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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Failed DEA Cartel Sting Results in Dead Driver, Damaged Truck
Story thanks to Link provided below:
When Craig Patty hired a new driver to operate one of the two trucks in his burgeoning fleet, he never expected that the man he hired had anything less that the pristine background that he saw on the job application. He wouldn’t have imagined that a government agency had falsified thecriminal history report of his new employee so that they could use him as an informant. And he would never have believed that the DEA would refuse to offer him protection or pay for the damages after they used the informant in a botched sting operation that resulted in the destruction of his truck and death of his employee at the hands of the notorious Zetas drug cartel.
And yet, that’s exactly what happened.
The employee’s name was Lawrence Chapa and even though he had an extensive criminal record, the DEA wiped that clean so that he would be able to pass the background check that Patty ran when he was hired. They were planning on using him as part of an operation that would catch members of the Zetas drug trafficking crime syndicate. Patty was never informed that his driver was anything more than he appeared to be.
One day Chapas was supposedly taking the truck for repairs in Houston when he was in fact driving a truck full of marijuana to the border and back for the DEA. He was being escorted by officers wearing plain clothes who were ready to bust the drug traffickers when the drugs were delivered.
The sting went horribly wrong when the truck was ambushed in broad daylight by three vehicles who opened fire on the truck, killing Chapas and severely damaging the truck. Two law enforcement officers were injured and four suspects were taken into custody and charged with capital murder.
Patty knew nothing about any of this until he received a call that his driver had been murdered and that he would have to come remove his damaged vehicle at his own expense or pay storage charges. Patty received neither an apology from the DEA nor any money to pay for repairs of the vehicle. Furthermore, his insurance company refused to pay for the damages since the truck had been used for illegal activities. He paid to have the truck removed and repaired by taking money out of hisretirement plan.
Since his request for the DEA to pay for the damages was ignored, Patty is suing the DEA for up to $6.4 million. The price tag includes the cost of repairs, lost income from not being able to use the truck during the time it was damaged, and for emotional hardship. Patty and his family have been living in fear since the attack, worried that the Zetas cartel might mistakenly think that he had something to do with the operation and come to exact revenge.
According to an interview with the Houston Chronicle he and his family still jump at every noise, from deer on their yard to a car pulling in to the driveway.
“I’ve gone to great lengths to keep my son believing in Santa Claus,” Patty said. “And now I’m talking to him about death, mayhem and drug cartels.”

Friday, December 27, 2013

Cheater Wrench Makes Easy Work of Tightly Torqued Wheel Nuts
Article thanks to Link Provided below:

DT Industries

11/04/2013  The Cheater Wrench from DT Industries allows anyone driving a truck or other heavy-duty vehicle to remove their lug nuts and change their own tires. The Cheater Wrench is a torque-multiplying tool with a 78:1 turn ratio, making it easy to overcome the recommended 500 or so foot-pounds to which wheel lug nuts are supposed to be tightened. DT Industries says with the tool, truckers can change their own tires at roadside rather than waiting for tire repair truck, which can take several hours and cost a lot of money.
Carson Woolley, co-founder of DT Industries and a working driver, says he found tire problems incredibly frustrating. "For me, time was money," he says. "Blown tires took away a lot of time and cost hundreds of dollars on top of that."
Woolley says that after buying a similar product that was available only from an online auction site, he formed a partnership and had the tools manufactured under the brand name, Cheater Wrench, and began marketing the tool online.
It works the same way a transmission works to move heavy loads. With a 78:1 gear reduction, it takes 78 revolutions of the handle to turn the nut once. That makes it easy to loosen even properly torqued wheel nuts.
The torque multiplying Cheater Wrench comes with four 1-inch-drive deep impact sockets (41mm, 38mm, 33mm, SQ 21mm), and a socket extender.
The tool is available online at or at reminds users that changing tires at roadside can be a very dangerous practice. Always find a safe and level location, follow proper procedures and take all safety precautions when jacking the truck and changing the tire, including verifying the proper torque required for retightening the lug nuts. As per recommendations of the Technology and Maintenance Council (TMC) of the American Trucking Associations, wheel nuts must always be retorqued to the proper settings using a calibrated torque wrench after 50 to 100 miles. Check with manufacturer for proper torque ratings and procedures.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

"Christmas 2013" The passing of my step-father


David Letterman - Darlene Love "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)"
Never heard of this Darlene Love before, but she's got this number down! Here's wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year. I will be traveling back to Wisconsin for my step-father's funeral this week. He's a special man, World War II decorated fighter pilot, life-long teacher and high school principal. He met and married the love of his life and for most of their lives, they were together. After illness took her life, Vic spent quite a few years alone, eventually meeting my mom in 2002. And they have been married for 10 years. My mom lost my father in 1999. Vic and mom have loved and taken care of each other while each professing their love for their former spouses. After all, they spent the majority of their lives with their previous mates raising their own children. Listening to this song had was quite moving to me as my step-dad is going home to join his original wife! My mom will be going to join to my dad someday, I hope it's a long ways off. Thanks for reading this blog, comments and guest posts are always welcome.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Schneider: New HOS Rules Hurt Productivity
We all new this was happening, now companies are documenting it. Article thanks to Link provided below:
10/24/2013  Since the new hour of service rules implementation on July 1, the fleet Schneider National says it has seen a 3.1% drop in productivity on solo shipments and a 4.3% decline on team shipments.
The results are similar to Schneider’s forecasted 3% to 4% decline, which was based on predictive modeling and presented as testimony to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in February 2011.
“The hours of service changes could not have come at a worse time,” said Dave Geyer, senior vice president/general manager of Schneider’s Van Truckload division. “We now need more drivers to do the same amount of work, but regulations, economic conditions and demographics are working against us in terms of recruiting new drivers. “We’re being restricted in the number of miles we can give them and the ongoing challenges that come with sharply rising operating costs.”
While productivity has been impacted, safety has not.
“Safety performance dramatically improved under the previous hours of service rules and there is no evidence to support that changing the rules has improved safety,” said Geyer. “Ongoing feedback from our drivers is consistent, they do not feel better rested as a result of the rules change, just less productive.”
For many drivers, the lure and independence of the open road are no longer worth the pay and regulatory pressure they are now facing, according to Schneider, adding that driver turnover is trending up and is back at prerecession levels.
Schneider cited a recent research brief by John Larkin, managing director of Stifel Transportation & Logistics Research Group, stating regulations such as HOS create a challenging driver market. “Virtually all of the proposed federal rules and regulations either reduce the size of the driver pool or reduce the productivity of the drivers remaining in the pool,” he noted. “As a result, drivers remain a scarce input.”
Carriers and drivers aren’t the only ones adjusting to the changes. Shippers are feeling the impact, too, said Schneider. Many shippers are indicating carriers across the industry, as well as their own private fleets, are already experiencing productivity and on-time service declines.
“To put it in the simplest of terms, capacity continues to tighten, productivity has been reduced and it’s harder and more costly than ever to acquire and retain drivers,” said Geyer. “This trifecta is a cost burden that carriers cannot bear alone.”

Friday, December 20, 2013

Coach crash prevention system tracks drivers' eyes
What are they up to in the UK? The following story thanks to the Link provided below:
By Leo Kelion  10 December 2013

Coach drivers' eye movements and blinks are to be tracked by computers as part of a test to see whether the tech could be used to prevent accidents on long distance trips.
Five firms have each fitted the product to two coaches as part of a trial taking place across continental Europe.
Seeing Machines' Fatigue Monitoring System is already used by miners.
However, one expert cautioned it was unclear whether it would improve safety in the coach industry.
The Australian firm's product uses special cameras installed inside a vehicle to monitor the driver's gaze.
If it detects they are distracted or taking "microsleeps" - naps that can last less than a second and take place without the person's knowledge - it activates a vibration motor built into their seat.
In addition it triggers an alarm in the co-driver's sleeping compartment to alert them to the fact they should take over control of the vehicle.
The patented technology uses invisible infrared light to detect the driver's eyes in the dark without distracting them, and can be used even if they are wearing glasses.
Seeing Machines' chief executive suggested the system could detect the risk of an accident at an earlier point than alternative products such as lane detection cameras and steering wheel monitoring sensors.
"Coach accidents aren't that frequent, but when they do happen they are so catastrophic that they make the [newspaper] front pages and in a lot of cases it is almost the end of the coach company involved as no-one wants to ride with them anymore," Ken Kroeger told the BBC.
"The way the technology works is that it tracks your head position and your eye aperture.
"If you turn your head beyond a certain angle for a specified duration while moving over a certain speed, it will remind you your eyes should be on the road.
"Then for fatigue it looks at the frequency of blinking, the velocity of the eyelid when it's opening and the duration of the eye closure to determine if it's a microsleep."
Seeing Machines has teamed up with the coach operator Royal Beuk to hold the trial.
The Dutch firm has installed the tech on two of its vehicles and has recruited a further four coach firms to do likewise.
Over the winter months the vehicles will travel from the Netherlands to ski resorts in Austria, Switzerland and Italy. Then, in the summer, they will travel to southern parts of France, Italy and Spain.
"There are competitor products on the market and we evaluated a few of them," Royal Beuk's research manager Marc Beuk said.
"But all of the others required something from the driver. One system required them to wear a special hat, another involved special glasses hooked up to wires.
"This was the only device that we know of that didn't give the driver something to do - once he turns the ignition key the system boots up and it starts monitoring him."
He added that if the nine-month test was a success, his firm intended to install the kit across its 60-vehicle fleet and act as its European distributor.
Coach crashes
In recent years driver fatigue has been blamed for several accidents.
US investigators said it was a factor in a bus crash in which 15 passengers died in New York in 2011, as well as another similar incident which killed four people in Virginia last year.
In the UK, a coroner cited it as the reason a coach veered off the M25 motorway near Slough, Berkshire, in 2003, resulting in the deaths of six people.
However, one expert warned it was unclear exactly how common the problem was.
"Crashes are very rare when measured per kilometre, nevertheless they do occur and some of these may be related to fatigue, although very little is known about the precise numbers," said Prof Pete Thomas, head of the Transport Safety Research Centre at Loughborough University.
"The trial of a driver-fatigue detection system for coach drivers will provide useful further information to help improve coach safety, although it is important the trials are properly scientifically controlled.
"Other factors such as speed and alcohol may also be important causes of coach crashes and bus operators should continue to reduce all types of risks."
It currently costs the mining industry about £10,000 to install Seeing Machines' equipment in each vehicle on top of a continuing licence fee.
But the firm said that if the trial was a success it intended to offer coach firms a "less rugged" version that would be about a quarter of the cost.
It added it was also in early-stage talks to introduce its products to the airline industry.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Driscoll Supports Family of Injured Driver

December 11, 2013

An Idaho trucking company is raising funds for the family of a seriously injured trucker. Driscoll Transportation driver Ricky Flores was left paralyzed after an apparent single-vehicle accident in October.
Driscoll general manager Andy Robbins reports that the tractor-trailer Flores was driving went off the road for unknown reasons. Flores maneuvered the truck back onto the road but the big rig rolled onto its side. During the crash Flores fell from the driver’s seat to the passenger side of the cab.
Robins says, “He hit his head on a broken mirror and fractured his skull and somehow, his chin was pushed to his chest and it broke his neck. It was not a high speed accident.” Due to his injuries Flores does not remember details of the accident.
Flores has been hospitalized since the accident, first in Idaho and then in early December was transferred to Craig Hospital in Denver, considered one of the best spinal rehabilitation facilities in the country. Although Flores has insurance for his medical care, Driscoll is trying to raise funds so his family can be there for Flores during his treatment, which is expected to take four to six months. Robbins says, “Driscoll takes care of all of its employees, and we want to do everything we can do to help.”
Robbins also reports that Flores is keeping a positive attitude. “They are a very religious family and they remain positive that Ricky will make great strides in his recovery.”
Donations can be made to the Ricky Flores Family Fund at any Wells Fargo branch, Napa Auto Parts, or by calling Robbins at 208-317-1642.
( Photo Source: )
- See more at:

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The war between Clark Oil & Refining and it’s dealers

Typical Clark gas station in the 1970's
The dealers won the battle, but eventually lost the war.

12/14/2013 Back in the 1970’s, I was a franchised gasoline station dealer with Clark Oil and Refining Corp. While still in high school, I obtained a job pumping gas for a Clark dealer named Chuck Oleson. He was a great guy to work for and actually helped several of his employees, including me, get their own stations. My station was at Hampton Ave and Santa Monica Blvd in Milwaukee and I was just 19 years old when I became self-employed.

After getting settled in, I was making pretty decent money and envisioned a long and successful partnership with Clark Oil & Refining. There was trouble brewing on the horizon, however. Clark Oil gave it’s dealers a lot of help and training with their businesses, but treated them more as employees than the independent franchise owners that the oil company had us legally set up to be.

As you can read in the very in depth article from the Milwaukee Journal Archives below, a war soon broke out between the dealers and Clark.  In fact, I was almost named the lead plaintiff in the 1973 lawsuit but the lawyers selected Myles as their best prospect. After a long four year battle, the Association I was a member of won a 1.9 million dollar settlement, but Clark eventually succeeded in forcing the dealers out, mainly by keeping the wholesale cost for gasoline higher for us than actual market prices. In fact, at times our wholesale price from Clark was nearly the same as our competition’s retail price at the pump! Their goal was to get rid of the franchise owners, install salaried managers in all the stations, retain a higher level of income and assert control over all operations. The big move to self-service stations in the 1970’s and 80’s didn't help either, as all you needed were shelf stockers and a body behind a cash register to run the business, not someone skilled in managing full service customer attendants. Clark had the financial deep pockets to outlast the independent dealers. Alas, all did not go very smoothly for the company in later years. Founder Emory T. Clark sold his interest in the company in 1981 to Apex Oil, a St. Louis, Missouri-based company. In 1985, Apex decided to sell Clark Oil. By 1987, Clark and Apex were bankrupt.[1] (source: Wikipedia)
Me at my old station on Santa Monica with the 
new design 2008.

All in all, my time with Clark was a good experience, I made a living for over 10 years and worked with some great people who have have been life long friends. Also, as a young man, gaining valuable experience in business practices, accounting, negotiation, communication and customer service skills, helped me immensely in later years.

I’d like to give special mention here to my old boss, Chuck Oleson. He hired me as a third shift attendant at his Clark station a few weeks before I started my senior year of high school. My buddy Ross from school was working for him and got me an interview.

I learned a lot of life lessons from Chuck, who was a great guy to work for. Most of the crew did a good job because he was well liked and respected by his employees. Chuck was such an outstanding and unselfish person, he helped at least five of his employees get their own franchises, including me. After high school I was looking to find my way, tried a couple of factory jobs (Harley Davidson was one), but I just couldn't do it. Staring at a clock while on an assembly line seemed like ‘nuts’ to me. Chuck hired me back after I came begging, put in a recommend to get my own station and got me started in a decent career. For that I will always be grateful. For one of Chuck’s life lessons, see The Stamp Book Story. Update: Sadly, Chuck passed away way to early on Aug 28, 2015 at the age of 74.

Left to right: Bob, Chuck, Karl & Ross 12/01/2013
I've known these guys since the late 1960’s. I met Bob at Chuck’s station after he got back from serving in Vietnam and he has been my closest friend for well over 40 years. Chuck helped him get his station at Teutonia and Villard in Milwaukee. My high school buddy, Ross worked for Chuck and was the best man at my wedding (the first one), Karl was a fellow attendant and friend that Chuck helped to get a station at 76th and Bradley in Milwaukee. Comments by Karl follow the article along with a cool YouTube video of an old Clark commercial.

Article thanks to Mildred Freeze and The Journal Archives. Link Provided below:
Nov 23, 1976  Several Clark Oil service station operators without much money or influence decided four years ago that their oil company was wrong and they were going to do something about it. Their fight ended last week with a 1.9 million settlement plus a restructuring of their relationship with Clark Oil and Refining Corp.

The lawsuit is interesting for several reasons, but it is difficult to relate them without getting involved in the complexities of the case. It is remarkable primarily because the operators were not even a united group when the court fight began. They were simply individuals who felt cheated.

Against the advice of one attorney, they found a law firm with enough resources to challenge the oil company. Attorney William E, Glassner, Jr. was sympathetic enough with them to work out a way to pay him without putting them out of business. It is expensive to fight an oil company. The operators had to persuade men who were earning $10,000 to $20,000 per year to pay a $75 initiation fee to belong to the Clark Dealers Association plus $25 per month for two years.

The operators had to believe Peter H. Gardner, now chairman of the dealer’s group, that they would get their money back and the frustration and uncertainty were worth the initial sacrifice. Many were unimpressed with that explanation. The dealer organization numbered 176 station operators when the case began and 68 on the final day. The group lost many members when individuals were assessed $1000 in attorney fees.

In a little more than three years, Gardner paid out $5000. There were some who paid more. Members were asked to pay a tenth of a cent to the organization for every gallon of gas they pumped. The station operators paid $133,000 out of their pockets to keep the lawsuit going.
Now they will get their money back and more.

When the settlement was approved by Federal Judge John W. Reynalds, Glassner’s firm received $351,619 and a Chicago firm that started a separate action and whose case was joined with the Milwaukee case was paid $194,277. “The attorneys never asked us to pay the whole thing”, Gardner said. “Just to do the best we could. If it weren’t for Glassner, we wouldn’t have made it.” Along the way, Gardner said, “our biggest fear was that we wouldn’t be able to hold out and the company knew that.”

The federal suit is among the first few class action antitrust cases. Normally antitrust cases are brought by US attorneys. Private lawsuits generally follow government cases. Although the dealers asked for help, no government agency was interested in their cause.

Glassner said of the fight: “I’ll never start another class action. Everybody becomes an attorney. Those people who shout the loudest do the least work. Too many people took a free ride.” If he were to do it over he would name the individuals in the case. While indicating his frustration with the case, he said people in his firm working with dealers accomplished some things. They thought the dealers how to clean up their accounting practices. They showed them how the court system operated and how they could apply legislative pressure.

Efforts Pay Off
They also found out how to get gasoline from other sources and how to merchandise it. The most significant thing, Glassner said, was the passage of the Wisconsin Dealership Act, which the operators lobbied for in the Legislature. it provides operators with security they did not previously have.

The federal suit, filed in February, 1973, alleged that Clark had fixed retail prices on gasoline, disciplined dealers through the use of one year leases and short termination provisions, limited dealers to the purchase of Clark branded products and unfairly competed with dealers by having company owned stations. The suit was filed by Myles Jackson, who operates a clark station at 2514 N. 27th St., “on behalf of himself and others similarly situated.” Jackson was chosen because his lease was up for renewal and contained new rent charges that dealers found objectionable.

Important Ruling
A breakthrough came almost a year later when Reynolds ruled that the lawsuit could be pursued as a class action. “We are not rich men,” said dealer Charles Hohlweck then. “This gives us the chance to fight the big oil company. it’s a tremendous victory,” Hohlweck has since left Clark and buys gasoline on the open market.

Gardner organized dealers on Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana. He viewed the experience as an educational process. “There was a lot of frustrations at first. We just grew with it,” he said. Clark Oil served him with eviction notices three times during the fight. He was without a lease for almost a year. The eviction efforts against him and others went into state courts and were held up until the federal case was finished.

Gardner is 35, one of 11 children of a Vermont farmer. After high school he went into the army and married a German, Luise. In 1962, after getting out of the Army, he chose to live in the Milwaukee area because of it’s German community. After a job as a dry cleaning salesman, he became a tool and die maker trainee at Amron, Inc., Waukesha, where he stayed six years. He joined the union and became vice president and head of the bargaining committee. That union experience was useful during the court battle, he said.

While at Amron, he also worked part time for a Clark station. Five years ago he took over the station at 1025 S. 108th St., West Allis. A year after he became a dealer, Gardner was in trouble because he wouldn’t sign Clark’s new lease calling for a percentage on the cigarettes and miscellaneous items that dealers sell. He heard about a Clark dealers’ group being formed in Chicago and went to a meeting. Then he learned of some Inner City Milwaukee Clark dealers who were having trouble, and he met with Hohlweck.

Another breakthrough that affected the case came in Minnesota. A new state law gave  dealers franchise rights, and Clark Oil responded by evicting all Minnesota dealers the very same day. Gardner flew to Minneapolis that day and signed up 40 dealers for the dealer organization. They were subsequently protected by a court injunction pending the outcome of the Wisconsin case.
“A strange thing happens to people when an adverse thing happens all at once,” Gardner said. In Minnesota the dealers joined at once and they stayed. In Wisconsin “we could only get them when Clark picked on them.”

The dealers preferred to have their case presented in open court, Gardner said, but by settling with the company, they were able to get automatically renewable three year leases. and they got the right to negotiate and go to court if necessary without threatening their livelihood. “Now we’ve got to enforce what we’ve won and no one else will enforce it but us,” Gardner said. “We have to stay together. It will be difficult without adversity.”

During the four years many service stations went out of business. With the increase in gasoline prices, self service stations grew. Many Clark stations closed.
About 1,000 dealers still in business will profit most from the action. In addition to their three year leases, each will get $900 in gasoline credits. The settlement also includes those that went out of business during the court fight. After attorney fees and costs of investigation are paid, there will not be enough left for individuals to receive more financial compensation. But the big battle has been won.

Comment thanks to Karl:
Clark Super 100
Hi Dan, The time I spent at Clark was a great life experience for me. I checked in on March 2, 1972, I was just 21 years old. My station at 8015 N. 76th St. in Milwaukee was Clark Station # 1565, I was Dealer# 6585. The Clark Territory Salesman was Richard Theesfeld, he checked me in. Theesfeld is now deceased, he died in 2006 at age 68. His lived in East Troy as I recall. I was excited about the new shopping center about to open in the area, Northridge Shopping Center. I spent 11 years as a Clark Dealer leaving in March 1983. I got a job with Milwaukee County Transit System as a bus driver in 1979. Chuck & I became partners at my station in 1979, he ran the station for me. It was a hard decision, but we ended my lease with Clark and Chuck on stayed on as a station manager working for Clark. In between working at his Clark station on Hopkins & Silver Spring Dr. Chuck worked for Moore Oil as a route salesperson. He joined me at my station because he did’nt like the work at Moore Oil. That’s all for now, I’ll continue this story in my next e-mail. Here is a picture of Bob, Ross, Chuck, & me taken last Sunday (Dec 1, 2013). Karl
Clark, Part II
Dan, A few other Clark details I can remember. Chuck came from Waukesha. He worked at a Clark station there will in high school. He got his own station at Hopkins & Silver Spring Dr. about 1960. He left the station and joined the US Air Force. When he left the service he was reinstalled in his old Clark station in about 1964. I think his station was Sta.# 76, it was much older than my station. He was dealer # 1924. Bob and Kenny’s stations nearby were about the same age as Chuck’s station. I must also mention Ken. He was a great help to me the first few weeks I was in business. I needed help with learning reports and Ken was there to lend a hand. I know he wanted his own station and later Clark put him in at 26th & Silver Spring Dr. in Glendale. I always felt my station never did the kind of monthly gallons it should of. Given the high volume of traffic on 76th St. One problem I had to deal with was a 45 MPH speed limit on 76th St. A quick look and you fly right by at that speed. The next Clark Station going south on 76th St. was at Medford St. (near Fond du Lac Ave, Villard Ave. & 76th St.). I still see Jim R., if you recall he was a Clark Sales Rep. too. He lives right here in Port Washington not far from me. That’s it for now. Karl

Thanks Karl!
Jim R.! I remember him well, he was a good guy that was put in a tough spot between the dealers and Clark. I had a couple confrontations with him, but always liked him personally. Oh, that brings up a memory of screeming at him at 3AM in the morning as I tried to close my station to go home for a couple hours to sleep. The third shift jerk I had didn't show up for work. Jim was out in the middle of the night checking my station! He said I had to remain open or I would be breaking my lease agreement. LOL! It was nothing personal against him, oh my, he must have thought I was nuts!.  If you see him, please tell him hello and I wish him well!
Thanks for the great info Karl. You have quite a memory, hope you don't mind if I use some of your input in my post. I will not use last names unless I have specific permission.

Clark Brands

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Clark Brands, formerly Clark Oil, began as Clark's Super Gas and was a 20th-century oil company headquartered in MilwaukeeWisconsin.
Founded by Emory T. Clark in 1932 as a single filling station on the corner of 60th St. and Greenfield Ave. in West Allis, Clark Super Gas sold only premium gasoline. Unlike most contemporary service stations, Clark stations did not offer mechanical maintenance and tire changing.
In 1943, the company moved into refining oil. By the mid-1950s, the company operated nearly 500 gas stations throughout the Midwest, with locations in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.
From 1948 to 1950, Clark Super Gas sponsored the Milwaukee Clarks, a minor league ice hockey team in the International Hockey League.
At its height in the 1970s, Clark Oil was the largest independent oil refiner and marketer in the Midwest with 1,489 stations and two refineries, one inBlue Island, Illinois and the other in Hartford, Illinois. The average Clark station sold twice the number of gallons as the national average, and its emphasis on premium gasoline gave the company a high profit margin.
Emory Clark sold his interest in the company in 1981 to Apex Oil, a St. Louis, Missouri-based company. In 1985, Apex decided to sell Clark Oil. By 1987, Clark and Apex were bankrupt.[1]
In 1992, a division of Toronto-based Horsham Corp. bought Clark Oil and Refining, which included the two refineries and around 1,000 gas stations. The company's name was changed to Clark Refining and Marketing.[1] Horsham expanded the company, buying a Lima, Ohio refinery from BP, and a Port Arthur, Texas refinery from Chevron. Horsham became TrizecHahn, and then sold 80% of Clark to The Blackstone Group, another investment firm, and another portion to Occidental Petroleum.[1]
In 1999, the company sold its retail unit and rebranded itself as Premcor. In 2001, many Clark stations in southeast Michigan were closed permanently. In 2003, Clark Brands, LLC was formed and purchased the Clark brand and other portions of the Clark business, with a primary goal to license the Clark brand to independent operators.[2] Clark gas stations are now operating throughout 28 states, with over 700-branded locations, some with convenience stores under the On the Go name.[3][4]

Friday, December 13, 2013

The 3 C’s of RV living: Communication, cooperation and consideration
Story thanks to Laura Weaver and Passport America Newsblast. Link provided below:
Monday, October 14, 2013
When we decided to "motor home" it, we weren't quite sure what we were getting oursel ves into. Of course, the allure of traveling and the excitement of our adventures were prominent in our minds. However, we had never camped before and weren't quite sure of what to expect during our first extended road trip. In fact, we had a Plan B to fall back on just in case things didn't work out for us.
First and foremost, the thing you need to keep in mind when spending so much time in a motor home is the fact that you are sharing this experience, as well as the limited space, with your traveling companion. It is imperative that you are able to communicate, cooperate and consider this person.
Our morning routine is a "song and dance" of sorts: taking turns using the water, the facilities and the space. Our movements and habits need to be carefully choreographed to stay in sync with each other.
I carefully time turning on the water in the sink to put in my contact lenses while he lathers in the shower with the water off. He opens the medicine chest for his grooming items as I brush my teeth, leaning over the bathroom sink. He reaches up to get his clothing out of the overhead cupboards while I bend low, retrieving mine from the bottom ones. We have everything timed perfectly.
However, there have been times when things didn't run as smoothly — especially in the beginning when we were still learning how to communicate, cooperate and coordinate our actions. One particular event stands out in my mind (and probably always will). Just about everything that could possibly go wrong, did.
We had been on the road for several days before staying at a beautiful campground in upstate New York. Even though there were not many campers that night because of freezing weather conditions, we were all given sites in the same area, so were camping side-by-side.
My husband arose early, choosing to use the campground's heated shower/bathhouse in order to not disturb me and let me sleep a little longer. Besides, because it was literally freezing, our water supply source froze overnight, so he was waiting for the weather to heat up so we could use our own water. Unfortunately, the weather didn't heat up quickly enough.
When I awoke, I decided to bathe in our own shower because our little dog badly needed a bath, and it's easier for me to bathe her in our shower at the same time I'm bathing. I flipped the water pump switch on so I could use our reserve tank, as well as the water heater switch. My husband informed me that we needed to dump after my shower because our tanks were pretty full, and we weren't certain we'd be at a campground that had the sewer hook-up at our next stop.
As I finish bathing our little dog, I noticed water not going down the shower drain, covering my ankles. I called to my husband to 1) grab a towel and start drying off our wet dog, and 2) release a little of the gray water into the sewer drain because the gray water tank was too full, and I still needed to bathe.
Since my husband didn't answer me, I stepped outside the shower stall, grabbed a towel for the dog and walked into the living area, dripping wet. To my surprise, my husband had opened all of our shades and blinds, including the drapes that cover our windshield.
Then I saw him, animatedly talking with our neighbor. He happened to look up into our motor home via the windshield — as did our neighbor. Imagine my humiliation as our neighbor started to wave to me, realized I was totally naked and then pretended he didn't see me. Yikes!
Needless to say, my husband quickly came to my rescue, apologizing profusely and promising to never open the window coverings again without my knowledge. As he went outside to take care of our overflowing gray tank, I hopped back into the shower only to run out of water — our freshwater tank was empty.
I trekked to the shower house, literally shaking from the cold, to complete my shower. Realizing I left the water heater turned on in the motor home without any water, I raced back as quickly as I could. Luckily, no damage there was done, although I was surprised considering the way the morning had gone so far.
After this disastrous event, my husband and I had our "talk." It was from this mishap that we set up the three C's: communication, cooperation, and consideration. Motor home living has been smooth sailing ever since.
Laura Weaver is a freelance writer who travels extensively with her husband and dog in an RV. She enjoys writing about a number of subjects, including her RV travels. Believing everyone has a story to share, she especially enjoys writing about true life experiences.