Town Crier Articles

Posted on May 1, 2019 2:47 PM by Mary Cheston
Categories: NTRA Business
So how are you enjoying the new NTRA website?
As of April 27, we have 330 residents registered on the site.  ANY resident of New Town may register - owner or renter.  Our website is the best means to keep informed about association policies and activities around New Town.  For example, for the 2019 community pool season, information will be posted on the site rather than using mailings to each homeowner.
This web platform has a mobile version that is also user-friendly. Log in to the site on your mobile device and see what you think.
Looking for information on NTRA committees?  All Committee records are downloadable from the Newsletters/Committees/Policies menu item.
The Website Team needs your input and help.
• Do you have ideas for other web features or some style suggestions for pages on the site? Pass them along or better yet, volunteer to serve with us.
• Are you a Facebook fan? Volunteer to help us spruce up the NTRA Facebook page and keep things interesting for our followers. (This support can be provided from the comfort of your own home – no meetings required.)
• Send us photos of your favorite New Town locations or activities – we want to have seasonal pictures to post.  (Horizontal slice/view photos are preferred.)
We’d like to hear from you – the hard part of migrating to a new internet platform is done, join us to make the site even better!  Send an email to
Posted on May 1, 2019 2:46 PM by Rebekah Roberts
Categories: Life in New Town
Forget the misery of spring allergies and the annoying rap tap, tap of a busy woodpecker. Cast your thoughts on vibrant colors, warm temperatures, birds chirping, the mouth-watering aroma of hamburgers on the grill and lively music drifting over the community. It’s spring, it’s New Town, and it’s a jumping, jamming place!  Some of the New Town restaurants showcasing live music this summer are: Paul’s Deli and Neighborhood Restaurant, Center Street Grill, Capriccio’s, Cogan’s, and Corner Pocket.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Let me introduce a few of our New Town neighbors who are instrumentalists and performers.   These are folks the Town Crier staff knows about.  Our idea is to put neighbors in touch with one another to generate possibilities for playing.  If you are a musician, contact the Town Crier to be featured in a possible future article.  Meanwhile, maybe somebody featured below sounds like a player you would like to reach out to about jamming.
Ask Bob Bryne about his career as a bass guitarist. It was after the tragic death of John Denver that Bob and his wife Susan met Jim Curry who was performing at a local folk concert. Jim sang one of Denver’s songs and he sounded just like John Denver. After the concert Bob and Susan met Jim and suggested that he do a show centered on Denver’s music. Susan added that Bob played bass and was currently free and the rest is history. Bob joined Jim Curry’s band and a John Denver show was created. He played with the band for five years and during that time many members of the original John Denver's band, like Richie Garcia and Chris Nole joined the group for concerts. Bob's favorite concerts were the ones performed in the main showroom of the Las Vegas Silverton Hotel and at the University of Notre Dame (UND). He loves playing Irish music. Bob and Susan's daughter, Kati will be spending a year in Ireland on an UND service project. When in California, Bob plays bass at mass at Sacred Heart church and when in Williamsburg he has helped out the campus ministry program at William and Mary. Jamming? Good idea!
Sarah Carey and piano are synonymous. Beginning piano lessons in elementary school and continuing through college Sarah now plays at home for her personal enjoyment. One of her favorite high school memories is playing piano duo, where two baby grand pianos face one another with Sarah and the second student playing the same piece. Not limiting musical preferences to one genre, Sarah selects her music from many categories. She relishes the challenge of a difficult or more intricate musical composition especially from the classical musicians, such as Mozart and Schubert. Those are just two of the composers found in the classical music books that her son gave her at Christmas. She also is happy to listen to her daughters and son play for her. Sarah definitely passed down her music genes. One daughter played the piano superbly and beautifully through high school and the other daughter is an accomplished violist with a long running passion for the strings. Her son is of virtuoso status on the clarinet and piano and makes time to play with the Greenwich Village Orchestra. Please continue to enjoy making music, Sarah.
“I haven’t played in years!” That was the immediate response from
Bob Dennis when asked to share his musical side of life. His musical side might be a surprise. Bob played bass in ninth grade in Bruce Springsteen’s early band, the Steel Mill. That’s right…The Boss! The band was formed in 1969 and ended in 1971. Bob played with the rock band until Springsteen booked a tour out of the country. You guessed it. Bob was only15 after all and he probably anticipated his mother’s response when he asked if he could go on tour with Springsteen. It was a definite “No.” Bob stayed home but he and some friends were not sidelined. They formed a band, which performed through high school and into college. Some of the band’s work contributed to Springsteen’s debut studio album, Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. released in 1973. Bob credits Bruce Springsteen with teaching him a lot about music in his teen years. Whenever Steel Mill came back to town Bob and his band often played backup for it. Yep, the beat went on!
Did you know that Chuck Stetler played percussion in high school and college? He grew up in Central Pennsylvania and was a member of his schools’ marching bands, concert bands and jazz bands. He also performed at different events and venues in his hometown and neighboring communities and tells a story about one specific New Year’s Eve affair at which he was playing. He took his date Susan along, who most of you know is Mrs. Stetler, and left her sitting alone on a chair most of the evening while he performed with the band. At one point an unknown young man about Susan’s age approached her and asked, “When are you going to sing?” Chuck will tell you with a chuckle that he wished she had jumped up and said, “Now!” After college, he gave a few lessons and practiced a bit but beginning his career afforded him little time to play. That was the end to Chuck’s life as a musician. Sadly, Chuck’s drum set has gone to the ages but it only takes a box and stick to keep time.
John Marston confirms he loves music, has a wonderful piano and only “sort of plays” on it. His appreciation of music comes naturally “once removed.” John’s mother’s “big sister” in college who was also the Matron of Honor in John’s parents’ wedding was none other than Phyllis Diller of Laugh-In fame. Did you know that she was an accomplished pianist and toured with symphony orchestras? Perhaps a more plausible reason for John’s love of music is that he inherited the genes from his mother who was an excellent music teacher. As a boy John had the opportunity to be in a program sponsored by the renowned NJ Summit School of Music. A highlight of that association for John was his selection as the conductor of the youth orchestra at the elementary level graduation. He was also noticed for his exceptional voice. His paid career as part of a boy’s choir was short but it did expose him to many exciting performances and venues. One of those events was a “brief” concert at Carnegie Hall. Brief because John and some other boys were asked to leave when their paper airplanes took flight over the balcony. Boys will be boys!
The Town Crier’s own Phil Casey plays guitar, mandolin, and the cigar box guitar that his son-in-law, Matt made for him. Phil’s creativity and unique style are apparent as he performs his original songs and covers. He brings the atmosphere and culture of the Tidewater area to his music, adding some pop and rock. Listen on You Tube to his orignials “I Can Be A Panacea” and “Mobs and Kings”, or his cover of “Little Sister.”  Phil works as a solo, a duo in Scrapper T Duo, and a trio with Matt in a group called Scrapper Tuesday.  He performs regularly in Hampton and Newport News and his New Town gigs have included Cogan’s, Corner Pocket, and Capriccio’s. Many performances this summer will be in North Carolina but don’t despair. He’s booked to play locally at Charly’s Airport Restaurant on May 3rd, the Williamsburg Farmers Market on May 25th and June 22nd, and Craft 31 Restaurant on July 5th. Expect to see his duo return to Corner Pocket also, but no dates yet.  Phil makes some sweet music for all to enjoy. Does he like jamming? Of course!
Posted on May 1, 2019 2:45 PM by Mary Cheston
Categories: NTRA Business
“Gee, our mailbox post is really looking sad, we need to paint it”, I said to my husband, Ric about 2 months ago. “Not my problem” he replied, and to my surprise he was right.
As of the April 18 Board of Directors meeting, the official mailbox maintenance policy is that New Town homeowners are responsible for the box itself – in cases of rust or damage, the homeowner must repair or replace it (except for Village Walk where the metal community boxes are association-maintained).  However, the NTRA will now formally maintain all posts. Currently, there is a backlog of about 100 mailbox posts that need painting.
History of Mailboxes in New Town
Mailbox maintenance has taken a winding policy path in New Town. The NTRA Declaration’s protective covenants state that only mailboxes and newspaper tubes approved by the Architectural Review Committee (ARC) are permitted to be used in New Town, and that the ARC may adopt specific criteria that vary by neighborhood. (Article VII, Section 7.1 (z))
In March 2011 the NTRA ARC submitted specifications to the Board of Directors for the first “Standard Mailboxes” in New Town. “The cost of the repair/and or replacement are to be borne by the users of the mailboxes, even if these are not located on their property.” Where multiple mailboxes are involved, each user was expected to pay their share of the repairs/replacements. The Board approved these specifications to be provided to existing and future builders.
Subsequently, in 2013 the Board of Directors reviewed the policy based on a few complaints about the condition of mailboxes and continued the practice that maintenance of residential mailboxes is the responsibility of the property owners. The ARC started some surveying of mailboxes in disrepair to notify owners of the need for improvements. However, by June 2014 it was clear that shared mailboxes were dilapidated and Town Management agreed with the Board to repair damaged mailboxes “on a prioritized basis.” Mailbox maintenance first became a line item in the NTRA budget for 2015.
With the growth of New Town, there are now at least three different types of mailboxes: single home post mailboxes, double mailboxes (2 boxes sharing a common post), and cluster mailboxes (3 or more boxes in a group) – such as the boxes at Village Walk and Roper Park-where multiple mailboxes are grouped together. The reality is that current funding allows Town Management to pay for repainting only about 55 mailboxes a year, according to Community Manager Tim Grueter, and there will ultimately be about 620 homes in our community. This puts Town Management in the position of determining which mailboxes are in the poorest condition.
Since the NTRA had assumed some responsibility for repairing mailboxes, they were not included in the 2017 home inspection and exterior maintenance policy. At its January 2019 meeting, the Residential Advisory Board (RAB) discussed how to practically resolve this issue and how to handle it under future home inspections. The RAB requested to include an inspection item for the mailboxes, but there were varying opinions from the Board of Directors on how to correct existing deficiencies. So, no final decision was reached until the April meeting.
Under the new policy, home inspections will include mailboxes and this report will serve as the basis for painting/repair. The Asset Maintenance Committee will oversee implementation of the new policy. So Ric, thanks for putting this on your “honey do” list and painting our post anyway.  Next time, you can take the afternoon off!
Posted on May 1, 2019 2:40 PM by Bill Voliva, Chair, LAC
Categories: NTRA Business
With the spring rains and the heavy yellow pollen residue taking over our community, the Landscape Advisory Committee (LAC), working with our landscaping contractor, Virginia Lawns and Landscape, has established the spring/summer landscape maintenance plan.
The weekly mowing schedule will begin in Village Walk on Mondays, Abbey Commons and Savannah Square on Tuesdays, Charlotte Park on Wednesdays and Thursday/Friday in Roper Park and Chelsea Green (weather permitting). Please be sure all fenced-in areas are open and easily accessible for the mowing and trimming crew.
Virginia Lawns and Landscape has a new on-site foreman this year whose focus will be attention-to-detail and clean-up.
For those areas with irrigation, start-up is scheduled for the first week of May by Hampton Roads Irrigation.
A landscape enhancement plan will be completed by our landscape contractor around the pool in time for the Memorial weekend opening.
Don’t forget the LAC will be conducting a landscape services survey. The survey schedule is:
• send the survey out to homeowners by May 15
• collect responses from homeowners by June 15
• communicate results to homeowners by July 15
Your participation and comments are an important factor in the ongoing efforts to provide quality landscape services from our contractor.
Enjoy your spring and summer.
Posted on March 30, 2019 11:43 PM by Tom Nichols, Chair, Preparedness
Categories: Life in New Town

Tornado Safety

This part of Virginia will be exposed to possible Tornado activity and damages over the next  8 months.   You need to be Ready:


Know the Difference

Tornado Watch - Tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. Review and discuss

your emergency plans and check supplies plus your safe room. Be ready to act quickly if a

warning is issued or you suspect a tornado is approaching. Acting early helps to save lives!

Tornado Warning - A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Tornado

warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property. Go immediately to your safe room.


How to Prepare for a Tornado

  • During any storm, listen to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio to stay informed about tornado watches and warnings.
  • Pick a safe room in your home where household members and pets may gather during a tornado. This should be a basement, storm cellar or an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows.
  • Practice periodic tornado drills so that everyone knows what to do if a tornado is approaching.
  • Consider having your safe room reinforced. Plans for reinforcing an interior room to provide better protection can be found on the FEMA web site.
  • Prepare for high winds by for the summer by removing diseased and damaged limbs from trees.
  • Move or secure lawn furniture, trash cans, hanging plants or anything else that can be
  • picked up by the wind and become a projectile.
  • Watch for tornado danger signs:

? Dark, often greenish clouds – a phenomenon caused by hail

? Wall cloud – an isolated lowering of the base of a thunderstorm

? Cloud of debris

? Large hail

? Funnel cloud – a visible rotating extension of the cloud base, Roaring noise (like a freight train)


What to Do After a Tornado-Check for injuries. If you are trained, provide first aid to persons in need until emergency responders arrive.


  • Continue listening to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio for updated information and instructions.
  • If you are away from home, return only when authorities say it is safe to do so.
  • Wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and sturdy shoes when examining your walls, doors, staircases and windows for damage. 
  • Watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines and report them to the utility company immediately.
  • Stay out of damaged buildings.
  • Use battery-powered flashlights, do NOT use candles.
  • If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and get everyone out of the building quickly and call the gas company or fire department.
  • Take pictures of damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance claims.
  • Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
  • Keep all of your animals under your direct control.
  • Clean up spilled medications, bleaches. If you have spilled gasoline or other flammable liquids, call the fire dept. vacate areas where there is a chemical or gasoline spill.



Emergency Information:

•   Fire/Police: Dial 911

•  JCC  Emergency Hotline: 757-875-2424

•   JCC Emergency Management: 757-564-4315


  • Dominion Power: 1-866-366-4357
  • Water/Sewer:757-229-7421; 757-566-0112 (after hours) 
  • Virginia Natural Gas: 1-877-572-3342



Posted on March 30, 2019 11:41 PM by Warren Buck
Categories: Life in New Town

This year of 2019 marks 400 years after the official beginning of the American slave trade. That year, some 23 Africans arrived in Hampton and were sold into enslavement.  Many of these newly arrived Africans were scattered throughout the James River area - including Jamestown founded in 1607.  Details of this arrival are still being research and studied. 


William & Mary marks 2019 as a year to remember and recognize it is 400 years since the first enslaved Africans arrived not far from New Town.  William & Mary, founded in 1693, has had an over three century relationship with African Americans; from owning enslaved Africans to build and maintain the campus; supporting enrolled students who brought their own enslaved to live with them; employing African American staff, supporting Jim Crow laws aimed at restricting the movements of African Americans and keep them separate from white Americans, enrolling African American students, employing African Americans in key administrative roles, creating the Lemon Project (a program to encourage scholarship on the relationship between African Americans and W&M), awarding African Americans Honorary Degrees, naming two dormitories after African Americans (one for the enslaved man named Lemon - the other after Associate Dean Caroll F.S. Hardy), to having African Americans on its governing body - the Board of Visitors. 


The 1619 - 2019: Remembering 400 years website contains a list of events scheduled during the year. William & Mary invites community participation in these events.   


The website also highlights two Board of Visitors’ resolutions important to 400 years of Remembering. In April 2009, the Board adopted a resolution that acknowledged William & Mary's role in slavery and the era of Jim Crow and established "The Lemon Project: A Journey of Reconciliation” as a long-term research project.  In April 2018, the Board adopted a resolution in which members acknowledged that “William & Mary enslaved people, exploited them and their labor, and perpetuated the legacies of racial discrimination.” The Board expressed profound regrets for these activities and apologized for them.


There are other events and related experiences that are not sponsored by William & Mary, such as the “Angela Site” at Jamestown. 


Posted on March 30, 2019 11:35 PM by Lucy Painter
Categories: Life in New Town

You may have seen our neighbor Ed Elmore walking his Dalmatian Chompsie along the trails surrounding New Town.  Maybe you spotted them in town where businesses and restaurants are always happy to greet them, sometimes with a bowl of water for Chompsie on hot days.


Ed is originally from Baltimore, a fan of the city's Ravens and Orioles and the Colts who left that city years ago. He has lived since 1964 in the Tidewater area, most recently in Gloucester before coming to New Town. He left the Tidewater area for only five years in 1990-95 when his work sent him to Huntsville, Alabama. 


Before his retirement seven years ago, Ed worked as a civilian for the Department of the Army in the Training and Doctrine Command in Fort Monroe and later Fort Eustis. Each day he commuted to work from his waterfront home in rural Gloucester. Wanting a more convenient, walkable and lively community where he could continue his active lifestyle, Ed found New Town the perfect spot.  


Upon retirement from the Department of the Army as well as US Army Reserve, Ed has found the time to pursue the many activities he loves.  He fell in love with running while a student at Christopher Newport University where he ran track.  In earlier days, he competed in marathons including those in Boston, New York City, Virginia Beach's Shamrock, and the Marine Corps marathons. Today he continues to run regularly with a group of fellow enthusiasts.


Ed also loves biking, especially along the Virginia Capitol Trail, a route he loves for its safety from cars as well as its beauty.  He also hikes the many trails in western Virginia, including those around Crabtree Falls near Waynesboro. He once completed a multi-day backpack hike from Front Royal to Harper's Ferry. In his "spare time," Ed is politically active and an avid reader.


Chompsie, Ed's canine companion, is one of the many Dalmatians he has rescued after falling in love with the breed years ago.  Over those years he has given a home to several Dalmatians, male and female, but for the moment Chompsie is an "only child," although that may not be the case forever.  


When looking for the right place to live and play, Ed - and Chompsie - have found New Town the perfect place, so say hello when you see them.



Posted on March 30, 2019 11:33 PM by Rick Fisher, RAB Member
Categories: NTRA Business

The Transition Program Team is continuing to plan for the turnover of the NTRA from the Developer controlled Board of Directors (BOD) to a Homeowner controlled Board.  The Team has been expanded to include all of the Committee Chairs.  The turnover is officially scheduled to take place on April 1, 2020. This specific date can be found in the Amended and Restated Master Declaration of Protective Covenants and Restrictions.


The Transition of a Master Planned Community from Developer to Owner control is the most critical Phase in a community’s growth.  A smooth Transition benefits both the Homeowners and the Developer.  In our case, the Developer recognized early on that there was a need for continuing Owner involvement and education in Association operations.  The Resident Advisory Board (RAB) was specifically formed for this purpose and has been functioning at the direction of the Board of Directors.  The BOD asks for and highly values RAB recommendations.


Transition is a process.  In a well-planned and implemented Transition Program, “actual turnover is a  formality that marks one event, during an extended process, when the Developer relinquishes control of the Association.”  In the case of New Town, the RAB and standing Committees have been in place for many years. Having a strong Committee structure in place is key to the future of our community.


Legal work will be required to review existing NTRA documents, make modifications and draft new documents as needed.  This will be done by an independent third party.  In addition, a financial review/audit will also be accomplished by a third party accounting firm.  These are just two of the major work elements.  We will be reporting on all the work being done in future Town Crier issues.  




Posted on March 30, 2019 11:31 PM by Phil Casey
Categories: Life in New Town

So, what can you find at The Ivy Trellis? Owner and operator Rosa Mann says, “All my favorites things.  It’s like Oprah.  Only better!”


The Ivy Trellis is a new retailer on our Main Street that opened in New Town in March, 2019.  In all the variety on display, there is a logic of categories. There is home décor, home accessories and gourmet foods.  Does that cover it all?  Not really. You will have to go in and see for yourself because there is also the baby corner and all those handbags!


Rosa has been in the home décor business since 1994, always operating under the name of The Ivy Trellis.  She started the business in Farmville, VA.  (Side bar for New Town residents from other states:  if you have not gone furniture shopping in Farmville, plan a day trip.)  For about fifteen years, The Ivy Trellis was a full support interior decorating business, providing in-home design


Home décor products at Ivy Trellis


services, a show room for product sales and employing a support staff.  


When Rosa’s husband, Ed, began thinking about sailing and retirement, she re-invented the business as an on-line enterprise, still under The Ivy Trellis banner.  Then last year, she re-opened the store with a shop in Lightfoot Crossing.  That shop succeeded and Rosa loved its courtyard which was a natural space for selling home garden accessories.  


Experience showed a basic fact about shoppers:  they like to combine eating out with shopping. And that is what led her to open a shop this year in New Town where dining opportunities are plentiful.  


Additionally, the New Town store has extra storage space and that seems a good idea given all the stock Rosa includes among her favorite things.  Having extra storage space will help keep the shelves out front fresh during the change of seasons and trends.  Check out the pictures to get ideas for your own addendum to the Rodgers and Hammerstein tune.  


The Ivy Trellis no longer offers in home interior decorating services, but Rosa is happy to offer shoppers advice.  Bring in photos for a discussion.  Maybe Rosa will have something in stock that works for you, or can obtain an item from one of her dealers, or she may simply help you imagine what you need, like an orange chair, so you can go out into the larger marketplace with a specific concept of what you are looking for.   


Welcome to Rosa and Ed and The Ivy Trellis!



Some favorite things




Posted on March 30, 2019 6:24 PM by Mary Cheston
Categories: NTRA Business


We are so excited to welcome the new NTRA website. Our goal with this newly designed website is to create a user-friendly and informative browsing experience.


The new site is using a completely different software platform from our original website, so NO prior registration information could be transferred. Take a few minutes to register your family on the new site.  The URL is:


One advantage of the new site is the ability to list members of your family on your membership. Once Town Management has confirmed the primary user’s registration, you may add other users such as a spouse. (Both owners and renters can register at the same address. Tenants will be asked to renew their registration annually so that the NTRA knows you are still living in New Town.)


Another opportunity the site provides is that the NTRA can go electronic for the bulk of our communication. By July, we anticipate that information currently published as the Town Crier will be posted on the site and there will no longer be a page-oriented Town Crier prepared for electronic or printed distribution. Check out the site’s Crier Article section. Messages from our RAB Chair, Chuck Stetler, will be posted as a feature “From the Chair” each month, or more frequently as needed.


So what new things might you want to enjoy now?


  • Calendar– you have a full month’s view of all the NTRA events in New Town, and the ability to export the calendar for your use.


  • Report an Issue– you can submit a request (select a topic) to Town Management that will be tracked electronically so that you will know its status and can check the site until it’s resolved.  Organizing requests by topic also allows the association to more readily determine where concerns are and should give our committees more visibility to issues.



  • Search – are you looking for information on a certain NTRA committee or policy? Just enter the topic in the search tab (under the “Residents” drop-down menu).


  • What’s New – wondering what you might have missed?  The What’s Newtab (also under the “Residents” drop-down menu) lets you specify a time period and then identify any content that has been added to the site during that period.



  • Other new content – if you’ve wondered how New Town was created or are new to the community, look for helpful information under the “About” drop-down menu.  We’ve expanded the Frequently Asked Questions to provide useful info as well.  And we can add more questions if you let us know what you think is missing.


Some features that can be activated as needed in the future include a Survey function and a news bulletin.  As we gain more experience with the site and learn what you, the members of our community, would like to see, modifications may be made since the software platform has many different options enjoyed by other associations. Contact ntrawebsitecommittee@gmail.comwith your suggestions.


So why not join us on this journey?  We are looking for a few volunteers to help us to maintain the site and keep both the web and our Facebook page current and meaningful.  Contact Communications Committee Chair Lucy Painter at


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