“All the world seems in tune on a spring afternoon when we’re poisoning pigeons in the park.” — Tom Lehrer 1959
I’ve warned you many times and I admonish you again: Don’t let your kids play on the plastic turf at Sparks’ Golden Eagle Park.
According to last week’s Tribune, the Sparks City Council spent $64,000 “to purchase SMG SportChamp artificial turf maintenance equipment” for the biggest expanse of crumb rubber turf in the country.
The NFL loves that hazard. It’s very photogenic for TV and it’s cheaper to maintain than that newfangled stuff called grass.
If you’ve ever watched replays of football players kicking up black dust on pretty green turf, you’ve seen ground-up used tires containing almost 100 chemicals, some cancer-causing like lead, arsenic, cadmium and benzene. I started beating the drum about this on Nov. 24, 2015. I’ve talked to local high school coaches who are embarrassed to admit they know of the danger but are powerless to fight the system.
Crumb rubber turf infects schools all over Nevada and the nation.
Locally: McQueen, Damonte Ranch, Manogue, Carson and Douglas high schools; the Jan Evans Juvenile Detention Center, UNR’s Mackay Stadium, Wolf Pack and Peccole parks. (Photo and archives at ConsumerCoalitionv.org/)
More than 12,000 crumb rubber fields were in use as of 2019 with 1,200 to 1,500 more expected each year. Only limited studies have been done and have shown no ill effects.
Everything seems to have stopped after 2019. Hmmm…did some big health scare suck all the air out of the research rooms starting in 2020?
Much of this is déjà vu all over again. A few years ago, Fallon cancer cluster research proved inconclusive despite an inordinate number of kids getting sick and dying. Cancer cluster designation proved a hard label to come by, especially since Churchill County air is besotted with pesticides, naval air base jet fuel and heavy metal manufacturing. Most fingers pointed toward the latter.
Colonia High School in Woodbridge Township, New Jersey, has been in the news after activists documented 105 brain tumors (half cancerous) among graduates starting in 1972. I predict that years of study will show “no clear causation” meriting cancer cluster designation. As with crumb rubber turf, affected industries will tout exoneration.
MORE KIDDIE HAZARDS. I saw a piece on KOLO TV-8 last week showing a moppet scaling the climbing wall at the 9th Street Boys & Girls Club.
She had no safety harness. Zounds. I made a couple of calls to those in charge. Stay tuned. MEDIA
MELTDOWNS. KRNV TV-4 has been covering 60 seconds of “Saturday Night Live” with a commercial for Charter/Spectrum cable. Last week, the spot preempted some of the opening skit. On the previous two weekends, the same ad covered part of the “Weekend Update” news satire. Computer glitch? Probably.
Corporations cut corners wherever they can, and that usually means people. A few years ago, the tornado emergency broadcast system in the Oklahoma outback failed because none of the radio stations in the area had anyone working. All were on computerized auto-pilot on a Saturday.
MEMORY MELTDOWNS. For folks here in Mississippi West who haven’t heard, this is Confederate Heritage Month in Mississippi proper.
MASKING MELTDOWNS. A Trumpappointed (of course) judge in (where else?) Florida just ruled that the Centers for Disease Control has no authority to mandate masks in public transportation. So why have a CDC anymore?
Meanwhile, COVID-19 infections are spiking all over the country and worldwide.
To its credit, the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County announced that masking will “continue” to be enforced on their mass transit systems.
For more than two years, their foreign contractor, Keolis Transit, has fought the federal mask mandate fang and claw. They have lost every round at the federal level to Teamsters Local 533. (See NevadaLabor. com/)
“RTC Washoe made the right choice by not following the decision of a judge in Florida,” said union president Gary Watson.
“The RTC and Teamsters have rarely seen eye to eye lately, but this move is a step in the right direction, and a step to continue to protect transit operators and passengers alike,” Watson added.
Masks save lives. Wearing one protects others from you but if they are exhaling freely, only an N95 version gives you any cover.
After allowing thousands of far east air passengers into the country in February 2020 while telling the public not to worry, Czar Donaldov made mask wearing a partisan brand. That same month, he was recorded by journalist Bob Woodward admitting that he knew how deadly the virus was but still refused to warn Americans. Almost a million now lie dead while the pope of Mara-Loco scores millions running the Republican Party as his profitable family business.
NEWS BLUES. Last month, I groused about the Reno GazetteJournal nuking its Saturday edition without giving subscribers a discount. They also killed Saturday delivery for other publications in the region such as The New York Times.
Worse, their distribution contractor re-jiggered the system so that the odds of customers on my street getting their papers on any given day are 50/50 at best. At least you can call the Times to credit your account.
The Kazoo-Journal sends you to voicemail hell.
The official excuse blames “the same labor shortage difficulties that are affecting so many businesses across the nation.” I wonder what they pay in minimum-wage Nevada? Their corporate overlords scored $7 million in pure profit by selling the RGJ building to the City of Reno. So how about taking some of it to better pay delivery drivers?
Maybe they read the Trib. Six-day subscribers got a letter last Monday announcing a price DECREASE. Starting on May 10, the price goes down to $73.00 a month, a whopping $5.27 saving from the published rate.
Somebody check for snowfall in hell.
HAIL TO THE CHIEF. Reno Police Chief Jason Soto announced his retirement effective at year’s end. My money’s on Deputy Chief Oliver Miller as his replacement. I’ve worked with him on community issues for years. He began his career with Sparks PD in 2000. He’s paid his dues and earned the top job. Stay tuned.
BIG MIKE’S ON THE MEND. Sparks transit operator Michael Lansborough is still home recovering from successful open heart surgery. He may be cleared to return to work late next month.
The longtime RTCRide driver is sole support of his wife and son, Logan, who has no lower legs due to a genetic flaw but still took to his wheelchair and joined dad on downtown Reno picket lines during last year’s Hat Trick Strikes.
Friends set up GoFundMe page.
Please be generous. If you’d prefer to mail a check, make it payable to Michael Lansborough and send to his attention at Teamsters Local 533, 1190 Selmi Drive, Suite 100, Reno NV 89512.
Thanks to all the Barbwire readers and union members who continue to send support. Tell your friends.
Take care of each other and be careful out there. Pray for Ukraine and 53 other currently war-torn lands.
Be well. Raise hell. / Esté bien. Haga infierno.
Andrew Quarantino Barbano is a 53-year Nevadan and editor of NevadaLabor.com, MississippiWestNV.org, CesarChavezNevada. com, ConsumerCoalitionv.org and SenJoeNeal.org/ Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988. E-mail