Stories for February 2014

Friday, February 28

L.A. Council Moves to Ban Fracking

The Los Angeles City Council on Friday voted overwhelmingly to take the first step banning fracking at oil and gas wells in the city until it can be shown the activity will not harm the environment or public health.

Surf Air Names CEO

Private membership airline Surf Air announced on Friday that Jeff Potter, former head at Frontier Airlines, has taken over as the chief executive.

Mission Hills Cemetery Settles Suit for $35 Million

Eden Memorial Park has settled a class-action lawsuit for $35 million that accused it of digging up and dumping remains in order to reuse burial sites – though when all costs are included the total could reach $80 million, according to media reports on Friday.

Briefs: Salem, Valley Presbyterian, Sport Chalet

Shares of Salem Communications Corp. rose slightly on Friday after the company announced fourth quarter results.

Thursday, February 27

Providence to Take Over Saint John’s Health Center

Providence Health & Services, Southern California has received approvals from church and state officials to take over Santa Monica’s St. John’s Health Center and the John Wayne Cancer Institute, the hospital system announced on Thursday.

Report: Beef Up Production Incentives

A new report issued Thursday on runaway film and television production in California recommends the state increase the amount of its tax incentive program, allow big budget features to apply for the tax breaks and expand the program to include visual effects costs.

Sylmar Shopping Center Sells for $16.8 Million

The Sylmar Square Shopping Center has sold for $16.8 million – the largest retail sale in the northeast Valley in more than a year.

Wednesday, February 26

KB Home Unveils Zero Energy Lancaster House

KB Home opened on Wednesday a new home in Lancaster that produces as much energy as it uses and significantly reduces water usage – what the company is billing as the first of its kind.

DineEquity Beats Estimates Despite Lagging Applebee's

DineEquity Inc. reported fourth quarter earnings on Wednesday in line with analysts’ estimates, but announced the departure of an executive at its Applebee’s chain, which saw same-store sales fall.

Valley Home Prices Climb

San Fernando Valley home prices continued their upward trajectory in January, with the median price gaining more than 15 percent to $485,000, according to a report released on Wednesday.

Surf Air Adds Las Vegas Flights

Private membership airline Surf Air announced on Wednesday it is expanding its service from Burbank Bob Hope Airport with flight to Las Vegas and Truckee.

ImmunoCellular Gives Back Some Gains

Shares of ImmunoCellular Therapeutics Ltd. gave back some gains on Wednesday following a run-up on news that European regulators granted special status to its experimental brain cancer drug.

Tuesday, February 25

Disney Offers Streaming Service

Walt Disney Co. is offering 400 movie titles through a new cloud-based streaming service, Disney Movies Anywhere, the company announced Tuesday.

DreamWorks Animation Takes "Turbo" Write-Down

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. missed analysts’ earnings forecasts by a wide margin on Tuesday after the studio took a large write-down for its flop “Turbo.”

Universal Changes Home Entertainment Management

Universal Studios changed the leadership of its home entertainment division with the departure of long-time president Craig Kornblau, the studio announced Tuesday.

Briefs: Tutor Perini, PizzaRev

Shares of Tutor Perini Corp. popped more than 6 percent on Tuesday following the release of the company’s fourth-quarter and 2013 results.

Dolby Acquires Doremi for $92.5 Million

Dolby Laboratories is acquiring Burbank’s Doremi Labs for $92.5 million in cash and a possible additional $20 million earn-out over the next four years.

Phone Power Rebrands

Telecommunications company Phone Power in Winnetka has rebranded itself as BroadVoice.

Study Predicts Robust County Job Growth

L.A. County can expect to add more than 150,000 jobs over the next two years, according to an upbeat local forecast.

Monday, February 24

‘Shrek’-Themed Attraction Planned

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. on Monday said that it has licensed characters from its hit film franchise “Shrek” to a British theme park operator that will create attractions based on the green orge and his companions.

ReachLocal Offers Open-Source Code for Apps

ReachLocal Inc. on Monday released open-source software code that it said should help other developers create cross-platform mobile apps.

The Epic Battle of ‘Stalingrad’

Film: The 3-D story behind Russian blockbuster “Stalingrad.”

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WET Design Runs Rings Around Rivals

Sun Valley firm makes splash at Olympics with spectacular fountain.

Design: Sun Valley firm builds a water fountain for the Sochi Olympics.

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The Fine Print Is Getting Smaller

M&A: Harman Press in North Hollywood buys Sun Valley rival.

M&A: Two union print shops become one through an acquisition.

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Catalina Yachts Project Sunk?

Development: Contamination dispute hits Woodland Hills site.

Development: Plan for former Catalina Yacht site stalls in litigation.

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Equity Firm Strikes Out

Sports: Fenway Partners unloads Easton’s baseball biz.

Sports: Owner of Easton-Bell Sports has sold the company’s baseball business.

Strong Signal

KNBC moves from longtime Burbank home

Media: KNBC-TV Channel 4 moves its news operation to Universal City.

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Agoura Hills Lending Data Firm Changes Hands

Finance: Interthinx Inc. scooped up by First American of Santa Ana.

Finance: Mortgage data company InterThinx sells for $155 million.


Editorial Cartoon SFVBJ - February 24, 2014

TAKE TWO - This week's Editorial Cartoon by Steve Greenberg

Good News for Baby Boomers

The generation that helped develop the San Fernando Valley is now preparing to retire.

The Small Business Squeeze

Advocacy group argues minimum wage hike will hurt small employers still recovering from recession.

The general consensus is that the worst of the Great Recession is behind us, and now it is not a matter of whether we will recover – but how quickly.

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On a (Trade) Mission to Mexico

I remember getting the call from the U.S. Department of Commerce extending an invitation to my company, Louroe Electronics, to accompany Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker on her first-ever trade mission to Mexico.


Market Watch Summary

The stock market made a rebound of sorts in the two-week period ended Feb. 19.


Calendar of Events

Around The Valleys

News and notes from around the greater San Fernando Valley

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. has started an in-house printing division to release print and digital books featuring its animated characters.

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Expanding Distributor Has Space to Spare

Real Estate: High Temp plans to lease portion of new Sylmar headquarters.

A small Sylmar metal distributor has bought larger headquarters with extra space it plans to lease.

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Digital Tools Level Playing Field

Keith Zimmet practices corporate law specializing in asset-based lending, mergers and acquisitions and real estate transactions.

Insurance Boutique in Good Health

Kassan helps clients secure disability, long-term care and other benefits from their health insurance company.

Hardboiled Firm Embraces Software

In 2012, Dmitry Gorin made headlines by defending a paparazzi photographer accused of chasing singer Justin Bieber on the San Diego (101) Freeway.

Camarillo Attorneys In the Clouds

LightGabler specializes in employment law, counseling and litigation.

Office Space Shrinks Bit by Bit for Glendale Firm

Spotlight: Glendale firm Christie Parker Hale competes with neighbor

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Bar Code

The digital revolution is radically changing the pratice of law, as paperwork gives way to online filings, video depositions and social media.

Technology: Is the digital revolution catching lawyers by surprise?

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Online Subscriptions Add to Center’s Bottom Line

Health care: For-profit Tarzana autism agency boosted by sales, clinical study.

A new study claims the most comprehensive tool for assessing children who may have autism is an online screening tool developed by the Center for Autism and Related Disorders.

Burbank Firm Has Incentives for Making Loans

Entertainment: Cast & Crew is financing films using tax benefits as collateral.

Entertainment industry payroll firm Cast & Crew Entertainment Services has joined a growing trend in Hollywood – tax incentive financing.

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Making Good

Burbank native Michael Cusumano has helped build his family’s company into a leading developer in the Media City.

Q&A: Michael Cusumano followed his family’s heritage into real estate.

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A Little Bit Too Roomy?

Hospitality: Building has begun on a Marriott next to another planned lodging in Burbank.

Hospitality: Marriott jumps into the building boom for Burbank hotels.

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Will Westside Flea Market Catch On?

Melrose Trading Post opening Valley outlet Saturdays at Taft.

Retail: Hip flea market organizer launches new location in the Valley.

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Picking Out Clothes – and A Burial Plot

Forest Lawn redefines ‘shop till you drop’ with mall kiosks.

Marketing: Forest Lawn sells cemetery plots at mall kiosks.

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Friday, February 21

Roundup: Crown Media, Arden Group

Crown Media Holdings Inc. on Friday reported lower fourth quarter profit but increased revenue and show ratings.

Thursday, February 20

Amgen Tour to Spin on Area Roads

The Amgen Tour of California will take a twisting route through several Valley-area communities when the ninth edition of the weeklong bicycle race is held this May.

Public Storage Posts Mixed Quarter

Public Storage Inc. reported fourth quarter funds from operations Thursday that beat analysts’ estimates, while falling short on revenue.

American Homes CFO Resigns

The chief financial officer of American Homes 4 Rent is resigning, the Agoura Hills real estate investment trust announced on Thursday.

Valley Residents Indicted in Movie Finance Scheme

Three Valley residents were indicted on Thursday for running fraudulent telemarketing schemes that solicited investments in movies with false promises of high returns and little risk, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles.

Briefs: On Assignment, DineEquity, LTC, Sbarro

Shares of On Assignment Inc. rose more than 7 percent on Thursday, following the release of the company’s fourth quarter results.

Wednesday, February 19

Bill Promises Enhanced Film Incentives

Feature movies of any budget size filming in California would qualify for tax credits under an expansion of the state’s incentive program for the entertainment industry.

Three Convicted in Glendale Medicare Fraud

Three people connected to a Glendale medical clinic were found guilty of a $20 million scheme to defraud Medicare and Medi-Cal.

PS Business Parks Increases Dividend

PS Business Parks Inc. announced fourth quarter earnings that beat analysts’ expectations, while increasing its dividend.

United Online Delivers Mixed Results

United Online Inc. beat analyst estimates on revenue for the fourth quarter but fell short on earnings.

Nestle USA Recalls Hot Pockets

Nestle USA issued a voluntary recall on Tuesday of its Hot Pockets Philly Steak and Cheese sandwiches made at its Chatsworth plant.

Garcetti Cuts Red Tape

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Tuesday ordered the city’s planning and building and safety departments to consolidate key functions and take other steps to cut red tape for developers.

KCRW Buys Santa Barbara Station

Santa Monica public radio station KCRW-FM (89.9) announced Tuesday it has acquired a station in Santa Barbara to increase its reach up the coast.

Tuesday, February 18

Investors Breathe Easy With MannKind

MannKind Corp. reported on Tuesday another quarterly loss, but shares held steady as investors look forward to possible FDA approval of the company’s inhalable insulin in April.

BizFed Taps Valley Leaders

Two San Fernando Valley business professionals have been named as the new chairman and chairman-elect of the Los Angeles County Business Federation, the organization announced Tuesday.

Briefs: LegalZoom, O’Gara Coach, LTC Inc. has closed a $200 million investment from Permira, a London fund. The equity financing will be used to expand the business of the Glendale provider of online legal services

Monday, February 17

Valley Village Apartments Fetch $14 Million

A 71-unit Valley Village apartment building has sold for $14.2 million to a pair of private investors.

Burbank Social Media Startup Names CEO

Startup entertainment technology company iL2M International Corp. has named founder Sarkis Tsaoussian as president and chief executive.

Business Events Calendar

Business Events throughout the Valleys.

Friday, February 14

Northrop Grumman Valley Office Wins Contract

Northrop Grumman Corp. has won a U.S. Air Force contract totaling up to $200 million to supply navigation and positioning equipment, with the work performed at its Woodland Hills facility.

Briefs: Qualstar, Trio-Tech

Shares of Qualstar Corp. rose sharply Friday as the company reported a steep drop in its losses during the fiscal second quarter.

Thursday, February 13

Easton-Bell Sells Baseball Business

Struggling Easton-Bell Sports Inc. has reached an agreement to sell its baseball and softball business to a Canadian firm for $330 million, the Van Nuys sporting goods manufacturer announced on Thursday.

Disney Strikes Netflix Deal

The Disney/ABC Television Group announced on Thursday an agreement to stream the final season of its “Star Wars” animated series on Netflix Inc.

Housing Market Shows Some Improvement

The Southern California housing market turned in a mixed month in January, as home-foreclosure and sales numbers signaled continued turbulence but some improvement.

'Gravity' Honored by Sherman Oaks Trade Group

Space thriller “Gravity” received six honors Wednesday night at the Visual Effects Society Awards given out by the Sherman Oaks trade group.

Wednesday, February 12

Disney Forms Business Accelerator

Walt Disney Co. announced on Wednesday it will invest $1.2 million in early-stage entertainment and media technology through a new business accelerator

Extreme Weather Cuts Cheesecake Earnings

Cheesecake Factory Inc. posted rising fourth quarter profit on Wednesday but said extreme winter weather cut into its same-store sales.

ReachLocal Shares Plunge on Losses

Shares of ReachLocal Inc. dropped nearly 15 percent Wednesday following the announcement of widening losses in the fourth quarter.

Point Mugu Naval Base Gets New Squadron

Unmanned aircraft assembled in Palmdale by Northrop Grumman Corp. will join a new surveillance squadron based at Naval Base Ventura County at Point Mugu.

Security Firm Moves Valley Office to Burbank

A multinational company that provides business-security systems has leased 18,000 square feet of creative office space in Burbank.

Tutor Perini Wins $844 Million Contracts

Tutor Perini Corp. said on Wednesday that it has received two rail contracts worth $844 million from the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Tuesday, February 11

Loan Scam Puts CEO in Prison

The chief executive of a Westlake Village financial firm was sentenced to more than three years in federal prison Monday for orchestrating a fraudulent loan scheme that caused $10.3 million in losses.

ObamaCare Expense Hits Health Net

Health Net Inc. reported fourth quarter earnings Tuesday that missed Wall Street expectations, as the company saw a bump in costs associated with the new Affordable Care Act.

Los Robles Hospital Partners With USC

Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center has signed a partnership agreement to bring the USC Institute of Urology to its Thousand Oaks campus.

Briefs: Conversant, Semtech, Interlink

Digital marketing firm Conversant Inc. beat analysts’ earnings and revenue estimates for the fourth quarter.

Monday, February 10

DreamWorks Launches Publishing House

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. has started an in-house printing division to release print and digital books featuring its animated characters.

Briefs: DineEquity, Capstone

Capstone Turbine Corp. reported Monday strong revenue growth in its fiscal third quarter but barely missed Wall Street expectations.

Business Events Calendar

Business events happening throughout the Valleys

Cable Firm Scores in Kitten Bowl

Peyton bombed, but not Hallmark’s team of oh-so-cute cats.

Television: Kitten Bowl brings feline fans to the Hallmark Channel.

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Studio Scares Up Encore

Company behind ‘Sharknado’ cult hit getting graphic next.

Publishing: The film studio behind “Sharknado” moves into graphic novels.

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Glendale Startup Gambles on Casual Gaming Industry

Entertainment: Gamblit makes software for betting on mobile games.

Entertainment: Gamblit Gaming wants to add real-money gambling to casual games.

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Salem Tilts Right With Web Buys

Media: Religious broadcaster judges conservative site good fit.

Media: Investor faith in religious broadcaster Salem Communications pays dividends.

Alston Bird Land-Use Group Flies to Smaller Firm

Law: Former area mayor leads move after closure of local office.

Jackson DeMarco Tidus & Peckenpaugh has hired four lawyers, essentially absorbing the land-use practice of Alston & Bird LLP, a large Atlanta firm that closed its Ventura County office.

Any takers?

‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Movie Ranch Up For Sale

Production: Blue Cloud Movie Ranch is for sale – at half its original price.

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Target Hack Boosting Local Technology Firm

Technology: Oasis sells hardware it boasts strengthens firewalls.

Cyber security has been in the news the past few months with Target Corp. and other national retail chains being victims of hackers who stole customer credit card information.

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New Spinning Chain Rides Into Tarzana Lease

Real Estate: BeatBike opens first outlet with five-year deal pegged at $1.2 million.

One of the few vacant spots at the upscale Village Walk at Tarzana retail center has filled up.

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Around The Valleys

News and notes from around the greater San Fernando Valley

The move of “The Tonight Show” to New York City will result in the elimination of 164 positions at NBCUniversal’s Burbank studio.

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Calendar of Events


Market Watch Summary

Uncertainty over the U.S. and global economy drove the stock market down in the two-week period ended Feb. 5.

Calming Rough Seas

From the Newsroom

I don’t know whether to congratulate or feel sympathy for Gordon Ho.

Turning Down the Volume – Con

Leading pilot argues problems should be resolved through software tracking system, not regulation.

Cross-talk on helicopter noise. (Con)

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Turning Down the Volume – Pro

Congressman says his bill requiring the FAA to resolve helicopter noise complaints is fair to all sides.

Cross-talk on helicopter noise. (Pro)

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Editorial Cartoon SFVBJ - February 10, 2014

TAKE TWO - This week's Editorial Cartoon by Steve Greenberg

Project Roils City Residents

Development: Critics say hotel doesn’t rate for east Calabasas.

Development: Calabasas may not welcome a new hotel and 150 homes.

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Making Rounds

Adam Singer built IPC into the nation’s leading hospitalist company. Now, he’s fending off allegations the firm overbilled the government.

Q&A: Dr. Adam Singer walked away from medical career to run IPC The Hospitalist Co.

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Is Sport Chalet Getting Set for Earnings Streak?

Retailer: Struggling chain surprises with earnings, but underlying problems exist.

Retail: Sport Chalet profits by cutting costs despite lower revenue.

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Growth Projection

Attractions: Mousetrappe’s videos are in demand at amusement parks and other venues.

Attractions: When museums need a multimedia display, they call for Mousetrappe.

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Movie Chain Broadens Appeal

Filmgoers can spread elbows, lean back and relax in freedom.

Movies: AMC revamps its Fallbrook 7 multiplex, part of a national upgrade.

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Leaving Bad Publicity At the Port

Princess launches $20 million campaign amid industry mishaps.

Tourism: Princess Cruises launches a $20 million advertising campaign – its largest ever.

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Friday, February 7

AeroVironment, Lockheed Martin Sign Drone Deal

AeroVironment Inc. and Lockheed Martin Corp. signed a joint development and international sales agreement for the Global Observer drone aircraft, the companies announced Friday.

Bye Bye Burbank for 'Tonight Show'

“The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” scored its highest ratings in five years on Thursday night, its final show with Leno as host and the last to be broadcast from Burbank.

Briefs: Hollywood Employment, Research Solutions, Fireman's Brew.

Jobs in the entertainment industry continue to decline, according to a report this week from the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.

Thursday, February 6

Antelope Valley Hospital Gets Junk Bond Rating

Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded the debt of the Antelope Valley Healthcare District into junk territory despite efforts by the public health care operator to avoid it.

Internet Ad Firm Buys San Francisco Company

Digital marketing company Conversant Inc. said Thursday it has acquired SET Media, a San Francisco digital-video technology company.

Interthinx Acquired for $155 Million

Interthinx Inc., an Agoura Hills mortgage services company, has been acquired for $155 million by First American Financial Corp. in Santa Ana, the company announced Thursday.

Tutor Lands $60 Million Contract

Tutor Perini Corp. has been awarded a $60 million contract at the Hudson Yards mixed-use development in Manhattan.

Wednesday, February 5

Disney Beats Expectations

Walt Disney Co. beat analyst forecasts on revenue and earnings per share for its fiscal first quarter, the company reported Wednesday.

PennyMac Cos. Report Mixed Earnings

PennyMac Financial Services on Wednesday reported profit and revenue figures that fell short of analysts’ estimates, while sister company PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust reported growing profit and falling revenue.

Briefs: Amgen, CU Bancorp, Simulations Plus, Wesco

Amgen clinical trials, CU Bancorp quarterly results, Simulations Plus dividend and Wesco quarterly report.

Tuesday, February 4

Teledyne Receives $60 Million NASA Contract

A subsidiary of Teledyne Technologies Inc. received a $60 million contract from NASA to build a section of the space agency’s new Orion launch vehicle for deep space missions, the company announced Tuesday.

Great American Secures $35 Million Credit Package

GA Capital, a division of Great American Group Inc., said Tuesday it closed a $35 million financing facility for its client Reichhold, a chemical manufacturer.

Glendale Apartments Fetch $8 Million

A 32-unit Glendale apartment building sold for $8.1 million.

Monday, February 3

Disney to Shed 200 Jobs

Walt Disney Co. will cut 200 jobs from in its interactive division as part of a continuing reorganization, according to media reports.

Business Events Calendar

Business events happening throughout the greater Valley area

United Online Falls After Suspending Dividends

Shares of United Online Inc. fell 12 percent after the company announced it will stop making cash dividend payments to shareholders so it can invest the money in long-term growth.

Sport Chalet Reports Surprise Profit

Sport Chalet Inc. reported its most profitable quarter in seven years Monday because of lower costs and a spike in online sales during the holiday season.

Lawmaker Tries Again With Condom Bill

State Assemblymember Isadore Hall III has re-introduced a bill that would make it mandatory to use condoms on adult film shoots throughout the state.