Friday, January 22, 2016

Masked men rob truck stop

Three armed men gave a store clerk and customer a scare while robbing a Louisiana truck stop earlier this month.

The three suspects took an undisclosed amount of money from Chardele’s Auto & Truck Plaza in Lake Charles, La., at approximately 3 a.m. Jan. 12, according to the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office. Authorities are still searching for the suspects.

Surveillance video from the store shows three masked suspects entering the store with handguns. Sheriff’s deputies describe the suspects as black males who were wearing masks, gloves and black hoodies. One of the men, who is shown on the video jumping over the front counter, was wearing an orange mask and camouflage pants.

Jimmy Haslam tops sports blog’s list of NFL’s Worst Owners

Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam is No. 1 on a rather ignominious list – the list of the worst owners in professional football, according to sports website The Big Lead.

The site, which is owned by USA Today, published a ranking of the 11 worst owners in the NFL on Wednesday, Jan. 20. Haslam was ranked as the worst, ahead of the likes of San Diego Chargers owner Dean Spanos, who is in the midst of trying to relocate his franchise to Los Angeles, and Rams owner Stan Kroenke, who this offseason announced he will be uprooting his franchise from St. Louis to L.A.

Haslam even topped Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, who has come under fire for years for refusing to change the team’s controversial nickname, and for suing reporters in the D.C. area who chronicled some of his more extravagant failures and controversies.

The rankings are a combination of the results of each franchise’s on-field performance, and off-field newsmaking, typically of the negative variety.

As the post puts it, “(T)o top this list you really have to be a lowlife with zero knowledge of how to run a professional sports franchise.”

Thursday, January 21, 2016

‘Hey man, can I have a dollar?’

Truckers see just about everything imaginable, and often the unimaginable, while traversing the nation’s roadways. Interactions with people while out of the truck can be an adventure.

An effort underway at the Washington State Legislature that got my attention covers encounters truckers and other travelers can have with panhandlers at rest areas and rest stops.

The fact that a handful of state lawmakers believe the issue is serious enough to warrant a law addressing it got me to thinking about just how big of a problem truckers have with people asking, or possibly demanding, a handout.

Rep. Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama, is the lead sponsor of a bill that addresses instances when a person aggressively panhandles at any public rest stop or rest area. The bill defines “aggressive panhandling” as “any solicitation made in person requesting another person to make a donation of money or to purchase an item.”

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

‘Tow-plow’ is MoDOT’s secret weapon

Since 2005, the Missouri Department of Transportation has been deploying a homegrown solution to help speed up ice and snow removal on highways and interstates.

As radio station KCUR reports, MoDOT deploys a “tow-plow” to double the coverage of snow removal from the standard 14 feet of a conventional snow plow to more than 25 feet.

You can see the plow at work here in this video:

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Viral content is a real virus to journalism

This morning, I was made to look like a fool. It could happen to anybody, including you or a loved one. I thought I was immune to these schemes, but I was wrong. Allow me to warn you about a plague that is going viral across the globe:

Fake news sites.

My daily morning meeting was no different from any other day. I checked my email, looked at potential news tips I had received, and printed out the ones I would pitch to my editors. I quickly browsed through the text to be sure the subject matter was worthy.

Before I knew it, it was my turn to pitch a story.

Trucker who shot down drone could face another day in court

You might know OOIDA Member William Merideth by the handle “Droneslayer.” If that name doesn’t ring a bell, chances are you’re at least passingly familiar with the story of a Kentucky father who blasted a drone out of the sky above his home last summer because he believed the craft was taking pictures and video of his family and property.
Yep, that’s our William. The 47-year-old resident of Louisville owns a small trucking company that hauls general freight regionally. It appears he may be headed back to court after the owner of the dispatched drone filed a petition in the U.S. District Court of Kentucky, seeking to reclaim $1,500 in damages to his drone and a ruling from the federal court that would give drone operators the same legal protection as helicopters and other aircraft. That would supersede trespassing claims like the one Merideth made to justify blasting the aircraft out of the sky.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Fleets: They know how you feel

It could happen.

Apple recently bought a technology startup called Emotient that rates your mood by analyzing your face. The idea is to gauge your instant reactions rather than later responses to a questionnaire – in other words, what you really feel as opposed to what you say you feel. It’s supposed to be used as you watch ads, presentations, etc. – presumably when testers can get good shots of your face.
I ask you: What clearer shot of a face is there than from a company camera in a truck pointed at you?

It’s only a matter of time before this emotion software finds its way to companies that sell big truck fleets stuff to get drivers, keep drivers, and wring more productivity out of drivers.

Now the camera system trained on you sends pictures to the boss only when you mash the brakes, hit something, or something hits you. At least that’s what they tell us.