– May 26, 2015

Latest Local News

Written on 05/22/2015, 2:34 pm by Business Journal staff
Casa de Tamales will open a new location in the former site of Charlotte’s BakerEatery in Fresno’s Tower District. 
Written on 05/22/2015, 11:12 am by Business Journal staff
The Youth Orchestra of Fresno will debut its “Water, Water, Everywhere” composition during a concert at the Saroyan Theater on May 24. The music features recordings of the late, former U.S. Poet Laureate and Fresno State emeritus professors Philip Levine reciting his own work. Fresno State professor Dr. Benjamin Boone will also debut his drought-themed orchestral composition “Water(less) Music” during the event in downtown Fresno. Following the debut, Boone’s composition will be performed on June 26 at Disney Hall in Los Angeles and June 28 at the Fresno State campus.  “The story goes from the beginning of earth’s existence, to water, to rain, to dark clouds, to violent storm, to environmental collapse, to fallow land and infertility and finally to a complete lack of water,” Boone said. “At this moment in California’s history, we cannot consider water without also considering the lack of water were are experiencing.” He said he was inspired to incorporate Levine’s work after the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet died in February. Boone had been collaborating with him on a CD, “The Poetry of Jazz — The Jazz of Poetry.” The May 24 concert will begin at 4 p.m. and feature Handel’s “Water Music,” Bernstein’s music of the movie “On the Waterfront,” Debussy’s “La Mer” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” by Badelt. The concert is free to the public, though donations at the door are appreciated. 
Written on 05/22/2015, 9:40 am by Business Journal staff
Central Valley unemployment rates inched lower in April as harvest activities geared up on some area farms, according to new data from the state Employment Development Department. Fresno County's April unemployment rate was 10.2 percent, down from 11.1 percent in March and below 12 percent a year ago. Farm employment grew month-over-month by 8,200 jobs as harvest activity ramped up for crops including, blueberries, strawberries and tree fruit. Nonfarm employment fell by 100 jobs in the period. On a year-over basis, nonfarm employment rose by 12,900 jobs while farm employment fell by 1,100 jobs. The professional and business services category reported the largest year-over jump with 4,100 jobs. The unemployment rate in Tulare County was 11.5 percent in April, down from 13.2 percent month-over-month and below 13.3 percent a year ago. Farms in the county added 6,900 jobs last month, while nonfarm industry gained 700 jobs. On a year-over basis, Tulare County farms shed 300 jobs while nonfarm industries added 3,100 positions. Madera County's April unemployment rate was 10.4 percent, down from 11.4 percent in March and 11.4 percent a year ago. Farms in the county added 600 jobs in April, while nonfarm employment remained unchanged. Compared to last year, the farm sector shed 1,100 jobs while nonfarm employment was static. In Kings County, the April unemployment rate was 10.8 percent, down from 11.9 percent in March and below 12.5 percent a year ago. Farms added 700 jobs in the month, while nonfarm employment was unchanged. Compared to April 2014, Kings County farms lost 300 jobs last month, while the nonfarm sector gained 600 positions.
Written on 05/21/2015, 4:48 pm by Business Journal staff
Central Valley Community Bancorp, parent company of Central Valley Community Bank, has declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of 6 cents per share. The dividend is payable on June 26 to shareholders of record as of June 12. Central Valley Community Bancorp trades on the Nasdaq stock exchange under the symbol CVCY.
Written on 05/21/2015, 4:44 pm by Business Journal staff
Community Regional Medical Center (CRMC) has received a $1 million gift to help remodel its outpatient burn center to be more child-friendly.  The donation was announced today during a press conference at the hospital’s outpatient burn center recognizing the contributions of local donors. The Bush family of Hanford donated $500,000 towards the project, with other donors matching the figure for a total of $1 million.  The funding will enable CRMC to convert its outpatient center for pediatric burn care. The hospital is home to one of the only comprehensive, round-the-clock burn centers in the San Joaquin Valley. The facility handles more than 11,000 burn procedures each year, half of which involve children. 
Written on 05/21/2015, 3:47 pm by Business Journal staff
The California Transportation Commission (CTC), San Joaquin Valley Regional Transportation Agencies (RTPAs), Fresno Chamber of Commerce and the Fresno Economic Development Corporation will be hosting a public forum to solicit information from San Joaquin Valley residents regarding current highway and road conditions as well as proposals to stabilize funding for transportation-system repairs and maintenance. The public forum will be held May 27 from 2 – 4 p.m. at the Double Tree Hotel in downtown Fresno. Topics to be covered include the local, regional and state roles in funding road projects and maintenance, the impacts of and reasons for California’s and the San Joaquin Valley’s deteriorating transportation system and proposed solutions to stabilize road repair and maintenance funding over the longer term. CTC Commissioner Darius Assemi; CTC Executive Director Will Kempton; San Joaquin Valley RTPAs Chair Ahron Hakimi; Fresno Council of Governments Executive Director Tony Boren; Fresno Chamber of Commerce Board Member and President/Owner of Alert-O-Lite, Inc. Debbie Hunsaker and Fresno Economic Development Corporation President/CEO Lee Ann Eager are scheduled to speak at the event. Issues related to the state high-speed rail system will not be addressed.  The Double Tree Hotel is located at 2233 Ventura Street.  More information is available at
Written on 05/21/2015, 10:21 am by Business Journal staff
The City of Kingsburg has selected Sam Shima and his Gymnastics Beat business as the winner of its 2015 Launching Pad Business Plan Contest.  As the winner, Shima will receive $25,000 in goods and services to help start a location in Kingsburg. The new spot will be his second Gymnastics Beat location. The business is currently open at 5620 W. Barstow Ave. in Northwest Fresno.  Shima said the business will now need to find a 10,000-square-foot facility in Kingsburg and has an opening date goal of June 1, 2016.  “The reason we’ve chosen that date is that every four years, after the Olympic games, gymnastics centers get hit with inquiries about the sport and new classes form based on families wishing for their children wanting to learn tumbling, bars and rings. We want to be ready,” he said.  Chris and Stephanie Dorrough of Kingsburg placed second in the competition for their plan to open a batting cage facility in the community.   “Both Sam Shima and finalists Chris and Stephanie Dorrough with CJ’s Sports delivered stellar presentations. It was a very difficult decision for the judges,” said economic development consultant Jolene Polyack. The City of Kingsburg held its first launching pad contest in 2013 and both the winner and runner-up currently operate local businesses. 
Written on 05/21/2015, 9:54 am by Business Journal staff
With the California housing market continuing its upward trend, pending home sales registered their fifth straight annual gain, with the last three months being in the double-digits, the California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.) said in a report released today. California pending home sales were up 13.6 percent on an annual basis from the 114 index recorded in April 2014, marking the fifth straight month of year-to-year gains and the third straight month of double-digit advances.     Pending home sales in the San Francisco Bay Area, Southern California and Central Valley regions posted back-to-back, double-digit, year-over-year gains. Central Valley pending sales increased 28.1 percent from March to reach an index of 129.1 in April, and up 15.8 percent from the 111.5 index of April 2014. According to the C.A.R. report, the share of equity sales — or non-distressed property sales — edged up in April to make up 91.9 percent of all home sales, the highest level since 2007. Equity sales made up 91 percent of all home sales in March and 88.3 percent in April 2014. The share of equity sales has been at or near 90 percent since mid-2014. Conversely, the combined share of all distressed property sales (REOs and short sales) fell in April, down from 9 percent in March to 8.1 percent in April.   Distressed sales made up 11.7 percent of total sales a year ago. Twenty-three of the 43 counties that C.A.R. reported showed month-to-month decreases in their distressed sales shares, with San Mateo having the smallest share of distressed sales at 1 percent, followed by San Francisco (2 percent), and Santa Cruz (2 percent). Kings and Plumas counties had the highest share of distressed sales at 24 percent, followed by Amador, Lake, and Tulare (all at 16 percent). Fresno County registered 12 percent distressed sales in April 2015 as compared to 19 percent a year earlier. And in Madera County in April 2015, 14 percent of all real estate sales were distressed, compared to 11 percent in April 2014.
Written on 05/21/2015, 9:50 am by Business Journal staff
The 52nd Annual Cinco De Mayo Charity Golf Tournament is donating $45,000 to The First Tee of Fresno, a charity which teaches life skills to youth through the game of golf. The funds were raised at this year’s sold-out event, which was held on May 1 at the Copper River Country Club. “We are extremely pleased with the outcome of this year’s event as we surpassed the amount raised for The First Tee of Fresno by $10,000 compared to donations from both the 2014 and 2013 tournaments,” said tournament chairman Rick Rattazzi. “We made several changes to create a higher profile event that were extremely well received by the participants,” Rattazzi added. “Notably, we offered premium live auction prizes such as golf with ESPN commentator and NFL legend Trent Dilfer and Dallas Cowboys veteran Kevin Sweeney, season tickets to the Fresno State Bulldogs and the opportunity to golf at the prestigious Monterey Peninsula Country Club.” “This tournament would not have been possible without the generous donations by scores of area businesses who graciously donated prizes for the auctions, and a special thank you to our presenting sponsor, Wells Fargo and to all the corporate sponsors, including: Johanson Transportation Service; Union Bank; Clovis Insurance Agency; Lyons Transportation ; Ritchie Trucking Service; ACT Computer Services; DTL Transport, Inc.; James G. Parker Insurance; Wells Fargo Advisors; Mercedes Benz of Fresno; Wickersham Jewelry and Frame Maker,”Rattazzi said. Next year’s tournament will be held on May 6. Since forming in 1963, the Cinco De Mayo Tournament has contributed $667,000 to charities such as the Chaffee Memorial Zoo Hospital, St. Agnes Hospital, Valley Children’s Hospital and American Cancer Society. In 2008, The First Tee Fresno became the exclusive tournament benefactor. To date the charity has received $166,000 to enhance the lives of area youth.
Written on 05/21/2015, 9:47 am by Business Journal staff
California State University Chancellor Timothy White has approved Fresno State’s proposal to modify its enrollment plan beginning in the 2016-17 academic year.  The school can now move forward with development of its impaction plan for all first-time freshmen and new upper division transfers. The plan calls for a variety of tools to help manage enrollment since the university currently receives more qualified applicants than its state funding model can support.  Applications for admission to Fresno State have been at a historic high since the fall semester of 2010 and continue to increase at a 6 percent rate. Recent state budget restrictions have caused the CSU system to limit the university’s ability to serve qualified applicants, and the new enrollment plan is expected to help curb demand.  “We are committed to student success, and for some student access to Fresno State through a community college route may be a better path,” said Frank Lamas, vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. “We know that students who come to us from community colleges have a higher graduation rate than those who arrive as freshmen.”  Fresno State’s Outreach Services office and academic advisers will work closely with local community colleges to assist students, he said.  The impaction plan topic was the subject of three public hearings in March and will be shared with faculty and administrative bodies before being implemented in the fall of 2016.

Latest State News

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