DP&L to shut down 2 Ohio plants

Published: Monday, March 20, 2017 @ 12:21 PM


            FILE
FILE

Dayton Power and Light Co. will shut down two power plants in a rural Southern Ohio county, according to a company statement.

The company announced two power-generation plants in Adams County will shut down by June 2018. The plants — known as J.M. Stuart and Killen stations — are not “economically viable beyond mid-2018,” according to DP&L.

The Dayton Daily News first reported earlier this year that the company announced its intention to close the plants in a January filing with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. The rumors have caused communities near the plants to voice their concerns.

EYES IN THE SKY : From above, DP&L copters inspect for damage

“There’s a huge financial impact headed our way, and frankly, it doesn’t feel like our concerns are being heard, in either Dayton or Columbus,” Michael Pell, president of First State Bank in Winchester, Ohio, told this news organization.

The plants generate about $3.8 million annually in property taxes to the county and local entities, and DP&L owns 5,500 acres in Adams County. The plants have about 490 employees, with an additional 200 contracting employees. The annual payroll is more than $30 million.

RELATED : Citing financial ‘threats,’ DP&L seeks new charges

“DP&L recognizes the extent of the impact and uncertainty this decision creates for our people. The Company is fully committed to proactively managing workforce transitions related to the closure of these generation units,” a company statement said.

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WHAT TO KNOW: Five aviation stories from the past week

Published: Saturday, July 22, 2017 @ 1:07 PM

This is the entrance to the visitors center of the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, off West Third and South Williams streets in Dayton. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF
This is the entrance to the visitors center of the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, off West Third and South Williams streets in Dayton. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF

Whether it’s cutting-edge research or time-tested manufacturing, there was plenty of aviation-related news from in and around Dayton in the past week.

Here are five stories you may have missed.

1. UDRI wins a big Air Force award.

Staff Writer Barrie Barber reported Friday that the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI) received a seven-year, $43 million Air Force contract to develop non-metal materials for airplanes, spacecraft and ground vehicles.

Researchers at UDRI and at the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base will investigate adhesives, sealants, elastomers, textiles, and composites, among other materials, according to UDRI spokeswoman Pamela Gregg.

Read more about the work here.

2. How to thrive in business for 100 years? Ask these guys.

Hartzell Propeller is a small aircraft propeller manufacturer anchored in a small town, relying on a time-tested formula has worked quite well for the Piqua company.

Joseph Brown, Hartzell president, told Business Writer Thomas Gnau that the company’s staying power has a lot to do with its self-reliant workforce, exhibiting what he called a problem-solving “farm mentality on steroids.”

Read about Hartzell’s 100th anniversary here.

3. Your community’s national park may soon get bigger. 

Did you know that the site of the world’s first productive airplane factory is only minutes away on West Third Street near Home Avenue?

A non-profit group, the National Aviation Heritage Alliance, is negotiating with brownfield developers for purchase of the former Wright Airplane Co. factory, and dozens of acres of related property, in that area.

The idea is to secure the property, then sell it to the federal government to become part of the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park.

Read more about the plans taking shape.

4. And that park’s superintendent has retired.

Dean Alexander, superintendent at the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, has been a friendly, familiar face to park visitors and aviation buffs since his appointment in 2009.

On Friday he began a well-earned retirement. Read about it. 

5. See the Wright Brothers at work — sort of

Finally, photographer and aviation enthusiast Dan Patterson was asked give people a sense of what it was like to watch the inventors of controlled, powered flight breaking new ground.

To that end, a first life-sized photo stands at Huffman Prairie, showing the brothers leaning on one of their flying machines next to a replica of the shed that held the machine.

Read more about the project.

Chipotle food issues: Does your local restaurant have violations?

Published: Friday, July 21, 2017 @ 1:45 PM

Chipotle: 5 Fast Facts

Chipotle’s stock has taken a hit this week following foodborne illness issues at a restaurant in Virginia and a report of rodents scurrying around one of their restaurants in Texas.

Chipotle executives told Business Insider that the chain temporarily closed a restaurant in Sterling, Va., after a small number of customers reported symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, dehydration and nausea. 

Chipotle said they are aware of the issue, and communicated with local health officials in Virginia. The restaurant was closed for a “thorough sanitization,” the restaurant chain said, and it has now reopened. Chipotle officials said the reported symptoms were consistent with norovirus, a common cause of viral gastroenteritis.

Signs and symptoms of norovirus usually begin within 12 to 48 hours after exposure to the virus, according to the Mayo Clinic. Norovirus can be spread through contaminated food or water or an infected person. The virus can cause diarrhea, throwing up and stomach pain.

RELATED: Chipotle investigating credit card data breach

This isn’t the first time Chipotle has had issues with food-related illnesses. The company was hit by multiple outbreaks of E. coli in 2015, causing hundreds of customers to get sick.

The Dayton Daily News has taken a look at recent inspection reports by the Dayton-Montgomery County Public Health at Chipotle, and found some restaurants had multiple customer complaints at locations nationwide.

Locally complaints of food-borne illnesses or cleanliness go to local health departments, which are responsible for inspecting local restaurants. Hundreds of complaints come in to local health departments every year; in 2016 the Dayton-Montgomery County Public Health Department received complaints involving 5 Chipotle restaurants.

Some local Chipotle complaints were:

1. CENTERVILLE CHIPOTLE - 1051 MIAMISBURG CENTERVILLE ROAD

In late May, health officials with the Dayton-Montgomery County Public Health inspected the restaurant after a customer issued a complaint to the local health department regarding a possible food borne illness. Health officials were told that no employees called off work sick or were sent home sick during the time of the alleged illness, and they were also informed that the facility did not receive any phone calls or other responses regarding ill customers, according to a health inspection report.

The restaurant staff was informed to ensure gloves and utensils are used to handle foods, and officials recommended that food temperatures be monitored multiple times everyday. No further action was required, according to the report.

2. DAYTON CHIPOTLE - 1211 BROWN ST. 

A recent standard inspection by Dayton-Montgomery County Public Health officials found the overall operation of the restaurant was satisfactory, and food code updates were discussed during the inspection. Earlier in the year, the restaurant received a complaint about workers not wearing hair restraints. The issue was discussed with restaurant management and no further action was taken.

3. DAYTON CHIPOTLE - 9208 N. MAIN ST. 

The restaurant received two complaints in 2016, according to Dayton-Montgomery County Public Health inspection reports. A customer was concerned with air vents leaking condensation into food items, and the restaurant explained they were working to repair a hood system to draw humid air out. They agreed to wipe off condensation to protect food items.

RELATED: Chipotle closes restaurant after reports of customer illness

A complaint was also investigated last year about a bug found in a customer’s meal, but the past two months of pest control reports showed no signs of pest activity and no bugs were found during the inspection. No follow-up was needed, according to the report.

4. MIAMISBURG CHIPOTLE - 10671 INNOVATION DRIVE

The restaurant’s latest inspection report showed the operation is satisfactory, but the location had at least four reported complaints in 2016. A customer complained in April 2016 that they became ill after eating at the establishment, and management stated about three employees had been ill around the time of the incident.

The store was shut down and cleaned and food prepared by ill employees was discarded, according to health inspection reports. Multiple inspections were completed by state officials following the incident, and performance was satisfactory.

5. BEAVERCREEK CHIPOTLE - 4472 WALNUT ST. 

The restaurant had at least two reported complaints this year, and an inspection found “critical violations” in January. The person in charge failed to ensure employees of their responsibility to report information about their health as it relates to illnesses that could impact the food being served.

Employees were also found eating and drinking from open cups in the work areas. Guacamole was prepared and not checked for temperature prior to placing in walk-cooler, according to Greene County health inspection reports. New rules were discussed with management, according to the last report filed in January.

Chipotle officials said the restaurant chain has hired a food safety expert, Dr. Jim Marsden, to oversee all aspects of its food safety program. Chipotle has also implemented new food safety protocols in all restaurants. Nearly all Chipotle locations are company-owned.

“We are sorry that individuals reported sickness from one of our locations. The safety and well-being of our customers is always our top priority. Our Sterling, VA, restaurant has reopened for business,” said Steve Ells, Chipotle CEO. “We believe these advancements, among others, have put us at the top of our industry as we continually strive to find new and innovative ways to ensure that our restaurants are safe. We know that maintaining the highest level of safety in all of our restaurants is our responsibility. I made a commitment on behalf of Chipotle to make our restaurants the safest place to eat, and I am confident in the programs and procedures we have implemented.”

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Hartzell Propeller relies on ‘small-town’ know-how

Published: Friday, July 21, 2017 @ 1:10 PM

James Brown, left, Hartzell Propeller Inc., executive vice president, and Joseph Brown, Hartzell president, stand next to the largest propeller the Piqua company still maintains. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF
Thomas Gnau/Staff
James Brown, left, Hartzell Propeller Inc., executive vice president, and Joseph Brown, Hartzell president, stand next to the largest propeller the Piqua company still maintains. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF(Thomas Gnau/Staff)

Hartzell Propeller is celebrating 100 years in business by relying on a formula that has worked well so far — a marriage of bleeding-edge technology and small-town problem-solving.

“We do some pretty amazing things in this little company,” said James Brown, executive vice president of Hartzell.

Taking a visitor to the company’s propeller manufacturing floor, where the magic happens, Joseph Brown — James’ younger brother and president of Hartzell — sums up the company’s time-tested formula:

RELATEDWright factory site targeted by aviation alliance

“You have to have the best people; you have to have the best processes; you have to the best technology,” he said. “Other companies may claim that. What’s really hard is making those things work in harmony so the business is always better.”

To make those elements work, Hartzell thrives on being what the Browns call a “small-town” employer.

“We actually have a family with three generations working with us here right now,” Joseph Brown said.

RELATEDAviation alliance in talks for Wright factory

That kind of “harmony” works well for the business, he said.

“We offer something we think is pretty attractive, and they (employees) offer something that we think is pretty attractive — which is brains, loyalty and commitment,” the younger Brown said. “This company is special because of where it’s located.”

Hartzell is owned by a Piqua-based holding company, Tailwind Technologies, which also owns an Alabama business, Hartzell Engine Technology. Tailwind is essentially a business instrument for buying compatible companies.

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Tailwind in its totality saw about $150 million in revenue in 2016, down from a high-water mark of about $200 million, a drop the Browns attributed to the divestment of companies in California and Texas. (James is president of Tailwind while Joseph is its chief operating officer.)

“This is our learning lab,” James Brown said of the Piqua-Hartzell location. “And the things we’ve learned here we’ve used to benefit other businesses that we’ve purchased.”

The company’s centennial celebration so far has been marked with a lunch and concert for employees. Coming up this week is a trip to the EAA Airventure air show in Oshkosh, Wisc. and an air show for employees in Piqua in September.

The company was born in 1917 when Orville Wright — a friend of Robert Hartzell, son of founder George Hartzell —suggested that the Hartzells use walnut wood to build airplane propellers. Soon, with one employee, the older Hartzell was doing just that, according to the company’s history.

Jim Brown Jr. — father of James and Joseph — bought Hartzell from TRW in 1987. The company had 245 local employees at that time, and it has 245 local employees today.

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But the company is far more productive — and far more efficient — than it was in the late 1980s, the Brown brothers agree.

A key part of that efficiency is finding the right robotics and automation technology and putting that tech to work in a sensible way. James Brown identified Dayton company Gosiger as a key partner in finding the right automation tools.

The robotics have been helpful in handling repetitive tasks where work has to be not just good, but perfect or close to it. And rather than flee that technology, employees actually embraced and helped implement it, the Browns said.

“We didn’t go survey the global market for technology,” Joseph Brown said. “We had employees who picked technologies within the global market and integrated them here.”

And those employees hail from Piqua, Troy, Sidney, Springfield and beyond, all from the Miami Valley.

“They’re home-grown folks,” he said.

Lightweight-but-strong composite blades are one example of what the Browns believe is a problem-solving mentality at Hartzell, giving customers new options. The company will make about 3,000 composite-material propeller blades this year.

“That may not sound like a lot in an automotive town, but in a general aviation town, that’s a lot of volume,” Joseph Brown said.

That mindset doesn’t just embrace technology for technology’s sake, the brothers say. It’s about rallying the workforce around engineering and production applications. These ideas “came from inside.”

“We just figured, if we have the best-brain power, we’re going to win,” he said. “So use it.”

China connection

Hartzell Propeller announced last week it has added a service and support center in China.

Hartzell appointed the Aircraft Repair and Overhaul Plant of Civil Aviation Flight University of China as the service and support center. Located in Guanghan City, CAFUC has 110 employees who perform maintenance, repair and overhaul of aircraft, engines, propellers and components.

The partnership with CAFUC gives Hartzell additional in-country service and support capability, the company said. Hartzell has completed translations of propeller owner manuals into Mandarin for the most popular turboprop and piston-powered aircraft flying in China.

“This latest appointment demonstrates Hartzell Propeller’s ongoing commitment to Chinese owners, operators, maintenance facilities and the continued growth of general aviation in China,” said Weiqing (Max) Wang, Hartzell Propeller managing director for China, based in Shanghai City.

Hartzell Propeller controls about 80 percent of the market for prop-driven planes with engines that produce between 80 and 2,200 horsepower. The company makes about 40 aluminum alloy and composite propellers per day.

Hartzell works closely with about 100 airplane makers and modifiers, according to JJ Frigge, the executive vice president in charge of daily operations at Hartzell. About half of the company’s total sales come from aircraft manufacturers, modifiers and hobbyists. The other half comes from aftermarket parts and service work.

CAFUC is the largest civil aviation university in Asia and the one of the world’s largest flight training institutions. It is responsible for operating and maintaining the largest fleet of propeller driven aircraft in China. CAFUC also has pilot training facilities at five airports located in the Henan and Sichuan Provinces of China.

Reporter Kara Driscoll contributed to this story.

Chipotle food scare highlights issue that impacts thousands annually

Published: Friday, July 21, 2017 @ 8:29 PM


            Local stores impacted by Chipotle data breach created on Tuesday 5/30/2017 at 8:36:24 am by Kara Driscoll Cutline 1editfornewsEngin.18525592_chipotleprobs.jpg A customer carries a Chipotle order at a restaurant in Miami. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Local stores impacted by Chipotle data breach created on Tuesday 5/30/2017 at 8:36:24 am by Kara Driscoll Cutline 1editfornewsEngin.18525592_chipotleprobs.jpg A customer carries a Chipotle order at a restaurant in Miami. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Chipotle is grappling with more cases of foodborne illness, an issue that causes one in six Americans to get sick annually after consuming contaminated foods or beverages.

The company’s stock has taken a hit this week following foodborne illness issues at a restaurant in Virginia and a report of rodents scurrying around at one of their restaurants in Texas. Chipotle executives told Business Insider that the chain temporarily closed the restaurant in Sterling, Va., after a small number of customers reported symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, dehydration and nausea.

Chipotle officials said the reported symptoms were consistent with norovirus, a common cause of viral gastroenteritis.

» Chipotle food issues: Does your local restaurant have violations?

This isn’t the first time Chipotle has had issues with food-related illnesses. The company was hit by multiple outbreaks of E. coli in 2015, causing dozens of customers to get sick. No deaths were reported related to the outbreaks.

“As a member of the Food Safety Advisory Council at Chipotle, I’ve observed the systems the company has put in place to control norovirus,” said Elisabeth Hagen, former Chief Medical Officer and Undersecretary for Food Safety at the USDA. “They are among the best in the food industry. Despite, these efforts, no company is immune from norovirus risks.”

Every year, 48 million Americans gets sick by consuming contaminated foods or beverages, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC officials also estimate norovirus causes 19 to 21 million cases each year in the U.S. It attributes to 570 to 800 deaths yearly, mostly among young children and adults.

The Dayton Daily News examined recent inspection reports by the Dayton-Montgomery County Public Health at Chipotle locations. Hundreds of complaints come in to the local health department every year for various restaurants; in 2017 the Dayton-Montgomery County Public Health Department has received complaints involving at least five Chipotle restaurants.

» RELATED: Chipotle investigating credit card data breach

Some of the incidents included locations like the Centerville Chipotle on 1051 Miamisburg Centerville Road. In late May, officials with the health department inspected the restaurant after a customer issued a complaint to the local health department regarding a possible food borne illness.

Health officials were told that no employees called off work sick or were sent home sick during the time of the alleged illness, and they were also informed that the facility did not receive any phone calls or other responses regarding ill customers, according to a health inspection report.

The restaurant staff was informed to ensure gloves and utensils are used to handle foods, and officials recommended that food temperatures be monitored multiple times everyday. No further action was required, according to the report.

Another Chipotle in Beavercreek, located at 4472 Walnut St., had at least two reported complaints this year, and an inspection found “critical violations” in January. The person in charge failed to ensure employees of their responsibility to report information about their health as it relates to illnesses that could impact the food being served.

» RELATED: Chipotle closes restaurant after reports of customer illness

Employees were also found eating and drinking from open cups in the work areas. Guacamole was prepared and not checked for temperature prior to placing in walk-cooler, according to Greene County health inspection reports. New rules were discussed with management, according to the last report filed in January.

Chipotle officials said the restaurant chain has hired a food safety expert, Dr. Jim Marsden, to oversee all aspects of its food safety program. Chipotle has also implemented new food safety protocols in all restaurants. Nearly all Chipotle locations are company-owned.

“We are sorry that individuals reported sickness from one of our locations. The safety and well-being of our customers is always our top priority,” said Steve Ells, Chipotle CEO. “We believe these advancements, among others, have put us at the top of our industry as we continually strive to find new and innovative ways to ensure that our restaurants are safe. We know that maintaining the highest level of safety in all of our restaurants is our responsibility. I made a commitment on behalf of Chipotle to make our restaurants the safest place to eat, and I am confident in the programs and procedures we have implemented.”

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BY THE NUMBERS

• 48 MILLION people get sick from a foodborne illness every year

• 128,000 people are hospitalized due to foodborne illness every year

• 3,000 people die every year from foodborne illnesses

Source: CDC