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Daily Business Report-April 20, 2016

Daily Business Report-April 20, 2016

Greenpeace campaigner searches for FADs on the Esperanza’s monkey nest. (Photo: Will Rose/Greenpeace)

Greenpeace Ship Targets Owner of San Diego’s

Chicken of the Sea for Destructive Fishing 

Greenpeace announced Tuesday that it has deployed its largest and fastest vessel to the Indian Ocean in a bid to disrupt the fishing operations of industrial tuna giant Thai Union, the company that owns San Diego-based Chicken of the Sea and supplies retailers including Walmart in the United States.

“The destructive fishing that happens in the Indian Ocean can’t be ignored by brands and retailers here in the United States,” said Greenpeace USA Oceans Campaign Director John Hocevar. “It is clear that Thai Union will do anything to make a dollar, including attempting to catch every last fish available and exploiting vulnerable workers at sea.”

Over the coming weeks, the Greenpeace ship Esperanza will remove destructive fishing gear including Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) from fishing operations in the Indian Ocean that supply Thai Union. FADs attract tuna, along with a host of marine life including threatened sharks and juvenile tuna, which are then all scooped up in massive fishing nets.

In the first operation of its kind, Greenpeace has already removed and disabled a FAD in Thai Union’s supply chain and said it will continue to remove more in a effort scheduled to last for many weeks.

Thai Union has been rocked by repeated links to human rights abuses in its supply chains as well as destructive fishing practices, according to Greenpeace. The use of FADs by companies like Thai Union is a serious driver of overfishing. Some tuna stocks in the Indian Ocean, such as Yellowfin, are on the brink of collapse due to overfishing.

“Hundreds of thousands of people around the world have already called on Thai Union to clean up its act,” said François Chartier, oceans campaigner at Greenpeace France. “The company has heard that call and while it’s taken small steps in the right direction, Thai Union’s written promises are barely papering the cracks of its fractured image.”

Greenpeace’s campaign, launched in October 2015, has called on Thai Union to stop using FADs and ensure its entire global supply chain is free from human rights abuses.

“The tide is turning on companies who think they can continue plundering the oceans and turning a blind eye to exploitation in their supply chains,” Chartier said. “People want to know that the tuna they’re buying doesn’t come at the expense of the oceans and those who work on them. If Thai Union doesn’t want to clean up the dirty tuna in its supply chains, then we are going to do it for them by taking action from sea to shelf.”


General Atomics’ Ikhana UAS (NASA photo)

General Atomics’ Ikhana UAS (NASA photo)

General Atomics’ Ikhana Drone

To be Used in Test by NASA

NASA plans to demonstrate detect-and-avoid platforms onboard a General Atomics-built Ikhana unmanned aerial system by end of April in support of the Federal Aviation Administration’s efforts to develop policies on the integration of UAS with the national airspace system.

The planned demonstration will run through June at the space agency’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California and will be the fourth in a series of tests under FAA’s airspace integration program, the space agency said Friday.

Ikhana will go through 15 test flights that will involve at least 270 encounters with several “intruder” aircraft such as Beechcraft B200 King Air, TG-14, T-34C and C90 King Air.

The agency will also collaborate with Honeywell International and the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics’ special committee for the flight demonstration.

“This flight test plan coordinates the DAA systems, intruder aircraft equipment and speeds, design of encounter geometries, and the number of intruder aircraft needed to conduct the encounter in order to meet NASA’s and the community’s requirements,” said Heather Maliska, UAS-NAS deputy project manager at Armstrong.

Beth Stevenson also reported for Flightglobal that Ikhana contains a Honeywell-built collision avoidance tool and software.

NASA completed the third round of tests for the program in September 2015.

San Diego Naval Facility Cleared

To Test Specimens for Zika Virus

The Naval Health Research Center in San Diego has been cleared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to test clinical specimens for Zika virus.

NHRC is one of six laboratories in California that are authorized to use the Trioplex Real-time RT-PCR Assay, a new test developed by the CDC, to detect Zika virus. 
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration allows the CDC’s test to be distributed to qualified laboratories.

“Having the ability to test for Zika virus means that we can support expediting the diagnosis of this dangerous disease,” said Dr. Christopher Myers, department head for biosurveillance at the Naval Health Research Center. “It also provides support to our local military and civilian hospitals that evaluate patients with travel histories to affected areas, such as Southeast Asia and South America.”

The test is not available in local hospitals and clinics, but samples from patients who meet the CDC Zika clinical and epidemiological criteria will be referred to laboratories designated by the CDC. The Trioplex rRT-PCR also tests for the dengue and chikungunya viruses, whose early symptoms resemble Zika, and will enable health care professionals to determine which, if any, of these infections a patient has using one test.


San Diego Ranked 6th in Top

Vegan-Friendly Cities in U.S.

By City News Service

Rice crepe with daikon cake and kimchi tacos. (Credit: Yesica/Flickr)

Rice crepe with daikon cake and kimchi tacos. (Credit: Yesica/Flickr)

San Diego ranks sixth on a list of vegan-friendly cities released Tuesday by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

It’s the first time San Diego has appeared in PETA’s top 10 ranking.

“Whether you’re looking for lasagne romagnola made with seitan or a soy chorizo quesadilla packed with melty dairy-free cheese, San Diego has the restaurant for you,” said PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman.

“San Diego is making a triumphant debut on PETA’s list thanks to vibrant and delicious cuisine that’s kind to animals, the environment and diners’ health alike,” Reiman said.

PETA noted that San Diego is consistently named as one of the healthiest cities in the country and is the home of numerous triathletes.

Portland, Oregon, topped the annual rankings, followed by Los Angeles, New York, Detroit and Nashville.


Directional sign along Interstate 15

Directional sign along Interstate 15

SANDAG Activating System to Steer

Motorists Around Major I-15 Incidents

Officials from SANDAG and Caltrans are activating the final piece of a system designed to guide motorists around major incidents when they occur along the Interstate 15 corridor, providing travel choices and improving travel-time reliability.

The Integrated Corridor Management (ICM) project will use a system of electronic freeway signs, 40 specially-designated alternate route signs, and coordinated traffic signal and ramp meters to give motorists the option of circumventing major incidents that occur on the freeway.

The system –which covers a 20-mile stretch of I-15, from just north of State Route 52 in San Diego to SR 78 in Escondido –is scheduled to activate its coordinated alternate route technology on Thursday.

After that, when an incident occurs that may result in significant backup, motorists will see a message appearing on the electronic freeway signs. This message will offer additional route options for commuters to get off the freeway and onto a specific alternate route, designated by signs labeled A through W.

“For example, an electronic freeway sign might tell drivers to exit at Carmel Mountain Road and follow the signs labeled F,” said Ray Traynor, SANDAG’s director of operations. “By following those signs, drivers will find traffic lights are coordinated along that route to get them back on to the I-15 as quickly as possible.”


SeaWorld Drops Lawsuit

Against State Over Breeding Ban

By City News Service

The operator of SeaWorld San Diego announced Tuesday that it will drop a lawsuit that challenged the authority of the California Coastal Commission to regulate animal welfare issues.

The commission in October approved a project to expand orca tanks at the San Diego theme park, but only under the condition that the practice of breeding killer whales be stopped.

SeaWorld executives called the condition an overreach and contended that animal welfare is governed by federal and state laws that do not fall within the jurisdiction of the commission’s board.

However, the company announced last month that it would no longer breed its orcas or pursue the tank expansion project.

In a letter sent to the commission on Monday, SeaWorld officially withdrew its coastal development permit for the expansion and said the legal action was no longer warranted.

“SeaWorld counsel soon will contact Coastal Commission counsel to discuss dismissal of the pending litigation,” the letter said.

SeaWorld has been under strong pressure in recent years from animal rights advocates and their political supporters to reform how its marine mammals are handled.

Included in last month’s announcement was the formation of a partnership with the Humane Society of the United States to educate visitors about animal welfare and conservation issues through programs at the parks and expanded advocacy for whales, seals and other marine creatures in the wild.


Council Overturns Airport Authority

Rejection of Restaurant Project

By City News Service

A restaurant project in Little Italy that ran afoul of the agency that operates Lindbergh Field received a final go-ahead Tuesday from the San Diego City Council.

Late Mornings Inc. wants to renovate a onetime camera shop at 1909 India St. and reopen it as a restaurant called Born & Raised.

The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority ruled in October that the project was inconsistent with the Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan, which sets guidelines for development under flight paths near San Diego’s international airport.

According to a staff report, the objection was that Born & Raised would attract far more customers than the old camera store did, increasing what’s known as a property’s population intensity.

Proponents of the project contended at previous hearings that the Little Italy neighborhood is loaded with crowded restaurants and similar establishments. And, while the address is within the area covered by the land- use restrictions, it isn’t close to where aircraft actually fly, supporters said.

The City Council is required to hold two public hearings to overrule an airport land-use decision. The first hearing was held about six weeks ago and ended with an 8-1 vote to propose the override.

City staff subsequently notified the Airport Authority and the Caltrans Division of Aeronautics.

The Airport Authority didn’t respond, but according to a staff report, Caltrans sent a letter that signaled its backing of the original decision to deny the project, concluding that the city doesn’t have sufficient evidence to overrule it.

“The use that’s being proposed there I think is completely compatible not only with that community, but also the safety of the surrounding vicinity,” said Councilman Todd Gloria, who represents the area. “I think it is notable that the Airport Authority did not send a letter like the Department of Transportation did.”

He said the developers just had to work through a “bureaucratic quirk.”

The project was supported by the City Council 6-1 on its required second vote, with council President Sherri Lightner again dissenting.

Councilman David Alvarez, who is part of a trade delegation in Mexico City with Mayor Kevin Faulconer, and Councilwoman Marti Emerald were absent.


San Diego State Announces

2016 Honorary Doctorates

San Diego State University will award honorary doctorate degrees to two San Diegans — health care executive Susan Salka and engineering entrepreneur Irwin Zahn — during commencement events on May 13 and 14.

Susan Salka

Susan Salka

Irwin Zahn

Irwin Zahn

Salka, president and CEO of AMN Healthcare, is known among her corporate peers and fellow Aztec alumni as an energetic, innovative and forward-thinking leader.

During her 26-year tenure, Salka has guided AMN Healthcare’s expansion through the acquisition of more than 20 companies and led the industry into a new era of technology-based services for workforce management.

She also serves as a role model to public companies that are leveraging people and resources to impact local and global communities. With her direction, San Diego-based AMN Healthcare has supported such nonprofit organizations as the Ronald McDonald House, Father Joe’s Villages, Make-A-Wish Foundation and HELPS international.

Salka’s executive leadership and philanthropic contributions to SDSU and the greater community will be recognized with an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from SDSU’s College of Business Administration during a private reception on Friday, May 13.

Zahn is celebrated in the SDSU community for his endless support of entrepreneurship and tireless efforts fostering innovation.

In 2012, Zahn gave the SDSU College of Engineering $700,000 to create an on-campus business incubator for SDSU students to nurture and hatch their fledgling ideas into revenue-generating endeavors.

Three years later, SDSU received a $5.1 million gift from Zahn’s private foundation to further strengthen the university’s capacity to inspire and support students, staff and faculty to find bold and innovative solutions to global challenges in the 21st century.

The local businessman and international philanthropist believes strongly that the combination of hard work and entrepreneurship is a great model for success. He founded General Staple Company in 1954 in the garment district of New York City. His initial jean-zipper concept grew into a global electronic interconnect company, later named Autosplice Inc., that eventually relocated to San Diego.

In recognition of his accomplishments as a visionary businessman and champion of higher education, SDSU’s College of Engineering will confer upon Zahn the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters during commencement ceremonies at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 14.


Sailors Brenda Taylor, left and Shelby Woodson, both assigned to the USS Carl Vinson, remove hinges from a door at ReStore in Mission Valley. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Zackary Alan Landers)

Sailors Brenda Taylor, left, and Shelby Woodson, both assigned to the USS Carl Vinson, remove hinges from a door at ReStore in Mission Valley. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Zackary Alan Landers)

Sailors from USS Carl Vinson

Help Restore Furniture at ReStore

USS Carl Vinson Sailors participated in a community relations event at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore Home Improvement Center in Mission Valley on Saturday.

During the event the volunteers helped organize materials, assisted customers and performed restorations on used furniture.

”If we didn’t have volunteers we wouldn’t be able to get a lot of this work done,” said Delinda Fugere, the ReStore volunteer coordinator. “The work the volunteers did was priceless.”

Fugere also said military volunteers are especially appreciated for their can-do attitudes and desire to get work done. 

Master-at-Arms 3rd Class Shelby Woodson, the event’s organizer, said volunteering at the ReStore location was an opportunity to see another aspect of Habitat for Humanity’s work. 

”Things like this are a great way to give back to the community,” said Woodson. “It’s good for the ship and for the Department of the Navy. It’s a humbling experience to help others in need.”

ReStore’s mission is to sell new and used furniture and home improvement supplies to the public at a fraction of the retail price.

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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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