– September 17, 2014

Real estate mogul to give $200M to U. of Michigan

(AP) — New York real estate magnate and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is donating $200 million to the University of Michigan for its business school and athletics programs, the largest single donation to the school and among the most generous in higher education history.


The money will be split between the Stephen M. Ross School of Business and University of Michigan Athletics, and raises Ross' total giving to his alma mater to more than $313 million, the Ann Arbor school said in a statement Wednesday. The Athletic Campus is expected to be named the Stephen M. Ross Athletic Campus.

"Stephen Ross' vision has always been about the ability of facilities to transform the human experience," school President Mary Sue Coleman said in the statement. "He understands the power of well-conceived spaces, and his generosity will benefit generations of Michigan students, faculty and coaches."

According to lists from The Chronicle of Higher Education and The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Ross' gift is the third biggest to a higher education facility in 2013. Earlier this year, it was announced that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg would donate $350 million to Johns Hopkins University, and in July the A. Eugene Brockman Charitable Trust gave a $250 million donation to Centre College in Kentucky.

Ross' $200 million donation is among the 30 single largest donations to a U.S. college or university, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education's list.

In Michigan, specific projects will be announced in the coming months, the school said. In addition, scholarships will be available to Ross students.

The Ross School of Business proposes to create new spaces for students to study, collaborate and connect with each other, faculty and potential employers. Classrooms will include advanced technology to support in-person and virtual collaboration.

With the additional funding, University of Michigan Athletics plans to improve its campus to help athletes succeed on the playing field and in the classroom, improve its facilities and build sites to be a destination for local, state, national and international competitions.

Ross earned his Bachelor of Business Administration degree in accounting from the University of Michigan Business School in 1962, a law degree from Wayne State University in Detroit and a master of law degree in taxation from New York University.

"The University of Michigan had a profound impact on my life and I have received enormous satisfaction from being able to give back to the institution that played such a critical role in my success," Ross said.

In 2004, Ross gave $100 million toward a new building and endowed operations for the business school, which was renamed in recognition of his gift. The building was completed in 2009.

In other donations to University of Michigan Athletics, Ross gave a $5 million lead gift to create the Stephen M. Ross Academic Center, which provides study space. Additional past gifts include $5 million for the school's stadium expansion project and $50,000 to the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts for the Henry Pearce Endowed Scholarship, and scholarship support for student athletes.

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Latest Local News

Written on 09/17/2014, 4:17 pm by Business Journal staff
Fresno staffing firm Spherion will hold a job fair at its office on Sept. 18 in honor of National Staffing Employee Week.
Written on 09/17/2014, 2:25 pm by Associated Press
(AP) — The Dow Jones industrial average is closing at a record high after the Federal Reserve maintained its stance on record-low interest rates.The Dow rose 24 points, or 0.2 percent, to close at 17,156 Wednesday, surpassing its previous high from July by 18 points. The blue-chip average rose as much as 89 points after the Fed kept the phrase "considerable time," in referring to how long it would wait before raising interest rates. The Standard & Poor's 500 index edged up two points, or 0.1 percent, to finish at 2,001. The Nasdaq rose nine points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,562. The Fed has held the short-term rates it controls close to zero for more than five years, which has helped stimulate the economy and fueled a bull market for stocks.
Written on 09/17/2014, 1:17 pm by Associated Press
(AP) — For the second time this year, federal officials are releasing additional water from a Northern California reservoir to combat a parasite that threatens to kill thousands of salmon in the drought-parched Klamath River.The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation says it doubled the outflows from Lewiston Dam into the Trinity River on Tuesday, and will keep them up for seven days. It also increased flows last month to combat the same problem. The decision was made following discovery of a parasite known as Ich (ick), which attacks salmon in stagnant water conditions. Sampling this week found the parasite in nine of the 20 fish tested. During a drought in 2002, tens of thousands of salmon died in the Klamath, primarily from the Ich parasite.
Written on 09/17/2014, 1:02 pm by The Associated Press
(AP) — Wells Fargo Bank has agreed to pay $290,000 to four tellers in Nevada to settle a same-sex sexual harassment case brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The lawsuit accused a female manager and female teller at a Reno bank of subjecting the four women to a sexually hostile work environment dating to December 2010. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says one of the tellers resigned in 2011 because she no longer could tolerate the women's graphic sexual comments, gestures and images. The commission says the four women also were told that they should wear sexually provocative clothing to help attract customers and advance in the workplace. Assistant bank vice president Tony Timmons said Wednesday it was an isolated incident. He says Wells Fargo is committed to a welcoming work environment.
Written on 09/17/2014, 12:59 pm by KRISTEN WYATT, Associated Press
(AP) — Tired of Cheech & Chong pot jokes and ominous anti-drug campaigns, the marijuana industry and activists are starting an ad blitz in Colorado aimed at promoting moderation and the safe consumption of pot. To get their message across, they are skewering some of the old Drug War-era ads that focused on the fears of marijuana, including the famous "This is your brain on drugs" fried-egg ad from the 1980s. They are planning posters, brochures, billboards and magazine ads to caution consumers to use the drug responsibly and warn tourists and first-timers about the potential to get sick from accidentally eating too much medical-grade pot. "So far, every campaign designed to educate the public about marijuana has relied on fear-mongering and insulting marijuana users," said Mason Tvert, spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, the nation's biggest pot-policy advocacy group. The MPP plans to unveil a billboard on Wednesday on a west Denver street where many pot shops are located that shows a woman slumped in a hotel room with the tagline: "Don't let a candy bar ruin your vacation." It's an allusion to Maureen Dowd, a New York Times columnist who got sick from eating part of a pot-infused candy bar on a visit to write about pot. The campaign is a direct response to the state's post-legalization marijuana-education efforts. One of them is intended to prevent stoned driving and shows men zoning out while trying to play basketball, light a grill or hang a television. Many in the industry said the ads showed stereotypical stoners instead of average adults. Even more concerning to activists is a youth-education campaign that relies on a human-sized cage and the message, "Don't Be a Lab Rat," along with warnings about pot and developing brains. The cage in Denver has been repeatedly vandalized. At least one school district rejected the traveling exhibit, saying it was well-intentioned but inappropriate. "To me, that's not really any different than Nancy Reagan saying 'Just Say No,'" said Tim Cullen, co-owner of four marijuana dispensaries and a critic of the "lab rat" campaign, referring to the former first lady's effort to combat drug use. A spokesman for the state Health Department welcomed the industry's ads, and defended the "lab rat" campaign. "It's been effective in starting a conversation about potential risks to youth from marijuana," Mark Salley said. The dueling campaigns come at a time when the industry is concerned about inexperienced consumers using edible pot. The popularity of edibles surprised some in the industry when legal-marijuana retail sales began in January. Edible pot products have been blamed for at least one death, of a college student who jumped to his death in Denver in March after consuming six times the recommended dose of edible marijuana. The headlines, including Dowd's experience, have been enough for the industry to promote moderation with edible pot. "I think the word has gotten out that you need to be careful with edibles," said Steve Fox, head of the Denver-based Council for Responsible Cannabis Regulation. The group organized the "First Time 5" campaign, which cautions that new users shouldn't eat more than 5 milligrams of marijuana's psychoactive ingredient, or half a suggested serving. The campaign warns users that edible pot can be much more potent than the marijuana they're smoking — and that the pot-infused treats on store shelves are much stronger than homemade brownies they may recall eating. The advocacy ads tackle anti-drug messaging from year past. Inside pictures of old TV sets are images from historic ads. Along with the fried-egg one is an image from one ad of a father finding his son's drug stash and demanding to know who taught him to use it. The kid answers: "You, all right! I learned it by watching you!" The print ad concludes, "Decades of fear-mongering and condescending anti-marijuana ads have not taught us anything about the substance or made anyone safer." It then directs viewers to, which is patterned after the alcohol industry's "Drink Responsibly" campaign. Marijuana activists plan to spend $75,000 by year's end and eventually expand it to Washington state, where pot is also legal.
Written on 09/17/2014, 12:55 pm by MATT SEDENSKY, Associated Press
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Written on 09/17/2014, 11:49 am by Ben Keller
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Written on 09/17/2014, 11:28 am by Business Journal staff
Several Valley lawmakers were honored by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) for their voting record on behalf of America's small business owners.Based on the voting records in its "How Congress Voted" report card unveiled this week, the NFIB will present its Guardian of Small Business Award to 232 representatives of the 113th Congress. Those who voted favorably on 15 key small business issues at least 70 percent of the time were eligible for the award. Among them were Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) who voted with the NFIB 100 percent of the time. Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford), and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) and Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Granite Bay) also scored 100 percent in the NFIB's rankings. Rep. Jim Costa (D-Fresno) didn't make the cut, however, only voting with the NFIB 44 percent of the time. In preparing its report card, the NFIB considered votes on key House and Senate legislation, including America’s Small Business Tax Relief Act of 2014 (H.R. 4457), Preventing Greater Uncertainty in Labor-Management Relations Act (H.R. 1120), Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2013 (H.R. 2655), Minimum Wage Increase (S. 2223) and Prevention of Taxing Carbon Emissions Amendment (S.Amdt. 261). "Small-business owners are very politically active—paying close attention to how their lawmakers vote on key business issues and stand by those who stand for them," said NFIB President and CEO Dan Danner.
Written on 09/17/2014, 10:37 am by Associated Press
(AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Tuesday that will require the first-ever rules for pumping groundwater in California. Why lawmakers and the governor acted, and what the new laws mean:WHAT IS GROUNDWATER? It's the water that accumulates below the earth's surface, filling empty spaces and cracks in the rock. Farmers and agencies can tap it by drilling wells. It's an especially valuable source of water during times of drought, providing 60 percent of the state's supply as reservoirs, rivers and other sources dry up. Some farmers even turn to dowsers, or water witches, to guide them to the underwater reserves. About 30 million Californians rely on groundwater for some portion of their drinking water supply, according to state figures. WHAT'S THE PROBLEM? Some areas are being pumped faster than they can be replenished with rain, snowmelt and irrigation runoff. And as California faces the third year of a serious drought, farmers have been in an expensive race to drill the deepest wells. Over-pumping can compress soil and rocks, making them more compact and permanently reducing the underground water storage capacity. That also leads to sinking land, or subsidence, which can damage roads, canals and other structures. HOW IS GROUNDWATER MANAGED NOW? Not very closely. Under California's Gold Rush-era water rights system, many landowners are entitled to pump as much as they please on their property. Other states treat groundwater as a shared resource regulated and monitored by state agencies. Some local agencies in California have sustainable plans for managing groundwater, but no statewide standards currently exist. WHAT'S THE PROPOSED SOLUTION? The legislation signed Tuesday maintains a local approach with state oversight. It requires agencies in fast-depleting basins to draw up sustainability plans and allows for water meters and fines for monitoring and enforcement. It does not go as far as other Western states by granting state agencies the power to authorize or prohibit groundwater withdrawals, but the California Water Resources Control Board can now intervene if locals fail to act or come up with inadequate solutions. WHO IS AFFECTED BY THE LEGISLATION? The state water department identifies 127 groundwater basins and sub-basins that are high or medium priority for monitoring, mostly concentrated along the agriculture-heavy Central Valley and some areas surrounding Los Angeles. That's only a quarter of all California groundwater basins, but they account for almost 96 percent of California's groundwater pumping. HOW WILL THE NEW LAWS ROLL OUT? First, local land planners have until 2017 to choose or establish a groundwater sustainability agency. Those agencies then have until 2020 or 2022, depending on how dire their situation is, to draw up sustainability plans. Those plans should put groundwater basins on a path to sustainability by 2040. WHO SUPPORTS AND OPPOSES THE LAWS? Democratic lawmakers pushed the legislation, ultimately winning support from key groups that include the Association of California Water Agencies and Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. But Republicans and some Central Valley Democrats opposed the bills, saying they would infringe on property rights and hurt well-managed agencies. The legislation drew the ire of some agricultural interests that are increasingly dependent on groundwater, such as the California Farm Bureau.
Written on 09/17/2014, 10:33 am by Associated Press
(AP) — Insurer Anthem Blue Cross is joining with several prominent Southern California hospitals to offer a new type of insurance plan it promises will provide high-quality care at affordable prices.Details of the joint venture, to be called Vivity, were being announced Wednesday at a news conference in Los Angeles. The move brings together one of the nation's largest health insurers with such providers as Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the UCLA Health System. The Los Angeles Times ( reports that the California Public Employees' Retirement System, the nation's second-largest buyer of health insurance, has already signed on as one of Vivity's first customers. Vivity is expected to provide competition to Kaiser Permanente, the health maintenance organization currently favored by the largest number of California employers providing insurance coverage to workers.

Latest State News

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