Follow by Email

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Sixteen people packed in one pickup hospitalized following I-75 accident

Photo: FHP
Article thanks to Tom Quimby and Links provided:

JUNE 5, 2017  Sixteen people jammed into a pickup—10 in the bed and six in the cab—were all hospitalized following a recent accident on Interstate 75 in Florida.
The Florida Highway Patrol reports that 44-year-old Joseph Turtulien was driving a Ford F-250 filled with 15 passengers when he lost control and veered off the highway while traveling northbound around 6:40 a.m. Thursday on I-75 in Charlotte County.
Turtulien apparently had been trying to avoid colliding with a truck that had changed lanes in front of him near mile marker 164. FHP reports that he slowed down and drove partially onto the grass-filled center median, overcorrected and crossed the highway onto the shoulder of the road, overcorrected again and crossed back over the highway to the center median where the truck rolled over and ejected his passengers. All 16 people were hospitalized including seven with serious injuries. Turtulien, who had been wearing a seatbelt, was among those who had been seriously injured. The accident is still under investigation, according to

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Immigrant truck drivers: Shhhh. We don’t talk about it.

Photo: Pressmania
Story thanks to Larry Kahaner and Links provided:

Yet recruiting immigrants to be drivers appears to be a successful tactic, despite trucking's reluctance to discuss it.

June 11, 2017  When U.S. motor carriers discuss recruiting new drivers they're eager to chat about efforts to reach out to underrepresented groups such as women, minorities and military veterans, but there's one group they're reluctant to discuss for publication: Immigrants.
Schools, organizations and companies that train new drivers also shy away from the subject of immigrant drivers; ditto for some state carrier organizations.
Fleet Owner reached out to eight industry stakeholders with multiple phone calls and email messages to discuss immigrants in the U.S. trucking industry and either received no response or the equivalent of “no comment.”
This reluctance belies the fact that recruitment of immigrant drivers appears to be successful. Currently, of the 1.2 million motor carrier-employed U.S. truck drivers (operating Class 8 trucks) about 224,722 or 18.6% are immigrants, according to U.S. Census data for 2011-2015 as analyzed by Justin Lowry, PhD, a Postdoctoral Researcher at George Mason University's Institute for Immigration Research. Figures for 2010-2012 clocked in at 15.7%, he said.
Although Lowry has looked at other industries, driving jobs (including truckers) stood out as one of the industries that grew in terms of immigrant workers.
"In general, immigrants in the workforce of the trucking industry are helping to buoy the industry itself because of the lack of workers,” Lowry said. “There's a high demand for truckers and not a whole lot of native-born U.S. who are entering into it. If you look at the age distribution of native U.S. citizens to foreign-born in the trucking industry, you'll note that the U.S.-born tend to be older, because the younger generation of U.S. citizens don't think of trucking as a natural career path."
Where do the immigrant drivers come from? "The top five are Mexico, El Salvador, Cuba, India, and Guatemala," Lowry noted. "Eastern European countries like Poland and Ukraine are next and then it drops off quickly: Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Bosnia, Honduras, Columbia, Russia, and China."
The largest group -- representing 32% of immigrant truck drivers – is from Mexico.
According to the Institute's 2014 report – Who’s Behind the Wheel? Immigrants Filling the Labor Shortage in the U.S. Trucking Industry, authored by Zahra Sohail Khan – the percentage of immigrant drivers is higher than that of the total percentage of immigrants in the U.S., which is estimated at 13%.
"The proportion of immigrant truck drivers is particularly high in certain states such as California (46.7%), New Jersey (40.4%), Florida (32.2%), and New York (25.7%)," the report noted.
How did U.S.-born truckers react to seeing the report? "After the original release of the truck driving brief, I got some phone calls from truckers who wanted to talk about what was really going on,” Lowry explained. “Some of them were very keyed into workers' rights issues going on in the trucking industry right now where there's an interplay between large corporate trucking companies and the drivers themselves trying to manage the exploitation of low-wage workers."
Several truck drivers Fleet Owner spoke with are concerned that immigrant drivers lower wages for all drivers.
"It's not an uncommon argument for people to make that increasing the size of the workforce drops the wages on the entire workforce," Lowry pointed out. "And I think that it is a difficult argument to contextualize on a larger scale. Even though you may see an initial trend of lower wages for immigrant workers, I don't think that that means that the immigrants are causing the wages to be lower."
He added: "What I can tell you is that there is a demand for new truckers. Now, whether the demand is created by a lack of wages or the demand is created by a lack of interest in the industry, I don't know. I know for a fact that if they would increase wages, they would have higher demand.”
The fundamental fact is when immigrants come into a country they are probably working at the lowest wages, Lowry noted, and that tends to happen across all industries. But as they grow in the field, they tend to bolster it, he stressed.
“If the new immigrant workers are incorporated into the collaborative bargaining groups, then there's a huge power in the communities of immigrants in addition to existing drivers to leverage bargaining power for increased wages or better work conditions," Lowry emphasized.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

City admits mistake in trying to fix previous error on red light tickets
Article thanks to David Kidwell and Links provided:
Jan, 2017  In its effort to clean up a mistake it made on 1.9 million red light and speed-camera tickets, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration has erred again.
In a mass mailing last week to recipients of those tickets, City Hall offered a second chance to appeal the violations. The effort was intended to fend off a class-action lawsuit alleging the city failed to give ticket holders adequate time or notice the first time around.
One problem: The city's ticket website is not allowing many ticket holders to view the violation video or photographic evidence used to issue the fines in the first place.
One attorney said many of his clients who got letters from the city are getting error messages when they go to view their violations, some more than 6 years old.
"It's alarming to me that they would do something like this," said Kimberly Slider, 46, of Sauk Village, who received notices on five red light camera tickets she received in 2010 and 2011. "Of the five, I could only see two of the videos.
"They are just up to the same old money-grabbing tactics," said Slider, an attorney in the consumer fraud division of the Illinois attorney general's office. "I know these tactics when I see them."
Emanuel's Transportation Department spokesman, Michael Claffey, said Friday that "as soon as the city was alerted to this problem, we immediately contacted our vendors for the automated enforcement programs, and they are adding additional resources to get every violation uploaded as soon as possible."
Claffey said the process may take several days, and that to ensure everyone has ample time to contest their violations, the city is extending the deadline for filing the new appeals by two weeks to Feb. 19.
The city offered no explanation for the glitch, but Claffey said some of the data from older tickets — from 2010 and 2011 — still has yet to be uploaded into the system. He also suggested high traffic on the website might be to blame.
"We are updating our website this evening to alert people to the issue and the extension to contest violations," he said.
Claffey also cautioned people to make sure they are checking the correct database on the city's website. Red light camera tickets and speed camera tickets have to be looked up separately, and an error message will appear if the citation number is plugged into the wrong database.
Asked what the city is going to do for those who have already discarded their notices because of the frustration at being unable to see the violation video, Claffey said, "All we can do is apologize."
Claffey added that violation videos can be viewed by entering a vehicle owner and vehicle tag number.
The mass mailing to nearly 1.2 million recipients of 1.9 million tickets offers a second chance to appeal red light camera violations issued between May 23, 2010, and May 14, 2015, or speed camera tickets since May 2012, which is when that program began.
The appeals offer by the city follows a ruling last year by Cook County Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy denying the city's motion to dismiss a class-action lawsuit alleging the city violated due process by failing to mail out second notices and wait the full 25 days required by law to assess late fees.
Chicago attorney Jacie Zolna, who filed the suit, has called the Emanuel administration's effort to force people to relitigate the city's illegal behavior a sham. On Friday, he scoffed at the idea the city would allow his clients to appeal violations when they cannot see the evidence used to fine them.
"I think they've got another problem here," he said. "It appears to me they have a difficult time doing anything right."
The notice instructs ticket holders to visit the city's website at, but after plugging in the citation and license plate numbers to view the video, many see only the error message "invalid citation/pin number combination."
Zolna said no photos or video were available on 18 of 37 cases of which his office is aware, including two violations sent to him personally. The dates on tickets where no video is available range from 2009 all the way through 2015, Zolna said.
Of six notices for rehearing sent to the Chicago Tribune for violations on company cars, the video evidence was unavailable on only one, a red light camera ticket from 2010.
Zolna's suit was among half a dozen lawsuits that followed a Tribune investigation of corruption and mismanagement within the city's $600 million red light program. The series exposed a $2 million City Hall bribery scheme that brought the traffic cameras to Chicago as well as tens of thousands of tickets that were issued to drivers unfairly.
The investigation found malfunctioning cameras, inconsistent enforcement and millions of dollars in tickets issued purposely by City Hall even after transportation officials knew that yellow light times were dropping below the federal minimum guidelines.
Throughout the scandal, the Emanuel administration has been reluctant to issue refunds, in some cases forcing drivers to file paperwork and apply for a rehearing process some critics have called onerous.
Former City Hall operative John Bills was sentenced to 10 years in prison for taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to steer tens of millions of dollars in red light camera contracts to an Arizona company, Redflex Traffic Systems Inc. The former CEO of the company was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in federal prison.
According to testimony at his federal trial, Bills took a cash bribe of up to $2,000 for each of the 384 red light cameras that were installed while he oversaw the program. The Tribune found that up to 40 percent of those cameras made intersections more dangerous by increasing injuries from rear-end crashes by 22 percent.
One of the suits that stemmed from the scandal was filed by the Emanuel administration itself, seeking more than $350 million in damages from Redflex.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

A Trucker and a Father: How to Make it Work
Article thanks to Jim Sweeney and the RoadPro Family of Brands. Links provided:

It can be hard on trucker dads when providing for a family requires being away from that family.
On Father’s Day, June 18, many trucker dads will be on the road and not at home to receive cards and gifts. It’s a fact of life for OTR truckers, but the absences still hurt.
“It’s very hard being a dad on the road,” said Ryan Sexton, a member of the RoadPro Pro Driver Council. It can mean missing big events, like birthdays, as well as little ones, like dance competitions and games of catch.   
Of course, it’s easier now than ever for truckers to stay in touch, thanks to digital technology and social media. Long gone are the days of waiting in line for pay phones at a truck stop. Cell phones mean family is never more than a text or call away and Skype allows dads and children to talk face-to-face even if the family is in Dallas and dad is in Duluth. Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms let absent dads keep up on what the family is doing.
“I use pretty much all forms of social media as well as many, many phone calls,” said RoadPro Pro Driver Council member Thomas Miller. “There is, of course, Facebook, calls, text, but I particularly enjoy Snapchat with my 15-year-old daughter, and FaceTime with my grandson. My wife and I generally stick with calls and text.”     
Tom Kyrk, a member of the RoadPro Pro Driver Council, said habit is key for younger children: “Try and create a routine where you talk on a regular basis or schedule. If kids are young, maybe read or tell them a story near bedtime or something that happened out on the road they will find interesting.
“My biggest advice is to never make a promise such as I will be home Wednesday,” Kyrk said. “In this industry, a lot can happen to keep you from fulfilling that promise. I have found it’s much better to say I will do my best or that is the plan. This way you don’t come across as a liar if you cannot make it due to unplanned events, like an accident or weather.”   
Jon Osburn was in the military before he became an OTR driver so his children (now grown) were used to him being away much of the time. Osburn, who drives the “Spirit of the American Trucker” semi for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, said he took his children on the road with him when they were younger to spend time with them and to show them what it means to be a driver.
He also made it a point to be home for his children’s big events, such as prom – even if it meant parking his rig and flying home and back in 24 hours. Based in Idaho, he also organized family outings when he was home, such as river rafting and snowmobiling.
He added that he was also careful not to disrupt his wife’s routine and rules when he was home: “I’m not going to tell her how to raise her kids. If I disagreed with something, we’d talk about it.”      
No matter how much trucker fathers do to stay connected and active in their children’s lives, some feel guilty about not spending more time with their kids. One OTR truck-driving father who asked to remain anonymous once told a social worker that he felt like a failure because he wasn’t always able to be there for his child.

“I was told words I’ve never forgotten,” the driver said. “There is more to being a dad or father than just being at home. You have the responsibility to earn and support your family. You are in a vital occupation. As a result, you may not be home much, but you’re always willing to spend time with him on the phone and time with him when you are home. You are working hard and showing him the importance of working and not living off the government. To me, you’re the epitome of what a father is -- a person who will make the hard sacrifices to put the needs of his family first.”
Four Ways to be a Better Father
The National Center for Fathering is a nonprofit dedicated to improving the quality of fathering and to making sure every child has a father or father figure in his or her life. It offers a four-point program truckers can use to be better dads: ICAN. Here’s how it breaks down:
I is for Involvement – Stay connected while on the road through phone calls, texts, FaceTime, Skype, social media or whatever works, said group spokesman Steve Wilson. Can’t attend a recital? Watch a live stream of it. When truckers are at home, they should spend dedicated time with their kids.
C is for Consistency – Establish a pattern for staying in touch. A good-morning text and a nightly Skype call lets the child know the absent father is thinking of them and cares for them. “Kids might not express that, but they crave that kind of consistency,” Wilson said.
A is for Awareness – Many fathers are more aware of what’s happening in Washington or with their favorite teams than what’s going on in their children’s lives. Fathers should know the names of the children’s teachers and best friends, their likes and dislikes, Wilson said.
N is for Nurturing – Truckers should tell their children they love them, Wilson said. Truckers might think their children know they’re doing a tough job out of love, but it never hurts to tell them. “They need to have that affirmation,” Wilson said.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Four Generations of Fathers and Sons Drive Pennsylvania Trucking Company

Photo Credit: Art Gentile/The Intelligencer
There are no statistics to bear this out, but anyone who knows trucking knows it to be true: there is a strong father-son connection to trucking. Trucker dads have trucker sons (and daughters). And those trucker children sometimes go on to have their own next generation of truckers.   
Google “and sons trucking” and the results go on for pages: Jernigan & Sons, Cotterman & Sons, Flores & Sons, the ampersand a small mark signifying something big, the joining of two generations, sometimes more.
It’s not surprising, really. All small boys, at some point, want to be like their fathers. And when that father has a job driving an enormous truck, one with a loud horn to blow and a seat from which a boy can look down on roofs of cars other people are unfortunate enough to drive, the attraction can be irresistible.
But this type of succession is not a simple matter of handing over the keys. Trucking is hard. Businesses fail or get bought out; a son might decide he’d rather sit behind a desk than a wheel. Each generational succession is the result of hard work, desire and circumstances.   
In honor of Father’s Day, RoadPro Family of Brands is featuring one such company, one that’s been led for 85 years by successive generations of fathers and sons.   
* * * * * * * *
R.W. Smith Trucking Co. in Danboro, Pa., doesn’t use an ampersand in its name or on its trucks, but if it did, it would need three. Four generations of Smiths have worked in the trucking business.  
It started in 1932 when Max Smith began hauling coal from the Pennsylvania mines to homes in Doylestown. His son, Richard W. Smith Sr., joined him as soon as he was old enough to reach the pedals. His trucking career was interrupted by a stint in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, but when he got out, he started his own company, hauling coal, cinder, sand and gravel.     
His son, Richard Jr. began driving at age 16, the third generation of Smiths behind the wheel.
“He did give me a choice. He said you don’t have to do this,” Richard Jr. said of his father. But there really was no other option.
“I always wanted to do it,” said Richard Jr., 56. “I always helped him with the trucks. We had a good relationship. It was only natural that everything fell into place.”   
Richard Sr. had a stroke in 2004, but recovered and kept driving. He finally retired in 2015 at age 82.
“He was always a very hard worker. He liked to drive and he really liked trucking,” his son said. “He didn’t have any hobbies so he stuck with it as long as he could.”
Richard Sr.’s retirement was the end of a period when three generations of Smiths drove together. Richard Jr.’s two sons, Robbie, 29, and Kevin, 27, got behind the wheel as soon as they could earn their licenses.
Just as his father did for him, Richard Jr. gave his boys the option of doing something else.
“It was never a question what I was going to do,” said Kevin. “My entire childhood was all about trucks.  My brother and I knew we were never going to do anything else.”
As trucking firms go, R.W. Smith is small – eight trucks operating mostly within a 100-mile radius of Danboro. Richard Jr.’s mother, Marlene; sister, Jolene; and wife, Kim, run the front office. They have five other employees, most of whom have been with them a long time. Richard Sr. and Richard Jr. live in houses on either side of the trucking garage. Robbie and Kevin live just a few minutes away.
Not long ago, Richard Jr. saw a local business, a construction firm, end because the founder’s son had no interest in running it. The son sold off the equipment and the company went out of existence. It wasn’t Richard Jr.’s business and not his decision to make, but it made him sad, nonetheless. And happy that it won’t happen to the company started by his grandfather.
“It eases my mind knowing that if something were to happen to me, my boys would keep it going. We’d be in good hands,” he said.

Kevin agreed: “Once my dad doesn’t want to do it anymore, my brother and I will be able to carry on.”

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Truck Driver Caught With Nearly Half Ton Of Drugs

Story thanks to Sarah Pridgeon and Links provided:

Man Caught With Nearly Half Ton Of Drugs

6/8/2017  A Florida man faces multiple felony charges for allegedly attempting to smuggle almost 800 pounds of marijuana and marijuana-related products through Crook County. Michael Liegakos was arrested in late May on a tip from Montana DEA.
Wyoming Highway Patrol was contacted on May 28 by a DEA Special Agent from Billings, Montana, with information on a vehicle that was possibly involved in smuggling narcotics.
The agent shared that one of his informants had overheard a conversation in a bar in Butte. A truck driver was allegedly bragging to a waitress about hauling shipping containers from Washington and making up to $14,000 per round trip.
The driver allegedly bragged that there were no shipping papers with the load. He was described as a 60-year-old while male with gray beard and cowboy hat.
On May 29, Highway Patrol received an update from the DEA confirming the driver was heading for Long Island, New York. A trooper headed for Hwy 212 in case the truck took that route, which would allow Liegakos to bypass all ports of entry in Wyoming.
Just before 4 p.m., the trooper saw a black tractor pulling a flatbed with two blue shipping containers. He caught up to the suspect near milepost 16 and observed multiple lane use violations.
When the trooper activated his lights to initiate a traffic stop, the truck allegedly failed to yield, overtaking a semi truck instead. The suspect eventually noticed the trooper’s vehicle and pulled over to the shoulder of the roadway, where the trooper made contact with the operator and allegedly smelled a “thick, strong odor” of alcohol on his breath.
The driver informed the trooper that he did not have shipping papers for the load as the company did not give him any. He allegedly stated that he was hauling used car parts to New York from Oregon and that he makes the trip twice a month, being paid $24,000 in total for doing so.
The trooper calculated that this totals 12,000 miles each month, equating to $2 per mile.
“The average breakeven price to operate a truck is $0.36 per mile, which includes paying a driver,” he says in his report.
“$1 per mile is considered excellent pay for a load. $2 per mile is a nearly unheard of price in the trucking industry.”
Field sobriety tests and a breath sample indicated that Liegakos was double the legal blood alcohol limit for driving a vehicle and four times the legal limit for a commercial vehicle. He was placed under arrest.
The trooper ran his K-9 around the suspect vehicle. The dog allegedly appeared to detect the odor of a controlled substance near the rear of one of the shipping containers and down the entire driver side.
“It was obvious to me as her handler that she was alerting to an odor of a controlled substance,” says the trooper in his report.
As the trooper contacted his lieutenant to advise him of the situation, he saw that Liegakos was hanging out of the window of the caged area of his patrol car. The suspect was apparently in distress.
The trooper let Liegakos out of the cage and removed the handcuffs. “Liegakos was lying on the ground writhing in pain and clutching his chest, moaning that he was having a heart attack,” says the trooper’s report.
The trooper requested an ambulance, loaded the suspect into the cage and transported him eastbound to meet the ambulance. He then followed the vehicle as it was towed to the WYDOT shop in Sundance and executed a search warrant for the shipping containers.
After a cutting torch had been used to remove the padlock, the trooper noted an “overwhelming odor of marijuana and dryer sheet”. Eight large, steel tool boxes were lined up inside, each secured with padlocks that also had to be pried and broken open.
“All eight boxes contained marijuana in plant form or marijuana products ranging from THC infused liquid, THC infused edibles, THC infused vapor cartridges for vapor pens and butane hash oil,” says the trooper in his report.
In total, 372 pounds of plant material, 254 pounds of vapor pen cartridges, 141.5 pounds of edibles and 18.7 pounds of THC-infused liquid was seized. Liegakos was also found to have multiple prior lifetime convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol.
Liegakos has been charged with two felony counts of possession of a controlled substance and one felony count of possession with intent to deliver, all carrying maximum penalties of five years’ incarceration, a $10,000 fine or both. He has also been charged with one misdemeanor count of driving while under the influence, second offense.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Elderly Man Wins Court Case After Receiving Three Tickets for Smoking in His Porsche
Story thanks to Steph Willems and Links provided:

While places like New York and California might come to mind first, no one bans things quite like the jurisdictions north of the border. Banning, a popular pastime given the cold outside temperatures, are always done in the hazy pursuit of public safety. Something bad could happen? Ban it.
When it comes to smoking, few will disagree that smoking in the workplace can have a negative impact on employees. The same goes for restaurant and bar patrons. As non-smoking areas (both indoors and outdoors) expand across the U.S., here’s a cautionary tale of how vindictive and overzealous an enforcer of these law can be.
They’ll nab you in your car.
In sleepy London, Ontario, about two hours from Detroit or Buffalo, a 76-year-old man is probably puffing away right now, content in having beaten The Man. The bizarre case began last fall as Harry Kraemer, owner of Sparkles Cleaning Service, was sitting outside a coffee shop in his Porsche Cayenne.
Having just purchased donuts and a coffee, Kraemer lit up. According to the London Free Press, that cigarette netted him three workplace smoking infraction tickets potentially worth thousands of dollars. As Kraemer was the owner of Sparkles Cleaning Service, his personal Cayenne was registered to it. That made the interior of the Porsche a workplace.
Under Ontario’s anti-smoking laws, workplaces must remain smoke-free. In many locations it is illegal to smoke within nine meters of an exterior door of a business, public place or an outdoor bus stop. Many cities have enacted outdoor smoking bans that even make puffing in a deserted, windy park a crime, let alone on a patio. Province-wide, it is illegal to smoke in a purpose-built outdoor smoking shelter that has more than two walls and a roof.
Smoking while standing outside that purpose-built smoking shelter, in the rain, is probably fine. Vindictive? Many see it that way.
So far, Ontario’s laws have yet to creep into personal vehicles — except when persons aged 16 or younger are present — so normally a person in Mr. Kraemer’s situation would have nothing to worry about. Sitting in a coffee shop parking lot, having a butt, not bothering anyone. However, taken to the extreme, the law stated that the interior of his business-registered vehicle — which no one drove but himself — was a workplace. Kraemer technically isn’t even an employee. He’s a shareholder.
The Smoke-Free Ontario enforcement officer who ticketed him wasn’t in the mood to see it any other way. Kraemer was fined three times. The charges included: smoking in an enclosed workplace, failing to have a no-smoking sign in his Cayenne, and failing to properly supervise a workplace.
With money to spare, Kraemer fought the tickets tooth and nail. As of last week, the Provincial Offences Court ruled in his favor, putting an end to what his lawyer called a massive waste of taxpayer’s money.
“The justice of the peace said, ‘I haven’t heard one shred of evidence that that car was ever used for business for Sparkles,'” Kraemer told the Free Press, adding he suspects he knows why the tickets landed in his lap. He blames “smoking cops” who were out to get him.
About six months earlier, an anti-smoking enforcement officer examined his place of business, discovering a cigarette butt in an ashtray in the desk drawer of his second-floor office. Kraemer claims he only smokes with the window open and fan on, with employees below being none the wiser. The ashtray’s contents landed him $700 in fines.
“I verbally told him to get the hell out of my office and I said some very nasty things maybe, I don’t know,” he claimed. It would seem his words weren’t well received. “We’ll be back,” the officer told him.
When Kraemer was nabbed while smoking in his Cayenne, the officer claimed in court he was working on an “anonymous tip” that compelled him to follow the Porsche from the suspect’s place of work to the coffee shop, where he then sat on him until Kraemer’s lighter touched the end of that white, tobacco-filled cylinder. Remember this when someone tells you Canada isn’t overregulated. To bolster that claim, a program manager at a local publicly funded health unit claims the officer wasn’t out of line for charging Kraemer.
There’s a reason Red Barchetta was written by a Canadian band.
This cautionary tale is now over. Tread carefully.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Packers fans drive Davon House from Minneapolis to Green Bay after missed flight
Story thanks to Rob Demovsky and Links provided:

June 5, 2017  GREEN BAY, Wis. -- It was 11 p.m. on Monday night when Davon House landed at the Minneapolis airport. The Packers cornerback had missed his connection to Green Bay and needed to be back at Lambeau Field for the start of an OTA in less than nine hours.
Like many frustrated travelers, House vented on Twitter.
That's when a pair of Packers fans -- brothers Chad and Mike Johnson, from the western part of Wisconsin -- sprang into action. They tweeted at House that they would give him a ride to Green Bay.
House accepted, and off they went on the four-hour-plus ride.
"I went to bed, and I was scrolling through my Twitter and saw he needed a ride," Chad Johnson told ESPN on Tuesday. "My brother lives in Hudson; I'm in Eau Claire. I tweeted him that, 'I could come pick you up,' and in the meantime I texted my brother that House needs a ride. My brother also tweeted him. He was closer, so he swung up to the airport and picked him up, and I met him on Highway 29 so my brother and I could keep each other awake."
Chad said he brought along a pillow so House could get some rest in order to be ready for Tuesday's practice.
They delivered House to his vehicle, which was parked at Green Bay's Austin Straubel International Airport, and were prepared to say their goodbyes.
"It would've been cool just to get a picture with him there, but he was like, 'Follow me to the stadium and I'll sign some stuff for you,'" Chad Johnson said. "We told him he didn't need to do that, and he insisted. He has OTAs at 7:30, and here he is at 3:30 in the morning doing this. So he brought us over there, we got to go in the locker room. He signed some shoes and some gloves and let us take pictures with the Super Bowl trophies."
Chad Johnson said House forced his brother to take $80 for gas and wanted to give him more, but they refused.
House said he wasn't worried about getting in the car with strangers because he discovered via Twitter that they have a mutual friend and did a quick background check by calling that friend.
"So I did my homework before I hopped in the car with strangers," House said. "But what's the difference between that and Uber, huh?"
Sure enough, House was a full participant in Tuesday's practice but said afterward that he's a little worn out.
"I'm tired. I'm tired," he said. "So it was like 4½ hours [in the car], we talked for a good hour and a half, so a good 2½ hours [of sleep while] driving, and then when I got home, took them to the stadium, I had to show them everything, took pictures, show them the Super Bowl trophies, they were awed and amazed, they walked by Aaron's [Rodgers] locker, and they touched his shoulder pads -- I didn't let them put them on, though -- but they got the whole experience. I probably got home around 4:45. And then woke up at 7."
House said he even offered to put his drivers up in a hotel.
"I said, 'Hey, let me get you guys a hotel, and you guys can leave the next day,'" House said. "And [they said], 'Nah, we're going to go back and go to work.' I was like, 'Dang ...'"
Rodgers was impressed but speculated that House may have had motivation for making it back.
"When it comes down to the end here and you're thinking about your percentage and making sure you get your workout bonus, you'll do just about anything to get back here in time for these OTAs," Rodgers said.
House signed a one-year, $2.85 million contract to return to the Packers, where he played his first four seasons, after two years with the Jaguars. The deal included a $150,000 workout bonus.
"He talked about how much he loves Green Bay and didn't really care for it in Jacksonville," Chad Johnson said.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy was impressed with House's commitment to getting back to Green Bay for Tuesday's OTA.
"It tells you about his commitment -- both from our fans and Davon," McCarthy said before Tuesday's practice. "He knows the importance of it. [Practice] is so limited at this time of the year. And really, outside of Aaron and maybe a couple other guys, you don't have veteran players that are pre-CBA [collective bargaining agreement] that clearly understand the importance of nine weeks as opposed to when you had 15 weeks.
"It's important, especially when it's an install day. You never want to miss an install day because you get it going with everyone and the adjustments, and this is the time of year when you can slow things down and teach it in a progression. I think Davon obviously showed the importance of being here."
House isn't the first Packers player to take extreme measures to get back to Green Bay for an OTA practice. In 2009, then-linebacker A.J. Hawk paid $1,000 for a taxi to drive him from Minneapolis after he missed his flight to Green Bay.
The Johnson brothers were back at work Tuesday morning, too. They turned around and drove right home. Chad, 41, works as a process engineer who molds medical components, and Mike, 38, runs a demolition crew.
"It was a bad night for him, but made memories that will last forever for a couple of lifelong Packer fans," Johnson said.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Froggy Memories of Crivitz

In 1983, I was living in Crivitz, Wisconsin after having started driving trucks for a living about 3 years earlier in Milwaukee. Finally in a position to buy a decent house, I found one for sale less than a mile outside of town and bought it. One of only three houses on a heavily wooded "block", I was on a corner and had about 3 1/2 acres of land. The elderly couple that lived next to me also had more than 3 acres, so our houses were a good distance apart. Some of the land between us was pretty low and during the late winter snow melt and spring rains that area was more like a marshy wetland until it would dry out later in the summer.

As you can imagine, that provided excellent breeding conditions for mosquitoes which I had to learn to live with, especially during the spring to mid-summer months. But, I bought a good sprayer and between using that and repellents, it wasn’t too bad.

What I remember most about being next to that lowland was the abundant frog population it supported. The original house I bought was decades old and, at that time, had a recent two story addition built on the back. It led up to a master bedroom, bath and another bedroom on the second floor. There were no heating ducts going up and the space was heated by convection from downstairs. I was used to sleeping in a cold room and stayed warm under a large quilt.

A few weeks every March and April, brought the frog mating season and right about dusk they would start their mating calls, the croaking noise would be unbelievably loud. And I loved it! Most days when I was local, my job required early morning starts, so I would usually have to be in bed right about dusk. I would open the 4 bedroom windows up and crawl under that quilt on the bed and try to stay awake for a while listening to them. I can’t ever remember sleeping so soundly in my life as when those croaking frogs would put me to sleep. The temp would fall into the 40’s usually at night during that time of year, but I never got cold. That is, until I had to get up at about 3AM in the morning!

What surprised me was that the area was normally dead quiet at night. I was far enough away from the main county road that I never heard traffic and being able to sleep so soundly with all the noise those frogs made was astonishing to me.

Those were some great memories. That house is still there, I sold it to a County Sheriff's Deputy in 1993 before moving to Utah. He went on to build a horse corral there and raised a few horses. Wish I could buy it back.