Pillowcase Drive

We are seeking old pillowcases for one of our “pet” projects.

Waffle cones come packed between foam layers which used to be sent back to the manufacturer for reuse. About a year ago they stopped being able to do this due to shipping costs.It is very hard in this day and age to throw so much nice clean foam into the dumpster every week.

We discovered that they make very nice soft beds for pets when covered with two pillowcases,one on each end so they can’t get at the foam.The pillowcases are much easier to launder than thick towels which take alot of time and energy to dry.

We hope we can offer these beds to places where animals need to be comforted such as rehab or SPCA so that the foam and pillowcases can be used again instead of going to the landfill.

If you have old pillowcases to contribute you can put them in the box at the shop.If you would like some foam to make your own pet bed we will be happy to give you some in exchange for two pillowcases!

I was just about to clean out the linen closet. Gee, I guess we’re going to have to go for some frozen custard later, aren’t we?

(The competitive renovators post was not about any of our neighbors. This post is, or at least mentions one)

Arlington County is aggressively marketing an anti-traffic congestion and pollution plan called the Car-Free Diet. The website offers lots of information about how and why you should minimize your car usage. There are even incentives for Arlington residents just to go to the site and learn more:


Whether you plan to go car-free every single day or just once or twice a week, you’re about to see some real results! Just answer the following few questions to get personalized estimates of how much money you’ll save, calories you’ll burn and CO2 emissions you’ll reduce when you go on Arlington’s Car-Free Diet!

Residents who fill out a form can get a free copy of [tag]Chris Balish[/tag]’s [tag]How to Live Well Without Owning a Car[/tag] that has a special Arlington-specific information section.

There’s a nice write-up in today’s Arlington/Alexandria section of the Washington Post about a recent event Arlington County held to get businesses more involved in the program:

“We can’t build any new roads, so the only way for Arlington to prosper through growth is through people walking, biking and taking public transportation,” said Chris Hamilton, the county’s chief of commuter services.

Chris is also maintaining a blog about the initiative.

I had to edit this post. Samer is still groovy, of course, but Dremo’s closes on the 26th, not tonight, the 19th.

I’ll just round out photography week by pointing to [tag]Samer[/tag]’s latest [tag]dcist[/tag] photo of the day, which he brilliantly titled “I am not the Sushi you seek.” It was taken at [tag]Dr. Dremo[/tag]’s, which tragically closes next Saturday, the 26th, (technically, 2 a.m. on Sunday).

Monday (the 28th), they’re auctioning everything off so if you want to preserve a piece of the place for posterity you’d better get there early. Yes, that even includes the totem pole.

Winners: the fiber obsessed who shop, teach or take classes at [tag]Springwater Fiber Workshop[/tag].

A pledge drive raised the $100,000 necessary for the beloved shop and school, which have been in [tag]Alexandria[/tag] for twenty-two years, to stay open. (Actually, they’re going to close the store and then reopen it all fresh and new in January). You can read more about it here: “Pledge Drive Saves Fiber Workshop.”

Losers: Everyone.

Sorry, I was really sad about this one when I heard about it.

[tag]A Likely Story[/tag], a phenomenal [tag]children’s bookshop[/tag], closed it’s doors in November, just a year after being named the most outstanding children’s bookshop in the country. Kids really liked going there. To read. The Old Town fixture had also been open for over twenty years. Although it was always full of children, most of them dripping some sort of viscous [tag]mucous[/tag] as children are wont to do, it was a really cool store.

There’s also an article in today’s Washington Post about it, For Children’s Bookstore, an Unhappy End – A Likely Story, Beloved by Families, Faces Fiscal Reality.”

Stephanie Landrum, of the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, was interviewed for the story:

Landrum said that in the past year, 10 small businesses in Alexandria have closed. Some, such as the Cash Grocer on King Street or a piano store on N. St. Asaph Street, closed because the owners wanted to retire. Others, like the ReMix in Del Ray, relocated. With a hotel slated to go up across the street from A Likely Story, Landrum said she isn’t sure what kind of business might want to locate there. “Another bookstore?” she said. “Who knows. But the odds are slim. Independent booksellers are few and far between.”

It was surprising to me to read how few people at A Likely Story’s events actually stayed to buy books. The only time I ever went in was when I was with someone who needed to do actual shopping, so it didn’t occur to me that the mobs of people I always saw inside weren’t leaving their cash behind.

Last night there was a hearing about the [tag]Mirant Power Plant[/tag] in [tag]Alexandria[/tag]. A Washington Post article reported this morning that, “Members of a state environmental panel reviewing Mirant Corp. operations did not show up at a hearing in Alexandria on Monday night, angering City Council members and about 100 residents who had come to testify.”

To make a long and complicated story short and overly simplistic:

The Mirant Power Plant, a coal plant opened in 1949 in the northern section of Alexandria, supplies power to Maryland and the District. In 2005, Mirant’s Potomac River Generating Station was charged with Clean Air Act violations. Mirant conceded in August 1995 that the plant violated Federal Air Quality guidelines and shut down temporarily. As it was a voluntary shutdown, they did not have to meet any standards or make specific changes in order to re-open. They reopened in December 1995, at reduced capacity, after finding a way to change the way they measured the pollutants they were spewing (which is much easier than actually improving the plant).

Pepco has complained for years that Maryland and the District need this plant and always act as though the issue is a surprise from left-field that they can’t possibly address overnight. Of course they can’t. But they’ve complained for many years, and by now could have solved the problem if they’d really wanted to. Instead, they wait until their interests are threatened and then use the “emergency” situation to, for an example from November 2005, press the District Government to waive certain procedural requirements so that the transmission lines could be constructed on an expedited basis.

In March 2006 the EPA gave Mirant permission to operate at full capacity again, despite the secrecy shrouding their alleged new method for reducing pollutants. (I see no reason that we shouldn’t have total faith in the coal industry when they say “Just trust us,” do you?) For some reason, State and Local officials, as well as citizens in Northern Virginia, were apoplectic.

At some point Mirant petitioned the FAA to allow them to raise the height of their smokestacks (the plant is directly across the river from National Airport). The FAA said no. Then the FAA said yes. Higher smokestacks means less pollution falls in the immediate vicinity of the plant, but that doesn’t actually reduce the amount of pollution emitted. I have to admit, the status of the smokestack-height issue is unclear to me at this time.

If you think the plant doesn’t spew nasty stuff, I’d suggest parking your car near the plant for a while and then running your hand over it. Or better yet, visit people who live in the area and look at their windows. It’s never been a mystery to long-time Alexandria residents why public housing, homeless shelters, and the like were traditionally clustered in this area.

If you’re looking for corporate information about Mirant, there’s the link to their site. For information from their opponents, StopMirant.com has one of the worst front pages I’ve ever seen, but the informational links on it are useful. You might want to start with the news articles or case files.

Wednesday I got up much too early and went downtown for the [tag]Washington DC Economic Partnership[/tag]’s event, [tag]Creative DC[/tag]: The District’s Summit on the Creative Economy. The event marked the launch of Mayor Fenty’s initiative to explore ways to strengthen the local creative economy. Saw old friends and made new ones, heard some interesting ideas, and nearly frozen half to death in the [tag]Lansburgh Theatre[/tag].

[tag]CEOs for Cities[/tag] President and CEO Carol Coletta gave the keynote, and the text of her speech is available for download here.

As engaging as the local voices were, I have to admit that what I really wanted to do was spend a lot more time listening to Jed Walentas of Two Trees Management talk about the revitilization of [tag]DUMBO[/tag] in New York and Stacey Mickelson and Heide Kurtze from [tag]Artspace[/tag] because I’m less familiar with the nuances of their work. At the same time, the voices of local organizations are vital, and I’m glad that individuals like Mary Brown of Life Pieces to Masterpieces were part of the main program and not shunted off to a hastily planned panel devoted to localism, as sometimes happens at events like this when the focus slips from ideas and becomes about names on a press release.

I hate driving past the construction at Arlington’s sewage treatment plant, I can’t imagine living near it. Just sitting at the light at Glebe and Eads is enough to drive you half out of your mind.

“Din From Sewage Work Raises Stink in S. Arlington.”

How bad is the problem?

Even the area’s rat population is apparently trying to flee the noise. Neighbors in surrounding areas are reporting an increase in the rodent population as rats move uphill from their disturbed habitats. County officials told residents they should try to battle the infestation by keeping their yards clean and free of rodent-sleeping spots.

This isn’t the first time I’ve posted about Arlington’s problematic sewage treatment plant. (Just to continue the recent parade of self-referential linking).