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

Cynthia Wadaga is on trial accused of embezzling more than $20,000 from the body shop in L'Anse, MI, where she worked over a two-year period. Wadaga worked at First Choice Auto Body in L’Anse from June 2009 until June 2011, when owner William Ross fired her and accused her of having stolen from the business. An estimated $24,000 was taken during that time, according to reports in the Daily Mining Gazette.

Testifying for the prosecution was Andrew Wallner, a certified public accountant who Ross brought in to look at the company’s financial reports after he fired Wadaga.

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.

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.

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.”

Starting in the fall of 2014, Richland Community College in Decatur, IL, will be offering degree programs in two growing industry fields, namely Collision Repair Technology and Diesel Medium/ Heavy Truck Technology.

“Technology is changing, jobs are changing, and there is a huge, huge need for workers with advanced skills and certifications in these areas,” said Jack Adwell, dean of business and technology at Richland. “People going into these industries can be pretty assured that it is not going to be that hard to find a job.”

The Safe Automobiles for Everyone (SAFE) Educational Symposium was held at the Schaumberg Convention Center in Schaumberg, IL, May 30–31, 2014. The Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of Illinois (AASPI) hosted the two-day event.

SAFE is a network of collision industry and legal professionals who abide by this mission: “To provide a resource for collision training and business skills so every consumer can receive a proper repair by a shop with the knowledge necessary to be paid for all the parts and procedures required for the repair.”

The line up of speakers highlighting the two-day event included: