Showing posts with label Virginia Beach. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Virginia Beach. Show all posts

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Gabby Douglas' Proud Airman Father Has Watched Her From Afar

While Gabby Douglas has been preparing to capture American hearts in the London Olympics, her father has been serving in the Air Force.

The 4-foot-11, 16-year-old gymnast nicknamed the “Flying Squirrel” made history Thursday when she won the gold medal in the women’s all-around competition. Her father, Air Force Staff Sgt. Timothy Douglas, who has served multiple deployments throughout her childhood, was not on hand. But he first saw in June what the world has witnessed this week in his talented and charismatic daughter.

“There’s an exuberance,” Douglas told the Des Moines Register in late June, after surprising his daughter at the Olympic Trials in San Jose. “There’s a feeling that you can’t describe.”

For much of the last several years, Douglas, who has done three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, has made do with YouTube videos of his daughter’s routines as he served with the 203rd Red Horse civil engineering squadron, either in Virginia Beach or in Kandahar.

Although his last tour ended in October of 2011, when he showed up to see her qualify for the U.S. Olympic team, it was one of the rare times he has seen Gabby compete in person.

Gabby, who began training at age six, was just nine when her father was first called up. Two years ago, she moved from her family in Virginia Beach to live with a sponsoring family in Des Moines, Iowa, where she trained with Liang Chow, who previously coached Shawn Johnson, the 2008 Olympic silver medalist. But the girl who did perfect cartwheels at age 3 says praying for her father’s safety has been a regular part of her life, almost like her training regimen.

"I just had to pray to God just to keep him safe and tell the angels to keep my dad safe and come home," she told NBC.

On Thursday, Gabby tallied 62.232 points to win the all-around gold medal, besting Russian Viktoria Komova, who scored 61.973 points to win the silver. Earlier in the games, Douglas played a major role in helping Team USA clinch its first team gold medal in women's gymnastics since the 1996 games in Atlanta.

Even if Sgt. Douglas couldn’t see Gabby win the gold in person, the surprise visit to the trials, which marked the first time he’d seen her in nearly two years, resulted in a joyful reunion. Douglas held up an American flag with "Go Gabby Douglas, Love, Dad" on the front and his daughter had no idea he was in the crowd.

"I'm like, 'Who's calling my name?' And then I look up,” she told the Des Moines Register. “It was my dad and his friend, and I haven't seen him in a while," Gabby said later. "They were holding up the flag. And I almost felt like bawling. I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh, Dad!"

"I just missed her so much," Timothy Douglas told the paper. "It's just so thrilling what's going on."

Douglas’ mother, Natalie Hawkins, is in the process of divorcing Timothy Douglas. But both parents have supported the plucky superstar, helping to pay for her training and travel.

"I'm so happy for her, so thrilled," Hawkins told reporters in London after her daughter’s second gold performance. "I love her and I'm so proud of her."

As her father no doubt watched from afar and Gabby took her place atop the podium, her own feelings of national pride were stoked.
"That was awesome, seeing the flag raised and you're on top and the national anthem just playing," Douglas told reporters. "You feel like you’re in a concert. All these flashes ... I'm living on Cloud Nine."

Olympic fun fact: Gabby Douglas' last name unscrambled is "USA Gold."

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sand Sculpting Championship - Virginia Beach, Virginia

Winners of The North American Sand Sculpting Championship, a featured event in the 37th Virginia Beach Neptune Festival were announced Friday evening. The event is one of the world's largest sand sculpting competitions.

The Virginia Beach Neptune Festival Boardwalk Weekend is held annually on the last weekend in September, and is recognized as one of the Top 100 Events in North America. The festival takes place along the oceanfront boardwalk, from 2nd Street to 36th Street. Over 500,000 visitors attend the festival each year.

Sand Sculpture of King Neptune by Ilya Filimontsev by Photo credit: Meryl Ann Butler

The invitational sand sculpting competition with a cash purse of over $50,000 drew artists from 11 countries. The Neptune Festival invites participants who have competed and placed well in other respected sand sculpting competitions.

Sand sculpture detail. Dan Belcher (USA) & Benjamin Probanza (Mexico) by Photo credit: Meryl Ann Butler
Professional sand sculptures are judged according to skill of construction, originality, strongest impact, and overall presentation. Competitors have 24 hours over three days to complete their sculptures.
The third place prize for Solo Professionals ($3,000) went to "Poor Planning" by Walter MacDonald.
Poor Planning by Walter MacDonald by Photo credit: Meryl Ann Butler
John Gowdy (Italy/N.J.) won the $5,000 for first place in the Solo Professionals category for "Love Never Grows Old." A retired firefighter, he is now a professional artist, painting and carving in both marble and sand. Gowdy conducted free "No Hassle Sandcastle" clinics on sand sculpting which were open to the public prior to the festival.

Love Never Grows Old by John Goudy by Photo credit: Meryl Ann Butler

Edith van de Wetering and Wilfred Stijger of The Netherlands won $9,000 for first place in the TEAM professionals in the master's division for their sculpture, "Carpe Diem."

Edith has been a sand sculptor since 1993 and is her 4th year competing at the Neptune Festival. Wilfred has been a sand sculptor since 1989. They won 1st place at the 2009 International Sandskulpturen-festival Rorschach, Switzerland.

Carpe Diem Edith van de Wetering and Wilfred Stijger (West side) by Photo credit: Meryl Ann Butler

Carpe Diem Edith van de Wetering and Wilfred Stijger (Eastt side) by Photo credit: Meryl Ann Butler

Carpe Diem also took the Sculptor's Choice and Neptune's Choice awards for Teams.

On Wednesday Sept. 22, the sand and water mixtures packed in forms gave little clue to their imminent incarnations as Jill Harris and Thomas Koet (USA) prepared for their sand sculpture.
Harris and Koet's "Flamenco" won the fifth place prize for Team Professionals ($1,000).
The fourth place prize for Team Professionals ($3,000) went to "Celtic Sisters" by Karen Fralich (Canada) and Sue McGrew (USA).

Flamenco by Jill Harris and Thomas Koet (USA) by Photo credit: Meryl Ann Butler

The oil spill was also the topic of "Save the Sea" by Sudarsan Pattnaik (India.) It won fifth place for Solo Professionals ($1,000) and depicts King Neptune rising from the Sea to discover oil spillage. It also won the Neptune's Choice and Sculptor's Choice Solo awards.

Save the Sea by Sudarsan Pattnaik by Photo credit: Meryl Ann Butler

The second place prize for Solo Professionals ($4,000) went to Rich Varano for "Cascadia: A Sand Fantasea."

Cascadia: A Sand Fantasea by Rich Varano by Photo credit: Meryl Ann Butler

The fourth place prize for Solo Professionals ($2,000) went to "Glory Lost and Restored" by Matt Diebert.

More amazing sand art at

Amazing works of art! So hard to believe these are made from sand and water. Nothing like any sand art I have ever made or had the patience to attempt.

Virginia Beach Surfers Recount Run-In With Shark

VIRGINIA BEACH – Caleb Kauchak was next to his surfboard in the water off Sandbridge Friday afternoon. The 18-year-old and his friend, Tyler Christopher, were waiting for a wave. Before they could catch that, they caught the attention of a shark.

"I've broken my wrist, and I've broken all my fingers and toes four or five times," says Kauchak. "This was, by far, the worst pain I've ever felt in my life."

The shark bit the Tallwood High School graduate twice in his left leg, grabbing Kauchak around the ankle, then the knee. Just before that, it had gotten its teeth into Christopher's board shorts.

"I felt something bump my leg, and I wasn't sure what it was at first, so I didn't move," Christopher tells 13News. "Then, it came back for a second shot, and I just swung down and hit it."

"When he grabbed my knee, I thought, 'Well, maybe if my board -- hopefully, I can get out of this, because, if not, I'm going right back under," says Kauchak who hopped on his surfboard. "I didn't turn around to look. I just went straight for the shore. That's the first thing I did."

Christopher was with him. The two got back to land where a friend of theirs was waiting.

"I stayed there and held pressure on his knee until the firefighters go there, 'cause I'm actually going to school for stuff like this, so it was kind of interesting. It kind of helped me out, learned some stuff at the same time," Christopher says. "Didn't really do anything else but hold there, because that was all I knew to do. That's all they taught us so far."

Paramedics arrived just after getting the call about the attack, which came at about 4:00 p.m. They took Kauchak to Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital.

"We've had no shark sightings or any problems with sharks or anything all this season," Chief Bruce Nedelka with Virginia Beach Department of Emergency Medical Services explains. "This is very unique, very rare for us."

"To be honest, it couldn't have been that big. I love sharks as it is. I mean, I'm a shark fanatic, so, I love'em," Kauchak says. "It's gonna scare me for a little bit, but I'll eventually get back in."
"Probably not getting in the ocean for awhile," offers Christopher. "It's probably scarred me for a little bit. I'll go to the beach, but I think I'm gonna stay, maybe, ankle-deep."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mongols Motorcycle Gang Leader Pleads Guilty To Gun Charge

The head of the Virginia Beach chapter of the Mongols Motorcycle Club pleaded guilty Monday to the illegal sale of a fully automatic machine gun that once belonged to the Iraqi army.

Justin "Itchy" Wilson, 29, of Virginia Beach pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Alexandria to possession and transfer of a machine gun. He faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced Dec. 3.

Wilson admitted in court that he sold the Russian-made machine gun in 2008 to an undercover agent with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Wilson told an undercover operative that he had taken the machine gun as a "souvenir" during his tour of duty in Iraq several years ago, according to a court document.

At the time, federal agents had infiltrated the gang to obtain evidence of illegal activity. Since then, authorities have made more than two dozen arrests of motorcycle gang members on various charges, including drug distribution, firearms possession and assault.

Wilson has been in the Navy since 1998 and was a petty officer 1st class working as a machinist at Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth at the time of his arrest.

Prison Sentences For Two On Charges Of Transporting Over 700 Pounds of Marijuana

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - On Monday, a man and woman were sentenced in Norfolk federal court on conspiracy charges involving over 700 pounds of marijuana seized in Virginia Beach and Nashville.

Ashlee Gina Bunn, 29, formerly of Virginia Beach, was sentenced to nine years in prison, and Antonio Allen Anderson, 29, of Newport News, was sentenced to one year and three months in prison.

According to court documents, Bunn was involved in transporting 200 pounds of marijuana from Tennessee to Virginia Beach for distribution. She recruited Anderson to help move the marijuana from Newport News to Virginia Beach. After her arrest, she recruited another person in Tennessee to remove 500 pounds of marijuana from the home she rented there.

Search warrants in Virginia Beach and Tennessee resulted in the recovery of over $50,000 in currency and 500 pounds of marijuana. Bunn will be transferred to federal court in Tennessee for trial there with another co-conspirator.

Bunn and Anderson previously pled guilty in May 2010.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Two Dolphins Wash Ashore

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) - A member of the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Team told two dolphins washed ashore Monday.

One of the dolphins was a badly decomposed bottlenose dolphin that washed ashore at 15th Bay in Ocean View, according to one of the team members. A necropsy will be performed on the dolphin, but team members say it could be weeks before the results are in.

The other was found in the water by 64th Street at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront. Members of the stranding response team are currently on the scene and will bring the body back to the aquarium for a necropsy. Of course, those test results may also take time.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mother Driving Drunk While Newborn In Back Seat

VIRGINIA BEACH - Virginia Beach Police arrested a woman for driving under the influence while her 3-week-old son was in the backseat.

Police say, last week 28-year-old Heather Maiers was caught speeding near Oceana Blvd. They say she was going 50 miles-per-hour in a 35 miles-per-hour zone. However, officers had a hunch that Maiers wasn't just guilty for speeding.

Virginia Beach Police spokesperson, Adam Bernstein says Maiers was given a breathalyzer test. After failing, he says Maiers still insisted she was fine. "It was a case where she felt like she was okay to drive," Bernstein says.

When officers tried to arrest her, police say she started screaming at them.

Bernstein says, "Extremely belligerent. Cursing at him especially when he began to lecture her about the dangers of drinking and driving while having her baby in the vehicle. Then she just laid into him."

NewsChannel 3 wanted to her Maiers' side of the story but someone at the house said the family was on vacation.

Maiers faces a list of charges including her second DUI charge, speeding, and felony child neglect.

Virginia Beach Tourist Gets Throat Cut - Suspect Still On the Loose

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - A woman visiting Virginia Beach was the victim of a violent attack.

She was walking along the beach, in the 2400 block of Whaler Court at 2 a.m. Saturday morning, when a man approached her.

According to police spokesperson Adam Berstein, the two exchanged words, then the suspect cut her throat and ran away.

The victim was taken to an area hospital. She is

expected to be okay.

However, some of the victim's neighbors said they enjoyed living along Cape Henry Beach until this incident. Carrick printed up a flyer to circulate in the neighborhood about the attack.

With the flyer, Carrick hopes residents will be careful. "Do not go down to the beach alone at night," he said. According to Carrick, people go down to the beach 24 hours a day.

His wife, Bernadette Carrick called the crime "absolutely outrageous."

Police said the suspect is still on the run.

If you have any information about this crime that could help police, call the Crime Line at 1-888-Lock-U-Up.

Friday, July 30, 2010

229th Military Police Company Arrive Home In Virginia Beach


VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - Approximately 120 Soldiers from the Virginia Beach-based 229th Military Police Company returned home to Virginia on Thursday after serving in Iraq since October, 2009.

Approximately 80 soldiers from the Hampton Roads and Richmond areas arrived around noon at Birdneck Elementary School to be reunited with their families and friends.

Another 40 soldiers from the Roanoke and Southwest Virginia area arrived at Patrick Henry High School about 90 minutes later.

The soldiers returned to the U.S. on July 23, arriving at their demobilization station at Fort Dix, New Jersey. There they conducted a number of different administrative activities to transition from active duty back to traditional National Guard status prior to returning to Virginia Beach. The soldiers began their tour on federal active duty on August 3, 2009.

While headquartered in Virginia Beach, the 229th is made up of soldiers from all over the state. Approximately 60 soldiers are from the Hampton Roads area.

Officials say the unit was expected to provide police training to the Iraqi Police, but was task organized and provided additional training to also conduct protection service detail missions. The unit was requested by name to provide route security for Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Iraq on Jan. 22, 2010.

When the Iraqi national elections were conducted in March 2010, soldiers from the 229th helped maintain security, working side by side with Iraq Police. During the six-day time period of the elections, soldiers lived with their Iraqi Police counterparts at the Provincial Division of Police and the Patrol Headquarters.

The unit was also very active in conducting humanitarian missions while in Iraq. On their own initiative soldiers improved the conditions and safety at a local elementary school in West Rasheed, Baghdad as well as establishing a partnership with the adjoining hospital. In addition to distributing school supplies donated by family members, the company also filled in a sinkhole and installed 26 windows.

Soldiers in the company conducted more than 400 combat patrols and travelled more than 100,000 miles on Iraqi roads. The company provided personnel for traffic control points for several high level ceremonies to help make sure they were conducted safely.

No Virginia Guard Soldiers were killed or wounded in action during the company’s tour of duty in Iraq.

Soldiers from the company were awarded 11 Combat Action Badges, 22 Bronze Star Medals, one Meritorious Service Medal and 107 Army Commendation Medals.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Two Virginia Men Arrested In Delaware For Marijuana

BRIDGEVILLE — Two Virginia men were arrested on trafficking charges Thursday when Bridgeville police stopped their car for a traffic violation and found 10 pounds of marijuana in the trunk.

Jerome M. Middlebrook, 35, of Virginia Beach, and Antwon L. Robinson, 34, of Norfolk, were charged with possession of marijuana, possession with intent to deliver marijuana, trafficking marijuana, maintaining a vehicle for controlled substances, possession of drug paraphernalia and conspiracy, police said.

The men were stopped for following too closely and speeding on U.S. 13, north of Del. 18.

Police said that during the stop, officers noticed the smell of burnt marijuana coming from the car. A further search uncovered 10 pounds of marijuana in the trunk, police said.

Middlebrook, who was also charged with the two traffic offenses, is being held in the Sussex Correctional Institution in lieu of $19,000 bail. Robinson is jailed on $18,250 secured bail.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Delaware Cop's Gun Stollen / Arrests Made

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - The man who allegedly stole and sold an off-duty Delaware police officer's gun was arrested Thursday, as was the man who allegedly bought the stolen weapon.

John Sobran, 19, of Virginia Beach, has been charged with stealing the gun with the intent to sell it, discharging a firearm in public, removing a firearm serial number, entering a motor vehicle (where he allegedly found the gun), and conspiring to trespass.

Gary King, also 19, of Virginia Beach, allegedly purchased the gun from Sobran. When he was arrested, he had the stolen firearm in the possession. He was charged with receipt of a stolen firearm and removal of a firearm serial number.

The officer had been visiting from Delaware when the gun was stolen from a parked car in front of a residence. The officer's badge and the gun holster were found near the car.

Both Sobran and King were taken to the Virginia Beach Correctional Facility. Sobran received $2,500 bond; King receive $3,000 bond.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Wind Farms Will Not Interfere with NASA or the Navy

A new report says a wind farm off the coast of Virginia Beach wouldn't affect Navy or NASA operations in the area.

The report by the Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium also says a 600-megawatt offshore wind farm could supply 10 percent of the commonwealth's electricity needs.

Researchers identified 25 potential lease spots for turbines in an area 12 miles off Virginia Beach's coast.

State Sen. Frank Wagner says at least three companies have expressed interest in developing wind farms.

Proponents say Virginia's coastal area has ideal winds to turn the massive blades of offshore turbines.