The Triangle News in 5: Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter shares urgent plea for help after reaching full capacity

Plus: Two York High School students were involved in a fatal crash on Friday, Fort Monroe is closing North Beach early on weekends and York County will host a free Juneteenth event on Saturday.

Good morning!

Our Tuesday is starting off with hot, humid and stormy weather. We can expect more of the same through the early evening, according to WTKR News 3’s meteorologist Myles Henderson. A heat advisory also remains in effect today until 7:00 pm.

An additional round of storms is possible later this week. That should pave the way for a cooler, less humid weekend leading up to some big local events, like the Williamsburg Live music festival.

As always, if you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please reach out by hitting “reply” to this email.

Now to the news.

-Christin

1. The Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter has reached capacity and is pleading for help from the community.

  • The Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter (PRAS) in Newport News has reached full capacity and is asking for help from community members who can adopt or foster pets in need of homes.
    • The shelter currently has a wide variety of adoptable pets in its care, like Luna Marie, a “very sweet, playful and cuddly” 2-year-old female cat and Leo, a 6-year-old hound/lab mix who gets along well with cats, other dogs and children of all ages.
  • While the shelter recently ran a week-long promotion that led to 115 adoptions, the facility is still “very much at capacity,” according to Tiffany Webb, the shelter program coordinator at PRAS.
  • Webb said shelters nationwide are dealing with similar crises, and the problem has been spurred by the pandemic and the impacts of inflation.
    • “The true compassionate reality is the pandemic has really altered the way people are able to afford to live,” Webb told The Triangle. “Cost of living, accessibility to affordable housing… all of these are leading factors to animals coming into shelters. On top of that, the veterinary world is also experiencing a staffing shortage, which then also leaves owners with a lack of access to veterinary services to help care for their pet.”
  • The shelter’s staff and volunteers are also being stretched thin, according to Webb. While PRAS currently has a veterinarian on site who is dedicated solely to caring for the shelter’s animals, many of the animals arriving need medical care – such as vaccinations, spay or neuter operations, surgeries and other procedures – and that’s having “a big impact on shelter resources and staff.”
    • “It’s really unfortunate that adoptions are so low,” Webb added. “That is also a nationwide issue.”
  • How to help: Webb said the most important thing community members can do is adopt a pet if they’re able and prepared to do so. If that isn’t possible, “the next great thing is fostering,” she said. Fostering frees up space in the shelter and also helps staff have a better idea of how pets will behave in a home, ensuring ideal adoption matches. PRAS provides food, veterinary care, supplies and after-hour emergency support for fosters.
  • Those who are not able to either adopt or foster can still help by sharing social media posts about pets who are missing or in need of fostering or adoption.
    • “Many of our long-time dogs or cats are getting adopted because they saw a post shared by a friend, or a pet was reclaimed that had been missing for weeks,” Webb said.
  • The adoption lobby at PRAS welcomes walk-ins. Information about the adoption or foster process, as well as shelter hours, can be found on the organization’s website. PRAS is also on Facebook and Instagram.

The Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter (PRAS) has reached capacity and is issuing an urgent plea for help. The shelter is looking for community members to adopt or foster pets in their care. (Photo courtesy of PRAS).

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2. Two York High School students were killed in a fatal car accident over the weekend.

  • Two Yorktown teens lost their lives over the weekend in a traffic accident in Newport News, according to the Newport News Police Department (NNPD). The victims included a 15-year-old boy and a 16-year-old boy, officials say.
    • NNPD responded to the crash on June 10 at about 11:55 a.m. The 15-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene, and the 16-year-old was taken to the hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.
  • An initial investigation found that a tractor trailer traveling northbound on Yorktown Road collided with an SUV traveling southbound.
    • While an investigation into the crash remains ongoing, the speed of the SUV is believed to be a factor, police say. The driver of the tractor trailer was not injured.
  • The two students both attended York High School (YHS), according to WYDaily. In a voicemail to parents, YHS Principal Shannon Butler identified the students as Jacobi Cockrell and Daequan Hawkins.
    • “We know this is an unexpected and sudden loss. While school is no longer in session, we will have counselors and support in place for our students and staff who would like to visit the school on Monday beginning at 10 a.m. I encourage you to understand that there will be a variety of emotions and responses to what has occurred,” Butler said in the message.
  • A candlelight vigil organized by the community in remembrance of the students was held at Bailey Field Monday evening.

3. Fort Monroe will be closing North Beach early on weekends amid crime concerns.

  • Fort Monroe National Monument will close North Beach at 6:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays until further notice, according to a news release by the National Park Service (NPS). The decision was made by officials due to rising crime in the area, including a June 5 shooting in a nearby parking lot that left a woman injured.
    • The emergency closure went into effect on Saturday, June 11.
  • The exception to the closure is the Boardwalk, which will remain open until 12:00 am. Residents, registered guests at the nearby RV park and guests to the Paradise Ocean Club will not be affected by the closure Monday through Friday. Those individuals can also access the beaches at Fort Monroe or Buckroe on weekends.
    • “Public safety is our top priority,” said Superintendent Eola Dance. “Over the past few months, there have been an increased number of public disturbances in the evening hours during weekends at North Beach and in the associated parking areas. As a significant place to Native American inhabitance, English Settlement, African Landing and the making of America, we must do everything in our power to provide a safe environment for visitors to enjoy this special place.”
  • The decision by NPS means park rangers are turning people away throughout the night, and that’s having a negative impact on local businesses in the area, WAVY News reports.
    • The Paradise Ocean Club – a popular restaurant and event venue that hosts a total of about 100,000 people every summer – has been forced to close early because of the curfew, according to the owner.
    • “We are not able to keep operating with a 6 o’clock closure — plain and simple. It has too much of an impact on our business,” Baxter Simmons told WAVY. Simmons also said the facility has its own private security and does everything possible to ensure guests stay safe on the premises.
    • Simmons said he’s petitioning the NPS to lift the curfew, but officials say the early closure currently remains in place until further notice. Another update is expected to be issued by the NPS this Friday, according to 13News Now.

4. York County is hosting a community-wide Juneteenth celebration on June 18.

  • York County is gearing up to host a Juneteenth event featuring speakers, special performances and food truck vendors, according to a county news release. Juneteenth, also known as Juneteenth Freedom Day, is a federal holiday that commemorates the end of slavery and the emancipation of thousands of enslaved people in the United States.
  • The free event will be held on June 18 from 5:00 – 8:30 pm at McReynolds Athletic Complex and will feature entertainment by Marching Elite, Crimson Thunder, Intense Fiyaaa and DJ Freestyle.
  • After the celebration, guests are invited to stay for a special Movie in the Park featuring the film “Soul,” a Disney Pixar animated comedy-drama. The film will begin at 8:45 pm, and attendees are encouraged to bring a lawn chair or blanket.
  • The event is sponsored by York County, the York-James City-Williamsburg Branch of the NAACP, and the York County Chamber of Commerce.

5. Williamsburg police are searching for a man who attempted to steal a car with four juveniles inside.

  • Williamsburg police are searching for a man accused of attempted abduction/motor vehicle larceny after he tried to drive off in a running vehicle that had four juveniles inside.
  • Officers say the man entered the vehicle from the driver’s side door in the parking lot of Riverside Doctors’ Hospital in Williamsburg. He then began to drive away before exiting the vehicle and fleeing by foot to the nearby 7-Eleven convenience store on Pocahontas Trail. Police believe he hailed a ride from the 7-Eleven to escape the scene.
  • The suspect is described by Williamsburg police as a 6-foot-tall, 170-pound white man with short brown hair and a beard. He was carrying a red-colored gas can throughout the incident and was wearing a brown t-shirt, black shorts and white and red basketball-style shoes.
  • No property damage or physical injuries were reported, but anyone with information about the man or the incident is asked to call the Criminal Investigations Bureau at (757) 220-2331. Tips can also be submitted anonymously online here or by phone at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP. Any person with information that leads to an arrest may be eligible to receive a cash reward of up to $1,000.

Williamsburg Police Department – Williamsburg, VA
Jun 08, 2022 ·

6. A York County teacher has been arrested and accused of engaging in an inappropriate relationship with a student.

  • Kristen McAllister, an English teacher at Tabb High School, was arrested on the morning of June 9 after the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office (YPSO) was alerted about an inappropriate relationship between the teacher and students.
    • McAllister, 32, has been charged with two felony counts of taking indecent liberties with a child by a person in a custodial or supervisory relationship and two misdemeanor counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Police say she engaged in an ongoing inappropriate relationship with a student beginning in late 2021.
    • According to a statement by York County School division, someone alerted school administrators that the teacher was engaging in unprofessional conduct with the student. YPSO then quickly became involved in the situation.
  • Hundreds of comments were left by parents and local residents on YPSO’s Facebook page in reaction to the news. Some showed support for McAllister, doubting that the accusations against the teacher were true. Others expressed anger, concern and sadness over the situation.
  • McAllister has since been released on bond, according to online records. An investigation remains ongoing.
    • “The division is committed to working closely with the Sheriff’s Office in the ongoing investigation. The staff member will not be permitted on campus or other YCSD property while this investigation is ongoing and we will follow division policy regarding employment status,” York County School Division said in a statement.

Lowest Gas Prices Today

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Local Covid-19 Update

New cases: ➕ VDH reports that an additional 20,114 people in Virginia tested positive for Covid-19 last week. That’s up from the 19,887 cases reported during the previous week.

The highest numbers of new cases on the Peninsula last week were reported in Newport News (+350), Hampton (+273), James City County (+176) and York County (+105), according to WTVR News 6.

Hospitalizations and deaths: An additional 288 people were hospitalized with Covid-19 in Virginia last week (down from 342 the week before), according to VDH data. 17 Covid-19-related deaths also occurred in the state last week (down from 48 the week before), according to VDH.

Vaccination rate: 73.8% of Virginians are fully vaccinated (up from 73.7% last week).

In the National News

  • Wall Street slides into a ‘bear market’: Wall Street has fallen into a bear market after suffering heavy losses at the start of the week, according to ABC News. The term “bear market” is used when an index like the S&P 500 or Dow Jones Industrial Average drops by 20% or more from a recent sustained high. The plunge is being attributed to numerous factors, including high inflation, rising interest rates, the war in Ukraine and the worsening economic situation in China.
  • Record-breaking heat grips the nation: A “dangerous,” record heat-setting wave is impacting more than 125 million Americans throughout much of the country, particularly in the southern and central U.S. The conditions have spurred more than 33 large wildfires, which have razed more than 1 million acres across five states – including Alaska, New Mexico, California, Arizona and Texas – Axios reports. Heat waves are statistically the deadliest type of severe weather in the United States and are especially risky for those who lack access to air conditioning as well as individuals who work outdoors.
  • U.S likely faces worsening inflation or a recession: Economic experts say the Biden administration is facing only bad options as inflation continues to soar nationwide, per Newsweek. Consumer prices climbed to a grim new 40-year high in May, according to a new Consumer Price Index report released Friday. “There’s little or nothing that can be done on the economic front to fight this inflation beyond having the [Federal Reserve] cause a recession,” said James Devine, an economics professor at Loyola Marymount University. “That, of course, would be equally unpopular.”
  • Russian-backed officials start ruling cities in Ukraine: Russia has begun to install Kremlin-backed officials in occupied portions of Southern Ukraine, CBS News reports. The news comes as an advisor to Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky said that up to 200 Ukrainian soldiers are being killed daily by Russian forces.
  • Study reveals a potentially promising new cancer treatment: A small trial of 18 colorectal cancer patients yielded astonishing results when every patient went into remission after trying an experimental drug, according to the New York Times. The unprecedented study was published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine. Dr. Luis A. Diaz Jr., an author of the paper describing the study, said he knows of no other trial in history in which a drug caused cancer to completely vanish in every patient. The treatment, a monoclonal antibody called dostarlimab, works by unmasking cancer cells and allowing the immune system to identify and destroy them. Colorectal cancer is currently the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S, according to the American Cancer Society.

Events This Week

Miss this week’s community calendar of upcoming local events? You can find it here.

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