Daily Business Report-June 14, 2016
Comparison of the relative sizes of several Kepler circumbinary planets, from the smallest, Kepler-47 b, to the largest, Kepler-1647 b. Kepler-1647 b is substantially larger than any of the previously known circumbinary planets. (Credit: Lynette Cook)
SDSU Astronomers Find Distant
Planet Orbiting Two Stars
If you cast your eyes toward the constellation Cygnus, you’ll be looking in the direction of the largest planet yet discovered around a double-star system.
It’s too faint to see with the naked eye, but a team led by astronomers from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and San Diego State University used the Kepler Space Telescope to identify the new planet, Kepler-1647 b. The discovery was announced today in San Diego, at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society.
Planets that orbit two stars are called circumbinary planets, or sometimes “Tatooine” planets, after Luke Skywalker’s homeland in “Star Wars.” Using NASA’s Kepler telescope, astronomers look for slight dips in brightness that hint a planet might be transiting in front of a star, blocking some of the star’s light.
“But finding circumbinary planets is much harder than finding planets around single stars,” said SDSU astronomer William Welsh, one of the paper’s coauthors. “The transits are not regularly spaced in time and they can vary in duration and even depth.”
USS Carl Vinson Conducts
MV-22 Osprey Flight Operations
In preparation for the planned replacement of the C-2 Greyhound cargo aircraft, the San Diego-based USS Carl Vinson received a V-22 Osprey from Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron 1 for landings and takeoffs on June 12.
The V-22 is being tested and evaluated as it is scheduled to become the singular logistics platform on an aircraft carrier for future carrier on-board delivery operations.
“These operations present an opportunity for our flight crews to gain experience landing on an aircraft carrier as opposed to landing on an amphibious ship,” said Marine Corps Lt. Col. Brett Hart, VMX-1 executive officer. “It allows us to become accustomed to a different set of operating procedures, and additionally allows Air Department Sailors on board Carl Vinson to become accustomed to landing and handling tilt rotor aircraft.”
Since the Osprey is still a new platform for aircraft carriers, there were some things the flight deck crew had to be mindful of.
The operation proved to be a valuable training opportunity for Carl Vinson sailors on the flight deck.
“As we phase out the C-2s and start implementing the V-22s during this evaluation phase, this is the first time our sailors have had a chance to directly deal with a new aircraft,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Trell Matthias, an aircraft director. “Aside from the increased prop exhaust, I thought it was almost the same as landing a helicopter.”
Carl Vinson is currently underway conducting command assessment of readiness and training off the coast of Southern California.
Community College District Gets $1.25M
In Grants to Bolster Workforce Training
The San Diego Community College District is receiving nearly $1.25 million in state grants to build upon successful job training and workforce preparedness programs at San Diego City and San Diego Miramar colleges that are critical to growing the economy and putting people to work.
The Board of Trustees voted unanimously on June 9 to accept the awards, which are provided through the statewide Doing What Matters for Jobs and the Economy program. The program is run by the California Community Colleges’ Division of Economic and Workforce Development. Grants are directed toward specific industry sectors that have been deemed priorities in San Diego and Imperial counties.
The new grant funding will complement efforts already underway and add to the $3.24 million the district has received through the program.
• Two grants totaling $572,500 for a comprehensive San Diego Miramar College-led program supporting the region’s Life Sciences/Biotechnology sector.
• Two grants totaling $572,500 for a San Diego Miramar College-led effort in the field of Advanced Transportation and Renewables, which focuses on an array of clean energy technologies aimed at growing a greener economy.
• A $100,000 grant for a San Diego City College-led effort in Information, Communication Technologies/Digital Media, enabling the college to continue working with industry to bolster computer skills for administrative assistants, information clerks, and other office workers.
San Diego Workforce Partnership and
Zero8Hundred Get $150,000 for Veterans
The San Diego Workforce Partnership (SDWP) and Zero8Hundred — a local community-based nonprofit organization that specializes in a continuum of care for transitioning veterans by offering services before release within military installations and within the community after release — were recently awarded $150,000 from the California Workforce Investment Board and the Labor and Workforce Development Agency’s Workforce Acceleration Fund to help address transition in a new idea called the Veteran’s Individual Placement and Support Project.
SDWP oversees a network of 15 America’s Job Centers of California that serve 20,000 unique visitors annually across the county. While SDWP is looked to as the regional expert in workforce development, many veterans require a more time-intensive, holistic approach involving personalized attention and “wraparound services.” Zero8Hundred does exactly that, serving transitioning veterans and their families by providing strong programs in supportive services, health care, counseling, housing, education and other basic needs.
Listen to Our Veterans Project
The Listen to Our Veterans Project, a first-of-its-kind digital listening campaign, is designed to quickly give veterans and interested citizens the opportunity to share their feedback on the various veteran programs/services available. The entire process can take less than a minute.
The Listen to Our Veterans project was established by a group of veterans, media, business and technology organizations with the goal of providing veterans and other interested parties an easy way to share their experiences and opinions, and ultimately aggregate that feedback into large-scale usable insights that can be sed for good.
The project is brought to you by Donovan’s Steak and Chop House, NBC7 in San Diego and HundredX’s Expressit.
Your responses will provide stories and valuable data on the effectiveness of current programs supporting our veterans today. Thanks for taking the time to participate in this important initiative.
City Council Approves $3 Billion Budget;
Road Repairs and Infrastructure Emphasized
By City News Service
The San Diego City Council on Monday unanimously approved a $3.3 billion budget for the city of San Diego’s upcoming fiscal year that emphasizes road repairs and infrastructure.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer today is scheduled to sign into law the spending plan, which also includes more funding for recruiting and retaining police officers, dispatchers, firefighters and lifeguards; adds hours at some recreation centers; and boosts support for arts and culture programs.
The budget contains funding to add a second weekly trash pickup during the summer in Mission Beach to address an annual fly infestation, and $1.5 million to fix up the dilapidated former Navy Hospital Library building and $1.35 million to repair the Botanical Building, both in Balboa Park.
Renovating the library building will allow 50 Parks & Recreation Department Open Space employees to move from the downtown City Administration Building to Balboa Park, and let city workers currently housed in leased office space to move back to City Hall — saving at least $175,000 in annual rent payments, according to a report by the city’s Independent Budget Analyst.
The 102-year-old Botanical Building has been in line for restoration for several years. The IBA noted that the Balboa Park Conservancy has raised $500,000 toward the project, leaving an $850,000 funding gap on work projected to cost $2.7 million.
“The conservancy is committed to having the balance of the funding raised very soon, but they do not have this funding in hand at the moment and are looking for the city’s commitment in funding to leverage additional philanthropic dollars to complete this very important project,” said Councilman Todd Gloria, who represents Balboa Park and chairs the council’s Budget Committee.
The council approved his plan to have the city’s portion of funding come from an upcoming capital projects bond.
“With the City Council’s approval of my third budget, we’re continuing to make significant investments in San Diego’s neighborhoods and building a better future for all residents,” Faulconer said. “And, for the second year in a row, the City Council took the rare step of unanimously approving my budget proposal with minor amendments that I will support.”
The council members also approved new contracts with four of the city’s six public employee unions, which represent firefighters, lifeguards, deputy city attorneys and technical workers.
The deals include raises of 3.3 percent in the last two years of the four-year deals — except for the city’s lawyers, who agreed to a three-year contract.
In general, they also provide increases to discretionary, bereavement and parental leave benefits and reimbursements for downtown parking.
City Council President Sherri Lightner said the employees have sacrificed a lot in the years since the recession, when they had to take pay cuts to keep the city financially afloat.
“I’m grateful to all of you who stayed with the city — we truly appreciate what you do and we thank you for sticking it out,” Lightner said. “I hope the city can continue to increase employee compensation to a level you all deserve and have earned.”
Firefighters received extra healthcare benefits, while lifeguards handing specialty assignments will get bonus pay.
Combined, the deals will cost the city around $51 million over four years, according to staff.
National Pen Co. Names New CEO
San Diego-based National Pen Company has named Peter Kelly as CEO, replacing Dave Thompson, who remains chairman of the board.
Since 2009, Kelly served as senior vice president and managing director of National Pen Company’s European operations. He has nearly two decades of executive-level experience in sales, supply chain, sourcing, operations and manufacturing.
Prior to joining National Pen Company, he served in senior leadership capacities for Ulster Weavers Apparel Ltd., Lamont Holdings Plc, Ulster Carpet Mills Ltd and other organizations.
Under Thompson, National Pen has grown from $165 million in 2009 to $300 million in 2016. It serves more than 1.5 million small businesses in 28 countries around the world with promotional products.
Kelly will be based in National Pen Company’s San Diego headquarters.