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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

If a body shop is in existence for more than 30 years, people view it as a successful business and justifiably so. But, if a shop has been in continuous operation for more than 120 years—well, now it’s more like a landmark and a big part of automotive history. And that’s why folks in Missouri and throughout the country know of Niebling Auto Body, because it’s been a household name since 1892, when a German wagon maker opened his own wagon shop in St. Louis, MO.

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It all began when Louis Niebling immigrated to the U.S. and moved to West St Louis in 1887. Horses, wagons and carriages ( and good old walking) were the mainstays of transportation back then, as the industrial revolution shifted into high gear. Gasoline-powered vehicles were only for the rich and eccentric in the late 1800’s, just like the Teslas or Bentleys of today. Sure, automobiles were only for a select few back then, but the times were a-changing and pretty soon everyone wanted one of these noisy, cantankerous and expensive machines.

Russ Hoernis of Hoernis Auto Body in Belleville, IL, has created a 20-minute video and posted it on YouTube to demonstrate all of the steps in the feather, prime and block procedure that must be performed to bring a repair panel back to a new, undamaged one.

Three-C Body Shops, a four-facility, multi-shop operation in the Columbus OH, area, has filed multiple lawsuits against State Farm Insurance Company in an effort to recover alleged shortpay losses.

The Springfield, OH, business community has joined together to help transform an outdated Brinks armored truck into a SWAT rescue vehicle for the Springfield Police Special Operations Team, according to a report in the Springfield News Sun by Allison Wichie.

“We’ve done everything that we can do to that truck,” said Fred Maine, owner of Maine’s Collision Repair. “And it’s for all the guys that do (special operations). This is my thanks to you and we’re just happy that you make Springfield a safer place.”

Maine’s Collision Repair, Navistar and the UAW Local 402, Hays Fabricating, the Miami Valley AAA, the Port Authority of Springfield and Dave Maute with Allstate Insurance all donated more than $100,000 in parts, labor and cash to transform the old Brinks truck into a rescue vehicle for the Special Operations Team.

Maine said the teamwork and collaboration among the Springfield and Clark County businesses made the finished product so spectacular.

“Anyone that we talked to that we needed something, when I went and asked, they gave,” Maine said. “The Special Operations Team is working constantly trying to get equipment and do the things they need to do and so (helping with the truck) just made sense.”

Police and the Special Operations Team began looking into an armored vehicle after Clark County Sheriff’s Deputy Suzanne Hopper was killed by a gunman as she was responding to a shots fired call at Enon Beach campground in 2011. It was then that the law enforcement community realized it needed special equipment to help protect officers responding to dangerous situations, said Springfield Police Chief Stephen Moody.

Farmers Insurance Group has dropped lawsuits against 200 Chicago-area communities, reports the Chicago Tribune. The insurer claimed the communities did not do enough to prevent widespread flooding in the areas in April 2013.

The class-action suits sought to make the local governments reimburse Farmers for claims it paid out to more than 600 property owners in the communities. The insurer argued that public agencies should have taken more preventative measures to avert damage caused by the record-breaking floods, such as emptying reservoirs before the rains hit, says the Tribune.

But now, less than two months after the suit was filed, Farmers has withdrawn it. "We believe our lawsuit brought important issues to the attention of the respective cities and counties, and that our policyholders' interests will be protected by the local governments going forward," says Trent Frager, a spokesperson for Farmers, in a statement.

Frager says the company does not intend to refile the suits, says the Tribune.


Wisconsin has joined the ever-increasing number of states legislating against employers’ access to employees’ and applicants’ social media sites. On Tuesday, April 8, 2014, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed the Wisconsin Social Media Protection Act, 2013 Wisconsin Act 208 (the “Act”), into law, which prohibits both public and private employers, regardless of size, from requesting or requiring employees or applicants to provide their information to their personal internet accounts. The Act applies similarly to landlords with respect to tenants and prospective tenants and to educational institutions with regard to students and prospective students. Employers will want to ensure that their policies and procedures do not run afoul of this new law, which authorizes a $1,000 penalty for violating its prohibitions in addition to other remedies. The Act became effective on April 10, 2014. The Act prohibits employers from requesting or requiring that an employee or applicant disclose access information for the employee’s or applicant’s personal internet account or otherwise grant access to that account (i.e., “shoulder-surfing”).