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Published: Wednesday, February 28, 2018 @ 8:31 AM
Updated: Wednesday, February 28, 2018 @ 8:31 AM
BERLIN — The next German government will consider a proposal to identify diesel vehicles with low emissions using a visible label soon after it takes office, Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman said Wednesday — an idea immediately met with criticism from business organizations and others.
The question of how authorities can distinguish which cars emit high amounts of harmful nitrogen oxides was pushed to the fore by a German court decision Tuesday that said cities can impose driving bans on particularly dirty diesels.
Already, many major German cities require that all vehicles meet certain emission standards to drive downtown, and carry a green windshield sticker so that they can be recognized.
With the possibility of a ban on all but the newest diesel vehicles, Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said the idea of issuing a new blue sticker to ensure that dirty diesels are identifiable would be "taken up quickly" by the new Cabinet, which could assume office next month.
Cities have long called for such a labeling system but previous German governments have opposed it. Environmental groups accuse the government of ignoring the air pollution problem for fear of angering millions of diesel car owners and the country's powerful auto lobby.
Following Seibert's comments, the governor of the northwestern state of Lower Saxony, Stephan Weil, said the blue sticker was no solution, telling Die Welt newspaper it is "only a friendly way to say driving ban."
Weil said a ban would just force diesel owners to buy gasoline-powered cars, which might reduce nitrogen oxide levels but would increase carbon dioxide emissions. Lower Saxony has a large financial stake in German automaker Volkswagen, which received heavy fines in the United States after being found to have cheated on diesel emissions tests.
Meantime, the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry, known as DIHK, warned that banning all diesels except for those with blue sticker certifications from downtown driving "would restrict more than 10 million vehicles, some of which aren't even two years old, from many German cities."
"If only half of these vehicles need to be replaced we're looking at costs for businesses of more than five billion euros ($6 billion) and more than 16 billion euros for households," DIHK deputy-head Achim Dercks told the Handelsblatt newspaper.
The German Association for Small and Medium-sized Businesses told Handelsblatt that many companies relied on diesel vehicles for deliveries and other purposes.
Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 12:46 PM
LEBANON — Warren County commissioners approved a community reinvestment area on Tuesday for 178 acres west of Ohio 48 in Hamilton Twp.
The agreement sets the stage for the township and school board to negotiate a tax sharing agreement for commercial or industrial development of the former SUMCO industrial site off Grandin Road, officials said.
The township is working with the owners of the property, the Rippe family and Nick Geraci, on a development there, administrator Michelle Tegtmeier said.
RELATED: South Lebanon annexes 220 acres
The formation of the reinvestment area comes after land, including the former Peters Cartridge Factory development, was annexed by South Lebanon, as part of an agreement for the developer to get a tax abatement on this development, costing the Little Miami Schools tax revenue on developments.
RELATED: History of Peters Cartridge Factory
The abatements granted in the new area would be 50 to 100 percent for up to 15 years.
Commissioner Shannon Jones noted property taxes have dwindled on the land since SUMCO left the site eight years ago.
Assistant Warren County Prosecutor Bruce McGary said the resolution establishing the reinvestment area set up a process including the school district “at the table” for negotiations of more than 50 percent in property tax breaks.
The former SUMCO complex is expected to be demolished in anticipation of new development on the industrial site.
Commissioner Dave Young specified that tax incentives would not be used to subsidize residential development.
“The main purpose is to drive commercial, industrial,” said Matthew Schnipke of the county economic development office.
The area also enables Hamilton Twp. “to be competitive with other areas,” including South Lebanon and other cities capable of offering similar incentives in exchange for annexation from the township.
The tax abatement agreements are more lucrative for cities and villages, which collect earning tax from businesses, unless a township is part of joint economic development district with such taxing authority.
“We really think this would be a kick-start,” Tegtmeier said, creating a better tax base for the heavily residential township, south of Lebanon and west of Mason. “Right now, we have nothing.”
Young said he typically opposes creating tax incentive areas through which communities compete with each other.
Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 3:35 PM
Amazon is looking to buy abandoned Toys ‘R’ Us storefronts once the company shuts them down for good.
The online retail giant is looking at the possibility of acquiring some Toys ‘R’ Us locations as it expands its brick-and-mortar footprint across the country, Bloomberg reported. The stores could be used to showcase its Echo devices.
Toys ‘R’ Us filed for bankruptcy last week. At the beginning of 2018, the chain had more than 800 stores before announcing in January that it would shutter 180 stores.
“Today marks the dawn of a new era at Toys“R”Us where we expect that the financial constraints that have held us back will be addressed in a lasting and effective way,” said Dave Brandon, chairman and chief executive officer.
» RELATED: 5 things to know about Amazon in Monroe
The possible interest comes as Amazon enters the brick-and-mortar game. The company purchased Whole Foods lst year, and it is also opening bookstores. Its cashless convenience stores, Amazon Go, are also reportedly expanding in states across the U.S. in coming years.
So, how does Amazon Go work? Consumers use the Amazon Go app to enter the store, take the products they want and walk out. No checkout. No lines.
The store’s technology uses computer vision, sensor fusion and deep learning to automatically detect when products are taken or returned to the shelves and keep track of them in a virtual cart. Customers grab their items and go, and then their Amazon account is charged with the bill. The store will offer ready-to-go meals, grocery essentials and even locally made food.
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Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 10:19 AM
— As the country says farewell to a long, harsh winter for many, it's time to celebrate springtime with a free treat.
Rita's Italian Ice is once again giving away a free Italian ice on March 20 from noon to 9 p.m.
The promotion has grown in popularity over the years, with almost 1 million Italian ice cups given away in a nine-hour period in 2017, according to Rita's.
Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 7:19 AM
— Macy’s Inc. is introducing mobile checkout services at most of its store locations.
Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette told an audience at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Consumer & Retail Technology Conference in New York earlier this month that the retailer plans to test mobile checkout at about 450 of its 650 stores.
» CONTINUED COVERAGE: Macy’s outlet store to open at shopping center in Dayton area
Customers can use their smartphone app to scan items throughout the store. Then, the shoppers use the express checkout lane where employees will verify their purchases and remove security tags. It is unclear when the roll-out of the new technology will occur.
Macy’s has several store locations in the region. Macy’s is renovating one of its existing stores in the Dayton area to add an outlet store, according to a permit submitted to the Montgomery County Building Regulations Division.
» CONTINUED COVERAGE: Macy’s ‘fine-tuning’ staffing at some stores
Macy’s submitted a permit for a partial remodel of its existing Macy’s department store located at 2700 Miamisburg Centerville Road at the Dayton Mall. The estimated market value of the completed project is $75,000. The permit indicates the project is a partial building alteration to make space for a 1,300-square-foot Macy’s Backstage outlet.
»MUST-READ RETAIL NEWS: Will Macy’s become a discount store? Retailer shares grim sales report
The department store chain has invested in its off-price concept, called Macy’s Backstage. The company added 11 new Backstage stores within existing Macy’s stores in the first quarter of 2017. The stores, similar to Nordstrom Rack, offer discounted prices on brand clothing up to 80 percent off.
In January, the company announced the closure of 11 Macy’s stores — including one in downtown Cincinnati. It’s part of the retailer’s plan to close approximately 100 stores, which was announced back in August 2016.
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