Halloween …. A scaredy and fun time for all the youngsters and the young at heart. The unseasonably warm weather made it possible to show off great costumes…..now to get ready for the coming holidays!
Many residents have made plans to travel for Thanksgiving. Let's hope everyone gets a chance to visit with loved ones, either here in New Town or some distant point. It's important to keep in touch with friends and relatives, especially during the holiday season. It's a time for reminding yourselves to relax, have some fun, and enjoy the holiday gatherings.
The Finance committee continues its work on the 2020 budget. Members are hoping to explain and review the proposed budget at a meeting at Legacy Hall, November 21, 2019 beginning at 6:30 p.m. The budget meeting was successful last year in explaining where your money is going, so we're trying for a repeat.
The NTRA is in the process of changing banks for the collection of HOA quarterly dues. Quarterly payments will now be made to Alliance Association. Please see the article by David Burket on the website. Also be aware there will be an eblast from Town Management with information on your HOA dues payment for the year 2020.
The activities committee is enthusiastically working on the Annual Holiday party, being held on Friday, December 13, 2019 at Legacy Hall. Watch for eblast with the particulars as the date approaches. This is always the best attended of all our activities. What a great time to wish your neighbors a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.
There will also be our annual NTRA meeting at Legacy Hall on December 5th starting at 6:30 p.m. There will be reports from all committees. Again, all the committees will be looking for recruits for their individual committees. There have been many residents who have retired their duties this year…..so please think about serving on a committee….we need friendly, dedicated people to continue the work started by previous members.
NTRA To Change Banks For HOA Dues Collection
Beginning January 1, 2020, the NTRA will be using a different banking firm for the collection of our homeowner dues. The new banking entity is Alliance Association Bank with its home office in Chandler, Arizona. Their business focuses on homeowner associations and is backed by the national strength of Western Alliance Bankcorporation.
This change from BB&T to Alliance will be of financial benefit to the NTRA in that there are no service fees applied on our deposits and they will pay interest on monies in the checking account. It should be noted the NTRA currently has a long-term Certificate of Deposit (CD) with Alliance Association Bank.
The NTRA will be providing more information to our homeowners on this change prior to January 1, 2020.
NTRA Finance Committee
The Finance Committee is currently staffed as follows: Chairman Rick Fisher, Vice Chair Chuck Stetler, Secretary Jim Carey, and members Everett Lunsford and Angela Lesnett.
The responsibilities of the Committee include:
· Monitor monthly/quarterly financial reports and investigate significant variances to Budget. Advise Board of Directors
· Work with the Managing Agent (Town Management) in preparing the NTRA Annual Budget.
· Conduct an Annual Budget Meeting focused on presenting a detailed review of the Budget to homeowners.
· Work with the Managing Agent to ensure responsible management of financial assets in accordance with accepted financial practices.
· Review Replacement Reserve Study and ensure that its guidance is reflected in the Annual Budget
· Advise the Board of Directors in all financial areas
· Conduct studies as directed by the Board of Directors
· Act solely for the benefit of the New Town Residential Association (NTRA)
To learn more, be aware that the ANNUAL TOWN HALL BUDGET MEETING will be on held on November 21st from 6:30 - 8:00PM in Legacy Hall. The Preliminary 2020 NTRA Budget will be presented to Homeowners. Homeowners are encouraged to attend to ensure that all of their questions are answered.
NTRA Activities Committee
Your NTRA Activities has planned another great Holiday Party this year. So, mark your calendars for FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13th, 6:00-9:00 at LEGACY HALL! This is just one of the many fun events which the Activities Committee enjoys putting together each year for our residents: Noon Talks at Center Street Grill, Kentucky Derby parties, summer parties at the pool, the Holiday party and more.
Over the years, the committee has experimented with various activities and is always looking for new ideas to include more families and other residents while being mindful of cost efficiencies.
The “AC” consists of seven voting members plus other interested residents and meets once a month for about an hour. The meetings are fun and putting together the events for you is rewarding. Voting and non-voting members of the committee over this last year have included Tracy Acompara, Karen and Richard Durst, Gloria Engelberger, Bill Haas, Mike Reilly (our leader), Eileen Reilly, Susan Schlimme, Phyllis Sizoo, and Tim Weidman (RAB).
Each year there is opportunity to join the committee as some members move on. So, please come and join us. Just call Mike Reilly (843 450-5665) or Tim Weidman (757 564-1818) for more information.
NTRA Communications Committee
The Communications Committee carries on the work of informing residents of events, activities, and policies that affect residents of New Town, including information on landscaping schedules, new neighbors and businesses, emergency preparedness, and social events. Working with members of other committees such as Activities and Landscaping, the members of Communication provide an outlet for news and special features of interest to residents provides information by way of a monthly online newsletter, the Town Crier.
The Town Crier has been available online since its beginnings but in a formal newsletter format. As of mid-2019, that format has changed to individually posted online articles easily available to residents on the NTRA website. Here a reader may also find a resident directory, an archive of past issues and timely posts. Featured in each release of articles is a file (absent pictures) that enables readers to print out the whole newsletter if they prefer.
Currently the Communications Committee is staffed with six members: Mary Cheston, Kathy Mullins, Beckie Roberts, June Dawkins, editor Phil Casey and chair Lucy Painter. Dave Burket serves as RAB Liaison. As we enter 2020, this committee will need new volunteers, including those who love to edit, to talk with neighbors and new business owners, to write, and to work with the technology involved in publishing online. If you are interested, please contact Lucy Painter at 941 323-7037.
How to Contact a Committee
Have a question for the Landscape Advisory Committee or want to suggest an event for the Activities Committee? Can you volunteer to serve on or even provide specific help to one of our committees? There’s an easy way to reach us through the NTRA website.
· Use the “Report an Issue” feature under the Residents tab on the NTRA website (see screen shot below).
· Select the drop down title closest to your interest.
· Then let us know what you are thinking.
The website software provides the fastest way to reach appropriate NTRA personnel and allows us to track how your concern is addressed. You can check back later to see how your comment was handled.
Remember, this website feature is not limited to reporting something wrong to NTRA management. We’d love your suggestions and ideas as well!
You may have noticed the feminine theme for many of the streets and parks in our community. The final section of New Town continues this trend with Shirley Park, but just who was Shirley?
Shirley (Wong Kit Mui*) Quan was born and raised in Guangzhou, China and immigrated to Canada as a young bride at the age of 20. First and foremost, she was a wife and young mother but her independence led her to venture into the hospitality and culinary industry. When her husband, William, opened his first restaurant, the Golden Eagle Restaurant in Calgary, Alberta, she would, in its infancy, aid in all facets despite working full-time and maintaining a household. She loved gardening, her daily walks and spending time outdoors, especially in and around Banff and Lake Louise. She also enjoyed being hostess to large gatherings of family and friends and would whip up 8 course meals like it was a breeze. She loved a good conversation and good debate about worldly politics. Above all, she was most proud of being a wife, mother and doting grandmother. According to her granddaughter, Samantha Forsyth, Shirley set an example as a business leader – she encouraged her three daughters (and grandchildren, two being granddaughters) at an early age to be independent, strong and confident. She also urged them to pursue their dreams and to never have to fully rely on a spouse.
Shirley was also the beloved mother-in-law of one of the developers of New Town. Samantha’s father, Jody, and New Town developer Mike Youngblood have become the best of friends and business partners as Mike continues to develop residential phases in New Town, including Shirley Park. Although Shirley was unable to visit New Town, the progress of this venture was part of her family’s daily conversations. When the developers were looking for a strong female presence to memorialize in New Town, honoring Shirley seemed like a good fit. Shirley passed away in 2017 before groundbreaking for the new section occurred. “She would have loved it here,” said Samantha.
*in Chinese culture, surname appears first
There are probably very few people who are as enthusiastic about Williamsburg and all it has to offer than Samantha Forsyth. Samantha is a resident of the Federal Towns townhomes here in New Town and an attorney in the New Town offices of Kaufman & Canoles.
Samantha first visited Williamsburg the summer after 5th grade as part of a camping trip with her parents. The Forsyths were traveling from Calgary, Canada and exploring historical sites across the United States, and came to Colonial Williamsburg after visiting Gettysburg. Williamsburg became a vacation spot for many future summers allowing the family to absorb the historic atmosphere in combination with, of course, Busch Gardens. Samantha’s parents eventually bought property in New Town and then Governor’s Land, and currently spend half of their time in the area. They developed close friendships and business relationships with the principals of Twiddy Realty, and are actively involved with William & Mary.
While their love of history drew the Forsyths to Williamsburg, Samantha found something else – a “welcoming, small and high caliber” college that became her first choice when it came time to apply to college. She attended William & Mary as an international student, graduating in 2015, and then decided to pursue a law degree. After considering several schools, Samantha “just kinda knew” that she couldn’t match the warm and engaged educational community she had found at William & Mary. So William & Mary Law School became her home for the next 3 years.
When law school was over, Samantha expected to move on and explore new places. She had enjoyed a variety of internships and work in Canada and throughout Virginia, so 7 years here seemed like plenty. Once again fate intervened and she was offered a business law position at Kaufman & Canoles, which currently offers her exposure to many different practice areas. Samantha loves her work and the benefits of Williamsburg, which is “nestled away” from urban environments, yet enjoys proximity to the beach as well as Washington, D.C.
The biggest adjustments for this “Canadian Williamsburgite” are definitely the humidity and our political system - how American elections have become so polarized and how the government is grappling with issues that Canada resolved years ago. Samantha explained, “In Canada, I think people share the same fundamental values and want the same things – access to healthcare, a strong educational system, etc. – we may just differ on how to achieve these outcomes.”
While Samantha was a college student, her local “go to” family was the Youngbloods and McCarthys. She would frequently tease Mike Youngblood that since she was surrounded by New Town streets named after women, when would someone name a street after her? So when Roper Park was being designed, Mike Youngblood rolled out the plans for “Samantha Lane.” It was “a surprise and an honor” to be included in this development, she said. Even more so, because she shares this honor with her grandmother (see the related story on Shirley Park.)
Four Generations of Strattons
Does New Town provide sufficient living options, services and social opportunities to satisfy young and old? Team Stratton thinks so. Four generations of Strattons have found their way to New Town since 2011 and are happy to call it home still today.
Their story starts with John and Tara, who we will call the third generation. John and Tara met in 2001 in DC. At the time, John had been a native of Colorado his whole life. Tara grew up in an Army family and had lived all over the world. Now John was starting his career as an Air Force officer. In 2002, while he was stationed at Langley AFB and Tara was working at GuideStar in Williamsburg, she discovered New Town in its infancy. Seven years would pass during various assignments, but each year Tara would travel back to Williamsburg to reconnect with GuideStar colleagues and check what was new in New Town. In 2011, the Air Force brought John back to Langley AFB. The decision about where to live was simple; John, Tara, and the fourth generation (Jack and Lila) moved to Charlotte Park. Tara says, “At the time, we felt like pioneers. We were surrounded by trees, and only 6 houses stood in all of Charlotte Park. We loved the open space in front of our home for our young children to play. We loved that we could walk to everything.”
Fast forward to 2017 when generation two (Brick and Barbara) were both a couple years into retirement at home in Colorado. They had children and grandchildren in Texas and Virginia. Barbara says, “We had not had the opportunity to cultivate the relationship with Jack and Lila that we had with our other three grandchildren in Texas, so we talked about making a move to New Town. Because both of us had never moved out of Colorado, it was both scary and exciting to consider such a big change.” They took the leap and chose a condominium in The Bennington.
And in an even bolder move, the first generation, represented by Brick’s mother Barbaralee, also decided to leave her life-long home in Colorado and join the team forming in New Town. She lives at Edgeworth Assisted Living where all the family members can drop by to visit with her every day. That kind of routine that proximity makes possible is valuable to all of the family. “We can see our grandchildren off to school in the morning at the bus stop right down the street, they can walk to visit their great-grandma, we can pick up "Mom" and meet the family at one of the local restaurants, hang out with the grandkids at Barnes and Noble, and ride the trolley into Colonial Williamsburg.”
Each generation has quickly become embedded into social circles in New Town. Tara says, “Another young family lived across the park from us and our children played together. Our neighbors on either side of us moved in the same week we did, and although we were separated by nearly a generation we found quickly that these would be life long friends.” Jack and Lila have met more friends as they grow in the community and like to hang out with them at the community pool. Tara returned to work at GuideStar (in the SunTrust building) so her home and work communities are together.
Soon after moving to New Town, Brick and Barbara joined Ironbound Gym and the Williamsburg National Golf Club, landing in two terrific networks of friends. Barbara says, “We developed friendships within the community: in our building, at the gym,
in Foundation Square, at Edgeworth, at Town Management and in the local businesses. Now we feel like we have a number of strong friendships in our New Town home.”
Barbaralee likes to talk with the other Edgeworth residents at meal times and enjoys the many activities that Edgeworth offers. Best of all is having family members so close that they can pop in for a visit.
People are universal in enjoying New Town as a walking neighborhood with easily accessible entertainment, restaurant, shopping, doctors, etc. But Team Stratton is amazingly specific and voluminous in discussing what they like doing in New Town and the surrounding area. Here is a sample: early morning walks to get coffee at Panera on weekends; special desserts at Sweet Frog; taking the trolley into CW to go to the Farmers Market; the pool; all the activities hosted by the activities committee; Sunday Brunch at any one of the great local restaurants; Christmas Pops at the Kimball Theater; the Grand Illumination; Bingo at Edgeworth; Busch Garden events; Music in the Park this Fall at Pecan Square; William and Mary baseball; kayaking at Waller Mill; riding the Jamestown Ferry. Wow! But mostly what comes through in interviewing them is how much they enjoy living close to one another and being a part of each others’ daily routines and special occasions.
Tara sums it up this way: “Even though we move where the Air Force sends us, we always come back to New Town - every year. And when John’s Air Force career comes to a close, New Town is where we intend to stay. We, and our children, love each trip back. We have unique perspective. When you step away from New Town and come back you see all the good; how things have grown and well things have been maintained. We are always excited to come ‘home’.” In fact, at this particular time, John, Tara, and their children (third/fourth generations) are stationed at RAF Lakenheath, England and look forward to returning home to New Town.
· The next American Red Cross blood drive will occur December 26th on New Town Avenue. No times available yet.
· Christmas Carol-oke and Cocoa will happen in front of the Regal movie theater the first three Friday’s of December (5:30-7:30PM) this year with Fat Cat Productions.
· Remember: before starting any digging project you should contact Miss Utility to begin the process of getting utility lines marked. All the info you need is at https://va811.com