Wednesday, April 25, 2007

2006 the best year for Bay Area job growth since 2000

Chron 200
Hiring is up; offshoring, too back in business
Tech workers in demand: Silicon Valley companies are offering top wages, helping to make 2006 the best year for Bay Area job growth since 2000
Carolyn Said and Ryan Kim, Chronicle Staff Writers

Monday, April 9, 2007

The rising tide of the U.S. economy lifted the vast majority of Bay Area corporate boats in 2006. And local workers finally got a boost, too, as the region's technology resurgence began to yield job growth in high-wage occupations.

"In most sectors we're seeing high intensity -- employers looking to hire at faster and faster rates," said Jim Wunderman, chief executive officer of the Bay Area Council, which represents 275 local companies.

Job creation is up, albeit not at the rip-roaring pace of the dot-com days. Employers have boosted productivity and embraced offshoring to the point that no matter how healthy their bottom lines, they do not boost local head counts the way they used to.

"It was clearly the best year for the job market since 2000," said Stephen Levy, director of Palo Alto's Center for the Continuing Study of the California Economy. Employers in the nine-county Bay Area bumped their payrolls up 1.9 percent, according to Levy, adding 61,700 salaried jobs. "The stars (in job growth) were Silicon Valley and San Francisco," he said.

Several positive developments fueled that growth.

"It was the year technology had a renaissance based on good foreign-market sales," Levy said. "It was also the year that professional services and the Internet rebounded and foreign trade rebounded. Tourism and convention business rebounded. It was a really good year for the Bay Area. We kept pace with the state and outpaced the nation by a little bit."

Even better news on job creation was that much of the local growth was in high-paying jobs. In 2006, California added 47,000 jobs in professional and technical services, according to the state Employment Development Department.

"That's largely a Bay Area phenomenon in the tech side of the service sector in Silicon Valley," said Ryan Ratcliff, an economist with the UCLA Anderson Forecast.

Some of the biggest growth in those technical services was in computer design consulting -- "the people who tell you how to hook together all these new gizmos you bought and how to run your business around them," Ratcliff said. Computer systems design and management also saw solid growth.

"It's a nice hiring environment for people who are tech workers," said Anne Wenzel, principal economist with Econosystems, a Menlo Park economics and market research firm. "It's not the boom it was, but definitely solid."

Google Inc. has been on a torrid pace, adding bodies to help it expand and add new services. The search leader nearly doubled its workforce in 2006, growing from 5,500 to 10,768 employees.

The Mountain View company said its overseas growth rate has eclipsed its domestic expansion, although a majority of employees still reside in the United States.

Kannan Pashupathy, head of Google's international engineering operations, said there is still plenty of room to grow, especially as the company ramps up operations worldwide. He said many engineering teams are still small, in some cases three to five people.

"The industry is evolving rapidly, and we need people to work on all these projects," Pashupathy said. "We have lot of projects like Gmail and Google News, and as we deploy them internationally a lot has to be done to put out the products in new languages."

URS Corp., a San Francisco engineering design company, added 4,500 people last year, including 200 in the Bay Area. The company, which now has 29,300 workers, has ramped up to keep pace with additional projects, including California freeway expansions, levee repairs along the ravaged Gulf Coast and reconstruction work in Iraq.

Scotts Valley (Santa Cruz County) hard-drive manufacturer Seagate Technology Inc. added 7,000 employees last year, mostly through its acquisition of rival Maxtor Corp. of Milpitas. The merger pushed Seagate from 47,000 employees to 54,000 and added about 300 employees in the region.

"We were on a path to grow organically" because demand for digital storage is booming as consumers need space for music, photos and videos, Seagate spokesman Woody Monroy said. "This (acquisition) just gave us a path to do that faster."

Venture capital was up in 2006 to its highest level since the dot-com bust. That helped fuel jobs growth. "Usually what companies do when they get these (venture) investments, is (use it as) working capital and expand staff," Wenzel said. "It's a really good sign for hiring when it goes up that high. There's a direct correlation between job openings and funding of these companies."

Despite all the positive economic indicators, 2006 was also the year that the once-hot housing market underwent a slump, both locally and nationally. Experts are still divided on whether real estate has hit bottom.

Wenzel said the Bay Area, where housing is in tight supply and employment remains high, is largely insulated from some of the worst effects of the housing downturn.

Increases in commercial construction have helped offset declines in residential construction, and the billions of dollars California is poised to spend on infrastructure will continue to keep construction workers employed.

Subprime mortgages, an area of major concern nationally, are a relatively minor phenomenon in this affluent area. Subprimes are issued to borrowers with poor credit and have grabbed headlines lately as those borrowers start to miss payments, risking foreclosures.

"We just don't have as much of a problem" with subprimes, she said. "It will be such a small percentage of overall households" in the Bay Area.

What about the Bay Area outlook for 2007?

Positive -- but according to Levy, "I think the companies will have slower growth in revenue and profits.

"We will be less affected by the (national economic) slowdown than other regions because we have a higher share of companies that do business overseas and we're a little insulated from the housing market. I don't think we'll be anywhere near the 1.9 percent (jobs) growth we did in 2006, but we may be one of the better-performing regions in the state because of technology."

This article appeared on page E - 9 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Annual report on the SF Bay region's 200 largest public companies reflects an economy in expansion mode

Chron 200
On an upswing
Four years and growing: Bay Area's largest public companies show continuing growth of about 10%, often a result of innovative technology and business strategies
Carolyn Said, Chronicle Staff Writer

Monday, April 9, 2007

Life was good for the majority of Bay Area companies in 2006.

The Chronicle's annual report on the region's 200 largest public companies reflects an economy in expansion mode. Local enterprises posted solid gains -- hovering around the 10 percent mark -- in revenue and profit, while market capitalization grew 7.1 percent during the year. It was the fourth year in a row that The Chronicle 200 shows companies on the upswing, although the growth was not as spectacular as in recent years.

The region "is going at close to full throttle now," said Jim Wunderman, chief executive officer of the Bay Area Council, which represents 275 local companies.

This year's Chronicle 200 report goes in-depth with some front-runner companies to analyze the secrets of their success.

The profiled companies include famous names -- Chevron, Google, Hewlett-Packard and Charles Schwab. We found that no matter how acclaimed those companies are, they continue to break new ground in industry innovation, rather than resting on their past successes. That underscores one of the Bay Area's strengths: Not only are local companies inventive in their products, they are also trailblazers when it comes to business strategies and management tactics.

Chevron is doing the balancing act of capitalizing on current sky-high prices for crude oil while thinking decades ahead as it invests in research and exploration for petroleum sources. Google, despite being the 800-pound gorilla of the Internet, is pursuing cooperation as much as competition by teaming up with erstwhile rivals. Cisco, which already owns the world of Internet plumbing, is making bold forays into homes and Internet devices.

Some companies engineered comebacks: HP wrested the No. 1 PC spot back from Dell Inc., while Charles Schwab Corp. reconnected with its core market of individual investors.

Then there are little-known companies that could be the market leaders of tomorrow. Solar-power specialist SunPower Corp. -- one of 19 entrants to the list -- symbolizes the emergence of clean technology as a whole new direction for Silicon Valley. It also had the biggest sales gain by percent of any Chronicle 200 company, with revenue of $236.5 million, up 200.4 percent from the previous year.

The overall Chronicle 200 results reflect a Bay Area economy that is experiencing moderate growth.

"Steady, not stellar" describes the 2006 corporate economy, said Anne Wenzel, principal economist at Econosystems, a Menlo Park economics and market research firm.

Nearing the trillion-dollar sales mark, the 200 companies racked up $909 billion in revenue during 2006, up $77.2 billion, or 9.28 percent, from 2005, according to data culled from corporate financial reports analyzed by FactSet Research Systems. That result lagged 2005's 13.2 percent sales increase and 2004's 15.7 percent rise. Profit rose a respectable 10.3 percent to $75.45 billion from $68.4 billion in the previous year. That outpaced last year, when profit rose 3.2 percent -- but the weaker 2005 showing was due to 2004's outstanding performance, when the 200 companies more than doubled their profit.

Wall Street had a moderate response to the companies as a whole. Although some firms saw their stock price skyrocket, collectively, the companies closely paralleled market performance. The collective market capitalization of the 200 companies as of our March 30 cutoff date was $1.815 trillion, up 6.76 percent from $1.7 trillion in 2005.

If The Chronicle 200 were treated as a stock index -- with companies' stock prices weighted for their size -- it would have risen 8.64 percent between March 31, 2006, and March 30, 2007. That puts it in line with the Standard & Poor's 500 index, which was up 9.73 percent for the same period; the Dow Jones industrial average, which grew 11.2 percent; and the Nasdaq, which was up 3.49 percent.

A number of companies, especially those at the top of the list, had particularly outstanding years.

Chevron Corp. landed a trifecta as the Bay Area leader in sales, profit and market capitalization. It already had been No. 1 in sales and profit for several years, but a 23.9 percent boost in its value on Wall Street was enough to shoot it past previous market-cap leader Cisco Systems Inc. (which had a 15.9 percent stock rise). Chevron also had the biggest sales gain measured in dollars, boosting its revenue by $11.9 billion.

to read the rest of the article check out the San Francisco Chronicle

Dixon Keeps Lambtown in the Fold

Dixon Keeps Lambtown in the Fold
By Melissa Murphy/Staff Writer

The 21st annual Dixon Lambtown USA Festival received City Council approval Tuesday night to hold the event in Hall Park.

In further action, biotech giant Genentech received a green light to move forward with its plans to build a research facility in the city.

The council voted 4-1 in approving Lambtown's plans, with Jack Batchelor dissenting. The festival will be held July 28.

Due to rising costs to rent space at the May Fair grounds, Lambtown committee members asked to move the festival to Hall Park, where it now has approval for one year.

The council also approved a list of 15 conditions on the festival's use of the park and the Senior Multi-Use Center.

City staff also has agreed to budget for the additional anticipated Lambtown costs estimated at between $3,000 and $4,000 to pay for staffing and overtime, according to a staff report.

Several festival events have been cut to secure approval to use the park including, mutton busting, a sheep shearing competition and sheep dog trials.

"This is not the Lambtown I have enjoyed in the past," said Gabrielle Menn, Lambtown committee president. "And it's not the best Lambtown I had hoped for this year. I hope to have a bigger and better festival next year."

In acting on Genentech, the council enthusiastically voted, 4-0, to approve a Memorandum of Understand between the city and the biotech company.

Vice Mayor Michael Smith did not vote due to a conflict of interest.

The proposed 140,000-square-foot research facility is to be built on Fitzgerald Drive, south of Vaughn Road.

"It all just seems to fit," said Mayor Mary Ann Courville. "The land was already zoned correctly and the utilities are already in place."

Councilman Michael Gomez agreed.

"These are the types of businesses we should be attracting to Dixon," he said.

The council did not decide by press time whether to approve a cost-of-living adjustment to City Manager Warren Salmon's salary, an additional item on the agenda.

Salmons earns a $150,168 base salary each year, approximately 115 percent of the base salary of the next-highest-paid city employee.

If the council approves the resolution to amend the employee agreement between the city and Salmons, the salary adjustment of between 3 percent and 5 percent would be effective in the first full pay period after July 1.

Salmons' performance was evaluated in November 2006 in accordance with the employment agreement. During that evaluation, the council's consensus was that Salmons' performance for the prior year was generally "commendable" or 'highly acceptable,' - performed in a comprehensive manner, according to a staff report.

Melissa Murphy can be reached at

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

California leads the country in the number of high-tech jobs (919,322)

High-tech industry adds jobs for 2nd year in a row

Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal - 12:37 PM PDT Tuesday, April 24, 2007
As might be expected in the state that houses the Silicon Valley, California employs more technology workers that anywhere else in the country and pays them the most.

A report released Tuesday by AeA, formerly the American Electronics Association, said California leads the country in the number of high-tech jobs (919,322), the most tech jobs added (14,402) and the highest average annual wage for a position in the technology industry ($95,294).

In 2006, the report says, the high-tech industry added nearly 150,000 jobs for a total of 5.8 million in the United States. This growth is faster than the 87,400 jobs added in 2005, and the two years of growth represent an increase of four percent.

The report is based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, which is collected from all businesses in the United States as required by law for the state unemployment insurance program.

The high-tech manufacturing industry added 5,100 net jobs in 2006. Software services and engineering and tech services employment were up in 2006 for the third year in a row, increasing by 88,500 jobs and 66,300 jobs, respectively. Only the communications services industry continues to struggle, losing 13,300 net jobs in 2006.

While it is no surprise that California led the nation in net job creation, Florida saw the second largest gain, adding 10,900 tech jobs in 2005. This is the second year in a row that Florida was among the top five states by tech employment creation.

The report also found that after dropping slightly in 2005, venture capital investment in the technology industry rose by $285 million, to $12.7 billion in 2006. High tech accounts for half of all venture capital investments in the nation. R&D expenditures by high-tech companies jumped by 22 percent in 2004, the most recent data available, totaling $70.6 billion, a record breaking amount of R&D.

The leading states by high-tech employment in 2005 were California (919,300), Texas (445,800), New York (299,900), Florida (276,400), and Virginia (261,000). 2005 data are the most recent available at the state level.

Forty-eight cyberstates have annual average high-tech wages that are 50 percent or higher than the average private sector wage in their respective state, and 10 cyberstates have wages that are 90 percent higher.

Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal - 12:37 PM PDT Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Genentech Project May Take New Step

Genentech Project May Take New Step
By Melissa Murphy/Staff Writer

Biotech giant Genentech could be a step closer to building a new research support facility in Dixon, pending a City Council decision tonight.

The Dixon Planning Commission earlier this month approved the project, a 140,000-square-foot facility on Fitzgerald Drive. Now the decision rests in the hands of the council.

Proponents have indicated that in order for the project to move ahead, certain assurances and assistance are required.

In a staff report, the city wishes to establish a Memorandum of Understanding with Genentech, to address four elements:

• Release and termination of a light-and-air easement along the western boundary of the project site;

• Release and termination of a roadway dedication;

• Cooperation related to the possible relocation of a 60-inch-diameter storm drain and an 8-inch-diameter sewer line which bisect the property from east to west, and;

• Assistance is requested to process the application expeditiously.

In March, City Manager Warren Salmons sent a letter to Genentech expressing the city's enthusiasm in welcoming the company to Dixon.

City staff also anticipates a catalyst effect, not only with respect to potential future investment by Genentech, but potentially by other biotechnology competitors and ancillary industries, a staff report said.

The City Council meets at 7 p.m. in the Council Chamber, 600 East A St.

Melissa Murphy can be reached at

Marina Shopping Center Sold

Marina Shopping Center Sold
By Ben Antonius

SUISUN CITY - The oldest shopping center in Suisun City has been sold to a Redwood City-based group that is promising major renovations.

The Marina Shopping Center on the south side of Highway 12 has been owned by Suisun City-based Aldredge Enterprises for more than a decade. Last week, tenants were informed by owner Mike Aldredge that the property had been sold to Pellarin Enterprises, a group that specializes in shopping center renovations.

"I'm not 100 percent sure of what the improvements will be yet, but there will be some major improvements," Aaron Pellarin said Monday.

Pellarin said he wants to hear what neighbors and city officials would like done with the shopping center, which has numerous vacancies and has not seen significant improvements in years. He said one of the first tasks will be bringing in an anchor tenant.

"That would be a national chain of some sort - a grocery store, a hardware store, a discount store," he said.

The current group of tenants at the Marina Center includes a small bookstore, a convenience store, a karate studio, an Asian grocery store and several churches.

Tenants have previously complained that the shopping center is difficult to access. It has its own on- and off-ramp access to eastbound Highway 12, but westbound drivers have to take a circuitous route to reach the Marina Center.

Pellarin said he would like to construct "some type of landmark architecture" along Highway 12 to attract drivers. Depending on the feedback from the community, he said he would consider taking a mixed-use approach by including some residential units in the center.

Pellarin said escrow is expected to close Wednesday on the sale.

Aldredge could not be reached for comment and did not return messages left at his office and on his cell phone. The Aldredge Enterprises office in the shopping center was closed Monday.

There were no indications Aldredge was planning to sell the shopping center, said Richard Gwyn, owner of Appliance Parts and Equipment Distributors.

"None whatsoever," he said.

Marina Pizza owner Munther Saleh said he was not particularly concerned about the change of ownership.

"I have been here 11 years, this doesn't affect me," he said.

Saleh and Gwyn both spoke positively about Aldredge's management of the shopping center over the years.

"He's a good man," Saleh said. "He understands about business. I hope the new people do."

Reach Ben Antonius at 427-6977 or
Historic Homes For Sale
Lennar Mare Island Puts Four More Classic Houses on the Market
By RACHEL RASKIN-ZRIHEN/Times-Herald staff writer

Janet Fortner, left, and her husband, Kent, were one of the first people to buy one of the historic homes on Mare Island. They bought the home late last year and have been remodeling it since. (J.L. Sousa/Times-Herald)

What's it like to live in a house that was standing when your grandfather was a child and cost only a few thousand dollars to build?

Kent Fortner says it's "pretty cool," and he should know. Last year he and his wife bought an historic home on Mare Island that he said was likely built in the early 1920s.

Lennar Mare Island now is offering four more of the historic homes along Azuar Drive for sale. The first open house was last weekend and drew more than 100 people, said Lennar's David Garland.

"There's already a lot of interest and a couple of offers in," he said. "And we expect a few more."

The homes, surrounded by the palm and eucalyptus trees that line Azuar Drive, range from about 1,200 square-feet to about 2,200 square-feet and in price from the low-$300,000s to the low-$500,000s, Garland said. Each features enclosed porches, large rooms and hardwood floors.

Like the newly available old homes, Fortner's has a story.

"My house used to belong to the Radio Officer in Charge at the Naval base, and we understand that the first call that came in from Pearl Harbor, came to Mare Island before being forwarded to D.C.," Fortner said. "It gives me goose pimples to think that the man who lived in my house may have been the first person on the mainland to know about the attack on Pearl Harbor."

Fortner, his wife Janet, both 37, and their 2-year-old son, Owen, moved in December to Vallejo from Napa, where he's a vintner, he said.

"We wanted something a little bigger to fit our family and a little older with some charm," Fortner said. "We couldn't find anything even close in Napa for under a million and a half."

They said they found the "perfect" place on Mare Island for about half that, he said.

The new set of old homes Lennar is selling also once were residences for married radio operators, said Garland and Lennar spokesman Jason Keadjian.

Once the Mare Island environmental cleanup is done and the infrastructure installed, nearly all the island's nearly 30 historic homes will be sold, Keadjian said.

"This is part of Lennar Mare Island's fulfillment of its responsibility for the reuse of Mare Island," he said. "To foster historic rehabilitation and provide opportunities for third-party investment."

E-mail Rachel Raskin-Zrihen at or call 553-6824.

Open houses
Open houses scheduled for four Mare Island historic homes:
• Today, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
• Wednesday, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
• Call Realty World Silverado, 333-5023, 712-1309, 315-0484

Solano Community College Expanding

Solano Community College Expanding
East Bay Business Times - April 20, 2007
by Jessica Saunders

A $135 million expansion at Solano Community College will create capacity to serve 20,000 students, up 8,000 from the current 12,000 enrollment, in Fairfield and at expanded centers in Vallejo and Vacaville.

The expansion is being funded by the Measure G bond passed in 2002 by the Solano Community College District, which is effectively Solano County.

The original $124.5 million bond measure has grown to $135 million with interest and refinancing, said Gerry Fisher, Solano Community College interim superintendent.

"We gained about $10 million; that's the good news. The bad news is, everything costs a lot more now than when we planned this," he said.

The district has completed $7.7 million of projects on the Fairfield main campus and has another $33.6 million of work under way.

That includes the $22.5 million expansion of the Vallejo center from a 5,800-square-foot space downtown into 40,000 square feet of space on 10 acres at 545 Columbus Parkway. Another $45.9 million of projects are in the design phase, including phase one of the Vacaville center.

The Vallejo center, scheduled to open in October and planned to serve Vallejo and Benicia, will partner with Sonoma State University and the California Maritime Academy to offer four-year degree programs.

Solano Community College is preparing to submit plans for the 40,000-square-foot Vacaville center, which will serve Vacaville, Dixon and Winters, to the Department of State Architecture.

Approval is expected by late fall.

Projects under way or planned at the Fairfield campus include a new student union, a student services center and phase one of a sports complex.

With the Fairfield campus, the two new centers are expected to offer classes within a 20-minute drive of most county residents, Fisher said. | 925-598-1427

California Courting Biotech Companies

California Courting Biotech Companies
East Bay Business Times - April 20, 2007
by Michael Fitzhugh

When the California Pavilion opens at the nation's biggest annual biotechnology convention, Bio International, held May 6 to 9 in Boston, it will be the culmination of more than a year's preparation.

Despite its claim as the birthplace of biotech, California will compete with 32 other state pavilions and 39 international groups vying for the attention and business of 22,000 delegates at the event.

With magazine ads, videos and promotional card decks, California economic development and labor officials have worked in advance to lure attendees to sign up for state "bio corridor" tours, custom-planned for out-of-state executives and venture capitalists.

"It doesn't do any good to hang a bunch of banners and have a bunch of parties if people don't come to your state to learn about it," said Mary Ingersoll, trade show coordinator for the group organizing California's 3,400-square-foot pavilion, TeamCalifornia.

California's secretary of labor, Victoria Bradshaw, will meet with delegates alongside economic development groups such as the San Joaquin Partnership, and the city of San Jose.

Michael Ammann, Solano Economic Development Corp. president, will be promoting both statewide and Solano biotech manufacturing opportunities as well as his county's proximity to research centers like the UC Berkeley and Davis campuses.

The UC's Office of Technology Transfer will be on hand, too.

"If people license technologies, they might want to locate near them," said Ammann.

The pavilion is essential to marketing regional assets to the biotech community and leveraging statewide resources to effectively compete for business, he said. Cooperation has been important, especially in light of the conference's enormous costs, said Ingersoll.

Each 10-square-foot booth costs $4,800 before charges for daily maintenance, said Ingersoll, who pegs TeamCalifornia's budget for the event at upwards of $100,000 before marketing costs.

"When you go to these events the state of Pennsylvania might spend half a million dollars. Those folks are out there trying to recruit labor, too," said Ammann.

A free DVD highlighting California's biotech labor pool, educational efforts and capital and grant dollar flows will be handed out in the pavilion as well as shown on large-screen TVs.

Beyond the pavilion, local industry players such as Bayer HealthCare LLC, Xoma LLC and Mendel Biotechnology Inc. will have their own booths at the convention. The convention will move to San Diego next year, June 18 to 20. | 925-598-1425

Monday, April 23, 2007

Seeking Supplemental Success

Seeking Supplemental Success
Local Firm Hopes to Carve Niche in Health Product Market
By John Ireland/Business Writer

Syntec Nutraceuticals president Joe Wang, project manager Billy Yeh and I.T. manager Yevgeniy Adikanis inside the firm's Vacaville office. (Brad Zweerink/The Reporter)

Visions can be born in the strangest of places, in the wildest of environments. And they don't come much wilder or more desolate than the Tibetan Plateau, the high-altitude steppe in East Asia that covers most of Tibet as well as China's Qinghai province.

It was to this bleak landscape, surrounded by saw-toothed mountain ranges and brackish lakes, that Edward Yeh and Joseph Wang traveled to research the konjac, truly one of the world's ugliest plants. The exterior of the konjac resembles snakeskin, and the plant produces a flower so evil-smelling that bees shun it, leaving flies to do the dirty work of pollination.

But the konjac also produces a large, beet-like tuberous root that the natives of the plateau have long recognized for its ability to help maintain healthy intestinal functions.

It was this health component that Yeh and Wang say motivated them to fly halfway across the world, from Vacaville to an area commonly referred to as "the roof of the world."

The two men were also in search of a new business venture, having built their Vacaville-based company, Synder Filtration, from a 13,000-square-foot operation in 1994 to where it's now a major supplier of membranes for paint recovery to the automotive industry.

Having successfully produced an industrial project, Yeh and Wang desired to turn their focus to a consumer product. Careful research revealed the growth potential in the area of health supplement products.

Members of the baby boomer generation - those born between 1946 and 1964 - are growing old, and they don't particularly relish the idea. They also have the disposable income needed to do something about it, whether it be plastic surgery or Botox injections or health supplements.

"The whole mentality of the population toward health supplements has changed," Yeh said. "Twenty years ago, people talked about them, but that was it. Now people are talking about this formulation for joints, and that formulation for your prostate. The mentality of society is that it now accepts that certain food ingredients have a health benefit."

And so Yeh and Wang formed Syntec Nutraceuticals. Along with appealing to their business sense, the idea behind the company also played to their professional strengths - Yeh is a biologist, while Wang has a PhD in chemistry.

They picked up a former cheese factory in Wisconsin for a song, scoured the world for the plant-based ingredients they needed, combined them in a process that only fellow scientists can comprehend, and then turned to an L.A.-based market research company to help devise a sales plan.

The result of that brainstorming was the idea of going the direct-marketing route, a selling technique that has worked wonders for a little company you might have heard of called Amway.

Syntec started selling its product on Sept.1, 2006, and Yeh, who is the company's CEO, admitted to being amazed by how quickly the product has moved.

"Every month, (the income) is going up," he said. "We are fascinated about this whole thing. This is not like an industrial product that takes forever (to build a market). With this, it's a brave new world."

Because you can't swing a Birkenstock in a health and diet food retailer without hitting dozens of supplements that promise to deliver a healthier, more active you, the founders of Syntec knew that they needed to be different in order to catch consumers' attention.

One of their innovations is the actual form of the product. Instead of a capsule or tablet or pill, which are not always absorbed by the human digestive system, Syntec's supplements come in pouches as a powder that you mix with water.

"We have one of the most expensive delivery systems in the marketplace, and one of the most unique," said Billy Yeh, Syntec's project manager. "A health supplement is only as good as the body's ability to use it."

And a health supplement's profit may be only as good as its hype. That's another area where Syntec has taken a different approach.

"A lot of companies promise specific results within a given period of time," said Billy Yeh. "We try to take a more truthful approach to things. We promote a healthy lifestyle in general."

"There is no guarantee of who is going to see more or less of what," said Edward Yeh. "We never tell people this is going to work for you. We tell them: You know your body better than anybody else."

The Syntec lineup currently includes a multivitamin supplement, a plant-based antioxidant formula, a product that promotes general health by supporting a healthy gastro-intestinal tract, a supplement designed to boost mental acuity, and another - the one containing konjoc - which cleanses the body of all the nasties that can lead to weight gain.

An impressive lineup indeed, but there is always room for more product. Whispers of a desert plant in South Africa that helps reduce weight in the native population has Edward Yeh reaching for his travel agent's phone number.

"We've read about it," he said, "and now we want to go there and take a look."

For more information about Syntec Nutraceuticals, visit

John Ireland can be contacted at

VA Cemetery Dedicated

VA Cemetery Dedicated
By Audrey Wong

DIXON - Peggy Berry found a measure of closure Sunday at the dedication ceremony for the Sacramento Valley VA National Cemetery.

Berry's son, Charles Angelo Berry, served eight years in the Army and is buried at the new veterans' cemetery. There was a memorial for Charles Berry in the East Bay where his family and friends are. But they did not have a chance to see Charles' final resting spot until Sunday.

"He served his country well," said Jorge Watson, a friend of Charles. "He was good people . . . I think he would have really approved being buried here."

More than 2,000 people gathered on the manicured lawn of the national cemetery to honor the sacrifices of veterans and to mark the opening of the hallowed ground.

The audience spilled out of the seating for 1,200. Members of the Patriot Guard, a motorcycle group that honors fallen soldiers, surrounded the audience while bearing American flags.

The Spirit of Solano, a C-17 Globemaster accompanied by a C-5 Galaxy and a KC-10 Extender, soared over the crowd.

"That is the sound of freedom," said retired Vacaville mayor and Air Force officer Len Augustine, who served as master of ceremonies.

The creation of the cemetery is fulfilling part of a promise Abraham Lincoln made in 1865, near the end of the Civil War, said U.S. Representative Ellen Tauscher. Lincoln vowed that the government would care for every soldier and his family in part by providing a national resting place.

The first person buried in the cemetery is Alvin Hayman who served in the Pacific theater during World War II and who donated his ranch for the cemetery, said Chaplain John Herrmann of the 114th Chaplain Det.

Solano County now has a "hometown," cemetery, Herrmann said.

"No longer will veterans be buried miles away," Herrmann said. "They can be close to their loved ones."

The grounds are made hallowed by those resting there, Herrmann said.

"Wars begin and end," said William Tuerk, Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs. "But caring for our nation's warriors is a perpetual obligation."

Tuerk encouraged the audience to visit the cemetery as it expands to 560 acres with landscaping.

The ceremony ended with the California State National Guard firing a rifle salute and Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jim Masters performing taps.

Knowing Solano County has a veterans cemetery nearby is comforting, said retired Air Force Colonel William Cox, of the 303rd Bomb Group. Cox flew missions during combat in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

"I look forward to someday being buried here," Cox of Vacaville said.

Deborah and David Deas, Patriot Guard members, were heartened to see the large turnout. The Citrus Heights couple are parents of an Army soldier who recently served in Afghanistan and is scheduled to be deployed there again.

"This is kind of important to us," Deborah Deas said. "This (cemetery) gives us a hometown place, some place to go."

Reach Audrey Wong at 427-6951 or

Friday, April 20, 2007

California adds 18,500 jobs in March

State adds 18,500 jobs in March
By LISA GIRION, Times Staff Writer
12:51 PM PDT, April 20, 2007

California employers added 18,500 jobs in March, down from a revised 23,600 a month earlier, but the number of residents without jobs and filing new claims for unemployment benefits inched up, state figures released today show.

Still, the state's unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.8%, the state Employment Development Department said.

The monthly payroll survey also reported the state had a total of 15.2 million jobs in March. A separate survey of households found 17.3 million jobs, an increase of 64,000 over the previous month.

The household survey is considered less reliable but also more likely to pick up informal employment arrangements.

Seven job categories expanded in March, adding a total of 26,600 positions. They include construction; trade, transportation and utilities; information; professional and business services; educational and health services; leisure and hospitality; and government.

Four categories contracted, shedding a total of 8,100 jobs, half of them in manufacturing alone. Other categories showing declines were natural resources and mining; financial activities; and other services.

The contraction in financial services reflects the slumping housing sector and the woes among sub-prime mortgage companies, several of which are headquartered in Orange County and have initiated substantial staff cuts. And while the residential side of construction is contracting, booming commercial building is buoying that sector's overall employment picture.

The number of people unemployed in California was 876,000, an increase of 2,000 over February and 3,000 more than March of last year.

Of the unemployed, 366,900 were laid off, 92,300 left jobs on their own. The remaining were people looking for their first jobs, people re-entering the job market and people who completed temporary assignments.

The state Employment Development Department also reported that there were 352,742 people receiving regular unemployment insurance benefits during the March survey week. By comparison, 400,354 people were receiving such benefits in February, and 378,630 people were on unemployment in March 2006.

Also in March, 40,514 people made new claims for unemployment, up from 39,496 in February and 37,573 in a year earlier.

North Bay unemployment rates decline to 4%

North Bay unemployment rates decline

NORTH BAY, April 20, 2007 -- Sonoma County had 6,200 more jobs in March than it did a year ago, as the unemployment rate -- a measure of the number of people actively seeking jobs -- fell to 4 percent. Unemployment also fell in Marin and Napa counties, according to the Employment Development Department.

For more on this story, visit

Industrial, Commercial Sites are Mare Island Targets

Industrial, Commercial Sites are Mare Island Targets
By RACHEL RASKIN-ZRIHEN/Times-Herald staff writer
Vallejo Times Herald

Mare Island may be inching closer to becoming the economic driver its main developer and the city have been touting for years, city and developer officials say.

By early next year, about 82 more Mare Island acres likely will be ready for sale - this time for commercial and industrial use - based on a proposed map awaiting approval by the Planning Commission. The commission Monday approved a similar map for a much smaller commercial parcel on the island.

The biggest chunk of Mare Island property designated to bring new businesses is the 82 acres nearing approval, Mayor Tony Intintoli Jr. said.

"This is what everyone's been waiting for," said Jason Keadjian of developer Lennar Mare Island. He said interest already has been expressed in both commercial areas.

The large commercial area is what the city and Lennar officials are most excited about, he said.

"This is the area we refer to as 'the town center.' It's one of the most critical areas, the heart of the island," Keadjian said.

The acreage sits just off Mare Island Causeway south of G Street and east of Azuar Drive, in the area containing the Vallejo City Unified School District's new offices. It eventually will be divided into 23 par-cels for offices, light industrial, research and development as well as some retail, Keadjian said.

The acreage includes eight existing buildings and 14 lots, Keadjian said.

The former naval shipyard closed in 1996 and has been undergoing the long, technical and tedious process of conversion to private use. The process has taken longer than many hoped, though there's little precedent nationally to judge by.

"The reason this has taken so long is the cleanup process, but marketing for the parcels is planned for this summer," Intintoli said.

"The earliest any transaction could be made would be next year."

Contact Rachel Raskin-Zrihen at or 553-6824.

Vallejo Touts Itself On Web

Vallejo Touts Itself On Web
By RACHEL RASKIN-ZRIHEN/Times-Herald staff writer
Vallejo Times Herald

If you're a Vallejophile, the Chamber of Commerce's spiffy new Web site makes a great computer home page, the chamber president said Thursday.

About three years in the making, has been launched with a new look and several unique features, President Rick Wells said. It includes hundreds of links to local businesses, partners, photographs and other Vallejo-related information.

"One of the most important features is our community calendar, and the ability of anyone to submit an event for publication in the calendar," Wells said. Submissions are reviewed and approved before being posted, he said.

"It's the only place in Vallejo, that I'm aware of, where people can post community events online 24 hours per day," he said.

The site includes a wide array of Vallejo-related information and photos, according to Wells.

"There's lots of demographic information for potential residents and businesses, and we plan to make it an e-commerce site," he added.

Ducky Derby race tickets will soon be available for purchase on the site. The annual waterfront event raises money to buy dictionaries for third-graders.

After that, maps, relocation packets and workplace compliance material, like labor law posters, will be posted, Wells said.

The chamber's new Web site was a group effort, led primarily by its graphics designer Jennifer Klimisch, Wells said. It was designed to be consistent with the chamber's other promotional material.

"It's meant to capture the waterfront lifestyle and location, the city's rich history and the opportunities Vallejo has to offer," Wells said.

"It's a work in progress, and we're hearing feedback and making adjustments every day," Wells said.

At least one recent user is impressed.

"I think it's wonderful," said Leah Dreger of Callahan De Silva Vallejo, LLC, the city's waterfront developer. "I scrolled through it and poked all the buttons and found that it was very informative. It's all inclusive, so someone that goes there will see the chamber is promoting not just itself, but all of Vallejo."

On the Web:
The Vallejo Chamber of Commerce's new Web site can be found at

Brewery Cited for Recycling, Reducing Waste

Brewery Cited for Recycling, Reducing Waste

FAIRFIELD - Nearly 80,000 tons of grain. More than 700 tons of cardboard and 1100 tons of glass. Over 200 tons of beechwood chips. The Anheuser-Busch Fairfield brewery recycled all that and more last year, making it a Waste Reduction Awards Program (WRAP) winner for the 13th year in a row.

The California Integrated Waste Management Board, part of the state's Environmental Protection Agency, selects businesses for the WRAP awards based on conservation, recycling and employee education efforts.

"Protecting our environment is a hallmark of Anheuser-Busch and one of the values that serves as a guideline for everything we do," said Kevin Finger, plant manager of the Anheuser-Busch Fairfield brewery. "This award recognizes the great work our employees do every day to improve efficiency and conserve resources."

The Fairfield brewery recycled or reused more than 98.7 percent of its waste and byproducts last year.

In addition to ongoing recycling efforts, the brewery holds environmental, health and safety, and energy conservation seminars for employees throughout the year. Brewery employees also volunteer in the community for programs such as last fall's California Coastal Cleanup and Fairfield's annual Earth Day celebration.

Planners OK Senior Apartments

Planners OK Senior Apartments
By Jennifer Gentile/Staff Writer

The Vacaville Planning Commission granted the necessary approvals Tuesday night for a 60-unit senior apartment building.

If the City Council is also supportive, the three-story, 43,750 square-foot complex would be built on a parcel of nearly two-acres, adjacent to the Lemon Tree Mobile Home Park. The planned site is on the west side of Lawrence Drive, about 325 feet south of Orange Drive.

Referred to by staff as Vacaville Senior Manor, the complex will feature 60 one-bedroom units, a common recreation room, laundry facilities and 66 parking spaces.

City Planner Eric Luchini said the project originally was approved in the spring of 2004, but that approval expired in May of 2005.

"I think (the commission was) happy to see the project come back," Luchini said, adding, "They thought the use was good and thought it would fit well with the neighborhood."

In comments Wednesday, Commission Chair Dan Broadwater said, "I think it's a good project and it's something that's needed."

A staff report explained that some mobile home park residents were concerned about the visibility of the park from the apartment complex. In response, "The applicant has designed the apartment complex with a setback of 40 feet from the property line adjoining the mobile home park," rather than the normal 70, and has proposed adding mature trees as a way to break the view.

In other action, three amendments to a development agreement are now endorsed by the Planning Commission. The agreement between the city and the Miller-Sorg Group, Inc., concerns the Moody property, approximately 36 acres to the south of Alamo Creek and to the east of Leisure Town Road.

The proposed amendments would grant a two-year extension for the start of phase one, allow a second developer to request a housing allocation increase under the Planned Growth Ordinance and open the possibility of a reimbursement mechanism other than a benefit district.

Jennifer Gentile can be reached at

Rio Vista Mulls Plans for Old Base

Rio Vista Mulls Plans for Old Base
By Ben Antonius

Christine Baker/Daily Republic Rio Vista has been working with the Department of Water Resources to locate a delta research center at an old military installation near the city, part of which is shown in this photo.

RIO VISTA - For a city that waited eight years to buy the old Rio Vista Army Reserve Center, waiting another few years to put something on it might not seem so bad.

City leaders in the Delta town have at long last entered serious negotiations with a consortium of state and federal agencies that is hoping to build a major research center at the base, along the bank of the Sacramento River.

If it happens, it would be a major change at the site, a fixture in the city in some form for nearly a century.

It could also bring a wealth of jobs and open the remainder of the base for further development.

"I won't make a prediction when we might see something there but I do think it will happen," Councilwoman Jan Vick said. "It's just one of those things that has a long road to get there."

The plan

At issue is a tentative proposal to build a 100,000-square-foot research center on the base, which would employ as many as 160 researchers from the Department of Water Resources, the Department of Fish and Game, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Reclamation.

The Bay-Delta Science Consortium does water quality studies and other research work in the Delta. It has staff and research boats based in several locations, including Sacramento and Stockton, said Jerry Johns, deputy director of Water Resources Planning and Management with DWR.

"There's a fair amount of effort that goes on in the Delta (and) we have been looking at this to coordinate the mission so we don't bump boats," he said.

The move could allow them to consolidate space in one facility and, because the base is astride the Sacramento River, would give their research boats quick access to the Delta. And Rio Vista seems to be a convenient location in relation to the rest of the Delta, he said.

"A lot of the work we do is in the interior Delta and also in the Suisun Bay area," he said. "It would make the travel time, we think, better for our staff."

Other plans

If the research center project happens, there would still be significant questions about long-term plans for the base.

At most, the consortium would need to lease about half the 28-acre facility, Rio Vista Mayor Eddie Woodruff said, which raises the question of what to do with the other half.

The placement of the center on the site will be one factor in narrowing the choices.

The terms of the lease and the amount of infrastructure the state is willing to install will be the bigger factors, he said.

"Like a lot of cities right now, we're not in a position to spend a lot of money on it," he said.

"That's why were depending on . . . being able to generate some funds and some capital improvements to make it happen."

Vick said there have been many ideas over the last decade. Those have included a hotel and conference center, a new boat ramp and a park with softball and soccer fields.

There wasn't much developer interest in the hotel and conference center when it first came up, Woodruff said.

That may have changed, but for it to happen, there would probably need to be some infrastructure improvements.

Right now, the way to the base is a small, poorly marked two-lane road with speed bumps that dead ends at nearby Sandy Beach Park.

A park would not need as many improvements, but the base is outside city limits and "the location with relation to the rest of the population might be a question," Woodruff said.

A long wait

The start of negotiations is a good sign, officials said, but doesn't necessarily mean anything is imminent.

The talks are still early, and there are major issues to be hammered out: How much space the research facility would need, where on the base it would be, what infrastructure it would need and how much the lease would cost.

If there are more delays, it would be nothing new for Rio Vista, which has hosted the small base since it was established in 1911.

"By its nature (working with state and federal agencies) is somewhat deliberative and that tends to make things a little slower," Woodruff said. "It is different than being in the real business world."

Until 1995, the military owned the 28-acre site and at various times used it as a base for Delta engineering projects like levee repairs and then for training by the Army Reserves.

The reserves had mostly stopped using the place by the 1980s, and in 1995 it was closed by the federal Base Realignment and Closure Commission.

But even after it was slated to be closed, it took the Army nearly eight years to clean up the polluted site well enough that it could be sold to the city. Rio Vista ultimately paid about $30,000 for the site in 2003, around which time it first started talking about bringing in a research center.

"I remember when we got this land I could imagine my daughter playing soccer and softball on it and now she's gone away to college," Woodruff said.

"But I still have a grandson."

Reach Ben Antonius at 427-6977 or

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Veterans Cemetery To Be Dedicated Sunday

Veterans Cemetery To Be Dedicated Sunday
By Ian Thompson

Zachary Kaufman/Daily Republicc Team Eight's leader Sgt. Peggy Withers practices folding the flag at the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery in Dixon Wednesday.

DIXON - Officials, salutes and music will mark the dedication of the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery Sunday.

An address by William Tuerk, Department of Veterans Affairs undersecretary for memorial affairs, will be the centerpiece. Vacaville Mayor and retired Air Force officer Len Augustine will oversee the hour-long ceremony that will have state, federal and local officials as well as veterans attending.

The dedication of the national cemetery on Midway Road is at 2 p.m. Sunday, six months after the first veteran was laid to rest there.

The California National Guard will fire a salute and Travis Air Force Base will provide a color guard as well as the Air Force Band of the Golden West to perform.

The C-17 Globemaster called the Spirit of Solano, along with a C-5 Galaxy and a KC-10 Extender, will fly over. There will also be displays of services offered by the Veterans Health Administration, the Veterans Benefits Administration and the National Cemetery Administration.

Fourteen acres of the cemetery were opened to burials in mid-October 2006. World War II marine Alvin Hayman, the man who sold the land to the VA two years before, was the first person buried there.

The cemetery was created to provide a burial place for the large number of veterans in the area. Before it opened, veterans had to be buried 130 miles away in the veterans cemetery in Gustine or in local cemeteries.

Work on the rest of the cemetery's first phase of construction, which covers 55 acres, will start this spring, according to the VA.

The total cemetery will eventually cover 561 acres.

Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or

At a glance
What: Formal dedication of the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery
When: 2 p.m. Sunday
Where: Sacramento Valley National Cemetery on Midway Road, just east of Interstate 80

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Music, Flyover, Speaker Set For Dedication of VA Cemetery

Music, Flyover, Speaker Set For Dedication of VA Cemetery

The Sacramento Valley VA National Cemetery in Dixon will host a formal Dedication Ceremony at 2 p.m. Sunday, adjacent to the administration building.
Seating will be available for approximately 1,200 guests.

The Honorable Jim Nicholson, secretary of Veterans Affairs, will give the keynote address and the master of ceremonies will be Vacaville Mayor Len Augustine.

Music will be provided by the Air Force Band of the Golden West, a flyover by C-17, KC-10, and C-5 aircraft will also be a highlight.

The event will feature an "Outreach Tent" with representatives from Veterans Health Administration, Veterans Benefits Administration and National Cemetery Administration.

Because the National Cemetery is located on a two-lane road, organizers are advising those planning to attend to arrive early, as parking and traffic are likely to be an issue.

For more information, call 951-653-8417 Ext. 877.

Dixon Votes Down Race Track

Dixon Votes Down Race Track
By Ian Thompson

DIXON - It's over, for a year.

A narrow majority of Dixon residents voted down on Tuesday a proposal to allow Magna Entertainment to build a horse racing track on the town's north side.

"It is close enough that we have to go back to the drawing board," Magna Executive Vice Chairman Dennis Mills said after getting news that only about 47 percent of the voters liked having a track.

"They put a lot of money into this," track opponent John Rosenberger said, noting those opposed to the track may have won the latest battle, but not the war. "They will be back."

At the heart of the issue was Canadian-based Magna's plan to build the $250 million Dixon Downs horse racing track and entertainment center on 260 acres on Pedrick Road's west side just south of Interstate 80.

The track's opponents, Dixon Citizens for Quality Growth, put the issue on the ballot after the Dixon City Council gave Magna the green light to build its track.

Opponents criticized the track proposal, saying it would bring unwanted traffic, promote gambling, damage downtown businesses and irrevocably change Dixon for the worse.

Supporters said it would put Dixon on the map, provide jobs for residents and generate new income for businesses, city government and community groups.

The track's opponents described the race as a David and Goliath contest with Don't Let Dixon Down, the track's supporters, spending more than $508,000, most of that money coming from the Pacific Racing Association.

Dixon Citizens for Quality Growth spent $20,193 in its campaign against the track.

"We were this little group and they were this multinational corporation," track opponent Mary Rosenberger said.

Magna unveiled a covenant a month ago that proposed a list of changes to deal with residents' concerns and how Magna was going to run Dixon Downs.

The provisions are closing Dixon Downs during tomato-canning season, banning traffic-creating concerts, formally forbidding slot machines and casino-style gambling, offering race track facilities for local youth sports and giving local businesses first shot at locating in the track's retail development.

Residents voted on four measures - M, N, O and P - which asked voters to affirm or overturn two ordinances and two resolutions approved by the Dixon City Council in October 2006 endorsing the track's construction.

It was the residents' concerns over traffic that kept Magna from victory Tuesday, according to Mills.

"Traffic, traffic, traffic," Mills said. "We were slaughtered by traffic."

Magna will spend the next 12 months going over the Dixon Downs project to see what else can be done to make it more palatable to residents, he added.

"Then we will decide whether we will want to bring it back to the community," Mills said.

Rosenberger pointed out that statement contradicts an earlier promise by Magna's leadership that if Dixon residents stated they didn't want the track, Magna would withdraw it.

Ian Thompson can be reached at

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Leaders Moving to Attract Biotech

Leaders Moving to Attract Biotech
BY RACHEL RASKIN-ZRIHEN/Times-Herald staff writer
Vallejo Times Herald

Solano County will be front and center at an international biotech convention next month, it was announced Monday.

Mike Ammann, Solano Economic Development Corp. president, said he'll represent the county as part of a California contingent at the 2007 BIO International Convention in Boston May 6 and 7. The idea is to spread the word that California and Solano County in particular are primed to support a growing biotech industry, Ammann said.

"It's exorbitantly expensive to participate in these conventions, so economic development leaders from across the state formed 'Team California' and we'll be taking turns manning the California pavilion," he said.

"The idea is to attract that type of industry to the county," he said. "Vacaville is known for that be-cause of Genentech, Alza Corp. and Novartis Pharmaceuticals, so you start with that. You lead with what they know."

Vallejo Mayor Tony Intintoli said he hopes continued marketing of Solano County to the bio-tech industry will pay off in jobs.

"With what Touro University is doing on Mare Island, it seems like a good match," he said.

"Touro University is right in between Berkeley and Davis, and they're working on a whole life sciences proposal for the north end of Mare Island," Ammann agreed. "And most people don't know about the Bio-Rad Laboratories facility in Benicia."

The convention, which about 22,000 people are expected to attend, is "huge," and holds the possibility of bringing important jobs to the county, Ammann said.

"This is not the wave of the future, it's the wave of today," he said.

Though the EDC has participated in this type of convention since 2003, no biotech firm has yet moved to Solano County as a direct result. Hopefully, though, they soon will, Ammann said.

"We do these events because you've got to go out and tell them what you have to offer," Ammann said. "If you're not in the marketplace, people tend to forget who you are."

E-mail Rachel Raskin-Zrihen at or call 553-6824.

Dixon's Voters Put Downs To The Test

Dixon's Voters Put Downs To The Test
By Melissa Murphy/Staff Writer

More than half of Dixon's registered voters are expected to turn out Tuesday and vote on whether Dixon Downs, the proposed $250 million horse racing and entertainment facility, should be built.

"I'm guessing at least 50 percent of the voters will come out to vote, it may even go over," said Deborah Seiler assistant elections manager for the Solano County Registrar of Voters.

Yard signs still are alternating between neighbors in support of and opposition to the track. The atmosphere in Dixon, one day before the fate of the track will be decided, is one of excitement and anticipation.

Dixon resident Susan Morris, who was enjoying the Monday sunshine at the Women's Improvement Park is looking forward to a final result.

"I'm glad it will be over," Morris said, adding that she's lived in Dixon for the last nine years. "I've seen the Dixon Downs process change over the years and I've also had a change of heart."

Not wanting to reveal her decision on the project, Morris was quick to assure that she'll be at the polls today to cast her vote.

Norman and Daphne Cryer, who were enjoying hot dogs at Sweet Stuff, a newer restaurant in Dixon, already had mailed in their absentee ballots. They have lived in Dixon for the past 35 years and are looking forward to the changes Dixon Downs promises to bring.

"We're very much in favor of the track," Daphne said. "We're very excited. It will put Dixon on the map."

She also added that most of her neighbors are in favor of the track, but that most of the city, overall, is split down the middle.

Each side is doing last-minute campaigning to make sure voters don't forget today is the day to cast their vote.

Monday evening "Don't Let Dixon Downs" campaign supporters hitched up a trailer to a pickup truck with a pretend race horse on the back. Driving through the Dixon streets with the horse, Norman Williams, with the help of a bull horn reminded residents to get out and vote.

"We're just trying to remind everyone to vote," Williams said.

Using a quieter approach Dixon Citizens for Quality Growth and other opponents used their creativity to post more yard signs around town with a unique flare.

A large sale tag sits in one yard. It reads, "Dixon is Not For Sale," while another proclaimed that "No on Dixon Downs" was the majority opinion of Dixon's residents and that they just needed to vote.

Today, voters will get their chance to vote on two ordinances and two resolutions, dubbed Measures M, N, O and P.

The nine precincts at five polling locations will open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.

The locations are the Dixon Fire Station, 205 Ford Way; Grace Fellowship Church, 535 West H St.; Denverton Hall at the May Fair, 655 S. 1st St.; City Hall, 600 East A St.; and Dixon Medical Center, 125 N. Lincoln St.

Representatives will be at each polling location to observe the setup, the voting process and the take-down. The several representatives also will alternate locations throughout the day.

"We're slipping into a low-key mode now," said Ada Preston, a member of Dixon Citizens for Quality Growth. "We feel we've done what we could do. It's up to the people now to vote the right way. We're just going to follow through with our battle plan and hope for the very best."

Tomorrow the group will be checking the lists of those who have already voted, participating in phone banks and offering rides to the respective polling places.

"We've been motivated for the last two years, working 24/7 to defend our little town," Preston added. "We'll do what we have to do to not over look anything."

Similar to the opponents, the proponents will be making phone calls at a few homes set up for phone banks and also offering transportation.

"We're busy, busy," said Erin Lehane, campaign manager for "Don't Let Dixon Down." "We're very excited, but we have a sense of urgency. We've worked so hard."

Magna Entertainment Corp., the Canada-based developer proposing the track, recently had to dispel rumors that even a "yes" vote of the people doesn't mean the track will be built.

"Not so," said Dennis Mills, vice chairman of Magna, responding to Magna CEO Michael Neuman's quotes that, according to Mills, were taken out of context.

"He meant that to make the horse racing industry better we need a litany of changes including, night racing, instant racing and technology improvements. Our intention is on renewing the horse industry," Mills said.

Mills added that those changes can be made and the races will happen at Dixon Downs as long as the track meets the parameters established by the California Horse Racing Board.

For additional questions regarding polling locations call the Registrar of Voters at 784-6675 or (888) 933-VOTE.

Melissa Murphy can be reached at

Fairfield Green-Lights New Development

Fairfield Green-Lights New Development
By Ben Antonius

FAIRFIELD - Tolenas residents will get some new neighbors along East Tabor Avenue under a development recently approved by the city's planning commission.

The Fairfield Planning Commission has unanimously approved an 82-home project proposed by Castle Homes. The project is a revision of a smaller development Castle proposed in 2006 that would have included 64 homes.

Commissioners Andre Gardner, Liesa Houdashelt, George Curry and Gian Aggarwal voted for the project with the other three commissioners absent from the meeting.

The Ivy Wreath project is near the southwest corner of the East Tabor Avenue-Walters Road intersection.

In 2006, the commission approved a plan to put 64 houses and a small park on a 7-acre parcel of land. Castle was asking to also build on a thin strip of land west of the existing parcel, which increases the project to 82 homes on nearly 10 acres.

The inclusion of the second strip of land was looked on favorably by the commission, Curry said.

"It is an unusually shaped, very narrow lot," he said. "It made more sense to go ahead and incorporate it into this project than somebody (else) trying to figure out what to do with this long narrow lot."

A city staff report supported the project and reached similar conclusions - that it would be difficult to fit a project onto the adjacent strip of land, which is only 115 feet wide.

The report said there are no major environmental concerns with building in the area. A biological study identified a handful of seasonal wetlands that would be lost, but the staff report said Castle could mitigate for that.

Most of the land in the Tolenas area is part of the unincorporated county, but the two Castle parcels and one next to it were annexed into the city of Fairfield nearly 40 years ago.

Reach Ben Antonius at 427-6977 or

Green Valley Middle School Honored by State

Green Valley Middle School Honored by State
By Audrey Wong

FAIRFIELD - Green Valley Middle School in Fairfield and Buckingham Charter Magnet High School in Vacaville were named distinguished schools Monday by the state Department of Education.

State School Superintendent Jack O'Connell called Green Valley Principal Greg Hubbs to deliver the good news. Green Valley is one of 76 middle schools in the state to receive the award.

"It's very, very thrilling to the whole school," Hubbs said Monday afternoon. "In order to be eligible the kids in school had to reach their academic goals in state tests."

In the past five years Green Valley students have grew 100 points on the Academic Performance Index test and 45 points from the previous year. In the 2005-2006 school year Buckingham students grew 43 points according to the state Department of Education Web site.

This is the first time Green Valley Middle School has received the honor, Hubbs said. Sullivan and Dover middle schools in Fairfield have been recognized previously as distinguished schools.

Green Valley was likely recognized because of its programs, including its online ones, Hubbs said. Math teacher Dennis Sherman helped post students' grades online so parents can check them. Many Green Valley teachers have their own Web sites where students and parents can see teachers' notes and assignments.

Hubbs said the school takes pride in how it communicates with parents. The school has 15 days for parent conferences and a parenting class, he said.

Eighth graders help new students adjust to the school through the Where Everyone Belongs program. Before the beginning of the school year the incoming seventh graders meet "eighth graders that care about them," Hubbs said. This year 90 percent of the incoming seventh graders participated.

Students can also join Rachel's Challenge, a club that encourages students to be nice to each other and discourages bullying.

Hubbs plans to celebrate the title with a barbecue lunch this month and probably a public event in May. School staff will attend a state awards ceremony in Disneyland, Hubbs said.

Reach Audrey Wong at 427-6951 or

Monday, April 16, 2007

Auto Mall Offers Prime Location, Profits for Car Dealers

Auto Mall Offers Prime Location, Profits for Car Dealers
By Ines Bebea

Prospective car buyers walk the lot one of the many dealerships on Auto Mall Parkway in Fairfield. (Photo by Zachary Kaufman)

FAIRFIELD - For Bob Starks, owner of the Ford Lincoln Mercury dealership of Fairfield, the idea was simple: an auto mall will attract more customers and more business.

As one of the newest members at the Fairfield Auto Mall, Starks's sales have increased 5-10 percent compared with the same period last year since he moved in December 2006.

"At our old location on Oliver Road, we were already experiencing a decline in sales and customers," Starks said. "At this location, we have visibility and easy access to eastbound and westbound cars traveling on Highway 12 and Interstate 80."

Moving to the new location also gave Starks and his staff the opportunity to consolidate all their operations under one roof. According to Starks, at the old location buildings were spread out over three different parcels, which meant employees and customers had to walk long distances to get or pay for the various services offered.

"With the auto mall, you have a one stop convenience car shopping experience for the customer," he said.

The move meant an expansion of what cars and services his dealership offers. Starks acquired the long time Lincoln and Mercury dealerships from the Barber Group, and dropped the Mazda Subaru brands. He recently also sold some land to Bob Benson, who will soon begin work on his Saturn dealership in the auto mall.

Starks isn't fazed by the close proximity of so many competitors. In fact, he is spearheading a campaign to advertise the auto mall as a unit.

"I'm going to start a committee where we advertise the auto mall to get people here," he said. "We have a number of luxury dealerships who are planning to move here as well. As a unit we will be the biggest concentration of dealerships in Solano County, and that translates into more jobs, customers and profits."

As the population of Solano County continues to grow, car manufactures will be able to close the gap that now exists between production and sales, he added.

"Right now, all car makers are at an over capacity. They produce about 22 million cars per year, but the consumer is only buying 16 million per year," he said.

Growth is a theme the city of Fairfield wants to continue to see in the auto mall. Currently, there are 11 dealerships at the auto mall and plans to add two more. To make access to the auto mall easier as well, the city plans to spend $3.5 million dollars to fix the roadway leading to the auto mall from Home Depot.

"The idea is to make that road be at the same level as the roads in the auto mall in 2008," said Sean Quinn, community development director for Fairfield. "We also sold the old fire station to Simon Buniak, a car dealer, who will be bringing a dealership to the auto mall."

Auto sales surpassed department stores sales in 2002, reaching more than $2.5 million in Fairfield, the city said. Car totaled about $3 million in 2006.

"In terms of activity, it is a great location," added Quinn saod. "Since that site officially became an auto mall in 2000, the mix of car dealerships is really good. The auto mall is well maintained and it has a great street presence."

As one of the oldest dealerships in the auto mall, the Chrysler Jeep Kia has had a front row seat to its expansion. On the eight acres of land the dealership has occupied since 1997, Paul Choonhaurai, the general sales manager, is a firm believer that location and competition are the driving force behind the auto mall.

"Depending on where people exit or enter the freeway, we are either the first or last dealership that they will see," Choonhaurai said. "Either way it benefits us, because the location of a dealership is as important as it is in real estate, the visibility from the freeway and our driveways make us more customer friendly."

While consumers have been concerned about the recent increase in gas prices, the need for a car as a means of transportation or social status will always be there, Choonhaurai added. Consumers may choose to buy economical cars, and sales of sport utility vehicles may decrease, but he's confident the industry can survive changing tastes.

Reach Ines Bebea at 427-6934 or

Good News on Development Front

Good News on Development Front
By Brian Miller and Karl Dumas

Okay, we will admit it . . . our 2007 projections for new housing permits may turn out to be less than accurate.

In January, our "state of the city" projections for 2007 development projects predicted new housing permits issued this year would equal or slightly exceed the 2006 total of 229 units. Well, during this year's first quarter, 116 permits were issued for new housing.

Leading the charge of permit activity were the Goldridge (northeast Fairfield), La Vita Bella (Cordelia area), and Madison (Peabody Road) housing subdivisions. Although these housing developments have been on the drawing board for some time, it is an encouraging sign when construction permits are actually pulled.

And here's another heartening headline: During the past few weeks, there has been renewed interest by property owners and developers in developing the smaller "infill" and redevelopment parcels left behind during Fairfield's great expansion of the last few decades. These projects are scattered throughout central Fairfield and range in scale from new duplexes and houses downtown to new subdivisions with 50 units. Note that many of these projects are in the "conceptual" stage right now, so keep reading our column for updates.

East Tabor Street appears to be a focus of new development in central Fairfield. Readers may recall plans by Tim Lewis Communities for 92 townhouses near just before the railroad crossing. In fall 2006, the city approved another subdivision, Ivy Wreath, at the eastern end of East Tabor Avenue near Walters Road. The developer, Castle Companies, has now acquired the adjacent parcel and is expanding its subdivision map to include more than 80 units. Formal Planning Commission action is scheduled for April.

City staff is reviewing a conceptual plan for 41 townhouses at 212 East Tabor Ave., immediately east of North Texas Street. Among the city goals for the property is having some of the units face onto the improved Linear Park. Nearby just west of the intersection of East Tabor and Dover avenues, the property owner has submitted a design concept for 16 homes.

A conceptual review has also been received for a site on East Travis Boulevard at Sunset Avenue. Sunset Crossing proposes 37 new townhouses. (If you are keeping count, the four projects above would probably not be ready to issue building permits this year, so they would not add to numbers we projected for 2007).

The residential neighborhood south of downtown Fairfield continues to see interest in small-scale infill housing. Check out Illinois Street and some of the major faade renovations and examples of attractive small-scale infill housing fronting the alleys. At 1240 Illinois St., the property has been divided to allow for future development. Next door at 1238 Illinois St., the property owner has proposed a new alley-fronting duplex.

And at 747 Broadway, the property owner has expressed interest in developing a new duet home on the frontage of the alley. The existing older home would stay. On the other side of Pennsylvania, the property owner at 1320 Woolner Ave. has proposed subdividing the property into six lots, with four new homes and two existing homes.

While we are on the subject of infill development, we've reported in the past about development at the former Fairfield Bowl site on North Texas Street at East Tabor Avenue. The city has been negotiating with a development team to build a mixed-use project incorporating new for-sale housing (54 units) and commercial space (8,500 square feet) fronting on North Texas Street. The project will improve the Linear Park along the frontage, incorporating the park corridor into the project design. Selling the land is on the City Council agenda for May.

It's okay to be wrong (understate the numbers for projected new home permits) when the headline is positive development activity. Of course, we don't dare predict how the second quarter of 2007 will turn out but our recent surge of activity is reason to get excited. Of the 229 total new housing permits pulled last year, 65 were done in the first quarter and we have now almost doubled that number.

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 or

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Gary Tatum, Vacaville Chamber Business Beat: Solano Economic Summit

Business Beat Solano Economic Summit
Gary H. Tatum – Friday, February 16, 2007 Last Thursday, February 15, the meeting room at the Hilton Inn in Fairfield was filled with a broad representation of Solanoans who spent the day in discussion of what well could become a vision for our county’s future.

The session was very well planned and broad in scope. To many of us, “Economic Development in Solano County” may appear to be limited in scope, but that was certainly not the case. The day’s sessions covered many aspects of what portends to be a positive picture for the future of Solano. One such aspect is that we need to think differently as to just where we are geographically. Because of the split that exists with the Northern portion of Solano associated more with the Greater Sacramento Region and the Southern portion with the Greater Bay Area we have established an unfortunate split-personality. Where we actually are is in the middle of one of the entire world’s largest metro-plex zones. The speakers suggested looking at Solano as being in the middle of that very large economic metro region that stretches from Reno all the way down I-80 to the San Francisco and even Monterey Bay areas.

With that vision in mind and the fact that we have just begun to become more and more viable as that lynchpin, we can plan so as not to repeat the mistakes of others, but rather to develop something unique.

In his welcoming comments Supervisor Mike Reagan, Chair of the Board of Supervisors, stressed that we “…walk away from today with a sense of direction on what we all can do – both together and individually – to make a dramatic and positive impact on our local economy.”

As a nation we are currently enjoying economic vitality and growth that we need to take full advantage of. Yes, we have weaknesses. In California we are still faced with many in our State’s government that don’t realize the importance of our small business entrepreneurs. As I have stated before some of these law makers as well as other bureaucratic decision makers fail to equate a strong business community with an even stronger government that can reap the higher tax incomes through higher employment and vigorous less restricted businesses. Increased taxes, fees, restrictions and reporting responsibilities do nothing but increase business costs thereby increasing unemployment and decreasing tax revenue. A healthy government is dependent on an equally healthy business climate.

It was significant that our own Assembly Member Lois Wolk was present throughout the session. I believe Ms Wolk understands what is needed and I am encouraged that her enthusiasm may spread to more of her colleagues.

This is just a beginning. Solano Economic Summit II will take place on May 31, 2007. Hopefully by than we will have jointly accomplished some of the tasks toward the vision that was spoken of last Thursday. The cross section of community leaders was impressive and evidence that such a positive vision, which can be beneficial to all is achievable. Our Capstone Speaker, Sunne McPeak who recently was the Secretary of the California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency and now serves as the chief executive officer of the California Emerging Technology Fund spoke enthusiastically about our future. She stressed the importance of a collaborative effort and saw Solano as a vital center for tomorrow’s economic vitality.

The only foreseeable drawback that I envision is the differences between the attitudes of our eight geopolitical entities (seven cities and the county) that could hamper a larger county-wide plan. There are, and should be, differences between and within our individual communities. Even with that in mid let’s hope for a future Solano that appeals to the varied tastes and needs of our diverse population.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Solano: We're Good For Biotech

Solano: We're Good For Biotech
EDC joins Team California effort at international convention in a bid to lure more business to the area.

The Solano EDC will participate in the 2007 BIO International Convention, to be held in Boston from May 6-7, to acquaint more industrial leaders with the advantages of locating facilities in Solano County.

Michael Ammann, president of Solano EDC, said this convention attracts more than 20,000 leaders in the biotech field, and is a " great forum for Solano County to show what it has to offer in this growing industry."

Ammann and a team of economic development specialists from throughout California will be in Boston, working as part of the Team California effort to attract new businesses to the state.

"Solano County is strategically placed to take full advantage of the growing biotech industry in Northern California," Ammann said. "Solano County is within a one-hour commute of both the U.C. Berkeley and Davis campuses, and we already have strong base of fortune 500 firms already within our borders."

Team California focuses on establishing contacts with potential companies that are start-ups, rapidly expanding, or planning to relocate to the state. At selected regional and national conferences the team members network to create and maintain relationships with targeted industry leaders.

"For Solano County, this means EDC is able to come home with a list of potential companies that have expressed interested in learning more about our communities," Amman said. "All of these

contact leads are immediately distributed to the economic development specialists that work for our cities."

For more background on Team California, visit For more information on Bio's International Convention in Boston, visit

Team Tries To Draw Industries To Solano

Team Tries To Draw Industries To Solano
By Andrea Garcia

FAIRFIELD - The Solano Economic Development Corp. will participate in the 2007 BIO international Convention in Boston May 6-7 to draw more industrial leaders to Solano County.

Michael Ammann, president of EDC, and a team of economic development specialists from throughout California will attend the convention, working as part of the Team California in an effort to attract more business to the state.

The convention garners more than 20,000 leaders in the biotech field.

Team California focuses on establishing contacts with potential companies that are start-ups, rapidly expanding or planning to relocate to the state. At selected regional and national conferences the team members network to create and maintain relationship with targeted industry leaders.

"For Solano County, this means EDC is able to come home with a list of potential companies that have expressed interest in learning more about our communities," Ammann said.

For information on Team California, visit its Web site at For information on the BIO International Convention, visit

Reach Andrea Garcia at

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Solano States Its Transportation Case

Solano States Its Transportation Case
By Danny Bernardini/Staff Writer

Rio Vista Mayor Eddie Woodruff (left) and Carl Guardino, who was appointed to the California Transportation Commission, discuss Highway 12 during a reception Wednesday for Guardino at the Jelly Belly visitor center in Fairfield. (Brad Zweerink/The Reporter)

Carl Guardino, appointed Wednesday to the California Transportation Commission, rubbed shoulders hours later with Solano leaders who told him about road and transit issues in the county.

Shaking hands at an early evening reception at the Jelly Belly Factory in Fairfield, Guardino mingled with representatives of all seven cities in the county and with Supervisors John Vasquez, Mike Reagan and Jim Spering.

The gathering, at which Guardino addressed the crowd briefly, was sponsored by Solano Economic Development Corporation.

Flanked by those waiting for an introduction, Guardino, of Santa Clara County, was shown maps of the various scenarios involving the Interstate 80/680 interchange, the proposed North Connector for Highway 12 and statistics reflecting the dangers of Highway 12.

Spering spoke highly of Guardino while introducing him, highlighting his work for groups in the Bay Area.

"You have impacted a lot of people in a lot of ways," he told the group.

Guardino, appointed to the state commission earlier in the day in Sacramento, said just a few words, talking about getting to see the problems facing Solano first-hand. He told the group he was open to scheduling trips to the affected areas to further familiarize himself.

"If I'm going to play this role, it is incumbent to get to know the area," he said. "It's worth a thousand words to see it in person. It's worth the commitment."

The reception may have been brief, but Spering said the most important part was getting someone from the state to hear the issues facing the county in person.

"His influence is important to Solano County. His understanding is paramount to these projects," Spering said, while showing Guardino some financial figures.

Helping the cause is the unified effort to get some of the projects funded and constructed. Spering said the combination of the SEDC, the Solano Transportation Authority, city and local governments involved shows unity and a concentrated effort to get things done.

Along with agencies and politicians, Spering said the citizens of these areas are starting to realize how big a problem the issues on the roads have become.

"They're starting to understand transportation touches every aspect of our lives," he said. "If that interchange is dysfunctional, it affects their lives."

He said traffic is just one concern and residents are being affected by other elements such as air quality.

"They are at the tipping point where people will demand something to be done."

Danny Bernardini can be reached at

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


University of California, Davis
April 11, 2007


Funding to establish a produce safety research center at UC Davis was announced today by the leaders of the produce industry, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and the University of California.

The new Center for Produce Safety, to be located in UC Davis' Western Institute for Food Safety and Security, will serve as a clearinghouse for research on produce safety and will fund new scientific studies aimed at reducing risks associated with the nation's produce supply.
This new partnership is focused on improving research, training, quality verification and consumer education -- all to enhance the safety of fresh produce.

The new center is being established with $2 million from the Produce Marketing Association and $2 million from Taylor Farms of Salinas.
The California Department of Food and Agriculture is contributing $500,000 to the center, and $150,000 is being provided by the University of California's Agriculture and Natural Resources division to fund educational outreach programs for fresh produce.

"The success of the produce industry begins and ends with our collective commitment to public health," said Bryan Silbermann, president of the Produce Marketing Association. "Our members, who represent every link of the nation's produce supply chain, are committed to supporting robust food safety programs based on the best science available. The Center for Produce Safety will significantly advance the entire industry's collective knowledge about food safety and help ensure consumers continue to enjoy safe, wholesome and healthy produce, every bite, every time."

Bruce Taylor, chairman and chief executive officer of Taylor Farms, said his company's contribution to the new center is "an investment in the future of our company and the produce industry. I encourage my colleagues across the entire supply chain to contribute at whatever level possible to ensure that the Center for Produce Safety is able to advance an aggressive research agenda that provides produce companies with the guidance needed to further enhance food safety efforts."

The creation of the Center for Produce Safety is the direct result of an industry-wide collaborative response to recent E. coli outbreaks.
In the fall of 2006, the Produce Marketing Association, other industry association partners and government agencies focused on investigating the cause of the outbreaks and expediting efforts to protect against the risks of future outbreaks.

In addition to the investments in new research, produce industry leaders and food safety experts from the state of California and University of California are also launching science-based training and outreach programs. The field-level training support will supplement programs already in place by individual produce growers and handlers and ensure that they include the latest scientific information and established good agricultural practices.

"Following the E. coli episode in spinach last fall, government and private industry have been working together in important ways to make our already outstanding food safety system even better," said A.G.
Kawamura, secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. "The recently formed Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement is a major piece of the puzzle. Research, training and outreach constitute the other major piece. We are proud of our partnership with the university and the produce industry and look forward to positive steps in the years ahead."

Bennie Osburn, dean of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, said he hopes the "generous lead funding from the Produce Marketing Association and Taylor Farms encourages other government and industry partners to support the full build-out of this comprehensive program.
It is critical that the solutions to food safety issues include all the players."

The Western Institute for Food Safety and Security, which will house the new Center for Produce Safety, was established in 2002 by UC Davis' School of Veterinary Medicine, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and School of Medicine, in partnership with California's Department of Food and Agriculture, and Department of Health Services. Federal agencies and various food industries also contribute to the institute.

Rob Atwill, a veterinarian and medical ecologist, was recently appointed as interim director of the institute, following the retirement of Jerry Gillespie, the institute's founding director.
Atwill is the principal investigator on a four-year study, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which is focused on tracing the sources of E. coli O157:H7 in the Salinas Valley.

Media contact(s):
* Rob Atwill, Western Institute for Food Safety and Security, (530) 757-576,
* Lorna Christie, Produce Marketing Association, (302) 723-2321
* Nancy Lungren, California Department of Food and Agriculture, (916) 654-0321,
* Pat Bailey, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-9843,

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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