Stories for December 2008

Wednesday, December 31

State to Issue IOUs

California State Controller John Chiang sent a letter to all state agencies stating that beginning in February, billions of dollars of expenditures could end up being paid with individual registered warrants, better known as IOUs.

Twin B-2s to star in parade

Flyovers help hone pilot's edge, skills

Mosher, Precision Dynamics Settle Lawsuits

Walter Mosher will continue to serve on the board of directors of Precision Dynamics Corp. as part of a settlement of legal actions Mosher took against the company that he helped start.

Court Rules Officers of Company Personally Liable

Individual officers of a company may be held personally liable as operators of industrial facilities, such as underground tanks, according to a ruling by the Third District Court of Appeal.

SAG faction expected to seek ouster of negotiating team

Moderates on the Screen Actors Guild board are frustrated at the stalemate in contract talks with Hollywood studios that has left the union in limbo. The move could undermine the guild's leadership.

Restaurants hope to whet appetites of New Year's Eve partygoers with deals on meals, drinks

Food & wine to ring in 2009

New jobless filings drop, but labor conditions do not improve

WASHINGTON -- The number of newly laid off workers signing up for unemployment benefits fell sharply last week but those continuing to draw aid climbed to the highest level since 1982.

Vitesse Ends Year With $16.6 Million Profit

Improvements in operational efficiency and products contributed to Vitesse Semiconductor Corp. completing its fiscal 2008 year in the black.

Tuesday, December 30

'Watchmen' clash far from settled

Fox wants to block Warner's release of the film version of the famed graphic novel.

City is bucking job-loss trend

Openings boost Moorpark hiring

Gasoline prices fall in U.S. but edge up in California, raising concern

The U.S. average drops 4 cents in the last week to $1.613 a gallon. California's average climbs 0.4 cent to $1.810. Some groups blame refiners for a reduction in stockpiles.

$1 Million Loan to VEDC

The Valley Economic Development Center received a $1 million loan from Merrill Lynch that will be used to assist small business.

Students at CLU make it greener

Projects save energy, water, aid recycling

Monday, December 29

LAWA plans to launch viable-flight study

PALMDALE - The latest episode in the cyclical story of passenger air service from L.A./Palmdale Regional Airport came to a close in 2008, as United Airlines became the most recent airline to cancel service.

Company Starts Construction on Oil Extracting Equipment

AM Oil Resources & Technology Inc. will begin construction on portable equipment to more efficiently take oil out of the ground, the company announced.

Deductable Mileage-Rate Changes for 2009

The amount reimbursed to workers for business-related driving will drop in the new year, the Internal Revenue Service announced.

Teledyne Acquires Aviation Support Business

Teledyne Technologies Inc. acquired the assets of a company that makes data loading equipment and software used by the commercial and military airline industries.

California warns companies they may owe use tax

State Board of Equalization sends letters advising service companies to check out-of-state purchases for the last three years or risk an audit.

Family targets Cigna in suit

Loved ones who lost 17-year-old Nataline Sarkisyan in 2007 reveal their plans for litigation.

Wednesday, December 24

Budget forces delay in CSUCI projects

Construction halted because of state freeze on spending

Mall: Holiday sales all over map

Business good for some sellers, not so at others

Valley Banks Receive Bailout Money

First California Financial Group Inc. in Westlake Village was among seven California banks receiving money from the government bailout of the financial industry.

"Two and a Half Men" Equals $49 Million in Warner Bros. Lawsuit

Warner Bros. Television filed a lawsuit against CBS Television over money the studio says is owed from the hit sitcom "Two and Half Men."

More in middle class using payday lenders

The short-term loan stores are proliferating in suburban areas as the economy worsens. Critics say they trap the working poor with steep interest rates; lenders say they provide a needed service.

Tuesday, December 23

Retailers aim to defy low sales forecast

Americans are likely to spend up to nearly 4% less than last year, national trade group says.

Camarillo Company Under Eye of State, County Officials

The Tulare County District Attorney is seeking a preliminary injunction against a Camarillo fire protection equipment company under investigation by a state agency into allegations of pressuring businesses into unnecessary inspections and maintenance.

2nd Knight soars over Mojave

MOJAVE - In a much-anticipated milestone in the march towards commercial space tourism, Virgin Galactic's WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft completed its first flight Sunday morning.

Net Income Declines for Electro Rent

Electro Rent Corp. reported flat revenue growth and a 39 percent decrease in net income for the second quarter despite having rented out more electronic test equipment, personal computers and servers compared to a year ago.

Economy declined 0.5 percent in third quarter

WASHINGTON -- The economy was shrinking in the summer and corporate profits were falling even before the financial crisis struck with full force. Analysts are forecasting that those small declines will be followed by much larger decreases this quarter as

SAG Delays Strike Vote

The Screen Actors Guild has delayed a strike authorization vote by its membership to give the union's national board time to discuss the matter.

Port of Hueneme dredging project benefits two areas

Breaking down to build up

Monday, December 22

Wage Laws Apply To Out of State Workers Working In CA

Guest columnist Richard Rosenberg writes about new wage law rulings

Unico American Corporation to Repurchase Shares

The board of insurance holding company Unico authorized a stock repurchase program to acquire up to 500,000 shares of its outstanding common stock.

AROUND THE VALLEYS

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

Kaiser Panorama Gives $1 Million of Surplus Equipment

Kaiser Panorama City donated $1 million in surplus equipment that was distributed to local health organizations

Countrywide Sells Office Building for $16M

CALABASAS, CA-Countrywide Home Loans Inc. has sold an 86,000-square-foot office building here to Agoura Hills, CA-based DTS Inc. for $15.6 million in a short-term sale-leaseback. The office building, at 5220 Las Virgenes Rd., will serve as the new corpora

Scheib Loss Widens in Q2

A reduction in car volume and fewer paint and body shops contributed to Earl Scheib Inc. widening its net loss in the second quarter when compared with the previous year.

2008 INDUSTRY REPORTS

Entertainment, Accounting and Tech

Wieder, Bradley, Lakeside Get Awards at Annual VICA Meeting

VICA honored locals at its 2008 annual meeting

Building a Professional Base to Nurture Antelope Valley Economy

The Mayor of Palmdale and the Dean of Pepperdine's Graziadio School of Business write about growing the Antelope Valley's business base

Old Town Camarillo Gets a Major Facelift

Old Town Camarillo gets a major facelift. Downtown commercial center created

New Logo for NoHo Hotel Will Still Bear Garland's Name

Despite Beverly Garland's passing, the hotel will retain her name

Outlet Mall Expansion Adding 40 Stores, Event Plaza

A spring completion is expected for the Camarillo Promenade, the expansion of the popular Premium Outlets mall on the city's south side.

May I Have a Word With You?

Marty Cooper bemoans corporate-speak

Let's Keep Sustainability Discussion Going in 2009

Reporter Linda Coburn on the mainstreaming of sustainability

Job center has rise in usage

Officials with Workforce Connection say the center will have 25,000 visitors from July to June.

VALLEY STOCK WATCH

Stock activity for 50 selected greater San Fernando Valley-based public companies: Bi-Weekly Top Gainers, Losers; The Valley 50 Stock Index; 52-week Performance; Market Summary / Indexes

As Year Closes, a Look Back at Names in the News

Follow-up on multiple industry stories covered throughout the year

Moorpark Manufacturer Files Chap. 11

Moorpark Manufacturer Files Chap. 11

Challenging Year Comes to a Close; Little Relief in '09

An analysis of how the Valley economy weathered the economic storm.

Rooms With A View

Interview with John Notter, founder and owner of Westlake Village Inn which is celebrating 40 years in business

Whatever Happened To . . . ?

A Look at How Featured Entrepreneurs Fared This Year

Teledyne Makes Hydrographic Survey Instrument Acquisition

A subsidiary of Teledyne Technologies Inc. has acquired a Louisiana company that designs and manufacturers hydrographic survey instruments.

$22 million pipeline for recycled water approved

LANCASTER - A plan to build a recycled water distribution system in the Antelope Valley took another step forward last week when county leaders gave their approval to start work on a water "backbone" that will connect water processing plants in Palmdale a

VALLEY ECONOWATCH

Economic Indicators for Real Estate, Tourism, and more...

Simi Valley to consider five-star resort

Owner also hopes to put health spa at the Hummingbird Nest Ranch

Ventura County Can't Spell Business Without the U

A hankering for pizza, fruit pies and coffee helps get the word out on the "Be the U" marketing campaign at California State University Channel Islands.

Barter is back just in time for Christmas

NEW YORK -- If you're looking for an extra bargain before the holidays, you may only have to ask.

VALLEY NEWSMAKERS

Peoeple on the move.

Customer Service Is Not The Same As Selling

Guest columnist Ben Tenn on customer service

Finally Getting a Strategy for Area

Editor Jason Schaff reports on a recent Valley College business forum

Friday, December 19

Schwarzenegger Addresses Budget Crisis through Payroll

Governor sends letter to state employees

Thursday, December 18

Leading indicators fall in November

NEW YORK -- A private research group's measure of the economy's health fell again in November and its six-month rate of decline hit the worst level since 1991.

Candidate offers cure for state ills

PALMDALE - Silicon Valley tycoon and state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner said leaders need to make lemonade out of the state's financial lemons.

Amazon Subsidiary Buys Box Office Tracking Firm

Online box office tracking firm Box Office Mojo has been acquired by IMDb.com Inc., a subsidiary of Amazon.com.

Electronics Firm Targets Veteran Hires

Electronics manufacturer Stellar Microelectronics has started a new apprenticeship program aimed at military veterans.

Companies cast off jobs before holidays

A growing number of companies are sending workers a grim holiday message: Head for the unemployment line.

Wednesday, December 17

Auto Parts Maker Files for Chapter 11 Protection

The collapse of the U.S. auto industry contributed to manufacturer Special Devices Inc. to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

TO to revamp filming ordinance

A Thousand Oaks family lost out on their chance to appear on the television game show "Opportunity Knocks" because of the city's strict filming standards.

Restaurant complaints spur review of permit

Vineyards owner says noise issues are being addressed

Death Puts NTS Out of Compliance

The death of a board member for engineering and test services firm National Technical Systems Inc. has led NASDAQ to notify the company of noncompliance with independent director requirements.

Robot attack jet unveiled

Northrop shows off unmanned X-47B fighter

Joe Kaplan Leaving Intuit

Five years after selling Innovative Merchant Solutions to Intuit, Joe Kaplan leaves the company at the end of the month.

Tuesday, December 16

Internal Strife Emerges in Actors Union

Cracks are beginning to emerge within the Screen Actors Guild as the union prepares to go to its members for a strike authorization.

Coming Soon to Russian TV Tols-Toy Story?

The Walt Disney Co. will begin broadcasting in Russia in 2009 with its own branded channel in partnership with Media-One Holdings Ltd.

Inflation drops bigger-than-expected 1.7%

WASHINGTON -- A record plunge in consumer prices in November puts pressure on the Federal Reserve to act decisively to guard against a debilitating bout of deflation.

Radioactive contaminants found in Field Laboratory pit

Tests have uncovered radioactive contaminants in an open-air burn pit, already rife with chemical pollutants, at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, according to state regulatory officials.

Local motorcycle dealer too costly for T.O. police

The Thousand Oaks Police Department is seeking to purchase three new motorcycles from a Long Beach dealership after a local dealer failed to submit a competitive bid, officials say.

Middle Eastern restaurant seeks expansion

Raffi's, which began as a take-out spot, has grown up and needs more room, owner says.

Monday, December 15

Overtime pay, rest breaks become bargaining chips in state budget crisis

GOP lawmakers and business groups say changes in workplace rules are needed to keep employers in California, generating tax revenue. But Democrats and labor groups refuse to go along.

Ventura to consider improvement district

Despite weakening sales and gloomy economic forecasts, downtown Ventura property owners are advancing efforts to create a special assessment district to pay for marketing, security, maintenance and other improvements.

Net Income Jumps for NTS

Engineering test services firm National Technical Systems Inc. reported an 82 percent increase in net income for the third quarter when compared with the previous year.

L.A. Times Going Mobile with Auto, Real Estate Ads

The Los Angeles Times will offer detailed listings of auto and real estate ads to mobile devices through Woodland Hills-based mobile marketing firm Gumiyo.

SOFIA preps for flight as scientists look to skies

PALMDALE - The secrets of the universe may be closer at hand when an airborne infrared telescope takes to the skies in initial flights next year.

Swartz Returns to State Accountancy Board

David Swartz, a partner at Good Swartz Brown & Berns, A Division of J.H. Cohn has been reappointed to serve on the State Board of Accountancy.

Urgent care is losing patients

Emergency rooms are becoming crowded as more people lose their health benefits.

Las Lomas Review Rejected

The City of Los Angeles prevailed in their fight against the developers of the controversial Las Lomas real estate development project when a Los Angeles Superior Court judge rejected all of the developer's arguments for re-opening review of the project.

Friday, December 12

A shakeout at local shopping malls

Some strip malls might look like they're on the verge of becoming ghost towns, with troubled retailers shuttering anchor stores across Ventura County.

Opposition to T-Mobile cell antenna is building

Group says it will distribute signs with disconnecting number, give out iPhones.

Census: Majority of Palmdale residents Hispanic

Valley's white population shrinking - and aging

Retail sales, wholesale prices fall again

WASHINGTON -- Consumers reduced their spending at retail stores again in November while the costs of goods before they reach store shelves also continued to drop, more bad signs in a recession that appears to be deepening.

KB Toys Closing Eight Area Stores

KB Toys filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, indicating that it would immediately begin going-out-of-business sales in all of its locations.

Westlake Law Firm to Represent Boat Builder

The Alavarez Firm, a Westlake Village law practice, has taken on American Beauty Boats Inc. as a new client.

Thursday, December 11

Ceres Begins Energy Crop Seed Sales

Ceres Inc. has started sales of seeds to grow raw materials for biofuels and biopower, the company announced.

North Valley Money Fraud Alert

Fake bills passed at shops.

Counseling Available for California Homeowners

The State of California has attained a $7.8 million federal grant to expand counseling services for homeowners, in addition to the $8 million federal grant it was awarded earlier this year.

Palmer Resigns from Las Lomas

Real estate developer Dan Palmer has resigned as president of the Las Lomas Land Company, LLC.

Wednesday, December 10

1,400-plus gallons of oil cleaned up

Workers continued to clean up an oil spill Tuesday after a pipeline broke on an oil platform in the Santa Barbara Channel.

Cherokee 3Q Revenues Decline Slightly

A weak global economy and a strengthening U.S. dollar overseas contributed to retail brand manager Cherokee Inc. reporting a 12 percent decrease in net income for the third quarter when compared with the previous year.

LAWA Ownership of Airport Land Questioned

Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich has questioned whether Los Angeles World Airports can continue to own 17,000 acres of land in the Antelope Valley that had been the site of a proposed airport.

13 ready to vie for Burbank council

CITY HALL , City officials announced Tuesday that 13 residents have qualified for next year's City Council election, including two incumbent council members and former Burbank board members seeking to fill three seats.

Time Warner Experiencing Widespread Internet, Digital Phone Outages

More than 1.2 million customers of Time Warner across the country have been plagued with Internet and digital phone outages.

Deal on Auto Plan Near

Congressional Democrats and the Bush administration have inched closer to an agreement on a taxpayer rescue of the American automobile industry, the New York Times reported.

Wholesale inventories, sales plunge in October

WASHINGTON -- Wholesalers cut back on their inventories in October by the largest amount since the period following the 2001 terrorist attacks while they watched their sales plunge by a record amount.

Eatery told: Get permits or desist

PALMDALE , Concluding that a downtown restaurant has been operating more like a nightclub than an eatery, the Planning Commission on Thursday ordered the owner to either cease operating or apply for appropriate business permits.

Tuesday, December 9

"Green" Hangar Opens in Burbank

Solar power, drought-resistant plants and recycled materials all contribute to Hangar 25 at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, what its builder is calling the most sustainable aircraft hangar in the world.

Brand-name Drug Makers' Warnings may Apply to Generics

A state appeals court has decided that prescription drug manufacturers are bound to provide product warnings that exercise "due care," even if a generic equivalent is used to fill a prescription to which a patient has a negative reaction.

Monday, December 8

Glendale Embassy Now Open, Has Sights Set on Corporate Business

Glendale's Embassy Suites is finally open after construction delays

Palmdale Faces Bumpy Ride in Taking Over Airport

The City of Palmdale is seeking a carrier to service its airport

Palmdale council delays alcohol measure

PALMDALE - The City Council on Wednesday postponed making a decision on adopting a measure that would, in most cases, keep restaurants more than 300 feet away from public or private schools.

Message and Vehicles: Part of Roadmap to Success

Part II of guest columnist Scott Harris's marketing plan

T.O. Gets New H.Q.

Chicago-based company has moved its headquarters to Thousand Oaks.

Glendale to take a look at land

Number of parcels on default list is much higher this year; officials are eyeing bargains.

Volunteering Builds Skills, Provides Career Growth

Companies are using volunteering as leadership training

VALLEY NEWSMAKERS

Who's in, who's out at Valley companies.

Distractions End for Image with Nyx Acquisition

Reporter Mark Madler reports on Image Entertainment, 3D Summit

Aging Population Excites Senior Housing Developers

Reporter Linda Coburn on the proliferation of senior housing

Retail Rarity

The Scandalo boutique survives its first two years

Regional Partner 'Rotation' at Moss Adams

Personnel rotations at Moss Adams offices

Redistricting: Include'Top Two' Reforms

Greg Lippe's opinion on how to expand on redistricting

Downturn creates drama at NBC

Restructuring and firings come as the networks struggle with hesitant advertisers and tech-savvy viewers.

Valley Organizations Putting on Largest Business Expo

The Economic Alliance is hosting a major business expo in February

VALLEY BIZ SEEN

A reader-driven feature: photographs of Valley business people being feted, awarded, commended or just taking part in interesting regional events.

Actress, Hotel Owner Beverly Garland, 82

Actress and San Fernando Valley businesswoman Beverly Garland has died following a lengthy illness. She was 82.

College Program To Train Hundreds Of Local Workers

College of the Canyons has received funds to train local workers

Spinning Out of the Downturn?

An interview with Michael Brodsky, CEO of Youbet..com

AROUND THE VALLEYS

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

VALLEY ECONOWATCH

Charts of Economic Indicators, Real Estate, Tourism...

Local Lawyers Defeat State Plan

The local bar association prevailed against a state referral service.

Getting Paid Grows Problematic

Past due accounts are becoming more prevalent.

COC Small Business Head Steps Down to Join Signal

Paul De La Cerda is leaving COC

Businesses and Nonprofits Tighten Holiday Spending

Companies and non-profits are scaling back parties.

Hospital Building Programs Expand Area Capacity

An update on a variety of hospital expansion and renovation projects.

Lamborghini Dealership Empty, New Owners on the Way

The Calabasas Lamborghini dealership sits vacant one year after opening

Disney Acquiring European Media Company

The Walt Disney Co. expanded its media business in Europe by purchasing shares to up its stake to 96 percent in Jetix Europe N.V.

Friday, December 5

Former CSUN Employee Investigated for Alleged Financial Impropriety

Shirley Bowens, a former employee in the Office of International Programs at California State University, Northridge, is under criminal investigation regarding alleged financial improprieties involving international students.

Westfield Topanga Wins Design Award

The $215 million Westfield Topanga Mall Expansion and Renovation has received a Merit Award in the annual International Council of Shopping Centers design competition.

Thursday, December 4

Mattel Rightful Owner of Bratz, Judge Rules

Decision could mean end of local firm.

Wednesday, December 3

Camarillo Videoconferencing Firm Acquires Boston Business

Deal will expand locations of firm

Tuesday, December 2

Nunez Joins Zenith Board

Former state assemblyman Fabian Nunez has been added to the board of directors for Zenith National Insurance Corp. (NYSE: ZNT) based in Woodland Hills.

SimulationsPlus Announces Growth in Fiscal Year '08

Lancaster-based SimulationsPlus announced earnings for FY08 of $1.73 million on revenues of $8.97 million, an increase of more than 17.7 percent over last year.

Monday, December 1

Courts to get $5 Billion for Repairs, Renovations

New fees and fines will help service the debt

Landsource Seeks Quick Land Sale Process

LandSource Communities Development is asking a bankruptcy court judge to allow it to sell off land through a streamlined approval process in order to generate cash more quickly.

Former Amgen Exec Joins Accounting Firm in Woodland Hills

Adams will head Accounting & Transactions Advisory service