Local bike trails attracting worldwide attention

Published: Friday, April 21, 2017 @ 12:16 PM


            Amy Dingle, left, director of outdoor connections for Five Rivers MetroParks, and Janet Bly, general manager of the Miami Conservancy District, said the area’s outdoor trails and waterways drew the 2017 International Trails Symposium. The symposium will be May 7 to 10. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF
Amy Dingle, left, director of outdoor connections for Five Rivers MetroParks, and Janet Bly, general manager of the Miami Conservancy District, said the area’s outdoor trails and waterways drew the 2017 International Trails Symposium. The symposium will be May 7 to 10. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF

The 2017 International Trails Symposium is coming to Dayton May 7 to 10, investing what organizers expect will be $1 million into the region and showcasing what a Five Rivers MetroParks director calls “the outdoor adventure capital of the Midwest.”

The American Trails bi-annual symposium was attracted to Dayton by what Janet Bly, Miami Conservancy District general manager, called the nation’s largest network of paved outdoor trails.

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About 500 visitors from 42 states, Washington, D.C., and 11 countries are expected at the symposium, which will feature paid workshops and classes, as well as free recreation, indoors and out. (For a full schedule, or to register for events, visit americantrails.org.)

What unites those coming to Dayton is more than love of the outdoors, Bly said.

“Some of it is love of the environment,” she said. “They see the economic impact of trails and are really trying to promote that in their own communities. And they’re wanting to see what other communities have done.”

Mike Passo, executive director of American Trails, said he and fellow organization leaders liked what they found when they visited the area in November 2016.

He said they found the region and its assets “compelling,” citing in particular what Passo called “an amazing trail system” — with more than 300 miles of interconnected trails, rivers, connections to the trail systems of other cities and more.

“It’s really quite amazing,” Passo said in an interview Friday. “There are activities and energy being put into the (Miami Valley) trail system here that just aren’t happening in other parts of the country.”

But Dayton offered something beyond outdoor assets, trails and waterways that other cities don’t have, he said: Persistence by proponents of Dayton. Passo in particular mentioned Amy Dingle — Five Rivers MetroParks director of outdoor connections.

Said Passo: “They just wouldn’t take ‘No’ for an answer.”

Dingle and Bly said they began making their case for Dayton to the American Trail board in 2015, when the symposium was held in Portland.

Board members were surprised at what they heard, the women said. Then they were intrigued. The area’s aviation heritage sites also were a draw.

“The story really goes back to 2008 and maybe 2006,” Dingle said. “It became really a dream of MetroParks. When we were starting to go into the economic recession, losing all the manufacturing … We said, ‘Wow, we have all these amazing amenities that we need to let the public know we have.’”

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New DP&L plan raises rates

Published: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 10:38 AM

DP&L trucks were parked on the west side of Dayton as crews worked to restore power in this July photo. GRANT PEPPER/STAFF
DP&L trucks were parked on the west side of Dayton as crews worked to restore power in this July photo. GRANT PEPPER/STAFF

With Dayton Power & Light arguing that its “financial integrity” is at stake, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) approved new charges and a new “electric security plan” for DP&L customers Friday.

The Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel (OCC) asserted that new charges — or “rider” — for DP&L would harmful to residential customers, with the “average residential ratepayer” paying $9 a month, or $107 a year, according to a filing outlining the PUCO’s decision on the case.

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In a press release Friday, the PUCO said its approval means that DP&L will end the collection of its annual $73 million retail stability charge.

“A residential customer using 750 kilowatt hours per month will see a monthly bill increase of $2.92 during the term of the” new charge, the PUCO said.

A kilowatt hour is roughly enough electricity to watch TV for 10 hours or cook breakfast for a family of four, according to Duke Energy. 

“Today’s PUCO approval of DP&L’s so-called ‘electric security plan' allows more subsidies for the utility’s power plants, payments to special interests, and various other increased charges that Dayton-area consumers will pay,” the OCC said Friday. 

The electric security plan, which governs how DP&L can do business until 2023, allows DP&L to make a new charge to ratepayers, called a “distribution modernization rider” or DMR. The DMR is designed to let DP&L collect about $105 million in revenue each year, with the option of stretching the rider another two years, with PUCO approval.

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DP&L argues that it needs the DMR to ensure reliable distribution of electrical power and to maintain its business.

Interested parties to the case, like Kroger, Honda, Walmart and the Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel, however, argued that customers shouldn’t have to pay new charges “to solve the company’s self-inflicted financial predicament,” the PUCO said.

And Walmart argued that even with the new cash infusion from the new rider, DP&L’s credit rating “would still not be investment grade.”

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In June 2016, S&P Global Ratings ruled that an Ohio Supreme Court ruling that month “increased the likelihood of a weaker financial profile, reflecting weaker financial measures for DPL and DP&L that could result in a near-term ratings downgrade.”

In June 2016, the Ohio Supreme Court reversed a PUCO decision that let DP&L charge customers extra in an “electric security plan service stability rider.”

In July 2016, Fitch Ratings revised its outlook for DP&L from “stable” to “negative,” the utility has said.

In its Friday filing, the PUCO said that the evidence shows that the new rider, along with a “reconciliation rider,” would result in a “marked improvement” for DP&L.

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The PUCO ruled that Ohio law allows the new charges, and that DP&L should file “final tariffs,” with the new electric security plan starting Nov. 1.

The PUCO also ordered that DP&L notify customers of the changes via a bill message or a bill insert within 30 days of Nov. 1.

Messages seeking comment were sent to representatives of DP&L.

Dayton-area home prices up, number of sales slightly down

Published: Friday, October 20, 2017 @ 10:34 AM

FILE
FILE

Home prices in the Dayton region continued to climb in September, though the number of sales ticked down compared to the year prior.

Dayton Area Board of Realtors reported today that its multiple listing service reached a sales volume of $228 million in September, up 5 percent from the same month in 2016.

The number of sales was 1,428 transactions, down 3 percent. The average sales price reached $159,699 and the median price increased seven percent to $135,000.

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Sales year-to-date through September was 12,374, up 1 percent compared to the same period in 2016 when 12,237 properties closed. Total dollar volume through nine months hit $1.9 billion, a 7.6 percent increase from the same period last year.

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The year-to-date average sale price and median sale price posted respectable gains as well. The average price totaled $156,227 while the median price came in at $134,000, each of them gains of six percent.

Home listing entries totaled 1,710 in September, up 2.8 percent over September 2016. Listings through the nine-month period totaled 16,864, down 1 percent over the same 2016 time period.

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The overall MLS inventory at month’s end showed 4,715 active properties available for sale, which translated to a supply of 3.3 months based on September’s resale rate. Last year at the same time the inventory was higher at 5,705 available listings and producing a higher supply ratio of 3.8 months.

Ohio jobless rate ticks down in September

Published: Friday, October 20, 2017 @ 12:47 PM


            FILE
FILE

The Ohio unemployment rate slightly dipped September to 5.3 percent, down from 5.4 percent the previous month, according to the latest job report released today.

Ohio’s non-agricultural wage and salary employment increased 10,500 over the month, from a revised 5,546,500 in August to 5,557,000 in September 2017, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said Friday morning.

Some industries that saw the most employment gains compared to August were trade, transportation, utilities, health care, and hospitality. Employment gains in trade, transportation, and utilities were around 6,200 jobs, while educational and health services added 4,600, and leisure and hospitality added 2,900.

RELATED: Jobless rate continues to rise in August

Manufacturing also saw some gains in September, with 3,100 jobs added month-over-month, pushing the jobs in goods-producing industries up to 914,200.

Compared to September of last year, 61,600 non-agricultural jobs were added. Some of the top industries adding jobs since last year were education, health care, leisure and hospitality. There were 24,800 jobs added in educational and health services and 19,300 in leisure and hospitality.

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Government employment, which is at 776,300, did not change over the month since the 7,200 job losses in local government was offset by gains the 6,200 gain in state employment and 300 job federal government gain.

The seasonally adjusted U.S. unemployment rate was at 4.2 percent, down from 4.4 percent.

2 retailers get upgrades at The Greene in Beavercreek

Published: Friday, October 13, 2017 @ 2:58 PM


            FILE
FILE

Two retailers are undergoing major renovations at The Greene Town Center in Beavercreek.

Jake’s Toggery will move to a new location at The Greene, replacing its existing location in Phase II of the mall near Von Maur. The new Jake’s Toggery store will be located between the Apple Store and Bath & Body Works. The store will be Jake’s latest store design, replacing what had been an existing retrofitted storefront of its previous “Life is Good” brand.

Jake Toggery sells preppy clothing items for women and men, including brands like Vineyard Vines and Southern Marsh. The new Jake’s Toggery location will open for business in mid-November. The original storefront near Von Maur will continue to be open for business until that time.

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The remodeled Occasionally Yours location is scheduled to open the week of Oct. 30. During remodeling, the store is open in a temporary location in the former Ann Taylor space next to Sephora.

Both Occasionally Yours and Jake’s Toggery are owned by Dayton-headquartered retail company Shops by Todd. Shops by Todd operates 19 stores throughout the region under the brand names Occasionally Yours, Pandora, and Jake’s Toggery. It employs over 350, and is headquartered in the PNC Building in the Water Street District in downtown Dayton.

“As native Daytonians, we are proud not only to be headquartered here, but also to continuously offer Dayton residents our latest and greatest concepts,” said company president Todd Bettman. “Though not our first store location, our Occasionally Yours location at The Greene became the catalyst for so much of our substantial growth since its opening in 2007.”

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