Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Friday, January 14, 2011
The Salvation Army Will Invest $44 million in Center Endowment to Build Third California Kroc Center in Suisun City
Endowment to Build Third California Kroc Center in Suisun City
SUISUN CITY - The Salvation Army Corps Community Center planned for Suisun City will become only the third Kroc Center in California thanks to a $44 million endowment from the organization's corporate headquarters in Long Beach.
Work on the community center remodeling already approved by the City Council and Planning Commission will proceed as planned, with an opening date expected in Fall 2011. However, planning for the chapel/theater future expansion can begin immediately.
Here is The Salvation Army's announcement:
The Salvation Army is pleased to announce its commitment to construct a $22 million Joan Kroc Community Center in Suisun City, CA. The money for the improvements to a facility already purchased in the city was given by the organization’s corporate headquarters in Long Beach, CA through a bequest left to The Salvation Army by Joan Kroc, wife of Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s corporation. When Joan Kroc died in 2003, she left The Salvation Army the largest charitable gift in history to the tune of $1.8 billion. Of that money, $450 million was allotted for the Western Territory of the United States. This community center in Suisun City will be the seventh in the Western United States. >> More about Kroc Centers >>
"The city of Suisun admires the leadership of The Salvation Army in pushing such a creative project forward in our community. This is an unprecedented program in our city and we are honored to house such a dynamic community center,” said Suisun City Mayor Pete Sanchez. “The city of Suisun pledges to support and help this profitable adventure in any way we can. The facility being built by The Salvation Army will improve our city in remarkable ways."
In whole, this community center is a $44 million commitment. $22 million is the budget for construction with a matching $22 million for endowment. The $22 million endowment will offset some of the operational costs of the facility.
"The Del Oro Division of The Salvation Army is humbled and excited to be rewarded this grant of such generous proportions. It is our goal to fully execute, with great care and certainty, a state of the art community center mirroring the vision of Joan Kroc,” said Major Douglas F. Riley, Divisional Commander of The Salvation Army. “This center will be a great asset to the Solano County community and will work to enrich the lives of men, women and children throughout the area. We are blessed to have been rewarded such a wonderful opportunity."
This $22 million facility will include a lap pool, therapy pool and whirlpool, a high school regulation size basketball court, a full fitness facility, including dance studios and workout rooms. The center will also house a café, rock climbing wall, full commercial kitchen with large reception hall, a traditional Salvation Army chapel for worship and a theater for performing arts. The center will also boast several public outreach programs including after school activities for children with opportunities in the arts, including theater and music instruction, an offering that is very limited in most schools in the area.
"This community center in Suisun City will be a center for recreation, education and the arts," Riley said. "It is our hope that through scholarships funded by donations from the public, that every child, no matter their monetary situation, will have an opportunity to participate in this life enrichment center."
Announcement in pdf
Learn more about The Salvation Army Suisun City Corps Community Center.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
University of California, Davis
January 12, 2011
UC DAVIS RECEIVES $40 M TO LEAD MAJOR MULTISTATE AG RESEARCH PROGRAMS
UC Davis today received $40 million in federal grants to develop climate-change-tolerant plants and new bioenergy sources.
The new U.S. Department of Agriculture grants will fund two projects in which UC Davis scientists will lead research teams from more than 50 universities in more than 20 states.
Roger Beachy, director of the USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture, announced the grants at a morning news conference at UC Davis, characterizing them as "significant investments."
UC Davis wheat geneticist Jorge Dubcovsky will receive $25 million to head a team that will work to develop new varieties of wheat and barley. UC Davis forest tree geneticist David Neale will receive
$14.6 million to head a team that will work to sequence the genomes of loblolly pine and two other conifers. Dubcovsky and Neale are both Department of Plant Sciences faculty members in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
"Each of these projects features transdisciplinary, regional, integrated teams, including scientists from institutions that represent underserved populations." Beachy said. "This approach represents a new paradigm in how USDA science can best solve critical issues facing agriculture today."
UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi, also speaking at the news conference, said the grants will help support critically important research endeavors.
"We are honored and pleased that the grant awards recognize the expertise and leadership of UC Davis in the field of plant genomics,"
said Katehi. "We look forward to the practical solutions for agriculture and for the environment that will arise from these collaborative projects."
Wheat genome project
Dubcovsky and his research colleagues will focus on biological and environmental stresses to wheat that are caused, at least in part, by alterations in weather patterns associated with global climate change. The research team funded by this grant includes 55 university and USDA researchers, plant breeders and educators from 21 states.
The researchers will work to identify variations in wheat and barley genes that can enhance the ability of the plants to resist disease, make efficient use of water and nitrogen, and optimize crop yield.
These discoveries will help plant breeders develop varieties of wheat and barley that will thrive and be productive despite anticipated climate variability.
The five-year project also will develop a Plant Breeding Education Network to train 30 new doctoral students in plant breeding and provide educational opportunities for 100 undergraduate students interested in plant improvement.
Forest tree genome project
By sequencing the genomes of loblolly pine, sugar pine and Douglas fir, Neale and his research colleagues plan to accelerate breeding efforts for fast-growing varieties of these trees. This would enhance their use as feedstocks for biofuels and biopower.
This is a particularly ambitious project because the genomes of pine tree species are extremely large -- as much as 10 times the size of the human genome.
In addition to providing more biofuel resources, increased plantings of these conifers would also contribute to carbon sequestration, capturing and storing carbon from the atmosphere and thus mitigating the effects of climate change.
Collaborating with UC Davis on this five-year project are the Children's Hospital of Oakland Research Institute, Washington State University, Texas A&M University, Indiana University and the University of Maryland. The pine germplasm, or plant genetic material, to be sequenced comes from the North Carolina State University Cooperative Breeding Program and was produced by a mating made by the Virginia Department of Forestry.
USDA's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative
The wheat and forestry awards were both made through the National Institute of Food and Agriculture's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, the flagship competitive grant program established by the
2008 Farm Bill. The initiative supports research in plant health and production and plant products; animal health and production and animal products; food safety, nutrition and health; renewable energy, natural resources and environment; agriculture systems and technology; and agriculture economics and rural communities.
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 more than 32,000 students, more than 2,500 faculty and more than 21,000 staff, an annual research budget that exceeds $678 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.
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Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Here's a look ahead to 2011
By Brian Miller and Karl Dumas | | January 08, 2011 00:24
At the beginning of each year, we use our first Economic Notes column to prognosticate what will happen during the New Year. Will Fairfield see significant office, retail, industrial, or residential development? Will Fairfield's business attraction efforts pay dividends?
Here's our view of what to look for in 2011.
New retail: In 2010, several large vacant Fairfield retail spaces were filled. Forever21 took 44,000 square feet of space on the top floor of the former Mervyn's building. Driven Raceway leased more than 33,445 square feet of the former Circuit City building and Sheet Metal Workers' Local 104 and Bay Area Industry Training Fund purchased the 43,000-square-foot former Camping World building at 4350 Central Place. That means that of the approximate 196,000 square feet of vacant 'large footprint' big box retail space available in Fairfield in 2010, more than half (61 percent) was leased or purchased and occupied.
Could the remaining space be gobbled up as well in 2011? It's very possible.
We understand there are multiple parties interested in leasing the first floor of the former Mervyn's Department Store. Brokers have also reported interest in the Linen's space but there are few retailers searching the suburbs for 32,000 square feet and dividing this particular space for two or more users would be costly. And, we will see construction of the Lowes Home Improvement Center in 2011 on Dickson Hill Road.
The Fairfield Auto Mall made a strong comeback in 2010 and we expect the vacant former Chrysler and Dodge buildings to see activity in 2011. With the opening of Walmart on North Texas Street at the end of 2010, their former store on Chadbourne Road became surplus property. Brokers have reported interest from users desiring to occupy the building in 2011.
New restaurants: Wing Stop and Buffalo Wild Wings are two of the national franchises that entered the marketplace in 2010. Chick-fil-A was also approved for the former Marie Callender's space and Panera Bread is scheduled to open in the former Jos A. Bank clothing space.
Will the former Hungry Hunter (Waterman and Hillborn roads) and Applebee's buildings (Green Valley Road and Business Center Drive) see action in 2011?
Well, building location, access, size, vehicle traffic count and surrounding demographics play a key role in where a new restaurant (national franchise or private owner) desires to locate. While both aforementioned buildings have highway exposure, potential restaurateurs have passed on the respective buildings because of size, access and location. These two buildings may be better suited for alternative uses.
Westfield's renovation at the mall to create a food court area (500-plus seats) is scheduled to open in April. The city's economic development staff is continually courting potential new restaurateurs for several different locations so our guess is this year will bring announcements for new restaurants in town.
New industrial/office: It will be hard to top the statewide and national buzz Frank-Lin Distillers' new building on Huntington Drive in Tolenas Industrial Park provided for Fairfield in 2010. But the company is planning a second phase -- hopefully for 2011. Solano Business Park is also expected to see some new development activity this year. And North Bay Plumbing is planning to construct a 32,000-square-foot facility in Horizon Business Park.
We don't anticipate new speculative office space development in 2011 simply because of the abundance of available existing space. The third and fourth quarter of 2010 did show some signs of life in the office sector with the leasing of smaller spaces, and we believe this will continue in 2011.
Housing: New housing construction will continue at a relatively slow pace by historical standards, with most activity concentrated in northeastern Fairfield (Paradise Valley) and Southbrook/Garibaldi Ranch. One possible project in the works: expanded senior housing in Paradise Valley. The city is also anticipated to see rehabilitation of existing housing in the PACE (Pennsylvania, Alaska, Cunningham, Eton) neighborhood near Westfield Solano mall.
To sum it all up: we don't see 2011 as a return to the boom years. We do see steady absorption of commercial space and industrial buildings, continued residential development, and slow recovery in the office market. We also see 'creative' reuse of existing buildings and spaces as the paradigm for 2011
-- and perhaps beyond.
Economic Notes is an update from Fairfield City Hall written by Brian Miller and Karl Dumas of the Fairfield Planning and Development Department. They can be contacted at 428-7461 or e-mail at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Benefits CalWIN allows residents to seek food, medical assistance online
Mon, 03 Jan 2011 17:37:41 -0600
Benefits CalWIN is the latest online tool to help Solano County residents access food and medical assistance programs. "We are excited to be able to offer online applications and reporting for struggling individuals and families so they do not have to take time away from work to apply for benefits," said Christiana Smith, Health and Social Services deputy director for employment and eligibility services. The new website, www.benefitscalwin.org, offers a self-screening tool and an interactive online application for Food Stamps and Medi-Cal programs. Current Food Stamps recipients can also submit their quarterly reports and annual renewals online. There is no charge for these services.
Monday, January 3, 2011
Solano County Draft Climate Action Plan
Notice is hereby given that Solano County has prepared a Draft Climate Action Plan (CAP) and an Initial Study of Environmental Impact, now available for public review. The public review period is 45 days, and will close on February 15, 2011.
The Draft CAP provides policies and identifies actions intended to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions within the County and to assist in the fight against climate change. The goal of the Draft CAP is to reduce unincorporated Solano County's communitywide greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent below 2005 ("baseline") emission levels by the year 2020. The Draft CAP provides general information about climate change and how GHG emissions within the unincorporated county contribute to it, as well as an analysis of the potential effects of climate change on the county. In addition, the Draft CAP describes baseline GHG emissions, and projects GHG emissions that could be expected if the Draft CAP is not implemented.
A public hearing for consideration of the Draft CAP has not been scheduled yet. A separate notice for the public hearing will be published.
The public is invited to submit written comments on the Draft CAP. Your comments must be received by the County prior to the close of the 45 day review period, which is 5:00 p.m. on February 15, 2011. Please submit written comments to: Matt Walsh, Solano County Department of Resource Management, 675 Texas Street, Suite 5500, Fairfield, CA 94533 (707) 784-6765.
Copies of the Draft CAP can be reviewed at the Department of Resource Management at the above address beginning on December 15, 2010. Electronic copies of the Draft CAP can be provided on CD for a cost of $5.00. The Draft CAP is also available online at:
Published: December 30, 2010
Reflecting on past accomplishments
By Sean P. Quinn | | December 30, 2010 19:20
The holidays are now behind us and it is a time to both reflect on the past year and look ahead.
I am proud of what we have accomplished and know that we have a strong foundation for the future. With that in mind, I have no illusions that 2011 will bring its share of challenges. The state budget has a huge deficit and our economy is still in flux. Fairfield will have a smaller government.
Managing the economic downturn and its aftermath will require finding new ways of working together and strengthening partnerships.
As an organization, Fairfield's government has experienced a tremendous amount of change. For the first time, city employees have learned to work under furloughs. This has had no small impact on working conditions. We have all had to learn how to refocus our priorities, while being attentive to community needs.
We have also seen many long-time employees retire from the organization. In 2010, there were 13 retirements representing more than 300 years of experience with the city. This loss has occurred in every department and at every level.
After experiencing a rash of business closures in 2008 and 2009, this trend slowed in 2010. Fairfield benefitted from new development, store openings and increased investment. Some of the new development/new store openings included Buffalo Wild Wings, Driven Raceway, Fairfield Ford, Frank-Lin Distillers and Walmart.
Expect more good news in 2011. Lowe's will begin construction of its home improvement store at North Texas Street and Manuel Campos Parkway, and Mercedes Benz will complete its dealership at the Auto Mall. Also, residential development has started to pick up and new homes are once again selling in Fairfield.
Looking around town, there have been many much-needed public facilities and capital projects completed. While I have discussed many of these projects in past columns, they are worth reiterating. Early in 2010, we celebrated the opening of the Aquatics Complex at Allan Witt Park, a year-round swimming and recreation center. More recently we gathered for the grand openings of the North Texas Street Interchange project, North Connector, and McGary Road. All of these projects strengthen our neighborhoods and prospects for the future.
There will be more change in 2011. Fairfield has a $7 million deficit to close, four labor contracts expire June 30, 2011, and there is growing public sentiment and fiscal reality for government to reform pensions.
In addition, the effects of the economic downturn persist. The unemployment rate in Fairfield hovers around 13 percent, the median price for a home remains 50 percent below the high experienced back in 2006 and 2007, and commercial vacancy remains high.
How will we meet these challenges? Together. I hope all of us will be part of an effort to strengthen and build bridges to other public agencies, nonprofits, residents and businesses to find new ways of meeting our community's needs.
Sean P. Quinn is the Fairfield city manager.
Some signs of economic growth for area
By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen/Times-Herald
Posted: 12/27/2010 01:00:33 AM PST
Some signs of new economic life were evident in 2010, as Vallejo sought to pull itself out of bankruptcy and the national recession.
And unlike during the worst of the recession, 2010 saw several new businesses open here -- the largest likely being Lowe's home improvement store on Columbus Parkway -- and other projects get under way.
Steps also were taken this year that promise further improvements in coming months.
An agreement was reached to allow Allied Defense Recycling, doing business as California Dry Dock Solutions, to dismantle some mothball fleet ships on Mare Island and an exclusive right to negotiate was entered into with Mare Island Studios for a possible film studio on the island's north end.
Discount supermarket Winco is doing an environmental review in advance of possibly opening a store where the Redwood Parkway Elks Lodge now stands.
Also, officials of mini-supermarket Fresh and Easy bought land on Springs Road this year and plan to build a store there in 2011.
The company also may build another store elsewhere in town, city and company officials have said.
It was not all good news, however.
Record high unemployment -- reaching more than 14 percent -- plagued the Vallejo area for much of the year, and several businesses moved away or closed.
The housing market gave signs of a possible recovery, as median prices and housing starts increased and affordability declined slightly during the year. Though the most recent figures show price declines, some real estate experts say this may reflect a typical seasonal industry slowdown, while others suggest an ongoing depressed market.
Hollywood Video closed all its stores this year, including Vallejo's, leaving Vallejo's Meadows Video the last such company in town. Meadows'
owner credits diversifying her store's offerings for helping it weather the recession and the video rental industry changes that contributed to Blockbuster Video's demise in Vallejo in late 2009.
But despite all that, in April, Vallejo ranked 199th in Forbes Magazine's list of top 200 places to do business nationally.
"There's a lot going on in Vallejo, and I don't think people realize that,"
Vallejo Chamber of Commerce spokesman Rich Curtola said. "As I go around town, I see these stores are full of people spending money, and as bad as the economy is, these are signs of a rejuvenation coming."
Contact staff writer Rachel Raskin-Zrihen at (707) 553-6824 or email@example.com.
Northern California’s Top 5 Biotech Innovation News Stories
The year that was 2010 was another year on the rollercoaster. We had our ups and our downs. But throughout, we continued to be at the forefront of innovation. From mature companies to emerging technologies, 2010 was an exciting year. Here are BayBio’s top five stories for 2010.
1. Amgen secures approval for two new treatments in 2010. In June, the FDA approved denosumab (Prolia) for the treatment of postmenoposaul women with osteoporosis who are at high risk for fracture. And in November, the FDA approved the same drug under a different name (Xgeva) for a different use, as the first and only RANK Ligand inhibitor for the prevention of skeletal-related events (SREs) in patients with bone metastases from solid tumors. The treatments were developed in South San Francisco and are another indication of the maturing market space for Northern California biotechnology companies.
2. Bay Area takes the lead on the next wave of sequencing technology. Menlo Park, CA-based Pacific Biosciences (NASDAQ: PACB) and Mountain View, CA-based Complete Genomics (NASDAQ: GNOM) were the first of next generation of sequencing companies to go public. Pacific Biosciences’s platform provides real-time analysis of biomolecules with single molecule resolution, enabling a deeper understanding of biological systems. Many believe this could lead to more affordable human genome sequencing. Complete Genomics enables researchers to conduct large-scale complete human genome studies.
3. Mission Bay becomes a magnet for BioPharma. Bayer HealthCare in May announced its U.S. Innovation Center to be located in Mission Bay. In addition, Nektar Therapeutics opened its new headquarters right next door. Then to add icing to the cake, Pfizer announced an $85 million partnership agreement with UCSF.
4. Amyris IPO paves way for fuel alternatives. In September, Emeryville, CA-based Amyris raised a modest $85 million in its initial public offering. With several competitive synthetic and alternative fuels emerging, Amyris’s offering represents the first steps to finding true alternatives to petroleum. We’ll have to wait and see what becomes of competitors likeSolazyme, Codexis, and LS9, among others.
5. Stem cell treatments move closer to reality. Menlo Park, CA-based Geron (NASDAQ: GERN) began the first human trial in the U.S. with an embryonic stem cell treatment. The trial will attempt to repair a patient’s injured spinal cord. SanBio received FDA clearance in June for clinical testing of the company’s regenerative medicine for cerebral stroke.
[Editor's Note: This is part of a series of posts from Xconomists and other technology and life sciences leaders from around the U.S. who are weighing in with the top surprises they've seen in their respective fields in the past year, or the major things to watch for in 2011.]
Gail Maderis is President & CEO of BayBio, the industry organization representing and supporting Northern California’s life science community.