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Published: Monday, November 27, 2017 @ 3:49 AM
Updated: Monday, November 27, 2017 @ 3:48 AM
JAKARTA, Indonesia — The Mount Agung volcano on Bali has erupted for the first time in more than half a century, forcing closure of the Indonesian tourist island's busy airport as the mountain gushes huge columns of ash that are a threat to airplanes. Here's what travelers need to know.
Ash from the volcano reached the Bali airport's airspace, triggering its closure early Monday. More than 400 flights to and from Bali were cancelled and nearly 60,000 travelers have been stranded. Travel disruptions will ripple around the globe as the island is one of Asia's top destinations, attracting 5 million visitors a year. December through the first week of January is one of the island's busy periods. The airport's initial closure is for 24 hours until early Tuesday but there could be prolonged or repeated disruptions because the volcano may spew ash for weeks or have even bigger eruptions. Flights from other Indonesian airports were experiencing delays Monday because Bali's I Gusti Ngurah Rai airport is a national hub with many transiting flights.
TRAPPED IN PARADISE?
Travelers can still leave Bali, though probably at significant cost, by taking a ferry from Gilimanuk port to Banyuwangi on Java island to the west and then traveling by car, train or plane to the Indonesian capital Jakarta for international connections. Another possible route is a ferry to the neighboring island of Lombok and then a flight to Java though ash temporarily closed Lombok's airport on Sunday and there could be further closures. The government says it has provided 100 buses to transport people from the international airport to ferry ports. Alternatively, visitors could wait to see if the airport reopens though there's likely to be long waiting lists for flights when it does. Indonesia's tourism ministry said member hotels of the Indonesia Hotel and Restaurant Association will provide a night's free accommodation to guests affected by the airport closure.
HEADING TO BALI
Some governments are advising citizens to defer travel to the island. Malaysia's foreign ministry said all but non-urgent travel should be delayed while Australia, a big source of tourists for Bali, said people should be aware that ash clouds could also close other airports in Indonesia depending on weather conditions. A spokesman for major Japanese travel bureau JTB Corp. said all tours set to depart Monday from Japan were canceled because of the airport closure. Yoshimi Tajima said some people can't change their travel dates and are switching to other destinations while others are changing the dates. "What will happen from tomorrow is still unclear," she said. The Chinese foreign ministry issued a statement urging travelers to be "vigilant about safety" when deciding whether to visit Bali.
The popular tourist areas of Kuta and Seminyak and the airport are about 70 kilometers (43 miles) from the volcano and largely safe even with a major eruption though masks and goggles could prove necessary if there's significant ash fall. Authorities have ordered 100,000 people to leave a danger zone that extends 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the crater in places and tourists shouldn't enter it. The area, which includes a much-visited Hindu temple on the slopes of the volcano, will be prone to deadly mudflows and lava. The risk of mudflows, which combine water and volcanic debris, is high because it's the wet season in Bali. Authorities have warned people to stay away from rivers.
Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 12:46 PM
LEBANON — Warren County commissioners approved a community reinvestment area on Tuesday for 178 acres west of Ohio 48 in Hamilton Twp.
The agreement sets the stage for the township and school board to negotiate a tax sharing agreement for commercial or industrial development of the former SUMCO industrial site off Grandin Road, officials said.
The township is working with the owners of the property, the Rippe family and Nick Geraci, on a development there, administrator Michelle Tegtmeier said.
RELATED: South Lebanon annexes 220 acres
The formation of the reinvestment area comes after land, including the former Peters Cartridge Factory development, was annexed by South Lebanon, as part of an agreement for the developer to get a tax abatement on this development, costing the Little Miami Schools tax revenue on developments.
RELATED: History of Peters Cartridge Factory
The abatements granted in the new area would be 50 to 100 percent for up to 15 years.
Commissioner Shannon Jones noted property taxes have dwindled on the land since SUMCO left the site eight years ago.
Assistant Warren County Prosecutor Bruce McGary said the resolution establishing the reinvestment area set up a process including the school district “at the table” for negotiations of more than 50 percent in property tax breaks.
The former SUMCO complex is expected to be demolished in anticipation of new development on the industrial site.
Commissioner Dave Young specified that tax incentives would not be used to subsidize residential development.
“The main purpose is to drive commercial, industrial,” said Matthew Schnipke of the county economic development office.
The area also enables Hamilton Twp. “to be competitive with other areas,” including South Lebanon and other cities capable of offering similar incentives in exchange for annexation from the township.
The tax abatement agreements are more lucrative for cities and villages, which collect earning tax from businesses, unless a township is part of joint economic development district with such taxing authority.
“We really think this would be a kick-start,” Tegtmeier said, creating a better tax base for the heavily residential township, south of Lebanon and west of Mason. “Right now, we have nothing.”
Young said he typically opposes creating tax incentive areas through which communities compete with each other.
Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 10:19 AM
— As the country says farewell to a long, harsh winter for many, it's time to celebrate springtime with a free treat.
Rita's Italian Ice is once again giving away a free Italian ice on March 20 from noon to 9 p.m.
The promotion has grown in popularity over the years, with almost 1 million Italian ice cups given away in a nine-hour period in 2017, according to Rita's.
Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 7:19 AM
— Macy’s Inc. is introducing mobile checkout services at most of its store locations.
Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette told an audience at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Consumer & Retail Technology Conference in New York earlier this month that the retailer plans to test mobile checkout at about 450 of its 650 stores.
» CONTINUED COVERAGE: Macy’s outlet store to open at shopping center in Dayton area
Customers can use their smartphone app to scan items throughout the store. Then, the shoppers use the express checkout lane where employees will verify their purchases and remove security tags. It is unclear when the roll-out of the new technology will occur.
Macy’s has several store locations in the region. Macy’s is renovating one of its existing stores in the Dayton area to add an outlet store, according to a permit submitted to the Montgomery County Building Regulations Division.
» CONTINUED COVERAGE: Macy’s ‘fine-tuning’ staffing at some stores
Macy’s submitted a permit for a partial remodel of its existing Macy’s department store located at 2700 Miamisburg Centerville Road at the Dayton Mall. The estimated market value of the completed project is $75,000. The permit indicates the project is a partial building alteration to make space for a 1,300-square-foot Macy’s Backstage outlet.
»MUST-READ RETAIL NEWS: Will Macy’s become a discount store? Retailer shares grim sales report
The department store chain has invested in its off-price concept, called Macy’s Backstage. The company added 11 new Backstage stores within existing Macy’s stores in the first quarter of 2017. The stores, similar to Nordstrom Rack, offer discounted prices on brand clothing up to 80 percent off.
In January, the company announced the closure of 11 Macy’s stores — including one in downtown Cincinnati. It’s part of the retailer’s plan to close approximately 100 stores, which was announced back in August 2016.
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Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 8:05 AM
As retailers like Claire’s Stores and Toys ‘R’ Us file for bankruptcy, local experts say “specialty stores that don’t play up the experience of shopping are having a hard time competing with online retailers.”
Claire’s Stores, a fashion accessories chain, filed for bankruptcy this week. The retailer and its affiliates have filed for bankruptcy in United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. The move could help with Claire’s $2 billion debt load. “Claire’s is growing, not shrinking, its business. The company expects its concessions business to grow by more than 4,000 stores in 2018,” the company said in a statement.
» TRENDING BUSINESS NEWS: Macy’s rolling out new mobile checkout at most store locations
Claire’s isn’t the only retailer to file bankruptcy recently. Toys ‘R’ Us also filed for bankruptcy and plans to liquidate all of its stores in the U.S. Toys ‘R’ Us Inc. voluntarily filed for relief under Chapter 11 in September 2017. The retailer was $5 billion in debt as of April 29. At the time of bankruptcy, the company said it would close about one-fifth of its store locations. Closing sales are expected to conclude in April.
Randy Sparks, marketing professor at the University of Dayton, said Claire’s closure is indicative of a larger trend happening with specialty stores. If consumers can buy items online, then they will, he said.
“For products that consumers feel pretty comfortable buying without trying that they feel a good deal of familiarity with the online experience is fine because convenience tends to trump everything,” he said. “What people want is they want their time to be filled with experiences and if shopping isn’t an experience then they don’t shop. They’ll just sit online and do it in a very utilitarian kind of fashion.”
» Will more stores close in 2018? No comeback for traditional retailers
More than 12,000 stores are expected to close in 2018 — up from roughly 9,000 in 2017, according to Cushman & Wakefield, a marketing and data analysis firm.
“I think the early part of next year will be pretty bad … I think it will be tough,” Charlie O’Shea, Moody’s lead retail analyst, said.
The retail industry, which supports one in four American jobs, is undergoing major changes as consumers shift their focus to online shopping. Dozens of retailers filed for bankruptcy in 2017, and thousands of store locations closed across the U.S.
» RELATED: Toys ‘R’ Us to close all U.S. locations
For some younger consumers, malls have lost their appeal as the primary destination for shopping. Brooke Larney, a fourth-year finance student at the University of Dayton, said she hasn’t shopped in a store like Claire’s since middle school.
“I think we just need to move away from the brick and mortar stores and especially with amazon just taking over,” she said. “I never go to malls. I kind of just go online for anything I need and it delivers in two days.”
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