Daily Business Report-Sept. 10, 2014
More than 300,000 acres in San Diego County are devoted to agriculture, which is the fourth largest local industry.
San Diego County’s Crop Worth $1.85 Billion
The value of the region’s agriculture industry last year was $1.85 billion, according to an annual report scheduled to be released today by San Diego County.
The figure is an increase from the $1.75 billion valuation from 2012.
The report says the most valuable crop, for the fifth year in a row, was ornamental trees and shrubs. The crop was estimated to be worth $387 million in 2012.
County officials said the report will also say that the San Diego region continues to lead the nation in producing garden bedding, foliage and potted plants.
More than 300,000 acres in San Diego County are devoted to agriculture, which is the fourth largest local industry.
Avocado and wine grape producers saw large increases in the value of their 2013 harvests despite rising water costs and competition from foreign and domestic growers. Wine grapes generated an overall value of $6.5 million, a $1 million increase over 2012 as more wineries opened, while the county’s mainstay avocado crop was valued at nearly $198 million, up from $158 million the previous year.
The report shows agriculture continues to rank near the top of county industries. Farm products come in at fifth behind defense, manufacturing, tourism and biotechnology.
— From City News Service and U-T San Diego reports
Governor to Sign Paid Sick Days Legislation
Gov. Jerry Brown will join legislators and workers today in Los Angeles to sign the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (AB 1522) by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), which provides paid sick days to the millions of Californians — roughly 40 percent of the state’s workforce — who do not currently earn this benefit.
“The Legislature took historic action to help hardworking Californians,” Brown said after both houses of the Legislature passed the bill late last month. “This bill guarantees that millions of workers — from Eureka to San Diego — won’t lose their jobs or pay just because they get sick.”
With the governor’s signature, California will become only the second state in the nation to require paid sick leave.
Breeze Hill Promenade Sold for $7.35 Million
VISTA — Breeze Hill Promenade, a Vista shopping center anchored by CVS and Comerica Bank, has been sold for $7.35 million to Pathfinder Partners LLC. The center is located at the southwest corner of Breeze Hill Road and Melrose Drive. The 40,589-square-foot retail center was built in 2007 and was 62 percent occupied at the time of closing. Balance of the tenant mix includes Via Sicilia, Liberty Tax, and King’s Stationers
Cushman & Wakefield was the broker in the sale.
Kudos to S.D. Pension Gurus:
17.3 Percent Return in Fiscal Year
The San Diego City Employees Retirement System reported Tuesday that its net investment return for the fiscal year that ended June 30 was 17.3 percent, higher than initially believed. SDCERS, which handles retirement plans for the city of San Diego, Port of San Diego and San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, last month issued a preliminary report that put the net gain at 16.6 percent. The net gain is the investment return minus fees.
The update came after further study by the agency’s investment consultant.
For pension systems, a stronger investment performance lessens the financial contributions that member agencies will need to make in the next fiscal year, leaving more money available for public services.
“The updated investment report demonstrates the financial strength of SDCERS and its long-term record of excellent investment results,” said City Council President Todd Gloria, who also chairs the council’s Budget Committee. “These results translate into a secure retirement future for current city employees and city retirees,” he said.
SDCERS investment officers credited strong performances by U.S. and international stocks. The returns do not include final results for private equity and real estate, so the final tally won’t be released until the fall.
— City News Service
Citronica Two Apartments to be Opened
LEMON GROVE –A community celebration will be held Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. for the opening of Lemon Grove’s Citronica Two, an 80-unit affordable apartment complex developed by Hitzke Development Corp. and Cascade Housing Association. Local artists including bands, dance troupes and a “live graffiti-artist” to be on hand to entertain guests at the opening of new complex adjacent to Main Street Promenade, Trolley Line.
Part of a large redevelopment effort in Lemon Grove’s downtown area, Citronica Two is the second of two projects that Hitzke Development has entitled on the block adjacent to the Lemon Grove Depot Trolley Station. The arts-focused event will include live entertainment by local musical groups The Backwater Blues Band and The Lemon Grove Punks, a live on-site creation of a graffiti art wall by a member of the “Writerz Blok,” a graffiti-arts organization, as well as flamenco dancers and the local celebrated dance troupe, the PGK Dance Project. The address is 7701 North Ave.
North County Mall Gets a Street Corner Franchise
ESCONDIDO — North County Mall has just become a little more convenient for shoppers and mall employees with the opening of a new Street Corner franchise. Street Corner, which exploits small and underused spaces in shopping malls, universities and other environments, sells many of the items not usually found in the mall — everything from cough drops to aspirin to bags of chips — all the things needed to sustain shoppers on an outing, or help mall workers get through their shifts.
“Mall employees are virtually a captive audience, so the goal is to bring them the convenience of a street-side shop without the need to leave the premises, while serving the needs of mallgoers too,” said franchise owner Adrian Aybar of Escondido. In addition to chips, candy and bottled drinks, the North County Mall store sells a variety of sundry items and over-the-counter remedies and cigarettes, as well as lottery tickets.
The 192 square-foot store, located in the middle of the food court on the mall’s third floor, is the 47th in the Street Corner chain, the fifth in California and the first in San Diego County.
ViaCyte Likely to Get Funding
For Potential Diabetes Cure
ViaCyte is expected to receive a $17 million grant from California’s stem cell agency for its VC-01 diabetics therapy, which grows pancreatic islet cells from human embryonic stem cells, which could eliminate the need for diabetics to take insulin to regulate blood sugar, essesentially curing them. The therapy, already successful in animal trials, is scheduled to begin clinical trials this year. The California Institute of Regenerative Medicine does not reveal the identities of applicants before a vote on funding. Applicants are reviewed by the Institute’s 29-member Independent Citizens Oversight Committee which consists of biomedical academic and research experts, as well as patient advocates.
— U-T San Diego
Fresh Start Surgical Gifts Expands
Fresh Start Surgical Gifts, a San Diego-based nonprofit organization, has partnered with the Plastic Surgery Foundation to expand its reach nationally through the creation of the Fresh Start Caring for Kids Foundation located in Chicago. The initial site expansion has taken place at the University of Chicago Medical Center: Comer Children’s Hospital.
During Surgery Weekends, Fresh Start provides free-of-cost reconstructive surgeries and other related health care services for children with physical deformities caused by birth defects, accidents, abuse or disease. Fresh Start patients will receive services in Chicago during three Surgery Weekends throughout the year.
“The expansion plans for Fresh Start nationwide, starting with Chicago, will allow our organization to treat more children worldwide and across the United States,” said Shari Brasher, CEO & Executive Director for Fresh Start.
Mesa College Gets $2.6 Million Grant
To Benefit Latino and At-Risk Students
Mesa College has been awarded a $2.62 million Title V federal grant to serve Latino, first generation and low-income students, two years after becoming eligible for the funding. Mesa was among nearly two dozen colleges and universities across the U.S. chosen as part of the government’s $60 million Title V program, to attempt to expand opportunities for Latino students. The funding is to be administered over five years.
Mesa’s successful proposal, “Proyecto Exito” – which translates to Project Success — includes instructional and student support programs to strengthen the college’s ability to serve underrepresented populations.
The college estimates that the number of Latino students on campus had jumped to 32 percent by last fall.
The funding will be used to: train faculty and staff to improve teaching and student services; offer basic skills and college credit courses; develop a peer-mentoring program for at-risk students; and create new spaces for teaching and learning, such as a student engagement center.
Autism Early Detection Program Expands
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is now estimated to impact one in every 68 children born in the United States. Yet despite its rising prevalence and the known benefits of early detection and treatment, toddlers in much of the United States are routinely not identified as possibly having ASD until well after their third birthday.
“By that time, much precious brain development has already occurred,” said Karen Pierce, associate professor of neurosciences at the UC San Diego School of Medicine and assistant director of the UC San Diego Autism Center of Excellence.
A new five-year, $5.1 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health seeks to remedy that by expanding a program developed by Pierce and colleagues to reduce the mean age of ASD diagnosis in multiple cities across the U.S.
The program, called Get SET Early, is based upon a one-year well-baby check that Pierce first described in a paper published in 2011. In those findings, Pierce and colleagues reported that San Diego toddlers who were systematically assessed for ASD around their first birthday typically began receiving treatment within a few months, years before children in many other cities.
With NIMH funding, the Get SET Early program expands upon Pierce’s original model, adding new features and technologies, such as an iPad-based automatic referral system.
Procopio Firms Adds Three Associates
Three new associates have joined the San Diego law firm Procopio — David D. Jones, Tracie E. Stender and Michelle J. Wells.
Jones focuses his practice on real estate and finance law and will join the firm’s Real Estate and Environmental team as an associate. He represents developers, lenders, investors and landlords in a variety of real estate transactions, including mezzanine lending, acquisitions and sales, financing, development projects, joint venture formation and other equity investments, joint development agreements and reciprocal easement agreements.
Stender joins Procopio’s Healthcare, Education and Government team where she will represent private and public clients in all facets of litigation, including motion, trial and appellate practice. She is experienced in defending claims of negligent supervision and advising on mandatory reporting issues.
Wells focuses her practice on business and civil litigation with an emphasis on construction litigation, representing general contractors, subcontractors and sureties in a variety of complex matters, including contractual disputes, bid protests, mechanic liens, bond claims and OSHA citations.
National University Appoints New Department Head
Sharon M. Lightner, the former dean of the College of Business Administration at California State University in San Marcos, has been appointed to lead the development and management of a newly-formed Department of Accounting within the School of Business and Management at National University.
Lightner served for seven years as the William E. Cole Director of the Charles W. Lamden School of Accountancy at San Diego State University. She also is a recipient of the national AWSCPA Educator of the Year Award.
As dean of the College of Business Administration at CSUSM, from 2012-2014, Lightner oversaw new curriculum initiatives, including certificate programs and a self-support MBA program, increased the college’s resources, and led the efforts to seek AACSB accreditation.
initially joined SDSU as an assistant professor and received numerous awards for her teaching.
San Diego State University will remember 9/11 at a special ceremony starting at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Campanile Walkway flagpole in front of Hepner Hall.
More than 60 uniformed cadets from SDSU’s ROTC Army, Navy and Air Force programs will participate in the ceremony. Cadets will lower the flag to half-mast at the beginning of the ceremony, followed by brief readings and a moment of silence. The ceremony will conclude with the playing of TAPS by a trumpeter from the music department and a short prayer.
“If you look at SDSU’s War Memorial, there are students who have passed away as a result of 9/11,” said Capt. Marc Jason, assistant professor of military science. “We need to continue to look back and remember the folks who gave their lives for our freedom, honor them, and continue to heal and move forward together.”