MONDAY 02-10-2014

Feb 10, 2014 -- 3:13pm

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Meanwhile, a 549C recall page on Facebook, starts up. No doubt this is pushed by MEA supporters.

This is a tough situation, as friendships are being divided over a serious math problem. You have this contentious lead up to the strike, and now, magically, out comes a recall group.

This will not end well.

There is a limited amount of money for compensation, PERS and the 6% pickup needs to be on the employee's side of the equation, as they will get it back someday, (as was done with administrators earlier) and compensation expectations need reined in.

I read about these stalled negotiations, and it's as if no one is schooled on math and economics in the school system. Yes, the 10% raise is somewhat deceptive, given that the administration then takes the 6% pickup out of the 10% raise, but it is still counted as overall compensation which we must (as adults) consider.


6:15 Tom DeWeese, American Policy Center, fighting sustatinable development, and "Gang Green" planning. We're dealing with this in Medford, with the 900 acre rezone plan (Hearings this Thursday) in addition to the ODOT bike lane on 99 plan. Go To website, and download the Resolution To Protect Private Property Rights. Ask the planners to sign it. There is so much info and help available here!

BTW, listener Bev continues to organize against this plan, call 541-732-3053 for more information. 


8:10 Dr. Dennis Powers, "Visiting Past and Present" - Great look back at "Tucker Sno-Cat".

Tucker Sno-Cat®

By Dennis Powers

One of thirteen children, Emmitt Tucker was born in 1892 in a log cabin on Jump-Off Joe Creek near Grants Pass. He grew up in a stone house built by his father in 1901 close to the hamlet of Trail on the way to Crater Lake. Overlooking the Rogue River, the area is remote, scenic, and heavily snowbound during the winter. As he worked his way to school in the early 1900s through deep snows, young Emmitt was already thinking about how he could build something to transport people over the unpacked snow.

He began to work on different devices; and in the early twenties, Tucker had built several spiral-driven machines with skis on the front and both sides. They were driven by a motorcycle engine, but he wasn’t satisfied with the performance. His goal was to build a snow vehicle that could travel over deep, soft snow but with a minimum of expense and mechanical problems.

In 1938, he finally came up with the idea that would work. Revamping his approach, he centered on a machine that used pontoons and a revolving steel track with one ski in front and two pontoons in the back for balance. It had taken him twenty-four years of persistence and ingenuity. With this revolutionary design, Tucker built the prototype from salvaged parts and in his spare time. Fiberglass replaced later the steel pontoons, along with a mechanical design change where wheels worked the rubber track forward.

While testing this in 1941 at Crater Lake, he stopped for lunch and met a stranger, who managed a mine near Mount Shasta. So impressed by the test model’s performance, he bought it from Tucker right then. Moving in 1942 to Grass Valley, California, Emmitt set up his first production line. Using a six-cylinder Chrysler industrial engine, Tucker sold 70 of them, primarily to the railroads.

Three years later, he demonstrated his snow vehicle over snow-packed trails and logging roads on a 600-mile, midwinter trek from Mt. Shasta to Mt. Hood. In 1951, Tucker invented the four-track design with an independent suspension system and the balancing skis not required. This allowed the machine to traverse rugged terrain.

In the historic first motorized crossing of the Antarctic, four Tucker Sno-Cats were used in the 2,100 mile trek over four months that concluded in March 1958. One of the Sno-Cats is in England, as the expedition was part of a British government survey. Another is now in Christ Church, New Zealand, while a third one is on display at Tucker Sno-Cat’s headquarters on South Pacific Highway in Medford.

In the 1990s, all-rubber tracks replaced the metal cleats, allowing the cats to cruise over environmentally sensitive areas. Over time, Sno-Cat models would employ a four- or six-cylinder diesel engine with standard automotive parts. The predominate use of a sharp orange color was due to Emmett’s belief that this color best stood out against white snow if someone became lost or needed to be found. It’s been used over the past seven decades.

Depending on the need, the company produces custom vehicles that can be fitted with snow-blowers, brush cutters, and blades, among other equipment. The Tucker-Terra model with the all rubber tracks has numerous uses in winter or summer: oil and gas exploration, search and rescue, avalanche control, mining, telecommunication operations, personnel and cargo carrying, and others.

The Tucker Sno-Cat Corporation has averaged producing and selling 100 snow vehicles per year, which over the past decades works to between 7,000 and 8,000 Sno-Cats. The products manufactured over time ranged from the two-track, 1950s Sno-Kittens to the Sno-Cat 1643 model, known as the “Tour Bus,” which can carry up to 15 persons and is used in remote places such as Prudhoe Bay, Alaska.

Carrying everyone from actors to far-away film locations and maintenance crews to ice-ridden spots, Emmitt Tucker’s dream resulted in the world’s oldest and successful manufacturer of snow vehicles. Its Chief Executive Officer, Maralee Tucker Sullivan, is third generation, while her cousin, Jim Tucker, is President and General Manager.

Now including its founder’s great-grandchildren, the Medford family-owned business continues Emmitt Tucker’s traditions. The vintage, older models are now collector items, when he was trying decades ago to solve the tough problem of moving easily over unpacked snow. And that he did.    


Sources: Greg Stiles, “A Cat with Teeth,” Mail Tribune, April 14, 2010, at Tucker Sno-Cats (With Images); generally, “Tucker Sno-Cat,” at Products and History; “Tucker Sno-Cat History Page” at Numerous Sno-Cat Stories; Bill Siuru, “Tucker Sno-Cat: No Snow Too Deep, No Road too Steep, for these snow vehicles,” This Old Truck magazine, at Background (And Images). For video shorts, see “Driving a Tucker Sno-Cat off the Ridge at Mount Rose Communications Site,” at Driving Down Steep Ridge and “Tucker Sno-Cat,” at More Video.

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