Friday, August 31, 2007

Merkle Lawn Care did the right thing

We call it doing the right thing.
When Antonio Rodriguez Ramirez was struck and killed by a driver near Cincinnati recently, the company that employed him, Merkle Lawn Care, paid $5,000 to return his remains to his family in Guanajuato, Mexico. The 54-year-old had been working with co-workers near Ft. Thomas, KY, when an uninsured driver swerved off the road and hit him
Paying to have the body returned to his family was just the beginning of what became a complicated process that the lawn care company navigated to return the body to Mexico.
The owner of Merkle Lawn Care reportedly traveled to Mexico with Antonio’s brother.
Again, our hats are off to Merkle for their compassion.
Read the WKRC-TV report of what the company did in reuniting its deceased and valued employee with his family by clicking on the headline. — Ron Hall

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Clean Air Lawn Care a new idea with promise

Maybe you haven’t heard. After all, this is one very quiet company. But its founders are banking on it making a loud noise in the professional lawn maintenance market. The company is Clean Air Lawn Care, headquartered in Fort Collins, CO. Its plan is to plant franchises all across the United States. These are pretty lofty goals for a 2-year-old company, but its owners are confident that its use of non-polluting mowers (electric) and its business model that targets neighborhoods with properties of two acres or less will give its franchise owners a unique opportunity to gain a unique and profitable toehold in the incredibly competitive lawn maintenance industry. The company’s “environmental” message is attractive to local media types, and it’s getting lots of favorable press.
Check out its Web site at or click on the headline, which will get you there pronto. — Ron Hall

Friday, August 10, 2007

State rep. nailed for H-2B scheme

The H-2B seasonal guest worker program has been one of the big reasons for the growth of the professional landscape industry this past decade. Without reliable and cheap labor the industry could not have possibly met its customers' demands.

On the surface it seems to be a happy marriage — the landscape services industry and the annual flow of willing, hard-working seasonal immigrants.

But this is a government program with more than a few blemishes — from unscrupulous recruiters in Latin America (mostly Mexico) that charge fellow countrymen exorbitant fees in the hopes (usually unfounded) of working legally in the United States to middlemen in the United States who invent false companies and fraudently inflate the number of workers companies need in order to snap up more H-2B visas than they would be entitled to otherwise.

SInce the number of workers gaining H-2B visas is limited, every visa that's obtained illegally denies another company a legal immigrant worker.

It's with some satisfaction that I alert you to the guilty plea entered by Missouri Representative Nathan Cooper, Cape Girardeau. He plead guilty to fraud charges of obtaining worker visas for clients in the trucking business. The 33-year-old immigration attorney had a nice little racket going on and reportedly pocketed thousands of dollars in the process.

Cooper is likely to spend some hard time in the joint and pay a pretty hefty fine.

This thing is getting a lot of press in Missouri, more news reports are coming in and they say that Cooper has resigned from the Missouri House and he's losing his law license, too.

Here's one interesting report:

And Land Line, a magazine for professional truckers kicked in with a news story of its own, which you can access at:

Click on the headline to read yet another newspaper article about how this state rep let his greed get the better of him. — Ron Hall