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Regional Roundup



Del Mar: U.S. Open Schedule Causes Fairly Large Headache

Next year’s opening of the San Diego County Fair at the Del Mar Fairgrounds and the final three rounds of the 2008 U.S. Open at La Jolla’s Torrey Pines Golf Course are scheduled for the same weekend, June 13-15. The overlap of events is causing concerns for many area residents and event planners.

Kina Paegert, information officer for the 22nd District Agricultural Association, which runs the fairgrounds, said the U.S. Open contacted the association in February to secure parking. Events at Torrey Pines Golf Course have contracted with the association to use its parking facilities in the past. Preliminary talks have begun between the association and U.S. Open officials regarding the impact of possible date changes for the fair.

“We have expressed concerns of lost revenues,” she said.

The fair, scheduled to run through July 6 next year, typically takes in $800,000 in revenues during its first weekend, according to Paegert.

Further discussions are anticipated to take place to alleviate or lessen the impact of having both events simultaneously.

The 2008 U.S. Open is scheduled for June 12 through 15. Considered one of the top four golf tournaments in the world, the U.S. Open is expected to draw 40,000 or more fans each day and generate millions of dollars for the local economy, according to Torrey Pines.

, Michelle Mowad

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Santee: New La Trattoria Serves Up Gourmet Food

Two former La Jolla chefs have opened an Italian fusion restaurant in Santee.

La Trattoria opened in mid-March after remodeling the former CyberBrew Caf & #233; at 9720 Mission Gorge Road.

Co-chef and co-owner Denise Roa, a former pastry chef at the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines, declined to disclose the amount invested in the new business.

Roa and Liliaana Navarret, a former chef at Crescent Shores Grill, live in Santee and decided they were tired of a long commute.

La Trattoria, which employs 18, has little competition except the Olive Garden, Roa said. She said the price of appetizers is in the $8 range and entrees as high as about $30.

“You can come in and have a nice wine,” Roa said. “It’s formal, and yet it’s casual.”

, Katie Weeks

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San Diego: One for the Road Just Doesn’t Cut It Anymore

The San Diego Association of Governments recognized 16 companies and organizations that are based in the county or have offices here for their efforts to promote ride sharing.

The fifth annual Diamond Awards on April 11, sponsored this year by Michigan-based VPSI Inc., which offers van-pooling services, and San Diego-based Science Applications International Corp., an engineering and research firm, honored Barona Valley Ranch Resort & Casino; Best Best & Krieger LLP; Biosite Inc.; California Bank & Trust; the California Department of Transportation, District 11; Catalyst Advancement LLC; Golden Acorn Casino; Intuit Inc.; Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP; Raytheon Co.; SAIC; San Diego Housing Commission; Sharp Hospitals; TKG Engineers; UC San Diego; and Watkins Manufacturing.

The event was presented by the Sandag RideLink program, which promotes such ride-sharing options as car pooling, van pooling and public transit. Sandag is a regional planning agency.

, Pat Broderick

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Escondido: Bycor Completes Healthy Addition to Complex

An assisted living facility in north Escondido has been expanded.

San Diego-based Bycor General Contractors announced completion April 12 of a 28,000-square-foot, three-story building at Las Villas del Norte Retirement Community. The project adds 32 beds to the community’s existing 300 or so accommodations.

The Kearny Mesa-based Health Care Group owns and manages Las Villas, located at Centre City and El Norte parkways. The companies did not disclose the cost of construction.

, Jessica Long

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San Marcos: Towne Jewelers to Sparkle at Chamber Event

Towne Jewelers of San Marcos is gearing up to celebrate its 30th anniversary this week by hosting a chamber mixer.

Towne, at 1003 W. San Marcos Blvd., plans to host the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce’s April mixer from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 26.

Cost is $5 for chamber members and $10 for nonmembers.

Food and raffle prizes will be part of the festivities.

, Jessica Long

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Coronado: Affordable Homes on Council Members’ Minds

Coronado City Council members, at their April 17 meeting, planned to consider a developer to rehabilitate a city-owned, 16-unit apartment complex on Orange Avenue, all to build up the affordable housing stock within the community.

City Manager Mark Ochenduszko recommended that the council enter into negotiations with the San Diego Interfaith Housing Foundation, which would serve as the developer and operator of the property. The foundation, based in Lemon Grove, is a joint project of seven Christian denominations.

The city bought the property at 525 Orange Ave. for $3.6 million and expects renovations will cost $2.1 million. According to the city, working with the foundation will give the city access to tax credits and bonds.

, Brad Graves

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La Mesa: Oktoberfest’s Beer Garden Controversy Brewing

At an April 10 La Mesa City Council meeting, the future of the annual Oktoberfest event was put into question when the La Mesa Village Merchants Association and East County Chamber of Commerce filed separate applications for operations relating to the event.

Mayor Art Madrid said that the two groups file a joint application for the event each year, but issues arose between the merchants and the chamber this year, leading them to file separately for the 2007 event.

“They met informally to address issues that each felt important,” said Madrid. “The (merchants) felt that the size of the event got to the point where it wasn’t a family affair; just a beer garden.

“The chamber wanted to maintain the size of the garden because it generates a lot of its revenue.

“So, one side says if you scale it down, we lose revenue. The other says we’re scaling it down because it’s not creating potential customers.”

At one point during the meeting, Madrid suggested that Oktoberfest might be canceled.

The groups were given an April 16 deadline to cooperate and file jointly with the city, before the council would have to decide between the two applications and, potentially, the existence of the event itself.

According to Stan Young, association chairman, the two groups have agreed to terms, pertaining to the percentage of costs each group would pay and Oktoberfest’s hours of operation.

“We’ve worked on an agreement and Oktoberfest is going to go ahead full steam, very much like last year,” said Young on April 13. “I think we’ve worked it out to where we’re mutually happy.”

The event costs the city $60,000 to $65,000, according to Young. He wouldn’t disclose what percentage each group would bear, but said the groups are seeking a corporate sponsor for the event, and that both parties are satisfied.

The chamber has said that revenue of $150,000 is generated from booth rentals and a beer garden for the merchants association, a voluntary group founded to promote and support the commercial area of La Mesa.

, Andy Killion

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East County: Merger Creates Fifth Grubb & Ellis Office

Brokers Ken Ruppert and Kerry Schimpf’s East County Properties merged with Grubb & Ellis/BRE Commercial this month to focus on the sales and leasing of industrial and office properties in East County.

The company joined San Diego-based Grubb & Ellis for an undisclosed sum and will operate out of its existing El Cajon office space. This is Grubb & Ellis’ fifth San Diego County office. The office opened to serve existing clients and generate new business in El Cajon, Lakeside, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Mission Gorge, Santee and Spring Valley.

, Michelle Mowad

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Imperial Beach: Mixed-Use Project May Call Palm Home

Imperial Beach City Council, at its April 18 meeting, was to consider putting out a call for developers to remake three city blocks on Palm Avenue.

The 5.5-acre site between Seventh and Ninth streets houses a number of businesses, including a Goodwill thrift store. City redevelopment officials envision a mixed-use development on the site, possibly with retail on the ground floor and condominiums above. The redevelopment agency is calling for 70,000 square feet of retail and commercial space.

The city has tentatively set a proposal deadline of July 12.

, Brad Graves

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Poway: Affordable Housing Project a Stated Goal for City

City officials are considering conversion of some older apartment buildings along Oak Knoll Road into low- and very low-income housing.

If approved, the proposal could help Poway meet state-set affordable-housing goals and improve the street appeal on Oak Knoll between Pomerado and Carriage roads.

The city could accomplish the conversion by buying older buildings, restoring them with redevelopment money and turning them over to a nonprofit organization, according to Dena Fuentes, director of redevelopment services for the city.

, Liz Wiedemann

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Carlsbad: Jet Source Will Launch Nevada Facility Soon

Carlsbad-based Jet Source, an aviation firm that manages company planes and specializes in shuttling corporate executives by charter, plans to break ground next month on an $8 million corporate aviation facility at Henderson Executive Airport in Nevada.

Jet Source will retain its corporate headquarters at McClellan-Palomar Airport in Carlsbad.

The groundbreaking coincides with the company’s 10th anniversary.

Jet Source signed a 30-year lease in November with the Henderson, which is operated by the Clark County Aviation Department. According to the agreement, Jet Source will pay $48,000 annually in rent for 137,000 square feet of space after the first phase is finished.

Expectations are that the Henderson facility will be up and running by June 2008 and that the firm’s annual revenue, currently $30 million, would increase significantly, the company said.

, Connie Lewis

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El Cajon: Homebuyers Fair Scheduled for This Month

El Cajon will be host to a low-income home buyers fair April 28 at the Ronald Reagan Community Center, 195 E. Douglas St.

Multiple lenders and government agencies will be on hand from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. There is no cost to attend the event, which is sponsored by the East San Diego County Association of Realtors. For more information, see www.esdcar.org.

, Katie Weeks

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Encinitas: Dudek Offers New Resource for Major Projects

Scott Eckardt of Dudek, an Encinitas-based engineering and environmental consulting firm that specializes in solving regulatory matters for municipal agencies and major landowners, has earned a California Registered Professional Forester license.

Eckardt’s certification will allow the company to offer clients an additional resource for addressing oak woodlands projects such as preparing large-scale tree stand inventories as well as management and wildfire prevention plans, Dudek said.

Founded in 1980, Dudek also has offices in Orange, Riverside, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Placer counties.

, Connie Lewis

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Solana Beach: CineForm’s New Software Coming Online

Solana Beach-based CineForm Inc., which develops software products for media professionals, is launching a new product family called NEO that supports online editing for Windows and Macintosh platforms for the high-resolution, post-production market.

Chief Executive Officer David Taylor called the addition one of the company’s most important announcements in a news release dated April 12. NEO for Windows will be available at the beginning of May; the availability dates for NEO for Mac OS X have not been announced.

The NEO products will act as a “bridge (for) the two platforms, allowing workflow efficiencies and compatibility between both that has not previously been possible,” said Taylor, whose company was founded in 2001.

, Jaimy Lee

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Oceanside: Army Corps Dredges Up Harbor Work

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working on a dredging project at the Oceanside Harbor entrance channel.

As part of the $1.7 million project, 120,000 cubic meters of clean sand will be moved from a shallow part of the harbor to 20 feet of water 1,300 feet offshore by the end of May. The annual project is done to restore the channel to the federally authorized depth.

The U.S. Army and Chico-based contractor J.E. McAmis Inc. are performing the dredging as part of a three-year contract.

, Pat Broderick

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San Diego: Varisol Buys $480M in Overdue Accounts

San Diego-based Varisol announced April 15 that it had purchased $480 million in delinquent and charged-off patient accounts.

Privately held Varisol helps hospitals obtain cash by purchasing and managing outstanding and overdue receivables.

The company said the purchase is believed to be the largest sale by a nonprofit faith-based hospital group. Varisol did not disclose the group’s name.

, Andy Killion

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Chula Vista: Almost Time to Get Soaked Again at Knott’s

Knott’s Soak City, a Chula Vista water park, is hiring for its season that begins May 26 and concludes Sept. 23.

The water park with 21 rides is starting its eighth season under the ownership of Knott’s Berry Farm and Cedar Fair Entertainment Co., a publicly traded company based in Sandusky, Ohio.

The prevalent jobs are lifeguards and front of the line counter help for the park’s food and merchandise stations. At its peak, the park employs 400 workers, says Monica Ramos, marketing manager.

, Mike Allen

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Vista: Sound Away Sounds Off in Battle Against Noise

Alex Gomez, who opened Sound Away Corp. in Vista in February, wants to offset what he says is an ever-increasing level of noise pollution.

“Our nation as a whole is going deaf,” said Gomez, who co-founded the business with partner Samuel Snyder.

Sound Away provides solutions and materials to buildings to mitigate unwanted noise.

The company’s main products are heavy vinyl barriers and “green glue,” both of which block and assimilate sound, Gomez said.

Sound Away’s primary customers are homeowners seeking the sounds of silence inside their abodes, but it also works with commercial businesses.

, Mike Allen

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