Stories for December 2006

Friday, December 29

UCC Plans January Events

River project's effects on residential and commercial properties will be discussed and LAUSD Superintendent David Brewer will headline dinner.

Thursday, December 28

United Online, Covad Link Up

With partnership, United will be able to offer its customers easier upgrades from dial-up.

Valley Presybterian Gets Designation

Valley Presbyterian Hospital has been designated as a medical facility best equipped to care for heart attack patients brought in by ambulance by the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services' Emergency Medical Services Agency

EST Enters University Market

Order opens up new market for Newbury Park-based firm's detection equipment.

Wednesday, December 27

SAGE Publications to Publish Gifted Journal

SAGE Publications will begin publishing the journal Gifted Child Quarterly beginning Jan. 1.

PS Business Parks Buys Florida Property

Wellington, Boca Raton acquisitions expand company's portfolio.

Tuesday, December 26

Disney Amends Bylaws

The Walt Disney Co. amended its bylaws to provide for a majority vote standard for the election of directors in uncontested elections.

Interlink Posts Quarterly Loss

Interlink Electronics, Inc. reported a third straight quarter of net loss for the fiscal year in filings made with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Friday, December 22

Many Valley Home Prices Stay Strong

Although the volume of home sales continued to slow in November, the majority of greater San Fernando Valley communities saw a continued escalation in home prices, in some cases experiencing double digit increases.

Universal Studios Hollywood Bans Trans-Fat

Universal Studios Hollywood will eliminate all trans-fat food and introduce a healthier menu starting Sunday.

Thursday, December 21

Credit Union Expands

Universal City Studios Credit Union is expanding its headquarters operations.

Van Nuys Raytheon Facility Sold

Raytheon Co., a defense contractor that has a service center at Van Nuys Airport, has sold its business jet division to a new company created by a private equity firm.

Electro Rent Reports Financials

Van Nuys company posts decline in net income

Marriott Opens in Thousand Oaks

A 120-room Courtyard by Marriott has opened in Thousand Oaks.

Judge Rules Against Villaraigosa Education Reforms

Judge says Assembly bill thatgave the L.A. mayor some control over the LAUSD is unconstitutional.

Wednesday, December 20

Aramark Acquired

Aramark Corp. has agreed to a buyout by an investment group led by Joseph Neubauer.

Prolab Sponsors Sports Team

Chatsworth-based Prolab Nutrition Inc. has inked an agreement to become the official sports drink of the Los Angeles Avengers, part of the arena football league.

Thursday in the Valley

Women Entrepreneurs of Santa Clarita Valley

On Assignment Buys Staffing Company

The Calabasas medical staffing firm On Assignment Inc. has purchased a Utah physician staffing company.

Business Journal Accepting Nominations for '40 Under 40' Awards

The Business Journal is accepting nominations for the fourth annual "40 under 40" awards to be presented Jan. 17 at the Beverly Garland's Holiday Inn.

Cheesecake Back in Compliance

The Cheesecake Factory Inc. said today that it is in compliance for continued listing on Nasdaq.

Tuesday, December 19

'Flintstones,' Yogi Bear Creator Barbera dies

Joseph Barbera, the animator whose Valley studio created cartoon icons Fred Flintstone, Yogi Bear and the cat and mouse team of Tom and Jerry, died Monday at his home in Studio City. He was 95.

Investigation Finds Ex-Vitesse Execs Manipulated Stock Options

Former senior management with Vitesse Semiconductor Corp. improperly backdated the dates of stock options over a number of years, a special committee to the company's board reported Tuesday.

Graciela Hotel Sold for $36.5 Million

The Graciela Burbank, a 99-room boutique hotel near Warner Bros. Studio Ranch, has been sold to a Maryland hotel developer.

Wednesday in the Valley

Calabasas Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors Meeting

Another Lackluster Quarter for Earl Scheib

The Sherman Oaks paint and auto body repair company Earl Scheib Inc. reported its second quarter income dropped 68 percent from the same period last year, a product of poor sales and high gas prices, the company reported Tuesday.

Cushman & Wakefield Acquired

An European investment company has acquired a majority stake in Cushman & Wakefield.

Monday, December 18

Around the Valleys

A look at the news and events happening in the Conejo, Santa Clarita, Antelope, San Fernando and Simi valleys.

Airport Businesses Evicted to Meet FAA Regulations

The city agency that runs Van Nuys Airport has kicked out two businesses that aren't aviation-related.

Hospitals Face The Future

In our special health care magazine inside this issue, we talk to those on the front lines facing these troubling issues each day and find what's being done to address the vital future of health care in our region.

Despite Programs, Nurses Still Rare

At College of the Canyons, the waiting list to enter its nursing program numbers some 300 names.

Making Light

Burbank-based Fresh Dining's catered meals go beyond diet menus.

Mozilo Exercises Options

Angelo Mozilo, chairman and CEO of Countrywide Financial Corp., exercised options for 70,000 shares of the company's common stock at $9.60 per share and sold them for $41.46, the company said.

Several Cites Wooing Amgen

Why are so many areas working overtime to woo the drug maker Amgen to expand outside Thousand Oaks?

Conducting a Meaningful Sexual Harassment Probe

Ira Rosenblatt looks at what you should do if an employee is accused of sexual harrassment.

Santa Clarita to Offer Online Permits

Santa Clarita has launched a new online system to allow residents to check the status of permits and inspection results.

Newhall Ranch Enters Another Phase in Project

The next phase of the massive Newhall Ranch project is about to begin.

Hospitals Struggle With Seismic Fixes

In the aftermath of the 1994 Northridge earthquake, legislatures moved swiftly to establish strict standards to regulate the safety of hospitals.

Clinics: A Better, Faster Way for Care?

Turns out, starting your very own hospital isn't all that difficult.

Five Faces of Valley Health Care

It's not a popular job, but somebody's got to do it: managing a hospital.

BREAKING NEWS: Pacoima Enterprise Zone Gets New Life

The Pacoima area has been included in the expanded boundaries of the Los Angeles Central/Hollywood enterprise zone, the governor's office announced Monday.

Former Richman Aide Takes Over UCC Position

At the end of last month, Debi Schultze, a district representative for state Assemblyman Dr. Keith S. Richman, found herself without a job.

Growth Taxes North County Hospitals

The swift growth of the Antelope and Santa Clarita valleys is taxing the region's fragile health care system.

Yet Another Film Festival Planned For Valley Venues

Universal City is the next area getting in on the film festival circuit, Reporter Mark Madler has found.

Online Services Company Gets New Funding

inQ has snagged a $7.75 million investment in a new round of funding led by new investors and including existing investors.

Demand Fuels Hospital Expansions

Demand for healthcare is at an alltime high despite innovations in medical care, antibiotics and safety products as well as pressure for shorter hospital stays.

ValueClick Having Happy Holiday Shopping Season

Reporter Chris Coates examines the growth of web-based advertising company ValueClick.

Universal Realizes Community Key to Project

Some neighbors are withholding judgment on an ambitious 25-year vision plan for Universal City.

Mosher Honored By ID Association

Precision Dynamics co-founder and chief technology officer Walter Mosher was inducted into the ID People Award's Hall of Fame during the ID World International Congress in Milan, Italy.

Hospitals Face Daunting Challenges

Michael L. Wall, president of Northridge Hospital Medical Center, sums up the pressures of operating a hospital in today's San Fernando Valley with a simple statistic: Five hospitals closed since 1995.

Amgen Expands Operations in Kentucky

The Thousand Oaks drug maker Amgen Inc. is expanding its distribution center in Louisville, Ky.

Searching for the Youngest and Brightest

One of Editor Jason Schaff's favorite Business Journal special reports is coming up.

Community Minded

Tamara Gurney, CEO of Mission Valley Bank, meets the challenges of growing a small financial institution in an underserved part of the Valley.

Hospitals Big, Small Grapple with Fundraising

As local medical facilities struggle with a number of hurdles, an aging population is another that they must face in the next several years.

State Adopts Mandatory Hospital Fair Pricing Policies

John Marshall discusses the impact of several new policies on California hospitals.

Review of Procedures Pushed at Restaurant Meeting

City officials and police are warning Valley restaurant owners to stay on guard.

Tuesday in the Valley

Camarillo Chamber of Commerce Open House

Nurses Gain Momentum, Influence

It has been a busy year for labor relations at the greater San Fernando Valley's hospitals.

Crown Media Library Sale Finalized

Crown Media Holdings Inc. has completed the sale of its film library to RHI Entertainment, Inc., the company announced Monday.

Encino Spa Subject of New Reality Show

Rashel Pouri, the owner of Valley-based Medi-Spas, is the subject of a new reality show.

2006: Year in Review

A look at the events that shaped the past year in the San Fernando Valley region.

Fancy Eateries Ignore Santa Clarita

They have the residents and the space, so why can't Santa Clarita attract more upscale restaurants?

Caring for Underinsured Taxes Providers

Guadalupe Ibarra is one of the thousands of San Fernando Valley residents who don't have enough health insurance.

Avjet to Try Again on Planned Project

Avjet Aviation went back to the drawing board in its plans for a new hangar and office space at the Bob Hope Airport in Burbank.

Newsmakers

A look at promotions and career moves among professionals in the Valley area.

Local Shoppers Keep Retailers in Festive Holiday Mood

Initial fears that customers retrenched after the brisk start to the holiday season, quickly dissipated as the calendar wound its way toward Dec. 25

Blogs Blossom as Workers, Executives Get in on Action

To better communicate with employees and customers alike, large and small companies alike are taking to the blog.

Final Phase of The Plant Redevelopment Expected to Close

It looks like Voit Development Co. and Selleck Development Group will end the year by closing the book on The Plant, a development they began constructing in 1997.

Now We'll Be Doing it by the Numbers

Martin M. Cooper on why we're so obsessed with numbers.

Coldwell Banker Offices Give Food, Money to Area Charities

This regular feature focuses on philanthropic activities by Valley-area companies and businesspeople.

Frozen Yogurt Makes Return - in New Form

It's all the rage over the hill and in Asia; now yogurt is a new fad the Valley.

City Living Wage Decision an Act of Redlining

Wayne Adelstein on the City Council's move to add a living wage to hotels near LAX.

Friday, December 15

Warner Bros. Buys Into Overseas Video Game Maker

Warner Bros. Entertainment will invest in a leading European video game publisher that will create and distribute games based on Warner Bros. characters, the company announced Friday.

Monday in the Valley

Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council Committee Meeting

Guitar Center Pulls Plug on Offer

The Guitar Center said today it has pulled its offer to acquire The Woodwind & The Brasswind after another bidder emerged for the retailer.

Moorpark Chamber Names New CEO

The office manager for the Moorpark Chamber of Commerce has been elected the organization's president and CEO.

Thursday, December 14

Cherokee Extends at Mervyns

Cherokee Inc. said today it has renewed its licensing agreement for Sideout Apparel with Mervyns.

Chatsworth Tech Company Opens Japan Subsidiary

Storage and capacity provider DataDirect Networks Inc. expanded its presence in the Asian market with the opening a fully owned subsidiary in Japan, the company announced.

Friday in the Valley

The Employee Assistance Professionals Association holds its holiday celebration and networking event.

Processing Company Acquired by Intuit

Electronic Clearing House Inc. has been acquired by Intuit Inc. for $142 million, the company announced Thursday.

OCP Execs Resign; Company Posts 4Q Loss

The chief technology officer and corporate development officer of Optical Communications Products Inc. will leave the Woodland Hills company at the end of the month, it was announced Thursday.

Jody Maroni Comes to Camarillo

Jody Maroni is opening at Camarillo Premium Outlet Mall food court.

Nestle Acquiring Novartis

Nestle SA said today it will acquire Novartis, maker of Boost and Resource nutritional supplements and Optifast diet products, for $2.5 billion.

Thousand Oaks Hotel For Sale

A 128-unit hotel property is on the market in Thousand Oaks.

Wednesday, December 13

Amgen OKs Stock Repurchase of up to $5 billion

The board of directors of Thousand Oaks biotech company Amgen Inc. has voted to allow additional buy backs of up to $5 billion in company stock.

Diodes Looking at Increased Revenues for Year

Diodes Inc. forecast a 60 percent increase in revenues for 2006 over the previous year based on reaffirmed financial guidance, the company announced Wednesday.

Thursday in the Valley

The Encino Chamber of Commerce holds it holiday party and toy & book drive.

Health Net Increases 2007 Outlook

The managed health care provider Health Net raised its 2007 earnings outlook on an expected lower share count, the result of a $450 million buyback program.

WellPoint Beats Street Estimates

Well Point Inc. said its forecast 2007 results are higher than Wall Street estimates.

SOX Revisions Proposed

Smaller public companies could catch a break with a proposal to ease the financial control rules imposed several years ago by Section 404 of Sarbanes-Oxley legislation, or SOX as it is known.

Tuesday, December 12

Newbury Park-based Nomadix Acquired

A Singapore company has acquired Newbury Park-based Nomadix Inc., a provider of network devices for the hospitality industry.

Ford Dealership to Open in Palmdale

The operator of car dealership in Lancaster is opening a new location in Palmdale.

Countrywide's Mortgage Funding Still Weak

Countrywide Financial Corp. said today that mortgage loan fundings declined 11 percent to $38 billion from November 2005 levels and 8 percent compared to the prior month.

Six Flags to Stay Open in 2007

The Valencia theme park Magic Mountain will remain open in 2007,although which company will run it is unclear.

Santa Clarita Hotels Still Packed: Study

Santa Clarita hotels had some of the highest occupancy rates in Los Angeles County during October, according to the most recent study of hotel trends by the tracking firm PKF Consulting.

Wednesday in the Valley

The Santa Clarita Chamber of Commerce holds its business after hours monthly mixer.

K-Swiss Declares Dividend

K-Swiss Inc. today declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.05 per share for shareholders of record on Jan. 15.

Monday, December 11

Median Home Price Slips

Have single-family home prices finally begun to decline?

21st Insurance Expands, Again

The Woodland Hills insurance company 21st Insurance Group has expanded its product line to include four new states.

Tuesday in the Valley

The Glendale Chamber of Commerce holds its meeting of the board of directors.

Study: Amgen Therapy Makes Platelets

Thousand Oaks-based drug maker Amgen Inc. said results from an open-label extension study indicate that long-term administration of the investigational therapy AMG-531 stimulated the production of platelet production.

Friday, December 8

Valley Residents: More Money, Bigger Commute Times

Valley residents make more money and spend more time commuting than the average American, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report that for the first time examines the population of the San Fernando independently of Los Angeles.

1105 Media Acquires Washington Post Unit

1105 Media Inc., a Chatsworth based publishing company, has agreed to acquire Post Newsweek Tech Media, the government publishing and events group of The Washington Post Co.

American Reprographics Acquisition

American Reprographics Co., a Glendale-based provider of reproduction technology and services, has acquired another such business in San Francisco.

Analyst Downgrades Countrywide

An analyst at Stifel Nicolaus & Co. downgraded Countrywide Financial Corp. to a "hold" from a "buy" on the expectation that the downward trend in the credit market will continue.

Monday in the Valley

The Sherman Oaks Chamber of Commerce holds its neighborhood council meeting.

Health Net Fined in Suit

Woodland Hill-based managed health care provider Health Net said a U.S. court fined the company after it did not comply with document-sharing rules in a lawsuit.

Thursday, December 7

Rival Surfaces in Guitar Center's Acquisition Bid

Steinway Musical Instruments offered a bid of $40.5 million to buy Woodwind & Brasswind, a higher bid than a standing offer from Guitar Center Inc.

Santa Clarita Filming Continues to Surge

Santa Clarita saw more television and motion pictures filmed in the city last month than any previous November, continuing a trend of television and motion picture production companies turning to the area for shoots.

Cherokee Profit Relatively Flat

With revenues from its largest customer continuing to trend downward, Cherokee reported its net income for the third quarter was relatively unchanged from the year ago period.

Capstone Turbine Gets New President

Troubled Capstone Turbine Corp. in Chatsworth named Darren R. Jamison president and CEO.

VICA Holds Annual Meeting

The Valley Industry and Commerce Association honored two longtime members at its 57th annual meeting at the Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City Thursday.

Wednesday, December 6

Thursday in the Valley

The Encino Chamber of Commerce holds its wellness committee meeting.

Hotel Changes Nameplate

The Hilton Burbank Airport & Convention Center will change over to the Marriott banner Dec. 12.

NBC Universal Reveals Master Plan for Park

Officials for NBC Universal plan to turn portions of the 391-acre Universal Studios Hollywood back lot into a mixed-use complex with as many as 2,900 residential units, renovate Universal CityWalk and possibly construct another studio facility as part of

Stockholder Seeks Vitesse Resignations

One of the largest stockholders in Vitesse Semiconductor Corp. has called for the resignation of two company board members over the backdating of stock options.

Tuesday, December 5

Palmdale Airport Renamed

The Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners on Monday approved changing the name of Palmdale Airport to LA/Palmdale Regional Airport.

Valley Cultural Center Pulls Out of Madrid Theatre

A lack of a contract with the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department has led the Valley Cultural Center to pull out of operating the Madrid Theatre as of the end of January.

CSUN No. 2 for International Students

California State University Northridge ranked second place among U.S. master's level institutions with the most number of foreign students in a recent study of 40 college campuses.

Bankruptcies Decline

As expected, the number of personal and business bankruptcies has fallen off considerably compared to last year, the result of new regulations.

Wednesday in the Valley

The Simi Valley Chamber of Commerce holds its mentor committee meeting.

Most of Final Phase of The Plant Sold

Voit Development Co. and Selleck Development Group have sold two of five facilities that comprise the final phase of the redevelopment of the former GM facility in Panorama City.

Shoppers Losing Interest?

The enthusiasm consumers showed on Black Friday waned in the week following the traditional start to the holiday shopping season.

Monday, December 4

I-5 Corridor: Nurturing Its Economic Potential

Editor Jason Schaff on the economic potential of the 1-5 corridor.

College Meets Growth With Construction Programs

College of the Canyons in Valencia has started two new programs in response to the area's building boom.

Could Valley Studio Hold Key for GM?

A facility in North Hollywood is playing a role in the resurgence of an ailing Detroit automaker.

Charges Filed Against Excavating Company

Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo on Monday filed criminal charges against two Valley companies and its owner for illegal surface mining in Sun Valley.

Newsmakers

Valley businesspeople in the news and on the move.

Valley Briefs

A selection of the latest news summaries from the Valley.

Harley-Davidson Helps Raise Funds for Library

This regular feature focuses on philanthropic activities by Valley-area companies and businesspeople.

Knowing the Rules About Hiring Illegal Immigrants

The federal government has announced its intention to crack down on employers who hire illegal aliens bad news for countless numbers of California employers.

Helping Hollywood

Richard Gallagher's Xytech Systems Becomes an Integral Part of The Entertainment Industry's Switchover to Digital Formats.

Elements of Attraction

Behind the scenes of how Burbank lured the Internet giant Yahoo! to open offices in the city.

New Health Care Role for Press Secretary

It's been a stressful few years for Margita Thompson, press secretary for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Disney Cuts Animation Positions

The Walt Disney Co. plans to cut as many as 160 positions from its Burbank-based animation studios.

Around the Valleys

A look at the people, places and things that make our valleys tick.

West L.A. CPA Firm Opening Valley Office

The West L.A. certified public accounting firm Singer Lewak Greenbaum & Goldstein LLP is opening an office in the Warner Center.

SEIU Seeks to Expand Ranks Among Staff at Los Robles

The union that threatened to strike at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center in an intense labor dispute this fall could be expanding its ranks.

Santa Clarita Car Dealers to Receive $60,000

The Santa Clarita City Council will provide local auto dealers $60,000 to promote advertisements to purchase vehicles locally.

Judge Rejects Some Claims of Mosher

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has ruled that Precision Dynamics co-founder Walt Mosher had not proven allegations of an improper election of two members to the company's board of directors.

Countrywide Launches Auto Insurance in Ohio

Countrywide Financial Corp. on Monday launched its auto insurance product in Ohio.

Newhall Coffee Strikes Grocery Deal

The Newhall Coffee Micro Roasting Co. has launched a new line of holiday-themed coffees.

Customer Friendly

Tonic Brand Communications helps companies develop more pleasant relationships with consumers.

Robbins Bros. Executive to Manage Growth

There's a little bit of d & #233;j & #341; vu in the life of Andy Heyneman these days.

Tobacco Industry Wants to Snuff Out Role in Films

An unlikely company has joined the effort to lobby Hollywood to stop featuring smoking in movies: Philip Morris, Reporter Mark R. Madler has found.

Gadgets Get Consumers Excited This Retail Season

A look at what's in store for the retail market this holiday shopping season.

New Medical Center Approved for Antelope Valley

The county Board of Supervisors has approved a plan to construct a badly needed hospital in the Antelope Valley.

Burning Cash, MannKind Is Raising More Money

The Valencia biopharmaceutical developer MannKind Corp. plans to raise as much as $400 million in part to help fund Technosphere.

Disney Steadily Building Video Gaming Business

The Burbank entertainment giant is staking a claim in the highly competitive field of video games.

New Bus Service Coming to Valley

A new Metro Rapid Bus line in the San Fernando Valley is among the service improvements announced Monday by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority that will take affect next month.

Valley Business Officials Angry Over Living Wage

The Valley business community reacts to the expansion of the living wage ordinance to hotel workers near LAX.

Appointments at Bank of Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills Bancorp Inc., parent of First Bank of Beverly Hills in Calabasas, has created a new executive position and made several appointments.

Tuesday in the Valley

The Camarillo Chamber of Commerce holds its educator of the month special event.

Intuit Boosts West Valley Presence With Acquisition

Digital Insight Corp. has been purchased by Intuit Inc., the firm behind the software Turbo Tax, for $1.35 billion cash.

L.A.'s Free Enterprise System Takes Hit

L.A.'s free enterprise system has taken a hit.

Tag-It Pacific Zipping Up Success in Restructuring

Reporter Chris Coates details the impressive rebound of the once-moribund apparel and fastener maker Tag-It Pacific Inc.

Printing Cartridge Firm More Than Doubles Growth

Principals of Printing Technology Inc., a 16-year-old company that makes and distributes laser and ink cartridges, has inked a deal to acquire a Chatsworth facility for $11.6 million.

ValueClick Expands European Presence

ValueClick Inc. has acquired a privately held British firm that owns and operates 27 websites providing comparison shopping, search and vertical market content to European online customers, the company announced Monday.

Countrywide Diversifying Into Auto Insurance

Countrywide Financial Corp. is moving into the auto insurance market.

Friday, December 1

Easton Bell Sees Strong Quarter

Easton-Bell Sports reported net income more than doubled for the third quarter, rising to $5.7 million compared to $2.4 million for the same period last year.

Monday in the Valley

The Thousand Oaks-Westlake Village Regional Chamber of Commerce holds its state of the city address and luncheon.

After $250 million, 'Wellness Center' Opens

The California WellBeing Institute, a 270-room luxury hotel, health center and spa near Westlake Village, opened this week.

EuroDisney Subject of Takeover Bid

A Swiss leisure company is reportedly poised to launch a takeover bid of the operator of EuroDisney.

Industry Veteran Launches New Box Office Tracking Firm

Box office analyst Paul Dergarabedian has launched a new box office analysis and tracking firm in Encino.

City Council Extends New Business Tax Exemption

New start-ups in Los Angeles will not have to pay a business tax for 10 years under the terms of an extended tax exemption passed by the Los Angeles City Council today.

Cheesecake in Slump

The Cheesecake Factory Inc. reported net income dipped 16 percent to $18.1 million or $0.23 per diluted share in the third quarter as sales at restaurants open at least a year fell.

Officials Speak at Chamber Breakfast; Bamattre a No-Show

A morning breakfast meeting sponsored by the Chatsworth/Porter Ranch Chamber of Commerce brought out about 100 people to hear a slate of city, county and regional officials talk about the state of the communities of the northwestern Valley and a brief d