Town Crier Articles

Posted on July 1, 2022 5:20 AM by Jim Ducibella
Categories: General
 
From our files of useless information, Americans ate 1.3 billion – yes, billion – chicken wings during this past Super Bowl.
 
If you missed your chance to join the party, fear not. The original Wing a Ding Ding Festival is coming to our state capital on July 16 at Richmond Raceway on East Labernum Street. And you don’t have to sit through hours and hours of football and (mostly) lousy commercials to enjoy the goodies.
 
Event organizers promise they’ll provide more than 30 kinds if wings – Hot Nashville, Cajun Spicy, Crunchy, Southern Fried, Crispy Korean, Mild, Medium, Hot, XXXtra Hot, I-Been-To-Hell-and-Back Hot.
 
 
And that’s not all. There will be fried chicken aplenty, all of which can be washed down with your choice of craft beers, hard cider, wine or good ol’ fashioned soda pop. They might even have water. They say the food is prepared by top chefs and food vendors.
 
The festivities begin at 11:30 a.m. and run until 9 p.m. There are six different levels of tickets, ranging from $15 to $45.
 
Some finger-lickin’ history: Fried chicken wings have been a Southern staple for years and years. But the idea of smothering them in peppery hot sauce was born in Buffalo, N.Y., at the Anchor Bar, an establishment still going strong. In 1964, bar owner Teressa Bellisimo began cooking chicken wings as a late-night snack for her son and his friends.
 
How did she come by the wings? She ordered them by mistake, thinking she was getting chicken necks, which her husband used in making his spaghetti sauce. Trying to make the best of a bad situation, she began frying them after coating them in pepper sauce.
 
Hopefully, all of her mistakes turned out so well.
 
For more information on Wing a Ding Ding Festival, visit this website.
Posted on July 1, 2022 4:59 AM by Town Crier Staff
Board Buzz—July 2022, By Mary Cheston, President
 
Welcome to the heat of summer! A song from the musical Oklahoma says “June is bustin out all over” and June definitely “busted out” the Board’s work plan as we tackled a variety of new challenges and actions.  
 
Two long-awaited projects have been completed. The Lydias Park Zoysia grass has been installed and the gutters in Village Walk have been cleaned.  A Request for Proposal (RFP) has been issued for a new 3-year landscape contract, and RFPs will be released shortly for the first phase of siding repairs and power washing/painting in Village Walk.
 
The Board completed its review of the November 2021 Member comments on the proposed draft revisions to our NTRA Governing Documents. In late July we expect to receive a revised set of documents from our legal counsel incorporating our agreed changes, and will be moving forward towards a Member vote likely starting sometime in August.
 
Upcoming this month, the final round of home exterior inspections will take place in mid-July in Village Walk. You will also see orange warning cones being installed where sidewalk trip hazards exist, until we have some repair action from VDOT. A VDOT concrete contractor assessed the condition of the sidewalks about 2 weeks ago and we are awaiting VDOT’s decision. Marking the most severe areas is the best we can offer at this time. Please continue to be mindful when walking. 
We are bringing back “tags” for trash can violations as part of our enforcement process. (This approach was last used in 2019.) If you see a yellow tag on your trash can, please take action to appropriately store your can inside your garage or trash enclosure to avoid a fine. Better yet, get in the habit of storing your trash can properly now and avoid seeing it tagged!
 
This month the Board responded to a request from Eagle of VA on behalf of ME Settlers LLC to start the conveyance process for the Common Areas in Village Walk to transfer to the NTRA. The Board has advised ME Settlers that there are numerous corrective actions that remain to be made in Village Walk, and we cannot accept the property in its current condition.  A photo inventory of the deficiencies has been sent to Eagle as well. Much of the information we have compiled is due to the hard work of Village Walk volunteers who served on a Village Walk Asset Acceptance work group in 2020. Many thanks to them for laying the groundwork for the Association’s position.
 
The County acceptance inspection process for Roper Park (Charlotte Park Phase 11) will likely start in the a few months. To help us assess areas needing improvement, the Board will task a working group of Roper Park residents to collect information on site plan discrepancies and needed improvements. Everett Lunsford will be our Board liaison for this group. Any Roper Park Owner interested in volunteering should contact Everett at eplunsfo@gmail.com. We also plan to hire Giles & Flythe for an independent engineering inspection of the Roper Park area.  
 
The Board has initiated a series of neighborhood listening sessions to provide Owners an opportunity to ask questions and share ideas. Our newest communities of Roper Park and Shirley Park were our first audience and although lightly attended, the evening was an opportunity for the Board to get input from some happy Owners – always a nice thing. Look for an email invitation when it is your neighborhood’s turn to chat!
If you can’t make your scheduled listening session, come to a monthly Board meeting. Members are always welcome to attend – see the NTRA website calendar for dates, generally the third Thursday of the month. 
 
So lots and lots of things are going on…What we did not accomplish in June is that we did not welcome a new Board member. There were no applications to fill the advertised vacancy on the Board for someone to serve until December 2023. I cannot stress strongly enough that the next 18 months are critical for setting the future path of the Association. Two more Board seats will open for election in December.  Joining the Board now will help put you ahead on the learning curve.
 
Please seriously consider helping us to tackle these challenges together by sending an application to the Board Secretary, Monique Stevens at ntra.secretary@gmail.com.
 
 
July Activities in the 'Hood
 
From the NTRA Activities Committee:
 
New Town residents enjoyed the first social by the pool this year! On Tuesday June 14, the Activities Committee hosted its first New Town Social at the community pool to celebrate the new season. The evening weather cooperated over old friends meeting new friends, and a good time was had by all. 
 
Our next event at the community pool will take place on Saturday July 16 at noon, and we hope all will join us to enjoy a slice of pizza. 
 
From the New Town Commercial Association (NTCA):
 
Summer Pop-Up Events Continue - 1st Saturdays of the month-- https://newtownwilliamsburg.com/events-news/
 
Join us on Saturday, July 2nd, for New Town's FREE, Ice Cream Social!
12-2pm
 
 
Beat the Heat with a Sweet Treat on us! Located by the Fountain in front of Regal New Town Cinemas.
 
Summer Gardening: Tips and Tricks
by Patty Hancock
 
 
It’s July in Williamsburg, the hottest month of the year with average daily temperatures of 90 plus degrees; August is only a few degrees cooler.  With this hot, humid, sub-tropical climate the beating rays of the summer sun can scorch, burn, and ravage spring plantings.
 
What can be done to beat the unrelenting heat and its toll on gardens?  One easy answer is container gardening.  Containers can be picked up and moved to a shady spot on your porch, patio, or balcony when the sun is baking them.  Fill the planters up with sun-loving annuals that are prolific bloomers and with a little TLC they’ll bloom until the first frost (around Oct. 25).  We live in zone 7b, a gardener’s dream, since it’s easy to grow all but the most tropical plants here.  The trick is to choose plants suitable for this southeastern region.
 
I’m not an expert – only an enthusiast who is sold on big, full, container gardens.  These gardens bring nature to your front door with colorful flowers that attract butterflies, bees (for pollination), and nectar loving hummingbirds.  What a show!
 
After constant experimentation, along with living in New Town for a decade, I’ve discovered tips and tricks to keep full sun annuals blooming in this summer southern oven we love to call home. 
 
~ 5 Tips to Get Started ~
 
1.  Don’t skimp on the container.  The more soil the better the results.  Go Big!
2.  Provide adequate drainage – try small rocks, gravel, or packing Styrofoam peanuts to help keep drainage holes open.
3.  Fill the planter with good soil for big blooms.  My favorite is “Miracle Gro Potting Mix”. 
4.  Choose the right plants for our zone and location.  Full sun (6 hours) or shade?  Heat tolerant?  
5.  Slow and steady fertilizing.  Water with weaker doses of a water-soluble fertilizer every two weeks.  I use “Miracle Gro Soluble Plant Food”.   
 
~ Tips and Tricks/ My Top Sun-Loving Container Annuals ~
 
1.  Petunias - look for the Wave variety.  Showy blooms – trim back a little every week for continuous full blooms.
2.  Verbena – pretty clusters of color, a trailer.  They are pollinator friendly plants.
3.  Geraniums – my favorites!  (Along with Thomas Jefferson who helped these beauties gain popularity with his love of their blooms).  Tip; when it gets really hot move them to afternoon shade and pinch back spent blooms daily. Remember, moderate watering-hydrated not saturated… geraniums do not like wet feet. 
4.  Dipladenia – plop it in a container and walk away.  It’s that easy.
5.  Zinnias – attract butterflies and hummingbirds.  Easy to grow in the sun.
6.  Calibrachoa – little trumpets, look like tiny petunias on steroids. 
7.  Dragon Wing Begonia - just one suggestion for a SHADE container, it’s that special.  One and done!
 
There you have it.  Growing a lush, beautiful, sun-drenched planter until fall heads our way is not difficult.  Annuals are on sale just waiting for your green thumb; be creative, experiment, nurture, and most of all delight in your addition to nature’s bounty. 
 
 
Rose Infestations – Please Remove Your Infected Bushes!
By Landscape Advisory Committee
 
Last year Virginia Lawn and Landscape published a newsletter advising Owners that Rose Rosette disease was present in New Town and infecting numerous knockout rose bushes. Owners were asked to remove these plants as soon as possible, however, the Landscape Advisory Committee has found several infected bushes still within the community. This disease travels through the air by mites, so your disease is threatening your neighbors’ shrubbery. 
VLL’s explanation is provided below. 
 
Per Penn State Extension, here is how to remove your infected bushes safely:
“If symptoms such as those described above are seen on ornamental roses, the entire plant, including the roots, should be removed and destroyed. Either burn or bag for disposal. Take steps to reduce spreading mites during the disposal process. It is recommended that a bag be placed over the entire plant before removal. Cut the plant at ground level and tie the bag. Then dig out the entire root system and bag and dispose of it, too. Leaving any roots in the soil can keep the virus alive.”
 
Here are some photos (see original article on NTRA website for photos) of what the rosette disease looks like. If you are not sure whether your bushes are infected, submit a ticket through the NTRA website “Report an Issue” and ask one of our Committee members to drop by and advise you. Let us help you identify and eradicate this problem. 
                        
You may receive a “friendly” notice from us if we see this condition on your property. So spread the word and not the disease, and help us to root out this situation in New Town!
 
Meet Your Lifeguards
By Sarah Carey
 
Please welcome and introduce yourselves to our lifeguard at the pool.  Tahje Tulloch is from Kingston Jamaica.  He is your lifeguard every day except Friday, his day off. 
 
Tahje finds the community very friendly and nice. He enjoys listening to music and reading. His favorite dish from Jamaica is one his brother, who is a chef, created. It is a type of sweet and sour chicken and very delicious.
 
When the pool is  closed on Tuesday for cleaning and on Friday Tahje’s day off, you may see Kristoff Virgo or Ricardo Mowatt.
 
Answers to most resident questions about the pool can be found on our website:
Other FAQs (Scroll down to "Pool FAQs")
 
Twenty Reasons Why We LOVE New Town!
By, New Town Commercial Association
In Celebration of 20 Years in James City County, we’re celebrating 20 Reasons Why We LOVE New Town! And don't miss the the New Town Promotional Video... you may see several of your neighbors!
 
20 Reasons Why We LOVE New Town
 
  1. Public Events (most of which are FREE!) - concerts, outdoor markets, family friendly pop-up events, community walks and runs, and lots more! 
  2. A variety of walking and biking trails linking the entire community, inclusive of parks and inviting green space
  3. The variety of restaurants and food types available 
  4. Convenience to Busch Gardens, Water Country, Jamestown & Yorktown Parks and attractions 
  5. Open-air Main Street Shopping Mall
  6. The combination of residential options -  traditional homes, garden apartments, town & carriage homes, condominiums, live-work loft apartments all designed within a street grid pattern to foster community interaction
  7. Lots of Entertainment - Axe throwing, a movie theater, billiards room, sports & live music at restaurants 
  8. The ease of access to City & County Courthouse, US Post Office & other Government offices right across the street
  9. A wide variety of salons, fitness centers, day spas and other personal services
  10. The perfect setting for your private events - The ability to book a private event/wedding right at Legacy Hall & Sullivan Square for an indoor/outdoor celebration, or reserve a space at one of the many restaurants!
  11. A nationally recognized pre-school in the community
  12. Santa Claus comes to New Town for Free Visits & Pictures
  13. The ease and access to so many medical and dental offices
  14. 3 miles to Colonial Williamsburg 
  15. Banks, Credit Unions and other financial institutions all within the community
  16. FREE & Convenient Parking; Park in one place and do all of the above and more. If you live here you can do it all, and walk home on a well lit street with sidewalks.
  17. Adjacent to the campus of The College of William & Mary
  18. Electric Car Charging Station x2
  19. The beauty and sound of the iconic fountain
  20. Life Happens Here - A Welcoming Community for ALL TO GATHER!
 
Quick getaways: Wing a Ding Ding festival, Richmond
By, Jim Ducibella
 
From our files of useless information, Americans ate 1.3 billion – yes, billion – chicken wings during this past Super Bowl.
 
If you missed your chance to join the party, fear not. The original Wing a Ding Ding Festival is coming to our state capital on July 16 at Richmond Raceway on East Labernum Street. And you don’t have to sit through hours and hours of football and (mostly) lousy commercials to enjoy the goodies.
 
Event organizers promise they’ll provide more than 30 kinds if wings – Hot Nashville, Cajun Spicy, Crunchy, Southern Fried, Crispy Korean, Mild, Medium, Hot, XXXtra Hot, I-Been-To-Hell-and-Back Hot.
 
And that’s not all. There will be fried chicken aplenty, all of which can be washed down with your choice of craft beers, hard cider, wine or good ol’ fashioned soda pop. They might even have water. They say the food is prepared by top chefs and food vendors.
 
The festivities begin at 11:30 a.m. and run until 9 p.m. There are six different levels of tickets, ranging from $15 to $45.
 
Some finger-lickin’ history: Fried chicken wings have been a Southern staple for years and years. But the idea of smothering them in peppery hot sauce was born in Buffalo, N.Y., at the Anchor Bar, an establishment still going strong. In 1964, bar owner Teressa Bellisimo began cooking chicken wings as a late-night snack for her son and his friends.
 
How did she come by the wings? She ordered them by mistake, thinking she was getting chicken necks, which her husband used in making his spaghetti sauce. Trying to make the best of a bad situation, she began frying them after coating them in pepper sauce.
 
Hopefully, all of her mistakes turned out so well.
 
For more information on Wing a Ding Ding Festival, visit this website https://allevents.in/richmond/cajun.
 
Working Group Forming for Future Roper Park Transition
By, Mary Cheston
 
At its July meeting the Board of Directors will be chartering a working group to examine the condition of the Common Areas in Roper Park/Charlotte Park Phase 11. The developer, Atlantic Homes, expects to have James City County conduct its initial inspection of these areas in a month or two.
 
This Board action is consistent with Policy 5.1 Turnover or Acceptance of Assets. The group will be led by Roper Park resident and Landscape Advisory Committee Secretary Cathy Forestell, and we need 2 or 3 other owners to support her. The group’s role is to “compile and maintain a master record/list of all items and concerns to include such things as damaged concrete sidewalks, aprons and curbing, lamp posts, etc” as well as any items approved on site plans but not installed. Essentially these volunteers are the “eyes and ears” of the Association. 
 
The team's work would be intermittent – an initial inspection and effort to compile the inventory and then followup checks whenever Atlantic Homes completes some corrective action or conditions change in the neighborhood. (It can be several years from the start of the James City County acceptance process to the actual turnover of property to the Association.) As the focal point for the group, Cathy will work with Board liaison Everett Lunsford to communicate concerns to the County.  Any Roper Park owner who is interested in participating should contact Everett at eplunsfo@gmail.com
 
Similar working groups have been used for Charlotte Park Phase 10 and Village Walk to best represent those living and using these areas every day. Our independent engineering firm Giles & Flythe will also review the area especially its bioretention features. Hopefully, these viewpoints will better prepare us for the day when the Association must own and manage this acreage.
 
Front Porch Chat: A New Crier Feature
By, Patti Vaticano
 
Hello, New Town Neighbors!  This is a brand-new Crier column for our readers that I hope will be a fun and entertaining collaborative effort between us.  Emphasis on collaboration, as most importantly, it is a column intended to bring us closer as neighbors of New Town and fellow-residents of James City County, the second oldest county in the country, by the way, trailing by only 2 years after Eastville, Virginia in 1634.  
 
Before I introduce you to the concept of this feature, I need to write that its launching is a harbinger, of sorts, for NNO—National Night Out— which will take place throughout the country on August 2nd.  On that date, our local Police Department has invited all neighborhoods to join them in an evening outdoors to encourage community relations between neighbors and neighborhoods. Their direction is to turn off your TVs and “turn on your porch light.” You can read more about it at https://jamescitycountyva.gov/civicalerts.aspx?AID=5257.
 
As you can see, the column’s title is, “Front Porch Chat,” and that is what it intends to be:  a chat between neighbors sitting on their front porches of a summer’s evening or on a crisp autumn day when skies are tri-colored and the trees the same. It's that perfect front-porch setting in your mind where one can share neighborhood news, curious facts (current and historical, like the county fact above), recipes, household, auto and PC hacks, poems, funny stories, even songs with others--all geared to generate laughter, good-natured fun, and a sense of well-being and peace with one’s neighbors. Think small town America—‘cause that is what New Town really is, all of us neighbors, all of us connected, all of us “in it,” together.
 
A little hokey, you’re thinking?  Perhaps.  But if hokey, according to its definition, means “sentimental,” “good-natured,” “old-fashioned,” and even “corny,” well, why not? Harmless silliness that makes people smile or chuckle, or makes them think fondly of someone or something, imparts to them new knowledge perhaps sorely needed—or simply makes them grateful for what they have.   I think we can all do with a little of that.  I’m hoping you do, too. 
 
So, what can you contribute to our “chats” for this feature?  For the most part, anything well-meaning and sent with the best of intentions to impart knowledge, to inform, to give curious pause to thought, or simply to delight or entertain will be most welcome. 
 
Each month, I’ll be rocking on the front porch waiting for you to begin our “chat.”  Please send your contributions, big or small, to ntratown.crier@gmail.com for inclusion in next month’s Front Porch Chat! Be well!
 
Your neighbor,
Patti Vaticano
 
Please enjoy this selection of "chats" to get us started! 
 
Jokes:  What is Forrest Gump’s email password?   1forrest1
 
Poems:                                                     
EARLY BIRD
by Shel Silverstein 
 Oh, if you're a bird, be an early bird
And catch the worm for your breakfast plate.
If you're a bird, be an early, early bird—
But if you're a worm, sleep late.
 
 
Historical Fact:   Ketchup was sold in the 1830s as medicine. Fifteen years later, it was sold as a cure for an upset stomach by an Ohio physician named John Cook. It wasn’t popularized as a condiment until late in the 19th century.
 
Curious Happening:  In 2014, Australian native Ben McMahon spent a week in a coma following a car accident. When he awoke, the English speaker instead spoke fluent Mandarin.  He had studied the language previous to his accident, but not with any serious intent.
 
Household Hacks:  Coffee grounds mixed with dish soap and boiling water will unclog drains. 
 
PC Hacks:  To fix a flashing battery light on your laptop, press Fn+H on your keyboard.  VIOLA!  No more flashing light!
 
Recipes:  Watermelon Ice Tea--Watermelon is a popular fruit of summer, and this tea recipe is a nice way to use up any extra melon you may have left over. It's very easy to make and requires that you blend the melon with a little mint and lemon to create a watermelon “aqua fresca (cooling waters)”.  From there, it's as simple as adding freshly brewed black tea.
 
Pet Care:  
 
To keep pets safe during firework demonstrations:
Keep license, microchip, and tags up to date
Secure and double check gates and entrances
Close windows and play calming music or white noise
Stay with pets during fireworks to comfort them
Ask your vet about calming medication when needed
 
 
Volunteer Spotlight: Ken Fones-Wolf
By, Jim Ducibella
 
We found Ken Fones-Wolf minding the pot of gold at the Spring potluck gathering at Chelsea Green Park.
 
OK, so the reality was he was minding hot dogs sizzling on a kettle grill. But he was helping his wife, Elizabeth, with the affair, underscoring Fones-Wolf’s desire to meet people in New Town – or elsewhere – via a variety of volunteer activities.
 
But first, some background on Ken and Elizabeth, both originally from the D.C. area.
 
They came to Williamsburg following 30-year careers in the History department at West Virginia University. Ken specialized in labor and social history, particularly the intersection of religious belief and working-class activism. Elizabeth, a former department chair, focused on different aspects of 20th century political, economic, and social history, especially the struggle between organized labor and business to shape the ideas and images that constituted America’s political culture.
 
Their co-authored work, Struggle for the Soul of the Postwar South: White Evangelical Protestants and Operation Dixie won the Organization of American Historians David Montgomery Book Prize, and was among numerous articles, books and editing works in which both were engaged.
 
In retirement, they were looking to settle in a place conveniently located to their daughter in Virginia Beach and their son in Northern Virginia. Having come from a college town, coupled with their interest in history and proximity to Colonial Williamsburg and William & Mary, made New Town an appealing option.
 
“We came down, and it just seemed like the perfect place for us,” he said.
 
Ken believes there is value in volunteering – for several reasons. There’s the obvious, contributing to the community in which you live. But it is also an excellent way to meet new people.
 
“We’ve always felt very fortunate in our professional lives,” he said. “But it made us aware that we wanted to give back – and (volunteering) helps us stay active, keep our minds going.”
 
In the past he has volunteered at the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation as a gallery docent and done archival work for the Yorktown branch of the operation. Last winter he traveled twice a week to Virginia Beach to help his daughter coach his grandson’s basketball team.
 
“That was a great chance to do something with my daughter,” he said. “I’d (previously) coached her in basketball, and she called and asked if I wanted to do this. I wasn’t crazy about driving to Virginia Beach twice a week, but it was a great experience.”
 
He’s also an avid participant in a senior softball league that plays twice a week, and once that season concludes he plans to volunteer at a local food bank.
 
“One of the guys I play softball with is involved in the House of Mercy,” he said. “His wife is, too. I’ve thought about that because there’s a real need. That was one of the things that surprised me because you walk around, and you don’t see much evidence of need.”
 
“You ask people what they do, and they say they play pickleball or they play golf. I love to play softball, but if that was the extent of what I did, I’d feel like I wasn’t giving much back. That would be hard for me.”
Posted on June 1, 2022 6:30 AM by Jim Ducibella
Categories: General
 
Six weeks ago, it was taking so long for us to do a load of laundry, we wondered if the neighbors weren’t sneaking dirty clothes into our home. In truth, our dryer was the culprit. We needed to run it three or four cycles just to dry a load that used to take one cycle. Being all too sadly familiar with planned obsolescence, we figured our 14-year-old appliance had hit the end of the road. But before we started shopping, we brought in a repairman.
 
He said the dryer was fine, then asked when had we last cleaned out the vent? We’d had it done; we just couldn’t remember when.
 
I took my shop vac and vacuumed both inside and out. I got a lot of lint, but the dryer still wasn’t right. The repairman had recommended calling Atlantic Vent Cleaning, though he added there were other good companies as well. We decided to take the first available appointment, which turned out to be the next day with Atlantic.
 
For a bit more than $100, the Atlantic technician used a 23-foot snake to completely empty our vents of lint (see photo for about half of what he got from the outside vent.) We were so impressed and relieved that we’ve already scheduled an appointment for this time next year. Why?
 
 
According to Dustdoctors.com, here are the negatives to a clogged dryer vent:
  • House fires. Just under five percent of all house fires in the U.S. start in the laundry room, resulting in deaths, injuries, and hundreds of million dollars in damages each year. Of those fires, a third of them were caused by the homeowner forgetting to clean the dryer vent.
  • Higher bills. Overheating can cause your equipment to break and need expensive repairs or replacement. Combine this with increased utility from an ineffective dryer, and the cost of a clogged dryer vent can really add up.
  • Pests. It is something which many people never consider, but if there is enough build-up to push open the outside laundry flap, you are proving an easy way for pests like rodents to enter your home.
Here are some warning signs:
  1. It takes longer than usual to dry your clothes. A clog in your vent prevents the hot, moist air from escaping your dryer, which prolongs the drying time and leaves your clothes wet at the end of a cycle.
  2. You notice a burning smell. Lint and fabric fuzz are highly flammable, so it doesn't take too much heat to ignite a small piece. If you ever smell something burning when operating your dryer, turn it off and contact a technician immediately.
  3. Your clothes are hot to the touch at the end of a load. If you find it difficult to touch your clothes without burning your hand, your vent may be clogged, which prevents hot air from escaping.
  4. You can see lint or debris in the dryer hose or around the outside dryer flap. Once you can see a build-up in either of these two places, you know you are well past the time you should have cleaned your dryer ducts.
  5. You haven't cleaned your vents in over a year. In a typical household, the dryer vent should be cleaned at least once a year. Homes with more frequent loads of laundry need to clean out their vents more often.
Posted on June 1, 2022 6:15 AM by Jim Ducibella
Categories: General
 
The annual Blackbeard Pirate Festival returns to Hampton from June 3 to 5 at Mill Point Park. The event features costumed re-enactors, cannon battles, mermaids, music, vendors, lectures, and fireworks.
 
On Friday night, the festival kicks off with a ‘Pirate's Parlay’ from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Mill Point Park. This free party is a family-friendly event featuring a performance by the Clan MacCool Band. The public is encouraged to show up in their finest piratical attire.
 
On Saturday, the festival runs from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and returns on Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
 
image credit: visithampton.com
 
Events include:
 
Character vessels: Included is Blackbeard's sailing ship Adventure, Royal Navy vessels Jane and Ranger, and merchant vessels which engage in battles on the Hampton River Saturday and Sunday.
 
Character actors: Dozens of professional pirate re-enactors, and living history interpreters from all points of the compass will be in attendance, along with Helena the Mermaid, Fins and Seashells, Circus Siren Mermaid, and more.
 
Weekend performers include Mark Miller/Rusty Cutlass, The Brigands, Chaste Treasure, Press Gang, the Natterjacks, and Field Musick Virginia.
 
On Saturday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., scholars Dr. Jamie Goodall, author of “Pirates of the Chesapeake Bay: From the Colonial Era to the Oyster Wars,” and Jeremy Moss, author of “The Life and Tryals of the Gentleman Pirate, Major Stede Bonnet,” will offer free lectures at St. John's Church, sponsored by the Hampton History Museum.
 
The Museum will also hold its annual Steam Punk Show Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. (also free and open to the public).
 
Fireworks over the Hampton River will be on Saturday, June 4, at 9 p.m.
 
The festival was previously named the third-best pirate festival in North America by USA Today.
 
For more information, visit the Pirate Festival website.  
Posted on June 1, 2022 6:10 AM by Mary Cheston
Categories: General
 
In mid-May my husband Ric and I traveled to the Midwest ostensibly to visit three National Parks but more importantly to experience Tulip Time in Holland, Michigan. What a show it was - both natural beauty and human warmth.
 
Holland, Michigan is a mini-Dutch suburb, taking seriously its heritage and traditions. For 8 days each spring the entire city celebrates tulips. The streets and parks are lined with tulips. (Obviously their cold winters must discourage squirrels and rabbits.) Homeowners plant bulb displays and compete in the city’s floral show including great photography and themed floral arrangements. (Did you know that Holland claims that the author L. Frank Baum wrote “The Wizard of Oz” while vacationing on Lake Macatawa?) Naturally this year’s competition was a variety of Oz-inspired topics prompting creativity in many forms.
 
Besides a Dutch village recreation/children’s park, there is a spectacular display of tulips at Veldheer Tulip Farm (4 million bulbs) along with a wooden shoe and delft pottery factory. We hit the tulips at their peak - their brilliant colors were something to amaze even a non-gardener like me. 
 
Holland has a proud tradition of “klompen” - traditional Dutch dancing in wooden shoes which dates to 1935. The dancers were out in force performing on the downtown streets.
 
The parades associated with Tulip Time are both eyeopeners. Holland’s Kinderparade is filled with elementary schoolchildren in costume celebrating different aspects of Dutch culture and history. Then to close the festival, there is a larger Volksparade with floats and local bands and the pre-parade “street scrubbing” led by the Mayor.  Of course the Holland High School Band wore wooden shoes down the entire parade route. Several thousand visitors lined the streets to cheer on the festivities. Fireworks on the lake closed out the festival-their equivalent of the Fourth of July.
 
My true bucket list item is to visit Amsterdam and the Keukenhof spring garden. But Holland, Michigan was a lot closer (and cheaper) and certainly a wonderful surprise.  
 
P. S. Writing this article was inspired by Jim Ducibella’s April 2022 article on Gloucester’s Daffodil Festival, and this month's Pirate Festival - who knew!  The Communications Committee desires to broaden contributions to the Crier from throughout New Town. There are so many small town and city festivals - for example, has anyone attended the “Red Flannel” i.e. long johns, festival in Cedar Springs, Michigan? Do you have a favorite festival either in the area or elsewhere to recommend for residents to consider? PLEASE SEND IN A WRITEUP FOR OUR NEXT CRIER ISSUE-ntratown.crier@gmail.com.
Posted on June 1, 2022 5:00 AM by Town Crier Staff
 
BOARD BUZZ - June 2022
by Glen Mitchell, Director
 
Hello friends and neighbors. 
As I’m sure most of you know by now, inspections of home exteriors have been going on for several weeks and will resume mid-month in Shirley Park, Abbey Commons, and Savannah Square.  (Given vacations and other events, our schedule for the Village Walk inspections will await the completion of these other neighborhoods.)
 
Our Chesapeake Bay Community Manager, Anne Ingram, along with the members of the Asset Maintenance Committee have certainly been busy in May. The inspection process has been going fairly smoothly and I’m pleased to say that for the most part things are looking good! 
 
In the event you receive a letter of violation, we ask that you address the issue as soon as possible to avoid any further covenant enforcement actions by the NTRA. 
 
Once all of this home inspection work is complete, the Committee members will begin inspecting NTRAproperties.  These include our walking trails, common areas, walkways, etc.  
 
On another note I’d like to give a BIG shout-out to Alex Trent and her team of Activities Committee volunteers for the wonderful job they did with the Community Potluck on Friday, May 20th!  What a great turnout and what fun meeting new neighbors and friends!  If you missed this event, there are a few other parties being planned for the summer.  It’s a great way to get out, make some new friends and have fun!  Check your email and the NTRA website for notices on these upcoming events. 
 
Finally, Chesapeake Bay offers its employees summer hours as one of their employment benefits. Their office at 337 McLaws Circle will be closed on Friday afternoons starting at noon. Please be respectful of this great staff’s time and plan your appointments/calls accordingly [Monday thru Thursday  8:00 to 5:30PM;  Friday 8:00-1200.] 
 
Wishing you and yours a happy and fun-filled summer in New Town!
 
Board of Directors Vacancy - Applications Now Being Sought!
By Mary Cheston, President, Board of Directors
 
The NTRA Board of Directors (BOD) has accepted the resignation of Director Laura Loda who has stepped down due to personal circumstances. Laura wrote, “During my all too-brief tenure, I have found the Board to be an effective and dedicated group. I believe we have made some significant progress during the first half of the year, and I have no doubt that the group will continue to do so in the months to come. This is a simple case of competing priorities and limited time.”
 
I am personally very grateful to Laura for her calming presence and ability to cut to the chase. Laura took on the challenge of rolling out the new pool entry system for our 2022 swim season and our community is in her debt. Even with Laura’s departure the NTRA enjoyed 5 months of consecutive leadership since last December’s Board election - a record since the transition to homeowner control!
 
VACANCY ANNOUNCEMENT
 
The Board is now seeking a volunteer to fill Laura’s remaining term which expires December 31, 2023 (18 months). If interested, please submit an application by email to:  Monique Stevens, Board Secretary - ntrasecretary@gmail.com 
 
Your application need not exceed one page and should include your: 
  • Name, address, contact information 
  • NTRA neighborhood (see below), and 
  • Qualifications for Board membership (for example: prior NTRA Committee service or other relevant experience), any biographical or other information you wish to include.
  • A short statement of why you are interested in serving on the Board of Directors.  
(See NTRA policy 1.0 “Vacancy in the Board of Directors”.) 
 
All applications received by June 22, 2022 will be considered for appointment.
 
As a reminder, our Bylaws (Article IV, Section 4.1) state “No more than two directors may be owners in the same neighborhood.” Current directors are Mary Cheston (Charlotte Park), Jack Espinal (Abbey Commons), Everett Lunsford and Glen Mitchell (Village Walk). However, as of mid-June, Glen is relocating to a home in Charlotte Park. So the Board can consider applicants from any neighborhood except Charlotte Park.
 
The Board is currently addressing a variety of significant issues and will be moving forward towards a vote on the Governing Documents revisions. Each Board member serves as a Board Liaison to one or more of the eight standing NTRA committees.  As volunteers we take on the responsibility to govern, budget, enforce, mediate, supervise operations and maintain grounds by working with vendors and our management company. Most Board work is done by email and monthly meetings. Other questions on what is involved? Please email Monique. 
 
Serving on the Board is a challenging commitment for anyone, but it also gives you direct impact and influence on how Association business is handled. We hope each NTRA owner will seriously consider stepping up to serve. We are building a strong foundation for the future of our community - join us!
 
20 Years of The Corner Pocket (at New Town)
By New Town Commercial Association
 
While New Town is so lucky to have been home to The Corner Pocket for 20 years, in June, owner Lynn Allison will be celebrating 30 years for this amazing business! New Town is not the original location for this exciting restaurant/billiards hall, but we are so grateful to be their home now.
 
Lynn Allison came up with the idea to open The Corner Pocket in June of 1992 when the game of billiards was taking the country by storm. While Lynn herself, is not an avid pool player, she knew this business is something the Williamsburg community needed. When New Town developers gave the option for business owners to also own their land, she knew that would be a great opportunity, too.
 
The Corner Pocket is the very first business to have opened its doors in August of 2003 after breaking ground in July 2002. Lynn worked with Guernsey Tingle to create the unique design for the property and liked the idea of giving it a New Orleans-style architectural design. The design turned out so exceptional that The Corner Pocket won the “Best Architectural Design” award by Billiards Digest magazine in 2003. Along with its welcoming design style, The Corner Pocket is also home to the city’s biggest outdoor patio.
 
While strolling through New Town, a first-time guest might stumble upon The Corner Pocket because of the beautiful outdoor space, for which Lynn Allison credits her amazing staff’s efforts. The welcoming patio was not only helpful for their survival through Covid restrictions, but it's design was also strategic to draw more attention to the restaurant. “Not many people would give The Corner Pocket a chance for dining if they were not interested in the game of billiards,” Lynn says. The patio has people take a second look and is the restaurant's first chance to “wow” guests.
 
What really keeps people coming back to The Corner Pocket? Sure, they have 13 tables to enjoy shooting pool, but their exceptional food is what keeps the regulars loyal to this fan-favorite New Town eatery. The Corner Pocket menu features unique appetizers, classic salads, delicious burgers, and even some specialty items with a New Orleans slant (think: Corner Pocket Jambalaya!) Chef Jess is also quite a wiz with desserts. Cross your fingers that she’s whipped up something new to try on your next visit or be sure to save room for their regular dessert menu which features options like a Salted Caramel Pound Cake or Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Pie!
 
We could go on and on about all the reasons we are lucky that The Corner Pocket chose New Town for their new location 20 years ago, but we’ll just say this: if you haven’t visited yet, don’t wait any longer!
 
Home Maintenance: Get the Lint Out
By Jim Ducibella
 
Six weeks ago, it was taking so long for us to do a load of laundry, we wondered if the neighbors weren’t sneaking dirty clothes into our home. In truth, our dryer was the culprit. We needed to run it three or four cycles just to dry a load that used to take one cycle. Being all too sadly familiar with planned obsolescence, we figured our 14-year-old appliance had hit the end of the road. But before we started shopping, we brought in a repairman.
 
He said the dryer was fine, then asked when had we last cleaned out the vent? We’d had it done; we just couldn’t remember when.
I took my shop vac and vacuumed both inside and out. I got a lot of lint, but the dryer still wasn’t right. The repairman had recommended calling Atlantic Vent Cleaning, though he added there were other good companies as well. We decided to take the first available appointment, which turned out to be the next day with Atlantic.
 
For a bit more than $100, the Atlantic technician used a 23-foot snake to completely empty our vents of lint (see photo for about half of what he got from the outside vent.) We were so impressed and relieved that we’ve already scheduled an appointment for this time next year. Why?
 
According to Dustdoctors.com, here are the negatives to a clogged dryer vent:
  • House fires. Just under five percent of all house fires in the U.S. start in the laundry room, resulting in deaths, injuries, and hundreds of million dollars in damages each year. Of those fires, a third of them were caused by the homeowner forgetting to clean the dryer vent.
  • Higher bills. Overheating can cause your equipment to break and need expensive repairs or replacement. Combine this with increased utility from an ineffective dryer, and the cost of a clogged dryer vent can really add up.
  • Pests. It is something which many people never consider, but if there is enough build-up to push open the outside laundry flap, you are proving an easy way for pests like rodents to enter your home.
 
Here are some warning signs:
  • It takes longer than usual to dry your clothes. A clog in your vent prevents the hot, moist air from escaping your dryer, which prolongs the drying time and leaves your clothes wet at the end of a cycle.
  • You notice a burning smell. Lint and fabric fuzz are highly flammable, so it doesn't take too much heat to ignite a small piece. If you ever smell something burning when operating your dryer, turn it off and contact a technician immediately.
  • Your clothes are hot to the touch at the end of a load. If you find it difficult to touch your clothes without burning your hand, your vent may be clogged, which prevents hot air from escaping.
  • You can see lint or debris in the dryer hose or around the outside dryer flap. Once you can see a build-up in either of these two places, you know you are well past the time you should have cleaned your dryer ducts.
  • You haven't cleaned your vents in over a year. In a typical household, the dryer vent should be cleaned at least once a year. Homes with more frequent loads of laundry need to clean out their vents more often.
 
Manor on the Green Is Coming to New Town: A View from Both Sides
By Jack Espinal
 
NOTE: This article was originally written by NTRA Board Vice President Jack Espinal and includes responses from Brennan Raab and McLean Gordon of the Whitmore Company, who were provided an advance draft of the article for review. Responses have been slightly edited for clarity. 
 
The original James City County plan for the wooded lot behind Sullivan Square was for a fashionable, boutique hotel. For 19 years this property has remained vacant, and the New Town community was built up all around it. The lack of investors and a downturn of the hotel market in Williamsburg has forced the property owner to revise the planned use for this area. Instead of a hotel, the Whitmore Company plans to develop the property into a one- and two- bedroom apartment complex. These upscale, luxury apartment units and associated amenities will be designed to appeal to young professionals.
 
The Planned Apartment Complex. The Whitmore Company plans to construct four buildings on the site. Their plan places a four-story building with 54 apartments on Shannon Place adjacent to Sullivan Square. This building will house a lobby, administrative office, clubhouse, billiards room, pool, and fitness center for the use by Manor on the Green residents. 
 
Two additional three-story buildings will be constructed on the sides of the property. One of them will be located on Center Street and the other will be on Foundation Street. Each of these buildings will have 24 single-bedroom apartments. The fourth building, a two-story carriage house, will be constructed along Lydias Drive. It will contain four large, two-bedroom apartments built over multiple enclosed private garages. According to the developer, the luxury units in the apartment complex will provide an amenity-rich place for young, upwardly mobile professionals as well as for people opting to downsize from larger homes. 
All of the buildings in the complex will have elevators for access to the upper floors. One hundred and twelve parking spaces, “screened from public view,” for their residents’ use will be located in the center area between the four apartment buildings. The complex will be served by three entrances: one on Center Street another on Lydias Drive and a third on Foundation Street.
 
The Developer. The Whitmore Company has experience in building and managing high-quality, multi-unit housing in the Portsmouth and Hampton areas. They have specialized in both new construction and adapting older historic buildings for residential use. Once constructed, the Whitmore Company stays on to manage the properties for its investors. This business plan makes it less likely that the surrounding community will be left with unsolved problems after construction is completed. The Whitmore company has a good reputation for the management of its rental properties. They also provide on-site management availability 24 hours a day and include a daily valet trash pickup service for their renters.
 
Whitmore Company perspective: 
 
In addition to Hampton and Portsmouth, members of the Whitmore Company were also the original developers of High Street in Williamsburg. With High Street being a local property, the members of the association will be able to appreciate the level of quality of construction and architectural design that was put forth and evident in the retail buildings and the Sterling Manor Apartments. We also developed and manage properties in Norfolk and Newport News that are considered to be Class A, market-rate apartments. They achieve some of the highest rents in Hampton Roads due to the exceptional level of services from our management staff and the amenities we provide. 
 
Community Concerns 
 
The New Town Residential Association (NTRA) Board of Directors has several major concerns regarding the development of this property. Board representatives recently met with Whitmore Company management and have raised the following issues with the developer. 
 
Insufficient Parking. Parking for the residents is a major concern for New Town. As planned, the apartment complex will have a negative impact on parking in the surrounding community.  Street parking in this area is already in short supply. The current Manor on the Green plan provides only 112 parking spaces for the planned 106 residential units. It does not consider or address tenant families that will have more than one automobile, visitor parking, parking for development employees, and delivery/services parking. 
 
The plan also mentions the use of 36 street parking spaces located around the perimeter of the site as well as the use of other parking spaces in New Town for use by its apartment residents. Parking in the area around the proposed construction site is already scarce, especially at night, and will only be made appreciably worse when the apartment complex is occupied. While this plan may meet the James City County parking requirements for New Town, it would not be prudent to build this apartment complex without including additional dedicated parking for its residents. 
 
Whitmore Company perspective: 
 
We will refer to the Amended and Restated NEW TOWN SECTION 2 AND 4 DESIGN GUIDELINES, James City Counth, Virginia, dated July 31, 2003. These design guidelines state:
 
“Primarily this town should ‘encompass a more urban and humanistic approach to the design of buildings and public spaces’ than the more common suburban patterns which have resulted in an alienating environment in many areas, thus serving as an ‘enduring model for growing American communities.’”
 
The guidelines go on to say:
 
“Throughout these guidelines, references to a ‘village character’ are used to describe various elements and conditions of the new town… A village is primarily residential but contains other uses and services to provide for the daily needs of its residents. A village has a center with a mix of uses (including residential) and is organized about a system of interconnecting streets and public open spaces. A village is a pedestrian environment. Uses orient toward streets and open spaces, avoiding enclave development, while parking is accommodated on the streets or behind the buildings. A village is walkable, with centers of activity of public space usually with a 10 minute walk from residential areas and consists of a density of development which encourages proximity of uses.“
 
This excerpt is quoted at length because it is a reminder that the guiding principle of New Town has always been to create a walkable community that embodies “village character”. In fact, these same guidelines go on to define the parking requirements for all future development within New Town by explicitly stating that the minimum parking requirement for residential is 1 space per unit, and the maximum is 1.5 spaces per unit, “in order to ensure a more urban level of development.” In our plan for the Manor on the Green development, we have stayed below that maximum while providing more than the minimum of 1 space per unit, as required by the guidelines and approved by James City County, which has reviewed the New Town parking requirements for this project and multiple previous projects. We are highly confident that 115 spaces is more than adequate, as we have tried to honor the village character that is so essential to New Town.
 
Stormwater Mitigation. Currently the stormwater that falls on the Manor on the Green site percolates through the soil where it is naturally filtered. However, this development will make the site largely impervious to water and create large amounts of runoff which will be directed into an already stressed stormwater management system.  The short- and long-term impact of this additional runoff has not been fully addressed in Whitmore’s conceptual plan.  Whitmore advised us that the current stormwater system was designed with a building in mind; however, they will research the condition of this existing infrastructure considering issues raised by the Board.
 
Sewer System Capacity. The sizing and capacity of the existing sewer system was developed to support a hotel and not apartments. Constructing an apartment complex in place of a hotel will bring two or three times more people into the area to use the existing underground infrastructure. The planned residential apartments will include 106 kitchens as well as 106 laundries that were not considered or included in the original plan for the construction of a hotel. This will create a significant increase in wastewater that must be handled by the existing sewer system. It is unclear whether the existing sewer capacity is sufficient to support the development of an apartment complex of this size. The Board has raised this concern with the developer. It should be addressed by the Whitmore Company and James City County prior to construction. 
 
Construction Impact on the Existing New Town Infrastructure. The tree clearing process, the site development, and the subsequent construction will create a large volume of traffic in and out of New Town.  Much of this additional traffic will include large trucks with very heavy loads. This heavy vehicle traffic will cause significant wear and tear on our roads, curbs, and walkways and has the potential for significant damage. The Whitmore Company monitors the before and after condition of their sites, in order to return any damaged roadway areas to good condition. However, this impact is not just immediately adjacent to the construction site but will also be along whatever arteries the construction traffic uses for access and egress. This wear and tear as well as any damage that may occur to our existing infrastructure during the construction phase will need further discussion among all parties.
 
Whitmore Company perspective: 
 
The original infrastructure for New Town was designed with the flexibility to accommodate the unknown nature of the future development of the community. While the use for this particular site was previously envisioned as a hotel, the currently proposed apartment building fits within the overall framework of the original development matrix. As is the case with all developments, the design civil engineer is working with James City County to ensure compliance with all state and local design requirements. 
 
According to AES Consulting Engineers, the licensed civil engineer for the project, the drainage systems and ponds within New Town were conservatively designed to accommodate the maximum impervious coverage for each parcel. In the case of the apartment parcel, the site was originally envisioned with a high amount of impervious surface and the apartment development has less impervious coverage than was anticipated in the original design. The drainage from the site discharges to two different retention ponds which were both designed to handle the flows from this parcel. 
 
Regarding the sewer, AES Consulting Engineers and JCSA both have confirmed that the present system has adequate capacity to handle the proposed sewer flows for the apartment community. 
 
Regarding the streets, almost all the roadways within New Town are public VDOT roads. Some of the roadways are still in a developer warranty period but are outside of the maintenance responsibility of the NTRA. The only items that are an exception are the paver sidewalks and crosswalks which are within maintenance easements. 
 
Time Frame
 
The Whitmore company is working on architectural renderings for the site.  The clearing of trees from the property will be an environmental loss to our community and we asked for their landscaping plans to consider maximizing greenery. Later this summer we expect that representatives will come to New Town to discuss their more detailed development plans with members of our community. We welcome this dialogue.
 
While we have always known that this property would eventually be developed, we must do everything we can to ensure that the development has a minimal impact on the quality of life for those currently living in New Town and reduce any negative impact on visitors who use the outstanding restaurants, retail stores, theater, and other facilities both during and after construction.  Having a vibrant rental option in our midst could help to keep our commercial businesses stable.  It is the Board’s hope that the Whitmore Company will work with us to satisfactorily resolve any issues that impact our community. 
 
 
June Quick Getaways: Hampton Pirate Festival, June 3-5
By Jim Ducibella
 
The annual Blackbeard Pirate Festival returns to Hampton from June 3 to 5 at Mill Point Park. The event features costumed re-enactors, cannon battles, mermaids, music, vendors, lectures, and fireworks.
 
On Friday night, the festival kicks off with a ‘Pirate's Parlay’ from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Mill Point Park. This free party is a family-friendly event featuring a performance by the Clan MacCool Band. The public is encouraged to show up in their finest piratical attire.
 
On Saturday, the festival runs from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and returns on Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
 
Events include:
 
Character vessels: Included is Blackbeard's sailing ship Adventure, Royal Navy vessels Jane and Ranger, and merchant vessels which engage in battles on the Hampton River Saturday and Sunday.
 
Character actors: Dozens of professional pirate re-enactors, and living history interpreters from all points of the compass will be in attendance, along with Helena the Mermaid, Fins and Seashells, Circus Siren Mermaid, and more.
 
Weekend performers include Mark Miller/Rusty Cutlass, The Brigands, Chaste Treasure, Press Gang, the Natterjacks, and Field Musick Virginia.
 
On Saturday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., scholars Dr. Jamie Goodall, author of “Pirates of the Chesapeake Bay: From the Colonial Era to the Oyster Wars,” and Jeremy Moss, author of “The Life and Tryals of the Gentleman Pirate, Major StedeBonnet,” will offer free lectures at St. John's Church, sponsored by the Hampton History Museum.
 
The Museum will also hold its annual Steam Punk Show Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. (also free and open to the public).
 
Fireworks over the Hampton River will be on Saturday, June 4, at 9 p.m.
 
The festival was previously named the third-best pirate festival in North America by USA Today.
 
For more information, visit the Pirate Festival website (https://www.visithampton.com/event/20th-annual-blackbeard-pirates-festival/2022-06-05/). 
 
 
Tiptoe Through the Tulips - A Getaway Proposal for Your Bucket List
By Mary Cheston
 
In mid-May my husband Ric and I traveled to the Midwest ostensibly to visit three National Parks but more importantly to experience Tulip Time in Holland, Michigan. What a show it was - both natural beauty and human warmth.
 
Holland, Michigan is a mini-Dutch suburb, taking seriously its heritage and traditions. For 8 days each spring the entire city celebrates tulips. The streets and parks are lined with tulips. (Obviously their cold winters must discourage squirrels and rabbits.) Homeowners plant bulb displays and compete in the city’s floral show including great photography and themed floral arrangements. (Did you know that Holland claims that the author L. Frank Baum wrote “The Wizard of Oz” while vacationing on Lake Macatawa?) Naturally this year’s competition was a variety of Oz-inspired topics prompting creativity in many forms.
 
Besides a Dutch village recreation/children’s park, there is a spectacular display of tulips at Veldheer Tulip Farm (4 million bulbs) along with a wooden shoe and delft pottery factory. We hit the tulips at their peak - their brilliant colors were something to amaze even a non-gardener like me. 
 
Holland has a proud tradition of “klompen” - traditional Dutch dancing in wooden shoes which dates to 1935. The dancers were out in force performing on the downtown streets.
 
The parades associated with Tulip Time are both eyeopeners. Holland’s Kinderparade is filled with elementary schoolchildren in costume celebrating different aspects of Dutch culture and history. Then to close the festival, there is a larger Volksparade with floats and local bands and the pre-parade “street scrubbing” led by the Mayor.  Of course the Holland High School Band wore wooden shoes down the entire parade route. Several thousand visitors lined the streets to cheer on the festivities. Fireworks on the lake closed out the festival-their equivalent of the Fourth of July.
 
My true bucket list item is to visit Amsterdam and the Keukenhof spring garden. But Holland, Michigan was a lot closer (and cheaper) and certainly a wonderful surprise.  
 
P. S. Writing this article was inspired by Jim Ducibella’sApril 2022 article on Gloucester’s Daffodil Festival, and by the Communications Committee’s desire to broaden contributions to the Crier from throughout New Town. There are so many small town and city festivals - for example, has anyone attended the “Red Flannel” i.e. long johns, festival in Cedar Springs, Michigan? Do you have a favorite festival either in the area or elsewhere to recommend for residents to consider? PLEASE SEND IN A WRITEUP FOR OUR NEXT CRIER ISSUE-ntratown.crier@gmail.com.
 
Update on Charlotte Park Phase 10 Transition and Engineering Berifing - May 10, 2022
By Rebekah Roberts
 
In 2015 Phil and I retired to New Town and “village life” in Charlotte Park, specifically Ercil Way. It’s been wonderful. Alas, as in most neighborhoods there have been some problems. We have experienced the constant free flow of water down Ercil that causes slipping and sliding in the winter and some mushy yards in the summer. Drainage is a problem as are sink holes. Understanding what will happen when this section of New Town transitions from the Developer is very important to us.
 
The May 10th special meeting of the New Town Residential Association (NTRA) Board brought the community up to date on past concerns and the issues still needing repair in Charlotte Park Phase 10. There were about 20 residents in attendance. 
 
The Board had hired Giles and Flythe Engineering Company to assess the common areas. Zach Shephard, Regional Manager, presented open issues with recommendations from the January County and Giles and Flythe inspections. They were as follows:
  • The continual problem of rushing water down Ercil Way. According to Board President Mary Cheston, James City County will have to approve an engineering fix to these foundation drain discharges which ABVA is preparing.
  • Determine the cause of paint peeling on the Olive Drive fence along the wet pond. Recommendation: Secure a paint professional to evaluate proper surface type and paint the coating accordingly to maintain a coating on the Olive Drive fence with a one-year warranty. 
  • Remove loose vegetation from wet pond along Olive Drive. 
  • Repair cracked asphalt section at handicapped ramp at Olive Drive and Lucretia Way.
  • Repair cracked curb sections along Lucretia Way and the curb inlet concrete section of Olive Drive and ErcilWay.
  • Permeability testing should also be considered by the Association. Zach noted that James City County had tested the bioretention basin at Christine Court and conducted some post-rainfall testing at the Olive Drive wet pond to ensure they were functioning properly. 
The Giles and Flythe report had estimated the cost of remaining repairs at approximately $59,000. ABVA, the Developer, reported via email that some of this work has been completed and the only two issues still needing attention are the Olive Drive fence along the wet pond and the seepage issue on Ercil Way.
 
From the community comments, there were other actions and/or recommendations for the Board:
  • Obtain a letter from James City County (JCC) indicating structures were built according to County specs.
  • Conduct camera imaging for the storm water system to see if the moving of water to BMP is functioning properly. It appears that JCC requires this for new areas, like Shirley Park, but not older developments. The Board will check into this.
  • Understand what NTRA must do to properly maintain assets, especially these stormwater systems (Chesapeake Bay Act).
  • Ask ABVA to sealcoat the alleys before turnover.
The Board is in the process of getting bids for the regular maintenance of all BMP/Bioretention ponds (including the Olive and Casey Blvd. wet ponds). Also, consideration of any sealcoating will await the resolution of the Ercil Way drainage situation since excavation may be required. 
 
Ultimately, the NTRA must make a determination that these areas are “in a condition acceptable to the Association.” (Section 4.9 of the Amended Master Declaration).
 
 
Hurricane Season is Here
By NTRA Emergency Preparedness Committee 
 
 
This year the temperature of the Atlantic Ocean and circulation patterns in the ocean look remarkably similar to the way they did in 2005 -- the year the category 5 Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans.  Consequently, we may anticipate a similarly active and devastating hurricane season this year.  
 
Hurricane season is June 1 until November 30 with peak hurricane season from mid-August to late October.  
 
Now is the time to initiate planning and preparations to help ensure the safety of our community and that of our families.    
NOAA will provide several days advance notice as well as the projected track of each major storm in the Atlantic. This gives us time for a possible evacuation or to prepare to weather the storm in New Town. 
 
Here are some tips to consider:  
 
Advance Planning Preparations 
  • Photograph or video your home and belongings for possible future insurance claims.
  • Familiarize yourself with evacuation routes so you are ready to leave New Town, if necessary.
  • Plan to take your pet/s with you and identify where you will stay (friend, family, hotel) inland in case you evacuate -- the further you are from the ocean the slower the winds will be.  
  • Build a Hurricane Kit for use if you stay or evacuate.  
  • Keep your car’s gas tank filled.    
 
Immediate Preparations (as time permits)
  • Consider putting duct tape on windows to lessen flying glass.
  • Secure outside items -- windblown objects create damage. 
  • Fill your bathtub with water to use for toilet flushing.
  • Move important items to higher floor.  
  • Protect property from flooding and water damage by moving items to a second floor and protecting them with plastic bags.
  • Plan on taking your animals with you if you evacuate.
Hurricane Kit - At a minimum consider including these items in your kit
  • Extra cash (ATMs may not be operable)
  • Keep batteries charged
  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • Battery-powered radio with extra batteries (or a hand crank radio)
  • Cell phone and charger
  • First-aid kit 
  • Tool kit
  • Duct tape
  • Utility knife 
  • Medications (seven days or more)
  • Nonperishable food for seven days or more
  • Manual can opener
  • Drinking water (7 gallons per person / a seven-day supply)
  • Pet supplies to include food, water, medications, collar & leash, current photos, proof of vaccinations, etc.    
  • Important documents (IDs, lease, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies, etc.)
  • Toiletries and sanitation supplies
  • Change of clothes
  • Blankets
Prepare now and have peace of mind that you and your family are prepared when the weather forecast announces an approaching hurricane.  
 
VDOT Updates: Results of VDOT Traffic Study and Sidewalk Issues
By Town Crier Staff
 
On May 12, 2022, VDOT released the results of its traffic study of Casey Boulevard and Center Street.
“VDOT has reviewed the intersection for safety improvements needed and whether a four-way stop is appropriate for this intersection.  Based on the traffic volume disbursement between the two roads it was determined that a four-way stop is not recommended for this intersection.”
VDOT found that Center Street carries approximately 20% of the total volume of Casey Boulevard “which is not consistent with the guidance for a multi-way stop condition.”
 
The review did determine that the line of sight for northbound Center Street is obstructed.  As a result, “VDOT will be taking measures to help improve this situation by relocating the stop bar.” Chesapeake Bay and Virginia Lawn and Landscape have already taken steps to trim trees and/or remove shrubs blocking the line of sight in the intersection, per VDOT’s recommendations.  
 
In April, the Board of Directors also submitted to VDOT a detailed photo inventory of the damaged sidewalks throughout New Town in hopes of receiving repair attention in VDOT’s next budget cycle. Unfortunately, VDOT remains adamant, as reported at last year’s Annual Members Meeting, that their other traffic priorities will not permit it to address this situation. Tracey Lassiter, VDOT’s Williamsburg Operations Manager responded that:
“…all of our employees are currently providing traffic control along primary routes and have been for two weeks.  Please understand that we currently have 550 outstanding work orders. That means that I have 550 current unsatisfied customers.  Immediate roadway safety concerns are our first priority.  These are things such as potholes, dead animals in the roadway/right of way, vegetation causing sight distance issues, missing or damaged roadway stop/yield signs, drainage issues that cause water to flood the roadway, etc. I will have someone review the sidewalk concerns as time and priority allows.”
 
VDOT repeated that it will not take responsibility for sidewalks uplifted by tree roots.
“VDOT cannot be responsible for these types of repairs because it requires the removal of the existing sidewalk slab, the removal of the tree root (which may kill the tree), and the repouring of a new concrete slab. If the tree is not removed, the roots will very quickly push up the sidewalk yet again. Unfortunately VDOT does not have the resources for these types of potentially recurring problems. Should the tree be cut down/removed, VDOT could provide a repair or slab-repour.” 
 
VDOT also believes based on previous visits that some sinking slabs are being caused by home drainage systems, e.g."the homeowner's downspout/black pipe which was draining at the sidewalk location causing voids and settling of the slab.  If the homeowner removes the pipe, VDOT can then consider a repair. Sprinkler systems also cause sidewalks to settle/crack. Again, VDOT cannot consider a repair until the sprinkler system is removed.”
 
We will continue to keep the community informed if any progress is made with VDOT in the coming months. Expensive decisions may await the Association. Continue to watch your step when walking in our community!
 
Free Dog Treats for A Year!
By NTRA Landscape Advisory Committee
 
Dog owners, what would you do for a year of free dog treats? 
 
Would you encourage your pet to do his business on the mulch instead of grass?
 
Would you pick up after your pet and deposit in the designated dog stations?
 
Would you show respect for your neighbors by not letting your dog trespass into flower beds and private yards?
 
Well, fortunately most of you do these things already without needing to be rewarded. If, however, you are one of a growing number of dog owners who are letting your dog roam on private property, damage the grass and seasonal flowers with urine, and leave poop for someone else to pick up, then this plea is for you. Allowing your dog to do his business in your neighbor’s yard, even if you pick it up, is not OK.
 
Please consider your neighbor’s property and our community’s appearance when walking your dog. You won’t be getting free dog treats, but you will earn much gratitude from the rest of us!
 
 
New Town Clubs and Social Groups: The Ties That Bind
By Patti Vaticano
 
Our New Town neighborhood is a diverse community of individuals comprised of young professionals, students, families, retirees, and a growing number of Baby Boomers leading the way in the new “Unretirement Movement.” This is not a revelation, of course.  As a “planned community,” just such diversity was the vision and goal of New Town’s Developer, and almost from the beginning, the tie that bound New Town’s diverse neighbors together were social gatherings, community events, seasonal neighborhood activities—and special interest clubs and social committees. None of these events or entities are ever the main focus of a community’s HOA Board, to be sure; but a good HOA Board knows the value in nurturing these grassroots gatherings, clubs, and happenings among its neighbors. They are nothing less than signs of a thriving and happy community whose residents are committed to each other--and to the greater good.
 
At present, New Town has a number of clubs and small groups meeting regularly to talk, interact, and enhance ties within the community.  Listed below are the current clubs and their contacts.  All operate independently from the New Town Residential Association—and a good many more would be welcome.
 
Book Clubs
The New Town community has three book clubs, to date, our newest of general topics and life in New Town, begun, last July, by resident Ginny Fisher. Sadly, none of them are actively open to new members at this time—but here is your opportunity!  Book Clubs can be generic or highly selective. Are you a Jane Austin fan? A devotee of Ray Bradbury? Is there a specific genre that you are drawn to? Sci-Fi- Fantasy, Southern Gothic, the Supernatural? Forensic mysteries? The same would serve for those who love poetry or folklore. Perhaps you enjoy discussion on contemporary works of a specific theme. The possibilities are vast, and any New Town resident is welcome to form a new book club—or any club--and recruit for it by contacting the Communications Committee via their email address at ntrawebsitecommittee@gmail.com.
  
Garden Club - "Never Ending Garden Party"
A new gardening club has formed and is open to all residents of New Town. Beautifying our common areas with plantings is one goal, but other activities might include embarking on horticultural field trips, attending garden related educational events, or enjoying social outings, happy hours, or other forms of socialization and fun. Please email neverendinggardenparty@gmail.com or call Kelly at 757-713-5755 if you are interested in learning more. 
 
Retired Men's Club
The Retired Men's Club meets for lunch on the fourth Thursday of the month to talk about what's going on in New Town and in the larger community. (Note: The group has been dormant during the Covid pandemic. Resurrecting it would be welcome.).
 
Women's Lunch Club
Meets for lunch on the first Tuesday of the month at a New Town restaurant for conversation and informal discussion of what's happening in our community. Contact Angela Lesnett at alesnett@verizon.net 
 
So, what club or committee might you add to the above?  Do you have an interest or a skill that you would like to promote or share with your New Town neighbors? Have you been toying with the idea of getting a group together to pursue a topic in depth via a small group that would be like-minded?  Below are some ideas for new community clubs and committees. Come and create those ties that bind! All you need do is put your thoughts together and reach out to your Communications Committee at ntrawebsitecommittee@gmail.com. The Committee is ready and willing to help you get the word out and the crowds in!
 
Club Ideas:
 
Film Club: Are you interested in vintage films or a specific film genre? Perhaps getting a Film Club going would be of interest to you, engaging others while enhancing your own enjoyment and knowledge of the medium. 
 
Photography Club: There’s no place like New Town for picture taking. Get a club going to exchange methods and ideas about the art—and to capture your neighbors and your community for posterity.  Your Communications Committee is always looking for “Life in New Town” pics to post.
 
Quilting/Crocheting Clubs:  Quilting is a great American art.  Quilters gathering together to share tips and innovations—and a mutual love for their craft—would enrich all involved.
 
Gym/Exercise/Walking Club: We all know the value of exercise—but not everyone is drawn to it, naturally.  Get some friends together regularly to cheer you on!
 
Breakfast Club:  Coffee, company, and little nosh is never a difficult thing to make a habit of.
 
Birdwatching/Wildlife Club:  Take advantage of our setting and our walking trails—and that old pair of binoculars gathering dust since you moved in. New Town wildlife is diverse--and regular trips with those like-minded to the Peninsula’s many parks and waterways can be a fun way to enhance your discoveries. 
 
Have the above club ideas got you thinking?  Once again, just reach out to your Communications Committee via their email address at ntrawebsitecommittee@gmail.com for support getting the word out. Create a new tie that, in goodwill and New Town fellowship, will help further bind us into the fun and socially committed community that we are. 
 
 
Summer Events in New Town
By Town Crier Staff
 
SUMMER FUN AT THE POOL:
 
The New Town Residential Association's Activities Committee has also been busy planning events at the Community Pool for New Town residents. 
 
Save these dates:
  • Tuesday evening, June 14, 2022 - After Hours Social from 6 to 8 PM (BYO everything!)
  • Saturday, July 16, 2022 - Annual Pool Party - 11 to 1PM (Pizza and drinks provided)
  • Tuesday evening, August 16, 2022 - After Hours Social from 6 to 8 PM (BYO everything!)
 
Watch for more details in eblasts and via this NTRA website. 
 
And from the New Town Commercial Association:
Join us for a line-up of FREE, monthly pop-up events, to CELEBRATE 20 YEARS of New Town! 
 
Save the Dates for the first Saturday in June through August! These monthly public events will be located by the Fountain and down Main Street by the Gazebo, and are sponsored by the New Town Commercial Association.
 
Family Fun Day
June 4th, 11am-2pm
The Teeny Tiny Farm Petting Zoo, Bubbles The Clown, Face Painting & More!
 
Ice Cream Social
July 2nd, 12-2pm
Beat the heat with some ice cream! A sweet, summertime delight on us!
 
Live Entertainment
August 6th, 11am-2pm
Stay tuned for details on LIVE entertainment by the fountain!
 
 
I'm Not Really Looking for a Commitment Right Now
By Kate Licastro
 
It's not you, it's me. You're great... really. I'm just not looking for a commitment right now. Have you thought this about volunteering on one of our many New Town Residential Association (NTRA) Committees? HAVE I GOT A DEAL FOR YOU?! 
 
First, the benefits. A recent post on Indeed.com, Benefits of Volunteering: 10 Reasons to Volunteer summarizes some of the mood-boosting, purpose-providing benefits of volunteering in your community. Beyond adding to your sense of purpose and community, volunteering can help you meet new people, improve self-esteem, get you out of your comfort zone, and be FUN! 
 
You may be thinking, "sure, but volunteering simply doesn't fit into my spontaneous lifestyle. I can't be tied down." Introducing, the NTRA short-term, one-time, if-I-am-in-town, sounds-like-fun, volunteer assembly! This exclusive assembly will be contacted in times of need (e.g. community events that need additional support, help getting the word out about important news, etc.) 
 
One immediate and ongoing opportunity is to be a guest-writer for the New Town Crier! Have you taken any fabulous or unusual trips? Do you have a favorite festival to visit? Do you want to share interesting news about the community? Do you have great New Town photographs to share? You can write one article or several throughout the year; it's up to you! 
 
Commitment is hard; volunteering doesn't have to be! Contact ntratown.crier@gmail.com if you're interested.
 
Pool Season Has Begun!
By Town Crier Staff
 
The New Town Community Pool is now open through Labor Day. The pool is closed on Tuesdays and daily hours are posted on the NTRA website calendar.
 
To use the pool, residents must have a new electronic pass. ALL users must review the 2022 pool rules and sign an acknowledgement form before being eligible to receive a pass. 
 
Many, many thanks to our volunteer Pool Committee and our community manager, Anne Ingram and her admin staff for their efforts to organize, label and distribute about 800 passes so far. 
 
If you are an owner in the New Town Residential Association and have not picked up your pass, contact Chesapeake Bay Management (757) 706-3019 for an appointment to do so.  Tenants - work through your property owner or property management/rental company to obtain a pass. New Town condo residents should reach out to their property management company for information.
 
With the Covid-19 virus still circulating, please be mindful of others and keep your distance while using the pool. Let’s all make the lifeguard’s job easier by following the pool rules. Happy swimming! 
 
Posted on May 1, 2022 5:50 AM by Jim Ducibella
Categories: General
 
I heard it through the grapevine (as Marvin Gaye once said) that some folks are a bit tired of “festival” recommendations. Taking that to heart, here are four very distinct entertainment options, in four very distinct locales, any of which would make for a May to remember.
 
Lewis Black, May 5, Dominion Energy Center, Richmond: Like your comedy a little on the angry side? Washington, D.C., native Lewis Niles Black is your guy. If you don’t know, Black, 73, is an American stand-up comedian and actor whose routines often escalate into angry rants about history, politics, religion, or any other cultural trends. Lord knows he’s got plenty of material to choose from these days. For more information, visit https://www.stereoboard.com/lewis-black-tickets/richmond
 
Renee Elise Goldsberry, May 6 at Chrysler Hall, Norfolk: A gifted actress and singer, she originated the role of Angelica Schuyler in the Broadway production of Hamilton, winning the Tony Award and Drama Desk Award – followed by a Grammy for the cast album and an Emmy for the Disney+ live stage recording of this record-breaking hit musical. Goldsberry brings her golden voice to the Virginia Arts Festival, singing Broadway hits including songs from The Lion King and Rent, American pop standards, and soul classics. For more information, visit https://www.sevenvenues.com/events/detail/renee-elise-goldsberry
 
 
Chicago, May 14 at Atlantic Union Bank Pavilion, Portsmouth: The originators of some of rock and roll’s greatest hits, Chicago came in as the highest-charting American band in “Billboard” Magazine's Top 125 Artists of all time. As if that weren’t enough, Chicago is the first American rock band to chart Top 40 albums in six consecutive decades. Chicago recently received The Recording Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award from the GRAMMYS, given to performers who have made outstanding contributions of artistic significance to the field of recording. For more information, visit  info@pavilionconcerts.com
 
Beautiful, May 17 at Ferguson Center, Newport News: The Carole King Musical tells the inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom. Along the way, she wrote the soundtrack to a generation. Featuring beloved songs written by Gerry Goffin/Carole King and Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil, including “I Feel The Earth Move,” “One Fine Day,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “You’ve Got A Friend” and the title song. For more information, visit https://www.fergusoncenter.org/events/detail/beautiful-the-carole-king-musical
Posted on May 1, 2022 5:30 AM by Town Crier Staff
 
BOARD BUZZ - May 2022
By Jack Espinal, Vice-President
 
April has been a busy month on the landscaping scene.
 
The Zoysia Grass Pilot Project
 
The NTRA Board has approved a project to resurface the grass in Lydias Park with Zoysia sod.  This species of grass is known for its ability to stand up to the summer heat and heavy foot traffic. It produces a dense, beautiful lawn that requires little or no water once it is established. Zoysia is so dense that it literally prevents weed growth. Seeds from weeds and other grasses simply cannot penetrate the turf to germinate in the soil and grow. This eliminates the need for future application of chemical herbicides in Lydias Park and eliminates a future Association expense.
 
A warm weather grasses pilot project has been in the works for a couple of years after members of the Landscape Advisory Committee (LAC) experimented with Zoysia in their yards. They were pleased with the results and recommended that the grass be installed elsewhere in New Town. If the Association is pleased with the results of this initial installation, consideration will be given to planting Zoysia grass in other New Town locations.
 
Lydias Park was chosen from several  locations for this installation because of the condition of the existing grass and the associated underground sprinkler system which has not operated for several years and would be costly to repair. It also allows us to remove the sprinkler system from our reserve study and saves our Association from having to fund future system maintenance. 
 
The downside of Zoysia grass is that it turns brown when it goes dormant in the winter or when there is a severe drought. However, warm weather and a little water brings the green grass right back. While brown grass in the winter is a disadvantage, it will eventually create a more consistent appearance and most likely look better than many of the “spotty” lawns in New Town.
 
Community Landscape Beautification Projects
 
The LAC has also identified four highly visible areas of New Town that, with additional landscaping, will create a positive visual impact for our community. They researched and identified multiple species of perennial plants and evergreens that will provide changing colors and stay beautiful throughout the year. These Gateway projects are located around the community - in the Village Walk Clock Tower area, a new garden in a mulched area along Roper Park, plantings around the swimming pool sign, and refurbishing of the dog walk area near the swimming pool.
 
In April the Board approved these LAC recommended Gateway Projects. The LAC assisted by members of the newly established New Town Garden Club (also known as the Never-Ending Garden Party) will provide the labor for the installation, initial watering, and future maintenance of the four projects. These improvements will be made this spring.  If you would like to help with these beautification projects and/or join the New Town Garden Club, send an email to: neverendinggardenparty@gmail.com or call Kelly at 757.713.5755.
 
I thank the LAC for all of their hard work selecting sites for these projects, researching the perennial plants that will provide color throughout the year, and for volunteering their labor to perform the installation, watering, and maintenance. This effort will significantly improve the appearance of our community at a minimum cost to our Association.
 
New Meeting Space
 
The Board has also approved a conditional lease with Williamsburg Developers/Developers Realty, LLC for new space for Association meetings. This space provides two meeting areas - a large space for our Board meetings and a smaller conference area where Committees who do not have many members may choose to meet. Both rooms will be available for reservation. See related Town Crier article this month.
 
New Town’s 20th
By Jim Ducibella
 
As part of my recovery from hip replacement surgery in 2009, my wife and I would daily drive over to New Town so that I could hobble, then limp, then finally walk around Foundation Square. Being the brains of the family, Sue frequently told me how impressed she was with New Town and how we should beat the baby-boomer crowd that was sure to flock to an area where they could walk to restaurants, doctors, the movies, and shopping.
 
As usual, she was right, and we have no plans to leave Charlotte Park until . . . well, you know.
 
Many others came -- and continue to come -- to the same conclusion. New Town celebrates its 20th birthday and is an ever-growing testament to the vision of people who were bound and determined not to settle for ordinary.
 
“We intentionally developed the land in phases, so that development could respond to changing market demands,” Larry Salzman, president of developer New Town Associates, recently told The Peninsula Chronicle. “The recession of 2008 caused many development projects to shut down. We were able to adapt some of our plans so that development could continue during that difficult time.
 
“New Town must continue to respond to changing times and adapt with progressive ideas to meet the needs of our residents, businesses, visitors, and the overall community.”
 
Salzman pointed to the electric car charging station in the lot across from Axe Republic as an example. In keeping pace with technological advances, Salzman said, a new, updated charger was recently installed (see, "New Town Gets an Upgraded to Electric Car Charging Station").
 
But that’s the future. Let’s take a quick look at the past, a complete timeline of which can be found if you visit this website https://www.ntrawilliamsburg.org/history/.
 
In 1996, the Carl Casey family sponsored a contest for a “new town plan” to be developed on 600 acres bounded by Ironbound Road and extending on both sides of what is now Route 199. The entry of Cooper Robertson and Partners was chosen.
 
In 2001, James City County Approves rezoning for the commercial district of New Town, which now includes the Bennington, Foundation Square, Abbey Commons, and Savannah Square.
 
A year later, New Town Associates was formed, and ground was broken on the first homes. A year later, construction began on the first two streets: Courthouse Street and New Town Avenue.
 
In 2004, the first business – The Corner Pocket – opened, and a year later, the first residents moved in.
 
Traffic hasn’t slowed since.
 
2022 New Town Pool Season Requires New Pool Passes
By NTRA Pool Committee
 
We have a new electronic entry system for the New Town Community Pool gate. This new system allows for easier and safer entry for authorized pool patrons. The new system uses proximity cards, similar in size to a credit card and only requires holding the card near the reader to open the gate. Each household in good standing will receive two pool passes this season after completing and submitting the required documents. 
 
2022 Pool Policies and Rules
The first thing an owner needs to do is to familiarize themselves with the updated 2022 pool rules. There is an acknowledgement form in the document that must be signed and submitted to receive your new passes.
 
Pool Pass Distribution 
NTRA owners in good standing in accordance with NTRA Policy must sign the acknowledgement form found in the 2022 NTRA Pool Policy and Rules.  To receive a new pass, this acknowledgement form must be submitted in advance to Chesapeake Bay Management either by:
·      Email (wbadmin@1cbm.com),
·      Mail (New Town Residential Association, ℅ Chesapeake Bay Management, 337 McLaws Cir, Ste 1, Williamsburg 23185), or 
·      In person - bring to the after-hours drop box outside the front door at the McLaws Circle address.  
 
NTRA owners with tenants in their property will be accountable for the passes. In addition to the 2022 NTRA Pool Policies and Rules acknowledgement form, owners must sign the form headed “For Owners with Tenants ONLY” and submit both forms to Chesapeake Bay Management along with a copy of the current lease page showing tenant(s) name(s), NTRA property address and the term of the lease. Either the owner or tenant may pick up pool passes once the owner has submitted these required documents.
 
New Town Commercial Association condo owners and tenants should contact their property manager for information on how to obtain passes.
 
Where Can You Get Your New Pass
Once you have submitted your form(s), three pass pick-up dates have been scheduled at the pool for NTRA owners/ tenants only:
 
 
If you are an NTRA owner and miss these dates, you must make an appointment at Chesapeake Bay Management company to obtain your new pass. Appointments may be scheduled by calling 757-706-3019.  All pool passes must be signed for in person - no passes will be mailed!
 
PROTECT YOUR PASSES! These new passes will be used in future years so protect them!  A lost pass will cost $25 to replace.
 
NTRA owners, look for a letter this week outlining these requirements! We look forward to a fun and tech-friendly swim season. 
 
 
Volunteer Spotlight: Tara Stratton, Pool Committee Chair 
By Kate Licastro
 
The first time Tara Stratton met with neighbors to discuss the New Town Pool, it was 2011 and the discussion wasn’t about entry systems or pool refinishing, it was to figure out how to get the pool built in the first place. Fast forward more than a decade, and Tara is once again working to make the New Town Pool a safe, enjoyable part of the neighborhood.  
 
There were only six homes built in Charlotte Park when Tara and her husband John, along with their two children, decided to take a chance on the neighborhood. Tara recalls the early days of all-neighborhood Easter egg hunts, island-planting parties, and of course, neighbors coming together to get a pool built. Over the last decade, John’s Air Force career relocated the Stratton family to England, Washington D.C., back to Williamsburg, and back to England. With John’s retirement from the Air Force, the Stratton’s celebrated their most recent, and hopefully final move back into their Charlotte Park home in the summer of 2021. 
 
So, what does our NTRA pool committee do, exactly? “The primary role of the pool committee is to make recommendations to the Board of Directors (BOD) on what is needed to improve the pool experience for residents,” notes Tara. “We work closely with the Management Company and the BOD to make the pool a pleasant place to be.” For example, the pool committee may recommend optimal pool hours based on resident usage and desires balanced with budget and staffing availability. 
 
A huge success for the 2022 season was securing the new entry system (see "2022 New Town Pool Season Requires New Pool Passes"), which required months of research, bid solicitation, and working with the BOD to allocate funds. Throughout the pool season, committee members monitor pool operations and facilities. Based on observations from previous seasons and resident feedback, the pool committee and Management Company recommended a supplementary cleaning company to enhance pool restroom and common area cleanliness, which the BOD secured for 2022. At the end of the season, pool committee members take inventory and note any repairs or maintenance concerns to address in the off-season. This year, committee members will conduct furniture evaluations to potentially add to and update the current available pool furniture.
 
Do you have suggestions or feedback you would like to discuss with the pool committee? “We always have time for input from the community at the pool committee meetings,” Tara shared. The schedule of pool committee meetings is available on the NTRA calendar webpage.  
 
New Town Gets an Upgrade to Electric Car Charging Station
By New Town Commercial Association

New Town is excited to announce that we are keeping up with the times! “Several years ago, when the “old” car charging station was installed, it was the first publicly available charger in James City County. In just a few years not only has the technology changed but today there are many more electric vehicles on the road. New Town has strived to be aware of innovative ideas that can benefit our community, and New Town has actively implemented changes that were needed. A new car charging station is another step in this progression, “says Larry Salzman, representative of the New Town Commercial Association.
 
The upgraded charging station is now available for public use.  The members of the New Town Commercial Association have been actively involved in keeping New Town moving forward since our groundbreaking almost 20 years ago. The all-volunteer leadership of the association has always been interested in new trends and has worked hard to be proactive in making needed changes,” Salzman shares. New Town is lucky to have active participants that keep us up-to-speed for our community.
 
Heading to New Town with your electric car? You can find the new charging station at 4935 Courthouse Street, located in the parking lot next to Axe Republic at 4919 Courthouse Street. And visit blinkcharging.com/drivers/blink-map/
 
We are hoping that in the not-too-distant future, New Town will be home to even more car chargers so that our guests can shop, dine, and explore New Town while their vehicles are being recharged. After all, this is New Town: Life Happens Here!
 
5118 CENTER STREET - NTRA’S New "Floating" Meeting Space
By Mary Cheston
 
We have moved into new space for New Town Residential Association (NTRA) meetings - hopefully for at least the remainder of 2022. Developers Realty has made the former Computer Concepts store at 5118 Center Street (next to Salon Vivace) available for Member use until such time as a permanent tenant leases the location. 
 
The space has two separate meeting areas that are reservable for Committees, with combined seating for 22 people.  (There is also a small office for our community manager to use when she is on site.) Reservations are through the NTRA website, and instructions for have been sent to all Committee Chairs on how to reserve and maintain the rooms.
 
Members of the Board cleaned and spruced up the area to provide a more presentable and safer meeting option. Many, many thanks to Glen Mitchell and Ric Cheston for their efforts in repainting two large areas. Let’s hope the space doesn’t look so much better that someone wants to rent it permanently!
 
Our thanks to Developers Realty for working with us to identify a usable location. Be sure to frequent our neighboring New Town businesses while you are in the area taking care of NTRA business.
 
Pending Revision to Master Plan Language Regarding Eastern State Hospital
By Mary Cheston, President, Board of Directors
 
At its April 26, 2022 Business Meeting, Supervisor Jim Icenhour requested that James City County staff revise the language regarding the Eastern State Hospital land use redesignation in the pending Comprehensive Master Plan descriptive text to remove references to “New Town.” He asked that staff propose new descriptive language to the Board of Supervisors (BOS).  
 
Planning Director Paul Holt confirmed via email that “when the Comprehensive Plan materials return to the BOS concurrent with a rezoning application, the updated name will appear (as Eastern State, Parcel C) in the documents for the Board’s consideration.” 
 
To date, this is the only official change to the Eastern State proposals that is under formal consideration. The Board took no action on the NTRA’s request for an official County commitment to no cut-through of Olive Drive and other items outlined in our April 8th letter, which will also likely await a formal rezoning application from ABVA.
 
Special NTRA Informational Meeting: Charlotte Park Phase 10 Engineering Report
 
When:
Tuesday, May 10, 2022
6:30PM
Stryker Center, Room 128 
412 N. Boundary Street, Williamsburg
 
Homeowners are invited to attend a briefing by Zach Shephard, Giles & Flythe Engineering on inspection results from the January 2022 inspection of Phase 10 of Charlotte Park. This area includes lower Rollison Drive, Ercil and Lucretia Ways (surrounding Christine Court), and the Olive Drive area. 
 
Mr. Shephard participated as New Town Residential Association's (NTRA’s) engineering representative in the James City County reinspection of this area. Mr. Shephard has been invited by the Board of Directors to share his findings and recommendations with the community. 
 
Per NTRA policy 5.1 Turnover or Acceptance of Assets, this meeting is to obtain resident input on items called for in the County’s-approved plans, prior to ABVA turning the common areas over to the NTRA.
 
A copy of the Giles and Flythe report is posted on the NTRA website. (Look under Committees - Other Information/Turnover Issues).
 
Let's kick-off summer with a Community Potluck!
By NTRA Activities Committee
 
When: Friday, May 20th, 6 to 8PM
Where: CHELSEA GREEN - dining al fresco in the park!
 
Time to pull out the crockpot and your favorite summer recipes! On Friday, May 20th, join your neighbors between 6-8PM in the Chelsea Green Common Area (on Discovery Park Blvd) for a Community Potluck.
 
The NTRA Activities Committee is planning to fire up the grill and kick the summer off right - together! Bring your beverage of choice and something to share.
 
Do you have a summer salad recipe you like to share with a crowd? Do you always have the best chips and dips at your gatherings?  Is there a new cookie recipe you've been waiting to test? We look forward to seeing you there! Be on the look-out for more details as we get closer to the event! 
 
Quick getaways for May
By Jim Ducibella
 
I heard it through the grapevine (as Marvin Gaye once said) that some folks are a bit tired of “festival” recommendations. Taking that to heart, here are four very distinct entertainment options, in four very distinct locales, any of which would make for a May to remember.
 
Lewis Black, May 5, Dominion Energy Center, Richmond: Like your comedy a little on the angry side? Washington, D.C., native Lewis Niles Black is your guy. If you don’t know, Black, 73, is an American stand-up comedian and actor whose routines often escalate into angry rants about history, politics, religion, or any other cultural trends. Lord knows he’s got plenty of material to choose from these days. For more information, visit https://www.stereoboard.com/lewis-black-tickets/richmond
 
Renee Elise Goldsberry, May 6 at Chrysler Hall, Norfolk: A gifted actress and singer, she originated the role of Angelica Schuyler in the Broadway production of Hamilton, winning the Tony Award and Drama Desk Award – followed by a Grammy for the cast album and an Emmy for the Disney+ live stage recording of this record-breaking hit musical. Goldsberry brings her golden voice to the Virginia Arts Festival, singing Broadway hits including songs from The Lion King and Rent, American pop standards, and soul classics. For more information, visit https://www.sevenvenues.com/events/detail/renee-elise-goldsberry
 
Chicago, May 14 at Atlantic Union Bank Pavilion, Portsmouth: The originators of some of rock and roll’s greatest hits, Chicago came in as the highest-charting American band in “Billboard” Magazine's Top 125 Artists of all time. As if that weren’t enough, Chicago is the first American rock band to chart Top 40 albums in six consecutive decades. Chicago recently received The Recording Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award from the GRAMMYS, given to performers who have made outstanding contributions of artistic significance to the field of recording. For more information, visit info@pavilionconcerts.com
 
Beautiful, May 17 at Ferguson Center, Newport News: The Carole King Musical tells the inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom. Along the way, she wrote the soundtrack to a generation. Featuring beloved songs written by Gerry Goffin/Carole King and Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil, including “I Feel The Earth Move,” “One Fine Day,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “You’ve Got A Friend” and the title song.
 
Posted on April 1, 2022 7:57 AM by Jim Ducibella
Categories: General
Photographer unknown, 2022 Gloucester Daffodil Festival website
 
A few years ago, my wife and I were out for a Sunday drive, and we decided to go to Gloucester for a simple reason: We had never been there before. Imagine our (welcomed) surprise to discover that it was Daffodil Festival weekend.
 
The streets were filled with locals and tourists. There were beautiful daffodils everywhere the eye could see. Shops on Main Street were open and looked to be doing a robust business. There were food trucks, music, lots of little kids and their parents – we even purchased a new tag for our dog from a street vendor.
 
The festival returns this year for one weekend, April 2 and 3. Things get started with a parade at 10 a.m. on Saturday. On the Main Street stage, the group Whiskey Rebellion will play from noon to 5. Sunday’s featured musical group is Soul Expression, which will perform from 12:45 to 5.
 
Since there is very limited parking in town, you can drive to Gloucester High School and ride the shuttle into town for $5.
 
The history of daffodils in Gloucester, wrote Carol Ray in 1991, a work that was updated by Denise Rhea Carter 19 years later, is “almost as old as Gloucester County itself.” Early settlers brought with them daffodil bulbs that they planted in what turned out to be ideal weather and soil for them to flourish.
 
Around 1890, a woman named Eleanor Linthicum Smith first saw the commercial potential of daffodils. She developed a bed of the flowers and paid children 10 cents per hundred to pick them. The flowers were packed and shipped to Baltimore.
 
At its peak, Gloucester was known as “the Daffodil Capital of America.” After a decline, in 1938 the first daffodil tour was proposed by the Gloucester Rotary Club and the local newspaper, the Gazette-Journal. It was such a success that a year later a festival was added to the tour, along with a queen and her court.
 
Most, if not all, of the events attached to the festival are free and open to the public. For more information, visit this website https://daffodilfestivalva.org/.
 
Posted on April 1, 2022 7:49 AM by Town Crier Staff
BOARD BUZZ - April 2022, by Laura Loda, Board Member
 
Happy Spring!  Isn’t it great to be able to enjoy the weather and to be outdoors?  It won’t be that much longer before summer is upon us and there are things in progress now to prepare for that.
 
Community Pool
 
Those of you who frequent the pool will be happy to learn that at its March meeting, the Board approved the installation of a new entry system to replace the outdated and not-always-functional one currently in place.  The new system will be web-based so it will interface with a resident database.  So, for instance, if an owner were to sell their property (why would you want to leave New Town?) their pass would be inactivated.  The new system will also allow us to track usage of the facility by time and day.  That will help with planning future expenditures and maintenance items.  In addition, if there were to be inclement weather necessitating closure of the facility, this could be done remotely so no one’s pass would open the gate.  This would protect everyone who might not see emails or webpage notices.  Stay tuned for more information about distribution of new passes.  It will be done in conjunction with owner signing of the updated 2022 Pool Policies and Rules document. The Pool Committee is busy planning all of this with Chesapeake Bay Management as well as all of the other tasks that precede opening of the pool on Saturday, May 28.
 
Stormwater Management
 
A term you may have heard tossed around and not really known what it is — BMPs.  Stormwater Management Facilities or Best Management Practices (BMPs) are a key component in the effort to control stormwater runoff and protect our streams.  There are numerous BMPs throughout New Town, some of which are owned by the NTRA and some of which are owned by other parties.  BMPs owned by the NTRA have all been inspected, an activity planned for in this year’s budget.  Two locations need immediate repair and sediment cleaning.  The Board has approved contracts for this work at the Lydias playground detention basin and the Casey Boulevard BMP (the wet pond next to Abbey Commons).  
 
More significant non-routine maintenance is required at the Casey Blvd BMP and will include vegetation removal, debris excavation and site improvement to provide proper stormwater management.  This work would be replacement reserve funded.  Chesapeake Bay has proposed that the Association apply for a James City County Clean Water Heritage Grant (matching funds) for the work. The Board authorized our Managing Agent to pursue this grant application that is due at the end of September.  Additionally, the Board has requested a routine maintenance proposal to mitigate future significant repairs.
 
Casey Boulevard Traffic
 
I presented to Jim Icenhour, our Supervisor on the James City County Board of Supervisors, comments submitted from a number of residents expressing concerns about different traffic and parking issues on Casey Boulevard.  By far the largest number of comments concerned the intersection with Center Street where there is a school bus stop.  There is no means to slow or stop traffic at that intersection which poses safety issues for the children going to and from the bus stop.  Mr. Icenhour presented the issue at the March 8 Board of Supervisors meeting and has met with the local representative of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).  The VDOT representative contacted me to let us know that a traffic study of Casey Boulevard will be conducted by VDOT.  Unfortunately, I can’t give you an estimate of when this will happen.  Apparently, there is a queue of requests and we’re now in the queue.  I’ll follow up with VDOT regularly and let you know when I learn something more definite.  But, we’re on the list!   And patience is a virtue.
 
PS 
In the last week from public information on the JCC website, the Board has learned about two possible developer projects that could impact our community (See related Crier article). Owners should pay attention to what is being proposed and as we learn more, we will update you.
 
More Proposed Development in and around New Town, by Jim Ducibella
 
There may be a new neighborhood – or two – in New Town’s future, pending James City County (JCC) approval of two new areas.
 
Manor on the Green
In late January, The Whitmore Company, a commercial real estate, development, and investment firm responsible for various Tidewater area developments, including Williamsburg’s High Street complex, submitted a conceptual proposal for “Manor on the Green.” It would be a residential development of three buildings containing 106 one- and two-bedroom units, with its own pool and fitness center. (An initial conceptual layout has been included in the application) This conceptual plan is currently under County review.
 
The project, which would encompass two- three- and four-story buildings, would be located on the wooded land north of Sullivan Square in the heart of New Town. As proposed, parking would be provided for 112 vehicles, screened from the Center Street right of way. The land has already been zoned as “Mixed Use,” and does not require any additional legislative changes or public hearings.
 
Based on the comments provided by the JCC specialists, the developer would then work on its site plan. At that point, adjacent property owners, including the New Town Residential Association, would be officially notified that the project is proceeding.
 
New Town Associates (NTA) is the current owner of this parcel. According to James City County’s Senior Planner, NTA has been examining the best mix of density for the land to stay within the New Town Master Plan limits and the allowed ratio of commercial and residential space (Sections 2 and 4). These discussions have been ongoing since 2020. The proposed 106 residence figure would be within this ratio.
 
Whitmore Company would be the developer and owner of Manor on the Green. While the loss of any green space would be disappointing, the land was always expected to be developed. The NTRA Board of Directors hopes to obtain more information directly from this developer soon. 
 
Eastern State Hospital Land Use Redesignation
Meanwhile, a new opportunity exists for residents to let the JCC Board of Supervisors know their feelings about the two previously submitted land use proposals: LU-20-0002 proposed by Atlantic Builders of Virginia (ABVA) and LU-20-0003 to develop a combined total of 540-plus acres of Eastern State Hospital land.
 
The public hearing notice for April 12 states that the Board will consider “the previously postponed application to change the Comprehensive Plan land use from Federal, State or County land to Mixed Use-Eastern State and include new Mixed Use-Eastern State designation description text to address this application.” (The full agenda packet for the Supervisors meeting will be available online on April 5th.)
 
Jim Icenhour, the Supervisor for New Town’s district, has indicated that no new information or revised application has been provided by either applicant since July 2021, making it likely that the Board will further delay any action on the land-use situation. This means that the verbal ABVA commitments regarding the name of the “New Town” tract and removing any potential cut-through in Charlotte Park have not been incorporated into the proposal.
 
In the meantime, the State of Virginia's Department of General Services (realty office) has submitted a conceptual plan for the ABVA parcel that has been reviewed by all JCC offices. This plan  defines the boundaries of the two parcels and areas that must remain protected.  The State remains highly motivated to sell the property. The data in the plan should help prospective buyers with their bids as well as assist with defining subdivisions.
 
The development of either Eastern State parcel will be a years’ long process, as shown in the graphic below. There are only three opportunities -- land use, zoning, and site-plan processes -- for New Town residents and the public to express its opinion and, perhaps, influence the final decision on Eastern State. Mr. Icenhour recommended that the community continue to express its views each time the subject is raised through the JCC approval process.
 
In a pair of question-and-answer sessions with New Town residents last July, Supervisor Icenhour challenged the audience to strongly consider what the community wants, and to make sure that it is in our best interest. Do we want to limit growth so that the area doesn’t resemble the sprawl that characterizes Northern Virginia? Do we want to share amenities? Do we want the potential development to include “New Town” in its name?
 
Please call (757) 253-6762 or write to our Board of Supervisors https://jamescitycountyva.gov/212/Board-of-Supervisors to let them know how you feel about the Eastern State proposals.  You can also attend the hearing on April 12 at 5PM at 101 Mounts Bay Road or follow the hearing on the JCC website.
 
New Town Nights are Heating Up, by Kate Licastro
 
New Town nights are heating up, both literally and figuratively. After noticing an uptick in advertisements for evening events, I reached out to the owners of Pisco 51, a locally-owned restaurant specializing in Peruvian Cuisine. Pisco 51 is located at 4917 Courthouse St., sharing a patio with the beloved fountain, and is owned and operated by some of our New Town neighbors! 
 
Mariela Renee Becerra Harrell and her husband, John Harrel, moved to Williamsburg in 2016, returning to John’s hometown of Hampton Roads and desiring to be closer to family. The pair have an entrepreneurial spirit and immediately began building a local cleaning business from their own personal investment of money and sweat. The company, Renee’s 757 Cleaning, has continued to grow and thrive, and paved the way for what they describe as their “passion project,” opening Pisco 51. Mariela Renee is of Peruvian descent, her family hailing from Lima Independencia, and she has always dreamed of opening a restaurant that highlights authentic, fresh, Peruvian recipes, both to eat and imbibe. 
 
Pisco 51 is in the midst of transformation, first evolving from the Mexican-food focused El Patio, and now into two individual, though affiliated, dining and entertainment options. By the end of April, Pisco 51 and the adjacent performance and event space, Coliseo @ Pisco 51, will show off a new facelift, including new floors, paint, decorations, and even additional Soundproofing infrastructure.  
 
Thankfully, we don’t have to wait for the finishing touches on the restaurant or event space to start enjoying all they have to offer. While the schedule below won’t be in full effect until the second full week of April, every Wednesday already features Drag Bingo hosted by Queen Naomi Black, and the first live musical performance will occur next Thursday, April 7 by featured vocalist of “The Deloreans” Missy G and Meshell as “Mad Kitty.” For dates, times, and updates to the schedule, you can “like” and “follow” the business on Facebook and Instagram, as well as visit the Pisco 51 website. As a bonus, if you check-in and post pictures of your dining experience on social media, you’ll be treated to a free appetizer or dessert! 
 
Monday: Open Mic Night
Tuesday: Service Industry Night** featuring Latin/Bachata Music
**Special discounts for anyone in the service industry!**
Wednesday: Drag Bingo Night with Naomi Black
Thursday: Live Music Night
April will feature solo artists, May will bring duos and trios, and expect full bands to perform in June. 
Friday: Karaoke Night
Saturday: Club/College Demographic Nights with Various Dance Music as well as full-on drag shows featured on some Saturdays 
Sunday: Sip & Paint events with local artists 
 
Perhaps no one is more invested in the success of New Town businesses than those of us that call New Town home. Not only does our support stay ultra-local, with a New Town business owned by a New Town family, our proximity to Pisco51 and Coliseo @ Pisco 51 also affords us the unique opportunity to enjoy their signature Pisco Sours, an authentic Peruvian cocktail, with only a short walk home afterwards.
 
Kate Licastro: the New Editor-in-Chief of The New Town Crier, By Patti Vaticano 
 
Kate Licastro has learned that the grass is not always greener in someone else’s yard, a realization she came to when the prospect of moving out of her then-rental home in New Town became a possibility. A Metro Detroit native who has experienced residential life in a variety of places from Cincinnati to Washington State and Charlotte, North Carolina, she knows a thing or two about what makes a great community. Kate, a licensed clinical psychologist with a PhD from Miami University, moved to Williamsburg just short of the Covid tsunami with husband, Nick, whose work in the hospitality field led him to a new position at Great Wolf Lodge. In tow were their children, Liam (now 8) and Hannah (now 6), the family relocating for the third time in under 2 years. The family took the relocation in stride, in part thanks to Kate already working remotely from home in a position for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). During her 13 year tenure with VA, she first offered psychological services specializing in trauma and anxiety before moving into an organization development role, and culminating in working on the modernization of the organization’s electronic health record. Her work with leaders and teams in the throes of development and change was multi-faceted and rewarding, and she enjoyed the opportunity to travel a good deal to visit VA Medical Centers around the country and VA Central Offices in Washington DC.  
 
A city family who enjoys walking to their favorite haunts, the Licastros gravitated towards life in New Town and initially rented a home in Charlotte Park in September of 2019.  By March the following year, Covid hit and by April, the home’s owner chose to sell. “My husband and I looked at properties in Ford’s Colony and Powhatan Secondary, not wanting our children to change schools, but we came to the realization that we loved our home in New Town, a community that was perfect for us and where we wanted to live and raise our children. It was logical to buy our rental and stay where we were.”  Loving the outdoors and hiking, New Town’s trails afforded the family the enjoyment of one of their penchants and would keep them all in shape for extended jaunts, such as a visit to Acadia National Park in Maine where the family plans to spend some time this summer. “Our doctors and dentist are in New Town, I shop at Trader Joes, I sweat at Club Pilates, my favorite comfort food is a grilled cheese and fries from Paul’s Deli, I get my hair done at Silk Salon (where I have run into my next-door neighbor), and I could go on. I love it here.” 
 
So how did Kate become the New Town Crier’s Editor-in-Chief?  “As is often the case, the timing was right.” When the Committee’s need presented itself, Kate had just left her VA role where she was leading a team of government employees and contractors on change management communications to support the transition to the Cerner Electronic Health Record. Ironically, it was now time for a change for Kate, and the Communications Committee’s grave need of assistance spoke to her.  “I guess I’m a bit of a bleeding heart when there is a need! Having moved three times in under 2 years meant I didn’t have a lot of opportunities to feel ingrained in the community in our past two homes. Given that my schedule had just become more flexible, and I was able to help, it seemed like the right thing to do.”  
 
Besides having an activist mentality, Kate is a true mover and shaker.  Leaving her role with VA did not leave her stagnant.  She is now using her expertise and years of experience as an organizational consultant and change manager to man her own consulting firm, True Orbit Consulting, LLC, at trueorbitconsulting.com. The company believes “healthy organizational dynamics and practices require authenticity, foresight, skilled execution, and a healthy dose of grit,” and guides companies with services that include leadership and team development, leadership coaching, fostering emotional intelligence, navigating corporate and team changes, including advancing the practices of virtual and blended teams (teams that work both in-person and virtually). Kate notes that she is a clinician at heart and works collaboratively with her clients to identify only what will truly be of benefit to them and their teams/organizations.
 
In addition to building a new, pioneering company, while also prioritizing being available for her children outside of school, Kate still found time to pitch in and help her New Town community on one of its most important committees.  We hope Kate’s willingness to share her time and talent (in addition to everything she does as a wife, a mother, a psychologist, and a full-time entrepreneur) inspires others to give back to the community.  Volunteerism is the cherished institution of giving back to the community in which you live and thrive.  We appreciate your future consideration of opportunities to contribute your time and expertise to one of the many committees and organizations that help make New Town a wonderful place to live.
 
Quick Getaways, April – Daffodil Festival, Gloucester, by Jim Ducibella
 
A few years ago, my wife and I were out for a Sunday drive, and we decided to go to Gloucester for a simple reason: We had never been there before. Imagine our (welcomed) surprise to discover that it was Daffodil Festival weekend.
 
The streets were fille with locals and tourists. There were beautiful daffodils everywhere the eye could see. Shops on Main Street were open and looked to be doing a robust business. There were food trucks, music, lots of little kids and their parents – we ever purchased a new tag for our dog from a street vendor.
 
The festival returns this year for one weekend, April 2 and 3. Things get started with a parade at 10 a.m. on Saturday. On the Main Street stage, the group Whiskey Rebellion will play from noon to 5. Sunday’s featured musical group is Soul Expression, which will perform from 12:45 to 5.
 
Since there is very limited parking in town, you can drive to Gloucester High School and ride the shuttle into town for $5.
 
The history of daffodils in Gloucester, wrote Carol Ray in 1991, a work that was updated by Denise Rhea Carter 19 years later, is “almost as old as Gloucester County itself.” Early settlers brought with them daffodil bulbs that they planted in what turned out to be ideal weather and soil for them to flourish.
 
Around 1890, a woman named Eleanor Linthicum Smith first saw the commercial potential of daffodils. She developed a bed of the flowers and paid children 10 cents per hundred to pick them. The flowers were packed and shipped to Baltimore.
 
At its peak, Gloucester was known as “the Daffodil Capital of America.” After a decline, in1938 the first daffodil tour was proposed by the Gloucester Rotary Club and the local newspaper, the Gazette-Journal. It was such a success that a year later a festival was added to the tour, along with a queen and her court.
 
Most, if not all, of the events attached to the festival are free and open to the public. For more information, visit this website https://daffodilfestivalva.org/.
 
 
Portals, Payments And All Things Administrative - An Interview with Dana Neff, President of Chesapeake Bay Management Company, by Mary Cheston
 
We are 4 months into our new management company’s tenure, and big changes are coming in their accounting systems and technology. Who better to explain these administrative innovations then the President of Chesapeake Bay Management, Dana Neff.
 
For years, Chesapeake has used an online administrative system for most of their other associations, but this will be a first time for New Town Residential Association owners. What can owners expect from the new CBM online portal system?
Dana: The online portal is a real communication tool both for our company and for owners. Once an owner logs into their screen, they will have access to their account balances, payment history and will be able to track any requests that they have made to management “real time.” For example, if an application for the Architectural Review Committee is submitted, it’s status will be readily visible to the owner.  Email and other inquiries will be logged as well.               
We hope that the community will find it a useful tool, and Vantaca, our new software vendor, has interfaces that improve our flexibility in customizing association financial accounts and other information.
 
This sounds like it would ease the daily workload for our community manager as well - hopefully fewer phone calls and distractions. What do owners need to do to use their portal?
Dana: Owners have received a letter with their coupon books explaining the May 1 activation of the system. They will receive an email message, sent to their primary email of record, containing their portal username and temporary password. Once they receive this information, log in and start to use the system is my recommendation!
 
Owners were concerned that the NTRA assessment coupon books were mailed very late. Can you explain why this was delayed?
Dana: The transition of owner account information has been difficult. In some cases the owner mailing addresses for non-resident owners were not current. Lots of updating has been needed. The new NTRA assessment methodology by neighborhood also caused us to proceed cautiously to ensure that we were matching the right assessment with each property. Then there was a delay over whether new account numbers will be required by Vantaca in their new software. It turns out that there will be new account numbers, but we have found an interface so that existing account numbers can be recognized for some period. 
For those who may wish to switch to electronic payments, the new portal system also provides an easy link for owners who wish to set up a recurring payment or even pay just one time via credit card. There is no change for owners who have already done this electronically with CBM. 
 
The transition to new accounting software and new portal technology sounds like a major headache. Any lessons learned you’d like to share?
Dana: It has been a real challenge - and one I hope to never do again! But I learned that we have phenomenal staff members who put extra effort and time into ensuring that the system will have user friendly and meaningful info for owners. They dedicated themselves to training our staff and getting it up and running smoothly. 
 
Speaking of dedicated staff members, NTRA has the distinction of having you as the lead for our financial recordkeeping. How did you, as President, end up taking on the challenge of transferring the NTRA Quickbooks system into your accounting practices? 
Dana: I love working with accounts and like to “keep my pencil sharp.”  The timing of this contract was a challenge for our Accounting Department and I offered to help. There are differences from Town Management in our fund balance accounting practices that are still being worked through.
 
I was “over the moon” to have Chesapeake Bay awarded the management contract for New Town Residential. I have watched the community’s development since it was farmland, visit its businesses, and I feel a real attachment to New Town. Certainly, the complexity of New Town’s neighborhoods and governing documents created a real learning curve for us, but we are getting ahead of the curve now. We are thrilled to be associated with the New Town community. 
 
 
Finding What You Need Online, By Town Crier Staff
 
Whether you are a resident or a tenant, the NTRA website is a treasure chest of information. People who say they don’t know that we even have a website don’t know what they are missing. It is the vehicle for all Association official communications. The website address is: https://www.ntrawilliamsburg.org/home/.
 
To stay informed of the information most important to homeowners and tenants, be sure you are registered on the NTRA website. It’s the source for documents, and registered users also receive eblasts from the Association. All New Town residents, including tenants and New Town Commercial Association members, may register on the site. Please be sure your contact information is current, or you may miss important news!
 
In late 2021, Chesapeake Bay Management Company became the managing agent for the New Town Residential Association. For emergencies, or to schedule an appointment, call 757 706-3019. (Chesapeake's office is located at 337 McLaws Circle in the Busch Corporate Center.) Chesapeake will soon have a new online owner portal that will replace the website ticketing system, so be sure that your single/primary email address is on file with Chesapeake Bay’s headquarters (keri@1cbm.com)
 
New to New Town?
On the website, there is a drop-down box of info titled “Newcomers info.” It can be found under the “About“ heading at the top of the home page. There is also a list of clubs to join and pool information under the “Residents” tab.
          
Additional information. Did you know?
We put the latest NTRA news on the first page that pops up after you log into the site. Check the “News and Reminders” page.
 
The monthly Town Crier articles on BOD actions are intended to provide some context/background and explanation for important topics. When warranted, we send out e-blasts, another reason to have your contact info accurately portrayed on the website.
·      We have a Facebook page. The address is below.
·      We monitor all “Report an Issue” and “Contact Us” website entries.
·      We are committed to pursuing committees’ obligations under the NTRA’s governing documents to share meeting records in a timely manner.
 
Where is information shared?  
  
Public information is available through the NTRA’s Town Crier articles and Facebook pages (https://www.facebook.com/NewTownResidentialAssociation). Please “like” our Facebook page. Please keep comments respectful. These are public pages, meaning anything commented on is seen by the general public. 
 
How can you help? The information we publish is only as good as the information that we are aware of. Share photos and information about your committee’s work or your neighborhood events. Send in ideas for topics you want to learn more about, directly in an email to (ntrawebsitecommittee@gmail.com).
 
Moving Forward With Village Walk Preventive Maintenance - Part One, by Mary Cheston
 
The Board of Directors has laid out a plan for preventive maintenance to begin this year in Village Walk. Previously all exterior maintenance has been handled as one-off events. 
 
With the assistance of Chesapeake Bay’s VW Maintenance Responsibility tool, the Board has identified how we will handle each exterior home item that the Association is responsible for maintaining. For example, gutter cleaning will be done annually. “What, you mean my gutters have never been cleaned?” Correct. Unless a ticket identifying a problem was submitted, the Association had no routine exterior maintenance service to the Village Walk community. An RFP has now gone out requesting gutter cleaning services to be provided to all Village Walk homes by August 1.
 
What are the other big items in the preventive maintenance program? Siding repairs and power washing will be done in conjunction with an annual painting schedule by age of each building complex. Painting of two of the oldest Village Walk buildings (2015) is planned for later this year. 
 
Some owners may find that a repair to a problem will be deferred to coincide with the new maintenance schedule.  Urgent issues, such as leaks, will still be handled through the website tickets or new Chesapeake Bay portal service request system.
 
These are small but important steps to improve how the Association fulfills its responsibilities to homeowners in Village Walk. 
 
Protect Your Trees, Shrubs, and Our Community! By The Landscape Advisory Committee 
 
Trees in New Town are suffering from two infestations that need owner attention and care before more damage is done to our green space.
 
1) Crepe Myrtle White scale. This insect infestation will develop into black sooty mold.  These insects spend most of their life cycle imbedded to one tree, the exception is a phase we are probably entering into now when they hatch into walkers and can become airborne.  
 
Some immediate intervention of scrubbing these trees with soap and water and applying a root drench may put a stop to the infection. The root drench would be a Bayer or Safari product that can be purchased easily, mixed with water and poured around the base of the tree.  Here is a video to help you deal with the infection:
https://citybugs.tamu.edu/2018/08/28/how-to-treat-your-crapemyrtle-for-bark-scale/
 
Monitoring for continued improvement and re-application next season may be warranted. There is evidence of some infection in our common area trees that the Association will need to deal with as well, so homeowners should do their part now to protect their property. 
 
Getting white scale under control will help stop them from migrating to other areas of the community.  They are largely known to infest Crepe Myrtle - but have been found in other species of trees and shrubs across the Southeast US.  
 
2) Bagworms on Leyland Cypress trees.  If bagworms have infected your Leland Cypress trees to this extent (see photo 2) you may have to replace the whole tree.  These trees are relatively inexpensive and easy to find.  Spraying can be an expensive procedure (do in late spring) and could cost more than replacing the tree(s).  
 
Arborvitae can also be infected with bagworms. On evergreens, they’ll eat lots of the buds and foliage, causing branch tips to turn brown and then die. Bagworms can be removed if caught early. You have to cut off the bagworms, and all their silk, and destroy them. Otherwise, bagworms wrap silk around the twigs that they build their bags on, which could kill the tree twigs a few years from now. And bagworms can use this silk to leap to other trees and shrubs or even property. On Casey Boulevard, some bagworms have spread from foliage to house exteriors. So if you see them, remove them immediately! Help us to keep these infestations from spreading and becoming a much larger problem for the community as a whole.     
 
 
NOTICE: SCHEDULE FOR INITIAL 2022 HOME EXTERIOR INSPECTIONS BY NEIGHBORHOOD
 
WEEK OF: NEIGHBORHOOD
April 18: Chelsea Green
April 25: Charlotte Park Townhomes
May 16: Charlotte Park Detached Homes
June 13: Shirley Park
June 20: Abbey Commons
June 27: Savannah Square
 
Village Walk inspections will be conducted with a separate team. These dates will be announced once the above inspection program is underway in April. 
Followup inspections for any locations with identified deficiencies will be conducted in each neighborhood after a 30 day period to allow for repair.
 
The Asset Maintenance Committee has also collected an updated list of neighbor-recommended contractors to assist with your home projects. Download the 2022 list here.  
 
Note: These dates are all weather dependent. 
 
New Town Tunes - FREE After-Hours Concert Series, by New Town Commercial Association (NTCA)
 
Can you even believe it? New Town has been a proud fixture in the Williamsburg community for TWENTY years! In the day and age where businesses come and go and developments get bulldozed almost daily, we are so thrilled to celebrate being part of this wonderful neighborhood since 2002.
 
One of the (many) ways we plan to celebrate is with an after-hours concert series right here in New Town. These events will be free and open to the public. James City County Parks & Recreation in partnership with CultureFix went above and beyond booking some of the most exciting cover bands to go along with our “tribute” theme. This three-night concert series is our tribute to this community. We look forward to celebrating with you on the dates listed below and for many other parts of our 20-year anniversary celebration.
 
When: Wednesday, April 27th, May 4th & May 11th
Time: 5:30pm; Gates open at 5:00pm
Location: Sullivan Square
FREE, Outdoor Event 
Food & beverage will be available for purchase
 
April 27- Trial by Fire https://trialbyfirejourney.net/home - Journey Tribute Band
 
May 4 - Rapjack https://www.facebook.com/therapjackband/ - The Grateful Dead Cover 
 
May 11 - Full Moon Fever http://fullmoonfevertribute.com/ - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers tribute band
 
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