Tidbits – July 2023

Mariners’ Museum has scheduled its June programs with the disclaimer that events are subject to change. July 7, Beyond the Frame, a behind-the-scenes look of the Museum’s world-class art collection with Kyra Duffley, digital content specialist; July 9, Friendly Hours (in-person program). For times, registration and fees, visit www.MarinersMuseum.org or the Live Programming webpage.

Newport News Mayor Phillip Jones has been selected as one of 22 leaders from across the country to join the NewDEAL (Developing Exceptional American Leaders), a national network of progressive state and local elected officials. The organization brings together leaders focused on expanding opportunity, helping them develop and spread innovative ideas to spur economic growth that is broadly earned and sustainable. Jones was selected because of his pro-growth vision for the future of Newport News and his commitment to leveraging the power of local government to effect change for residents. 

Newport News City Councilwoman Tina L. Vick has been elected vice chair of Virginia First Cities (VFC). The organization is comprised of 16 of the state’s oldest and most historic cities, the core communities of the Commonwealth. Members advocate for increased support and better policies from the state while sharing best practices for effective local government leadership. The newly elected board will serve for one year.

Christopher Newport University (CNU) has been named to The Princeton Review’s list of Best Value Colleges 2023 for providing students with a premier academic experience at an affordable cost. The university has received this ranking four of the last five years. This ranking puts CNU in the top 8 percent of all colleges and universities providing the highest quality education for students at the most affordable cost. The Princeton Review states that the colleges selected are also exceptional for the generous amount of financial aid awarded to students with need and/or for their comparatively low cost of attendance.

Peninsula Sports Club held its Milestone #3 Night honoring (left to right) Pete Clawson, the College of William & Mary; Harold Baker, City of Williamsburg/Lafayette High School; and Richard Onesty, Queens Lake High School/Bruton High School. Bud Porter (second from right) served as emcee for the event. The honorees have each serve 20 years or more in support of Peninsula athletics. Clawson, now in his 29th year at the College of William & Mary, serves as associate athletic director for media relations and strategic communications among numerous other duties. Baker has been a swimming coach since 1972 and continues to coach multiple swim teams. Onesty spent 33 years coaching multiple sports and serving as an athletic director at Queens Lake Middle School and Bruton High School.

The BayPort Foundation raised $136,175 at its second annual Charity Golf Classic event in April. Forty-two businesses sponsored the tournament, including the 84 golfers who played the award-winning golf course at the James River Country Club in Newport News. All of the money raised is used to fund grants supporting the Foundation’s mission, including its $100,000 scholarship program and charitable grant awards to promote financial literacy, family health and wellness, and hardship and emergency assistance. Participating in the event were (left to right) Stephen Harris and Aaron Ames, North River Construction; Lee Haywood, Haywood Floor Covering; Jim Mears, BayPort Credit Union; and Ben Renk and Lori Hiers, DataSearch.

The BayPort Foundation awarded $100,000 in 11 different scholarship types to 38 member students in the surrounding local communities attending a college, university, trade or vocational school.  Application evaluation criteria are comprised of GPA, academic achievements, financial need, school and community involvement and a written essay. Students must be pursuing a degree or certification at an accredited college, university or technical school.  The 2023 scholarship and their recipients were Katie Ross, New Kent High School; Adia Menna and Kaitlyn Worrell, Smithfield High School; Taylor Holland, Windsor High School; Ilyas Choukri, Kecoughtan High School; and Lily Backus, Nansemond River High School, the Beard-Bennett Memorial Scholarship. To Breea Dresler, Tabb High School, the George R. Dudley, Jr. Scholarship. To Taj Adkins, Celeste Kelly, Miles Thomas and Epiphany Smith, Heritage High School; Kanye Hayer, Kings Fork High School; and Aidan Thompson, Hampton Roads Academy, the Student-Run Credit Union Member Scholarship. To Noah Harris and Benjamin Ray of Smithfield High School, Elijah Kennedy, Kecoughtan High School; Saiveon Frazier, Heritage High School; Johnathan Mummert, Peninsula Catholic High School; and Emily Ruck, Kecoughtan High School, the Student-Run Credit Union Teller Scholarship. To Sarai Brown, Alfred State College; Wendy Bright, Old Dominion University; Daphne Franklin, University of South Carolina; Jonathan He, Johns Hopkins University; Raheem Strong, Virginia Commonwealth University; Amy Watson, Riverside College of Health Careers; and Nile Phillips, Harvey Mudd College, the Directors Scholarship.  To Allison Fales, Virginia Tech, the Burton P. Hill Scholarship. To Abrielle Tutone, Longwood University, the Donald I. Steppe Memorial Scholarship. To Tia Semple, Virginia Peninsula Community College, the McGee Family Scholarship. To Luke Cargill, Dartmouth College, the Rowe Family Scholarship. To Angela Claud, Functional Medicine University; Tiffanie Smith, Monica Anderson and Quinon McWilliams of Old Dominion University; Jenae Tynes, Liberty University; and Jeremy Condron, Virginia Peninsula Community College, the Tuition Booster Scholarship. To Dalton Durant, Old Dominion University and Rosa Rainey, Norfolk State University, the Wiatt Memorial Apprentice School Scholarship.

Abbitt Management, LLC, has expanded its business with the integration of Peninsula Property Homes, LLC, its team and portfolio of rental homes, apartments and commercial properties. Peninsula Property Homes, a family-run property management company, has been serving Hampton Roads for more than two decades. As a result of this integration, Abbitt Management will expand operations in the Hampton Roads market and broaden its rental offerings. 

The Newport News Tourism Professional of the Year Award and the newly created Breakthrough Experiences Award were presented at the annual Newport News Tourism Appreciation Luncheon in May. Madison “Maddie” Spielberger, who works as bar lead and keyholder at Second Street Bistro in Newport News, was named the 2022 Gregory Cherry Tourism Professional of the Year. Shown here is Newport News Mayor Phillip Jones presenting the award to Spielberger. 

New this year is the Breakthrough Experiences Award, presented to an attraction, property, restaurant or entity that goes above and beyond to build new opportunities in Newport News. The inaugural award was presented to Coastal Fermentory, a business reinvigorating downtown Newport News. Coastal is also committed to helping nonprofits and holds “Drink Beer and Do Good” events, donating 10 percent of its sales and tips in support of the organization and its mission. Shown here are (left to right) Mayor Phillip Jones, Coastal Fermentory’s Seth Caddell and Newport News City Manager Cindy Rohlf.

At its annual shareholders meeting in May 24, TowneBank reviewed its 2022 performance and provided updates for the coming year. Leaders from the Peninsula and Williamsburg in attendance included (left to right): Gordon Gentry, Alexis Swann, The Honorable Tommy Norment, Alan Witt, Kelly Peck, Donna McMahon, Lisa Pennyfeather, John Lawson, Brian Skinner and Anne Conner.

Virginia Peninsula Foodbank staff members (from left) Renee Figurelle, Helen York and Tracy Hansbrough are all smiles as they pitch in to prepare for the final School Produce Markets of the school year. This monthly program ensures that more than 300 families in food deserts have access to fresh, nutritious, first quality produce.

Carla Stokes
Kimi Dornan
Heather Williams

Top May agents for CENTURY 21 Nachman Realty’s Peninsula office were Carla Stokes, top listing, agent; Kimi Dornan, top selling, closing and producing agent; and Heather Williams top referral agent. 

Smart Beginnings Virginia Peninsula has taken on a new name, FirstSpark. Established in 2005 as one of the first Smart Beginnings initiatives in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the organization currently serves as the lead agency for Ready Region Chesapeake Bay, part of Ready Regions, a statewide network launched in 2022 to bring coordination and accountability to early childhood care and education in every Virginia community. FirstSpark drives access to quality education by supporting educators and families in the Northern Neck and Upper, Middle and Lower Peninsulas, championing efforts, helping to navigate training and resources, ensuring access to those who need it most and shaping policy.