Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Fairfield to receive funding for buses

Fairfield to receive funding for buses
Published by The Reporter
Posted: 06/30/2009

Fairfield will receive millions of dollars from the federal government to pay for new city buses.

The U.S. Department of Transportation set aside more than $70 million in additional Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) funds for 12 transit and aviation projects in California.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last week announced that California leads the nation with more than $1.5 billion in federal obligations for Recovery Act funds designated for transportation.

Fairfield will receive $3.1 million to buy nine buses.

California is expected to receive nearly $2.6 billion from the Recovery Act for highways and local streets and $1 billion for transit projects.

Competitive programs within the Recovery Act could also provide approximately $300 million in additional funding in this area. Additionally, California expects to be very competitive in securing a portion of $8 billion Recovery Act funding set aside federally for high-speed and intercity rail.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Federal money in pipeline for city's sewer system

Federal money in pipeline for city's sewer system
By Jessica A. York/Times-Herald staff writer
Posted: 06/27/2009

Vallejo may receive a financial boost in its maintenance and modernization of a nearly two-century-old sewer and storm drainage system in need of nearly constant and expensive repairs.

The city is eligible for a $750,000 federal grant that would help make infrastructure repairs on the former Mare Island Naval Shipyard.

On Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2010, setting aside the money for Vallejo.

Vallejo City Engineer David Kleinschmidt said the new grant likely was awarded with help from a Washington, D.C. lobbying firm working for Lennar Mare Island, the island's master developer.

Lennar Mare Island is required to make improvements on island infrastructure as it develops properties, Kleinschmidt said. The federal grants allow the company to focus its development dollars on further projects.

"They're the advocates, they request the money ... once there's an indication that there's money, we fine-tune it," Kleinschmidt said. "There's a long list of project improvements. Every time we do one, it does become less."

The bill will need to receive approval by the U.S. Senate and the president's signature before it is finalized.

The legislation is expected to pass by September, according to a release from Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, who supported spending for Mare Island's sewer and storm drainage systems. Miller represents Vallejo.

The project was also approved for $500,000 in funding from the 2009 federal budget, passed on March 11.

Contact staff writer Jessica A. York at jyork@thnewsnet.com or (707) 553-6834.

CitiFinancial opens in Vallejo

CitiFinancial opens in Vallejo
Published by The Reporter
Posted: 06/29/2009

Centro Properties Group announced a 2,400-square-foot CitiFinancial Services Inc. recently opened at Gateway Plaza, just east of Interstate 80, on Turner Parkway at Plaza Drive in Vallejo.

Centro Properties Group, the second largest owner of community and neighborhood shopping centers in the United States, owns the plaza.

Little-known wineries to make presence felt

Little-known wineries to make presence felt
By Ben Antonius | Daily Republic | June 26, 2009

Julie Larson, owner of Lulie LePla Winery, stands in her vineyard north of Vacaville Friday morning. Photo by Brad Zweerink

FAIRFIELD - Some of Solano County's less-prominent wineries are considering joining forces to market themselves and hold events that would bring people to vineyards in overlooked areas.

Owners of several wineries in non-traditional locations such as English Hills, Green Valley and Dixon met recently with county agriculture leaders to discuss topics of mutual concern, such as tax issues for small wineries, state wine regulations and the marketing of Solano County wines.

'If you look at Napa (or) Sonoma, they have so many different events that bring the public to their wineries,' said Carolyn West of Green Valley-based Rock Creek Winery. 'It's very hard to get any kind of substantial participation if you only have two wineries like we do in Green Valley.'

The gathering was orchestrated by the Solano County Agriculture Department's Farm Assistance Revitalization and Marketing program.

'This was the first time these growers came together, and I think they walked away with the feeling that they share common experiences, even though they are making wine in distinctly different regions in the county,' said program coordinator Adam Cline.

The majority of the county's wineries are in Suisun Valley, which has its own organization for marketing the appellation. There are 11 wineries in the Suisun Valley, two in Dixon, two in Green Valley and three in Vacaville.

See the complete story at the Daily Republic online.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Suisun hotel promises 'great getaway'

Suisun hotel promises 'great getaway'
By Ian Thompson | Daily Republic | June 25, 2009

Harmut Ott opens the door of one of the suits on the top floor of the new Hampton Inn and Suites on the Suisun City waterfront. The hotel is scheduled to open in September. Photo by Chris Jordan

SUISUN CITY - The Hampton Inn & Suites, the best harbor view in downtown Suisun City, is expected to welcome its first guests in mid-September.

'It is a great getaway location,' said Hartmut Ott, the hotel's general manager. He added the hotel will be an ideal place for weddings and for people visiting vineyards in Suisun Valley and Napa.

The four-story, 102-room hotel on the north end of the Suisun City marina is still dressed in gray and covered in scaffolding. Some of the landscaping is already in place, and workers are in the process of installing the heating and air conditioning.

'It is really starting to come together now,' Ott said.

Petaluma-based developer Basin Street Properties is building the hotel, which will be the first in Suisun City since the 1950s. Rim Hospitality is managing the hotel.

Hiring the hotel's 20 to 25 employees is expected to begin in mid-August.

Of the 102 rooms, 30 of them will be larger studios. Twenty-seven rooms will face the harbor, giving guests a great view of a waterfront that Ott calls 'an undiscovered jewel.'

The hotel will offer conference and meeting rooms, a hospitality suite, wireless Internet access, a pool and hot tub. Ott has forged relationships with the Solano Yacht Club and Joseph Nelson Community Center to accommodate large meetings for hotel guests.

Hampton Inn & Suites will offer a limited breakfast but will advertise local restaurants such as Athenian Grill for dining. The hotel is participating in Sunday's Bridal Fair in Sheldon Plaza and plans to co-sponsor the annual event in 2010, Ott said.

See the complete story at the Daily Republic Online.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Springs Road retail center's revamp begins

Springs Road retail center's revamp begins
By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen/Times-Herald staff writer
Posted: 06/25/2009

After about two years of preparation, work has begun on the revamping of the 1960s-era Solano 80 Center, better known as the Rite Aide center on Springs Road.

Construction of the three-phase plan began about three weeks ago, said Marcus Adams of the city's planning division and developer John Jay of the Jay-Phares Corporation. The project should be completed by the third quarter of 2010, Jay said.

When it's finished, the underserved southern half of Vallejo will have a new 140,000 square foot commercial center, anchored by Mi Pueblo market -- which Jay describes as "the Latino Whole Foods."

Phase one includes construction of prototype Harbor Freight Tools and Taco Bell stores, to replace the existing ones which will be demolished in phase two, Jay said.

The old Rite Aide building also will be demolished to make room for a new, more modern one, which will feature a drive-through, he added.

The long-vacant restaurant at the corner of Mariposa Street and Springs Road will come down, to be replaced by two buildings surrounding a plaza where Jay said he hopes to install restaurants with indoor and patio seating.

New landscaping with "green" irrigation systems also are being installed, he said.

Jay said it's taken since 2007 to get all the project's legal ducks in a row.

"We only just got our final approval from the city in late 2008," he said. "There were some traffic issues -- the usual stuff."

Jay said he's not sure what other tenants may move into the new center once it's completed, but his firm is discussing possibilities with several retailers.

He said he realizes right now is a difficult time to be building anything anywhere, but his firm remains undaunted.

"Our company has three shopping centers under development in the middle of a great depression," he said. "But our mission is the rehabilitation of core urban properties, in areas serving a high percentage of minorities, and those types of projects are expanding."

As general contractors, Jay's firm does the building, and it also make it safe with its security arm, he said.

"We're into the rebirth of the inner cities," Jay said. "We hope to rehabilitate the center and bring to the area the retail options it deserves."

Jay said he's especially pleased to be working in Vallejo and hopes to do more here in the future.

"We like Vallejo a lot. It's a hidden gem," he said. "It's one of the most attractive cities in the Bay Area. It has character, history, bluffs overlooking the bay, a harbor, a multi-cultural populace, a mix of high-end and affordable housing and great weather. What else do you need?"

Contact staff writer Rachel Raskin-Zrihen at (707) 553-6824 or RachelZ@thnewsnet.com.

June 2009

Table of Contents
- Real Estate Roundup ( May 2009)
- Bay-Tec moves headquarters to Fairfield
- Did you know? Farmers Markets

Real Estate Roundup (May 2009)

CBRE (www.cbre.com)
- Building 599, Mare Island, Vallejo, CA – 112,327 SF lease to Alstom Transportation Inc.
- Quarters D, Mare Island, Vallejo, CA – 7,878 SF lease to Bay City Mechanical

Colliers International (www.colliersparrish.com)
- 437 & 441 Industrial Way, Benicia - 80,000 SF lease to Valero

Cushman & Wakefield (www.cushmanwakefield.com)
- 299 Beck Avenue, Fairfield - 150,000 SF lease to Meyer Corporation
- 505 Lopes Road, Fairfield - 16,800 SF lease to Juvenal Direct
- 2339 Courage Drive, Fairfield - 12,000 SF lease to Westcal Express
- 350 Chadbourne Road, Fairfield - 5,040 SF lease renewal to Amen Clinics
- 4830 Business Center Drive, Fairfield - 3,200 SF lease to George Hills Company
- 5130 Fulton Drive, Fairfield - 2,500 SF lease to OC Communications
- 5130 Fulton Drive, Fairfield - 2,500 SF lease to Proserv

Bay-Tec moves headquarters to Fairfield
Bay-Tec Engineering, a division of Emerson Process Management, has moved its headquarters to Fairfield. It leased 20,000 square feet at 5130 Fulton Drive. The company, with a 25 year service, moved to Solano County from Napa.

Bay-Tec is a control system engineering and construction firm, focused on providing its clients with automated solutions. It also has facilities in Brea and Portland, Oregon.

In 2007 Bay-Tec was named one of the top manufacturing firms in the North Bay area.

For information regarding Bay-Tec services please call 707-252-6575.

Did you know?
Solano County has many local produce stands and farmers markets that are great places to buy fresh produce, reduce your carbon footprint and support our local farmers. Check out a local farmers market by you!

Benicia Farmers Market
Date & Time: Every Thursday from 4 pm until 8 pm, April 30th through October
Location: First Street between B and D Streets

Dixon Farmers Market
Date & Time: Every Thursday 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm, May 21st to September 24th
Location: Women's Improvement Park, North 1st at East C Street in downtown Dixon

Fairfield Farmers Market
Date & Time: Every Thursday from 4pm until 8pm, May 7th to October 1st, 2009
Location: Downtown Fairfield on Jefferson Street and Texas Street adjacent to the Solano County Government Center Plaza

Vacaville Farmer Market
Date & Time: Every Saturday 8 am until 12pm, May 16th to October 31st
Location: Main Street between Parker and Dobbins

Vallejo Kaiser Certified Farmers Market
Day & Time: Fridays, 10:00 am - 2:00 pm, Open All Year
Location: 975 Serreno Drive

Vallejo Saturday Certified Farmers Market
Day & Time: Saturdays, 9:00 am - 1:00 pm, Open All Year
Location: Georgia & Marin Streets

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 (mike@solanoedc.org)
Sandy Person, Vice-President (sandy@solanoedc.org)
Pat Uhrich, Office Manager (pat@solanoedc.org)
Andy Turba, Special Projects (andy@solanoedc.org)

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

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Kaiser expects to open delayed $500M Vacaville hospital in fall

Kaiser expects to open delayed $500M Vacaville hospital in fall
San Francisco Business Times - by Chris Rauber
Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Kaiser Permanente expects to open its $500 million new Vacaville hospital by the fall, after earlier delaying its opening due to the economic downturn.

That cost estimate includes the 340,000-square-foot hospital itself, with “up to 150 beds,” and a 217,000-square-foot medical office building that opened last November, Northern California Kaiser spokesman Marc Brown told the San Francisco Business Times late Monday.

Many details, including staffing levels and the exact opening date for the medical center are still to be determined, Brown said, but that opening is expected to happen in October or November.

Kaiser’s www.kaiservacaville.com web site placed the projected opening “in the fall of 2009.”

Last November, Oakland-based Kaiser said it would delay the proposed openings of new hospitals in Vacaville and Vallejo from the spring and fall of 2009, respectively, to late 2009 and early 2010, blaming the impact of “the ongoing economic challenges.” That timing still appears to be the game plan, given Kaiser’s most recent announcements.

On the Vacaville web site, Kaiser said the new Vacaville medical center will include emergency services, a critical care unit, medical-surgical services and “a full complement” of diagnostic and support services, but not labor and delivery services, which will continue to be offered at Kaiser’s Vallejo medical center. Kaiser officials said on the web site that labor and delivery services require a certain volume to ensure quality and efficiency. “As the need for obstetrical services increases in the Napa-Solano region, we will re-evaluate the availability of labor and delivery at the Vacaville hospital,” the web site posting indicated.

The Vacaville opening will not affect timing of construction of a new hospital tower at Kaiser Vallejo, officials said, “which is on schedule to open in spring 2010.”

Oakland-based Kaiser, which has 8.6 million enrollees systemwide, has more than 240,000 members in Napa and Solano counties, where it boasts 400 physicians and nurse practitioners.

crauber@bizjournals.com / (415) 288-4946

See how it gets made - and have a free sample

See how it gets made - and have a free sample
Matt Villano
Sunday, June 21, 2009

Contrary to what national financial reports might tell you, our local economy is still producing quite a bit. Case in point: local factories that make products that are shipped all over the world. Here are five places where visitors can get an inside look at assembly lines, and walk away with some free stuff to boot.

1. Jelly Belly, Fairfield

You're guaranteed a sugar high on this free, 45-minute tour through Jelly Belly's main factory. Guides lead visitors over glass-enclosed catwalks that provide a bird's-eye view of how workers process, flavor, color, sort and package these jewel-like candies. The factory is dormant on weekends, so be sure to go during the week. All tours include a free 2-ounce bag of jelly beans and end in the factory store. Tours daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 1 Jelly Belly Lane, www.jellybelly.com.

See the complete story SFGate.com.

Lake's supply a backup for Solano

Lake's supply a backup for Solano
By Mellssa Murphy - The Reporter
June 21, 2009

It's officially summer, but preparations for the hot, dry season began long before today's "first day of summer" calendar entry.

As California endures its third year of drought, agencies statewide are bucking up on conservation measures to make sure the natural resource lasts.

"Conservation is for our long-term benefit," said David Mansfield, general manager of the Solano Irrigation District. "We're all affected by drier weather, but we're doing what we can to save the finite amount of fresh water we have." Mansfield added that, fortunately, for Solano County residents, there is a backup -- Lake Berryessa, which is operated by SID.

"A decrease in water supply is not that severe in Solano County," he said. "But having that water doesn't deter from our conservation message and it's great to have."

Most of the state's water deliverers rely on snow runoff from the mountains, while Lake Berryessa's water is collected when it rains.

Supervising Engineer Thomas Pate, with the Solano Water Agency, explained that Lake Berryessa saw a drop in water supply this year but almost made up for it during unexpected rains.

"We use the water down throughout the year and hope to gain as much during the rainy months," he said. "We didn't quite gain as much as we used, but we've been able to stay steady. Hopefully we'll be able to keep it up." Right now at the lake, the "glory hole" sits well above the water level. Pate said the lake is at 73 percent capacity, which means the water is 23 feet below the spill elevation.

On its Web site, www.scwa2.com, the county water agency shows that Thursday afternoon the water level was at 416 feet, while the lake water spills at just above 439 feet.

Meanwhile in order to spur residents to consider water conservation, the water agency is offering rebates. For instance, until Dec. 31 -- or until funds are depleted -- consumers can receive up to a $125 rebate if a new high-efficiency clothes washer is purchased and installed. The new washers use only 13 to 18 gallons per load on average, compared to 37 gallons for standard washers.

SID is also ramping up conservation efforts and working with the state's Save Our Water campaign.

Myriad tools are available online at www.saveourh2o.org. Some suggestions are as simple as turning off the faucet when brushing teeth or only running the clothes washer and dishwasher only with full loads.

Travis names new commander

Travis names new commander
By Ian Thompson | DAILY REPUBLIC | June 19, 2009

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE - Travis commander Brig. Gen. (select) Mark C. Dillon will pack his luggage soon for a new assignment in Germany, some time in mid-July.

He is being replaced by Col. James Vechery who presently commands the 22nd Air Refueling Wing at McConnell AFB, Kan., according to the Travis Public Affairs Office.

Dillon, who runs the 60th Air Mobility Wing, has been assigned to command the 86th Airlift Wing and the Kaiserlautern Military Community at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

The announcement was made earlier this month by the Department of Defense, but did not state specifically when Dillon will hand over command to Vechery.

Dillon has commanded the 60th AMW since June 2008. Prior to that, he served as U.S. Transportation Command's liaison officer to U.S. Southern Command.

Vechery joined the Air Force in May 1988 after he was commissioned as a second lieutenant following graduation from the University of Maryland.

He has served as commander of the 912th Air Refueling Squadron at Grand Forks AFB, N.D. and as vice commander of the 89th Airlift Wing at Andrews AFB, Md. before taking command of the 22nd ARW in February 2008.

See the complete story at the Daily Republic online.

International students get chance to regain their careers

International students get chance to regain their careers
By Sarah Rohrs/ Times-Herald, Vallejo
Posted: 06/22/2009

Rihong Chang is so eager to return to nursing that twice a week she drives seven hours from Los Angeles to Solano Community College for a class that will get her closer to her dream.

Chang, 41, worked as a nurse in her homeland of China for 20 years. But, in California, an exam is barring her from her chosen work.

Before she can take the National Council Licensing Exam (NCLEX) to return to nursing, she said she must take certain classes which are both difficult to find and to get into.

Like her classmates, Chang was nearly desperate to land a spot in Solano College summer's psychiatric mental health nursing class. She must take it before she can apply to take the exam.

High demand and state budget cuts at universities and colleges have made it difficult for these students to find the necessary classes, Solano College Dean of Health Occupations Maire Morinec said.

This is the first time Solano College has offered such a class geared specifically for international nursing students. "We didn't realize we would get such an overwhelming response," Morinec said.

More than 60 applied for a spot. Solano College hopes to offer similar classes in the future, she said.

Each student in the class has worked as a nurse or doctor in their native countries, most for many years. They immigrated from Russia, Mongolia, Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbijan, China, Yemen and Nepal.

Chang and many others searched and waited two or three years for the necessary classes, many said during a break in their Monday class.

The 32 students come from around the state for the 10-week class. The class involves one day a week in the classroom and one day gaining clinical experience at the St. Helena Center for Behavioral Health in Vallejo, Morinec said.

The state recognizes the experience that international nurses like Chang bring. However, officials determined these students need more classroom and clinical experience before they can take the exam, Morinec said.

Some students need only take a nursing psychiatric class before they can apply to the state Board of Registered Nursing and take the exam. About one-third must also take a class in obstetrics, Morinec said.

Once they take the exam and get their nursing license, they can help fill the state's nursing shortage, Morinec said.

A native of the Soviet Union, student Gunel Azimov, 26, comes from San Francisco where she works as a clerk at Kaiser Permanente. "I'm very excited to be here," she said.

With her husband and three children, Svitlana Dromova moved to Sacramento from Ukraine where she helped administer anesthetics in a hospital. She can't wait to be a nurse again, she said.

"I love this work and I loved doing it in my country and it would be nice to work here in America," she said.

Workshop to focus on Suisun Valley tourism

Workshop to focus on Suisun Valley tourism
By Barry Eberling | DAILY REPUBLIC | June 22, 2009

FAIRFIELD - It's time to get down to the details on Suisun Valley's future.

The broad proposal to bolster the valley's status as an agritourism draw has been in place for months. The idea is to have more wineries and produce stands and several new tourism centers with such attractions as restaurants and bed-and-breakfasts in the rural valley.

A June 29 Solano County community workshop will focus on such issues as how big tourism centers should be, what road improvements are needed, how to provide water and how to handle wastewater. The meeting is at 6:30 p.m. at the county Government Center multi-purpose room, 675 Texas St.

County officials and Suisun Valley farmers have held several so-called 'stakeholders' meetings to tackle these topics. Though those meetings were open to the public, the workshop will present the results of the give-and-take to the wider community.

Ron Lanza of Wooden Valley Winery said things have gone well so far.

'Everybody has their own agenda in a way, but they've all been really good and sensible. It seems like everyone wants what's best for the valley,' Lanza said.Everything Solano... Find It Here.

Looking for a restaurant? Try the new Solano Marketplace and find local businesses.

In his opinion, that's to keep the valley in agriculture, but give farmers more flexibility so they can do things that attract tourists and make Suisun Valley more popular.

The county's recently revised General Plan allows for a total of 75 acres in the 10,000-acre valley to become tourists centers. Developable land could be added to the existing Rockville Corner and Mankas Corner centers, with new centers near the century-old Gomer school house, Rockville Road near Abernathy Road, Morrison Lane, the historic Iwama building, Abernathy Road near Interstate 80 and perhaps along Cordelia Road.

But how to divvy up that 75 acres total among eight possible sites is a question. A proposal will be available from the county perhaps by week's end and will be presented at the workshop.

Lanza said as many as 25 acres of the 75 acres should be held in reserve, to be granted to the tourism sites at a later time, as circumstances dictate. Otherwise, a need for more acreage at a site could arise and couldn't be met.

See the complete story at the Daily Republic online.

Basin Street hotel project part of Suisun revitalization

Basin Street hotel project part of Suisun revitalization
by D. Ashley Furness - Business Journal Staff Reporter
Jun 22, 2009

SUISUN CITY – Basin Street Properties will soon open the latest property in its budding hospitality portfolio, a $13 million Hampton Inn & Suites in Suisun City. The hotel will be the first to open in the area in several decades and is the “linchpin” in the waterfront community’s $60 million, 20-year revitalization effort.

“The work in the waterfront district began as a redevelopment project in 1989 and the effort at that point was to take what had been a run down, crime-ridden, industrial waterfront area and turn it into a public focal point and economic engine for the community,” said Suisun City spokesman Scott Corey.

“The vision for that area included a hotel from the very beginning; in fact it is a key linchpin in the project, so we are extremely excited to have it here. It is a terrific benchmark in the progress we are trying to make.”

The Hampton Inn will be the second hotel project developed by Basin Street’s growing hospitality subsidiary after the opening of the 116-room Hampton in Windsor last fall. The division was created about two years ago through a merger with the Sonoma Mountain Group that already managed the Sheraton in Petaluma and a Holiday Inn Express in Corning. Plans to open a Marriott in Reno and other new hotels are currently in the works.

The Solano County hotel will total about 63,000 square feet and 102 suites, varying in size and capacity. The four-story structure will also house about 4,000 square feet of meeting space, and management company RIM Hospitality is accepting group reservations for November, though it could open by the end of summer.

“We were very aware of the redevelopment going on in Suisun and thought it was a really unique site for a lot of reasons,” said Basin Street Hospitality Managing Partner and former Sonoma Mountain President Tom Birdsall.

“It’s a waterfront property with access to walking trails, nice restaurants,” Mr. Birdsall, noting it was a short drive to “Napa and close to San Francisco and Sacramento.”

The city has already completed much of the area’s redevelopment, opening waterline walking trails; organizing more than 40 outdoor, free community events; and constructing a 150-slip marina and seawall. At the same time, developers looked to transform the area’s business climate from manufacturing and industrial space to more small businesses. The area is now home to 12 family-owned eateries.

Officials also signed a deal with Main Street West Partners in 2005 to develop two mixed-use buildings called Harbor Square and a waterside restaurant. The first 40,000-square-foot, two-story building will open at the end of June with a new restaurant and upscale entertainment venue. The site also includes a central, open-air courtyard with a large community fireplace.

Main Street West plans to eventually develop a total of 16 parcels in the area, including a residential component, but those will likely wait for the financing environment to improve.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Learn more about commercial loans during breakfast

Learn more about commercial loans during breakfast
Times-Herald staff report/
Posted: 06/20/2009

The Solano County Economic Development Corporation's upcoming Breakfast Event, entitled "Defrosting the Market," features a commercial finance update.

The event begins after a 7:30 to 8 a.m. registration period Thursday, and will be held at Fairfield's Hilton Garden Inn.

It costs $25 for EDC members and $35 for non-members.

To register, call (707) 864-1855.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Veterans' Web site coming

Veterans' Web site coming
Times-Herald staff report
Posted: 06/19/2009

FAIRFIELD - In an effort to help veterans find information and resources, Solano County will unveil a new Web portal Thursday, June 25.

The site, www.networkofcare.org, will boast more than 15,000 links and 250,000 pages of information in an easy-to-search database. Local veterans services and articles on legislative activity on veterans issues will be included.

An overview of the site will be presented at 1 p.m. June 25 in the Board of Supervisors chamber, 675 Texas St. An in-depth tour and demonstration will begin at 1:45 p.m.

Vacaville Kaiser set to open this fall

Vacaville Kaiser set to open this fall
By Robin Miller/ RMiller@TheReporter.com
Posted: 06/19/2009

Kaiser is planning to open the Vacaville hospital this fall, though no official date has been announced. (Joel Rosenbaum / The Reporter)

Kaiser Permanente's new hospital in Vacaville will open this fall.

The health care giant announced the opening Thursday, though no specific date has been set for when the facilities doors will open. Kaiser had announced last November that the opening would be delayed until at least the latter part of this year, due to the downturn in the global economy.

In announcing the planned opening, Joanie Erickson, director of public affairs for Kaiser, said the local hospital will include emergency room services and adult medicine but will initially open without labor and delivery services.

"We know that is an important service to the Vacaville community and some people might be disappointed," Erickson said. "But we want people to know we are aware and will continue to evaluate the community's demand and those services will still be available in Vallejo. And the new emergency room will be fully able to address emergency deliveries."

Labor and delivery services are planned for the site and when the economic conditions are right, Erickson said, adding, "We'll be ready to go."

Labor and delivery services, she noted, require a certain volume of use in order for medical personnel to maintain their skills and the quality of service. Splitting the service between Vallejo and Vacaville didn't make sense at this point, she said.

What the hospital will have is a fully functioning emergency room, the second for the Vacaville community (NorthBay Healthcare's VacaValley John WIlkerson Gateway Realty Hospital also provides emergency care).

Mayor Len Augustine was excited by the announcement.

"That's really good to hear," Augustine said. "The opening will make it easier for everyone around here."

He added that it would also likely help local paramedics transporting Kaiser patients to a more convenient location.

At the time Kaiser announced its delay of the facility last year, the healthcare provider had been hard hit by investment losses and had posted a third-quarter loss of some $399 million.

The firm reported an increase in operating revenue for the first quarter of 2009 and said it had added 12,000 new members during the first three months of the year, bringing its total membership up to more than 8.6 million members.

The announcement of plans for the Vacaville facility may be just the first indication of a turnaround for the firm, which also launched construction of a new facility in Hillsborough earlier this week.

Reporter staff writer Melissa Murphy contributed to this report.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

County wineries join forces

County wineries join forces
Times-Herald staff report
Posted: 06/17/2009

Solano County vintners have linked up to promote county wines and do other advocacy work.

Seven boutique vineyard and winery owners met June 9 at the Rock Creek Vineyards in upper Green Valley to discuss tax issues for small wineries, state wine regulations and marketing Solano wines.

The gathering was organized by the Solano County Agriculture Department's Farm Assistance Revitalization and Marketing program.

Solano County has 18 wineries: two in Dixon, two in Green Valley, three in Vacaville and 11 in the Suisun Valley.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Almost the real thing

Almost the real thing
By Sarah Rohrs/Times-Herald staff writer
Posted: 06/13/2009

Employees from Starlight Marine Services go through a simulator exercise at the California Maritime Academy in which they move a ship with a tug boat under the Carquinez Bridge. (Chris Riley/Times-Herald)

It's early morning. There's thick fog with near-zero visibility, and a severe breakdown in communication between the pilot and crew -- these were some ingredients in the recipe for a shipping disaster known as the Cosco Busan oil spill.

At times, California Maritime Academy students operate under similar conditions, but with one big difference: They can learn from their mistakes without actually causing them.

Cal-Maritime students can master the latest technology and practice their reactions aboard oil tankers and tug boats all within the confines of the university's ultra-state-of-the-art simulation center.

"Everything on the (ship's) bridges is exactly what you would find on a real ship," said Capt. James Buckley, Cal-Maritime's associate dean for simulation.

The only facility of its kind in the United States, the $13 million simulation center allows a variety of realistic situations that ship and tugboat crews might face, such as storms, high winds, crowded docks, even high-speed pirate boats, Buckley said.

Instructors even can introduce commands issued in error so students can gain skills and confidence to question them and react properly, Buckley said.

The facility gives students and marine professionals realistic scenarios so they can learn how to react properly and work well together, Cal-Maritime spokesman Doug Webster said. The ultimate aim is to prevent maritime disasters like the Cosco Busan oil spill, which occurred in November 2007, he added.

The Coast Guard blamed navigational errors and unsafe operating conditions after the Cosco Busan rammed into the San Francisco Bay Bridge, spilling more than 53,000 gallons of oil.

Cal-Maritime students, specializing in maritime operations or engineering, take numerous classes in the simulation center, Webster said. Maritime professionals also use the facility.

Two of Cal-Maritime's seven simulation facilities provide 360-degree views of each setting; others give 225- or 180-degree views.

Inside the darkened simulation rooms, students operate and keep track of radar, GPS and other control panels just like they would on any ship or tugboat.

Projected around them are the vessel and maritime scene they are in, such as a tugboat pulling a ship underneath a bridge, or a large tanker approaching a crowded port.

The center is the newest addition to California Maritime Academy, one of 23 campuses in the California State University system.

With most of Cal-Maritime students on their training cruise aboard the "Golden Bear," the San Francisco-based Starlight Marine Services mariners made good use of the simulation center this week, practicing maneuvers involving a tugboat and an enormous tanker.

In the exercise, the tanker was about to pass unde the Carquinez Bridge when it lost steering capabilities. The crews had to react accordingly to keep the ship from crashing into the bridge.

Unbeknown to the crews, another tugboat operator and barge were heading their way, which required fast thinking and quick-trigger responses on their part.

On hand for the practice was 1975 alumnus Bill Atthowe, a San Francisco Bar Pilot, who said the simulation center is a valuable tool, and nearly as good as the real thing. In the exercise, the mariners practiced until they got it right.

Contact staff writer Sarah Rohrs at 553-6832 or srohrs@thnewsnet.com.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Vallejo gets $7.6M federal boost

Vallejo gets $7.6M federal boost
By Sarah Rohrs/Times-Herald staff writer
Posted: 06/11/2009

The roof and deck of the Vallejo Ferry building will see some improvements thanks to an influx of $7.6 million in federal stimulus money, officials said Wednesday.

Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, announced that Vallejo would get $7,612,324 for a variety of bus and ferry improvements.

The federal money also will help offset the impact of the tate budget crisis on Vallejo Transit bus operations, Transportation Superintendent Crystal Odum Ford said.

The city will use the money to renovate the Vallejo Transit bus maintenance facility on Broadway, and also will upgrade administrative offices and ticket sales area, Ford said.

When not in use, buses are now spread out in different lots, and the improvements will allow the city to consolidate the fleet under one roof at the Broadway site, she added.

At the Ferry Building, money will go to roof repairs and various observation deck improvements, Ford said. Upgrades to make the building fully compliant with the American Disabilities Act will also be done.

Further, a portion of the money will help cover costs to overhaul two of the ferry boats, she said.

Money for preventative maintenance on the Vallejo Transit buses is critical since that will free up funds for operations which have been lost in state budget cuts, Ford said.

Tuesday, the City Council allowed staff to hire an engineering firm to start planning the bus and ferry improvements.

The city is also seeking federal stimulus money to help pay for the Vallejo Station, a new bus transfer facility that is part of a large downtown waterfront development plan.

The city of Vacaville, meanwhile, will be getting $2,217.074 for its Vacaville Intermodal Station.

Miller's office announced that nearly more than $100 million will go to transit projects in the Bay Area, and more than $400 million on similar projects throughout the state.

The money comes from the $787 billion American Recovery Reinvestment Act (ARRA) approved by Congress earlier this year, Miller's office announced.

"This funding is part of our effort to get Americans back to work by investing in our infrastructure," Miller said, in the announcement.

"These funds will help make our mass transit systems more efficient and less expensive and will help cut our dependence on foreign oil," he added.

• Contact staff writer Sarah Rohrs at srohrs@thnewsnet.com or 553-6832.

Vacaville receives transit funding

Vacaville receives transit funding
By Melissa Murphy/ MMurphy@TheReporter.com
Posted: 06/11/2009

Vacaville's plans for a transit station where commuters can park and catch a bus, or carpool or vanpool, will soon receive some much needed cash.

Rep. George Miller, D-Solano, announced Wednesday that the Department of Transportation is releasing nearly $15 million for mass transit projects in and around his Bay Area congressional district and more than $2.2 million will go toward the second phase of work on Vacaville's intermodal station.

"This funding is part of our effort to get Americans back to work by investing in our infrastructure," Miller said in a press release. "These funds will help make our mass transit systems more efficient and less expensive and will help cut our dependence on foreign oil. This funding exemplifies the core goals of the Recovery Act -- providing desperately needed, good-paying jobs in the Bay Area and keeping our local economy moving forward."

Vacaville wasn't expecting such a generous contribution toward the project.

In April, according to Transit Manager Brian McLean, the city requested somewhere around $1.5 million for the project.

"It's very good to hear that we're getting that money," he said Wednesday after finding out the city will receive more than it requested. "Looks like there has been some positive movement and they were able to squeeze a little bit more money out of it."

Mayor Len Augustine agreed, saying any amount of money toward the project is very important.

"It certainly puts us in the ballpark of finishing the project soon," Augustine said. "It's definitely a start."

He added that the contribution is merely the beginning of garnering funds for the $14 million Phase II of the project, but he's optimistic that funds will go further since bids for other projects in the city are significantly lower than engineer's estimates.

City staff also believes that the money will help with design work and environmental work so that the project is "shovel-ready" when looking for additional funds.

Vacaville's project will sit on 6.40 acres of the 10.05-acre site at the corner of Allison and Ulatis drives.

Phase I of the project includes more than 200 parking spaces and will accommodate up to 10 buses at ground level. This portion is fully funded and does not include any money from the general fund.

Phase II will include a three-story parking structure that will have about 400 spaces.

Development of Phase I hasn't started yet, but according to city staff will start soon after the bid process and finish by spring of next year.

City staff touts the new facility as "hub" because of its central location with easy access to Interstate 80. That will make it not only a spot for buses, but will encourage park-and-ride trips as well.

The station will be a hub for both local and inter-city travel, with regional express bus service linking Solano County with Sacramento and the Pleasant Hill and El Cerrito del Norte BART stations.

Vacaville City Coach, according to city staff, will move operations from the Vacaville Cultural Center to the new station when it opens.

The approximately $15 million is part of more than $100 million provided to transit projects in the greater Bay Area, and more than $400 million throughout California.

The money comes from the $787 billion American Recovery Reinvestment Act approved by Congress earlier this year.

Other projects funded in Miller's district include $4.2 million for preventative maintenance at Central Contra Costa Transit; $7.6 million for bus and ferry facility renovations, ferry re-power and preventive maintenance; and $760,000 for preventive maintenance in Western Contra Costa.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Commercial and Industrial Construction Activity Picks Up

Construction activity for the City of Fairfield picked up in the first quarter of 2009 with the issuance of permits for three major projects:

Kiewit Construction is building a 33,400 square foot, two-story, office building at 4650 Business Center Drive. The $5,134,000 project is located on the north side of Business Center Drive across from the Copart corporate office.

Meyer Cookware at 2100 Meyer Way is adding a state of the art storage racking system. The $25,560,000 project consists of an expansion to their existing facility with a 165,000 square foot building equipped with an Automated Storage Retrieval System (ASRS). The 100’ ASRS expansion will add an additional 70,000 pallets of storage to the existing distribution center and will accommodate
projected company growth for the next 10 years. Future phases of expansion will include a 133,500 square foot distribution/ office building and a 210,000 square foot, multi-story office complex and parking structure.

Wal-Mart will begin constructing its planned Supercenter at 2701 North Texas Street. The 188,479 square foot, $10,761,000 project will include the main store, vision center, hair care salon, bank, McDonald’s and an outdoor garden center. The project extends from Hawthorn Drive, south to Atlantic Avenue on the west side of North Texas Street. All of the existing buildings, except the Liberty Christian Church adjacent to Atlantic Avenue, will be demolished to make way for the new Supercenter.

For more information regarding these projects, contact Erin Beavers at 428-7461.

California Commission for Economic Development

Policy Solutions for California’s Economic Future

2008 Year in Review

Lowe's files application for Vallejo site

Lowe's files application for Vallejo site
Posted: 06/09/2009
By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen/Times-Herald, Vallejo

Home improvement retail giant Lowe's has filed an application with Vallejo to build a store on Columbus Parkway near Ascot Parkway, city officials said.

The site is about a half-mile from Vallejo's Home Depot.

A company spokeswoman cautioned that an application doesn't necessarily mean a store is coming to Vallejo.

"We are always evaluating potential sites to best serve our customers," spokeswoman Maureen Rich said. "However, the real estate process can be lengthy and sometimes complex. It's our policy not to comment about specific sites Lowe's may be considering unless we have closed on all real estate matters. We have not done that in Vallejo."

The application Lowe's filed with Vallejo on Monday is not complete, and the firm must prepare an Environmental Initial Study, Vallejo planning department's Bill Tuikka said. The main issue is likely to be traffic, he added.

The proposal must then go through architectural and planning commission review, and once approved, move to the Building, Public Works, Water, Sanitation & Flood and Fire departments for construction design review, Chief Building Official Gary West said.

City officials have been working to bring Lowe's to Vallejo for several weeks, West said.

"We've met with them on their preliminary design about a month ago, and are waiting for a project proposal with the changes we recommended," he said.

If built, the Vallejo Lowe's would create up to 175 jobs, most full-time, Rich said.

The prospect of a Lowe's is a piece of good news at a time when good news is at a premium, said Vallejo Chamber of Commerce President Rick Wells.

"I'm very excited to hear about that," Wells said. "It's great news and we're looking forward to assisting them in any way we can as they move forward with their investment in Vallejo."

Vallejo to get $7.6 million in federal transportation funds

Vallejo to get $7.6 million in federal transportation funds
Money will go toward ferry, bus transportation; Vacaville to receive $2.2 million
By Sarah Rohrs/Times-Herald staff writer
Posted: 06/10/2009

Vallejo will get $7,612,324 million in federal stimulus money for a variety of bus and ferry improvements, according to an announcement today from Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez.

The money will be used to renovate the Vallejo Transit bus maintenance facility on Broadway, and to upgrade the Vallejo Ferry terminal on Mare Island Way, city Transportation Department Superintendent Crystal Odum Ford said.

The money also will go toward Vallejo Transit bus preventative measures which will, in turn, free up funds for operating the bus service, Ford said.

This latter use is critical since the city lost a lot of money for bus operations in the state budget crisis, she said.

The city of Vacaville, meanwhile, will receive $2,217.074 for its Vacaville Intermodal Station.

Miller's office announced more than $100 million will go to Bay Area transit projects and more than $400 million on similar projects throughout the state.

The money comes from the $787 billion American Recovery Reinvestment Act (ARRA) approved by Congress earlier this year, Miller's office announced.

"This funding is part of our effort to get Americans back to work by investing in our infrastructure," Miller said, in the announcement.

"These funds will help make our mass transit systems more efficient and less expensive and will help cut our dependence on foreign oil," he added.

Fairfield firm grows again

Fairfield firm grows again
Published by The Reporter
Posted: 06/09/2009

Fairfield-based Copart, Inc. has announced the opening of a new facility in Warren, Mass. This latest addition to Copart's growing footprint marks the company's third facility in Massachusetts and its 148th facility worldwide. Copart already has two facilities in the Boston area.

Copart CEO and founder Willis J. Johnson said the 80-acre greenfield site will serve the central and western part of the state, decreasing cycle times and reducing storage and fuel costs for customers.

Copart provides vehicle sellers with a full range of remarketing services to process and sell salvage and clean title vehicles to dismantlers, rebuilders, exporters, and in some states, to end users.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

UC Davis Med Center earns Level 1 designation

UC Davis Med Center earns Level 1 designation
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Sacramento Business Journal

UC Davis Medical Center has been designated as a Level 1 trauma center for adults and children, a rare designation nationwide.

The American College of Surgeons awarded the Level 1 trauma center designation – one of 112 nationwide, but less than 20 meet the requirement for both adults and children. In order to meet the requirement, Level 1 trauma centers must admit at least 1,200 patients per year. UC Davis admitted 2,836 patients in 2008, making it one of the busiest nationwide.

UC Davis Medical Center chief executive officer Ann Madden Rice said the hospital has “achieved what few others have done. This is a terrific achievement, and reflects the expertise, hard work and high quality of the many physicians, nurses and ancillary staff who make our trauma centers an indispensable resources for the Sacramento and Northern California region.”

The medical center serves about 6 million people in a 33-county region.

Level 1 trauma centers are required to have a certain number of surgeons and specialists – including anesthesiologists, cardiac surgery, neurosurgery and orthopaedic surgery – available for round-the-clock treatment. Level 1 center must also have education and research programs as well as community prevention and outreach programs.

County report wins award

County report wins award
By Reporter Staff
Posted: 06/09/2009

Just as Solano County embarks on a study of the local energy industry, the second spinoff report from the 2008 Index of Economic and Community Progress, the county received an award on the original groundbreaking report.

The California Association for Local Economic Development presented the County an Award of Excellence in Economic Development Programs for the Solano Index, 14 diverse indicator areas that measure the strength of the local economy and the health of the community.

"This tool brings together all aspects of the community to focus on attracting and retaining quality jobs," said Supervisor Michael Reagan. "Receiving this award from the people who do economic development for a living affirms that we are on the right track for improving the economy in Solano County."

According to the index, the county experienced unprecedented economic opportunities between August 2000 and August 2008, outpacing the state and the Bay Area in many areas, including growth in per capita income and several industry clusters.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Solano's award is historic

Solano's award is historic
By Reporter Staff/
Posted: 06/04/2009

The annual showcase of Solano agriculture at the California State Fair has earned the county the 2009 Agricultural Progress Award -- the first time a county has ever won it in the 17-year history of the award.

"Thank you for always making us look so good and sending us the best of the best," said Patti Garamendi, assistant general manager of programs at the California State Fair, at a Tuesday meeting of the Board of Supervisors, where she announced the award.

The award is presented by the California Exposition and State Fair Board of Directors to recognize an individual or organization that has contributed extensively through the course of a number of years to the promotion, advancement and growth of the California State Fair Agricultural programs.

Solano won for its continual emphasis on agriculture in its award-winning county exhibit at the fair each year.

"We are extremely proud of the Solano County team that puts together our exhibit each year. They do a tremendous job of telling the rest of California that Solano County is a great place to live, work, learn and play," said Supervisor John Vasquez, chairman of the Board of Supervisors.

Since 2000, the Solano County State Fair Exhibit Team has honed the exhibit and its promotion of local agriculture. Through the use of interactive elements and entertaining themes, the public has been drawn to the exhibit. As a result, Solano County has taken top honors in almost every possible recognition category, including winning the Golden Bear, Best of Show and the People's Choice awards on many occasions.

"This is the only place in California where there are five Golden Bears," Garamendi said, commenting on the display of State Fair honors in the lobby of the County Administrative Center.

Garamendi also commented on the number of exhibit sponsors, which she encouraged other counties to emulate, and the commitment from the Travis Air Force Base Honor Guard to be part of the annual event.

The award will be formally presented on Aug. 14, a week before the State Fair opens, at a gala dinner in Sacramento. More than 1,000 agricultural leaders from across the state are expected to attend.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

May 2009

Table of Contents
- Real Estate Roundup ( April 2009)
- MARE ISLAND, VALLEJO lands Rail Car Firm
- Solano County economic and community progress index recognized by statewide organization
- Did you know?

Real Estate Roundup (April 2009)

Colliers International (www.colliersparrish.com)
- 437 & 441 Industrial, Benicia - 80,000 s/f Lease to Valero Refining Company
- 521 Stone Road, Benicia - 49,920 s/f Lease Renewal to Sears Logistics Services, Inc.
- 536 Stone Road, Suites G&H, Benicia - 4,608 s/f Lease to ThyssenKrupp Safway, Inc.
- 4727 Mangels Blvd, Fairfield - 1,441 s/f Commercial Condo Sale to Sierra Pacific Investment Co.

Cornish & Carey (www.ccarey.com)
- 2320 Cordelia Road, Fairfield - +/- 26,700 SF Leased to Certified Coatings
- 3001 Bayshore Road, Benicia - +/- 4,400 SF Leased to GEM Mobile
- 299 Beck Avenue, Fairfield - +/-150,000 SF Leased to Meyer Corporation

Grubb & Ellis (www.grubb-ellis.com)
- 4949 Fulton Drive, Fairfield - 10,000 sf lease to O’Hara Metal Products
- 4949 Fulton Drive, Fairfield - 5,000 sf lease to The Picture Company

Premier Commercial (www.pcres.net)
- 2350 S Watney Way, #C-H, Fairfield - 9,600 sf leased to Vortex Int'l Enter

MARE ISLAND, VALLEJO lands Rail Car Firm

On May 6, 2009 Lennar Mare Island, LLC (LMI) announced that it has signed a lease with Alstom Transportation, Inc. (Alstom), an international transit company, for more than 112,000 sq. ft. of office and manufacturing space in Building 599, one of Mare Island’s largest structures. The company will bring 20 new jobs to Mare Island.

“LMI is pleased to welcome Alstom to the Mare Island business community,” said Jason Keadjian, spokesman for LMI. “Alstom’s operation will result in a significant investment in Mare Island.” Light industrial and manufacturing users like Alstom represent the majority of the more than 2.5 million square feet of commercial space currently occupied on Mare Island.

Alstom and LMI are investing more than $1,000,000 toward the reuse of Building 599, including improvements to the building’s roof, exterior lighting, office space, and a railroad spur for the company’s use. As part of their operations, Alstom will also be responsible for maintaining the rail lines to Building 599, and will add a rail spur approaching the building. Alstom will be working with Amtrak to refurbish rail cars used for Amtrak’s Capitol Corridor service. Alstom plans to host a grand opening for the new Mare Island operation sometime later this year.

Located at 450 Pintado Street between Nimitz and Railroad Avenues, Building 599 has a history with rail transportation uses, as it was previously leased by Kinkisharyo International, which manufactured light rail cars for the Santa Clara Valley Transit Authority.

Alstom Transportation is a promoter of sustainable mobility; the company develops and markets a complete range of systems, equipment and service for the railway market. The company is an international leader in the development of transportation, light rail and energy infrastructure, and has more than 80,000 employees worldwide.

Lennar Mare Island, LLC is master developer of Mare Island located in Vallejo, Calif. and currently owns 650 acres. LMI was selected by the City of Vallejo in 1997 to implement the Mare Island Reuse Plan, which includes roughly 7 million square feet of commercial and industrial space, 1,400 homes and many recreational amenities.

Solano County economic and community progress index recognized by statewide organization

The Solano County Index and Economic and Community Progress project, initiated in February 2007 under the direction of the Solano EDC, has been recognized as the outstanding Economic Development Program for 2008.

The California Association for Local Economic Development (CALED) selected the Solano County study for its award of excellence at its recent annual meeting.

Michael Ammann, EDC president, said CALED’s award demonstrates the importance of the index for the future of Solano County.

“The index helps us tell the story of how we are doing as a community,” Ammann said. “It also gives us the empirical data to take advantage of opportunities that will expand the prosperity of the people who live and work in Solano County.”

The first report on the index was presented in November 2008 and several workshops have been held since then to engage a diverse community group to address challenges that were identified in the phase one report. The index researchers are also analyzing five industry clusters, and the first focused on life sciences in Solano County, released earlier this year. The energy industry cluster is scheduled for release later this year.

The index project grew out of a series of Solano County Economic Summits, proposed by the Solano County Board of Supervisors and facilitated by Solano EDC. Later, the county awarded EDC a contract to fund the ongoing index study which is conducted by Collaborative Economics.

EDC Vice President Sandy Person, called the index “a critical tool for economic development in Solano County. It could not have been conducted at a better time. As we move out of the recession in California the data gathered through this ongoing index research will benefit EDC’s membership. Through EDC we will be able to keep our outreach efforts focused and update marketing plans based on what we learn from the index studies” Person said.

Supervisor Michael Reagan worked actively with EDC to create the county summit meetings.

“In the few months since the Solano County Index was released, we have seen this incredible tool bring together all aspects of the community to focus on our shared challenges and opportunities in attracting and retaining quality jobs,” Reagan said. “This award from the people who do economic development for a living (CALED) affirms that we are on the right track for improving the economy of Solano County.”

The Solano Index and life Science Cluster Study can be viewed at www.solanocounty.com/economicindex.

Did you know?
Did you know that there are over 30 wineries located in Solano County within three overlapping Appellations: The California State Appellation, Solano County Green Valley Appellation & Suisun Valley Appellation.

Support your local vintners and wineries!

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 (mike@solanoedc.org)
Sandy Person, Vice-President (sandy@solanoedc.org)
Pat Uhrich, Office Manager (pat@solanoedc.org)
Andy Turba, Special Projects (andy@solanoedc.org)

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

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


University of California, Davis
June 1, 2009

UC Davis will award about 7,445 degrees for 2008-09 as it completes the academic year with commencements through June 14.

Information for ceremonies, guest speakers and degrees to be awarded

June 6 -- School of Medicine: Condessa Curley, a Southern California physician and founder of Project Africa Global; 10 a.m., Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts; 85 Doctor of Medicine and 19 Master of Public Health degrees.

June 10 -- School of Education: Carlos Garcia, superintendent of the San Francisco United School District; 4 p.m., Mondavi Center; 14 doctoral degrees and 101 master's degrees (included in Graduate Studies) as well as 131 teaching credentials.

June 11 -- Graduate Studies: Elizabeth Vianna, alumna and winemaker with Chimney Rock Winery; 4 p.m., ARC Pavilion; 491 doctoral and 640 master's degrees.

June 12 -- College of Biological Sciences: 10 a.m., ARC Pavilion; 870 Bachelor of Science and 30 Bachelor of Arts degrees. As this college, established in 2005, transitions to awarding degrees, an additional 125 B.S. degrees for the college will be awarded by the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. As well, the College of Letters and Science will award 170 B.S. and five B.A. degrees for the newer college. These numbers are included in the totals for the two colleges.

June 12 -- School of Veterinary Medicine: 10:30 a.m., Mondavi Center;
118 Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degrees, 18 Master of Preventive Veterinary Medicine degrees, eight B.S. degrees, 40 certificates recognizing completion of residency.

June 12 -- College of Engineering: Steve Robinson, astronaut and college alumnus; 3 p.m., ARC Pavilion; 430 B.S. degrees.

June 13 -- Graduate School of Management: Pam Marrone, founder and chief executive officer of Marrone Bio Innovations; 10 a.m., Mondavi Center; 143 Master of Business Administration degrees.

June 13 -- Agricultural and Environmental Sciences: Mary Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board; 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., ARC Pavilion; 1,340 B.S. degrees.

June 14 -- Letters and Science: 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., ARC Pavilion; about 2,445 B.A., 550 B.S. and 50 Bachelor of Arts and Science degrees.

At a May ceremony, the School of Law awarded 16 Master of Laws and
192 Juris Doctor degrees.

Tickets are required for all ceremonies. The campus will offer live and on-demand webcasts of ceremonies at http://commencementvideo.ucdavis.edu.

Numbers of degrees include those earned since last spring's commencements and estimates of those to be awarded this season.
Certificates and teaching credentials are not included in the degree total.

In 2007-08, the university awarded 7,558 degrees including 5,785 bachelor's, 873 master's, 500 doctoral and 400 professional degrees.

Media contact(s):
* Julia Ann Easley, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-8248, jaeasley@ucdavis.edu

Monday, June 1, 2009

Fairfield Budweiser plant to convert the brewery's wastewater into methane gas

Fairfield Budweiser plant to convert the brewery's wastewater into methane gas
By Ben Antonius
Daily Republic
May 29, 2009

Construction crews work inside a million-gallon tank being built last year at the Fairfield Budweiser plant to convert the brewery's wastewater into methane gas. The project was one of several energy saving measures the plant has taken recently Photo by Brad Zweerink file 2008 Anheuser

FAIRFIELD - It was with great fanfare than Anheuser-Busch in April debuted a 6-acre field of solar panels. But the company's next project could put that to shame.

Busch hopes to build a 400-foot wind turbine at its Fairfield brewery, a massive undertaking that would aim to harness the strong, steady winds blowing through the area.

If built, the turbine would likely generate about 15 percent of the brewery's annual use, plant manager Kevin Finger said. That is about five times the production of the solar field.

'The feasibility for wind out here is pretty good,' Finger said.

The company has already obtained city approval for the structure, as well as a sign-off from Travis Air Force Base, which has tangled with wind projects before because of concerns they could affect the base radar system.

It is the latest in a series of projects to offset energy use at the facility, following the solar panels and an earlier project called BERS -- for bio-energy recovery system -- that offset about 15 percent of the brewery's natural gas usage.

Fairfield was the 11th Anheuser-Busch brewery to get a BERS system, but the first to get a solar array. It would also be the first to have it's own wind turbine, Finger said.

'It has all been done by design,' he said. 'The technology is continuing to advance and it makes more and more sense for us.'

See the complete story at the Daily Republic online.

High-profile wine

High-profile wine
By Ben Antonius | Daily Republic | May 31, 2009

FAIRFIELD - It started, perhaps ironically, in Napa Valley.

That's where Steve and Linda Tenbrink, scions of a longtime Suisun Valley farming family, met vintner Abe Schoener, who has built his reputation on a style of experimental winemaking aimed directly at challenging long-held Napa traditions.

Between them, Schoener and the Tenbrinks have formed a relationship that is putting Suisun Valley grapes on their grandest stage yet.

'We are trying to really build the Suisun Valley into being a well-known place that is as good, if not better, than Napa,' Linda Tenbrink said.

These days, Schoener works in Suisun Valley as winemaker at the Tenbrinks' fledgling vineyard. Through an agreement with the family, he also uses their winery for a side effort called Scholium Project, a nationally-recognized undertaking. Its wines have been variously described as 'bizarre' and 'fascinating.'

'Half the wines it makes in any given year are exquisite. The other half are shocking and sometimes undrinkable,' the New York Times reported after a Scholium tasting at the Suisun Valley winery.

In years past, that level of attention would have been an unheard-of development, but it is a welcome one. Growers in the valley have long argued that they were held back not by the quality of their grapes or the skill of their winemaking, but by the lack of prestige afforded to the appellation compared to the adjacent Napa and Sonoma valleys.

It's an assessment both the Tenbrinks and Schoener share.

For his part, Schoener isn't sure how much Scholium Project is doing to actually raise the profile of the region. He only uses Suisun Valley grapes in one of Scholium's many wines, a petite sirah called Babylon. He also said the area is starting to get attention without his help, noting a recent high-profile review of a Suisun Valley wine called Manifesto!

'To some degree the wines of Suisun Valley . . . are becoming better known on their own,' he said. 'It is also true that I had the wine writer of the New York Times visit the Tenbrink winery and taste for two hours. That probably wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for the Scholium Project.'

The Tenbrink family -- who also produce tomatoes, peaches and walnuts -- has grown wine grapes for more than a decade. However, it wasn't until recent years the family explored producing wine themselves.

See the complete story at the Daily Republic online.

2008 Crop Report: Ag production reaches all-time high again

2008 Crop Report: Ag production reaches all-time high again

Increasingly favorable commodity prices helped set an all-time high for agricultural production in Solano County for the second year in a row.

The gross value of the more than 80 crops was $292.8 million in 2008, up almost $25 million, or 9 percent from the previous year, according to the Solano County Crop and Livestock Report released May 28.

“While the gross value is a record high, it does not reflect the total contribution of agriculture. Transportation, processing, marketing and other farm-related services re-spend agricultural dollars to the benefit of the local economy and pushes that number even higher,” said Solano County Agricultural Commissioner Jim Allan.

Nursery products remained the No. 1 crop at $43 million; however, its value plummeted 24 percent from its all-time high of $56.6 million in 2007.

“The nursery industry was hit hard by the economy, with fewer housing starts lowering demand for ornamental plants. However, nursery products remain a significant aspect of Solano County’s agricultural efforts,” Allan said.

Values increased in nearly all field crops due to favorable commodity prices, overcoming lower yields related to drought conditions. Field crops were valued at $89.4 million, up 63 percent from $54.8 million in 2007. Alfalfa and processing tomatoes experienced both higher commodity prices and increased yields.

An added element of the Crop Report focuses on the international trade. Thirty-seven commodities, including endive, grapes, tomatoes and hay, are exported to 45 countries across six continents.

Solano County Top 10 Crops

2008 2007 % Change

Nursery Products
$43,056,300 $56,610,700 -24%

$42,889,900 $24,679,900 74%

Tomatoes, Processing
$29,850,600 $23,955,200 25%

Cattle & Calves
$23,321,100 $23,273,200 0%

$19,948,100 $21,955,300 -9%

Milk, Market
$16,437,000 $17,022,200 -3%

Grapes, Wine
$11,064,700 $8,095,000 37%

Wheat, Irrigated
$8,335,200 $5,338,800 56%

Sunflower Seed, Certified
$8,224,200 $5,117,000 61%

Corn, Field
$8,081,600 $6,761,100 20%

Posted: May 28, 2009