Midwestern News

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

Missouri lawmakers were somewhat surprised when a strange concept arose at a joint House-Senate conference committee on the fiscal year 2015 budget. They were even more surprised by the evasive answer the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) provided.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, said constituents called him about Long Range Acoustic Devices (LRADs), and he read an article about them. In essence, they blast loud warnings at oncoming traffic, ordering drivers to slow down. Schaefer and other lawmakers on the committee had never heard of these LRADs, which are also used by police and military personnel to disperse protests and deter pirates.

When department officials were called up for questioning, they danced around the topic. First, they had never heard of “sound cannons.” Then, they didn’t know how many they had. Then, they weren’t sure how much they cost.

“The evasive answer was troubling,” Senator Ryan Silvey, R-Kansas City, said. “We are elected to hold them accountable...If they screw up, we have to answer for them at the ballot box.”

Even after some poking and prodding, the answers were unclear. Department officials said they have one, maybe two LRADs and that they cost about $25,000 a piece.

Department officials said they sidelined the pilot project, for now, because public perception “got out of hand.”

Turns out the department officials present at the hearing were incorrect. Although MoDOT had plans of leasing a couple LRADs as part of a pilot project in the summer of 2014, the equipment was unavailable, spokeswoman Holly Dentner said.

Dentner said the department didn’t intend to frighten anyone and wasn’t sure if the LRADs would be used in the future.

Schaefer thinks the project should remain on the sidelines for good. A driver lacking confidence might get blasted by the sound and drive into the median or another car, he said.

“This seems to be a horrible idea,” Schaefer said.

Tuesday, 03 June 2014 12:28

Ohio Leads the Nation in Metal Thefts

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.

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.

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.

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.