Thursday, July 14, 2022

THIS WEEK'S GIFT CARD CONTESTS: Amazon, Walmart & Regal Entertainment!


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Welcome to your weekly Reader Rewards newsletter! Where I'm sure all our loyal readers are waiting with great anticipation for this Sunday,July 17th: National Ice Cream Day 2022!!  If you were not already aware - yet another reason to keep up with your weekly Reader Rewards newsletter!

Yes, we are now in the middle of those typical Hampton Roads summer days: hot and humid with occasional afternoon evening summer storms.  Like with our reminder about National Ice Cream Day, we're always here to give you the scoop on the weekend community festivals!  If you missed out on The Pilot's Rekaya Gibson and her weekend preview - check it out right here. From Restaurant Week in Norfolk, to a seafood festival in Yorktown to a taco and margarita festival in Virginia Beach - no shortage of food!  One last tip on food in the area: if Philly cheesesteaks are your "thing", be sure to check out Patrick Evans-Hylton and his report right here

Given our unique locale and so many bodies of water - we always have an eye on coverage to the beach in particular.  For years the East Coast Surfing Championships have been held down at the oceanfront in Virginia Beach.  Well, the event has landed a major sponsorship and a couple musical acts to add to the growing event.  Be sure to check out the coverage by The Pilot's Stacy Parker right here. The Outer Banks always generates great local interest.  Finding a giant snail in a "fist-sized" shell on the send down in the Outer Banks - is another great example.  Yes - if you missed it, check out the coverage right here.

Normally we'll close out with sports stories of interest - especially local sports of interest.  With this being a bit of a lull around the sports world right now - we have something different.  How about the Chesapeake lawyer and William & Mary graduate representing Hampton Roads on Jeopardy! this past week??  Check out The Pilot's Caitlyn Burchett and her coverage of Steve Clarke's success this week - right here!

Ok, ok, ok....we will not keep you from what you're realling after:

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Last Week's Contest Winners

Wawa -             Carolyn Podnar

Food Lion - 
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Barnes & Noble -  Theresa Rozelle


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Meet Angel! Angel this week's My Reader Rewards Pet of the Week!  Check out our other furry friends in our new Pet Gallery. Want your pet featured? Email a picture of your pet to Please include your name along with your pet's name. Let's round up those pet pictures folks to further boost our gallery and to showcase!!!
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When Barbara Harris's mother was 35 years old, she was sterilized by the Commonwealth of Virginia.

"She could have a desire to get married, and have a family with her new husband. But she was not able to do that," Harris said. "That choice was taken away from her."

Women and people who can become pregnant across the U.S are now facing a reality where their reproductive rights are at risk in light of the Supreme Court's recent Dobbs v Jackson Women's Health decision, which nullified Roe V. Wade's constitutionally protected abortions under the right to privacy. But for Black women, from Harris's mother to her daughters and granddaughters, lack of choice is nothing new: reproductive care has always been less accessible to Black Virginians.

Read more in the Sunday Main News section

Over four times as many prescriptions for COVID-19 treatment pills were filled in rich Virginia ZIP codes than the ZIP codes with the lowest state income last month.

The Virginia Department of Health is trying to figure out exactly why as there are gaps in the data.

In Virginia's richest ZIP codes, 14,740 prescriptions were filled, while in the middle income ZIP codes, 5,974 prescriptions for COVID-19 oral treatments were filled and in the lowest income ZIP codes, 3,296 prescriptions for the treatments were filled as of the month ending July 8, according to data provided by the Virginia Department of Health.

"It's something we've been tracking very closely since the launch of antivirals," said Alexis Page, health care therapeutics coordination colead for the VDH COVID-19 task force.

There are several issues with the data though that make it difficult to tell if the disparity is because of actual need for the treatments or issues with access for working and struggling Virginians, she said.

Read more in the Sunday Main News section

Let's say you trade in your old cell phone -- and upgrade to a new one -- and neglect to wipe its contents.

Can a police officer who finds the phone start scrolling through it -- accessing the treasure trove about your life -- without a search warrant?

That's a question attorneys want the U.S. Supreme Court to take up in a Hampton case. Though the case stems from a 2018 shooting at Peninsula Town Center, attorneys contend it has far broader implications.

Police are generally allowed to search "abandoned" cell phones without getting warrants -- just like they can search someone's trash or a junked car. But privacy advocates question whether cell phones should can ever be assumed abandoned -- and they want tighter limits in any event.

Read more in the Sunday Main news section

Norfolk Public School's budget for the new fiscal year puts an emphasis on employee compensation. However, the more veteran employees say they aren't getting paid for their time with the division.

"Our salaries need to not only be commensurate with our experience, but just with our time and effort and energy," Sheronda Conyers, a Richard Bowling Elementary School teacher, said.

The budget includes raises that average nearly 6% for teachers, 7.5% for classified employees and just over 4% for administrators, as well as $1,000 bonuses for employees. There's also the first round of funding for a multi-year plan to address pay equity concerns that stem from a lack of movement up the pay scale for some employees.

This has led some employees with years of experience in teaching to not be compensated the way they believe they should be, and they are saying people are leaving the division because of it.

Read more in the Sunday Main News section

Of the many feats Harriet Tubman accomplished, none awes me more as a historian than the estimated 13 trips she made to Maryland's Eastern Shore. Each time, she stole family and friends from enslavement in much the way she secreted herself away to freedom in 1849. Born on the Eastern Shore, Tubman grew into a fearless conductor along the perilous routes of the Underground Railroad, guiding enslaved people on journeys that extended hundreds of miles to the north, ending on the free soil of Pennsylvania, New York and Canada.

This year commemorates the 200th anniversary of her birth, and tributes abound, including those set in the landscape of her native Dorchester County, about 3 ½ hours from Norfolk.

I headed to the Eastern Shore to learn how people there remember this Black American freedom fighter, only to discover that the rising waters of climate change are washing away the memories of Tubman that are embedded in the coastal marshland she knew so well.

Read more in the Sunday Break section

Many Virginia Beach Oceanfront business owners, but not all, have seen a good start to the summer season.

Entrepreneurs and Hampton Roads natives Julie Aubrey and Chris Johnson, owners of Splash House VB, an experiential painting studio on 17th Street, are feeling a bit frustrated. They said they believe in the city where they live and work but feel more needs to be done to make it more family-friendly and encourage tourists to come back.

Read more in the Sunday Work & Money section

Kevin Bacon

What America Eats - Summery Seafood

Live Smart - Good Habits 101


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District 5 Report and Crime Watch Update July 2022 by Supervisor Tom Shepperd

The District 5 Report is designed to keep you up to date on activities in and around our area.  Residents and homeowner associations are encouraged to share the information with others in their communities.  I will gladly add you to the distribution list upon request to either or  Please include your name and home address in the request.  Comments and questions are always welcome.*






Thomas G. Shepperd, Jr.

District 5 Representative

York County Board of Supervisors


(C) 757-903-1875

(H) 757-868-8591


--------------------July 2022 District 5 Report and Crime Watch Update--------------------


1.  Personal Property Tax – The June 2022 tax bill was a bit of a shocker for many, especially those with relatively new cars and trucks.  Supply chain issues, lack of production, the unavailability of computer chips and the increasing demand for new and used vehicles all played a role in driving up the price of new and used vehicles.  Yes, the County could have made an earlier adjustment in the personal property tax rate, which is currently $4.00 per $100.00 of value but it didn't.  At the time of approval on May 3rd, the tax rate was considered relatively low, and our focus was on lowering the real estate tax rate.  Remember, at that time the State had not approved its budget and the County was concerned over the possible loss of revenue such as the $3 million we receive from the grocery tax.  I have heard criticism that York County should have stepped up and lowered the rate like some other jurisdictions.  What's missing in the criticism is an understanding that most of the jurisdictions that did lower their rates only brought their rates down to a level comparable to York County's.  For example, Isle of Wright County dropped their rate from $4.50 to $3.90 and James City County lowered their rate to $4.00 but raised their real estate tax rate. 


Now that the budgets and tax rates have been passed and the personal property tax bills are in hand for the first half of the year, how is the County going to address the unexpected tax rate issue?  First, in the near term, the County is allowing for extended payments through September 30, 2022, with only a 2% penalty.  Normally, the payment penalty would increase to 10% starting on July 21. This will allow you to make tax payments over several months.   For hardship cases where someone faces a choice between putting food on the table or paying their taxes, the County on a case-by-case basis is using a means test that is similar to the elderly and disabled relief real estate tax means test to help reduce the burden of personal property tax. The criteria for tax relief are that your income must be less than $55,000, you must be current on all personal property tax payments, and your 2022 personal property taxes must have increased by at least $100.   Maximum relief per household is $250. The application process for the Personal Property Tax Relief Hardship Program is being administered by the County's Department of Community Services. Call 757-890-3885 or email to for more information.


The second personal property tax bill will be sent out in December 2022.  Currently, the County is working to establish an equitable way to provide County taxpayers with meaningful tax relief that will be reflected in the December bill.  At the time of this report, it is estimated that the County will have a revenue surplus of approximately $3 to $3.5 million to help address the personal property tax issue.  I anticipate that many but not all the December 2022 tax bills will be equal to or slightly lower than the December 2021 bill.  Most of the tax bills will be substantially lower than the June 2022 tax bills.


2.  Why is the County buying a $1.3 million fire truck?  The Supervisors go to great lengths to get ahead of potential disasters.  York County has a professional fire department with an exceptional fire and life safety reputation.  Providing our fire department with proper equipment is essential to outstanding service demanded by our citizens.   The County has operated two ladder trucks for many years.  These trucks provide greater flexibility for fighting fires, help reduce the requirements for additional fire equipment, and play a role in reducing homeowner insurance costs, which is partially based on local government's firefighting capability.   Fire trucks age differently that other vehicles.  They are driven more aggressively, exposed to harsh emergency environments, and idle for extensive periods of time for quick response. They are not like regular street cars and trucks. They age faster.  For example, the ladder truck we are replacing may have nearly 100,000 miles in two years by the time we receive the new truck, but the equivalent mileage will be approximately 200,000 miles.


3.  What is going on with the remodeling of the Riverwalk Restaurant and the cracked beam in the parking garage on Water Street as issues?  As for the restaurant, keep in mind that the County owns the building, and the Marcon Co. owns the restaurant business that is in the building .  The building is 20 years old, which as I understand it, makes it due for a renovation.  Also, the building was not originally designed with two restaurants in mind.  The current arrangement with two kitchens is inefficient.  The business owner wishes to expand capacity, enhance the dining experience on the waterfront, and improve efficiency by consolidating the kitchens.


The cost for the remodeling will be shared on a percentage basis between the York County Economic Development Authority (62.5%) and the Marcon Co. (37.5%).  The County has set aside $2 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, which is one time money provided to us by the Federal Government.  The Marcon Co. will provide approximately $1.5 million.  The remainder, if needed will come from the County's Economic Development Authority (EDA) Capital Fund or the Board of Supervisors' Economic Development Fund.  This is a "Place Making" effort that is important to the social and economic vitality of York County.


As for the cracked beam, our first concern with the garage is public safety.  That is why we initially closed the garage and hired an expert engineer to survey the damage.  As it turns out, the crack in the beam is superficial, meaning it only needs cosmetic repair.  The beam is structurally sound and the upper deck of the garage is now open for parking.


4.  The new Sheriff's Office Building.  The estimated cost of the new building is approximately $25 million.  It has been in the County's Capital Improvement Plan for quite some time.  The Sheriff's Office moved into the current building in 1998.  There have been three space studies, and each identified the need for more space.  Current, bathroom facilities are very limited (prisoners and staff must use the same facility), there's no conference room and several closets have been turned into offices.   There is literally no more space for additional employees.


York County has a population of about 70,000.  Based on a standard of 1.8 deputies per 1,000 population, the County should have 126 deputies.  We believe the current force of 110 deputies is sufficient to meet our law enforcement needs. However, over the coming years, we know the force will need to grow.  The space study for the new building identified a need for a 53,000 sq. ft. building.  The new building has a build out of 40 years.  It will have a training facility, showers for emergency operations, and a community room for groups that interact with the Sheriff's Office.  We do not want to experience the problem that James City County experienced when in 2009 the County built a 47,000 sq. ft. building only to find that today they are out of room. 


5.  Beale's Restaurant on Route 17.  The County's Economic Development Authority (EDA) acquired the property for $450,000.  The idea is to expand business in the County that is compatible with the surrounding communities. The EDA had the land cleared and water and sewer installed.  Beale's was identified as a desirable business and approached by the EDA.  An agreement was reached, and Beale's bought the property for $400,000 with a loan from the EDA.  The EDA established a loan forgiveness plan where $200,000 of the loan would be forgiven once Beale's receives a Certificate of Occupancy.  At the first 6- and 12-month periods of operations, Beale's will receive additional loan forgiveness of $75,000 each period.  Originally, there was a time limit to establish the restaurant but once the pandemic hit and materials became nearly impossible to acquire, the Supervisors extended the limit.  The stipulation is that Beale's must continue to make a good faith effort to build the restaurant, which it has.   As our community continues to open and the pandemic recedes, we believe the taxes from the building and land along with the food and beverage tax will cover the cost to the County.  Beale's will very likely help to stimulate additional business growth along Route 17.


6.  The Tabb Pressure Reducing Station (PRS) and Offline Storage Facility (OLSF) project is currently in design development.  One storage tank was removed from the plan to reduce project costs.  The project design will be completed this summer and construction of the facility will begin in early 2023.


7.  Crime Watch.  While the number of cases involving larceny from vehicles has declined, the number of arrests for illegal possession of a weapon has increased. 


                a.  The 7-11 store murders on the Newport News side of Kiln Creek remain unsolved.  The incident involved a masked individual coming into the store and shooting the owner and an employee.  Both died because of their injuries.  The Newport News police are actively working the case.


                b.  The York County Sheriff's Office responded to a call late at night of individuals on the pier in Historic Yorktown brandishing firearms.  It appears that two males and two females were making a video with their guns.  When the deputies showed up, the individuals fled the scene but were arrested later that night after ditching the weapons.  The weapons have been recovered.  One individual was charged with carrying a concealed weapon without a permit and for being a convicted felon in possession of a weapon.


                c.  Very recently, a large group of people on Friday and Saturday night have been riding around and gathering at various places on the Peninsula.  In and of itself, this is not a crime.  However, when the gathering becomes large, noisy, and bit rowdy, law enforcement will move in to break up the crowd.  The crowd that the Sheriff's Department was recently involved with had, that same night, been run out of Newport News by the city police.  The group then decided to show up at the parking lot near the Pub in Historic Yorktown.  Again, this was late at night.  It is estimated that approximately 100 cars were in the group.  The Sheriff's Department arrested two individuals on weapons possession and suggest that the others might want to leave York County.  They did and headed to Hampton where they once again became rowdy to a point where one individual was shot in the butt by another crowd member.  This is just an example of some of the things our law enforcement must deal with.


                d.  The Sheriff's Department reports that 90% of all stollen guns are taken from vehicles.  Please do us all a favor and remove your guns and secure your vehicles. 


* Comments and opinions expressed in the District 5 Report are authorized and approved by me and do not necessarily represent the position of other elected representatives.  All email correspondence to and from this address is subject to the Virginia Freedom of Information Act and to the Virginia Public Records Act, which may result in monitoring and disclosure to third parties, including law enforcement.