Daily Business Report-March 31, 2015
SDG&E must inspect more than 26,000 miles of power lines for safety and to ensure the electric grid is operating smoothly.
SDG&E Gets Federal OK
To Use Drones in the County
The Federal Aviation Administration has granted San Diego Gas & Electric approval to use drones for aerial inspections of the utility’s electric and gas facilities throughout its service territory in San Diego and southern Orange counties.
SDG&E is the second utility in the nation to be granted what the FAA calls “Section 333” approval for use of unmanned aircraft systems, commonly called UAS or drones. Only 69 projects have been approved nationwide.
“The utility industry is rapidly changing and this new FAA approval is another milestone that will improve the way SDG&E conducts its operations,” said John Sowers, SDG&E’s vice president of electric distribution operations.
“The new UAS technology will enable us to improve response times to emergency situations, inspect our electric and gas facilities in remote areas that are otherwise difficult to access, reduce the use of manned helicopters, enhance overall employee and public safety, and locate the cause of power outages faster.”
In 2014, SDG&E was granted approval by the FAA to test a small drone in a sparsely populated airspace in eastern San Diego County.
Measuring 16 inches in diameter and weighing less than a pound, the drones use a camera to inspect utility equipment and relay live images back to the controller. The drones can access remote infrastructure and alert utility crews if repairs are needed.
The Sempra Energy subsidiary must inspect more than 26,000 miles of power lines for safety and to ensure the electric grid is operating smoothly.
The FAA has been criticized for not moving more quickly to permit American companies to use drones for commercial purposes.
— Times of San Diego
Renovations Completed at
Affordable Housing Project
ESCONDIDO –Affirmed Housing Group will celebrate the completion of $13 million in renovations at Sonoma Court Apartments in Escondido.
Sonoma Court is a 61-unit affordable housing development with two one-bedroom units, 39 two-bedroom units, and 20 three-bedroom units offered to individuals and families earning 35-60 percent of San Diego County’s Area Median Income. The ceremony is at 10 a.m.
Affirmed Housing Group began renovations in the spring of 2014, including a new pool area, renovated tot lot, remodeled landscaping, new stucco and paint, reconstructed stairs, renovated laundry facility with new washers and dryers, renovated community building, and a new fob access entry system. In addition, the apartment interiors were refurbished with redesigned kitchens, new flooring, counters, cabinets, bathtubs, toilets, central air units, and doors.
The property was made more energy efficient to reach virtually net zero. The property now includes a solar photovoltaic system, central boiler system, highly-efficient heat pumps, energy star appliances, dual-pane windows, and a new roof with a high Solar Reflective Index (SRI), making it less costly to cool. Anticipated utility bills for Sonoma Court residents are in the range of $3 to $5 per month.
Project partners include Rodriguez Associates Architects & Planners, general contractor HA Builders, civil engineer Masson & Associates Inc. and landscape architect Darsano Design Associates.
Cal Humanities Grants $395,000
To San Diego Film Projects
Two media projects in San Diego are among 15 that were awarded a combined $395,000 in grants Monday by the nonprofit Cal Humanities, through its California Documentary Project.
“ArtBound at the Border,” a multi-platform documentary series exploring the arts, culture and social movements of the San Diego and Tijuana border-region, is being produced for online distribution and television broadcast on Link TV and KCET, the public broadcasting station in Los Angeles.
“Sanson and Me” is sponsored by Media Arts Center San Diego in North Park. The coming-of-age tale is about two Mexican immigrants in California’s Central Valley — one a country-boy serving a life sentence for murder and the other a middle-class intellectual from Mexico City.
“Cal Humanities is proud to support these 15 extraordinary film, radio, and new media documentaries,” said Julie Fry, president and CEO of Cal Humanities, the state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
“Each adds a new layer to a complex and growing portrait of California,” Fry said. “Together, they help us better understand who we are and where we live.”
Other programs provided grants include a young playwright’s reinterpretation of “Romeo and Juliet,” which he set in the Northern California city of Richmond, and an inside look at the rise of the Vietnamese American-run nail industry.
The documentaries represent a diverse spectrum of the California experience, and are aimed at statewide and national audiences, according to Cal Humanities.
— City News Service
Federal Courthouse Named
After Judges Carter and Keep
The new federal courthouse in Downtown San Diego will be designated the Judge James M. Carter and Judith N. Keep Federal Courthouse in the Rjpades Federal Judicial Center.
Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) spoke at the naming ceremony. She played a central role in securing construction funding and working with the community on the name for the courthouse.
“This is a fitting tribute to three legal trailblazers who had an enormous impact on the judicial community in San Diego,” said Davis. “It reflects the sense of many in San Diego’s legal community, who were inspired by these judges.”
Davis introduced the first bill to name the new federal courthouse after Judges Carter and Keep. Carter and Keep were chosen by San Diego’s legal community after Davis conducted a months long survey to ensure the community played a role in choosing the name of its new courthouse.
After redistricting in 2012, the new courthouse was no longer part of the Davis’s congressional district, instead now residing in the district of Congressman Scott Peters. Davis worked with Peters, who sponsored the bill in the 113th Congress, to get the naming bill through both the House and Senate. President Obama signed the bill into law on Dec. 18, 2014.
Company Converts Headquarters to Solar
San Diego-based design build firm Jackson Design and Remodeling (JDR) has converted its headquarters, which houses its 7,000 square-foot design and remodeling showroom, from traditional electricity to solar powered energy.
In total, 176 solar panels were installed on the roof of the building, which will provide about 85 percent of the company’s energy needs. The total project cost was in excess of $200,000, but the electricity savings over time will pay for the installation in five years and actually recoup money for the company after that. In addition to installing solar panels on the corporate office building, JDR also upgraded its heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system to high efficiency.
San Marcos Unified School District
Granted $4.1 Million for Energy Upgrades
The California Energy Commission has approved a Proposition 39 expenditure plan for the San Marcos Unified School District to implement energy upgrades. The district is expected to receive up to $4.1 million over the next four years that will be used for a variety of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.
The project will also have a significant impact on the district’s facilities, spanning to 18 of the campus sites — one of the highest number of sites represented in approved Energy Expenditure Plans statewide. When fully implemented, these energy efficiency and renewable energy measures will deliver more than 1 million kWh annually in energy savings.
The district and Schneider Electric worked collaboratively to get a plan in place that will be done in phases.
“The savings we expect to realize through the approved plan will help us achieve our vision of unparalleled educational and sustainable environments through cost effective solutions,” said Khary Knowles, executive director of facilities for the school district.
Jeff Isaacs Retires from Procopio After 46 Years
Jeff Isaacs joined the Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch law firm in 1968 when it had only 10 attorneys and helped it grow to 150 lawyers — now one of the largest in San Diego.
The firm announced today that Isaacs will retire this year after 46 years, the first and only job he’s held after graduating from law school.
“I had the opportunity to practice during the golden era of the law working closely with iconic lawyers such as Alec Cory and Manny Savitch — frankly, I had no idea what I was getting into,” said Isaacs. “I know that by current standards I am a bit of a dinosaur staying at one firm my entire career but I can happily live with that given the amazing experiences I enjoyed at Procopio.”
Isaacs was head of the firm’s insolvency group for decades.
Though involved in a variety of community organizations, Isaacs said he is
proudest of his involvement with the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program, where he served as president for over three years and currently serves on the executive committee. “SDVLP is a genius program that does more with less than seems possible,” said Isaacs. “With a staff of only about 25 employees and a budget of only about $1.7 million annually, SDVLP represents approximately 6,000 San Diego County residents a year. This is largely done with effort volunteered by lawyers (many of whom come from the largest and most prominent firms in the county), law students and others who are more than compensated by the satisfaction they receive knowing that they were involved in helping folks who could not have otherwise helped themselves.”
Although he is leaving Procopio, Isaacs has taken on the role of a mediator and arbitrator with West Coast Resolution Group, a division of the National Conflict Resolution Center.
Former Judge Joins Fish & Richardson
Leonard Davis, former chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas will be joining Fish & Richardson in May.
Davis has served on the Eastern District bench since 2002, serving as chief judge from 2012 until early 2015. During that time, he handled more than 1,700 individual cases involving intellectual property law. Prior to his service on the bench, Davis maintained a private practice as a trial lawyer for 23 years.
Davis will join the firm as of counsel on May 18. He will be affiliated with the Dallas office, but will work with all of Fish’s offices, including the San Diego office, and clients around the world.