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North Bay Business Journal

Monday, July 23, 2012, 5:00 am

Business news: Week of July 23, 2012

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    Technology

    Novato-based ET Water Systems, Inc., which offers a range of traditional, retrofit and cloud-based irrigation management products for new and existing landscapes, announced the release of a suite of water budget tools that enable customers to monitor and manage water use in real-time, with graphs and analytics to communicate actionable, water saving data to stakeholders and stay within monthly water budget requirements. ETwater customers who log into their ETwater Manager cloud-based irrigation management system can now use the water budget tools to record a site’s scheduled and manual water use, as well as wasted water as the result of breaks and leaks. ETwater Manager then compiles collected data into real-time graphs and reports to help identify the precise source of over-watering. Landscape managers no longer need to estimate mid-month water usage, but instead can now view actual usage in real time.

    Democrasoft, Inc. (OTCBB: DEMO), the Santa Rosa-based developer of the online Collaborize Classroom education software, announced the completion of a $500,000 interim funding private placement; most of the securities were sold to existing investors. The company sold a total of $500,000 of two year 10% convertible notes to fund current operations.  Payment of the notes is secured by all of the Company’s intellectual property.  If all of the notes and accrued interest are converted at the $.08 conversion price, the company would issue approximately an additional 7,000,000 shares of its common stock. In the announcement, Democrasoft noted that it has averaged over 450 percent growth worldwide in new accounts during a traditionally slow period, versus the same period last year.

    Retail

    The Perfect Purée of Napa Valley founder and President Tracy Hayward announced the launch of a new warehouse program for local residents and businesses.  The Perfect Purée of Napa Valley is a premier producer of premium fruit purees and beverage blends for foodservice and home chefs.  Cutting edge and unique flavor profiles have made the company’s products a staple for culinary and beverage professionals the world over. Interested customers and home chefs alike are now able to purchase product directly at the company’s headquarters in Napa — To celebrate, the company is extending a 50% discount on their 15-ounce retail size of Blood Orange Concentrate, Mango Puree, Strawberry Puree and Prickly Pear Puree. The Perfect Purée of Napa Valley is located at 2700 Napa Valley Corporate Drive, Suite L in Napa.

    Arts

    Shakespeare Napa Valley will present Twelfth Night, one of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies set in the fantastical world of the “Wild Wild West,” free of charge in beautiful Veterans Memorial Park in Downtown Napa, July 20–29. Directed by founder and artistic director, Jennifer King, Twelfth Night stars award-winning actor, Tim Kniffin, as the beleaguered social climber, Malvolio. Napa Valley College announced in April that additional, unexpected state budget cuts necessitated the elimination of most summer courses for 2012. These cuts jeopardized the continuation of the performances since it was produced from a summer performance course. The community came together to fight for the program. Lissa Gibbs, executive director of the NVC Foundation, joined King to launch a two-week fundraising campaign that raised $20,000 in ten days and ensured the show would go on. 

    Health care

    The Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa Medical Center has been designated a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology. The breast imaging services at this center are fully accredited in mammography, stereotactic breast biopsy, breast ultrasound and ultrasound-guided breast biopsy. Peer-review evaluations, conducted in each breast imaging modality by board-certified physicians and medical physicists who are experts in the field, have determined that the Santa Rosa Medical Center has achieved high practice standards in image quality, personnel qualifications, facility equipment, quality control procedures, and quality assurance programs. By awarding Kaiser Santa Rosa the status of a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence, the ACR recognizes breast imaging centers that have earned accreditation in all of the College’s voluntary, breast-imaging accreditation programs and modules, in addition to the mandatory Mammography Accreditation Program.

    Three outpatient clinical programs in Sutter Medical Network, Sutter Health‘s physician network, were recognized for statewide best practices in the California Association of Physician Groups‘ annual Standards of Excellence Survey of medical group features and capabilities. Noted were the Variation Reduction Initatiative, which reduced overall care costs by more than $18 million through 2011; the nationally recognized Advanced Illness Management Program, which makes patients’ difficult end-of-life time a little less difficult; Improving Transitions of Care and Intensive Home Medical Management, a process developed by network affiliate Brown & Toland Physicians Independent Practice Association to help patients remain healthy after emergency room discharge, aiding to cut hospital re-admissions and overall care costs. The survey focuses on how physicians organizations deliver value (care quality and affordability) to individual patients and large populations. The association also honored five physician organizations in the network, with Brown & Toland Physicians and Sutter Medical Foundation getting “elite” status, and Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation, “exemplary.”

    Kaiser Permanente Northern California’s Live Well Be Well workplace-wellness program received platinum certification in the 2012 Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles awards presented by the National Business Group on Health. The awards also include a platinum certification for the Healthy Workforce program run by Kaiser Permanente’s national office, also based in Oakland. Around the country, only 30 large employers were honored with Platinum certification. Kaiser Permanente Northern California’s Live Well Be Well program offers more than 250 services aimed at promoting and enhancing the health and well-being of the region’s 68,000 employees and 7,000 physicians.

    Hospitality

    HopMonk Tavern (www.hopmonk.com) owner Dean Biersch has announced that Novato will be the home of his third craft beer-centric tavern with plans to open fall 2012. Biersch, the co-founder of Gordon Biersch Brewing Company, is taking over the old Southern Pacific Smokehouse in the Vintage Oaks at Novato Shopping Center off Highway 101 and Highway 37. Biersch currently operates two historic taverns. Plans are to transform the new site into a rustic beer tavern, outdoor beer garden with stage, and dedicated live music venue similar to the historic tavern and Abbey music hall in Sebastopol.

    Golf

    Silverado Country Club, located at Silverado Resort and Spa in Napa, announced the availability of a limited number of memberships to individuals outside of the Silverado Community for the first time. Designed by renowned architect Robert Trent Jones Jr. and recently updated by new owner Johnny Miller, the two PGA championship courses feature dozens of water crossings, elevation changes and routing through historic oak trees. Golfers who do not live in the Silverado community who are interested in memberships have two options – Invitational Memberships and Junior Executive Memberships. Memberships include the member, his/her spouse or registered domestic partner, and any children 21 years of age or younger, living at home. Resort Owner Johnny Miller, a World Golf Hall of Famer and lead NBC Golf Analyst, recently renovated the North golf course on property and is enthused to make it available to more golfers.

    Green projects

    Cogenra Solar, a Mountain View-based provider of distributed solar cogeneration systems, announced its first dairy solar cogeneration system at the Clover Stornetta Farms Dairy Processing Plant in Petaluma. The solar cogeneration system is the company’s latest renewable energy initiative and will not only reduce Clover’s greenhouse gas emissions, but will also result in more than 50 percent energy savings at the plant. The installation will decrease Clover’s greenhouse gas emissions by 32 metric tons each year, equivalent to removing 3,500 gallons of gasoline and saving 800 trees annually. The rooftop array was completed by Cogenra and OneSun, a local expert in solar photovoltaic and solar thermal installations, in just a few weeks and now takes up less than 1,500 square feet atop Clover’s Dairy Processing Plant. Commissioned in June 2012, the 50.6 kilowatt, 20-module solar cogeneration system provides renewable electricity and 6,000 gallons of solar hot water daily for the Clean-in-Place (CIP) process at the plant.

    Wine

    B.R. Cohn Winery, based in Glen Ellen, received three gold medals at the California State Fair Wine Competition for the 2009 Mendocino County Barbera, the 2010 Carneros Chardonnay and the 2010 Russian River Pinot Noir. The Mendocino County Barbera also received a 94 and Best of Class, as well as Best of Region. The Carneros Chardonnay received a 94, and the Russian River Pinot Noir received a 94.

    Business Development

    Twenty-six volunteers from the business community and government agencies have been working together to conduct interviews throughout the county in recent weeks as part of Sonoma County BEST’s100 in 100” effort. By meeting with 100 businesses in 100 days, volunteers are working to establish business-to-business connections and have already yielded what they say is a wealth of information, including numerous requests for assistance. The relationships being formed have helped resolve several roadblocks faced by companies in the county, including a broader success in building bridges between governmental entities and the business community. Those interested in participating in the 100 businesses in 100 days effort can contact Robin Stephani at robin@sonomacountybest.com or (707) 545.1011.

    Awards

    United Way recently honored local businesses with their annual Community Partnership Awards. Presented at the United Way Campaign Close Celebration held at Shone Farm in Forestville, the awards recognize companies and their employees for excellence in community fundraising, volunteering and advocacy work. Kaiser Permanente received this year’s highest tribute, the Spirit of the Wine Country Award. Other nominees in the category included AT&T and JDSU. Medtronic received the Campaign Excellence Award; Exchange Bank received the Campaign Momentum Award; JDSU’s Fred Van Milligen received the Executive Campaign Chair of the Year Award; Redwood Credit Union’s Matt McPherson received the Employee Campaign of the Year Award; Herb and Jane Dwight received the Philanthropists of the Year Award, and Joe and Catherine Bartolomei of The Farmhouse Inn & Restaurant received in In-Kind Award.

    Nonprofits

    For the first time in its six-year history, two organizations tied for Nonprofit Organization of the Year in the Napa Community Awards, presented at the Napa Valley Marriott Hotel & Spa. Community Health Clinic Ole and Community Action of Napa Valley jointly received the prestigious award, selected from among nine nominees submitted by the community. Also announced at the sold-out event was the winner of the 2012 Outstanding Teacher Award. Lisa Anderson of Napa Junction Elementary School earned the honor.

    Education

    Fresh Starts Culinary Academy, a project of Homeward Bound of Marin, has received a $30,000 grant to refine and enhance its training program with updated curriculum and a new job coach. The grant from Catalyst Kitchens, an affiliate group for culinary social enterprise businesses, is supported by the Walmart Foundation and will allow Fresh Starts Culinary Academy to build better pathways to success for its students. Funds will support review of the curriculum for adherence to national “best practices” as well as job coaching and more integration of the job-training course with on-the-job work experience in social enterprise projects. It also helps Homeward Bound create programs for better follow-up with graduates.

    The Sonoma County Harvest Fair judges have announced Santa Rosa Junior College’s Shone Farm olive oil is a double gold winner in the fair’s professional olive oil competition. The SRJC olive oil, made from a blend of Arbosana, Arbequina and Koroneiki olives, won the award in the category of Sonoma County-grown medium-flavored olive oil. The olive oil production is part of the college’s efforts to teach students about “value added” items than can be created from food crops. “A total of 165 bottles of olive oil were produced for sale, and they are available for $18 each at the SRJC bookstore, B. Robert Burdo Culinary Arts Center, and the Wineyard, a cooperative tasting room in Santa Rosa showcasing Shone Farm’s wine.

    Banking

    Novato-based Circle Bank announced that the Redwood Empire Food Bank, which serves Sonoma County and the North Bay, will be the beneficiary of its quarterly charity day program. Circle Bank matches the cash contributions of employees as part of the program, and has also set up containers for food donation and an account to facilitate cash contributions. The bank recently celebrated its 50th consecutive profitable quarter by donating 50,000 pounds of food to the food bank, as well as the San Francisco Food Bank.

    Tourism

    SailNapaValley.com, a collaboration between the Napa Valley Destination Council, Napa Valley Vintners and the 34th America’s Cup, launches on June 27 to showcase Napa Valley lodging, wine and culinary offerings for fans and friends of the America’s Cup. As the official wine region of the 34th America’s Cup, the Napa Valley has developed a variety of experiences for adventurous race fans looking to trade adrenaline for indulgence, just an hour’s drive from San Francisco. Access to the site is available to all fans of the America’s Cup, with a private ‘Unrivaled Access’ portal accessible only to AC Crew members, the official America’s Cup fan club. The site launch coincides with the America’s Cup World Series Newport races, kicking off on June 28 in Newport, Rhode Island. SailNapaValley.com features packages and travel experiences available during race times and throughout the year.

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