Business news: Week of July 30, 2012


Fitch Ratings has applied positive ratings to two county of Sonoma bond obligations, affirming an AA rating for $489.2 million in pension obligation bonds and AA+ to $96.9 million in Measure F sales tax revenue bonds for agricultural preservation and open space. Fitch rated county general-obligation bonds AA+, indicating a sound financial position.Hospitality

In a move affecting North Bay brewers, Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 1812 -- authored by Wes Chesbro, D-Arcata -- which ensures beer aged in used wooden barrels will continue to be taxed, licensed, regulated and labeled as "beer" throughout California. The bill, sponsored by the California Craft Brewers Association passed the Legislature unanimously. Current law creates legal ambiguity on how wooden barrel-aged beers are to be defined and categorized for purposes of taxation and regulation. Because barrel-aged beers receive some of their flavor from the alcohol in the wood, they could be considered distilled spirits -- and thus taxed at a much higher rate. They might also be regulated as distilled spirits, and because of state licensing mandates, a beer manufacturer would therefore not be allowed to make barrel-aged beers.

Silverado Country Club, located at Silverado Resort and Spa in Napa, announced the availability of a limited number of memberships to outside individuals 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 have two options: Invitational and Junior Executive memberships. Resort owner Johnny Miller, lead NBC golf analyst and named to the World Golf Hall of Fame, recently renovated the north course and said he wants to make it available to more golfers.Technology

Verizon Wireless will expand its 4G Long Term Evolution network in coming weeks into North Coast wine country, including coverage of Napa, Coombsville, Yountville, St. Helena, Calistoga, parts of Angwin, Highway 29 between Napa and St. Helena, and Sonoma.  Awards

Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, received the National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization Public Policy Leadership Award for his ongoing support of hospice care. Currently, Rep. Thompson is the lead Democrat sponsor of H.R. 3506, known as the HELP Hospice Act, which seeks financial support to hospice organizations. He received the award during a ceremony in Napa organized by Hospice by the Bay.

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