Canal District à la Rose

First of all, can we file this quote in Rose’s latest post under “Pot, Meet Kettle”:

I love Lorraine, but she can have a big mouth

Now…onto the real business.

I went to the DOT hearing on the proposed streetscape improvements to the Canal District last month.  I liveblogged it and summarized it.  (Also, at last night’s City Council meeting, Phil Palmieri mentioned that he and other councilors had had a meeting that day with those in charge of the project, so we can assume that the Councilors are somewhat in the loop, despite the hearing occurring on a Council night.)

Perhaps there’s a secret cabal that meets at Allen Fletcher’s house to hold seances to summon the spirits of Heidi’s Hippie Hideaway.  Perhaps he is a completely unreasonable person who pushes non-yuppies around every chance he can get in the hopes of having a waterway for his canoe.  Perhaps he wants to turn Green Island into his Own Private Montvale.  I can’t comment on those accusations.

I will say, though, that if Fletcher were in charge, the original design would have included lights on a more human (less highway) scale.  He mentioned this at the hearing.  If he’d met with them beforehand, and he were running the show, why wouldn’t that have been included so that he could compliment them on their foresight?

Despite conflicting with the Council meeting, the hearing was well-announced, well-attended, and open to the public.  I didn’t see Rosalie Tirella there, nor did either of the two neighborhood activists she mentioned get up to speak.  If you care so much about what happens in this neighborhood and if you call yourself a journalist, why exactly didn’t you show your face at the hearing, Rose?

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Cheap Worcester Wednesdays

Those who know me know that I self-identify as a Cheap Yankee.  (One of my friends and I used to daydream about having our own radio show called “Cheap Yank”, where people could bond over our collective cheapness.  I was at his house this weekend and he offered me some tea.  “I got it at Price Rite.  It tastes like dirt, but I kind of like it.”  I think that pretty much sums up our attitude.)

Here’s how cheap I am: I bought nine kids’ books at the Salvation Army on Saturday and told my husband, “Only one of them was on sale, but I decided to splurge!”  And he gives me that “the regular price is 59 cents; you are approaching the cheap point of no return” look.  (But — let’s be real — I haven’t reached the point of no return because I actually bought the books.  Right?)

Charlene Arsenault had done a wonderful series in Worcester Magazine called “Chuckie’s Cheap Worcester” (see here and here) which brings tears to my eyes because Duffy’s (the epicenter of all that was cheap and wonderful) has closed.  (Even my elder son says things like, “It’s too bad Duffy’s closed,” and it’s been closed for over a year.  And he’s five!  So thriftiness must be genetic.  Also, we took his picture with the ladies who worked at Duffy’s right before it closed, so I like to think he has a special bond to the place.)

Since the “Chuckie’s Cheap Worcester” series is now a touch dated, I thought I’d do a regular, alliterative feature called “Cheap Worcester Wednesday.”  (I also welcome tips via email or comment, but I understand those who refuse to tell me about their favorite spot.  Sometimes when you’ve got a good source of goodies, you don’t want to share!)

So — for my first post in this series — I wanted to talk a little about gas prices.  (Well, actually, I didn’t, but my husband recommended it and he’s the kind of person who will drive an extra mile because he knows the gas is usually cheaper at this one station.  He’s also the kind of person who looks for excuses to make a trip to Fitchburg because there’s a stretch of Route 12 in Leominster, heading towards Fitchburg, where the gas prices are routinely 10 cents cheaper than they are in Worcester.  Does driving twenty miles one way completely defeat the purpose of saving money on gas?  You be the judge.)

My husband likes the Worcester Gas Prices website, which relies on users to post updates about gas prices.  He also uses the Price Chopper gas program, because that’s the supermarket where we tend to shop.  We tend to wait until we’ve got a big discount, and then he’ll fill up his tank when it’s pretty low, and also bring a gas container (so that we can take advantage of the 20-gallon maximum on the discount).  He also got the Shaw’s gas discount, purely by accident.  He was running low on gas, went to fill up at an Irving station, and the tank told him to put in his Shaw’s card, and got 20 cents off per gallon.

Does anyone else have any other gas tips?