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Category Archives: Contributed

February 13, 2017 7:49 pm

Former Contractor Extradited a Decade After Fleeing to Canada on Snowmobile

The U.S. represents the second-largest construction market in the world, boasting a market share of around 10% and growing. But one Massachusetts contractor decided he wanted a larger piece of the action — and perhaps got more excitement than he bargained for. Now, he’s finally paying the price for his misdoings.

Cyril Gordon Lunn, former owner and operator of CY Realty Corporation, a construction and land development company, filed for bankruptcy back in 2001. While U.S. bankruptcy court statistics estimate that more than 1.5 million people file for bankruptcy each year, Lunn wasn’t about to play by the rules. Before filing, Lunn allegedly transferred nearly $4 million into Canadian safe deposit boxes.

After this was brought to the attention of the U.S. District Attorney’s Office, Lunn testified in a Canadian civil lawsuit in 2004. Lunn promptly disappeared less than a year later after renting a snowmobile in Maine and driving it across the border to Canada, where he remained undetected for around 10 years.

The contractor managed to escape for a good decade up to the Great White North, but in the end, not even a snowmobile could cover his tracks. After all that time on the run, Canadian authorities finally arrested him on an extradition warrant in 2014. Lunn fought his extradition, claiming his wife at the time had stolen the money. A Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge found no merit to this claim.

In 2016, Lunn was finally turned over to American authorities. Prosecutors said that Lunn pleaded guilty to concealing assets from bankruptcy creditors and making a false statement under penalty of perjury. Now 68 years old, he will face sentencing — which may include fines of $250,000 and up to five years in prison — in May of 2017.

 
February 9, 2017 5:18 pm

Handcrafted, Lightweight Skis Offer Improved Performance For Backcountry Enthusiasts

Unlike alpine skiing, which is typically done on groomed trails, backcountry skiers venture off into uncharted, non-patrolled territory. Thus, the needs of these powder enthusiasts are a bit different. They need their gear to help propel them off mountaintops and to serve as hiking footwear. Experienced backcountry skiers know that when it comes to their skis, being lightweight is key.

A group of such skiers set out to create equipment that was substantial enough to withstand harsh conditions but wouldn’t bog skiers down. Although friends Ben Sidor, Mike Rolfs, Jamie Tackman, and David Elwood initially meant to create skis just for themselves, their venture turned into a thriving business: Coop Skis.

The name is derived from their company’s humble origins. When one of the friends’ wives said the group could use their old chicken house to make their skis, they knew they found their first location. They designed and constructed their skis there for over a year before opening their own shop in order to keep up with growing demand.

Backcountry skis are quite a bit different from your typical cross-country design. They could be categorized as a lightweight downhill style ski, as they are much wider than cross-country options. They’re built for durability, speed, and performance.

The materials differ from those used in most skis, too. They use spruce for the core, which provides both strength and lightness, and they apply layers of carbon composite for even more strength. Composites like these are made of two or more materials with different physical or chemical properties. The additives never fully merge or dissolve when they’re being made, but they act as reinforcement. Since carbon fiber composite is three times stronger than fiberglass, skiers can feel secure knowing that their equipment can endure almost anything. And yet, the skis stay remarkably lightweight.

“We’re hiking on foot with skis, so weight does make a big difference,” says Sidor. “In really deep snow, you plane on top of the snow like a surfboard.”

Although Coop Skis has been a successful endeavor, Sidor isn’t ready to quit his day job as a surveyor just yet.

“I love it. I’m passionate about it, and I think about it all day long … but for now, it’s just an obsessive hobby,” he says.

One thing’s for certain: fellow skiing obsessives will be thankful for these lightweight skis when they head out on those backcountry slopes this season.

 
February 6, 2017 7:52 pm

Polaris Industries is Optimistic for 2017, Despite Fourth Quarter Struggles

Snowmobile_Polaris_600_ProPolaris Industries, an international leader in the snowmobile industry, struggled through the fourth quarter following unexpected recalls and the cost of their acquisition of Transamerican Auto Parts.

Profits were decreased by 43.5% and stock finished down $1.14 at just $86.41. For the entire year of 2016, Polaris reported $4.52 billion in sales, down from $4.72 billion in 2015.

However, CEO Scott Wine is optimistic looking forward through 2017.

“While prospects have certainly improved for our power-sports customers to enjoy [a] better economic environment, Polaris is entering 2017 with a strong commitment to returning to profitable growth through consistent execution and aggressive innovation,” he said.

Despite the significant loss in revenue, Polaris snowmobile sales did rise by 13% as they’ve improved their shipping efforts. Cargo airlines carried their products both nationally and internationally, increasing the scope of their sales.

Additionally, the acquisition of TAP increased sales by $108.7 million, excluding initial buyout costs.

The drop in revenue overall was partly due to the drop in motorcycle sales. As the motorcycle market weakens, Polaris anticipated a 25% loss. However, the loss was much closer to 35%. Higher spending on marketing as well as extended warranty offers contributed to the gross profits as well.

Motorcycle recalls were to blame, in part. The recall of the three-wheel Slingshot hurt sales significantly in the fourth quarter, especially since the motorcycles were heavily pushed in the previous year.

In order to combat the rapid decline, the company has decided to discontinue its line of Victory motorcycles. Polaris will record Victory termination costs this quarter, but the costs will not be reflected on the adjusted earnings guidance for this coming year.

The company is forecasted to rise from $4.25 to $4.50 per share, and sales are anticipated to exceed $5 billion in 2017, with a 13% year over year growth.

Analysts at the Motley Fool have spotted a potential $1.6 trillion opportunity for the company during the first 100 days of Donald Trump’s presidency, which could be promising for potential investors. The full report, “Profit Playbook: 11 Stocks for Trump,” is available now.

 
February 1, 2017 7:28 pm

Mikko Hirvonen, Following Crash, Doesn’t Think Toyota is Ready for Racing

Mikko Hirvonen, a Finnish X-Raid driver, had his automobile severely damaged in mid-January.

The crash occurred during the Chilecito San Juan stage of the Dakar 2017 race. According to Motorsport.com, Hirvonen began the race in fifth place in overall classification, but after suffering a few setbacks during the test performance, including a gearbox failure and two punctures, it became evident he wasn’t going to successfully finish the event.

“There’s one truck we were following for a long time,” said Hirvonen, the 36-year-old, 15-time winner. “And then that truck passed a slower truck, which then ended up being in the dust of the faster truck.”

Even outside of the racetrack, these kinds of car accidents can still result in serious injuries and expensive damage. In 2015, the average comprehensive auto insurance claim was for $1,671 and the average collision claim was for $3,350. Motocross drivers race at high speeds, and they are much more dangerous and can result in even more expensive and harmful damages.

“My gearbox was broken, so I couldn’t reverse and run away,” Hirvonen added. “In the dust, he didn’t see us, he reversed on top of the bonnet and broke the radiator.”

Autosport reports that Hirvonen, despite fixing the majority of his damaged vehicle, believes that Toyota is not ready for the 2017 season opener.

World Rally Champion Tommi Makinen developed the Toyota Yaris WRC and plans on unveiling the vehicle at the 2017 season opener in January. Both Jari-Matti Latvala and Juho Hanninen will be behind the wheel of the WRC.

“I think maybe they are not completely ready yet,” Hirvonen said, after testing the Yaris in 2016. “The had such a tight schedule to develop the car, and what I’m hearing is that there’s still some work to do. But Jari-Matti has a lot of experience already, and if he can really focus and get the team behind him as well, yeah, they might.”

Hirvonen remained skeptical that the Japanese manufacturer will be ready to win any races, at least during the first part of 2017.

“I don’t think it’s going to happen in the first half of the season,” he added, “maybe later on they’ll be able to fight for the podiums.”

 

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