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Daily Business Report-Dec. 19, 2017

Gannett Spinoff to Acquire KFMB-TV and

Other Midwest Television Broadcast Stations

TEGNA, a spinoff of media giant Gannett, is acquiring Midwest Television Inc.’s broadcasting stations in San Diego for $325 million in cash, the companies announced Monday. TEGNA will get KFMB-TV, the CBS affiliated station in San Diego, KFMB-D2 (CW) and radio broadcast stations KFMB-AM and KFMB-FM in San Diego.

KFMB-TV is the long-standing market leader in San Diego.

KFMB-TV is the long-standing market leader in San Diego.

“This is a marriage of two great broadcasting cultures. We have long admired our dedicated colleagues in San Diego and look forward to continuing the stations’ high-quality journalism, editorial independence and commitment to their local community,” said Dave Lougee, president and CEO of TEGNA. “We have a proven ability to be a strategic and disciplined consolidator with a track record of acquiring profitable businesses at an attractive, accretive valuation.”

Said Elisabeth Kimmel, Midwest Television’s president and owner, “This transaction is a testament to the outstanding value our employees have created serving the San Diego community. Having owned these properties for over 55 years, our family believed it imperative to find an excellent steward for television and radio stations that the community has embraced as part of the fabric of San Diego.”

San Diego is the 29th largest U.S. TV market with 1.1 million households and the 17th largest radio market. According to the companies’ announcement, KFMB-TV is the long-standing market leader in San Diego, leading the market in audience ratings and share across all demographics and is No. 1 in news across all major time slots.


Spain’s Raúl Prieto Ramírez Hired

as New San Diego Civic Organist

Spain’s Raúl Prieto Ramírez has been selected as the new San Diego civic organist and as the artistic director for the nonprofit Spreckels Organ Society.

His debut concert here in his new role will take place Jan. 7 at 2 p.m. at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park, where he will perform most Sundays. Admission to all concerts is free.

Internationally acclaimed for his performances and recordings, Ramírez is the founder and artistic director of the Barcelona-Mataró International Organ Festival. He is replacing Carol Williams, who spent 15 years in her position here before moving to Virginia last fall. — San Diego Union-Tribune

Read more…


Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa Pioneers New

Food Waste Disposal Process in San Diego

In an effort to divert food waste from local landfills, Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa is enhancing its sustainability efforts by pioneering the city’s only Organic Refuse Conversion Alternative (ORCA) “digester” machine from Totally Green.

The La Jolla hotel will gather all food waste from its four dining venues and kitchen to go into the on-property machine, which can “digest” up to 50 pounds of food waste per hour. ORCA’s technology breaks down waste through aerobic digestion — a combination of microorganism solution and recycled bio chips — to turn it into an earth-friendly water that flows directly into the sewage system.

The ORCA machine is equipped with a diversion counter that tracks the amount of waste fed into the machine instead of landfills. Estancia La Jolla anticipates diverting approximately 90,000 pounds of waste per year from local landfills with the assistance of the ORCA.

“Having the ORCA on site allows our team to be self-sufficient when it comes to sustainable food waste disposal, and it reduces the emissions caused by trucking food waste to landfill sites,” said Danny Fancher, director of food and beverage at Estancia La Jolla. “The ORCA complements our current involvement with Feeding San Diego, where we donate food that’s been prepared but not served, such as extra food made for buffets that stays warm in the kitchen.”


Willows Hotel & Spa Signature Queen Suite. (Courtesy of Viejas Casino & Resort)

Willows Hotel & Spa Signature Queen Suite. (Courtesy of Viejas Casino & Resort)

Viejas Casino & Resort to Open

New Luxury Tower in February

The Viejas Casino & Resort in Alpine will open a new luxury tower in February 2018 as the third phase of its latest development plans. The newly unveiled tower Willows Hotel & Spa is designed as a resort within a resort, where a holistic approach to the guest experience will be customized to promote wellness. The 159 all-suite tower will be an adults-only retreat featuring a new saltwater pool; a spa, salon, and fitness center; and three new restaurant concepts.

The luxury tower will feature Specialized Stay Packages, which eliminates the standard check in and check out times, and allows guests to arrive at their leisure, and check out later, per day of reservation.
Three new restaurant concepts will feature fresh, gourmet international food offerings. Locale Kitchen and Lounge, the signature eatery with farm-to-table California inspired cuisine, will serve lunch and dinner before turning into a nighttime hotspot. Ginger Noodle Bar will offer classic and contemporary Asian fare, while The Daily Roast will feature Starbucks products and serve the grab-and-go needs of guests.


New $555 Million Central Courthouse

Finally Opens to Public Downtown

City News Service and Wire Reports

The public opening of the $555.5 million Downtown San Diego Central Courthouse is finally happening, after months of delays.

Doors to the 704,000-square-foot building opened Monday morning. Family law and probate courtrooms will be ready for public use, but the remaining departments and courtrooms are scheduled to move from the old location after the New Year.

The new 22-story structure at the corner of Union and West C streets, which had been set to open to the public July 17, will replace the San Diego County Courthouse and consolidate Criminal, Family and Probate Court facilities that were previously situated in different locations.

During the transition period, courts are expected to operate as usual.

The July 17 opening was delayed because 1,100 smoke dampers  in the stucture had to be re-tested and re-programmed.

The old San Diego County Courthouse and old jail buildings will have new uses. The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted Dec. 12 to accept bids from two developers that made proposals to convert the buildings into residential, commercial or industrial use.

The bids were submitted by Holland Partner Group and Courthouse Commons LLC. Their plans will be vetted by staff, with a winning proposal to go back to the supervisors for consideration at a later time.

The old courthouse will be empty once judicial operations are completely moved to the new location.


Michelle Fischthal speaks at the grand opening of San Diego Continuing Education’s North City campus in San Diego.

Michelle Fischthal speaks at the grand opening of San Diego Continuing Education’s North City campus in San Diego.

Michelle Fischthal Named VP of Instruction

at San Diego Continuing Education

Michelle Fischthal will serve as the vice president of instruction at San Diego Continuing Education (SDCE), effective Feb. 1, 2018, pending approval by the San Diego Community College District Board of Trustees in January.

The vice president of instruction represents San Diego Continuing Education at the local, state, and national levels in organizations and activities that improve, promote, and publicize instructional and instructional support programs, and plans and evaluates the curriculum and instructional programs.

Fischthal has most recently been serving SDCE as the dean of institutional effectiveness, when she coauthored a 2017 Mertes award-winning project with Turner Cortez, “The Past, Present and Future of Noncredit Education in California Community Colleges.” Previous to this position, she was SDCE’s dean of business and information technology where, under her leadership, faculty doubled the number of programs offered in less than three years.

Currently working toward a DBA (Doctorate of Business Administration), from California Southern University, Fischthal has previously earned an M.A. in Higher Education Leadership from the University of San Diego, a Bachelor’s degree in music from The City University of New York, Queens College.


New Study Sheds Light on Brain

Changes in Cocaine Addiction

An international team of scientists that included investigators at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) has uncovered a phenomenon in the brain that may fuel the shift from moderate cocaine use to compulsive cocaine use and addiction. The research explains how an imbalance in the activity of different populations of brain cells can increase the urge to take drugs.

Read more…


Cabrillo National Monument

Entrance Fees to Increase

Cabrillo National Monument will be increasing the daily park entrance fee on Jan. 1, 2018 for non-commercial vehicles. The commercial vehicle fees are not changing.  The new rates for vehicles will be $15 per vehicle (good for everyone in the vehicle,) walk-ins/bicyclists $7 per person and motorcycles will be $10. Entrance fees are valid for seven days. The annual Cabrillo Park Pass will be $30. The National Park Service began collecting entrance fees at Cabrillo in 1987. This is only the second increase in 31 years.


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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.

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?

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