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 6:58 AM by Liz Fones-Wolf, Activities Committee
Categories: Life in New Town
On December 7, 2022 New Towners gathered in Legacy Hall to kick off the holiday season at our Holiday Bake-Off and Dessert Fest.  A brightly decorated Christmas tree and tables with holiday center pieces on red or white tablecloths helped create a festive atmosphere. The first part of the event was a juried baking contest with two categories: 1) cookies and bars; and 2) cakes and cupcakes. Sixteen New Town bakers participated, including two children.  Six New Town residents happily served as judges, three people for each category, including one delighted young teen. 
About 80 attendees of all ages cheered the judging and applauded the winners, Kathy and Brian Griffith for an impressive chocolate cake with port-soaked cherries and Jenny Bragdon for delicious smoky salted chocolate toffee.  The Griffiths and Jenny Bragdon were awarded with fifty-dollar gift certificates compliments of the New Town Commercial Association.  
The second part of the event was the Dessert Fest during which attendees filled their plates from two long tables covered with samples from the Bake-Off’s submissions, including  Sue Langston-Ames’s second place, Charlie Brown Christmas carrot cupcakes, and Lance Scifres’s third-place, lemon-blueberry layered pound cake, as well as Trace Waible’s second-place salted caramel bars, and Liam Licastro’s huge monster cookies.  Liam was one of the contest’s two young bakers. In addition to the delicious Bake-Off’s submissions, participants also enjoyed coffee and tea and an array of other desserts from local bakeries compliments of the New Town Residential Association.  
Residents commented about how pleased they were to return to Legacy Hall for a holiday event and to catch up with old friends. Lynn Dorsey observed that “It was lovely – nicely set up and a good chance to meet new people.” For Anne Mapp, it was a “great opportunity to meet my neighbors,” and twelve-year old judge, Chloe Mapp chimed in “Being a judge never tasted so good.”  Another couple with a baby, who recently moved to New Town, characterized the event as “very welcoming to new residents,” and with smiles on their faces observed that the food was “awesome!”
Posted on December 1, 2022 6:20 AM by Town Crier Staff
Categories: Life in New Town
Free Holiday Dessert Festival
Wednesday, Dec. 7
Legacy Hall, 6:00-8:00
When you are at a bakery and hungrily peering at yummy desserts, have you ever wished you could taste them all?  Now is your chance. 
The New Town Activities Committee is inviting all New Town families and friends to kick off the holiday season by joining us for a FREE Dessert Festival on Wednesday, December 7, at Legacy Hall from 6:00 - 8:00 to taste desserts from local Bakeries.  
Judging for the Bake-Off will also take place at this event. There will be drinks and seating provided for attendees to relax and enjoy the goodies.  We looking forward to seeing you.  
This event is open to ALL New Town residents. 
Continuation of Special Meeting of NTRA Members
Wednesday, December 14th
Legacy Hall – 6:30PM
This is the continuation of the Special Meeting of October 18, 2022, which was continued with voting on the proposed revised governing documents remaining open. The votes will be tallied and results announced at this meeting. 
followed by
Annual NTRA Members Meeting
Wednesday, December 14th
Legacy Hall – 7:00PM
The annual meeting will include reports on NTRA Committee business from 2022, comments from our management company (Chesapeake Bay Management) and the Board of Directors. The purpose of the meeting is the election of two Directors to serve on the 2023-2025 Board of Directors. In addition, Members will be asked to vote on 1) the disposition of any surplus 2022 funds (per IRS requirement) and 2) an amendment to the Amenities Use Easement and Agreement that currently obligates the NTRA and the New Town Commercial Association to use the same management company. 
Both December 14th meetings are open to New Town Residential Association Members only. Registration begins at 6PM.
FREE Photos with Santa
- Capture the Magic -
Saturdays & Sundays, December 3-4, 10-11, 17-18
11:00am - 4:00pm
Located in front of Regal New Town
Snap your own photos and share instantly! For more information, visit
Williamsburg Field Musick Fifes & Drums
- Musical Entertainment -
12-2pm each Saturday & Sunday during Santa photos!
Susan Dippre Designs
- Pop-Up Wreath Sales -
Beautiful wreaths cut fresh from the mountains of Virginia, for Sale during Santa hours!
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 6:35 AM by Ben Goodill, WATA Director of Planning
Categories: Life in New Town
Williamsburg Area Transit Authority (WATA) is soliciting feedback on upcoming route changes in your area. As a result of a Transit Consolidation Study, the proposed changes include restructuring WATA’s existing Route 5 and Route 14 services resulting in a new route that will go through your area: Route 12. In 2020, we discontinued our trolley service due to COVID-19. Route 12 will serve as its replacement, becoming a full-service fixed route. Due to the restructuring of the routes, WATA would like to hear your feedback on a couple of proposed new stop locations, especially the two inbound route options on Casey Boulevard in the residential community. 
On Route 12’s outbound trip beginning at the Williamsburg Transportation Center, WATA is proposing new stop locations in the following places: (as depicted in the maps below – Figure 1)
  • Center St at Casey Blvd. 
  • Casey Blvd at Settlers Market (Actual intersection is unnamed street- Petco/Which Wich) 
On Route 12’s inbound trip heading back towards the Williamsburg Transportation Center, WATA is proposing new stop locations in the following places: (as depicted in Figure 2 below)
  • Casey Blvd at Settlers Market
  • Casey Blvd at Center St.
  • Casey Blvd at Foundation St.
These route changes will provide increased access to public transit by providing service more frequently to the New Town area. Each bus stop will be marked with signage only and buses will stop in the road.
These route changes are planned to go into effect as of November 14, 2022. (See Figure 3 for entire route through New Town.) 
Your feedback is important to help WATA ensure that the new stop locations provide safe and effective service to your area. Please email all questions and comments to Ben Goodill, Director of Planning and Administration at, no later than November 9th, 2022
Figure 1. Settlers Market Stops
Figure 2. Casey Blvd Inbound Options
Figure 3. Entire New Town Route
Posted on November 1, 2022 6:25 AM by Town Crier Staff
NTRA Board of Directors:
Applicants are needed to stand for election for 2023-24. Send a one-page application with: your name, contact information, neighborhood, background/suitability for the Board, reason for serving on the Board to the NTRA Board secretary – no later than November 4th.
Committee Openings:
  • ASSET MAINTENANCE COMMITTEE – There will be two 2023 vacancies on this important committee that assists with our home exterior inspections and monitoring the condition of NTRA assets. 
  • COMMUNICATIONS COMMITTEE – HELP!!! Our website and newsletter are dependent on volunteers. In January, there will be at least 4 openings on this Committee. 
  • FINANCE COMMITTEE – There are 4 members rotating off at the end of this year. The work of the Finance Committee is critical to the NTRA budget and annual assessment process.  
  • POOL COMMITTEE – Oversee pool operations and needs by serving on this Committee which has multiple vacancies. This is largely a seasonal commitment.  
Send an email to to express interest in any of these Committee positions and we will put you in touch with the Committee chair. 
Posted on November 1, 2022 6:20 AM by Jack Espinal
The largest single cost for the New Town Residential Association’s (NTRA) is landscaping. This past spring we began a process for finding the best possible and affordable landscaping provider for the Association during the next three years. 
This process began with the Landscape Advisory Committee’s (LAC) development of a comprehensive Request for Proposal (RFP). They used their landscaping experience in New Town, past New Town landscaping surveys, and sample RFPs from other communities in the area to draft a new NTRA RFP. Next, the Board of Directors reviewed this document and ensured that it reflected the community’s expectations for landscaping services.
Five Williamsburg area landscaping contractors received the RFP and were invited to participate in a comprehensive tour of our community.  Each of our neighborhoods were visited during the tour and their specific landscaping needs were explained.  
We subsequently received four bids. The pricing and level of services of the four proposals were judiciously compared and evaluated.  The two contractors with the best proposals were selected for interviews.  The Board used these meetings to clarify services and pricing as well as communicate our community’s landscaping policies and expectations.  While the providers were preparing their best and final offers, each of their references were contacted for recommendations.  These recommendations and the contractors final submissions were evaluated and used to select the 2023-2025 NTRA landscaping provider.
During our October Board meeting, the NTRA Board approved James River Grounds Management as our next landscaping service provider. James River has been invited to meet the community at a meeting on November 21 in Legacy Hall.
One of the first services that James River Grounds Management will be providing is a comprehensive audit of the entire NTRA community. This will help prepare them for providing services to the community in 2023 and will also give the Association the information needed for the LAC to develop a draft five-year plan for landscaping improvements.
Hundreds of volunteer hours were spent developing the landscaping RFP and evaluating these proposals. This effort has resulted in the selection of the best and most affordable landscaping services for our community.
Homeowner Notifications of Knock Out Rose Infestation
Knock Out Roses arguably have the most flower power of just about any shrub available in Virginia.  As reported in the July 2022 Town Crier, and first identified by VLL in February 2021, many of the Knock Out roses in New Town have become infected with the Rose Rosette disease which is carried by a tiny mite (Phyllocoptes fructiphylus) that travels by crawling, through air currents, or on clothing and equipment. The mites feed and reproduce on the tips of new growth of rose bushes. The disease causes deformation and discoloration of the bush as shown below if figure 1.  There is no treatment for this disease and trimming back the infected roses will have no effect as the virus remains in the stocks, roots, and in the ground.
Figure 1. Rose Rosette 
The LAC has completed an inventory of all NTRA homes where the disease is present. These homeowners will be formally notified to remove these bushes no later than June 1, 2023. 
The only solution is to completely remove the bushes and the roots of the infected plant. At this point, only the Knock Out roses in New Town have been infected, but this virus is also known to attack all Rose varieties.  No roses should be replanted in the area.
The NTRA will be removing all diseased Knock Out roses from our common areas. We have asked the New Town Commercial Association to similarly eradicate their diseased bushes.
Unfortunately this is not the only plant disease problem that we have in New Town.
Treat your Crepe Myrtle Black Bark Scale Infestations!
Our community has also been attacked by crepe myrtle bark scale (Acanthococcus lagerstroemiae). See April 2022 Crier Article. While it is not a fatal disease, it really stresses the crepe myrtles. Infected trees bloom later in the spring and the blooms tend to be much smaller and fewer than trees that are not infected.  In addition, many of the limbs die and the and the black bark with the white scale becomes an eye sore.
The NTRA is now treating all crepe myrtles in our Association common areas. However, homeowners are responsible for treating their own infected crepe myrtles.  You can tell if your crepe myrtle has been infected by examining the bark. If it is black and has small white specks on it, it has been infected. You may also see snow white crawlers moving up and down the limbs.  If you crush the crawlers or white specks, they will turn blood red. 
Inspect your trees and treat them now! Crepe myrtle bark scale is treated by washing as many of the blackened branches as possible with a mild detergent and then spraying an oil on the infected bark. The soil around the crepe myrtle can also be treated with a soil drench of imidacloprid or dinotefuran when crepe myrtles begin to leaf out in the spring.  Fertilizer can also be applied at that time to help the tree remain healthy.
Working together as a community on both infestation problems will help keep our plantings healthy and beautiful.
Posted on November 1, 2022 6:15 AM by NTRA Activities Committee
Categories: Life in New Town

Join us for a Dessert Fest & Bake Off at Legacy Hall, December 7, 6:00-8:00.  
This event, which will help kick off the holiday season in New Town, includes a Bake Off and a Dessert Fest. The Activities Committee is seeking New Towners interested in competing in a baking contest featuring both holiday and non-holiday desserts.  On December 7 at Legacy Hall, Bake-Off participants will present their baked goods in two categories: bars/cookies and cakes/cupcakes, and New Town resident judges will pick winners, who will receive gift certificates.
New Towners who want to serve as judges or bake-off contestants need to pre-register on the New Town Residential Association website
The entire community is invited to the Dessert Fest, where they will have the opportunity to taste samples of the submitted baked goods as well as desserts from local bakeries. Coffee and water will be provided in addition to the desserts, and there will be seating for attendees to relax with neighbors and new friends and enjoy the goodies. No registration is required to attend and sample! 
We look forward to another opportunity to gather with neighbors! Remember, if you want to be a bake-off contestant or judge, make sure to register!
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