Monday, October 3, 2022

Gabrielle Rente: Re-exploring my hometown

This year was my first at WYDaily, and it’s so strange to see 2020 coming to an end. 

Don’t worry, I still gladly welcome it. 

This was also the year I came back to Williamsburg after being away at school for four years. I thought I already knew the Historic Triangle pretty well, but this job has taught me there is much more to experience. 

So let’s go over what we learned, shall we?

1. Housing equality: This is one story I probably worked the hardest on because it took about two weeks worth of research, interviewing and writing to complete. When I heard there was the rumor of the “brothel law” going around town, I knew I had to investigate it. I first heard of the so-called “brothel law” when I was a college student, and I found it hard to believe that such an outdated law could still exist in 2020. Then again, crazier things have happened this year. I found the law did exist but not in the form many people thought, and while it does not discriminate against gender, it does create issues for people within a lower socioeconomic class looking for convenient housing. READ MORE. 

The so-called ‘brothel law’ in Williamsburg is a myth, but that’s not the problem here

2. Smell loss: Fun fact, the day after I got hired as a reporter, I tested positive for COVID-19 and mononucleosis. Short story, I’m fine, but I did suffer from smell loss the months after I tested negative. Given my position as a reporter, I felt a certain duty to use my abilities to help others, especially after I learned I wasn’t the only one exhibiting strange symptoms after COVID. Talking to Dr. Jacobson was a fascinating time, and I learned so much about the anatomy of the olfactory senses. READ MORE.

Lost your sense of smell after having COVID-19? You’re not alone

3. Mermaid Books: This is one story I was hoping I’d never have to write, but I’m glad I was able to do the store one final service. Mermaid Books was one of those local businesses you took for granted because it seemed like it had always been there, so why wouldn’t it continue to be around? I’m sad to see the store go, but I still have the hope another independent bookstore will fill its place. READ MORE.

‘This store is about all kinds of stories’: Uncertainty looms for Mermaid Books; set to close this month

4. Students protesting: I usually go to the regional library on Saturdays, so imagine my surprise when I saw rows of college students around Confusion Corner, holding up signs and chanting not on one occasion but the week after that and the week after that. The protests I’ve witnessed usually peter out after a month or so, but this one had been going on for six months by the time I reported on it. I never thought I’d seen such an action of passion and commitment in my hometown. Anyone who has half of Felecia Haye’s determination is bound to make a change in the world. READ MORE.

This W&M student has been leading protests every Saturday for six months. Here’s how she’s doing it

5. Discussions on race and power: I first learned of this virtual discussion series when I was reporting on the new Citizens Advisory Committee over at the York Poquoson Sheriff’s Office. Rev. Penelope Carroll later reached out to me about the virtual discussion series she was leading. Because of her actions to create a forum where community members could come together safely and share their thoughts and opinions, YPSO was one of the first local public safety departments to form a new advisory committee. I look forward to seeing more of Carroll’s positive impacts on the community. READ MORE.

Local virtual discussions on race and power search for the solution by coming together. Here’s how

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