|1920's Oshkosh Truck Logo flickr.com|
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Here's a guest post from Senior Editor Tom Berg about an interesting character he met on a recent assignment.
Thursday, August 14 We were in a small conference room at Oshkosh Corp.'s service center along U.S. 41 on the namesake Wisconsin city’s southwest side, talking about the company’s S-Series front-discharge mixer truck, which I was test-driving for the September issue of HDT.
I asked my hosts when Oshkosh first offered this type of vehicle. They were all relatively young, so the product has been in the lineup all the time they’ve been with the company.
“We’ll have to ask Clarence,” said Katie Hoxtell, a marketing and communications manager.
Who’s Clarence? I asked.
“Clarence Jungwirth,” she answered. “He started working at Oshkosh in 1945.”
What – 1945? That’s almost 70 years ago, I said.
“Yes. He’s in his 90s,” she said. “Would you want me to bring him in?”
By all means! And in a few minutes, in walked a slight but spry gentleman wearing a big smile. We shook hands and exchanged hellos, and he explained that he will be 95 this October. He signed on with Oshkosh after leaving the U.S. Army at the end of World War II, and still works a few hours a day helping customers with parts queries and other details, like answering my question about the S-Series’ origin.
“It was in 1986 or ’87, just about the time I retired, when we brought it out,” Jungwirth said, adding that his retirement didn’t last long.
Then he launched into the story of the front-discharge mixer’s invention by a concrete producer in Salt Lake City in the 1960s and its manufacture there, in Indiana, Texas, and back in Indiana, where many are still built today (though by competitors of Oshkosh). “When the patent ran out on it, we were able to get into it.”
That story comprises a chapter in “A History of the Oshkosh Truck Corp.,” a thick, photocopied, spiral-bound book Jungwirth wrote some time ago. It’s one of scores of books and articles he’s authored about Oshkosh -- the company and the city.
Another book is a lengthy account of his time in Wisconsin’s 32ndInfantry Division, an Army National Guard unit called up for service in the Pacific during the big war. He’s an amateur historian as well as an expert on the many types of civilian and military trucks and trailers that Oshkosh has built since its founding in 1917 and its extensive growth since.
Junwirth is a treasure, and it was a pleasure meeting him on the way to the cab of that S-Series mixer chassis.
Saturday, October 18, 2014
Thanks to and written by: Kevin Jones Links provided:
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Saturday, October 11, 2014
In March of 1980, after a two year investigation, the Pennsylvania Crime Commission released a Report of the Study of Organized Crime’s Infiltration of the Pizza and Cheese Industry. Wisconsin’s Grande Cheese Co of Fond du Lac was referenced several times.
Grande Cheese Co., mentioned in the body of the report in reference to Joseph Bonanno, Roma Foods and the Falcone Brothers, was born out of a Chicago gang war in 1939. During the first few years of its operation, at least five men, including the owner, were killed. Chicago crime boss Ross Prio eventually gained control of the company. Over the years Grande has been owned by or associated with numerous organized crime figures.
In the 1950's the ownership of Grande Cheese passed from Ross Prio to the DiBella family, John and his sister, Rose. John DiBella became corporate President in 1959. John had ties
to Milwaukee crime boss John Alioto who was Frank Balistrieri's father-in-law. John Alioto was the Milwaukee mob boss from 1952 until 1961 when he handed over control to his son-in-law, Frank Balistrieri. DiBella’s sister Rose took over her brother's stock after his death in 1964, and later sold her interest to the Candela and Gaglio families. The Gaglio family owned Ontario Importing, founded by the family patriarch, Vito Gaglio, in the mid-1960's.
The actual control of the cheese and pizza business began with no less a figure than Joseph Bonanno, Sr. Bonanno, living at that time in Tucson, Arizona, was regarded as one of the most powerful leaders of Organized Crime in America. Bonanno initiated a conspiracy to control the specialty cheese business in the United States in the early 1940's and even in 1980, he and his associates controlled the activities of some of the largest and most prosperous specialty cheese companies. Bonanno had direct ties to Grande Cheese of Wisconsin; through it to Grande's exclusive distributor in the Pennsylvania area, Roma Foods of South Plainfield, New Jersey; and through the distributor to hundreds of retail pizza shops which were financed and controlled by the organization in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
The Falcone brothers of Brooklyn, New York--formerly associated with Bonanno-tied Grande Cheese and partners with a Grande officer in other Wisconsin cheese companies--built and operated for a decade a network of fraudulent "paper companies" designed to produce millions of dollars for the Falcones only to collapse financially when challenged by claims of their legitimate business victims.
The Pennsylvania Crime Commission investigation had determined that the Falcones and Thomas Gambino drove another company into bankruptcy in 1976. In December of 1975, the
Falcones and Gambino bought 70% of the stock of the previously family-owned Badger State' Cheese Company in Luxemburg, Wisconsin. Eight months later, Badger State Cheese collapsed in disarray with $1.3-million in debts. The Falcones and Gambino had taken over Badger and arranged that Capitol Cheese of Brooklyn, New York be the major customer and distributor for Badger. Capitol Cheese of Brooklyn was operated by Joseph and Thomas Gambino. Joseph Gambino was a leader in the Carlo Gambino crime organization.
Capitol Cheese directed delivery of Badger State cheese to Capitol's customers, collected payment from the customers, and then the cash disappeared. When Capitol Cheese owed Badger State Cheese $560,000, Badger State closed down and the Wisconsin State Department of Agriculture placed the company in trusteeship. Capitol Cheese, the Gambino business in Brooklyn, afterward, went out of business.
Also involved in the Crime Commission Investigation:
F & A CHEESE of Grand Rapids, Michigan, owned by Francesco and Angelo Terranova. The Company was started with a loan from the uncle of the Terranovas, John DiBella of Grande Cheese. F & A Cheese had another office in Upland, California. Raffael Quasarano, a member of the Joseph Zerilli criminal organization of Detroit, and Peter Vitale were indicted by a federal grand jury in Detroit in November, 1979 for allegedly extorting $270,000 from the Terranovas. They were also charged with mail fraud, tax fraud and racketeering. According to the indictment Quasarano and Vitale used "fear of economic loss" and threats of "force and violence" to gain control of an F & A subsidiary, Rogersville Cheese Factory, Inc. in Wisconsin.
According to a report printed in the Milwaukee Sentinel on Aug. 7, 1980, the owner of a Wisconsin cheese factory (Rodgersville Cheese Factory) allegedly taken over by organized crime bosses from Detroit was told by either Quasarano or Vitale in 1974, “The big fish is swallowing the little fish, and you're lucky your legs aren't broken, according to Federal Court testimony that day. Both eventually pled guilty and were sentenced to prison terms of four years each in 1981.
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
|milwaukee journal sentinel|
Sept. 25, 2014 The Indian Scout motorcycle, favored by stunt riders, has made a daring comeback, with some reviewers saying it's a serious competitor to Harley-Davidson's Sportster lineup.
The first all-new Scout in 70 years is expected to arrive at dealerships in December, with dozens of the bikes sold in advance to Wisconsin motorcyclists.
The original Scout, first made in 1920, was one of Indian Motorcycle Co.'s most popular models. It was the preferred bike for a carnival attraction, the Wall of Death, in which daring motorcyclists rode around a barrel-shaped wooden track, gradually climbing the inside walls until they were circling the barrel's lip.
Polaris Industries, a $3.8 billion Minnesota manufacturer of motorcycles, snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles, redesigned Indians from a clean sheet of paper after numerous failed attempts by others to revive the company.
First came the Chief models, in 2013 for model-year 2014, followed by the less expensive Scout for model-year 2015.
Polaris wanted the Scout to come "right on the heels" of the Chief, offering consumers a lighter, more nimble bike, said Steve Menneto, vice president-motorcycles for Polaris Industries.
A 47-year-old highly-modified Scout earned the title of the "World's Fastest Indian," as proven in 1967 by motorcycle racer Burt Munro, and retold in 2005 in a popular movie by that name. The older Scouts were known as cutting-edge bikes, and the U.S. Army used 30,000 of them during World War II.
Now, the Scout is a modern bike that sports a liquid-cooled 100-horsepower engine, a lightweight aluminum frame and a low 25.3-inch seat height comfortable for riders with a shorter inseam.
"The Scout appears to be a motorcycle that was designed with female riders in mind, as it has many of the features women say they want in a motorcycle: low, light, easy to handle, yet it has lots and lots of power," said Sash Walker, who reviewed the bike for Women Riders Now.
With a price starting at $10,999, comparable with a Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom, the Scout is aimed squarely at some of Harley's most sought-after customers, including first-time motorcycle buyers. Likewise, the Indian Chief was meant to compete with Harley's Project Rushmore motorcycles.
"Clearly, Indian has targeted Harley-Davidson, but so has Honda and so has Suzuki and Yamaha and other companies over the years as well," Harley-Davidson CEO Keith Wandell said in a quarterly conference call with analysts.
Tytlers Cycle in De Pere says it has already sold Scouts for delivery in December. Some buyers came from Michigan to check out the bike when it was available for demo rides at the dealership.
"I have never had so much interest in anything on two wheels in my career," said John Mantz, a Tytlers sales representative.
Luring riders away
The Scout puts Indian into a category of middleweight powerful motorcycles.
"Price-wise it competes very directly with the (1200 Custom) Sportster. But performance-wise, it's completely different, with more horsepower, less weight, more modern features and a liquid-cooled motor. I think in some ways it's going to lure, or at least attract, some riders that otherwise would be looking at a Sportster" or a Japanese-made bike, said Aaron Frank, editor-at-large of Motorcyclist magazine.
This summer, Indian offered test rides at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, S.D. Afterward, some of those riders purchased Scouts for delivery this winter, said Shawn Kelly, sales manager at Engelhart Motorsports, an Indian dealership in Madison.
"We have seen a tremendous amount of crossover from Harley-Davidson owners for our Indian Chief lineup, and I don't think the Scout is going to be any different. This could be a second bike for someone who wants a lighter-weight, sportier cruiser," Kelly said.
Indian has about 150 U.S. dealerships, compared with nearly 700 for Harley-Davidson, but Indian intends to double its number of dealers in the near future.
Polaris says it's added nearly 300 people at its Spirit Lake, Iowa, plant that already employs more than 700. It has added 111,000 square feet to the factory that also produces Victory motorcycles.
When the original Indian Motorcycle Co. went out of business in 1953, its Indian-head logos quickly became collector's items. Under Polaris, the goal has been to capture the spirit of the Chief and Scout bikes from more than a half-century ago, but using a modern engine and new technologies.
Still, Indian sales remain well behind industry leader Harley-Davidson.
Harley is the No. 1-selling street motorcycle in the U.S., according to industry data, and it has 36 models in its 2015 model-year lineup, compared with five for Indian.
"While we take our competitors seriously, we are highly confident about our continued strong industry leadership. Competition is always good for the marketplace. It's healthy, frankly, for Harley-Davidson," said Tony Macrito, Harley's manager of corporate media relations.
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