Tag Archives: San Francisco

sedona-sunrise

Sedona No. 13 among Top 25 U.S. Destinations

Sedona has been ranked as one of the Travelers’ Choice® 2014 “Top 25 Destinations in the United States.” Coming in at No. 13, Sedona is pleased with the abundance of positive feedback and awe-inspiring reaction of both long time visitors and newcomers to the area.

“Sedona is a true oasis, a vacationer’s paradise in the middle of the Arizona desert. Here, you’ll find resorts and spas, canyons and red rock formations. Bell Rock and Oak Creek Canyon are great hiking spots, and the dramatic architecture of the Chapel of the Holy Cross is a religious experience itself. When the sun dips down below the horizon it introduces the best show in Sedona: the night sky.” –TripAdvisor

“On behalf of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau, it is great honor to be placed on the Travelers’ Choice® 2014 Top 25 Destinations in the United States. As the world’s largest travel site, TripAdvisor assists visitors in gathering travel information, posting travel reviews and engaging in interactive travel forums. This powerful web-based company boasts 200 million unique monthly visitors and over 100 million reviews and opinions. We are honored that world travelers voted Sedona as one of the best destinations to visit in the US,” says Jennifer Wesselhoff, President/CEO of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce.

The top 25 destinations include: New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Las Vegas, Orlando, Washington DC; Boston, Los Angles, Honolulu, New Orleans, Seattle, Miami, Sedona, Savannah, Charleston, Napa, San Antonio, Lahaina, Portland, Philadelphia, Myrtle Beach, Kailua Kona, Palm Springs, Naples, and Houston.

In addition to Sedona’s superb positioning, beautiful Adobe Grand Villas has been ranked No. 3 out of 25 on the Travelers’ Choice® 2014 “Top 25 Small Hotels” list; as well as #5 on the “25 Most Romantic Hotels in the United States”. “We have such great guests, who become friends rather than just customers. We have a very high return rate due to our staff treating each guest as they are the only ones, even if it’s a full house. The villas are designed to create an intimate experience. Fires places are located in each room as well as by the Jacuzzi tub. Couples can also memorialize their special stay or occasion on our unique Love Lock fence. Call to create a special romantic stay, from flowers, couples massages, to a private dinner prepared special by Michael Merilli.”

SFCalTrain1

Scottsdale Promotes Spring Training in Denver, S.F.

Spring training is a short countdown away, and the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau is reminding Colorado Rockies and San Francisco Giants fans that Scottsdale is the place to be for baseball and sunshine.

The bureau unveiled exterior and interior ad placements on the Denver Light Rail on Dec. 30 to promote Scottsdale’s spring training season. An estimated 12.5 million riders will see the baseball-focused advertisements while commuting in Denver through the end of March.

New to the campaign this year is a wrap placement on the San Francisco-area Cal-Train featuring #BaseballWeather, which will run from Feb. 3 to March 2. During its February run, the ad is estimated to be seen by 1.5 million riders.

In addition to the train wraps, the bureau also will promote spring training through billboard advertising in Denver, a wallscape in San Francisco, WeatherChannel.com, email marketing, pay-per-click, social media efforts and a social media contest where fans will be encouraged to tag a photo of themselves experiencing spring training in Scottsdale using #Scottsdale and #BaseballFever for a chance to win two VIP Charros Lodge tickets to one of four games at Scottsdale Stadium.

Pages on the bureau’s site as well as the 2014 Spring Training Guide (available for download) will help spring training fans plan their trip with information on nearby resorts and hotels, parking details and maps, and dining options. In addition, spring training packages and coupons also are available.

Cactus League plays host to 15 teams in nine cities and 10 stadiums throughout Arizona. In 2013, the three teams that played in the Scottsdale area, the Arizona Diamondbacks, San Francisco Giants, and Colorado Rockies, placed first, second and fifth for league attendance, respectively.

For information on Colorado Rockies’ spring training at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, visit SpringTraininginScottsdale.com. For information on San Francisco Giants’ spring training at Scottsdale Stadium, visit PlayBallinScottsdale.com.

fulton

Home prices increase by most in 7 years

U.S. home prices jumped 12.1 percent in April from a year ago, the most since March 2006. More buyers and a limited supply of available homes have lifted prices in most cities across the country, a sign of a broad-based housing recovery.

“The increase in the number of people looking for a new home often runs parallel to a jump in home prices,” said Doug Fulton, CEO of Fulton Homes. “We are seeing steady growth in all of our communities, so it was no surprise to see the data from this new report. It’s great that more people are buying new homes, but it’s even more encouraging that more people are visiting our communities and showing serious interest in our homes.”

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index released Tuesday also rose 2.5 percent in April from March, the biggest month-over-month gain on records dating back to 2000.

All cities except Detroit posted gains in April from March. That’s up from only 15 cities in the previous month.

Prices rose from a year earlier in all 20 cities for the fourth straight month. Twelve cities posted double-digit gains. San Francisco, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Atlanta all had price increases over the past year of more than 20 percent, while Detroit and Los Angeles showed gains of nearly that much. Minneapolis posted a 15 percent gain.

The housing recovery is looking more sustainable and should continue to boost economic growth this year, offsetting some of the drag from higher taxes and federal spending cuts. Steady job gains and low mortgage rates have encouraged more people to buy homes.

David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee, said the housing recovery should continue even with mortgage rates rising. Borrowing rates have jumped after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said last week that the Fed could slow its bond-purchase program, which is intended to keep long-term interest rates low.

“Home buyers have survived rising mortgage rates in the past,” Blitzer said, “often by shifting from fixed rate to adjustable rate loans.”

Blitzer said the bigger issue for the housing market is banks’ willingness to lend. A recent survey by the Fed suggested some banks are easing credit standards.

Still, Stan Humphries, chief economist at real estate data provider Zillow, said rising rates and an increase in the number of sellers should temper price gains in the coming months.

“The national housing recovery is strong and sustainable, but pockets of volatility will emerge,” he said. “Buyers expecting home values to continue rising at this pace indefinitely may be in for a shock.”

The index covers roughly half of U.S. homes. It measures prices compared with those in January 2000 and creates a three-month moving average. The April figures are the latest available.

Prices are rising because demand is up and fewer homes are available for sale. That’s made builders more optimistic about their prospects, leading to more construction and jobs.

housing.prices

Phoenix leads nation in home price increase

U.S. home prices jumped 10.9 percent in March compared with a year ago, the most since April 2006. A growing number of buyers are bidding on a tight supply of homes, driving prices higher and helping the housing market recover.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price index released Tuesday also showed that all 20 cities measured by the report posted year-over-year gains for the third straight month.

And prices rose in 15 cities in March from February. That’s up from only 11 in the previous month. The monthly figures aren’t seasonally adjusted and may reflect the beginning of the spring buying season.

Prices rose in Phoenix by 22.5 percent over the past 12 months, the biggest gain among cities. It was followed by San Francisco (22.2 percent) and Las Vegas (20.6 percent).

New York City had the smallest year-over-year increase at 2.6 percent, followed by Cleveland at 4.8 percent.

“Rising home prices may begin to alleviate a lack of housing inventory … by encouraging more homeowners to put their properties on the market,” said Maninder Sibia, an economist with Economic Advisory Service, in a note to clients. “The housing market is clearly improving.”

The index covers roughly half of U.S. homes. It measures prices compared with those in January 2000 and creates a three-month moving average. The March figures are the latest available.

The U.S. housing market is steadily recovering, buoyed by solid job gains and near-record low mortgage rates. Sales of new homes rose in April to nearly a five-year high. And sales of previously occupied homes ticked up in April to the highest level in three and a half years.

Despite the gains, a limited number of homeowners are putting their houses on the market. That’s helped lift home prices. And it’s made builders more willing to ramp up construction. Applications for building permits rose in April to the highest level in nearly five years.

prevention trial - brain scan images

Ivy Foundation Grants Over $9M for Brain Cancer Research

The Ben & Catherine Ivy Foundation (Ivy Foundation) announced its 2012 grant recipients, which total more than $9 million in funding for brain cancer research. The Ivy Foundation is the largest privately funded brain cancer research foundation in North America. Catherine Ivy is the founder and president of the Ivy Foundation, which has a research funding focus on glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most common and deadliest of malignant primary brain tumors in adults.

The Ivy Foundation awarded the following grants and/or provided funding in 2012:

· $2,500,000 over three years:  Principal Investigator, Greg D. Foltz, M.D., Director, The Ben & Catherine Ivy Center for Advanced Brain Tumor Treatment, Swedish Medical Center
· $5,000,000 over five years:  Principal Investigators, John Carpten, Ph.D. and David Craig, Ph.D., Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) – a collaborative effort with University of California, San Francisco; University of California, Los Angeles; Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; Massachusetts General Hospital; Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center; MD Anderson; and University of Utah
· $45,000 annually: Principal Investigator, Brandy Wells, Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), for the Ivy Neurological Sciences Internship program
· Over $2 million paid out in 2012 for previously committed multi-year brain cancer research grants

“We are encouraged and remain strongly committed to moving the progress forward for patients diagnosed with brain cancer,” said Ivy. “The 2012 Ivy Foundation grant recipients are important strategic partners in our objective to double the life expectancy of people diagnosed with GBM within the next seven years.”

DenverLightRail1

Scottsdale CVB Wraps Spring Training promotion

In an effort to bolster leisure traffic to Scottsdale this spring training season,  the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau has launched a variety of targeted ad campaigns in its top feeder markets including Denver and San Francisco.
Following the launch of the warm-weather campaign, which featured wrapping three New York subways, the bureau has unveiled exterior and interior ad placements on the Denver Light Rail to promote Scottsdale’s spring training season. An estimated 53 million riders will see the baseball-focused advertisements while commuting in Denver through March 28.

To further enhance the campaign, the bureau has also launched “30 Days of Giveaways,” a contest that allows visitors to enter once a day for a chance to win a variety of Scottsdale prizes, including restaurant gift certificates, a hot-air balloon ride for two, hotel stays for two, and an airplane ride over the city. In 2012, this contest received 1,460 entries, a number which is expected to increase this spring training season with the light rail wrap initiative and additional advertisements.

The bureau will also promote 2012 World Series Champions San Francisco Giants’ spring training season in the San Francisco market via Weather.com. Users who access Weather.com from a desktop or mobile app will see a banner ad, which will direct viewers to PlayBallinScottsdale.com. Spring training ads will also be featured in the San Francisco Chronicle, the second largest newspaper in the western United States.

New pages on the bureau’s site will help spring training fans plan their trip with information on nearby resorts and hotels, parking details and maps, dining options, plus information on Cactus League’s Legacy Trail and the bureau’s concierge service. With help from the bureau’s members, special spring training packages and coupons are also available to visitors.

Cactus League plays host to 15 teams in nine cities and 10 stadiums throughout Arizona. In 2012, the three teams that played in the Scottsdale area, the Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies and San Francisco Giants, placed first, second and third for league attendance. More than 186,828 fans attended the Diamondbacks’ games at Salt River Fields, followed by 182,565 attendees at the Rockies’ games and 168,320 attendees at the Giants’ games. In all, Cactus League events had an economic impact of about $422 million statewide and $364 million for Maricopa County.

For information on Colorado Rockies’ spring training, visit SpringTraininginScottsdale.com. For information on San Francisco Giants’ spring training, visit PlayBallinScottsdale.com.

DenverLightRail1

Scottsdale CVB Wraps Spring Training promotion

In an effort to bolster leisure traffic to Scottsdale this spring training season,  the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau has launched a variety of targeted ad campaigns in its top feeder markets including Denver and San Francisco.
Following the launch of the warm-weather campaign, which featured wrapping three New York subways, the bureau has unveiled exterior and interior ad placements on the Denver Light Rail to promote Scottsdale’s spring training season. An estimated 53 million riders will see the baseball-focused advertisements while commuting in Denver through March 28.

To further enhance the campaign, the bureau has also launched “30 Days of Giveaways,” a contest that allows visitors to enter once a day for a chance to win a variety of Scottsdale prizes, including restaurant gift certificates, a hot-air balloon ride for two, hotel stays for two, and an airplane ride over the city. In 2012, this contest received 1,460 entries, a number which is expected to increase this spring training season with the light rail wrap initiative and additional advertisements.

The bureau will also promote 2012 World Series Champions San Francisco Giants’ spring training season in the San Francisco market via Weather.com. Users who access Weather.com from a desktop or mobile app will see a banner ad, which will direct viewers to PlayBallinScottsdale.com. Spring training ads will also be featured in the San Francisco Chronicle, the second largest newspaper in the western United States.

New pages on the bureau’s site will help spring training fans plan their trip with information on nearby resorts and hotels, parking details and maps, dining options, plus information on Cactus League’s Legacy Trail and the bureau’s concierge service. With help from the bureau’s members, special spring training packages and coupons are also available to visitors.

Cactus League plays host to 15 teams in nine cities and 10 stadiums throughout Arizona. In 2012, the three teams that played in the Scottsdale area, the Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies and San Francisco Giants, placed first, second and third for league attendance. More than 186,828 fans attended the Diamondbacks’ games at Salt River Fields, followed by 182,565 attendees at the Rockies’ games and 168,320 attendees at the Giants’ games. In all, Cactus League events had an economic impact of about $422 million statewide and $364 million for Maricopa County.

For information on Colorado Rockies’ spring training, visit SpringTraininginScottsdale.com. For information on San Francisco Giants’ spring training, visit PlayBallinScottsdale.com.

San Francisco Giants

San Francisco Giants: A Giant History

Originally known as the New York Gothams, the San Francisco Giants is one of the oldest baseball teams in the history of America.

Their first season, where they finished two games behind Chicago, still drew a spectacular beginning of a long history for the team with 76 victories.  That was in 1885, and nearly 40 years later, the Giants, still known as the New York Gothams at this point, won both the National League title and the World Series.

That, however, was no surprise, for seven of the eight Giants Starters bet better than .320; it also marked the second World Series for them.  Many of the team’s numbers were record-breaking; all the way up to 1923, the team was the first in the 20th century to score in every inning of the game.  With George Kelly who hit three consecutive home runs in a single game; Travis Jackson who recorded 100-plus runs battled in (RBI’s) in a single contest and Ross Youngs who led the league 121 runs scored, the Giants astounding statistics was no surprise and the result: another year where they participate in the World Series.

The early 1950’s brought the New York Gothams to a hault, but in 1958, the team became who we know it as today: the San Francisco Giants.

Purchased by the city’s mayor, George Christopher and led by the legendary manager, Bill Rigney, the team moved to the Bay Area for the 1958 season.  And the city welcomes their team with excitement and a huge parade.  But they were off to a slow start: they finished 12 games out in third place, but still managed to gain a notable 80-74 record.

The team didn’t make it to their World Series by the Bay Area until 1962, with Skipper Alvin Dark on their side, but continues to string stellar seasons until  1965.  Each of their four seasons in a row resulted in 90 wins for them; but unfortunately, they fell short of two games and settles for a runner-up finish.

Although the team was only getting close, and not quite getting there, several Giants achieved their personal homeruns.  Gaylord Perry was only of five San Francisco Giants in the Hall of Fame.  Perry had a 16-win history, where he pitched 19 complete games.  Other players like Orlanda Cepeda, Bob Gibson and Willie McCovey also had outstanding stats.

Come the 90’s and comes Barry Bonds: the team’s most notable player of the decade.  Barry Bonds is the fourth member of the prestigious 300-300 and the 40-40 clubs.  In other words, he completed his 300th and 301st homeruns in one year and then his 400th the next.  But the team’s history was still dragging on.  After eight years, the Giants finally made their postseason appearance in the National League Wild Card and although losing to Florida’s Marlins, they were a tough team to beat.

The Giants, in 2002, bounced back to their tremendous and victory-filled history and made it to the National League Championship Series.  The next year, and for the first time since 1936-37, the team earned consecutive appearances in postseason play.  They won’t their third National League West title and became only the second team in history to go write-to-wire with a finish of 100-61.

The next four years brought another downturn, only to bring the team to 2008, where towards the end of the season, the team posted a 28027 mark.  The rookie Pablo Sandoval hit .345 in 41 games and pushed for the Giants’ strong finish.

Till this day, the Giants continue their highs and lows of baseball performance, bringing to their fans years of great accomplishments and others of coming-close victory.

For information on the team’s spring schedule and their arrival to Arizona, see the Spring Schedule here. 

 

BP Oil Spill

Green News Roundup – Oil Spill In The Gulf Of Mexico, Eco Style

Welcome to our weekly green news roundup. This week we’ve gathered stories about green job growth, the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, eco style and more. Feel free to send along any stories you’d like to see in the roundup by e-mailing me at kasia@azbigmedia.com.

Green Jobs Slowly Ticking Upward
According to the NY Times Green Blog the green economy is growing, albeit slowly. Though green services and businesses accounted for 1 to 2 percent of the private business economy in 2007, there are many signs pointing to the number being on the rise.

Eco Style
Being “green” is becoming quite stylish. Art of Board, a design company based in Hannover, PA, has transformed discarded skateboard materials into a variety of unique design elements including household accessories, wall tiles and more.

BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico
The devastating oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has captured the attention of the nation and the world. The Environmental Protection Agency has set up a special website to track progress and containment of the spill. A 100-ton containment structure will be placed over a blown-out oil well; the plan is to contain the biggest leak with the structure. Visit the site to get the most up-to-date information.

Sopping Up An Oil Slick With Castaway Hair
In order to protect coastlines from the approaching oil slick, containment booms are typically used to sop up the oil. However, an alternative source for the booms is something you probably wouldn’t think of — hair.

60-foot Vessel Sets Sail On an 11,000-mile Voyage
Sure sailing from the San Francisco Bay to Sydney, Australia isn’t that unusual. However, doing so on a boat made from recycled plastic bottles is! The aptly named “Plastiki” set sail on March 20. The goal of the voyage is to “call attention to environmental issues like bottled water and plastic waste.”  Solar panels and windmills power the vessel, and the crew stays in touch via Skype, Twitter, blogs and video updates. Life on a boat made from 12,000 reclaimed plastic bottles isn’t easy, but the crew is determined to finish their journey in a sustainable fashion.

Developing an organics-to-energy biogas facility.

Don’t Let It Go To Waste, A Biogas Future

Ever wonder if you can actually do something useful with all the garbage we produce? Well it turns out we can! The city council in San Jose, Calif., recently announced that the city was in talks to develop an organics-to-energy biogas facility.

The facility would be the first of its kind in the United States, and could take in up to 150,000 tons of food and yard waste per year to process and produce energy— all this from waste that would otherwise be condemned to a landfill.

San Jose has made a huge step toward a goal of 100 percent energy independence and can act as an example for the rest of the country.The technology used to create the energy is a process known as dry anaerobic fermentation, which generates renewable bio-gas and high-quality compost, and has already been made popular in Europe. A company called BEKON Energy Technologies has successfully used this process and currently operates facilities in Germany and Italy.

We all know that San Francisco and the rest of the Bay Area have long been on the environmental bandwagon, but we should certainly be quick to follow suit. According to San Jose’s Office of Economic Development its proposed biogas facility would employ 30 to 40 people during construction and development. Once fully operational the facility could create 50 to 60 jobs. News flash — it’s not only good for the environment but the economy as well :)

It’s exciting to hear about all this great new technology being developed and, hopefully, one day it will be the norm. Alas, one can at least dream that this kind of future awaits us.

waste=energy