In the face of disaster, a promise to rebuild

Victor Minichiello stood behind yellow caution tape, peering between two cleanup trucks toward the charred rubble of his popular Italian restaurant, Sal’s by Victor.

A local Boy Scout troop has set up a condolence board outside the remains of Sal's by Victor.

When the wind shifts a smoky smell is carried on the air, past the other stores in the strip mall that are reopening one by one, past crews of men clearing out blackened debris, past a large wooden board set up by a local Boy Scout troop that has been signed over and over by supporters of Sal’s.

Sal’s by Victor was destroyed by a fire Tuesday morning, a blaze so intense 75 firefighters from as far away as Newport News were called in to help put it out.

Victor, as he is widely known to his Williamsburg friends, has barely slept since then.

“I’m drained, man. I’m out of energy, you know what I mean? I don’t sleep — I can’t sleep. I come here, I think the place is still here, you know? You know you go to the same place for so many years, it’s like, I’m here, I have nothing to do here,” he said Friday. “I’m like somebody who loses a son or a significant other, you are at the grave everyday, looking around and you can do nothing, you’re just there, you know?”

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Calling all 18-30-year-olds: Join a book club

The Williamsburg Regional Library will hold an interest meeting tonight for a new book group aimed at young adults between 18 and 30 years old.

“I’ve talked with a number of adults in that age range who asked me about book club opportunities and it just sort of reached a tipping point, that I thought it was something we should explore,” librarian Andrew Smith said.

This new book club represents a growing trend in the United States — book clubs are becoming more and more popular, especially among the young and the educated.

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Fire destroys Sal’s by Victor

Sal’s by Victor, a popular pizzeria located in the Williamsburg Shopping Center on Richmond Road, was destroyed this morning in a massive fire.

A firefighter examines a badly damaged back door and debris from the fire at the popular Italian restaurant.

The blaze, reported by two passing police officers at 1:09 a.m., required 75 firefighters from Williamsburg, James City County, York County, Newport News and Camp Peary. It was finally brought under control at 5:43 a.m., according to Williamsburg Assistant Fire Marshall Chad Greedan. 

Hope, help for homeless making strides

Virginia Walker is a struggling single mom, with a steady job at a Williamsburg-area hospital but barely covering the bills. She was distraught when her oldest son turned 18 and decided to quit school to help her pay the bills.

Then she found the Historic Triangle Housing, Employment and Linkages Project — H.E.L.P., for short.

“This program helped me keep my job and it’s awesome to know we have someplace to go,” Walker said. “It’s hard because I’ve always been the one who gave or helped people and it’s hard when you have to receive.”

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King of Pop lives on through campus tribute

On April 19, 2009, Kevin Dua ’09 led an effort to break the Guinness world record for the greatest number of people performing pop singer Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” dance.

But then, on June 25 — just over two months after the record was broken on the College of William and Mary campus — the King of Pop died.

“It was a very surreal moment,” Dua told The Flat Hat on June 26. “It’s still hard for me to know or understand how I’m supposed to feel.”

Two hundred and forty-two students, faculty and area residents participated in the record-breaking dance. The group smashed the previous record of 147 people dancing to Jackson’s 1984 hit.

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Democratic Gubernatorial Primary: Creigh Deeds

This is the third and final article in a series about the three Democratic candidates for governor of Virginia. The Democratic primary is Tuesday, June 9, at which time one will be chosen as the party’s candidate for governor, to face off in November against Republican nominee Bob McDonnell.

Today’s article examines Creigh Deeds and his platform. Previous articles looked at Brian Moran and Terry McAuliffe.

Creigh (pronounced “Cree”) Deeds has a long history of participating in Virginia politics. He served in the House of Delegates, representing Virginia’s 18th district, from 1992 to 2001, then moved to the Senate, where he has represented the 25th district.

Deeds cites a 2005 run for state attorney general as setting him apart from Democratic opponents.

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Democratic Gubernatorial Primary: Terry McAuliffe

This is the second in a series of articles about the three Democratic candidates for governor of Virginia. The Democratic primary is Tuesday, June 9, at which time one will be chosen as the party’s candidate for governor, to face off in November against Republican nominee Bob McDonnell.

Today’s article examines Terry McAuliffe and his platform. Yesterday’s article looked at Brian Moran, and tomorrow the series concludes with Creigh Deeds.

Terry McAuliffe says his business background and separation from Richmond politics sets him apart from his Democratic opponents for governor.

“I haven’t been caught up in the partisan battles in Richmond,” he said. “I bring a new, fresh approach of big, bold ideas, an executive background, a business background that created thousands of jobs. I think that’s what we need in this very tough economic time.”

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