Town Crier Articles

Posted on February 1, 2023 7:30 AM by Town Crier Staff
The Town Crier has been published monthly (other than January) since 2012. It is entirely a community effort-not a management company or developer responsibility. Over the past 11 years, a team of volunteers has put the newsletter together each month working on stories and articles that these residents believed would be informative or entertaining.
Two lone soldiers can't keep this communication flowing...
Volunteer today to join the Communications Committee and help us! We are looking for a new editor, writers, photographers, and any other talent you are willing to share to help our digital communications.  Email:
Posted on February 1, 2023 7:15 AM by Patti Vaticano
If little things like knowing what your HOA is doing with your money, what developer projects are being launched, what new requests of you are being made by CBM or our landscape contractor, what homeowner challenges are being experienced by your neighbors, what fun activities are being planned for the community, what necessary restrictions—temporary or permanent—are being levied upon the residents of New Town, then perhaps you see the need for a healthy and active Communications Committee.  Knowledge is power.  Without a Communications Committee, we are all blinded to what is happening around us—and which we may, with any given topic, need to question or challenge.  It is very much like exercising your right to vote.  If you care about who is in authority and in what way your life is being managed, you get out and vote.  Same deal, here.  If you want to be informed and made knowledgeable about how your New Town residency is being managed, then you need to actively support an NTRA Communications Committee to be able to see what’s coming and what needs to be questioned or addressed.  
Yes. It will take a small sacrifice of your time.  But what is that compared to knowing and making known what is happening next with your money and neighborhood? Please consider joining us in making New Town a community of informed and happy residents who are knowledgeable about life in their neighborhood--and beyond--and who are empowered by that knowledge to question and even change things when necessary. Reach out today by clicking this link and joining New Town’s Communications Committee:  The Few, The Proud, The Necessary.
Valentine Riddle:   What did the pickle say to his Valentine?
Interesting Valentine Happening:  Alexander Graham Bell applied for a telephone patent on Valentine’s Day in 1876.  On that day, Bell, via his lawyer, filed his telephone patent application with the U.S. Patent Office in Washington, D.C., just hours before the attorney for Elisha Gray filed his version of a telephone. Presented with both applications, the Patent Office ultimately decided to issue the first patent for a telephone, United States Patent No. 174,465, to Bell. The legal wrangling between Bell and Gray lasted for years.
Valentine Fun Facts:   
  • The first Valentine's Day celebration occurred in Paris;
  • 145 million greeting cards are exchanged every year for Valentine's Day;
  • About 20 percent of pet owners give Valentine's Day gifts to their pets; and
  • Candy hearts were originally medical lozenges.
POEM: "Today I Got a Valentine"  by Kenn Nesbitt
Today I got a Valentine
from everyone but Kay.
But that’s alright…
I never liked her that much anyway.
She never trades her Oreos.
She isn’t good at catch.
She doesn’t like my favorite bands.
Her socks don’t often match.
She doesn’t play computer games.
She wears her hair in braids.
She’s something of a teacher’s pet
and always gets good grades
She dots her i’s with little hearts.
She’s always reading books.
Whenever I’m around, she gives me
such confusing looks.
But, oh my goodness, here comes Kay,
and what is this I see?
It seems she has an extra special
Valentine for me.
It’s big and red has the words
“Will you be mine today?”
I always said there’s no one else
I like as much as Kay.
Valentine Fun:  Candy Heart Valentine Bouquet—Fill a clear glass vase to the brim with Valentine candy hearts, place cloth or real red roses into the hearts, and tie a pink ribbon around the vase.  TA DA!  A Valentine bouquet! 
Ladybug Cupcake Hack! Any iced store-bought cupcake will do! Simply half a fresh strawberry, place it on the cupcake, and with chocolate piping, create the illusion of wings and ladybug markings.  Add a Rolo or other fudge-like candy to create the ladybug’s head.
Pet Care:  Valentine conversation hearts can sometimes contain Xylitol (not that real sugar is better for your pet). Small amounts of Xylitol can be deadly for pets and lead to the over-release of insulin, kidney failure, or worse.
Riddle Answer:  You mean a great dill to me
Posted on February 1, 2023 7:00 AM by Jim Ducibella
Categories: General
Maybe it’s just me, but outside of Valentine’s Day, February has never been a very exciting month. Too cold. Too wet. Too far from the beauty of Spring. I don‘t ski, snowboard, ice skate. If making round trips from the couch to the refrigerator were an Olympic event, I’d be on the cover of Sports Illustrated, waving my ham sandwich proudly.
But enough about me. Here’s a couple of February things in the region to view and listen to.
  • William & Mary’s Ewell Concert Series continues on Feb. 10 at the Williamsburg Regional Library theater. Featured artist is Kadencia, a 13-piece, Puerto Rican-founded orchestra of professional musicians who have traveled the world performing. Doors open at 6:30, the program starts at 7, and is free and open to the public.
  • The Kitchen Witches, Smithfield Little Theater. Isobel Lomax and Dolly Biddle are two “mature” cable-access cooking show hostesses who have hated each other for thirty years, ever since Larry Biddle dated one and married the other. Circumstances put them together on a TV show called The Kitchen Witches, which somehow becomes a smash hit, probably because the insults are tastier than the food. The show runs Feb. 10-12, 17-19, and 24-26. The theater is located at 210 N. Church Street in Smithfield. Tickets are $20. For more information, visit
  • Dancing With the Williamsburg Stars. This 14th annual charity event will be staged on Feb. 25, 7 p.m., at Crosswalk Church – 7575 Richmond Road. Proceeds go to Big Brothers Big Sisters and Literacy for Life. Tickets, which have been on sale since Jan. 20, start at $45 and may be purchased at
Posted on February 1, 2023 6:55 AM by NTRA Activities Committee
Categories: General
If you enjoyed the January 29th women's basketball game, gather the family for another New Town Day to cheer on the William and Mary Men's Basketball team. 
Kaplan Arena
William and Mary is reserving a section of seats for New Towners.  Your discount link below will automatically put you in this location. 
Before the game join neighbors for FREE pizza, dessert, and drinks in the Wightman Cup Room at 1:00 PM. (The Wightman Cup Room is around the corner to the left - beyond the game entrance area.)  Come out and meet your fellow new Town basketball fans.
Discount Tickets: 
Buy your ticket ($8) for a reserved seat in advance at this link:  New Town Day Special Offer
New Town - Keep showing that Tribe Pride!
This event is sponsored by the New Town Residential Association Activities Committee.  
Questions? Contact Liz Fones-Wolf at
Posted on December 1, 2022 6:15 AM by Jim Ducibella
Categories: General
There is much to do and see around our humble little hamlet this time of year; too much to just list one holiday getaway. Below find a sample of Christmas-related events, some well familiar to you, some maybe not so much.
Busch Gardens – Christmas Town: The light count is up to more than 10 million for this annual local attraction. That’s one of the largest holiday displays in North America. We attend every year and thoroughly enjoy the holiday shows and the Christmas Town Express. We’re not coaster people, but for those who are more than 20 rides will be open, including the new Pantheon. Christmas Town runs through January 8. There are many options for ticket purchase, so for more information visit this website:
Santa at Busch Gardens
Garden of Lights – Norfolk Botanical Gardens: Walk the Garden Aglow is open from 5-9 p.m. until January 1. Park the car and stroll through the Gardens. Walk in, around, and under holiday decorations. There are several different ticket prices available depending on what night you go. The Gardens are located at 6700 Azalea Garden Road, right next to Norfolk International Airport. For complete information visit this website:
Nauticus and Battleship Wisconsin: Staying in Norfolk, for the third straight year the battleship is decked out for the holidays, this time with more than one million lights. It’s hard to describe the magnificence of this ship, other than to say you must see it to believe it. Open until January 1, the Grinch and Santa Claus will be on hand to greet the kiddies (or grandkids). General admission tickets to Winterfest are $18.50, but prices vary depending on the date you visit. For more info, visit this website:
A Real Colonial Christmas in Smithfield: Jump on this opportunity quickly, as the event runs on December 3 and 4. Events are held at the Manor House at Windsor Castle. The 1750 Courthouse. Historic Christ Episcopal Church will be featured as well. Smithfield has become known throughout the region as a must-visit destination for the holidays, say the organizers. See for yourself. Tickets are $20 and for more information, visit this website:
Mistletoe Market – Yorktown: This free event takes place on December 10 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Riverwalk Landing in Yorktown. Browse the market for chowders and soups; an assortment of cakes, breads, brownies, fudge, cookies; jams, jellies, and honey; holiday wreaths; candles and soaps; and local seasonal art! March in the annual Toyland Parade, and don't forget to hop aboard the Riverwalk Landing Polar Express for a loop around the festivities.
Yorktown, VA
River Realm Holidays – Kilmarnock, Urbanna: My quick, unofficial count showed at least seven events related to the holidays, from parades to fashion shows to caroling to open houses along the Chesapeake Wine Trail. For more information as to when and where, visit this website:
Posted on December 1, 2022 5:55 AM by Town Crier Staff
Give a child something to smile about this Christmas by donating a new, unwrapped toy. Toy donations are being accepted through Saturday, December 10, and may be dropped off here in New Town at Liz Moore & Associates at 5350 Discovery Park Boulevard, Williamsburg. Their hours are 9 am – 5 pm Mondays thru Saturdays and noon – 3 pm on Sundays.  A Toys for Tots donation box is in the lobby.  
New Town resident Tricia Byrne (right) donating toys for Toys for Tots to the receptionist at Liz Moore & Associates.   
Posted on December 1, 2022 5:50 AM by Patti Vaticano
Let the holiday races begin!  No doubt this is joyous time of year for many and while agendas become packed with old traditions to manage and new ones to implement, stress becomes a serious burden and many slide into January exhausted and a little dismayed. Please keep your wits about you, whether you’re shopping, cooking, baking, decorating, wrapping or traveling, no matter how short the excursion. The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) offers some fairly dismal holiday statistics on its website from candle fires to falls off roofs—and there are other websites that offer so many dangers from toys and games. Well, checkers seems like the only gift to give without a serious risk attached. Highway safety? Let’s not even go there. While it would not enhance our holiday joy to rehearse all the gloom here, it is wise to advise the reader to be careful out there. Try to avoid haste and exhaustion. Rest. Improvise or shorten your to-do list when time gets short or fast-curves are thrown. One less dessert for the table, a few gifts thrown into bags instead of individually wrapped, one holiday luncheon canceled won’t matter in the long run. In the end, there won’t be a holiday if you’re not around to greet it.
Some holiday-themed entries for the month
Holiday Riddle:  What was the first company to use Santa in its advertising?
Curious Info:  Christmas 1914--Roughly 100,000 British and German troops were involved in the informal cessations of hostility along the Western Front in 1914. The Germans placed candles on their trenches and on Christmas trees, then continued the celebration by singing Christmas carols. The British responded by singing carols of their own. The two sides continued by shouting Christmas greetings to each other. Soon thereafter, small gifts were exchanged, such as food, tobacco, alcohol and souvenirs, such as buttons and hats. The artillery in the region fell silent. The truce also allowed a breathing spell where recently killed soldiers could be brought back behind their lines by burial parties. Joint services were held. In many sectors, the truce lasted through Christmas night, continuing until New Year's Day in others.
Historical Fact:  Because the holiday falls near Christmas, it's a common belief that Hanukkah is the most important holiday in Jewish tradition, but it’s actually not. Those would be the High Holy Days: Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. 
Holiday Quote
"Hanukkah is about the freedom to be true to what we believe without denying the freedom of those who believe otherwise." —Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth
Holiday Hack: Protect outdoor light cords by placing the plugs in a lidded plastic container; store small, fragile ornaments in an egg carton to prevent them from breaking; and keep holiday lights wrapped around a clothes hanger to prevent them from tangling.
Pet Care: If needed, provide your cat or dog with a quiet room or crate during holiday parties and/or prepare ahead of time to discourage barking. Special Note:  Do not feed candy to your pet. Candy, particularly chocolate—which is toxic to dogs, cats and ferrets—and any candy containing the toxic sweetener Xylitol is life-threatening.  
Riddle Answer:  Coca Cola
Posted on November 1, 2022 6:00 AM by Jim Ducibella
Categories: General
I never had much interest in cars, especially antique cars, until a trip to Staunton a few years ago. There was an antique car museum downtown run by Bruce Elder, perhaps the most personable man I’ve ever met. My wife and I had the first of several wonderful visits with Bruce, and we became more than acquaintances. Sadly, Bruce passed away a couple of years ago, and Staunton is a bit too far for the purposes of this exercise. That doesn’t mean there isn’t something similar out there to enjoy.
Reader Mark Johansson contacted us about the possibility of publishing a nationwide map of auto museums that he has compiled.
It’s an impressive collection, but one of many that stood out to me is in Colonial Heights, slightly more than one hour’s drive from New Town. The Keystone Truck & Tractor Museum encompasses more than 125,000 square feet of memories. Despite its name, the museum offers far more than farm equipment, including antique road trucks, classic cars, vintage gas pumps, oil cans, automotive signage, clocks, and advertising posters of yesteryear.
Hundreds of farm tractors are on display in this private collection dating from 1917 through 1960. The Keystone Museum’s collection features rare tractors such as the UDLX Minneapolis Moline (only 25 known restored today) and the Sampson Jumbo, Silver Kings, and a Graham Bradley farm tractor that was sold by Sears, Robuck and Co., and Allis-Chalmer’s. Plus, there’s a lineup of the Massey Harris, Massy Ferguson, Farmall, Case, and Oliver farm tractors. Finally, there’s the Cockshutt farm tractor, showcasing the model 30, 40, 50 & 70.
The Museum collection is ever changing and growing. It’s a fun way to learn about the evolution of agriculture in America. To get there, take I-64 W, then I-295 S to VA-36 W/Oaklawn Blvd in Hopewell. Take exit 9B from I-295 S. Then take VA-144 N/Temple Ave to W Roslyn Rd in Colonial Heights.
For more information, visit this website:, or phone 804-524-0020.
Keystone Truck and Tractor Museum in Colonial Heights
Posted on November 1, 2022 6:00 AM by Patti Vaticano
Gratus is the Latin word for thankful, each is reflective of a single word that denotes a state of mind—and for the wise, a perpetual state.  “Be thankful for what you have, and you will be thankful for much,” the saying goes. Maybe a little schmaltzy, but none the less true, as there are always great blessings in life for those who take the time to tally them. And we are now in the great gold and russet month of thankfulness and gratitude that ushers in that joyous time of year when, as Dickens wrote, “…Want is keenly felt and abundance rejoices.” Let the tally begin for our abundance is considerable. 
We are a flawed nation, but a great, none the less; and in comparison to the rest of the ranging world, fortunate, indeed. Our ancestors recognized this truth and saw the need to be thankful, just up the road on scenic Route 5, where the true “First Thanksgiving” was celebrated at Virginia’s Berkeley Plantation. The Plymouth Pilgrims, despite the media hype, trailed the First Virginians by years in celebrating a day of thankfulness and prayer--but both communities, while differing in religious scope, saw the need and honored it. So, our ancestors, and very near neighbors, seized this one day in November (well, okay, it was actually in December,) as one in which an “attitude of gratitude” was righteous and due.  Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!
November-December Events:  
The New Town Residential Association (NTRA) Activities Committee is planning a Dessert Fest/Bake Off to be held on December 7th from 6:00-8:00pm at Legacy Hall. The entire community is invited to sample baked goods of the holiday and non-holiday variety. Visit the related Town Crier article for more information and to register as a contestant or judge!
A popular local publication, Next Door Neighbor Magazine, is a treasure trove of interesting people and businesses in our area and offers an online calendar of events for the city and county-at-large that is chockful of details for each event showcased.  All you need do is click on the link below to open the calendar, scroll through to each day for a list of that day’s events, and click on the event for details.  A special shout out here for Heritage Humane Society’s Holiday Bazaar on Saturday, November 19th, from 9-3 pm, at Bruton Parish Hall.
For information on holiday events offered by New Town Commercial Association, please see the article regarding the same in this issue of The New Town Crier and visit their website
Some Thanksgiving-themed entries for the month
Holiday Riddle: What is a mathematician’s favorite food on Thanksgiving? (Answer below.)
Curious Thanksgiving Info: An estimated 50 million pumpkin pies are eaten every November.
Historical Thanksgiving Fact: Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday on October 3, 1863. Sarah Josepha Hale, the woman who wrote “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” convinced Lincoln to make Thanksgiving a national holiday--after writing letters to institute this day of national gratitude for 17 years.
Holiday Hack: Thanksgiving is about being grateful and spending time with loved ones. If your meal doesn’t turn out perfectly or the house is decorated on time, don’t let that spoil your enjoyment of your family and friends.  Don’t forget to relax and enjoy the holiday, too!
Black Friday Hack: Use a Credit Card, not Your Debit!  If you make a purchase online Black Friday without being totally sure of the seller, be sure to use a credit card. In general, you have zero liability to pay for a fraudulent transaction. Even if you hit one of the rare exceptions to this policy, federal law says you are not liable for more than $50. Remember: Using a debit card online gives thieves direct access to your bank account(s)—the funds from which you may be entirely responsible for despite being withdrawn without your permission.
Pet Care:  Cooked bones from any animal should never be given to your dog, but especially turkey bones or chicken bones. Any kind of cooked bone will splinter when your dog chews on it. Turkey bones and chicken bones are especially brittle, and will break into small, sharp pieces when they are chewed.                                                         
Riddle Answer:  Pumpkin Pi
Posted on November 1, 2022 5:55 AM by Town Crier Staff
Categories: General
The below is an excerpt from an article by Carmen Hamner, Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.
(757) 817-0245 (Direct) | (757) 229-4400 (Office)
October has come and gone, leaving behind crisp, cooler air, colorful foliage and sightings of pumpkins and mums on porches. Preparing your home now for the colder months ahead will help prevent costly repairs later and keep your home running in good condition all winter. 
We’ve put together a few tips to make your home a warm, safe and comfortable place to enjoy with friends and family. It’s also a good idea to keep a record of your home maintenance routine for your own use or to pass to the next owner of your home should you sell it. 
Turn off exterior faucets. Drain the water from your outdoor faucets and garden hoses after turning off the exterior faucets from inside the house. Water in pipes can freeze easily, which can cause pipes to burst. 
Clear gutters and downspouts. Leaves, branches and other debris can clog gutters, causing water and ice to collect under your shingles, potentially damaging your roof. Clean outside drains of leaves to prevent water back-ups into your basement.
Schedule a furnace tune-up. Stay toasty during the approaching cold weather and save money on energy bills by having your system checked now to avoid outages and potentially costly repairs later.
Clean humidifiers and change filters. Prevent bacteria and mold from polluting your indoor air by cleaning your humidifier and changing its filter.
Reverse ceiling fans. Switch the direction of your ceiling fans clockwise and run them at a low speed to push warm air down, which will save on energy bills.
Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Press the “test” button on your alarms to verify they work. If they don’t work, replace the battery. If they still don’t work, replace the unit rather than waiting until it chirps in the middle of the night.
Have additional cold-weather preparation tips? Share them with us in the comments! 
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