October 8, 2013

    Photo: Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Security Increases at Chicago Marathon

Cameras, police, dogs to line course

The 36th Bank of America Chicago Marathon is among the largest to be held since last April’s Boston Marathon, where three people were killed when bombs exploded near the finish line. As a result of those bombings, Chicago runners will notice a dramatic increase in security measures.

For the first time, participants must personally pick up their own race packets—collecting bibs for other runners is not allowed. Runners will also be given clear plastic bags to carry their belongings to the race start. An email from the race organizers outlined the changes:

The only gear bag that you will be permitted to bring inside the perimeter of Grant Park on race day and to check at Gear Check will be the clear plastic race-issued bag that you will receive along with your packet and event T-shirt at the ExpoBackpacks, luggage, and other non-event issued bags will not be accepted at Gear Check.

Prior to entering Grant Park, participants will also be required to go through one of four security checkpoints. Runners’ bibs must also be visible at all times, throughout the duration of the event.

Cameras, police, and even bomb-sniffing dogs will monitor the 26.2-mile course, which stretches along Lake Michigan and is estimated to attract nearly 2 million spectators.

“We will have a strong uniformed and undercover presence along the rout in the crowd, because it is an awfully large route to police,” Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy told NBC Chicago.

But with 45,000 expected participants, the marathon spirit remains strong. “In some sense, they’re more determined to run and be at larger events to show that what happened in Boston isn’t going to affect who they are, or change what they do as a runner,” Wendy Jaehn, of the Chicago Area Runners Association, told ABC Chicago.

Read more about security at the Chicago Marathon here.

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One cyclist rides along a narrow country road in rural Georgia.     Photo: Timothy J Carroll/Flickr

Georgia Cyclists Kill Bill Requiring Bike Registration

State lawmakers pulled a bill that would have require cyclists to register their bike and restrict when and where cycling is allowed.

"Can I see your license and registration?"

Cyclists would be asked that question if a state bill requiring them to register their bicycles became a Georgia law. However, state lawmakers nixed the bill at a town hall meeting last night after the overwhelming majority of speakers—purportedly in the hundreds—came out in opposition to the bill.

House Bill 689 would have required cyclists to buy licence plates for their bicycles and pay a $15 annual registration. Noncompliance would have come with a misdemeanor offense and a $100 fine. The law would have also prohibited cyclists from riding more than four abreast and would have restricted "when and where cycling is allowed."

The bill was introduced in response to complaints from north Georgia drivers  about groups of cyclists clogging the roads and causing safety hazards.

"I live in the north end of the county on a very curvy, beautiful road," James Syfan, one of the complainants, told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. "I can't tell you the times I've just about had to hit the ditch because of a bicyclist."

But local cyclists say treating bicycles like cars isn't fair.

"The reason we tax, register, and require licenses for motorists is because cars are inherently dangerous and creative negative externalities and social impacts," said statewide advocacy group Georgia Bikes! in a statement, "A bicycle does none of these things, and in fact is a common sense solution to many of these problems."

What do you think? Should cyclists be required to pay the same fees as motorists?

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    Photo: Bruce MacQueen/Shutterstock

Wisconsin Considers Legalizing Deer as Pets

Officials propose alternative to euthanasia

Wisconsin wildlife officials are proposing that state law permit citizens to keep deer as pets, provided citizens pay fines and follow regulations. The proposal has received little support from legislators and is opposed by environmentalists, who cite health risks, and outdoorsmen seeking protection of deer as public trust, reports fallreporter.com.

The suggestion arose in the wake of a public outcry after agents euthanized a fawn at a Kenosha animal center. The fawn, named Giggles by the family that brought it to the center, had come from an area with widespread deer diseases.

Under the amended law, Wisconsin citizens could keep deer within an enclosed space, given a veterinarian's approval, plus fines and registration expenses.

“The action plan as proposed would be very difficult to sell as legislation,” says Senator Neal Kedzie, Republican chairman of the Senate Natural Resources Committee. “This whole issue of wild game being a resource in the wild and not for private keeping goes back a hundred years."

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A Great White     Photo: Great White Shark Cage Diving/Wikimedia Commons

Humboldt Surfer Survives Shark Attack

Escapes with 30 stitches

A 45-year-old surfer survived a great white shark attack near California's Humboldt Bay on Sunday. Jay Scrivner had been surfing for nearly two hours in one of his favorite spots when the 8- to 9-foot great white struck his thigh and board. 

"Sometimes you have a feeling that the water is weird," Scrivner told the Associated Press. After the initial bite, Scrivner said he took a swing at the great white, emitting what a friend described as a primordial yell. Scrivner immediately headed for shore where fellow surfers tied t-shirts around the wound to stop the bleeding.

"If you're going to get bitten by a shark, I had the best scenario," Scrivner told said. He received around 30 stitches and is expected to fully recover.

The incident occurred at the Samoa Peninsula, a well-known surf spot where another surfer survived a similar attack last year.

(Video: This diver shows the kinder side of great whites)


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