The Triangle: News in 5 (Mar 14)

Sheriff Diggs announces a state Senate run, a catalytic converter theft bill passes in the General Assembly and Heritage Humane opens a new retail store. Plus: Pi Day brings deals to the Peninsula.

Good morning!

Our Monday is off to a chilly start as we continue to adjust to the “spring ahead” time change.

We can expect warmer weather after today, though, with highs reaching into the 60s mid-week, according to News 3 Meteorologist Myles Henderson. That’ll be ideal for some of the outdoor events coming up in our area, but there are chances for rain on Saint Patrick’s Day and then again over the weekend.

Quite a few events are happening on the Peninsula this week, so if you’re looking for something to do, be sure to check out the events newsletter I sent out yesterday. I’ve linked to it again at the bottom of this newsletter in case you missed it.

If you have questions or want to share your thoughts or feedback, please send me an email. (If you hit “reply” to this newsletter, I won’t get your message, but there should be a fix coming for that very soon.)

Now to the news.

-Christin

Local & Statewide

1. York County’s Sheriff Danny Diggs has announced he’s running for State Senate.

  • Digg’s decision comes after recent redistricting made the district more competitive for Republicans, according to WAVY News. The last election was won heartily by incumbent Democrat Senator Monty Mason, but that was before the maps were redrawn.
  • Diggs has had a 45-year-long career in law enforcement and has served as sheriff for more than two decades, making him one of the longest-serving sheriffs in the state. He’ll be retiring from his current role on Dec. 31 to focus full-time on his 2023 Senate bid, according to the Daily Press.
  • Priorities: On his website, Diggs says he plans to focus on several key issues, including providing more resources for law enforcement, reducing taxes, boosting job growth, making health care more affordable, improving education by listening to parents, preserving the region’s rivers and waterways and cutting commute times on the Peninsula.

2. New redistricting maps have been approved in James City County.

  • The redrawn maps were approved last Tuesday at James City County’s Board of Supervisors’ meeting, The Virginia Gazette reports.
  • The result: 15,000-20,000 residents will have different polling places. The county is required by Virginia law to draw new districts after each census.
    • The county will drop one precinct in Jamestown, and about 3,400 citizens will be relocated to different districts. There will no longer be a polling place at Legacy Hall, and new polling places will be created.
    • New registration cards will be sent out to residents by the registrar’s office by June.
  • “I’m excited for the new map,” said Dianna Moorman, the county’s general registrar. “I think it’s a good representation of the county plus it ensures every polling place is in the right district.”

3. Legislation aimed at toughening the penalties for catalytic converter thefts was passed by the General Assembly.

  • Under the new law, stealing or tampering with a catalytic converter is a Class 6 felony, punishable by up to five years in jail, WTKR News 3 reports. The legislation is now being sent to the governor’s desk for approval.
    • Currently, catalytic converter thefts are only a misdemeanor offense in Virginia.
  • Thefts of catalytic converters – which control vehicle emissions – have risen significantly throughout Virginia and nationwide over the past couple of years.
    • Replacing the part isn’t cheap, either: car experts say the job often costs the vehicle owner thousands of dollars.
  • Why it’s happening: Catalytic converters contain valuable precious metals, including platinum, rhodium and palladium. Thieves can usually net around $600 apiece for them on the black market, according to the Daily Press.
  • Last month, a rash of catalytic converter thefts were reported in James City County, and more than 40 converters were stolen in Newport News in 2020 alone. That marks a substantial increase from the three-year period between 2016-2019, when just 14 converter thefts were reported in the city.
  • Local officials recommend taking several actions to prevent thieves from stealing your catalytic converter, including: parking in well-lit places and in garages or fenced-in areas when possible, using an alarm or camera to catch thieves, installing an anti-theft device and reporting suspicious activity to police.

Officers help guide a driver and vehicle onto RV leveling ramps to have its catalytic converter engraved with a traceable number. Theft of catalytic converters across the US have soared over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, valuable to scrap metal dealers for the precious metals including rhodium, platinum and palladium. (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

4. Heritage Humane Society launched a new retail store.

  • The store – part of a recently completed expansion project – is now open from noon to 4:30 pm daily, the Peninsula Chronicle reports. The goal is to provide a convenient shop for people to purchase essential pet supplies before heading home with their newly adopted furry companions.
  • Items currently available at the store include cat and dog treats and toys, dog collars and leashes, supplies for small pets like hamsters and guinea pigs and pet-related gift items. New items are arriving daily, and the proceeds are used to benefit the shelter.
  • “We have good, quality products that people will need when they come in to adopt a pet. All of the revenue from the shop will go back to support our mission, which is wonderful,” said Kimberly Laska, executive director of Heritage Humane Society.

heritagehumane
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BIG ANNOUNCEMENT‼️We just opened our brand new Retail Store sponsored by @chesbank!!

Please come by our Adoption C…

5. A James City County resident was displaced after a house fire.

  • The fire broke out on Saturday around 1:10 pm in the 2200 block of Jolly Pond Road, WAVY News reports. Crews from James City County and James-City Bruton Volunteer Fire Department arrived on the scene to find the home engulfed in flames.
  • Heavy winds created further challenges, causing the fire to spread quickly and making it difficult to extinguish. Multiple tanker trucks were needed to shuttle water to the site because no fire hydrants were located in the area, according to officials.
  • The fire was finally marked under control around 3:00 pm, but the resident in the home has been displaced due to the severity of the damage. The Red Cross is providing assistance, according to the James City County Fire Department.

jccfiredept
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At 1:09 p.m. today The James City County Emergency Communications Center received a report of a residential structure f…

6. Fox Elementary students in Richmond might soon be able to resume in-person learning following a devastating fire.

  • The students have been learning remotely since February 13 after a severe fire broke out at the century-old school, causing major damage.
  • But last Monday, the Richmond Public Schools (RPS) Board unanimously voted to allow Fox Elementary School students to temporarily move to the First Baptist Church on Monument Avenue for in-person learning
    • The decision comes as parents have voiced increasing frustration with the Board’s indecision on the matter for the past month. The majority of parents expressed support for the temporary move.
  • First Baptist has made modifications to its building to ensure that all 358 students will be able to learn there. The church is allowing RPS to use the space rent-free but requested $5,000 to help defer the costs of converting the church’s spaces into classrooms, WAVY News reports.
  • “It may not look like Fox; in fact, it’s not going to look like Fox, but what’s most important is the student-teacher human relationship, and that’s what we are going to be able to offer March 21 moving forward,” said RPS Superintendent Jason Kamras.
    • Kamras also said students will be relocated to Clark Spring Elementary in the fall, where they will stay permanently until the burned-down school is renovated at its current location.
    • The majority of parents and students in the district want to preserve as much of the original historic school structure as possible, according to Kamras, so they’re opposed to the idea of demolishing the school and rebuilding it.

Local Covid-19 Update

New cases: ➕ VDH reports that an additional 7,421 people in Virginia tested positive for Covid-19 last week. That’s down from 9,281 last week. The highest numbers of new cases on the Peninsula last week were recorded in Newport News (+50) and York County (+24), according to WTVR. Across Hampton Roads, Norfolk had the highest number of new cases (+321).

Hospitalizations and deaths: An additional 439 people were hospitalized with Covid-19 in Virginia last week (up from 259 the week before), according to VHHA data. 257 Covid-19 related deaths also occurred in the state last week (down from 419 the week before), according to VDH.

Vaccination rate: 72.2% of Virginians are fully vaccinated (up from 72.1% last week).

Good News

Pi Day deals abound today throughout Hampton Roads.

  • March 14 is Pi Day, and to celebrate the mathematical constant (pi), restaurants throughout the region are offering special deals on pizza and other items.
  • Blaze Pizza is offering new and existing rewards members a one-time-use coupon to receive an 11-inch pizza for $3.14. The deal will unlock on Monday, March 14 – only on the app – and will be valid through Thursday, March 31.
  • Cici’s Pizza is celebrating Pi Day by offering an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet today for $3.14. Get the coupon here.
  • Domino’s is giving a $3 discount promo to customers who order online and pick up at the store for a limited time.
  • Whole Foods is giving Amazon Prime customers $3.14 off large apple and cherry bakery pies, today only.
  • Chuck e. Cheese‘s Pi Day deal goes through April 24 and includes two large 1-topping pizzas, Unicorn Cotton Candy, a goody bag with activities and toys, a Spring-tastic activity sheet and 250 e-tickets for $34.99.
  • Honey Baked Ham is offering a coupon – available here – for $3.14 off an apple caramel walnut pie, today only.

National

As the fighting in Ukraine rages amid Russia’s invasion, hope for peace remains.

  • Peace talks commenced Monday after both Russia and Ukraine said some rare progress was made over the weekend during ongoing high-level negotiations, Reuters reports. Attacks on Ukraine, nonetheless, have continued to escalate.
  • While previous talks have repeatedly failed, they mostly focused on matters related to humanitarian aid and ceasefires.
    • This time, Ukraine says it’s seeking not only to discuss a ceasefire but also the immediate withdrawal of troops as well as security guarantees. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has also reiterated a desire to meet one-on-one with Russia’s Vladimir Putin to discuss specific issues.
    • “Our delegation has a clear task: To do everything to ensure a meeting of the presidents,” Zelensky said in his nightly video address Sunday. “And our goal is for Ukraine to get the necessary result in this struggle, in this negotiation work. Necessary for peace. And for security.”

Related news:

  • The war in Ukraine is threatening the stability of the U.S economy – impacting the cost and supply of energy, cars and food – and increasing the risk for recession and more inflation, Axios reports.
  • U.S officials say Russia has been seeking military aid from China – and now China and the U.S are holding talks to discuss the matter, according to Newsweek.
  • White House advisor Jake Sullivan told CBS News on Sunday that Russia may be plotting a chemical attack on Ukraine – and will blame another country for it.
  • A pregnant woman and her baby are the latest to be confirmed dead after a shocking Russian attack on maternity hospital last week, per the AP.
  • Russian missiles struck an airbase just 12 miles from the border of Poland over the weekend, bringing the war alarmingly close to NATO territory, Reuters reports.

KHARKIV, UKRAINE – MARCH 14: Responders are seen at the scene after a building destroyed by a Russian rocket attack in downtown Kharkiv, Ukraine on March 14, 2022 (Photo by Wolfgang Schwan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Other headlines in the nation:

  • Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned inflation may remain “uncomfortably high” for at least another year, CBS News reports.
  • Pfizer’s CEO says a fourth dose of the Covid vaccine will be “necessary,” Axios reports.
  • Research shows daylight savings might be wreaking havoc on our health, according to PBS News.
  • Tom Brady announced he’ll be returning to Tampa to play a 23rd NFL season – 40 days after announcing he was retiring, according to the AP.

Events This Week

Miss this week’s list of upcoming local events? You can find that newsletter here.

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Have questions, comments or suggestions? Want to submit an event for consideration? Please send me an email.

Looking for past editions of The Triangle? You can find those here.

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