Sunday, August 22, 2010

New I-80/680 interchange could mean changes on Highway 12, too

New I-80/680 interchange could mean changes on Highway 12, too

Take a ride through the interstates 80 and 680 interchange of the future, some $2 billion and who knows how many years from now. This is the interchange rebuilding option the Solano Transportation Authority recently endorsed to solve one of the region's most vexing, long-standing traffic bottlenecks. If the state adopts the STA's vision, here's what a coming generation of commuters will see as they cruise along a transformed landscape and reflect on the dramatic changes since 2010. Just as Angelo Rodriguez High School nears, a rebuilt section of I-680 swings west of its old alignment, cutting through an industrial park. Several buildings had to be demolished and 22 businesses relocated to make room. Then, near the spot where Highway 12 heads off into Jameson Canyon toward Napa, the new interstates 80 and 680 interchange looms, a half-mile west of the old location. In fact, this bigger-and-better interchange combines two old interchanges. It handles traffic coming to and from Interstates 680 and 80, but also traffic traversing between those freeways and Highway 12, a mass of rampways veering in different directions. Take one of these ramps and head west on I-80 past Costco and toward Fairfield. To the right is the old I-680 alignment leading to what had been the original interchange. That one-mile section of one-time freeway is now among the widest of Fairfield's city roads. And the old interchange that was adequate when built during the 1960s but counted among the county's most notorious traffic chokepoints a few decades later? It's gone, reduced to concrete rubble and hauled off in pieces. R.I.P. - and, no doubt in the minds of motorists who spent hours stuck in congestion there, good riddance. Continue along I-80 toward Fairfield and the changes keep coming. When the STA and state talked about replacing the interstates 80 and 680 interchange, they really referred to a series of projects extending miles beyond the interchange structure itself. Among them is widening this section of I-80. Instead of 12 lanes, with six going in each direction, there are a total of 19 lanes…. Whether this vision endorsed by the STA passes muster with the state Department of Transportation remains to be seen. The answer could come relatively quickly. The interstates 80 and 680 interchange renovation dream is poised to have a high public profile in coming months, now that Caltrans has released a draft environmental impact report. One option for rebuilding the interchange is the one endorsed by the STA that is described above, which involves moving the interchange a half-mile west on I-80. Another option is to rebuild the interchange at its present location. The STA rejected this latter alternative for a number of reasons, among them the difficulty of keeping traffic moving during construction….

Vallejo's Cal-Maritime strongly ranked

Cal-Maritime strongly ranked

The California Maritime Academy has again earned a high ranking in U.S. News & World Report's annual survey of the nation's undergraduate colleges and universities. Cal-Maritime in Vallejo, the only maritime academy on the West Coast, placed fourth among 28 ranked baccalaureate schools in the Western states. First place was earned by the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. Last year Cal-Maritime earned fifth place in a similar survey, which takes into account the quality of programs and student feedback on their experiences…. Cal-Maritime also earned a second-place spot as a top public regional college, second only to the U.S. Air Force Academy. The school's President William Eisenhardt said while such rankings are popular, they also serve as a measure of how the institution is perceived among students and others over time. The California State University school is one of seven maritime universities in the nation, serving students from California and the western states, and the Pacific Rim. The Vallejo school is unique in its focus on maritime trade and transportation, engineering, maritime policy, maritime security and the environment…. Students get hands-on training while on cruises aboard the 500-foot Golden Bear ship….

Friday, August 20, 2010

Civic, business leaders help Meyer Corp. open new automated warehouse in Fairfield

Civic, business leaders help Meyer Corp. open new automated warehouse

By Sarah de Crescenzo | Daily Republic | August 19, 2010 18:08


An automatic rail system moves pallets of cookware at the opening of the Meyer Corporation's new automated warehouse on Thursday. Photo by Robinson Kuntz

FAIRFIELD - Local VIPs praised the new automated warehouse and distribution center recently completed by cookware giant Meyer Corp. at its grand opening ceremony today, saying it will keep jobs and money in the community.

The newly constructed building stands 100 feet tall, covers 165,000 square feet and can house 66,000 pallets of kitchen products -- doubling the speed and volume of the company's shipping capabilities.

More than 100 government officials and business representatives took a tour of the facility and witnessed a demonstration of the center's storage and handling capabilities.

'You really have put together an impressive facility here,' Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Creek, said. 'What's more impressive is that you are keeping jobs in this area -- we need that.'

Garamendi was one of a number of local politicians in attendance, including Solano County supervisors Jim Spering, Linda Seifert and John Vasquez, and Fairfield City Councilman Rick Vacarro.

Vacarro gave a short speech listing a number of other businesses making investments in Fairfield and thanking Meyer Corp. for being among them. He called the company a 'formidable partner' that has been working with the city since the early 1990s.

Meyer CEO Stanley Cheng described the center's design to the assembled guests and said the facility would assure his company's continued growth in the U.S. It is currently the largest cookware company in the nation. . .

Due to its automated nature, the building was built up -- rather than out -- and is 11 stories high. Its square footage would be 750,000 were it a traditional-style warehouse, he said.

The building has minimal lighting needs due to skylights and extensive automation. Plans have already been drawn up for a solar installation that would cover the energy needs of the new building entirely, Cheng said.

The warehouse is at 2001 Meyer Way.

Reach Sarah de Crescenzo at 427-6935 or

Thursday, August 19, 2010


University of California, Davis
August 19, 2010


Brain cells exposed to a form of the amyloid beta protein, the molecule linked to Alzheimer's disease, become stiffer and bend less under pressure, researchers at UC Davis have found. The results reveal one mechanism by which the amyloid protein damages the brain, a finding that could lead to new ways to screen drugs for Alzheimer's and similar diseases.

The researchers, led by Gang-Yu Liu, professor of chemistry, and Lee-Way Jin, associate professor of pathology and a researcher at the UC Davis Alzheimer's Disease Center, used a cutting-edge microscope to measure how cells respond to physical pressure. Their findings are published this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The microscope, located at UC Davis' Spectral Imaging Facility, combines an atomic force microscope and a confocal microscope. It is one of a handful in the United States and one of the most advanced of its type, Liu said.

An atomic force microscope uses a fine needle to visualize the features of a surface with exquisite resolution and precision; it is used more often in materials science than in cellular biology. A confocal microscope can view living cells in culture media and in three dimensions.

The team put a glass microbead on the tip of the AFM needle and used it to press down on living cells. By measuring the forces required to squeeze the cell under the bead, they could calculate the stiffness of both the cell membrane and the cell contents.

"This is a simple method for measuring the stiffness of a cell -- like pushing down on a spring," Liu said.

Amyloid-beta peptide is found in tangled fibrils and plaques in the brains of Alzheimer's patients and is thought to be the cause of the disease and similar conditions, such as "mad cow" disease. It can exist in different forms: as individual peptide units (monomers); as short chains of peptides (oligomers); and as fibrils.

Liu and Jin exposed cultured neurons (brain cells) to the three different types of amyloid, and measured their response to pressure.
They found that the intermediate, oligomer, form had the greatest effect in stiffening the cells.

From the measurements, Liu and Jin deduced that the amyloid oligomers probably insert themselves into the cell membrane, changing its properties. Some of the molecules cross the membrane completely and affect the network of proteins that provides a "skeleton" within the cell.

They also found that when the cells were treated with amyloid oligomers, other ions flooded into the cell, showing that the membrane's function had been damaged.

The "squeeze" test could be used as a screening method for potential drugs for Alzheimer's and other diseases, Liu and Jin predicted.

Normal brain cells are the "squishiest" among the cell types they have tested with the technique, Liu said. The cells readily deform under pressure, but recover. At the other end of the scale, skin cells (keratinocytes) are very stiff and resistant to pressure, but shatter under stress.

Other co-authors on the paper are postdoctoral researchers Hyun-seok Hong and Valentin Lulevich and graduate student Christopher Zimmer.

The research was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health and pilot grants from UC Davis and the UC Davis Alzheimers Disease Center. The AFM-confocal microscope was acquired in late 2005 with the support of the National Science Foundation.

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.

Media contact(s):
* Gang-Yu Liu, Chemistry, (530) 754-9678,
* Phyllis Brown, UC Davis Health System Public Affairs, (916) 734-9023,
* Andy Fell, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-4533,

Our full UC Davis directory of media services and 24-hour contact information is available at .
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 .
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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Solano EDC to tackle greenhouse gas rules at next session

EDC to tackle greenhouse gas rules at next session

By Sarah de Crescenzo | Daily Republic | August 15, 2010 21:25

enhouse%20copy.jpg Wind turbines in the Montezuma Hills. The Solano Economic Development Corporation will feature a discussion on greenhouse gas reduction at their Aug. 26 breakfast. Photo by Brad Zweerink

FAIRFIELD - A panel of local business people will discuss the possible effects of state regulations aimed to reduce global greenhouse gases Aug. 26 at a Solano Economic Development Corp. breakfast event.

Featured keynote speaker will be Steve Heminger, executive director of the California Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

'These are recent regulations that are going to be set by the end of September and will have an impact on a large cross-section of our business community,' Solano EDC President Mike Ammann said.

Heminger will explain the process the regulations will establish to reduce emissions to specific targets by 2020 and 2035.

MTC will give the California Air Resources Board a recommendation about appropriate reduction levels by the end of September, Ammann said. Heminger will be able to hear how Solano County business people feel about the issue at the talk.

'It's a complex issue but hopefully Steve's going to be able to simplify it and hopefully get some input back from our business community,' he said.

Ammann said this meeting is the beginning of what he hopes will be regional groups that meet and discuss how state regulations affect businesses regionally.

The breakfast event will begin with registration and networking from 7:30 to
8 a.m. and the program from 8 to 9 a.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn, 2200 Gateway Court, Fairfield.

It costs $25 for Solano EDC members (complimentary tickets available depending on membership level) and $35 for non-members.

To register, call 864-1855 or e-mail

Monday, August 16, 2010

Benicia exploring ways to attract technology companies

- North Bay Business Journal - -

Benicia exploring ways to attract technology companies
Posted By Dan Verel, Business Journal Staff Reporter On August 16, 2010 @ 2:10

BENICIA — As a means of attracting more jobs to the city, Benicia is considering adjusting zoning and land-use laws that would permit more tech and development companies to occupy about one third of the city’s land area, including all of its industrial park.

The Planning Commission discussed last week some of the land-use designations that might occur. Potential new acceptable uses include zoning for companies in the fields of biotechnology, clean tech, dry labs, information technology, occupational health clinics and wet labs, according to a report provided to the planning commission dated Aug. 1.

City staff has not yet identified the precise economic benefits or the amount of potential jobs from allowing for more tech-related businesses, according to the report by Economic Development Manager Amalia Lorentz and Land Use and Engineering Division representative Mark Rhoades. But “there is the potential that the implementation of policy changes for the business park will result in greater city revenues and substantial new job creation.”

The Planning Commission and city staff are currently studying environmental impacts of any rezoned land. An environmental impact review may need to be conducted in order to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act, which requires that cities prepare an environmental study on proposed policy and land-use changes. An appropriate determination of CEQA review could include a negative declaration, a mitigated negative declaration or an EIR, the report said.

City staff so far said the new changes likely would not trigger an EIR, but further study is needed before any final determination.

“These uses are not new to the universe,” said Ms. Lorentz. “They’re new to us, but they’re very consistent with what’s happening around California.”

The possible land-use changes are a part of the city’s larger attempt to redefine the role of its business mix and are consistent with other efforts to attract a diversified cross-section of business that will stimulate the economy.

“Benicia has a significant opportunity to prepare itself for new market economies and emerging business and technology sectors,” the report said. The land-use changes would also “allow Benicia to capture revenues and jobs that would otherwise locate in jurisdictions or locations that provide more favorable land-use and entitlement conditions.”

The issue of allowing animal testing could be the biggest hurdle among the proposed changes, the report said, with several Planning Commission staffers raising concern about thresholds, criteria and rationale. Animal testing is currently not allowed within the city, and subsequent environmental issues related to it could spur “specialized study for CEQA purposes.”

Although concern surrounds the inclusion of animal testing, city staff recommends that it be permitted as an accessory use to biotechnology sites. A stand-alone testing center would require a use permit, the report said.

Ms. Lorentz said the animal testing component of biotech is a common part of such business, and ultimately it’s a minor element of the overall changes.

“It’s a very minor piece of the proposal. It’s a fairly common element of biotech that a lot of cities don’t acknowledge. That doesn’t mean it’s not happening, though,” she said, noting that the city included it in an attempt to be more transparent.

The city’s overall intent “is to expand opportunities for high-tech and clean-tech type businesses in Benicia as a sustainable growth and part of the city’s larger economic development strategy.”

The city is facing a budget deficit of nearly $1.6 million.

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Bond offerings help Fairfield attract bottling company

August 16th, 2010 02:29am
Bond offerings help Fairfield attract bottling company
By Jenna V. Loceff, Business Journal Staff Reporter
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Frank-Lin to employ 160; city helps with permitting, rail access
NORTH BAY – Frank-Lin, the family-owned bottling company with 160 employees, 2,000 brands and currently located in San Jose, lost rail access and needed to move.

The California Enterprise Development Authority issued the first Recovery Zone Facility Bond through the state’s reallocation process to Frank-Lin totaling $22 million to help finance a 298,000-square-foot industrial building in Fairfield.

Curt Johnston

Curt Johnston, the Economic Development Division manager at the city of Fairfield, said the recovery zone bond issued came out of the stimulus package.

“It was from Build America bonds,” he said. “There were tiny allocations given to jurisdictions all over, and we went to the state and we encouraged them to create a system where the small bonds could be packaged together and used for larger projects.”

It was done, and the Frank-Lin plant is the first to be financed this way.

The Recovery Zone Facility Bonds were created through the Recovery Act. The federal government gave direct allocation, or the ability to issue these bonds to large cities and counties with a population greater than 100,000 that experienced an increase in unemployment in 2007 when compared to the national average, according to the California Enterprise Development Authority.

The reallocation process was developed as a way for any business in a city or county in the state of California that had a small direct allocation to access this bond program.

That is how the direct allocation of $1.4 million was able to be supplemented by $20.599 million in reallocation from the state.

Because Frank-Lin ships product from the distillery in tank cars and then blends and bottles it, rail access was required wherever the plant was located.

“At the current location, rail was across the street, and the city assisted with getting a line across to the site,” Mr. Johnston said.

He said because of the fast approval process Fairfield has, the permitting process was done expeditiously.

“It was just eight weeks,” he said.

The entire project is $34 million, and there was public financing for permit fees.

He said $1.9 million was paid for rail crossing and permit fees as well as adjacent public improvement to be paid off on tax bills over the next 30 years.

In addition to working to get all the financing together, the city helped out with a fee deferral agreement and a public improvement deferral to get the project going.

They are in the planning stage of the second phase, which will be an additional 78,000 square feet.

The expectation is that this will open up 160 jobs in the fall.

Mr. Johnston said the company will “encourage many people to move. If employees are able to relocate, they will be able to find affordable housing in Solano County.”

Mr. Johnston said Frank-Lin is not the only project in the area, and there is a fair amount of activity given the economy.

He said one of the things the city has been able to help out with is the question of why people would want to do business in Fairfield.

It has created a marketing campaign about the central location in Northern California with pre-approved business parks with shovel-ready sites.

Mr. Johnston acknowledged that the number of industrial and office deals is low, and speculative industrial development is not occurring because of the tight credit market.

But he said there are some good signs.

“Permits for new single-family homes are on pace to match the total from last year at about 150 permits,” he said. “It’s much better than 2008 when only 34 permits for single-family homes were issued in Fairfield.”

Meyer warehouse, Kiewit construction among projects in Fairfield

August 16th, 2010 02:11am
Meyer warehouse, Kiewit construction among projects
By Jenna V. Loceff, Business Journal Staff Reporter
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Food Court at the Westfield mall set to open in 2011

SOLANO – Solano County has a flurry of construction projects under way.

The Meyer Corp. U.S. Automated Warehouse is a 165,000- square-foot, 100-foot tall warehouse in the Solano Business Park. Meyer is one of the largest cookware companies in the nation.
Kiewit Pacific Corp. is 32,000 square feet of office space on a three-acre parcel in Green Valley Corporate Park. There will be 110 employees once complete. Kiewit is one of the largest employee-owned firms in the nation and one of the largest construction firms in the world.
The company has been in business for more than 125 years and is headquartered in Omaha, Neb.

Projects include transportation, oil and gas, electrical, power, marine, water resources, mining, underground utilities and buildings.

Environmental studies have been completed and approved, and a wetland preserve has been created.

The site was marketed by Cushman & Wakefield.

–Verizon Wireless is a 21,000-square-foot mobile switching center on 6.5 acres in Solano Business Park.
The Wal-Mart Supercenter is 188,000 square feet of retail space on 18 acres.
The purchase and sale has been approved for a new Lowe’s in May of 2010.
Mercedes Benz-Price Simms group is to begin construction this fall of a 40,000-square-foot facility.
A new Ford dealership is in place.
A new Saturn dealership, which is currently a Kia dealership and will be under the same ownership, is opening later this year.
Westfield Solano has acquired the former Mervyn’s store, Forever 21 is scheduled to open this fall in the top floor of the space and Westfield has strong interest in the bottom floor. The food court, located on the second floor adjacent to J.C. Penney, will be complete and open in the spring of 2011.
The food court will have 10 different restaurants and 590 seats. Buffalo Wild Wings is also under construction on the north side of the mall.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

UC Davis gets $1.6M gift from Kellogg Foundation

Wednesday, August 11, 2010, 10:35am PDT
UC Davis gets $1.6M gift from Kellogg Foundation
Sacramento Business Journal - by Kelly Johnson Staff writer

The University of California Davis announced Wednesday that the campus is receiving a gift of almost $1.6 million from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation targeting healthy food for kids.

The money will create a Kellogg Foundation endowment to support the Inter-institutional Network for Food, Agriculture and Sustainability, a network of scholars from 14 universities, a news release said.

The UC Davis’ Agricultural Sustainability Institute will manage the endowment, which will help the network improve food-system sustainability to advance the health of people, society and the natural environment.

“UC Davis is recognized globally for its agricultural and environmental research and is a leader in scientific study of sustainability,” Neal Van Alfen, dean of the university’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, said in the release. “This investment by the Kellogg Foundation will allow us to work nationally with colleagues to identify the most critical issues in agricultural and food-system sustainability and to provide solutions toward sustainable food systems for everyone.”

Also participating in the network are Iowa State University and its Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Michigan State University, North Carolina A&T State University, North Carolina State University, Ohio State University, UC Santa Cruz, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Minnesota, University of New Hampshire, University of New Mexico, University of Vermont, University of Wisconsin and Washington State University.

The network will add more universities and scholars in the future.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Employers eligible for hiring tax incentives on 5.6M new hires

Friday, August 6, 2010
Employers eligible for tax incentives on 5.6M new hires
Sacramento Business Journal - by Kent Hoover Washington Bureau Chief
Employers appear to be taking advantage of tax incentives that Congress offered to hire previously unemployed workers.
From February through June, employers hired 5.6 million workers who had been unemployed for 60 days or longer, according to an update from the Treasury Department. Businesses that hire such workers are exempt from the employer’s 6.2 percent share of Social Security payroll taxes through the end of the year. Employers who retain these workers for a year also are eligible for a $1,000 tax credit.
The Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act, which was signed into law in March, gives employers “an incentive to hire new workers as soon as possible because the payroll tax exemption expires at the end of 2010,” said Alan Krueger, the Treasury Department’s chief economist.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, said he will push Congress to extend the HIRE Act for another six months, however.
James Barba, chief executive officer of Albany Medical Center in Albany, N.Y., said the HIRE Act was a factor in his decision to end a hiring freeze at the hospital.
Albany Medical Center has hired 157 employees who meet the HIRE Act’s requirements. As a result, the hospital has saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in payroll taxes. That’s a lot of money considering the medical center’s profit margin usually is 1 percent or less, he said.
The Treasury Department’s estimates are based on monthly data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Population Survey.
It is impossible to determine how many of these 5.6 million people who qualify for the HIRE Act incentives were hired because of these breaks. If these workers are retained through the end of the year, their employers would be eligible for $6.2 billion in payroll tax savings. That’s money businesses can use to invest in new plants and equipment, Krueger said.
Even if only a small percentage of these workers were hired because of the HIRE Act incentives, that’s still “a fairly high bang for the buck,” Krueger said.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Tame That Tiger @ UC Davis

UC Davis researchers deliver lab innovations

Stemming Out
UC Davis researchers deliver lab innovations
Story by Josh Brodesky | Photo by Mike Graffigna
Dr. Gerhard Bauer designed and heads the Good Manufacturing Practice Lab.
Dr. Jan Nolta is a whirlwind of energy, and this July morning she is blitzing through UC Davis’ brand-new Institute for Regenerative Cures, a state-of-the-art lab where scientists and researchers are working on breakthrough discoveries and stem cell therapies.

“This lab, to me, is somewhat mind-blowing,” Nolta says as she moves from one area of the lab to another.

Nolta heads the stem cell program at the UC Davis School of Medicine and directs the Institute for Regenerative Cures, a $62 million superlab that opened in March.

The lab was once a rickety building on Stockton Boulevard that was part of the old California State Fairgrounds, but the renovation transformed it into a hotbed of research where more than 20 senior scientists work with 115 researchers and technicians on stem cell therapies and treatments for Huntington’s disease, vision loss and repairing tissue damaged in heart attacks, among other ailments.

The new building allows for easier collaboration between scientists and doctors, who now have a home base to create research partnerships. For example, stem cell researchers have been working with vascular surgeons to develop treatments for certain types of artery disease. The surgeons bring their bedside experience to the table, while researchers bring experience in lab and research protocols.

“They did it on time and on budget,” Nolta says of the new lab. “It’s so important for us to be here all together.”

Perhaps the crown jewel of the institute is its Good Manufacturing Practice Lab, a 7,000-square-foot custom-designed space to turn stem cells into clinical-grade therapies.

The new building allows for easier collaboration between scientists and doctors, who now have a home base to create research partnerships.

Picture a hypersterile lab with air locks and special pressure settings to keep air pure and clean. There is only one way in and one way out. Scientists have to “gown up” in a way that makes them look like they belong in a science fiction movie just to get into the lab. The air is tested daily to ensure everything is sterile and pure.

This lab looks futuristic and comes with some of the most advanced equipment needed to turn stem cell research into real remedies for patients. It’s the only academic lab of its kind in the area, and it is quickly gaining international interest for its custom design.

The mastermind behind the Good Manufacturing Practice Lab is Dr. Gerhard Bauer, who designed and heads the lab.

An assistant professor of hematology and oncology, Bauer has spent the past 15 years perfecting the design concepts for the lab. He’s thought about every detail necessary to keep stem cell samples pure and clean — and it shows.

Ask him about air pressure, and he’ll go on and on (in a good way) about all of the details needed to keep air in the Good Manufacturing Practice Lab uncontaminated. It’s complicated. Neither the air cycling out nor the air cycling in can be contaminated. 

“Cells are not really meant to be manufactured in the same way as drugs,” Bauer says. “It’s an individual product for an individual patient.”

Because it’s the largest academic lab of its kind in Northern California, the Good Manufacturing Practice Lab has drawn interest from researchers across the state who want to use it to get stem cell therapies out of the lab and into hospitals.

Perhaps the crown jewel of the institute is its Good manufacturing Practice Lab, a 7,000-square-foot custom-designed space to turn stem cells into clinical-grade therapies.

The lab is already partnering with researchers from Stanford University who are developing a gene therapy cure for Epidermolysis Bullosa, a skin tissue disease that essentially creates blisters and burns between two layers of skin, often because of minor injuries. Eventually, the skin falls off. Children with Epidermolysis Bullosa are often called butterfly children because their skin is as fragile as a butterfly’s wings.

“We’re going to correct the cell,” Bauer says.

Nolta says, “It’s science fiction being made here.”

And it’s all because of the Good Manufacturing Practice Lab.

Skin is hot right now in the UC Davis Stem Cell Program. Nolta says researchers are developing biological bandages made out of decellularized pig intestine — meaning the cells are stripped from the tissue — which could then be used to cure open sores and ulcers.

“There is really a lot going on here on the skin front,” she says.

And on a number of other fronts, as well. Disease teams are chasing down gene therapies for such ailments as hearing loss, bladder disease, osteoporosis, heart disease and HIV.

“We envision making stem cell lines for each of our patients who need them,” Nolta says. “That’s the medicine of the future.”

Did you know …

U.S. News and World Report recently ranked UC Davis Medical Center among the top 50 hospitals in America? The nationwide survey of 5,000 hospitals ranked UC Davis Medical Center No. 35 for orthopedics and No. 50 for cancer. The report published last month showed that UC Davis Medical Center’s nurse-to-patient ratio of 2.8 is among the highest in the nation. In cancer, only the Mayo Clinic had a higher nurse-to-patient ratio, with three nurses per bed. In orthopedics, only Mayo and Abbot Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis had higher ratios, both with three nurses per bed. 

Additionally, only two other Northern California hospitals ranked in the top 50 for cancer: the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center and Stanford Hospital and Clinics. And only three other Northern California hospitals ranked in the top 50 for orthopaedics: UCSF Medical Center, Stanford Hospital and Clinics and John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek.

For more information on Mike Graffigna:

Friday, August 6, 2010

Meyer Corp. plans grand opening tour

Meyer Corp. plans grand opening tour

By Sarah de Crescenzo | Daily Republic | August 03, 2010 16:43

FAIRFIELD - A celebration is scheduled Aug. 19 to mark the official opening of the new Meyer Corporation storage center in southern Fairfield.

The 165,000-square-foot warehouse along Highway 12 is one of the larger automated storage and retrieval systems in California.

'The new AS/RS building will allow us to double the speed and volume of our product shipping capabilities to retail customers,' Vice President of Marketing Suzanne Murphy wrote in an e-mail. 'Additionally, the new building allows us to store all of our brands under one location, versus six warehouses, and this greatly enhances our efficiencies.'

The 11-story building sits on a 59-acre campus.

A tour of the facility, with a description of how the automatic system functions, will take place during the opening event, Murphy said.

Meyer will be able to house 66,000 pallets of kitchen products in the environmentally friendly building.

Speaking at the opening will be Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Creek, Fairfield Mayor Harry Price, Meyer CEO Stanley Cheng and President Nobo Morita of Daifuku, the company that installed and engineered the warehouse's automated system.

The grand opening begins at 11:15 a.m. at 2001 Meyer Lane. It is a private event, by invitation only, and is not open to the public. For more information, call 551-2800.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Suisun City Consultants Sought for Senior Housing Feasibility Study

Consultants Sought for Senior Housing Feasibility Study
Posted: 05 Aug 2010 07:30 AM PDT
SUISUN CITY, Calif. - With seniors often limited in housing options due a variety of lifestyle, medical and economic issues, Suisun City is committed to helping ensure an adequate supply of suitable housing for senior residents.
The Community Development Department is seeking a qualified consultant to conduct a Senior Housing Feasibility Study to identify sites within the Waterfront District appropriate for possible development of housing for low- to moderate-income adults who are 55 years of age and older.
Using a California Community Development Block Grant program Planning and Technical Assistance Grant, the Department will hire a consultant to conduct a needs and market analysis to help determine suitable locations. Early in 2011, the Department anticipates issuing another request for proposals for a site-specific predevelopment study.
The City has identified a need for housing that is accessible to residents aged 55 and older. At present, there is one 104-unit senior living development in the city with 16 units restricted to very low-income seniors. However, 83% of Suisun City senior renters are low, very low or extremely low-income.
The Housing Element identified a number of objectives and programs to respond to this community need. One action is to assist developers located suitable sites for senior housing developments.
A priority development area has been established in the Waterfront District near the Suisun Train Station with the intent of creating an area of high-density housing were the day-to-day needs of residents are met in a pedestrian-friendly area served by transit.
Qualified firms interested in assisting with this work should reply by Aug. 25, 2010.
>>Click here for more information about bidding on the Senior Housing Feasibility Study >>
>> Learn more about the Community Development Department >>

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Suisun City Planning Commission to Host General Plan Workshop

Planning Commission to Host General Plan Workshop
Posted: 04 Aug 2010 11:31 AM PDT
Residents invited to give input on future of Suisun City

SUISUN CITY - The Suisun City Planning Commission will hold a workshop at 7 p.m. Tuesday Aug. 10, 2010, on the comprehensive update of the City's General Plan.
The focus of the workshop, which will be held at City Hall, is to discuss the General Plan Update status and upcoming milestones, and to continue soliciting input and comments from Suisun City residents.
It is the intention of the Planning Commission to hold periodic workshops on the General Plan as the update process continues over the next 12-18 months.
The General Plan is the main community planning document required for every community in California. It is designed to outline acceptable uses for every section of the city to ensure orderly development of homes, businesses, parks, schools, transportation and other community facilities.
State law requires that a city’s General Plan be updated periodically so it remains an accurate reflection of the city’s existing and intended development, and the environmental impacts of planned growth. It guides decision making in the community regarding city goals.
Since Suisun City’s General Plan was last updated, state law changed to require that issues such as climate change and green house gas reduction be considered when planning future development.
In April 2010, the Suisun City Council approved a contract with AECOM to assist city planners update the General Plan.
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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

UC Davis Rankings

The University of California, Davis (UC Davis) is one of the best ranking institutions in the United States. It is one of ten campuses in the University of California system.

Notable UC Davis alumni include: Tiffany Lam (Miss Hong Kong winner 2002), Catherine Carr (Gold Medalist at the 1972 Summer Olympics), Tanya Seaman (founder of PhillyCarShare), Heather Fargo (former Mayor of Sacramento, California), Kevin Shelley (former California Secretary of State), Ann Veneman (former Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture, 2001-2005), etc.

Rankings and Ratings:

- UC Davis School of Medicine is placed 20th for primary care and 47th in research according to the US News "America's Best Graduate Schools 2011".

- UC Davis School of Law is rated 35th among the 184 American Bar Association-approved law schools in the United States. The rankings appear in the U.S. News & World Report's 2010 edition of "America's Best Graduate Schools". UC Davis is also rated 25th in the "peer assessment ranking" category that is based on surveys of law deans and professors nationwide and 20th in the racial diversity of the student body.

- Rated 51st in the world (Webometrics Ranking, January 2010).

- 11th among public universities nationwide and 42nd among public and private universities in the country (U.S. News & World Report 2010).

- 108th globally in the QS World University Rankings™ 2009. It is also ranked 38th among the world top universities for Life Sciences & Biomedicine.

- Listed among the Best 368, the Best Western colleges, and great schools for biology and psychology majors (The Princeton Review 2009).

- 49th among the best universities in the world, according to the Institute for Higher Education at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China (2009).

- 24th in a Cool School's survey and a B+ as a "campus sustainability leader" on the College Sustainability Report Card (Sierra magazine 2009).

- 3rd among UC campuses and 34th for all national universities in "best education" as rated by high-school counselors (USNWR 2009).

- 10th in the ranking of U.S. universities based on their contributions to society (Washington Monthly 2009).

* Suggested Reading: UC Davis MBA Ranking Achievements

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, call (707) 553-5173, or go to

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