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North Bay Business Journal

Monday, August 4, 2014, 5:00 am

Business News: Week of Aug. 4, 2014

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    Government

    Fitch Ratings affirmed its positive rating on Rohnert Park debt and upgraded its outlook for the city’s finances from “negative” to “stable,” according to the city. Fitch noted that the improvement in its rating reflects the city’s successful efforts to restore financial balance through extensive expenditure reductions, a modest increase in existing revenues due to an improving economy and a voter-approved sales tax. While Fitch cautioned that pensions and health benefits for retirees will create financial pressures in coming years, it noted that reforms negotiated with employees may reduce some of those pressures.

    Health Care

    Marin Community Clinics’ Greenbrae clinic is set to move to a new location in Larkspur. The clinic, currently located on the Marin General Hospital campus, will move to 5 Bon Air Rd., Bldg. D, Ste. 117, Larkspur. The clinic will now be called the “Larkspur clinic.” The organization has four primary care clinics, including one in Novato and two in San Rafael. The Greenbrae clinic has provided adult primary care and behavioral health services as well as selected physician specialty services. The new location will include more modern patient exam rooms, new equipment, large reception area and more-efficient administrative space. It will be more handicap-accessible and closer to public transportation. Clinic relocation was deemed necessary because the current Greenbrae clinic, which has been housed in trailers at the top of a hill, no longer meets patient care needs. Over the past three years, the clinics and the hospital have closely collaborated to identify a new location. The Greenbrae clinic treats many patients who go to the hospital Emergency Department — patients who may not need costly emergency care. The clinic also sees patients who have been recently discharged from the hospital and who do not have a personal physician but need followup care or have a new medical diagnosis that needs treatment. In addition, many of the clinics’ physician specialists are on the hospital’s medical staff and have offices close by. The new Larkspur location will also house the clinics’ new centralized call center, alleviating the need to call a specific center. The call center will be staffed by registered nurses.

    California hospitals of Kaiser Permanente and Adventist Health were named on Hospitals & Health Networks magazine’s Health Care’s Most Wired 2014 survey list, recognizing the health care organization’s use of IT to improve all aspects of its operations, ultimately improving care and value for members. The trade magazine received 680 surveys this year, representing 1,900 hospitals, or roughly 30 percent of all hospitals in the United States.

    Technology

    Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical Inc. (Nasdaq:RARE), a Novato-based biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of novel products for rare and ultra-rare diseases, announced the closing of its public offering of 2,319,951 shares of common stock at a price to the public of $40 per share. That includes the exercise in full by the underwriters of their option to purchase up to 302,602 additional shares of common stock. Ultragenyx is selling 1,613,879 shares of its common stock in this offering and certain selling stockholders are selling 706,072 shares of common stock in this offering. Ultragenyx is not receiving any proceeds from the sale of any shares sold by the selling stockholders. Ultragenyx estimates net proceeds from the offering to be approximately $60.2 million, after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses. J.P. Morgan Securities LLC and Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC acted as the joint book-running managers for the offering. Cowen and Company acted as lead manager, and Robert W. Baird & Co. acted as co-manager.

    Santa Rosa-based computer consultants Vista Consulting, LLC, announced that iPrint Technologies, maker of 3-D printers, renewed its long-term IT services agreement. Vista has served iPrint since it was a startup in 2005. iPrint Technologies, with offices in Marin County and in Southern California, serves Fortune 1000 companies throughout the country. Vista Consulting provides a broad range of information technology systems design, implementation, and support services and has served many of Northern California’s largest and best known companies, as well as hundreds of smaller organizations and individuals since 1981.

    Consumer products

    Novato company, Navitas Naturals, has added a certified organic superfood to their lineup. Navitas Naturals Green Coffee Powder is made from young, unroasted Arabica coffee beans that are handpicked in Peru. Green coffee powder has been used for centuries to boost energy, support metabolism and aid digestion.  It is usually offered only in capsules, but Navitas Naturals is offering a whole food version that is 100% green coffee. Raw green coffee is a healthy source of chlorogenic acid (CGA), the powerful antioxidant linked to many of coffee’s health benefits. Unlike roasted coffee beans that are cooked at very high temperatures that can compromise nutrients, green coffee is raw and processed only at low temperatures, which means that the original integrity of the coffee bean’s nutrients and antioxidants is preserved. Green Coffee Powder is an energizing superfood that contains caffeine, and it also provides dietary fiber. This product is certified organic, non-GMO, raw, kosher and gluten-free, and is free of fillers, binders and excipients. It is available at thousands of retail locations throughout North America, and at many online stores.

    Employment

    Vice President Joe Biden issued a new federal reportcalled Ready to Work: Job Driven Training and American Opportunity, in which he recognized Sausalito-based Glassdoor and its new tool, Job Explorer, as one proactive solution to help get Americans back to work. Job Explorer is designed to help job seekers map out their next job move and advance their careers.

    Energy

    The Marin County Planning Commission approved construction of what will become the largest solar farm in Marin: 11.5 acres of solar at Novato’s Cooley Quarry. The Cooley Quarry Solar Project will be built and owned by San Rafael-based REP Energy and Danlin Solar, creating local construction jobs. According to the Marin IJ, representatives of Marin Clean Energy testified that the project would become part of a program called “Sol Shares,” which offers residents the chance to purchase 100 percent solar energy from a local solar farm in the company’s service area. The companies estimate that the project will provide enough power for approximately 200 Marin Clean Energy Sol Shares customers and eliminate 1,620,000 lbs. of carbon emissions.

    Cloverdale City Council voted unanimously in favor of joining Sonoma Clean Power (SCP). As part of the resolution, the City agreed to have Vice Mayor Bob Cox represent Cloverdale on the SCP Board of Directors and Councilmember Mke Maacks as the Board alternate. SCP is one of two not-for-profit community choice programs in California which allow communities to purchase power from renewable sources such as geothermal and solar at competitive rates on behalf of their residents and business owners.

    Finance

    The Board of Directors of Westamerica Bancorporation (Nasdaq:WABC) declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.38 per share on common stock outstanding to shareholders of record at the close of business August 4, 2014. The dividend is payable August 15, 2014. Westamerica Bancorporation’s Board of Directors also approved a plan to repurchase, as conditions warrant, up to two million shares of the Company’s common stock on the open market or in privately negotiated transactions prior to September 1, 2015. The repurchase plan represents approximately 8 percent of the Company’s common stock outstanding as of June 30, 2014. On July 15, 2014, Westamerica reported $15.2 million in net income for the three months ended June 30, 2014, or $0.58 diluted earnings per common share. Westamerica Bancorporation, through its wholly owned subsidiary, Westamerica Bank, operates banking and trust offices throughout Northern and Central California.

    Health Care

    Santa Rosa’s REACH Air Medical Services (REACH) announced the expansion of their Northern California operations with a new base in Rancho Cordova providing 24/7 emergency medical services to the Sacramento area. This base will have a new Eurocopter EC135 aircraft dedicated to the emergency services market as well as the hospital partnerships we currently service from our existing bases in outlying areas. REACH chose this location to better serve the needs of one of the fastest growing areas in the Sacramento region. The  Eurocopter EC135 helicopter, capable of airspeeds of 150 miles per hour, operating under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR), equipped with night vision goggles (NVGs) to enhance safety of nighttime operations, as well as helicopter-specific terrain awareness equipment (TAWs). The aircraft will be staffed 24/7 with nationally certified Flight Nurses and Paramedics along with the highly skilled aviation staff and maintenance support to maintain the highest availability possible to support the region.

    Hospitality

    Solage Calistoga, a contemporary wine country resort, announced that AAA has honored the property with a Four Diamond distinction for the second consecutive year.  Solage Calistoga, the flagship property for Solage Hotels & Resorts, is the only property in Calistoga to receive the accolade for both 2013 and 2014. AAA bestows Four Diamond awards to qualified hotels and restaurants throughout North America following a specific and rigorous evaluation by anonymous reviewers.

    Petaluma company Cowgirl Creamery owners Sue Conley and Peggy Smith announced publication of their new book, “Cowgirl Creamery Cooks.”  According to publisher Chronicle Books, the book “shares the story of the Cowgirls, but also of the rise of the organic food movement and creating an artisanal creamery. It’s a primer on tasting, buying, storing, pairing, and appreciating all kinds of cheese. … with 75 appetizers, soups, salads, snacks, entrees, and desserts that showcase cow-, goat-, and sheep-milk cheese.”

    Nonprofits

    Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Santa Rosa, which provides homeless, senior, and immigration services in six counties of northern California, received a $30,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation for their Coach2Career program at the Family Support Center for homeless families in downtown Santa Rosa. Coach2Career is a comprehensive employment-readiness program for people who are homeless, formerly homeless, or in need of assistance in finding a job.  It includes a seven-week certificate course on resume writing, job search skill building and interview skills.  Clients also have access to a computer lab, telephone answering service, and clothing they can borrow for job interviews.

     

     

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