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– September 2, 2014

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Latest Local News

Written on 09/02/2014, 1:35 pm by Business Journal staff
Coalinga State Hospital and Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga will now get a portion of their power from two new solar system built by...
Written on 09/02/2014, 12:20 pm by Business Journal staff
The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District has opened a round of grants to fund new heavy-duty waste transfer trucks. Applications will be taken through Sept. 30 for up to $50,000 toward the cost of a new waste transfer truck operating in the San Jaouqin Valley. Owner of trucks that haul to facilities in Environmental Justice areas will be given priority consideration. Priority wil also be given to trucks that operate 100 percent in the Valley. To be eligible, existing trucks must: • Be in compliance with all applicable state regulations • Be currently in operation • Have a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or greater • Be equipped with a 1996-2003 model year diesel engine For more information, visit http://valleyair.org/grants/
Written on 09/02/2014, 11:16 am by Business Journal staff
The Visalia Chamber has found its new CEO in former area tourism official Gail Zurek. The chamber has been looking for a new leader since Glenn Morris left the position in June for a similar job in Santa Maria. Morris had served as CEO since 2009, coming to the chamber after working for three years as executive director of the Visalia Convention and Visitors Bureau. Zurek, who begins her new position on Sept. 22, also hails from the Visalia Convention and Visitors Bureau, where she worked as tourism and marketing manager. Before joining the tourism marketing organization in November 2013, Zurek was president of Arrowhead Communications of Saint John, Indiana providing marketing and public relations consulting to businesses and nonprofits. She was also the area director for the Better Business Bureau of Northern Indiana. Prior to that, Zurek worked with the University of Chicago in various capacities for eight years, leading to her final position as the executive director for career development with the Harris School of Public Policy Studies. Zurek holds a bachelor of arts in communications from California Lutheran University.
Written on 09/02/2014, 11:10 am by Business Journal staff
Fresno Pacific University ranked among the top ten most affordable private universities in the West, according to a new list by the college information service Great Value Colleges. Great Value Colleges considered all four-year universities with a net price below $22,000 when compiling its "50 Great Affordable Colleges in the West" list. Net price is equal to the total cost of attendance minus the average financial aid package. Out of the top 25 most affordable private universities in the list, Fresno Pacific University ranked at No. 7 with a net price of $15,742. To help college hopeful in their search, Great Value Colleges also ranked each university on the list by how well they met eight quality indicators such as 6-year graduation rate, freshmen retention rate, student-to-faculty-ratio, number of academic programs and average entrance ACT score Fresno Pacific University placed 9th among private universities in the quality ranking. The latest rating follows another list put out by Christian Universities Online in August naming Fresno Pacific as the ninth most affordable Christian universities in the country. Founded in 1944 by the Pacific District Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches, Fresno Pacific University now enrolls around 3,461 students at its main campus in southeast Fresno as well as regional centers in north Fresno, Merced, Visalia and Bakersfield.
Written on 09/02/2014, 9:28 am by Business Journal staff
Home prices in Fresno were up 7.6 percent in July compared to last year, according to a new report from CoreLogic. Month over month, home prices decreased by 0.6 percent in Fresno. Excluding distressed sales in Fresno, year-over-year prices increased by 7.9 percent, while they dipped month-over-month by 0.3 percent. In Madera in July, home prices increased by 10 percent. Month over month, prices increased by 0.7 percent. Excluding distressed sales, year-over-year prices increased by 15.8 percent, while they increased by 6.1 percent month over month. In the Hanford-Corcoran area, home prices for July increased by 6.5 percent, while month-over-month prices fell by 0.2 percent. Excluding distressed sales, year-over-year prices rose by 13.6 percent, while month-over-month prices increased by 0.3 percent. In the Visalia-Porterville area, home prices increased by 11.5 percent in July, while month-over-month prices increased by 1.4 percent. Excluding distressed sales, year-over-year prices increased by 13.2 percent, while month-over-month prices increased by 2.5 percent. Home prices nationwide, including distressed sales, increased 7.4 percent in July 2014 compared to July 2013. In California, prices increased by 10.5 percent in July, or 8.7 percent excluding distressed properties.
Written on 08/29/2014, 11:09 am by Business Journal staff
A former worker at the Yosemite Lodge in Yosemite National Park was indicted in Fresno Thursday on six charges alleging theft from the hotel. Jason Wilson, 34, was the assistant manager at Yosemite Lodge operated by Delaware North Parks and Resorts. While working there, Wilson allegedly manipulated 50 reservations and took approximately $87,800 in funds to which he was not entitled between October 2011 and December 2012, according to court documents. The indictment showed that in some cases, Wilson would cause the lodge to refund guests for their rooms after they left using phony reasons like bed bugs or mice. But instead of crediting the charge to guests, he directed the credit back to his own personal debit card or his wife's. Other transactions consisted of Wilson reversing charges issued when guests didn't appear for their reservations and then depositing the credit into his own account. The case is the product of an investigation by the National Park Service's Investigative Services Branch. Assistant United States Attorney Mia A. Giacomazzi is prosecuting the case. Wilson faces a mandatory sentence of two years in prison if convicted of aggravated identity theft and five to 20 years and a $250,000 fine if convicted of wire fraud or theft.
Written on 08/29/2014, 10:35 am by Business Journal staff
The Fresno Regional Foundation is hosting a reception Sept. 3 for its $356,908 in grant awards for seven organizations working to prevent teen pregnancy. In addition to recognizing the organizations, the Foundation will also unveil its "Investing in the Future" publication detailing its work on teen pregnancy prevention. An online version is also available at http://fresnoregfoundation.org/cbo/v2/teenpregnancygc.html The reception will take place at 5 p.m. on Sept. 3 at Arte Americas, 1630 Van Ness Ave., Fresno. The following seven organizations are receiving teen pregnancy prevention grants, according to the Foundation: • Woodlake High School: $20,000 for Youth Male Leadership (YML): My Strength, a program that will assist the community in addressing TPP including the educational disparities and social outcomes for Pre-K children and male youth. • ACT for Women and Girls: $20,000 for Decreasing Teen Pregnancy in Woodlake, CA, a planning grant to implement meaningful programming and to develop collaborative relationships in Woodlake to decrease teen pregnancy rates. • Novelas Educativas: $21,908 for Yo Soy Tu Nina to build on the work completed in 2013 with a stronger focus on Latino parents in the following communities: Huron, Farmersville, East Fresno, Madera, Parlier, and Woodlake. In addition to working with parents, this work will further partnerships with non-profits, faith-based organizations, and school districts in the above communities. • Madera Coalition for Community Justice: $25,000 for Teens and Parents Together to engage and provide services to youth residing in "teen pregnancy hot spots" with accurate sex education to understand reproductive health issues, make informed decisions, and be knowledgeable of community resources. In addition, parent education sessions will be offered around teen sexuality, pregnancy prevention, and playing a more positive role in their children's lives. • The Latino Commission: $80,000 for Adelante Latina, a health promotion program intended to empower Latina youth to reduce risk factors and become community educators and mentors regarding pregnancy, STD's and HIV prevention, self-efficacy, and health care. Community forums will offer parents and elders opportunities to learn and support youth empowerment and effective intergenerational communication. • Boys 2 Men-Girls 2 Women Foundation: $90,000 for I Decide: Teens Making Healthy Decisions, a program for at-risk youth ages 13-19 in the impoverished and underserved Pinedale Community. The program will seek to reduce teen pregnancy by providing Reproductive Health Education and overcoming cultural barriers in the predominantly Latino Community. • Fresno Barrios Unidos: $100,000 for "Prevention Through Education," a program that combines the evidence based program BART (Becoming a Responsible Teen) with additional sessions created by FBU to address other issues that relate to decision making. FBU will provide 400 parents with multi-session presentations on how to better communicate with their children about sex.
Written on 08/29/2014, 10:27 am by Business Journal staff
The Economic Development Corporation serving Tulare County was accredited for the third time by the International Economic Development Council for its work attracting businesses and promoting community development. Enjoyed by only 2 percent of economic development organizations in the country, the accreditation recognizes organizations for expertise in real estate and workforce development, infrastructure and business finance, business marketing, international trade and other economic factors. The Economic Development Corporation serving Tulare County has maintained the accreditation since 2002. The organization is also one of only three in California and the only one in Central California to have been accredited. Brett Doney, president and CEO of the Great Falls Development Authority representing the International Economic Development Council, presented the news at the Tulare County EDC's Board's annual meeting Aug. 27. During the presentation, Doney indicated the EDC's right to claim the tag line in a recent advertisement as "California's Most Innovative Economic Development Organization." Established in 1983, the Economic Development Corporation serving Tulare County has served as the marketing and business recruitment organization for the communities of Tulare County, locating more than 100 companies and helping create more than 13,000 new jobs in the region.
Written on 08/28/2014, 4:02 pm by Business Journal staff
Valley Commerce Bancorp, parent company of Valley Business Bank of Visalia, announced an eight-cent cash dividend to its shareholders for the third quarter. The dividend, payable to shareholders on record as of Sept. 5, will be distributed on or about Sept. 26. With just more than 2.92 million shares outstanding, the dividend totals approximately $233,614, an increase of 5 percent from the bank's previous dividend paid in June 2014 and a 40 percent increase from the dividend paid in March 2014. The board of directors will consider future cash dividends following the end of each calendar quarter. Last year, the company issued two six-cent dividends. Valley Commerce Bancorp reported a net income of $1.5 million in the second quarter of the year, down slightly from $1.6 million during the same quarter in 2013. However, the company had record profits in 2013, earning $4.05 million in the year compared to $3.23 million the year before. Established in 1985, Valley Business Bank operates branches in Visalia, Fresno, Woodlake, Tipton and Tulare.
Written on 08/28/2014, 3:43 pm by Business Journal staff
More than $5.2 million is on its way to Central Valley school districts as part of the first round of funding from the Prop. 39 Clean Energy Jobs Act. Approved by voters in November 2012, Prop. 39 relies on a five-year corporate tax to support energy efficiency and alternative energy projects at schools within the state. Under the initiative, up to $550 million is available every year for eligible projects. A little more than $381 was made available for the first 2013-14 fiscal year. Of that, the California Energy Commission approved $66 million to school districts that submitted energy expenditure plans for projects at 244 schools throughout the state. Around 36 schools in the Central Valley will be the first to see energy saving projects from the first round of Prop. 39 funding, with a total of $5.264 million going to schools and school districts in Fresno, Kings, Madera and Tulare counties. The recipients in Fresno County are:• Central Unified School District: $3,379,735• Big Creek Elementary School District: $72,965 Kings County:• Hanford Elementary School District: $287,720• Hanford Joint Union High: $158,248 Madera County:• Sherman Thomas Charter School: $293,471• Chowchilla Union High School District: $293,471 Tulare County:• Terra Bella Union Elementary School District: $256,000• Columbine Elementary School: $172,327• Sunnyside Union Elementary: $76,682• Moson-Sultana Joint Union Elementary: $264,796• Alta Vista Elementary School District: $204,553 Any unallocated funds in the first year will roll forward into the second fiscal year. The California Energy Commission will accept energy expenditure plans for the second year in September. School districts can either submit one plan each year or a multi-year plan. Each school district approved this year had an option to receive part or all of their first-year award allocation for energy planning purposes. A full list of school districts approved in the 2013-14 fiscal year can be found at www.energy.ca.gov/efficiency/proposition39.

Latest State News

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