Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Essay Contest, New Police Station and More: News Briefs for March 25

(James City County)

James City County Historical Commission Sponsors Student Essay Contest

he James City County Historical Commission is sponsoring an essay contest for Williamsburg-James City County high school students (grades 9-12). Students who reside in James City County or in the City of Williamsburg and attend a public or private school or are home-schooled are eligible to participate.

The essay should be 1,000-1,500 words (4-6 pages, double-spaced) on one of the following topics:

  1. The Railroad. James City County has a rich history with the railroad. Summarize the history of the railroad in James City County from 1860 to the present. Identify the rail lines that came through James City County and include the location of the train depots and warehouses. Where did the lines originate and end? Were the lines both passenger and freight? What were the main products shipped to and from James City County?  Describe how the rail service changed over the years and what service we have today.
  2. African American Schools. Schools for African American students were created in James City County early in our history and some continued well into the twentieth century.  Some of those schools were short lived, but others continued for decades. Identify the earliest schools and tell who created them and their purpose.  What were the Rosenthal schools and when were they started and when were they closed?  What were the local and state laws that controlled the education of African American students?  When did segregated schools come to an end in JCC?
  3. Lady Frances Berkeley. Frances Culpeper was arguably Virginia’s most notable 17th century woman.  She had attracted the attention of the aging Virginia Governor Sir William Berkeley.  After her husband’s death she married the Governor and became Lady Frances Berkeley and mistress of his estate, Green Spring, in James City County. At Governor Berkeley’s death, Green Spring and his vast fortune was left to Lady Berkeley.  Summarize Lady Berkeley’s life.  Include her accomplishments and notable influences.  Explain how these impacted our region’s early development and history.

The paper should include citations — footnotes or endnotes plus a bibliography (not be included in the total word count). The student should use the Chicago Manual of Style for citations. The cover page, which is alsonot included in the total word count, should include the essay title; the student’s name, address, phone number and email address; the name of the student’s school (or “home-schooled”), and the total word count. The first page of the essay should have the essay’s title at the top. The student’s name or other personal identifying information should not be included in the main body of the essay. Pages of the essay main body should be numbered.

Pat Lewis

Chesapeake Bank announces the retirement of Patricia Lewis, Executive Vice President and Director of Human Resources

Pat Lewis retired after a 50-year tenure with Chesapeake Bank, beginning her career as a teller in its Lively branch office. She has held positions in retail banking, internal audit, loan administration and lastly as Director of Human Resources.

Amanda Sumiel, Assistant Director of Human Resources stepped into the director role upon Lewis’s retirement.

Williamsburg City Council Authorizes Interim Agreement with Henderson Inc. for New Police Station

Williamsburg City Council voted unanimously on Thursday, March 9 to authorize the city manager to enter into an interim agreement with Henderson Inc. for the construction of the Williamsburg Police Station and the relocation of the Public Works yard.

The agreement enables Henderson to work with City staff to develop a final design for the project, and provides that Henderson design 50% of the construction drawings by September at a cost of approximately $938,000. The total budget for the police station design and construction is $17,523,190.

The 29,000-square-foot police station will be built adjacent to the Municipal Building on Lafayette Street; the current police station will be demolished once the new one opens. The new locationdisplaces the current Public Works yard, so Henderson’s work will include construction of a replacement yard. The total budget for the Public Works yard construction is $2,350,000.

Popular York County Diner Closes

Pop’s Drive-In, a local institution for nearly half a century, closed its doors March 22. Signs on the windows thanked customers for their 45 years of patronage. The property at 6555 George Washington Memorial Highway in Yorktown is listed at $1,200,000. All Restaurant equipment and fixtures are included in the sale.

Dairy Queen opens in Grafton

York County’s new Dairy Queen on Route 17 in Grafton is now open, according to York County District 4 Supervisor Stephen Roane. The new location is in the Grafton Shopping Center.

Gloucester County urges public participation in budget process

Gloucester’s County Administrator Carol Steele recently presented her proposed budget for the county for fiscal year 2023-24, and members of the public will have the opportunity to provide input to the County’s Board of Supervisors on the proposed budget and any changes they would like to see.

Tuesday, March 28, the Board hosts its Budget Town Hal at T.C. Walker Education Center’s Auditorium beginning at 6 p.m. For those who cannot attend, comments will be accepted online by visiting, via phone by calling 804-824-2760, or by mailing to “County Administration ATTN: Citizen/Public Hearing Comment,” 6489 Main Street, Gloucester, 23061.

The County Administrator’s proposed budget can be found on the county’s website at The budget is expected to be adopted April 17. For more information, contact County Administration at 804-693-4042 or

Don Schilling, Director of the Great Decisions program, speaker Col. Larry Wilkerson, who was Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Government and Public Policy at the College of William & Mary, and Sudie Watkins, past president of the League of Women Voters Williamsburg Area.

Great Decisions Lecture Series: Wilkerson Discusses Iran at a Crossroads

On Tuesday, March 21, Col. Larry Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell and more recently a Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Government and Public Policy at the College of William & Mary, spoke on the current situation in Iran at the League of Women Voters Williamsburg Area’s Great Decisions Lecture.

Next week’s lecture, the last one of the series sponsored by the League of Women Voters-Williamsburg Area will be on China’s foreign policy. The speaker will be Andrew Mertha, the George and Sadie Hyman Professor of China Studies, Director of the China Studies Program, and Director of the China Global Research Center at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced and International Studies.

He will speak in person at the Williamsburg Library and will also be available to ticket holders on Zoom.

February 18 meeting of the Williamsburg Chapter SAR

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