San Fernando Valley Report: The nonpartisan, non-profit California Taxpayers’ Association, provides research and advocacy on significant tax and spending issues in the legislative, executive and judicial branches of state government for the purpose of protecting taxpayers from unnecessary taxes and governmental inefficiency, has released its annual volume Cal-TaxReports. The publication is aimed at policymakers and those concerned with tax policy in California. The report is available electronically or in print from the group’s website. Woodland Hills Award: The Navigation Systems Division of Northrop Grumman received the highest recognition given out by the San Fernando Valley branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The Roy Wilkins Award honors the company’s diversity program, employment practices, educational incentives and community involvement. The Valley NAACP chapter chose the Northrop division after a year long evaluation process. Candace Swinson, operations programs analyst and chairperson for the company’s African-American Task Group Employee Resource Group, accepted the award. “Over my career I have seen Northrop Grumman foster an inclusive working environment, and I have listened to our leaders passionately speak on the importance of Diversity,” Swinson said. “For me, it has instilled loyalty, trust and appreciation.” Burbank Redesign: The City of Burbank activated its new website that makes it easier for residents and other visitors to find information. Vision Internet of Santa Monica designed and programmed the new site that is divided into seven major categories for ease of navigation: About Us, What’s New, Residents, Business, Visitors, Departments and I Want To. A new “eNotify Me” feature allows users to sign up for electronic news and event updates. The site also provides easy access to live streaming of City Council meetings and programming on Burbank’s municipal channel TV6. “This is such an important communication tool,” said Burbank’s Public Information Officer Keith Sterling. “With quick links, search options and dropdown menus, finding information is now much more straightforward.” Games: Disney Interactive Studios has acquired a Chicago-based video game development studio and adds its executive team a creator of the popular “Halo” series of video games. Details of the transaction between Disney Interactive and Wideload Games Inc. were not disclosed. Wideload founder and chief executive Alexander Seropian joins Disney Interactive in the newly created position of vice president of creative and relocate to Glendale where he will report to Global Product Development Senior Vice President Jean-Marcel Nicolai. Seropian was founder of Bungie Software and among the creators of the “Halo” game franchise. “Alex’s leadership of our creative community will enhance our ability to be a magnet for the best talent in the industry and enable the company to take an even more significant role in developing industry leading products,” said Graham Hopper, executive vice president and general manager, Disney Interactive Studios. Wideload was founded in 2003 and employs a staff of 25 developing games for major consoles and the emerging online and handheld platforms. Year: Burbank Temporary Aid Center Executive Director Barbara Howell has been selected as Woman of the Year by the Zonta Club of Burbank Area. Howell joined the center in March 2004 and has been instrumental in overseeing a renovation of its facility and raising money for that project and the service BTAC provides. During the ongoing recession services from the center have soared while donations have been harder to come by. Through it all, Howell has worked to educate the community about the growth in need and bring in the donations necessary to keep the center’s food pantry filled. Zonta presents the award to Howell at its annual Woman of the Year Luncheon on Nov. 7 at the Castaway Restaurant in Burbank. Efficient: Testronic Laboratories will use software from Xytech Systems Corp. to streamline workflow and media business operations across their locations in four countries. Testronic will utilize MediaPulse from Xytech to monitor the progress of each project and log issues found during their quality control testing. As issues are found, they will be made available to the customer and partner vendors via an interactive website for resolution, approval and notation. Testronic specializes in testing and quality assurance for all types of content on all media for all devices. Testronic Labs President Seth Hallen expects greater efficiency by using the Xytech software. “We anticipate this to be a platform upon which the company can grow as it is implemented into all of our various service lines,” Hallen said. Calabasas Acting: The Method Fest Film Festival seeks character and story-driven films for its 12th annual festival taking place March 25 to April 1. Method Fest takes pride in being a discovery festival to help launch the works of fresh filmmakers and discover breakthrough performances by bold new actors. “We’ve prided ourselves on not just following other festivals lineups,” executive director Don Franken. “We screen world premieres and true discoveries, mixed with a few top festival films.” The early bird deadline to submit films is Dec. 1; the regular entry deadline is Dec.1 and the late deadline is Feb. 1. Van Nuys Pants: Zobrist Consulting assisted with the relaunch of the website for Lee Jeans. The main goal of the new site was creating an experience that helps Lee shoppers find the jeans that are right for them through custom fit tooled and streamlined navigation. The Zobrist team worked closely with the team at Lee to make their online vision a reality. “We really enjoyed working with the team at Zobrist – they found effective solutions to complex design problems we were facing, and delivered our project on time and on budget, said Kris Aldridge, the project manager at Lee. Studio City Cable: The Hallmark Channel has received exclusive rights to broadcast “Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures” starting in October. Hallmark Channel will also distribute the reality show on its website and under the Hallmark brand name on third party sites such as iTunes. Hanna, a former director of the Columbus Zoo in Columbus, Ohio, and a respected naturalist, will take viewers on amazing journeys each week to learn about animals and the places they live. “It’s a popular series that appeals to all age groups, and it will also be attractive to our sponsors and distributors,” said Michelle Vicary, Senior Vice President, Acquisitions and Scheduling, Hallmark Channel. “In addition, while online video is becoming more prevalent these days, it is increasingly difficult to find family-friendly product in the space.” Woodland Hills Video: Image Work Communications is donating film and video used at the Top of the World observation deck atop Tower 2 at New York’s World Trade Center to the the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. The material will be scheduled for future use on the memorial’s collection and later at the memorial itself. Image Work created the footage for the three motion theaters atop tower 2 showing the film “Manhattan Magic” and 24 interactive kiosks highlighting and providing information about Manhattan points of interest. “The Top of the World observation deck was an important national icon and an experience that helped millions of visitors understand New York City. It meant so much to so many people,” said John Lawrence, Image Work president. “It was truly a point of destination – a must-see.” The material being donated includes all original master footage, some unseen video of the towers and skyline, master transparencies used in the kiosks, shooting storyboards . “It’s great to see how the towers were marketed before September 11, and the close-up footage of the towers is just breathtaking,” said Katie Edgerton, the nonprofit memorial’s Exhibition Researcher. Northridge Sales: Pharmavite has started a new internet-based, direct-to-consumer sales and marketing company Pharmavite Direct LLC. The first offering from Pharmavite Direct will be Natural Made vitaminID program that tailors a customized daily vitamin plan to unique nutritional needs. The individual plans are created after a visitor takes a confidential health survey created by a nutritionist. Consumers also have the capability to chat online with a dietitian should they have any questions about the program while on the website. Conejo Valley Westlake Village Savings: Email and online service provider Bogopod has expanded into the San Fernando Valley. Bogopod provides hundreds of promotions and offers at local businesses including exclusive savings found only through the website. Bogopod had already been available to consumers in Ventura County. Cautious consumers who are careful about how they spend their money have created growth at the Bogopod website, said Adam Leff, chief executive of Reach Pros Inc., the owner and operator of Bogopod. “The fact that consumers can open an email or go to BOGOPOD.com to find a special offer to save money at their favorite local restaurant, spa or golf course has given BOGOPOD a lot of credibility,” Leff said. “And it has provided consumers with reasons to continually tune into our emails and Web site.” Ventura County Camarillo Study: California State University Channel Islands presented the results of the Camarillo Certified Farmers Market Patron Survey on Sept. 9. The survey was developed with Camarillo Hospice, students and faculty in the sociology program. Camarillo Hospice created the farmers market for the benefit of the community and local farmers and to provide additional revenue for the hospice operation. This joint project was designed to give sociology students actual research survey experience and provide Camarillo Hospice with community-oriented data that would be beneficial to the success of the market and would provide additional data on community awareness of Camarillo Hospice and its services. Antelope Valley Mojave Testing: XCOR Aerospace reached several milestones in the testing of its rocket engine that will power the Lynx spacecraft into suborbital flight. The engine demonstrated the ability to be stopped and re-started using the spark torch ignition system and to run continuously at thermal equilibrium. The basic cooling design for the engine has also been completed. “With those milestones reached, the test program is now moving forward into a second phase of tuning and optimization, in which we will also greatly increase our cumulative run time,” XCOR CEO Jeff Greason said. Data and test results from the Lynx engine program will be used to understand operationally responsive spacelift procedures that can be applied to future rocket powered vehicles.
AROUND THE VALLEY