Tag Archives: Carleton College

Bicycle helmet redux: Carleton College students digging deeper on the research

Neil LutskyI got an email a couple months ago from Carleton College psychology professor Neil Lutsky inviting me to speak to his fall class, Measured Thinking: Reasoning with Numbers about World Events, Health, Science, and Social Issues, about the bike helmet issue that I’ve raised here on LoGro this year. (See all my bicycle helmet-related blog posts here.

His idea was to have his students take a close look at the relevant research that’s been cited to support or oppose my contention that the promotion of helmet wearing for around-town bicycling is bad for public health.

Neil Lutsky, Psych class Griff Wigley speaking to Neil Lutsky's Psych class 
I spoke to his class on October 5 and yesterday asked him for an update.  He wrote:

The class is divided into four groups investigating the questions listed below.  They will have reports addressing these ready at the end of the term. That’s where things stand at the moment. 

By the way, if you have any suggestions for the question list (which the students are also modifying as they get into their research), please feel free to share those.

I suggested to Neil that I post the four groups of questions here on LoGro and invite suggestions and discussion from interested citizens. 

1. Bicycle accident overview

  • What is the overall risk of injury in cycling?
  • Who is injured?  Where or under what conditions are injuries more or less likely to occur?
  • How does this risk and injuries sustained in accidents vary as a function of helmet wearing?
  • Is correct helmet use related to injury outcome?
  • Do helmets make injuries worse (considering rotational head injuries vs. concussions and
  • What are these accident numbers like in cross-national comparisons?  

2. Helmet use promotion

  • What laws and programs exist to promote helmet use?
  • How much helmet use is there?  Do people wear helmets correctly?
  • Do government policies have an effect on helmet use?
  • What evidence suggests the suggestion or imperative to wear a helmet inhibits cycling?
  • What are common attitudes toward helmet wearing?

3. Helmet wearing and rider and driver safety

  • Is the density of ridership related to cyclist safety?
  • Do cyclists wearing helmets behave in a riskier fashion?  Is this due to helmet use?
  • Are drivers less cautious when encountering cyclists with helmets?  If so, why?

4. Health and inactivity

  • What are the health consequences of inactivity?
  • What are the health benefits of cycling? 
  • Does cycling make a difference to physical health and the health of the environment?
  • If people weren’t cycling, what would they do?  What alternative forms of exercise and transportation are there?

Raven Pillmann wants Northfielders at the Carls’ ‘Vote No’ rally on Wednesday night

I got this email from Carleton College freshman Raven Pillmann two weeks or so ago:

I am a Carleton student as well as a MN United volunteer. I have a potential story about an upcoming Vote No rally at Carleton this month. We have a possible photo opportunity and definitely have several students who feel strongly affected by the proposed amendment who would be willing to talk about it. Please let me know if I can call you anytime with more information!

Raven Pillmann Vote No mnunitedrally 005
Raven got up early and met me at my corner office at GBM last Thursday. And he emailed me yesterday to send me a photo of he and his fellow classmates preparing for the rally and that they have a Carls Vote NO! Facebook event page which says in part:

Come to the Great Hall on Wednesday, October 17th from 7:30-8:30 p.m. to hear speakers from the Carleton and Northfield communities, eat delicious Firebellies food, listen to Ova Yonder and The Accidentals, and get inspired to become involved in the Vote NO! movement.

Photos: Northfield Community Band on Bridge Square

Northfield Community Band on Bridge Square Northfield Community Band on Bridge Square

Northfield Community Band on Bridge Square Northfield Community Band on Bridge Square Girl Scouts at Northfield Community Band concert on Bridge Square 
Robbie and I were heading to the opening of the Northfield Girl Scouts then and now: Celebrating 100 years in Scouting exhibit at the Northfield Historical Society on Thursday and noticed that the Northfield Community Band was setting up on Bridge Square for the last in their June series of concerts.

In case you didn’t know:

The Northfield Community Band is a group that presents a concert series for the community in June. The series consists of four Thursday evening concerts performed on Bridge Square. The band is open to any high school or adult instrumentalist eager to share their talents with the band and the community…

Sponsors include the Northfield Public Schools Community Services Division and Carleton College. The band extends a special thanks to By All Means Graphics.

More: Community Band Kicks Off Season

The penis has been saved and is being reinstalled on Bridge Square

Carleton College - penis pavers 2 Carleton College - penis pavers 3 Carleton College - penis pavers 1 
Back in 2008, Carleton College installed cement sidewalk pavers at the corner of 2nd and Division.  The phallus design soon became controversial and plans to remove it were met with a ‘Save the Penis’ campaign that ultimately failed.

Bridge Square excavationThe Northfield Arts and Culture Commission, together with the Northfield Historical Society and the Downtown Streetscape Task Force, have pooled their public art monies to fund the reinstallation of the phallus design on a section of Bridge Square.

Yesterday, workers began excavation.  The bulbous shape of the excavated area will be reshaped into a phallus, designed by members of the Old Sculptors Project, the complementary group to the Young Sculptors Project that has installed a sculpture in front of the Northfield Library.

"We felt it was important to save a piece of Northfield history and to have it stick out right outside our door," said Hayes ‘Gabby’ Scriver,  Northfield Historical Society board member. 

"There was stiff opposition to the project for a while," wrote Ava Gina, Chair of the Northfield Arts and Culture Commission in an email to Locally Grown. "We went to great lengths to make our case. It was hard. In the end, we believed strongly that inserting this design into the most pubic [sic] space of Northfield was in the best interest of all."

The economic impact of Carleton’s annual Rotblatt softball game carries over to downtown

Rotblatt softball player Rotblatt softball players
Some out of town visitors were at GBM when it opened at 6 am today. Two were awake after playing softball all night. One wasn’t.

The Carleton wiki ("an unofficial, student-run website") says that Rotblatt:

… is an annual drunken softball game played during Spring Term. It has as many innings as the number of years since Carleton was founded. In recent years, T-shirts for people who arrive at Rotblatt early has become a major CSA budget item, exempted by tradition from rules that prohibit spending on personal property.

Carleton to leave the Medical Arts Building "on the tax roll at this time"

Ed Kuhlman with a 1927 edition of the National Public Opinion newspaper 1927 edition of the National Public Opinion newspaper 1927 edition of the National Public Opinion newspaper 
Mr. Ed Kuhlman stopped by my morning office at GBM on Friday to show me a newspaper called the National Public Opinion that he found in a recent batch of collectibles he’d purchased. This edition was Volume 1, No. 4, published on July 16, 1927.  In true yellow journalism fashion, the headlines scream:



Faribault, Minnesota, is tied for first place with Northfield, in matter of tax exemptions

The Limit to Tax Exemptions in Northfield, Minnesota is the Sky With the Roof Knocked off

Carleton College seems to run the city.

We laughed because Carleton was in the news this past week for acquiring a commercial property downtown. The Nfld Patch article, Carleton College Purchases Building at 200 Division St., includes an email by Carleton’s VP Fred Rogers. Excerpt:

We believe this is a win for Carleton and a win for Northfield’s downtown. The College will effectively acquire new space in central campus, much cheaper than we could construct it. The office and professional uses of this important downtown building will be reinforced and increased. We intend to honor all existing leases and to leave the building on the tax roll at this time.

If Carleton does take the building off the tax roll, I predict the publisher of the National Public Opinion will turn over in his grave and come back to life as an angry blogger.

Miss Jessica and Miss Astrid urge you to show up for Miss Representation

I got an email from Jessica Peterson White this week about the documentary Miss Representation that’s coming to Carleton College’s Weitz Center for Creativity Cinema next week (press release):

Miss RepresentationLWV and Carleton are co-hosting this film screening on Monday the 7th, and I thought you might be interested — perhaps even interested in posting about it on Locally Grown? Here’s the trailer. (There’s a shorter one you can watch here, too, if you have 3 minutes but not 8.) 

It’s a really important topic, and a very cool film. And an amazing set of panelists for the discussion afterwards, to boot! Let me know if you have questions.

Jessica Peterson White and daughter Astrid
Jessica stopped by my office at GBM this morning with her daughter Astrid for the requisite photo op.

Photo fraud committed for NDDC alumni entrepreneur recruitment poster

NDDC poster, The Lion's Pause, St. Olaf NDDC poster, The Lion's Pause, St. Olaf 
When I was up at St. Olaf’s Buntrock Commons a couple weeks ago for the Eat Local Challenge, I noticed a big NDDC poster outside of The Lion’s Pause with the headline: Locate your business in downtown Northfield.

NDDC Executive Director Ross Currier published an Oct. 3 blog post that explains. An excerpt:

One of the new initiatives that this group developed was alumni entrepreneur recruitment. In addition to promoting downtown Northfield as a marketplace, we wanted to promote it as a business location, particularly to the graduates of Carleton and St. Olaf Colleges. We introduced the concept for the first time at this year’s Homecoming Weekends.

I knew this poster was in the works because back in early August, Ross had asked me to contribute photos for it and they needed one additional: a photo of creative class types working in a coffeehouse.

Creative class working at the Goodbye Blue Monday coffeehouse, Northfield, MNAll month long, I kept watching for a good photo op from my early morning corner office at GBM but it never quite came together. 

So on Aug. 29, noticing that I had the raw material for a photo, I asked the laptop users to switch tables.  I then asked Nancy Amerman who was sitting with a group of runners to sit at my laptop for the photo.  Perfecto.

It should be noted that Nancy felt no shame over helping to perpetuate this fraud, whereas at least I felt conflicted. And yet she calls herself a Christian. Go figure.