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Daily Business Report-Jan. 27, 2014

Daily Business Report-Jan. 27, 2014

California Lawmakers Agree on Plastic Bags Ban

Key California legislators have reached an agreement that could lead to a statewide ban on carry-out plastic bags at supermarkets, liquor stores and pharmacies by 2016.  Lawmakers in Sacramento have debated similar proposals for years, facing opposition from manufacturers that produce billions of plastic shopping bags each year.

The agreement calls for using $2 million for loans and grants that could help those companies retrain workers and convert to manufacturing “a new generation of reusable bags with the smallest environmental footprint,” a summary of the legislation said.

State Sen. Kevin de Leon, a Los Angeles Democrat who helped broker the deal, said it balances “the health of the planet with the preservation of people’s livelihoods.”

Nearly 100 cities and counties in the state have enacted bans on single-use plastic bags at stores. If approved by the Legislature, the bill would extend a similar prohibition across the rest of the state. The local laws would remain in effect.

The bill summary says supermarkets would have to stop using the bags by July 2015, and the ban would extend to smaller stores a year later. With plastic bags prohibited, stores could sell recycled-paper or reusable bags for at least 10 cents each.

In 2005, nearly 30 billion single-use plastic bags were generated in California, according to the bill summary, a figure since cut in half by city and county bans.

Mark Daniels, chairman of the American Progressive Bag Alliance, an industry association representing the plastic bag manufacturers, called the proposal “another job-killing, big-grocer cash grab masquerading as an environmental bill.” “Large grocery chains are pushing this bag ban … at the expense of their customers,” he said in a statement.

Qualcomm Acquires Patents from Hewlett-Packard

Qualcomm has acquired a large patent portfolio related to Palm, iPaq and the Bitfone device management platform from Hewlett-Packard for an undisclosed sum. The portfolio is made up of about 1,400 patents and pending patent applications in the U.S. and about 1,000 patents and applications in other countries, Qualcomm said. The innovations include “fundamental mobile operating system techniques,” the company said.

With intellectual property linked to two iconic brands, Qualcomm has acquired a piece of mobile history. Palm evolved its 1990s personal digital assistants into early data-enabled phones, and Compaq introduced the popular Microsoft-based iPaq handheld around the turn of the century. Both companies were later acquired by HP, which eventually shut down the two mobile device lines. Its 2011 decision to discontinue Palm’s webOS phones and tablets was widely criticized as a fumble by short-time CEO Leo Apotheker.

HP acquired Bitfone, a vendor of mobile device management software, in 2006 as part of its effort to build up the iPaq platform.

The patent portfolio will let Qualcomm “offer even more value to current and future licensees,” the company said.

In addition to being a dominant vendor of mobile chips, Qualcomm developed many of the technologies used in mobile devices and networks and makes much of its revenue from licensing that intellectual property.

Scripps Research Institute Professor Wins 2014 Wolf Prize

Chi-Huey Wong

Chi-Huey Wong

Chi-Huey Wong, professor of chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute, has won the 2014 Wolf Prize in Chemistry for his pioneering contributions to the synthesis of compounds vitally important to biology and medicine.

The Wolf Prize is presented to living scientists and artists for “achievements in the interest of mankind and friendly relations among peoples” by the Israel-based Wolf Foundation, established in 1976 by the late German-born inventor, diplomat and philanthropist Ricardo Wolf.

The announcement of Wong’s award cited his development of methods to synthesize complex carbohydrates, glycoproteins and related substances that had been impossible or unfeasible to be synthesized by other methods. His work is used by carbohydrate chemistry and biology researchers to halt progression of cancer and viral infections, and increase immunological functions in the body. The research has led to the development of vaccines, therapeutics and glycan microarrays for analysis of protein-carbohydrate interaction.

Wong, who also serves as president of Academia Sinica in Taiwan, was presented a certificate and a $100,000 award with other Wolf Prize honorees from Israeli President Shimon Peres and Education Minister Shai Piron in a special ceremony this month at the Knesset (Israel’s Parliament).

Stephen Flaim Elected to Angel Capital Association Board

Stephen Flaim

Stephen Flaim

Stephen Flaim, past president and chairman of the board at Tech Coast Angels San Diego Network, has been elected to the board of directors of The Angel Capital Association, the North American trade association of angel groups and private investors. Flaim has spent his career working in the health care and pharmaceutical industries, starting and leading health care companies. He founded CardioCreate Inc., which develops stem cell therapy for cardiac disease and is president and chief executive of OncoFluor Inc., which makes visualization tools for cancer surgeons. Flaim is special adviser for the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health and is president and chief executive at the John G. Watson Foundation, a nonprofit foundation that supports the advancement of entrepreneurism in the San Diego region. Flaim is past chairman of the board of governors at Tech Coast Angels and past president and chairman of the board at Tech Coast Angels San Diego Network.

He is an entrepreneur-in-residence with Connect, and is active in numerous regional and national scientific organizations. Flaim is founder and president of Flaim Partners Consulting.

San Diego County Credit Union to Open 32nd Branch

San Diego County Credit Union institution has opened its 32nd branch. It is located in San Diego’s Sports Arena/Midway District. The new branch is lin the Target shopping center at 3455 Sports Arena Blvd. near the Valley View Casino Center, formerly the San Diego Sports Arena.  The grand opening is scheduled for Tuesday from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. The public is invited to participate in the celebration, which will include refreshments, entertainment and giveaways including a $500 Visa gift card.  The new branch offers loan and new account stations, teller windows, an exterior ATM and is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Judy Churchill Named Chair of Scripps Health Board

Judy Churchill

Judy Churchill

Judy Churchill has been named chairman of the Scripps Health board of trustees. Churchill, a retired Scripps clinical psychologist, has served on the Scripps board since 2008. She spent 20 years as a psychologist at Scripps, designing Scripps Mercy Hospital’s employee assistance program, which has since been expanded across the entire Scripps system. She has published numerous journal articles on employee assistance programs and is recognized as a national leader in the field of employee assistance.

Churchill also served for seven years on the Mercy Foundation board of directors, including two years as chair. She has volunteered with the Mercy Surgical Outreach Team by flying medical supplies into Mexico, where she provided hands-on assistance in the surgical recovery area. She also serves on the board of Green Manor, a senior housing facility in Mission Hills.

USNS John Glenn to be Christened

Built by General Dynamics NASSCO, the USNS John Glenn, the second ship of the Mobile Landing Platform class, will be christened on Saturday at 10 a.m. at the San Diego shipyard. The ship is named in honor of former Sen. John Glenn, the first American astronaut to orbit the Earth. He will speak at the ceremony. His daughter, Lyn, the ship’s sponsor, will officially christen the ship.

San Diego Foundation Hires Executive Search Firm

The San Diego Foundation has hired executive search firm Russell Reynolds Associates to identify candidates to replace President and CEO Bob Kelly, who will retire in September. The board of governors expects to name a replacement by the summer. The firm’s scope of work includes development of a position description and a national search to attract a pool of qualified candidates.


Pictured: Paul Ecke III, Paul Ecke Sr. and Paul Ecke Jr.

Pictured: Paul Ecke III, Paul Ecke Sr. and Paul Ecke Jr.

Cal State San Marcos Receives Ecke Family Collection

The Department of History at Cal State San Marcos has received a donation from the Paul Ecke family that includes family and business records of the Paul Ecke Ranch in Encinitas, which once produced more than 90 percent of the world’s poinsettia stock.

“We are honored to be the recipient of this important collection,” said Associate Professor of History Jeff Charles, who says the collection, once processed and archived, will tell the story of the 90-year history of the Ecke family’s poinsettia business and its impact not only on the international floral industry but on the development of Coastal North County too.

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