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AROUND THE VALLEYS

San Fernando ValleyA federal judge has sentenced former Los Angeles City Council member Mitch Englander to 14 months in prison after Englander admitted to obstruction of justice as FBI agents investigated corruption and bribery within City Hall. Englander, who represented District 12 in the West Valley, will also have to pay a $15,100 fine and will be on probation for three years once he finishes his time in jail. U.S. District Court Judge John Water said last week the sentence will “send a strong message of general deterrence to our elected officials that no person – no matter how powerful, no matter his or her wealth, no matter his or her title – is above the law.” Last March, Englander surrendered to FBI agents and was charged with seven criminal counts of obstructing an investigation into allegations that he accepted a variety of bribes for his commitment to real estate projects during his tenure on the Los Angeles Planning and Land Use Management Committee.CALABASASBiotech Turn Therapeutics last month announced it received authorization to start its first human safety and efficacy trial for a COVID-19 therapy. The company will test its flagship product Hexagen, an FDA-approved ointment used to treat open wounds and control infection, as a nasal treatment for COVID patients with mild to moderate symptoms. Ninety-five percent petrolatum, Hexagen has a Vaseline-like consistency. Participants in the trial will receive a five-day, three-times-per-day nasal ointment to reduce viral load and symptom progression, Turn said in a statement. Data from the trial will be available as early as February.NORTHRIDGECalifornia State University – Northridge has become a large-scale COVID-19 vaccination site. CSUN is one of five mass vaccination sites operated by Los Angeles County, with the others at Dodger Stadium, Pomona Fairplex, the Forum in Inglewood, Valencia’s Six Flags Magic Mountain and the L.A. County Office of Education in Downey. L.A. County is using two parking lots at CSUN. The site administers around 12,000 vaccinations per day. “CSUN is proud to partner with Los Angeles County on this important initiative,” the university said in a statement. Although the college isn’t directly involved in on-site vaccination logistics, 55 of its nursing students have been helping facilitate vaccine shots and sterilize needles at nearby Valley hospitals including Olive View-UCLA Medical Center in Sylmar and Valley Presbyterian Hospital in Van Nuys.SYLMARA subsidiary of Sylmar construction firm Tutor Perini Corp. has received two fixed-price federal contracts worth $66.9 million. Perini Management Services Inc. will complete work at two separate locations: the federal law enforcement training center in Glynco, Ga. and the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado. Completion is expected by December 2022. The firm will design and build a dormitory at the Georgia center using pre-fabricated modular construction. At the Air Force Academy, the company will renovate the hockey and basketball arenas at the Cadet Field House, install fire suppression systems and perform mechanical and anti-terrorism upgrades to the athletic facility.WOODLAND HILLSTurkish-owned candy maker Godiva Chocolatier is eliminating its North American brick-and-mortar presence. The company announced it plans to close or sell all of its 128 retail stores in the U.S. and Canada by the end of March as a result of the pandemic’s stranglehold on in-person sales, as well as consumer behavior trends. The closure includes locations at the Glendale Galleria, Camarillo Premium Outlets and Westfield Topanga mall in Woodland Hills. Godiva did not specify how many employees will be affected. The company will continue operating retail stores in Europe, China and the Middle East, and will keep selling its products online and through other retail outlets.Film producer Avi Lerner, owner of the former home of health insurer Anthem Blue Cross, has proposed a plan to redevelop the building called Warner Landmark at 21555 Oxnard St. in Woodland Hills. While Lerner has yet to submit plans to the Los Angeles Planning Department, he has shared his vision with the Planning and Land Use Management Committee of the Woodland Hills Warner Center Neighborhood Council. He proposes an adaptive reuse of the officer tower as multifamily with amenities including restaurants and a 36-room hotel. Parking would remain in an existing subterranean garage. A second phase would see the construction of a neighboring 300-key hotel tower perched atop 17,000 square feet of supermarket space. Lerner has enlisted CallisonRTKL and landscape architecture firm Relm to design the complex.

Tri-CitiesBURBANKTwo Burbank office buildings sold last month for a combined $5.7 million. Smart Business Solutions, a home health providers, purchased 4115-4117 W. Burbank Blvd. for $3 million, while an undisclosed investor bought 120 Cypress Ave. for $2.7 million. Darren Casamassima, principal of Lee & Associates LA North/Ventura’s office group, represented entities in both transactions. The two-story Burbank Boulevard site, spanning 7,319 square feet, was built in 1958 and renovated in 2014. The two-story Cypress Avenue location has 8,188 square feet of creative office space and was constructed in 2002.

Santa Clarita ValleySANTA CLARITACalifornia Resources Corp.

has reduced the size of its leadership team by eliminating positions in public affairs, exploration and development, investor relations and finance. The oil and gas producer will realign those functions among existing executives, the company said. Chief Financial Officer Francisco Leon will take over finance and investor relations duties while Shawn Kerns, executive vice president of operations and engineering, will be responsible for operations and development. Chief Administrative Officer Mike Preston will handle legal, IT, human resources and external affairs. Carlos Contreras, senior vice president, commercial, will lead marketing. All four will report to interim Chief Executive Mac McFarland. California Resources said it expects the changes to save about $8 million a year, representing a 22 percent decrease in senior leadership team costs.Tech company BioSolar Inc. last month changed its corporate name to NewHydrogen Inc. The change reflects the company’s recent focus on reducing green hydrogen production costs. Management in mid-December announced the launch of its subsidiary of the same name, which is dedicated to developing green hydrogen electrolyzer technology, or splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen. Chief Executive Dr. David Lee said in a statement the name change “represents our commitment to help meet the growing demand for renewable energy, fight climate change and sustain our planet.” The company also announced a $5 million private placement Proceeds from the offering will be used to “aggressively expand and accelerate” its green hydrogen technology.Real estate developer FivePoint has announced that Valencia, the formerly named Newhall Ranch planned community under construction, sold nearly 500 homes in 2020’s fourth quarter. According to the company, Valencia has seen 487 homes sell for a collective $115 million. Valencia aims to become the largest new home development in Los Angeles County. It will total 21,000 homes when completed, alongside 11.5 square feet of commercial space and 10,000 acres of open space. Phase I of the planned community will see 1,286 homes constructed. These houses will range from 775 to 3,680 square feet. Phase I will also see 1.5 million square feet of commercial space. Builders include KB Home, Lennar, Richmond American, Toll Bros.

and TRI Pointe Group.

 VENTURA COUNTYSIMI VALLEYAeroVironment Inc. plans to acquire Arcturus UAV Inc. in a cash and stock deal valued at $405 million, an announcement that sent AeroVironment stock up more than 30 percent. With the transaction, the unmanned aircraft company brings into its portfolio a firm with complementary capabilities. Founded in 2004 and based in Petaluma, Arcturus designs and manufactures Group 2 and Group 3 drones. Those groups are for unmanned aircraft weighing between 21 pounds but no more than 1,320 pounds.

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