Rob Gronkowski is the personification of the guy you hope you never meet down a dark alley. The New England Patriots tough guy took a bad helmet-to-helmet hit in the first half of Sunday’s playoff game and did not return.
That was far from his only injury. The game in Foxboro, Mass., was played on crumb-rubber artificial turf. You can tell by the black dust kicked up when players catch a cleat in the ground-up used tires. It’s toxic stuff in use worldwide. (Those retros in Philadelphia played their game on that new-fangled invention called grass.)
Parents who worry about head injuries should likewise protect their kids from the field turf at McQueen, Damonte Ranch, Manogue, Carson and Douglas high schools which are besotted with cancer-causing benzene and brain-damaging lead-laced artificial carpet.
I’ve been ranting about toxic turf dangers for more than two years and I’m far from alone — save among Nevada media. Not to worry. They just need time to delude themselves into thinking they got the story first.
Previous columns exposed Sparks’ Golden Eagle Regional Park, the Jan Evans Juvenile Detention Center and UNR’s Mackay Stadium, Wolf Pack and Peccole parks. Sparks City Hall has rejected bids to replace part of the Golden Eagle pseudo-green.
Don’t let your kids play in those places and don’t just take my word for it. Check out my column archive or web search at will. Speaking of dangerous sports…
WONDER WOMEN. Local ski champion Julia Mancuso retired last week after 18 years and four Olympic medals. She wore a Wonder Woman costume for her final run in Italy.
I met another Wonder Woman 40 years ago who also made the news last week. Kitty O’Neil has held the female land speed record since 1976. (Why that distinction remains necessary, I don’t know.) Her record will be challenged this summer by teams competing on the Diamond Valley flats in Eureka County. (Burners have booked the Black Rock Desert in northern Washoe.)
Kitty’s photo appeared in the Reno Gazette-Journal in 1979 after she “established a new high-fall record when she plunged 127 feet from atop the Valley Hilton in Sherman Oaks,” the Los Angeles Times reported. She did it in full Wonder Woman drag, standing in for TV series star Linda Carter.
The most famous such stunt, no longer a record, was performed by the late Dar Robinson who jumped off a hotel guns a’blazin for the 1981 Burt Reynolds movie “Sharky’s Machine.”
At the Beverly Hills Hotel in 1978, I discussed land speed records with Kitty, Formula One driver Jean Pierre-Jarier, and CanAm driver and future Nevada State Sen. Randolph Townsend, D&R-Reno. Kitty said she was gearing up for another run but wanted to use rubber tires for “more traction.”
Jarier was aghast. “You need a steel tire at those speeds. There is racing and there is suicide!”
And there was Kitty, fearless as always. And by the way, born totally deaf. And still alive today at 71.
U-NEWS. Culinary Union Local 226 beat back a decertification attempt by the Reno Grand Sierra and remains in negotiation. The only other union hotel in northern Nevada is Circus Circus, which hosted last October’s Reno-Sparks NAACP Freedom Fund Awards and has two coming up.
Local unions will roast Sparks labor leader Todd Koch into retirement at ToddBQ ‘18 on February 24. I’m editing the commemorative program and need choice insults about the man I first met many years ago when he was young, handsome and promising. Alas, Todd, today stands 0-for-3. Send entries to the e-mail below.
César Chávez XVI happens on the great man’s 91st birthday on March 31. Ticket/table info for both events may be accessed via the Barbwire expanded web edition at Barbwire.US/
GOOD NEWS. Reno-Sparks NAACP matriarch Dolores Feemster is recovering and moving from Renown Med to a rehabilitation facility.
Be well. Raise hell. Esté bien. Haga infierno.
Andrew Barbano is a 49-year Nevadan, editor of NevadaLabor.com and SenJoeNeal.org/ He serves as first vice-president of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his comments are strictly his own. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Sparks Tribune since 1988. E-mail <email@example.com>