5 ways to survive chaotic mall parking this holiday season

Published: Thursday, December 07, 2017 @ 9:36 AM

A two-hour timelapse of shoppers at Fairfield Commons in Beavercreek, Ohio on Black Friday.

Local malls are packed with shoppers buying gifts for the holidays.

Holiday spending in Ohio is expected to grow 2 percent this year compared to 2016, bringing in an estimated $24.1 billion statewide — and people in the Dayton region are expected to spend more than last year.

NRF projects that holiday retail sales in November and December this year will be up between 3.6 percent and 4 percent for a total between $678.8 billion and $682 billion. Consumers say they will spend an average $967.13 this year, according to the annual survey conducted.

» RETAIL NEWS YOU NEED: It’s official: Millennials won Black Friday weekend

Check out some tips for surviving parking disasters at malls and shopping centers:

1. Get walking. Don’t park near the main entrance of the mall, which will surely be packed. Look for back entrances that are less often, and there are often open spaces on the outskirts of parking lots.

2. Get up early. Arrive to the mall 15 minutes or so before stores open to land a prime parking spot. Shoppers will have a more difficult time finding parking during lunch hours, weekends and after work.

3. Consider valet. “Valet parking offers an alternative for shoppers to conveniently find a parking spot with little stress. Many stands also offer loyalty programs for shoppers that regularly visit the mall,” said Todd Brosius, president of national retail parking operator AmeriPark.

» POPULAR READS: Store theft on rise in past year

4. Wait for departing shoppers. Now is the time for shoppers to test their patience. Scope out shoppers leaving the mall and walking to their cars. Shoppers can snag good parking spots close to mall if they wait, but make sure to accommodate pedestrians and lot traffic.

5. Come up with a game plan. Shoppers should map out their route for the day before they leave for the day. Avoid going to larger mid-day when crowds will be busier and considering shopping in the early hours or around closing time.

This news organization wants to hear from YOU. Tell us about store traffic you’ve seen this holiday season in the comment section below. 


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Judges: Good Samaritan closing adds to shortage of mental health care

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 5:29 PM

            The closing of Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton will affect mental healthcare in Montgomery County, judges say. STAFF/FILE
The closing of Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton will affect mental healthcare in Montgomery County, judges say. STAFF/FILE

The closing of Dayton’s Good Samaritan Hospital will impact already under-served mental health patients, according to county judges who on Thursday celebrated the launch of a mental health specialty docket.

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“It seems inescapable to me that when you close a major health facility like Good Samaritan, it cannot do anything but negatively impact the health needs, including mental health needs, of the community that they serve that’s proximate to that hospital,” said Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Steven Dankof.

“From the standpoint of a judge in Montgomery County, the mental health services that are available to our citizens — and particularly the least among us, those in the greatest need because of their financial circumstances — we need more mental health facilities, not less.”

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Premier Health announced Wednesday that Good Samaritan Hospital in northwest Dayton will close by the end of the year.

For Judge Gregory Singer, who will oversee the mental health docket beginning next month, the closing affected him personally and professionally.

“It strikes me very poignantly that three my of my many siblings were born at Good Samaritan Hospital,” Singer said. “All three of my children were born at Good Samaritan Hospital and so that closing is personally impactful to me.”

Professionally, Singer said Good Sam’s closing compounds the effect of the closing of a behavioral health location.

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“We regret it for reasons having to do with on the heels of Day-Mont West closing and now a primary health facility in the neighborhood I grew up in now closing as well, it’s impactful,” Singer said.

“As we mentioned today, we need to go to where these folks are and they are in the Dayton View area as well as other places,” he added. “While we certainly understand Premier’s decision, we’re hopeful that some kind of a health facility will move in much like it has with St. Elizabeth.”

U.S. District Court Judge Walter Rice has often said that Dayton’s mental health professionals are first-rate, but there just aren’t enough of them.

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Dankof said his personal experience matches that characterization.

“I would agree with Judge Rice, we’ve got the quality of care. We don’t have the quantity of care,” Dankof said. “And it is also sadly true that the largest mental health facility in Montgomery County is our jail. And everyone knows it. Not everybody is willing to admit it. It’s true.

“It’s just wrong on so many levels. And we really need, as people of good will, to do something about that.”

9 best- worst-paying jobs at Amazon

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 2:01 PM

Amazon Announces Cities Still In Consideration For Second Headquarters

Amazon is the talk of the town for metro areas across North America, since the company just announced it has whittled the list of cities that could be home to its second headquarters down to 20.

The cities, which include New York, Nashville, Tennessee, Washington, D.C. and Atlanta, are vying for the massive $5 billion project, known as HQ2, that could bring about 50,000 highly paid tech and corporate jobs to one community. 

>> Read more trending news 

Since the public contest began in September with 238 cities competing, the Amazon team has shared few details about how the finalist cities would be chosen. Amazon did announce, however, that the top cities would be able to provide an initial 500,000 square feet of space − in an urban or suburban area − with access to major highways, airports, public transit and “a robust technology workforce,” according to the Baltimore Sun.

Related: Amazon announces final 20 cities in the running for second headquarters

“Thank you to all 238 communities that submitted proposals,” Holly Sullivan, an executive with Amazon Public Policy, said in a statement. “Getting from 238 to 20 was very tough – all the proposals showed tremendous enthusiasm and creativity. Through this process we learned about many new communities across North America that we will consider as locations for future infrastructure investment and job creation.”

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With the possibility of HQ2 coming to metropoles scattered across the U.S., thousands of eager job seekers are already contemplating their next career move, and hoping that move is headed toward Amazon.

Pulling from Amazon’s current job listings in web services, corporate, Amazon Alexa and other device teams, these are some of the highest- and lowest-paying positions at Amazon.

Pay estimates are provided by Paysa.com, an online career and hiring site that uses artificial intelligence and real-world salary insights. The following salaries are estimates, which include salary and benefits.

Best-paying Amazon jobs:

Principal Business Development Manager - Average: $529,000

This position requires 10+ years experience at the director level of working in security intelligence software for technology companies. The role would be involved in the strategic business development plan for the company and work with existing security intelligence products, field organizations and business development.

Principal Software Development Engineer - Average: $414,000

The principal engineer will be the technical lead for the Amazon Devices team. The engineer will also design and select appropriate imaging and sensing systems. The position requires at least a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science, five years of experience leading junior engineers and 10 years of software engineering experience.

Prinicipal Technical Program Manager - Average: $290,000

The principal technical program manager will lead the technical strategy and program management of Elastic Block Storage-specific services and products that will revolutionize industries across the globe. The position requires 10 years of experience in system software/hardware product development, including technical program leadership of computer system, storage devices, etc.

Global Leader of Sales Strategy - Average: $233,000

This role will focus on developing and driving strategy, analytics and data management to optimize the rapid growth of Amazon’s cloud business. A bachelor’s degree is required as well as 15+ years of experience in both enterprise technology sales and sales operation.

Worst-paying Amazon jobs:

Healthcare & Life Sciences Solutions Architect - Average: $73,000 

This position is slated for an experienced IT consultant with technical expertise in a specialty area and ability to travel internationally as needed to support customers. The individual will assist in sales of infrastructure engagements and coach Amazon Web Services field sales, presales, training and support teams. At least 15 years of relevant experience in information technology is required for this position.

Inside Sales Representative - Average: $69,000

The inside sales representative creates the first impression for prospective customers through business development activities, follow-ups on their inquiries and from the company’s marketing programs. Experience with technology sales is required.

Head of Media - Amazon Channels - Average: $56,000

This role is responsible for leading, managing and growing a team of media professionals, as well as managing media agencies and other partners in order to achieve the company’s marketing and media objectives. The person should have at least eight years of experience in media strategy.

Head of Social Media - Average: $54,000

Amazon seeks an experienced, strategic and highly creative individual to lead its global social media marketing efforts. The perfect candidate will have more than 10 years of experience in social media marketing.

Content Writer - Average: $47,000

The ideal candidate will have experience in results-driven technical content writing. Requirements include knowledge of search engine optimization and experience managing multiple content management systems.

Wright State settled for nearly $2 million with feds over student aid issues

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 2:25 PM

Signs and buildings around Wright State University
Signs and buildings around Wright State University

An audit released by the state on Thursday revealed a nearly $2 million settlement between Wright State University and the U.S. Department of Education and sheds more light on the school’s financial troubles and ongoing investigations.

On Nov. 1, Wright State agreed to pay more than $1.98 million for issues stemming from a routine 2015 federal review of the school’s handling of federal student aid, according to the audit.

The federal review looked at how WSU handled student aid administered under Title IV of the Higher Education Act, which includes Pell Grants, federal work study, federal Perkins loans and a number of other programs, according to the U.S. Department of Education. The issues questioned in the review occurred during the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years, according to the audit.

RELATED: Wright State will talk about budget problems in community forum

Wright State was unable to provide documentation showing that all the students it administered federal aid to actually attended classes prior to withdrawing from the university, according to WSU.

“We paid $2 million back because of funds we could not prove were appropriately disbursed,” said spokesman Seth Bauguess.

Since then, the university has “taken action to secure data for all students who begin classes at WSU” to ensure financial aid programs comply with federal law, officials said in a prepared statement. The settlement has already been paid and Bauguess said the university is remedying the problem by trying to get professors and instructors to regularly take attendance in classes.

Wright State’s certification for administering Title IV federal aid expired in March and the school has had to get month-to-month approval since then, according to the audit. The month-to-month approval is “just a formality until the program review process is closed,” WSU officials said in a prepared statement.

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Although the administration believes Wright State is now complying with aid requirements, delays in re-certification could be detrimental, the audit points out.

“Difficulties or delays in maintaining eligibility to administer Title IV funds could negatively impact the university’s ability to attract students and maintain operations,” the audit states.

The university expects it will receive full certification to administer federal student aid by the end of February, according to the audit.

The federal aid issues are the latest troubles to come to light at Wright State in the last few years.

Wright State is under federal criminal investigation for possible H-1B visa fraud and the school is facing probes from multiple government agencies including the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations and NASA Glenn Office of Investigations, among others. Wright State officials would not comment on the investigations.

RELATED: Wright State president: School could learn from branch campus success

Completion of the investigations and their impact remains unknown, according to the audit.

The school also slashed more than $30.8 million from its 2018 fiscal year budget in June in an attempt to begin correcting years of overspending.

Wright State officials were questioned by the firm conducting the audit about “the university’s ability to continue” to meet its obligations. But, no further details of that discussion were included in the audit.

”There is no chance that Wright State is going to close. While Wright State has experienced financial challenges, a remediation plan was developed and implemented to ensure its continued viability,” the university said in a prepared statement.

Moraine pet clinic property sold for $5M

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 7:31 AM

MedVet Associates LLC in Moraine told this news outlet in 2016 that it would add 15 jobs in three years as part of a 10-year tax abatement deal with the city. NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF
MedVet Associates LLC in Moraine told this news outlet in 2016 that it would add 15 jobs in three years as part of a 10-year tax abatement deal with the city. NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF

The property of the Med Vet veterinary health center in Moraine was recently sold for nearly $5.1 million, local property records show.

Broadstone MV Portfolio LLC bought the MedVet property — the clinic building and nearly 2 acres of property — at 2714 West Springboro Pike from MVA Real Estate Group Ltd for $5,094,557, according to Montgomery County property records. The sale was recorded Tuesday.

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The veterinary clinic was built in 1988.

In 2016, Moraine city leaders approved a 10-year tax abatement for the business, paving the way for an expected $3.6 million expansion.

MedVet principals had looked at other sites in the Dayton area, including near Interstate 75 near downtown Dayton and along I-675.

RELATED10-year tax deal will add jobs in Moraine

But the business chose to stay in Moraine, where it was to add 15 jobs over three years at a location that at the time employed about 80 people, Jennifer Kerestan, senior vice president of operations for MedVet, told the Dayton Daily News in 2016.