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Carlsbad Firm To Use Drones In Filmmaking

Carlsbad Firm To Use Drones In Filmmaking

This image provided by Aerial MOB LLC shows its eight-rotor Sky Jib Helicopter in San Diego. The FAA announced it is granting permits to six firms, including Aerial MOB, to fly drones in filmmaking.

Carlsbad Company Among Firms Getting FAA

Exemption To Use Drones in Filmmaking

A Carlsbad company — Aerial MOB LLC — is one of six aerial photo and video production companies that have been granted an exemption by the Federal Aviation Administration for the use of small unmanned aircraft systems for filmmaking in the United States.

Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, said in these cases the operation of UAS “does not pose a risk to national airspace users. It’s a crucial step for the integration of UAS into our aviation system,” and that companies seeking approval now have a model for doing so.

Currently, unmanned aircraft systems generally cannot be used for commercial purposes in the United States. While rules for the safe integration of SUAS into the national airspace are not expected until later this year, the exemption is allowed under Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.

This allowance does come with limitations, however as the aircraft must be operated by a three-man team, including a UAS operator with private pilot certification. All flying must be done within line-of-sight and can’t be operated at night. The operator must also submit a detailed plan of operations three days before any filming takes place with an inspection of aircraft before flights.

Early this summer, seven film companies filed highly similar petitions with the FAA to fly small unmanned aircraft systems less than 55 pounds to a height of no more than 400 feet on a closed set.

Besides Aerial MOB LLC, the companies that filed petitions were Flying-Cam, HeliVideo Productions LLC, Pictorvision Inc., RC Pro Productions Consulting LLC, Astraeus Aerial and Snaproll Media LLC. The only company not to receive an exemption was Flying-Cam, which is working with the FAA to provide additional required information.



Rendering of an elevated pedestrian bridge that will connect Tijuana International Airport to a new passenger facility in Otay Mesa.

 Cross-Border Bridge to Give Airline Passengers

Direct Access to Tijuana International Airport

Construction has started on the Cross Border Xpress,  a new, elevated pedestrian bridge that will connect Tijuana International Airport to a new passenger facility in Otay Mesa to make life a whole lot easier for airline passengers crossing the border.

The bridge is part of a $120 million private project connecting a terminal on the U.S. side of the border directly into a foreign airport terminal — the first ever.

Artist’s rendering of the Cross Border Xpress facility.

Artist’s rendering of the Cross Border Xpress facility.

Officials said the Cross Border Xpress will serve the approximately 2.4 million passengers who already cross the border as part of their travels, and will help them avoid unpredictable, often long delays at congested San Ysidro and Otay Mesa land ports of entry. Users of the bridge will be able to access the more than 30 destinations within  Mexico that Tijuana International Airport (TIJ) offers, many of which are not served by other Southern California airports. TIJ also has direct flights to Shanghai and Tokyo.

Interior of the Otay Mesa terminal.

Interior of the Otay Mesa terminal.

The terminal will be located south of Interstate 905 in Otay Mesa and is expected to open for passenger crossings in summer 2015.

The project is being developed and operated by Otay Tijuana Venture LLC, a private investment group with  U.S. and Mexican shareholders. Investors include PAP Corp, Palareo Inc. and EGI-Otay Investors.

In the U.S., the Cross Border Xpress will feature more than 65,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor patio waiting areas for passengers and guests, retail, food and beverages, fully bilingual customer service and information, and short-to long-term parking. The bridge itself will be 390 feet long, enclosed with divided  north/south corridors. Inside the TIJ terminal, construction is under way to accommodate the landing of the  bridge and improve passenger facilities with new areas and amenities.

U. S. Customs and Border Protection, which has participated in the design of the San Diego facility, will  staff operations at the Cross Border Xpress through an agreement with the project’s ownership.

“This is a great example of private investment creating much-needed public infrastructure to facilitate safe,  secure travel and trade,” said Mark Cafferty, CEO of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. “A multi-million dollar binational private investment in our region will create  capacity for more than two million border crossing per year, that will translate to job creation, industrial development, and competitiveness for the San Diego-Tijuana Region.”

Officials said the Cross Border Xpress also will broaden Tijuana’s industrial, tourism and  commercial platform while it also strengthens its position as a Maquiladora destination.

The project is being financed by Bancomext and Invex, with construction under way by Turner Construction  and Hazard Construction in San Diego, and Grumesa S.A. de C. V. in Mexico. Architect  Legoretta + Legoretta designed the project in conjunction with Stantec.

Illumina headquarters

Illumina headquarters

Illumina Agrees to 10-Year Business

Incentive Deal to Stay in San Diego

Medical equipment-maker Illumina will keep 300 manufacturing and sales employees in San Diego after reaching a 10-year, $1.5 million economic incentive agreement with the city, Mayor Kevin Faulconer and company officials announced.

Illumina, which makes devices for genetic analysis, was recently named the “Smartest Company in the World” by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“This is a perfect example of how San Diego can support middle-class jobs while also encouraging economic growth,” Faulconer said. “This agreement keeps hundreds of high-wage jobs in San Diego, ensures city residents benefit from over a million dollars in annual sales tax revenue, and strengthens our region’s leadership in biotechnology.”

The company, which also has manufacturing facilities in Hayward and Singapore, was considering expanding elsewhere, including to Poway and Memphis, according to the mayor.

Illumina, the 12th-largest provider of sales and use tax revenue to the city, will apply the increase of such levies to the $1.5 million city credit, in exchange for keeping its workers in San Diego for the next decade.

The company leases a half-dozen buildings in San Diego totaling more than 560,000 square feet.

Council members enthusiastically approved similar agreements with craft brewers Ballast Point and AleSmith last month.

– City News Service

From left, Matthew Braner, Enrique Camarena, Daniel Link and Selena Epley

From left, Matthew Braner, Enrique Camarena, Daniel Link and Selena Epley

4 Appointed to S.D. Superior Court Bench

Gov. Jerry Brown has appointed two San Diegans and two Chula Vistans to the San Diego County Superior Court bench — Matthew C. Braner, Enrique E. Camarena, Selena D. Epley and Daniel F. Link.

Matthew Braner, 55, of San Diego, has served as supervisor at the San Diego County Primary Public Defender’s Office, Writs and Appeals Unit since 2009, where he has served as a deputy public defender since 1998.

Braner served as a felony trial deputy at the San Diego County Public Defender’s Office and was a trial deputy at the San Bernardino County Public Defender’s Office. He was an associate at the Law Offices of Christopher F. Emley. Braner earned a law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Richard G. Cline. Braner is a Democrat.

Enrique Camarena, 40, of Chula Vista, has served as a deputy district attorney at the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office since 1999. He earned a law degree from the University of Southern California, Gould School of Law and a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College. Camarena fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge John S. Einhorn. Camarena is a Republican.

Selena Epley, 46, of Chula Vista, has served as assistant supervising attorney for a central felony team at the San Diego County Primary Public Defender’s Office since 2012, where she has served in several positions since 1995, including deputy public defender and training director at the South Bay Branch Office. She was a law clerk at the San Diego County Public Defender’s Office. Epley earned a law degree from Stanford Law School. She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge William H. McAdam. Epley is a Democrat.

Daniel Link, 38, of San Diego, has served as a deputy district attorney at the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office since 2001, where he was a law clerk from 2000 to 2001. Link was president of the San Diego County Bar Association in 2011. He earned a law degree from the University of San Diego School of Law. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Richard E. Mills. Link is a Democrat.

The compensation for each of these positions is $181, 292.

Green Flash Brewing Co. to Open Brewery in Poway

Green Flash Brewing Co. has taken out a 10-year, $1.28 million lease on a 12,275-square-foot industrial building in Poway to operate its second brewery in San Diego County. It is scheduled to open in early 2015.

Green Flash’s main location in the Sorrento Mesa area of San Diego features a 4,000-square-foot tasting room, beer garden, gift shop and production facility. The new location in Poway will be used to expand production capacity and will also feature a small tasting room and tours of the facility.

The building was leased from the Rice Family Trust and the Hartman Family Trust.

Green Flash Brewing Co. was founded by Mike and Lisa Hinkley in 2002.

Cassidy Turley and Urban Real Estate Services Inc. were the brokers in the lease transaction.

Gates concealing the construction on the public park at Horton Plaza are seen next to the Balboa Theatre on Broadway Avenue in downtown San Diego, March 2014.

Gates concealing the construction on the public park at Horton Plaza are seen next to the Balboa Theatre on Broadway Avenue in downtown San Diego, March 2014.

Stalled Horton Plaza Project

Gets A $4.5 Million Boost

A stalled project to turn a section of Horton Plaza into a public park received a $4.9 million budget increase from the San Diego City Council.

When the project began nearly two years ago with the demolition of the old Robinsons-May/Planet Hollywood building, city officials touted the park as a 37,000-square-foot public gathering place.

However, the boarded-up site on Broadway at Fourth Avenue has been inactive for many months because of haggling with state officials over whether money left over from the old redevelopment system could be used to pay for construction.

Problems with the property title and a substandard underground electrical box also caused delays.

“We had this amazing project that this council supported, but a funny thing happened on the way to the park — redevelopment got ended,” City Council President Todd Gloria said. “That occurred and the economy came back, so costs were higher.”

Officials with the City Attorney’s Office believe San Diego has a strong case to use redevelopment funds for the project.

The state Department of Finance has twice said the park project is an enforceable obligation for former redevelopment funding, but that was at a lower cost, Deputy City Attorney Kevin Reisch told the council members before they gave their unanimous support for increasing the budget.

The Department of Finance will have 45 days to consider the issue. If state officials say no, litigation could follow, Reisch said.

– City News Service


Balboa Park Conservancy and Balboa Park Central Merge

The Balboa Park Conservancy and Balboa Park Central, organizations dedicated to protecting and enhancing the park, have merged, the groups announced today. The merged organization will operate under the name of The Balboa Park Conservancy.

“Working on behalf of the entire Park, the newly merged Balboa Park Conservancy will work to keep Balboa Park magnificent by sustaining and enhancing its beauty and its historic, cultural and recreational character for the enduring enjoyment of all,” said Carol Chang, Conservancy board president.

Established in 1923 and operating the historic House of Hospitality since 1937, Balboa Park Central’s focus for the last 91 years has been on visitor experience, marketing the park and collaborative programs. Formed in 2011, the Conservancy works to help the city maintain and beautify the park.

Officials said the Conservancy will continue to operate its current programs, and combined with Central’s programs will include the Balboa Park Visitors Center; Balboa Park Marketing; Balboa Park Family Days; Balboa Park December Nights; and the identification of restoration and enhancement projects within the park — its first such major project being the restoration of the Botanical Building, anticipated to be completed in 2015.

San Vicente Dam following major dam raise.

San Vicente Dam following major dam raise.

Officials Dedicate Historic Raise of San Vicente Dam

The San Diego County Water Authority dedicated the San Vicente Dam Raise, the largest single expansion of water storage in San Diego County history.

Starting in 2009, crews raised San Vicente Dam by 117 feet, increasing its storage capacity by 152,000 acre-feet. The new capacity will allow water to be stored within the region for use in dry years.

The dam is also part of the region’s Emergency Storage Project, enhancing local storage in case an emergency such as an earthquake interrupts imported water deliveries.

Officials attending the ceremony included Thomas Wornham, chair of the San Diego County Water Authority board of directors; San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer; John Laird, secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency; and Maureen Stapleton, general manager of the Water Authority.

San Diego Gas & Electric drone

San Diego Gas & Electric drone

SDG&E to Test Small Drones in East County

San Diego Gas & Electric is the first utility in America to receive Federal Aviation Administration approval to test the use of small, unmanned aircraft to monitor electric and gas lines. The FAA granted a Special Airworthiness Certificate allowing the utility to research, test and train flight crews on the unmanned aircraft system, or UAS, in a sparsely populated airspace in east San Diego County.

The FAA certificate for SDG&E is significant because the agency has approved only very limited commercial use of unmanned aircraft as it works to develop comprehensive regulations by Sept. 30, 2015.

“The unmanned aircraft system provides us with another tool in our electric and gas operations tool chest,” said Dave Geier, SDG&E’s vice president of electric transmission and system engineering. “This versatile technology would allow us to improve our response to emergency situations such as fires, as well as complete aerial inspections in remote areas that are otherwise difficult to access, and locate the cause of power outages faster.”

Measuring 16 inches in diameter and weighing less than a pound, these small devices use a camera to inspect utility equipment and relay live images back to the controller. The UAS can examine infrastructure in areas that are off-limits to helicopters or difficult to access by road or other means.

Once the technology is tested, and if it proves effective, SDG&E may then seek FAA approval to use the aircraft more broadly in the field for inspections. SDG&E inspects more than 26,000 miles of transmission and distribution power lines for safety and compliance purposes and to make sure the grid is running smoothly and effectively.

Nadia and the steaklocker

Nadia and the steaklocker

San Diego Company Developing World’s First

In-Home Dry-Age Refrigerator for Consumers

Nadia Bruno, a San Diego entrepreneur, is developing the first commercially available dry-age refrigerator for the home chef. Called the Steaklocker, it combines the best of old world dry-aging techniques with sophisticated modern technology, allowing the consumer to control the process.

Not only that, but by purchasing the beef in supermarkets and butcher shops, and then dry-aging at home, steak-lovers can save 50-70 percent on current retail dry-age steak prices. “Steaklocker is going to change the way people dine at home,” said Bruno.

Dry-aging steaks is a relatively simple process that has been used in fine restaurants for many years. It creates superbly tender and flavorful steaks by letting naturally-occurring enzymes slowly tenderize the meat in a controlled refrigerated environment. The steaks will continue to become more flavorful for up to 90 days.

Unfortunately, this cannot be done in a traditional home refrigerator because the high humidity and fluctuating temperatures promote bacterial growth, which can ruin the meat and create health issues, such as foodborne illnesses.

Bruno and her technical team are developing a state-of-the-art digital hygrometer controller, which allows consumers to adjust the recommended settings that vary the flavor and tenderness of the meat. In addition, the Steaklocker will also feature a smart app that provides instant feedback on the temperature and humidity operations of the refrigerator.

Steaklocker recently had a successful Kickstarter campaign in the food category. It was No. 1 in San Diego and No. 11 in food for the entire history of Kickstarter campaigns. It raised over $191,000.

To help continued funding of this project, she has launched an Indiegogo campaign, which can be viewed at:

“We need help from steak-lovers to finish this project,” Bruno said. “We have suppliers waiting to manufacture the fridge and engineering partners ready to finalize the electronics and wireless applications.”

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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: