Town Crier Articles

Posted on April 1, 2021 7:00 AM by Jim Ducibella
Ever stand so close to an Apollo space capsule that you can envision opening its hatch in 1969 and joining astronauts Pete Conrad and Alan Bean on the surface of the moon?
 
You can at the Virginia Air and Space Science Center in downtown Hampton, home to the original Apollo 12 capsule.
 
In 1986, the NASA Langley Research Center informed the City of Hampton that it was willing to move its visitor center downtown, giving people access to explore the past, present and future of air and space. As the birthplace of the nation’s air and space technology – think of the film “Hidden Figures” -- the city was only too happy to cooperate on the project.
 
The initial construction cost $30 million and was funded through a combination of city funds, state grants, and private philanthropy. The facility is 110,000 square feet and nine-stories high, situated on 2.2 acres in downtown.
 
Thirty-five years later, the Virginia Air and Space Science Center features interactive aviation exhibits spanning 100 years of flight, more than 30 historic aircraft, a hands-on space exploration gallery, unique space flight artifacts, and more.
 
Last fall, the Center began a $1.5 million update that resulted in dozens of new interactive displays and cutting-edge exhibits. Foremost among the project was a renovation of the Center’s IMAX Theater, including new seating, projection, flooring, and lighting. Improving on an already spectacular sensory experience, the finished product offers a more immersive IMAX experience than ever before.
 
A private, non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation, the Center is located at 600 Settlers Landing Road. Admission for adults is $20, seniors pay $18, children under 18 are $16.50. Active military pay $17. All admission tickets include entrance to the IMAX theater. Currently, two films are being shown.
 
The Center is open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., noon to 5 on Sunday. Covid-19 precautions are in effect. For more information, visit this website vasc.org or phone 757 727 0900.

The Apollo 12 space capsule
 
 
The Viking Lander took the first color photograph of the surface of Mars, which showed that the "Red Planet" was really red.
Photos courtesy of Virginia Air and Space Science Museum
Posted on April 1, 2021 7:00 AM by Patti Vaticano
Categories: Life in New Town
This past January and for the 8th year in a row, a UK nonprofit organization begun by Jane Land and Matthew Glover promoted veganism, a lifestyle which refrains from eating animals and animal products for humane and environmental reasons, by encouraging people to follow a vegan lifestyle just for the month of January. They term the event Veganuary, a portmanteau of “vegan” and “January,” and more than 1 million people have completed the challenge since the campaign began in 2014. Harvard statistics deem the impact to be 103,840 tons of CO2eq negated and more than 3.4 million animals spared.  Whether or not the environment or animal suffering is your concern or living a cleaner health style is your desire, veganism is becoming a force in today’s world.  Stock in plant-based companies, like Beyond Meat, Impossible Burger, and Follow Your Heart, is skyrocketing, and the younger generation has made the causes behind these enterprises their own, especially the call for the end of Speciesism, the assumption of human superiority leading to the exploitation of animals.
 
Vegan restaurants and vegan fare are not new to New Town or Williamsburg, but the trend is picking up momentum and now includes even fast food chains that are offering vegan options on their menus. Veganism may once have had an eccentric reputation, suffering the onslaught of jokes and angry protestations—but the times they are a changin’.  Here’s a modest vegan travel log of restaurants in and around New Town with a brief sample of vegan fare at each eatery. Internet menus will offer greater detail and a quick call to each establishment will give you up-to-date info on additions and specials.
 
Did we miss one of your local favorites? Add it in the comments section below, let's share those healthy and tasty tips!
 
Posted on April 1, 2021 6:59 AM by Town Crier Staff
DO YOU HAVE A HOME-BASED BUSINESS? TELL US ABOUT IT!
Crier Staff
 
If you are one of many New Town residents operating a home-based business, we'd like to hear from you? Drop is a line at ntratown.crier@gmail.com and tell us about you and your business. If you like send pics or a link to your website! We'd like to feature our local entrepreneurs in upcoming issues
 
 
NTRA to Host Annual Earth Day Cleanup
Activities Committee
 
Earth Day this year is scheduled for Thursday April 22 and NTRA Activities Committee will be conducting  a New Town Earth Day Cleanup in our neighborhoods.  The Activities Committee will have trash bags available for pick up to fill as well as guidance on areas that are accessible and those that are either not safe or not NTRA property where trespassing would be permitted. Safety for COVID purposes and use of gloves, grabbers, etc is recommended. Children should be supervised in this family friendly activity. More details will be communicated via email blast to all residents. 
 
Small Actions Add Up – Observing Earth Day
Alison Douglas
 
April may be our time to turn our focus to the environment with Earth day observed on 22 April.  It’s a good time to do your bit as well as to involve the family in how they can make a difference too.  Earth Day is an annual event celebrated around the world to demonstrate support for environmental protection.  Founded in 1970, it is the largest secular observance in the world and is marked by a billion people every year as a day of action.  
 
Here are 10 ideas for the difference you can make.  
 
Pick up some litter – James City County has a limited number of litter loan kits available.  Option 1 includes litter grabbers, trash collection bags, orange safety vests and gloves.  Option 2 includes all the above plus a should bags.  For more information, please contact Peg Boarman at (757) 565 0032 or the Office of Sustainability at (757) 259 5375.  
 
Buy a bag for Life – plastic bags are posing a huge threat to wildlife, especially marine wildlife.
 
Go meat-free for a day or a week and expand your cooking repertoire – our love of meat, especially beef, uses up a lot of land, water and produces greenhouse gases. Switching to a meat-free option for a short and frequent period may help.   
 
Go microbead-free – microbeads are tiny beads of plastic that are in many cosmetics, face washes and toothpaste that end up in the oceans and enter the foodchain. Next time you buy cosmetics, check the label first.
 
Walk or ride a bike rather than take the car. Walking and cycling is good for your health as well as the environment.  
 
Give up chewing gum – It is made from synthetic rubber and 100,000 tonnes of this plastic is thrown away every year.  Reducing or cutting out chewing gum altogether will make a difference.  
 
Shop at local farmers markets – it’s a great way to support local businesses and support the environment.  They tend to use less packaging and products are grown or made locally so transport distances are short.
 
Buy a reusable water bottle– billions of plastic bottles are sold every year, so re-using a bottle means we can reduce the amount of plastic we throw away.
 
Make the switch from using plastic straws – bamboo, silicone or even metal straws are a good alternative to the plastic option.  
 
Spread the word – These are just some starter ideas, so if you have good suggestions, why not share them in the comments section.
 
 
Maintaining Your Garage Doors
Sarah Carey
 
Most of us have a Lift Master system or Wayne Dalton system installed by Virginia Door.  Life expectancy of the system is 10 years but more likely 5 to 6. The owner’s manual has limited DIY maintenance suggestions. Does your garage door (doors) make a lot of grinding or squeaking noise when you open or close the door? It may be time for some DIY maintenance or a call to a reliable garage door service business.  Speaking from experience, don’t wait until its too late and that large spring cable can break. But thankfully there are a lot of safety features built in so the cable doesn’t spin off the bar. It makes a very loud noise and then of course your door won’t close. 
 
Rollers and the spring (photos below) should be sprayed once a year with a silicone spray that is especially for use on garage doors. This is available at Home Depot and Lowes. The rollers and spring are easy to reach when the door is closed – no need for a ladder. Other maintenance should be done by a professional garage door technician. If the loud noise upon opening the door doesn’t go away after lubricating, it may be a motor problem.
 
We have had excellent service from a local business Lion Garage Door.  Quick service and helpful friendly employees.  A service call is $89 or a $120/year membership that includes 2 service calls.
 
Quick Getaways – Virginia Air and Space Science Center, Hampton
Jim Ducibella
 
Ever stand so close to an Apollo space capsule that you can envision opening its hatch in 1969 and joining astronauts Pete Conrad and Alan Bean on the surface of the moon?
 
You can at the Virginia Air and Space Science Center in downtown Hampton, home to the original Apollo 12 capsule.
 
In 1986, the NASA Langley Research Center informed the City of Hampton that it was willing to move its visitor center downtown, giving people access to explore the past, present and future of air and space. As the birthplace of the nation’s air and space technology – think of the film “Hidden Figures” -- the city was only too happy to cooperate on the project.
 
The initial construction cost $30 million and was funded through a combination of city funds, state grants, and private philanthropy. The facility is 110,000 square feet and nine-stories high, situated on 2.2 acres in downtown.
 
Thirty-five years later, the Virginia Air and Space Science Center features interactive aviation exhibits spanning 100 years of flight, more than 30 historic aircraft, a hands-on space exploration gallery, unique space flight artifacts, and more.
 
Last fall, the Center began a $1.5 million update that resulted in dozens of new interactive displays and cutting-edge exhibits. Foremost among the project was a renovation of the Center’s IMAX Theater, including new seating, projection, flooring, and lighting. Improving on an already spectacular sensory experience, the finished product offers a more immersive IMAX experience than ever before.
 
A private, non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation, the Center is located at 600 Settlers Landing Road. Admission for adults is $20, seniors pay $18, children under 18 are $16.50. Active military pay $17. All admission tickets include entrance to the IMAX theater. Currently, two films are being shown.
 
The Center is open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., noon to 5 on Sunday. Covid-19 precautions are in effect. For more information, visit this website vasc.org or phone 757 727 0900.
 

Mailbox Maintenance: Latest Board Resolution Returns Responsibility to Homeowners
Mary Cheston, Director
 
At its March 2021 meeting the Board of Directors revisited the convoluted history of mailbox maintenance in New Town. Since the last policy on maintenance was adopted in 2019 (see May 2019 Crier article), the Association obtained cost information for repairs but had not funded this maintenance. Given the anticipated expense of this work, the Board has returned to the original 2011 NTRA policy position on mailboxes.
 
The rationale for this decision is that mailboxes are an exterior feature of a home provided as an improvement by the builder (per our Master Declaration). Owners are required to keep all improvements to lots “in good order and repair.” 
 
Further, mailboxes are a part of the NTRA’s home Exterior Maintenance inspection process and deficiencies are identified during inspection reports.  Such deficiencies in any part of the mailbox assembly (metal box, post/support, post cap and newspaper tube) must be corrected by the homeowner, in accordance with the Exterior Maintenance policy. All costs are to be borne by the owner of the mailbox, even for multi-family boxes where owners are expected to share costs.
 
In other words, get your paint brushes out! The March 25th resolution supersedes all previous policies. For a copy of the full resolution click here
 
 
Vegan Dining in New Town and Beyond
Patti Vaticano
 
This past January and for the 8th year in a row, a UK nonprofit organization begun by Jane Land and Matthew Glover promoted veganism, a lifestyle which refrains from eating animals and animal products for humane and environmental reasons, by encouraging people to follow a vegan lifestyle just for the month of January. They term the event Veganuary, a portmanteau of “vegan” and “January,” and more than 1 million people have completed the challenge since the campaign began in 2014. Harvard statistics deem the impact to be 103,840 tons of CO2eq negated and more than 3.4 million animals spared.  Whether or not the environment or animal suffering is your concern or living a cleaner health style is your desire, veganism is becoming a force in today’s world.  Stock in plant-based companies, like Beyond Meat, Impossible Burger, and Follow Your Heart, is skyrocketing, and the younger generation has made the causes behind these enterprises their own, especially the call for the end of Speciesism, the assumption of human superiority leading to the exploitation of animals.
 
Vegan restaurants and vegan fare are not new to New Town or Williamsburg, but the trend is picking up momentum and now includes even fast food chains that are offering vegan options on their menus. Veganism may once have had an eccentric reputation, suffering the onslaught of jokes and angry protestations—but the times they are a changin’.  Here’s a modest vegan travel log of restaurants in and around New Town with a brief sample of vegan fare at each eatery. Internet menus will offer greater detail and a quick call to each establishment will give you up-to-date info on additions and specials.
 
Did we miss one of your local favorites? Add it in the comments section below, let's share those healthy and tasty tips!
 
You Can't Predict, But You Can Prepare!
Jack Espinal, Chair, Emergency Preparedness Committee
 
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program of James City County (JCC) educates citizens about emergency preparedness and trains them in basic emergency response skills that can be used at home, in the community, at work or anyplace an emergency may occur. 
 
There is no charge for CERT training and it is and open to residents of JCC 18 years and older. The training is given in a lecture and hands-on format of nine 3-hour sessions. During the pandemic, face-to-face evening CERT training is being conducted at the JCC Fire Department Training Center on John Tyler Highway. Classes are limited to twelve students and are conducted following COVID-19 protocols.
 
Do you know how to survive man-made and natural disasters (hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes and cold weather emergencies) on your own for up to three weeks before the arrival of first responders?    
 
CERT training will give you the skills to:   
  • Locate and turn off natural gas and propane supplies for homes and businesses,
  • Locate and disconnect electrical power from buildings,
  • Locate and disconnect water to prevent damage to homes.
  • Administer first aid and basic medical assistance, 
  • Take action to survive an active shooter situation,
  • Plan for living outside your home for a length of time if the structure is compromised and must be evacuated,
  • Develop an emergency kit that contain supplies (including food, water, and medicine) to sustain family and pets for up to 3 weeks in the event of a major emergency, and 
  • Develop emergency survival kits for work and car/truck.      
Upon completion of training program graduates indicate if they would like to become CERT members assisting community members in the event of an emergency or to graduate with the intention of applying their skills for their personal and family use. There is no pressure or obligation to become a CERT member. Whichever path is chosen those completing training are assets to the community through being better informed and prepared.      
 
New Town formed its first CERT in 2019.  We are a small team. Additional helping hands are badly needed. The most important prerequisite is a desire to be of assistance.  If you have questions, please call me at 703.946.5787.         
 
For additional information on emergency preparedness and/or to register for CERT training please go to:  https://jamescitycountyva.gov/2661/Community-Emergency-Response-Team .   CERT training is conducted throughout the year.   
 
The Grass Will Soon be Greener in New Town
Landscape Advisory Committee
 
New Town's neighborhoods comprise 350 acres. That's a lot of ground to cover! This year, the Landscape Advisory Committee (LAC) is working to improve the appearance of the turf that comprises a large portion of our community landscape. The New Town Residential Association Board of Directors approved a request from the committee to conduct a pilot of warm weather grasses, or WWGP for short. Varieties of these grasses, which are better suited to this environment, can be found in nearby communities, including the historic area in Colonial Williamsburg.
 
This pilot will test three types of grasses: Bermuda seed, Zoysia seed, and Zoysia sod. A 70’ x 25‘ marked area located opposite the Village Walk Clock Tower along Casey Boulevard will be designated for this purpose. Village Walk was selected as the location for this pilot because of its elevation, sun exposure, and availability of irrigation. Planting will commence in May with the observation period extending through the summer and fall.  The LAC, Town Management, and Virginia Lawn and Landscape will monitor the performance of each selection.  A five-year turf restoration plan will be developed based on the results of this study.
Community members are encouraged to observe the progress throughout the course of this pilot.  Comments or suggestions may be submitted to the LAC through the Report an Issue ticket process on the NTRA website.
 
Work is underway over several days in the historic Roper Park area. Limbing,trimming,and removing trees and debris will make for a more enjoyable experience when walking this park that we are so fortunate to have in our back yard. Or front yard as the case may be.
 
Board Buzz - April 2021
Dick Durst, President
 
“And This Job Was to be Easy…” - When Chuck Stetler called me late last year and invited me to join the Board to fill an empty seat, my wife, Karen, and I talked through this and I said, “how difficult can this be?  It’s a small group of people making sure our neighborhood looks good and that we are all trying to follow the guidelines to keep it that way.”  Well, the latter sentence is certainly correct….
 
This article is about the evolution of that “job” and, more importantly, about the assessments we all pay.  Those assessments are used, among a myriad things, to pay for landscaping, garbage collection, maintaining street lights and keeping our walking trails and built resources in good shape for the future.  The determination of the amount of our assessments was established several years ago by the original Developer Board; that process has been followed for the last 15 or so years.
 
Last year, as we concluded the budget preparation for 2021, the Board received concerns from a few homeowners who suggested that the methodology that had been used for years to determine homeowner assessments might not be following the methodologies laid out in the NTRA governing documents.  Our Finance Committee shared some of those beliefs and we sought advice from our legal counsel.  After a lengthy review and evaluation she confirmed that we needed to revise our assessment methodology.  
 
As New Town was built in phases over more than a decade, the Supplemental Declarations for each of our neighborhoods became more inconsistent and, in some cases, contradictory.  Just to cite one example, some Supplementals list non-VDOT streets in the Neighborhood Assessments, section IV of your documents, indicating those must be taken care of by neighborhood assessments for the people living in that area of New Town, while other Supplementals do not, leaving it to the whole of NTRA to maintain.  There are several such inconsistencies.  Charlotte Park, alone, has TEN (10) Supplemental Declarations, since it was built in several stages and even within those there are various discrepancies.
 
People who live in some of our smaller homes (the term “cottages” has been used in our assessment lingo, even though that doesn’t appear in our Declarations) have been charged somewhat smaller assessments, but that option does not appear in any governing documents, except for three homes in Village Walk (assessed at 70% of their Neighborhood Assessment only). Parcel Developers for New Town have paid much lower assessments during the time they were building homes or units on those vacant lots—again, that reduction seems contrary to our Governing Documents.
 
We are now consulting with experts on options and approaches to rectifying this complex situation, but we are committed to resolve this.  Therefore, we announced at the March board meeting: 
 
"NTRA will revise our governing documents, particularly the Master Declaration and Supplemental Declarations, to address the assessment methodology and update their provisions. Our goal is to have easily understood and enforceable documents with a transparent assessment method. To the maximum extent possible, the Association’s governing documents should reflect New Town as a community with common areas and amenities shared by all homeowners."
 
Governing document changes require a vote of the members (homeowners) and need a 2/3 majority to pass.  You will see much more about this over the upcoming months.
 
We will build our 2022 budget based more closely on our current governing documents as we work through this process.  The Board of Directors are committed to transparency in this development and will schedule a Town Hall meeting to discuss our processes as we move forward.
 
All this has resulted in many, many hours of work for your “volunteer” Board of Directors and will probably remain so for several months, but these good people are resolved to do what’s right.
 
 
Posted on March 1, 2021 7:00 AM by Patti Vaticano
It would seem like a dangerous practice to install a water heater in the attic, 40 to 120 gallons or more of water in a cylinder positioned over your head, a metal container that will eventually corrode and leak—and perhaps even burst if maintenance has not been regularly addressed. So why are there attic water heaters in New Town?  As with every construction practice, there are pros and cons.
 
In the pro column, we have four reasons for that Sword of Damocles over our heads.  The first is accessibility.  A quick pull on a string for the attic stairs allows ready access to the heater, assuming of course, you have installed attic stairs to your attic space and that your attic access is wide enough to accommodate removal and replacement of your water heater should replacement of the appliance become necessary.  According to the 2015 Virginia Residential Code, Appliances and Attics, M1305.1.3, the attic access space should be an opening of no less than 20 by 30 inches, clear of all obstructions, and large enough to remove the largest appliance in the attic, such as a water heater or air handler. This is a minimum requirement and a county or jurisdiction can match or exceed this requirement.  James City County upholds this code as written.
 
The second pro is cosmetic appeal.  A water heater is not exactly gentle on the eye and keeping it accessible but out of site is attractive to many homeowners. Then, too, keeping it out of the garage, a traditional water heater site, leaves the homeowner more garage space for storing other home accessories and equipment.  Water distribution is the third pro, as in theory water in the attic reaches plumbing fixtures faster, and the fourth pro is safety.  It is far easier to keep flammable objects away from the heater in the attic than in the garage where numerous flammable objects are traditionally stored.
 
What are the cons of having a water heater in your attic?  There are only three, but they can cost the homeowner a good deal of money if encountered.  The first is an unwise and unsafe installation of the heater in your attic space.  If the attic construction is unsound and cannot uphold the considerable weight of the appliance, structural damage to the attic floor and the ceiling below will be the result, and there is always the possibility of the appliance breaking through the attic floor to the room or rooms beneath.  The second con is perhaps the most readily anticipated problem with an attic heater, and that is the leaking of the appliance and even collapse of the water tank itself.  Neither event is desirable, and the latter can be catastrophic to your home.  The third con is the cost for replacing an attic water tank, entirely, a sizable undertaking in money and time as it will take two service men or more to remove the old tank and replace it with a new one. Not surprisingly, draining the old tank has to be done via a hose through an open window to the ground beneath.
 
So what can the homeowner do to keep the attic water heater in the best condition possible to ensure its safe operation and a long life?  The easier if not the most cost-effective way is to contract an HVAC company to service your water heater, annually. If you’re a do-it-yourself homeowner and saving money is a goal, you can service the tank yourself by following a maintenance agenda.  These agendas can be found anywhere on the web. One particularly throughout website is sponsored by This Old House and can be found at the link below: https://www.thisoldhouse.com/plumbing/21016402/how-to-maintain-a-water-heater
 
The site advises testing the temperature pressure release valve (TPR), annually, and replacing it if necessary.  The TPR regulates the pressure in your tank by releasing water when the internal pressure in the tank becomes too high, thereby preventing the disaster of an explosion, a maintenance check well worth the time and cost. Another maintenance check advised is to monitor for excessive calcium build-up of the anode rod, a rod made of magnesium, aluminum, or zinc and intended to protect the interior metal lining of your water tank.  The rod is inserted into the water heater storage tank, where it slowly degrades. As long as the anode rod is degrading in the tank, the tank lining will be protected from rusting.  Additional maintenance checks include draining the tank for corrosive sediment and insulating heater and pipes to raise water temperature in a cost-effective way and in a way that places less stress on the tank.  Lowering your tank’s temperature dial by just 10 degrees can save you up to 5 percent in energy costs.
 
If you are thinking of relocating your attic water heater to your garage, be aware that it’s costly and may require the relocation of water lines, venting, gas lines or electrical work, drain pan lines, pressure and temperature lines—and of course, the tank, itself. An easier if not less expensive option would be to replace your attic water heater with a tankless water heater; but there are pros and cons with this option, as well.  For example, with a tankless water heater, loss of power means no water until power is restored, something that is not an issue with a conventional water heater and while hot water is readily available with a tankless heater, it is not unlimited and temperatures are often inconsistent. In addition, installation is costly and may require the rerouting of gas lines and the purchase of additional equipment such as a water softener unit which could take up more attic space than a traditional heater. 
 
Besides an annual maintenance check, homeowners need to keep alert for signs that their water heater may need service or replacement before a crisis occurs.  If you turn on your tap and no hot water is forthcoming or if hot water comes through but eventually turns cold, that could be a clear indication that your water heater is in need of service.  In addition, though your heater will normally make operational noises, if it begins to make strange noises of long duration or if you see rust on the boiler itself, it’s time for a thorough maintenance review.  
 
What other measures can you take to avoid being taken by surprise by your water heater? We’ve all heard horror stories about people who have been away when their attic heater decided to leak or burst.  They are tales not for the faint hearted.  A measure to circumvent these possibilities is to shut off your heater, entirely, or at least lower the temperature gauge if you are going to be away for more than a day or two.  There are devices, costing anywhere from $20 to $100 or more, which can be installed in the drip ban of a heater that will detect moisture and emit an ear-piercing sound to alert the homeowner that something is amiss.  Unfortunately, they are of little use if there is no one home at the time to hear the alarm.  A better device is one that not only detects moisture and sounds an alarm but shuts the system down and notifies the home owner by mobile text that a leak has been detected.  There are any number of companies that manufacture these devices and a simple search on the internet for “Smart Water heater shut off system” will give you a number from which to choose.  These devices and monitoring plans are diverse and can range from $20 to as much as $600.  Whether you contract an HVAC company to service your heater annually, do maintenance updates yourself, or purchase one of these moisture monitoring devices, it’s best not to ignore the sleeping giant in your attic.
Posted on March 1, 2021 7:00 AM by Mike Reilly, Board Liaison to Asset Maintenance Committee
Categories: Life in New Town
 
Spring is in the air and that’s a good feeling! With the arrival of Spring comes the usual spring-cleaning tasks. One task administered by the Asset Maintenance Committee (AMC) is the NTRA’s annual home exterior inspections. This program was designed and adopted by the Board in 2018 to maintain the curb appeal of our homes and the overall property values for all invested in New Town. It is managed by the volunteer AMC of the Board of Directors, with assistance from Town Management. 
 
The 2020 inspection program, unfortunately, was suspended due to COVID-19, in the interest of community safety. It’s time to get back on track. This year a third-party will inspect the townhomes in both Abbey Commons and Savannah Square. The inspection is slated to commence this week weather permitting. Technology has helped greatly with speeding up the time it takes to perform each individual inspection. Now, the inspector uses an App on his phone and logs the information which is uploaded immediately. This allows for a timely inspection with quick feedback to owners who have violations. No news is Good News! So homeowners who don’t receive any notice within a few weeks after the inspection are violation free. 
 
What do I do if I receive a violation? If you receive a violation, respond with your “plan of correction” within two weeks and at least, prior to the first follow up inspection scheduled for April 4, 2021. Violations come in all forms and the inspection checklist is on the NTRA website. Being realistic, not all violations can be cured in a short period of time. The important thing to remember here is to provide your “plan of correction” to tim@townmanagement.com as soon as your plan is worked out. This could be as simple as, 
“I power washed the front of my house and the violation is in compliance.”
“I am researching house painters and will obtaining bids.”
 
The important thing to remember is that the homeowner maintain communication with Town Management on progress being made to cure the violation. 
To reiterate, follow up inspections will take place in April & May. If your communication is up to date and progress is being made, then Town Management will skip your home during these subsequent inspections. After the May inspection, if there has been no communication from the homeowner, then the homeowner will receive a citation. 
 
Personally in 2019, I had a trim paint violation and it took a long time to secure painter bids and an even longer time to get the work done. I kept Town Management updated, got the work completed after a long wait, and we were quite pleased that the work was called out in the inspection, so that we could get our place in shape. Now I know a great painter!
Posted on March 1, 2021 7:00 AM by Sarah Carey
Categories: Life in New Town
 
Thursday February 18 via Zoom Sean Kearney spoke to an interested group of basketball enthusiasts.
 
Sean is the Associate Commissioner for the NCAA men’s basketball Atlantic 10 Conference. Among his responsibilities is coordinating the schedule of Atlantic 10 conference games with the TV networks. 
 
Sean has 35+ years’ experience in college basketball as a volunteer coach, head coach and broadcaster. He started at Providence College where his first year coaching there, also first year of 3 point shot, they went to the final four but lost in the semifinals. He also coached at Univ. of Delaware, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Univ. of Colorado, to name a few.
 
The Atlantic 10 conference is made up of 14 Division I teams, mostly Eastern Seaboard schools. Sean’s job as a former coach involved recruiting, so a lot of travel was involved. He explained difficulties in recruiting athletes from other geographical areas, as California or southern athletes may not be interested in spending 4 years playing in a snowbound/freezing cold northern environment. Not all schools have the same eligibility requirements and many high school athletes are unsure of a long-term goal to play professionally or excel at both academics and athletics.  
 
Conference seeding was challenged this year due to COVID and many game cancellations. BUT, all NCAA athletes, because of COVID, get a free year of eligibility, meaning that they can return next year to play. Even if a senior this year, they can return and take classes, begin a graduate degree. This is a great opportunity for men and women basketball players at William and Mary.
 
March Madness tournament currently begins with 68 teams.  Thirty-two teams that have won their conference are eligible to participate in the March Madness tournament. The remaining 36 teams are selected by a committee of college athletic directors/administrators who have a 4 year term on the committee.    Revenue from March Madness, around $1 billion, supports the NCAA all sports/all divisions.
Posted on March 1, 2021 7:00 AM by Town Crier Staff
Submitted by the New Town Commercial Association Board
 
There’s rarely been such an opportunity to accomplish so much by doing so little.
 
Many residents and guests of New Town Williamsburg have rediscovered a simple, satisfying way to enjoy life, help their neighbors and support the community at large: indulging in the broad array of restaurants and other businesses that make New Town a distinctive regional destination. Right now, people are understandably cautious about spending time in public places, but a year into the pandemic, restaurants in New Town are typical of the precautions business owners are taking to follow the guidelines of industry and medical experts. 
 
Employees wear masks and gloves and replace them often. Managers have adjusted the layout of tables and seating to meet or exceed the recommended six-foot distance and some have added partitions that extend toward the ceiling between booths. Cleaning and sanitizing surfaces occurs at regular, frequent intervals, with extra close attention paid to high-contact areas, such as doors.
 
Outside dining is an option at numerous New Town eateries, many of which already offered patio seating before the pandemic. Sometimes it’s fully enclosed and other times tables occupy a more open-air arrangement. The restaurants provide heaters and soft illumination to make this option comfortable. Some guests come prepared for outside dining, bringing their own blankets, European-style.
 
Many restaurants become so comfortable with ensuring safe dining during these difficult times that the staff has begun to bring back extras that enhance the experience, such as gift baskets for special occasions and live music.
 
And those who still aren’t quite ready to be served at a restaurant are calling in orders for pickup. There are numerous options. 
 
New Town restaurants are constantly thinking as much about how you can safely enjoy the food as what’s on the plate – an area of expertise that was well-established long ago. Regular diners know that the range of options available at New Town can accommodate every occasion and mood, from quick and easy fare to fine dining. There’s ethnic cuisine, eclectic experiences and libations found nowhere else in the Historic Triangle.
 
The attention to safety and service has reassured loyal patrons who have been returning to their favorite New Town restaurants. But there’s another reason the regulars are coming back: a commitment to support their friends and neighbors. Restaurateurs are heartened by the return customers and by the comments of gratitude and support they hear from patrons who are able and willing to spend dollars in their own community.
 
There seems to be reason for optimism that the pandemic may soon be behind us, but after many long months of adversity, New Town’s vibrant commercial district needs support now more than ever. That might come from neighbors who simply want to enjoy a good meal. And it could just as well be a return to regular patronage of the wide range of entertainment personal and professional services. Regardless of how that support arrives, it’s vital – and easy – to show that the New Town community is facing this challenge together.
 
Posted on March 1, 2021 7:00 AM by Sarah Carey
Categories: Life in New Town
Alan Falquet, our very own New Town geophysicist, is working on it!! Alan has always been an avid explorer.  As a child he would spend hours outside investigating. Majoring in geology in college, Alan then taught physics for several years before taking advanced studies in geology and geophysics at Case Institute of Technology and Harvard. The studies resulted in his leading global geophysical search teams in pursuit of oil/gas reserves.
 
After a long career in the field, Alan was offered an opportunity at Cornell University at the Center for Radiophysics and Space Research. The Mars Exploration Rovers project (MER) was looking for geophysical expertise to select landing sites for the twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity mission (2003). Alan worked with NASA and the Jet Propulsion Lab to down-select potential sites. The mission was supposed to last 90 days – Opportunity rover continued for 15 years, going silent in 2018.
 
   NASA Photo of Landing Site Terrain
The recent landing of the Perseverance rover was a site that Alan helped progress through the landing rubric. That particular area was eventually shelved because it was judged to be too hazardous for 2001 technology. Using artificial intelligence (AI) technology developed over the last 20 years, Perseverance landed itself! 
 
Alan, now retired, is a science consultant and member of the Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group (MEPAG) at JPL. Working at his own pace, on a long-term project – site selection for a crewed mission to Mars 2033-35!  He looks at suggestions from around the world, planetary scientists, previous images and rovers. The goal is to find sites where a landing would not only be safe but would provide information to satisfy mission goals. For example, a landing near stratified rock would have the goal of collecting geological samples and search for microbial life while unraveling clues of the planet’s formation. How exciting Alan’s retirement has become!
Posted on March 1, 2021 7:00 AM by Jim Ducibella
Categories: Life in New Town
 
Don’t be put off by the fact that Poe, the master of macabre, never lived in this house in the Shockoe Bottom district of Richmond.
 
That he lived in the city and considered it his hometown there was reason enough to do a deep dive into his background, idiosyncrasies (there were plenty of them) and the other elements that shaped him as one of the great American writers. What you will visit has taken 115 years and the overcoming of several roadblocks to assemble.
 
The effort began in 1906 when Poe collector and researcher James Howard Whitty and a group of literary enthusiasts met in Richmond to create Virginia’s first monument to a writer. The effort failed to generate enough financial support to continue, and 10 years later, the same group tried to save the Southern Literary Messenger building. That’s where Poe began as a journalist and editor. They failed again.
 
Whitty, however, salvaged the building materials, and found preservationists Archer and Annie Jones, who ultimately changed out the lumber, doorknobs, windows and hinges from the Old Stone House, Richmond’s oldest dwelling, for those Whitty brought with him. And the bricks were used to build a Poe Garden path modeled after his poem “To One in Paradise.”
 
By the end of this first decade, the Poe Memorial Association, commandeered the adjacent three buildings – one contains the original staircase from Poe’s home – and created the world’s most comprehensive repository of Poe artifacts, one visited by enthusiasts and scholars alike.
 
The museum is located at 1914 East Main Street. There is an adjacent parking lot (small), so that may represent a small problem, but there is a good amount of street parking. Tickets are ridiculously reasonable ($9 for adults, $7 for 60 and over, AAA members and youth ages 7-17.
 
The phone number is 804-648-5523. Like all things impacted by the pandemic, phone ahead of time to ascertain the hours for a particular day.
 
For more information, visit this website https://www.poemuseum.org/index.
 
 
 
    
Poe's childhood bed and his traveling trunk (not found until after his death) are among the artifacts on display at Poe Museum located in Richmond's Shockoe Bottom. 
 
Posted on March 1, 2021 7:00 AM by Alison Douglas
Categories: Life in New Town
In a swampy field no more than 30 minutes’ drive away from us, stands the extraordinary sight of 43 ghostly, crumbling and huge busts of the first 43 Presidents. Measuring 18-20 feet tall, these crumbling effigies are impressive and I can only describe them a mixture of Mount Rushmore meets Easter Island meets garden maze.
 
The heads were rescued from the now defunct Virginia Presidents Park, which opened in in 2004.  They were the brainchild of local landowner Everette “Haley” Newman and Houston sculptor David Adickes, who was inspired to create the giant busts after driving past Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.  When the park closed in 2010, Newman asked Hankins to destroy the busts. But Hankins didn’t feel right about it, and instead offered to take the heads and move them to his 400-acre farm. And so began the process of moving 43 giant presidents, each weighing in between 11,000 and 20,000 pounds, to the field where they now reside.
 
After being damaged in the move to a recycling and reclamation farm – the busts are far from looking their best.  They are stained, are homes to birds, bees and other critters, and poor Abraham Lincoln has a hole in the back of his head, where he fell off the flatbed on his removal to the new home.  (Note: PBS had a recent radio interview with John Plashal, one of the tour guides.) 
 
Tickets are timed, to ensure safety and that the numbers are limited, but on your visit you are free to wander in between the statues as well as listen to a short talk about U.S. Presidents and the history of the statues.  We had a lot of fun scrambling in between the massive statues and wading through the mud, which was alarmingly deep in places.  The kids especially loved it (they are 3 and 6 so it was more about the mud and the maze-like feel to display, than the history), so if you can get tickets (which, we were told, are like gold dust), it is well worth a visit.