The Press-Enterprise: Will Arrowhead Credit Union Park get a new name?

08:56 PM PDT on Friday, September 24, 2010

By CHRIS H. SIEROTY
Special to The Press-Enterprise

Now that the minor-league baseball season is over, discussions have begun over whether Arrowhead Credit Union Park in downtown San Bernardino might get a new name, since its title sponsor was seized by the National Credit Union Administration in June.

Dave Elmore, owner and president of the Inland Empire 66ers — the Californian League team that the stadium is home to — said in a phone interview that he met Wednesday with credit union officials to discuss the remaining year in the 10-year naming-rights contract.

“We don’t know for sure yet if they’ll continue their sponsorship,” Elmore said. “We are talking to them and are getting closer. We should know in about another week.”

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2008 / The Press-Enterprise
Arrowhead Credit Union Park’s title sponsor has one year left on its naming-rights deal, which is worth about $100,000 annually.

Prior to the 2002 season, the 66ers and the city of San Bernardino, which owns the stadium, signed a 10-year stadium naming-rights deal with Arrowhead Credit Union. Messages and e-mails left with Elsa Montes, a spokeswoman for the credit union, were not returned.

“(The National Credit Union Administration), in its capacity as conservator of Arrowhead Credit Union, is evaluating a wide-range of business options related to the management of the credit union, and is not commenting on specific opportunities under consideration at this point,” agency spokesman John McKechnie said in an e-mail.

The naming-rights deal for the stadium was worth about $100,000 annually, according to Kevin Shaw, vice president of marketing for the 66ers.

“They are caught up (with their payment) for this fiscal year,” Shaw said. The fiscal year ends Sept. 30.

Both Elmore and Shaw declined to discuss potential replacements should Arrowhead decide to back out of the contract.

Heather Gray, manager of communications for San Bernardino, said the city has not had any discussions over the stadium’s naming rights. She said the city receives $25,000 annually from the naming-rights contract.

Gray said the team also pays San Bernardino $50,000 in base rent annually, along with 6 percent of the gross revenues between $1 million and $1.2 million, 8 percent of the gross revenues from $1.2 million to $1.5 million or 10 percent of the gross revenues exceeding $1.5 million. The city also receives revenue from parking, concessions and services it provides to operate the facility, including electricity.

UPI: PETA wants military to stop using dolphins

(Note: I thought I’d post another old story from my UPI days)

Published: April 1, 2003 at 4:16:09 PM PST

By CHRIS H. SIEROTY

WASHINGTON, April 1 (UPI) — Animal-rights activists want U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld to order the military to stop using dolphins and other animals to detect mines or chemical attacks in the war in Iraq.

In a letter sent to Rumsfeld on Tuesday, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals contends that the troops deserve the best defense but that using animals this way is cruel and may cost lives instead of saving them.

The request follows reports that a 33-year-old dolphin, named Takoma who was charged with hunting for mines in the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr, went missing for more than 48 hours.

While dolphins are highly intelligent animals, they do not understand that lives depend on their assignments and they can be easily distracted from their missions, according to PETA.

The Pentagon recently announced that the U.S. Navy is using dolphins and sea lions to intercept terrorists and mines in the Persian Gulf. The U.S. Army and the Marines are using chickens and pigeons to detect biological and chemical weapons and dogs to detect weapons and rescue troops.

Messages left with the Navy seeking comment were not returned.

In her letter to Rumsfeld, PETA wildlife caseworker Stephanie Boyles also expressed concern over the use of chickens and pigeons in Kuwait, dozens of whom have died. The birds were sent to detect poison gas even though units stationed in the region have already been outfitted with chemical detection equipment.

“Wars are human endeavors,” wrote Boyles. “While a person, a political party, or a nation may decide that war is necessary, the animals never do. Like civilians, they often become the victims of war, but now the U.S. military is deliberately putting animals in harm’s way.”

“These animals never enlisted,” the letter continues. “They know nothing of Iraq or Saddam Hussein, and there is also no guarantee that these animals will save human lives. In fact, they may cause the loss of lives.”

Based in Norfolk, Va., PETA claims more than 750,000 members and supporters worldwide.

The Press-Enterprise: Regional credit union OKs merger

10:31 AM PDT on Wednesday, September 15, 2010

By CHRIS H. SIEROTY
Special to The Press-Enterprise

USA Federal Credit Union announced Monday it would merge with Navy Federal Credit Union, after the boards of both financial institutions approved the deal. The newly combined credit union will begin operations under the Navy Federal banner by Oct. 1, pending regulatory approval by the National Credit Union Administration.

“We are excited about this merger and know that Navy Federal is an excellent choice for us,” said Mary Cunningham, USA Federal’s chief executive officer, in a statement. “We share the same commitment of service to our members — the men and women in uniform who serve our country and the San Diego community.”

Navy Federal, the world’s largest credit union with more than $41 billion in assets, said all of USA Federal’s 19 branches, including those in Lake Elsinore, Murrieta and Temecula, will become part of its branch network. Navy Federal’s President & CEO Cutler Dawson said all 206 USA Federal employees, including Cunningham, would be invited to join the new company.

Jennifer Sadler, a spokeswoman with Navy Federal, said in a phone interview that Cunningham’s role once the merger is completed “is yet to be determined.”

Members will be notified of the merger and will have access to additional information on Navy Federal and USA Federal websites and in branch offices, he said.

“This is important for us because it strengthens our presence in Southern California and expands our branch access for members — here and overseas,” Dawson said. The combined credit union will have more than 200 branches worldwide, with 22 in Southern California, more than $43 billion in assets and more than 3.5 million members.

Founded in 1953, USA Federal had been the sixth-largest credit union based in San Diego with more than $600 million in assets. But the credit union had been dealing with an increase in delinquencies due to the recession, which had dropped its net worth ratio to 2.76 percent, putting it into the category of “significantly undercapitalized,” according to the credit union administration.

The credit union industry considers 6 percent as adequately capitalized, while fully capitalized is 8 percent and above. As of June 30, Navy Federal reported a net worth ratio of 9.5 percent.

Also, USA Federal members will be joining a more profitable credit union. According to reports filed with the administration, Navy Federal, as of June 30, reported net income of $214 million for the first half of the year, along with $484 million in nonperforming assets, or 1.16 percent of its total assets.