Charlottesville Breaking News
Before seeing Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, I had already reached my capacity for Pirates of the Caribbean movies, and with this fourth installment, my cup runneth over. Indeed, so doth Capt. Jack Sparrow's, as he obtains two chalices to use while drinking from the Fountain of Youth, and seeks a mermaid's tears to invest them with magic. There's always a catch-22. You fight Spanish conquistadors and the British Navy to find the bloody fountain, and now you need a weepy mermaid.
I had fleeting hopes for this episode of the Disney franchise. An opening sequence is fun, as Capt. Jack impersonates a British judge, is chased through London, and discovers his old amour Angelica (Penelope Cruz) attempting to impersonate him while raising the crew for a ship. That anyone would still want to sail under Jack's command is a tribute to the daring of British seamen. The movie is fun until they set sail. Full review.
With the city on the verge of passing a new law that will require bike riders ages 14 and under to wear helmets, most bike safety enthusiasts are applauding, citing research that shows helmets can reduce the incidence of head injuries by 85 percent. One longtime bike rider, however, says the proposed law is misguided, based on outdated research, and could actually lead to a greater number of the most serious injuries.
"It is ludicrous to mandate helmet usage," says J. Tyler Ballance, a Henrico County resident who frequently visits Charlottesville to bike ride. "If safety were the real concern, then the Council might be mandating pedestrian helmets, or banning cars."
While it might seem blasphemous to oppose one of the most widely accepted safety devices and one that purportedly saves the lives of children, Ballance says the supporting research is outdated, and he cites new research to back his position.
A Safety Officer in the Navy for more than two decades, Ballance is a member of the American Society of Safety Engineers. He's also an avid bicycle racer and a father who says the statistics for helmets and safety are hardly as clear as some would like to believe, especially when it comes to child riders.
"Some research has demonstrated the potential for the helmet to 'dig-in' on impact," Ballance told City Council in an email before its most recent meeting. That "dig-in," Ballance told Councilors, actually increases the risk of paralysis....