Local Business Watch: Summer in the Biz World

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Summer is in full swing and even though most of us are at the beach, SeaWorld, or enjoying some outside activity, life goes on in the biz world. This has been a busy week too, from a local doctor winning a major award to William Shatner landing on the USS Midway for Comic Con, read on for all the details.

It’s may be July but high school Language Arts teachers across the US are planning fall curriculum.  On the first day of class, they will most likely confront three months worth of time their students spent addicted to “constricted writing environments” such as Facebook, Twitter, and mobile texting – mediums that confine the expression of ideas to a limited character count.  By nature, this can lead to students throwing out proper grammar, sentence structure, and other traditional language skills needed for English class and the college application process.  To address this trend, teachers are looking for innovative ideas to encourage their students to write more (not less) during the coming school year.

To help in this mission,, a blogging and resource website for high school students, released its first installment of lesson plans for language arts teachers. The lesson plans provide writing prompts and describe methods for incorporating blogging into the curriculum for a real-world application to get students writing more outside the classroom.

One of the first strategies outlined in the blogging lesson plans talks about the use of the student writing contests to strengthen traditional language skills. For example, Laura Li, a student at Mt. Carmel High School in San Diego, was a finalist in a teen writing contest themed around the environment – a timely topic stemming from the BP Oil Spill.  She heard about the contest from her AP English Teacher,

“My teacher was talking to our class about small actions making big changes in the world. The next day she offered us an extra credit assignment, which was to submit an essay to the student writing contest.  And since I was also taking AP Environmental Science, I had a lot of knowledge of the environment and thought I would give it a try.”

What makes this student writing contest unique, however, is that the entry process sets up each submission as a blog so other contestants and visitors may view, read and comment on the essay.  The current writing contest dovetails off of the popularity of TV shows like NBC’s Biggest Loser and best selling books such as Michael Pollan’s Food Rules as it pushes students to examine America’s relationship with food.  The contest question asks, “Do we have an obligation to take better care of ourselves by making changes in the way we eat and/or buy and consume food?”

The winning student of the food essay contest receives a cash prize, website swag, and “Featured Blogger” status. Entry forms can be found on  A new contest topic is posted at the beginning of each month.

Square ENIX

Square ENIX, the publisher of SQUARE ENIX® interactive entertainment products in North America, introduced a series of premium-quality action figures based on characters from HALO®: REACH. Developed exclusively for Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft by acclaimed developer Bungie, HALO: REACH is the blockbuster prequel to the award winning HALO trilogy that will let players experience the fateful events that transpired on the planet Reach.

All the latest Square Enix products are on display at San Diego Comic-Con, which took place at the San Diego Convention Center from July 22-25.

The Vol. 1 action figures are scheduled for a Fall 2010 release, with Vol.2 slated for an early 2011 release.

“The Square Enix Merchandise Division is dedicated to creating collectible action figures that combine high production value and excellent articulation,” said Kanji Tashiro, merchandise director of Square Enix, Inc.  “The HALO series has captivated fans across the globe, and we are thrilled and honored to be making action figures for its latest entry. We’re confident that even HALO fans that are not familiar with our products will be pleasantly surprised with what we have crafted.”

Winning Doctor

The American Society of Hematology (ASH), the world’s largest professional society of blood specialists, will honor six scientists who have made significant contributions to the understanding and treatment of hematologic diseases. These awards will be presented at the 52nd ASH Annual Meeting taking place December 4-7 in Orlando.

Sanford Shattil, MD, of the University of California – San Diego, will be presented with the 2010 Stratton Medal for his remarkable achievements in the area of platelet cell biology and signal transduction. Dr. Shattil led the way in defining the roles of numerous kinesis, scaffold proteins, small G-proteins, and exchange factors in outside-in integrin signaling platelets. He has often been the first to introduce cutting-edge approaches into the platelet field, including live cell imaging and pioneering the technique of deriving megakaryocytes from mouse bone marrow or human stem cells to use as a molecularly tractable model of platelet signaling.

ASH provides Blood: The Vital Connection (, a credible online resource addressing bleeding and clotting disorders, anemia, and cancer. The official journal of ASH is Blood (; the most cited peer-reviewed publication in the field, which is available weekly in print and online.

Sci-Fi, a new Social Network created for those passionate about Science Fiction, launched William Shatner, who soared over the San Diego Harbor in a helicopter, eventually landing on the deck of the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier during Comic Con. William Shatner’s launch was on Friday, July 23.

“I am excited about the possibilities that are happening at Comic Con,” said Shatner, host of “The brand new platform for creativity in film, in gaming, and in animation is now coming alive on  With Tweet House on the USS Midway, and a great team of partners, can you get more with it?”

“The team at Myouterspace has worked extremely hard towards this exciting event,” said Sammy Oriti, co-founder of “Bill is an innovator; a truly incredible visionary and it will a great moment when he lands his helicopter on the flight deck. All I can say is that I have the coolest job in the world…I work with William Shatner in a Sci-Fi virtual universe!”

Photos from kevygee and commorancy via Flickr and Bill Brown via Picasa

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