– April 24, 2014

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Latest Local News

Written on 04/24/2014, 4:49 pm by Business Journal staff
premier-valley-bank-increases-q1-earningsPremier Valley Bank announced its first quarter financial results showing net income up 29 percent over the year before.
Written on 04/24/2014, 4:03 pm by Business Journal staff
California Gov. Jerry Brown named Fresno as one of five hiring credit pilot areas as part of his new plan to spur the state's economy. Brown signed AB 93 and SB 90 last July creating the Governor's Economic Development Initiative while also phasing out the 30-year-old Enterprise Zone program. As part of the new effort, businesses located in communities of high unemployment and high poverty can get tax credits when they grow their staff. The credit, overseen by the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development, or Go-Biz, allows employers to write off 35 percent of each new worker's wages every year with the total amount maxing out at $56,000 per employee for five years. Employee qualifications include those who have been unemployed for six months or more, veterans within one year of separation from service, ex-offenders and recipients of Earned Income Tax Credits, CalWorks or general assistance. Credits are based on wages above $12 an hour and up to $28 an hour or up to $10 an hour base in limited pilot areas. Besides Fresno, the hiring credit is also available to businesses in Merced and Riverside. Go-Biz may designate up to 5 pilot areas for a period of four years. The credit may be extended in those areas for an additional three years after that. Businesses can search to see if they're located in one of the new pilot areas online at The Governor's Economic Development Initiative is funded by redirecting approximately $750 million annually from the former Enterprise Zone program. The program also includes a statewide sales tax exemption on qualifying manufacturing equipment and research and development equipment purchases for biotech and manufacturing companies.  
Written on 04/24/2014, 2:40 pm by Business Journal staff
Frontier Airlines will increase service out of Fresno at the end of April, going from three flights a week to four. Last May, the airline began offering three non-stop flights weekly from the Fresno Yosemite International Airport to its Denver home using its 138-seat Airbus A319. Beginning April 27, Frontier Airlines will push that number to four flights a week for a 36 percent increase in seats to Denver and beyond. Those flying from Fresno to Denver can now catch Frontier's flights on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and either Saturday or Sunday. Frontier will also periodically offer five flights a week between April 27 and September 30. Arrival and departure times can be searched at "As Fresno Yosemite continues to experience unprecedented passenger growth, our airlines partners are recognizing the demand for additional seat capacity," said FYI's director of Aviation Kevin Meikle, in a release. "Frontier's increased frequency demonstrates the airline's responsiveness to our region's demand for air service options during peak travel months." United Airlines also offers up to four daily flights from Fresno to Denver. In all, FYI boasts around 42 daily domestic and international departures by ten carriers, including American Airlines, American Eagle, Delta Connection and United Express.
Written on 04/24/2014, 2:15 pm by Business Journal staff
The McClatchy Co., publisher of The Fresno Bee, reported a first quarter net loss of $15.8 million, or 18 cents per share. That's compared to the same quarter in 2013, which saw a net loss of $12.7 million, or 15 cents per share. Also in Q1, total revenues of $287.2 million were down 2.7 percent, while advertising revenues of $183.9 million were down 6.7 percent. Ditigal advertising revenue was $47.4 million for the quarter, compared to $47.26 million last year. McClatchy's California newspapers — which include the Merced Sun-Star, San Luis Obispo Tribune and the Fresno, Modesto and Sacramento Bee papers — saw total Q1 ad revenue fall 8 percent for a total of $30.5 million.
Written on 04/24/2014, 2:03 pm by Business Journal staff
Paula Castadio, president and CEO of ValleyPBS, has been named as one of four finalists in Fresno State's nationwide search for a new vice president for Advancement. Whoever is picked for the job will manage the offices of University Development, University Communications and Alumni Relations and also provide initiative, direction and oversight for the university's governmental relations activities. The new vice president will succeed Dr. Peter M. Smits, who retires on June 30 after 20 years at Fresno State. Paula Castadio began her career at ValleyPBS/KVPT in 1994 as development director after working in corporate development for Valley Public Radio. She was later promoted to station manager in 2000 and became CEO of ValleyPBS/KVPT in 2003.In addition to her position at ValleyPBS, where she serves 2.5 million television viewers throughout the Central Valley, Castadio is the treasurer of the California Public Television Association and Immediate Past Chair for the Pacific Mountain Network. She has served nationally on the PBS Development Advisory Council, Communications Advisory Council, Premier Sponsorship Task Force and CPB Digital Distribution Fund Panel. Locally, she is on the board of the Rotary Club of Fresno and holds leadership positions in the cultural arts sector. Castadio earned a bachelor's degree in speech communication from Fresno State and later completed her MBA. The other finalists for the new vice president for Advancement include: Randal V. Childs, assistant vice chancellor at North Carolina Central University; Dr. Richard Daniel, associate vice president for University Advancement and Special Projects at the University of Texas at El Paso; and Brian Kish, senior vice president of central development for the University of Arizona Foundation.
Written on 04/24/2014, 1:30 pm by Business Journal staff
Valley Commerce Bancorp, parent company of Valley Business Bank in Visalia, saw little change in first quarter revenue compared to a year earlier. The company reported a net income of $742,587 in the quarter. That's down slightly from $742,845 in the first quarter of 2013. Loans were up 10 percent in the year, rising from $220.98 million in 2013's first quarter to $244.18 million in the first three months of 2014. That increase was primarily related to mortgage and construction loans. Deposits totaled $356.09 million in the first quarter, growing 12 percent compared to $318.69 million a year ago. Assets increased 10.9 percent, going from $364.33 million in the first quarter of 2013 to $404.38 million in the latest quarter. "Coming off a year of record profitability, we are pleased to be off to a similar start in 2014," said Allan W. Stone, president and CEO, in a release. "Drought conditions notwithstanding, we remain very optimistic about the local economy and are encouraged to see our growth strategies producing results." Established in 1995, Valley Business Bank operates branches in Visalia, Fresno, Woodlake, Tipton and Tulare.
Written on 04/24/2014, 10:43 am by Business Journal staff
The race for Fresno City Council's District 1 seat heats up May 8 with a candidate forum at Fresno City College. The forum will be held from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in the auditorium of the Old Administration Building. Four candidates running for District 1 are scheduled to appear, including Mark Castro, Rebeca Rangel, Cary Catalano and Esmerelda Soria. Candidate Rama Dawar has not yet confirmed his attendance. Fresno City College political science instructor Dr. James Joseph will moderate the forum, asking each candidate questions submitted by faculty and students about their plans and visions if they are elected. Their answers will be important as the candidates look to replace Blong Xiong as council member for District 1, which has Fresno City College within its borders. "Since some of the students come to Fresno City College, whether they live in District 1 or not, they are affected by the decisions made at the city council level," said Ignacio Barbosa, an Associated Students Government senator, in a release. "We felt that it was important for students to hear what the city council candidates say as to why they feel they can represent Fresno City College's interests." Xiong, who finishes his second term on the city council this year, is running for Fresno County Supervisor for District 1 that has been represented by Phil Larson since 2003.
Written on 04/23/2014, 1:11 pm by Business Journal staff
The Fresno County Superior Court is seeking 19 citizens who will effect changes to local government through their service on the grand jury. The Fresno County Grand Jury investigates and reports on civil matters dealing with Fresno County government. Grand jurors serve a one-year period with an option to apply for an additional consecutive term. Each will devote up to 80 hours each month to grand jury business, receiving nominal compensation for their service, plus mileage reimbursement. Grand Jury applications will be accepted until May 2 for the 19 that will serve as jurors from July 2014 through June 2015. Applications are available at or by calling the Fresno County Superior Court Juror Services Manager at (559) 457-1605.
Written on 04/23/2014, 11:21 am by Business Journal staff
The number of those with a college degree remained dismal in the San Joaquin Valley, even as much of the nation saw more positive numbers, a new report showed. Released by Indiana-based nonprofit Lumina Foundation, "A Stronger Nation through Higher Education" revealed that 39.4 percent of working-age Americans (ages 25-64) held a two- or four-year college degree in 2012. That's up from a rate of 38.7 percent in 2011 and 37.9 in 2008. Among young adults ages 25 to 34, the rate was even higher at 40.9 percent. In California, the share of those 25 to 64 with a degree stood at 39.7 percent in 2012 for a total of 20,180,391 degree holders. That's up from 38.9 percent in 2011 and 38.6 percent in 2008. In Fresno County, however, the rate dropped from 27.9 percent in 2011 to 27.56 percent in 2012, among the lowest for large metropolitan areas in the nation after Riverside, Bakersfield and McAllen, Tex. Tulare County was even lower with a rate of 21.23 percent in 2012, followed by Madera County at 21.21 percent and Kings County at 20.44 percent. Alameda County had the highest degree attainment rate in California at 50.35 percent while Merced County had the lowest with a rate of 19.91 percent. Madison, Wisc. topped the large metro areas in the nation with a rate of 55.5 percent, up from 54.81 percent in 2011. Despite the increase in the degree attainment rate, Lumina Foundation reported that enrollment throughout the nation decreased from 2012 to 2013, from 18 million to 17.7 million. However, the number of associate and bachelor's degrees awarded increased 150,000 to 2.8 million. The organization releases the report every year as it pushes its Goal 2025 aiming to increase the percentage of American with high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by 2025. In order to reach that goal, Lumina Foundation urges a redesign of America's higher education system starting with its Degrees Qualification Profile, a framework that higher education institutions can use to develop degrees with measurable learning outcomes that fit the current job market.
Written on 04/23/2014, 11:12 am by Business Journal staff
Distressed home sales continued to fall in March, replaced by a more stable real estate market throughout the Valley and state. According to the California Association of Realtors, distressed sales, which includes short sales, sales of bank-owned properties and other foreclosure sales, stood at 22 percent of all homes sales in Fresno County in February. That's down from 29 percent in February and 41 percent a year ago. Distressed sales in Kings County went from 36 percent in February and 54 percent a year ago to 28 percent in the latest month. In Madera County, distressed sales dropped by an even larger margin, going from 30 percent in February and 54 percent last year to just 14 percent in March. Tulare County saw a slight bump, going from 18 percent to 21 percent in the month. That's still well below the 38-percent share in March 2013. Of the 38 counties that submitted data, 30 reported declines in the share of distressed sales. Statewide, distressed sales made up 12.4 percent of all homes sales in March, down from 15 percent the month before and 28.2 percent a year ago. The share of real estate-owned sales, including bank-owned homes, went down to 5.4 percent compared to 6.3 percent in February and 10.6 percent in March 2013. Short sales dropped from 8.2 percent in February and 17.2 percent a year ago to 6.6 percent in the latest month. Equity sales, or non-distressed home sales, stood at 87.6 percent in March, up from 85 percent in February and 71.8 percent a year ago. Housing inventory contracted in March. The unsold inventory index for real estate-owned homes, or number of months to deplete the supply of homes at the current sales rate, went from 3 months in February to 2.8 months in March. The index for short sales went from 5 months to 4.7 months, while the index for equity sales fell from 4.8 months to 4 months.

Latest State News

Written on 04/24/2014, 1:34 pm by Associated Press
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