Saturday, June 9, 2007

Washington Writers Conference, June 9, 2007

The 28th Washington Writers Conference
By Jennifer Pullinger, Special to WIW

Another Washington Writers Conference has come and gone, and this year a palpable energy was in the air. On Saturday, June 9, writers of all varieties headed to The George Washington University Cafritz Conference Center to hear from authors, agents, and other writing professionals about the nuts and bolts of the business.

(For the rest of the story...) Source: Washington Independent Writers

C-Ville Weekly, ABODE, "Green Scene," June 2007

Leaves of green
Put houseplants to work on indoor air quality

If you‘re like me and check The Green Guide as often as you text your best friend, then you may already have read the green living site’s article on how plants can improve indoor air quality. We were surprised to learn how the leafy ones act as your personal ecosystem’s filter.

The full story can be found in Dr. B.C. Wolverton‘s handy book How to Grow Fresh Air. Here’s the crib notes version: plants can’t reduce indoor air pollution entirely, but they can clean up the minor contaminants that float about—including those from everyday products like paint, grocery bags, computer screens, and gas stoves. Harmful chemicals are also emitted from household materials like carpet, upholstery, and ceiling tiles. Even our breath releases air pollutants.

Some recommended cleansing plants include the Boston fern, the moth orchid, the peace lily, English ivy and the snake plant. If you have a standard-size home, distribute about 15 houseplants throughout to reduce air toxins.

As long as we’re talking plants and health: Some houseplants can be poisonous if kids or pets ingest them. Ask at the nursery which ones are nontoxic, or call the Blue Ridge Poison Center at 800-222-1222.—Jennifer Pullinger

Source: July 2007, C-Ville Weekly, ABODE Supplement, “Green Scene”

C-Ville Weekly, ABODE, June 2007

Move it!
How to survive the prime season for moving

Have you heard of the fashionable new workout, the one where you drop unwanted pounds by lifting heavy cardboard boxes in the sweltering heat from one location to another? That would be “moving day.” The summer months—May through September—are typically the time when most people move.

Paul Breaud, vice president of Student Services Moving in Charlottesville, knows how hectic this time of year is. “I’ve been on the phone since 6:30 this morning doing nothing but scheduling last minute student moves,” Breaud said recently. “I go form running three trucks a day during the school year to running as many as ten trucks a day during the summer.”

The laws of supply and demand suggest that prices should go up when fewer trucks are available. But Breaud says his company doesn’t have a seasonal rate. Year round, you can get four guys for less than $135 per hour.

U-Haul doesn’t have seasonal rates either. Rather, they factor in several variables to calculate the cost of a move, including equipment size, point of origin, destination, and the date of your move, says Joanne Fried, spokesperson for U-Haul International.

No matter who you choose to move your boxes of tchotchkes, if you need a truck on a specific date, call at least a month in advance. And the consensus is, if you are moving in the hot weather, drink lots of Gatorade.

“Make sure everything is packed and ready to go. Make sure you have plenty of liquids for the guys. It’s a hot time of year,” Breaud says.—J.P.

Source: June 2007, C-Ville Weekly, ABODE Supplement

C-Ville Weekly, ABODE, June 2007

Last stop

Losing homeowners’ insurance is downright scary. The Glen Allen-based Virginia Property Insurance Association provides basic property insurance for people who can‘t secure coverage through the voluntary market, says Leland Nye, general manager. Rates may be lower in some areas and higher in others, but “we are right in the same ballpark” as regular coverage, Nye says. Coverage may be more limited, though; Nye says, “When they can resolve their insurance issues, we encourage them to go back into the standard market where they have a lot more choices and are better off.” Call the VPIA at 800-899-7973.—Jennifer Pullinger

Source: July 2007, C-Ville Weekly, ABODE Supplement, "Green Scene"

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Brick Weekly, June 7, 2007 Issue

Food Awakening
by Jennifer Pullinger

Walk into any garden-variety grocery store today and you’ll likely find a specialty aisle or two loaded with shelf-fuls of organic meat, milk, and fruits and vegetables. Even though your local Kroger and Ukrop’s are jumping on the farm fresh food bandwagon by offering organically-grown food, the neighborhood farmers market is still where you can get the freshest produce around.

Sales of organically grown food are up substantially nationwide. In early May, the Organic Trade Association released statistics that show sales of organic foods grew by 22.1 percent and represented approximately three percent of all U.S. retail food and beverage sales in 2006. The origins of that upward trend can be found at farmers markets across the country.

In Richmond, the newest farmers market to crop up is the Byrd House Market, located at the William Byrd Community House on the corner of South Linden Street and Idlewood Avenue in Oregon Hill. Operating every Tuesday from 3:30pm to 7pm through October, Byrd House Market offers a bevy of locally grown food and handmade arts and crafts. Manager Stacey Moulds says the main goal is to support local farmers, crafters, and artisans by giving them a place to sell. Plus, it gives local residents a place to buy fresh food since the neighborhood is without a conveniently accessible grocery store.

(For the rest of the story..) Source: Brick Weekly