Town Crier Articles

Posted on February 1, 2023 7:30 AM by Town Crier Staff
The Town Crier has been published monthly (other than January) since 2012. It is entirely a community effort-not a management company or developer responsibility. Over the past 11 years, a team of volunteers has put the newsletter together each month working on stories and articles that these residents believed would be informative or entertaining.
Two lone soldiers can't keep this communication flowing...
Volunteer today to join the Communications Committee and help us! We are looking for a new editor, writers, photographers, and any other talent you are willing to share to help our digital communications.  Email:
Posted on February 1, 2023 7:15 AM by Patti Vaticano
If little things like knowing what your HOA is doing with your money, what developer projects are being launched, what new requests of you are being made by CBM or our landscape contractor, what homeowner challenges are being experienced by your neighbors, what fun activities are being planned for the community, what necessary restrictions—temporary or permanent—are being levied upon the residents of New Town, then perhaps you see the need for a healthy and active Communications Committee.  Knowledge is power.  Without a Communications Committee, we are all blinded to what is happening around us—and which we may, with any given topic, need to question or challenge.  It is very much like exercising your right to vote.  If you care about who is in authority and in what way your life is being managed, you get out and vote.  Same deal, here.  If you want to be informed and made knowledgeable about how your New Town residency is being managed, then you need to actively support an NTRA Communications Committee to be able to see what’s coming and what needs to be questioned or addressed.  
Yes. It will take a small sacrifice of your time.  But what is that compared to knowing and making known what is happening next with your money and neighborhood? Please consider joining us in making New Town a community of informed and happy residents who are knowledgeable about life in their neighborhood--and beyond--and who are empowered by that knowledge to question and even change things when necessary. Reach out today by clicking this link and joining New Town’s Communications Committee:  The Few, The Proud, The Necessary.
Valentine Riddle:   What did the pickle say to his Valentine?
Interesting Valentine Happening:  Alexander Graham Bell applied for a telephone patent on Valentine’s Day in 1876.  On that day, Bell, via his lawyer, filed his telephone patent application with the U.S. Patent Office in Washington, D.C., just hours before the attorney for Elisha Gray filed his version of a telephone. Presented with both applications, the Patent Office ultimately decided to issue the first patent for a telephone, United States Patent No. 174,465, to Bell. The legal wrangling between Bell and Gray lasted for years.
Valentine Fun Facts:   
  • The first Valentine's Day celebration occurred in Paris;
  • 145 million greeting cards are exchanged every year for Valentine's Day;
  • About 20 percent of pet owners give Valentine's Day gifts to their pets; and
  • Candy hearts were originally medical lozenges.
POEM: "Today I Got a Valentine"  by Kenn Nesbitt
Today I got a Valentine
from everyone but Kay.
But that’s alright…
I never liked her that much anyway.
She never trades her Oreos.
She isn’t good at catch.
She doesn’t like my favorite bands.
Her socks don’t often match.
She doesn’t play computer games.
She wears her hair in braids.
She’s something of a teacher’s pet
and always gets good grades
She dots her i’s with little hearts.
She’s always reading books.
Whenever I’m around, she gives me
such confusing looks.
But, oh my goodness, here comes Kay,
and what is this I see?
It seems she has an extra special
Valentine for me.
It’s big and red has the words
“Will you be mine today?”
I always said there’s no one else
I like as much as Kay.
Valentine Fun:  Candy Heart Valentine Bouquet—Fill a clear glass vase to the brim with Valentine candy hearts, place cloth or real red roses into the hearts, and tie a pink ribbon around the vase.  TA DA!  A Valentine bouquet! 
Ladybug Cupcake Hack! Any iced store-bought cupcake will do! Simply half a fresh strawberry, place it on the cupcake, and with chocolate piping, create the illusion of wings and ladybug markings.  Add a Rolo or other fudge-like candy to create the ladybug’s head.
Pet Care:  Valentine conversation hearts can sometimes contain Xylitol (not that real sugar is better for your pet). Small amounts of Xylitol can be deadly for pets and lead to the over-release of insulin, kidney failure, or worse.
Riddle Answer:  You mean a great dill to me
Posted on February 1, 2023 7:00 AM by Jim Ducibella
Categories: General
Maybe it’s just me, but outside of Valentine’s Day, February has never been a very exciting month. Too cold. Too wet. Too far from the beauty of Spring. I don‘t ski, snowboard, ice skate. If making round trips from the couch to the refrigerator were an Olympic event, I’d be on the cover of Sports Illustrated, waving my ham sandwich proudly.
But enough about me. Here’s a couple of February things in the region to view and listen to.
  • William & Mary’s Ewell Concert Series continues on Feb. 10 at the Williamsburg Regional Library theater. Featured artist is Kadencia, a 13-piece, Puerto Rican-founded orchestra of professional musicians who have traveled the world performing. Doors open at 6:30, the program starts at 7, and is free and open to the public.
  • The Kitchen Witches, Smithfield Little Theater. Isobel Lomax and Dolly Biddle are two “mature” cable-access cooking show hostesses who have hated each other for thirty years, ever since Larry Biddle dated one and married the other. Circumstances put them together on a TV show called The Kitchen Witches, which somehow becomes a smash hit, probably because the insults are tastier than the food. The show runs Feb. 10-12, 17-19, and 24-26. The theater is located at 210 N. Church Street in Smithfield. Tickets are $20. For more information, visit
  • Dancing With the Williamsburg Stars. This 14th annual charity event will be staged on Feb. 25, 7 p.m., at Crosswalk Church – 7575 Richmond Road. Proceeds go to Big Brothers Big Sisters and Literacy for Life. Tickets, which have been on sale since Jan. 20, start at $45 and may be purchased at
Posted on February 1, 2023 6:58 AM by Liz Fones-Wolf, Activities Committee
Categories: Life in New Town
On December 7, 2022 New Towners gathered in Legacy Hall to kick off the holiday season at our Holiday Bake-Off and Dessert Fest.  A brightly decorated Christmas tree and tables with holiday center pieces on red or white tablecloths helped create a festive atmosphere. The first part of the event was a juried baking contest with two categories: 1) cookies and bars; and 2) cakes and cupcakes. Sixteen New Town bakers participated, including two children.  Six New Town residents happily served as judges, three people for each category, including one delighted young teen. 
About 80 attendees of all ages cheered the judging and applauded the winners, Kathy and Brian Griffith for an impressive chocolate cake with port-soaked cherries and Jenny Bragdon for delicious smoky salted chocolate toffee.  The Griffiths and Jenny Bragdon were awarded with fifty-dollar gift certificates compliments of the New Town Commercial Association.  
The second part of the event was the Dessert Fest during which attendees filled their plates from two long tables covered with samples from the Bake-Off’s submissions, including  Sue Langston-Ames’s second place, Charlie Brown Christmas carrot cupcakes, and Lance Scifres’s third-place, lemon-blueberry layered pound cake, as well as Trace Waible’s second-place salted caramel bars, and Liam Licastro’s huge monster cookies.  Liam was one of the contest’s two young bakers. In addition to the delicious Bake-Off’s submissions, participants also enjoyed coffee and tea and an array of other desserts from local bakeries compliments of the New Town Residential Association.  
Residents commented about how pleased they were to return to Legacy Hall for a holiday event and to catch up with old friends. Lynn Dorsey observed that “It was lovely – nicely set up and a good chance to meet new people.” For Anne Mapp, it was a “great opportunity to meet my neighbors,” and twelve-year old judge, Chloe Mapp chimed in “Being a judge never tasted so good.”  Another couple with a baby, who recently moved to New Town, characterized the event as “very welcoming to new residents,” and with smiles on their faces observed that the food was “awesome!”
Posted on February 1, 2023 6:55 AM by NTRA Activities Committee
Categories: General
If you enjoyed the January 29th women's basketball game, gather the family for another New Town Day to cheer on the William and Mary Men's Basketball team. 
Kaplan Arena
William and Mary is reserving a section of seats for New Towners.  Your discount link below will automatically put you in this location. 
Before the game join neighbors for FREE pizza, dessert, and drinks in the Wightman Cup Room at 1:00 PM. (The Wightman Cup Room is around the corner to the left - beyond the game entrance area.)  Come out and meet your fellow new Town basketball fans.
Discount Tickets: 
Buy your ticket ($8) for a reserved seat in advance at this link:  New Town Day Special Offer
New Town - Keep showing that Tribe Pride!
This event is sponsored by the New Town Residential Association Activities Committee.  
Questions? Contact Liz Fones-Wolf at
Posted on December 1, 2022 6:25 AM by Town Crier Staff
Categories: NTRA Business
The New Town Residential Association will hold its election to fill two vacancies for homeowner Directors starting December 1 to 13th. EZVote will again be the service used for voting so look for your link today from:
To help you compare the candidates, here is some additional information. Their full applications can be found on the NTRA Website 2023 Board Elections page. 
Two candidates will be elected for fill our vacancies for 2023-2024.
Posted on December 1, 2022 6:20 AM by Town Crier Staff
Categories: Life in New Town
Free Holiday Dessert Festival
Wednesday, Dec. 7
Legacy Hall, 6:00-8:00
When you are at a bakery and hungrily peering at yummy desserts, have you ever wished you could taste them all?  Now is your chance. 
The New Town Activities Committee is inviting all New Town families and friends to kick off the holiday season by joining us for a FREE Dessert Festival on Wednesday, December 7, at Legacy Hall from 6:00 - 8:00 to taste desserts from local Bakeries.  
Judging for the Bake-Off will also take place at this event. There will be drinks and seating provided for attendees to relax and enjoy the goodies.  We looking forward to seeing you.  
This event is open to ALL New Town residents. 
Continuation of Special Meeting of NTRA Members
Wednesday, December 14th
Legacy Hall – 6:30PM
This is the continuation of the Special Meeting of October 18, 2022, which was continued with voting on the proposed revised governing documents remaining open. The votes will be tallied and results announced at this meeting. 
followed by
Annual NTRA Members Meeting
Wednesday, December 14th
Legacy Hall – 7:00PM
The annual meeting will include reports on NTRA Committee business from 2022, comments from our management company (Chesapeake Bay Management) and the Board of Directors. The purpose of the meeting is the election of two Directors to serve on the 2023-2025 Board of Directors. In addition, Members will be asked to vote on 1) the disposition of any surplus 2022 funds (per IRS requirement) and 2) an amendment to the Amenities Use Easement and Agreement that currently obligates the NTRA and the New Town Commercial Association to use the same management company. 
Both December 14th meetings are open to New Town Residential Association Members only. Registration begins at 6PM.
FREE Photos with Santa
- Capture the Magic -
Saturdays & Sundays, December 3-4, 10-11, 17-18
11:00am - 4:00pm
Located in front of Regal New Town
Snap your own photos and share instantly! For more information, visit
Williamsburg Field Musick Fifes & Drums
- Musical Entertainment -
12-2pm each Saturday & Sunday during Santa photos!
Susan Dippre Designs
- Pop-Up Wreath Sales -
Beautiful wreaths cut fresh from the mountains of Virginia, for Sale during Santa hours!
Posted on December 1, 2022 6:15 AM by Jim Ducibella
Categories: General
There is much to do and see around our humble little hamlet this time of year; too much to just list one holiday getaway. Below find a sample of Christmas-related events, some well familiar to you, some maybe not so much.
Busch Gardens – Christmas Town: The light count is up to more than 10 million for this annual local attraction. That’s one of the largest holiday displays in North America. We attend every year and thoroughly enjoy the holiday shows and the Christmas Town Express. We’re not coaster people, but for those who are more than 20 rides will be open, including the new Pantheon. Christmas Town runs through January 8. There are many options for ticket purchase, so for more information visit this website:
Santa at Busch Gardens
Garden of Lights – Norfolk Botanical Gardens: Walk the Garden Aglow is open from 5-9 p.m. until January 1. Park the car and stroll through the Gardens. Walk in, around, and under holiday decorations. There are several different ticket prices available depending on what night you go. The Gardens are located at 6700 Azalea Garden Road, right next to Norfolk International Airport. For complete information visit this website:
Nauticus and Battleship Wisconsin: Staying in Norfolk, for the third straight year the battleship is decked out for the holidays, this time with more than one million lights. It’s hard to describe the magnificence of this ship, other than to say you must see it to believe it. Open until January 1, the Grinch and Santa Claus will be on hand to greet the kiddies (or grandkids). General admission tickets to Winterfest are $18.50, but prices vary depending on the date you visit. For more info, visit this website:
A Real Colonial Christmas in Smithfield: Jump on this opportunity quickly, as the event runs on December 3 and 4. Events are held at the Manor House at Windsor Castle. The 1750 Courthouse. Historic Christ Episcopal Church will be featured as well. Smithfield has become known throughout the region as a must-visit destination for the holidays, say the organizers. See for yourself. Tickets are $20 and for more information, visit this website:
Mistletoe Market – Yorktown: This free event takes place on December 10 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Riverwalk Landing in Yorktown. Browse the market for chowders and soups; an assortment of cakes, breads, brownies, fudge, cookies; jams, jellies, and honey; holiday wreaths; candles and soaps; and local seasonal art! March in the annual Toyland Parade, and don't forget to hop aboard the Riverwalk Landing Polar Express for a loop around the festivities.
Yorktown, VA
River Realm Holidays – Kilmarnock, Urbanna: My quick, unofficial count showed at least seven events related to the holidays, from parades to fashion shows to caroling to open houses along the Chesapeake Wine Trail. For more information as to when and where, visit this website:
Posted on December 1, 2022 6:10 AM by Betsy Darling, ARC Chair
Categories: NTRA Business
Did you know that the Architectural Review Committee (ARC) has a procedure for considering applications from homeowners wanting to make permanent exterior changes to their homes?  The main take away for homeowners is the requirement that applications be submitted one week prior to the scheduled ARC meeting which takes place on the 2nd Monday of each month at 4:00PM. This is not a new requirement or change. You can find our requirements on the NTRA website under Committees, Policies, Newsletter Archives/ Policies and Guidelines/4.0 Architectural Review - Changes to Property/ and the following three documents 4.1 (Guidelines) 4.1A (Application) and 4.2. (Procedures).  Excerpts from the relevant ARC process documents are listed below.  
The ARC has tried to accommodate homeowners who submit applications within that one-week time limit, but this has become unworkable. An agenda for the ARC meeting must be posted on the NTRA website in advance of the meeting, all applications submitted must be verified by the management company for completion and then forwarded to ARC members, and ARC members must have time to visit the properties to see what the proposed changes involve.  Having a complete application submitted one week prior to the ARC meeting allows time for all of these things to happen in an orderly fashion. Please remember to submit ARC applications at least one week prior to the ARC meeting or they won't be reviewed until the subsequent month.
From 4.1A ARC Application and Instructions
C.  Please submit your application at least 1 week prior to the scheduled ARC meeting which take place on the 2nd Monday of each month at 4:00PM. …
New Town Residential Association
Architectural Review Committee Request Form
• Applications must be submitted 1 week prior to Committee Meeting, held the second Monday of each month. … “
From 4.2 ARC Procedures
“4. Procedures
4.1.2 The ARC may review applications either in a regularly scheduled meeting or via electronic means. Applications submitted at least 1 week prior to the date of the ARC meeting will be reviewed at that meeting. Applications submitted short of that time will be reviewed at the next month’s meeting. …”
Posted on December 1, 2022 6:00 AM by Stuart Dopp
Categories: NTRA Business
This informational meeting hosted by the NTRA Board of Directors had dual purposes. 
Part 1: Meet James River Grounds Management
The first New Town landscaping contract under full homeowner control went to James River Grounds Management, who are well established in this area. Staff members and management introduced themselves with statements regarding their roles in the services provided.
James River staff then discussed their planned entry audit of the entire community, including common areas, trails, BMP’s and lots, to document current conditions, flag safety hazards and any areas of concern.  The team described their processes for: 
  • Routine lawn maintenance using smaller closed deck mulching mowers followed by a string trimmer. In response to a question, their policy is to have workers report areas that are too wet to mow for the supervisor’s consideration.
  • Quality control, including weekly inspections of work and site audits to determine overall quality and enhancement opportunities. 
Two specific policies were highlighted:
  • Policy on individualized plant beds, which will not be serviced
  • Buffer zones to be created with herbicide under fences in order to protect them
A calendar approximating services by month was part of their presentation (now posted on the website LINK).
Questions included: 
  1. Environmental impact of chemicals. James River follows EPA and JCC guidelines, and uses VA Tech trainers. Chemical treatments are not outsourced.
  2. Request for a phone number rather than submitting tickets. Both the company and Anne Ingram (Chesapeake Management) find the ticket system much more efficient and responsive, at least for now.
  3. Many questions arose regarding fenced yards: James River staff discussed the merit of buffer zones, which will be required, to protect fences, as was standard policy in early days of New Town. Pictures are on the website. Questions and answers regarding costs: the budget has been set up to cover potential costs if the new documents are passed and mowing of fenced yards is allowed. There was discussion of buffers for fences between lots. 
  4. In response to a question, James River will service the BMP’s quarterly, using JCC guidelines. They also prune and mow 6-8 feet alongside the trails and haul all debris away, being mindful of protected areas. 
  5. Crabgrass / weed prevention: James River does its own applications in confirmation of JCC law (48 hours notice to community) and tries to anticipate /forestall problems. 
  6. Irrigation: this is a separate contract, which has not yet been awarded. 
To help ensure that all parties live up to our agreement with James River, a delineation of responsibilities for both homeowners and the company has been approved by the Board of Directors. See the document Landscape Services and Responsibilities on the NTRA website. It goes into effect on January 1, 2023.
Part 2:  Meet the Board Candidates
The second part of the meeting was devoted to an introduction of candidates for the 2023-2024 Board. Board Vice President Jack Espinal stressed that candidates should be committed to serving the entire community, be able to subjugate personal feelings to that goal, and be open to other’s ideas. 
Three candidates for the two openings presented their views and credentials, here in summary form. Please check the NTRA website for more information about these candidates. 
Ruth Burgess, a retired United Methodist minister, has served on the NTRA Finance Committee and stressed the need for a sense of collaborative community. She previously lived in Reston, the first “new urban” community in VA and draws from that experience and vision.
Jeff Kuperstock, a retired attorney, stated that his views are at variance with the current Board, especially his opposition to the proposed revised governing documents. He favors decentralized control through neighborhood boards that could interact on NTRA issues. (Editors note: please see comment below for clarification).
Caitlin Melchior is a recent New Town arrival with a background in corporate law, and an MBA augmenting her JD. While still in the learning process about our community, she stressed her commitment to candor and cooperation with civil dialogue. 
All candidates agreed that the NTRA should have a constructive relationship with the New Town Commercial Association. In response to concerns about increasing numbers of tenants, the consensus was that there is no legal remedy to limit rentals unless it is done at the outset of a community. 
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