Daily Business Report-Sept. 16, 2015
The new University of San Diego Torero Store. The ‘virtual mirror’ is at left.
University of San Diego to Dedicate
New Torero ‘Store of the Future’
One of the features of University of San Diego’s new Torero Store is a “virtual mirror” — the first on a college campus — where shoppers can visualize how clothing and apparel will look without actually trying them on.
Digital walls and screens, interactive retail technology and faster textbook sales also are new features of the 6,665-square-foot campus store that will be officially dedicated today at noon in front of the Hahn University Center.
“We’ve created an exciting and futuristic space that will provide enhanced convenience, shopping options and service for our students, staff, alumni and visitors,” said Andre Mallie, assistant vice president for auxiliary services.
The store includes a variety of USD-branded apparel, along with technology and other products and services for the university community. It is now part of a shopping and dining complex that includes the “Blue Spoon,” an updated frozen yogurt concept operated by USD Dining.
University of San Diego students this fall are already enjoying a new faster process to purchase textbooks. Sales now occur in a “Swing Space” outside of the campus store, incorporating self-ordering tablets at mobile kiosks.
“With the concierge station outside of the store and then the book vault pick-up, the process of ordering my books was effortless,” said Paige Milam, a third-year biology student. “I also love that the design of the store is so modern and fresh. It’s all very efficient and enjoyable — both practically and visually.”
Directly across from the store is Tu Mercado, a market, deli and retail space. Outside the store entrance is Plaza Menor, a large outdoor space utilized for student recreation and special events with seating and new fire pits.
The campus store was moved from its former location in Loma Hall following the expansion and renovation of the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering. Mosher Drew was the architect for the new campus store that connects to the existing University Center. Balfour Betty was the contractor. University of San Diego President James Harris and other campus leaders will speak at the ribbon-cutting event.
Cal State San Marcos to Celebrate
Newly Opened Latin@ Center
California State University San Marcos is will celebrate its newly opened Latin@ Center with an official ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday at 12:30 p.m.
The Center is a community space designed to serve the needs of all students at CSUSM with a particular emphasis on promoting greater awareness of Latin@ issues, culture and identity. In addition, support services such as mentoring and advising provide students with additional resources for lifelong success.
Remarks by school officials will be in the University Student Union amphitheater followed by the official ribbon-cutting at the Center, located in the University Student Union, Room 3300A. Speakers will include Karen Haynes, university president; Lorena Meza, president of student affairs;
Maria Mendoza-Bautista, Latin@ Center associate director; and Enrique Morones, founder of Border Angels, a San Diego-based nonprofit that advocates for human rights, humane immigration reform and social justice.
Quetzal, the Grammy-award-winning Chicano rock band, will perform at the event.
San Diego Regional Water Use Plummets
Urban potable water use in San Diego County fell by approximately 24 percent in August 2015 compared to August 2013, according to preliminary numbers released by the San Diego County Water Authority. That follows a decrease of 32 percent in July and 26 percent in June compared to the same months in 2013.
August was the third month in which the State Water Resources Control Board required compliance with conservation targets set for each local water agency. State-mandated targets for Water Authority member agencies are between 12 and 36 percent below 2013 levels.
“Significant savings in the high water-use months of June, July and August mean we are in a good position to meet the state’s emergency conservation mandates that continue through February,” said Mark Weston, chair of the Water Authority’s Board of Directors. “September’s extreme heat presents a challenge, but rain this week will help maintain our conservation trend if we all turn off irrigation systems for at least 48 hours afterward.”
Regional water conservation is mainly being achieved by reductions in landscape irrigation as residents and business comply with local water-use rules that generally limit landscape watering to two days a week. State rules prohibit landscape irrigation during, and for 48 hours after measurable rain.
City Council Punts Water Rate
Issue; Public Hearing is Scheduled
City News Service
The City Council on Tuesday took no action on the politically sticky issue of whether to raise water rates for San Diegans, which clears the way for a public hearing — and possible decision — on Nov. 17.
The city’s Public Utilities Department suggested increasing rates to customers by 9.8 percent beginning in January, and an additional 6.9 percent next July 1. The plan is based on a cost of service study.
The proposed hikes would balance a combination of lower revenues as customers reduce consumption amid the drought, and higher expenses. Among the extra costs cited by the department: the climbing price of importing water from the main water wholesaler in Southern California, the Metropolitan Water District, via the San Diego County Water Authority;
the high cost of water received from the Carlsbad desalination plant, which is scheduled to begin deliveries this fall; the implementation of the city’s program to recycle water into drinking water; replacing aging infrastructure; and installing high-tech water meters.
Another problem, according to PUD Director Halla Razak, is that under the current rates, the city would fall behind on funding its debt service, which would send a bad signal to credit rating agencies.
A residential customer whose monthly bill is now around $36 would see a hike to a little over $39, according to a city report. Customers now paying $71 would see their bills go above $77.
The department’s proposal also includes possible rate hikes in 2017, 2018 and 2019, based on projections of future costs for imported water, which makes up 85 percent of the city’s total.
San Diego Won’t Pitch Stadium
Plans at NFL Owners Meeting
City News Service
The National Football League withdrew an invitation to San Diego officials to make a detailed presentation on a Mission Valley stadium proposal at next month’s owners meeting, but the mayor’s office said plans are in the works to meet with an NFL owners’ committee.
A similar offer to St. Louis officials, who are trying to keep the Rams from leaving town, was also withdrawn, according to multiple news reports.
Matt Awbrey, a spokesman for San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, told City News Service on Tuesday that the city and county negotiating team continues to have “regular discussions and a positive dialogue” with NFL officials.
“To better allow for an in-depth presentation, the NFL is looking at having hometown cities present to a smaller setting of team owners,” Awbrey said. “We look forward to making a more detailed presentation to NFL owners at an upcoming time to update them on San Diego’s progress and commitment to keeping the Chargers in San Diego.”
In an email to the Mighty 1090 sports radio station in San Diego, NFL Executive Vice President Eric Grubman said some owners indicated that they’d want to have some detailed give-and-take with the presenters.
“That kind of dialogue usually doesn’t happen at league meetings when there are outside presenters, and particularly when we have a full agenda,” Grubman said. “We discussed it with the LA Committee and it was decided that we would figure out a better arrangement for any next presentations.”
Memorial Sloan Kettering, Illumina Partner
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Illumina are collaborating on research studies of circulating tumor DNA, the partners said today.
The goal of the studies is to better understand the biology of ctDNA and to inform new strategies for diagnosing and monitoring cancer with the help of ctDNA.
The studies will involve multiple cancer types. MSK will collect the samples and Illumina will analyze them for ctDNA using its sequencing technology. The partners plan to validate a ctDNA assay and to demonstrate correlations between ctDNA and cancer burden.
According to Illumina Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Rick Klausner, the program will investigate whether invasive monitoring could be replaced with a blood test, whether ctDNA reflects the total burden of cancer clones, and how it compares to biopsies for predicting therapy response and outcome.
“The possibility of reducing the number of invasive and expensive diagnostic and monitoring procedures with a simple blood draw is a game-changer for cancer patients and for oncology,” said Jose Baselga, physician-in-chief and chief medical officer at MSK, in a statement.
Monument to South Bay Power
Plant Unveiled at Former Site
Artist and Chula Vista native Michael Leaf had a vision to memorialize the South Bay Power Plant. His monument, “Powering the Arts,” is comprised of artifacts salvaged from the site of the former plant. It was unveiled on Sept. 10.
The 25-foot-tall monument includes a large steel cylinder that previously stood at the top of the power plant. It is encircled by three gracefully curved red steel ribbons. Leaf chose the color red because to him it symbolized fire, combustion and explosion — elements used to produce the plant’s energy, but also used for its implosion.
Leaf’s monument also includes a custom park bench created from one of the plant’s turbine rotors. Another component is a functional artist’s easel that anyone can use. A plaque summarizing the plant’s history is installed on the easel.
Distributor of Pork Ribs Expands Retail
Line with Gluten-Free Meat Entrees
Rupari Food Services announced that its newly launched Tony Roma’s All Natural Ribs and Pulled Pork ready to eat meat entrees are available at Costco, Ralphs, Albertson’s, Vons, Food 4 Less and Walmart Supercenter locations throughout San Diego.
“Consumers are demanding higher-quality refrigerated meal solutions, and they deserve them,” says Kristin Kroepfl, vice president of marketing for Rupari Food Services. She notes that since 2010, the gap between consumers who have and have not purchased natural and organic meats has closed dramatically. “Where frozen options once dominated, refrigerated convenience is now driving growth, and we know from both our own and secondary research that premium quality meats paired with clean labeling is fueling consumer demand more than anything else,” said Kroepfl.
“We pride ourselves in our passion for authentic barbeque. We have found a way to cater to all of our customers by combining all-natural ingredients with the delicious taste and tender profile people expect from our products,” said Jack Vogt, resident pit master for Rupari Food Services. “We’ve invested behind a simple manufacturing process that enables us to make BBQ the same way we do from scratch in competition — we season, slow smoke and sauce high quality meat. That’s it in a nutshell.”