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Ty Greenlees

Ty Greenlees is a staff photographer for Cox Media Group Ohio.

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Report: These are the gift cards people want this holiday season

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Gift cards remain the top requested gift for eight consecutive years, reports personal finance website GOBankingRates.com.

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In a new report, the finance website surveyed gift card options from 30 major retailers — using 10 factors — to rank the 10 best and five worst retail gift cards for 2015.

“Gift cards can make it much easier to get through your holiday shopping list, but our study shows that not all gift cards are winners,” said Elyssa Kirkham, lead reporter on the GOBankingRates study, in a release. “The best gift cards stood out by offering a convenient and cheap way to give with features like free shipping or the option to send a gift card digitally. Some retailers even reward customers who buy and use their gift cards.”

GOBankingRates.com considered criteria including purchase fees, expiration dates, reward options, balance requirements and shipping options in creating the ranking list, according to a press release.

Best Gift Cards of 2015:

  1. Nordstrom
  2. Amazon
  3. Walmart
  4. Starbucks
  5. Lowe’s
  6. Macy’s
  7. JCPenney
  8. Target
  9. Toys“R”Us
  10. Best Buy

Worst Gift Cards of 2015:

  1. MasterCard
  2. American Express
  3. Ikea
  4. eBay
  5. H&M

Read more here.

Secret Santa pays off $16K in layaways at Walmart

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The Secret Santa who ponied up $16,000 to pay off layaways at the Franklin Walmart will help 47 families this holiday season, assistant manager Paula Sands said.

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He mysterious donor called the store this week to announce his intentions, Sands said.

“He didn’t want anyone to know,” she said, but she did say the donor is from the Franklin area.

Sands said they made arrangements for him to bring her the money and her mission, as a deputized worker in this Secret Santa Workshop, was to bring out toys, bikes and other gifts to “make Christmas special for some people that needed it.”

She said he gave her the names of four people that he knew really needed it, that he knew had layaways at the store.

“It’s nice that people are able to do those kind of things,” Sands said. “It’s really amazing.”

Sands said the generosity says a lot about the community.

“It’s nice that someone in the community wants to help the families in the Franklin area,” she said.

Alleged shoplifter jumps from mall escalator

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Police said an alleged shoplifter at an Ohio mall was injured when he jumped from an escalator while trying to run away from police and loss prevention.

Officers requested medics to the Dayton Mall around 7:20 p.m. Saturday after a man jumped from an escalator and landed on the floor below.

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Miami Township police Sgt. Kevin Landis said the man was being pursued by loss prevention from Macy’s after allegedly taking goods. The man, who was only identified as a male in his 20s, began running down the up escalator and when he saw an officer coming up the escalator, he jumped.

Landis said the officer attempted to catch the man, but was kicked, and could not stop the man from jumping. The man suffered unknown injuries and was taken to Kettering Medical Center for treatment.

Landis said charges have not yet been filed and it was not immediately known what the man was attempting to take from Macy’s.

Landis also said the entire event was captured on mall security cameras and will be available later.

The incident remains under investigation by Miami Township police.

Know your winter weather terms

The National Weather Service urges residents to keep abreast of local forecasts and warnings and familiarize themselves with key weather terminology.

Winter Storm Warning: Issued when hazardous winter weather in the form of heavy snow, heavy freezing rain, or heavy sleet is imminent or occurring. Winter Storm Warnings are usually issued 12 to 24 hours before the event is expected to begin.

Winter Storm Watch: Alerts the public to the possibility of a blizzard, heavy snow, heavy freezing rain, or heavy sleet. Winter Storm Watches are usually issued 12 to 48 hours before the beginning of a Winter Storm.

Winter Storm Outlook: Issued prior to a Winter Storm Watch. The Outlook is given when forecasters believe winter storm conditions are possible and are usually issued 3 to 5 days in advance of a winter storm.

Blizzard Warning: Issued for sustained or gusty winds of 35 mph or more, and falling or blowing snow creating visibilities at or below ¼ mile; these conditions should persist for at least three hours.

Lake Effect Snow Warning: Issued when heavy lake effect snow is imminent or occurring.

Lake Effect Snow Advisory: Issued when accumulation of lake effect snow will cause significant inconvenience.

Wind Chill Warning: Issued when wind chill temperatures are expected to be hazardous to life within several minutes of exposure.

Wind Chill Advisory: Issued when wind chill temperatures are expected to be a significant inconvenience to life with prolonged exposure, and, if caution is not exercised, could lead to hazardous exposure.

Winter Weather Advisories: Issued for accumulations of snow, freezing rain, freezing drizzle, and sleet which will cause significant inconveniences and, if caution is not exercised, could lead to life-threatening situations.

Dense Fog Advisory: Issued when fog will reduce visibility to ¼ mile or less over a widespread area.

Snow Flurries: Light snow falling for short durations. No accumulation or light dusting is all that is expected.

Snow Showers: Snow falling at varying intensities for brief periods of time. Some accumulation is possible.

Snow Squalls: Brief, intense snow showers accompanied by strong, gusty winds. Accumulation may be significant. Snow squalls are best known in the Great Lakes region.

Blowing Snow: Wind-driven snow that reduces visibility and causes significant drifting. Blowing snow may be snow that is falling and/or loose snow on the ground picked up by the wind.

Sleet: Rain drops that freeze into ice pellets before reaching the ground. Sleet usually bounces when hitting a surface and does not stick to objects. However, it can accumulate like snow and cause a hazard to motorists.

Freezing Rain: Rain that falls onto a surface with a temperature below freezing. This causes it to freeze to surfaces, such as trees, cars, and roads, forming a coating or glaze of ice. Even small accumulations of ice can cause a significant hazard.

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