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The Streets are Paved with Gold for Gear Jammers as America Celebrates National Truck Driver Appreciation Week

Truck driver shortage overblown

America’s transportation infrastructure is crumbling, with traffic-clogged freeways, pothole-strewn side streets and aging bridges making travel as much an aggravation as an adventure. But for the nation’s 3.5 million truckers, these troubled byways have lately proven to also be yellow brick roads leading to prosperity.

In fact, according to the American Trucking Associations (ATA), there’s no better time to be a trucker or to own a trucking firm in the U.S. The industry enjoyed a robust $796.7 million in revenues in 2018, up nearly $100 million from the previous year. Truckers moved almost 11.5 billion tons of freight in 2018, representing 71.4 percent of all U.S. tonnage freight. That number could be surpassed this year, as the ATA’s July 2019 truck tonnage index surged up 6.6 percent  over June. The association is projecting the growth will continue over the next decade, forecasting a healthy 25 percent jump by 2030.

To celebrate, the ATA has declared Sep. 8-14, 2019, as National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. The week will honor truckers for the jobs they do in delivering tons of products and goods safely, securely and on time throughout the country. The ATA estimates more than 80 percent of U.S. communities rely exclusively on truck drivers for deliveries.

“Truck drivers are an integral part of the nation’s growing economy and deserve to be celebrated by their companies, customers, neighbors, families and friends,” ATA President and CEO Chris Spear said in an association press release. “Everything that we consume – groceries, school supplies, clothes, medicine – gets delivered by a truck driver whether it’s to your front door, your local market, or your workplace. These drivers improve our quality of life by dedicating themselves to safety and making every effort to deliver the things we need efficiently, professionally and responsibly.”

There are an estimated 1.2 million trucking companies across the nation. Combined, these firms operate 15.5 million trucks, two million of which are tractor trailers. The ATA says most carriers are small companies – 91 percent run six or fewer trucks and more than 97 percent operate 20 or fewer. About one in nine of the country’s 3.5 million drivers are independent owner-operators.

However, despite these numbers, there is a tremendous shortage of drivers, with more and more work available and not enough men and women behind the wheel to do it. The ATA estimates that an additional 60,800 drivers were needed at the end of 2018, and that number could be higher at the end of this year. Experienced drivers are retiring (the U.S. Census Bureau indicates the median age for a truck driver is 46 years of age versus 41 for all workers). Freight service demand is rising, due in no small part to a surge in e-commerce, which relies almost exclusively on deliveries. So, for younger workers looking for jobs in demand with plenty of income potential and growth, the trucking industry should be an appealing career choice.

Two issues facing many small carriers and independent owner-operators are cash flow and timely payments on invoices. Having slow-paying customers can put the brakes on a trucking company’s operations and growth. One easy way to improve cash flow and overcome slow pay (or no pay) clients is to sell your invoices to a third party, also called a factoring company. The factoring company can fund you the amount of your outstanding accounts receivable invoices upfront, giving you the cash you need today to run your business today, and eliminating the worry and hassle of slow pay collections. You’re left free to run your business. Invoice factoring is a convenient alternative to a traditional bank loan or fee-laden online loans. Factoring gives you the money you need when you need it with no long-term obligations. You can also get cash quicker through invoice factoring – usually within a day or two. To learn more, simply call toll-free 1-855-219-6008 or email

EDITORIAL: Find Alternative To Trans Mountain Pipeline [The Columbian, Vancouver, Wash.]

Sep. 9–If one of the goals of a public protest is to raise awareness, kayakers on the Columbia River last week were successful.

About 30 members of the Mosquito Fleet, a water-borne group that protests fossil-fuel infrastructure, paddled an hour from Kelley Point Park in Portland to the Port of Vancouver. There they decried the presence of a cargo ship they say was carrying pipes for the expansion of a Canadian pipeline.

All of which reminds us of the need for Washington to stand in opposition to the proposed Trans Mountain Pipeline project. The Canadian government has approved a plan to expand the pipeline and increase the transfer of oil from Alberta to ports near Vancouver, British Columbia.

That is where Washington gets involved. The oil would be loaded onto ships for transport through the Salish Sea, the shared waters between our state and Canada. As Gov. Jay Inslee has said: “This is deeply irresponsible. While they may think this is in Canada’s best interests, this is not in the best interests of the people of Washington or of the world.”

It is estimated that the pipeline would increase tanker traffic from about 60 vessels a year to more than 400. That would impact the habitat of orcas, with studies suggesting that noise and pollution from shipping negatively affect the animals, who are listed as endangered. It also would add to fossil-fuel infrastructure at a time when the burning of such fuels and its role in climate change must be a concern of responsible governments across the globe.

Notably, leaders in British Columbia also are opposed to the plan from their federal government. And earlier this year, Inslee said: “We have a good working relationship with Canada and the province of British Columbia, where we recently reiterated our support for shifting our region to a clean-energy economy. Now is the time to protect our orcas and combat climate change, not invest in long-term fossil fuel infrastructure that would increase our emissions.”

Washington is on the right side of this issue. Adding fossil-fuel infrastructure is an ill-considered act at a time when the impact of climate change is becoming increasingly clear.

The benefits for Canada of expanding the pipeline are easily understood. The nation has vast reserves of oil in northern Alberta but has had difficulty finding cost-effective transport methods. It would be arrogant of American interests to suggest that Canada should limit its economic potential because of our environmental concerns.

But the United States does wield some leverage in the dispute. One factor could be completion of the Keystone XL Pipeline through the middle of the United States. This would bring the crude to a region of the United States that already has extensive infrastructure for refining and transporting oil, rather than creating new problems in the waters off Washington.

Another factor could be ongoing negotiations regarding the Columbia River Treaty, a compact in which Canada provides flood control at the headwaters of the river in exchange for a share of the hydroelectricity generated downstream. A compromise over the Trans Mountain Pipeline could be a mutually beneficial part of those negotiations.

The protesters who rowed from Portland to the Port of Vancouver last week hope to prevent oil from being transported out of northern Canada. That is a laudable but unrealistic goal. Yet they deserve credit for bringing renewed attention to the issue.


(c)2019 The Columbian (Vancouver, Wash.)

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Refinery employees honored for heroism during fire by Philly firefighters union [The Philadelphia Inquirer]

Sep. 9–Four employees of the Philadelphia Energy Solutions oil refinery in South Philadelphia, which was badly damaged by fire in June, were among dozens honored Sunday as part of the annual “Recognition Day” by the Philadelphia Firefighters & Paramedics Union Local 22.

The ceremony recognizes firefighters, paramedics and citizens for heroic acts in the last year.

By taking swift, critical actions, Barbara McHugh, Sal Diberardo, Dave Farrell and Sean McElhinney were credited with preventing the massive fire on June 21 at the largest East Coast refinery from becoming deadly. Five people were injured in the predawn blaze.

The damage, however, has led to the refinery, which employed 1,100 people, shutting down and filing for bankruptcy protection. Just a caretaker staff of 83 remains.

According to Inquirer reports and information provided at Sunday’s banquet, held in the Southampton Room of the Painters & Glaziers Union Hall in Northeast Philadelphia:

McHugh was a console operator in the central control room who hit a button that transferred highly dangerous hydrofluoric acid away from the blast area in Unit 433 and into a separate holding tank, averting a potential catastrophe. Diberardo, Farrell, and McElhinney climbed refinery pipes under fiery conditions and shut down the valves to stop the fuel to the fire.

Also recognized Sunday were nearly two dozen firefighters and medic unit operators who responded to a house fire on July 7 at Locust and Chew Avenues in East Germantown, rescuing three people from the building, including a woman who initially had no pulse or respiration but eventually was revived.

The awards event originated from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and is scheduled each year as close to that date as possible.


(c)2019 The Philadelphia Inquirer

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CAPS students making impact on community, businesses [Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, Iowa]

Sep. 8CEDAR FALLS — Finding new talent is important to companies as they plan for future workforce needs. But even as Kevin Watje was hiring one such prospect this summer, the chief executive officer of Curbtender worried that he might have found someone too new.

Nathan Hoffman’s task was to design a lifting device for the garbage trucks Curbtender manufactures. The recent graduate of Cedar Falls High School only had a brief window in which to work, though. He was heading to college this fall.

Hoffman had been referred to Watje by Cedar Falls Community Schools’ Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) after going through its engineering program. He came with high recommendations on his abilities to do computer-aided design work.

Still, Watje admitted that he was skeptical. Then Hoffman started working.

“He picked it up right away and we were so impressed with that,” said Watje, professing amazement at how quickly the teenager became proficient. “In the six weeks he was here, he literally designed a product for us.”

The company needs to build a prototype yet, but the CEO has high hopes for the product and how it will position them in the market. “If that is successful, we’ll have a heck of a competitive advantage,” he said, over other garbage truck manufacturers.

Now Curbtender has two more students who’ve gone through CAPS, senior Frank Zhang and junior Jacob Smothers, designing an arm for a garbage truck. They are reverse engineering the arm based on an older product. Watje likes what he is seeing from the pair.

“It’s been a great experience for us,” he said.

While the students’ work at Curbtender is similar to what’s done in the CAPS program, in these cases they are directly paid employees of the company and not earning dual high school-college credit. But the company got interested in the students after it became a business partner with CAPS.

Ethan Wiechmann, director of the high school program, said those connections to the business community are what matter.

“The program gets a lot of people at the table,” he said. “The key to the success is everyone finding value.”

CAPS is touting some other recent successes, as well.

Students in last spring’s CAPS session designed a set of large banners for Cedar Falls Community Main Street that can now be seen hanging on posts by the library and between Second and Third streets. The program held its first summer CAPS session, from which Zhang and Smothers were recruited to work at Curbtender. And its officials are working with Jesup and Waterloo Columbus high schools to start their own Center for Advanced Professional Studies programs.

Teenage engineers

Curbtender’s hiring of students is “a great CAPS story,” said Wiechmann. “We’ve got a 16-year-old and a 17-year-old that are working as engineers on this project.”

Wiechmann said the district decided to hold the summer CAPS program, which enrolled five students, because of the difficulty some kids had in finding time in their schedule to take it.

Cedar Falls is part of a Center for Advanced Professional Studies network that includes 52 programs involving 106 school districts in 15 states and two countries. But the district was a pioneer with its summer offering. Aside from Cedar Falls Schools, “none of them have run an actual for-credit CAPS program in the summer,” he noted.

Both Zhang and Smothers are interested in studying engineering in college. They learned computer-aided design skills through the CAPS program and earlier Project Lead the Way classes.

“As we were going through CAPS, I was thinking these skills would help me get a job one day,” said Smothers. “I just didn’t realize how soon.”

Watje’s wife was at an event where the summer CAPS students were making presentations about their projects and alerted her husband that there were two more students with an interest in engineering that he may want to consider hiring. They started working for Curbtender about two weeks before school started and are continuing this fall after classes each day.

When they were offered the positions, “that was pretty surprising,” said Zhang. The boys are learning a lot about engineering and picking up some new skills related to the design program used by Curbtender.


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“It’s just a lot of new experiences here that we didn’t have to deal with in the classroom,” said Zhang. “So we’re learning here every day.”

Along the way, they’ve also made quite a bit of progress on the project. Once the design is done, a prototype will be made.

“We’ll start probably cutting steel for that in two weeks,” said Watje. “They’re going to see it to completion, is my hope.”

Afterward, “if they want to stay with us, we have another project for them,” he noted. “By the end of their school year, I’m hoping both of those projects are complete and in production.”

Main Street banners

The Community Main Street banner design, which includes the CAPS logo, was offered by the organization as a project for the program. It was chosen for the “design sprint” done by the full group over three days at the beginning of spring semester. CAPS students are otherwise divided between the Cedar Falls’ programs four “strands”: Robotics and engineering, solutions (which is business-focused), education, and medical and health services.

“This just happened to be a project that was on our list,” said Carol Lilly, executive director of Community Main Street. “This is kind of that basic set (of banners) that will go up that aren’t seasonal.”

Community Main Street officials gave the students design guidelines and received many proposals that a committee narrowed down before picking the winner. “It was really hard for our committee to pick from,” said Lilly. “There were so many good ideas.”

The design they chose includes a blue line through the center of the banner based on a satellite image of the Cedar River. Blocks of red, green and orange spread across it horizontally. Lilly said the ability to transfer the design to a banner and how colors matched the downtown area’s branding gave it an edge.

Participating in the CAPS can give businesses and organizations “an option for some of those projects you can’t get to,” she said. In addition, the program “helps foster the next generation of community leaders.”

Interest growing

Cedar Falls CAPS leaders are working across school lines to help their brand of career education proliferate. Teachers with Jesup and Columbus high schools are being trained so each can set up their own programs, which could begin second semester. Like the Cedar Falls program, the two schools will partner with businesses at off-campus locations to provide real-world career experiences.

“We think this model has some legs to it and a lot of potential,” said Wiechmann. “We just need to figure out all the bugs.”

Jesup’s program will be located in a building being renovated by its partners, Farmers State Bank and Heartland Technology.

“We’re pretty excited about it. From the sound of it, it will be a co-working space that will house CAPS,” said Paul Rea, Jesup High School principal. “I know that we had a lot of support from our businesses in Jesup.”

Daniel Thole, Columbus principal, said Cedar Valley Catholic Schools’ administrators were looking for career education with a variety of components including experiential learning and opportunities to give back to the community.

“The CAPS program really allows us to do that pretty easily,” he noted. “We’re very excited for the Cedar Valley to benefit from this as much as our students.”

Details are not yet worked out concerning partner businesses or the program’s location.

“We’re still in the planning stages of all those logistics,” said Thole. “The first step was to inform the (school) board of this. Now that is passed, we’re going to begin the rest of it.”

Rea said his school is piloting CAPS on behalf of Cedar Valley Northeast, a consortium of districts that work to provide common professional development opportunities to their staffs. Others in the group include the Denver, Dunkerton, Wapsie Valley, Tripoli, SumnerFredericksburg and Clarksville school districts. Some or all of them may be interested in implementing the program during future years.

“I feel like we’re doing everything to get prepared to give our kids a great learning experience,” said Rea.


(c)2019 Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (Waterloo, Iowa)

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Layoffs at Navistar could affect 136 assembly workers [Springfield News-Sun, Ohio]

Sep. 7–Friday was the last day for some workers at Navistar’s Springifled location as the company expects to lay off more than 100 workers in the coming weeks.

Chris Blizard, the president of UAW Local 402, said he was told by Navistar this week that layoffs at the Springfield plant could affect as many as 136 assembly production workers over the course of the month.

“I don’t believe it will increase based on the information that I have right now. But it’s subject to change,” he said.

Lyndi McMillan, a spokeswoman for Navistar, said in an email sent to the News-Sun on Friday that final plans regarding changes at the Springfield plant have not been finalized by the company.

“We have not finalized numbers,” she said.

Last month, Navistar announced that it would be reducing production line rates at its Springfield assembly plant. McMillan said at the time that “this cycle is normal for our business, and this is not a shift of production to other locations.”

Company officials did not release which lines would be affected by the reduction. However, Blizard said the plant’s main line, which deals with medium-duty commercial trucks, will reduce the number of units it produces in a day.

Blizard said the company already reduced production on that line in August and will likely implement further changes on Monday. But, line production rates for the plant’s line two, which makes vans for General Motors, is expected to increase on Sept. 16.

It is a move Bizard said will help offset the number of employees that will be affected by the layoffs.

Navistar is a significant employer in Clark County and employs approximately 2,000 workers at its Springfield plant, which specializes in producing medium-duty commercial trucks.

Blizard said information he received from the company regarding layoffs only relates to workers represented by his chapter of the United Automobile Workers.

He said layoffs will be administered based on seniority and affected workers will retain recall rights at the plant.

Virginia Martycz, director of Clark County’sDepartment of Jobs and Family Services, said she was notified about the layoffs and her organization is working with the state to deploy a rapid response team to provide information about unemployment compensation and other resources to impacted workers.

Blizard said for 20 employees, Friday would be their last day with the company. He said layoffs will occur at the end of each week during the rest of September.

The news comes as Navistar saw a strong third quarter, in which the results of that period were released earlier this week. The company reported $3 billion in revenues due mainly to an increase in its volume of commercial trucks. Company officials project that retail deliveries of trucks and buses in the United States and Canada will be between 435,000 to 455,000 units by the end of the year.

They are also forecasting retail deliveries of 335,000 to 365,000 units in 2020, with heavy-duty trucks making up the majority of projected deliveries.

However, Steve Tam, vice president at Americas Commercial Transportation Research, said production of medium and heavy-duty commercial trucks have surpassed sales nationally. There has also been a decline in the backlog of orders waiting to be built.

Navistar’s backlogs are declining as well. And as you have seen, we are actively managing this by adjusting assembly line rates to create a balance between customer demand, inventory levels and a healthy backlog,” said Troy Clarke, Navistar’s president and CEO, in a conference call with investors Wednesday morning.

Clarke said industry orders for heavy duty-trucks have declined by 75 percent in the third quarter this year.

Tam said more than twice as many heavy-duty commercial trucks have been built over the last six months than orders for those trucks. He said numbers regarding the medium-duty truck market are less dramatic.

Since the beginning of the year, orders of medium-duty commercial trucks have been on average 15,000 units per month compared to the 19,000 trucks that are being produced on a monthly basis, according to data collected by Americas Commercial Transportation Research.

Tam said backlog orders for medium-duty trucks are declining at a much slower rate than their heavy-duty counterparts. However, he said it has caused some companies to adjust their production rates.

“When there is too much supply, as we are seeing, demand wanes. In the heavy-duty market, we have too many trucks chasing too little freight,” Tam said.

Clarke said in a conference call to investors that assembly line rates have been reduced at the company’s two truck plants.


(c)2019 Springfield News-Sun, Ohio

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Bottom Line: Prepare Now for the Next Downturn

Prepare Now for the Next Downturn

Not long ago, a well-known professional wrestler had a popular catchphrase he would shout out during TV promos. “That’s the bottom line, ‘cause Stone Cold Steve Austin said so!” This meant the audience could bank on what the hulking grappler had said would come true, usually to someone else’s grief. Stealing a phrase from Mr. Austin, what’s the “bottom line” on the current economy? And is there something coming that could cause small business owners grief?

Right now, as of mid-August 2019, the line looks encouraging. Unemployment stands at a low 3.7 percent. The latest small business confidence index has fallen slightly to 103.3, but still remains historically high. The annual inflation rate for the 12 months ending in June 2019 tallied a modest 1.6 percent. Even stocks continue to rise, with the current bull market now past its 10th anniversary, making it the longest on record. One small negative blip recently appeared when the Purchasing Managers Index fell to 51.2 in July, its lowest level in three years.

If there’s one thing certain about good times, it’s that they don’t last forever. Somewhere, sometime in the future a downturn in business or some other crisis will occur. As Austin would put it, “that’s the bottom line.” History has shown it time and again. Austin made a career out of sneaking up on unsuspecting opponents and applying his dreaded “Stone Cold Stunner” with devastating results. But unlike a clueless brawler, you don’t have to be caught by surprise. Here are a few heavyweight suggestions that may ensure that even when times do get tough, you’re still standing when the match bell rings.

Don’t Cut Advertising, Publicity and Marketing – It’s always cheaper to try to wrestle new sales from existing customers than to find new ones. As a result, many small business owners believe the first department to cut in a downturn is marketing. That belief can prove fatal. True, building upon and expanding existing client relationships is never bad policy, but not going after new customers is. Without new customers continually refreshing and growing the sales pipeline, an operation quickly stagnates and ultimately shrinks or even dies. A downturn is a great time to renew marketing, advertising and publicity. For one thing, your competition may be foolishly cutting back, leaving an opportunity for you to build market share at their expense. For another, customers may be using the downturn to search for new vendors and better deals. If you’ve cut back on or eliminated marketing, you may not find them nor they you.

Recession-Proof Your Personal Credit – Just as a homeowner prepares for winter by weatherproofing a house in the fall, wise small business owners use prosperous times to ensure their personal credit can withstand tough economic times. Small business loans are hard enough to get as is, with nearly 50 percent getting denied. Those loans are even tougher to secure in a recession, as banks keep money close and become risk averse. This means you may have to use your personal credit to keep your business afloat. Do what you can now to boost your credit rating and available credit lines.

Manage Inventory, Vendors and Debt – When you’re in a hole, the first step in getting out is to stop digging. In a downturn, excessive inventory, costly vendor contracts and excessive debt can tag team your business, making a bad situation even worse. As a recession begins, take steps to reduce inventory, renegotiate vendor contracts or seek out new ones, and pare down debt. These actions will turn your organization in to a lean, mean fighting machine able to better withstand a downturn.

Focus on What You Do Best – When times are good, businesses naturally expand into new areas and diversify their offerings outside their primary area of expertise. This is a good and healthy thing. But when times get bad, these extras may drag you down. Every business has a core competency that forms the basis of their business and sets them apart in the marketplace. Focus on this strength during a downturn. If you’re a widget maker that does event planning on the side, event planning probably distracts you and wastes resources better spent on the real center of your business and earnings.

Protect and Improve Cash Flow, the Lifeblood of Your Company – It’s no revelation that in tough economic times, access to money tightens. The best way to keep your business off the mat in a recession is to keep a healthy stream of cash coming in. This means, as mentioned in the first tip, to resist the urge to drop marketing efforts that identify new customers. It also means ensuring those who have done business with you pay you for your products and services in a timely manner. In an economic downturn, businesses will naturally try to delay paying expenses and invoices if possible to keep funds on hand. A 30-day invoice can quickly turn into a request for 60 or 90 days, greatly impacting your cash flow and harming your small business’ ability to function.

In a recession, one proven method to improve cash flow and protect your business is to engage the services of a factoring company. The factoring company can fund you the amount of your outstanding accounts receivable invoices upfront, giving you the cash you need today to run your business today, and eliminating the worry and hassle of slow pay collections. You’re left free to run your business.

Invoice factoring is a convenient alternative to a traditional bank loan or fee-laden online loans. Factoring gives you the money you need when you need it with no long-term obligations. You can also get cash quicker through invoice factoring – usually within a day or two. To learn more, simply call toll-free 1-855-219-6008 or email

Huntley & Huntley meeting set for Tuesday on Allegheny Township Marcellus well [The Valley News-Dispatch, Tarentum, Pa.]

Aug. 13–Huntley & Huntley Energy Exploration will hold a public meeting Tuesday to discuss the upcoming construction of the Porter well pad, an unconventional gas well located on private property along Willowbrook Road.

The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at the Markle Volunteer Fire Department social hall, 470 Joyce St., Allegheny Township (Apollo if using GPS to find the location).

Residents can expect to see increased traffic and excavation on approved properties, the Monroeville-based energy company said in a meeting announcement.

Huntley & Huntley representatives will present information on the project, its duration and answer residents’ questions.

Allegheny Township and Huntley & Huntley have an excess maintenance agreement for $597,000 to pay for damage and impact to roads for the development of the Marcellus Shale natural gas well.

Some residents tried unsuccessfully to stop the development of the well. The case went to the State Supreme Court, which declined to hear it, letting a lower court ruling stand that allowed the well pad project to go forward.

Allegheny Township property owners asked the state Supreme Court to review the Commonwealth Court ruling that they believe infringed on their “fundamental and constitutionally protected property and environmental rights.”

Mary Ann Thomas is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-226-4691, [email protected] or via Twitter .


(c)2019 The Valley News-Dispatch (Tarentum, Pa.)

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Prices are still falling at Valley gas pumps. Here’s where the lowest fuel prices are [The Fresno Bee]

Aug. 12–Gasoline prices in Fresno and the Valley are continuing to fall since reaching a sticker-shocking peak several months ago.

The average price on Monday for regular unleaded gasoline in the Fresno area was $3.60 per gallon, according to AAA Gas Prices. That’s down by about a nickel since last week, and about 13 cents lower than a month ago. It’s also 48 cents less per gallon than in early May, when refinery shutdowns for maintenance sent prices soaring to $4.08.

Pump prices vary from one station to another in various markets; the figures reported by AAA represent an average across all stations.

Besides being lower than a week ago and a month ago, Fresno’s average price is also lower — but just barely — than prices at this same point last year. On Aug. 12, 2018, AAA reported the average for regular unleaded at $3.63 per gallon., a mobile app and website that tracks retail fuel prices at stations across the country based on real-time reports from customers, showed that the lowest cash prices for regular unleaded gasoline in the Fresno area on Monday were $3.15 per gallon at several locations: Costco membership stores on North Abby Street in north Fresno and the store in Clovis, and a 76 station off Herndon Avenue and Highway 99 in northwest Fresno.

Costco in Hanford also had regular unleaded gasoline priced at $3.15 per gallon, GasBuddy users reported, while Visalia’sCostco had the price at $3.09. A Fastrip convenience store in Tulare was selling gasoline for $3.01 per gallon.

The lowest prices in the Valley reported by GasBuddy users on Monday, however, were in and around Lemoore in Kings County. Several stations on the GasBuddy map were selling gasoline for under $3 per gallon, including $2.81 at a Fastrip store at 18th Avenue and Cinnamon Drive, $2.83 at a Sinclair station at Armstrong and D streets, and $2.85 at the Yokut Gas station near the Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino at Jersey and 17th avenues.

California’s statewide average price was reported at $3.62 per gallon on Monday. Nationally, the U.S. average continues to be well below California, at $2.65 per gallon, according to AAA. showed the national average at $2.63 per gallon — the lowest level so far this summer after a price drop of almost seven cents over the past week, said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.

Not only are prices nationwide the lowest of the summer, DeHaan said in a blog post Monday, they are “the lowest since March as gas stations pass along the recent drop in prices brought on by the U.S./China trade rift.”

Demand for gasoline by drivers has gone up over the past week, “but it wasn’t enough to stay on pace with the huge jump in gasoline stocks,” said Jeanette Casselano, a AAA spokeswoman. “Therefore, pump prices continue to decline across the country.”

AAA reported that gasoline stocks across the West Coast as of Aug. 2 grew by about a half million barrels from the previous week, and sits at about 1.3 million barrels more than a year ago, “which would help prices stabilize if there is any disruption in supply or any increase in gas demand in the region this week,” the AAA analysis stated.

DeHaan, the GasBuddy analyst, said that global developments could drive prices up or down moving forward. “The drop in gas prices could slow in the weeks ahead as some OPEN members talk about cutting oil production to stem the recent drop in prices,” he said. He noted that crude oil prices had wobbled down and up over the past week, including a $3 per barrel increase as OPEN discussed production cuts.

“However, a production cut from oil producers may be more akin to putting lipstick on a pig as oil markets have plenty of downside ahead” as the summer driving season comes to an end and driver demand for gasoline drops, DeHaan added. “The U.S. national average could fall an additional 35 cents per gallon by Thanksgiving even after this week’s drop, should the trade tensions and geopolitical risks remain the same.”


(c)2019 The Fresno Bee (Fresno, Calif.)

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Chaplin parties pick their slates [The Chronicle, Willimantic, Conn.]

Aug. 12CHAPLIN — Incumbent Republican Chaplin First Selectman William Rose IV will seek another term in office, but he faces a challenger in Democrat William Hooper.

Recently completed party caucuses have cemented a competitive race for the town’s top spot in November.

Rose served as first selectman from 2009 to 2015 after being on the board of finance and the board of selectmen.

He formerly owned W.H. Rose Inc., before selling it and becoming a consulting director for the truck sales business.

In 2015, he decided to remain involved in Chaplin government to a lesser extent, and sought and won a seat on the board of selectmen instead, planning on a partial retirement.

He was succeeded as first selectman by Matthew Cunningham, who won reelection in 2017.

But, in 2018, Cunningham resigned midterm for personal reasons and Rose agreed to be appointed to the top seat again for the remainder of Cunningham’s term.

Rose, whose father served on the board of selectmen before him, said he was willing to run for another term in order to see various municipal projects to completion.

“I want to carry on the stuff we’ve been doing, and get this town to a real good place,” Rose said, referencing improvements to the Bedlam Road Bridge and England Road proposals.

He also spoke of regionalizing some services he and Selectman Joseph Pinto are currently exploring. ” I want to get those projects underway. This is not my father’s board of selectmen. The first selectman is running a multimillion dollar corporation,” Rose said. “I love this town and I’ll be here for the rest of my life. I feel I’m the most qualified candidate at this time.”

Hooper is a wildnernesstrained emergency medical technician and a member of the Chaplin Volunteer Fire Department.

“It’s an honor to be nominated, especially for an office I would never had considered even five years ago,” said Hooper, who is currently a member of the board of education.

” Being on the board of education opened my eyes, though, to how much locallevel representatives can actually do that helps people, and it also led to me eventually spending a year as the Chaplin Board of Education representative on the dissolution committee for Regional School District 11,” Hooper said.

” That, in turn, cemented my support for Parish Hill, as I dug into numbers on quality and cost, which reinforced again how much impact local political decisions have on



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Lordstown Motors visits northeast Ohio to discuss idled GM plant [The Detroit News]

Aug. 10–If Lordstown Motors Corp. is able to finalize its purchase of the General Motors Co. assembly plant in northeast Ohio, the start-up automaker plans to start producing an electric truck there as early as next year.

Lordstown Motors continued its behind-the-scenes efforts on purchasing the GM plant by meeting with Mahoning Valley officials on Friday at Youngstown State University to introduce the company and explore opportunity for collaboration with the university. The project is contingent on the would-be automaker purchasing the plant after GM and the United Auto Workers complete negotiations on a new contract as early as next month.

“They feel as if with their singular focus on the electrical vehicle that they should be able to be a real force in the market … the market that’s inevitable,” Youngstown State University President Jim Tressel told The Detroit News. “They truly want to be a part of the community and the region.”

The News reported last week that Lordstown Motors was founded in June by CEO Steve Burns, who also founded and was CEO of Workhorse Group Inc., a Cincinnati-based electric-truck maker. Lordstown Motors would use the Workhorse technology to build its electric pickup truck at the 6.2 million-square-foot facility that pumped out Chevrolet and Pontiac cars for years. Workhorse would own 10% of Lordstown Motors.

The plant also would potentially partner with Workhorse to build the next U.S. Postal Service delivery truck. Workhorse is one of the companies vying to win by the end of year a $6.3 billion contract with USPS to build 180,000 delivery trucks. Access to the Lordstown facility is expected to be a “game changer” for Workhorse in its efforts to get the contract, CEO Duane Hughes said during the company’s second quarter earnings call this week.

In addition to being an assembly facility, the plant would also become Lordstown Motors’ headquarters and research and development center. Burns could not be reached for comment Friday.

Lordstown Motors’ presence in the Mahoning Valley on Friday, as well as discussions with stakeholders there before the meeting, has helped turn skepticism about the company into excitement.

“They are the real deal,” said Rick Stockburger, CEO of the Tech Belt Energy Innovation Center, a business incubator in Warren, Ohio. “The team they have there has worked for companies like Tesla and GM. This isn’t some random startup company. They have a real knowledge of the ecosystem.”

Lordstown Motors, though, still has some hurdles to overcome. It needs to find out what comes of the UAW/GM negotiations because GM cannot idle, close or sell the plant under the current collective bargaining agreement expiring Sept. 14. The UAW officials say they will fight to keep GM product in the automaker’s “unallocated” plants in Lordstown, Michigan and Maryland. Lordstown Motors is willing to work with the UAW, multiple sources said.

Lordstown Motors is also working on getting the rest of the financing needed to purchase and retool the plant. “Their willingness to be up here and to bring their team up here sends a strong message,” said Ohio Sen. Sean O’Brien, D-Bazetta Township, who visited the Workhorse headquarters outside Cincinnati last week.

Workhorse develops electric delivery vans and pickup trucks. The company also has developed hybrid aircraft for short flights and delivery drones.

There’s been skepticism about Workhorse since President Donald Trump announced on Twitter that GM was working with the company to sell the Lordstown plant — even though Workhorse wouldn’t be the company purchasing the plant from GM. Lordstown Motors would be.

Skepticism among locals and some in the news media is driven in part by Workhorse’s weak earnings and uncertain financial outlook. This week, the company reported $37 million in losses and only $6,000 in sales during the second quarter. In a Friday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said it lost $43.1 million for the first six months of the year.

The company’s sales were down about 50% year over year to $369,690, primarily attributable to a decrease in the volume of trucks sold. As of June 30, Workhorse’s cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments totaled $23.5 million, up from $1.5 million on Dec. 31.

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