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San Diego Scene 12.09

Tom Scott began his career in photography at the age of 52, focusing on complex natural patterns made in the sand at San Diego beaches. But in “Cityscape,” a view of the harbor and Downtown skyline, Scott departs from the norm. “Yes, I usually do abstracts, but I like variety as well,” he says. “This was an unusual sunset. There were clouds where the sun had set, but there was an open area in the sky at about a 45-degree angle from the city. This cast a red hue on the scene that is usually not there. I also liked the setting because there weren’t any cruise ships in the harbor. They almost seem unnaturally large compared to the buildings in the background. This panorama consists of about five images stitched together. Scott’s photography is included in an exhibit at The Ordover Gallery (, 410 South Cedros Ave. in Solana Beach, titled “Elizabeth Carmel: Tuscany,” that runs through Jan. 17, 2010.

CONNECT’s Most Innovative New Products Awards for 2009 will be presented Dec. 11 at the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines. The finalists’ products will be displayed starting at 10 a.m. and the program will begin at 11:30 a.m. The MIP Awards are San Diego’s “Oscars” for local technology innovation. More than 100 companies of all sizes compete in eight categories: Action & Sport Technologies; Aerospace and Security Technologies; Clean Technology; Communications and IT; Hardware and General Technology; Life Sciences-Diagnostics & Research Tools; Life Sciences-Medical Products; and Software. CONNECT also will present the William W. Otterson Award in memory of the organization’s first executive director. The award recognizes technologies or products developed in San Diego that have demonstrated a significant positive impact on society or on quality of life. Individual seats for the event are $140 for CONNECT members and $160 for nonmembers. For more information, visit or call (858) 964-1300.
Yvonne Wise is the new public art director for the Port of San Diego after assuming the title of acting public art director in January. Wise joined the Port in 2007 after leaving her position as public art director for the city of Philadelphia. As a manager for the Port District’s public art program, Wise has supervised a variety of public art installations, including “Oppenheim’s Engagement, “Abakanowicz’s Walking Figures” and an exhibition of eight Bernar Venet sculpture. Wise is currently reviewing recommendations for revising the Port’s public art master plan.

A “try before you buy” product testing center has opened on the San Diego campus of Alliant International University. Sample U, as the center is called, offers consumers access to a number of free product packages from companies. Consumers fill out detailed profiles, allowing their specific demographic and psychographic needs to be matched to specific products or brands. “Sample U is a terrific way for companies to gain consumer insight on their new products and services before rolling it out to market,” says Linda Neumann, creator of Sample U.  “Placing a product at Sample U eliminates the need for other more costly product testing methods such as focus groups or sampling.”
New product and services offered include Intuit’s Quick Receipts, Quicken Picks and Turbo Tax FAFSA products, Guardian Ranch for consumer input on pricing and branding of avocado gift baskets and a soon-to-be-published book, “Success for the Diet Dropout.”
Sample U is in Room M5 across from the university’s Sports Center. Hours are Sunday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; Wednesday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4 p.m.-8 p.m.; Thursday, 4-8 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m.–1 p.m.
For more information on Sample U, visit or call (858) 776-9393. The university is at 10455 Pomerado Road.

Regent Bank’s holding company, Regents Bancshares, has been awarded funding of $12.7 million under the “healthy bank” provisions of TARP, the Troubled Asset Relief Program of the federal government, the bank announced. Thomas C. Young, chairman of the bank, said only a small percentage of banks across the country have been granted the funding, which is provided only to the strongest financial institutions. “Obviously, we are pleased to be recognized,” said Young. “Although Regents already far exceeds well capitalized measures and remains profitable, the addition of $12.7 million in capital provides greater assurance to our depositors and shareholders as to our long-term stability. Most importantly, it increases our ability to lend and invest in our community.” Regents is the third bank in San Diego County to be awarded funds by the Department of the Treasury.  Part of the intent of this funding is to allow healthier banks to absorb the assets of less successful institutions while remaining well capitalized relative to the bank’s size.

The Hearst Foundations have awarded the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego $75,000 to support its youth education programs, specifically the Teen Art Council and teen programs, the After School program and the touring programs led by MCASD Gallery Guides. Hugh Davies, the David C. Copley director of MCASD, said the museum has an institutional prerogative to culturally enrich the lives of young people and — because of the grant — there is an even greater physical capacity to do so since expanding its Downtown San Diego facilities. MCASD opened the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Building and David C. Copley Building in 2007, which virtually doubled the museum programs and exhibition space. “We are so grateful to The Hearst Foundations for their wonderful support,” said Davies. “The young people who visit our museum are inspired by the artists we show and the works we exhibit, and we are delighted to be able to continue some of our most valuable youth education services thanks to this grant.”

Ramona residents next December will get a new library building four times larger than the branch on Montecito Road — a 20,894-square-foot structure under construction at 1349 Main St. The county ponied up most of the $11.6 million cost of the library, but more than $1 million of it was raised by the Friends of the Ramona Library for fixtures and furniture. “This project shatters the myth that libraries are quiet places for books,” said Library Director Jose Aponte. “It will be a true community gathering place, alive with people, ideas and multimedia.”
The library is being built in Southwest Tuscan-style. C.W. Driver, Ferguson Pape Baldwin Architects and Manuel Oncina Architects are the project’s design-build team. The building will have a large community room, study rooms, a space for teens, a larger children’s area with a homework center, public computers and a Friends of the Library bookstore.
Aponte said the library will meet LEED Gold criteria and will include water-efficient landscaping, water-conserving fixtures, photovoltaic panels and parking spaces for fuel-efficient vehicles. The library site will eventually include a senior center, child care and teen facilities and will connect to the Santa Maria Greenway Park.

Yuri Calderón, co-founder and managing partner of corporate San Diego law firm GCR LLP, has been named San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association Lawyer of the Year for his service to the local Latino community and GCR’s commitment to diversity. Calderón is the longest-serving member of the executive board of the National Hispanic Bar Association and has worked as general counsel to several Latino organizations, including the San Diego Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and California Latino School Board Association. Calderón is currently the general counsel to the Latino Caucus of the League of California Cities. “Yuri’s work to promote diversity within the legal community reaches beyond San Diego,” said Eran Bermudez, vice president of San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association. “He helps the advancement of Latino and Latina lawyers everywhere by becoming involved with projects like the recently published national study about the barriers Latina lawyers face and how those barriers affect their experiences and career advancement.”

Jessica Klarer Pride, an associate attorney with Casey Gerry Schenk Francavilla Blatt & Penfield, has been elected to the board of Consumer Attorneys of San Diego (CASD). She will serve a one-year term. CASD is an organization of trial lawyers whose focus is on the legal rights of consumers. Pride’s practice is on products and premises liability, automobile collision, asbestos litigation and other serious personal injury cases. She worked as a certified law clerk at Girardi and Keese in Los Angeles prior to joining Casey Gerry as a law clerk in 2006.  She also interned at the University of San Diego School of Law Civil Clinic and has received training from the California Academy of Mediation Professionals as a mediator. She received her law degree from USD School of Law and has a bachelor of arts degree in English from the University of California, Irvine. Pride also serves on the board of governors of the New Lawyers Division of the American Association for Justice and is a board member with the San Diego County Bar Association. She is a member of Lawyer’s Club of San Diego, the Consumer Attorneys of California and La Raza Lawyers Association.

Dr. A. Brent Eastman, chief medical officer of Scripps Health and the N. Paul Whittier endowed chair of trauma at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla, has been elected chairman of the board of regents of the American College of Surgeons. Eastman, a general, vascular and trauma surgeon, also is a clinical professor of surgery-trauma at UCSD. The Rancho Santa Fe resident has been instrumental in the development of trauma systems around the world. He co-founded San Diego County’s trauma system and helped put systems in place in England, Argentina, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Brazil, South Africa, India and Pakistan. Eastman has authored or co-authored several publications and articles related to trauma during his career and served on the Institute of Medicine committee that in 2006 published the landmark report, “The Future of Emergency Care in the United States Health System.”

Tina Marie Koch, owner of Design Perspectives, an interior design company that specializes in hospitality, restaurant and food service design, has been elected president of the San Diego chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) for 2009-2010. Her company’s recent design projects include Corvette Diner, Ocean Journey Café at Legoland and La Gran Terraza and O’Toole Lounge at the University of San Diego. She has been in the food service industry for more than 20 years. Before launching her own company, Koch was associated with Fiesta Dinner Theater and Marie Callender’s Corp.

Other ASID board members are Kellie McCormick of Bast/Wright Interiors, president-elect; Robin Wilson Carrier of Robin Wilson Interior Design, director of communications; Mark Gauvin of Discount Glass & Mirror, director of financial oversight; Christy Mitchell of Christy Mitchell Designs, director of membership; Lindsay Hester of Hester Interiors, director of professional development and programs; Stefanie Wenceslao of Drawings for Design, director-at-large, legislation; and Nina Punzi of San Diego State, student representative.

The Bank of America Charitable Foundation has awarded $200,000 each to the City Heights Community Development Corp. and the Urban Corps as part of its Neighborhood Excellence Initiative. The City Heights nonprofit works to create affordable housing in the neighborhood and the Urban Corps provides job skills training and educational opportunities to young adults in the fields of conservation, recycling and community service.

The 297,000-square-foot casino resort that ROEL Construction built in Yuma for the Quechan Indian Tribe earned the San Diego-based company the Design-Build Excellence Award from the Design-Build Institute of America. The award, given in the Private Sector Building Over $25 Million Category, gave kudos to the company for adhering strictly to design-build principles, completing the project on time, on budget and without litigation, and for finding innovative solutions for project challenges. The resort, in fact, was finished 4 and a half months early.

Those challenges included having to move more than 1 million cubic yards of dirt and relocating high-voltage lines while adhering to safety measures in the oppressive desert heat. Because of the remote location, two wells were drilled for the water treatment plant creating the resort’s potable water supply. A wastewater treatment facility was built to eliminate reliance on local infrastructure and to provide reclaimed water for landscaping.

The resort, which incorporated stone, granite, stacked stone columns and wood beams throughout the project, stands five stories and includes a 166-room hotel with eight luxury suites, 33,000 square feet of gaming space, a 20,000-square-foot event center, 24-hour café, a food court, sports bar and a steakhouse.

Marty Breen, Steve Jones, Jason Beckham and Adam Bock of Cumming Corp. were the construction managers. Leading the architecture and design team were Brent Hughes of ROEL and Bob Dollar with the Friedmutter Group. Other members of the design team include GSSI Structural Engineers, Dahl, Robins & Associates, Orness Design Group Inc., MPE Engineering, Casino Food & Beverage Solutions, The Lifestyle Companies, Endelman & Associates Inc., Rolf Jensen & Associates, Veneklasen Associates, and Square Peg Design.

ROEL representatives include Wayne Hickey as project executive, Brent Hughes as project director, Jarrod Smith, Gaurav Shah and Pat Monahan as project managers, Steve Fruitman as assistant project manager, Juan Romero and Lee Banaszak as project engineers, Patrick Shields as assistant project engineer, Bob Oostra, Tom Groenendal, Harold Kenaga, Tony Morris, Eric Riveness, James Archer, Matt Kaiser, and Brandon Brooke as superintendents, with Carol Maniglia as senior project coordinator, Andrea Newell as administrative assistant and Andrea Eddington as clerk.
ROEL President Kevin Elliott, who also is 2009 president of the San Diego chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America, follows a string of company executives who served as AGC presidents: Paul S. Roel (1964); George H. Line (1984); and John W. Elliott (1992 and 1997).

Stuart J. Savin, CEO of the Lancaster campus of Harrisburg Area Community College in Pennsylvania — a campus that enrolls 7,000 students a year — will become president of Cuyamaca College in April. His appointment was approved by the governing board of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District. Savin will visit Cuyamaca College Jan. 19 and 20 during its convocation. “He brings a diverse background that will fit well with the forward-moving, innovative college that is Cuyamaca,” said Chancellor Cindy Miles. “Dr. Savin worked 10 years in business and industry before discovering his passion for community colleges and making a difference in students’ lives. He brings more than 10 years of senior administrative experience in community colleges, as well as proven expertise in finance, technology, assessment, accreditation, facilities, fundraising, campus development and community partnerships.”

A 14-member committee of faculty, staff, administrators, students and community representatives conducted a nationwide search, culminating in August with interviews of candidates for the college’s top post. Savin’s three-year contract will pay him $185,000 a year. Currently, Savin oversees a $24 million budget.

Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez made an appearance at Torrey Pines Bank’s private suite at Petco Park when the bank wrapped up its annual Base Hit Bonus promotion in partnership with Gonzalez. The Base Hit Bonus program gave close to $10,000 to local charities this year, including Susan G. Komen, The Liam Foundation, The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and United Cerebral Palsy. Last year, the bank gave more than $200,000 in grants to charitable causes and over $30,000 in cash-back contributions, paid out at the end of first quarter 2009, as part of its cash back program for nonprofit customers. Its employees contributed over 1,000 hours of volunteer activities. Torrey Pines Bank, so far, has made over $145,000 in charitable contributions to San Diego organizations and groups. Since the bank opening in 2003, it has donated close to $1 million in contributions.

The San Diego Unified School District is sharing its list of families qualifying for the federal Free and Reduced Price Lunch Program with San Diego Gas & Electric, a partnership that has reduced gas and electric bills by 20 percent for 2,719 San Diego families, according to the school district.
“We’re happy that SDG&E is able to bring this program to our families,” said Shelia Jackson, Board of Education president. “In this difficult economy, every bit helps.”

Chances are that families whose children qualify for free lunch also qualify for the California Alternative Rate for Energy (CARE) program. The program also helps the school district, since SDG&E provides a $15 per household payment for each new CARE program participant from the program. The first check from SDG&E to San Diego Unified, for $40,785, was presented at the Board of Education meeting on Nov. 17.

The CARE program offers income-qualified households a 20 percent discount on their energy bill.

“This extraordinary partnership between the school district and SDG&E just shows how much caring there is for our San Diego families both at school and at our company,” said Mitch Mitchell, regional vice president for external affairs for SDG&E. “This is a program that’s available to all low income customers in California.  Working with San Diego Unified has made contacting these families just that much easier.”
The first phase of the program resulted in 2,719 families signing up for the CARE program. At least two more groups of addresses will be forwarded to the utility over the coming months. For more information on the CARE program, contact SDG&E
at (800) 644-6133.

EcoDog Inc. was the recipient of the Greatest Gadget Award from CommNexus for its FIDO Home Energy Watchdog System, which is designed to give homeowners a comprehensive room-by-room graphic overview of their energy use. The system, slated for launch later this year, was chosen over other new products at the 2009 CommNexus Gadget Fest. The system not only offers an overview of energy use, but comes with real-time utility charges and personalized saving tips based on individual usage patterns. EcoDog said typical FIDO users can expect to save 15 to 25 percent on their home electric bills and the system can be used to identify “energy hogs” in the home that may produce even greater savings.

Ron Pitt, founder of EcoDog, demonstrated the FIDO system to a panel of judges and moderators along with an audience of about 400 people at an awards show. In a close race with Verizon Wireless’ new Droid phone, EcoDog’s FIDO system ultimately won the award based on a combination of the judges’ scores and audience enthusiasm for the products.

“Our goal at EcoDog is to help customers easily understand their energy consumption and lower their energy bills with our FIDO system. We were pleased that the judges and audience appreciated these benefits,” said Pitt. “The caliber of competition from Verizon’s Droid phone, Flo TV, Nokia and others was truly impressive, so it’s an especially great honor to be recognized by CommNexus.”

EcoDog’s FIDO Home Energy Watchdog system consists of a PC software package along with hardware interface modules for the breaker panel and computer that provide data through existing home electrical wires. The system eliminates the need for additional wiring.

The PC interface module stores electric usage data for extended periods so users are not required to leave their computer running. Compatible with any standard electrical meter, FIDO will enable homeowners to achieve even greater savings as utilities roll out the next generation of Smart Meters with time-of-use surcharges.

A new $126 million residential community for 1,600 Marines will begin construction early next year at Camp Pendleton as part of a big construction boom occurring at West Coast Marine Corps bases. The heightened building activity stems from Marine Corps initiatives aimed at growing its ranks and modernizing and replacing Korean War-vintage buildings. The massive 101,611-square-foot project will include the demolition of existing structures and the design, engineering and construction of four new residence halls, each with 200 two-person living units. The project will be undertaken by RJC Architects of San Diego, Joseph Wong Design Associates and the Hensel Phelps/Soltek Pacific Joint Venture, who won a design-build competition.

“The Department of Defense invested over $2 billion in California military bases last year including the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding and another $5 billion for new capital facilities is projected over the next two years,” said James Robbins, design principal at RJC Architects.

Each of the residential units will accommodate two people and include a living/sleeping room, closets and shared bathroom. The four residential halls also will feature community gathering areas and facilities ranging from a recreational lounge and Internet café to administrative offices and laundry services. Robbins, a LEED-accredited architect, said the design and construction of the residential community will incorporate sustainable design strategies including storm water pollution protection plans, open space preservation, water conservation, efficient mechanical and electrical systems, indoor environmental quality measures and the use of materials with high recycled content.

RJC Architects also is part of a team designing and building the base’s new Marine Corps Special Operations Command Headquarters. The 89,000-square-foot facility, including an auditorium, medical department and a secure communications facility, is under construction on the base’s 33-acre complex adjacent to the Pacific Ocean. RJC Architects also is responsible for design of the $50 million expansion of the Intelligence Operations Center, currently under construction in the headquarters area of Camp Pendleton.

Clark Construction Group California LP — has been awarded a $27.7 million design-build contract for the construction of a 99,000-square-foot regional confinement facility — a brig — at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. The Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar will be a multi-story structure comprised of concrete masonry units with precast concrete cells. Clark will design and construct a new Level 1 facility for 120 male service members and a Level 2 facility for 80 female service members who are awaiting trial or serving sentences up to seven years. The brig’s design will allow for flexible configurations in order to accommodate divisions by gender, sentence length, disciplinary status, and special program or treatment needs. Within the brig will be a dining hall and areas for administrative functions, storage and logistical support, recreational and educational activities, and health services, in addition to a new prisoner industries and maintenance facility. Clark’s scope of work also includes the design and construction of a new parking lot with access road, security fencing and lighting, and utility systems and an emergency generator.

The project will be designed to achieve LEED Silver certification and to meet the military’s Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection standards. When it is finished, the brig will absorb prisoners from other correctional facilities that will be closed from the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Act. It is expected to open in February 2011.

The project architect for the brig is KMD Architects of San Francisco. Other project partners are Flores Lund Consultants, San Diego, structural and civil engineer; ElEn Consulting Inc., San Diego, electrical consultant; and McParlane & Associates, San Diego, mechanical consultant.

Security Business Bancorp and its operating subsidiary Security Business Bank of San Diego reported total assets of $207.5 million and core deposits of $150.5 million for the third quarter of 2009. Total assets in the third quarter of 2008 were $214.8 million. Core deposits for the same period were $149.9 million. The bank also reported total loans of $158.9 million for the third quarter of 2009 with an allowance for loan loss of 1.82 percent, up from 1.29 percent in the third quarter of 2008. It reported a risk-based capital ratio of 15.2 percent compared to 12.4 percent in the third quarter of last year. The quarterly net income was $112,000 or 6 cents per share compared to $21,000 in the same quarter of 2008.

In our November story on Executive Health Care, we wrote about MDVIP, an affiliation of medical doctors across the country offering concierge-level medical care. MDVIP’s annual physicals can include genetic testing upon patient request, but there is an additional fee charged for this service, and is not included in the basic physical as we had indicated. We regret the error.

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We Want Your Opinions on San Diego’s Big Issues In the coming months, Probosky Research (one of California’s leading opinion research firms) will continue its partnership with SD METRO to survey San Diego residents about topics of interest to our readers. We’d like to throw open the door for suggestions for topics. What do you want to know? What do you think you know, but aren’t sure? What are you certain you know, but want to prove it beyond doubt? Ideally, we’d like to see questions that have to do with public policy.

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