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Daily Business Report-Dec. 2, 2015

Daily Business Report-Dec. 2, 2015

 Red area on world map shows warm Pacific El Nino water as of Nov. 30.

All San Diego County Cities Unite

In Urging El Niño State of Emergency

The mayors of all the cities in San Diego County and the chairman of the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday called on Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency ahead of the expected El Niño storms.

Such a declaration would allow local jurisdictions to expedite preparations for heavy rain — like clearing out vegetation in flood channels — without wasting precious time acquiring permits from multiple agencies.

State water officials said last month that the governor has been considering such an order.

“The San Diego region is united in its belief that government regulations shouldn’t stand in the way of making common-sense preparations for the heavy rains predicted from the coming El Niño,” said Mayor Kevin Faulconer, whose office drafted the letter sent to the governor.

“For months staff has been working to navigate the complex, expensive and time-consuming regulations cities are required to comply with before flood channels can be cleared,” Faulconer said. “But by declaring a state of emergency, Gov. Brown can remove the bureaucracy that right now is keeping us from doing even more to prevent the loss of life or property from El Niño storms.”

San Diego has cleared six sediment-choked flood channels over the past year or so within its 133-mile network, while work continues in the Tijuana River Valley.

However, San Diego Councilman David Alvarez said 25 channels are still at risk of flooding. The worst, according to a list provided by his office, are along Via de la Bandola in San Ysidro, Engineer Road in Kearny Mesa, Pomerado Road in Rancho Bernardo, and Washington Street in Hillcrest and Little Italy.

The San Diego City Council declared a state of emergency because of El Niño on Nov. 16. The letter to Brown, also signed by county Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Horn, was sent last week, according to Faulconer’s office.

Read more…


Scripps Research Study Reveals

New Metric for Tracking Aging

Scripps biologist Michael Petrascheck and research associate Sunitha Rangaraju

Scripps biologist Michael Petrascheck and research associate Sunitha Rangaraju

A new study led by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute shows that an antidepressant drug, called mianserin, can extend the “young adult” state in roundworms, a common model of aging.

While it is too soon to know whether the treatment has any effect in humans, the study reveals a new metric to track aging — one that can reveal troubling age-associated changes relatively early in life.

“We think it is exciting to see that extending lifespan by extending young adulthood can be done at all,” said biologist Michael Petrascheck of TSRI.

In the study, published in the journal eLife, the researchers administered mianserin to Caenorhabditis elegans, a type of roundworm with a typical lifespan of 21 days. The research built on the 2007 discovery that mianserin increases the lifespan of roundworms up to 40 percent.

“We wanted to follow-up and study how this drug extends lifespan,” said Petrascheck.

The researchers treated thousands of worms with either water or mianserin and looked at the activity of genes as the worms aged. The team observed surprising changes in gene expression. Groups of genes with similar functions were found to change expression in opposing directions. In metabolism, for example, some gene expression increased while other genes slowed down.

Interestingly, these shifts could be tracked reliably as the worms aged, giving researchers a new way to predict the lifespan of a worm, even if the worm was still an adolescent.

The researchers called this phenomenon “transcriptional drift.” By examining data from mice and from 32 humans, aged 26 to 106 years, they confirmed that the phenomenon also occurs in mammals.

“We now have a reliable measuring tape in our tool box to study aging,” said study first author Sunitha Rangaraju, a research associate at TSRI.


Amazon Delivery Drone

Amazon Delivery Drone

Amazon Unveils New

30-Minute Delivery Drone

On Sunday, Amazon released a video of its prototype 30-minute delivery drone for its Prime Air business. The aircraft takes off vertically to 400 feet and then flies laterally for up to 15 miles, using sense-and-avoid technology to evade obstacles.

The latest drone design demonstrates Amazon’s commitment to the technology, even as it faces significant regulatory hurdles. The company has bulked up its Prime Air team and run tests abroad, though apparently it has yet to make deliveries to customers using the unmanned vehicles.

Amazon said in the video that it plans different drone types for different environments. Critics have voiced concerns that drones may be susceptible to weather events, bird attacks or other obstacles.


Rose Pablo, a SDSU student blogger, in Bilbao, Spain

Rose Pablo, a SDSU student blogger, in Bilbao, Spain

San Diego State University No. 15 in Nation

For Number of Students Studying Abroad

San Diego State University ranks No. 15 among all universities in the country for the number of students studying abroad, according to the latest Institute for International Education’s Open Doors report.

A record 2,119 SDSU students studied internationally in 2013-14, the latest academic year for which Open Doors report statistics are available. This number is the third highest among universities in California and 14 percent above 2012-13, when SDSU sent 1,812 students abroad and ranked No. 22 nationally. Students studied abroad in programs that include spring break, summer, semester or year-long study at a foreign university, exchange programs and research or internship programs.

Students from SDSU studied in 67 different countries across the globe, with the top five most popular countries being Spain, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Italy and Germany. With more than 350 study abroad programs to choose from, SDSU students experience academically challenging, professionally relevant and personally engaging experiences abroad.

The Open Doors report is published annually by the Institute of International Education, an independent, non-profit organization, in partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Read more…


Cavignac & Associates On List Of
‘Best Places to Work in Insurance’

Cavignac & Associates, a downtown-San Diego risk management and insurance brokerage firm, has been named as one of the “Best Places to Work in Insurance” as part of the seventh annual awards program created by Business Insurance magazine, in collaboration with the Best Companies Group.

The exact rankings of this year’s “Best Places to Work in Insurance” were revealed in a recent issue of Business Insurance. Cavignac & Associates is listed among the top 25 in the entire country.

The survey and awards program was designed to identify, recognize and honor the best employers in the nation’s insurance industry.

Cavignac & Associates scored high based on its desirable social environment and staff camaraderie. Picnics, baby showers, holiday gatherings, group tickets to Padres baseball games, company softball games, sushi-making classes, kayaking, hosted happy hours, beer and wine tastings, weekly catered lunches and more is what helped the firm snag a top slot.

In addition to regular outings and events, Cavignac & Associates holds fast to the belief that if the company does well, everybody does well. The firm awards its employees semiannual bonuses that factor in new business, retention and productivity. In addition to the bonuses, the company provides monthly $15 bonus meal allowances and quarterly $50 bonus meal allowances when on budget, as well as years-of-service bonuses between $500 and $2,500.


The jersey features the updated Padres wordmark across the chest and an American flag patch on the left sleeve.

The jersey features the updated Padres wordmark across the chest and an American flag patch on the left sleeve.

Padres Unveil New Navy

Digital Camouflage Jersey

The San Diego Padres unveiled  a new navy digital camouflage jersey modeled after U.S. Navy uniforms. The uniforms will be worn for Sunday home games, which honor the military.

The full Sunday uniforms were debuted by Padres Manager Andy Green, Padres outfielder Wil Myers and Padres pitcher James Shields during a press conference on the flight deck of the USS Theodore Roosevelt. Also in attendance were Padres President & CEO Mike Dee, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Capt. Craig Clapperton, commanding officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, and 50 sailors from the ship.

The Padres worked directly with the U.S. Navy to receive permission to use its official blue camouflage digital pattern. The four-color (deck gray, haze gray, black and Navy blue) design is modeled after the Navy Working Uniform Type 1, which sailors affectionately refer to as their “blueberries.”

The jersey features the updated Padres wordmark across the chest and an American flag patch on the left sleeve. The Padres will wear gray pants at home on Sundays to match the lighter gray in the digital pattern. The look will be topped off with the traditional Padres blue hat with a white “SD.”

The Marine digital camouflage jerseys Padres players have worn during Military Sundays since 2011 will be worn twice during the 2016 season – on U.S. Marine Corps Appreciation Day and on U.S. Army Appreciation Day.

Pot Shop Ordered to Pay City

$1.8 Million for Zoning Violation

A Pacific Beach marijuana dispensary and its president have been ordered to pay the city $1,835,000 in civil penalties for operating a pot shop on Garnet Avenue in violation of city zoning laws.

The judgment against SoCal Holistic Health Inc. and its president, Ryan Murphy, was entered Nov. 20 by Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor, who also issued a permanent injunction that bars both SoCal and Murphy from operating another dispensary anywhere in San Diego.

The judgment represents a penalty of $2,500 for each of the 734 days that the dispensary at 1150 Garnet Avenue acknowledged being in operation. The defendants were also ordered to reimburse to the Code Enforcement Division of the city $1,065 in investigative costs and to pay litigation costs to be determined.

Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman, whose department works closely with the City Attorney’s Office on these enforcement actions, said the size of the judgment reflects the high importance the City assigns to this problem.

“This illustrates why San Diego’s method for closing illegal marijuana dispensaries has proven so successful,” Zimmerman said.  “It’s a collaborative approach to keeping our neighborhoods safe.”

Since September 2011, 290 illegal dispensaries have been closed through enforcement action by the City Attorney’s Office.


Personnel Announcements

San Diego Art Institute Names Curator-in-Residence

Amanda Cachia

Amanda Cachia

Amanda Cachia, an independent curator from Sydney, Australia, has been named curator-in-residence at the San Diego Art Institute.

Cachia is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Art History, Theory & Criticism at the UC San Diego. She is a 2015-2016 UCSD Center for the Humanities Dissertation Writing Workshop Fellow, and her dissertation focuses on the ways in which phenomenology of disabled bodies informs a politics of space through various contemporary art practices.

Cachia has curated approximately 40 exhibitions over the last 15 years in various cities across the United States, England, Australia and Canada. Her critical writing has been published in numerous exhibition catalogues and art journals.

Cachia held the position director/curator of the Dunlop Art Gallery in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada from 2007-2010.


Regents Bank Hires Senior VP and Senior Relationship Manager

Hanaa Zahran

Hanaa Zahran

Regents Bank has hired Hanaa Zahran as senior vice president and senior relationship manager in the bank’s La Jolla office.

Zahran has worked extensively with firms in the technology and government sectors. She has worked at local offices of Bank of America/Merrill Lynch as a global treasury management adviser and senior vice president, as well as Union Bank of California and Silicon Valley Bank.

She is a Certified Treasury Professional with extensive background in global treasury management, advisory sales, business development and relationship management.

Zahran is involved with La Jolla Playhouse where she has served as a board member for nine years, also serving on the theater’s finance, investment and audit committees.

Zahran is originally from Alexandria, Egypt and earned her degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Alexandria.


Regen BioPharma President Expands Role

Regen BioPharma Inc. announced that Harry Lander, currently president of the company, is expanding his role to include serving as chief scientific officer. Regen also announced that five top researchers have agreed to serve on the company’s scientific advisory board. Those researchers are Francesco Marincola, M.D., Ralph Nachman, M.D., Stefano Bertuzzi, Ph.D., Helen Helen Sabzevari, Ph.D. and Lorraine Gudas, Ph.D.


James Dooley Joins Seltzer Caplan Firm

James Dooley

James Dooley

James Dooley has joined Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek as an associate in the firm’s family law practice.

Dooley is a certified specialist in family law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. His practice focuses on a personal counsel that guides clients to rewarding and cost-effective solutions. Dooley also has extensive family law litigation experience. He was named a Super Lawyers’ “Rising Star” in 2009-2011.

Prior to joining Seltzer Caplan, Dooley was an associate at Kolodny Law Group in Beverly Hills. He is also a U.S. Navy veteran.

Dooley received his J.D. from Southwestern University School of Law in 2003 and his B.A. from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 2001.




Most Innovative New Product Awards

Eight San Diego Companies Take Honors

Eight San Diego companies whose new products are “breathing new life into modern innovation” were introduced last night as winners of CONNECT’s 28th annual Most Innovative New Product Awards.

The competition, which begins each year in the spring and culminates in the awards ceremony in December, is the signature event at CONNECT that recognizes and lauds groundbreaking products released within the last 18 months from San Diego-based innovation companies. The winners were announced at a the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine.

“San Diego’s innovation economy is driven by hardworking companies who, day after day, continue to change the way the world operates. We at CONNECT are honored to recognize the products that alter the global landscape and continue to elevate and highlight the region as a top innovation destination nationwide,” said Greg McKee, president and CEO of CONNECT. “The 2015 Most Innovative New Product Awards shine a spotlight on those standout entrepreneurs whose ideas are breathing new life into modern innovation.”

The award winners faced a rigorous judging process before being selected from a pool of more than 100 nominations across eight categories: Aerospace, Security & Cyber Technologies, Cleantech, Communications & IT, Life Science Diagnostics & Research Tools, Mobile Apps, Pharmaceutical Drugs & Medical Devices, Software & Digital Media and Sport & Active Lifestyle Technologies.

The eight 2015 Most Innovative New Product Award winners:

Aerospace, Security & Cyber Technologies

Ocean Aero’s Submaran — Ocean Aero’s Submaran is an autonomous, hybrid surface and subsurface vessel that is changing how we observe our oceans. This unmanned vessel has the ability to perform long term data-gathering missions, survivable and undetected, without the need to refuel or recharge.


Q Factory 33’s B3 Bypass Device —  The B3 Bypass is a device that facilitates 625 percent increases in energy potential of solar, wind, stationary battery backup systems and electrical generators and enables 30 percent increases in conductivity, five-fold reductions in soft costs and elimination of expensive electrical upgrades.

Communications & IT                                   

Mushroom Network’s VOIP Armor — VOIP Armor is a “Voice over IP” gateway device that automatically heals and works around any network problems that otherwise negatively impact phone calls. You set it and forget it for crystal clear phone calls with unbreakable reliability for your business.

Life Science Diagnostics & Research Tools

CureMetrix’s CureMetrix —  An image analysis platform that quantifies the qualities of anomalies in images. As a first target, CureMetrix is focused on doing early and accurate detection of breast cancer in mammograms along with reducing unnecessary biopsies.

Mobile Apps

Chalk Digital’s Instant Mobile Ad Platform — Chalk Digital offers the only Do-It-Yourself advertising solution (portal and app) that builds locally targeted, affordable campaigns (with mobile optimized landing pages) within minutes. It offers businesses and consumers the ability to build, target and launch their own personal  advertisement in minutes that is displayed in thousands of mobile apps based on your location.

Pharmaceutical Drugs & Medical Devices

PureWick’s PureWick —   PureWick empowers women with safe and simple incontinence management in hospitals, in nursing facilities and at home. A non-invasive, disposable wick comfortably moves urine away from the body. PureWick offers a new standard of care without need for catheters or specialized nurses.

Software & Digital Media

Comhear’s MyBeam —   MyBeam is a single, portable, wireless 12-18-inch sound bar device that produces spatialized, localized, and binaural virtual surround sound. MyBeam delivers a fully immersive audio experience through a portable personal device that replaces headphones. The device commercializes a patent-pending algorithm that sends sound directly to your ears precisely the way your body was designed to receive it.

Sport & Active Lifestyle Technologies

Hush’s Hush Smart Earplugs —  Hush Smart Earplugs are the world’s first smart earplugs that help people sleep better in noisy environments. Combining a sound machine, earplugs, and smartphone connectivity, Hush allows you to drown out noises that keep you up at night, while simultaneously allowing you to hear the alerts and notifications you need.



Northrop Grumman’s RQ-4 Global Hawk

Wins the William W. Otterson Award

In addition to the eight companies honored for their outstanding new products, the William W. Otterson Award was awarded to the RQ-4 Global Hawk, developed by Northrop Grumman. The award is CONNECT’s highest honor given to technology or product that has demonstrated a significant impact on society and on our quality of life.

The RQ-4 Global Hawk is a high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aircraft system designed to provide military field commanders with comprehensive, near-real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, plus detection of moving targets over a large geographical area for battle management, targeting and situation awareness of enemy actions.

CONNECT Foundation Receives $230,000 Grant

JPMorgan Chase & Co. announced a major grant to the CONNECT Foundation. Brennon Crist, head of the JPMorgan Chase Middle Market Commercial banking team in San Diego,  presented a $230,000 check to CEO Greg McKee to support CONNECT in the development of small business clusters in San Diego. “Small and emerging companies are often where innovation and ideas happen,” said Crist. “Start-up accelerators like CONNECT are making a dramatic difference in the way small businesses work and how they succeed. We are delighted to support its work.”

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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: