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Former CVSA chief promoted

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Thompson currently serves as a Board Member for the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) and served as president of the organization in 2016. (Courtesy: ARDOT)

LITTLE ROCK — Major Jay Thompson has been named Chief of the Arkansas Highway Police (AHP), a Division of the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT), according to agency officials.

Thompson began his career with the Department as a Telecommunications Operator in 1988.  He left the Department in 1990 and was rehired in 1992 as an AHP Patrolman.  While working in Pine Bluff, he was promoted to the ranks of Patrol Officer First Class and Corporal.   After transferring to a patrol unit in Benton, he was promoted to Inspector and was assigned to the AHP Central Office, carrying out a variety of administrative duties including working with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.  He was then promoted to Captain over the Permit Section where he managed the day-to-day operations of the Section.  Prior to being named Chief, he held the position of Major at the AHP Division and the Oversize/Overweight Permit Section.

AHP protects the State Highway infrastructure by enforcing Arkansas’ size and weight laws for commercial vehicles and by monitoring those vehicles for speeding and other traffic violations.

“We are extremely pleased to announce Major Thompson as our new Chief of the Arkansas Highway Police,” stated ARDOT Director Scott Bennett.  “Major Thompson has done an outstanding job in his years at the AHP and is respected by his peers, both here at the Department and throughout the law enforcement community.  I am confident in the leadership he will provide to all of the officers in our Division.”

Thompson currently serves as a Board Member for the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) and served as president of the organization in 2016.  He received the CVSA John Youngblood Award of Excellence in 2003.  In 2016, Thompson received the Professionalism, Harmonization, Partnership and Leader Award from the Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association.  He also serves as Vice-Chair of the AHP Charity Fund, a non-profit organization.

Thompson has an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Pikes Peak Community College in Golden, Colorado. He replaces former AHP Chief Ronnie Burks who retired earlier this year.

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The Nation

‘Disruptive’ major freeway project planned to begin in spring 2021 in central Phoenix

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‘disruptive’ major freeway project planned for spring 2021 in central pheonix
Interstate 10 is a travel artery corridor for commuters, shipping freight and access to Sky Harbor Airport and will undergo a major reconstruction, with most of the work on the 11-mile corridor estimated to begin in the spring 2021 and end in the of summer 2024.

PHOENIX — Transportation planners are spreading the word that the start of a multiyear project to rebuild a critical freeway corridor in the heart of the metro area is only about a year off.

The project includes adding traffic lanes and building new bridges on parts of an 11-mile stretch of Interstate 10. That stretch extends northward from the junction with the State Route 202 freeway in Chandler to where I-10 meets Interstate 17 in central Phoenix near Sky Harbor International Airport.

“This is going to be the most disruptive project we’ve had in this region from a transportation perspective,” warned Eric Anderson, executive director of Maricopa Association of Governments.

Construction work for the project is expected to begin in spring 2021 and take about four years to complete, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

Primary funding for the $700 million project comes from a half-cent sales tax approved by Maricopa County voters in 2004, ADOT spokesman Tom Herrmann said Friday.

Herrmann said department officials anticipate completing the final environmental assessment and receiving a favorable finding of “no significant impact” within the next 60 days.

The heavily traveled stretch is often jammed mornings and late afternoons with commuters and long-distance travelers, though the recently opened South Mountain Freeway ringing part of metro Phoenix is expected to divert some traffic either heading across the metro area or just passing Phoenix and its sprawling suburbs.

Anderson told Phoenix City Council members recently that the project could save up to 2 million hours of travel time a year, KJZZ-FM reported.

Much of the reconstruction will center around a segment where five bridges will be built in the vicinity of State Route 143, a short north-south freeway. Its alignment east of Sky Harbor.

In the the northern part of the project area, a collector-distribution road system will be built to reduce the number of lane changes on the main portion of I-10 and improve traffic flow, the Arizona Department of Transportation says.

Other work includes expanding interchanges with SR 143 and U.S. 60, another freeway that connects with I-10.

John Bullen, MAG’s transportation program manager, said a dynamic traffic simulation model is being developed to help plan the construction work.

“So based on the real world inputs, we’ll be able to develop ‘what if’ scenarios to understand how construction might impact traffic and what tools really we have at our disposal to be able to mitigate some of those impacts, to make things smoother,” Bullen said.

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The Nation

New information on events leading to Celadon’s bankruptcy likely to anger former employees

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Bankrupt celadon receives partial approval to pay employee wages
Celadon officials knew of intent to file bankruptcy earlier than claimed. (The Trucker file photo)

While news of the Celadon bankruptcy that shocked the trucking industry broke nearly two months ago, newly unsealed documents provide insight into factors leading the carrier’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. In this instance, the documents show that TA Dispatch (TAD) of Ensley, Alabama, filed a $6.2 million lawsuit against the carrier six days before Celadon officials announced the company sought a U.S. bankruptcy court’s protection. The documents also suggest Celadon had a minimum of 11 days to inform employees of the company’s pending closure.

TAD’s lawsuit is based on a breach of contract on the part of Celadon. The contract stated that the two companies would partner, allowing Celadon to access TAD’s logistics platform in a revenue-sharing agreement that would assist both companies in better serving customers.

While Celadon and TAD shared billing duties and transferred funds under procedures stated in the revenue sharing section of the contract, in mid-November, Celadon was unable to make its payment of $4.4 million due to its partner. TAD claimed that in a late November meeting, a Celadon executive told them the carrier was insolvent. In fact, Celadon requested a loan from TAD in order to keep operations afloat.

When demand for payment sent to Celadon on November 27 went unmet, TAD officials stated Celadon responded that further inquiries would be referred to its bankruptcy attorneys. In addition, Celadon cut off TAD’s access to its IT services, a move that severely interrupted TAD’s operations. Later, Celadon restored access.

The timeline of events in late November provides some insight into a potential reason for Celadon’s bankruptcy. But former employees will be much more interested in the dates TAD notes in its lawsuit.

Celadon caught many employees off-guard on December 8, when it sent a midnight message to drivers announcing it had ceased operations. Shortly thereafter, the Celadon’s fuel card company deactivated cards and left drivers stranded across the U.S.

The timeline of events offers evidence to support a former employee’s lawsuit claiming Celadon had violated the WARN Act, requiring large employers to provide notice of at least 60 days before implementing layoffs. The timeline as reportedly recorded in the documents suggests Celadon had a minimum of 11 days during which company officials knew of its intent to cease operations — 11 days employees could have spent searching for new jobs and to prevent them from being unemployed during the holiday season.

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Old Dominion Freight Line celebrates MLB Spring Training with nationwide fan events

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Old dominion freight line celebrates mlb spring training with nationwide fan events
Old Dominion will partner with eight teams for spring training celebrations this year, including the Chicago White Sox, New York Mets, Atlanta Braves, Kansas City Royals, Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Angels, Milwaukee Brewers and Philadelphia Phillies. (Courtesy: Old Dominion Freight Line)

THOMASVILLE, N.C. — Old Dominion Freight Line, the Official Freight Carrier of Major League Baseball, will drive the annual spring training sendoff tradition with MLB clubs across the country.

The company will deliver clubs’ equipment to warmer locations as the teams start spring training. Before the trucks hit the road, teams will celebrate the unofficial start of the 2020 baseball season with fans, coaches, current players, alumni and team mascots.

“spring training sendoffs are a player- and fan-cherished ritual. It’s our pleasure to be a part of these special events and ensure the teams’ equipment arrives safely and on-time,” said Dick Podiak, vice president of marketing and communication for Old Dominion Freight Line. “We are delighted to ring in the 2020 season as a corporate sponsor for 12 MLB clubs and as our fourth year as the Official Freight Carrier of Major League Baseball.”

This year, Old Dominion will partner with eight teams for the spring training celebrations, including the Chicago White Sox, New York Mets, Atlanta Braves, Kansas City Royals, Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Angels, Milwaukee Brewers and Philadelphia Phillies.

The festivities will begin with the Chicago White Sox 28th annual event, SoxFest, on Jan. 24-25. With the help of the White Sox mascot, Southpaw, Old Dominion will move the team’s equipment to the new SoxFest location, McCormick Place. Fans will have the chance to collect autographs and take photos with former and current stars of the Chicago White Sox.

On Jan. 25, the New York Mets will host the inaugural FanFest event at Citi Field. The sendoff will take place at noon in the player’s lot, where one trailer will be packed with more than 10,000 items, including 600 baseball caps, four pitching machines, 10 cases of chewing gum and 1,000 pounds of weight equipment for the team, and depart for First Data Field in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

Thousands of Braves fans are expected to attend ChopFest at Truist Park in Atlanta, Georgia on Jan. 25, where Old Dominion will celebrate with the team before their departure. The event will include interactive areas with players and coaches, pictures with team mascot, BLOOPER, a Braves history chalk walk, free autographs for kids and more.

Following the Kansas City Royals FanFest activities in downtown Kansas City, the team will move from Kauffman Stadium to Spring Training in Surprise, Arizona on Jan. 30. The team will pack up two 28-foot trailers and begin the 1,280-mile journey to Surprise Stadium.

The Los Angeles Angels are gearing up for an exclusive celebration on Feb. 4 where Old Dominion will load commemorative trailers with exercise equipment, consumable products for the clubhouse, and other Spring Training essentials, before hitting the road to Tempe, Arizona.

To wrap up the sendoffs, on Feb. 7, the Philadelphia Phillies will host a community event at Citizen Bank Park to celebrate “Truck Day.” With the help of the Phillies’ mascot, the Phillie Phanatic, Old Dominion will move a variety of items, including 10,000 12 oz. sports drink cups, 2,400 baseballs, six bicycles, one Phanatic hot dog launcher and more into two 28-foot trailers. The Phillie Phanatic — alongside rally-towel waving fans and local sports mascots — will escort the custom-wrapped trailers out of Citizen Bank Park to begin the journey to Clearwater, Florida. The Old Dominion tandem trailers will cruise through eight states, traveling 1,058 miles until it reaches their destination at Spectrum Field.

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