Roses and Razzberries – October 2019
RAZZBERRIES for the owner of a trucking school in Woodland Hills, Calif., who participated in a scheme to defraud the Department of Veterans Affairs out of millions of dollars.
Veterans get tuition, books and housing allowances paid through the GI Bill. The tuition goes directly to the school. The rest goes to the veterans. The owner of Alliance School of Trucking, Emmit Marshall, along with one of its directors, Robert Waggoner, were accused of cooking up a scheme where they would enlist veterans by telling them they didn’t even have to attend the school. According to the allegations, they’d get them enrolled, then pocket the tuition while the money for books and supplies went to the veterans.
This little scheme allegedly paid out more than $4 million from the Department of Veterans Affairs over four years. Marshall, who pleaded guilty, is looking at a maximum of 100 years in prison. Waggoner is set to go to trial next year.
RAZZBERRIES to a bill introduced in Congress earlier this year that would raise the minimum insurance requirements for trucking operations. If this bill – sponsored by Reps. Matthew Cartwright of Pennsylvania and Chuy Garcia of Illinois – were to pass, it would raise the minimum requirement from $750,000 to nearly $5 million.
Let’s face it, this bill has absolutely nothing to do with safety and everything to do with lining the pockets of ambulance-chasing attorneys everywhere. All it’s going to do is force good, experienced drivers out of business and replace them with inexperienced ones, which is going to lead to more crashes. And guess who will be there to represent all of those poor injured people in court? You don’t need to be Perry Mason to figure this one out.
ROSES to Eric Dashiell, a truck driver from Hampden, Maine, who stepped up to help out a group of veterans earlier this year. It started when the Auburn Veteran’s Council reached out to him to see if he could haul their A-7D Corsair – a Vietnam War-era bomber – from Helena, Mont., to Lewiston, Maine.
Dashiell says he didn’t hesitate. He said let’s do it. His father, grandfather and son have all served in the U.S. military, and he figured if he could go out and help the veterans “it would be a good deed done,” which it was. So Eric, though you may not have served in the military yourself, that doesn’t mean you didn’t do a service for the military and veterans everywhere. For that we say thank you.
OOIDA life member James Bouland of Marshfield, Mo., would like to offer up some ROSES to Ben Walker, the assistant manager of the Love’s Truck Stop in Syracuse, Neb. James had some health issues while he was at the stop and, even though he was right across the road from the hospital, it was cold and he knew he couldn’t make it.
James called the Love’s from his truck in the parking lot, explained his situation, and asked if they could get him a taxi. Walker, along with the site manager, immediately came out to James’ truck, talked to him and called an ambulance. James also had a small dog named Mauru with him and Walker agreed to take the pup home with him for the night or as long as was needed. James says he is so grateful to Walker and all of the people at Love’s. We couldn’t say it better, James.
RAZZBERRIES to the zoning board in the town of Easton, Pa. Earlier this year, plans were under discussion there to expand an existing fuel station into a truck stop with 40 parking spaces. The zoning board decided they only wanted to allow 30 spaces. Oh, and they also put a three-hour time limit on parking there so trucks can’t possibly use it to park overnight.
At a time when truck parking is at a premium and truckers are under tighter schedules than ever, things like this are a slap in the face to the hard-working men and women behind the wheel. As of press time, the matter had not yet been decided because the plan was set to go through the town Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors for final approval. Here’s hoping they have more love for truckers than the zoning board. LL