This year, a replica of the French ship that brought Marquis de Lafayette to America came to Yorktown and Election Day yielded few surprises for the school board and board of supervisors.
Find these stories and more highlights from the year in WYDaily’s annual review.
- The Board of Supervisors’ year began with the appointment of new leadership. Supervisors Tom Shepperd (District 5) and George Hrichak (District 4) took on the roles of chairman and vice chairman, respectively.
- The county’s budget season started with a public forum to gather suggestions from residents. The first forum lasted less than 15 minutes, with citizens expressing interest in more money being allocated toward bike paths and arts programs.
- The General Assembly appointed York-Poquoson Circuit Court Judge Richard Y. AtLee Jr. to the Court of Appeals of Virginia in January. He resigned from his position at the York-Poquoson Courthouse to begin his new role Feb. 1 and hired two York-Poquoson Courthouse employees as his law clerks.
- York County businesses along Route 17 were informed the construction to widen the highway would partially block entrances into commercial areas. In March, business owners talked with WYDaily about how their businesses had been negatively affected.
- The Board of Supervisors approved the purchase of three new ambulances for the Department of Fire and Life Safety.
- York County residents who may not have access to a garden can now rent plots in the area’s first community garden at the McReynolds Athletic Complex.
- Despite the cooperative atmosphere at the joint meeting between the board of supervisors and school board, the supervisors made clear the “soft” numbers the school division provided because of uncertainty at the state level would prevent them from making any promises about what they would be including in the final budget.
- In February, Planning Commissioners wrote a mission statement about their priorities for Hampton Roads over the next 20 to 30 years. The process to brainstorm priorities began during a work session in January where they agreed to emphasize regional expansion in transportation, education and the economy in their recommendations for the Envision Hampton Roads strategic plan.
- Supervisor George Hrichak (District 4), a Republican, announced he would not seek a third term on the York County Board of Supervisors. He said he had made his belief in term limits known during his first election campaign and would stick to that principle by stepping down after eight years on the job. Hrichak later backed Republican candidate Jeff Wassmer in his successful campaign to fill the District 4 seat.
- The General Assembly voted to appoint longtime defense attorney Richard Rizk as the new York-Poquoson Circuit Court judge, filling the post left vacant by Richard AtLee Jr.’s appointment to the Virginia Court of Appeals.
- The York County Board of Supervisors showed its commitment to the new American Revolution Museum at Yorktown with a $1 million contribution to be disbursed over the next 10 years.
- Supervisor Don Wiggins (District 3) announced he would not seek a fourth term on the York County Board of Supervisors. He later endorsed Chad Green to succeed him.
- Though the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown does not officially open until next year, the building did open as the new Yorktown Victory Center in March. Crews will continue construction on the building into 2016.
- The Economic Development Authority from each of the greater Williamsburg localities – York County, James City County and the City of Williamsburg – voted to recommend the money currently sent to the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance instead be redirected to a new local group.
- The success of the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office efforts to use social media to connect with residents – for both community outreach and crime tips – led to the creation of a new full-time community and media relations position. Lt. Dennis Ivey, who had been serving as the media contact for YPSO, was appointed to the new position.
- Neil Morgan, former Newport News city manager, was been hired to fill the role of York County administrator. He was offered a base salary of $155,000.
- The Board of Supervisors voted to name the York County Sports Complex after late County Administrator James McReynolds.
- After a public hearing on the proposed budget for fiscal year 2016 yielded two speakers, Supervisor Walt Zaremba (District 1) concluded “Silence is acceptance.” The proposal did not include a tax rate increase and gave the York County School Division $361,000 more than it received from the county in fiscal 2015.
- The county closed on the $800,000 land purchase at the intersection of Dare Road and North Constitution Drive to build the new Grafton fire station.
- The York County Board of Supervisors approved a $133.4 million budget, which included a pay raise for county employees.
- In a survey that asked residents to assess York County, 52 percent of citizens rated the overall quality of life as “excellent,” while 44 percent rated the quality of life as “good.” The executive director of the research firm that conducted the study called the results “phenomenal.”
- The supervisors approved a plan that would allow Play A Round Golf & Games to move into a spot on Route 17.
- L’Hermione, a replica of the 18th-century French ship that carried Marquis de Lafayette to America in 1780, made Yorktown its first stop in North America. Visitors could tour the ship or enjoy the outdoor market throughout the ship’s three-day stay, which attracted an estimate of more than 20,000 people to Yorktown. To review our full coverage on the Hermione’s visit to Yorktown, click here.
- Though James City County and City of Williamsburg residents did not have any races on the June primary ballots, York County voters had a few Republican candidates to consider. Ultimately, Kristen Nelson, Chad Green and Walt Zaremba became the Republican nominees for circuit court clerk, District 3 supervisor and District 1 supervisor.
- Riverwalk Landing celebrated its 10th anniversary over the summer.
- Mark Suiter stepped down from his at-large seat on the York County Planning Commission. Robert “Pete” Peterman was appointed to take his place.
- After a four-day trial, the former owners of the Yorktown Refinery lost a case that would have cost county taxpayers around $10 million if the Circuit Court ruled York County incorrectly assessed the value of Western Refining’s machinery and tools.
- A housing developer closed on the purchase of 8.3 acres of land on Hampton Highway near Tabb Middle School with plans to build The Crossings on the Peninsula, an assisted living and memory care facility.
- Todd Mathes and Glenn Brazelton were appointed chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the York County Planning Commission.
- A man who wanted to open a house in Queens Lake to tourists for short stays without supervision did not receive the approval of the York County Board of Supervisors.
- John F. Biagas, president and CEO of Bay Electric Co., joined the county’s Economic Development Authority.
- New treehouse-themed playground equipment was installed at Charles Brown Park in York County.
- York County’s Economic Development Authority became the first in the Greater Williamsburg area to endorse an agreement to create a new regional EDA with James City County and the City of Williamsburg.
- Twenty-eight new voting machines, which cost $230,000, arrived in York County months before November’s election. The county expects to use the new equipment for 10 years.
- York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office announced that all 59 of its vehicles would be equipped with automated external defibrillators, or AEDs.
- The EDA and a construction company agreed to deal to have a stormwater basin constructed on a parcel of land at 410 Old York-Hampton Highway in exchange for allowing the company to use the land as a construction staging area for a time.
- York County joined James City County and the City of Williamsburg in launching their new business incubator. Launchpad, which aims to help entrepreneurs learn, network and develop their innovations, opened in a 4,800-square-foot space in James City County.
- A renaming ceremony for the York County Sports Complex was held to honor late County Administrator James “Mac” McReynolds. The McReynolds Athletic Complex will be referred to as The MAC.
- The York-Poquoson-Williamsburg Regional 911 Emergency Communications Center shared the Governor’s Technology Award with the James City County Emergency Communications Center. The award recognized the CAD to CAD system, which allows the two centers to see call data simultaneously and dispatch the unit closest to the emergency.
- Though it was expected the Greater Williamsburg area would feel the effects of Hurricane Joaquin, it was instead an unrelated storm front that caused flooding in early October. Of the Historic Triangle, York County bore the brunt of the damage.
- Troopers Donald E. Lovelace and Garland Matthew Miller, two Virginia State troopers killed in the line of duty more than 40 years ago, were honored with a dedication ceremony of two bridges in York County.
- Sgt. Mark Medford of the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office was recently appointed the Virginia State D.A.R.E. Coordinator. Medford’s appointment makes YPSO the new lead agency for Virginia D.A.R.E.
- The York County Board of Supervisors will have two new faces in 2016. Chad Green and Jeff Wassmer were elected to represent District 3 and District 4, respectively. They join incumbents Walt Zaremba, Sheila Noll and Tom Shepperd – none of whom faced challengers in the November election.
- York County residents will continue to be represented by incumbents Brenda Pogge (District 96) and Monty Mason (District 93) in the House of Delegates. Leadership in the state Senate did not change either, as state Sens. John Miller and Tommy Norment retained their seats.
- Residents re-elected all incumbents to the York County School Board. Though Barbara Haywood, Cindy Kirschke, Mark Medford and Page Minter cruised to victories, Robert George (District 5) endured a recount after the tally showed he edged Sean Myatt by one vote.
- Sheriff J.D. “Danny” Diggs, York-Poquoson Commonwealth’s Attorney Ben Hahn and York-Poquoson Circuit Court Clerk Kristen Nelsen all easily retained their positions, as they were unopposed.
- Baeplex, a health and wellness complex, opened a new campus in Upper York County.
- Brass Cannon Brewing announced it would be relocating to York County from James City County, giving Upper York County its third brewery.
- Robert George was officially named the winner of the District 5 school board race after a recount showed he won by one vote – the same narrow margin of victory results showed on election night.
- American, French and British air force officers met at Yorktown Battlefield to remember their shared history at that site and celebrate their current alliance.
- Supervisors decided to delay the vote on allowing food trucks in more areas more often to 2016 to allow county officials to look into whether ice cream trucks would inadvertently be affected by the new ordinance. The process to develop the new ordinance began in January and received the Planning Commission’s recommendation in November.