Stories for February 2013

Thursday, February 28

Great American to Sell Peregrine Headquarters

Great American Group Inc. is auctioning the former headquarters of Peregrine Financial Group as part of the investment firm’s court-supervised liquidation.

New Dean at Cal Lutheran Business School

Gerhard Apfelthaler has been named the dean of the School of Management at California Lutheran University.

Amgen Shareholders Shrug Off Setback

Shares in Amgen Inc. hit a 52-week high on Thursday as investors shrugged off a U.S. Supreme Court decision that will allow a class-action lawsuit against the biotech company to move forward.

Wednesday, February 27

Wood Stepping Down as Valley Economic Alliance President

Valley Economic Alliance President Ron Wood announced he will leave as head of the San Fernando Valley business assistance organization effective May 1.

DineEquity Misses Q4 Revenue Estimate

DineEquity Inc. reported fourth-quarter profit that beat Wall Street forecasts, despite it being lower than the same period in 2011.

Shoe Company Reports Net Loss in Q4

K-Swiss Inc. reported its fourth quarter earnings today, which included a net loss exceeding Wall Street estimates.

Runway Repair Project Begins at Van Nuys Airport

Construction began on Wednesday on a $14 million repair project on the main runway at the Van Nuys Airport.

Tuesday, February 26

Poor Q4 for DreamWorks Animation

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. badly missed analyst expectations for the fourth-quarter and full year as the company took a large write-down on its fall film “Rise of the Guardians.”

Kaiser Permanente’s New Leader

Kaiser Permanente Woodland Hills Medical Center has announced Michael Carter as its new executive director.

FDA Suspends Amgen Drug Trial

The Food and Drug Administration has suspended pediatric trials of Amgen Inc.’s thyroid drug Sensipar following the death of a 14-year-old trial patient, the agency said Tuesday.

Monday, February 25

Salem Communications Misses Wall Street Estimates

Shares of Salem Communications declined after a disappointing fourth quarter earnings due to expenses related to stock options and the retirement of debt.

Crown Media Doubles Profit

Crown Media Holdings Inc. more than doubled its profits in the fourth quarter, boosted by holiday viewing of the Hallmark Channel.

Friday, February 22

Sunkist Revenue Tops $1 Billion

Sunkist Growers Inc., a cooperative of family farms based in Sherman Oaks, announced that 2012 was its third straight billion-dollar year in revenue.

Xirrus Raises Additional $10 Million

Wi-Fi network provider Xirrus Inc. has raised $10 million in a funding round, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission this week.

Sanguine BioSciences Gathers Seed Funding

Sanguine BioSciences Inc., a company that collects blood for use in medical research, has closed its seed funding round with $10 million.

Thursday, February 21

Public Storage FFO Exceeds Estimates

Public Storage Inc. said its earnings increased in the fourth quarter due to improved property operations, helping the real estate investment trust beat Wall Street expectations for its funds from operations.

IPC Beats Earnings Forecasts

IPC The Hospitalist Co. beat analyst expectations for the fourth quarter as it reported double-digit growth in its doctors network for the year.

Valley Home Prices Hit Four-Year High

The housing market continued to recover in January, with home prices in the San Fernando Valley soaring to the highest level in four years, the Southland Regional Association of Realtors said Thursday.

Hurricane Sandy Drives Tutor Perini Results

Tutor Perini Corp. exceeded Wall Street earnings forecasts due to a flurry of emergency work following Hurricane Sandy.

Wednesday, February 20

Restaurant Closures Hurt Cheesecake Earnings

Cheesecake Factory Inc. reported lower profits in its fiscal fourth quarter, largely due to three restaurant closures, as it narrowly missed Wall Street projections.

United Online Earnings Disappoint

Shares of United Online Inc. fell slightly after the company reported fourth-quarter year results that missed analyst expectations.

Earnings Rise at PS Business Parks

PS Business Parks Inc. said its earnings and revenue increased in the fourth quarter largely due to rental fees from newly acquired commercial properties.

Tuesday, February 19

Cheesecake Announces New Management

Cheesecake Factory Inc. announced on Tuesday the promotion of two top executives following the resignation of its president.

uSamp Named to Forbes Most Promising List

Market research company uSamp has been named for a second year in a row to the Forbes magazine list of America’s Most Promising Companies.

Monday, February 18

Derycz Scientific Reports Profits

Derycz Scientific Inc. turned a profit in the second fiscal quarter, a turnaround from its performance last year.

Northrop to Upgrade B-2 in Palmdale

Northrop Grumman Corp. will do upgrades to the B-2 stealth bomber at its Palmdale manufacturing facility under a contract with the U.S. Air Force.

Keeping It Real Online

Fraud website helps consumers, businesses battle bogus products.

INTERNET: Website that monitors fake products may be a genuine success.

Business Groups at Odds in Taxing Debate-Pro

Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce Makes Surprise Endorsement of Proposition A Sales Tax

As business and community leaders, we are keenly aware of the direct correlation between public safety and a robust business climate.

Business Groups at Odds in Taxing Debate-Con

Leading Valley Business Group Says City Hall Should Streamline Before Asking for More Revenue

Just four months after Californians voted in support of a statewide sales tax increase, the City of Los Angeles hopes to benefit from that afterglow by placing its own larger, permanent tax hike in front of voters on March 5.

special report law

Attorneys didn’t do badly in the housing bust, with many starting practices that promised to save homes from foreclosure.

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$1 Billion Contract Spurs Expansion

Defense: ATK will produce Navy missile in Northridge.

DEFENSE: Alliant Techsystems will manufacture Navy missiles in Northridge.

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Valley Businesses Place Their Bets

Politics: Donors favor Greuel, Garcetti in mayoral primary.

POLITICS: Mayoral candidates seek contributions and votes for March 5 primary.

PennyMac Lender Returns to Roots With Planned IPO

FINANCE: An IPO could help PennyMac Financial rise from the ashes of Countrywide.

Tired of the City Life? Try Scrub Brush

Tourism: Antelope Valley city starts Destination Lancaster campaign.

TOURISM: Can Destination Lancaster bring travelers to the Antelope Valley?

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Lawmakers Do Monster Mash-Up

Lawmakers Do Monster Mash-Up

TOYS: Politicians have morphed into monsters at Heroes in Action.

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Cruise Line Thinking Big Again

Princess makes splash in recovering economy with larger vessel.

TRAVEL: Princess Cruises in Santa Clarita is building the 141,000-ton Royal Princess.

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Simi Hospital Nurses Staff Health

Program includes free fruit and veggies, and promotion of exercise.

EMPLOYMENT: Simi Valley Hospital gives employees fruits and vegetables.

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Brew Mistress

Beverage: LadyFace moves into distribution after crafting beers and ales for three years as the Conejo Valley’s first microbrewery.

BEVERAGE: The brewery Cyrena Nouzille started in her kitchen is now in business.

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Poison Pill Wards Off Hostile Takeover – for Now

Investment: Large investor in Qualstar to renew fight with own board slate.

INVESTMENT: Steven Bronson still has plans to gain control of Qualstar Corp.

Heart of Gold

Monica Mills is a banker who spends her day in the mortgage business. On her off hours, she runs a non-profit assisting sick children and their families.

Q&A: Meet Monica Mills, banker by day and non-profit organizer in her spare time.

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Northridge Doctors Group Goes App With Prize

Technology: Heritage offers $100,000 for broad smart phone application.

Heritage Provider Network is looking for a good phone app for medical tracking and will give $100,000 to the team that can create it.

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Valley Lender Distributes $183,000 in Microloans

Non-Profit: VEDC provides funding to companies that complete risk training.

The Valley Economic Development Center has provided $183,000 in microloans to six Los Angeles area businesses that completed a risk management education pilot program.

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Burbank Council Rattles Cages with Canine Ban

Pets: City joins trend to stop sale of dogs from so-called ‘puppy mills.’

Peggy Wood’s Pet Emporium has been known as the place to buy puppies in Burbank.

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Bankruptcy: Surprising Moneymaker for Lawyer

ATTORNEY: Matthew Resnik fights foreclosures with Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

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Foreclosure Attorney Banking on His Practice

COUNSEL: Gary Barr represents banks when a loan mod turns into litigation.

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Profits Low, Demand High for Legal Aid Firm

NON-PROFIT: Neighborhood Legal Services’ 40 lawyers help homeowners.

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Sunkist Peels Off Headquarters in Sale-Leaseback

Transaction: Produce co-op sells Sherman Oaks building to developer.

Private equity firm IMT Capital LLC and affiliate IMT Residential have jointly acquired the Sunkist Building in Sherman Oaks, with plans to add mixed-use buildings to the property.

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Around the Valleys

News and notes from around the greater San Fernando Valley area

Another high-end, luxury car will join the more than 25 dealerships at the Thousand Oaks Auto Mall.

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A Lesson in the Bottom Line

Working at DreamWorks; L.A. City’s new website

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Stockwatch

Market Watch Summary

Stocks were up across the board for the two-week period ended Feb. 13.

CALENDAR - Feb. 18-Mar. 26, 2013

Calendar of Events

Editorial Cartoon SFVBJ - February 18, 2013

This week's Editorial Cartoon by Steve Greenberg

VALLEY BIZ SEEN - February 18, 2013

Photographs of recent business-related events in the valleys, including parties, awards dinners, benefits and other celebrations.

Legal Barriers

Many law firms fled foreclosure relief due to new rules, but some are still practicing for profit.

Lawyers who specialize in foreclosure face an up-and-down market.

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Membership Rolls Rebounding from Recession

Chambers: Organizations lower fees, add programs following downturn.

THE LIST STORY: Chamber executive look forward to increasing membership and programs. Includes SFVBJ's 2013 CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE FIRMS list for download (pdf)

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Friday, February 15

Bionic Eye Receives FDA Approval

The FDA has approved a bionic eye developed by Second Sight Medical Products Inc. for use to treat some kinds of blindness, effectively giving blind patients some sight.

Anthem Reverses Rate Increase

Anthem Blue Cross has agreed to roll back an 18 percent rate increase on individual customers that drew protests by consumer advocates and criticism from state Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones.

Aviation School Gets Lift

An aviation mechanics school facing closure at Van Nuys Airport moved another step closer to remaining open now that the FAA has given its blessing to a cut-rate lease for the school.

Statewide Condom Law Targets Adult Shoots

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation is raising the stakes in its battle against the adult industry, sponsoring an Assembly bill that would mandate the use of condoms in porn shoots statewide.

Thursday, February 14

MGA Reports Higher Revenue

MGA Entertainment Inc. recorded a 23 percent revenue gain last year as sales of its core toy lines saw substantial growth, the company said

Trio-Tech Again Narrows Quarterly Loss

Trio-Tech International Inc. narrowed its fiscal second quarter loss, the result of higher sales and cost-cutting measures, the company announced Thursday.

IPC Buys New Jersey Doctors Group

IPC The Hospitalist Co. has acquired Internal Medicine Consultants, a doctors’ practice in Morristown, N.J.

Wednesday, February 13

ValueClick Profits Rise in Fourth Quarter

Marketing company ValueClick Inc.’s profit rose in the fourth quarter, beating analyst estimates, the company reported Wednesday.

Business Leaders to Speak at Antelope Valley Conference

About 700 people are expected to attend the 41st Annual Antelope Valley Board of Trade Business Outlook Conference Feb. 22 at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds in Lancaster.

Easton Sports Gets New Chief Executive

Van Nuys company Easton-Bell Sports Inc., which designs sports equipment and accessories, has named a new chief executive.

Tuesday, February 12

Comcast Buys GE’s Remaining Stake in NBCUniversal

Comcast Corp. will acquire the minority share in NBCUniversal still owned by General Electric Co. in a deal valued at $16.7 billion.

ReachLocal Narrowly Misses Market Expectations

ReachLocal announced quarterly and full-year financial results Tuesday that narrowly missed analyst expectations.

DreamWorks Animation Creating Netflix Series

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. will create the first original series for children to be streamed through Netflix.

Donation Funds Aircraft Mechanic Program

The North Valley Occupational Center Aviation Center, which trains students in aviation mechanics, has received a $100,000 donation, stemming off a potential closure or relocation.

Monday, February 11

Rocketdyne Powers Satellite Launch

Upper stage engines built by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne powered an Atlas V rocket launched on Monday taking a satellite into orbit for use by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey.

MediaShift Buys Travora Media

Digital advertising company MediaShift in Glendale has acquired travel ad network Travora Media for an undisclosed amount.

MannKind Reports Higher Loss

MannKind Corp. on Monday reported a higher quarterly loss than analysts projected, attributing the decline to higher operating and R&D costs as the company prepares for another round of clinical trials.

Qualstar Investor Drops Takeover Bid

BKF Capital Group Inc. announced Monday it has withdrawn its offer to acquire a majority stake in Qualstar Corp. in response to the Simi Valley company adopting a poison pill provision to prevent such a takeover.

Friday, February 8

Point.360 Reports Loss, Plans to Open Stores

Post-production house Point.360 reported a slight quarterly loss, the result of delays in TV shows and movies moving onto cable TV and satellite systems.

Teledyne Brown Extends NASA Contract

A subsidiary of Teledyne Technologies Inc. has received a five-year contract to continue providing support services for the International Space Station and other space missions managed by the Marshall Space Flight Center.

PennyMac REIT Reports Higher Profits

Housing lender PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust reported soaring profits for the fourth quarter, boosted by an increase in residential loans.

Thursday, February 7

Cherokee Declares Dividend

Apparel brand licensing company Cherokee Inc. announced it will pay shareholders a quarterly dividend of 10 cents a share.

Mayoral Candidates Spar at CSUN Debate

Hundreds of San Fernando Valley area residents turned out Thursday on the campus of Cal State Northridge for a debate between the five leading candidates in the Los Angeles mayoral election.

DreamWorks Animation to Cut Glendale Workforce

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. could lay off up to 20 percent of its Glendale workforce amid a filming halt, according to reports.

PennyMac Financial Files for $288 Million IPO

PennyMac Financial Services Inc. has filed paperwork for an initial public offering of up to $288 million on the New York Stock Exchange, the company said Thursday.

Wednesday, February 6

Qualstar Responds to Takeover Bid With Poison Pill

The Qualstar Corp. board of directors adopted on Wednesday a poison pill provision in response to a takeover attempt by the Simi Valley company’s second largest shareholder.

Ixia Narrowly Beats Earnings Forecast

Sales from two recently acquired companies boosted profits 30 percent for Ixia Inc. in the fourth quarter, beating analyst expectations, the company announced Wednesday.

Sport Chalet Reports Quarterly Loss

Increased marketing and labor costs resulted in a third fiscal quarter loss of $1.9 million for Sports Chalet, Inc, despite rising sales.

'Pi' Takes Big Slice of Visual Effects Awards

A tiger in a lifeboat bested hobbits, dwarves and goblins at the 11th annual Visual Effects Society Awards given out this week in Beverly Hills.

Burbank Approves Ikea Sale

The city of Burbank has approved the sale of a 6.4-acre lot that is the site of its downtown Ikea store, moving the retailer one step closer toward opening a new store twice as large.

Tuesday, February 5

DineEquity Lowers Interest Rate on Debt

DineEquity Inc., the owner of the IHOP and Applebee’s restaurant chains, has completed the refinancing of $472 million in debt, the company announced Tuesday.

Disney Earnings, Revenue Meet Analyst Estimates

The Walt Disney Co. met analyst estimates on revenue and earnings per share in the first quarter, helped by strong increases in its media networks and theme park and resorts.

Cherokee to Distribute Alessandra Line

Apparel brand licensing company Cherokee Inc. will market a new line of clothing under the label of former Victoria’s Secret model Allesandra Ambrosio, the Van Nuys company announced Tuesday.

Power-One Partners With Panasonic

Camarillo solar equipment manufacturer Power-One Inc. has entered into a partnership with Japanese electronics giant Panasonic Corp., the company said Tuesday.

Monday, February 4

AMC Theaters Moving Into Fallbrook Location

While Laemmle Theaters Inc. is still moving out of its Fallbrook Avenue location at the end of the month, AMC Theaters will be taking its place with only a few days of dark screens, the company said Friday.

Lawmakers Sponsor Helicopter Noise Bill in Congress

Congressman Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) introduced a bill Monday requiring the Federal Aviation Administration to set guidelines for helicopters in Los Angeles County.

Promised Returns Not as Advertised

Investments: Agoura Hills man faces prison in unusual Ponzi scheme.

INVESTMENTs: Dean Gross invented a Ponzi scheme based on advertising that fleeced investors for $15.4 million.

CALENDAR - Feb. 5-12, 2013

Calendar of Events

Stockwatch

Stocks were up across the board for the two-week period ended Jan. 30.

Around the Valleys

News and notes from around the greater San Fernando Valley area

A $1.1 million settlement has been reached in a 2011 case between defunct debt collection company Forensic Case Management Services Inc. and the Federal Trade Commission.

Former NoHo Tear Downs Ready for Rehab

Marketing: Estate rethinks plan to sell six properties as development sites.

Brokers are trying a new tactic to move a group of six North Hollywood properties valued at $9.2 million that have remained largely vacant over the last four years.

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Political Storm Engulfs Pharmaceutical Giant

Biotech: Amgen suddenly in center of two disputes over drug sales and profits.

The year just started but so far it hasn’t been a great one for Amgen Inc. – at least if measured by the number of national controversies its embroiled in.

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Boys & Girls Club Runs Mile Fundraiser at Mall

Event: West Valley group asks for mile’s worth of quarters at Topanga center.

What’s a mile of quarters worth?

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Studio Equipment Firm Rigs Up Bigger Offices

Production: Matthews moves into $10 million Burbank headquarters.

Matthews Studio Equipment Inc. is settling into its new headquarters and manufacturing facility in Burbank, having moved from buildings it occupied for more than 40 years in another part of the city.

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Accounting Firms Gear Up for Expanding Economy

LIST: Local firms saw slow CPA growth in 2012 but expect to boost hiring.

STORY: Accounting firms look forward to growth in 2013. Includes SFVBJ's 2013 TOP ACCOUNTING FIRMS list for download (pdf)

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Beauty Firm Taps Profits from Moroccan Tree

Manufacturing: Oil from exotic Argan nut greases sales at Earthly Body Inc.

Manufacturing: Moroccan tree oil and hemp-based fragrances make Earthly Body a sweet success.

THQ Likely to Exit 100,000-Square-Foot Offices

Video Games: Liquidation of Agoura Hills company puts headquarters in limbo.

VIDEO GAMES: Once a profitable game studio, THQ ends with a piecemeal asset auction.

Screen Glory?

Entertainment: A premium theater set to open this spring could help revive Glendale’s aging Exchange redevelopment project.

ENTERTAINMENT: A luxury theater in Glendale could revive an aging redevelopment project.

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Hair Style App Hopes To Make Cut

Spray & Play allows users to try out looks on their own photos.

TECHNOLOGY: An app that lets you see yourself with a new hair-do comes courtesy of SexyHair.

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Dealership Hits Street with Style

Autos: Woodland Hills Lexus building upscale showroom.

AUTOs: Lexus dealership in Woodland Hills gets an expansion and facelift, prompted by a rebound in the luxury car market.

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Internet Exec Now Sold On Retail Shop

Entrepreneur bets hands-on crafts store will take shape in T.O.

RETAIL: Former CSUN student Daniel Nissanoff returns to Southern California by opening a Thousand Oaks crafts store.

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Restaurants’ Parent Pulls Pork Policy

DineEquity no longer to use pigs kept in gestation crates.

FOOD: IHOP complies with animal rights activists to eliminate pregnant pig crates from its supply chain.

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Spacecraft Puts Bodies Into Orbit

Deodorant brand Axe holds contest to win flight on XCOR’s Lynx.

MARKETING: Xcor Aerospace and the Axe grooming brand have organized a contest. Top prize: A flight into space.

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Miami Investor Exiting Valley?

Real Estate: LNR sells half interest in Santa Clarita mall.

REAL ESTATE: LNR Property sells its interest in Valencia Town Center, as it appears to exit the Santa Clarita Valley.

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Learning to Live With Jet Noise

Local consultant argues that measures to reduce jet noise at airports are counterproducitve.

In 1973, federal courts granted airports the right to enact reasonable, non-arbitrary and non-discriminatory noise abatement procedures that pose no hazard to aviation safety.

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Billboards in a Better Light

Pink’s Hot Dogs did not become a Hollywood legend overnight.

VALLEY BIZ SEEN - February 4, 2013

Photographs of recent business-related events in the valleys, including parties, awards dinners, benefits and other celebrations.

Editorial Cartoon SFVBJ - February 4, 2013

This week's Editorial Cartoon by Steve Greenberg

One Tough Crowd to Please

EDITOR: THQ lost at the difficult game of pleasing teenagers.

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Growth formula

Former Amgen scientist starts incubator

BIOTECH: A new life sciences incubator has opened in Agoura Hills. The region’s big pharma presence may help it become viable.

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Friday, February 1

Shareholder Makes Bid to Take Over Qualstar

Dissident shareholder Steven Bronson is making another bid to take over Qualstar Corp., a Simi Valley developer and manufacturer of data storage and power supply products.

New Management at Scaled Composites

Northrop Grumman Corp. has promoted two executives to president and vice-president of Scaled Composites, its cutting edge aircraft manufacturing subsidiary based at the Mojave Air & Space Port.