Holiday retail sales up 3%

Published: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 @ 6:03 PM
Updated: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 @ 6:03 PM

Holiday retail sales rose 3 percent nationwide in 2012, less than the 4.1 percent jump initially projected by the National Retail Federation and disappointing in light of the strong start provided by Thanksgiving and Black Friday weekend.

Some southwest Ohio malls, however, say they believe the stores in their retail centers beat the national averages.

Trisha Hale, general manager of the Towne Mall in Middletown, said businesses that responded to an informal survey late Monday and Tuesday indicated their sales were up about 6 percent. Hale said crowds “were pretty steady throughout” the holiday season at the Middletown mall.

Consumer spending drives roughly 70 percent of U.S. economic activity, and retailers can generate as much as 40 percent of their annual revenue in the last two months of the year, making holiday shopping a closely watched barometer of economic health.

“For over six months, we’ve been saying that the fiscal cliff and economic uncertainty could impact holiday sales. As the number shows, these issues had a visible impact on consumer spending this holiday season,” National Retail Federation (NRF) President and CEO Matthew Shay said Tuesday.

At the Mall at Fairfield Commons in Beavercreek, “We saw a significant increase in foot traffic throughout the season, particularly on Black Friday and on the last weekend before Christmas,” said Bruce Goldsberry, the mall’s general manager. “It was incredibly busy here that weekend, especially on the Saturday before Christmas, which rivaled Black Friday for us.”

Goldsberry said that while he is still collecting season-end data from the mall’s retail tenants, “We anticipate we’ll be above the 3 percent national average” overall.

The Upper Valley Mall in Springfield also experienced heavier foot traffic in 2012 than it did the previous year, especially on Black Friday, when the mall opened at midnight and crowds remained robust throughout the night and the next day, according to Les Morris, spokesman for Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group, the Upper Valley Mall’s owner.

Holiday sales rose more robustly each of the two years prior to 2012: 5.6 percent in 2011 and 5.5 percent in 2010. This time, after a solid spending spree over the Thanksgiving weekend, sales limped along until the final days before Christmas, when stores were forced to discount more heavily than they had planned in order to woo back shoppers.

In another mildly encouraging measure of consumer confidence announced Tuesday by the U.S. Commerce Department and not focused so tightly on holiday spending, U.S. consumers increased their spending at retail businesses in December, buying more autos, furniture and clothing.

Retail sales rose 0.5 percent in December from November, the Commerce Department said. That’s slightly better than November’s 0.4 percent increase and the best showing since September.

Sales of autos and auto parts rose 1.6 percent to lead all categories. Car companies closed out their best sales year since 2007.

Electronics sales were disappointing. NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said said overall December sales “could not make up for shortfalls in certain categories like electronics.” Electronics and appliance stores’ sales decreased 0.4 percent compared to last year’s sales, although it wasn’t clear how falling prices on items such as flat-screen televisions may have impacted the sales numbers.

Retailers received a boost from online sales this holiday season. The commerce department and the NRF said “non-store” holiday sales grew 11.1 percent from the previous year.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Miami Valley Hospital makes “best hospitals” list for a second time

Published: Tuesday, February 21, 2017 @ 7:35 PM

Miami Valley Hospital makes “best hospitals” list for a second time

For a second year in a row, Miami Valley Hospital has been named one of Healthgrades “America’s 100 Best Hospitals.”

Miami Valley Hospital is the only Dayton-area hospital to be recognized for the award and one of only three in Ohio to receive the distinction.

To earn the title, according to a Healthgrades release, a hospital must be within the top two percent of hospitals in the nation for demonstrating clinical excellence for at least three consecutive years.

“This award is a testament not only to the quality of care that our patients receive, but to the consistency of that care,” president of Miami Valley Hospital Mark Shaker said.

“Our employees take tremendous pride in the fact that so many people in the Dayton region place their trust in us.”

According to Healthgrades, patients at hospitals named on the list are more likely to have a successful treatment without major complications.

Springfield mom looks for help in stopping grave robbers

Published: Tuesday, February 21, 2017 @ 7:01 PM

A Springfield mother is fed up with thieves stealing from her daughter’s grave, and after not finding help from a local cemetery, she’s taking matters into her own hands.

“The first year! 2006. Her first Christmas. They took it all! Every last thing, I mean, it was heartbreaking to come out here and seeing what we put out there for our loved one, our daughter, that was murdered,” Pyles said.

Pyles daughter, Bobbie Joe, was murdered in May of 2006 and is buried at Rose Hill Cemetery in Springfield. 

Pyles said after years of having items taken from her daughter’s grave she now photographs and inscribes her daughter’s name on everything she brings to the grave site.

"I think the cemetery should put up cameras, and it would save a lot of heartache from loved ones. I'm not the only one,” Pyles said.

Newscenter 7’s Natalie Jovonovich spoke with Linda Pyles and explains how she is thwarting the thieves who regularly take mementos she leaves for her daughter.

What’s next on the new Trump Administration enforcement plans on illegal immigration

Published: Tuesday, February 21, 2017 @ 7:22 PM
Updated: Tuesday, February 21, 2017 @ 7:23 PM

While the Trump Administration has now set in motion new guidelines to be used by border and immigration agents in dealing with the detention and removal of people who are in the United States illegally, there could still be hurdles for the President’s plan to more thoroughly enforce existing U.S. immigration laws – not only politically, but also in Congress, and in the courts.

Let’s take a look at some of those issues:

1. Getting extra money from Congress might not be a snap. The Trump plan envisions 5,000 new border patrol agents and 10,000 new immigration agents. While those agencies may have some spare money around to shift into hiring new employees, permanent dollars will have to be approved by the Congress for the future, and that’s where Democrats may be able to hold some leverage. A fight over that may also include a separate legislative battle over billions of dollars that would be needed to build a wall along the border with Mexico. And Democrats were already making noise about slowing down that effort.

2. We’re going to need a bigger prison. Another place where more money may be needed to help these new plans is in terms of detention facilities for illegal immigrants. If the Trump Administration is going to dramatically increase the number of people detained for being in the U.S. illegally, then they will need somewhere to put them – and that means jails, with people to staff them. Right now, the feds can house about 40,000-50,000 people a day, which one group says comes with a price tag of about $2 billion a year, bringing private prisons into the mix.

3. This could move swiftly into the courts. As we saw with the reaction to President Trump’s travel ban that restricted the refugee resettlement program and travel from seven majority-Muslim nations with terror concerns, there could also be legal challenges to how these immigration plans are implemented. “These memos confirm that the Trump administration is willing to trample on due process, human decency, the well-being of our communities, and even protections for vulnerable children, in pursuit of a hyper-aggressive mass deportation policy,” the ACLU said in a statement. The ACLU added on a tweet which basically could have said, “See you in court.”

4. Send them back to Mexico, no matter where they’re from. One interesting part of the Trump immigration plan is how to deal with people who come over the border with Mexico, but aren’t from Mexico. The new immigration guidance says that Section 235(b)(2)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act allows the feds to “return aliens arriving on land from a foreign territory contiguous to the United States, to the territory from which they arrived.” It’s not clear if Mexican authorities would allow non-Mexican nationals to be sent back across the border after being apprehended. Maybe that will be something the Secretary of State and Secretary of Homeland Security will talk about during a visit to Mexico this week.

5. Speaking of Mexico, what U.S. aid goes to Mexico? Tucked into the two immigration memos released on Tuesday was a section that orders a review within 30 days on how much aid goes to Mexico from the United States. “The President has directed the heads of all executive departments to identify and quantify all sources of direct and indirect Federal aid or assistance to the Government of Mexico,” the text reads. It wasn’t clear what that information would be used for, but there are some who have ideas on how that data might be applied by the Trump Administration.

6. No changes for “Dreamers” but that could change for some. The immigration memos make clear that President Trump is not reversing – as he promised to do – the Obama executive actions on immigration, which allowed immigrant “Dreamers” to get work permits and stay in the U.S. without facing the threat of deportation. But it is clear from the Trump Administration documents that if any of those younger immigrants get into trouble, then they could be on their way out of the U.S. For some Trump supporters, this is a difficult issue to understand, since he had made very clear what he wanted to do, if elected.

8. The White House says this is not a “mass deportation.” Asked directly if the goal was “mass deportation” of illegal immigrants, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer rejected that assertion, as he argued the main goal here is to focus on those who have broken the law while already in the United States illegally. “We have an obligation to make sure the people who are here in our country are here legally,” Spicer said, as he said the rightful focus will be on criminal aliens. But one should expect that Democrats will use every chance they get to label this as a mass deportation, just like they will call his travel order, a “Muslim ban.”

9. Immigrant groups vow to fight back. Not surprisingly, the view from groups sympathetic to illegal immigrants was much different than the message from the White House. “President Trump is putting his plan to deport millions of immigrants into high gear, while Republicans who said during the campaign they would not let this happen are idly standing by,” said Kica Matos of the Fair Immigration Reform Movement. “The message is clear: don’t come into contact with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or local law enforcement because the dragnet is up and running,” said the group Mi Familia Vota.

10. No National Guard language, but the same fine print. Remember the big dustup last Friday over this issue, when the Associated Press reported that the Trump Administration was considering using thousands of people from the National Guard to help with immigration enforcement? The draft memo that was leaked out last week actually had a lot of language that found its way into the final version. The first graphic is the section on the feds making agreements with local law enforcement personnel to help with immigration enforcement:

This next graphic is what that section looked like in the draft memo that was leaked to the AP last week – as you can see, the only difference in the first few paragraphs was the language on the National Guard was removed, the part that is in the orange rectangle:

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2 injured in 3-vehicle accident in Franklin Twp.

Published: Tuesday, February 21, 2017 @ 5:48 PM
Updated: Tuesday, February 21, 2017 @ 7:30 PM

2 injured in 3-vehicle accident in Franklin Twp.

UPDATE @ 7 p.m.: Two people have been taken to Atrium Medical Center from the three-vehicle accident at Manchester and Union roads in Franklin Twp. 

Warren County sheriff's Deputy Bill Maier said one of the vehicles apparently ran a stop at the two-way intersection about 4:40 p.m. 

The two people taken to Atrium suffered injuries believed to be minor. One of the drivers did not require a trip to a hospital, Maier said.

FIRST REPORT

One person is reported trapped in a vehicle after a crash in Franklin Twp.

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Warren County Sheriff’s deputies and medics from the Joint Emergency Medical Services responded to the crash just after 5 p.m. at Manchester and Union roads.

A second medic was also called to the scene.