German prosecutors carry out arrest, searches in Audi probe

Published: Thursday, September 28, 2017 @ 10:41 AM
Updated: Thursday, September 28, 2017 @ 10:40 AM

German prosecutors say they have conducted further searches at two locations and had one person taken into custody in connection with their investigation into alleged manipulation of diesel emissions in Audi cars sold in the United States.

Prosecutors in Munich who are conducting the investigation confirmed Thursday that the searches and arrest were carried out Wednesday.

In March, prosecutors said they were investigating possible fraud and illegal advertising relating to the sale of 80,000 vehicles with 3.0 liter diesel engines. The cars were equipped with software that turned emissions controls on when the vehicles were being tested in labs and off during every day driving. Prosecutors said at the time they had searched offices of Audi, which is headquartered in the German city of Ingolstadt, and seven other locations.

The Audi probe is part of a large scandal that engulfed Wolfsburg-based Volkswagen, Audi's parent company. In all, Volkswagen has agreed to pay more than $20 billion in civil and criminal penalties and settlements that included Volkswagen-brand cars also equipped with such software.

In July, U.S. authorities brought criminal charges against former Audi engineer Giovanni Pamio. The complaint against him alleged that he directed other employees to design the software that cheated on U.S. emissions tests, and that he and others failed to disclose the software and knowingly misrepresented that the engines complied with pollution standards. Pamio was among eight ex-VW employees charged in the scandal.

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JUST IN: Mexican restaurant to build new area location

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 8:57 AM


La Piñata Mexican Grill & Bar has plans to build a new standalone restaurant in Centerville.

The restaurant has submitted plans to build the restaurant at the intersection of Sheehan Road and Ohio 48 at the site of a former Coldwell Banker location.

» RELATED: Bill’s Donuts to close for renovations

La Piñata has a location just a block away at 1069 S Main St. in the same shopping center as the Kroger Marketplace. City officials said that restaurant will be closed when the new building is built.

Plans show the new restaurant will have an outside patio that will seat 36 and the inside will seat 127. It will also include a new “tequila bar” and will have enough space so that on busy days workers aren’t “trying to play Tetris” to get around the restaurant, said co-owner of the family business Javier Mata.

» RELATED: Wright State to layoff up to 40; expects $10M loss next year

The new location should open by the end of the year at the latest, said Mata. Mata expects the restaurant will need to close for around three days to make the move.

Coldwell Banker Heritage opened a new modern office at 8534 Yankee St. that it renamed it Coldwell Banker at Yankee Centre.


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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

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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