Warren County tourism credited for $1.2 billion in 2017 sales

Published: Thursday, July 12, 2018 @ 12:52 PM


            Warren County tourism at attractions, including Miami Valley Gaming, were credited for $1.2 billion in sales in 2017. FILE
Warren County tourism at attractions, including Miami Valley Gaming, were credited for $1.2 billion in sales in 2017. FILE

A new study released by Tourism Economics and the Ohio Tourism Division found Warren County’s tourism economy accounted for a record $1.24 billion in total annual sales in 2017, according to a press release issued today by the Warren County Convention & Visitors Bureau (WCCVB).

That figure - which represents a growth rate of 6.5 percent from the previous study in 2015 - was spurred by an influx in visitation, as the county welcomed a record 12 million visitors in 2017, according to the release.

MORE: Warren County tourism generates record visitors

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The study also reportedly showed tourism supports 11,666 jobs in Warren County, or approximately 10.4 percent of its total private employment. Those jobs generated an estimated $285 million in wages and $148.8 million in federal, state, and local taxes in 2017.

“Tourism has been Warren County’s number one industry for quite some time now, and its impact is only continuing to grow year after year. We’re very fortunate to have a terrific array of tourist-friendly attractions, restaurants, shops and hotels in our region, and those attractions and the visitors they draw benefit us all in many ways,” Phillip S. Smith, President & CEO of the WCCVB, said in the release.

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UPS looks for 600 Ohio workers for delivery hubs

Published: Wednesday, May 30, 2018 @ 12:35 PM

UPS is Creating Fleet of 50 Electric Trucks The delivery service has partnered with Workhorse, a battery-electric transportation technology company, to create a fleet of 50 electric delivery trucks. The Workhorse designed-vehicles will be fully electric and run off of a singular charge during a normal delivery day, before being charged back up overnight. Workhorse states that they'll have a 100 mile range. The Workhorse delivery vehicles will also cost about the same as conventional trucks, but have a low

UPS is looking for 600 workers at two Columbus-area delivery hubs.

The company will hold a job fair from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday in the Columbus area at its 5101 Trabue Road hub. The company is also looking for package handlers and tractor-trailer drivers for an operation at 2450 Rathmell Road in Obetz, the Columbus Dispatch said.

Wages for package-handler jobs start at $10.35 per hour and $18.75 for tractor-trailer drivers.

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MORE‘Clean energy’ could create 20K Ohio jobs 

“We have a variety of jobs and shifts available here in Columbus, and I’d encourage anyone looking for a part-time or full-time job with good pay and benefits to come to the job fair to learn more,” Chelsea Allison, a UPS human resources operations manager, said in a statement. “I’ve seen first-hand that these jobs can be a foot-in-the-door for a great career at UPS.”

UPS said it will hire more than 1,000 seasonal jobs beginning this fall to help handle the holiday shipping rush, the Dispatch said.

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Ohio senator tweets his frustration during tarmac delay

Published: Wednesday, April 04, 2018 @ 11:59 AM

State Sen. Bill Beagle, R-Tipp City, while not stuck on a plane. FILE
State Sen. Bill Beagle, R-Tipp City, while not stuck on a plane. FILE

Ohio Sen. Bill Beagle was stuck aboard a plane on an airport runway Tuesday evening — and he was not happy about the situation at all.

The Tipp City Republican tweeted about his predicament, and his frustration came through loud and clear.

“Been trapped on @AmericanAir 3542 for two hours on the tarmac in Syracuse,” Beagle tweeted about 15 hours ago. “No end in sight. Send help.”

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Then he added the hashtag: “#neverflyAmerican.”

When American Airlines at one point tweeted, “Sorry for the wait tonight. Looks like there’s some air traffic delays in ORD. We’ll have you in the air ASAP,” Beagle responded: “Liars.”

“Just take us back to the gate so we can rebook tomorrow w/ @Delta,” Beagle wrote.

“ORD” is the airport designation for Chicago’s O’Hare International, which once was known as “Orchard Field.”

At another point, the senator tweeted that he was entering his third hour stuck on the tarmac.

“Beginning third hour onboard @AmericanAir 3542 in Syracuse. They won’t let us off or tell us anything. Just waiting for O’Hare to clear. We could apparently wait here for hours w/ no food or anything. #neverflyAmerican.”

Three hours is too long, according to U.S. Department of Transportation standards.

“For flights departing from a U.S. airport, airlines are required to begin to move the airplane to a location where passengers can safely get off before 3 hours for domestic flights and 4 hours for international flights,” the federal department says on its web site.

Reached Wednesday, Beagle said he and his fellow passengers were on the plane for more than three hours. He said they finally got to Chicago about 11 p.m. or midnight local time.

“I don’t know when that meter starts running,” the senator said, when asked about DOT tarmac delay standards.

He finally returned to Dayton this morning after managing to get a flight to Columbus from Chicago, for which he thanked American.

“God bless the people at American; they worked with me to get me on to the flight to Columbus,” he said.

There, Beagle said his wife was able to pick him up and he retrieved his car from Dayton International.

He finally pulled into his garage in Tipp City (near Dayton International) after 3 a.m. Wednesday. Some of his events for Wednesday were cancelled, but that was because he thought initially he would be stuck in Chicago overnight.

“We’re trying to pick up the pieces,” he said Wednesday.

The senator said flight attendants allowed passengers to use cell phones and left the plane door unsealed during the layover. At one point, cookies were passed out.

Beagle said he had no issues with any of the people on board, including the flight attendants. “I tried to give compliments to American,” in a private message on Twitter, he said.

He has left his tweets up on his Twitter page.

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5 tips on breaking into animated film from an award-winning animator

Published: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 12:58 PM

The following strategies can help fast track a creative career with top animation studios and teams across the nation Networking with successful alumni Putting yourself out there Showing brands you're a problem solver Sticking to your design guns Making them love you and your artistic abilities

If you've seen a lot of animated films and commercials, you might have come across the work of award-winning animator and illustrator Kurt Guard. His knack for creating cutting-edge visual effects for short- and feature-length films, TV campaigns and personal projects is what lands him animation gigs with top-tier brands like BET Networks, based in New York, and Caribbean Broadcasting Network in Hollywood.

»RELATED: Animated shows with Atlanta roots

"I grew up with a drawing pencil and sketchbook in my hand," said the seasoned multimedia animator based in Atlanta. "My gift for seeing something interesting, drawing it with the right amount of detail then bringing it to digital life is what got me into creative media. My precision and consistency is what led to collaborations with big brands and industry names I would have never imagined - and I have a huge imagination."

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Kurt Guard is an award-winning, Atlanta-based animator who has collaborated with national networks like BET and with creative genius and director Jai Anthony Lewis Husband of Disney's 'The Lion King.'(Photo by Suhyoon Cho/For the AJC)


At the tail end of earning a fine arts degree at Georgia State University, he came upon an opportunity any art student would dream of: The chance to work with award-winning director Jai Anthony Lewis Husband, who is known for his work on Disney's "The Lion King."

The opportunity jump started Guard's animation career and led to his receiving NAACP Image Awards for best children's program for 2012’s “Kasha and the Zulu King”.

"I couldn't say 'no' to an opportunity to create with Jai," said Guard. "I just couldn't."

Until that big break comes for up-and-coming film artists, Guard recommends the following strategies to help fast track a creative career with top animation studios and teams across the nation:

Networking with successful alumni

"There's something to attending the same university as famous or influential alumni that instantly creates a special bond with them," said Guard. "Sometimes it's as simple as going to class reunions and alumni galas or becoming friends on social media with classmates that will help connect the professional dots of breaking into the industry." Guard knows colleagues who now work on Marvel, Nickelodeon, FX and Tyler Perry Studios productions, but notes, "It's one thing to know these industry professionals, but you also need to know how to gain sincere access to them." 

»RELATED: How to get a job at the Tyler Perry Studios

Putting yourself out there

Right after the artist Prince passed away in 2016, Guard developed a personal piece as a tribute to the musical mastermind. That illustration caught a colleague's attention, who reached out to Guard and got him in touch with award-winning TV producer Marsha Parker of BET's spin-off network Centric (now called BET Her). 

"It happened that fast," said Guard. "She taught me about the importance of staying on top of tight deadlines and ready for roadblocks." 

Guard highly recommends students commit to "passion projects" in order to generate a buzz with colleagues and creative producers.

"Passion projects are your best artwork - that are right up your talent-level alley and showcases your artistic range," he said. "For instance, if you're passionate about pop culture, political cartoons or celebrity pencil portraits, do that often and use social media to push your artwork to colleagues and industry gatekeepers."

Showing brands you're a problem solver

"If you want to work for Pixar, DreamWorks or Warner Bros., you have to do your research," Guard said. "Your work needs to reflect what that brand is producing. Then, you have to figure out what's missing. What's your 'wow-factor' that can amplify their mission and the direction they're heading into." When pitching projects to potential clients, Guard develops original, animated demos that will pique interest but also identify with the brands he wants to collaborate with. "After studying my favorite creative studios, I propose how I can help improve what they're currently producing as if I'm already a member of the team," he said. "That shows hiring executives and producers I'm serious about contributing to something great."

(Courtesy of BET Networks)

Sticking to your design guns

"Once you get that callback from high-profile production companies, you may start to think you have to go way beyond your design capabilities to continue to impress creative employers," said Guard. "You don't.”

Guard advises the talent that got you to the door is exactly what you need at the design table. Even on high-budget, stressful assignments, Guard suggests remaining composed and innovative with ideas to keep the design process flowing. 

Making them love you and your artistic abilities

"Research is so important, which is something students should never take for granted," said Guard. "Before stepping foot onto any production team, understand the organizational structure, office politics and the ones who are the true movers and shakers to get creative projects off the ground." Once that's established, Guard says your design work can shine through much easier. "When you know who and what you're dealing with for projects, it's a breeze to get your part approved and done before deadline," he said. "You have time to factor in design barriers and still turn out your best work. I'm telling you: When you're producing tight work that inspires and makes your team members' job as trouble-free as possible, the high-profile projects will keep heading your way."

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Mikesell’s must pay nearly $240,000 in backpay, NLRB says

Published: Monday, March 12, 2018 @ 9:58 AM

An ever popular regional brand, Mikesell’s potato chips can be found at most local groceries. LISA POWELL / STAFF
An ever popular regional brand, Mikesell’s potato chips can be found at most local groceries. LISA POWELL / STAFF

The National Labor Relations Board is backing a federal judge’s order that Dayton potato chip producer Mikesell’s Potato Chip Co. pay nearly $240,000 in backpay to union drivers and warehouse workers.

The March 7 ruling adopts an earlier recommended order of an administrative law judge.

The order totals $239,888.61, plus interest and backpay, to route sales drivers, over-the-road drivers and warehouse employees, named in a two-and-one-half page list — a list that identifies each worker and the amount each worker is owed.

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RELATEDMikesell’s ordered to pay $239K in back-pay to workers

The case  goes back to 2012.

In October 2017, U.S. Administrative Law Judge David Goldman wrote that a contract with Mikesell’s warehouse employees expired Oct. 26, 2012, while another contract covering the drivers expired Nov. 17 that same year.

Just one day after the drivers’ contract expired, “Mikesell’s announced that the parties were at a bargaining impasse over both units and that effective Nov. 19, 2012, it would unilaterally implement its bargaining proposals,” Goldman noted in his ruling.

RELATEDTeamsters, NLRB sue Mikesell’s

The unions took issue with Mikesell’s declaration of an impasse. They filed an unfair labor practice charge, and in January 2014, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that “Mikesell’s unilateral implementation of its bargaining offers in the absence of impasse violated” the National Labor Relations Act.

Union lawyers asked that the company “restore, honor and continue the terms of the expired collective-bargaining agreements,” the judge wrote, adding: “Mikesell’s declined to do so.”

That led to the company’s petition to a federal Court of Appeals, which denied the company’s request in December 2015.

It appears a battle over back-pay then began, involving the company, the unions and an NLRB regional office. More than three years after the contracts expired, Goldman wrote, “the respondent (Mikesell’s) contends that it had reached a third bargaining impasse with the union in negotiations, one not previously mentioned to the board or to the Court of Appeals, although it allegedly occurred June 13, 2013.”

A message seeking comment was sent to Jennifer Asbrock, the Louisville, Ky. attorney who has represented the Dayton company before the NLRB.

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