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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

TRUCK GPS - Professional Driver's Best Friend
The following is a guest post written by and thanks to Andy Stec.

For those of you who are constantly on the road, it is important that you have a
navigation system you can rely on to get you safely from point A to point B. Truck GPS
operate much the same way your standard automobile GPS devices do however, truck
GPS units are designed to avoid roads that have restricted access for trucks, or low
overhead bridges. GPS for truckers also come with options to follow specially designed
routes, including roads with designated weigh stations and special routes for trucks
carrying hazardous materials. It is important to remember that since these devices have
to carry out more complex calculations that your standard car GPS, truck GPS devices
often take longer to calculate the best route for you. It is best to program your route ahead
of time so you are ready to go as soon as you hit the road. With so many options
available, it is best to do some research before you purchase your truck GPS system.

Features to look for in a Truck GPS
There are several important features to look for in any truck GPS you are considering
purchasing to make sure you are getting the best device for your needs.
Screen Display
Consider the size of screen display that is right for you. Most truck GPS devices have a
screen that ranges from 4.3 inches to 7 inches across. If you wear glasses, contacts, or
have trouble seeing at night you may want to consider purchasing a device with a larger
screen size.
It is also important to pay attention to screen resolution and clarity. Make sure the device
you choose is easy to read, and has a bright enough display to see under any condition.
Customizable Features
If you are often driving different types of loads, or travel many different routes where you
are unsure of road conditions, then it is best to look for a GPS that allows you to
customize your route based upon truck height, width and weight. Look for a GPS device
that will show restricted roadways based specifically upon the type of vehicle you are

Power Supplies
For long-haul drivers battery life is an important feature. If you will not have access to a
power source while you are on the road be sure to find a device with a long-lasting
battery. Also consider the type of in-cab chargers that will work best for you. Most
devices come standard with a DC charger, but if you will also require an AC charger be
sure this available for the model you are looking at.

Additional Features
If you are looking for an advanced system that has several more functions beyond
navigation, be sure to compare the additional features a GPS offers. Many devices now
include Bluetooth technology that allows driver to talk on the phone without using their
You can also find devices that play movies and music, provide user reviews for nearby
attractions and accommodations and also offer voice-assist driving directions.

There are many different brands and GPS options to weigh when considering purchasing
a truck GPS. To be sure you are getting the right device for you it is best to read many
truck GPS reviews to be sure the promises the manufacturer makes about a device are
actually true.
To best prepared when you purchase a GPS system be sure you have read through our <a
href="">truck GPS reviews</a>, and also speak with
other drivers in the industry who have previous experience with truck GPS.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Automation is Taking Over?

Why bother adding the ability to shift a crash box to the training required by a newbie driver?

I tend not to agree with the authors view as posted below. If you don't train a newbie truck driver in double clutching and shifting, that severely limits their ability to change employers if the prospective employer does not have automated trucks. Our company location has all manual transmissions, hires only experienced Class A drivers and would fail any road test that I would give him (her) if they can't shift. We pull Rocky Mountain doubles and Super-sets grossing up to 129,000 pounds and there are no practical automatics being built that could handle those loads in mountainous terrain. New drivers should be trained in those aspects and take pride in their ability to "do it right". In my opinion, the "professionalism" of many drivers has been in a downward spiral for many years.
Article thanks to Rolf Lockwood and Links provided:

October, 2014  There’s a quiet revolution going on in that mechanical space between engine and drive axle. It’s the steady rise of transmission automation and the disappearance of that third pedal, the clutch, the one that befuddles new drivers almost without exception.
Some master the coordination of clutch and throttle in no time, some never come close, and the majority muddle on, blowing shifts here and there, grinding off a bit of finely cut metal once in a while.
At the pinnacle of skill in such things is the guy — and I’ve driven with one cool woman in this category — who can drift through the gears with a twin-stick as smoothly as anyone with an auto box. A joy to watch when it’s done well.
The question has become, why bother?
There are still countless holdouts because a manual gearbox is cheaper, for one thing, and without electronic controls, it’s a simpler piece of machinery.
Then there’s the pride thing. Lots of guys — and at least that one woman friend of mine — wouldn’t be caught dead without something for their left foot to do. But the number of holdouts is dwindling as automated mechanical transmissions get better and better, and the case for spec’ing them becomes more and more compelling. Even veterans who once said “no way,” usually change their minds after meeting the calmer, easier driving task created when they don’t have to think about which gear they’re in and which one they’ll need next.
So, when recruiters are forced to dip into a different corner of the gene pool where they simply don’t find drivers with traditional, old-school skills, the question changes a little — and transmission-spec’ing along with it. It really becomes, why bother adding the ability to shift a crash box to the training required by a newbie?
The automated mechanical may cost more than a straight manual gearbox at the outset, but the benefit could make it worthwhile, even if it’s a little intangible. That’s the logic applied these days by an increasing number of over-the-road fleets, some of whom will spec nothing but automation at the shifter.
And let’s not forget that fuel can be saved too. The latest auto boxes have shift logic that’s much better than they had when first on the scene, meaning smarter, more efficient, more sensible shift points. It’s getting harder to say, as we once could, that an automated transmission won’t improve on what your best drivers can do.
In the North American Class 8 world, automated mechanical transmissions hold about 30% market share these days, with growth of 2–4% a year predicted through the next five years or so. But, at Daimler Trucks North America, President and CEO Martin Daum is convinced his Detroit DT12 auto box will reach 90% of Freightliner’s build within the next four years. Volvo has been seeing big success with its I-Shift too, which was spec’ed in 60.7% of the trucks leaving the factory last year, up by nearly 50% over 2012. Eaton won’t divulge market-share information, but its latest UltraShift transmission has been well accepted, and in performance terms, it’s a far cry from the original AutoShift introduced way back in 1997.
Automated mechanical transmissions really are getting better and better, and one particular technology — the dual-clutch system — seems bound to improve things even further. Mitsubishi Fuso already offers one, Volvo has one for Europe and so does ZF. And now Eaton is set to launch its Procision globally.
This is the future, and it will make the case for automation even stronger.
Rolf Lockwood is vice president, editorial, at Newcom Business Media, which publishes Today’s Trucking. He writes for HDT each month on the making, maintaining and use of trucks. 
He can be reached at or 416-315-1829.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

What’s Going on with my Brakes?
Article thanks to Jim Parks and Links provided:

Sept., 2014  This month is a bit of a departure for Tires & Wheels, as we investigate a concern at the wheel-end — brake drum and lining wear likely related to the recent change in stopping distance requirements for heavy trucks.

We have heard reports of shorter-than-expected steer-axle brake drum life and of noisy, chattering brakes on trucks equipped to meet the shorter stopping distance requirements that went into effect in August 2011. Some of those models would now be coming up on a reline interval, while others may now require brake service where historically there was none.

Briefly, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration mandated that a tractor-trailer traveling at 60 mph must come to a complete stop in 250 feet, versus the old standard of 355 feet. The first trucks the rule applied to were three-axle tractors with a gross vehicle weight rating of 59,600 pounds — or just about every line-haul truck in the country.

Fleet exposure to the symptoms seems to be tied to the OE and their choice of brake supplier. Bendix and Meritor, for example, both report that changes they made to their lining formulations and brake designs to meet the reduced stopping distance rules are manifesting themselves on some customer trucks as chattering noises, and in other cases as shortened lining and/or drum life.

“The problem is you’ve got these big brakes on the front axle, but they are ‘underutilized’ in normal conditions,” explains Frank Gilboy, product manager of aftermarket brake shoes at Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake. “If there’s insufficient heat to condition the brake properly, they will glaze and they will develop some noise and chatter.”

It’s nothing to worry about from a performance perspective, they say, but an unintended and perhaps irritating consequence of the rule change.

“Fleets are seeing linings glaze up because they aren’t being worked hard enough,” says Jim Reis, vice president and general manager of Stemco’s Brake Products division. “That’s causing noise and vibration in as little as three months after the truck goes into service. Typically front brakes ran the life of the vehicle, if not for rust-jacking. Now we find they need attention because of the glazing problem. It’s not so much a matter of [truck owners] wearing the brakes out, but just being dissatisfied with the day-to-day performance.”

We have also heard reports of faster-than-normal brake drum wear, possibly related to the more aggressive brake linings used on steer axles.

Chad Plank, president of Webb Wheel Products, says he began getting calls from customers about a year ago wondering why their brake drums were wearing so quickly. Since the steer-axle drums bore the symptoms of the problem, he got the calls.

“Our investigation revealed no issues with our drums,” he says. “Nothing had changed on our end, same material, same production process, same everything. We concluded it was due to the more aggressive linings OEs were using to meet RSD (reduced stopping distance rules).”

According to Reis, before the new rules, it wasn’t uncommon for a brake drum to outlast the linings two or three to one. That may not be the case going forward on steer axles.

“Something usually has to give,” he says. “You’re changing energy into heat, and with the more aggressive friction, I can see where a full cast drum potentially could wear out faster.”

The balance of power

Steer axle brakes are now doing proportionally more work than before. The physical changes required to meet the full-pressure application stopping distance requirements left the front brakes in a position that even in low-pressure applications, they take some of the workload from the drive-axle brakes.

Joe Kay, Meritor’s director of engineering for brakes, North America, says different OEMs use different air system philosophies that can make a difference in wear characteristics.

“Valve crack pressures, timing, and in some cases the plumbing of the system itself can create differences in wear rates,” he says. “Most stops are at 15-20 psi, which means 15-20% of the brake system’s capacity. If there is a 3-4 psi difference in application valve crack pressures from axle to axle, we can see some differences in wear based on timing and valve crack pressure.”

With the greater emphasis placed on the steer axle, it’s now the drive-axle brakes that are just going along for the ride, so to speak. It used to be that steer-axle brakes would last 600,000-700,000 miles because they were so lightly used.

“The rear linings may have actually been ‘dumbed down’ a little to prevent ABS events in the panic stop situation,” observes Jeff Geist, director of engineering at Stemco. “I’ve seen them take some performance out of the rears so that they don’t lock up and add to the stopping distance through ABS brake modulation. ABS will give you a controlled stop, but it won’t be the shortest stop. It’s going to increase the stopping distance.”

Kay says Meritor did make some changes to its drive-axle brake friction to account for the lower demand.

“Pre-RSD, drive-axle brakes were capable of locking up the wheels,” he says. “That’s significant because once the wheel is locked, you can’t add any more torque to it no matter what. So, because those brakes would be doing less work, we came up with some new friction formulas that condition-in more quickly and at lower temperatures than the pre-RSD materials. As a result, we are seeing a slight improvement in drive axle wear rates in some applications.”

Maintain or replace?

RSD raises some interesting issues. It’s mandated only for new vehicles; users are not required to maintain their brakes to those standards.

“There’s a lot of confusion amongst fleet operators over whether or not they should maintain it,” says Stemco’s Reis. “What does maintaining it mean? Putting back one part of a 17-part system? If you really want to maintain RDS, you have to keep the vehicle in the same condition it was in when it was new, including the drums, brake linings and tires, as they all affect brake performance. If you want to take it to the nth degree, you’d have to maintain cam bushings to new condition, ensure there is no bracket fatigue and all the interfaces are within tolerance. That’s a pretty tall order.”

Bendix and Meritor both recommend maintaining the truck to the original equipment standard.

“Meritor is always going to recommend sticking with the OE materials as replacements,” Kay says. “If the fleet noticed a drastic shift in the amount of wear, we’d work with the fleet to figure out what the problem is.”

And then there’s the liability question.

“From a legal standpoint, there’s always the potential for litigation arising from not maintaining the truck properly,” Gilboy warns.

Our sources say work is under way to resolve the question of under-utilized front brakes not conditioning properly in normal service. This issue doesn’t present a performance problem; the larger, more powerful front brakes see to that on their own. The question of lining and drum life, as well as the potential for more frequent lining changes because of noise and vibration, is a work in progress.

Currently, the American Trucking Association’s Technology and Maintenance Council has a Recommended Practice (RP 628) in the revision and balloting stage that shows minimum and maximum torque values of the RSD-approved friction currently on the market. That will help users choose an aftermarket lining material that meets their needs without changing any of the vehicle performance characteristics.

Jim Park

Equipment Editor
Truck journalist 13 years, commercial driver 20 years. Joined us in 2007. Specializes in technical/equipment material (including Tire Report), brings real-world perspective to test drives.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Cops kill cow after wild chase through Pocatello

Idaho State Journal
This heifer refused to go down without a fight!
Article thanks to The Idaho State Journal. Links provided:

Dec 14, 2014 - POCATELLO, IDAHO — Police fatally shot a 1,000-pound cow Friday afternoon that had led them on a lengthy chase through the city’s north side.
The heifer eventually died after being shot by a Pocatello police officer in the backyard of a residence at Henderson and Jessie Clark lanes around 1:30 p.m.
Police had shot the animal earlier in the pursuit but the wounded cow kept running.
Pocatello Police Chief Scott Marchand said the two shots his officers took at the cow were fired because of the safety risk the animal posed.
During the pursuit, the cow rammed a Pocatello animal control truck and two police cars in residential neighborhoods.
Tails up, don't shoot!

The heifer also nearly caused motor vehicle accidents on Hawthorne Road and had run through a playground. Police felt like the animal might trample someone as it charged through the residential neighborhoods on the city’s north side.
Marchand said he’s very thankful the pursuit ended with no injuries to people.
The incident began around 12:40 p.m. at Anderson Custom Pack, a meat processing business at Garrett Way and North Main Street. When an Anderson employee prepared to slaughter the cow, it jumped over a 6-foot fence and ran across Garrett Way and then north up Hawthorne Road.
Anderson employees dialed 911 and within minutes the cow was being pursued by Pocatello police and animal control units on Hawthorne.
Police officers and witnesses said that at one point the cow was running up the middle of Hawthorne Road, nearly causing accidents.
The cow eventually left Hawthorne and headed west on Quinn Road where it retreated to a resident’s backyard on the road’s south side.
Idaho State Journal

A police officer then shot the cow in the head, but instead of succumbing, the animal bolted past the police cars that were supposed to block its path out of the yard. The cow crossed
to the north side of Quinn and ran through OK Ward Park.
With several police and animal control officers in pursuit on foot and in vehicles, the cow emerged onto Henderson Lane from the park and headed north.
Police and animal control officers spent the next several minutes chasing the cow on Henderson and adjoining streets.
They eventually cornered the cow in the backyard of a house at Henderson and Jessie Clark lanes. A police officer shot the cow again in the head, and this time the animal died instantly.
Several residents in the Henderson Lane area emerged from their houses because of the sound of the gunshot.
The damage to the police cars that were rammed by the cow during the chase was minimal. A side-view mirror on the animal control truck was destroyed when the vehicle was struck by the animal.
After the cow died, Anderson employees loaded it onto a truck and took it back to the meat processing business.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

SaltDogg Pickup Tailgate Salt Spreader
This is a pretty cool spreader that attaches to the receiver hitch. Easy to take on and off, great idea for smaller jobs. Article thanks to Links provided:
SaltDogg TGS02 Tailgate Spreader

This new polyethylene, steel and stainless steel SaltDogg TGS02 tailgate spreader from Buyers Products is ideal for both residential and commercial application of ice melt and bagged salt.

One of a dozen SaltDogg tailgate spreaders, this newest model is a 3-cubic-foot capacity that features a frame to fit into a standard 2-inch, Class 4 receiver hitch, making it ideal for use on 1/2- to 1-ton trucks and SUVs.

The new SaltDogg TGS02 tailgate spreader features a horizontal-auger feeder design that gives contractors the flexibility to easily spread ice melt and bagged salt.

An optional vibrator can be added for mixing salt and sand.

“Weighing just 64 pounds, this SaltDogg tailgate spreader has received great reviews as being the perfect size to get the job done,” said Dave Zelis, director of sales and marketing at Buyers Products. “It has a 1/3 horsepower, 12-volt DC dual-shaft gear motor and offers spread widths from 3 feet to 20 feet that are practical for both residential and commercial use.”

CONTACT: for more information.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Truckers: Short Walks Can Offset Long Stretches of Sitting
Story thanks to Mary Elizabeth Dallas and Links provided:
HealthDay Reporter

An hour of sitting can impact arteries in the legs, but even a 5-minute stroll helps, research shows

TUESDAY, Sept. 9, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Taking really short but frequent walks can counteract the harm caused by sitting for long periods of time, a new study suggests. The researchers found that even just a five-minute stroll can help. "American adults sit for approximately eight hours a day," study author Saurabh Thosar, now a postdoctoral researcher at Oregon Health & Science University, said in an Indiana University news release. "The impairment in endothelial function is significant after just one hour of sitting. It is interesting to see that light physical activity can help in preventing this impairment."
According to background information from Indiana University, sitting for a prolonged period of time can cause blood to pool in the legs. This happens because muscles are not contracting and pumping blood to the heart as effectively. As a result, the ability of blood vessels to expand from increased blood flow can become impaired. Being sedentary is also linked to high cholesterol and a larger waistline, which increase the risk for heart and metabolic disease.
"There is plenty of epidemiological evidence linking sitting time to various chronic diseases and linking breaking sitting time to beneficial cardiovascular effects, but there is very little experimental evidence," said Thosar, who was a doctoral candidate at IU's School of Public Health-Bloomington when the study was conducted. "We have shown that prolonged sitting impairs endothelial function, which is an early marker of cardiovascular disease, and that breaking sitting time prevents the decline in that function."
The researchers examined the effects of three hours of sitting on 11 healthy men who were not obese. The men, who ranged in age from 20 to 35 years old, participated in two trials.
First, the men sat for three hours without moving their legs. When the study began and once every hour afterwards, the function of their femoral artery was measured with a blood pressure cuff and ultrasound technology.
During the second trial, the men sat for three hours but also walked on a treadmill for five minutes after 30 minutes, 1.5 hours and 2.5 hours. The men walked at a slow pace of 2 miles per hour. The function of their femoral artery was again measured with a blood pressure cuff and ultrasound technology.
Overall, the researchers found, the ability of the arteries in the legs to expand was reduced by as much as 50 percent after just one hour of sitting. The men who walked for five minutes for each hour they spent sitting, however, had no reduction in the function of their arteries during the three-hour period.
The researchers concluded that the increased muscle activity and blood flow from the small amount of exercise offset the negative impacts of sitting.
The research was published Sept. 8 in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Truckers Beware - What You Put on Facebook Could Hurt You

Story thanks to Kathleen Baydala Joyner, Links provided:

Trucker's Facebook Habit Settles Case for Injured Driver

Plaintiff's lawyer shows pattern of distracted driving to win $1M settlement

Sept, 2014 A trucker's snarky Facebook posts, including photos he admitted to snapping from behind the wheel, helped the driver he hit three years ago coax a $1 million settlement from the trucker's company and insurance carrier.

The wreck occurred just after midnight on May 5, 2011, on Interstate 285 in Fulton County. Both the tractor-trailer and the plaintiff's compact sedan were traveling in the westbound lanes when the tractor-trailer attempted to change lanes and clipped the driver side of the sedan, according to the accident report. The sedan flipped over several times before coming to rest on the shoulder.

The sedan's driver, 41-year-old Kristin Meredith, was taken by ambulance to a hospital. She later had surgery to fuse vertebrae in her lower back, her attorney said.

Meredith filed a suit in April 2013 in DeKalb County State Court against truck driver Jerry O'Reilly, his employer Try Hours and National Interstate Insurance Co. The suit alleged negligence on the part of the trucker and his company and sought more than $75,000 to compensate her for injuries and damages, as well as punitive damages. A month later, the case was moved to federal court in the Northern District of Georgia. All of the defendants are out of state.

In its answer filed in May 2013, the defense claimed that Meredith caused the wreck. Her attorney, Ben Brodhead, said they were able to disprove that using an accident reconstructionist. Brodhead noted that law enforcement cited O'Reilly for improper lane change. He pleaded guilty to the charge in Sandy Springs Municipal Court and paid a $247.50 fine.

The pivotal moment in the case occurred during a videotaped deposition of O'Reilly at his attorneys' office last October, said Brodhead. During questioning, O'Reilly at first denied using a camera, phone or computer while driving, but he later admitted to taking photos while driving after Brodhead presented him with dozens of posts captured from O'Reilly's Facebook profile.

While none of the photos or comments was posted at the time of the wreck, Brodhead said he was able to use them to establish a pattern of distracted driving.

"We always do background searches on defendants and will pull background information from social media, Internet and records searches," Brodhead said. "We have private investigators looking things up."

"It appeared this guy just drove down the road taking photos," he said. "It speaks to his negligence and disregard for the safety of others. He switched lanes into my client and, in doing so, said he never saw her."

In one post, O'Reilly included a photo of his truck cab accompanied by a caption that read, "My new bumper. Now pull your ass out in front of me." In another, O'Reilly commented below someone else's photo of a sedan boxed in by big rigs, "I've been there and done that also. I don't get mad. I get even."

O'Reilly also admitted changing his Facebook profile's privacy settings, just prior to Brodhead's questions, so that the photos were no longer publicly accessible. Brodhead said he anticipated O'Reilly would eventually make his Facebook profile private and so instructed a staff member to monitor it throughout the deposition and alert him if anything changed.

"And so that means that today while you were waiting on people during the deposition, you found it to be the time that was best to change your privacy settings, correct?" Brodhead asked O'Reilly, according to a transcript.
O'Reilly then answered, "I went on and changed them, I mean, I don't know what to tell you. I didn't know you had this stuff."

Brodhead said he reached out to the defendants' attorneys at Dennis, Corry, Porter & Smith afterward to settle via a so-called Holt demand, a strategy for which Brodhead has developed a reputation.

"It was at the point where the case clearly had a value over $1 million," Brodhead said. "We gave the defense the option to pay its policy limits, and the defense attorneys did an excellent job of protecting their clients from any excess judgment."

Lead defense counsel Grant Smith could not be reached Wednesday for comment.

Had the case gone to trial, Brodhead was prepared to show the jury O'Reilly's Facebook posts.

"There was information in the depositions that could have inflamed the passions of the jury," he said. In addition to the Facebook posts, O'Reilly admitted he had been diagnosed and treated for sleep apnea, a condition in which a person stops breathing while asleep and that results in fatigue. O'Reilly also admitted that he waited more than eight hours before submitting to a statutorily required drug and alcohol screening following the wreck.

Brodhead said he had a negotiated settlement with the defendants in February, but it wasn't finalized until recently due to ongoing negotiations with the carrier of his client's uninsured motorist coverage, Progressive.

"They had asked for a dismissal without prejudice so they could pursue [O'Reilly] and his company. But they had anticipated that their payment would be made as a full resolution of the case and that they wouldn't have any exposure to any judgments or claims by the uninsured motorist carrier or anyone else," Brodhead said. "So we had to fight with the uninsured motorist carrier to get it to waive its claim for subrogation."

The court dismissed the case with prejudice on Tuesday.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Last of the Milwaukee Mob Bosses - Joseph "Joe Camel" P. Caminiti
Thanks to One of my blog contributors reported that Joe was a resident of Menomonie Falls and drove a big Cadillac. I didn't realize that he had died this year. Links provided:

Joseph P. Caminiti (born 1926- died January 30, 2014) also known as "Joe Camel", was the last known reputed boss of the Milwaukee crime family. He was heavily involved in labor unions in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


Caminiti was married to Mary Alioto, daughter of former Milwaukee family boss John Alioto, with whom he had three children. He came to prominence when he was installed as Frank Balistrieri's Consigliere, a position he allegedly held from 1961 when Balistrieri became boss until the 1990s. In 1993, Frank Balistrieri died and his brother Peter Frank Balistrieri, succeeded him as boss.
When Pete Balistrieri died of natural causes in 1997, longtime family Consigliere Joe Caminiti became the new boss of the Milwaukee crime family and had Joseph Balistrieri, Frank's son, installed as his underboss and made Angelo Alioto, the son of John Alioto his Consigliere (Angelo died on February 3, 2011 of complications of pneumonia at age 87). Caminiti was a former secretary-treasurer of local 257 of the International Brotherhood of Teamster's truck drivers and allied industries Union which was a very influential union in Milwaukee's garbage removal and gasoline transportation and a former secretary treasurer of local 982 of the service station attendants, bulk plant and garage employees union. Under Caminiti's leadership the family was reportedly composed of no more than twenty members and 15-20 associates operating primarily in Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin. Law enforcement claimed that Caminiti shared much of the power with Frank Balistrieri's son Joseph who died in 2010. In the 2000s, Law enforcement also believed that the Milwaukee LCN Family was nearly extinct, with less than 15 "made" members and the most lucrative rackets controlled by the Chicago Outfit.
Caminiti died on January 30, 2014 at the age of 87.

Joseph Caminiti's Obituary from
Caminiti, Joseph P.  Found Eternal Peace January 30, 2014, at the age of 87. Loving and devoted husband of Mary (nee Alioto) for 64 years. Loving and caring father of Madelynn (Daniel) Woodward and Catherine (Franklin "Rocky") LaDien. Proud and loving nano of Kathryn Woodward (Marco) Nasca, the late Mary Elizabeth Woodward, Daniel Woodward, Joseph and John LaDien. Cherished great-nano of Matthew and John Nasca. Beloved brother of Rosalie (Mike) Enea and the late Bernadine (the late Dominic) Cifaldi. Also survived by nieces, nephews, cousins and many, many good friends. Visitation Monday, February 3 at the HARDER FUNERAL HOME from 3:30 PM to 6:45 PM with a Prayer Vigil Service at 7:00 PM. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Tuesday, February 4 at OLD ST. MARY'S PARISH, 844 N. Broadway St., Milwaukee at 10:00 AM. Procession to Holy Cross Cemetery for the committal prayers, military honors and entombment to follow. Joe was a proud member of M.S.S. Addolarata Society, Society of San Giuseppe, Pompeii Men's Club, the Italian Community Center and past president of Wisconsin Association of Life Underwriters. The Caminiti family wishes to extend their sincere gratitude to caregivers, Lori Heppe, Shawenee Willis, Karen Sieben, the staff of Franciscan Woods and Elmbrook Hospital and the family friends who graciously loved and supported Joe and our family. - See more at:

Caminiti, Joseph P. Found Eternal Peace January 30, 2014, at the age of 87. Loving and devoted husband of Mary (nee Alioto) for 64 years. Loving and caring father of Madelynn (Daniel) Woodward and Catherine (Franklin "Rocky") LaDien. Proud and loving nano of Kathryn Woodward (Marco) Nasca, the late Mary Elizabeth Woodward, Daniel Woodward, Joseph and John LaDien. Cherished great-nano of Matthew and John Nasca. Beloved brother of Rosalie (Mike) Enea and the late Bernadine (the late Dominic) Cifaldi. Also survived by nieces, nephews, cousins and many, many good friends. Visitation Monday, February 3 at the HARDER FUNERAL HOME from 3:30 PM to 6:45 PM with a Prayer Vigil Service at 7:00 PM. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Tuesday, February 4 at OLD ST. MARY'S PARISH, 844 N. Broadway St., Milwaukee at 10:00 AM. Procession to Holy Cross Cemetery for the committal prayers, military honors and entombment to follow. Joe was a proud member of M.S.S. Addolarata Society, Society of San Giuseppe, Pompeii Men's Club, the Italian Community Center and past president of Wisconsin Association of Life Underwriters. The Caminiti family wishes to extend their sincere gratitude to caregivers, Lori Heppe, Shawenee Willis, Karen Sieben, the staff of Franciscan Woods and Elmbrook Hospital and the family friends who graciously loved and supported Joe and our family. - See more at:

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Buffalo snow stranded Green Bay trucker for 3 days
Article thanks to Paul Srubas and the Green Bay Press Gazette. Links provided:

12/2/2014  A lot of different things can make up what most of us would call a bad day at work.
What's yours? A balky copy machine? A cranky boss? How about a Black Friday with a day's worth of rude customers?
James "Mickey" York had one of his worst just a short while ago, a work day that ended up extending to more than 50 hours long, spent stranded on a remote New York highway in a snowstorm, crammed into the cab of an immobilized semi with three other guys, with nothing to eat and only melted snow to drink.
"I never want to go through that again as long as I live," said York, 39, of Green Bay.
York drives a semi for Skaleski Moving & Storage of Green Bay. He spent nearly three days stranded in his truck on Interstate 90 outside of Buffalo, during one of the worst snowstorms in that snowy region's history.
About two weeks ago, York was sitting in a New York truck stop with a handful of other truckers listening to weather reports forecasting a big storm that was supposed to hit mid-morning the next day.
"Everybody figured the roads would shut down around 8 or 9 a.m., so a bunch of us figured we'd better get across before it hit," York said. "That storm was only going to be over the southern part of Buffalo, and as long as we got to northern Buffalo before the storm, I never would've seen it."
Everybody headed out about 4 a.m. that morning, Nov. 18, which seemed like plenty of time for York to make the first of this three deliveries before having to hunker down and wait out the storm.
Bad move. The storm turned out to be much faster and more ferocious than anyone expected.
"It came in like nothing I've ever seen in my life," York said. "It was fairly dark, but one minute you're looking at the road and it's perfectly fine, and the next minute, it was a complete white-out."
Getting near sunrise, with nothing but trucks on the turnpike, visibility was so poor that they were crawling along at about 10 mph. York and another driver he was in CB radio communication with decided to abort and head for a truck stop near Buffalo about nine miles out. But moments later, traffic came to a stop. York learned later a driver had jack knifed his truck about three miles up the road, and that stopped York and everybody else in their tracks.
"Within a couple hours of that, we had the DOT talking to us on CB telling us the snow was heavier than expected and we were looking at 10 to 12 hours before they could attempt to get us out. ... By that time, the snow was up to the middle of my wheels."
Ten to 12 hours turned out to be a gross understatement. This was a snowstorm that was leaving snowplows buried and immovable.
"By the end of Tuesday, the city had 60 pieces of snow removal equipment buried on the New York (State Thruway)," York said. "One of their plow trucks was right behind me, stuck. I didn't know it until they started digging us out."
Truckers had to keep their engines idling to stay warm, and little by little they ran out of fuel and had to go to someone else's truck to avoid freezing to death.
That's how York picked up three companions. He was in better shape than some, because he had fueled up before leaving, meaning he could sit idling and warm, listening to local weather reports to kill time.
"By the end of the second day, you couldn't get from truck to truck anymore," York said. "I had to keep opening my door every half hour to 45 minutes, just to clear the snow away. On the passenger side, it was halfway up the window."
Wednesday afternoon, they were told the National Guard was on their way in to rescue them, but then that night, the snow caved in and buried the Guard's front-end loader.
"About 4 a.m. Thursday, they started again. ... They got to my truck about 8 or 9 o'clock Thursday morning."
They plowed him clear and he was able to drive to a truck stop in a little town called Dunkirk. That's where he learned that at least one trucker never made it.
"Apparently he didn't have a CB that worked," York said. "He waited too long. He sat in his truck until it ran out of gas, then tried to get help, but by that time, it was too deep and he got buried."
It was one of more than a dozen fatalities that resulted from the storm, York said.
At the Dunkirk truckstop, York caught up on much-needed food, then sleep. When he awoke Friday morning, he learned the area had picked up another three feet of snow overnight. Fortunately, that had already been plowed clear and he was able to hit the road and make his deliveries.
"The first place I was delivering to was 40 miles north of where I got stuck," York said. "They had 1½ inches of snow on the ground. That was it."
He arrived home on Nov. 26, just in time to enjoy Thanksgiving with his wife and four kids. What should have been a six-day trip ended up taking two weeks.
By the time you're reading this, he will have set off to make another delivery — to Buffalo.
"This time, I'm going have food in the truck," York said. "I don't care if it's 65 and sunny." and follow him on Twitter @PGpaulsrubas

Sunday, November 30, 2014

My trucking life or (possible) death decision - What would you have done?
With all the racially charged theatrics going on in the country these last few weeks, it made me think of a split second decision I had to make back in the very early 1990’s.

I was on an over the road trip from Wisconsin to Texas and had my now ex-wife with me. It was a good multi-stop mileage run that went to Dallas, made a triangle to San Antonio and Houston before the return to Wisconsin. I would grab this run whenever I got the chance because it paid very well.

After completing my stops in Dallas, I pre-tripped the tractor and trailer, discovering a flat tire on the trailer in the process. It was mid-afternoon and we were near the central, urban and rundown area of the city. I looked in my truck shop directory and found the nearest facility, which I decided to drive over and get the tire repaired. I was not familiar with the area and after exiting the freeway, noticed that the neighborhood was very seedy with vacant buildings and dilapidated houses.

We entered the truck shop yard without incident and had the tire repaired. Eager to get back on the road and out of the city before the afternoon rush, I didn’t waste any time. I thought the way back to the freeway was simple, but, I made a wrong turn. That’s when our day went bad.

I found myself in a residential neighborhood that was full of porch sitters and gang-banger types. The speed limit was 25 mph and I proceeded down the street, intending to turn left at the next corner and work my way back to the freeway. As we approached the intersection, there was a gang of approximately 15 black young people standing around the corner. As I slowed for the turn, I was observant, watching them watch us. One of them was yelling something at the others and raised his fist, they all started quickly off the curb directly in front of the truck facing me.

The only thing that I thought was that if I stopped that truck, we would be robbed, beaten or killed. I grabbed the lever, downshifted and mashed the throttle wide open as I pulled on the air horn. The bangers scattered in all directions with one tripping over another as he fell. A couple of them on my left barely made it out of the way, I steered right to avoid them, but there was no way I was going to lift off the throttle. I then started grabbing gears in case one or more of them had a gun.

I kept going straight to the next corner before turning as my wife screamed at me “You could have killed somebody!”. I was dumbfounded and yelled back “What did you want me to do, stop?. We could have been killed!”. She didn't respond and I don’t remember that we ever discussed it further.

I grew up in the “inner core” of Milwaukee in the 1950’s and 60’s and I remember the evil that permeates in those gangs. My ex-wife lived 15 years in Salt Lake City and spent many more living in northern Wisconsin and was away from all that.

What would you have done? My life could have completely changed that day if I had killed one of them. It would have been one lone white guy and his wife’s word against the whole neighborhood. I’m so sick of these race baiters like Jackson and Sharpton that keep stoking the fires for their own personal gain.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Bears fan treated with grace at Lambeau
The Green Bay Packers, in my opinion, have the greatest fans in the country. There are always some exceptions, but all in all, I'm proud to be from Wisconsin. Read this account from a Chicago Bear fan, thanks to and, of course, Vince Slisz. I've read many other accounts of how opposing teams fans are treated at Lambeau. Links provided:
11/22/2014  My son Alex and I were invited to go to the Packers/Bears game by my daughter's longtime Green Bay fan boyfriend, Jason. Neither my son nor I have ever been in Green Bay, so we looked forward to it with some apprehension as we know how Green Bay fans are treated here in Chicago.
Three blocks from the stadium I twisted my back and had trouble walking. Luckily Alex and Jason are two big guys, each grabbing one of my arm s and helping me the rest of the way. Upon entering the stadium an employee saw I was having trouble and hurried over to me with a much welcome wheelchair. He pushed me onto an elevator in my Bears jersey and hat.
There was another man in a wheelchair, that he appeared to need daily, dressed in his Packers jersey and hat. I asked, how you doing? He said better than you, I am a Packers fan. Everyone on the elevator laughed the whole ride.
I was wheeled as close as possible to my seat. where I had to take one step at a time. We were eight rows up on the 30-yard line behind the Bears. All the way down, Packers fans offered me their arms and hands to help me to my seat. As there are no backs to the seats, I had trouble sitting up straight. Not two minutes into the game a Packers fan gave me the chair that hooks on to the seat.
I don't think I have ever seen such kindness at any sporting event, and there was no doubt I was a Bears fan. I want to thank everyone in Green Bay for their kindness, even the next day. I will be sure to tell everyone I know this story. It made a painful day, in more ways than one, a day to remember in human kindness.
Vince Slisz, Orland Park, IL

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Huh? Drivers Demand Fair Pay from Walmart? Say What?

Only in La La Land, the People's Republic of California. According to what I've seen published, Walmart is one of the top companies in the country for driver pay. I've read that their average annual compensation is between $70,000 and $80,000! Walmart runs a tight ship and their drivers work hard for their money. But this is ridiculous. How many millions of dollars will Walmart have to spend to defend itself? Story thanks to Links provided:

Drivers Demand Fair Wages: Class Action Suit Filed Against Wal-Mart

The war over driver pay and minimum wage has raged off and on for decades now, but it looks like the tide may shift soon as a new legal battle is about to start in California courts. A judge has just approved class action status for a lawsuit being brought against Wal-Mart Transportation by a group of drivers claiming that Wal-Mart is violating state law by failing to pay them minimum wage.

You’ve probably heard this argument before, this ‘new’ case was actually first filed back in 2008, but it was only approved for class action status last week, which was the push that was needed to get the ball rolling.

Wal-Mart drivers are paid by the mile like most of the drivers in this industry, and also receive pay for any activity that Wal-Mart deems compensable. Some non-compensable duties drivers must perform are pre and post-trip inspections, completing paperwork, rest breaks, fueling, and maintaining and washing their rigs.

Again, all of this is fairly standard in the industry, but the plaintiffs in the case argue that while minimum wage requirements are satisfied if only driving time is taken into account, when you count the so-called non-compensable duties as part of the work day, Wal-Mart’s pay falls short.

It’s not only the below-minimum-wage pay that drivers are claiming is illegal. They also take issue with the lack of state mandated paid meal breaks, and failing to provide accurate wage statements.

There isn’t anything really remarkable about Wal-Mart’s treatment of its drivers, but that’s precisely what makes this case so important. It’s a high-profile company with a large class action suit being brought against it for the payment practices that the majority of carriers employ. If this domino falls, it could have a huge impact on the rest of the industry.

More in depth article below thanks to The Links provided:

Truck drivers employed by Wal-Mart have been granted class action status in a lawsuit over the employer’s alleged failure to pay minimum wage in violation of the California Labor Code.
The California district court determined that the drivers met the requirements of Rule 23 after concluding that they identified common questions of law and fact concerning the alleged minimum wage violations and waiting-time penalties. The court also found that common questions regarding Wal-Mart’s pay formula meant that common issues predominated over individualized issues as required by Rule 23(b)(3).
However, certification was denied as  a class action for the employee’s wage statement claims.
Former truck drivers employed by Wal-Mart brought a class action suit alleging that the mega retailer violated various provisions of the California Labor Code and Business and Professional Code by failing to pay minimum wage, provide meal and rest breaks, and provide accurate wage statements.
According to the employees, Wal-Mart uniformly applied policies, detailed in its driver pay manuals, that rendered the issues in this case appropriate for class action. Specifically, they alleged that Wal-Mart’s piece-rate pay policies did not provide minimum wages and did not pay drivers for certain mandatory activities, in violation of California law. Wal-Mart pays its drivers based on mileage, activity pay (for duties Wal-Mart deems compensable), and non-activity pay (for events at Wal-Mart dispatch and home offices or unplanned events). The drivers contended that Wal-Mart’s piece-rate pay policies did not pay drivers minimum wage for all of the work they perform for tasks such as pre- and post-trip inspections; rest breaks; fueling; washing the tractors; weighing the tractors; completing mandatory paperwork; wait time and layover periods. When drivers are given a driving assignment, they also receive a projected estimated time of arrival. Drivers are to look at the estimated time only as an estimate and adjust it with the knowledge that they need a 10-minute rest break and/or a meal break under California law. The drivers have full autonomy to make changes to the estimated times.
Tasks including fueling, washing, and weighing trucks are not separately paid. Additionally, drivers must remain in the tractor when fueling at a regional distribution center and may be required to fuel their own tractor when fueling at a grocery distribution center. Drivers are also responsible for the cleanliness of the tractor and trailer and must wash them once per week, or as often as needed.
As to the waiting time issue, drivers are not separately compensated for all time spent waiting. Under the 2001Driver Pay Manual, the first two hours of wait time after arrival at a store, an hour after arrival at a vendor and when waiting at a return center, is non-compensable. The manual further states that drivers are not paid for wait time when routine scheduled maintenance is performed on equipment, when undergoing a DOT inspection, or for any time spent at a highway weigh scale.
Drivers were paid $42 for 10-hour layover periods. A layover is earned when taking a mandatory DOT break and is not paid in conjunction with any other type of pay.
In additional to an overall class of California drivers, the employees also sought to certify a waiting-time penalty sub-class. Wal-Mart argued that the employees’ questions were not capable of class resolution because the question of whether drivers were paid for various tasks required individualized inquiries. It also argued that the policies in its manuals were merely “guidelines” and that the employees’ inquiries required driver-by-driver and task-by-task analysis.
The court determined that the employees met the commonality requirement for the proposed class of drivers and found that the employees identified common questions of law and fact concerning minimum wages, including: whether Wal-Mart’s piece-rate pay plan violated California’s minimum wage laws by failing to pay drivers minimum wage for all hours worked; whether Wal-Mart’s drivers are entitled to payment of at least minimum wages for all hours worked; and whether Wal-Mart requires drivers to perform services during DOT-mandated layovers, for which drivers are paid less than California’s minimum wage.
Similarly, the court concluded that the drivers had also identified a common question of law and fact concerning waiting-time penalties: whether Wal-Mart violated Labor Code Sec. 203 by willfully failing to pay all wages due and owing to each driver whose employment ended at any time during the class period.
Again, the court found that the employees’ question can be resolved on a class-wide basis, and so they satisfied the commonality requirement for the waiting-time penalty subclass.
Observing that the employees’ theory of recovery involved Wal-Mart’s common practice or policy denying all class members minimum wage for all hours worked and that the  plaintiffs were subject to the policies and suffered the same injury as a result of the policies, the court found that they met the typicality requirement. Additionally, because Wal-Mart did not challenge the adequacy of the representative plaintiffs to serve as class representative, the court found that they met the adequacy requirements of Rule 23(a)(4).
With respect to the driver class, Wal-Mart first argued that the plaintiffs had not offered a way to determine which drivers performed which tasks or the amount of time spent on those tasks in California, so they could not meet the predominance requirement. However, the court found its argument unpersuasive. It found that the plaintiffs were California residents and worked out of distribution centers located in California. Further, it found that the plaintiffs presumptively enjoyed the protections of IWC regulations, so Wal-Mart’s argument presented no bar to the predominance requirement. The court also rejected Wal-Mart’s argument that the employees’ minimum wage claims required an hour-by-hour, driver-by-driver, and task-by-task analysis of how each plaintiff spent his workday, and these individual questions would overwhelm any common questions.
Instead, the court concluded that Wal-Mart’s pay formula raised common questions, and these common questions predominated over individual questions of whether certain drivers received additional discretionary pay after requesting such payments, or whether some drivers completed tasks like paperwork during wait-time or attended to personal phone calls during layovers. Accordingly, the court found that the plaintiffs satisfied the predominance requirement for their minimum wage claims. However, the court denied the employees’ motion for class certification for claims of inaccurate wage statements because they did not show that class members shared a common injury as a result of the missing wage statement information that could be adjudicated on a class-wide basis or that there were common legal question that predominated over the individualized issues for plaintiffs’ wage statement claims.
Wal-Mart also challenged whether the plaintiffs had established predominance for their waiting-time claims under California Labor Code Sec. 203. According to the plaintiffs, Wal-Mart’s policy of failing to pay drivers at least the minimum wage for all hours worked constituted a violation of Sec. 203. They suggested that Wal-Mart instituted a payment system that ensured its drivers were not paid the minimum wage. Under this framing of the waiting-time issue, the court found that common questions predominated and individualized inquiries into each driver’s underpayment were not required.

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