Tidbits – January 2024

Sentara Health has been recognized by Forbes as one of America’s Best Employers for Veterans in 2023. This is the second consecutive year Sentara has received this recognition. The health system ranked 90 of 200 nationwide employers across 25 industries, moving up the list from 171 in 2022. Forbes partnered with market research company Statista to compile the ranking. Dennis Matheis is president and CEO of Sentara.


The Newport News Sheriff’s Office (NNSO) has been named a Best for Vets Employer by Military Times, for the fourth consecutive year, recognizing its commitment to hiring and supporting veterans, reservists and their families. The NNSO is the only Hampton Roads law enforcement agency to be recognized.


The Peninsula SPCA continues to honor the late Betty White with its annual fund-raiser from January 2 through January 17, ending on White’s birthday with its new focus, “Raising the Woof!”


Michael Bolosan PT, DPT, physical therapist with Tidewater Physicians Multispecialty Group, has earned his certification in LSVT BIG. This treatment protocol trains patients with Parkinson’s Disease on how to improve motor functions within their body.


TowneBank, with 50 locations across Virginia and North Carolina, has been named nationally as one of the Best Banks to Work For by American Banker, taking the #1 spot among financial institutions based in Virginia and the #7 spot among financial institutions listed with $10 billion or more in assets. Billy Foster is president and CEO at TowneBank and Brian K. Skinner is president and regional banking director, Virginia and northeastern North Carolina.


The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has closed a Rental Assistance Demonstration transaction with the Newport News Redevelopment and Housing Authority (NNRHA) at Orcutt Townhomes, featuring 20 two-story duplex townhomes. The property will undergo extensive rehabilitation and each home will feature new improvements to increase energy efficiency and reduce environmental impact and utility costs. Karen Wilds is executive director of NNRHA.


Amber Rice
Jocelyn Boyer
Kevin Lyles

Amber Rice, commercial relationship manager/senior vice president with Old Point National Bank; Jocelyn Boyer, operations manager for the Center for African American Public Policy (CAAmPP) with Norfolk State University; and Kevin Lyles, community education coordinator with LifeNet Health, have been appointed to the Peninsula Industrial Finance Corporation board. Peninsula Industrial Finance Corporation is a nonprofit organization formed to assist the economic growth of the Virginia Peninsula by making direct loans to businesses from its Peninsula Revolving Loan Fund, a fund established as one component of a joint Newport News-Hampton economic development program.


Newport News Arts Commission recently presented 25 grants to community organizations to celebrate and enhance arts offerings in the city. The grant funding, which totaled $159,379, supports dance, media, music, theater, visual, literary and related arts. This program is part of the city’s Community Support Agency Grant initiative and is supplemented by a $4,500 State Creative Communities Partnership Grant from the Virginia Commission for the Arts. According to Newport News Mayor Phillip D, Jones, the 25 agencies deliver innovative programs that engage varied audiences, celebrate Newport News’ diversity and promote civic engagement. Grant funding is divided into two categories — General Operating Support and Special Projects. For Special Project grants, funding is provided for activities targeting students and special audiences. In both cases, the minimum grant award is $500. Grant recipients include Access Virginia, Big Pink Music (new in FY 2024), The CAN Foundation (new in FY 2024),


Ferguson Center for the Arts, Hampton Roads Philharmonic, Mariners’ Museum and Park, Mary M. Torggler Fine Arts Center, Mildred McDaniel Concert Series, Mosaic Steel Orchestra, Newport News Public Art Foundation, Peninsula Community Theatre, Peninsula Youth Orchestra, Port Warwick Foundation, Rainbow Productions, Inc, Shark City Drum (new in FY 2024), Tidewater Arts Outreach,
Virginia Arts Festival, Virginia Choral Society, Virginia Living Museum, Virginia Opera Association, Inc., Virginia Stage Company, Virginia Symphony Orchestra, WHRO, Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra and Williamsburg Young Audiences Arts for Learning Virginia, Inc.


Top October agents for CENTURY 21 Nachman Realty’s Peninsula office were Dee Karlsson, top listing and top producing agent; Angelena Hankins, top selling agent; Rose Matthews, top closing agent; and Lisa Seay, top referring agent.

Top November agents were Judy Sawyer, top listing and top producing agent; Melissa Eigabroadt, top selling agent; Dee Karlsson, top closing agent; and Angelena Hankins and Carla Stokes, top referring agents.


Virginia Living Museum broke ground in November on its Wild Care Center. This state-of-the-art addition will house the Museum’s veterinary suite, animal nutrition center and animal ambassador habitats. It will allow visitors to observe wildlife veterinary care for the Museum’s 250 native species, showcasing the highest standards of animal welfare and inspiring future generations to pursue careers in STEM-related fields. Designed by James River Architects and constructed by W.M. Jordan, this 5,000-square-foot facility is planned to open in summer 2024. Participating in the groundbreaking were (left to right) R. Anderson Moberg, AIA, IIDA, NCARB, founding principal, James River Architects; Ronald J. Lauster, Jr., president, W.M. Jordan Company; Honorable Phillip D. Jones, Mayor, Newport News; Harry Wason, advisor emeritus and member of the originating founders, Virginia Living Museum; Dr. Ashby Kilgore, president of the Museum’s Board of Trustees; and Rebecca Kleinhample, executive director.


Rotarians from the Rotary Clubs of Newport News, Oyster Point, Warwick at City Center, Virginia Peninsula and Yorktown volunteered more than 150 service hours building 24 self-watering garden beds and priming and painting the Community Connections Wing for the new THRIVE Peninsula building on Nettles Drive in Newport News. The Community Connections Wing will begin in 2024 hosting training and educational classes for individuals and families served by THRIVE. Produce from the garden beds will be used for distribution in THRIVE’S Market, the Peninsula’s first free grocery store. Rotary Club’s $27,500 grant was also used to purchase laptops, room dividers and conference room furniture. Shown here are Rotarians who participated in Phase 1 of the multi-club district grant, “Connections that THRIVE.”


The Classic Cruisers Car Club supports charities through its Cruz-Ins taking place from April through October. Shown here from left, recipients of 2023 donations and their representatives are James Beasley, with Animal Aid; Kate Crump and Heidi Anderson, with Weighed Angels; Karen Brown, with Natasha House; Tammy Gweedo McGee, with Gweedo Foundation; Christina Boco, with Virginia Peninsula Food Bank; and Kathy Jefferson, vice president of Classic Cruisers Car Club. Not pictured is Travis Hall, with Faith Recovery.


Dr. Towuanna Porter Brannon, president of Virginia Peninsula Community College, hosted John H. Davis, an Army veteran, a former paratrooper and infantry squad leader and author at “Tea with Dr. B,” to discuss challenges military personnel face when transitioning to college.


Brenna Behel of Yorktown was the winner of the 14th ZOOM IN on Newport News photo contest, sponsored by Newport News Tourism. Behel won the $500 grand prize for her entry, “The Joy in Paint,” taken at Grissom Library. Brian Talley of Newport News won an honorable mention for his submission, “Swinging in the City,” taken at the Port Warwick Summer Concert Series. Talley will receive $100 and four free admission passes to all Newport News attractions. The contest theme was Breakthrough Fun in Newport News!


Dr. Allison Britt
Dr. Larry A. Evans
Dr. Stephanie Castillo

Peninsula Dermatology Skin Cancer Surgery Center has added Dr. Allison Britt, Dr. Larry A. Evans and Dr. Stephanie Castillo to its team of board certified dermatologists. Britt earned her Doctor of Medicine degree from Thomas Jefferson Medical College and completed her dermatology residency at Thomas Jefferson University. Evans earned his Doctor of Medicine degree from the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences and completed his dermatology residency at the National Naval Medical Center. Castillo obtained her Doctor of Medicine degree from Dartmouth Medical School and completed her dermatology residency at Eastern Virginia Medical School. The practice offers services including medical and cosmetic dermatology and Mohs Micrographic surgery.


Kymberley Cole, Trish Borowski, Brenda Martinez, and Kimberly Stevens have joined the offices of RE/MAX Peninsula. Top November agents were Ingrid Bayne, Eric Thompson, and Justin Wynings.


Top October selling associate for Coldwell Banker Traditions’ Peninsula office was Sandra Hood.


A ribbon-cutting event was held in November, offering a glimpse of SATÉ, the new restaurant and bistro of Chef Kyle Fowlkes, owner and executive chef. The restaurant is located at 694 Town Center Drive in City Center. Chef Fowlkes is a graduate of Johnson & Wales University. Prior to the restaurant and his food truck, Chef Kyle’s career spanned more than a decade as executive chef at Embassy Suites by Hilton — Hampton Convention Center. Participating in the ribbon-cutting (from left to right) were Florence Kingston, Newport News director of development; Curtis Bethany, III, Newport News vice mayor; Dr. Lee Vreeland, president and CEO, Achievable Dream Academies; Kevin Wolfe, general manager, Hilton Garden Inn Suffolk Riverfront & Suffolk Conference Center; Fowlkes; Phillip D. Jones, Newport News mayor; Howard Hoege III, chair, Newport News Economic Development Authority (NNEDA); Jonathan Skinner, board member, NNEDA; Judy Pennino, owner and founder, Yes Chef Restaurant Equipment & Supplies; Alan Archer, Newport News acting city manager; and Gray Bowditch, president, Bowditch Development Partners.


Impact 100 Greater Peninsula held its annual Big Give! in November at Hampton Roads Academy, where $125,000 in grants were awarded to three outstanding recipients. Shown here receiving checks were (left to right) Katie Morgan, executive director of Youth Volunteer Corps of Hampton Roads, with Mekell and Jamison; Emma Byrne, regional director and Lui Rodriguez, Jr., program coordinator, of The Literacy Lab; and Thomas Neumann and Julie Cullifer, executive director of One Child Center for Autism.


The second annual Flags for Heroes, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Warwick at City Center, took place at Warwick High School in November on Veterans Day to celebrate a diverse array of heroes. This project was initiated by Amber Lempke, past president and Rotarian of the Year. The visual impact of the flags serves as a reminder of the collective strength and resilience embedded within our community, with each flag telling a narrative of courage, dedication and unwavering commitment to make a positive difference. Shown here are the members of the Club in celebration.