We’re off to an unseasonably chilly start this morning as we head into the final days of March.
Tomorrow morning is expected to be even colder – with windy conditions and lows in the 20s – but things will warm up considerably for the second half of the week, according to WTKR News 3 Meteorologist Myles Henderson.
Rain is likely headed our way again on Thursday evening, and that will lead to cooler (but still pleasant) temps in the 50s and 60s this weekend.
This week’s community calendar of events was published yesterday. In case you missed it, I’ve linked to it again at the bottom of this newsletter. There are a wide variety of events happening in our area this week, many of which are spring-themed and free or low-cost.
If you have any comments, suggestions or news tips, I’d love to hear from you. I’m also thinking about adding a feature that would draw attention to the lowest gas prices on the Peninsula amid the current record-high price spike. I’d love to know: Is that something you’d find helpful? Please hit “reply” to this email to share your thoughts.
Local & Statewide
1. Saladworks has come to Williamsburg.
- The fast-casual restaurant celebrated a soft opening last Monday, March 21. It specializes in “create-your-own” entree salads that allow customers to choose from 60+ fresh ingredients. The restaurant caters to a variety of nutritional needs and diets, including Keto, Paleo, Whole 30 and vegetarian lifestyles.
- In addition to its salads, the restaurant sells wraps, soups, grain bowls, sandwiches and paninis.
- The new location in Williamsburg is located at 110 North Henry Street and is locally owned and operated by Shaun Coleman and his wife, April Coleman. Saladworks is open for lunch and dinner and offers online ordering and delivery through Uber Eats, GrubHub and Door Dash.
- “We are excited about being the first Saladworks to open in Williamsburg,” said April Coleman, co-owner of Saladworks Williamsburg. “This business isn’t just about us. Our goal is to bring the community we love a quick, healthy dining option. We’re a family-owned business, and we want our Saladworks to be a place that Williamsburg can come to rely on for a nutritious meal and a safe, welcoming atmosphere.”
- Shaun Coleman also told The Triangle there are plans for the restaurant to “go all out” with a bigger opening day in the near future. For the latest updates, follow Saladworks Williamsburg on Facebook and Instagram.
- Want to receive special offers? Guests can join the Saladworks Rewards program to earn points on every purchase and access perks.
Saladworks – which features signature and customizable salads that allow customers to choose from 60+ fresh ingredients – has arrived in Williamsburg.
2. Farm Fresh is set to re-open in Poquoson this week.
- The grocery store is set to re-open on Friday, April 1, according to WAVY News. This time, it’ll be under new ownership by independent grocers Raphael Strumlauf and Mark Green, who run several other grocery stores in Virginia.
- Farm Fresh – notorious for its fried chicken – closed most of its locations in 2018 but has continued to operate stores in Newport News and Portsmouth. The Poquoson store will be located at 460 Wythe Creek Rd.
- Shoppers can expect to find free samples, giveaways and special deals at the store’s grand opening, according to WYDaily. The ribbon-cutting will take place at 8 am.
- “We look forward to welcoming shoppers on Grand Opening day with unheard-of deals, product samples, and free giveaways – and every day thereafter, with a wide selection of products catered specifically to our customers’ needs,” Strumlauf said.
3. Property tax relief is on the way for residents of Newport News.
- Newport News City Council voted to reduce personal property tax burdens for the city’s residents for 2022, the Daily Press reports. The Council’s decision applies to cars and passenger trucks.
- While the tax rate – $4.50 per $100 of assessed value – will stay the same, the rate will only be applied to 75% of the vehicle’s assessed value.
- Why it’s happening: Fair market values for vehicles have risen dramatically in the past year. The average price for used cars and trucks spiked by 40.5% from January 2021 to January 2022, and the price of new vehicles rose by 12.2% in that same period, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index. As a result, the City is providing tax relief, acknowledging that vehicle values are significantly higher than they normally would have been.
- Newport News’ budget director, Lisa Cipriano, expects the city will lose approximately $16.8 million from its general fund operating budget as a result of the tax relief measure.
- Still, other cities in Hampton Roads are following suit: both Hampton and Virginia Beach have voted to reduce the assessment ratio on vehicles by 25%, and Norfolk is waiving vehicle licensing fees for the year.
4. A new chicken restaurant is coming soon to Virginia – and its first location will be in Williamsburg.
- Super Chix Chicken & Custard – a Dallas-based chicken sandwich franchise – will be opening 10 locations in Virginia, starting off with one in Williamsburg, the company announced in a news release last Wednesday.
- Super Chix is well known for its fast-casual menu featuring premium ingredients. In addition to its chicken sandwiches, it offers chicken tenders and hand-cut fries as well as fresh salads and hand-dipped frozen custard.
- According to Virginia Beach-based management company S2K Hospitality, the restaurant will open in Midtown Row during the fourth quarter of 2022. The Williamsburg location will be about 3,200 square feet and will bring about 40 jobs to the area.
- S2K is also considering bringing the restaurant to Newport News, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake and Suffolk, but those leases haven’t yet been signed, Virginia Business reports.
- “We are excited to welcome Super Chix to the City of Williamsburg, their first location in Virginia. This restaurant will be a great addition to the mix of offerings at Midtown and the dynamic revitalization of this part of our City,” said Rick Overy, City of Williamsburg Economic Development Authority Chair in a statement.
5. A York County father is facing charges after the shooting of his 3-year-old son.
- 22-year-old Canaan Fleming was charged with shooting into an occupied dwelling, maiming, two counts of child abuse and reckless handling of a firearm after a shooting incident involving his 3-year-old son, the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.
- Fleming turned himself in after an area hospital reported Wednesday that a toddler had been involved in a shooting. The child sustained an injury that was not life-threatening and has since been released into the care of a family member, according to 13 News Now.
- Authorities say $15,000 in cash, as well 35 pounds of marijuana and multiple firearms, were seized from the Yorktown apartment where the incident took place. The boy’s mother has also been charged with child abuse and possession with intent to distribute marijuana. She was transported to Virginia Regional Peninsula Jail and is being held without bond, according to YPSO.
6. A federal judge has ruled that a dozen students in Virginia can push for mask mandates at their schools.
- The ruling determined that some schools in the Commonwealth can mandate masks to protect immunocompromised children. However, the decision only impacts the schools where the 12 students named in the suit attend, WTVR News 6 reports.
- York County is among the districts included in the suit. The other districts include Chesapeake, Albermale, Chesterfield, Loudon, Henrico, Bedford, Cumberland, Fairfax and Manasses.
- In the ruling, Federal Judge Norman Moon stated that Senate Bill 739 – which makes masking optional – is still valid. However, he stated that the law is infringing upon the rights of the 12 students who filed the suit and require accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
- According to the judge, immunocompromised students have the right to ask for masking policies in their classes under the ADA.
- The students in the suit range in age from preschool to 11th grade and have health conditions such as cancer and cystic fibrosis, court documents show.
- Both sides of the debate are claiming victory in the ruling. Those supporting the requirement say the decision reaffirms their position, while lawmakers who oppose the mandate say it supports the governor’s order.
- “The court blocked Gov. Youngkin’s [executive order] and the new state law lifting the mask mandates from being enforced against our 12 plaintiffs,” said the ACLU of Virginia – which filed the suit on behalf of the students – in a Tweet. “For now, we are glad the court agreed: No student should have to risk their lives to go to school.”
- Meanwhile, Attorney General Jason Miyares also praised the decision on Twitter, saying the laws preventing schools from mandating masks “remain in force, affording parents the choice whether their children should wear masks to school.”
Local Covid-19 Update
New cases: ➕ VDH reports that an additional 5,372 people in Virginia tested positive for Covid-19 last week. That’s down from 6,498 last week. On the Peninsula, the highest numbers of cases were reported in Newport News (+33) and James City County (+25), according to WTVR.
Hospitalizations and deaths: An additional 290 people were hospitalized with Covid-19 in Virginia last week (down from 508 the week before), according to VHHA data. 140 Covid-19 related deaths also occurred in the state last week (down from 254 the week before), according to VDH.
Vaccination rate: 72.5% of Virginians are fully vaccinated (up from 72.3% last week).
Busch Gardens finally launched Pantheon – a new roller coaster that reaches speeds of up to 73 miles per hour.
- The epic new attraction – which opened to the public on Friday, March 25 – is the world’s fastest multi-launch coaster, The Virginia Gazette reports. In addition to its breakneck speed, it features a 95-degree drop, four launches, five air-time hills and two inversions. The location of the new ride allows riders to take in some of the best views of the park, including the Rhine River.
- The highly anticipated launch comes after a two-year-long delay spurred by the pandemic. The coaster will now be available for guests to enjoy throughout the park’s spring and summer season.
- “Pantheon is going to be non-stop action for riders. We’ve designed it so that the experience is changing all the time and will keep riders wondering what’s next,” said Larry Giles, Senior Director, Design & Engineering in a news release. “Multiple launches, speed changes, a sharp drop and backwards acceleration are just a few of Pantheon’s one-of-a kind traits.”
- Want to get a sense of what it’s like to ride the new coaster? Check out the video below.
National News to Know
- President Biden warned of “real” food shortages for Americans – and the rest of the world- due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Bloomberg News reports. Russia and Ukraine are known as Europe’s breadbasket, and combined, they supply over a quarter of the world’s wheat.
- Ukraine’s President Zelensky is calling for immediate peace ahead of another round of talks with Russia, according to Reuters. Nonetheless, Zelensky stressed that while Ukraine is open to considering neutrality and discussing security guarantees, the country must maintain its sovereignty and “territorial integrity.” The statement comes amid reports that Russia is attempting to split Ukraine into two countries, similar to North and South Korea.
- Thousands of Ukrainian citizens have now been abducted from their homes and sent to labor camps hundreds of miles away in Russia, according to the BBC. Satellite images show an estimated 5,000 people at a temporary camp, but Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said a total of 40,000 people have been forcibly taken by Russian troops.
- The FDA is expected to authorize a fourth Covid shot for people ages 50 and up, ABC News reports. The decision could come as soon as tomorrow, but sources familiar with the process told CNN the FDA will stop short of officially recommending the extra booster.
- Will Smith angrily smacked Chris Rock in the face at the Oscars – and then tearfully apologized for the incident during his acceptance speech, per Axios. LAPD said they’re aware of the incident but added that Rock has “declined to file a police report.”
MARIUPOL, UKRAINE – MARCH 26: Ukraine’s port city of Mariupol continues to face a humanitarian crisis. While up to 140,000 residents are believed to have fled the besieged city, the city council say as many as 170,000 residents are still trapped there. The city has been reduced to ruins, with terrified civilians hiding in basements, with no electricity and little access to food, water or medicine, according to the BBC. (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images).
Events This Week
Miss this week’s list of 45+ upcoming local events? You can find it here.
Have questions, comments or suggestions? Want to submit an event for consideration? Please send me an email or reply to this newsletter.
Looking for past editions of The Triangle? You can find those here.
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