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1HomePageMap small sw 0816Local news stories affecting the auto body industry in Arizona, Utah, Arkansas, ColoradoTexas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Louisiana

General Motors Co. said May 27 it will add 110 jobs at its SUV factory in Arlington, Texas and invest $331 million to upgrade the plant.

The Detroit-based automaker will upgrade the plant with new equipment and tooling machinery.

The investment is part of a broader plan announced by GM earlier this month to spend $2 billion to upgrade 17 US sites in eight states.

GM builds four full-size SUV models at the Texas plant: the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, the GMC Yukon and the Cadillac Escalade.

The 57-year-old factory employs about 2,400 workers and was last expanded in 2001.

“This investment will allow us to continue building award-winning full-size SUVs that offer better fuel efficiency than ever before without sacrificing the features and functionality they’ve come to expect,” GM manufacturing manager Larry Zahner said according to the Detroit News.

Texas automotive dealership owner Ramsay Gillman, who built his family business into one of the state’s largest dealer groups, died June 3 at his home in Houston at 67 years old.

Gillman was a second-generation owner of the Gillman Cos. Ramsay Gillman has served as Owner/President and Chief Executive Officer of The Gillman Companies and was the Chairman of the Board of The Gillman Companies.

In early 2010, he sold 99 percent of the company to his three children—daughter Stacey Gillman-Wimbish and sons Jason and Christopher.

“My father was an industry leader,” said Stacey Gillman-Wimbish, 44, to the Houston Chronicle. “He loved to get involved and was not afraid to take the time necessary to affect change.”

Ramsay’s father, Frank, started the business when he opened a Pontiac dealership in 1938. Ramsay started his automotive career working in the parts department of his father’s Pontiac dealership.

Two fraud investigators with the state Department of Insurance were shot and killed June 7 while trying to get information from an agent. Rhett Jeansonne, an investigator since 2006, and Kim Sledge, an 11-year employee of the insurance department, were shot and killed by insurance agent John Melvin Lavergne, who in the past had been cited for fraud and ordered to stop operations, Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon confirmed in an emotional news conference. The insurance agent had previously faced criminal charges and civil sanctions, according to police and the insurance office.

"My deepest sympathies go out to the loved ones of our two departed colleagues, in particular, the surviving spouses and children of these brave individuals," Donelon said in a statement.

Police in Ville Platte, about 50 miles north of Lafayette, got a call of shots fired at Lavergne Insurance about 1 p.m., said Trooper Stephen Hammons, spokesman for Louisiana State Police.

The Glass Doctor® of North Central Louisiana franchise owned by Kane Banks is now open and ready to “fix your panes!”

Glass Doctor of North Central Louisiana offers mobile residential, automotive and commercial glass services to Lincoln and Ouachita Parishes. The showroom and shop are open 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday, 8 am to noon Saturdays and a 24-hour emergency service is available.

“We’re pleased to be a part of Glass Doctor,” Banks said. “We’re here for Ruston, Monroe and the surrounding area’s glass needs, including everything from windshield replacements to storefronts to custom glass shower enclosures.”

Upon purchasing the franchise, Banks attended the most in-depth training in the glass services industry, a 10-day training course on the latest glass repair technology, customer service techniques and marketing methods held at the Glass Doctor University Training Center in Waco, Texas.

New data shows the number of crashes involving teen drivers is higher on certain roads and highways in Texas, according to Allstate.

Interstate 45 in Harris County had more car crashes involving teen drivers than any other roadway in Texas between 2006 and 2010, according to the data provided to Allstate by the Texas Department of Transportation.

Interstate 10, also in Harris County, had the second highest, and Interstate 10 in Bexar County had the third most.
Motor Vehicle Crashes by Roadway and County Involving Drivers Age 15-19 from 2006-2010 in Texas:

Texas is set to join numerous other states across the country that have begun cracking down on texting while driving.

The Texas House of Representatives has taken action to reduce the number of accidents relating to distractions caused not only by texting, but by sending instant messages and emails while driving.

The Texas House approved a bill on June 4 that will place a ban on sending and receiving texts, emails and IMs (instant messages) while driving. This bill is one of the first to deal with the barrage of other distracting actions available on cellphones that have become more popular with recent technological advancements.

Many Texas cities already have their own ordinances banning texting and cellphone usage, such as Austin, El Paso, Dallas and San Antonio.

However, according to Gainesville Police Department Public Information Officer Belva McClinton, the city of Gainesville does not have any ordinances of this nature.