Town Crier Articles

Posted on November 1, 2022 6:35 AM by Ben Goodill, WATA Director of Planning
Categories: Life in New Town
 
Williamsburg Area Transit Authority (WATA) is soliciting feedback on upcoming route changes in your area. As a result of a Transit Consolidation Study, the proposed changes include restructuring WATA’s existing Route 5 and Route 14 services resulting in a new route that will go through your area: Route 12. In 2020, we discontinued our trolley service due to COVID-19. Route 12 will serve as its replacement, becoming a full-service fixed route. Due to the restructuring of the routes, WATA would like to hear your feedback on a couple of proposed new stop locations, especially the two inbound route options on Casey Boulevard in the residential community. 
 
On Route 12’s outbound trip beginning at the Williamsburg Transportation Center, WATA is proposing new stop locations in the following places: (as depicted in the maps below – Figure 1)
  • Center St at Casey Blvd. 
  • Casey Blvd at Settlers Market (Actual intersection is unnamed street- Petco/Which Wich) 
On Route 12’s inbound trip heading back towards the Williamsburg Transportation Center, WATA is proposing new stop locations in the following places: (as depicted in Figure 2 below)
  • Casey Blvd at Settlers Market
  • Casey Blvd at Center St.
or
  • Casey Blvd at Foundation St.
These route changes will provide increased access to public transit by providing service more frequently to the New Town area. Each bus stop will be marked with signage only and buses will stop in the road.
 
These route changes are planned to go into effect as of November 14, 2022. (See Figure 3 for entire route through New Town.) 
 
Your feedback is important to help WATA ensure that the new stop locations provide safe and effective service to your area. Please email all questions and comments to Ben Goodill, Director of Planning and Administration at Info@gowata.org, no later than November 9th, 2022
 
Figure 1. Settlers Market Stops
 
 
Figure 2. Casey Blvd Inbound Options
 
 
Figure 3. Entire New Town Route
Posted on November 1, 2022 6:30 AM by Mary Cheston
Categories: NTRA Business
 
The first phase of our vote for revised Governing Documents took place from September 6th to October 18th.  The results were inconclusive because less than 300 owners voted. This total was announced at the meeting and included all the electronic, absentee and in-person votes as of that date. Due to the lack of participation, the Special Meeting was continued beyond the October 18, 2022 meeting date.  
 
There is still time for you to participate and vote!
 
Generally, the voting for a set of revised HOA governing documents can be a drawn-out affair – averaging 8 to 12 months in many cases.  The Board of Directors hoped to conclude the vote in time for our 2023 budget preparation because the revised documents would change the assessment methodology. Since a new budget must be approved by December 1, 2022, we plan to prepare assessments based on our current documents and await the final vote results. 
 
There have been a few questions about the continuation or adjournment of a Special Meeting under Roberts Rule of Order. Here are some facts to help you sort out this process.
 
  • Per Roberts Rules, it is not required to name a specific date for the meeting to resume.  The Board is considering all options to reconvene as conveniently as possible for owners.  
  • The requirements for Special Meetings are defined in the Nonprofit Corporation Act, VA Code 13.1-839. Special Meetings of the Members are different from Board meetings or Annual Meetings. Only business as described in the meeting’s notice may be conducted. Our notice was for the purposes of voting, not providing presentations or taking comments. We encourage anyone with a question on the documents to submit it to the Board for a written response (ntra.secretary@gmail.com). 
  • Electronic votes count towards a meeting quorum – VA Code 13.1-847C
  • The possible vote to continue the meeting was anticipated and made known to Members. Each ballot contained the language – “I further approve any adjournment or continuation of the Special Meeting.” 
Recall that in 2020 the first NTRA homeowner Board of Directors extended the vote for the First Amendment to the Master Declaration (related to Savannah Square) in order to gather enough “yes” votes to pass the amendment. (Please see the Town Criers of June, July, August and September 2020 for how this was handled – https://www.ntrawilliamsburg.org/news-articles/)  
 
However, in the current election NO ONE HAS COUNTED THE BALLOTS OR IS TRACKING THE FOR AND AGAINST VOTES.  The electronic votes are locked in the ezVote software system and Chesapeake Bay Management has control of the paper ballots as part of their professional responsibility.  We are holding a secured, honest and fair election that has not yet been called.
 
The Association needs sufficient New Town wide participation to determine the will of most owners. Ballots from less than half of our 618 lot owners do not do that.
 
Owner apathy hurts everyone in our community. Get involved! Use an absentee ballot or your electronic ballot link from ezVote to let your voice be heard.
Posted on November 1, 2022 6:25 AM by Town Crier Staff
 
NTRA Board of Directors:
Applicants are needed to stand for election for 2023-24. Send a one-page application with: your name, contact information, neighborhood, background/suitability for the Board, reason for serving on the Board to the NTRA Board secretary – ntra.secretary@gmail.com no later than November 4th.
 
Committee Openings:
  • ASSET MAINTENANCE COMMITTEE – There will be two 2023 vacancies on this important committee that assists with our home exterior inspections and monitoring the condition of NTRA assets. 
  • COMMUNICATIONS COMMITTEE – HELP!!! Our website and newsletter are dependent on volunteers. In January, there will be at least 4 openings on this Committee. 
  • FINANCE COMMITTEE – There are 4 members rotating off at the end of this year. The work of the Finance Committee is critical to the NTRA budget and annual assessment process.  
  • POOL COMMITTEE – Oversee pool operations and needs by serving on this Committee which has multiple vacancies. This is largely a seasonal commitment.  
Send an email to ntrawebsitecommittee@gmail.com to express interest in any of these Committee positions and we will put you in touch with the Committee chair. 
Posted on November 1, 2022 6:20 AM by Jack Espinal
 
The largest single cost for the New Town Residential Association’s (NTRA) is landscaping. This past spring we began a process for finding the best possible and affordable landscaping provider for the Association during the next three years. 
 
This process began with the Landscape Advisory Committee’s (LAC) development of a comprehensive Request for Proposal (RFP). They used their landscaping experience in New Town, past New Town landscaping surveys, and sample RFPs from other communities in the area to draft a new NTRA RFP. Next, the Board of Directors reviewed this document and ensured that it reflected the community’s expectations for landscaping services.
 
Five Williamsburg area landscaping contractors received the RFP and were invited to participate in a comprehensive tour of our community.  Each of our neighborhoods were visited during the tour and their specific landscaping needs were explained.  
 
We subsequently received four bids. The pricing and level of services of the four proposals were judiciously compared and evaluated.  The two contractors with the best proposals were selected for interviews.  The Board used these meetings to clarify services and pricing as well as communicate our community’s landscaping policies and expectations.  While the providers were preparing their best and final offers, each of their references were contacted for recommendations.  These recommendations and the contractors final submissions were evaluated and used to select the 2023-2025 NTRA landscaping provider.
 
During our October Board meeting, the NTRA Board approved James River Grounds Management as our next landscaping service provider. James River has been invited to meet the community at a meeting on November 21 in Legacy Hall.
 
One of the first services that James River Grounds Management will be providing is a comprehensive audit of the entire NTRA community. This will help prepare them for providing services to the community in 2023 and will also give the Association the information needed for the LAC to develop a draft five-year plan for landscaping improvements.
 
Hundreds of volunteer hours were spent developing the landscaping RFP and evaluating these proposals. This effort has resulted in the selection of the best and most affordable landscaping services for our community.
 
Homeowner Notifications of Knock Out Rose Infestation
 
Knock Out Roses arguably have the most flower power of just about any shrub available in Virginia.  As reported in the July 2022 Town Crier, and first identified by VLL in February 2021, many of the Knock Out roses in New Town have become infected with the Rose Rosette disease which is carried by a tiny mite (Phyllocoptes fructiphylus) that travels by crawling, through air currents, or on clothing and equipment. The mites feed and reproduce on the tips of new growth of rose bushes. The disease causes deformation and discoloration of the bush as shown below if figure 1.  There is no treatment for this disease and trimming back the infected roses will have no effect as the virus remains in the stocks, roots, and in the ground.
 
Figure 1. Rose Rosette 
 
The LAC has completed an inventory of all NTRA homes where the disease is present. These homeowners will be formally notified to remove these bushes no later than June 1, 2023. 
 
The only solution is to completely remove the bushes and the roots of the infected plant. At this point, only the Knock Out roses in New Town have been infected, but this virus is also known to attack all Rose varieties.  No roses should be replanted in the area.
 
The NTRA will be removing all diseased Knock Out roses from our common areas. We have asked the New Town Commercial Association to similarly eradicate their diseased bushes.
 
Unfortunately this is not the only plant disease problem that we have in New Town.
 
Treat your Crepe Myrtle Black Bark Scale Infestations!
 
Our community has also been attacked by crepe myrtle bark scale (Acanthococcus lagerstroemiae). See April 2022 Crier Article. While it is not a fatal disease, it really stresses the crepe myrtles. Infected trees bloom later in the spring and the blooms tend to be much smaller and fewer than trees that are not infected.  In addition, many of the limbs die and the and the black bark with the white scale becomes an eye sore.
 
The NTRA is now treating all crepe myrtles in our Association common areas. However, homeowners are responsible for treating their own infected crepe myrtles.  You can tell if your crepe myrtle has been infected by examining the bark. If it is black and has small white specks on it, it has been infected. You may also see snow white crawlers moving up and down the limbs.  If you crush the crawlers or white specks, they will turn blood red. 
 
Inspect your trees and treat them now! Crepe myrtle bark scale is treated by washing as many of the blackened branches as possible with a mild detergent and then spraying an oil on the infected bark. The soil around the crepe myrtle can also be treated with a soil drench of imidacloprid or dinotefuran when crepe myrtles begin to leaf out in the spring.  Fertilizer can also be applied at that time to help the tree remain healthy.
 
Working together as a community on both infestation problems will help keep our plantings healthy and beautiful.
Posted on November 1, 2022 6:15 AM by NTRA Activities Committee
Categories: Life in New Town

Join us for a Dessert Fest & Bake Off at Legacy Hall, December 7, 6:00-8:00.  
 
This event, which will help kick off the holiday season in New Town, includes a Bake Off and a Dessert Fest. The Activities Committee is seeking New Towners interested in competing in a baking contest featuring both holiday and non-holiday desserts.  On December 7 at Legacy Hall, Bake-Off participants will present their baked goods in two categories: bars/cookies and cakes/cupcakes, and New Town resident judges will pick winners, who will receive gift certificates.
 
New Towners who want to serve as judges or bake-off contestants need to pre-register on the New Town Residential Association website
 
The entire community is invited to the Dessert Fest, where they will have the opportunity to taste samples of the submitted baked goods as well as desserts from local bakeries. Coffee and water will be provided in addition to the desserts, and there will be seating for attendees to relax with neighbors and new friends and enjoy the goodies. No registration is required to attend and sample! 
 
We look forward to another opportunity to gather with neighbors! Remember, if you want to be a bake-off contestant or judge, make sure to register!
 
Posted on November 1, 2022 6:10 AM by New Town Commercial Association (NTCA)
Categories: Life in New Town
 
Santa Clause is Coming to New Town! 
 
For the most up to date information, check the New Town Commercial Association websiteFacebook, or Instagram!
 
Posted on November 1, 2022 6:00 AM by Patti Vaticano
 
Gratus is the Latin word for thankful, each is reflective of a single word that denotes a state of mind—and for the wise, a perpetual state.  “Be thankful for what you have, and you will be thankful for much,” the saying goes. Maybe a little schmaltzy, but none the less true, as there are always great blessings in life for those who take the time to tally them. And we are now in the great gold and russet month of thankfulness and gratitude that ushers in that joyous time of year when, as Dickens wrote, “…Want is keenly felt and abundance rejoices.” Let the tally begin for our abundance is considerable. 
 
We are a flawed nation, but a great, none the less; and in comparison to the rest of the ranging world, fortunate, indeed. Our ancestors recognized this truth and saw the need to be thankful, just up the road on scenic Route 5, where the true “First Thanksgiving” was celebrated at Virginia’s Berkeley Plantation. The Plymouth Pilgrims, despite the media hype, trailed the First Virginians by years in celebrating a day of thankfulness and prayer--but both communities, while differing in religious scope, saw the need and honored it. So, our ancestors, and very near neighbors, seized this one day in November (well, okay, it was actually in December,) as one in which an “attitude of gratitude” was righteous and due.  Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!
 
November-December Events:  
The New Town Residential Association (NTRA) Activities Committee is planning a Dessert Fest/Bake Off to be held on December 7th from 6:00-8:00pm at Legacy Hall. The entire community is invited to sample baked goods of the holiday and non-holiday variety. Visit the related Town Crier article for more information and to register as a contestant or judge!
 
A popular local publication, Next Door Neighbor Magazine, is a treasure trove of interesting people and businesses in our area and offers an online calendar of events for the city and county-at-large that is chockful of details for each event showcased.  All you need do is click on the link below to open the calendar, scroll through to each day for a list of that day’s events, and click on the event for details.  A special shout out here for Heritage Humane Society’s Holiday Bazaar on Saturday, November 19th, from 9-3 pm, at Bruton Parish Hall.
 
For information on holiday events offered by New Town Commercial Association, please see the article regarding the same in this issue of The New Town Crier and visit their website
 
Some Thanksgiving-themed entries for the month
 
Holiday Riddle: What is a mathematician’s favorite food on Thanksgiving? (Answer below.)
 
Curious Thanksgiving Info: An estimated 50 million pumpkin pies are eaten every November.
 
Historical Thanksgiving Fact: Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday on October 3, 1863. Sarah Josepha Hale, the woman who wrote “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” convinced Lincoln to make Thanksgiving a national holiday--after writing letters to institute this day of national gratitude for 17 years.
 
Holiday Hack: Thanksgiving is about being grateful and spending time with loved ones. If your meal doesn’t turn out perfectly or the house is decorated on time, don’t let that spoil your enjoyment of your family and friends.  Don’t forget to relax and enjoy the holiday, too!
 
Black Friday Hack: Use a Credit Card, not Your Debit!  If you make a purchase online Black Friday without being totally sure of the seller, be sure to use a credit card. In general, you have zero liability to pay for a fraudulent transaction. Even if you hit one of the rare exceptions to this policy, federal law says you are not liable for more than $50. Remember: Using a debit card online gives thieves direct access to your bank account(s)—the funds from which you may be entirely responsible for despite being withdrawn without your permission.
 
 
Pet Care:  Cooked bones from any animal should never be given to your dog, but especially turkey bones or chicken bones. Any kind of cooked bone will splinter when your dog chews on it. Turkey bones and chicken bones are especially brittle, and will break into small, sharp pieces when they are chewed.                                                         
 
Riddle Answer:  Pumpkin Pi
Posted on November 1, 2022 6:00 AM by Jim Ducibella
Categories: General
 
I never had much interest in cars, especially antique cars, until a trip to Staunton a few years ago. There was an antique car museum downtown run by Bruce Elder, perhaps the most personable man I’ve ever met. My wife and I had the first of several wonderful visits with Bruce, and we became more than acquaintances. Sadly, Bruce passed away a couple of years ago, and Staunton is a bit too far for the purposes of this exercise. That doesn’t mean there isn’t something similar out there to enjoy.
 
Reader Mark Johansson contacted us about the possibility of publishing a nationwide map of auto museums that he has compiled.
 
 
It’s an impressive collection, but one of many that stood out to me is in Colonial Heights, slightly more than one hour’s drive from New Town. The Keystone Truck & Tractor Museum encompasses more than 125,000 square feet of memories. Despite its name, the museum offers far more than farm equipment, including antique road trucks, classic cars, vintage gas pumps, oil cans, automotive signage, clocks, and advertising posters of yesteryear.
 
Hundreds of farm tractors are on display in this private collection dating from 1917 through 1960. The Keystone Museum’s collection features rare tractors such as the UDLX Minneapolis Moline (only 25 known restored today) and the Sampson Jumbo, Silver Kings, and a Graham Bradley farm tractor that was sold by Sears, Robuck and Co., and Allis-Chalmer’s. Plus, there’s a lineup of the Massey Harris, Massy Ferguson, Farmall, Case, and Oliver farm tractors. Finally, there’s the Cockshutt farm tractor, showcasing the model 30, 40, 50 & 70.
 
The Museum collection is ever changing and growing. It’s a fun way to learn about the evolution of agriculture in America. To get there, take I-64 W, then I-295 S to VA-36 W/Oaklawn Blvd in Hopewell. Take exit 9B from I-295 S. Then take VA-144 N/Temple Ave to W Roslyn Rd in Colonial Heights.
 
For more information, visit this website: https://keystonetractorworks.com/, or phone 804-524-0020.
 
Keystone Truck and Tractor Museum in Colonial Heights
Posted on November 1, 2022 5:55 AM by Town Crier Staff
Categories: General
 
The below is an excerpt from an article by Carmen Hamner, Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.
(757) 817-0245 (Direct) | (757) 229-4400 (Office)
Carmen.Hamner@longandfoster.com
 
October has come and gone, leaving behind crisp, cooler air, colorful foliage and sightings of pumpkins and mums on porches. Preparing your home now for the colder months ahead will help prevent costly repairs later and keep your home running in good condition all winter. 
 
We’ve put together a few tips to make your home a warm, safe and comfortable place to enjoy with friends and family. It’s also a good idea to keep a record of your home maintenance routine for your own use or to pass to the next owner of your home should you sell it. 
 
Turn off exterior faucets. Drain the water from your outdoor faucets and garden hoses after turning off the exterior faucets from inside the house. Water in pipes can freeze easily, which can cause pipes to burst. 
 
Clear gutters and downspouts. Leaves, branches and other debris can clog gutters, causing water and ice to collect under your shingles, potentially damaging your roof. Clean outside drains of leaves to prevent water back-ups into your basement.
 
Schedule a furnace tune-up. Stay toasty during the approaching cold weather and save money on energy bills by having your system checked now to avoid outages and potentially costly repairs later.
 
Clean humidifiers and change filters. Prevent bacteria and mold from polluting your indoor air by cleaning your humidifier and changing its filter.
 
Reverse ceiling fans. Switch the direction of your ceiling fans clockwise and run them at a low speed to push warm air down, which will save on energy bills.
 
Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Press the “test” button on your alarms to verify they work. If they don’t work, replace the battery. If they still don’t work, replace the unit rather than waiting until it chirps in the middle of the night.
 
Have additional cold-weather preparation tips? Share them with us in the comments! 
 
Posted on November 1, 2022 5:50 AM by NTRA Board of Directors
Categories: NTRA Business
 
Budget Town Hall Wednesday, November 16, 2022 – 6:30PM
Briefing on proposed 2023 NTRA budget. 
Legacy Hall
 
(Tentative) BOD Candidate Forum and Landscape Briefing - Monday, November 21, 2022 (Time TBD)
Meet our new landscape contractor and hear from those NTRA Members running for the upcoming Board of Directors election.
Legacy Hall 
 
Annual Members Meeting – Wednesday, December 14, 2022 – 6:30PM
Annual meeting of the Members of the NTRA 
Legacy Hall
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