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Daily Business Report-April 8, 2014

Daily Business Report-April 8, 2014

Journalism and geology students will partner with a nonprofit news organization to test how to help the city be more informed about its air quality.

SDSU Wins $35K for Experiment Using

Electronic Sensors to Test Air Quality

San Diego State University was one of a dozen U.S. universities who each won a $35,000 micro-grant to seed collaborative news experiments in living labs — their communities — the Online News Association announced.

SDSU’s winning experiment “What’s in the Air?” pairs journalism and geology students with a nonprofit news organization, inewsource, to test the concept that using electronic sensors to test air quality in San Diego can help the public be more informed about pollution and its impact on the city.

“We are looking forward to kicking-off this project and collaborating with our partners and the greater San Diego community to tell an important story for San Diegans using innovative sensor technology and solid shoe-leather reporting,” said Amy Schmitz Weiss, associate professor in SDSU’s School of Journalism & Media Studies.

Announced at the 2014 Journalism Interactive Conference, funding for the winners comes from the competitive Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education, created to encourage universities to experiment with new ways of providing news and information.

The fund is the brainchild of a collaborative that includes the Excellence and Ethics in Journalism Foundation, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Democracy Fund, and is managed by the Online News Association (ONA), the world’s largest membership group of digital journalists.

The 125 entries for the 2014-15 academic year were judged on their ability to create collaborative, student-produced local news coverage, bridge the professor-professional gap, use innovative techniques and technologies and learn from digital-age news experiments. Winning teams included some combination of students, researchers, media professionals, educators, developers and designers.

Head of Lifeguard Union Gets Council Appointment

Ed Harris

Ed Harris

Ed Harris, a retired Marine and longtime San Diego lifeguard, was appointed Monday to serve out the remaining eight months of Kevin Faulconer’s term for District 2 on the City Council, City News Service reports. The seat representing the beach and bay district was vacated March 3 when Faulconer was sworn in as mayor. A special election for his replacement wasn’t held because less than one year remains in the term.

Harris, who heads the city’s lifeguard union, received support from council members David Alvarez, Mark Kersey, Sherri Lightner, Scott Sherman and Lorie Zapf. The 49-year-old Point Loma resident won the seat in two rounds of voting and immediately took the oath of office.

“I am extremely humbled,” Harris said. He said he hoped the other 16 candidates who sought the position would help him during his term.

Alvarez said Harris can get up to speed as a City Council member quickly because of his knowledge of how the city works.

“He has dealt with issues with me as a council member, and with all the council members, that are really, really important to our city,” Alvarez said. “I think he’s well prepared to take on the job.”

Harris will serve until the winner of this year’s election is seated, which City Clerk Elizabeth Maland said would be Dec. 8 or Dec. 10.

Check Your Utility Bill

Expect to see a rebate on your utility bill this month. SDG&E will be crediting $36.24 to its customers. It’s all part of a “climate credit” rebate and the utility company is hoping customers will use the refund to become more energy efficient at home.

The credit is part of the state’s Global Warming Solutions Act. Payments are made into a fund by power plants and other industries who put carbon into the air.

Customers will see rebates in April and October each year.


Institute Discovers New Mechanism

For Unleashing Immune System

A major discovery that brings a new drug target to the increasingly exciting landscape of cancer immunotherapy was published in the Nature Immunology journal by researchers from La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology and collaborators from other institutes. The pivotal study, led by Amnon Altman, Ph.D., and Kok-Fai Kong, Ph.D., revealed a new way to block the function of CTLA-4, an immune inhibitory checkpoint receptor, already generating huge interest in the pharmaceutical and research communities due to its potential in fighting cancer.

The La Jolla Institute is exploring potential industry collaborations to further develop this technology for translation into the clinic. Altman says his next research steps will be to test the enzyme’s impact in models of additional autoimmune diseases and cancer, and to gain better understanding of how it controls the function of regulatory T cells.

Cohn Restaurant Group Wins National Honors

David and Lesley Cohn

David and Lesley Cohn

The Cohn Restaurant Group, spearheaded by David and Lesley Cohn, will be awarded the 2014 “Restaurant Neighbor” award by the National Restaurant Association at an April 29 gala in Washington, D.C.

The group will be singled out for its work over the past 16 years with the Garfield High School Foundation, which gives back to at-risk students through a culinary arts program at the continuation high school. The program is designed to give students the education and skills for future careers in culinary and restaurants.

The Cohns’ work culminates with the annual Thanksgiving luncheon at the Prado. Over the years they have raised more than $300,000 to benefit the program. In addition to the Garfield High School Foundation, the Cohns donate to more than 300 charities throughout San Diego County.

New Law Firm Formed by John Heisner and Olga Alvarez

John Heisner

John Heisner

Olga Álvarez

Olga Álvarez

John Heisner and Olga Álvarez have announced the opening of their new law firm — Heisner Alvarez — that will work exclusively in the areas of trusts, estates and business law. Offices are at 7825 Fay Ave., Suite 220, La Jolla. Heisner and Álvarez offer varied industry and legal experience as a result of working in both large and medium law office settings prior to forming the new firm. Heisner has experience in public office as a government prosecutor while Álvarez has international legal experience from her work in the U.S. Embassy in Mexico.

Heisner has an extensive background in all phases of complex litigation relating to business, trusts and estates, government regulations, real estate and intellectual property. He has conducted more than 100 jury trials. He received his J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law.

Álvarez, who was named one of San Diego’s Top 25 attorneys for 2013 by SD METRO magazine, focuses her practice on estate planning, probate, trust administration, trust litigation, elder care planning and business transactions. She received her J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law.

Financial Review of Balboa Park Centennial Group Gets Go-Ahead

The San Diego City Council’s Audit Committee asked the city auditor on Monday for a financial and performance review of the nonprofit group that tried to put together a yearlong celebration of Balboa Park’s 100th anniversary, City News Service reports. City Auditor Eduardo Luna told committee members he would make room in his department’s schedule and start work on the audit of Balboa Park Centennial Inc.

Councilman Scott Sherman said the audits were the only way to “get some answers for the taxpayers and citizens here.”

The BPCI board of directors announced last month it would disband and turn over its activities to the city. The action came amid questions over what the city got in return for its $2.6 million investment in BPCI, and whether the organization would open its records to the public.

BPCI has been posting its records online since it decided to disband. The vote for the audit was unanimous.

Planning has now taken on a local focus, anchored by the annual December Nights holiday festival and special attractions being arranged by the park’s cultural institutions.

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton Add Attorneys

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP has announced the addition of partners Nancy T. Scull and David M. Hymer to the firm’s Real Estate, Land Use and Environmental practice group.  Scull and Hymer will join Sheppard Mullin’s San Diego office from McKenna, Long & Aldridge. They have spent their entire careers at McKenna and its predecessor firm, Luce Forward Hamilton & Scripps.

Scull’s focus is on the representation of commercial, industrial, retail and residential developers in all real property transactions.  Hymer has experience in real property acquisitions, dispositions, development, and leasing.

Sheppard Mullin also announced that it is adding seven partners to the firm’s Insurance and Business Trial practices: Peter H. Klee, Ronald D. Getchey, Charles A. Danaher, John T. Brooks, Nathan S. Arrington, R. Randal Crispen,  andMarc J. Feldman.  The group will join Sheppard Mullin’s San Diego office. They previously practiced together at McKenna, Long & Aldridge.

Sheppard Mullin has 90 attorneys based in its San Diego offices.

Torrey Pines Kiwanis Foundation Donation

The Torrey Pines Kiwanis Foundation, producers of the La Jolla Festival of the Arts, has donated $50,000 to the Disabled Services Advisory Council, which supports the city of San Diego Park & Recreation Department Therapeutic Recreation Services (TRS). TRS provide sports, recreation, leisure and outreach services to San Diegans with physical, cognitive and psycho social disabilities.

Conan O’Brien to Host Shows From San Diego During Comic-Con

Conan O’Brien will bring his late-night television program to Downtown San Diego next year for a full week of shows during Comic-Con International, the TBS

Conan O’Brien

Conan O’Brien

network announced Monday.

The July 8-12, 2015, shows will originate from the Spreckels Theatre, and will mark the first late-night show broadcasts in conjunction with the annual celebration of the popular arts.

Comic-Con is the largest annual trade show at the San Diego Convention Center, with more than 200,000 often garishly costumed attendees descending on Downtown. The event attracts scores of television and film performers, producers and studio heads who want to connect with fans.

O’Brien attended the 2011 Comic-Con to serve on a panel for the “Green Lantern” animated series, according to Deadline Hollywood.

 — City News Service

PR Agency Provides Pro Bono Service to Council on Literacy

Literacy Campaign

Literacy Campaign

J. Walcher Communications, a San Diego  public relations agency, is providing pro bono PR support to the San Diego Council on Literacy for the third straight year to promote its annual fundraiser —  “Eat.Drink.Read. A Culinary Event for Literacy,” happening May 14 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the McMillan Event Center at Liberty Station.

Chaired by Laura Walcher, principal public relations counsel at the agency, Eat.Drink.Read. will raise needed funds to support the Council on Literacy’s 26 literacy programs that provide free literacy assistance to more than 170,000 children, families and adults.

With one in five adults in San Diego County possessing below basic literacy skills, the Council on Literacy addresses this problem with what has become its largest fundraising event of the year.

 “Illiterate adults can’t fill out a job application, follow medical instructions, pass a driver’s license test, write a note to their child’s teacher or read their child a bedtime story. Their job options — and earning power — are limited,” said Walcher. “Illiterate adults and children spend their lives hiding out or faking it, underachieving in every aspect of their lives. Yet, the change they undergo when finally learning to read is remarkable and inspiring.”

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Voice Your Opinion

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.

Some areas may include Mayor Filner’s first 100 days job performance, should the city be responsible for economic growth and the creation of new jobs, how important are infrastructure improvements to our daily lives (streets and bridges, etc.), how important is water independence, how satisfied are residents with public transit or how do city residents value Balboa Park and other open spaces? Do you believe the City Council should revive the Plaza de Panama plan for Balboa Park?

You can email Probolsky Research directly with your ideas: