Northeastern News

1HomePageMap small ne 0816Local news stories affecting the auto body industry in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut, Maryland, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine

As people make their way down 27th Ave in Astoria, a neighborhood in Queens, NY, that borders the East River just east of the isle of Manhattan, they may stumble upon a rather large tree. At first there seems to be nothing special about this random tree, but upon closer inspection visitors may notice that the tree grows directly through an auto body repair shop.

Visitors can step into the office of Cove Recovery and Towing to find out for themselves.

The very old tree grows right through the counter and up through roof. Owner Tommy Cali, 59, built the office around the tree when he opened the business 25 years ago, and that it’s continued to grow without problems ever since.

“My wife’s family, they used to own the house here,” Cali told CBS 2, “It was sentimental. She didn’t want it cut down, that’s why it’s still standing.”

It took Cali about eight months to build the office. He did the construction himself with materials he found.

“It wasn’t too hard,” Cali said. “I just got all the scraps together that I found, put them in one spot and one day I just started to build it.”

A live tree growing through a inanimate object requires quite a bit of maintenance to be sure the building does not obstruct the tree’s growth, and the tree does not ruin the building.

“I cut the sheet rock out as it grows wider and on the top we have rubber mounted around it so as it grows the rubber stretches,” Cali said.

Despite the up keep, Cali said he has no intentions of cutting the tree. He’ll just let nature take its course.

Former Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP/NJ) Executive Director Cindy Tursi passed away December 13. Tursi, who served the association from the 1988 through 2003, was 61.

Born in Wheeling, West Virginia and a former resident of Hillsborough, NJ, Cynthia resided in Branchburg, NJ, for 24 years. She retired in 2008 and had been self-employed for twenty years as AASP/NJ Association Manager.

“There aren’t enough words to describe what she did for the industry and for the association—it would take more of a book than a paragraph,” said AASP/NJ President Jeff McDowell. “Through determination, attention to detail and her commitment to wanting us all to be successful, she continually went over and above what was required of her.”

AASP/NJ members and leaders also paid their respects to Cindy Tursi. “When I took over as Executive Director, Cindy was my mentor. I remember writing an article that it was a big job to fill those little shoes. Well, Cindy showed me the way,” said Charles Bryant, current Executive Director for the AASP/NJ.

“She looked after us like we were her children. She called us, she worried about us… she was a good lady.”

Guy Citro, who served two terms and hired Cindy to become AASP/NJ President added, “She was a professional and put her heart and soul into her work. Cindy kept the association going. She was not only my executive director, but also a good friend. Cindy helped many ASA/NJ presidents along the way before she retired. I will sadly miss her and her friendship.”

In the over 50 year history of AASP/NJ, there have only been three Executive Directors.

Cindy followed association founder George Threlfall and was succeeded by current AASP/NJ Executive Director Charles Bryant.

“For a tiny gal, she was a powerhouse,” said Bryant, “Cindy was an organizer and seemed to have a form for everything. During her time as Executive Director for the AASP Garden State and before that with what we all referred to as the North Chapter, Cindy saw herself as the mother hen. She seemed to feel that part of her job was to look over they guys and make sure they played nice. When one got out of line, you would see the lion in her. When they did something nice or compassionate, you would see the cuddly kitten and if you actually pissed her off, my best advice would be to get out of Dodge.”

Cindy Tursi is survived by her husband of 32 years, Noel A. Tursi; her son, Dustin Tursi; her granddaughter, Summer Ann Tursi; her father, Henry Novacek; her brother, Terry (Florence) Lunger; her niece, Tera Lunger; and her nephew, Hutch Novacek.

At the request of the family, funeral arrangements are being privately held and under the direction of Branchburg Funeral Home, 910 US Highway 202 South, Branchburg, NJ 08876, (908) 526-7638.

For more information please visit www.BranchburgFuneral Home.com.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed into law that bans the use of credit in underwriting and rating private passenger motor vehicle insurance in his state, according to reports made by Insurance Journal.

The law, Chapter 195 of the Acts of 2011, was signed by the governor in late November. The ban has already been in practice in the state but as an administrative regulation. This latest measure codifies into law the state’s current administrative ban on the use of credit scoring.

“We want to commend the legislature and the Patrick Administration for their leadership and support on this important issue,” commented Frank Mancini, President and CEO of Massachusetts Association of Insurance Agents. His group has been the driving force in the state to put into law the current ban on using credit information.

Massachusetts is already a state with some of the most strict bans in the nation regarding the use of credit information and socioeconomic factors in underwriting.

Mancini added that “especially during these difficult financial times, this legislation will provide Massachusetts consumers with much-needed protection against an unfair, unreliable, and discriminatory rate-setting practice.”

“People just don’t believe their financial woes or a mistake on their credit report should affect their ability to buy affordable auto insurance,” he said. “We were gratified to see so many officials on Beacon Hill share this sentiment and take action to prevent this from occurring.”

Mancini pointed to a poll commissioned in August by his association showing that Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly supported this measure. By a margin of 68.3 percent to 31.6 percent, respondents across diverse demographic groups believed that auto insurance premiums should be based as much as possible on an individual’s driving record and years of driving experience.

Thursday, 08 December 2011 17:29

Nissan Leaf Expands Availability Into DE, PA

Days before the one-year anniversary of the world's first Nissan LEAF delivery on Dec. 11, Nissan North America Inc. (NNA) expanded availability of the all-electric LEAF into new U.S. markets. After one year and 20,000 global deliveries, the Nissan LEAF remains the world's first and only all-electric car for the mass market.

December 6, Nissan has re-opened reservations and has begun taking orders from the general public for the 2012 Nissan LEAF in Delaware, Indiana, Louisiana, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. Deliveries of the LEAF, enriched for the 2012 model year with additional standard equipment including quick charging and cold-weather features, will take place in these key markets beginning in spring 2012.

"Nissan LEAFs have been on the U.S. roads for one year now, and thousands of drivers have become living proof that a 100-percent electric, zero-emissions vehicle fulfills the daily needs of drivers from all walks of life," said Brian Carolin, senior vice president, Sales and Marketing, NNA. "We are seeing already-strong interest in the LEAF continue to grow across the country. This market expansion brings us one step closer to true, nationwide availability."

With this new wave of availability, Nissan LEAF is now available for order in 30 states, including Washington, D.C. Nationwide, 50-state ordering will be available by March 2012.

For more information visit http://www.nissan-global.com/EN/.

Thursday, 08 December 2011 17:27

Syracuse Shelves Red-Light Camera Plan, For Now

Syracuse is following the lead of several other New York area cities and shelving its plans for stoplight cameras.

The Post-Standard of Syracuse reports that the city had asked companies to bid on installing cameras at intersections last fall in hopes of catching people who run red lights. A spokesman for Mayor Stephanie Miner told the newspaper that the project was abandoned last week.

Spokesman Bill Ryan said the red-light cameras have brought criticism and legal hassles in other cities. Seven states; Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, West Virginia and Wisconsin, have banned red light cameras. Los Angeles, CA, was also reportedly losing $1.5 million a year on its cameras.

Syracuse Common Councilor Lance Denno said he didn’t think cameras would make the city’s streets safer.

The Right to Repair Coalition announced October 21 that it has collected 106,658 voter signatures, exceeding the 68,911 required for the initiative to appear on the 2012 ballot in Massachusetts.

Said Kathleen Schmatz, president and CEO of the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA): “We are very pleased with the growing support for Right to Repair on both the federal and state levels. The momentum building in Congress, coupled with the groundswell of support from voters in Massachusetts, demonstrates how important Right to Repair is to consumers, especially in a tough economy,” said Schmatz.  “Right to Repair will help alleviate motorists’ financial burden by ensuring a competitive vehicle repair marketplace, allowing car owners to patronize the repair facility of their choice.”

According to the Right to Repair Coalition, the voter initiative would, for the first time, allow consumers to access all of the non-proprietary repair information required to have their vehicles repaired where they choose, at a new car dealership or an independent shop. The proposed law would level the playing field between the big car manufacturers’ dealerships and independent, neighborhood repair facilities, allowing the latter to finally be able to access the same non-proprietary automobile diagnostic and repair information that is currently only available to the manufacturers’ dealers and their new car dealerships.

“It’s time that car owners have the right to get our vehicles repaired wherever we choose,” said Jeff McLeod of Marshfield, one of the signers of the ballot petition. “The growing support for this issue shows how important it is for consumers, especially in a difficult economy.”