Electrics and SUVs are main attraction at LA Auto Show

Published: Wednesday, November 29, 2017 @ 5:48 PM
Updated: Wednesday, November 29, 2017 @ 5:42 PM

Automakers often debut their most fuel-efficient vehicles at the Los Angeles Auto Show, and this year is no exception.

Volkswagen is showing off its I.D. Crozz, a pre-production electric SUV, and says it will go on sale in the U.S. by 2020. Land Rover, Porsche and Kia took the wraps off plug-in hybrids. Even the iconic Jeep Wrangler will get a hybrid version sometime after it goes on sale in January.

California buyers purchase a higher percentage of hybrids and electrics than the U.S. as a whole thanks to state tax credits and other incentives. Nearly 50 percent of all U.S. electric vehicle purchases since 2011 have been in California, according to the International Council on Clean Transportation. California also has 31 percent of all U.S. public charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.

But automakers are also appealing to buyers' sense of adventure at the show, with the debut of several off-road vehicles as well as the new three-row Subaru Ascent.

Here are some vehicles visitors can see at the show, which opens to the public Friday:

TOYOTA FT-AC CONCEPT

Toyota is giving Subaru some competition with an SUV for the outdoorsy mountain-bike crowd. The FT-AC prototype, which likely will go into production in the next year or two, looks like a RAV4 compact SUV on weight training. Toyota says it's being unveiled in Los Angeles because so many people there head to hills, deserts or beaches on weekend getaways. The concept vehicle has chunky black fender flares and a rugged-looking black grille. The versatile roof rack has LED marking lights and the side mirrors have detachable cameras with infrared features for night exploring. It'll have all-wheel-drive and come with a gas-powered engine, although a gas-electric hybrid is possible, Toyota says. The company didn't give details on pricing or when it might be in showrooms.

BOLLINGER MOTORS B1 CONCEPT

Three-year-old electric vehicle startup Bollinger Motors is debuting its B1 prototype, a utilitarian, four-seat SUV with the blockish looks of a Land Rover Defender or Mercedes AMG G63. The B1 has two battery options: a 60 kilowatt hour battery that can go 120 miles on a charge and a 100 kWh version that can go 200 miles. The company has already taken 12,000 pre-orders for the B1. Spokesman Jeff Holland says Bollinger will officially open its order banks and start taking deposits in a few weeks, when it announces pricing on the B1. Bollinger is based in upstate New York but will contract with a third party to make the B1. It hopes to start producing the vehicles at the end of 2018 and delivering them in 2019 or 2020.

KIA SORENTO

Kia is updating its seven-passenger SUV for the first time since its full redesign in 2016. Exterior changes are minimal. Kia has dropped a turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder from the Sorento's engine lineup but retains a 185-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder and a 290-horsepower 3.3-liter V6. Kia says a diesel engine is also in development. The V6 I paired with a new eight-speed transmission borrowed from Kia's Cadenza sedan, while the four-cylinder gets an updated six-speed transmission. Kia now offers a driver attention warning system, which senses if the driver is distracted or drowsy, as well as a system that helps the vehicle stay within its lane. A wireless charging pad for smartphones is also new. Kia didn't reveal pricing or the date the 2019 Sorento will go on sale.

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Kroger’s new approach to stocking shelves is boosting its earnings

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 12:11 PM


            JAROD THRUSH / STAFF
JAROD THRUSH / STAFF

Shares of Kroger Co. surged Thursday after the company topped Wall Street expectations and gave an upbeat outlook.

The grocery store has been making more investments in online offerings while shedding more traditional convenience stores in an effort to become more competitive. Earlier this year it sold its convenience store unit for $2.15 billion and then went on to increase its investment in British online grocer Ocado.

Kroger has invested more than $53 million in its regional presence in recent years. It has 44 supermarkets, 12 locations with ClickList services and another 10 locations with Starbucks services. The popular grocer employs more than 8,100 associates in the Dayton region.

» TRENDING: Bill’s Donut Shop to close for renovations

It also bought meal-kit seller Home Chef as competitors including Albertsons and Amazon also expand into that market.

The stock gained $2.90, or 11 percent, to $29.12 in premarket trading.

» RELATED: Wrong-way crash that killed Kettering woman raises safety questions

The Cincinnati company’s profit surged to $2.03 billion, or $2.37 per share, mainly on the sale of its convenience store unit. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring gains, came to 73 cents per share.

Revenue rose 3.4 percent to $37.53 billion.

JUST IN: New Mexican restaurant coming in south Dayton area

Analysts expected profit of 63 cents per share and revenue of $37.21 billion.

Other key figures include a 66 percent boost in digital sales and a 1.9 percent boost in same store sales, topping expectations for 1.5 percent growth.

The company tightened guidance and now expects between $2 and $2.15 per share in profit for the year. The low end of the range had been $1.95 per share.

Kroger shares have dropped nearly 5 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has climbed 3.5 percent. The stock has risen 17 percent in the last 12 months.

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New study lowers chemical water safety standards to Dayton’s current levels

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 10:34 AM

Water well field at Huffman Dam is operated by the city of Dayton. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Water well field at Huffman Dam is operated by the city of Dayton. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

A new study on potentially dangerous substances found in water is coinciding with the city of Dayton’s own recent findings in a startling coincidence.

Paul Buszka, a supervisory hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Indianapolis, pointed to the release Wednesday of a draft study about the risks posed by PFAS substances (polyfluoralkyl) from the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. 

The study lowers the level at which no harm would be expected into the single digit parts-per-trillion (ppt) range.

RELATEDExpert: Dayton’s water should be monitored 

According to the study, the proposed “minimum risk levels” of PFAS equate to about 7-ppt and 11-ppt for two compounds.

Those levels are close to levels of similar compounds found in local water this year.

Dayton and Montgomery County have been sending customers notices with the results of recent testing of treated water leaving the city’s Ottawa Water Treatment Plant. The results of March testing show PFAS detected at a level of 7 to 13 parts per trillion.

Experts are reacting to the new study carefully.

MORE: Wright-Patt among many military bases where chemicals detected

“If you’re getting close to those levels — and again this (draft study) was just released — just the idea that those compounds are present is a reason for people to sample and to understand the extent of the issue better,” Buszka said in an interview. “That’s probably as far as I would go with it.”

He referred further questions to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

An Ohio EPA spokesman took questions about the study but had no immediate responses. 

 

“Looks like the lower exposure levels may be of concern, although I have not had time to read carefully, only skim,” said Rita Loch-Caruso, a professor of toxicology and water expert at the University of Michigan.

RELATEDDayton water chemicals prompt warning to local residents 

“So what advice to give? It is hard to say without a more careful review,” Loch-Caruso added.

U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, applauded the release of the draft findings Thursday.

“This is a matter of public health and safety,” Turner said in a statement. “Based on this information, I encourage federal, state, and local environmental regulators to examine whether they are appropriately communicating the risks presented by and adequately addressing the presence of PFOS and PFOA in drinking water. We must ensure agencies at all levels are using the most reliable data and best available science to ensure our drinking water remains safe.”

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Springboro finishing central intersection, diverting tax on next phase

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 11:29 AM


            The final touches are about to be put on intersection improvements at Springboro’s central crossroads. STAFF/LAWRENCE BUDD
The final touches are about to be put on intersection improvements at Springboro’s central crossroads. STAFF/LAWRENCE BUDD

The final touches are about to be put on intersection improvements at Springboro’s central crossroads, and the city council is scheduled to consider voting to set up a special taxing district diverting revenues from the redevelopment of the northwest corner.

RELATED: Intersection makeover clears way for crossroads redevelopment

More than $20 million is being spent on the two projects expected to totally make over the area around the intersection of Ohio 73 and Ohio 741, Central Avenue and Main Street in Springboro.

“Weather permitting, work will begin on the crosswalks on Monday, June 18, and should last 4-5 days, as long as Mother Nature cooperates. Traffic will be maintained and the intersection will remain open; however, with worker safety being of utmost importance, some lanes may be shut down as work is being done,” the city said in a message emailed this morning.

RELATED: City to tear down Speedway for crossroads project

Tonight, Springboro City Council is scheduled to consider approving legislation establishing a 10-year, 100 percent tax incremental financing (TIF) district for the northwest corner. That is where Mills-Barnett Development has agreed to spend $10 million on a commercial development anchored by a $3.5 million Springboro Center for the Performing Arts and $3.7 million in roads and other infrastructure.

RELATED: View city redevelopment preliminary plan, survey

“However, this TIF will make the Springboro Community City Schools and Warren County Career Center (WCCC) ‘whole’ from a property tax perspective. Meaning, the schools will receive every property tax dollar earmarked for the schools and WCCC from future development that they would have received before the TIF was created,” City Managger Chris Pozzuto said in a memo to council.

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A map attached to the legislation indicates the area included in the TIF redevelopment area includes a small piece of land on the southwest corner where a Speedway station-convenience store previously was located and a larger L-shaped parcel on the northeast corner where a service station, carpet store and pizza parlor were located before the land was purchased by the city during the intersection improvement project.

RELATED: City buying shopping plaza for $3.4 million

The city has already spent $10 million on the intersection redesign and acquisition of the former Springboro IGA Plaza on the northwest corner. Pozzuto said it plans to use a rebate from money committed to the intersection to fund infrastructure for the redevelopment of the corner.

The council meets tonight in work session at 6 p.m. and in formal session at the Springboro Administrative Center, 320 W. Central Ave.

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Here’s why Dayton-area home sales slowed in May

Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 11:31 AM

Bill Lackey/Staff
Bill Lackey/Staff

A record low supply of homes slowed the pace of home sales in the Dayton region.

The number of Dayton-area homes for sold in May dropped 2 percent compared to the same time last year, with 1,626 home sale reported for the month.

MORE: Dayton-area home sales up in April, inventory tight

One reason for the dip is the limited supply of homes available to buy, according to Dayton Realtors, which represents Montgomery, Greene, Darke, Warren, and Preble Counties.

The association said there is just a 2.4 months supply of homes available, which is a record low for the month of May.

While you might have limited homes to chose from, you’ll also likely have to pay more than you would have last year.

May’s median sales price came in at $145,000, up 8 percent from last year. The average price of $171,061 was also up 8 percent from the same time last year.

PHOTOS: Luxury Washington Twp. home with pool on sale for $614K 

Sales volume generated by May’s activity totaled $272.8 million, which is up 6.5 percent since last May.

There were 2,149 new listings added in May, down 1 percent from last year’s 2,173, while year-to-date listings tallied 8,710, a 2.8 percent decrease from the 8,960 submitted through May of last year.

Total inventory was low, showing 3,968 properties available at month’s end, representing a supply of only 2.4 months based on May’s pace of sales.

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