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Saturday, Feb 24, 2024

Around The Valleys

By Thom Senzee Contributing Reporter Observant commuters in and around Warner Center have been noticing signs, or more correctly, signs gone missing. It may be no coincidence that two of the most controversial names in corporate America are the same two companies that have either covered once-proud monikers atop gleaming office towers in shrouds of black canvas, or completely removed the chiseled letters of their branding nomenclature from the bases of such edifices. Gone from the Woodland Hills skyline are the names AIG and Freddie Mac. In the case of AIG Financial Services, which has an office at 21650 Oxnard Street, the firm remains in place, but the local skyline is no longer accented by an A, an I or a G. Plans are to exploit another brand owned by AIG: SunAmerica Retirement Services. The new sign with that logo was recently installed atop the Warner Center tower occupied by the firm. Furthermore, AIG, the parent corporation, is said to be going through a complete name change,reportedly to “AIU Holdings.” In the case of the mortgage giant; Freddie doesn’t live here anymore. The Los Angeles western division of Freddie Mac has moved from the same Warner Center tower to a new office on the other side of the hill, located at 444 S. Flower Street, downtown. Said a spokesman, “We moved to where more of our customers are nowadays.” The division serves mortgage lenders which made Woodland Hills, with its proximity to Countrywide and the once-hot residential real estate market in the Valleys a good strategic location before the industry’s meltdown. Ventura County Camarillo Grant: A researcher at California State University, Channel Islands received $1.7 million to train students in stem cell research. The grant to Ching-Hua Wang came from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. The university was one of 11 schools in the state to receive the funding. “These grants are critically important to the future of regenerative medicine in California,” said Wang, Director of the MS Biotechnology and Bioinformatics program. “Without personnel trained to carry out this research, the stem cell research field would not move as quickly as we would like.” The grant funds lecture and laboratory classes, intern placement, and completion of a new Emphasis in Stem Cell Technology and Laboratory Management within the MS Biotechnology and Bioinformatics degree program. San Fernando Valley Chatsworth Award: LinkEdge Technologies Inc. has been named among the top 500 fastest growing private businesses and one of the top 500 multicultural, woman-owned businesses by DiversityBusiness.com. LinkEdge develops software for issue management to handle challenges that may arise during the course of projects; these include emerging, regulatory, compliance and priority-driven issues. Calabasas Registration: Equis Financial Staffing became certified as a women-owned business by the Central Contractor Registration, the primary registrant database for the U. S. government. With this designation, Equis gains eligibility in applying for federal contracts. “Becoming certified and registered as a 100 percent, women-owned business is a wonderful milestone for Equis,” says Carrie Nebens, president and founder of Equis. Service: Andrea Roschke and Kim Wall, principals of Calabasas-based Roschke and Wall Business Advisors and CPAs, Inc., will be honored with the Stillpoint Family Resources 2009 Point of Service Award. Wall and Roschke have been instrumental in its continued growth and expansion. Providers of counseling and education services to individuals, couples and families in crisis, Stillpoint Family Resources presents this annual award to individuals or companies who have provided outstanding service to the organization. Universal City Laughter: Comedian and actor Jon Lovitz will open a comedy club at Universal CityWalk in May. The Jon Lovitz Comedy Club is the first venture into nightclub ownership by the former “Saturday Night Live” star. Lovitz will perform regularly at the new approximately 400-seat club and will play a leading role in booking a performance line-up that will blend veteran stars with comedy’s top newcomers. “This will be unlike anything anybody has ever experienced at a comedy club and it’s certain to be a smashing success,” Lovitz said. “We’re offering great comedy, great food and an atmosphere of a tropical beach resort. It’s so real, the club’s indoors and I still got a tan.” Production Designer Bruce Ryan is designing the club in partnership with Lovitz and his business partner Frank Kelly, one of the country’s leading top comedy club managers. Woodland Hills History: The Valley Economic Alliance has formed a partnership with the Museum of the San Fernando Valley. The Alliance and the museum will share information, website links, establish new and or join projects and events to further objectives of both organizations. “This alliance will offer our residents and visitors access to the amazing history and culture of The Valley justifiably called the heart of the creative center of the world,” said museum President Dr. Gerald Fecht. Studio City Study: The Hallmark Channel and the Entertainment Technology Center at USC will partner on a study to examine how content and media devices are used and valued as consumers move through the various stages of life. The study will also seek to identify key consumer trends and opportunities that facilitate cross-industry discussions about today’s reality and the future of potential digital entertainment offerings. E-Poll Market Research in Encino has been retained to execute the study, provide analysis, and consult on the larger impact of the findings. “We know from previous studies that new technology is dramatically affecting television viewing and the marketplace, causing a generational gap between baby boomers and millennials,” said Jess Aguirre, Senior Vice President of Research for Hallmark Channel. “Baby boomers are not only more affluent than millennials but, as Nielsen’s Council for Research Excellence confirmed, are also more engaged with linear television. We hope to build on the work done by the Council and continue to move past simple demographics and discover how specific life stages impact media usage.” Van Nuys Lights: A new neon sculpture was installed at the Van Nuys FlyAway Bus Terminal. The sculpture, constructed of honeycomb aluminum with brass and copper laminates and neon ribbons of light, measures 114 feet long and was designed by Los Angeles-based artist Lili Lakich. Titled Flyaway, the sculpture is composed of two figures: Pegasus, the mythical winged horse, and an abstracted human flying figure. The entire sculpture is mounted onto 14-inch by 29-feet H-beams attached to the concrete columns that support the FlyAway roof. More than 700 feet of neon tubing powered by 200,000 volts illuminates the artwork, which is lit 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Business: Nine regional business people have been named as semi-finalists for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award. The semi-finalists are selected by an independent judging panel made up of regional business, academic and community leaders. Finalists will be announced in May, with the winners revealed in June. The semi-finalists include Jim Hicken, president & CEO of the Bank of Santa Clarita (runner-up last year); Dave Newmark, CEO of reverse radio auction firm Bid4Spots; Therese Tucker, CEO & Founder of Blackline Systems; Arik Tendler, President of CaesarStone USA; Gary Polson, CEO of Cydcor in Westlake Village; Adam Singer, CEO of IPC The Hospitalist Company, Inc. in North Hollywood; Avi Wazana, CEO and Yoel Wazana, president of Micro Solution Enterprises; Steven Dunn, chairman & CEO of baby product manufacturer Munchkin; and Gregg Fialcowitz, president of airline broadband provider Row 44, Inc. Santa Clarita Valley Valencia Archives: arvator digital services has taken responsibility for the central media archive of Universal Music Group International and the relevant production-asset delivery. A long-term cooperative agreement has arvato operating and maintaining the music group’s digital and physical media archive. The archive contains well over 100,000 titles and has been consistently updated and developed. Conejo Valley Westlake Village Aircraft: Hawker Beechcraft Corp. will provide maintenance upgrades and other services to owners of Eclipse 500 very light jets under an agreement now being negotiated. Hawker will provide the services to the members of the Eclipse Owners Group through its global customer service and support operations. The Eclipse Owners Group formed to protect the assets of Eclipse Aviation to continue to make the jets airworthy. Eclipse Aviation filed for bankruptcy last year. The jet owners will benefit from having access to Hawker Beechcraft maintenance and service facilities because of the company’s unsurpassed reputation, said David Green, Chairman of the Steering Committee for the Eclipse Owners Group. “This relationship is sure to create tremendous confidence in Eclipse owners that their planes will be flying for many years to come,” Green said. Newbury Park Smile: Oak Park Dentistry for Children is celebrating 25 years in business. For its year-long silver anniversary, the practice introduced a new logo and quarterly newsletter for children and parents, “Nothin’ But The Tooth,” and a full schedule of school programs and visits. The new logo exemplifies the fun environment each of the Oak Park Dentistry offices shares and includes the original alligator icon used when the practice first opened. The practice started with the goal of improving children’s health and avoiding dental disease through education and preventative care in a fearless environment,” said founder Lisa Brennan. “In the last 25 years, our team has provided the foundation for good dental health to more than 25,000 children throughout the region, and I’m proud to know that many of our first patients’ children are patients of our practice today,” Brennan said. Thousand Oaks Celebrate: Three days of free public events at California Lutheran University will include the inauguration of new president Chris Kimball. The celebration from April 24 to 26 focuses on the arts, athletics, faith, service and scholarship. Kimball is the seventh president at the university and previously served as provost and vice president for academic affairs. The installation service takes place on April 26. Other events include concerts, a lecture on the importance of scholarship in Lutheran higher education, a baseball game between CLU and Pomona-Pitzer, and a viewing of student multimedia exhibit CLUFEST 2009 in Kwan Fong Gallery of Art and Culture. I Scream: Ben & Jerry’s at The Lakes at Thousand Oaks is offering free ice cream on April 21 to anyone who makes a donation in their store to HomeAid Los Angeles/Ventura. Donors will also receive a special key tag entitling them to 10 percent off of all future purchases through the end of the year.

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