Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Copart opens third Virginia yard

Wednesday, November 26, 2008 - 1:42 PM PST Modified: Wednesday, November 26, 2008 - 1:46 PM
Copart opens third Virginia yard
San Francisco Business Times - by Albert C. Pacciorini

Auto salvage giant Copart Inc. has opened its second yard near Richmond, Va. and its third in the state.

The 44-acre site, located just east of Richmond in the city of Sandstone, will serve the growing Richmond area market and decrease cycle times and reduce storage and fuel costs for customers, Copart CEO and founder Willis Johnson said in a statement.

Copart, founded in 1982, operates 145 locations in North America and the U.K. It had 2007 revenue of $748 million and employs 2,500.

The Fairfield company (NASDAQ: CPRT) acts as a middleman, auctioning vehicles for the public and business for parts and reuse to dismantlers, rebuilders, used vehicle dealers and exporters through daily online auctions.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

November 2008

Table of Contents
- Real Estate Roundup (October 2008)
- Solano County 2008 Index of Economic & Community Progress
- Did you know?

Real Estate Roundup (October 2008)

- 531 Getty Court, Suite D, Benicia – 11,520 sf lease to Instrument & Valve Services Company
- 2148 Beechcraft Drive, Vacaville – 5,700 sf lease to Square D Company

Colliers International (
- 6350 Goodyear Road, Benicia – 35,790 sf lease to HD Supply, Inc.
- 6550 Goodyear Road, Benicia – 21,800 sf lease renewal to Blower Dempsey Corp.
- 6860 Goodyear Road, Benicia – 15,808 sf lease renewal to Interstate Electric Co
- 531-D Getty Court, Benicia – 11,520 sf lease renewal to Instrument & Valve Services
- 4767 Mangels Blvd, Fairfield – 1,441 sf industrial condo sale to Prabhjeet Grewal

Cornish & Carey (
- 685 Stone Road, Benicia – 18,000sf – sale to 685 Stone Road, Llc
- 2487 Courage Drive, Fairfield – 21,169 sf – sale to Enoplastic S.P.A.
- 5130 Stone Road, Benicia – 17,386 – lease to Bay–Tec Engineering

Cushman & Wakefield (
- 5130 Fulton Drive, Fairfield – 14,876 sf leased to Bay-Tec Engineering.
- 299 Campus Ct, Fairfield – 8,500 sf lease to Syndero

Grubb & Ellis (
- 2300 Boynton, Fairfield – 7,778 sf lease to SEIU
- 2850 Cordelia Road, Fairfield – 1,740 lease to Bay Area Intermodal

Archer & Ficklin (
- Downtown Dixon (1st, 2nd & B Streets) – 31,960 sf sale to Dixon Public Library District


Solano’s business, government and community leaders
get first look at long range economic studies

Business, government and community leaders gathered last week in Fairfield to receive initial findings of the long range economic development research project, funded by the Solano Economic Development Corporation in partnership with the Solano County Board of Supervisors.

Phase One of the study captured key economic and community trends that provide essential information to help position Solano County for continued growth in specific industry clusters.

The Index Study was presented at Solano Economic Summit 4. It measures the strength of the Solano County economy and the health of the community through key indicators which reflect fundamentals about long term regional health. Through these indicators it is possible to statistically reflect interests and concerns of the community and utilize these indicators for long range planning.

Sandy Person, EDC vice president, said that the Index represents a detailed thorough report of critical data –now available in one publication.

“This research tool simply means we can now access critical information quickly,” Person said. “Now, business, government, educational and community leaders can get the information they need in decision making. And, it will be easy to keep this Index updated annually.”

The Index will now serve as the basis for future studies by the research firm – Collaborative Economics. Doug Helton of the firm said the data gathered in the Index Study will guide the specific studies of industry clusters. The first cluster under study is life sciences.

“With Solano County now ranked in the top 10 nationally, it is imperative we study this area for guidance on how we can continue to take advantage of our potential,” Michael Ammann, president of EDC said. “The cluster study in this area should help decision makers focus their efforts to attract and maintain firms ion the bio sciences.”

Findings of the Index study showed:
--Solano County is producing growing revenues, incomes, jobs and firms.
--The county is more diversified and has both a larger youth and older population.
--Incomes are rising.
--Youth are healthier, but fewer are prepared for higher education.
--Crime rates have declined, but there is a recent spike.
--High home prices are dropping significantly.

Ammann said that the Index Study “…confirms what we have assumed –we are in good position for continued growth, but must overcome the current challenges of a poor national economy.

“In the coming months we help to maintain effective collaborations in our County and region that will position Solano County for the next growth opportunities.

“Locally we must all work together to improve our educational opportunities for our young people in Solano County. We need to reduce our school dropout rates, find ways to increase our classroom capabilities and look at job training for our residents.”

The Summit was sponsored by: Solano County, City and County Coordinating Council, Solano EDC, Solano Transportation Authority and the Solano County Office of Education.

The entire Solano County Index of Economic and Community Progress can be found at:


Did you know?

California ranked sixth among states in the number of turkeys raised in 2008, at 15.1 million. Yet Californians consume more turkey than residents of any other state.

What is the most popular form of eating turkey?
- Soup
- Sandwich
- Pot Pie
- Roasted
Answer: Sandwich, what else would you do with all of the turkey leftovers.

The Solano Economic Development Corporation’s mission is to enhance the economic vitality
and quality of life in Solano County communities through the attraction,
growth and retention of business and industry.

Solano EDC Team

Mike Ammann, President (
Sandy Person, Vice-President (
Pat Uhrich, Office Manager (
Andy Turba, Special Projects (

Solano Economic Development Corporation
360 Campus Lane, Suite 102, Fairfield, CA 94534
Phone: (707) 864-1855 Fax: (707) 864-6621

Monday, November 24, 2008

UC Davis Ranks in Top 10 University Startup Communities

UC Davis Ranks in Top 10 University Startup Communities

UC Davis' entrepreneurial community has ranked 10th in YouNoodle's first-ever list of the Top 10 University Startup Communities. You can view the list by clicking here.

> How is the list created?
YouNoodle has designed an algorithm to calculate each university's significance as a startup community. Significance is determined by factors including the number and quality of the startups in the university, activity of its groups, business plan competitions, availability of talent and investment in the area, and the success of past startups.

> Who uses the list?
More than 100 top journalists covering technology and culture are on YouNoodle to find the hottest startups. Many of the startups featured are discovered through groups. Since June 2008, YouNoodle has helped more than 20 startups get their first major national media coverage. Many startups have found funding through YouNoodle as well.

> What does this mean for the Big Bang?
We have come a long way - we are now at 105 members (compared to #1 Stanford's 5,614 members) - but we have a long way to go! Only 10% of those who subscribe to our newsletter are YouNoodle members. Our goal is to improve that number to at least 50%. By building up our YouNoodle entrepreneurial community, we are building up a network of resources for our members and startups.

At the beginning of 2009, the rankings will be re-calculated and we will want to ensure that UC Davis is still in the top 10! So join YouNoodle today and add your startup/business idea.

Solano County study lays out economic challenges, in-out commute patterns

Solano County study lays out economic challenges, in-out commute patterns
Monday, November 24, 2008

FAIRFIELD – Napa County employers rely on nearly 11,000 commuters from Solano County, where economic development and political leaders are committing themselves to creating more high-paying jobs and reversing alarming education statistics on the next generation of workers.

The data is part of a new report that demonstrates the interdependence between the entire Bay Area and Solano County. Traditionally a bedroom community for Sacramento and the Bay Area, the report demonstrates somewhat of a shift in that role as Solano has become home to major life sciences and other industries.

For instance, there were more than nine jobs for every 10 homes in the county in 2006, the latest U.S. Census Bureau figures available in the 48-page report prepared for the Solano Economic Development Corp., or SEDCORP. The report prepared by Collaborative Economics of Mountain View is the county’s first economic index, paid for under a three-year, $484,500 contract from the county of Solano, and intended to provide a long-term strategy for sustaining more high-paying jobs in the county.

That ratio is an improvement over the 10 years of data analyzed in the economic index, but it lags the jobs-housing ratios for the other eight Bay Area counties, which was 13 jobs per 10 homes in the same period.

Nearly 75,000 Solano County residents commuted out of the county in 2006, with top destinations being the East Bay, Napa and San Francisco. One of the top destinations for several hundred of the nearly 11,000 commuters going to work in Napa County is pharmaceutical maker Dey Labs LP, which employs 530, according to SEDCORP CEO Mike Ammann. Mylan, Dey’s parent company, in September announced it would wind down Dey’s operations.

Life sciences companies such as Dey and Genentech, which has a large plant in Vacaville, top the list of five groupings of similar business types, called industry clusters, predicted to be job-growth areas in coming decades. “I think biotech jobs will double in Solano in the next 10 years,” Mr. Ammann said. The life sciences cluster employed 2,300 in 2006.

Another target cluster is logistics and transportation because of the proximity of the county between the state capital and the Bay Area, according to Mr. Ammann.

“Our job is to get higher-paying jobs in industry clusters to settle this outbound commuting down somewhat,” Mr. Ammann said.

More local high-paying jobs also will take pressure off thoroughfares such as Highway 12 between Fairfield and Napa and interstates 80, 580 and 680 into the East Bay, he said. SEDCORP plans to release a report on the life sciences cluster in February.

More than 30,000 commuters entered the county daily in 2006, according to the economic report. Contra Costa, Sacramento, Yolo, Napa and Alameda were the top five counties from which the workers came.

The new county index was presented last week at the fourth economic summit held in recent months. One of the findings to be addressed was the outlook for work force education, which showed a 31 percent high-school dropout rate in Solano vs. 24 percent for the state in the 2006-‘07 school year. Eighty-two percent of jobs in the county require at least a secondary-school diploma, according to the new economic report.

“If you try to develop an economy with a skilled work force, this is a troubling statistic,” Mr. Ammann said.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Bay Area has been hit by layoffs, it continues to fare better than California as a whole.

California jobless rate soars to 8. 2%
Tom Abate, Chronicle Staff Writer

Saturday, November 22, 2008

(11-21) 11:19 PST SACRAMENTO -- California's unemployment rate jumped to 8.2 percent in October, and employers cut 26,400 nonfarm payroll jobs, as the global financial crisis punished the state, exacting its heaviest toll on the struggling Central Valley.

The state Employment Development Department reported Friday that the jobless rate had increased from 7.7 percent in September to its highest level since September 1994.

California's unemployment slide has been steep and sudden. Last October, the rate was just 5.7 percent.

Nationwide, the jobless rate was 6.5 percent in October.

The new figures show that while the Bay Area has been hit by layoffs, it continues to fare better than California as a whole.

The department put unemployment in San Francisco at 6 percent in October, while in San Mateo County the rate was 5.4 percent. In Alameda and Contra Costa counties, the rates were 7.1 percent and 7 percent, respectively. In Santa Clara County, the heart of Silicon Valley, unemployment registered 6.9 percent. In San Mateo and Marin counties, the rates were 5.4 percent and 4.9 percent.

Jon Haveman, with Beacon Economics in San Rafael, said the variations have to do with housing. The regions with the biggest price inflation are suffering the worst due to a falloff in construction and the psychological impact that foreclosures and falling home prices have on consumer spending.

"This all began with the housing bubble, and it was in places like the Central Valley, the Inland Empire and the East Bay where prices got most out of whack," he said.

Statewide, the department said 26,400 payroll jobs were lost during October. About 100,000 payroll jobs have evaporated in the last 12 months, leaving 15.1 million Californians still employed. The steepest payroll losses continue to be associated with the housing bust. EDD said statewide construction payrolls shrank again in October to about 803,000, down 7.6 percent or 66,000 jobs since last year at this time.

Payrolls in the financial activities sector shrank again in October, bringing to 32,000 the number of jobs lost in the last 12 months. About 836,000 Californians still work in finance, down 3.6 percent since October 2007.

The strongest payroll sectors continue to be educational and health services, and leisure and hospitality. Nearly 1.7 million Californians work in education or health, up 3.1 percent over last October. Employment in leisure and hospitality has risen 0.5 percent since October 2007 putting payrolls at about 1.6 million.

In the San Francisco metropolitan area, a three-county zone including Marin and San Mateo, payrolls have increased 0.2 percent since October 2007. About 1 million people collect paychecks in the three-county zone, and one-fifth of these work in professional and technical services, a sector that has added 2,500 jobs since last October.

In Santa Clara and San Benito counties, a combined metropolitan area according to state reporting conventions, payrolls grew 0.1 percent in year-over-year comparisons, bringing total employment to nearly 914,000. Software continued to add jobs, but other industries, notably retail trade and construction, were losers.

The EDD found that payrolls have contracted 2.1 percent since last October in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, where employers have cut 22,500 jobs to leave about 1.03 million people drawing paychecks. Health and education has been virtually the only sector to buck the job losses affecting construction, finance, retail and trade, transportation and utilities.

Statewide, an estimated 1.5 million Californians were unemployed in October - an increase of 95,000 since September and nearly 500,000 since last year.

The department said nearly 528,000 Californians were collecting unemployment benefits in October.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a statement acknowledging the economic difficulties "especially for people who have lost their jobs or who have begun looking for one."

He urged state legislators meeting in a special session this weekend to enact a stimulus package and pass a new funding plan to shore up the state's unemployment fund, which is expected to run out of money in January, although federal loans will keep checks coming.

San Francisco attorney Michael Bernick, who ran the Employment Development Department from 1999 to 2004 under former Gov. Gray Davis, said that the fund ran into a similar problem in 2003 but that lawmakers were unable to agree on whether or how to change the funding formula.

"We were rescued then because the economy improved," Bernick said. "This time it doesn't look like that is likely to happen."

E-mail Tom Abate at

This article appeared on page A - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco Chronicle Sections

Looking through the glass: Micheal Nourot

Article:Looking through the glass: Micheal Nourot:/c/a/2008/11/21/HOA413N869.DTL

Looking through the glass: Micheal Nourot
Nancy Davis Kho, Special to The Chronicle

Saturday, November 22, 2008

When Pope John Paul II visited the Bay Area in 1987 and celebrated Mass for 70,000 Catholics at Candlestick Park, there were more than a few details to be worked out. One was how to serve Communion wafers and wine to the enormous crowd, which is where Micheal Nourot of the Nourot Glass Studio stepped in.

"For the pope job, we made Communion platters, pitchers and goblets," Nourot said, holding up a delicate white plate swirled with clear glass that held the wafers. "We also had to make a special plate for his hat to rest on," he said. "The pope's hat can't just sit on the chair next to him."

The commission of 1,200 artifacts, though high profile, was just another day's work for the glass studio founded by Nourot and his wife, Ann Corcoran, on the shores of Carquinez Strait in Benicia. The couple's older son, Nicholas, 25, has joined the family business, while Corcoran takes a behind-the-scenes role to raise their younger son.

Nourot, 59, grew up in a military family and lived in Fairfield and Davis before moving to Benicia. His grandmother was a hobby ceramist and Nourot inherited her love of the arts. In 1968, he entered the California College of Arts and Crafts. (The school was renamed California College of the Arts, and the omission of the word "Crafts" still rankles Corcoran.)

A short flirtation with the college's weaving program ended abruptly. "With weaving," Nourot said, "you have to do so much planning beforehand - gathering your materials and setting up the loom. Basically, you solve what you want to solve long before you finish the piece. I wanted to be able to think up an idea, work on it and get results instantaneously."

A teacher guided him to the ceramics department, which, along with a few other programs in the country, had become fertile ground for the studio glass movement. This movement, which gathered momentum during the late 1960s, sought to establish glassblowing outside of its industry applications.

Ceramics Professor Harvey Littleton at the University of Wisconsin started a graduate glass program in Madison in 1963. Littleton is considered the father of the studio glass movement. His earliest students included Marvin Lipofsky, who started the glass program at California College of Arts and Crafts, and Dale Chihuly, who had a recent exhibition at the de Young Museum. Chihuly went on to establish the glass program at the Rhode Island School of Design before helping to start the Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, Wash.

Some of the seed money for the Pilchuck school came from a grant awarded jointly to Chihuly and Ruth Tamura, who was Nourot's teacher at California College of Arts and Crafts. Nourot was invited to help set up the glass shop at Pilchuck, which, at that time, in 1971, was an empty field.

"It took all summer to get the shop up and running; it really was just open land at that time," Nourot said of Pilchuck's glass school.

To broaden his training, in 1972, Nourot moved to Venice and took a job at venerable Italian glass factory Venini, on the island of Murano. "I was paid 87 cents an hour," he recalled. But the job meant working alongside craftspeople whose families had worked with glass for centuries.

"I learned how to make glass from a guy whose family had melted glass for 300 years," Nourot said. He also learned about the hierarchy in Italian glass production. "There were three jobs: owner, glass master and designer. I knew I wanted to be all three."

That meant a move back to the United States in 1973, where he joined Eric Sinizer, who wanted to open the first contemporary art glass shop in the country. Light Opera Gallery soon opened at Ghirardelli Square, with Sinizer's glass shop in the front and Nourot's working glass factory in the back. "We could never do that at Ghirardelli Square now," Nourot said with a laugh. "We had huge furnaces going at 2,000 degrees at the back of the store." (The gallery is now near Union Square.)

His glass expertise made Nourot a popular lecturer at local glass programs, and it was while teaching a glass workshop at CCAC that he met his wife.

Shop in Benicia
The couple opened their shop on the waterfront in Benicia in 1974; in 1987, they moved across the street to their current location.

The strait provides a cooling visual contrast to the fiery heat of the work inside, as Nourot and his employees turn out blown glass vessels, lighting (lamps, chandeliers and sconces), corporate awards and art glass objects. Even on a chilly fall day, shorts and T-shirts are sufficient inside the studio - along with a pair of sturdy shoes to walk through the brilliantly colored shards on the workroom floor. "I like to say we make the prettiest landfill in California," Nourot said.

Given his training in Venice, it's not surprising that Nourot starts by melting his own glass. "We use five different colors of molten glass; most other blowers use clear glass that gets colored during the process, but it's harder to develop a unique look that way."

Nourot is particularly renowned for his two varieties of red glass, called Red Satin and Scarlet Nova. Once or twice a week, 99.9 percent pure silica, soda ash and calcined limestone are mixed in barrels, along with heavy metals to create colors in the glass.

Once the glassblowers are ready to work, glass is placed into a ceramic cistern inside a furnace running at 2,000 to 2,500 degrees. A series of hollow, long blowpipes used for gathering the melted glass are in a second furnace, their tips glowing red hot.

When the material melts and hits the right consistency - which Nourot likens, depending on the temperature, to honey or water - an acrobatic pas de deux begins. Nourot explained: "You have to choreograph a series of steps so that you can capture the flow of the heated glass before it cools. You really have to know what you're going to do before you do it."

On a recent visit, Nick Nourot acts as gaffer, making what the Nourots call a cabinet flute (a tall V-shaped vase with a ruffled top) in a Red Satin finish. He is helped by Rachel Tucker, an 11-year employee.

Nick Nourot gathers a gob of melted glass from the furnace and sits at a traditional Italian glassblowing bench. The bench is a simple wooden chair with one crucial element: Its high, solid arms rise about 18 inches above the seat so that the gaffer can lay a red hot pipe across the arms in front of him and roll it back and forth without burning his thighs or chin.

Nick Nourot slowly rolls the blowpipe with one hand, the other hand cooling and shaping the glass with a pad of thick, damp newspaper that chars as it comes in contact with the molten material. The process of gathering, rolling and reheating is repeated with different colors of glass to attain a layered effect, requiring precisely timed trips back and forth to the furnace.

Once the glass starts to take on a more elliptical shape, Tucker sits down on a low stool next to the glassblower's bench. As Nick Nourot rolls, she slowly blows a puff of air into the blowpipe to create a parison, a space inside the vase. At other times, she is ready with jacks, pincers or a punty so Nick can make rapid-fire adjustments to the glass. "For the bigger pieces, we sometimes need four people to manage the process," Nourot said.

Once the final shape is achieved, the object is put into a special kiln called a Lehr for the process of annealing, in which the glass is slowly cooled to relieve internal stresses until it is stable.

That process can take hours or days, depending on an object's size. In the grinding and polishing room, small imperfections are buffed out, and each piece is signed and numbered by the artist. Much of the work is available for sale in the gallery at the front of the studio, which is open to the public. The rest is shipped to craft and gallery stores across the country (carefully packed, of course).

Highly collectible
The work that Nourot Glass turns out is highly valued by collectors. During the Reagan presidency, the studio was commissioned to make a paperweight for Mikhail Gorbachev. Even so, tough economic times have put pressure on the studio, which sells vases ranging from $175 to $1,750. Nourot has had to lay off skilled staff members, and he worries about younger glassblowers who are just establishing their businesses.

"The costs to indulge have certainly gone up," he said. "The gas to heat the furnaces is more expensive, and so are the tools and materials."

But even after more than 30 years in the craft, Nourot is finding artistic challenges, working on a new "green" glass process that would use the shards discarded in the traditional production process. This craftsman has certainly found the right medium to meet his desire for instant results.

"Glass is not a solid - it's always moving," Nourot said. "The challenge is to try to catch that movement in the design before it cools."

Blowpipe: An iron or steel tube, usually 4 to 5 feet long, for blowing glass. Blowpipes have a mouthpiece at one end and are usually fitted at the other end with a metal ring that helps to retain the gather.

Chair: (1) The bench used by the gaffer while forming a glass object. Traditionally, it is a wide bench with arms on which the gaffer rests the blowpipe with its parison of molten glass and rolls it backward and forward so that the parison retains its symmetrical shape during the forming process. (2) The team of glassworkers who assist a gaffer.

Gaffer: The master craftsman in charge of a chair, or team, of hot-glass workers.

Gather: A mass of molten glass (sometimes called a gob) collected on the end of a blowpipe, pontil or gathering iron; used as a verb, it means to collect molten glass on the end of a tool.

Parison: A gather on the end of a blowpipe that is already partly inflated.

Punty or pontil: A solid metal rod usually tipped with a wad of hot glass, then applied to the base of a vessel to hold it during manufacture. It often leaves an irregular or ring-shaped scar on the base when removed. This is called the pontil mark.

Source: "Glass: A Pocket Dictionary of Terms," Revised Edition

-- Nourot Glass Studio: 675 E. H St., Benicia. (707) 745-1463,

-- Nourot's Open House and Holiday Sale: 20 percent discount. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 4-7 and 12-14.

-- Smyers Glass Blowing Studio annual Open House and Holiday Sale: The public is invited into the hot glassblowing shop to watch the artisans at work. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 4-7 and 13-14. Studio shares the building with Nourot Glass Studio.

-- Pilchuck Glass School: (206) 621-8422,

-- Nikolas Weinstein Studios: 1649 Valencia St., San Francisco. (415) 643- 5418,

-- Light Opera Gallery: 460 Post St., San Francisco. (800) 553-4800,

E-mail Nancy Davis Kho at

This article appeared on page F - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fairfield upgrades Internet service with microwave transmission

Fairfield upgrades Internet service with microwave transmission
By Ben Antonius | Daily Republic | November 20, 2008

Tim Shephard, an IT Analyist for the City of Fairfield, installs a security camera at the intersection of Tabor Ave and Pennsylvania Ave Wednesday. The cameras are part of major effort by the city to upgrade its internet services and wireless capabilites. Photo by Chris Jordan

FAIRFIELD - The city is getting unwired.

Fairfield has launched a major effort to upgrade Internet service at city buildings, an undertaking that will be largely invisible to anyone who does not spend a lot of time perched atop City Hall or Martin Hill.

The city is embracing microwave transmission, a technology that will ultimately allow data to be sent and received at all city facilities dramatically faster than is currently possible.

'This is an alternative to the traditional breaking of the street and running conduit and fiber to every building,' said Steve Garrison, the city's chief information officer.

The effort will initially be most visible near David Weir Elementary School on Pennsylvania Avenue, where city crews began installing 15 security cameras on Wednesday.

The cameras will be served through a microwave data transmission system atop Martin Hill to the north, Garrison said. A second set of cameras, installed downtown in August, is wirelessly connected through an antenna atop the Fairfield Center for Creative Arts.

'The police (department's) goal is to have cameras from Texas to Texas,' Garrison said. 'They eventually foresee an 80 to 80 corridor that monitors crime.'

The city is using two different types of cameras in the undertaking: a 'pan-tilt-zoom' camera and a digital camera that allows zooming and image enhancement after the fact.

But while the cameras are the most obvious component of the project, they are just one facet.

The city needed to upgrade its overall data capacity, Garrison said. The new system will remove a variety of hindrances, ultimately letting scattered fire stations conduct video conferences, public works employees view complex utility maps and enabling automatic, wireless upgrades of software in police cruisers.

The project will take several years to complete, Garrison said.

See the complete story at then Daily Republic online.

Solano's changes documented in new booklet

Solano's changes documented in new booklet
By Danny Bernardini/
Posted: 11/21/2008

Solano County is changing.

From the industries it houses, to the ethnicity of the people living in the county, there is a difference when comparing it to previous years.

In an effort to document the change and to attempt to find trends and solutions to some of the issues arising from these changes, the data has recently been collected in one place.

Born from a partnership between the Solano Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) and Solano County, the "Index of Economic and Community Progress" was produced.

This booklet and many of the ideas behind it were on display Thursday during the Solano Economic Summit 4 in Fairfield. The booklet and accompanying Web site was created by Doug Henton with Collaborative Economics.

"We need facts. We need a baseline of information," Henton told the group. "But this is not just data. It's designed to be a call to action. There's some good news here, but there are some challenges."

Since 2000, the county's per capita income has increased at a higher rate than the Bay Area. Housing production has exceeded the amount of residents in the county, but those that are here are helping bridge that gap, Henton said.

"This is a region people came to, but that's changed. A lot of the people who came here were highly educated and created a nice economic base," he said. "Per capita income is one of the most important indicators of economic prosperity."

While many larger industries, like Life Sciences, are growing and hiring more employees, Henton said other smaller fields are quietly expanding without the need to hire more bodies.

Henton dubbed them micro enterprises, those that employ 10 workers or less. These include law firms, consultants and engineers, Henton said. He said it's important to factor these companies in the big picture.

"Not everybody works for a big company anymore," he said. "Now, how do you service these companies?"

Students in the county were also discussed as 31 percent of those that started high school failed to finish. John Thompson, former Vacaville city manager, spoke about how America's school systems differ than those abroad.

Thompson said foreign schools go to school more days per year, and compare themselves globally, not to similar districts. He said less and less students are leaving high school prepared for high paying jobs.

"For many of our young people, they don't even know they are in a battle," he said. "Let alone that they are losing."

For a full version of the report visit

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Transportation group cites people, projects, agencies

Transportation group cites people, projects, agencies
Times-Herald staff report
Posted: 11/20/2008

The Solano Transportation Authority's 11th annual award winners included Vallejo's Wilson Avenue Improvement Project, which was named Project of the Year for enhancing the quality of life in the county.

That section of Wilson Avenue, connecting Interstate 780 to Highway 37, was surrounded by a blighted neighborhood, the STA said, but has been transformed into the "gateway to Vallejo's waterfront and downtown."

Other winners:

- Solano County's Department of Environmental Management, Agency of the Year. It was cited for its work on Fairfield-Cordelia's North Connector project and its help funding the Ferry Transition Plan as Vallejo Transit ferry service was taken over by the new San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority.

- Tied for Advisory Committee Member of the year were public health representative Robin Cox and Bicycle Advisory Committee and Pedestrian Advisory Committee member Larry Mork. Both were cited for their work on the STA's Safe Routes to School program.

- Safety Project of the Year, California Highway Patrol and the state Office of Traffic Safety, which worked to increase enforcement and reduce fatal and injury accidents on Highway 12 from Interstate 80 east to Interstate 5.

- Dixon Readi-Ride coordinator Cindy Muckensturm, Transit Employee of the Year.

- Fairfield's NorthBay Health Care, Business of the Year, for encouraging employees to use alternate transportation.

- Partner of the Year, state Department of Transportation, for its work on the I-80 high occupancy vehicle lane, the first of 18 Bay Area Proposition 1B corridor improvement projects to break ground.

- The STA said Caltrans also committed to rehabilitating I-80 from Vallejo to Vacaville, and accelerated these projects by two years to be completed by the end of 2009. Caltrans also won Project Delivery of the Year for its I-80 rehabilitation and a truck climbing lane on westbound Highway 12.

- State Sen. Patricia Wiggins, who represents Vallejo, was named Elected Official of the Year for co-authoring Assembly Bill 112 and Assembly Concurrent Resolution 7 with Assemblymember Lois Wolk. These measures resulted in safety improvements to Highway 12 in Solano County.

The STA said the senator also supported funding from the Trade Corridor Improvement Fund for the Curdle truck scales and authored the clean-up bill for the transition of Baylink Ferry services to the new San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority, assuring the protection of service and assets for the city of Vallejo.

- The Special Award was shared by three people -- Solano County Board of Supervisors member John Silva, STA board member Mary Ann Courville and STA board Chairman Eddie Woodruff.

Two dredging boats do dirty work in Suisun City waterways

Two dredging boats do dirty work in Suisun City waterways
By Ian Thompson | DAILY REPUBLIC | November 19, 2008

An worker with Nehalem River Dredging talks to a coworker on shore while getting ready to dredge the Suisun Slough Wednesday afternoon. The dredging process will last through December. Photo by Brad Zweerink

SUISUN CITY - The dredger Eland fired up its engines and got to work Wednesday, removing the first of what will be thousands of cubic feet of sludge and silt.

That is a welcome sound to Suisun City boaters such as Don Sefcik, whose 57-foot boat the Pollack XII grounds its keel in the mud when the tide goes out.

'I am pleased to see it and am looking forward to it doing the work,' Sefcik said.

The Eland is the larger of two dredging boats that will be on duty from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. six days a week to deepen the marina and Whispering Bay by a Dec. 31 deadline.

Both boats are owned by Roy D. Garren Construction of Roseburg, Ore., which brought them in last week and parked them next to the city-owned Pierce Island, where the dredging spoils will be deposited.

Boaters in the slough are asked watch out for the buoys and slow down. Depending on the water depth, the pipes through which the sludge travels from the dredgers to Pierce Island may not be very far below the surface of the water.

Dredging will start near the public boat launch and slowly proceed north toward the Harbor Plaza area.

The Suisun City Marina will remain open throughout the dredging. When dredging needs to be done around one section of the docks, the affected boats will be moved temporarily to another section.

Suisun City is spending $1.3 million for the dredging to maintain the viability of the boating channels. The city also got approval to extend the dredging deadline by a month to Dec. 31.

The city wants to deepen the center channel to about 8 feet at mean low tide. The last time the marina area was dredged six years ago, when about 120,000 cubic yards of silt were removed.

Very low tides have exposed the mud in some spots near the public boat launch on Kellogg Street, and buoys have been set out to mark shoals in the channel.

'This means better and safer boating because the water will be deeper,' Suisun City Harbor master Gus Barkas said. 'It is going to improve the boating here.'

See the complete story at the Daily Republic online.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Benicia looks at ways to go green

Benicia looks at ways to go green
By JESSICA A. YORK/Times-Herald staff writer
Posted: 11/19/2008

BENICIA -- Environmental green is the new black, even in small cities like Benicia.

In the wake of Assembly Bill 32, which requires targeted reductions in greenhouse gas emissions statewide, Benicia has begun taking action toward a self-sustainable or "greener" future.

On Tuesday night, Benicia City Council members discussed forming a commission committed to sustainability, environmental protection, public health and economic well-being. This group would be in addition to an existing "green team" of city department representatives that has begun work on more environmentally friendly internal city operations.

Discussion on the potential commission follows a greenhouse gas emissions inventory report and reduction targets made earlier this year. Those documents, on top of a climate action plan being designed for the city, have been funded by a San Francisco Bay Area Air Quality Management District grant.

A climate action plan, which would be the first of its kind in Solano County, sets goals to reduce greenhouse emissions. The plans also provide the estimated greenhouse gas reduction and cost of each action, said city Assistant Planner Mike Marcus. Such plans have generally been conducted only by large cities with large funding, Marcus said.

"We're definitely showing some leadership to cities of our size across the state, and I'd say across the country," Marcus said.

While Benicia's strong commercial and industrial base helps secure the city's economic future, those types of companies produce large carbon emissions as well, Marcus said. The city's emission survey shows that 95 percent of carbon-based emissions come from commercial and industrial sources. About 20 percent of those are produced by port operator Amports and the Valero oil

Marcus said the survey revealed that 75 percent of commercial and industrial emissions come from other sources, and may be reducible by 2020.

The Climate Action Plan is being put together by a team of professors and students from the California Polytechnic State University. A workshop last week on the plan drew about 75 residents.

For more information on Benicia's environmental push, visit and the green "sustainability" tab at

E-mail Jessica A. York at or call 553-6834.

County honors state for transportation projects

County honors state for transportation projects
By Barry Eberling | DAILY REPUBLIC | November 19, 2008

FAIRFIELD - A slew of projects makes the state Department of Transportation a big winner in the eyes of the Solano Transportation Authority.

Caltrans is renovating deteriorated Interstate 80 pavement that has jolted drivers for years. It is building a truck climbing lane on Highway 12 in Jameson Canyon and I-80 carpool lanes. It has made Highway 12 safety improvements between Rio Vista and Suisun City.

The agency got its due from the 11th annual STA awards, handed out in Rio Vista Nov. 12. It won awards for project delivery of the year and partner of the year.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

BUSINESS INSURANCE: State Fund opens $77 million Solano campus

BUSINESS INSURANCE: State Fund opens $77 million Solano campus
by D. Ashley Furness
Business Journal Staff Reporter
Nov. 17, 2008

VACAVILLE – Workers’ comp insurer State Compensation Insurance Fund has opened its new $77-million Vacaville campus, which is expected to earn a top-tier environmental building accreditation.

The project took nearly two years to complete and encompasses about 255,000 square feet in three buildings. The organization had originally included plans for two additional 85,000-square-foot buildings, but an official for the company said leaders do not plan to move forward with that construction at this time.

“There is still a chance those buildings could be started by 2011, but depending on the economy and other factors, those plans are undecided,” said spokesman Vicente Hernandez.

State Fund broke ground on the office in December 2006 with hopes of relocating about 1,200 employees to the 32-acre site. Currently, the office that officially opened Oct. 28 houses about 750 people, but the number could fluctuate. Mr. Hernandez said the company still has another 120,000-square-foot office in the county in Fairfield where it has a lease until 2011.

The site is part of the 416-acre Vaca Valley Business Park situated between Interstate 80 and Highway 505. Other large occupants include Genentech and Kaiser Permanente.

The office is the company’s 17th regional office and new “data center,” according to officials, though it will also house other service call and policy processing staff.

HOK provided architecture for the green campus, and Devon Construction of Milpitas was the builder. Mr. Hernandez said the building expects to receive silver rating from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design early next year.

Builders estimate that about 20 percent of the materials used for the building are recycled, and the parking lot includes 1,050 solar-panel shade structures. The interior is equipped with cork flooring; low-emitting adhesives and paints; and energy-efficient light fixtures, heating and cooling systems and other electrical equipment.

As part of LEED requirements, builders also diverted about 75 percent of construction waste to recycling facilities and included low-water-usage fixtures and irrigation systems. In total, the company received about $1 million in incentives from Pacific Gas & Electric for its energy-saving features.

The site includes priority parking for alternative energy vehicles and as well as electric charging stations.

Economy focus of summit

Economy focus of summit
By Danny Bernardini/
Article Launched: 11/18/2008

Solano County is outpacing the Bay Area and the state as a whole in the growth of specialized industries, but nearly a third of its high school students aren't graduating.

That information, along with several other trends in the county, will be discussed Thursday at Solano Economic Summit 4, sponsored by Solano Economic Development Corporation. The event will be held at 8 a.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn in Fairfield.

The report, titled "Solano County 2008 Index of Economic and Community Progress" was created by Doug Henton, CEO of Collaborative Economics. Henton said the upcoming summit is an extension of some held in the past in which trends and forecasts for the county were discussed.

Thursday's will be the first of several reports that were hatched when Solano County partnered with Solano EDC in February to the tune of $484,000. Another report, which will focus on real estate trends in the county, is scheduled to be released in January.

Looking at the economy, the community, and areas that connect the two will be the focus of this week's summit. Henton said that overall, Solano's per capita income grew 15 percent from 2000 to 2007, which is double the Bay Area rate. He also said the growth industries like Life Science and advanced food production have exceeded that of the Bay Area.

"We think that's important. We will look into that more in-depth and see how it can grow even more," Henton said. "Each one of those areas grew and grew faster than the Bay Area as a whole. And cluster industries create higher wage jobs."

While job opportunities are growing, Henton said the available candidates coming out of local schools isn't as positive of a subject. He said in 2007, 31 percent of students in Solano County didn't finish high school.

"If you are going to have the higher skilled jobs, you need to prepare the workforce," he said.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Train station coffee bar to expand

Train station coffee bar to expand
By Ben Antonius and Ian Thompson | Daily Republic | November 17, 2008

Kirk Knutson is the owner of El Capitan Coffee Co. in the Suisun-Fairfield Amtrak station. Photo by Brad Zweerink

SUISUN CITY - That's the sound of success arriving.

The El Capitan Coffee Company in Suisun City's train station is graduating from being a coffee bar to a cafe that will be offering a wider menu to the area's train commuters.

Within a couple of weeks, the business will have a full kitchen and should be able to offer items such as breakfast burritos, salads, soups and grilled sandwiches, said owner Kirk Knutson.

The evening hours for El Capitan will also be expanded and there are plans to be open on weekends. Knutson said he will still be offering Nathan's Famous Dogs and the coffee that made him popular with commuters.

The change is part of the Suisun City Redevelopment Agency's plans to bring more people to the train station, which is located at the north end of Main Street.

Greyhound Bus Lines buses now stop at the train station nine times a day as part of a three-way deal between Greyhound Bus Lines, Rio Vista and Suisun City.

The buses returned to the station on July 18 after abruptly dropping service there in July 2006 as a cost-saving measure. Efforts are still ongoing to reach an agreement with Greyhound to put a ticket salesperson at the train station.



Fairfield, Calif., November 14, 2008--- Fairfield, California's downtown area is in a growth mode with the news that several restaurants are planning to open their doors for business.

Canepa's Deli and Main Street Yogurt will be located in Stonefield Place in the 700 block of Texas Street, near the corner of Texas and Jefferson Streets. The property, being developed by John Costanzo, is a mixed-use building with 4,800 square feet of restaurant and retail space and 3,800 square feet of office space.

Canepa's Deli, which plans to open in December at 721 Texas Street, will be a 3,500-square foot old-world-style Italian deli with seating for 25 inside and additional outside seating. It will serve Italian sandwiches, prepared meals, salads and desserts. Canepa's will also offer catering.

'Fairfield is hungry for this type of place and we are pleased to add to the growth of downtown," says Gigi Canepa, co-owner with her husband Ray Canepa.

Main Street Yogurt, a self-serve frozen yogurt shop, is looking at a February 2009 opening in a 600-square foot location at 717 Texas Street. The store offers a new concept - customers serve themselves from any of the available 10 flavors and five twist combinations and can then add their choice of fresh fruit and candy toppings. The cost is determined by the weight of the item.

"The growth and renovation of downtown offer a wonderful location and opportunity to open this unique yogurt shop which is the first of its kind for Fairfield," says owner and Fairfield resident Dr. Ryan Stilson.

He adds that he is not worried about the current economy having a negative effect on business. "Main Street Yogurt will capitalize on the fact that a person can buy as little or as much as they want. A family of four can dine for less than what two people would pay at a traditional ice cream parlor."

Big Italian Pizzeria is planning to open at 704 Texas Street, across from Stonefield Place in MacInnis Corner, another property developed by Costanzo.
Big Italian Pizzeria will be 950-square feet and have seating for about 25.
It is owned by Evelyn and Piero Tropeano, former owners of Fairfield's New York Pizza Kitchen.

Another restaurant opening in Fairfield is Miko's Japanese Cuisine at 900 Texas Street. It has set November 17 as its first day in business. The 1,950-square foot restaurant will seat 85 customers and feature Japanese and American food. The sushi chef will be Tomo Hiteo, formerly of Rock N Roll Sushi in Vacaville, California. In addition to a sushi bar, co-owners Kurt Souza and Brandi Holstein are planning prime rib for Friday and Saturday nights as well as an area with ten televisions for sports fans.

"The downtown area has a variety of businesses as well as government offices making it a choice location for these restaurants," says Eve Somjen Fairfield's community development director. "We look forward to welcoming them to Fairfield."

About Fairfield

Fairfield (pop. 106,000) is a growing community with a multitude of commercial and residential development opportunities. Located mid-way between San Francisco and Sacramento, Fairfield is the seat of Solano County, Ca. The city is just 20 miles north of Concord, 38 miles northeast of Oakland, 14 miles southeast of the Napa Valley, 45 miles southwest of Sacramento and 42 miles northeast of San Francisco.

Fairfield Offers Important Business Benefits

Fairfield continues to appeal to retail and commercial entities seeking to grow their businesses for many reasons: an accessible Bay Area location, proximity to Travis Air Force Base, abundant space, value-priced real estate, a diverse workforce, and a unique set of regional amenities. For additional information on the city of Fairfield, visit

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Energy plan generates possibility

Energy plan generates possibility
By Melissa Murphy/
Article Launched: 11/13/2008

At a time when many communities are struggling to survive the slumping economy, Vacaville is pinning at least some of its hopes to a new energy producing center proposed for land next to the city's wastewater plant.

Competitive Power Ventures of Maryland is looking to build a more than half a billion dollar station that generates electricity through a combined cycle process using about half of the recycled water from the city's wastewater plant.

"With the economy the way it is, it's hard to have projects down the pipeline," said City Manager David Van Kirk. "We're very fortunate to have this project come to Vacaville."

The city and the county will see about $6 million annually in revenue from the new energy plant, according to Andy Welch, project manager with Competitive Power Ventures.

In a meeting with the Chamber of Commerce Council of Major Employers Wednesday, Welch explained that the natural gas powered, Combined-Cycle Process produces electricity by changing the energy in its fuel into electrical energy.

The process is highly efficient, according to Welch, and produces enough power for 600,000 average California homes.

Keeping in mind conserving natural resources, the location of the plant will be on 25 acres at the junction of Lewis and Fry roads. Its proximity to the city's Easterly Wastewater Treatment Facility, will allow the station to use gray water from the treatment plant, and it will be able to tie into existing Pacific Gas and Electric lines near Meridian Road.

Construction of the CPV Vaca Station will create approximately 670 jobs for about two and a half years. Once the project is in operation, there will be 25 to 30 jobs.

Welch anticipates the project will be completed in 2013.

Until then, the company has to go through an application process, which will take at least two years before approval by the California Energy Commission.

"It's a pretty big deal," Van Kirk said. "This isn't an easy project. In the end it will help in keeping our costs down at our wastewater facility."

Welch also said that taking time to talk with residents is part of an ongoing effort to answer any questions they might have. A concern of noise has been expressed, but Welch said not to worry. In terms of noise levels in decibels, the new station would be only slightly noisier than the current levels on the site. In fact, the new station is significantly quieter than a hair dryer, according to Welch.

"We're very confident that we have a clean project," he said. "It's highly efficient and very flexible."

In terms of funding, CPV will wait until at least 2010 in hopes that the market will pick up by then, Welch said. He added that he believes PG&E will be interested in buying the energy produced at the plant.


225 Employees Will Move Into New Facility by Mid 2009

SAN FRANCISCO, November 12, 2008 – AAA Northern California is announcing that 225 employees will be moving into a new facility at 5251 Business Centre Drive in Fairfield. Of those employees, about 165 will be relocating from the San Francisco headquarters, and about 60 others will relocate from their current office in Fairfield.

“Where we locate specific functions is based on what makes the most sense for the business unit and the company, and the new Fairfield location is a perfect fit,” said Matt Skryja, AAA Northern California spokesperson. “The addition of more jobs in Fairfield means not only an economic boost for the Solano County economy, but it also is the most efficient and cost-effective way to organize our work groups.”

AAA needed a larger facility in Solano County given that AAA is joining its business fulfillment center operations, already in Fairfield, with business fulfillment center employees currently working in the San Francisco headquarters. This includes employees from accounts receivable, billing services, copy center, corporate mail, membership operations, records services, and travel accounting. Other teams coming from headquarters will draw from the information technology, human resources and finance divisions.

The new office location is a 104,000-square-foot, single-story building, of which AAA will lease 52,000 square feet.

Employees are scheduled to begin phased relocation to the new facility in March 2009 and complete the move by June 2009.

AAA Northern California offers a wide array of automotive, travel, insurance, DMV, financial services and consumer discounts to more than 4 million members. AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers since it was founded more than 100 years ago.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Solano County's Travis AFB David Grant hospital part of pilot program

David Grant hospital part of pilot program

Travis Air Force Base will join 16 other military bases in the nation to host a new program aimed at evaluating injured soldiers quicker and more accurately. According to the Department of Defense, the Disability Evaluation System hopes to replace the cumbersome evaluation system exposed by the 2007 Walter Reed scandal with a single exam and disability rating that officials say is cutting the time spent in the system in half.

The pilot program is a test of a new process design eliminating the duplicative, time-consuming and often confusing elements of the two current disability processes of the departments. It will be offered to bases in all four military branches, according to the DOD. Key features of the DES program include one medical examination and a single-sourced disability rating..

Launched 11 months ago at three Washington D.C.-area military hospitals and expanded to three more since Oct. 1, the program has shown enough promise to warrant an expansion in areas outside Washington, said Tom Pamperin, deputy director of VA's compensation and pension service, according to the DOD. A final report to Congress is due in March and a decision to expand the program to all bases could follow..

With more to offer, Suisun City Library is drawing more people

With more to offer, Suisun City Library is drawing more people
By Ian Thompson | Daily Republic | November 10, 2008

Cassano and Zen Crowder, of Suisun City, read magazines while their son looks for books Monday afternoon at the Suisun City Library. Photo by Brad Zweerink

SUISUN CITY - Five months ago, Suisun City Library lovers packed the front entrance to the new branch and waited for the ribbon to be cut so they could get their first glimpse of the facility.

That love affair between residents and the library is going strong.

'We have been doing incredibly well,' Supervising Librarian Peggy Svoboda said. 'We are busy beyond what we had expected.'

The new library at 601 Pintail Drive is twice the size of the old one on Sunset Avenue and offers more services such as computers, computer training and meeting rooms.

Suisun Elementary School students have access to the library every morning before it opens to the public.

The number of people walking through the front door has doubled since August 2007 when the library was located in leased space on the second floor of an office building at 333 Sunset Ave.

Librarians signed up 371 people for library cards in August at the new branch, double the number of cards that were issued during the same month in 2007.

The number of books, DVDs and other materials checked out has climbed by 50 percent, Svoboda said.

'We used to have a lot of class visits at the end of the year (at the old library site), but now we have class visits every week,' Children's Librarian Julia Oglesby said. 'The kids love it.'

Having more space has allowed librarians to offer more programs such as the recent Halloween celebration that featured story readings, crafts and a haunted house created by local high school students.

'That was a triple win,' Svoboda said. 'It was good for the kids, it was good for the community and it was good for the library. This would not have been possible at the old site.'

See the complete story at the Daily Republic online.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Slow burn

Slow burn

A potential Fairfield-based natural gas power plant will take a little bit longer to be built. Fairfield Energy Center is hoping to build a 500- to

900-megawatt power plant on 23 acres south of Cordelia Road.

Because of delays in getting the project approved by PG&E, the City Council on Tuesday agreed to allow the company to extend its land option for an additional two years.

Summit to shed light on economy

Summit to shed light on economy
By Ben Antonius | Daily Republic | November 09, 2008

FAIRFIELD - It's that time again, that Thursday in November when people will join together -- and discuss economic policy.

Local government and business leaders will gather Nov. 20, a week before Thanksgiving, for the fourth annual Solano Economic Summit. The event brings together people from different levels of county and local government to discuss the economic strides and highlights of the past year and lay plans for the future.

The core of the event is a presentation of the Solano County 2008 Index, a study of the county's economic state and the direction it is going.

'The index tells a factual story that measures the strength of our economy and the health of our community,' said Mike Amman, president of the Solano Economic Development Corp.

In 2007, the discussion touched on the need for safety improvements along Highway 12 and how to train today's students for tomorrow's workforce.

The Solano Economic Summit 4 is sponsored by Solano County, the Solano EDC, Solano Transportation Authority and the City and County Coordinating Council.

Tickets are $25, and registration is required. For more information or to register, call 864-1855.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Matt Garcia Youth Center officially open

Matt Garcia Youth Center officially open
By Ben Antonius | Daily Republic | November 05, 2008

Youth and community members gather around the doorway of the new Matt Garcia Youth Center in anticipation for the ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday afternoon. Photo by Mike Greener

FAIRFIELD - Within moments of the doors opening, the thudding sound of bouncing basketballs filled the new Matt Garcia Youth Center.

A crowd of hundreds spent Wednesday afternoon under cloudy skies for the grand opening of the center, which will have its first normal day of operation on Friday.

'It's a bittersweet day for us,' said Teresa Courtemanche, mother of Garcia, a Fairfield City Councilman who was slain in September. 'Matt's not here in body but I know he's here in spirit.'

The afternoon program consisted of several speakers and was followed by an open house at the center, program sign-ups, boxing demonstrations and the first chance for kids to shoot hoops on the basketball court.

The center is located at 250 Travis Blvd., next to Grocery Outlet, near the intersection with North Texas Street. Named the Matt Garcia Youth Center, it is operated by the non-profit Police Activities League.

The building itself is dominated by the large basketball court, where children played with members of the Solano Community College basketball team on Wednesday. The center also has four homework rooms with computers, an arts and crafts room, and an entry area with a large boxing ring.

Membership is available to students in grades 7-12. Membership for the year costs $10 per student, and a valid school identification card is required. It will be open from 2:30 to 9 p.m. Wednesday and 2:30 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Several speakers discussed the three year-plus process that led to the facility's construction.

A teen center had been proposed early in the decade by former Councilman John English but was never built. After the 2005 election, Councilmen John Mraz and Frank Kardos made the issue a top priority, one shared by Garcia and Councilman Chuck Timm after their 2007 election.

See the complete story at the Daily Republic online.

C-17 arrives to complete Travis squadron

C-17 arrives to complete Travis squadron
By Ian Thompson | DAILY REPUBLIC | November 05, 2008

Robert Travis, left, and his brother, Roger, sons of Air Force Brig. Gen. Robert Travis, who Travis Air Force Base is named after, look at the cockpit of the C-17 the "Spirit of Travis" Wednesday morning. The jet is the latest, and last, scheduled C-17 to arrive at the base. Photo by Brad Zweerink

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE - With the arrival of the C-17 Globemaster called 'Spirit of Travis' Wednesday, Travis Air Force Base's 13-aircraft C-17 squadron is now complete.

But if local civic leaders have their way, the Spirit of Travis won't be the last C-17 based here.

'We will be redoubling our efforts to convince the new Congress that the folks here at Travis can handle another C-17 squadron,' Fairfield Mayor Harry Price said.

Congress has authorized the construction of 15 more C-17s and local leaders want them to be stationed here, Solano County Supervisor Mike Reagan said.

A dozen members of the family of Brig. Gen. Robert Travis, who the base is named after, were on hand to watch the arrival of the jet transport which is named after Travis.

'It was simply gorgeous,' said Jayne Travis Drought, Travis' daughter. 'Dad would have been proud to have been here to see this.'

Travis died Aug. 5, 1950, when the bomb-laden B-29 bomber he was piloting crashed on take-off near the base's present Main Gate.

Travis' popularity as a dedicated Air Force leader prompted the Air Force to change the name of the base from the Fairfield-Suisun Air Force Base to Travis Air Force Base Oct. 2, 1950.

Solano County officials lobbied hard to get a C-17 squadron based at Travis.

It has been nearly two years since the first of the squadron's aircraft, one named 'Spirit of Solano,' landed at Travis and was quickly turned around to fly a mission into Southwest Asia less than a day later.

'Spirit of Travis' made its landing with Air Mobility Command commander Gen. Arthur Lichte in the pilot's seat. The aircraft was flown here from the Boeing Aircraft factory in Long Beach.

Col. Mark Dillon, the 60th Air Mobility Wing's commander, called the flight 'historic.' Naming the aircraft after Travis 'honors the best of our past, our present and our future,' Dillon said.

'The qualities he emulated are alive and well today,' Dillon added.

Earlier in the day, the 615th Contingency Response Wing celebrated a couple of milestones of its own.

Air Force and community members cut the ribbon to its new Global Reach Deployment Center and broke ground for the 573rd's Global Support Squadron Operations Building.

'This enhances our ability to respond to crises throughout the world,' 615th commander Col. John Lipinski said.

The new, 90,000-square-foot building is twice as large as the 615th's old quarters and in a better location near Travis' cargo terminal.

Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or at

Garcia center opens

Garcia center opens
By Ryan Chalk
Article Launched: 11/06/2008

Youth take part in an impromptu game of basketball at the P.A.L. Matt Garcia Youth Center Wednesday, where several hundred members of the community turned out to celebrate its grand opening. (Ryan Chalk/

A longtime dream became a reality in Fairfield Wednesday as the city celebrated the grand opening of the Police Activities League Matt Garcia Youth Center.

Hundreds of community members filled the parking lot outside of the center on Travis Boulevard to hear from local dignitaries and P.A.L. organizers before getting a firsthand look at the center, named for the city councilman gunned down earlier this year.

Police Chief Kenton Rainey told the crowd it's an honor to have such a facility for the city's youth.

"This is a culmination of a dream many people had long before I came to the city," Rainey said. "Here in the city of Fairfield, you can see what happens when a tired community gets behind something and wants to see it happen."

Kaiser Permanente officials presented a check for $25,000 to support nutritional and fitness programs at the center which is still in need of donations.

Inside the center, kids played basketball and sparred in the center's boxing ring as adults toured the facility.

For a $10 annual fee, youth in grades 7-12, can take part in the center's programs. Hours of operation are Wednesdays from 2:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays from 2:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Officials hope to expand hours and programs over time.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


University of California, Davis
November 4, 2008


University of California, Davis, scientists who manage campus biological collections have received a five-year, $4 million grant to study fungi, bacteria, plants, insects and vertebrates on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, a southeast Asian island threatened by the loss of biodiversity in its tropical forests.

An international team of collaborators will conduct biodiversity field surveys, screen microbes and plants for applications to human health and energy needs, recommend strategies to conserve endangered species and develop and encourage local conservation efforts, said principal investigator Professor Daniel Potter of the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences.

The grant is funded by the International Cooperative Biodiversity Group Program, a multi-agency program led by the National Institutes of Health with contributions from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation.

"The alarming rate at which biodiversity is being lost in many tropical regions has resulted in an urgent need for such efforts,"
said Potter, director of the UC Davis Center for Plant Diversity.

Biodiversity refers to all living things in a region and to their interactions with each other and their surroundings.

The grant, Biodiversity Surveys in Indonesia and Discovery of Health and Energy Solutions, targets the tropical forests of southeastern Sulawesi, a poorly studied but heavily threatened area, Potter said.
"A study of this type requires collaborative research partnerships of unprecedented scope and complexity."

The results are expected to aid human health, energy needs and biodiversity conservation.

Co-investigators include UC Davis scientists from the Bohart Museum of Entomology, the Center for Plant Diversity, Museum of Wildlife and Fisheries Biology, the Department of Plant Pathology, and the Phaff Yeast Culture Collection in the Department of Food Science and Technology. They will collaborate with researchers from UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco and three Indonesian institutions: the Indonesian Institute of Science, the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry, and the Bandung Institute of Technology.

The project is sorely needed, said entomologist Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and chair of the Department of Entomology. "For biologists, Sulawesi is the biological holy grail,"
she said. "It has a rich, extremely diverse and largely unknown insect fauna. This is a fantastic opportunity to work with our Indonesian colleagues taking a novel approach to examining the biodiversity of the island."

Potter described the research project as an extraordinary opportunity. "When the call for the International Cooperative Biodiversity Group grant proposals came out in the fall of 2007, several of us involved in management of the biological collections here at UC Davis thought this could be an extraordinary opportunity to initiate a project that would include study of organisms in the multiple taxonomic groups (fungi, bacteria, plants, insects,
vertebrates) covered by our collections and to engage in international collaborative research with implications for human health, energy needs, and biodiversity conservation."

Two other key participants in the project are Potter's former student, Jeanine Pfeiffer, research director for social sciences at the Earthwatch Institute, and Elizabeth Widjaja, research botanist at Herbarium Bogoriense, Indonesia. Pfeiffer, who received her doctorate in ecology from UC Davis in 2004, has conducted ethnoecological research in Indonesia for several years.

"Thanks to the excellent hard work of many colleagues at UC Davis, UC Berkeley, UCSF, and three Indonesian institutions, and with the wonderful guidance and assistance of the outstanding Interdisciplinary Research Support group in the Office of Research here at UC Davis, we were able to put together a strong proposal for an ambitious and exciting project," Potter said.

UC Davis is the lead institution from the United States, and the Indonesian Institute of Science is the lead agency from Indonesia.

The project is organized into six associate programs: macro-organism surveys, led by Widjaja; microbial surveys, led by Kate Scow, a UC Davis professor in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources; discovery of energy solutions, led by Kyria Boundy-Mills, curator of the Phaff Yeast Culture Collection in the UC Davis Department of Food Science and Technology; discovery of human health solutions, led by Len Bjeldanes, professor of toxicology at UC Berkeley; conservation research and vertebrate surveys, led by Andrew Engilis Jr., curator of the UC Davis Museum of Wildlife and Fisheries Biology; and conservation partnerships, training and ethics, led by Pfeiffer.

"We will also be forming partnerships with private companies aimed at the commercial development of natural products for pharmaceuticals and energy production," Potter said. They have also lined up collaborators from several other leading research institutions, including the Smithsonian Institution and the Bishop Museum, Honolulu.

Potter said the results of the project will make significant contributions to a broad range of issues, including:

* development of knowledge about the patterns of biodiversity in southeast Asia;
* identification and isolation of natural products with potential value for treating globally important diseases and addressing human energy needs;
* development of effective biodiversity conservation strategies and proactive outreach and education programs to promote those strategies; and
* establishment of models for effective and equitable international collaborative partnerships, and ethical and sustainable international sharing of biogenetic resources.

Numerous scientists at the three Indonesian partner institutions are contributing to all aspects of the project, Potter said. Professor Selena Bartlett, who directs the Preclinical Development Group at the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center, UC San Francisco, is working closely with Bjeldanes on the health screening activities. Other UC Davis scientists, in addition to Kimsey, include co-investigators Steve Heydon, senior museum scientist at the Bohart Museum of Entomology, and Ellen Dean, herbarium curator at the Center for Plant Diversity; as well as collaborators David Rizzo, a professor in the Department of Plant Pathology; Douglas Kelt, a professor in the Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology; Irene Engilis, collections manager at the Museum of Wildlife and Fisheries Biology; John Labavitch, a professor in the Department of Plant Sciences; and Phil Ward, a professor in the Department of Entomology.

Media contact(s):
* Daniel Potter, Plant Sciences, (530) 754-6141, (Potter will be traveling through Nov. 27 and will have intermittent e-mail access.)
* Lynn Kimsey, Entomology, (530) 752-5373,
* Pat Bailey, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-9843,

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UC Davis News Service
One Shields Avenue
Davis, California 95616-8687
Phone: (530) 752-1930; Fax: (530) 752-4068

Monday, November 3, 2008

NorthBay Heart and Vascular Center takes another step forward

Heart center takes another step forward
By Reporter Staff
Article Launched: 11/03/2008 01:01:16 AM PST

In another step toward opening the NorthBay Heart and Vascular Center next year, NorthBay Medical Center in Fairfield will host the Boston Scientific Mobile Simulation Training Unit on Nov. 12 and 13 to provide state-of-the-art, hands-on education for its cardiac catheterization lab physicians and staff.

The Mobile Simulation Training Unit replicates a cardiac catheterization lab with realistic simulation technology that enables practitioners to explore new procedural solutions and to "perform" percutaneous coronary interventions in a risk-free environment. These procedures typically involve opening clogged arteries around the heart.

"Coronary artery disease affects approximately 11 million Americans and is the single leading killer of American men and women," says Diana Sullivan, NorthBay Healthcare cardiovascular service line director. "When our Heart and Vascular Center opens in 2009 we will be the first hospital in Solano County to offer the interventional cardiac care needed to save lives. The mobile simulation lab is training our interventional cardiologists and nursing staff on the latest technology to battle this deadly disease."

The Boston Scientific Mobile Training Unit is a 35-foot bus, complete with a pre-procedure patient briefing area, an area for performing interventions on a simulated patient named "Simantha" and a post-procedure metric evaluation computer station.
"This kind of simulation not only gives us a unique opportunity to learn new approaches to challenging cases, but also allows us to hone our skills and technique," Sullivan added. "Partnering with Boston Scientific enables hands-on training in the latest treatment methods to come right to our door, so it is accessible and convenient."


University of California, Davis
November 3, 2008


Almost 100 years ago, the first class of 28 degree-seeking students began their studies at what became the University of California, Davis. And now, as UC Davis celebrates its centennial, the university boasts its strongest freshman class and overall record enrollment of 31,426.

The 4,972 new freshmen coming directly from high school represent a
0.3 percent increase from last fall's 4,955. New transfer students number 1,914 this fall, compared with last fall's 1,858 final tally, for a 3 percent increase. In all, total fall enrollment represents an increase of about 2.4 percent from last fall's 30,685.

Pamela Burnett, director of Undergraduate Admissions, said, "The academic preparation of this freshman class is the highest in the recent history of the university."

The average grade point average of the freshman class is 3.79, compared with 3.74 in fall 2007. The average Scholastic Assessment Test score of enrolled freshmen is 1,764, up from the average score of 1,739 in fall 2007.

Burnett also commented how closely UC Davis met its targets to enroll 5,000 new freshmen and 1,900 new transfer students. "We're especially pleased about the precision with which we met the enrollment targets," she said.

Although elaborate analysis guides enrollment planning, Burnett said, other factors that influence students' enrollment decisions are always at play. She said it was in the spring and before the dramatic downturn in the economy that UC Davis made its offers for fall admission.

Overall enrollment

The number of new and continuing undergraduates (including teaching-credential students) increased by about 3 percent, from
23,499 last fall to 24,209 this fall. The number of academic graduate students decreased by 0.2 percent, from 4,094 to 4,085. The number of professional students increased from 3,092 last fall to 3,132 this fall, for a 1.3 percent increase.

Looking only at the Davis campus, the student population is expected to average 27,400 across the three quarters of the academic year.

Among the 29,072 students from the United States, 15.4 percent are from traditionally underrepresented groups, compared with 14.8 percent last fall. (This count excludes interns and residents.)

Men account for 44.7 percent of the total student population, and women 55.3 percent. About 92.6 percent of students are California residents. (These numbers exclude interns and residents.)

For the general campus, 6,116 students are classified as freshmen; 4,160 as sophomores; 6,635 as juniors; 7,162 as seniors; 136 as teaching-credential students; 3,830 as master's or doctoral degree candidates; and 1,190 as professional students.

In the health sciences, 255 are designated as master's or doctoral degree students and 1,942 as professional degree candidates.

Freshmen by ethnicity

A total of 4,891 of the 4,972 new freshmen are U.S. citizens or permanent residents, and among them, more than 19 percent are from traditionally underrepresented groups. The ethnic breakdown among the U.S. students, contrasted with last year's figures (in parentheses),

* African American, 3 percent or 147 (3.8 percent or 183);
* American Indian/Alaskan Native, 0.5 percent or 23 (0.8 percent or 41);
* Chicano/Latino, 15.6 percent or 764 (13.9 percent or 678);
* Asian/Pacific Islander, 39.8 percent or 1,948 (43.5 percent or 2,120);
* Caucasian, 35 percent or 1,714 (33.1 percent or 1,613); and
* Other/Not Reported, 6 percent or 295 (5 percent or 244).

Transfer students

Among the 1,790 transfer students from the United States, 289, or
16.1 percent, are from traditionally underrepresented groups.

Here is a comparison of actual fall quarter enrollments from last year to this year:

Fall 2008

Undergraduates 24,209

* Agricultural & Environmental Sciences 5,283
* Engineering 2,936
* Letters & Science 10,594
* Biological Sciences 5,260
* Teaching Credential 136

Graduate Academic 4,085

Professional 3,132

* Graduate School of Management* 506
* Law 589
* Medicine** 1,291
* Veterinary Medicine** 651
* Graduate Division 95

Total 31,426

Fall 2007

Undergraduates 23,499

* Agricultural & Environmental Sciences 4,819
* Engineering 2,950
* Letters & Science 10,243
* Biological Sciences 5,361
* Teaching Credential 126

Graduate Academic 4,094

Professional 3,092

* Graduate School of Management* 461
* Law 597
* Medicine** 1,304
* Veterinary Medicine** 630
* Graduate Division 100

Total 30,685

* Figures for the management school include students in the MBA program for working professionals: 396 this fall and 349 last fall.

** Numbers for the medical and veterinary schools include interns and residents. The medical school has 749 this fall compared with 783 last fall; the vet school has 109 this fall compared with 106 last fall.

Media contact(s):
* Julia Ann Easley, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-8248,

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UC Davis News Service
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Davis, California 95616-8687
Phone: (530) 752-1930; Fax: (530) 752-4068

Sutter's radiology services certified

Sutter's radiology services certified
By Reporter Staff
Article Launched: 11/02/2008

Sutter Regional Medical Foundation has been awarded a three-year accreditation from the American College of Radiology (ACR) for a number of its diagnostic imaging and radiology services.

Services included in the accreditation include general and vascular ultrasound, general and cardiac nuclear medicine, mammography, breast ultrasound, CT scan and MRI.

"We're honored to be the only facility in Solano County to receive this distinction from the American College of Radiology for our range of comprehensive diagnostic services," said Dr. Keith Tao, medical director of radiology of Sutter Regional's Diagnostic Imaging Centers.

Sutter Regional voluntarily went through the rigorous review process to be sure it met nationally accepted standards.

The ACR, headquartered in Reston, Va., awards accreditation to facilities for the achievement of high practice standards after a peer-review evaluation, conducted by board-certified physicians and medical physicists who are experts in the field.

Those experts assess the qualifications of the personnel and the adequacy of facility equipment, then report their findings to the ACR's Committee on Accreditation, which subsequently provides the facility with a comprehensive report.

"Every patient who receives radiology services from Sutter Regional Medical Foundation is provided with excellent diagnostic care from highly trained experts using state-of-the-art equipment," said Barbara Chodacznik, manager of SRMF Diagnostic Imaging Centers. "The ACR accreditation validates the quality of our work and our commitment to providing the highest quality of care to our patients."

The ACR is a national organization serving more than 32,000 diagnostic-interventional radiologists, radiation oncologists, and nuclear medicine and medical physicists with programs focusing on the practical of medical imaging and radiation oncology and the delivery of comprehensive health care services.