fighting the lack of good ideas

print-at-home plans

Someone needs to start a business selling print-at-home furniture/home-improvement plans that include parts lists (and, ideally, costs) from their local Lowes / Home Depot / TrueValue / Ace / etc.

Most folks who want to tackle small projects don’t want to buy books or magazines that may (or may not) include what they’re interested in – but which will definitely include loads of stuff they’re not.

Having a simple webstore that offered complete build instructions, parts lists, and approximate costs (both dollars and time) would be awesome.

I’m thinking something like an on-demand version of eMeals, but for your workshop.

note to anyone who sent models to the freight yard in phoenix

Reprinted from the NYO&WRHS Yahoo Group (owrhs at yahoogroups dot com).

To anyone who sent any model locomotives and/or rolling stock to The Freight Yard in Phoenix, AZ for custom painting, please be advised The Freight Yard closed its doors in May and the proprietor made a midnight raid on his shop and removed all inventory to his home in Anthem, AZ including all stock delivered to him by us for painting. His shop phone is disconnected, his website is down, he doesn’t answer emails, and his business is no longer listed in Model Railroading magazine. He made no notifications to any of us consignors, gave no address nor phone number such we could contact him to recover our models. I had delivered an MKT brass EMD NW2 Phase IV for custom painting in NYO&W livery in February.

After repeated failures in June to learn status on my consignment (I phoned the shop monthly in Mar and April to check on status, was out of state in May), I drove the 90 miles to personally check on his shop, found it empty and stripped of all inventory, shelves, counters. The property administrator had posted an inventory seizure notice and lock on the store’s door due to unpaid rent but the proprietor had first cleaned out the store before the notice was posted (dated 18 May 2010). The notice had the administrator’s name and phone number and through the property management company (Paula at Lynn Morrison Co, Tucson, AZ) and Google searches, I was able to track down the proprietor’s home address and phone number:

Martin Cohen
3868 W. Links Dr.
Anthem, AZ 85086
PH 623-551-8842

Martin does not return phone calls as he promises. He’s a smooth talker, very pleasant on the phone, makes a lot of promises but follows through with none of them. After I requested he return it to me, he twice said he mailed my locomotive (unpainted – he said he couldn’t paint [in his garage] at least until October when the weather cools off). My own feeling is he hopes the consignors will give up (if no contact from consignee after a period of time, he can claim the engines as “abandoned property” and that he could sell the engines on eBay or whatever). After securing his home phone number, I pestered him with phone calls from June through the end of July when, after one last call this past Sunday evening, he told me that the Postal Service had “returned as undeliverable” my locomotive the previous Friday. He did not phone me to advise me that he had the engine. I told him I’d be down the next morning to pick it up. He tried to put me off by claiming medical appointments but I preempted him by showing up at his door at 7AM Monday. He handed me my loco, I checked it out (all OK), and was on my way. One other consignor of six locomotives in the Phoenix area to whom I provided Cohen’s home contact information was able to do the same thing. Anyone who shipped a locomotive to The Freight Yard likely does not have the advantage of proximity. I had also reported the engine as stolen to the Phoenix Police Department (602-262-6151) the previous week (I notified Phoenix police of its recovery. I declined to press charges.). Also, if the Police had contacted him, this might have hastened the sudden reappearance of my locomotive.

I also suggest keeping detailed records of any communication/contacts with Martin Cohen. If by mail, send a letter with Signature Confirmation or Certified Mail. If he says he will return the locomotive by mail, insist he send it by Priority Mail with the above SC, CM, or, at least, with Delivery Confirmation; each will have a tracking number. Demand he tell you the tracking number. This will prove he actually sent it. Insurance is up to you. Good luck in getting any deposit back; I just wrote off my $116 deposit. All I wanted was the return of my locomotive.

If anyone needs further information, please feel free to contact me onlist or off or phone me (# below).

Anyone know of a reliable high quality custom model RR paint shop?

Good luck!
Fred Stevens, Arizona Division of the New York, Ontario and Western
Prescott, AZ

Fred’s comments about this post (and my request to reprint it here) to the mailing list:

I posted the same message to all six of the model RR Groups to which I belong including the large HOrailroading Group (about 2900 members).

My intent was informative rather than to drive the guy out of business (not that he has much, if any business left and he drove himself out of business) nor defamation of character (he defamed himself). While I declined the Phoenix detective’s question of whether or not to press charges (grand larceny aka grand theft locomotive), the perp was standing on the gallows platform with the noose already tightened and the platform would be released if he didn’t return my NW2. I have little use for con artists…

Fred Stevens

Another member (Ed H) of the group said the following, too:

I was involved, as a victim, in an Issue like this a number of years ago.
I Contacted the District Attorney in regards to the Restitution of Monies. They Contacted all the Victims, got the Notarized Statements & Receipts, and saw to it that the Full Amount paid, was returned.
Sounds like a Good Idea to do with this Unscrupulous Felon.