee Roasters in Yorktown. Celebrate Women’s History Month by attending this talk about the women of Yorktown. Participants will learn about the first prominent woman from coastal Virginia, Princess Matoaka, or Pocahontas. Following her death in 1617, the arrival of English women to Virginia had significant impacts on the New World. Tickets are $10, free for children 12 and under.

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