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Sunday, October 13, 2019

What? Canadian Tax Dollars at Work

It’s coming up on elections in Canada, and the promises are flying thick and fast. Canada’s Liberal party, under the spokesmanship of Prime Minister Trudeau, suggests a future where Canadians might see more of the great outdoors. In the vision, by school grade eight all Canadians would be taught camping skills. Further, low-income Canadians would be given campground space up to four days a year in a national or provincial park, and a stipend of up to $2,000 to help make the trip possible.

Monday, September 30, 2019

FMCSA to Drivers: Don’t Overthink Personal Conveyance Time
Article thanks to Transport Topics. Links provided:

April, 2019  LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Some truck drivers still are grappling with the definition of personal conveyance time. They shouldn’t be, according to a top executive for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Here’s a simple way to evaluate whether a driver is on personal conveyance time, according to Joe DeLorenzo, FMCSA’s director of enforcement and compliance: “Am I off duty? Am I doing any work at the request of the motor carrier, rather than for myself? Is the major purpose of why the motor vehicle is being moved personal? Is it for a nonbusiness-related purpose?”
DeLorenzo gave those words of advice during an electronic logging device update session at the Mid-America Trucking Show here March 30.
Although DeLorenzo was offering a variety of tips about steering clear of trouble using the devices, it was personal conveyance time — also known as authorized personal use time — that garnered the most questions from drivers.
Some common examples of personal conveyance time include time spent traveling to lodging, restaurants or entertainment venues, time spent traveling to a reasonable, safe location to obtain required rest or moving a truck at the request of a safety official during the driver’s off-duty time, DeLorenzo said.
A driver cannot use the time for the sole purpose of advancing the freight or time spent transporting a vehicle to a facility for maintenance, he said. There are no specific time or distance limits for legitimate personal use movement of commercial motor vehicles.
“It doesn’t matter what you’re hauling or whether you’re loaded or unloaded or hooked up to a trailer or not,” DeLorenzo said. “You can move the vehicle to the nearest safe location on personal conveyance time to get rest, and you don’t have to go backwards. This is one of those times where it’s OK to continue on the progress of the load as long as you are stopping at the nearest reasonable, safe location. We deliberately don’t define that because that’s a judgment call on the part of the driver.”
He added, “We don’t want a driver parking in a lot that doesn’t have any lighting or any protection. We don’t want anybody parking on the side of the highway where it’s unsafe. You can make the call.”
When it comes to the use of ELDs, DeLorenzo said drivers foremost need to know whether they are using automatic onboard recording devices or ELDs during roadside inspections.
One of the more common violations regarding both ELDs and AOBRDs involved drivers not knowing how to transfer data to roadside inspectors.
DeLorenzo encouraged carriers using AOBRDs to make the transition to ELDs now rather than waiting to meet the Dec. 16 deadline at the last minute.
“It’s human nature to procrastinate to the last minute,” he said. “Please take the time and talk to your providers right now.”
While there have been rumors that the use of ELDs was causing more speeding violations to be written, FMCSA records indicate there has been only a slight bump in speeding violations in recent months. “There are a couple of little tiny spikes,” he said. “But generally, I think it hasn’t been as bad maybe as some people think.”
DeLorenzo added, “In terms of ELD compliance, things are going fairly well. Of roadside inspections, there are only about 1% that are getting cited for having no ELD.”

Monday, August 5, 2019

'Peace with Grease' Reunion a Huge Success in Crivitz, Wi

After almost a year of planning, everything came together on Aug 3rd for a great afternoon and evening of entertainment, featuring four bands, playing for a good cause in Crivitz. Proceeds from the event will go towards funding a new band shell for the park, enabling many future years of live entertainment for the entire area. Many thanks to Bob Berndt and the Sounds of the Decades committee for putting this all together for a great cause. There are many volunteers to thank as well.

"Peace with Grease" was the second band in the lineup and responsible for the original idea Bob had of pulling off this great event . The band began as a one night gig at Carroll College in the fall of 1972 when 8 “music geeks” decided to put a 50’s rock and roll band together for a talent show. Blue Moon, Book of Love, Little Darling, Duke of Earl; full orchestration and five part harmony, add in a full horn section and you have the makings of one of the top night club attractions in the Milwaukee area. The band remained together until 1977 when members families and jobs took them all over the country. For this event members flew in from Florida, Arizona, Missouri, Minnesota, and Boston! The act is good old rock and roll and the hair styles ( those that still have hair) are classic fifties. Hoping maybe next year, one more, so you can pull out your lettermen’s sweaters, poodle skirts and dance the night away to one of old Milwaukee’s premier bands “Peace with Grease”.
Pictured in the upper photo from left to right are: Back row: Jim Koehler - drummer, Jim Toth - vocals, Gary Marquardt - vocals & sax, Bob Berndt - vocals & trombone, Lance Koehler - vocals & trumpet, Tim York - Bass. Front row: Randy Fischer - keyboard, Rick Bichanich - guitar.
Today's "Peace with Grease"

The first event of the evening started after a short rain delay with the performance of "Eddie's Crew". The band is named after a band member and dear friend of the entire community, Ed Osten. Gordy Jacobs and Pete Swanson, a former student of Berndt, have carried on with the band in Osten's name and they were rocking the park with good old classic country and rock tunes. Gordy Jacobs is the lead singer and guitar player who has been playing music for a long time in the Crivitz area . Pete Swanson is on the drums and brings his renditions of 50's & 60's music to the group along with harmony and background vocals. Guy Wolford brings his bass guitar expertise along with background vocals and has played in the area for many decades. Dean Kostrova adds his rhythm and steel guitar sounds to fill in the classic sounds of the group.

Following "Peace with Grease", the third band of the evening was a reunion of "Daze Revue", a popular area band that was formed in 1983 and performed through the 90's. They covered songs through the 80's and 90's. The picture on the right is from back in the day. The one below was from Saturday.

The final band to perform was the current and still going strong "Daze 2 Nights", whose musicians combine generations that played with or listened to "Daze Revue". They are still very active, playing numerous venues throughout the area.
You can click on the link to read a related post about how my buddy and I first got to know these guys!
Madman Moser and Dangerous Dan Busted! Hope they can do it again next year!
By the way, thanks to Bob Berndt for much of the material contained in this post.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

10 Best Practices When Working with Freight Brokers

Eric Weisbrot - Marketing Manager
Article thanks to Eric Weisbrot, Aaron Anderson and JW Surety Bonds. Links provided:

July 2019 There are more than 17,000 licensed freight brokers working within the United States today, and that figure continues to grow as the transportation industry expands. Freight brokers provide services to shippers and carriers to help ease the process of moving loads, and this assistance takes away several of the challenges transportation professionals face each day. However, not all freight brokers have the same processes, nor do they offer the same level of service to their customers. To ensure your relationship with a licensed broker is in your best interest, follow these tips below.

Know What a Freight Broker Does
The most important best practice when working with a freight broker as part of a transportation business is understanding the role he or she plays. Freight brokers work as intermediaries between shippers and carriers, coordinating the behind the scenes tasks of moving freight. Brokers also manage the progress of loads, as well as handle most of the legal requirements for getting the job done. Recognizing this as a freight broker’s role helps make each transaction more straightforward and streamlined.

Check That They are Licensed

A critical component of being a freight broker is holding the appropriate license. Requirements for licensing for freight brokers involves getting registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, submitting an application, and paying the applicable fees. Check that a broker has motor carrier authority and has met the licensing requirements before agreeing to work together.

Ensure a Bond is in Place

Freight broker professionals also need to meet certain federal requirements for protecting their customers. This is done by securing either a freight broker bond or a freight broker trust. Either a bond or a trust of at least $75,000 is necessary to operate legally. Any claims against the freight broker for bad or negligent business practices are made against the bond, helping safeguard the customer. Ask for the broker’s bond or trust documentation to ensure this is in place.

Verify Past Experience

Another important aspect of becoming a licensed freight broker is gaining industry experience. In many cases, this is done through on-the-job training and employment in relevant fields such as transportation or logistics. While successful brokers do not need to have several years of employment history, having some knowledge of the industry is helpful when working with shippers and carriers. Brokers may also complete formal freight broker training to ensure they are up to date with current rules, regulations, and best practices. Verifying this experience is helpful when selecting a broker to work with over time.

Ask for Customer References

Whether a freight broker provides detailed work history and industry experience or not, another best practice is to ask for customer references. Brokers who have worked in the field for any amount of time should have success stories with past customers, and they should be willing to provide these details for potential new customers to validate. Be sure to follow through with customer references, asking questions about their experience with a specific broker.

Work with a Broker in Your Niche

Not all freight brokers work with the same demographic of shippers and carriers, nor do they all have the same expertise in a certain area of the industry. To ensure a freight broker is the right fit for your business, select a broker that knows the ins and outs of your specific market. Also, compare the benefits and drawbacks of working with a large freight brokerage versus a smaller company or individual. There are times when one may be better suited.

Build the Relationship

As with any business partnership, building a relationship is key to ongoing success with a freight broker. Although it is becoming easier to transition to a different broker because of increased competition in the industry, that does not always mean it is the best choice. Cultivating a business relationship with a broker, particularly one who has delivered consistently over time, creates a stronger bond that results in successful transactions.

Have a Plan for Working Together

Communication is an essential component of working with a freight broker. It is necessary to have a plan in place for the channels of communication that will be used as loads are shipped. Just as important is the overall objective of working with a broker. Shippers and carriers must clearly identify what it is they are looking for, including what challenges they are trying to address so that the broker can provide a path toward the right solution.

Resolve Issues Quickly

Not every load will be perfect, and both freight brokers and their customers need to be aware of this truth. However, managing the issues that arise when deliveries are not completed on time or they fail to meet other specific standards is part of what makes the relationship with a broker beneficial. Shippers and carriers need to work with the broker to ensure issues are resolved quickly, which often means communicating effectively and in a timely fashion.

Trust the Process

Having a successful relationship with a freight broker comes down to trusting the process. Brokers are trained to work as intermediaries, and they are capable of completing the tasks per the request or need of the customer. Trusting the process often means letting go of some control to the freight broker, but with the right relationship, this is an easy and ultimately profitable task.

Eric Weisbrot is the Chief Marketing Officer of JW Surety Bonds. With years of experience in the surety industry under several different roles within the company, he is also a contributing author to the surety bond blog.
High resolution photo:

Saturday, July 20, 2019

5 Ways to Clear Your Personal Info From Your Car Before Selling You Sell It

Article thanks to Vince Pontorno and Links provided:

May 28, 2019  With so many different devices, apps, and connections in our lives, we tend to forget our cars are connected devices as well. Think about it, your car knows every contact, location, app, and combination.

It's important that you remember this if you're thinking about selling or trading your current vehicle. You would be surprised how many people sell their car and forget to erase all the personal information stored in its memory. By ignoring this step, you're not only handing over the keys to your car, but the keys to your life as well.

That's why we're going to tell you five ways to wipe your car clean of any and all personal data that has been synced, paired, or downloaded over the years. The settings and methods can vary according to make, model, and year, but we can give you some general pointers to lead you in the right direction.

1. Remove phone contacts

Syncing your phone is usually one of the first things you do when you get a new car. By doing so, you're giving the car access to contact names, numbers, and in some cases, text messages.

There's nothing wrong with that. It's a feature that helps make life easier and hands free while you drive. However, when it comes time to sell or trade, be sure to disconnect your phone from the car's pairing system and delete any information that may be left behind.

Once again, every car is different and how you go about deleting your phone's contacts/data from it can vary, but it shouldn't be too hard to figure out. Everything is labeled in cars today, so you can start by pressing the phone or settings button and choosing the phone that is currently synced.

By selecting your phone, you should be able to manage settings that connect it to the car. From there, simply follow the prompts until your phone, and all of its data, has been removed from the system completely.

2. Delete maps and addresses

This is a step that most people forget when they're ready to part ways with a car. Your navigation system holds all of your regularly used addresses and previous destinations.

This can include places like your office, your kid's school, and even your home address. Removing personal information from your car is about protecting yourself and creating an easy transition for the next owner. Don't make it easy for anybody to track your locations or daily routine.

If you go to your car's destination, maps, or info settings, you can find your way to a menu that will give you the option to delete previous locations and addresses from the map. Keep in mind, in some cars, even after you've deleted an address, it may still be saved in the system's memory bank. So, you may have to go a little deeper, or refer to your car's user manual to permanently delete an address.

3. Clear mobile apps

Any private login information, or personal data that’s gathered and stored on mobile apps, may also be connected to the car. For example, car manufacturers may provide you with an internal mobile app that lets you control the car’s data functions or help you to locate it in the event that it is missing or stolen.

Since these apps can require and contain personal info, like logins and passwords, you should remove the app from the car when you are ready to sell it.

4. Scrub garage door codes

As mentioned earlier, clearing your personal info from a car before you sell it is a matter of safety and common courtesy. You may be a trusting person by nature, but I don't think you want someone else driving a car that can open your garage door.

Especially, if they can locate your home address with the previous destinations menu, which we've already covered. So, before you hand over the title, remember to erase the garage door code programmed into your car.

The car's built-in garage door opener can usually be found on the rear-view mirror or the sun visor. Each component will have three buttons displayed on them.

To erase the garage door code, you'll want to place your fingers on the first button and on the third button. Press and hold down both buttons at the same time until you see the indicator light start to blink. Once the light begins to blink, you have successfully deleted the garage door code from the car's memory.

5. Remove digital content subscriptions

If you have a subscription to a some form of digital content, i.e., SiriusXM, you can transfer your existing account to the radio in your new car. Often times, people forget to terminate/transfer their subscriptions after selling a car. The new owner of your previous vehicle shouldn't be accessing digital content on your dime.

Be sure to notify your service about any radios/vehicles you no longer have so they can remove them from your account. Also, a reminder for those of you who may be thinking about selling your car during a trial period. Since the trial is attached to the specific vehicle, if you sell or trade your car during that time you'll have to do without both. Just a heads up.

Bonus: Privacy4Cars App

The Privacy4Cars app is a one of a kind platform built to assist car owners with the removal of personal information such as, phone numbers, call logs, location history and garage door codes, from modern vehicles. It's a great tool to use if you're toying with the idea of selling your car.

First created by a cyber-security and vehicle privacy expert, Privacy4Cars allows users to select their cars according make, model and year, and provides visual step-by-step tutorials on how to quickly/effectively clear their vehicles of personal information.

The app is available for both Apple and Android. Tap or click here to download the app for Apple. Tap or click here to download the app for Android.