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New Do For The Moo: Milk Carton Makeover

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Richmond’s Costco stores are the test market for a new generation of milk jugs that could soon replace all that are on the market now and will save the industry ten cents per carton because they’re stackable. I just found this interesting when I looked in the refrigerator and saw the new, oddly-shaped gallon jug. I’ve got to say though, I really like them. Here’s a Richmond Times Dispatch article about the new jugs:

The iconic 1-gallon milk jug is getting a makeover. The streamlined plastic bottles showed up this month at Costco stores in the Richmond area, and they’re causing customers to do a double take in the dairy aisle. At home, people are having to relearn a skill they took for granted — how to pour milk without sloshing or dribbling.

The redesigned jugs are flat on top and have a wide cap at one corner. They pour more like a pitcher than a traditional gallon jug. Because they can be stacked, they save money — about 10 cents a gallon. Early reviews are mixed, which is what Costco experienced in other areas as customers got used to the new bottle. “I like the milk fine,” said A.T. Grady as he picked up one of the new containers at the Costco off Hull Street Road in Chesterfield County, “but I don’t like the jug it’s in. It’s harder to pour out. It’ll drip back down the jug if you’re not careful.”

His wife, Helen, was more willing to give it a chance. “It’s time for a change,” she said. “These milk jugs have been around since the ’60s. I wonder how long it’ll be before they get to the supermarket?” Mary Dennis was glad to hear about the lower cost. “It’s something to get used to,” she said. “If it saves a dime, I’m all for saving.”

Costco has been phasing in the new design since an Ohio dairy presented the idea in 2004, said Sandra Custer, corporate foods buyer at the national Costco office near Seattle. “We saw merit in it. We’ve been slowly rolling it out around the country ever since.” Traditional milk jugs must be loaded onto a metal rolling rack called a bossie cart for shipping. One bossie cart can hold 80 gallon jugs.

The new stackable design can be shipped on a pallet that holds 224 milk bottles. “That’s almost three times as much in a similar display space,” Custer said. “Those bossie carts are often stolen for scrap metal. . . . They have to be hauled back to the dairy. They rust in a cold, wet environment. Now it’s only a one-way haul.” The savings get passed along. In East Coast markets where the new jug has been introduced, customers may have “a little bit of comment at the beginning,” said Jim Stafford, vice president of merchandising for the Northeast market. However, milk sales have remained steady. Designers have been making modifications to the jug based on customer feedback, Stafford said. “We will do another cap at some point in the future. That’s probably a few months out.” From Custer’s viewpoint, there’s something good to be said about the reaction. “It’s certainly got people talking about milk.”

Exciting Things

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Well, today’s a day of meetings of all sorts. I’ve been to two, got one more this afternoon. Some good things resulted from these meetings, and things are finally getting back on track it seems. First off, I just got a great job offer today that I’m taking with a local computer company, where I’ll be able to repair Macs (I’m even going to become an Apple Certified Repair Technician just like the people that work at the Genius Bar at the Apple Store) and might even get to set my own hours. I tentatively start the second week of March. I’ll say more about what company it is and everything once all the details are hammered out.

In other news, Virginia Credit Union asked me to be in a TV commercial with a few other members to talk about our experiences with them. They’re filming it near VCU next to the new business building the first week of March. It should be fun; I’m looking forward to it.

I’m meeting later this afternoon with members of the Richmond Outreach Center (ROC) at Deep Run to film a segment about the work they do to for people who would otherwise not come to Christ. They’re the last of ten organizations to be filmed that are benefiting from funds raised at the 2008 Deep Run Marathon Dance. I’m producing a DVD of the event again this year, and I’m looking forward to the event. It’s a great experience.

Things are looking up!

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

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This Roanoke, Virginia mother-to-be is concerned about the effects jackhammers used in road construction outside her house might have on her unborn child. Hmm, I don’t think they’re gonna do anything compared to what’s in your mouth! Wow, people amaze me.

Free Swag From Mix 103-7

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So I got an email that I won a prize pack of free stuff from Mix 103-7 for, well, I don’t even remember. I think I took a survey a while back to rate the music they play online. Anyway, I drove all the way down to Midlothian to get my stuff, and here’s what was inside the bag (with their logo printed on it): A t-shirt, coffee mug, plastic cup, magnetic clip, and fridge magnet. I mean I can’t complain because it’s free stuff, but I drove to southside for a bag of promotional goodies so that I can sport items with their logo on them and help Cox Radio garner more listeners? Appears that way. Oh well, it was free!

VCU’s Alert System Still Needs Work

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VCU tested their Emergency Alert System today at noon, sounding sirens, displaying messages on flat screen TVs in buildings, sending out text messages and emails, and updating their VCU Alert website. The previous test that was conducted last Fall was largely unsuccessful because the single siren on the Monroe Park Campus couldn’t be heard. Five were added on the campus, bringing the total to six on the Monroe Park Campus and ten total between that one and the MCV Campus.

Last time, I was in class at the Grace Street Theater, somewhat removed from campus. The sirens were still audible, though, even if it was somewhat faint. However, today when the sirens went off, I was in class at Hibbs, right next to one of the main sirens that’s mounted on the roof of the Cabell Library. I could barely hear it! In addition, I didn’t receive the text alert (nor did anyone around me) until a full fifteen minutes after the test! In my personal opinion, the test was yet another failure. In some classrooms such as mine, students would be unaware of an emergency, and text alerts coming in fifteen minutes late is ridiculous. The harm could already be done by that time. I think it’s a good thing that VCU is putting systems like this into place, but they have a long way to go to make it effective and useful.

Here are some pictures of the news coverage on Shafer Street outside of Hibbs today:


Considering My College Options

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When I was up in Charlottesville this weekend, I started thinking more seriously about exploring my options for next Fall. While VCU is a great school for doing anything with the arts, I don’t know that I’m getting the full college experience I once envisioned. I love Charlottesville and hope to one day live around that area, so I’ll definitely be giving UVA a closer look. I realize it may be a lofty goal, and that some of the demographic could be comparable to a larger body of the Deep Run type population, if you get my drift, but I’m going to consider it.

I also plan on visiting JMU (I also loved the campus there). According to our family friend, Sue, who we visited in Charlottesville this weekend, there’s more of a diverse mix of students as opposed to UVA’s demographic. Finally, I’m going to take a look at Virginia Tech. As you can see, I really want to go to one of the “mountain” schools. But all of these schools are just a maybe. I may very well stay at VCU, but I just want to explore other opportunities. I’ll keep everyone posted.

You Know You Go To VCU When…

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Wow, I saw some weird things today at school. First off, there was a guy riding a unicycle down the sidewalk in what looked like a genuine attempt to get to class rather than a spectacle. Second, a group of ten guys were in the bathroom at the library standing in a line, backing up one step at a time to see how far back they could read the small print “Please wash your hands” sign. There were a couple other things, some of which I won’t even repeat on here, that I guess are just commonplace at VCU. The funniest thing about all of them, though, is that nobody even thinks anything of them at all. I’ve always found people watching to be interesting, but never so much as at VCU.

On a kind of sad note (for me), it looks like my best friend, Jen, is probably going to end up going to Liberty next year… if so it’s really gonna suck here without her. We’ll see what happens.

The Value Of Time

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Pastor Rick started a new message series entitled Time a few weeks ago, and I’ve got to say it’s probably the most impacting series he’s done to date (and he’s done a lot). The first week he talked about just how quickly life goes by. He made several analogies comparing your age with the time of day. I don’t remember exactly the ages and times he referenced, but if you take the waking hours (8:00 AM – 11:00 PM), if you’re 15 years old it’s about 10:30 AM. If you’re 30 it’s 12:00 noon. If you’re 50 it’s around 7:00 PM. Scary, huh? Time passes by more quickly than most of us realize. Today, Pastor Rick talked about how you should invest your time in things that have an eternal value and in things that will have a long-lasting impact.

All this got me thinking about just how funny time is. Sometimes I’ll do something and a few days later think that it feels like it’s been a week or two since I did it. Then, some event that comes around only once a year, take Christmas for example, and I feel like it just happened and the year flew by. It’s funny how different people perceive time in different ways.

One of the most interesting things Pastor Rick said is that people get along (or don’t) and associate with one another based on their time style. Some people prioritize their schedule. Others schedule their priorities. I’m definitely the first style (and sometimes I don’t have them in the right order at that) and I’m trying to become the second. It’s difficult, but I know I can do it if I keep at it.

To find out more about the Time series, visit www.highimpactliving.com.

2008 APVA Preservation Awards

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Better late than never. Here are the photos from the National Theater on Monday night where I accepted my award for Virginia’s 2008 Young Preservationist Of The Year. Governor Tim Kaine as well as other prominent Virginia leaders were in attendance. It was a very nice evening. I was both humbled and honored to be given this award and will continue to do preservation work. To see what I do, visit my history website at www.shortpumphistory.org. These are some pictures from the ceremony. The last one is a scan of my page in the event program.

Click each picture to view it larger:

My Article In Today’s Times-Dispatch

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There’s an article about me on the front of the Flair section (page E1) today. This is the online version.

State group honors teen for historic preservation

By BILL LOHMANN
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER

As a cold rain fell outside, Trevor Dickerson sat in the back pew of the old, unheated church and savored the warmth of success.

“I don’t particularly want to take credit for myself,” Dickerson said of his role in the relocation of the church, Springfield Baptist, that saved it from demolition. “I’m just happy it’s still around for others to see and enjoy and see what Short Pump used to be like back in the day.”

That Dickerson helped spearhead a movement to save the 19th-century church is not surprising. He’s been working in historic preservation for almost half of his life, which is astounding not so much for his years of service but because of when he started.

He was 11.

His efforts caught the attention of the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (also known as APVA Preservation Virginia) which today will present Dickerson, 19, with the organization’s first Young Preservationist of the Year Award as part of its annual statewide awards ceremony at the National Theater in Richmond.

“That’s how he got on our radar screen,” APVA Executive Director Elizabeth Kostelny said of Dickerson’s work with Springfield Baptist Church. “But the reason the award panel decided to recognize him in this way was really the body of work. That sounds sort of funny when you’re talking about a 19-year-old, but he developed this passion at such an early age.

“I think we see a growing number of young folks involved in preservation, but I think Trevor hit the high note.”

Dickerson, a freshman at Virginia Commonwealth University and a graduate of Deep Run High School, has been actively involved in historical preservation since his family moved to the Wyndham area of Henrico County. He was 11 when he noticed old homes disappearing along Nuckols Road to make way for new developments and thought he should do something about it.

He started making photographs and videos and interviewing longtime residents about their way of life that was going away. He built a Web site (www.henricohistory.com) for his growing collection of pictures and oral history. And he started showing up at county planning and Board of Supervisors meetings to speak on behalf of saving old structures from demolition, keep alive pieces of the county’s past and generally be an irritant to developers.

“It’s always been in my blood,” Dickerson said of his interest in preservation. His mother, Linda, is a vice president of the Henrico County Historical Society. His grandfather, Wallace Allen, was a history buff, and his grandmother, Jean Allen, used to take him to Short Pump Grocery every week as a young boy for a candy bar and soda. When West Broad Street was widened and the grocery was relocated to a site in Goochland County, Dickerson remembers thinking, “That’s pretty interesting.”

The grocery is on the grounds of Field Day of the Past, on Highway 623, between West Broad and Interstate 64, along with other relocated Short Pump buildings, including Springfield Baptist Church. The church was moved there in July from its original location that had become squeezed in by stores and shopping malls. Once a church deep in the country, its more recent neighbors were Best Buy and Kohl’s.

Asked if he ever took any ribbing from his peers for his grown-up hobby, Dickerson said: “I used to. I didn’t really let many people know about it back when I was in middle school. Those are the years when everybody makes fun of you. People think it’s really cool now.”

Dickerson hopes to major in either graphic design or film production with a minor in history. Whatever his major, he plans to use it for historic preservation. He also has ideas about making a documentary on the history of Short Pump, which, as Dickerson put it, “has changed from a real outpost to a real hot spot.”

“You’ve got to preserve the past and present for the future,” he said. “I’m just doing that any way I can.”
Contact Bill Lohmann at (804) 649-6639 or wlohmann@timesdispatch.com.

Find out more:

Visit Trevor Dickerson’s new Web site, www.shortpumphistory.org

Other 2008 APVA award winners

Outstanding Public Sector Preser vation Project Award: The Virginia Capitol Restoration and Extension
Outstanding Commercial Project Award: Commonwealth Architects for 1840 W. Broad St.
Outstanding Service in Community Preservation Award: Loudoun County for The Loudoun County Historic District Interactive Web site (www.loudoun.gov/historic) and Mary Jordan and the Spencer-Penn School Preservation Organization for The Spencer-Penn Centre, Spencer
Outstanding Domestic Project Award: Aaron Wunsch and Preservation Piedmont for the James D. Nimmo House, Charlottesville
Outstanding Adaptive Use Award: Warm Springs Investment Company for Old Dairy Community Center, Warm Springs
Outstanding Historic Preservation Research Award: Thomas Finderson, Carrollton