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Daily Business Report-Jan. 19, 2017

Daily Business Report-Jan. 19, 2017

Drought Monitor: the red portion shows extreme drought area. (David Miskus, NOAA)

California Drought Continues

To Shrink, Federal Gov’t Says

The Mercury News

With major reservoirs nearly full, the Sierra Nevada snowpack well above average and flood warnings in place for some rivers, federal scientists on Thursday reported a continued weakening of California’s drought.

Overall, 44 percent of the state remains in severe drought or worse, down from 49 percent a week ago, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, a weekly study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. The improved area, roughly 5.1 million acres, or nearly seven times the size of Yosemite National Park, is mostly in the central Sierra Nevada, which has been hit with major snowstorms in recent weeks.

A year ago this week, the same report found that 86 percent of California was in severe drought or worse.

A stark difference remains between Northern and Southern California: 42 percent of the state is out of the drought entirely, the same percentage as last week. The areas no longer in a drought include nearly all of Northern California from the Bay Area to Oregon.

Read more…


Entrance to Sudberry Properties’ West Park at Civita.

Entrance to Sudberry Properties’ West Park at Civita.

San Diego Project Wins National

Award for Best Architectural

Design of Attached Community

Times of San Diego

A San Diego apartment development that has already picked up a slew of local architectural awards was judged the best in a national competition.

West Park at Civita received the gold award for “Best Architectural Design of an Attached Community” at a competition sponsored by the National Association of Home Builders. The award was presented at the home builders’ convention in Orlando, Fla. last week.

West Park was developed by Sudberry Properties for Civita, a 230-acre urban village in a former Mission Valley quarry.

The design and construction team consisted of architects Newman Garrison + Partners, landscape architects Lifescapes International, and general contractors Coyle Residential and Reno Contracting.

The 612-unit West Park community, which opened in 2015, offers apartments ranging from 546-square-foot, loft-style studios to 1,355-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath flats.

Amenities include a 22-seat theater with stadium seating, three saltwater pools, roof deck lounges, a dog washing station and a private park with a half-mile jogging trail. Monthly rents start at  $1,700.

“The combination of a beautiful resort-style environment and fun, engaging activities make for a real community,” said Colton Sudberry, president of Sudberry Properties. “We believe we have established a new benchmark for luxury apartment living in the San Diego region.”


 Scene from a zSpace video

Scene from a zSpace video

Catholic Girls School Launches

New Virtual Reality Technology

The Academy of Our Lady of Peace (OLP) has launched virtual reality technology in the classroom, allowing students to learn visually and interact with a catalogue of course material.

The school is the first all girls’ school in Southern California and the first school in San Diego County to embrace this new technology, called zSpace, named after the Sunnyvale, Calif. company that developed it. Using a virtual reality stylus and a computer, teachers and students, wearing special eyeglasses, can lift items off the screen and into the air, as if they are real, creating an interactive and collaborative learning experience.

The state-of-the-art VR technology has limitless applications in the classroom, allowing students to learn visually and interact with a vast catalog of course material ranging from anatomy, botany, ecosystems, physics, earth science and biochemistry to geography and history modules, according to OLP.

“Today, students are challenged to compete on a global scale and be adept at leveraging rapidly changing technologies,” said Dr. Lauren Lek, OLP head of school. “At OLP, we are thrilled to place these new tools in the hands of our remarkable students,”

Unlike other VR devices, zSpace offers a 3-D interactive learning experience across a variety of disciplines allowing students to go in-depth with learning in a way never before possible with traditional teaching methods. The system allows students to manipulate realistic 3-D images relating to the human body, animals and even mechanics. Wearing special glasses and using a stylus to manipulate 3-D graphics on the screen, students are afforded the ability to learn visually.

Fifteen new zSpace stations have been installed in a new zSpace learning lab on the OLP campus, a dedicated space for students to deepen their knowledge.


San Diego Employers Association hosts

37th Annual Employment Law Update

San Diego Employers Association’s annual Employment Law Update on Jan. 26 will provide the latest information related to rulings and legislative developments in California. Employers will learn how the latest legislative developments may affect their business and their employees.

Presenting attorneys include Christopher Olmsted with Ogletree Deakins, Richard Paul with Paul, Plevin, Sullivan and Connaughton, and Lonny Zilberman with Wilson Turner Kosmo.

The event will be from 8 a.m. to noon at Crowne Plaza San Diego (Hotel Circle North). Cost: $150 for SDEA members and $175 for nonmembers.  Register at


Fundamentals of HR Feb. 1

San Diego Employers Asociation’s Fundamentals of HR course on Feb.1 was designed for human resource professionals who are new to the field, management personnel with HR responsibilities, and small-business owners who need to obtain a more thorough understanding of the critical aspects of HR.  The course is led by HR industry professional Michelle Peard, SPHR-CA, and takes place from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the SDEA training center in Kearney Mesa. Cost: $190 for SDEA members and $240 for nonmembers. To learn more and to register, visit


Sempra Energy Executive Elected

Chair of Housing Commission Board

Sempra Energy Services Corporation executive Francisco “Frank” J. Urtasun, who has served for more than four years on the San Diego Housing Commission Board of Commissioners, was unanimously elected as chairman of the board for 2017. Urtasun was first appointed to the Board of Commissioners on Nov. 13, 2012. He was reappointed on March 25, 2015.


Personnel Announcements

Wilson Turner Kosmo Elects 3 New Partners

Robert Dixon

Robert Dixon

Daniel Gunning

Daniel Gunning

Marissa Lyftogt

Marissa Lyftogt

Wilson Turner Kosmo LLP has elected three new partners — Robert K. Dixon, Daniel C. Gunning and Marissa Lyftogt.

Dixon defends corporations in product liability, personal injury, consumer class action, and other complex litigation in both state and federal courts. His practice also includes defending so-called “junk fax,” “blast text,” robocalls, and Do-Not-Call class actions brought under the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Dixon represents clients from a variety of industries.

Gunning concentrates his practice on defending employers in discrimination, harassment and retaliation litigation and wage and hour class actions. Gunning has extensive experience in both state and federal courts, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, and the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement.

Lyftogt represents employers in all aspects of employment law, including defending against claims of harassment, retaliation, discrimination, failure to accommodate, wrongful termination and wage and hour class actions. She also has experience litigating matters in state and federal courts, in arbitration and representing employers before state and federal administrative agencies.


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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: