Northeastern Events (NY, NJ, PA, DE)

The Buckeye Career Center vocational school in New Philadelphia, OH, was one of the first schools in Ohio to introduce the PPG Envirobase Waterborne Paint System when the program implemented it in 2012, said auto collision repair instructor Jeff Newsome.

The school has already been teaching and using solvent-borne refinishing and with the addition of a water-base paint system, Newsome explained, it allows the students to keep up with the growing popularity of the product.

“The reason we have both systems is because some shops still use the solvent-borne, and other shops went green and went with the waterborne,” said Newsome. “Waterborne is starting to become popular because it’s good for the environment.”

The new system provides a safer learning environment for the students because the water-base paint produces fewer pollutants that can enter the air or be inhaled. But that’s not the only reason the water-base paint is being used.

“When we clean out our paint guns, we are reusing the water to clean out the gun, so that’s cutting down on the hazardous chemicals that are being taken out,” said Newsome. “What it costs us to remove a 55-gallon drum of lacquer thinner, we’re reusing five gallons of water to clean a paint gun. It’s not costing us anything to clean it.”

Newsome said that most vehicle manufacturing factories and area repair shops are already using water-based paint. “We want to stay ahead of the technology curve,” said Newsome. “We want the kids to be versatile. Whatever shop they go in, they can work with waterborne or solvent-borne.”

Students in the program receive training with the solvent-borne system as juniors and work hands-on with the waterborne paint their senior year.

Dover’s Cody Troyer, a senior at Buckeye Career Center, said he prefers working with the waterborne system.

“I find that when I use (the waterborne paint), it sprays on the car a lot easier than the solvent does,” he said. “I can spray more coats at a faster pace than solvent because it doesn’t take as long for the water base to dry.”

Newsome said when comparing solvent-borne and waterborne, air flow is key to drying the paint. “How much air flow you have depends on how quick it dries,” he said.

Troyer explained that when using solvent, a single coat will be applied, and then that layer has to dry before another coat can be added. With the waterborne, once a coat is on the vehicle, the paint gun can be used to spray air over the material to speed up the drying process. Additionally, the preparation work and technique for the waterborne system are unlike the solvent system.

“For the panel prep, finer sandpaper is needed,” said Newsome. “And we’ve found that it’s better for color matching, so there’s less paint that has to be used.”

Troyer said having the opportunity to learn both the waterborne and solvent-borne systems is advantageous to his career.

“I feel it gives me a better experience,” he said. “I can go into shops and tell them I can use both types of paint.”

Newsome said, “This is what keeps our students relevant and employable in an ever-changing field.”

Tuesday, 03 June 2014 19:28

Ohio Leads the Nation in Metal Thefts

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Ohio continues to lead the nation in metal thefts, with 1,446 insurance claims made last year, according to a new report. A National Insurance Crime Bureau report said the state reported more than 4,000 claims from 2011 through 2013 from homes and businesses, nearly all copper thefts. That’s about a third more claims than second-place Texas and about 40 percent more than third-place California, according to The Columbus Dispatch. The 1,446 claims last year in Ohio is about flat with the number in 2012 and up from 1,232 in 2011. Thieves have stripped sheets of metal from rooftops, stolen decorations from cemeteries, ripped apart air conditioners for the copper coils, and stripped homes of wiring and piping, then sold the pieces for scrap. Mary Bonelli, spokeswoman for the Ohio Insurance Institute, says it’s hard to say why the state leads in this category, but she speculates that law enforcement agencies here may do a better job of tracking such thefts. “I don’t think there is a one- or two-sentence answer,” said Frank Scafidi, a crime bureau spokesman.

On April 28, 2014, the Ohio House of Representatives Insurance Committee held its first hearing on House Bill 526 (HB 526) that seeks to prohibit insurers from requiring a vehicle be repaired by a specific repair facility, or make a recommendation without first being asked for one by the consumer.

The bill, sponsored by Representatives Matt Lynch (primary) and Robert Hagan (cosponsor) has been placed on the agenda of the Insurance Committee for its first hearing before the committee. House Rules require the sponsor of a bill or resolution to appear at least once before the committee considering the bill or resolution unless he or she has been excused from appearing by the committee chairperson or the Speaker of the House.

Lynch reportedly was inspired to introduce the legislation after hearing from an auto body repair shop owner in his district. The repair shop was dropped from an insurer’s list of “preferred providers” after telling his customers that they have “the right to request the companies pay for factory parts,” according to a local report.

“He got kicked off the [DRP] list because he’s being honest to his customers,” Lynch said, according to the report. “With this bill, there won’t be any preferred lists and the policy has to clearly state one way or another whether you get these aftermarket parts of factory-approved parts.”

HB 526 would enact Section 3937.381 of the Ohio Revised Code as follows:

  • No insurer shall require a claimant on an automobile insurance policy to have the claimant’s vehicle repaired at a particular repair shop or by a particular person.
  • No insurer shall recommend or suggest that repairs of the claimant’s vehicle be completed at a particular repair shop or by a particular person unless the claimant requests such a recommendation or suggestion.
  • A violation of this section is an unfair and deceptive act or practice in the business of insurance under sections 3901.19 to 3901.26 of the Revised Code.

The legislation is similar to measures enacted in a few other states that prohibit insurance companies from requiring repairs be made a specific collision repair shop, while providing them with the ability to make a recommendation to a customer that would like one from the insurer. Missing, however, is a common requirement for customer disclosure that they have a right to choose a repair facility.

Tuesday, 03 June 2014 19:19

New DARE Car’s Paintjob Unveiled in Rothschild, WI

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A new tool added to the arsenal in the fight against drug abuse is attracting plenty of attention as it travels down the streets of Rothschild, WI, according to Shereen Siewert of the Wausau Daily Herald. The 1996 Ford Crown Victoria has been transformed from a black and white squad car to a brightly-painted, rolling advertisement for the community’s Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program. The new DARE car replaces a 1992 Isuzu Rodeo used by DARE officers during the past several years.

“The kids are really paying attention to it,” said Rothschild police officer Jeff Zwicky, who teaches the DARE curriculum to about 200 students each year. “It’s great to see the kids get so excited about the DARE program. By drawing attention to the program, kids are more likely to want to get involved.”

Rothschild police chief Jeremy Hunt said the makeover on the squad car was a two-year project made possible through the generosity of several Rothschild businesses that donated supplies and manpower. BRB Auto Body technicians designed and completed the exterior repair, while the interior was transformed at Perfect Upholstery.

“Anybody that knows anything about vehicles can just imagine how much time and materials it takes to have an award-winning paint job as the one we have on this vehicle,” Hunt said.

The DARE program, offered to fifth-grade students at three Rothschild schools, aims to prevent drug abuse by teaching students how to resist peer pressure and learn to say “no” to drugs. The program, which is offered at select schools nationwide, focuses on building self esteem and healthy social skills, Zwicky said.

Show Me Auto Body & Restoration at 118 East Union Street in Pacific, MO, was named the Pacific Area Chamber of Commerce April 2014 business of the month. The firm has been in business in Pacific since 1986 and considers the local community its valued customer base. However, due to its growing reputation in the field of restoration, Show Me now has customers from across the region and the United States. Owner Dave Clapper joined the firm in 1988 when it was a two-man shop with Dave Cassidy, founder, and Clapper making up the entire staff. Clapper and his wife Nancy bought the company in 2004, immediately increased the number of direct repair insurance companies it served from two to nine, and grew the shop to the current 11 employees. In addition to the usual repair bodywork that follows fender benders and hail damage, Clapper zeroed in on the quality restoration work that brought a steady stream of antique vehicle collectors to his shop. Clapper and his crew never forget that it is the customer’s vehicle and the customer’s dream they are creating.

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has signed the Women’s Economic Security Act (“Act”) into law. The Act is a major piece of legislation aimed at improving working conditions for women that will have a significant impact on Minnesota businesses. A combination of at least nine different bills, the Act is intended to reduce the gender pay gap and to provide greater workplace protections for pregnant women and nursing mothers, among other things.

  • A protected class under the Minnesota Human Rights Act, Minn. Stat. Section 363A, et seq. (effective immediately). The Act expands the list of protected classes under the Minnesota Human Rights Act to include “familial status.” “Familial status” means “the condition of one or more minors being domiciled with (1) their parent or parents or the minor’s legal guardian or (2) the designee of the parent or parents or guardian with the written permission of the parent or parents or guardian. The term also includes any person who is pregnant or in the process of securing legal custody of a minor.
  • Pregnancy and parenting leave under state law expanded to 12 weeks (effective immediately). The Act doubles allowable unpaid leave under the Minnesota Parental Leave Act from six weeks to twelve weeks and allows employees to use leave for pregnancy-related needs.
  • Additional protections for pregnant and nursing women (effective immediately). The Act allows employees to bring a civil action to enforce their right to express breast milk during unpaid break times. In addition, employers with at least 22 employees are required to provide reasonable minor accommodations (e.g., water, food, and a stool) or a reasonable, temporary position transfer for pregnant workers.
  • Wage disclosure protection (effective immediately). The Act creates a new Section 181.172 of the Minnesota Statutes to prohibit an employer from requiring non-disclosure by an employee of his or her wages as a condition of employment or to take any adverse employment action against an employee for disclosing or discussing the employee’s own wages or another employee’s wages, which have been disclosed voluntarily.
  • Expanded allowances for sick leave (effective immediately). The Act allows employees to use existing earned sick leave under certain circumstances related to sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking. It also allows grandparents to use existing earned sick leave to care for an ill or injured grandchild.
  • Protections imposed for victims of stalking and sexual assault (effective October 5, 2014). The Act expands eligibility for unemployment benefits to victims of stalking and sexual assault.
  • Certification for state contracts (effective August 1, 2014). The Act requires businesses with more than 50 employees seeking state contracts worth more than $500,000 to certify their compliance with existing equal pay laws.
  • Funding for women and high-wage, high-demand, non-traditional jobs grant program and promoting women entrepreneurs and women-owned businesses (effective July 1, 2014). The Act allocates money to establish a program to increase the number of women in high-wage, high- demand, non-traditional occupations. It also appropriates $500,000 for grants to Women Venture and the Women’s Business Center of Northeastern Minnesota to facilitate and promote the creation of women-owned businesses in Minnesota.

Employers in Minnesota should take the following actions to ensure compliance with the new law:

  • Update workplace policies and employee handbooks regarding unpaid leave and sick leave. Even employers that are not covered by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) must now grant an unpaid leave of absence to an employee who is (1) a biological or adoptive parent in conjunction with the birth or adoption of a child; or (2) a female employee for prenatal care, or incapacity due to pregnancy, childbirth, or related health conditions. The leave is determined by the employee, but it must not exceed 12 weeks, unless agreed to by the employer.
  • Further, an employee also may use personal sick leave for absences due to an illness to or injury of the employee’s mother-in-law, father-in-law, and grandchild (which includes step, biological, adopted, and foster grandchild), in addition to the employee’s child, adult child, spouse, sibling, parent, grandparent, or stepparent.
  • An employee also may use personal sick leave for safety leave, whether or not the employee’s employer allows use of sick leave for that purpose, for such reasonable periods of time as may be necessary. Safety leave means leave for the purpose of receiving assistance because of sexual assault, domestic abuse, or stalking, whether on behalf of the employee or employee’s relatives as defined above.
  • Offer reasonable accommodations for health conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth. Reasonable accommodations must be offered to an employee if she so requests, with the advice of her licensed health care provider or certified doula, unless the employer demonstrates it would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer’s business. Such accommodations may include: (1) more frequent restroom, food, and water breaks; (2) seating; and (3) limits on lifting over 20 pounds. Retaliation against an employee for requesting or obtaining such an accommodation is prohibited.
  • For nursing mothers, an employer must make reasonable efforts to provide a room or other location, other than a bathroom, within close proximity to the work area that is shielded from view and free from intrusion and that includes access to an electrical outlet. Retaliation against an employee for asserting rights under this section is prohibited.
  • Avoid discrimination based on caregiver or parent status. The law adds “familial status” to the list of protected classes under the Minnesota Human Rights Act. Employers are generally prohibited from discriminating against pregnant women and parents with children under the age pf 18 at home and should not be asking applicants whether they have children or care for children at home.
  • Be aware that employees are entitled to voluntarily disclose and discuss their wages. Employers may not require non-disclosure of an employee’s wages as a condition of employment, require an employee to sign a waiver that purports to deny an employee the right to disclose the employee’s wages, or take any adverse employment action against an employee for disclosing the employee’s own wages voluntarily.
  • Certify compliance with the Equal Pay Act. Employers seeking state contracts in excess of $500,000 must certify to the commissioner of administration their compliance with the federal Equal Pay Act.

Max Edward Casad was born July 12, 1953, in DeWitt, IA, to Glen and Delora (Wilms) Casad of Wheatland, IA. At an early age, Max learned the auto body trade from his father, who owned and operated Wheatland Auto Body. Max went on to become the owner and operator of DeWitt Auto Body and Casad Towing. Max believed in giving back to the community and supporting local business and gave selflessly, including being an organ donor.

Tuesday, 03 June 2014 18:18

Madisonville, KY, Shop is Rebuilding After Fire

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Employees at Hawkins Auto Body at 77 Bassett Avenue in Madisonville, KY, said they’ve made major repairs from the fire that ripped through their office space and parts building on March 25, 2014. Employees say most of the business wasn’t impacted by the fire, but crucial computer systems and car parts did have to be replaced. Roofing crews replaced sheeting, and employees say they’re surprised day-to-day operations were not affected. They should be moved back into the renovated office space soon.

Tuesday, 03 June 2014 18:11

Jordan, MN, Shop Owner Arrested on Meth Charges

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David Michael Kepner, owner of Smash Auto Body in Jordan, MN, has been charged in Scott County District Court with first-degree drug possession and sales, a felony. According to court documents:

Southwest Metro Drug Task Force commander Phil Nawrocki executed a search warrant at the business, which also includes Absolute Towing, on May 13, 2014. A pipe, loaded syringe, and large wad of money was found, and the pipe field-tested positive for methamphetamine. Kepner, 48, was arrested, waived his Miranda rights, and agreed to give a statement to law enforcement. He stated that he had relapsed and started using meth again, about every five hours. He both smokes and injects the drug, he told police. He admitted he had a meth pipe, the syringe—which contained a quarter-gram of meth—and $5,140 in cash on his person when he was detained. Kepner stated that law enforcement officers could find less than two ounces of meth in a paint can located next to a scale. He admitted that he sells a little meth, but then added that he doesn't make much money off of his sales.

Tuesday, 03 June 2014 18:04

Indiana Autobody Association Calls Vendors to Action

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The Indiana Autobody Association (IABA) has released the following statement:

Parts vendors are aware of the litigation shops are getting involved with across the nation, but you may not be aware of another litigation that is a national class action against the damages PartsTrader, APU Solutions, any other mandated parts procurement program and State Farm and others requiring their usage has caused vendors on and off the program. Last year, when mandated parts procurement programs came into the industry, we knew there would be those damaged in many ways, but since it had not happened yet, there were only anticipated damages. That is now changed, and many have been damaged. A national class action litigation is in process, and any vendor, regardless if they are currently on one of the mandated parts procurement programs or not, may be part of it. Even suppliers that the intentions of State Farm has not reached you, glass, paint, materials, towing, PDR, etc. should look at this litigation as a prevention tool as well. Contact Marvin Windham of Benchmark Chrysler at 205-368-5206 to learn more.

See the Update on Indiana Shops’ Accusations of Insurers’ Collusion article for more information.

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