Cost of Cool

Just after midnight on Wednesday, May 11, Santa Rosa resident Shelby Buck was driving his 2004 Harley-Davidson near the intersection of Fourth Street and Alderbrook Lane when he lost control of the vehicle. According to the Santa Rosa Police Department, Buck was wearing one of those plastic half-shell helmets favored by those who ride so-called cruiser motorcycles. Such helmets often do not meet even the minimum requirements set by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). When Buck lost control of the motorcycle, his head struck a guardrail. Paramedics pronounced the motorcyclist dead at the scene due to massive head injuries. Motorcyclists who choose such flimsy headgear over safer, DOT-approved full-face helmets may be interested to learn that according to studies, the majority of helmet strikes in accidents are to the face and chin area, which aren’t protected at all by half-shell helmets. Looking cool definitely has its price.

Bicycle Bonanza

May is National Bike Month, and Sonoma County bicycling has garnered some special recognition just in time for the occasion. First up, the San Francisco Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) named Petaluma the Most Improved Bicycle Community, in large part thanks to the city’s volunteer Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, which since 1993 has been ensuring that the interests of Petaluma’s bicyclists and pedestrians are being met by local planning and development. The MTC also singled out Agilent Technology’s Santa Rosa site for Outstanding Workplace That Fosters Bicycle Transportation. Agilent provides its bicycling employees bike racks, lockers and, perhaps most crucially for co-workers on hot summer days, showers. In addition, the Sonoma County Bike Coalition was presented an honorable mention from the American Lung Associations of the Bay Area Clean Air Awards for its extensive public outreach effort promoting bicycling as recreation and transportation. Bike to Work day this year is May 19.

OOO-OOO That Smell

Two highly specialized Santa Rosa environmental cleanup firms are hard at work attempting to rid Marilyn Barletta’s infamous Petaluma “cat-house” of the odors associated with the 200 felines that once freely roamed the residence. It seems cat urine has completely impregnated the house’s wooden frame. “Permanent wood members need to be treated properly,” says Paul Deluca, who owns the two firms, Restoration Certified Specialists and Clean Crawl Space. The house has been on the market since May 2004 for an asking price of $679,000, but so far no one’s been able to get past the smell.

From the May 18-24, 2005 issue of the North Bay Bohemian.

© Metro Publishing Inc.

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