Automakers Provide Relief In Katrina's Wake
Responding to the need for relief in the wake of
Hurricane Katrina, automakers are stepping up to the plate. In addition
to the industry's own financial woes, some automakers have suffered
damaged or destroyed dealerships, as well as the impact on their
employees and families. Still, they are finding a way to help.
Toyota said that 15 of its dealerships in Louisiana, Mississippi and
Alabama suffered extensive damage, with at least five totally
destroyed. Yet Toyota companies pledged $5 million to disaster relief
for victims of Hurricane Katrina.
"We're hopeful that aid may quickly reach those who fell victim to the
torrential wind and rain," said Toyota Motor Sales USA President and
COO Jim Press. "It's gratifying to be of some assistance during this
difficult time." Toyota is contributing $3 million to the American Red
Cross (ARC) while the privately owned Toyota distributorship for the
Gulf of Mexico region established a $2 million relief fund to
specifically aid Toyota and dealership employees and their families in
the Gulf States region with both immediate and long-term needs.
Honda Motors has pledged $5 million, generators and other equipment and supplies for relief agencies.
General Motors said it is donating $400,000 to the American Red Cross
hurricane relief fund, and the GM foundation will match employees'
collective donations up to $250,000. GM also is making 25 vehicles
available to the Red Cross to use as needed.
Nissan North America Inc. said it would donate $500,000 in cash to the
ARC and provide 50 full-size trucks to the Mississippi Emergency
Management Agency to assist with relief and recovery efforts. In
addition, Nissan will match dollar-for-dollar employee donations to the
ARC's Hurricane 2005 Relief Fund up to a total of $250,000 in employee
DaimlerChrysler donated $1 million to the ARC and has offered some payment relief to affected customers.
The finance arms of Ford Motor Co., BMW, Volkswagen of America Inc.,
Audi of America Inc. and Bentley Motors Inc. are offering payment
deferrals to qualifying customers affected by the disaster.
(Sources: Toyota, Honda, GM, Nissan, Ford, BMW, DaimlerChrysler, VW, Audi)
Volkswagen Agrees To Pay 1.1 Million For Violations
Source: Motor Age
WASHINGTON (June 15, 2005) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) and the Department of Justice
announced a major Clean Air Act settlement with Volkswagen of America
Inc. to resolve the automaker's failure to promptly notify EPA and
correct defective oxygen sensors on at least 329,000 of their 1999,
2000 and 2001 Golfs, Jettas and New Beetles. An EPA spokesperson
confirmed that this is the largest civil penalty to date for this type
of violation, eclipsing the previous $900,000 fine to Honda in 1999.
There are three primary conditions to the settlement, which is subject
to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval.
1. Volkswagen will pay $1.1 million for its failure to file an emission
defect information report (EDIR) for one year after discovery of the
2. Volkswagen has consented to improve its emissions defect
investigation and reporting system to ensure future compliance and
prevent future reoccurrence.
3. Volkswagen has completed a voluntary recall of the affected vehicles at a cost of more than $26 million.
According to EPA, vehicles with the defect may release thousands of
tons of harmful pollutants including non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHC)
and carbon monoxide (CO). NMHC are key reactants in the production of
ozone, a major contributor to cancer producing smog. CO impairs
breathing and is harmful to children, the elderly and those with
respiratory conditions such as asthma. The defect occurs
gradually on engine start-up in cool and damp environments when the
oxygen sensor cracks from "thermal shock." The malfunction indicator
light (MIL) illuminates, telling the owner to "Check Engine."
Volkswagen received numerous warranty claims associated with cracked
oxygen sensors during the winter of 1999 to 2000, but did not report
the defect to EPA until June 2001.
Thomas V. Skinner, acting assistant administrator of EPA's Office of
Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, stated, "Reliable and effective
automobile pollution control systems are an important part of this
nation's air pollution reduction strategy. This case demonstrates EPA's
commitment to ensuring that automobile manufacturers comply with
Kelly A. Johnson, acting assistant attorney general for the Justice
Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division, said; "The
penalty imposed in this case underscores auto manufacturers' obligation
to promptly alert the EPA of defects in emission control devices. The
Department of Justice is committed to vigorously enforcing companies'
responsibility to adhere to environmental
NHTSA Announces Tire Safety Ratings
Passenger vehicle tire quality has improved since last year, according
to ratings released today by the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration (NHTSA). NHTSA’s 2005 ratings cover more than
2,400 lines of the most popular passenger vehicle tires sold in the
U.S. The agency rates tires based on traction, treadwear and their
ability to resist heat. This year, nearly 90 tire lines received the
highest possible rating for traction. Also, five tire brands (Big-O,
Goodyear, Michelin, Bridgestone and Cordovan) produce tire lines that
received exceptional ratings for tread durability. This year, nearly
700 tire lines were given the highest grade ("A") for heat resistance.
"Higher quality tires, along with good maintenance, provide consumers a
greater margin of safety. The tire grading system is a big help in the
often-confusing process of selecting tires," said NHTSA Administrator
Jeffrey W. Runge, M.D.
Because heat can increase the risk of blowout, temperature ratings are
important. Tires with the highest heat resistance are graded "A"
followed by "B," or "C" (lowest). A "C" grade represents the minimum
performance required in a high-speed test set by federal regulation.
For some consumers, stopping distances on a wet road can be important.
Traction ratings are expressed in letter grades from "AA" – the highest
- to "C" – the lowest. Tires with a higher grade allow a vehicle to
stop in a shorter distance on a wet road.
Tires with a higher treadwear rating should last longer. In grading for
treadwear, tires are ranked numerically according to durability. The
higher the number, the more durable the tire. Tire ratings can be found
on NHTSA's web site at
http://www.safercar.gov/tires/pages/tireratings.cfm. Here consumers can
view ratings for tires used on passenger cars, minivans, sport utility
vehicles and light pickup trucks. Under federal regulation, ratings
also must be molded into the outer sidewall of all passenger tires. In
addition to tire ratings, consumers can find other valuable tire safety
information at: www.safercar.gov.
Drivers Using Cell Phones Are More Likely To Crash
Source: Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Using a cell phone — even a hands-free one — while driving
quadruples the risk of getting into a crash with serious injuries, a
study finds. Research released Tuesday by the Insurance Institute for
Highway Safety suggests that using a hands-free device instead of a
handheld phone while behind the wheel will not necessarily improve
"You'd think using a hands-free phone would be less distracting, so it
wouldn't increase crash risk as much as using a handheld phone. But we
found that either phone type increased the risk," said Anne McCartt,
one of the study's authors and the institute's vice president for
research. The study found that handheld devices were slightly riskier
than hands-free ones, but the difference was not statistically
significant. The study, published in the British Medical Journal, found
no difference in the risk posed to male and female drivers or to
drivers older and younger than 30. More motorists are using cell phones
on the road than ever, and lawmakers are grappling for ways to reducing
driver distraction. Talking on handheld cell phones while driving is
banned in New York, New Jersey and the District of Columbia. In
Connecticut, drivers will have to use hands-free devices beginning Oct.
1. Some cities, such as Chicago, Santa Fe, N.M., and Brookline, Mass.,
require hands-free devices in automobiles.
Eight states — Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New
York, Oklahoma and Oregon — prevent local governments from restricting
cell phone use in motor vehicles, according to the National Conference
of State Legislatures. The study found injurious crashes were four
times as likely when drivers were using cell phones. The researchers
used cell phone records to compare phone use within 10 minutes before
an actual crash with cell use by the same driver during the previous
week. It studied 456 drivers in Perth, Western Australia, who owned or
used mobile phones and had been in a crash that put them in a hospital
emergency room between April 2002 and July 2004. Each driver's cell
phone usage during a 10-minute interval prior to the accident was
compared with use during at least one earlier period when no accident
occurred. Each driver, in effect, served as his or her own control
group in the study. The institute had tried to conduct the study in the
United States, but could not gain access to records from phone
companies. The phone records were available in Western Australia, where
handheld phone use has been banned while driving since 2001. Weather
was not an issue in the crashes, with nearly 75 percent occurring in
clear conditions. About 9 out of 10 crashes involved other vehicles and
more than half of the injured drivers said their crashes happened
within 10 minutes of the start of the trip. Many studies examining cell
phone use in vehicles have been based on police reports, but critics
say those records are unreliable because it is difficult to corroborate
whether a driver was using a phone.
A survey released earlier this year by the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration found that 8 percent of drivers, or 1.2 million
people, were using cell phones during daylight hours last year. It
represented a 50 percent increase since 2002. Jim Champagne, chairman
of the Governors Highway Safety Association, said the study reinforced
the need for driver education. His organization urges state lawmakers
to refrain from enacting handheld cell phone bans because they
"incorrectly send the message to drivers that as long as they are
hands-free, they are safe."
(Obituaries Courtesy The Standard Times)
Note: Due to recent requests, we will be adding family survivors to our customer’s obituaries as space allows.
WINTHROP, IOWA -- Julie Mae (Sylvia) Kaufman,
68, died Thursday, June 30, 2005, at the Buchanan County Health
Center in Independence, Iowa, after a long illness. She was the wife of
Melvin Kaufman. Born in New Bedford, Mass., she was the daughter of
Mary Oliveira and Leo Sylvia. She lived in Kingsville, Texas, for many
years before moving to Winthrop. She was a 1954 graduate of New Bedford
High School. Mrs. Kaufman was a Navy veteran and was stationed in
Kingsville. Survivors include her widower; two sons, Randy Kaufman of
Independence, and Kevin Kaufman and his wife, Sonia, of Houston, Texas;
three sisters, Jean Giammalvo and Delores Monteiro of New Bedford, and
Janice Cutting of Lady Lake, Fla.; two brothers, Lionel Sylvia of
Kissimmee, Fla., and Leo Sylvia of Fairhaven, Mass.; and several nieces
NEW BEDFORD -- Private services were held for Julio Cezar,
85, of New Bedford, who died Saturday, Sept. 3, 2005, at Sacred Heart
Home after a long illness. He was the husband of Irene M. (Mattos)
Cezar. Born in New Bedford, he was the son of the late Julio and Mary
(Incarnatio) Cezar. He was an electroplater for Alberox until he
retired. Survivors include his widow; a stepson, Joseph Soares of
Leesburg, Fla.; two grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and two
nephews. He was the brother of the late Joseph Caesar.
NEW BEDFORD -- Jerrold J. Rogers,
74, of New Bedford, died Tuesday, July 12, 2005, at home. He was the
husband of Carol (Cunningham) Rogers; they were married 52 years. Born
in New Bedford, he was the son of the late Alfred B. and Alice
(Jennings) Rogers. He lived in this area all of his life and was a
parishioner of St. Mary's Church in South Dartmouth and was formerly a
member of St. James' Church in New Bedford. He was a graduate of New
Bedford Vocational School, Bristol Community College, and Roger
Williams College. He was a sergeant in the New Bedford Police
Department for 26 years until he retired. While on the police force, he
served as a patrolman, taught at the police academy, and worked in the
communications and planning departments. He was a Navy veteran during
the Korean War. He was a shipmate of the United States Navy Memorial
Foundation, a member of the American Legion, and the Fort Taber
Historical Association. He was also a member of the New Bedford Whaling
Museum; to which he had donated his grandfather's octant, which is on
display in the Azorean Whalemen's Exhibit at the Museum. He enjoyed to
travel, tell stories to his grandchildren, play golfand march in the
Veterans' Day Parades. Survivors include his widow; two daughters,
Linda Rogers of Rochester and Wendy Rogers and her husband, Dan Fisk,
of Atlanta, Ga.; four sons, Michael Rogers and his wife, Mary Menke
Rogers, and Darren Rogers and his wife, Susan, all of Charleston, S.C.,
Scott Rogers and his wife, Jean, of Dacula, Ga., and Christopher Rogers
of Bridgewater; two sisters-in-law, Nancy Cunningham-Brown, and Louise
Cunningham-Russell; eight grandchildren; and several nieces, nephews,
grandnieces, grandnephews, and cousins. He was the son-in-law of the
late Arthur A. and Caroline C. Cunningham.
NEW BEDFORD -- Madaline I. (Niles) Masse,
76, of New Bedford, died Saturday, April 30, 2005, at St. Luke's
Hospital after a brief illness. She was the wife of Dorius "Ted" T.
Masse. Born in Dartmouth, she was the daughter of the late John H. and
Margaret (Hamm) Niles. She lived in New Bedford most of her life and
was a communicant of Holy Name of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church. She
was a cook for the Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational-Technical
High School until she retired.
Mrs. Masse was a member of the Holy Name Couples Club. She enjoyed
sewing and arts and crafts. Besides her widower, she is survived by two
sons, Wilfred Masse and his wife Jane, of Westport, and Ted T. Masse
Jr., of Westport; three brothers, Mervyn C. Niles of Richmond, Va.,
Eldon M. Niles and his wife Annette, of Ottawa, Ill., and Clyde J.
Niles and his wife, Joan of Lakeville; three sisters, Ellen Dimmick of
Ottawa, Ill., and Ethelyn M. Bowling and Joan E. Breault, both of New
Bedford; three grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.