Tuesday, February 16, 2010

SCC parleys state cash into green program

SCC parleys state cash into green program

A new technical education course at Solano Community College allows students to connect the concept of going green with actual job opportunities. The course, Introduction to Green Technology, is the first in what Program Coordinator Paul Fair hopes will become a two-year program training students to pass state and federal green certification tests. 'It's an introduction to more than 200 subjects, which may be a conservative estimate,'….

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Suisun City Seeks Firm for General Plan Update

Suisun City Seeks Firm for General Plan Update
Posted: 12 Feb 2010 05:02 PM PST
SUISUN CITY - The Suisun City Community Development Department has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking a qualified firm to assist with a comprehensive update to the City's General Plan and Zoning Ordinance.

Under the direction of the Community Development Director, the consulting firm is expected to perform responsible, professional work in the research, compilation of data, analysis, studies, and planning as described in the RFP.

An optional pre-submittal conference will be held on February 25, 2010, to answer any questions about information contained in the RFP.

All proposals must be submitted by 6 p.m. on March 4, 2010.

For more information, go to www.suisun.com

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Solano's economic future

Solano's economic future
Start preparing now
Published By The Reporter
Posted: 02/05/2010 08:23:59 AM PST

Solano County hasn't escaped the economic crisis that has enveloped the nation, but in many ways it has been able to weather it better than other communities, according to a new report issued last week.

Yet, the study cautions, unless Solano schools do a better job of preparing its youngest residents, the area's economy could falter.

The 2009 Index of Economic and Community Progress is the second of three reports to be issued in as many years as a result of a collaboration between the county, the Solano Economic Development Corporation and community leaders. The ultimate goal is to attract new businesses and industries here, especially those that pay well.

Since Solano's economy entered the recession in 2007, it has continued to be bolstered by Travis Air Force Base, which pumps about $1.6 billion a year into the economy. Local leaders have long advocated protecting the air base, and this is a good reminder of why.

Also to be nourished are small businesses. The report notes that between 2007 and 2008, more than twice as many establishments (2,536) opened or moved into Solano County as closed or moved out (1,246). Most of those were small businesses, more than a few started by residents who decided to work for themselves after being laid off.

Solano residents have suffered job losses, but they have done so at a slightly lower rate than the state as a whole. The area's diversified economy has helped buffer the region. While some industries, such as construction,have been hit hard, others, such as health services, have grown.

In the report, Michael Ammann, president of the Solano Economic Development Corp., suggests four goals for the near future: doubling the number of life science jobs; attracting more energy businesses; retaining and even expanding Travis Air Force Base; and expanding agricultural processing to meet the Bay Area's growing demand for locally produced food. These are worthwhile objectives, and cities and the county should do what they can to encourage their achievement.

Many of those potential new jobs will require an educated work force. That's where the warning comes in.

While Solano has seen a rise in the percentage of workers with bachelor degrees, that progress could come to a screeching halt if schools don't do a better job of preparing young people. Solano's dropout rate is declining but, at 22 percent, it is still higher than the statewide average (19 percent). Of more concern is the number of Solano graduates who are prepared to enter either of the state university systems (27 percent) - well below the statewide average (34 percent). A trend also appears to be developing in which significantly fewer students are enrolling in upper-level science and math courses. That does not bode well.

Local government and business leaders can do their part to lure lucrative businesses to Solano County, but without an educated workforce, their efforts will be for naught.

Solano County to help employers provide jobs

County to help employers provide jobs

Local employers can tap into federal stimulus money to help create jobs through a new subsidized employment program being offered by the County.

With Board of Supervisors approval Tuesday, Solano County's Health and Social Services can now aid employers in accessing $1.8 billion in Federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding available through September 2010.

"This program gives our local companies that little nudge to take a chance and expand their business. We hope this will create the momentum to get our economy moving forward again," said Supervisor John Vasquez, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors.

Any employer in Solano County can participate if they hire new employees in new jobs for at least 20 hours per week. Employers will be reimbursed for 80 percent of wage costs up to $16 per hour. The employer must be able to document that supervisory and training costs equal 25 percent of the subsidized wage costs, and that these costs are not paid from federal funds.

County official are hoping the program will lead to long-term employment, but employers need only have to commit to the program through September.

Employers and new employees will also get an array of services to ensure the new hires are successful.

Potential employees under the program are people already participating in CalWORKs and other needy families. Income guidelines limit participation to household incomes up to 200 percent of the Federal poverty level, or $44,100 for a family of four. CalWORKs participants should contact their employment services worker to sign up for this program.

Employers interested in participating in the program should e-mail createjobs@solanocounty.com, call (707) 553-5173, or go to www.solanocounty.com/createjobs.

The County is also interested in partnering with local agencies working with low-income families to expand this program. Interested agencies should contact Christiana Smith, Health and Social Services deputy director for Employment and Eligibility Services at (707) 553-5173.

Posted: Feb. 9, 2010

Thursday, February 4, 2010

54,521 applications to UC Davis, a 25% increase

54,521 applications

A 25-percent increase in transfer hopefuls contributed to a record high of 54,521 applications for fall enrollment, up 6.3 percent from last year’s 51,298. Here is the breakdown:

• 43,269 high school seniors are seeking freshman status, an increase of about 2.2 percent from last year’s 42,344.

• 11,252 students are seeking to transfer from other colleges and universities, a 25.7 percent increase from last fall’s 8,954.

“We’re really pleased to see that more students are taking the opportunity to come to UC Davis after they start their studies at community college,” said Frank Wada, executive director of undergraduate admissions and university registrar.

Dixon serves restaurant with top award to Bud's Pub and Grill

Dixon serves restaurant with top award
Posted: 02/04/2010 01:03:01 AM PST

Brandy Hensley (left) and her parents Bud and Cherie Fanning, of Bud's Pub & Grill in Dixon, have been named Business of The Year by the Dixon Chamber of Commerce. (RICK ROACH / THE REPORTER)

Like most events in Dixon, Bud's Pub and Grill catered the dinner for the Dixon Citizen of the Year award ceremony.

The family-owned and operated business just celebrated its 14th year of being open and on Saturday was also awarded the 2009 Business of the Year at the very dinner they served.

Bud and Cherie Fanning admitted that at first they weren't really catching what the announcer was saying, but then after a while it dawned on them.

"Hey, that sounds like us," said Bud.

"We were going to the dinner anyway, we usually do," Cherie added. "Then it came together why we had so much family there."

The two were very surprised, they said.

"It's a great honor," Bud said Saturday to the crowd of friends and family. "It takes a lot of people to run a business. Without you we wouldn't have a business."

Bud and Cherie, both born and raised in Dixon, started dating in high school and have been married for 45 years. Both families had businesses in downtown Dixon. Cherie's great-great-grandfather, one of Dixon's original businessmen, owned a morgue and blacksmith shop while Bud's mother ran a cleaners.

Dixon has grown since then, but the core of the city, they said, is still at the corner of First and A streets.

"We wanted downtown to be alive again," Cherie said. "We wanted to give it a shot and 14 years later they say we're the hub of downtown."

The majority of the employees at Bud's are related to the Fannings one way or the other,sisters, children, nieces and nephews all help with the family business.
It's the family and the many customers that keep the Fanning's motivated to keep going.

"It's a family atmosphere," Cherie said. "Even after a busy night, one where we're snapping at each other, at the end we're all good again."

For Bud it's the camaraderie.

"I like people," he said. "We have loyal customers that have helped support us while we were building the business."

The couple recalled when they first started out that both of them worked full time, Cherie at C. A. Jacobs and Bud at an Albertson's in Vacaville.

"If we hadn't worked full time, we probably wouldn't have made it," Cherie admitted. Now, the two are retired and Cherie doesn't have to cook.

"We eat all our meals here now," she said. "Thanksgiving and Christmas is the only time I cook now. I'm really glad we didn't give up."

Customers keep coming back whether it's for Taco Tuesday or a Bud Burger and even to hang out with friends, the Fannings can usually greet customers by their first names when they walk through the door.

"It's a close knit community," Cherie said. "We've had so many fundraisers here just to help out people in Dixon."

The Fannings continue to do what they can to meet the customers' needs, by adding menu items or extending their business hours.

Now, Bud's is open at 6:30 a.m. seven days a week to serve breakfast.

At that time of day, Bud is the bartender and server -- that is until it gets busy.

Bud doesn't have a particular favorite on the menu, he likes everything.

"I say everything is good," Bud added. "If it wasn't good, it wouldn't be on the menu. I try everything before we give the option to the customers."

UC Davis brewery, winery and foods facility aims for eco-excellence

Brewery, winery and foods facility aims for eco-excellence

By Pat Bailey

Think green — very green.
Green beer, green wine, green cheese and green tomatoes. No, we’re not talking about a new Dr. Seuss book or the menu for St. Patrick’s Day, rather the new UC Davis processing facility now under construction at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science.
The facility will include the August A. Busch III Brewing and Food Science Laboratory and the Teaching and Research Winery, which replaces the campus’s famous 1938-era cellar and winery.
The 34,000-square-foot facility, with walls just now being overlaid on its steel frame, is designed to meet LEED Platinum building and construction standards — the highest certification granted by the U.S. Green Building Council.
LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and has become the hallmark of sustainability in the architecture and construction world.
Icon for industry commitment
Supported completely by private, philanthropic donations, university officials say the one-story facility will be an icon for the commitment of these contributing industries and of UC Davis to a greener, more sustainable future.
The facility has been designed to complement the other three buildings of the Robert Mondavi Institute and is slated for completion in August.
It will house the world’s first LEED Platinum winery, first LEED Platinum brewery and first LEED Platinum food processing pilot plant and milk-processing lab has been designed to be the first LEED Platinum building on the UC Davis campus and only the third built by UC.
The other two are UC Davis’ Tahoe Center for the Environmental Sciences in Incline Village, Nev., and UC Santa Barbara’s Bren Hall.
“It will not only meet the highest environmental design and construction standards, it will go even further to demonstrate how environmentally responsible technologies can be incorporated into the daily operations of food and beverage processing facilities,” said enology professor Roger Boulton. He is the Stephen Sinclair Scott endowed chair in enology who specializes in the chemical and biochemical engineering aspects of winemaking.
A complex building
The new building, while not massive, will certainly be one of the most complex facilities on campus.
Shared by the Department of Viticulture and Enology and the Department of Food Science and Technology, it will comprise two attached wings.
The north wing will be the Teaching and Research Winery, and the south wing will be the August A. Busch III Brewing and Food Science Laboratory.
Although the building is fully funded, both departments are still in the process of raising funds to fully equip the new facility and to cover the cost of enhancements to meet LEED Platinum standards.
Winemaking: Principles and practices
‘The building will enable students to learn both the principles and the practical applications of sustainability; right now we can only teach them the principles.’

Andrew Waterhouse, viticulture and enology chair
The 12,500-square-foot winery will include a large experimental fermentation area with 152 200-liter research fermentation tanks and 14 2,000-liter fermentation tanks.
There are three controlled-temperature rooms, barrel and bottle cellars, an analytical lab, a classroom and a special bottle cellar for donated wines. The winery will be used for research and teaching and for courses for professionals.
“The building will enable students to learn both the principles and the practical applications of sustainability; right now we can only teach them the principles,” said wine chemist Andrew Waterhouse, chair of the Department of Viticulture and Enology and the Marvin Sands endowed chair in viticulture and enology.
Precision metering and control systems necessary for sustainable processing are also critical for moving winemaking to the next level of excellence, he stressed.
“Fine wines are the result of an intricate mix of environmental and processing factors,” Waterhouse said. “If we are to better understand how environmental factors, such as sunlight levels in the vineyard, impact the subtle aspects of wine quality, we need to be able to very precisely control the winemaking process. The new winery will equip us to do just that.”
The 11,500-square-foot brewing and food science lab will house a brewery, general food-processing pilot plant and a milk-processing laboratory.
Brewing as a complex, sophisticated process
“This new facility will allow us to showcase the importance of beer and brewing as a complex, sophisticated process as well as the important role that UC Davis plays in the brewing industry,” said Charlie Bamforth, Anheuser-Busch Endowed Professor of Malting and Brewing in the Department of Food Science and Technology. He noted that equipment from the 1.5 barrel-capacity brewery, updated in 2006, will be moved from Cruess Hall to the new building this fall.
“The brewery is an authentic reduced-scale facility of a size comparable to many of the smaller commercial operations in the brewing sector,” Bamforth said.
“We hope that it will be a facility that can be used by commercial brewers and suppliers to test out new recipes or processes in small-scale batches,” he added.
‘The food processing industry in California contributed significantly to this facility, in part because of the need for research-driven innovations that can reduce this industry's use of water and energy, and make beneficial use of byproducts.’

James Seiber, food science and technology chair
Handling broad spectrum of foods
The general foods processing plant will handle a broad spectrum of food products, including tomatoes, olives and more.
“The food processing industry in California contributed significantly to this facility, in part because of the need for research-driven innovations that can reduce this industry's use of water and energy, and make beneficial use of byproducts,” said James Seiber, chair of the Department of Food Science and Technology.
“The new facility will provide a unique opportunity for faculty and students to partner with industry in exploring new technologies, emphasizing those that are sustainable from both food supply and environmental viewpoints,” Seiber said.
The facility’s milk processing laboratory is specially designed for cheese and other dairy products.
“One of the extraordinary features of the entire facility is that the general food-processing pilot plant and the milk processing laboratory are designed and constructed for food-grade and dairy-grade processing, respectively,” John Krochta, the Peter J. Shields Endowed Chair of Dairy Food Science in the Department of Food Science and Technology, who is overseeing the milk-processing laboratory.
“That means that we will actually be able to provide samples of the foods and milk-based products that are processed here for sensory or nutritional evaluation.”
Private funding
Obtaining funds for new university buildings can be a challenge, noted Clare Hasler, executive director of the Robert Mondavi Institute.
“Public construction funds ebb and flow with the state’s economic fortunes, and a specialized project such as this one would not be possible without donor support,” Hasler said. “Still, it is quite remarkable that the brewery, winery and foods facility has been totally funded by private donations.”
The first gift of $5 million came from Robert Mondavi in 2001, set aside in addition to other gifts that he and his wife Margrit had made to UC Davis. It was followed in 2002 by a $5 million pledge from the Anheuser-Busch Foundation for the brewery and foods lab. Other major donations were made by Ronald and Diane Miller, and the California tomato processing industry.
A group of winery partners led by Jess Jackson and his wife Barbara Banke of Kendall-Jackson Wines and Jerry Lohr of J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines provided the funds necessary to initiate or secure the $2.1 million needed to design and construct the facility for LEED platinum standards.
In all, more than 150 individuals, alumni, and corporate friends and foundations have contributed more than $20 million for the new facility.
On the home page: This rendering shows a grape’s eye view of the August A. Busch III Brewing and Food Science Laboratory and the Teaching and Research Winery when it is completed. (Graphic by Flad Architects)
“When we first started talking about making this a highly sustainable facility, some people thought these were harebrained ideas,” Boulton recalled, smiling. “But we are fortunate to work with encouraging and supportive people who saw the potential for this building.”
Pat Bailey, a senior public information representative in University Communications, writes about agriculture, nutrition and veterinary medicine.

Lady of Suisun entertainment boat cruises on Valentine's Day

SUISUN CITY - The revamped Lady of Suisun entertainment boat will slip her moorings for her first cruise from the Suisun City Marina on Valentine's Day.

'We have just renovated the boat and we want to really show it off to the public,' said Michelle Villarreal, director of events for Northbay Yacht Charters. 'This will be our first public event.'

For the rest of the story visit

For more information about the vessel and cruise information, go online to http://www.ladyofsuisun.com or call 426-6300.

Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or at

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


University of California, Davis
February 1, 2010


Astronaut and UC Davis alumnus Stephen Robinson is scheduled to lift off on the space shuttle Endeavour Feb. 7 for a two-week mission to the International Space Station. This will be Robinson's fourth space mission.

Bruce White, dean of the UC Davis College of Engineering, has known Robinson since he was an undergraduate.

"Steve has always been amazingly focused, curious and talented. I'm not surprised by what he has done with his life. And, as busy as his NASA career has been, Steve manages to come back to campus for visits, shares his time unselfishly with our students and also sponsors a scholarship fund. We are very proud of him," White said.

White is available to comment on Robinson's undergraduate studies, about his academic training as preparation to be an astronaut, and about his links to UC Davis and to the College of Engineering.

Robinson, a native of Sacramento, graduated from UC Davis in 1978 with a bachelor's degree in mechanical and aeronautical engineering.
He also has a master's and a doctorate from Stanford University.

As an undergraduate at UC Davis, Robinson took jobs at the university airport and played tuba in the Cal Aggie Marching Band-uh. As an alumnus, he established a scholarship for engineering students in financial need. More information and anecdotes about Robinson's links to UC Davis can be found at <http://www.ucdavis.edu/spotlight/0805/aggienaut.html>.

A video of Robinson's 2005 public lecture at UC Davis is available on iTunesU <http://iTunes.ucdavis.edu>.

More information about this mission (STS-130) is available at

Requests for interviews with Robinson should be directed to the Public Affairs office at the NASA Johnson Space Center.

About UC Davis

For more than 100 years, UC Davis has engaged in teaching, research and public service that matter to California and transform the world.
Located close to the state capital, UC Davis has 32,000 students, an annual research budget that exceeds $600 million, a comprehensive health system and 13 specialized research centers. The university offers interdisciplinary graduate study and more than 100 undergraduate majors in four colleges -- Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Biological Sciences, Engineering, and Letters and Science. It also houses six professional schools -- Education, Law, Management, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing.

Additional information:

Media contact(s):
* Bruce White, College of Engineering, (530) 752 0554, brwhite@ucdavis.edu
* Gayle Frere, NASA Johnson Space Center, (281) 483-8645, gayle.frere-1@nasa.gov
* Andy Fell, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-4533, ahfell@ucdavis.edu

Our full UC Davis directory of media services and 24-hour contact information is available at <http://www.news.ucdavis.edu/services>.
Need information from campus news archives? The UC Davis News Service database contains past (and current) UC Davis news stories dating to 1991. Go to <http://www.news.ucdavis.edu/search/>.
More university news and an experts directory:
To unsubscribe, please send an e-mail message to newsservice@ucdavis.edu.
UC Davis News Service
One Shields Avenue
Davis, California 95616-8687
Phone: (530) 752-1930; Fax: (530) 752-4068

USDA holds county agricultural job forum

Feds request rural communities' expertise

USDA holds county agricultural job forum
The national government has begun to look to constituents in a quest for answers on sustainability, future jobs and the economy in rural and agricultural communities.

Jan. 26 marked the Yolo-Solano County Job Forum, one of 46 such community meetings being held in other rural and agriculturally prominent counties throughout California.

Participants from the various counties provided input that the USDA will summarize and compile for President Obama's administration and other White House officials. The forums were requested by the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Development and Farm Service Agency for all states as a means of finding out locals' takes on what developments should be undertaken to help create jobs in rural and agricultural communities.

California State Director of USDA Rural Development, Glenda Humiston, arrived at the Yolo-Solano forum directly from a county meeting held in Chico earlier that day. She said California was the only state that decided to hold multiple forums and not just a single event.

The meeting was held at Davis' Veteran's Memorial Center and commenced after a brief welcome from Davis Mayor Ruth Asmundson, who commended the two counties for their joint session.

"Working together is the right thing to do," Asmundson said. "It will help all of us achieve more from our limited resources."

Yolo and Solano County Supervisors Jim Provenza and John Vasquez teamed up as moderators for the event. The USDA supplied six questions, which the moderators asked to the gathered crowd. A microphone was passed around the auditorium and county members gave their answers in turn.

Morgan Doran, University of California Cooperative Extension farm advisor for Solano, Napa and Yolo counties, transcribed each comment onto a PowerPoint. After each final statement was given, the voting process began, in which each community member voted for the three answers they favored most.

"It is definitely an effective way of getting input," Doran said. "And it's a very democratic way of getting this input to the government, especially on policies that are different."

The six questions centered around what opportunities for growth were most viable in a particular community. Questions included: What obstacles interfered with job creation? How could public and private financing be expanded to cultivate sustainable jobs? Another issue was the prospective changes to USDA regulations and programs that would help the development of businesses in "rural America."

Plenty of attention focused on support through grants and loans for sustainable practices. A remark echoed multiple times was the prospect of buying and selling within one's community - keeping everything local.

Water was another main issue, with questions over its storage and distribution taking a forefront in the discussion.

Despite grueling hours driving from countless identical forums, Humiston was optimistic about the effectiveness of the county meetings. The Yolo-Solano County forum had one of the larger turnouts she had seen, hovering around 80 attendees.

"[This forum] had a really good mix of folks," Humiston said. "With a wide array of interest groups, the comments were highly developed."

While those in the crowd agreed the discussion was productive, there was hesitancy in being overly optimistic about the actions the forums will illicit.

"A lot of ideas were put out," said attendee Dale Motiska, who owns Palm Island Nursery and Roadside Produce Stand with his wife, Caroline. "It will be interesting to see the response."

Those who arrived ready with anticipation to propose their ideas came from all different sectors of agriculture, but most held the same fundamental certainty about its importance.

"Agricultural is a basic need of life," said community member, Moira Burke. "No farms, no food."

The overall perception of the event was gratitude mixed with apprehension. Audience members said they were pleased the national government was ready to listen, but worried that was all they would do. The Motiskas seemed pleased they at least got the opportunity to give their two cents.

"Yes we can," Motiska said, a bit sarcastically.

UC Davis gets $267K health care grant

UC Davis gets $267K health care grant

Sacramento Business Journal - by Kathy Robertson Staff writer

University of California Davis will receive a more than $267,000 in training grants for primary-care and mental health professionals, the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development announced Monday.
The funding comes from the Song-Brown Program, which seeks to increase the number of family practice physicians, physician assistants, family nurse practitioners and registered nurses trained in the state to provide needed health services to California residents.
UC Davis will receive $167,978 to support family nurse practitioner and physician assistant training programs. The grant is one of 15 to universities across the state that total more then $1.7 million.
In addition, UC Davis is one of three training programs to receive more than $99,000 in special funding to train mental health professionals.
“Each of these programs have shown ongoing commitments in training and preparing health care professionals with the knowledge and skills necessary to provide culturally competent health care that meets the needs of California’s underserved populations,” OSHPD director Dr. David Carlisle said in a news release.
The Song-Brown Program has awarded more than $40 million to health care education and training programs since 2003.