Thursday, August 27, 2015

#TBT: How Katrina ‘Shattered’ the lives of one member and his family

Editor’s note: For this installment of “Throwback Thursday” we’re bringing you an incredible story from our March/April 2006 issue by Field Editor Suzanne Stempinski. Suzanne interviewed OOIDA Life Member Jay Hosty and his wife, Katt, who lived in the Gulf Coast area of Mississippi when Hurricane Katrina made landfall. Like so many victims of Katrina, the Hosty family lost everything but each other and put their lives back together, one piece at a time. Check back tomorrow when we will have an updated story about the Hostys and the region 10 years after one of the worst natural disasters in our history.

Katt Hosty starts her day quietly. Her husband, Jay, is on the road. Their three daughters are sleeping peacefully in their beds. She looks around her FEMA-provided trailer and wonders how much longer it will be before they will live in a home of their own.

She wonders if she'll ever really feel safe again.

It has been more than six months since Hurricane Katrina blew into the Gulf and tore their world apart. For the most part, the rest of the country has moved on to other events topping the news.

But for the Hostys and thousands of others like them, there has been nowhere else to go. Every day is another step in the process of rebuilding and redefining their lives – lives that they had no desire to change.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Rules are (sometimes) meant to be broken

A few days ago a friend asked “What say you, Elizabeth?” on my Facebook page. She had shared an article titled “Dear Pedants: Your Fave Grammar Rule Is Probably Fake” and knew I would probably have an opinion or two because I’m a copy editor. In fact, my profile on Facebook says: “Copy Editor. I read the dictionary for fun.” As I told a new acquaintance once, “I’m the funniest copy editor you’ll ever meet. Of course it’s a very low bar.”

For the past eight years I have been the copy editor for Land Line Magazine and “Land Line Now” at OOIDA.

I finally had a chance to sit down with this article, read, and reflect. Rules vary according to usage and the style in a given field. In the first sentence of this paragraph, I used the Oxford comma, but The Associated Press, or AP, style (which we use here at Land Line) dictates that I remove the final comma in a simple series. Also, immediately above, I used a comma after “In the first sentence” although some would say a short introductory phrase does not require a comma.

When I edit, I keep the reader in mind and prize clarity above all. I agree with this sentence in the article: “It is indeed important to learn the accepted linguistic conventions of the standard dialect for reasons of communication, clarity and even persuasive style.” As author Dorothy Allison so eloquently put it at a literary convention last month, you should know the rules. Then f*** ’em (her language, not mine).

Monday, August 24, 2015

Bulldogs, bikes and Jackasses: Not your typical Hollywood movie premiere

I recently had the honor and privilege of attending an exclusive movie premiere in Hollywood, Calif. Yes, it was a work trip, technically. And even though I’d never been to a premiere before, I can say without a doubt that it was anything but typical.

A glance at the motley cast of characters reveals all. We had Mack Trucks and their iconic Bulldog, stunt performers from the “Jackass” movie and TV show empire, and genuine motorcycles, leathers and other memorabilia used by none other than the iconic Evel Knievel, all in the same place.

All of these and more were in Tinseltown to promote a new documentary, “Being Evel,” a no-holds-barred look into the “brash, bold and daring” life of Evel Knievel, the King of the Daredevils. The movie is produced by Johnny Knoxville of “Jackass” fame and “Jackass 3D” director Jeff Tremaine, and directed by Daniel Junge.

“Big Red,” a 1974 Mack and custom trailers, fully restored to its original glory. 
Photo by Ryan Cavanaugh, courtesy of Mack Trucks
The trucking press, at the invitation of Mack Trucks, was on site to report from the red carpet on a fully restored “Big Red” – the very 1974 Mack FS786LST and trailer that Knievel used to transported his Evel Empire around to stunts to act as his personal dressing room.

Mack featured prominently in the documentary as well, as “Big Red” was Knievel’s homebase during the infamous Snake River Canyon jump. The Mack Bulldog logo appears on the tailpiece of the rocket built for that controversial stunt. You’ll have to see the film to get the true essence of the controversy and the fallout from it.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Engineers say to ‘zip it’ when approaching work zones

It’s always interesting to see what kind of new “safe” road configurations road engineers come up with. Anytime we stumble onto a new one, the Land Line crew immediately wonders how our readers – the men and women who literally live their lives on the road – are going to react to some desk-generated idea.

We haven’t been surprised that traffic circles or roundabouts aren’t exactly popular. The diverging diamonds are confusing and have left more than one trucker scratching their heads wondering if it really is safer.

Earlier this week, a Missouri Department of Transportation newsletter winged its way into my inbox. In it was a reminder about the “zipper” merging concept that state DOTs are urging motorists to use when approaching lane closures.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

A truckin’ flashback to 1984

OOIDA Member Frank Arpino of Waterloo, N.Y., was cleaning out his attic when he found an old Parade Magazine dated April 29, 1984. It’s obvious why Frank kept it. The 30-year-old cover says it all.

Here's a photo of the 1984 Parade sent to us by
a member. It features trucker Arnold Arrick
(dang, he's not a member) ready to roll.
For the article, writer Sally Sommer set out to see what the trucking life was “really about.” Her report is a positive and colorful read as she describes her 2,600-mile road trip through 12 states with several real truckers. Frank isn’t featured in the story (or anyone we know), but it’s a fun article and pretty fair depiction of what professional truckers were like in 1984 and what they were not

In 1984, Frank was in his seventh year of driving. He says he’s only worked for two companies his whole driving carrier. Earlier, he drove for a regional outfit in central New York. He now drives for a long haul company out of Wisconsin. This year marks his 38th year of continuous driving.

He says the job used to be fun, challenging and always something to look forward to. Even though he still likes being a trucker, things have changed. He thinks that electronic logs “took all the pleasure out of the job and doubled the stress.”

Frank also is no fan of the outside/inside cameras, too, and finds them insulting.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Who’s a fat, non-compliant cheater?

OOIDA Member Joyce Sauer Brenny is president of Brenny Transportation Inc. in St. Cloud, Minn. She was recently reading some malarkey spouted by a research analyst, prompting Joyce to sound off on Facebook. We could not help ourselves. We had to invite her to say more. Here’s Joyce’s comments.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Making the world safer, one driver at a time

When it comes to defensive driving, Terry Kearns says you’re never too old to learn some new tricks.

Kearns, an OOIDA member from Paducah, Ky., and his wife, Gail, run a mobile driver training simulator and classroom for the Paducah Area Transit System. According to the organization’s website, the mobile simulator offers supplementary education and training opportunities for a variety of vehicles, including law enforcement and commercial drivers.

The simulator is an entirely self-contained technology system in a 53-foot expandable mobile classroom. Three separate units can emulate many different types of vehicles, small or large. 

“It’s like a video game, to a point,” Kearns said. “I can set different scenarios up to happen at any point.”

Those scenarios include distracted driving incidents, adverse weather conditions, mechanical or tire failure, or even a child running out in front of the vehicle.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Bringing home the gold from IAMC

Most people want to believe they are the best at what they do, but not everybody gets to prove it. When it comes to covering trucks and the trucking industry, “Land Line Now” on The Road Dog channel on SiriusXM and Land Line Magazine are two of the best.

At the 24th International Automotive Media Competition awards in Plymouth, Mich., on July 26, the magazine took home one gold award and the radio program a gold and a bronze award as well garnering “Best of Radio” overall for the competition.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Good news, bad news, and a handful of roses and razzies to distribute

We’ve probably mentioned a time or two here how the “Roses and Razzberries beat” is the purview of our “Land Line Now” radio colleague Terry Scruton. Not to step on Terry’s toes, but there are a couple of stories that have made the rounds this week that we feel are worthy of both.

First, the razzberry.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

In the wake of Tracy Morgan crash, technology should also come under scrutiny

Now that the National Transportation Safety Board has issued its report on last year’s fatal New Jersey Turnpike crash involving a Walmart tractor trailer and a limousine van carrying actor-comedian Tracy Morgan and others, the investigation may be closed, but the fallout could be just beginning.

The NTSB issued nine recommendations to various state and federal agencies, and reiterated another half-dozen previously issued recommendations on everything from guidance for traffic engineers on the use of supplemental traffic control strategies for work zones to minimum training standards for organizations providing emergency medical services on the New Jersey turnpike.

Mark Valentini, OOIDA director of legislative affairs, said the incident garnered more attention than usual because of the involvement of a celebrity like Morgan.

“There’s a chance that something actionable might come of it on the regulatory side,” he said. “I think the industry needs to be prepared for that.”