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1HomePageMap small mw 0816Local news stories affecting the auto body industry in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin

Michigan's Department of Transportation, the University of Michigan, and 13 companies are contributing to the $6.5 million, 30-acre testing ground, according to reports by Devin Connors, escapistmagazine.com.
Michigan, home of three American major auto manufacturers, wants the facility to be within their state lines.
On the north edge of Ann Arbor's University of Michigan flagship campus, a ghost town will be set aside for the driverless. The test town is being built by the Michigan DoT, the aforementioned university's Mobility Transformation Center, and 13 private-sector companies. Some of the names involved include Bosch, Econolite, Ford, General Motors, and Toyota, according to Connors.
The facility will include every day driving occurrences, like traffic lights and stop signs, and some not-so-every day obstacles, like robotic construction crews and pedestrians popping out from behind parked cars.
Car-to-car communication is the main technology being tested, according to Connors. Companies hope that eventually vehicles will be able to stay a safe distance from each other, etc., regardless of different models/dealers.

ABRA Auto Body & Glass, a national damaged vehicle repair company, announced the acquisition of...

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For the past two years, Mike's Auto Body of Sandwich, IL has given educational tours to students in body shop classes at Indian Valley Vocational Center. On September 12, two sessions of 10-15 students gathered around while technicians worked on and explained the latest project- the transformation of a 1962 Chevy wagon into a show car.

"The students really enjoy experiencing how an actual body shop works, as opposed to learning about it in a classroom," said Stacy Skillin, who has co-owned the over 30 year old shop for seven years.

Stacy's segment of the tour covered office functions, such as insurance company dealings and scheduling, while fellow co-owner Shane Skillin showed students commonly used equipment, including the paint booth and frame machine.
"We encourage students to apply for internships at our shop, so they can get real-life experience while still in college," said Stacy. "One of our current employees was an intern."

Stacy and Shane also gave the students interviewing tips, stressing the importance of first impressions and remaining professional.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has signed a law allowing drivers who owe extra “responsibility” fees for certain offenses to do 10 hours of community service instead.

The option would apply for drivers assessed $400 in fines over two years for not having mandatory auto insurance. Drivers fined $300 over two years for operating without a valid license also could do community service.

Extra fines for the offenses went away in 2012, but some motorists still owe them for old offenses.

Snyder signed the legislation on September 23. It’s sponsored by Republican Sen. Bruce Caswell of Hillsdale and supported by Secretary of State Ruth Johnson.

Also on September 23, Snyder signed bills easing county treasurers’ ability to collect delinquent hotel taxes, creating standardized licensing requirements for pharmacy technicians and continuing fees paid by hazardous waste generators.

Courage Kenny Foundation and ABRA Auto Body and Glass are proud to announce they raised more than $100,000 to support people with disabilities.

Auto technology instructor Jason Merritt sees demand for his program from both sides:

  • from students, who sit on waiting lists and fill Southeast Technical Institute’s (Sioux Falls, SD) auto tech program beyond capacity
  • from employers, who snatch up his students and give them a job before they graduate

“We’ve been growing for years, here,” Merritt said. “The lab area just can’t handle any more expansion.”

A new building planned for STI’s campus will allow automotive programs to double their capacity. Plans for the 91,000-square-foot facility include a wing for auto tech and a wing for the school’s diesel technology program. School officials plan to use the vacated space in the Ed Wood Center to expand auto body lab space.

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