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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

TrailerCam, You've got to be kidding, right?
TrailerCam Helps Drivers Back Into Loading Docks

Does anyone think this would help anyone without backing proper skills? So you see where the back of the trailer is headed, you still have to know which way to turn the steering wheel! I can just see these "drivers" staring at the monitor and running over a bunch of stuff with the tractor! How about making sure they have the skills and training to back before they are turned loose on the public roads?

Article thanks to Links provided:

Convoy Technologies

March, 2015  The TrailerCam wireless video monitoring system is a ruggedized, portable wireless camera and transmitter designed to help large truck and trailer combinations back up into a loading dock or other difficult situations.
The TrailerCam comes with a magnetic mount for attaching to the trailer and sends video to a 7-inch LCD color monitor in the cab. It is built into a durable housing designed to withstand harsh environments and weather conditions officially rated as IP67. The unit measures 5.5 inches x 3.8 inches x 3.2 inches and comes with a rechargeable battery.
It transmits video wirelessly to the receiver for distances of at least 90 feet without latency or interference. The camera also has infrared LEDs to permit night vision up to 36 feet. Audio capabilities are also available.
The TrailerCam is designed to integrate with most in-cab monitors through a Convoy Technologies “receiver adapter” though a plug-and-play 7-inch monitor with integrated digital receiver is also offered for vehicles without an in-cab display. The monitor operates on 9 volts DC to 30 volts DC. It features colored LEDs which indicate when a connection is paired between the camera and receiver and when the connection is lost.
The TrailerCam costs $749.00 each and comes in quantities of 1-10.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Mainline Street - Laramie

What does it take for heroin to grab hold in the small, remote towns of America? Consider the case of Laramie, Wyoming. Five years ago, it had no heroin problem whatsoever. Now there's a bustling trade. How does this happen? How does heroin become a business? Well, like any business, it starts with one man and an entrepreneurial dream

In depth article thanks to and By Sean Flynn. Links provided:

January 2015
About five years ago, on a westbound bus rolling across the high and empty plains in the middle of the country, a young woman got so disturbingly wasted that the driver put her off in the little city of Laramie, Wyoming.
The local police locked her in a cell, at which point she began to pull from her vagina several tiny packages that, between them, contained approximately two grams of heroin.
"We were shocked," says Josh Merseal, a young prosecutor in Albany County, where Laramie is located. "We were like, heroin? We'd never seen it before."
Nor would the authorities in Laramie see heroin for several years after that. The girl from the bus was a passing transient, yes, and in some sense an anomaly, but she was also a kind of omen. By the time Merseal told me about her last August, there were so many busts, he was having trouble keeping track: Since 2013, he told me, Albany County had prosecuted ten…no, wait, eleven…heroin cases involving fifty, or fiftyish, let's say, defendants. The Laramie police chief, meanwhile, says heroin is "the most prominent hard drug out there" in his small city of 31,814. A federal prosecutor in Cheyenne, fifty miles east, declares flatly: "It's in every part of the state."
Heroin is a dreary national trend, resurgent everywhere—in big cities, of course, but also in small towns and the middle of nowhere and even southern Wyoming. It doesn't simply appear, though, like fairy dust. Someone has to bring it to those small cities and far-flung places. Someone has to supply the demand. Merseal remembers that guy, too.
"Before Ory," he says, "our major drug cases were mostly meth and weed busts, getting people to buy nickel bags. After Ory? It's everything."
Ory would be Ory Joe Johnson, about whom, in fairness, a few things must be said at the outset. Ory did not introduce heroin or any other drug to Laramie, let alone to the state of Wyoming. He has never loitered on playgrounds or in alleys, tempting children and the naive. He is not associated, directly at least, with a murderous cartel, nor is he a kingpin in any remotely plausible sense of the word.
Ory, rather, is an industrious and entrepreneurial man of 37 who was born and raised in Torrington, a smudge of a village near the Nebraska state line, where his father was the town veterinarian. He was a popular kid, amiable and bright, president of his class in grade school, student-body president his junior year in high school. He hunted and fished, and he wrestled and played baseball for his school, mastered the piano, and was so good with a trombone—marching band, jazz band—that a college back east offered him a scholarship. He turned it down because he didn't want to be a musician. Ory thought, for a while, that he might want to be a dentist, like his best friend's father.
One Saturday in the summer of 1996, when Ory was 19 years old, he spent the day drinking beer out at Springer Reservoir, a lake south of Torrington. He drove home drunk and fell asleep on a dirt road about a mile from home. His Suburban hit a bridge railing at highway speed, crushed the front end, broke Ory's nose and jaw and collarbone, bruised a lung and his liver, shattered his right ankle. A judge gave him two years' probation for misdemeanor DUI, and a doctor gave him Vicodin for everything else. When he ran out of pills, he always got some more, and it didn't seem to matter how often he ran out.
Step one to becoming a small-town drug dealer: Develop a medically prescribed, and thus completely legal, addiction to opiates. This is disturbingly common among both buyers and suppliers.

Not long after, crank was replaced by true crystal methamphetamine, a product of much higher quality that came in actual clear crystalline form. Ory cut another layer out of the supply chain and started buying in Colorado, first in Greeley, then in Denver.
Not surprisingly, and for several blindingly obvious reasons—Ory lists them as "young, didn't know what I was doing, high out of my mind"—he started getting in trouble with the law. Not for drugs, exactly, but because of drugs. Like most middle-management jobs, Wyoming meth supplier isn't particularly lucrative, especially if one is supporting his own multi-gram habit. Ory started writing checks off his big brother's account, $7 here, $250 there, a few thousand all told. A judge sent him to rehab, which didn't do any good, and gave him probation twice, which he violated more than twice. He got stopped with a cooler full of psilocybin mushrooms in his car (and helpfully told the officer who stopped him that he'd eaten "a little piece" because it helped him drive better), and he wrote more bad checks, and he cut off his ankle monitor and walked away from a halfway house, which, somewhat to Ory's astonishment, the authorities considered escape. His probation was revoked on May 2, 2002, and he was sent to the prison in Rawlins for two to five years with credit for 322 days he'd spent in county jails all the times he'd gotten arrested.
Thus ended, for almost a decade, Ory Joe Johnson's career as a small-town drug dealer.
Ory was released from prison on March 17, 2005, scrubbed clean of methamphetamine, rehabilitated. He moved to Laramie, where his mother had settled after his parents divorced, and got a job pouring concrete. He learned the trade, and then he learned the business—how to invoice and balance the books and read plans and bid jobs. "I got out, didn't make any mistakes, didn't do anything wrong," he says. "And by the end of 2006, I was starting my own company."
Over the next five years, Ory built a comfortable legal life for himself. Johnson Concrete LLC poured streets and curbs and sidewalks, a couple of new fire stations, the rec center over in Baggs. He usually had eight men working for him, double that on the big jobs, and he made enough money to pay cash for a new Dodge pickup and a trailer for his horses and buy a house just outside the city limits. He learned to hunt with a bow, because convicted felons can't have firearms and Ory was following the rules. Every autumn, he guided sheep and elk hunts out of Cody, and he flew to South Africa to shoot a zebra, a kudu, an impala, a warthog, a jackal, and a slinky, spiral-horned antelope with yellow legs called a nyala. In August 2011, the government of Tajikistan gave him a permit to kill a Marco Polo sheep (cost: $38,000), considered the finest trophy in Central Asia.
"Things were good," Ory says. He was a respected businessman. "I would've been friends with him," says Josh Merseal, the prosecutor. "I would've drank a beer in a bar with him, no problem."
And then things weren't so good. There was no single catastrophe. When Ory tries to explain it now, he mentions that a friend died in the fall of 2011 and that he broke up with a woman he was seeing in Minneapolis, and maybe he was burnt-out at work, and… Well, none of that really explains it.
Here's what happened: In February 2012, he met four young women from the local university. He was still a young man himself, 34 years old, single, and with money to spend, seeing as how Johnson Concrete was grossing up to a half million annually. Anyway, he met those women one night and ended up back at their apartment, or one of their apartments, and there was a whole bunch of cocaine. Ory did a line.
And he decided to be a drug dealer again.
"It was weird," he says. "Not weird—I knew it would happen. But I was accepting of it."
He kept hanging out with college girls, and he kept snorting coke. Within a few days, he'd made new connections in Denver and started driving south with cash and back north with cocaine. "A bunch," he says. "I mean, more than I ever should have been. Ounces a day."
"Ory didn't fuck around," his lawyer, Tom Fleener, says. "He worked very, very hard and built a very successful cement business. And when he went back to dealing drugs, he worked very, very hard. It's all or nothing with him."
The problem with that, of course, is that one tends to attract attention in a small town. Users and petty dealers, people a level or three below Ory, get arrested with some regularity. Some of them talk, and so by spring, Ory's name had come up often enough that Fleener got wind of it.
"Tom called me into his office, just out of the blue, and said, 'You've got to stop selling cocaine,' " Ory says. He feigned innocence, protested weakly. Fleener continued: "You need to quit doing it. I don't think they're gonna arrest you. They don't have much on you. It's all hearsay."
"Okay, cool," Ory said. "Thanks." Then he left.
And he quit selling cocaine. About a week later, one of his connections said she was going to Denver to pick up some crystal meth. "And I thought, 'Well, why not?' It's a completely different scene, you know, than all these coke people." He gave her $1,400, she brought back an ounce that night, and he sold it all before sunrise, $250 an eight ball, two grand total. "I was like, Wow, that's easy," Ory says. "But I probably paid too much."
So Ory let Johnson Concrete wither and went back into the methamphetamine business full-time, usually buying in Denver, sometimes hauling fourteen hours to Phoenix, where it was cheaper and purer.
Fleener, for the record, notes that Ory missed the point of their conversation. "I didn't tell him to stop selling coke and start selling meth," he says. "I told him to stop selling drugs, that he's gonna get caught, that he oughta get out of town. I wish he'd taken my advice."
Now, what about the heroin?
That was serendipity. In the mid summer of 2012, Ory says, he started dating a girl who'd come to Laramie by way of California with a boyfriend that she got rid of and a heroin problem that she did not get rid of. She was buying retail, $30 for a day's worth of Mexican black tar packaged in a tiny black balloon.
Ory had never seen heroin before or even known anyone who used it. Before he went to prison the first time, there was no market for heroin, because no one wanted it. "I was in Torrington, Cheyenne, Wheatland, Laramie," he says. "I was selling drugs in all those places and never heard about it."
That's not to say there's never been any heroin in Wyoming. The reason Ory and Josh Merseal never saw it is because they're young and heroin is cyclical, unlike, say, marijuana or cocaine. Two generations ago, the occasional veteran would bring back a habit he picked up in Vietnam, and a handful of civilians would dabble in one drug and then another until they finally stabbed a needle in a vein. But heroin generally was considered skid-row junk, the opiate of a downtrodden waiting to OD. "They were considered the shit of the dopers," says John Powell, the former police chief in Cheyenne. When he started, the junkies moped on the south side of the city, so pitiable that the police pretty much left them alone. "There's a hierarchy in drugs," Powell says, "and they were at the bottom, almost like, if you get there, you deserve to die."
As a recreational drug, heroin would make a brief rally every decade or so—every generation has to relearn the same lesson—but it would always lose traction. Too many kids would overdose, or they'd get hooked on it and graduate from snorting to smoking to mainlining, and everyone around them would realize that it was depressing and gross and get scared away.
Within the past decade, though, that began to change. The numbers are relatively tiny (more people are huffing glue), but the wave of coverage following a high-profile overdose, like that of Philip Seymour Hoffman in February 2014, can make it seem like an epidemic. The numbers are nonetheless startling: In the most widely cited federal survey, the number of people who reported using heroin in the past month more than doubled between 2007 and 2012, to 335,000. Confirmed heroin overdoses nationally more than tripled between 2006 and 2012. Across the southern half of Wyoming, where Ory and only a quarter-million other people live, there were at least eighteen fatal overdoses (up from zero) between January 2010 and June 2014. As for non-fatal overdoses, Steve Woodson, the director of the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation, says his office has no idea.

Critical to the shift is the rise, corporate-backed and medically sanctioned, of prescription opiates. Pills such as OxyContin and Percocet are incredibly effective both therapeutically and recreationally. They're also addictive and, on the street, expensive. "All of a sudden," says Stuart S. Healy III, a federal prosecutor in Cheyenne, "these pill junkies are saying, 'We need something different. We need something cheaper.' "
That connection, pills to heroin, is a constant. "Every individual who's cooperated with us on heroin cases," says Woodson, "or who's overdosed on heroin that we've investigated, when we look into their background, 100 percent started with pills. One hundred percent."
Ory, whose own drug problems started with a legitimate prescription, knew little about his new girlfriend's drug of choice—only that it amazed him: "I would open it up and it'd look like gunpowder, the color." He watched as the girl rolled up a bill and gently puffed on the powder. "Poof!" Ory says. "It turned black and melted and became sticky!" He still seems amazed.
Ory started paying for his girlfriend's drugs. "But just from experience, I knew I wasn't going to buy any heroin for this girl at thirty bucks a balloon to last her for a day," he says. "I wasn't going to spend that money. I was thinking, I need to make that money work for me."
He called the guy in Colorado he was getting Ecstasy from, asked if he had a line on heroin, which he did, because midlevel suppliers are rarely drug-specific. Ory says he bought twenty-five grams, pre-packed for retail sale, for $1,000. That works out to $40 a gram. On the street in Laramie, heroin sells for $30 a point—one-tenth of a gram. So from bulk purchase in Colorado to end user, that's a markup of 750 percent.
But Ory wasn't selling to users. He says he kept five grams for his girlfriend to smoke and unloaded the rest at $70 a gram to a woman who had a team of street dealers selling to college kids. He could have done better, but he still pocketed $400 for a couple of hours of driving.
He made a few more heroin runs to Colorado. Ory carried a can of bear spray with him (bears can be a problem in Wyoming), but he was never intimidated, never worried he'd get swindled or robbed or hurt: "If you can show up to the plate and be ready to play ball with thousands of dollars, with $1,500, $3,000, now you're stepping into a different line of people," he says. "Their livelihood depends on guys that come to the plate that are clean-cut, white, drive a nice vehicle with actual insurance and taillights that work. And that are going to be there every few days with four or five thousand dollars each time. Those type of people aren't going to rip you off. Their livelihood depends on you being able to sell their product."
All told, Ory figures he bought a little more than a hundred grams of heroin over the course of three months. He sold a few balloons on the side, but mostly he supplied the woman who supplied the dealers who hooked up the college kids. He never held on to it for long. "It kind of spooked me how fast that stuff would disappear, how fast it would sell," he says. "And it wasn't much that I really wanted to be a part of. I mean, I did, but it was just scary." Mostly it was watching his girlfriend, a functioning addict—fine if she had some dope, horribly sick as soon as she didn't. "But if she could have just a little bit—poof!—then she's healthy again."
It wouldn't last, of course. Ory's entire drug-dealing career was probably doomed from the beginning, considering it was conceived with a head full of coke. He sniffed through two grams a day until June, when he switched to meth, a gram of which he smoked, snorted, or ate every day. He seems to believe he tolerated that habit pretty well. But court records note, "His personality is entirely different when he is using drugs," and he "becomes paranoid and angry, especially when using methamphetamine." In May, he was accused of punching a girlfriend in the face (which he denies, and the charge was later dismissed) and, in July, of shoving another one into a wall (which he also denies but nonetheless pleaded guilty to). Paranoid, angry, and abusive is no way to run a business.
On November 29, 2012, Ory allegedly banged up his last girlfriend, the one with the heroin habit, accused her of stealing his drugs, dragged her across the kitchen, and tossed her out the door. Ory denies this as well, but the sheriff believed her and got a warrant to arrest him.
Seven days later, in the early-morning dark of December 5, Ory went to a trailer park to deliver ninety-three Ecstasy pills. The guy who was supposed to be buying didn't have any cash. Since extending credit is ill-advised in the retail drug trade, Ory left. He walked back to his truck with the horse trailer on the hitch. He noticed, a block and a half down North Cedar, an SUV from the sheriff's department, lights off and parked on the wrong side of the street under a burnt-out streetlight. He did not believe the presence of deputies was coincidental. In his pocket was a plastic sandwich bag containing the Ecstasy, five grams of crystal meth, three grams of cocaine, and a tiny amount—seventeen-hundredths of a gram—of heroin.
He watched the deputies watching him as he came around the back of his truck. "When I got sight of them, I jumped up, and I threw that bag in the horse trailer," he says. "I shouldn't have. I should have just thrown it somewhere. But I throw it in there, get in my truck, start it, and drive—and a block later I'm pulled over."
Ory went to jail that night. Not for drugs, but on the warrant for allegedly beating his girlfriend. In his truck, the deputies found a half-dozen cell phones and $816, neatly organized. "Like, if I had five twenties," Ory says, "I'd fold them in half. If I have ten tens, I'll fold them in half in hundred-dollar increments. A $100 bill, I'd fold it in half so you can just count quick if you have a substantial amount of cash. They said, 'These are characteristics of a drug dealer.' " That was enough reason to let a German shepherd named Luger sniff around. The dog missed the drugs in the trailer, probably because of the horse stink, but stopped—"went into odor"—at the driver's-side door of the cab. In the seatback pocket, in a green ziplock bag, were three tiny balloons of heroin, not quite three-tenths of a gram between them. That was enough for a search warrant, and then the cops found everything else.
He caught a break on the cocaine: misdemeanor possession. But the state popped him with two felonies each: possession and possession with intent to distribute, for the meth, the heroin, and the Ecstasy. "And they moved the assault charge"—what he was stopped for in the first place—"to a felony," he says. "A hundred and twenty-six years I was facing at that point."
Ory was released on $85,000 bond and the condition that he enroll in a Narconon program in Oklahoma, which he did. He graduated on April 23, 2013. The judge had told him he'd have to live with his mother in Laramie after that, but his mother had rules, and besides, the best the state was offering if he pleaded out was a minimum of forty years.
"I got really scared," Ory says. He decided to run. A buddy picked him up in Oklahoma and drove him to a little city north of New Orleans. Ory had sold his house since his arrest, and once the check cleared, $24,000, he was going to drive to Phoenix and buy more methamphetamine than he'd ever bought at one time. Ory was going to take that meth east, to Atlanta, where he figured he could double, maybe even triple, his money. Then he would leave the country.
A fugitive warrant was issued for him on April 30. Two days later, on his way to Phoenix, Ory used the computer in the business center at a Days Inn in Winnie, Texas, and managed to creep out the desk clerk enough—how is unclear—that she called the local sheriff. Ory saw the cruiser roll up, and he bolted out the back, vaulted a fence, ran through some fields. His shoes got sucked off by a patch of mud, and he snagged his shirt on a barbed-wire fence, but he stayed out all night, and the deputies didn't find him. In the morning, he went back to the hotel, shoeless and shirtless, looking like a guy who'd run from the cops all night. The morning clerk called the sheriff.
A deputy found him behind the wheel of his friend's Dodge pickup. Ory stopped, and the deputy opened the door, but then he stepped on the gas. The door whacked the deputy on the knee—the authorities consider that assault—as Ory tore out of the parking lot. Deputies chased him ten miles out into the country, until he came to a locked fence. Ory abandoned the Dodge and ran. He hid in a swamp—he didn't know about the alligators—until he heard the hounds and knew he was screwed and probably hypothermic, too. He surrendered.
Ory gave them a fake name, said he was his older brother, because he knew his Social Security number and address. But he'd forgotten about the passport in his pocket—which he needed to get out of the country—until he was handcuffed in the back of a cruiser and couldn't reach it to toss out the window. "I was done," he says. He shrugs. "You know."
He got sent back to Wyoming and sat in jail for a few months while his case was sorted out. As it happened, federal prosecutors were looking at Ory, too. In most circumstances, that would be a terrible thing. But Fleener is a former federal public defender, knows the system, understands the feds' peculiar rules. "The feds getting involved in Ory's case was the best thing that ever happened to him," Fleener says.
Two elements worked in his favor. The first was geographic. For a small-town supplier, especially when that small town is in a vast, empty state, the threshold for federal curiosity is far lower. Investigators had figured out by deciphering Ory's GPS, calculating toll records, and cobbling together statements from his associates that he'd brought about four ounces of methamphetamine into Wyoming every four to six days. "In L.A. or Miami, that wouldn't hit the federal radar," says Healy, the federal prosecutor. "But when a guy brings five, six pounds into Laramie? That's gonna cross our radar. That's a lot of weight in a little bit of time. Ory Johnson was a problem."
The second was statutory. Under federal sentencing guidelines, five grams of meth, about $500 worth, mandates a minimum five years. That same sentence requires a hundred grams of heroin—twenty times the weight and, given heroin's potency, about 200 times the typical usage amount. In other words, Ory wasn't caught with enough heroin to be worth the feds' time.
Fleener eventually worked a deal for Ory to plead guilty to a methamphetamine charge in federal court and one felony (also methamphetamine) and three misdemeanors (battery of a household member and possession of cocaine and heroin) in state court. He got five years from the feds and four to five from Wyoming, to be served concurrently.
Ory is doing his time in a medium-security facility in his hometown, Torrington, that is quite possibly the nicest prison in America, bright and clean, sunlight pouring through a small atrium at the entrance, golden fields rolling to the horizon. Ory seems comfortable.
"There was a lady in Wheatland that I used to go and stay with when I was 20, 21 years old and I was selling a lot of meth," he tells me at one point. "She looked at me and she said, 'Ory'—it was the question again—'Ory, why are you doing this? You're smart. You come from a good family. What are you doing?' I didn't have an answer. And she goes, 'You never see an old drug dealer.' "
Ory thinks about that often, all these years later, when he's in prison for the second time. The obvious question, of course, is why he didn't take Fleener's advice, why he didn't just quit selling drugs and go back to pouring concrete. Why trade a respectable life, one reclaimed with honest sweat from the wreckage of his younger self, for a position as a black-market middle manager? For all the folded cash changing hands, Ory made a much better living in the legitimate world.
Ory has several explanations, the first of which is simple and rote: "the power of addiction." Not to drugs—though Ory clearly has a problem—but to being a low-grade outlaw, to cutting deals in the shadows, to knowing that one nosy state trooper or chattering meth head could end it all. "All of it, the whole thing," he says. "It's exciting. It's a rush. You feel alive. I mean, the power of addiction is incredible.
"In this world, everybody's missing something in their lives, and that's why they're doing drugs. It's taking the place of something they're missing, something they've lost, something that makes them feel inadequate. So everybody's looking for acceptance, looking to be something, wanting to feel." A pause. "Myself included."
That is almost identical to an assessment of Ory filed as part of a pre-sentencing report last year. It noted that Ory used a lot of superlatives when talking about himself—he wanted to have the biggest concrete company in Laramie, he supplied the best dope, he has a near-genius IQ. "The attitude is one of overwhelming arrogance," the report noted, "but the Probation Officer suspects the underlying motivation is deep-seated insecurity which he attempts to overcome through his personal exploits."
That's closer to the truth (though "overwhelmingly arrogant" seems a bit harsh). A cement contractor is required—feels needed—when someone wants a slab poured or Elm Street resurfaced. But a man who provides a steady supply of high-quality dope (Ory told me several times, as a point of professional pride, that he never cut his drugs) at a not-outrageous price is always in demand. He's always needed, often desperately so.
From that needy perspective, it's not a bad gig. Except for the part where you eventually, almost inevitably, go to prison. "I told the judge this last time, I said, 'I deserve every day I'm going to do, every day you're going to give me,' " he says. "But I'm fortunate that I'm going to have enough of my life back that I can start over again and be able to get out and be successful. Successful in life, whoever judges that."
Sean Flynn is a GQ correspondent.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Air Helper Springs vs. Weight-Distributing Hitch
How do you make them work together

Good points thanks to Bruce Smith and Links provided:

March, 2015  Your pickup has air-helper springs installed to help keep it level when a heavy load is in the bed. They work great.
But what  adjustments do you make when a big trailer is dropped on the hitch ball?
Do you inflate the air-helper springs and a install a weight-distributing hitch to get the truck properly set up for towing?
Or, do you even need a weight-distributing hitch at all?
Can’t you just air up the bags to level the truck?
Those were the questions a contractor friend posed to me the other day.
He uses his 1/2-ton truck during the work week to haul fuel drums and machine parts in the bed, while occasionally towing equipment and box trailers that weigh less than 5,000 pounds to different jobsites.
When those loads are in play, he uses a remote control to inflate the air-bags to bring his pickup back to level ride-height.
But on the weekends he hitches up a 7,500-pound RV trailer and heads out for some quality family time.
His dilemma is figuring out the optimum air pressure to use in the air-helper springs when towing the travel trailer with the W-D hitch.
I had my idea, but wanted to confer with the manufacturers of air-helper springs, w-d hitches, and the pickup manufacturers before offering him this advice:
Drop the air pressure in the bags to their minimum amount. Then adjust the weight-distributing hitch so it evenly distributes the trailer’s heavy tongue-weight across the front and rear axles of truck.
Airing-up the “helper springs” doesn’t change the lever-type action that tongue-weight plays in lifting the truck’s front suspension when it rolls through dips and over rises with a heavy trailer in-tow.
A weight-distributing hitch, on the other hand, keeps that suspension-upsetting action in check by keeping those sudden changes in weight distribution muted and the truck in control.
Trying to use the air-helper springs for added weight support while using a weight-distributing hitch will only create more handling issues.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Mantua, Utah Speed Trap

Tickets funding this small town's revenue

Our drivers have to pass through here on a daily basis. Using speed traps for the primary purpose of revenue generation is just wrong! He's basically writing tickets to pay his salary. All the local and regional people are well aware of this situation, so all the town cop does is trap motorists who are not familiar with the area. The southbound side of the highway is a down slope and a driver unfamiliar with the area can easily be unaware that his car/truck is speeding up if not watching the speedometer. Help support the fight for motorist's rights by joining The National Motorists Association. You can join for free at this Link.

Article and video thanks to and Chris Jones. Links provided:

April 28, 2015  (KUTV) If you’ve ever driven Sardine Canyon, between Brigham City and Logan, you might be familiar with the little town of Mantua.

But, with a population of 741, the town is less known for its hospitality than its vast ticket writing. 

“The cop down there is like a sniper,” said Sheri Leishman, whose husband has been ticketed multiple times on the stretch of road. “Everyone knows he comes right out of nowhere and slides right in.”  

In Mantua, police wrote 2,185 tickets in fiscal year 2014. That helped the town bring in more than $221,000 in speeding fines, which makes up more than a third of the town’s $649,000 revenue.  

So how does this compare to other similarly situated Utah towns?  

Take neighboring Williard, also in Box Elder County. Its population is three times that of Mantua — with three times the number of highway to patrol. But in fiscal year 2014, Willard wrote only 706 tickets. 

“The main thing with speed is the excessiveness on it,” says Mantua Police Chief Mike Johnson, who is also the town’s mayor. (He is paid $42,000 a year to be chief, but is unpaid as mayor.)  

In 2012, the Utah Department of Transportation had to write a strongly worded letter to the town warning them that the location where they camp out was being torn up by the town’s patrol cars.  UDOT told the city their actions were “creating an immediate safety issue,” and the town did eventually fix the problem.

Johnson says their speed enforcement is critical. Not only does it reduce speeds on the highway, it helps support a police department that is a constant presence in the small town, he said.  

But, in 2014, the town’s police made only a few dozen arrests unrelated to speeding. Among the most recent citations: fishing without a license.

With the meager crime rate it begs the question:  Does the town of Mantua have an addiction to speed?  

The fees collected by the town help support Mantua’s two part-time officers, the full-time chief, a court judge and a court clerk. The highway, and the tickets that come from it, stand as a major revenue source funding a large chunk of the town government. 

“We could [still] have both of those,” Johnson said, “but it would just be a lot more limited. There is no doubt that we benefit somewhat by the highway.”

The chief is quick to point out if you are not impressed with the work he and his two part-time officers do in the town, then look at dangerous Sardine Canyon, where speed is a killer. 

“Everything we do basically comes back to safety of motoring public,” he said, noting UDOT began making an effort to make Sardine  Canyon more safe about 15 years ago by reducing speed limits, adding rumble strips and barriers.  

Fatalities have been reduced by 93 percent since the improvements to the roads have been made, according to UDOT statistics.