Town Crier Articles

All February Articles (Text Only - No Photos)
Posted on February 1, 2021 7:00 AM by Town Crier Staff
Town Talks
Kimberly Kearney
New Town Talks
Thursday, Feb. 18 at 7pm
Topic – March Madness
Speaker: Sean Kearney, Associate Commissioner, Men’s Basketball, Atlantic 10 Conference
Bio: Sean has worked in Division 1 College Athletics since 1986 (35 years). He has coached at Providence College, Philadelphia University (formerly Philadelphia College of Textiles & Science), Northwestern University, University of Delaware, University of Notre Dame, Holy Cross, and University of Colorado in Boulder. He has worked at all levels from volunteer through Head Coach. He has worked in broadcasting as well, doing color for ESPN Sports and local radio in South Bend, IN. He played at the University of Scranton.
Sean will speak about the upcoming Atlantic 10 Conference tournament and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, and the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic. He will also take questions during this informal discussion.
So What Harm Could It Do?
Landscape Advisory Committee
So you decided it’s time to clean your yard or patio, and now you have a pile of clippings and maybe some potted plants or shrubs you want to dispose of and so you follow James City County’s recommendations and dispose of them properly. But there are some who just don’t feel like you, and want to dispose of them differently. What to do? So maybe they haul it down the street to the neighborhood woods and dump it there. They figure that it’s natural, so what harm could it do? The answer is, it is not exactly natural, and therefore, it is likely to be harmful to the environment and, therefore, also illegal. Now certainly not everyone takes the approach to dispose of plant materials in the woods, sometimes it’s someone driving through our neighborhood that may be doing it. Our woods and BMP areas are important features and amenities for us to enjoy and a naturalistic area for abundant wildlife here.
Discarded materials often contain pesticides and fertilizers that were applied to the yard. Pesticides intended for lawn grubs and other pests can also kill beneficial insects, fish and other wildlife if the contaminated grass or soil is moved to their habitat. Chemicals used on commercially purchased Christmas trees to keep them looking fresh longer may sicken deer and rabbits if the trees are dumped after the holiday. Lawn fertilizer may seem beneficial for a natural area, but even small amounts will disrupt the natural balance of nutrients in the environment. Any materials that are dumped can wash downhill into local waterways, carrying poisonous chemicals and excess nutrients to aquatic life.
Ornamental plantings can become invasive if moved to a new area. A natural area should support only native plant species. It can become a constant battle and an expensive one, to keep nonnative species out of the woods. If people dump house and yard plants (even broken pieces) in the woods, the new species may start growing out of control.
Organic waste may contain plant diseases or insects that can destroy native life. Pet wastes may contain bacteria, such as E. coli and fecal coliform bacteria that can sicken wild animals and people. Often the wastes wash downhill into streams and ponds during heavy rain falls and contaminate the water.
Piles of excess rotting vegetation in water bodies use oxygen normally found in the water, stealing it from aquatic life, which then die. Piles of some yard debris eliminate natural homes for wildlife. Furthermore, the dumped piles are unsightly. For these reasons, it is illegal to dispose of plant and animal materials on public lands that are not specifically designated for this purpose. Some areas have signs posted that say “No Dumping.” This includes yard debris. Our woods actually have signs that say not to remove plant materials, so it makes sense not to add anything to it either.
Take a Stroll on Newly Enhanced Trails
Sarah Carey
Add steps to your daily walk and check out the improved trail section from Blythe Lane/Casey Boulevard at Roper Park to the Shirley Park Bridge behind the pool! It is nice and wide with the brush and trees cut way back and a new surface has been put down.
The black base material on the trail is recycled road base material which will compact and become
firmer over time.  The pebbles were left mainly down the middle of the path but over time, with 
pedestrian traffic, they will spread and level out.  Halfway down the trail a culvert pipe was added to
help prevent erosion washout from the outflow pipe from Roper Park area.   
Routine maintenance will be easier now that some of the wetness has been diverted. Gravel trails 
only need to be regraded every few years.
In Memoriam – Larry Burian 
Mary Cheston, Board of Directors
New Town resident and former Board of Directors member Larry Burian passed away in late December.  Although he had only lived in Village Walk since 2017, Larry stepped up to run for the Board and was elected in June 2020.
In his own words: “I don’t want to just stand by and “let the other person” carry the burden of volunteer work. Now that the NTRA will be out from under the builder’s thumb, I see this as an opportunity to serve on the Board alongside fellow residents who share the like-minded goal of making our community a place that we can all truly call home.”
When he resigned from the Board in September for health reasons, Larry sent me this saying which he had used with many small group seminar participants: 
Communications Problem: “I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
Larry was unfailingly positive about the work of the NTRA Communications Committee while serving as our Board liaison.
Larry had an illustrious professional career and was warmly remembered by those who knew him.
Our condolences to his family at their loss.
Quick Getaways: Nauticus and the Battleship Wisconsin
Jim Ducibella (first in a series)
About an hour’s drive down I-64 East is berthed one of the largest – and last – battleships ever built by the United States Navy. And the good news is that there are several types of tours of the Wisconsin available to the public.
General admission to the Nauticus The National Maritime Center on Waterside Drive in Norfolk ($15.95 for adults, $11.50 for children comes with access to the battleship’s outdoor decks, the wardroom and Officer’s Country. 
Nauticus is open Wednesday through Sunday and has re-opened several exhibits. One is focused on the U.S. Navy’s sustainment efforts to protect the environment. Another, titled Living Seashore & Aquarium, allows visitors to “get up close with the plants and animals that inhabit the Chesapeake Bay.” 
From January 30 to April 25, a National Geographic photo and video exhibition, Planet or Plastic, will lend insight into the “global plastic pollution crisis.” Access to this exhibit is included with general admission.
But it’s the Wisconsin that is the big deal in this complex – literally. The last battleship to fire its guns in combat, the Wisconsin is 887-feet, 3-inches long, has a full displacement (weight) of 57,500 tons and was served by nearly 2,000 officers and men. Her 16-inch guns are capable of hitting targets up to 24 miles away, meaning they could easily send a shell over the Virginia Beach oceanfront and five miles or so into the Atlantic Ocean.
One of the most decorated ships in Navy history, the Wisconsin fought in World War II, the Korean War and the Gulf War, earning five battle stars for her World War II service and one for her service in the Korean War. Launched two years to the day after Pearl Harbor, visitors can explore its deck through a self-guided tour or, for an additional charge, go on a guided Topside Tour that promoters promise “will take you back in time.”
For more information, please click here
Board Buzz 
Rick Fisher, Treasurer
During the first six months following the transition from a Developer Board to a Homeowner Board, the new Board got to work and accomplished a great deal by the end of 2020:
  • Incorporation of Savannah Square Into the Association
  • Updating/Re-writing Committee Charters
  • Identify and Documenting Key Operating Policies and Procedures
  • Reviewing Existing Association Contracts
  • Developing and Adopting the 2021 Budget
During January, the Board’s focus has been on:
* Working with Town Management (TM) to revise it’s contract with the Association
The TM contract must be aligned with the goals of the Association, and TM’s performance must be measureable.  The Board believes that homeowners deserve to receive outstanding customer service.  For example, concerns that are raised by members, and documented through the website ticketing process, should be addressed in a timely manner with follow-up until the issue is resolved. TM is an integral part of this process.
* Continuing to develop and document policies and procedures:
  • Ticketing System on the Web (Finalized)
  • Collection oi Delinquent Assessments
  • Conduct of BOD Virtual Meetings (Finalized)
  • Filling a Board of Directors Position Vacancy (Finalized)
  • Investment of Replacement Reserves (Finalized)
  • Turnover of Assets From the Developer to the Association
  • Managing the Expenditure of Replacement Reserves
*Working with the Association Attorney to begin to review the governing documents with the intent of bringing them up-to-date and consolidating information (multiple supplements) in a logical and simple to understand manner.  The assessment calculation issue will receive significant focus.  Any changes to the governing documents will require a two thirds vote by members.
Beginning with the January meeting, the normal Board monthly meetings will be held from 3-5PM, generally on the fourth Thursday of the month. This is a change from the 6-8PM time.  Although evening meetings will be held when necessary, the Association must pay TM an after-hours charge which we would like to avoid unless it is necessary. Members are still encouraged to participate via Zoom. All the planned monthly meetings as well as quarterly landscape reviews (new) are now available on the website calendar.
Chuck Stetler has announced his resignation from the Board for personal issues.  Over many years, Chuck has contributed to the Association in key leadership roles.  His wise counsel and considerable experience will be greatly missed.  We wish Chuck and Susan the very best.
Best Practices for Roof Maintenance
Patti Vaticano
Your roof is an integral part of your home, perhaps the most essential; and it may be fair to say that if your roof is healthy, your house is sound. Regular roof maintenance, therefore, is key to keeping the integrity of your roof intact, as leaving it to brave the elements, year after year, without periodic conservation checks will cause it to degrade over time, leak, and present you with long-term damage that could well be massive. Being proactive with regular and thorough maintenance checks will save your roof and spare your pocket book.  So, what should you be monitoring on a regular basis?
“The number one cause of roofing leaks is the deterioration of a roof’s pipe collars,” says Derek Worstell of Pyramid Roofing and a New Town resident.  It is key, therefore, to inspect these collars, annually.  Pipe collars secure vent pipes to your roof, vents that serve as conduits for gas and/or air escaping from your home. The base of the pipe vent is usually made of PVC and in some cases, iron.  The collar—or gasket—however is usually made of neoprene, a synthetic rubber, that will last roughly 12 to 15 years but can break down prematurely, especially in oppressive heat, year after year.  Inspecting pipe collars for deterioration regularly is wise, replacing your pipes with new neoprene collars when required.  Better still, replacing those worn collars with ones made of rot-resistant metal is wisest of all and takes the worry of your roof leaking from this source entirely off the table. The easiest way to check the condition of your pipe collars is to inspect your attic for daylight coming through from around the pipes.  Seeing daylight is evidence that the pipe collars have rotted. 
The second roofing condition for the home owner to monitor is for the presence of roofing debris and/or clogged gutters. With a clogged gutter system, rain water will be prevented from flowing through the system properly and will result in damage to your roof, fascia, soffits—and eventually, the foundation of your home. Many local roofing companies offer cost-effective gutter cleaning packages.  Pyramid Roofing, for example, offers a comprehensive service plan via a membership in their Yellow Truck Club.  For $179, the company, once a year, will blow a roof free of leaves and debris and offer a full written inspection of the roof at that time. In addition, members will receive 10% off all roof repairs.  While Pyramid does not offer annual gutter cleaning services, they offer the installation of gutter protection screens to help prevent leaf build-up and will do a one-time gutter cleaning at installation. Keeping your gutters flowing is a sure way of keeping your roof from leaking and consequently, keeping damaging water out of your home.
Similar to the second roof condition to assess is the third: algae growth. Algae thrives in dampness and shade where its spores can grow on wood shingles or shakes and even asphalt shingles if the roof fails to get enough sunlight in whole or in part.  Algae retains moisture which will cause the shingles in the areas of growth to deteriorate very quickly.  It spreads quickly and will cause shingles to lift and your roof to leak.  “Have your roof cleaned with a soft chemical wash as soon as you detect algae on your roof.  Do not wait 20 years to do so.  After 20 years, washing your roof can damage older, more brittle shingles.”  Power washing is never advisable as the force of the water may damage or remove shingles, entirely.
The fourth roofing condition to examine regularly is the state of your attic.  “Inspect your attic once a year, at the very least,” advises Worstell.  “Look for leaks and stains, especially after a heavy rain.” Discoloration, moisture, puddles, or mold in your attic are sure signs of roof damage.  If any of these are present, it’s time for a professional roof inspection and an assessment for repair to address the problem areas. 
Four periodic checks, uncomplicated and requiring just a little time and diligence, will go a long way in maintaining a sound and problem-free roof.  Tight-fitting pipe collars, clean gutters, algae-free roofs, and dry attics are the means to a roof that will last for years to come and with any luck, even out live its life expectancy.  
Kayak Safety Tips
Patricia McGrath, Parks Superintendent - City of Williamsburg, Kayak Instructor
Everyone is looking forward to the warmer weather and bright sunshine.  One of my all time favorite outdoor activities is kayaking.  I have been kayaking for over a decade and became a Level 2 kayak instructor in 2015.  I wanted to share with you some tips that will keep you safe on the water.
  • Plan your trip. It is very important to plan your trip before you even load up your kayak and gear.  You do not need any fancy gadgets or software to get all the information that you need.  Check the radar, weather report, & tides (if applicable).  It is useful to know the sunset in case you need to plan for extra gear. Take a look at a map, measure your route. If you are new to kayaking, start off with a short distance like a mile and work yourself up to longer paddles. See app suggestions at the bottom of page
  • Obtain a kayak tag from the US Coast Guard or make your own.  All you need is your name, your phone number, your emergency contacts name and their phone number.  Make sure your affix this to your kayak in a visible location. More info at U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary - Flotilla 6-7, District 5SR
  • Have an off the water contact.  Tell a friend where you are going and when you plan on being off the water.  This just ensures that if some problems arise that you would receive help sooner than later. Bring your cell phone.  They make dry boxes that will keep it secure and you can still have it for emergencies.
  • STRETCH.  Kayaking is a full body sport.  Your arms and core will be doing most of the work but your legs will be in the same position for the duration of the trip.  Make sure that you stretch all of your muscles before you get in the boat and plan for some time in the middle of your trip where you can get out and stretch your legs.
  • Bring a friend. The buddy system is critical for so many reasons.  You might just see something really cool and you want to share it with someone.  Or you might need some sort of assistance and a buddy can help. It can be as simple as gear failure or as complex as an illness. Either way, bringing your best adventure buddy will make sure that you have the best experience.
  • Make sure your have the right gear. Safety is key.  Wear your Life Jacket, put on sunscreen and dress for the season. Temperature fluctuations in the spring can be dramatic. Bring a dry bag with extra clothes.  Layers are perfect, you can always take things off.
  • Water and SNACKS!!!  Well, this might be the most important of all the tips.  Everyone loves snacks.  Make sure that you bring plenty of water and something to nosh on for your trip.  
  • HAVE FUN! Whether you like to fish, take pictures, or just enjoy some fresh air. Get OUTSIDE and EXPLORE!  
If you want more information or just need an adventure buddy send me an email at
OR come visit me at Waller Mill Park (a great spot for beginners with rentals available Spring - Fall).
GO PADDLING - Well Known (and some less known) Launch Sites
Tide Charts (by 7th Gear) - Free Local Tide Charts
AccuWeather - Local Weather & Radar (with Alerts)
Radar X - Local Weather & Radar (with Alerts)
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