Line One
Roses & Razzberries

By Terry Scruton, Land Line Now senior correspondent

ROSES to Margarette Kirsch, an 82-year-old woman who realized her dream of traveling cross-country in an 18-wheeler with the help of the Twilight Wish Foundation.

The AARP Magazine reports that Kirsch rode from her home in Florida to California and back with trucker and country singer Annabella Wood, visiting nursing homes and truck stops along the way. It was an experience that Kirsch said she would happily do again.

And while we're at it, let's offer up some additional ROSES to Wood and the Twilight Wish Foundation for making this sweet lady's dream come true.

ROSES to Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon for his willingness to ask the tough questions when it comes to the cross-border trucking program between the U.S. and Mexico.

In a letter to FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro in September, DeFazio reminded the administrator that the FMCSA had – as of that writing – yet to address several concerns about the program laid out in an audit released by the Department of Transportation's inspector general earlier this year.

The audit outlined a number of areas where the FMCSA was not in compliance, and DeFazio pointed out that the FMCSA had not yet responded to questions about those areas. He said that, by ignoring those issues, the FMCSA is making it clear that it intends for the program to "casually terminate and morph into an open border."

And that, DeFazio said, "flies in the face" of limitations put in place by Congress.

We don't know where the cross-border program will be by the time you read this, but we want it noted on record that at least one congressman was listening to the concerns voiced by OOIDA and others and wasn't going to let them go unanswered by the FMCSA.

RAZZBERRIES to the Family Dollar distribution center in Duncan, OK, for a sign the company posted in its parking lot for truck drivers.

A member sent us a picture of the sign, and it said: "In accordance with Family Dollar policy, drivers are not allowed to take mandatory DOT breaks on Family Dollar property."

The OOIDA member was forced to park on the side of the road, even though there was parking on-site for about 50 trucks.

So to the FMCSA, which thus far hasn't seemed to recognize the fact that there are other factors along the supply chain besides drivers that can affect hours-of-service compliance, we have three words for you: Here's your sign.

ROSES to the Truckers Against Trafficking organization, which received nonprofit status from the Internal Revenue Service back in September.

This group is dedicated to mobilizing the trucking industry to fight human trafficking. It's a difficult subject that not many people want to acknowledge or even talk about, but it is a very real situation.

So hats off to Truckers Against Trafficking for being willing to face an uncomfortable subject head on.

ROSES to Rudolph Foods for bringing truckers a thank-you in the form of free pork rinds. The company handed out dozens of bags to truckers at a truck stop in Wapakoneta, OH, back in September.

The company's marketing manager, Amanda Helmstetter, told The Lima News that their snacks wouldn't reach consumers if truckers didn't drive them. That's true; now if we could only get a similar sentiment from a company that makes, say, flat-screen TVs.

A bunch of RAZZBERRIES go out to the U.S. Congress for the stellar job they did in putting off the highway bill yet again.

In case you missed it, Congress passed a six month extension of the surface transportation bill, aka the highway bill. And while it's good that they avoided the disaster that would have happened had the funding not been extended, the fact is we shouldn't be in this situation in the first place.

We should have had a new highway bill in place this past year. Congress should have been working on it two years ago. Here's a bill that could potentially create thousands of jobs and keep thousands more already employed, and yet Congress continues to ignore it.

And of course six months puts the next deadline right in the middle of an election year, when both sides will probably be too busy name calling and mudslinging to do anything about it then.

So thanks for nothing, Congress. That is what you seem to be best at. LL