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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.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!
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:
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
- Public Events (most of which are FREE!) - concerts, outdoor markets, family friendly pop-up events, community walks and runs, and lots more!
- A variety of walking and biking trails linking the entire community, inclusive of parks and inviting green space
- The variety of restaurants and food types available
- Convenience to Busch Gardens, Water Country, Jamestown & Yorktown Parks and attractions
- Open-air Main Street Shopping Mall
- 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
- Lots of Entertainment - Axe throwing, a movie theater, billiards room, sports & live music at restaurants
- The ease of access to City & County Courthouse, US Post Office & other Government offices right across the street
- A wide variety of salons, fitness centers, day spas and other personal services
- 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!
- A nationally recognized pre-school in the community
- Santa Claus comes to New Town for Free Visits & Pictures
- The ease and access to so many medical and dental offices
- 3 miles to Colonial Williamsburg
- Banks, Credit Unions and other financial institutions all within the community
- 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.
- Adjacent to the campus of The College of William & Mary
- Electric Car Charging Station x2
- The beauty and sound of the iconic fountain
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com for inclusion in next month’s Front Porch Chat! Be well!
Please enjoy this selection of "chats" to get us started!
Jokes: What is Forrest Gump’s email password? 1forrest1
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.
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.”