Five Things You Need to Know Today: October 21

Since I like things to come in fives (and tens), here are five things YOU need to know TODAY!

1. RV Towed in Possible Texas Terror Plot

Bexar County Sheriff's officials towed away a rented Coachman Class C motorhome that was parked in front of Bexar County Courthouse in downtown San Antonio. (Credit: Reuters)

Bexar County Sheriff’s officials towed away a rented Class C motorhome that was parked in front of Bexar County Courthouse in downtown San Antonio, Texas early Wednesday (October 19) morning, Reuters reported.

Five French-passport carrying Muslim men of Moroccan descent were arrested during a courthouse burglary during the early hours Wednesday. Police told Reuters they found photographs of public buildings, water systems, and malls from various U.S. cities in the motorhome. The Coachmen motorhome appears to belong to Road Bear RV Rentals.

2. Monaco RV Indiana Service Center Now Open

Coburg, Oregon-based Monaco RV, LLC, a manufacturer of motorized and towable recreation vehicles, announced the opening of an Indiana service center.

The Monaco Service Center, located across the street from its Wakarusa manufacturing facility, opened for business October 3 at 76 Ward Street in Wakarusa. The expansive 14-bay service center facility will service all Monaco brand products and is staffed by RVIA certified factory technicians. The Monaco Service Center will also have an accessible full body paint booth, for all paint repairs and touch up work.

To coincide with its grand opening and welcome back customers, the Monaco Service Center will offer a special introductory labor rate of $90 until April 1, 2012.

The Monaco Service Center will be Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Appointments can be made by calling (877) 4MONACO (466.6226)

3. Texas Citrus Output Could Fall

Texas citrus growers in the Rio Grande Valley have been jolted by a one-two punch of drought and untimely freezes but are still standing as the harvest gets going.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimated that Texas orange and grapefruit production could decline by 17 percent from last year to about 277,000 tons.

With Florida, the nation’s citrus powerhouse, expecting orange and grapefruit production to increase by more than 4 percent, prices may not change much despite Texas’ problems.

But with the drought making the fruit sweeter than normal, producers hope consumers will stomach the price and keep eating citrus, reports Houston Chronicle.

The drought has not been as extreme across the Valley as other parts of Texas, but it has had an effect on citrus development, especially fruit size, growers said.

The newest USDA estimate says Texas will produce 73,000 tons of oranges in the 2011-2012 production year, 10,000 fewer tons than last year. Texas grapefruit production is expected to dip to 204,000 tons from 252,000 tons last year.

Harvests have just started in Texas and Florida, which is expected to grow 6.6 million tons of oranges and 854,000 tons of grapefruit this year.

4. Carriage RV Shuts Its Doors Temporarily

Millersburg, Indiana-based Carriage RV has shut down, WSBT-TV reported Wednesday (October 19). The doors and gates at its facility were locked in the morning.

WSBT talked to two truckers who came to make deliveries. They say they were told by their companies it was closed. WSBT also talked to several RV owners who had stopped by the plant for maintenance work. They were advised that there would be no charges for that service work because the company was closing and there would be no work done until further notice.

In breaking news PNC Bank of Indianapolis has filed a lawsuit to take possession of Carriage Inc, which the bank says owes it more than $5 million in overdue loans, the Goshen News reported.

Rumors of Carriage’s financial woes have been circulating through town for the past two weeks, the paper noted, when company officials first made the call to start closing down its buildings and sending workers home.

The suit was filed Tuesday (October 18) in Elkhart County Superior Court I. It claims Carriage Inc. owner Glenn Cushman has been in default of his financial obligations to PNC Bank from as far back as Sept. 21, 2009, The Goshen News reported, noting that several loan extensions were required to keep the loans from defaulting.

5. Cummins Complete Technical Center in China

Cummins Inc. announced Wednesday (October 19) that it has completed the Cummins East Asia Technical Center in Wuhan, Hubei province, making it the firm’s largest engine development and research facility outside Columbus, Indiana.

China Daily reports that Cummins Chairman and Chief Executive Tim Solso said the expansion aims to help Cummins, the largest foreign investor in the Chinese diesel engine industry, better tailor its products to the world’s biggest automobile market. The technical center cost $61 million, with the expansion project worth $33 million, the company said.

A series of emission-testing facilities will be put into use next year, in a move to help Chinese-made engines break into markets in Europe, Russia, Republic of Korea, Australia, and Brazil.

The center will also develop clean energy technology, including electric motors and automobile cells. It employs more than 100 technicians and plans to increase the number to 1,400 in the next two years.

Launched in 2006, the center is a 55-45 joint venture between Cummins and Dongfeng Cummins Engine Co (DCEC), which itself is the Indiana-headquartered firm’s venture with China’s leading automaker Dongfeng Motor.

China is Cummins’ largest and fastest-growing market overseas, with its sales in the country at $3.1 billion last year.

Have a great weekend.

Until next time, safe RV travels, and we’ll see you on the road!

Worth Pondering…

The gladdest moment in human life, methinks, is a departure into unknown lands. The blood flows with the fast circulation of childhood.
—Sir Richard Burton

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