Archive for April, 2012

Money’s Drycleaning

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

Iqbal Mangalji, owner of Money’s Drycleaning, arrived in Canada in 1974 as a teenager when he and his family fled Uganda’s military dictatorship led by the notorious Idi Amin.   Mangalji’s uncle, who was also in the dry cleaning business, sponsored the family to come to Canada and trained Mangalji and his mother to work alongside him in the industry.

Mangalji has been in the dry cleaning business for thirty-two years.  In 1980 he bought his first dry cleaning business in Coquitlam which he owned and operated for ten years.  He spent the next two years upgrading his business skills and in 1992 he was approached by the Money family (of Money’s Mushroom fame) to purchase their established dry cleaning business on Dunbar Street. Money’s had operated at the Dunbar location for approximately fifteen years before Mangalji purchased it.

Mangalji exudes enthusiasm for his business, and is dedicated to offering his clients top notch customer service. He enjoys working with and motivating his long term staff to ensure that they are informed of the different treatments required as seasonal clothing is brought in for cleaning.  Money’s also dry cleans wedding gowns.  Some customers choose to have their gowns cleaned and then take them to consignment stores, while others prefer storing them in acid free boxes as keepsakes.

In the past twenty years Mangalji has upgraded his equipment twice.  His first upgrade was done five years after purchasing the business, and again five years ago.  Mangalji is as concerned about the environment as his customers are, and has invested in the latest technology and equipment to comply with environmental regulations which have tightened substantially since he entered the industry.  His high tech machines meet the standards, and are user friendly for his staff.

Mangalji illustrated the steps a garment undergoes from the time it is dropped off and picked up. It had not dawned on me how much personal care and attention a garment receives from spot removal (which is a science unto itself), to the dry cleaning process, the pressing, and the final stage, being placed in an environmentally friendly bag which decomposes quickly in the land fill.

His three staff members include two highly experienced pressers, and an in house seamstress, Ellen, whose high profile work area in the front window brilliantly showcases her services; customers walk by and realize Money’s offers alteration and repair services. Some dry cleaners ship out alterations, and Mangalji discovered that his business increased substantially when he brought in a seamstress. Dunbar clients may remember Ellen from her previous business at Dunbar and 41st which she sold in 2001. Subsequently, she worked in the Cambie area and then returned to Dunbar to work with Mangalji. She speaks both Mandarin and Japanese, which is a definite asset to the business.

Why did Mangalji choose to purchase a business in Dunbar when he lives in Richmond? He appreciates the close knit community and also finds it a very convenient commute. He has a very loyal clientele, with many professionals living in the area. On the weekdays it is often nannies who drop off the cleaning. He has noticed in the last five years that younger families have been moving into the area as people have been retiring and selling their properties. Approximately ninety percent of Money’s clients are repeat customers. Some clients have been with Mangalji since he purchased the shop. Over the years he has seen babies grow up to become adults with their own dry cleaning needs.

Outside of his business, he has a ten-year-old son, and his wife is a computer programmer and helps with computer issues at Money’s when the need arises. Mangalji has no other businesses; this one keeps him busy enough. He claims that he used to be a workaholic but has managed to find the fine balance that so many of us seek, and now takes weekends off and finds time for annual holidays.

He enjoys watching sports; hockey and football are his favourites, although he does not play them. For exercise he enjoys walking down to W 41st and back. Mangalji likes to support the Dunbar community and sponsors Dunbar League baseball. He is an active volunteer at the mosque he attends in Richmond.

The dedication and professionalism that Mangalji conveys for his business is so strong that I am going to pull out my wedding gown and see if he can clean it for posterity!

4389 Dunbar Street
604-224-5112

by Sarah Gordon

photos copyright to Sandra Steier

The Wild

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

In the backyards, alleys and parks of the Dunbar neighbourhood, a battle rages. This struggle, basic, elemental and old as time, is that of man versus animal, or equally often, woman versus animal. Never mind that Dunbar is a comfortable, populated, modern neighbourhood: its residents must face The Wild as did their forefathers of old.

Being that Dunbar nestles right up against Pacific Spirit Park, 1 936 acres of beautifully natural forest habitat, the wild live right next door and often come to visit. And that’s when things get interesting.

Skunks for instance, have provided many a Dunbar resident with exhilarating tales to be shared around the family fire or office workstation. Events involving the sauntering appearance of that distinctly raised white-striped tail and the moments thereafter are recounted with slow-motion clarity, replete with the classic “Noooo!” of a dog-owner being pulled toward certain olfactory attack or details of an evening stroll suddenly gone terribly wrong. Dunbar residents know all too well that the smell wafting through the neighbourhood clearly identified as “skunk” bears no resemblance whatsoever to the nauseating, noxious chemical sensation of that same smell up close in the moment of the spray. Simply the sight of a skunk appearing in view strikes fear into the hearts of the wise: but what to do? Freeze? Run? Play dead? How is one to know? Our eldest daughter chose loud clapping and yelling as her deterrent of choice when she met up with a skunk, though no one has ever recommended this method nor does she. The truly perfect housewarming gift for any new Dunbar resident with a dog would be a chic cellophane-wrapped and raffia-tied package containing the frequently-googled ingredients for skunk smell neutralizing solution: hydrogen peroxide, dishsoap and baking soda. Skunks, like all good strategists, know better than most that an outrageous defense makes a very good offense. Take heed and give them a wide berth.

Now raccoons have a way of claiming your territory as their own and, despite their cute bandit-like appearance, they sport quite an attitude. Our backyard has hosted multi-generational raccoon conventions for years as they gather to perform their ablutions in our pool and generally socialize. Early on my husband thought he could alter raccoon behaviour by “scaring them away”. As he stomped around the backyard late at night in underwear and boots, hollering and swinging a broom, the raccoons, domesticated as they are, just stopped in amazement, gazing at him skeptically. A few even pulled out their cell phones and took pictures. Completely ignoring this crazed intruder, the raccoons resumed their juggling competition using the special raccoon-deterrent pods we had just purchased at the Home Show. Thankfully the garbage bins put in place by the City have stymied the raccoons’ adept skills at getting to garbage, helping eliminate that activity of choice. Of course purposefully feeding raccoons or any other wild animals, is against the law in Vancouver for good reason, with the word “wild” being key to the law’s reasoning.

A few years ago raccoons in Dunbar formed a duo of domestic destruction teaming up with an unlikely creature: the chafer beetle. Much to the dismay of lawn-lovers, raccoons, skunks and crows are ripping up lawn through swaths of neighbourhoods, eager to retrieve chafer beetle grubs found infested under the grass. Residents trying to preserve their lawns have become obsessed with squelching the presence of the chafer beetles and their grubs and/or eliminating the raccoons ability to get at them. This is Man vs. Beast at its most ingenious; the humans engaged in this battle are not going to quietly accept defeat at the hands of these four legged bandits and their crawling grub compatriots. And so it begins: financial planners researching the life-cycle of chafer beetles and timing the release of nematodes, microscopic worms, aimed at having the less bothersome nematodes consume the chaffer beetle grubs. Or office professionals spending days creating the ideal set up of high-tech motion sensor spray guns that assail unsuspecting spouses toting garbage more often than raccoons. Local businesses have sprouted up too, claiming to effect victory in the lawn wars battle. But one uncompromising home-spun method out there is the “take-no-prisoners” approach of completely covering the lawn with chicken or fencing mesh secured down by four old tires, a few big cinderblock bricks and half a dozen big spikes. The lawn may be covered with all that paraphernalia but the grass underneath is looking good. Take that, raccoon – chafer beetle team!

Owls are reportedly nocturnal creatures but there are times, usually in the spring, when they are wide awake in the day and quite keen on swooping down toward innocent citizens going about their business. If a family member literally sprints in the front door, as my teenage son did, then splays across the closed door like some cartoon character, gasping and wheezing for breath, chances are that he has just tried to outrun a madly swooping barred owl. Our son was bashed on the head during repeated attacks by a swooping owl while taking a forest path home from the bus, which certainly made the walk less tedious than usual. Recommendations to prevent swooping owl attacks are to avoid having a ponytail bobbing as you jog along, to travel in loud groups while forest walking in the spring, and to wear a helmet everywhere outdoors during owlet season.

Squirrels appear very innocuous creatures, scampering about in their perpetually cheerful manner. One might not realize though that an entire injury rehabilitation facility could be opened catering exclusively to the Squirrel Related Injuries of Dunbar residents. This vast array of knee strains, shoulder rotator cuff tears, wrist dislocations and the like are not caused by squirrels attacks but rather can be attributed to events that occur when dogs on leash spot and chase squirrels without a second’s warning. This too is one of those symbiotic relationships between animals that affect humans: squirrels look cute and scamper up trees and all dogs become Doug, the dog character in the hit animated movie “Up” whose train of thought could be instantly derailed by one thought: “squirrel!”

Coyotes bring about a different, wary response in us though because of the threat they can pose to pets, small children and very occasionally the general population. The adaptable coyote appears often throughout Dunbar, near forest areas and sometimes unfortunately right in our neighbourhoods. Dunbar residents know to keep our garbage inaccessible, not to keep pet food outdoors and never to feed these wild animals. Keeping dogs under control and in sight near bushy areas can be easier than one might imagine: my dog, keen predator that he is, failed to notice a coyote walk right by, but then he was busy tracking a squirrel. With the goal of keeping coyotes as intimidated by humans as possible, coming across one presents us all with an opportunity to be “Big, Mean and Loud”, a combination we are rarely encouraged to be. Still, one feels somehow graced by the sight of a coyote appearing out of the bush or standing at a street corner, though we know this is not the place for him to be. We are captivated by the presence of this wild animal adapted to the environment he finds himself in, so clever and, well, wily. We wish him well but preferably deep in the forest foraging naturally.

So after surviving a nasty skunk spray, or battling an extended duel versus the chafer beetle-raccoon tag team, or finding bats in your belfry, keep in mind that when all is said and done we are indeed blessed to live in an area of a major city still so close to nature, so treed and quiet and natural, that animals can call it home too. But here’s hoping The Wild don’t make their Home Sweet Home in yours.

by Sue Dvorak

BMO Marathon – Road Closure Advisory

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Sunday, May 6th – Road closures to cause delays for ALL traffic – including transit and emergency vehicles.

The BMO Marathon will cause traffic delays throughout much of Vancouver including; access to Vancouver International Airport, downtown core, West End, Coal Harbour, Chinatown, Yaletown, Riley Park, South Cambie, Kerrisdale, Dunbar, UBC, Kitsilano, Pt Grey, False Creek, Burrard and Cambie Bridges on Sunday May 6th. Full road closures and traffic disruptions can be expected from 6:30am until 4pm. A detailed list of closure points and times is outlined on the attached Schedule of Events and Closures.

For further information contact the City of Vancouver Special Events Office at 604-257-8850 or see the BMO Marathon web-site at www.bmovanmarathon.ca

SCHEDULE OF SIGNIFICANT EVENTS FOR VM 2012

**ACCESS TO / FROM VANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT **
**VIA MAIN STREET AND MARINE DRIVE FROM 07:30 UNTIL 09:00 **

*CAMBIE BRIDGE NORTHBOUND CLOSED 07:00 TO 08:00*

(5/5) 8:00 to (5/6) 18:00 – Thurlow from Pender to Cordova closed – Finish Area
00:01 to 18:00 – Hastings St. from Burrard to Thurlow closed – Finish Chute
00:01 to 12:00 – Midlothian Ave from 29th to Ontario closed – Start Area/ Chute
07:00 – ½ Marathon Start
08:00 – Full Marathon starts
11:00 – ½ Marathon Rolling Course Closure
13:00 – Midlothian Ave re-opened
16:00 – Marathon Rolling Course Closure
16:00 – Finish Line closed
18:00 – Thurlow re-opened to vehicular traffic

ROAD CLOSURES
DOWNTOWN / WESTEND

May 5th 08:00 to 18:00 May 6th Thurlow from Pender to Cordova closed – all-traffic
Midnight-17:00 Hastings St. from Burrard to Thurlow closed – all lanes local traffic only until 7:00am Sunday
06:00-16:00 Pender from Burrard to Georgia St – westbound lanes closed
07:30-16:00 Denman from Georgia to Seawall – closed – local access via Bayshore Drive
07:00-10:30 Stanley Park Roads – Closed (causeway open)
07:00-10:30 Beach from Stanley Park to Denman – closed
07:00-14:00 Beach from Denman to Burrard – eastbound lanes closed
09:00-14:00 Pacific St from Jervis to Burrard – eastbound lanes closed
07:00-9:30 Beach from Jervis to Granville – eastbound lanes closed
07:00–9:30 Granville from Beach to Pacific – closed – local access via westbound Beach to Howe
06:45-9:00 Pacific St from Burrard to Seymour – eastbound lanes closed
06:45-9:00 Pacific Blvd from Seymour to Nelson – westbound lanes closed
06:45-9:00 Homer from Pender to Robson – all lanes closed
06:45-9:00 Robson from Homer to Hamilton – all lanes closed
09:00-14:00 Burrard Street Bridge – Pacific to Cornwall – (one southbound travel lane open)
06:00-8:30 Cambie Bridge (northbound) – from W2nd to Pacific–westbound lanes closed
06:00-8:30 Cambie Bridge exit ramp to Pacific Boulevard
06:45-9:00 Pacific Blvd from Nelson to Quebec – all lanes closed

YALETOWN

06:45-9:00 Hamilton from Robson to Smithe – all lanes closed
06:45-9:00 Mainland from Smithe to Davie – all lanes
06:45-9:00 Helmcken from Mainland to Homer – all lanes closed
06:45-9:00 Davie St from Homer to Pacific – all lanes closed

CHINATOWN

06:45-09:00 Quebec/ Columbia from National to Pender – southbound lanes closed
06:45-9:00 Pender from Columbia to Homer – eastbound lanes closed
06:45-9:00 Union from Quebec to Expo – closed

RILEY PARK

00:01-13:00 Midlothian Ave from 29th to Ontario closed – Start Area/Chute
00:01-13:00 33rd & Main St Local Access to Hillcrest Community Center
05:00-9:00 West of Main St from 33rd to 25th (King Edward) – Local Neighborhood Access Only
05:00-9:00 South of King Edward from Cambie to Main St – Local Neighborhood Access Only
05:00-9:00 North of 41st From Cambie to Main St – Local Neighborhood Access Only

KITSILANO / POINT GREY
09:00-14:00 Cornwall Street from Chestnut to Cypress – (one westbound lane closed)
08:45-13:45 Cornwall from Arbutus to MacDonald – westbound lanes closed (partial full closure)
08:45-13:30 Arbutus from 4th to Ogden (via McNicoll & Maple), Ogden from Maple to Chestnut,
08:30-13:00 Chestnut to Cornwal – lanes closed
08:30-12:45 Point Grey Road from MacDonald to Highbury – closed
08:30-12:45 Highbury St from Point Grey to 4th – closed
08:30-12:45 W4th Avenue from Alma Street to Marine Drive – 2 north lanes (parking & 1 westbound Eastbound lanes & 1 westbound open)
08:30-12:45 Discovery from NW Marine Dr to Jericho Sailing Center – closed
08:30-12:45 Belmont Ave from NW Marine Dr to Discovery – closed
08:15-12:45 NW Marine Dr from Chancellor to 4th Ave

Free Health Workshops

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

FREE Health Workshops at the Dunbar Community Centre.

Allergies Tuesday April 24, 2012 7-8pm (45560.201DN)
As spring approaches so does the allergy season.  Do you feel like your allergies are out of control?  This seminar intended to increase your understanding about allergic rhinitis, it’s causes, symptoms, complications and tips for prevention.  We will finish off with a discussion of the natural and traditional treatment options.

Stress Management Tuesday May 22, 2012 7-8pm (45560.202DN)
Are you feeling stressed?  Not sure how to manage?  This seminar is designed to increase your knowledge about stress and its causes.  We will explore stress management including the effects of chronic stress, techniques to reduce stress levels and treatment strategies.

Understanding Diabetes  Tuesday June 26, 2012 7-8pm (45560.203DN)
Worried about your blood sugar?  Confused about how to manage your diabetes?  This talk will help you to better understand what diabetes is and how it can be effectively treated to reduce long-term complications.  We will discuss lifestyle modifications, drug therapy, blood sugar monitoring and more.

You can register online(www.dunbarcentre.org), by phone (604-222-6060) or in person through the community centre.