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Daily Business Report-Nov. 10, 2014

Daily Business Report-Nov. 10, 2014

 Gasoline Prices in San Diego Fall

To Lowest Level In Four Years

The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in San Diego County dropped to its lowest amount since Dec. 7, 2010, decreasing three-tenths of a cent to $3.233.

The average price has dropped 39 consecutive days and 65 of the past 66, decreasing 58.9 cents over that span, including eight-tenths of a cent on Sunday, according to figures from the AAA and Oil Price Information Service.

The average price is 8.1 cents less than one week ago, 41.5 cents lower than one month ago and 41.3 cents below what it was one year ago.

“Falling oil prices are the main reason” for the dropping gasoline prices,” Marie Montgomery of the Automobile Club of Southern California told City News Service.

World oil prices have fallen more than 25 percent since June due to increased American production of shale oil, steady output from Middle Eastern sources and oil traders’ worries about future economic growth.

— Times of San Diego

S.D. Council to Consider Cap On

Number of Taxi Permits Issued

The San Diego City Council is moving today’s meeting to Golden Hall to accommodate a large crowd expected for a proposal to eliminate a cap on the number of taxi permits issued by the city. The meeting is set to begin at 1 p.m. The City Council will take Tuesday off to observe Veterans Day.

The idea has garnered either robust support or strong opposition from drivers and owners at previous hearings at the committee level, with discussions on the topic drawing several hours of public testimony.

Since the current lid of 993 permits creates a limited supply, they’re being resold in an underground market, Councilwoman Marti Emerald said in August. She said the permits, administered for the city by the Metropolitan Transit System and issued for a $3,000 fee, are fetching more than $100,000 in some cases, and buyers pass on costs to drivers, who have to work long hours at low pay as a result.

Opponents say allowing more taxis on the street would lead to less income for taxi companies already buffeted by competition from unregulated companies like Lyft and Uber, meaning the drivers would make even less money.

The number of permits issued on behalf of the city is derived through a formula based on the number of vehicle trips it would take to meet demand.

The proposal the council will consider would get rid of the cap, limit the age of taxicabs to 10 years and prohibit the use of vehicles with salvage titles as taxis.

— City News Service

Mission Federal Credit Union Donates $1M

To Junior Achievement of San Diego County

Mission Federal Credit Union has donated $1 million and becomes naming sponsor in support of Junior Achievement of San Diego County’s Mission Fed JA Finance Park program, which focuses on increasing the financial literacy of San Diego high school students. The new program entails the redevelopment of Junior Achievement curriculum with the use of tablets and mobile apps to prepare tech-savvystudents for financial success.

The digital curriculum and custom software enable high school students to engage in real-world financial activities, such as online banking and paying bills via Tablet PCs, while being introduced to concepts like insurance, credit and long-term investments.  The curriculum also supports simulations where students choose a San Diego job and know their salary, marital status, number of children and their FICO score.  Then they shop, making choices on how to budget and live within their means.

Severe Epilepsy Pinned On DNA

Mutation, Scripps Scientists Report

DNA double helix

DNA double helix

Researchers at the Scripps Translational Science Institute in La Jolla announced the discovery of a DNA mutation that leads to a severe form of epilepsy. The finding came after the scientists mapped the DNA of a 10-year-old girl who suffers from epileptic encephalopathy.

Their discovery, reported in the journal Annals of Neurology, was a mutation on a gene that regulates the flow of potassium ions through neurons, affecting how the cells communicate with one another. That process also impacts potassium flow in the kidney, which controls excretion of that element and also fluid balance, according to the researchers.

Dr. Robert Bjork said that earlier this year, the girl’s “prognosis was grim and appeared hopeless when she was experiencing many convulsive seizures, could barely eat or drink, and had ‘drop attacks’ where she would abruptly drop to the floor up to 25 times a day.”

The discovery of the gene mutation, however, opens treatment options for the youngster, said Bjork, who is on the staff at Scripps Memorial Hospital.

Ali Torkamani, director of genome informatics at the STSI and an assistant professor of integrative, structural and computational biology at The Scripps Research Institute, said the results will have an impact beyond this one case.

“These findings can serve as a model on how to treat this particular form of epilepsy in other patients,” Torkamani said. “The KCNB1 mutations also might have a role as a diagnostic biomarker for this condition, and they could help to direct the discovery and testing of new drugs to treat epilepsy.”

— City News Service

Navy to Launch Drone With

USS Fort Worth Deployment

MQ-8C Fire Scout

MQ-8C Fire Scout

Two of the military’s most modern weapons systems will deploy together for the first time later this month when the littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth takes to sea from San Diego carrying a MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned autonomous helicopter, the Navy announced.

While vessels of the new LCS line have deployed before, this will be the first time they will carry the Fire Scout, according to the Navy. According to recent news reports, the Navy will be conducting sea trials of the Fire Scout during the deployment.

Littoral combat ships are designed for fighting in coastal waters and can be reconfigured for different types of missions, including the carrying of helicopters. A more standard manned chopper, the an MH-60R, will also accompany the Fort Worth.

According to the Navy, the Fire Scout has a range and endurance advantage over the MH-60R.

The detachment belongs to the “Magicians” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 35, which was formed last year. Another detachment in HSM-35, solely in MH-60s, made the squadron’s maiden deployment last week aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson.

— City News Service

Sweetwater Schools Make Major

Commitment to Solar Power

The Sweetwater Union High School District in ChulaVista announced installation of solar power systems at 21 schools that will offset 60 percent of normal electricity demand. San Jose based SunPower Corp. installed solar shade structures in school parking lots, taking advantage of underutilized space and providing needed shade.

One ground-mounted system was installed at Mar Vista Middle School in San Diego, and a rooftop system was installed at Hilltop High School in Chula Vista.

“With proven, reliable SunPower technology, we are generating savings that the Sweetwater Union High School District can use to support our academic and enrichment programs,” said Dr. Tim Glover, interim superintendent of SUHSD. “We’re also supporting the development of more solar power installations in our region. It is the right thing to do for our students and our community.”

The district’s solar systems are financed through power purchase agreements with SunPower. Under terms of the agreements, financiers own the systems that SunPower designs, builds, operates and maintains.

— Times of San Diego

Donald P. and Darlene V. Shiley Musculoskeletal Center at Scripps Clinic

Donald P. and Darlene V. Shiley Musculoskeletal Center at Scripps Clinic

Scripps Opens Musculoskeletel Center

The new Donald P. and Darlene V. Shiley Musculoskeletal Center at Scripps Clinic, which had its grand opening last week, will serve as a one-stop shop for the most advanced diagnostics, treatment, surgery and rehabilitation services, as well as routine and follow-up appointments. Patients at the new center will benefit from enhanced care as a result of centralized imaging services and orthopedic specialties including sports medicine, podiatry, hand and wrist surgery, spine surgery, and total joint replacement, as well as complex foot and ankle reconstruction.

The new center is located on the first floor of the Scripps Clinic Torrey Pines Anderson Outpatient Pavilion in La Jolla.

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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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