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Starbucks being sued for too much ice in drinks

Published: Monday, May 02, 2016 @ 11:05 AM
Updated: Monday, May 02, 2016 @ 11:52 AM

            NEW YORK - AUGUST 21: A couple has iced coffee drinks at a Starbucks Coffee shop in lower Manhattan August 21, 2009 in New York City. Starbucks, America's dominant coffeehouse chain, is changing some of its prices, raising them for elaborate specialty drinks and cutting prices for some others. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)
            Chris Hondros

A lawsuit filed against Starbucks claims there's too much ice in its cold drinks.

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Stacy Pincus of Chicago filed the $5 million lawsuit on Wednesday, with claims that the coffee giant falsely advertises how much liquid is in its cold beverages.

“Starbucks’ cold drinks are underfilled to make more money and higher profits, to the detriment of consumers who are misled by Starbucks’ intentionally misleading advertising practices,” the lawsuit says. "(The company) is advertising the size of its cold drink cups on its menu, rather than the amount of fluid a customer will receive when they purchase a cold drink -- and deceiving its customers in the process."

It continues: "The word beverage is defined as a drinkable liquid. Ice is not a beverage by definition."

Pincus says Starbucks advertises its cold drinks by fluid ounce but that the numbers are only accurate after ice is added to the drink.

According to the lawsuit, a venti-sized cold drink is advertised as having 24 fluid ounces but only includes 14 ounces of the actual liquid. The rest, the suit says, is ice, sometimes leaving customers with only half the amount of drink they expected upon their purchase.

But Starbucks says the claims are "without merit."

"Our customers understand and expect that ice is an essential component of any 'iced' beverage. If a customer is not satisfied with their beverage preparation, we will gladly remake it," said Jamie Riley, a spokesperson for Starbucks

The lawsuit is seeking monetary damages on behalf of everyone who has purchased an iced drink from Starbucks since 2006, Vox reported.

A lawsuit filed in March alleged Starbucks underfills its hot lattes by "approximately 25 percent."

OSHA: Hazardous condition alleged at AK Steel site ‘did not exist’

Published: Tuesday, May 23, 2017 @ 7:15 AM
Updated: Wednesday, May 24, 2017 @ 9:53 AM

Butler County-based steelmaker AK Steel.
Staff photo by Nick Daggy

An investigation into alleged hazards at AK Steel’s Middletown Works site was closed shortly after it was opened on the grounds the hazardous condition did not exist, according to documents obtained by this news outlet from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

FIRST REPORT: OSHA to AK Steel: Investigate alleged workplace hazards

OSHA, in a March 22 letter to AK Steel, detailed the complaint it received regarding the alleged hazards, including “welders have no certification to weld or pressure pipes, structures, railings, etc.” and “no welding logs are being kept for certifications purposes.”

In its letter, OSHA informed AK Steel it had until March 29 to respond to the letter.

That response was sent by OSHA last week as part of a public records request made by this outlet at the onset of the investigation.

AK Steel, upon receipt of complaint from OSHA, conducted “a prompt and thorough investigation,” gathering and reviewing welding certifications issued over the last 10 years, according to Mick Paddock, manager of safety and health at the West Chester Twp.-based company, in a March 29 letter.

“In that timeframe, AK Steel has certified nearly 200 of its employees as welders,” Paddock said. “The enclosed documents confirm that AK Steel maintains appropriate documentation of the certification of its welders, and the complaint’s vague allegation to the contrary is without merit.”

AK Steel is Butler County’s third-largest employer with a total of approximately 2,400 full-time employees at its Middletown Works and corporate headquarters in West Chester Twp.

MORE: AK Steel CEO named Steelmaker of the Year

Paddock said the complaint’s second point about the maintenance of “welding logs” that “AK Steel does not maintain welding logs dedicated to welding certifications, but no such logs are required.”

American Society of Mechanical Engineers standards indicate that a welder’s certification is renewed every six months as long as, within that six month period, the welder performs a successful weld using the relevant welding process under the supervision and control of a qualifying manufacturer, contractor or participating organization, Paddock said.

“AK Steel’s employees regularly perform welding work under AK Steel’s supervision and control, and this work is inspected and approved upon completion of each job,” he said in the letter. “This inspection and approval is documented in work orders associated with each job, but to gather and produce every work order would be voluminous and burdensome.”

AK Steel did provide OSHA with dated and signed welder qualification test records.

RELATED: AK Steel unveils $36M research and innovation center

Paddock said that given the large number of welders for whom AK Steel maintains certification, and AK Steel’s process for continuous inspection and approval of welding work performed at AK Steel’s Middletown Works, the company is “confident that its welding processes are performed by qualified and properly certified welders, and these processes do not pose any workplace hazards.”

“Moreover, AK Steel is also confident that its record retention practices for welding certifications does not violate … any of the standards promulgated under the Occupational Safety and Health Act,” he said. “OSHA standards do not specify any requirements to generate or retain any documents relating to the qualifications or certification of welder employees.”

“While AK Steel maintains these records as a best practice, the absence of these records does not indicate a violation of any OSHA standard or requirement.”

OTHER: AK Steel awarded ‘Raw Material Supplier of the Year’ honor

AK Steel spokeswoman Lisa Jester said the company’s letter details how “the complaint was without merit” and how it complies with relevant OSHA standards.

“Our company’s safety record continues to exceed the industry average,” Jester said.

In a letter to the complainant, Ken Montgomery, OSHA’s area director, said the agency “feels the case can be closed on the grounds that the hazardous condition(s) did not exist.”

No further complaint on the matter was received, OSHA officials said.

Emerson Climate expansion: 5 things to know

Published: Tuesday, May 16, 2017 @ 10:24 AM

Emerson Climate Technologies opened its Helex Innovation Center on the University of Dayton Campus early last year. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

Emerson Climate Technologies employs nearly 2,000 employees in Sidney, but company leaders think of themselves and their company as strongly connected to Dayton.

According to a documents from the Dayton-Montgomery County Port Authority, the company is planning a big expansion in Sidney that could further cement the company’s Dayton connection.

RELATEDEmerson planning $73M+ in world HQ expansion near Dayton

Here’s what to know right now:

1. The planned expansion is significant.

According to the Dayton-Montgomery County Port Authority, construction on the first phase of the expansion will begin this quarter — the second quarter of 2017 — with estimated total costs of $40,061,000. Construction on the next phase is anticipated to begin in the fourth quarter of 2019, with estimated total costs of $33,400,000.

As far as size goes, that expansion rivals the University of Dayton’s planned remaking of its fabled arena.

RELATEDEmerson opens ‘Helix’ center on UD campus

2. New lab and office space are on the drawing board

According to Port Authority documents, the company is planning a new approximately 20,000-square-foot office addition on the west side of an existing building that will include a new lobby and offices. There will also be a new employee entrance.

Emerson also plans to build about 97,000 square feet of new engineering laboratories within an existing facility, which will enable testing of refrigerant.

Also: The company is considering remodeling and building 172,000 square feet of first-floor office and vacated and demolished lab space, along with remodeling 45,000 square feet of existing second-floor office space, according to Port Authority plans.

The plans also call for a remodeled cafeteria with more natural light overlooking a new courtyard patio and green area created from a demolished AC engineering building, according to plans.

3. However, the expansion is not certain.

Right now, company officials are not saying much, and the project still depends on the granting of state and local incentives, according Jerry Brunswick, executive director of the Port Authority. He said the Port Authority has worked with the Dayton Development Coalition and JobsOhio on the project.

Still, Port Authority trustees Monday approved a capital lease financing agreement with Emerson to help the company avoid sales taxes in the purchasing of material for the construction work.

“Emerson is committed to continuing to invest in the operations for its compressor business in Sidney, Ohio and all over the world,” the company said in a brief email statement. “The company is constantly evaluating options to maintain a world class engineering and manufacturing footprint on a global basis to best serve our customers. This evaluation is ongoing but nothing has been finalized and Emerson has no announcement to make at this time.” 

4. Based in Sidney, Emerson’s leaders value a strong connection to Dayton

The company and its 1,600 employees make climate control equipment and parts in Sidney, where the company’s Climate Technologies arm has its world headquarters

Brent Schroeder, Emerson Climate Technologies group leader, heating and air conditioning, told this news outlet in a recent interview that many of the company’s managers are UD graduates. And of course, last year, the company opened a $35 million research center on West Stewart Street, on UD’s campus, called “the Helix.”

5. The company’s history is local 

The history of Emerson in Sidney goes back to the mid-1930s, and the moving of Copeland Corp. to Shelby County from Detroit. The refrigeration company was acquired by Emerson Electric in 1986 and eventually became Emerson Climate Technologies.

New store opens at Town & Country in Kettering

Published: Tuesday, May 23, 2017 @ 8:36 AM


A new home decor and arts store has opened at Town & Country Shopping Center in Kettering.

Two artists, Charity Yingling and Caleb Thomas, opened C & C Studios at the Town & Country earlier this month. The gallery space and store sells home decor, original art pieces and paintings and gifts.

The store’s slogan is “Where creativity is contagious,” and will celebrate its one-month anniversary since opening on June 3. The store will host a party from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. with drinks, a raffle drawing to win a free painting and other entertainment.

Huber Heights company to show off expansion today

Published: Tuesday, May 23, 2017 @ 9:18 AM

            NDC Technologies is moving its headquarters to Huber Heights. CONTRIBUTED

A California company that has moved its headquarters to Huber Heights is cutting the ribbon on its newly refurbished and expanded facility today.

NDC Technologies announced in March it was moving its headquarters operation from Irwindale, Calif. to 8001 Technology Blvd. in Huber Heights. The business already had a presence there when it made that announcement.

RELATED: One of the area’s largest employers is planning a $73M campus expansion.

The company develops and produces process measurement and control instruments. Leaders wanted to consolidate production and administration functions.

The move was “part of an ongoing strategy to drive simplification in business processes to become more agile, further improve global execution and place even greater focus on serving customers and developing new products,” the company said earlier.

Dave Roland, president of NDC, is expected to be at today’s event, with Dayton Development Coalition officials and a representative of Spectris, the United Kingdom-based company that owns NDC.

The company’s facility in Irwindale will not close, but will undergo infrastructure improvements, NDC has said. NDC also has a manufacturing facility in the U.K., and direct sales and support facilities in China, Japan, France, Germany and Italy.