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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Bart Starr on schedule to attend Favre ceremony
Thanksgiving night is going to be a special time for all Green Bay Packer fans, as Brett Favre's number will be retired during the Packers/Bears game and Bart Starr scheduled to attend. Article thanks to jsonline and Martin Hendricks. Links provided:

Bart Starr Jr. is keenly aware of the significance of his father's return to Lambeau Field on Thursday as fellow iconic Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre's No. 4 jersey is retired in a halftime ceremony of the Packers-Bears game.
Barring an unforeseen change in his health, Bart Starr Sr. will fly to Green Bay on Wednesday. Exact details of the ceremony and Starr's role are unknown.
"Dad is determined to make it happen," Bart Jr. said Friday afternoon of his 81-year-old father. "At the beginning of the year, I didn't think he had much of a chance to walk out on Lambeau Field for one last time.
"But here we are, and it's going to happen. Nothing is going to stop us now."
Bart Starr Sr., a Hall of Fame quarterback, played for the Packers from 1956-'71.
Starr suffered two strokes, a heart attack and multiple seizures in Sept. 2014. A big part of his recovery has been the focus on his return to Lambeau Field on Thanksgiving night.
"It's been the goal; we talk about it every day, and that's what athletes respond to," Bart Jr. said. "He's always lived his life that way."
The Starr family has been inspired by the overwhelming support from Packers fans.
"Letters, cards, emails, texts, phone calls, you name it," Bart Jr. said. "The outpouring has really been inspirational."
Bart Starr Sr. completed his second stem-cell treatment two weeks ago in Mexico, but the family has not discussed the impact of the experimental clinical trial. He underwent his first stem-cell treatment in June and has continued extensive therapy to regain strength, motor skills, speech and memory for the past 14 months.
The elder Starr suffered a significant setback in late August, when he was hospitalized for four days with a viral bronchial infection.
On Starr's trip for his follow-up stem-cell treatment, he had dinner in California with former NFL coach and Packers assistant Steve Mariucci and his wife.
"It was my 60th and I couldn't think of a better way to spend my birthday than with Bart and Cherry Starr," said Mariucci, an NFL Network analyst.
Former Chicago tight end and head coach Mike Ditka offered his perspective.
"To have three Hall of Fame quarterbacks of that caliber play for one team is incredible," Ditka said. "I hope Packer fans know how fortunate they are. Bart Starr. Brett Favre. Aaron Rodgers. Those are three MVP and Super Bowl players, but also great people who represent the game with class. They are the real deal.
"Lambeau Field will be something else on Thanksgiving night."

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Indiana Trooper with a Facebook Page

Trooper Builds Relationship with Truckers Through Facebook Page

Article thanks to Deborah Lockridge and Links provided:

Sept, 2015  One state trooper is working to improve trooper-trucker relations through a Facebook page.
"These guys are out here on the road 24/7, so are we. Why not make it a better working relationship?" Brent Hoover, with the Indiana State Police, told
"With the trucking industry there's so many federal regulations and there's so many different ways those regulations can be looked at and scrutinized," Hoover said. "A lot of cases there's very short limited time for both parties to basically step off on the right foot."
"If they do have a question or something they can't pull into a scale house comfortably and ask, say about a bad tire, because they're worried about getting ticketed or placed out of service."
So earlier this year, he created the "Hoover Club" on Facebook. In the "about," section, he says the page is "Teaching the public and trucking individuals what DOT Inspectors do. I want to bridge the gap and create positve [sic] interactions!"
He shows photos and short videos of violations -- worn bushings, fuel leaks, chafing airlines, flat tires, bad tiedown chains, cracked wheels, a loose axle bolt -- plus other items of interest, from pictures of superloads and antique trucks to a short video on how to figure the working load limit for load securement to "did you know" posts. ("Did you know that if your air tank moves more than 1 inch in any direction it falls into the Out of Service Criteria?")
The interactive nature of Facebook allows drivers to comment and ask questions on items and gives Hoover a chance to answer those questions.
What a great way to improve trucker-trooper relations and educate drivers about the important safety rules, to help keep highway safe and CSA scores down. As of this writing, he has 2,600 "likes" and counting. I would love to see more troopers do something like this.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

New Kenworth Sleeper

Photo: Kenworth

Kenworth 76-inch Mid-Roof Sleepers in Production

Article thanks to Links provided:

Sept, 2015  Kenworth’s new 76-inch mid-roof sleeper for the Kenworth T680 and T880 is now in production, the company announced.
The new sleeper was announced for the T680 and T880 at the Mid-America Trucking Show earlier in the year and was made available as an option in June. The 76-inch mid-roof sleeper is designed for bulk tank, flatbed and other truck operators who prefer a more aerodynamic lower roof, lightweight truck with the comforts of a 76-inch sleeper.
The sleeper offers a weight savings of 100 pounds, according to Kenworth, which allows for more payload capacity. The sleeper has 6 ½ feet of headroom for taller drivers, a liftable lower bunk and side storage towers with space to hang clothes.
The back wall can be configured with an optional upper bunk for team drivers or a back wall sleeper storage unit. Also available are a premium sound system and mount for a flat screen TV.
Both the Kenworth T680 and T880 can now be configured with the 76-inch mid-roof sleeper, 52-inch regional sleeper, or day cab. The T680 also is available with the 76-inch high-roof sleeper.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

New York City Heating Oil Scam

Heating oil companies delivered less fuel than paid for in citywide scam

Article thanks to Rebecca Rosenberg and Links provided:

Nov. 10, 2015  More than three dozen employees from the city’s largest oil companies were busted Tuesday in a scam that ripped off millions of dollars from numerous city agencies including the FDNY and NYPD, authorities said Tuesday.
The crooked oil executives, drivers and dispatchers, 44 in total, are accused of rigging their trucks to shortchange customers, including hospitals, schools and churches then selling the stolen fuel at a reduced price on the black market, said Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance at a press conference Tuesday.
“No illicit business or black market can be allowed to operate while honest New Yorkers are working hard to keep their homes warm during colder months,” he said. “It was residents and taxpayers who paid the price and suffered the consequences.”
The indictment alleges that the nine companies including Casanova Fuel Oil, Inc in the Bronx, G&D Heating Oil, Inc in Brooklyn and Century Star in Westchester used various schemes to swindle customers in all five boroughs from Sept of 2006 to Oct of 2015.
Some of the trucks were outfitted with special valves that diverted heating oil to a hose leading to a tank at the back of the truck while the meter falsely registered delivery of the full order.
Another tactic pumped air into tanks instead of oil forcing unwitting customers to pay the full cost of a half-delivered order.
Dispatchers were paid kickbacks to send drivers to easy targets.
The alleged swindlers then took the stolen fuel and sold it to other customers at a reduced price and the profit went right back into the coffers of the greedy companies, authorities said.
The unscrupulous vendors ripped off their customers to the tune of more than $18 million a year including $4 million from city agencies, said Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark Peters.
“That’s real money. Money that could have done something for the people of this City,” he said. “These defendants’ charged actions expose a story of contempt for the people of this City, quite literally, laughing their way to the bank.”
Authorities had captured one truck driver on a phone wiretap bragging about how he’d duped a customer, Peters said.
“Investigators recorded a fuel truck driver mockingly describing how he fooled a building manager into unknowingly shorting his own fuel delivery – by throwing the lever that filled his own tank with air,” he said.
The victims include Third Street Men’s Shelter in the East Village, the Food and Finance High School in Midtown, the 26th Precinct and even the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse, where the case is being prosecuted.
The investigation began after a whistleblower reported the widespread scheme to authorities, Vance said.
Investigators began rounding up suspects early Tuesday morning, and they’re expected to be arraigned this afternoon in Manhattan Supreme Court.
Prosecutors charged 29 truck drivers, 3 dispatchers and 12 oil company executives including Fazil Hatim of F&S Distribution, Inc, Winston Lopez of Casanova Fuel Oil, Inc and Irving Lopez of Express Petroleum, Inc.
The indictments were a result of a two-year joint investigation with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, the NYPD, the New York City Business Integrity Commission, the New York City Department of Investigation and other agencies.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Walmart’s driver pay case the latest barrier of entry in California
Story thanks to and Jeff Crissey. Links provided:

July, 2015  Dating back to 1848 when a carpenter discovered gold in a stream in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, California has been a land of opportunity for generations of Americans. The Gold Rush gave way to oil prospecting, followed by birth of the movie industry, aerospace corporations, Silicon Valley and dot-com entrepreneurs. For more than 160 years, the Golden State has reinvented itself time and time again and opened its arms wide to all comers.

When it comes to the trucking industry, however, California may as well have built a fence along its borders. In recent years, the state has legislated, regulated and ruled its way to become the Union’s least-friendly state for fleets. The California Air Resources Board has enacted a number of barriers of entry for truckers, from specific diesel formulations and engine-idling restrictions to the controversial Truck & Bus Regulation that phases out older trucks in an effort to reduce oxides of nitrogen and diesel particular matter emissions.
Last month, running a trucking operation in California became even more difficult when a federal court concluded in a lawsuit vs. Walmart that truck drivers must be paid at least minimum wage for all time worked. According to Senior District Judge Susan Illston, the retail giant’s per-mile and discretionary pay for work such as inspections and paperwork did not comply with the state’s minimum wage law requirements.
“Under California law, the drivers must be paid for all of the time that they were subject to [Walmart]’s control,” Illston wrote in her conclusion, adding that while the retailer exercised control over drivers during federally mandated rest periods, its $42 allocation to drivers per layover averages out to less than paying minimum wage.
In a rebuttal, Walmart argued that drivers are compensated by some duties under specific activity codes. It said that a lack of an activity code for each code component is the same as paying a housekeeper for each house cleaned and that nothing in the Labor Code requires a separate “pay code” for each act that goes into cleaning the house.
“There has been no finding that any Walmart driver has not been paid minimum wage for each hour worked,” said Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove. “We intend to continue to defend the company against the claim,” adding that 90 percent of Walmart drivers have been with the company for more than 10 years and earn between $80,000 and $100,000 annually.
That compensation makes Walmart one of the highest-paying companies in the industry for drivers, roughly 40 percent higher than many for-hire carrier pay rates. If earning $100,000 annually isn’t enough for some drivers, then this industry faces a bigger battle than most realize.
The bottom line for Walmart? The Arkansas-based company could be facing $100 million in back pay for the driver plaintiffs as a result of the court ruling. The bottom line for the rest of the trucking industry? The way you do business in the state of California soon may be changing again – and once again, it’s bad for business.