Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The University of California, Davis, has signed co-exclusive license agreements with Watt Stopper/Legrand of Santa Clara, Calif

University of California, Davis
April 9, 2008


The University of California, Davis, has signed co-exclusive license agreements with Watt Stopper/Legrand of Santa Clara, Calif., and Axis Technologies Inc. of Lincoln, Neb., to commercialize inventions that reduce the cost and increase the reliability of daylight harvesting systems. The license agreements cover a package of strategies and technologies developed by the California Lighting Technology Center
(CLTC) at UC Davis.

Daylight harvesting systems automatically adjust indoor lighting to match changes in ambient daylight.

"UC Davis is proud of its leadership in energy-saving inventions such as these. We are very pleased to have partnered with two leading lighting companies to take this technology to market to provide clean energy solutions for our nation," said David McGee, executive director of UC Davis InnovationAccess, which manages intellectual property and licensing issues on behalf of the university.

Daylight harvesting has tremendous potential to reduce both energy costs and demand for electricity at peak times. But the concept has been difficult to realize because of issues of reliability and the cost of commissioning.

"We see these innovations increasing the reliability and decreasing the cost of daylight harvesting systems," said Konstantinos Papamichael, professor of design at UC Davis and associate director of the CLTC.

Currently, daylight harvesting systems are set up by a technical expert who makes adjustments specific to the space and location. Even small changes in the lit space -- rearranging furniture, for example
-- can change the reflective properties of the space and require expensive, expert adjustments.

Papamichael added that the licensed inventions include advances in three areas. CLTC researchers have developed tools that allow the system to calibrate itself continuously and automatically, adjusting to any changes in the room and reducing the need for expert commissioning.

Secondly, the researchers have devised technology to use two light sensors, rather than one, to get a more reliable measure of ambient daylight. Finally, the team exploited the properties of photo sensors to get better measurements of light approaching the sensor from an angle, rather than just head-on.

The work leading to the inventions was supported by the Public Interest Energy Research program of the California Energy Commission.

About the California Lighting Technology Center

The California Lighting Technology Center was established in 2004 as a joint program of UC Davis and the Public Interest Energy Research
(PIER) program of the California Energy Commission. More information:

About UC Davis InnovationAccess

UC Davis InnovationAccess actively manages a patent portfolio of more than 840 inventions reflecting the diversity of the campus's research base, and seeks opportunities to commercialize these via licensing, with more than 480 currently active licensees. UC Davis has also seen an upsurge in startup companies emerging from campus research and technologies, with nearly 20 companies founded since 2005. The UC Davis InnovationAccess team is comprised of more than 20 professionals with PhDs, JDs, and MBAs with significant private-sector experience. More information:

About Watt Stopper/Legrand

Watt Stopper/Legrand is based in Santa Clara, Calif. and is a manufacturer of energy-efficient lighting controls for commercial and residential use. It is a fully owned subsidiary of Legrand, located in Limoges, France, which specializes in products and systems for electrical installations and information networks. More information:

About Axis Technologies Inc.

Axis Technologies Group Inc. conducts its business through a wholly owned subsidiary, Axis Technologies Inc., a Delaware corporation headquartered in Lincoln, Neb. Axis Technologies designs, manufactures and markets a proprietary line of energy-saving and daylight harvesting electronic dimming ballasts for the commercial lighting industry. More information:

Additional information:
* California Lighting Technology Center <>
* UC Davis InnovationAccess <>
* Watt Stopper/Legrand <>
* Axis Technologies Group Inc. <>

Media contact(s):
* David McGee, UC Davis InnovationAccess, (530) 757-3442,
* Andy Fell, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-4533,

Monday, April 07, 2008



An on-campus farmers market, intended to give UC Davis students, faculty and staff increased access to fresh local produce, has returned for its second season. It will be open Wednesdays, from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., through June 4 on the east lawn of the Quad, a hub of campus activity.

The East Quad Farmers Market began in spring 2007 as part of a larger pilot project of the Davis Farmers Market Foundation, designed to expand sales of local produce, promote the use of farm-fresh foods in K-12 schools and on the campus, and educate consumers about nutrition and healthful eating.

The campus farmers market also complements UC Davis' own Foods for Health Initiative, an interdisciplinary effort that is addressing issues including nutrition, obesity, the availability of healthy foods, organic farming and industrial food production.

Among the dozen vendors participating in the market will be the Student Experimental Farm of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Shoppers can choose cherries, strawberries, apples, organic vegetables, nuts, olive oil and flowers.

The market is intended to help boost consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables by members of the campus community. A 2007 survey of UC Davis students found that 60 percent eat two or fewer servings of nutrition-packed fruits and vegetables per day.

The East Quad Farmers Market is co-sponsored by Campus Recreation, Campus Unions, Cowell Student Health Center, Davis Farmers Market Foundation, Davis Food Co-op, R4 Recycling and University Dining Services.

Media contact(s):
* Laura Rubin, UC Davis Health Education and Promotion, (530) 754-4878,
* Julia Ann Easley, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-8248,

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Extending CA net operating losses carry-forward to 20 years would create a better business and innovative environment

For the full article link to:

Extending the net operating losses carry-forward to 20 years, as do the federal and many state governments, would create a better business and innovative environment for the development of many new therapeutic and prophylactic products.

David Martin is president and CEO of AvidBiotics, a biotechnology company developing protein products for the treatment of specific bacterial diseases of humans, with particular emphasis on antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Matthew M. Gardner is CEO and president of BayBio, an independent, nonprofit trade association serving the life science industry in Northern California.

Finding drugs to combat super bugs

By David Martin, Matthew M. Gardner
Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The antibiotics we have come to depend upon to fight bacterial ear infections, pneumonias and strep throats are working less and less well. At the same time, we have fewer new drugs in the pipeline to replace the increasingly ineffective antibiotics. These problems have serious consequences for all of us. Last year, 2 million people were infected with drug-resistant "super bugs," resulting in 90,000 deaths and an additional $9.5 billion in health-care costs, according to the Infectious Disease Society of America.

The high risks and high costs of drug development, coupled with the relatively small antibiotic markets, have resulted in the limited pipelines. High overhead costs and limited market demand constrain traditional pharmaceutical companies' interests in developing an effective response. The result is a dearth of new antibiotics: between 2003 and 2007, only four new antibiotics received FDA approval.

Small entrepreneurial companies that make up much of California's life sciences industry can fill this gap. Many of these companies focus on discovering new treatments for unmet medical needs that are more difficult to develop, but have a large public impact. Small biotech companies have the institutional agility and the scientific know-how to discover and develop new drugs to combat super bug infections. Markets of considerably smaller sizes are sufficient to greatly interest small biotech companies. Yet these companies face their own challenges.

Raising capital to fund research and development is the top priority for any small life sciences company. Drug development costs continue to escalate. The average company must invest $800 million of capital over 15 years to develop a successful product and eventually achieve profitability. Because of the length of the research and development cycle for typical biotechnology products, some California tax code provisions that are intended to assist emerging industries are less than useful. In the fight against antibiotic-resistant super bugs, new solutions are needed to spur innovation and stem this deadly trend.

A case in point is California's treatment of net operating losses. Net operating losses are generated by companies engaged in research and product development but not yet making a profit. California law allows such losses to be carried forward for 10 years and written off upon profitability. Extending the net operating losses carry-forward to 20 years, as do the federal and many state governments, would create a better business and innovative environment for the development of many new therapeutic and prophylactic products.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Benicia's Universal Environmental bought by Clean Harbors Inc.

East Bay Business Times - March 17, 2008

Business News - Local News
Monday, March 17, 2008
Benicia's Universal Environmental bought by Clean Harbors Inc.
East Bay Business Times

Clean Harbors Inc. has acquired Universal Environmental Inc., an environmental services company, Clean Harbors said Monday.

Norwell, Mass.-based Clean Harbors (NASDAQ: CLHB) is a provider of environmental and hazardous waste management services. Universal Environment, which provides environmental services, has headquarters in Benicia and a site office in Sparks, Nev.

The purchase includes the land surrounding the Benicia office, which Clean Harbors said it will use for future expansion.

Universal Environmental has approximately 100 employees and was profitable and generated approximately $15 million in revenue in 2007, according to Clean Harbors' announcement.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

All contents of this site © American City Business Journals Inc. All rights reserved.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Copart Grows Again

Copart Grows Again

Copart, Inc. through its subsidiary in the United Kingdom announced that it has purchased the assets and business of AG Watson Auto Salvage & Motors Spares (Scotland) Limited. AG Watson operates two salvage locations in Scotland and two salvage locations in northern England. With the closing of this transaction, and including the expected closing of the pending acquisition of Simpson Salvage Sales as announced on Feb. 20, Copart will operate 15 locations in the UK and 143 locations worldwide.

In addition, Copart also announced the opening of a new facility just north of Minneapolis, Minn. This latest addition to Copart's growing footprint marks the company's second facility in the Minneapolis area and the 129th facility in North America.

Copart, founded in 1982, provides vehicle suppliers, primarily insurance companies, with a full range of services to process and sell salvage vehicles, principally to licensed dismantlers, rebuilders and used vehicle dealers, through Internet sales utilizing its proprietary VB2 technology. The Company currently operates 143 facilities in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Sludge Spread: More Than 14,000 Tons of Biosolids Used in 2007

Sludge Spread: More Than 14,000 Tons of Biosolids Used in 2007
By Barry Eberling | DAILY REPUBLIC | March 12, 2008

FAIRFIELD - Eastern Solano County had more treated sewage sludge, also called biosolids, spread across more ranch land as a fertilizer in 2007 than the previous year.

About 14,698 tons of biosolids were spread, a 26 percent increase, a county report stated. The treated sludge was spread across 2,408 acres, a 35 percent increase.

This is just some of the information included in an annual biosolids report received Tuesday by the Solano County Board of Supervisors.

Biosolids proved a controversial issue in 2003 when the county tightened its laws on spreading the material. People packed the board chambers to talk about odors and possible pathogens that might blow from the sludge to neighboring properties and cities.

The National Academies has stated there are no known health hazards posed by biosolids that are handled correctly, although it has also said more research is needed. Also, some ranchers say they are aided by receiving a free source of fertilizer.

For the complete story see the Daily Republic Online.

Travis Commander Shares Deployment Experiences With Business Leaders

Travis Commander Shares Deployment Experiences With Business Leaders
By Ian Thompson | DAILY REPUBLIC | March 12, 2008

VACAVILLE - The war on terror, wind turbines, the arrival of Travis Air Force Base's last two C-17s and expansions to David Grant Medical Center's services were subjects Wednesday during base commander Col. Steven Arquiette's speech to local business leaders.

Arquiette has just returned from a four-month deployment in Southwest Asia, where he helped coordinate the Air Force's air mobility, air drop, aeromedical evacuation and air refueling assets.

The commander told members of the Solano Economic Development Corp. he was glad 'to be back where everything is green.'

For the complete story see the Daily Republic Online.

Travis Commander Back From Mideast

Travis Commander Back From Mideast
By Danny Bernardini
Article Launched: 03/13/2008

Col. Steven Arquiette

Col. Steven Arquiette Fresh off a four-month stint in the Middle East, Travis Air Force Base's commander met with local business leaders Wednesday to let them know about the important role the base is playing in the war on terrorism and to stress the importance of the base's relationship with the local community.

Col. Steven Arquiette's speech, part of a luncheon sponsored by the Solano Economic Development Corporation in Vacaville, wasn't heavy with statistics and figures about the base, but he did mention that in 2006-07 the strategic weapon drops to troops increased 400 percent and all other air drops increased 200 percent.

"We've promised soldiers that they can go 100 or 200 miles in and we will get them supplies," he said. "We're not slowing down."

Many topics surrounding the base, both literally and figuratively, have made headlines recently. While Arquiette didn't address the controversy of revamping C-5 aircraft or replacing them with C-17s, he did say Travis would be receiving a new C-17 in April.

What he did discuss are the wind turbines near the base that are being proposed and the planned Wal-Mart Supercenter in Suisun City. He said, in both instances, that the appropriate agencies are handling the issues and he is confident that any encroachment or radar issues will be avoided.

Some concern had been expressed in the past about the potential for the projects to interfere with Travis operations, those issues have been dealt with, he said.

As for his time overseas, Arquiette said he is happy to be back at Travis.

"To come back from the desert to Solano County, where everything is green, it was great to get back out there," Arquiette said. "My hat is off to you that help us day in and day out. I want to continue to reach out. Once you start the dialogue, it's a powerful thing."

Arquiette was asked about being promoted out of that rank after his term as Wing Commander expires in May. He said his future is still undetermined.

In the meantime, he said, continuing to grow healthy relationships and ongoing communication are key in assisting in the war and must continue if America is to come out victorious.

"If we don't get it right now, we will be fighting when my son is of age," Arquiette said. "It's not over until we win."

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

SMUD: New Wind Turbines Can Power Homes

SMUD: New Wind Turbines Can Power Homes
Turbines Are Largest In North America
POSTED: March 11, 2008

RIO VISTA, Calif. -- The Sacramento Municipal Utility District is moving ahead with its plan to harness the power of wind for its power customers.

Twenty-nine wind turbines were unveiled Tuesday in Rio Vista. At 412 feet tall, they are the largest in North America and can power 1,000 homes without producing any greenhouse gases.

SMUD picked this area because of the constant flow of the Delta breezes during the summer, which also becomes the peak season for power demand.

"We're very hopeful that our customers are supportive of this. One of our goals is to produce 23 percent of our energy from renewable resources by the year 2011," Jon Bertolino from SMUD said.

The district is working on getting another 30 or 40 wind turbines up and running within the next two years.

Forlorn Hope's Suisun Valley wines receive high praise from Wine Enthusiast

Forlorn Hope's Suisun Valley wines receive high praise from Wine Enthusiast

91 points 2005 Les Deux Matieux

90 points 2005 Gascony Cadets

What has long been "terra incognita" in the wine world -- despite being the second AVA created in the country -- Suisun Valley is boldly emerging into the consciousness of the cognoscenti as a prime viticultural site. In growers such as Roger King, who farms the Petit Verdot that becomes our Gascony Cadets, and Steve and Linda Tenbrink, whose Mr. T's Vineyard produces the Petite Sirah for the Les Deux Matieux, the Suisun Valley has nearly boundless potential. We look forward to continuing to explore the terroir of this unique valley and to producing stellar wines from its fruit for many vintages to come.

Click here to read more about the 2005 Les Deux Matieux,

Or on this link to hear tell of the 2005 Gascony Cadets

Developer Has Big Plans For Marina Shopping Center

Developer Has Big Plans For Marina Shopping Center
By Ian Thompson | DAILY REPUBLIC | March 12, 2008

SUISUN CITY - The Marina Shopping Center, Suisun City's oldest shopping center, may soon undergo a rebirth that involves extensive renovation and construction.

Redwood City-based Pellarin Enterprises unveiled what it would like to do with the aging, half-vacant shopping center to the Suisun City Planning Commission Tuesday night.

Claude Pellarin and Suisun City Community Development Director Heather McCollister stressed the proposed layout and artist's renderings shown to the commission were conceptual designs.

The extent of the renovation will depend on what tenants he can attract to fill the center, Pellarin said. He and his brother, Aaron Pellarin, plan to do the work in phases so they can work with and move existing tenants as the project develops.

For the complete story go to the Daily Republic Online.

Vallejo Group Earns 4-Star Chamber Accreditation

Vallejo Group Earns 4-Star Chamber Accreditation
By RACHEL RASKIN-ZRIHEN/Times-Herald staff writer
Article Launched: 03/12/2008

The United States Chamber of Commerce on Monday named the Vallejo chamber one of only 10 in California to receive a 4-Star Accreditation.

The Vallejo Chamber of Commerce was recognized for its sound policies, effective organizational procedures and positive impact on the community, said Rick Wells, Vallejo chamber president and CEO.

To receive accreditation, a chamber must meet minimum standards in its operations and programs, including areas of governance, government affairs and technology, Wells said. The required extensive self-review can take up to six months, he said.

"We are extremely proud," Wells said. "This designation is a tribute to our outstanding staff team, and to the commitment and dedication of our volunteer leadership to build an effective and productive organization."

The Vallejo chamber is one of only four Northern California chambers to ever receive the U.S. Chamber's 4-Star rating, Wells said

The Vallejo Chamber of Commerce has more than 600 members, representing almost 12,000 employees, and works to strengthen Vallejo's economy and improve the quality of life for the entire community, he added.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Solano County gives Affiliated Computer Services $4M call center contract

Solano County gives Affiliated Computer Services $4M call center contract

Solano County has awarded an amended $4 million, 3-1/2-year contract to Affiliated Computer Services Inc. to establish and operate a 311 customer service center.

ACS (NYSE: ACS), which has headquarters in Dallas, said the deal builds on its existing IT services contract with the county.

ACS will deploy the system including developing a database and service-request workflow, and ACS employees will manage and staff the non-emergency call center.

ACS said it operates more than 70 such centers for governments and commercial clients, handling 750,000 calls daily.

The company has provided IT services for Solano County since 1989.

Honeywell and Solano County in solar deal

Honeywell and Solano County in solar deal
East Bay Business Times

Solano County boosted its commitment to solar energy with a 20-year solar power purchase agreement with Honeywell International Inc., the Morristown, N.J. technology and manufacturing company.

Under the agreement, Honeywell will install a 746-kilowatt solar array near the Claybank Adult Detention Facility in Fairfield and sell the electricity produced to the county to help power the jail. Honeywell plans to install the solar panels on bus ports it will build at a parking lot for local school buses near the facility.

The county expects it will save more than $1 million a year in energy costs over the next 20 years, at which time it will have the option to purchase the solar array or continue to purchase the electricity.

The solar project is expected to generate nearly 1.2 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, or enough to power more than 100 homes a year. It will supply more than 60 percent of the facility's electricity needs, and will cut carbon dioxide emissions by more than 14,500 metric tons over the course of the contract.

It is the third solar electric facility in Solano County, and brings the county's renewable energy power generation to more than one megawatt.

Vacaville Police Chief Honored

Vacaville Police Chief Honored
By Reporter Staff
Article Launched: 03/07/2008

Vacaville Police Chief Richard Word was honored Tuesday in Fresno with a service award recognizing his commitment to youth and youth outreach.

The presentation was made at the annual California Police Chiefs' conference, where Word received a commemorative plaque from the Fight Crime: Invest in Kids California organization.

Word, a member of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids since 2000, is wrapping up his one-year term as president of the California Police Chiefs' Association.

The group is a bipartisan, non-profit, anti-crime organization led by more than 350 sheriffs, police chiefs, district attorneys and victims of violence. Its mission is to take a critical look at the research about what really works to keep kids from becoming criminals. Among the strategies proven to be effective are preschool, after-school programs, child abuse and neglect prevention programs and intensive interventions for juvenile offenders.

"Chief Word has demonstrated his commitment to kids by participating in outreach to policymakers and the media and spreading the word about effective crime prevention strategies," said Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Director Barrie Becker, in a prepared statement.

"Prevention and intervention are critical components of what my department does," said Word. "Investing early in supportive services for kids and families and getting kids engaged in healthy alternatives to crime is a proven way of preventing crime before it ever happens."


University of California, Davis
March 11, 2008


[Editor's note: Photos from previous years' competitions are available. Contact Andy Fell (info below) for details.]

The Davis/Sacramento FIRST Robotics Regional Competition returns to the Pavilion at the UC Davis Activities and Recreation Center March 20-22. Thursday is a practice day, and competition rounds will run all day Friday and Saturday. The event will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, and admission is free.

Thirty-seven teams including more than 1,000 high-school students from across Northern California will take part, competing for a range of honors and prizes, college scholarships, and a shot at the national championships in Atlanta later in the year. Local teams taking part include Davis Senior High School; Hiram Johnson High School; Elk Grove High, St. Francis High and Jim Elliot Christian High, Lodi; and a joint team from Woodland and Pioneer high schools in Woodland.

The Woodland schools' team is mentored by UC Davis engineering students from the Chicano and Latino Engineers and Scientists Society
(CALESS) and the Society of Mexican American Engineers and Scientists (MAES).

In the bleachers at this year's competition will be groups from nine local schools that take part in MESA (Math, Engineering, Science Achievement), a statewide program that helps disadvantaged students excel in math and science from school to college graduation. The Sacramento State/UC Davis MESA program, the largest in the state, is based at CSU Sacramento.

"The opportunity for educationally disadvantaged students to participate in what will be part of their future is immeasurable,"
said Jean Crowder, director of the local MESA program. "It is the goal of the Sac State/UC Davis MESA program to continue to provide the academic support these students need to engage in the FIRST Robotics program and competitions."

Two years ago, a similar group from Hiram Johnson High School attended the competition at UC Davis. That inspired the students to take part in the 2007 competition -- where they took home honors as the best rookie team.

"We hope we can get the kids and their teachers excited about FIRST, and get them back as competitors next year," said Renee Maldonado, director of student development and recruitment for the UC Davis College of Engineering and also one of the volunteers who make FIRST happen.

FIRST ("For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology") was created in 1989 by Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway scooter, as a unique "varsity sport" for the mind, combining the excitement of sport with science and technology. Through FIRST, high-school students discover the rewarding and engaging process of innovation and engineering, and become curious and interested in science and mathematics.

Beginning with a synchronized national kickoff event held Jan. 5, the teams have had just six weeks to design, build and test a robot to take part in this year's competition, based on a "starter kit" of sensors, wheels and other hardware. They work with professional engineers who volunteer as mentors.

Every year, FIRST organizers unveil a new game to challenge participants. In this year's game, "Overdrive," robots have to race around a track while shepherding a 10-pound, 40" ball and lifting it over a bridge.

Teams at regional competitions are judged on the effectiveness of their robots, their power of collaboration and partnerships, and the spirit and determination of their students. Teams are then rewarded for excellence in robot design, demonstrated team spirit, community involvement, gracious professionalism and ability to overcome obstacles. Successful teams from regional competitions go on to the national championships in Atlanta later in the season.

Based in Manchester, N.H., the nonprofit FIRST organization designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge and life skills while motivating young people to pursue academic opportunities in math, science, engineering and computer technology.

"The FIRST Robotics Competition is not just about the design and building of sophisticated robots. These students also develop maturity, professionalism, teamwork and mentoring skills that enrich their lives," said Kamen. "Many of our students develop an affinity for their science and math courses, go on to study engineering, technology or science in college, and also to pursue employment opportunities with sponsoring organizations."

Major sponsors of the Davis/Sacramento regional competition are Abbot Labs Diabetic Division, Chevron Inc., the Bay Area chapter of the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering and UC Davis.
Individual teams also are expected to find their own sponsors.

Additional information:
* Davis/Sacramento Regional FIRST Competition
* Main FIRST Web site

Media contact(s):
* Andy Fell, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-4533,

Reputation Of Travis Solid In D.C.

Reputation Of Travis Solid In D.C.
By Danny Bernardini/Staff Writer
Article Launched: 03/05/2008

Fairfield government officials spent Tuesday rubbing elbows with Air Force generals in Washington, D.C., discussing Travis Air Force Base. And, today, they will discuss other issues with congressional members.

Mayor Harry Price, Councilman Chuck Timm and City Manager Sean Quinn all made the trip to discuss future funding for Travis and city projects. The group talked with The Reporter via conference call Tuesday after a long day of meetings.

The consensus among two- and three-star generals was that Travis has built a great reputation and has come through for the Air Force. Timm said Travis was commended on its strategic airlift activities and the fact that encroachment has not been a problem in regard to the base.

"Folks in the Pentagon are very pleased with the way the Travis community has responded to their needs," Price said.

Timm, who is only in his fifth month of serving on the council, said although it is easy to get blown away by the fact the group is talking to high-ranking officials in national landmarks, the job at hand is to bring home some funding.

"This is out of my realm, it's heavy stuff. It's actually exhausting," Timm said. "We have something they want, that's cooperation. We have a list of things we want. We try and stress the importance and hope they see that.

"We're here two days going from sun-up to sun-down," Timm added.

Quinn said one advantage Fairfield has is that officials have been heading to Washington, D.C., for lobbying. He said the familiarity helps while discussing issues.

"One comment we heard is that they appreciate it that we come back every year," he said. "They recognize that and commented on that. We have a history there."

He said the group has several specific issues on their list, rather than just discussing broad topics.

"This isn't a shotgun approach, it's a rifle approach," Quinn said. "We targeted several things we wanted to discuss and met with the right people."

Some of those items outside Travis' gates include the following:

• $3 million for Fairfield/Solano Radio Interoperability;

• $2 million for the design and construction for a new parking garage for the Fairfield Transportation Center;

• And, $350,000 to improve after-school programs for middle school students.

Danny Bernardini can be reached at

Paper Turns 125

Paper Turns 125
Reporter celebrates its storied past
By Jennifer Gentile
Article Launched: 03/10/2008

Museum Director Shawn Lum reads over archived editions of The Reporter. (Rick Roach/The Reporter)

When he founded the Reporter in 1883, publisher James D. McClain made his mission plain with his inaugural editorial.

"So far as the Reporter is concerned," he wrote, "We hope to make it a welcome visitor to every voter in Solano County. To the best of the publisher's ability, it shall be made newsy, discuss live questions and criticise whomsoever lay themselves liable to criticism."

The first edition of Vacaville's hometown paper, which celebrates its 125th anniversary today, is preserved in a collection by Richard Rico, who would himself take the helm of the newspaper in 1972. Reflecting on his journalism career in a 2004 editorial, Rico wrote, "this newspaper has been more effective in positive aspects of Vacaville than anyone will ever know."

"Decision makers by the score have come and gone ... and many have been positively effective," he continued. "But since 1883, The Reporter has always had the advantage of perspective and history. It drafted it, and it helped make it."

The Reporter's Beginnings

The Reporter's story began with McClain, who was formerly a newsman with the St. Helena Times. In the book "Vacaville, The Heritage of a California Community," he is described as a "Missouri democrat with a hot temper" who soon became "the community's most vocal booster."

McClain's weekly paper rolled off the Main Street presses on Saturdays, and some of the earliest editions are stored alongside other local artifacts on the Vacaville Museum's second floor. The front pages lacked photos but featured ads for undertakers and blacksmiths, train and church schedules, property transfers and even an occasional poem.

A March 1884 edition shows that traffic accidents have always made the news. A team of horses "took fright," according to one story, "and after running a quarter of a mile, threw the occupants of the wagon out."

Less than two years after starting his paper, McClain sold it to Raleigh Barcar - a New England-educated attorney and faculty member of the California Normal and Scientific School.

Barcar gave the publication a new name: the Judicion. McCain resurrected The Reporter shortly after, which competed with the Judicion for two years.

Yet another local paper came on the scene in 1889, when Henry Fisher and Albert Sears launched the Vaca Valley Enterprise. The papers co-existed only until the early 1890s, when Barcar bought out the competition and consolidated all under the title of the Vacaville Reporter.

The Rico Family Legacy

Clayborn Adsit and Edward C. Andrews, both of Oakland, each bought half-shares of the paper around the turn of the century. Asdit's resume included the St. Helena Star and the Oakland Enquirer.

The Rico family entered the picture in the 1920s when the owners of the paper hired Louis Rico, one of seven children of a local fruit rancher, Costanzo Rico, and his wife, Filomena. While the work didn't suit Louis, his 15-year-old brother, Johnny, proved a perfect fit.

Johnny Rico started out as a printer's devil before moving on to typesetting, writing and selling advertising. His wife, Grace, ran a stationery shop in the business office, and the couple welcomed their only child, Richard, in 1934.

"My mother and father worked shoulder-to-shoulder," Richard Rico said. "It's basically all I've ever known; I was a newspaper kid raised in the back shop of a newspaper." In school, he took photography classes with the "express intent" of applying his skills to the family business.

Adsit died in 1932, and his share of the paper was sold to Johnny Rico. Andrews also sold his interests to Rico when he retired in 1942.

Like his father, Richard Rico worked his way up through the organization, becoming assistant publisher in the 1960s. It was also in the '60s, Richard said, that "we felt the community had become big enough" to warrant a semi-weekly paper. With the addition of Fridays in 1977, it began publishing three days a week.

On the occasion of its centennial anniversary in 1983, The Reporter became a five-day daily. Its frequency bumped up to six days a week in 1985 and then to seven in 1986 .

All the while, Richard said, his paper was entering various competitions and winning "hand over fist." He was named publisher of the year in 1981 by the California Press Association, and organizations including the California Newspaper Association and the National Newspaper Association routinely recognized The Reporter.

Like the community it served, the paper continued to grow, Richard said, and "we realized we needed more space." In 1992, the Reporter moved from the downtown site it had occupied for more than a century to a new Cotting Lane plant, where it remains today.

The Reporter reached another milestone in 2002, Richard said, "when it became more and more obvious that we didn't have the resources to make The Reporter grow any more than it already had." He announced that year that he would sell the family business to Denver-based MediaNews Group, which at the time owned approximately 50 daily newspapers.

The former publisher said the decision was "impossibly hard" and "a painfully difficult thing to do."

"I'll never get over it ..." he said. "I never knew where the paper ended and I began."

Richard Rico was succeeded as publisher by Steve Huddleston, who accepted a position as NorthBay Healthcare's vice president for public affairs this year. With his departure, Gregg McConnell became only the eighth publisher in the history of The Reporter.

Looking to the Future

According to Richard Rico, the best part of his Reporter life was "just being a part of the community and watching the community grow."

"I'd like to think we had a part in its growth and stabilization," he said, "being there in the front lines of watching Vacaville grow from a small town to a small city." As for the future, he said he hopes that "we get through this rough patch, all newspapers are in it together."

"And I hope print never goes away," he added. "I really believe there is a sense of touching ink on newsprint that gives you more of an intimacy with the day's news."

Vacaville Museum Director Shawn Lum seemed to agree, referring to newspapers as "one of the richest sources of primary evidence."

"One of the things that's so impressive about newspapers is that its something that's meant to be temporary, but its one of the best resources we have," she said, adding with a laugh, "We even know the hair color of some of those young bachelors in 1884."

The Reporter's impact on Vacaville through the past 125 years, she continued, could only be described as "huge."

"Vacaville, like so many California towns, has really grown with its own self-image ...," she said, "and we rely on The Reporter to help us understand who we are."

The story behind the roots of Reporter's beloved rooster

This story, reprinted from the 1983 centennial edition of The Reporter, explains the proud tradition of the Reporter's esteemed mascot. - Editor.

The proud rooster, the cock-of-the-walk that perches atop Page 1 with each Reporter edition, just isn't there by chance, you know. He's not just another pretty face that works where all others have failed.

No sir.

The more conventional, albeit plucky, rooster was used regularly on Reporter pages starting in 1884 when publisher Raleigh Barcar first placed him atop an editorial. It was a November edition of his Vacaville Judicion, the local newspaper that came on the scene after Barcar purchased The Reporter from its founder, James D. McClain (and later changed Judicion back to Reporter in the 1890s).

The rooster was the symbol of something new (a new administration for one thing), something to crow about in the new Judicion. Then he was sent to the barnyard for a few months. But on March 7, 1885, the beginning of the third year of publication for the Judicion, Barcar called on the fowl again. It graced the top of an editorial that read:

"We resurrect our rooster from the dusty shelf he has occupied since last November and today his clarion crow is as clear as when in the autumn days of doubt he proclaimed his faith in the ascendance of the democratic Sirius. And now while the young administration is taking its first steps, we invoke the cheering inspiration of Sir Chanticleer in the struggle toward Reform. We find reason for joy, too, in the closing of our second volume and the pleasant prospects greeting us on the threshold of our new journalistic year. Crow, you cuss, and may you never weary in well-doing."

After that, the rooster was used whenever Reporter editors wanted to emphasize news of import, such as the date in 1892 when the township voted to incorporate.

The rooster emblem was not used as a front-page "flag" log until he was reincarnated by Vacaville and Nut Tree graphic designer Don Birrell.

City Leaders Lobby in D.C.

City Leaders Lobby in D.C.
By Ben Antonius | Daily Republic | March 04, 2008

FAIRFIELD - Keeping Travis Air Force Base robust was the theme of the day during the city's annual lobbying day in Washington, D.C.

Mayor Harry Price, Councilman Chuck Timm and City Manager Sean Quinn made the rounds with the nation's top military officials at the Pentagon on Tuesday, discussing the future of the C-5 Galaxy and C-17 Globemaster III programs among other Travis concerns.

The three are in the nation's capital this week to push Fairfield's issues with state and federal leaders. The delegation will meet with congressional leaders today.

'We are the messenger,' Timm said. 'The Air Force officials were very circumspect in what they want. They know the monetary issues, they're facing a deficit just like we are.'

Atop the lobbying priority list was the continuation of the C-5 Galaxy and C-17 Globemaster III military transports, both of which operate out of Travis.

For the complete story check out the Daily Republic Online

Airport Commission Takes Look At Wind Farm Project

Airport Commission Takes Look At Wind Farm Project
By Danny Bernardini
Article Launched: 03/11/2008

For the first time in more than a year, a group other than the Solano County Planning Commission will be discussing a proposal to install up to 88 wind turbines in the Montezuma Hills.

The Solano County Airport Land Use Commission will hear the issue Thursday night, a year after voting against the issue the first time around for fear of the turbines affecting the radar system at Travis Air Force Base.

The difference this time is that officials at Travis are no longer objecting to the proposal, as stated in a letter written by Wing Commander Col. Steven Arquiette earlier this month. A previous letter written by Arquiette - asking the planning commission to delay the project until a new radar system was installed at the base in October - had postponed decisions at several meetings for months.

The latest Arquiette letter, indicating the base will no longer object to the project, came after the Air Force Flight Standards Agency concluded that the radar and turbines could co-exist.

There are currently more than 700 wind turbines in the Montezuma Hills. Travis officials have said the newest batch potentially would cause a problem since the blades of the turbines may make it seem like smaller planes drop off the radar screens while images of others appear when they aren't actually there. The latest endeavor, titled Shiloh II Wind Project, proposes to build up to 88 turbines.

The company proposing the project, enXco, has offered Travis a gift of up to $1 million that the base may use anyway it wishes. Greg Blue, regional manager of external affairs, said that offer has yet to be claimed. "We have an unsolicited offer," he said. "The offer is still on the table. Whether they choose to accept it or not is their choice."

Blue said there is a specific process Travis must go through to accept a gift to the Air Force. He said that process could take up to four months. He added that there has been no established timeline or expiration date for the gift and that his firm is waiting for a response.

The Solano County Airport Land Use Commission meets Thursday at 7 p.m. in the multipurpose room of the Solano County Government Center in downtown Fairfield.

Governor Tours Fairfield Plant

Governor Tours Fairfield Plant
Cites Trained Workforce as a Key Rebuilding Tool
By Reporter Staff
Article Launched: 03/11/2008

A staff member at the Northern California Carpenters Training Facility in Fairfield explains a process to the governor on Monday. (Courtesy photo)

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger toured a carpenter training facility in Fairfield on Monday morning and then held a press conference to announce the launch of a new campaign designed to recruit construction apprentices to help build future public works projects included in his Strategic Growth Plan for the state.

The governor visited classrooms and spoke with participants at the Northern California Carpenters Training Facility on Chadbourne Road before formally announcing the launch of his "I Built It!" campaign.

"There is really no job out there more satisfying than working to make California even greater than it is today," he said. "These apprentices will be actually building a better California, with their own hands and skills. I know each of them will take pride in helping repair and rebuild our state for future generations."

Schwarzenegger visited a classroom in which trainees were learning math, saying that it was "great to see the enthusiasm" of the trainees.

The governor said he hopes to see the state recruit some 200,000 apprentices in the next few decades. They will be needed, he said, for the projects that will be funded by the 2006 voter-approved infrastructure bonds that authorized $42 billion for education, housing, levee repair, flood control, parks and transportation projects.

Under California law, one apprentice for every five journeymen is required to be employed on all public works jobs. In addition, the state is projected to have a major labor shortage in many of the building trades due to the retirements of highly-skilled baby boomers over the next 10 to 12 years when many of the infrastructure projects will be in full swing.

According to the governor's office, it is estimated that within the next six years the state will need more than 73,000 carpenters who will earn a median hourly wage of $23.20; 25,000 plumbers, pipefitters, steamfitters and electricians who will be paid a median wage of $22-$23 per hour and 15,000 operating engineers who will earn a median wage of more than $27 per hour. Similarly, there is an equally critical need for laborers, cement masons and concrete finishers and ironworkers to build the bridges, highways, schools, levees and housing the state will need over the next 10 to 12 years.

For more information about apprenticeship programs in California, visit

SMUD Plants More Turbines At Wind Farm

SMUD Plants More Turbines At Wind Farm
By Barry Eberling | DAILY REPUBLIC | March 10, 2008

FAIRFIELD - Twenty-one new turbines that stand taller than the Statue of Liberty are poised in the Montezuma Hills to provide enough electricity for 21,000 homes.

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District erected the turbines to join 31 turbines it already owns in the area near Rio Vista. It plans to add still more turbines by 2011.

How future SMUD wind farm expansions will deal with radar issues recently raised at Travis Air Force Base remains to be seen.

In a series of letters last year, base commander Col. Steven Arquiette expressed concerns about other proposed wind energy projects. The giant turbines cause such problems as planes dropping off the Travis radar, he wrote.

Those letters went to Solano County in regards to turbine projects by private companies. Since SMUD is a government agency, it does not need county approval to install turbines on the 6,265 acres it owns in the Montezuma Hills.

SMUD officials have already met with Travis officials. The radar issue will be included in an environmental impact report on the future turbines, utility spokeswoman Dace Udris said Monday.

The SMUD Board of Directors would approve whether to put more turbines in the Montezuma Hills on utility property and under what conditions.

Radar issues don't necessarily mean the death knell for wind projects. Arquiette this month wrote that 75 more turbines proposed by Escondido-based enXco are unlikely to pose any additional risks to civilian and military aviation.

There are already about 700 turbines in the Montezuma Hills.

But Arquiette also wrote that his comments applied to the enXco project only and that the Air Force will continue to express concerns about cumulative effects of other wind turbine projects.

The base is getting a new radar system that should be operating by year's end. Then it will determine whether turbines cause any problems with the new radar.

Solano County has for more than a decade promoted the Montezuma Hills as a location for non-polluting wind energy. SMUD uses electricity generated from the turbines during the summer, when power demand in the Sacramento area increases and winds typically sweep through the Montezuma Hills.

The utility started its Montezuma Hills wind energy project in 1994, although it has since replaced the original turbines with newer models.

Reach Barry Eberling at 425-4646, Ext. 232, or at

Governor Touts Apprentice Training

Governor Touts Apprentice Training
By Ben Antonius | Daily Republic | March 10, 2008

FAIRFIELD - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger paid Fairfield a visit Monday to promote a state effort to recruit construction apprentices for public works projects.

Schwarzenegger visited the Carpenters Training Center for Northern California on Chadbourne Road, a facility that trains apprentice-level carpenters. The event coincided with the launch of the 'I Built It!' program, which aims to get more young people into apprenticeships.

The governor was joined by state Labor Secretary Victoria Bradshaw and John Duncan, director of the state Department of Industrial Relations. Before the press conference, Schwarzenegger toured the facility, visiting a classroom in which apprentices were getting a refresher in construction-related mathematics.

'We want to reach out and find as many apprentices as possible,' Schwarzenegger told the class. 'I think we're looking for 200,000, so tell your friends about it.'

Under California law, public works projects require one apprentice for every five journeymen on the job. California has more than 65,000 apprentices, and the need is expected to grow in coming years.

Thousands of craftsmen are expected to retire over the next several years, creating a shortage of workers in skilled trades. On top of that, California is poised to embark on $42 billion in infrastructure improvements, ranging from roads to schools and jails.

'This is a really, really great time for people to get really great jobs,' Schwarzenegger said.

The carpentry center offers classes and gives students the opportunity to hone their building skills. A typical apprenticeship takes four years, and once each quarter an apprentice will come to the center for a week of classes and shop work.

Fairfield resident Geoffrey Eccles has been an apprentice for about 10 months and had only praise for the program. Eccles said he had been working at a local burger restaurant when he decided to pursue a different career.

'I love this,' he said. 'I'll be doing this for the rest of my life.'

Throughout the morning visit, Schwarzenegger tried to reinforce the concept behind the 'I Built It!' program, that workers would carry the accomplishment of having built major parts of California's infrastructure. The governor at one point likened the effort to President Dwight Eisenhower's 1956 push to build the Interstate Highway System.

'It's a historic thing,' Schwarzenegger said. 'You'll be able to say to the kids, 'I was a part of rebuilding California.''

Reach Ben Antonius at 427-6977 or

County Hires Solano EDC For Studies

County Hires Solano EDC For Studies
The Reporter
Article Launched: 03/10/2008

Solano County has awarded a three-year contract to the Solano Economic Development Corporation to create and annually update the first Solano County Index of Economic and Community Progress as well as conduct the in-depth profiles of five Key Industry Clusters.

The Index and Clusters, which target innovation and opportunities, will create a foundation of baseline information that better positions Solano County communities to attract new growth businesses and industries.

"This is a tremendous step forward in Solano County's collaborative effort to assist local communities and businesses in creating a baseline of data that will make future economic development decision making easier," said Scott Reynolds, Solano EDC chairman.

Solano EDC will be working under contract with Doug Henton, president and co-founder of Collaborative Economics. The firm is the originator of the Index of Silicon Valley, which measures the economic strength and health of that community by highlighting challenges and providing an analytical foundation for leadership and decision making.

In the last 15 years, Collaborative Economics has worked with leaders in more than 40 regions to help their communities break from traditions that hold them back and put them on a new pathway to success.

Henton is also a consultant to the California Economic Strategy Panel, California's state economic strategy process linked to innovation, industry clusters and regions.

The three-year $484,500 Solano EDC contract includes the follow components:

• The annual Index includes a unique set of economic, workforce, housing, education, transportation and related indicators that together tell the story of the county and its seven communities' growing role as a regional hub of innovation and opportunity.

• A Land Inventory and Absorption Study will identify all undeveloped parcels in the county that are zoned commercial and industrial. This study will identify the parcel's readiness for development.

• Five key industry profiles will be created over the next three years. Each cluster will provide a focus for meeting the twin challenges of economic growth and workforce investment. A target of opportunity, such as biotechnology industry, can be export-oriented, population-driven, or represent an opportunity with career potential for local residents. This portfolio of clusters will enable the Solano EDC and local economic developers to more successfully target companies for expansion and growth.

Supervisor Michael Reagan, immediate past chairman, said "the commissioning of these reports demonstrates the county's commitment to attracting more quality jobs ... . These tools will be a tremendous asset to the cities in their economic development efforts."

Last year Reagan was the driving force behind the county hosting a series of three summits to formulate a collaborative Solano County economic development vision and find a new role for the county in supporting existing countywide economic development efforts.

Summit participants included local and state government, transportation and water resources, local economic development professionals, business and industry, education, nonprofit groups, and the labor and trades.

"The collaborative leadership of the county cannot be stressed enough," said Michael Ammann, Solano EDC president. "Their support just makes it all come together between local governments and the private sector."

"The Index and Cluster Studies will go a long way toward providing the sorts of information necessary to keep Solano on track with future growth opportunities while keeping Northern California high-growth companies informed about Solano County and opportunities for their future expansion," Ammann added.

Economic Group To Get Travis Status

Economic Group To Get Travis Status
Article Launched: 03/05/2008

A "State of the Base" speech featuring Col. Steven J. Arquiette, commander of the 60th Air Mobility Wing at Travis Air Force Base, will be presented March 12 to members of the Solano Economic Development Corporation.

The meeting is sponsored by Travis Credit Union, and will be held at the firm's corporate headquarters at One Travis Way, Vacaville. Registration begins at 11 a.m. and the program and luncheon begins at 11:30 a.m. Cost is $25 for members, and $35 for non-members.

Arquiette is responsible for 24,000 active duty, re- serve and civilian personnel who are stationed at the base.

Col. Arquiette's Air Force wing supports a worldwide air mobility mission. The Travis wing has C-5, KC-10 and C-17 aircraft, responding to combat operations and humanitarian relief efforts.

Reservations may be made by contacting Solano EDC, 864-1855.

Solano's Got It!

Solano's Got It!
The Best That Northern California Has To Offer.