– May 22, 2015

Tulare County new car sales up since recession

New vehicle registration has revved back since the Great Recession in Tulare County, mirroring a trend seen across the nation.

“We’re not all the way back from the high during the 2005/06 period,” said Don Groppetti, the county’s largest auto dealer.

Still, the improvement is dramatic.

The information you have requested to view is designated for paid Subscribers!

Already a Paid Subscriber?

Simply Login. Not a Subscriber? Sign up Now!

Latest Local News

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...
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, 1:25 pm by Associated Press
(AP) — U.S. stocks are closing slightly higher, led by an advance in energy stocks as the price of oil climbs. was among the big gainers Thursday after reporting results that beat analysts' forecasts. Best Buy was also up after reporting strong earnings. The Dow Jones industrial average edged up a fraction of point to 18,285. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose five points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,130. The Nasdaq composite climbed 19 points, or 0.4 percent, to 5,090. Oil rose $1.74, or 3 percent, to $60.72 a barrel following reports that U.S. storage levels are falling. That sent energy stocks higher. Rig operator Transocean gained 4 percent. Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.19 percent.  
Written on 05/21/2015, 10:23 am by gabrieldillard
French firm Air Liquide has started operating a carbon dioxide liquefaction plant in Tulare County that captures carbon emissions and transforms them into products used in the manufacturing and food service industries. The plant is located in Pixley, next to the Calgren Renewable Fuels ethanol plant, which has a capacity to produce 55 million gallons of corn-based ethanol each year. The Air Liquide plant can capture 450 tons of carbon dioxide from the plant daily as a byproduct of its ethanol production. Air Liquide takes the carbon, purifies it, liquefies it, then sells it to food, beverage and manufacturing industries in the region. Liquid carbon dioxide is used for quickly freezing and preserving products and cooling manufacturing processes to make them more efficient. “The new state-of-the-art carbon dioxide facility we are commissioning today reflects Air Liquide’s continued commitment to supply high quality products and services to customers safely and reliably,” said John Buckley, CEO of Air Liquide USA LLC, said in a statement yesterday. “We are proud to work alongside Calgren Renewable Fuels in this venture as we grow in California, and we are appreciative of the support we have received from the local community and from our customers in this region.” Air Liquide owns and operates 11 other carbon dioxide liquefaction plants in the U.S., including one in Martinez, California. The Tulare plant employs seven people, said Heather L Browne, director of corporate communications for Air Liquide USA, based in Houston. Browne declined to say how much the plant cost to build.
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, 10:19 am by The Associated Press
(AP) — A top enforcer for Mexico's Sinaloa cartel pleaded guilty Wednesday to drug charges in a wide investigation of the group in the United States. Jose Rodrigo Arechiga Gamboa, known as "Chino Antrax," acknowledged that he helped bring tons of cocaine and marijuana to the country from Mexico and ordered and participated in violence against cartel rivals. He said in a plea agreement with prosecutors that he was a high-ranking member "responsible for a number of aspects of the cartel's operations." Arechiga Gamboa, 34, faces a maximum sentence of life in prison when he is sentenced Oct. 16 for conspiracy to import a controlled substance. The defendant appeared in court under tight security 10 months after his extradition from the Netherlands. He was arrested in December 2013 at Amsterdam's airport after a flight from Mexico City, less than two months before the cartel's top leader, Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman, was captured in Mexico. "Chino Antrax is one of the highest-ranking Sinaloa cartel kingpins ever prosecuted in the United States," said Laura Duffy, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of California. "While we know that the world's most powerful drug syndicate continues to operate, we also know that it is under intense pressure after a succession of high-impact, high-profile arrests and indictments of the organization's highest-ranking players." Arechiga Gamboa's attorney, Frank Ragen, didn't immediately respond to a phone message seeking comment. Arechiga Gamboa was arrested in a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration investigation that began in 2011 by targeting a small drug-dealing ring in the San Diego suburbs of Chula Vista and National City and reached top leaders through the use of more than 200 wiretaps. Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada, who is at-large, and three of his four sons are among dozens charged in the investigation. Serafin Zambada pleaded guilty to drug trafficking charges last year after his arrest at a Nogales, Arizona, border crossing.
Written on 05/21/2015, 10:18 am by CANDICE CHOI, AP Food Industry Writer
(AP) — McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook said Thursday he was "incredibly proud" of a recent decision to bump pay for some workers, even as hundreds of protesters outside called on the company to do more ahead of its annual shareholder meeting. Easterbrook, who stepped into his role in March, is fighting to revive sluggish sales and convince people that McDonald's is a "modern, progressive burger company." But the push comes at a time when protests targeting McDonald's over low wages have been spreading around the country. Easterbrook said at the meeting in Oak Brook, Illinois, that he was proud of the decision announced last month to raise pay for workers at company-owned stores to $1 above the local minimum wage, as well as offer help with college tuition to workers at all stores. Labor organizers and workers have dismissed the move on pay in part because they say it leaves so many workers out in the cold. The vast majority of the more than 14,300 McDonald's restaurants in the U.S. are owned by franchisees. On Thursday, protesters delivered a petition of support to McDonald's that organizers said had 1.4 million signatures. During the meeting, the company got support from at least one shareholder, who stood to note that actress Sharon Stone and CEO Jeff Bezos were among those who have worked at McDonald's. If the chain paid $15, he said, those people would still be working at McDonald's. Members of Corporate Accountability, a regular critic of McDonald's marketing practices, also stood to repeat their request that the company retire Ronald McDonald and stop marketing to children. But Easterbrook defended the company's use of the red-headed clown, who he noted recently got a new outfit that makes him feel "trendier." "With regards to Ronald, Ronald's here to stay," Easterbrook said. Shareholders also approved a proposal to nominate directors. The UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust, which filed the proposal, had said the costs to make nominations could be "prohibitive" under the current system. Institutional Investor Services and Glass Lewis, two proxy advisory firms, had backed the proposal. McDonald's had opposed the proposal, which it said could enable shareholders with "special interests" to nominate directors and "introduce a potentially expensive and destabilizing dynamic" into its board election process.
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.

Latest State News

Written on 05/21/2015, 10:19 am by The Associated Press
(AP) — A top enforcer for Mexico's...
Written on 05/21/2015, 8:36 am by CHRISTOPHER WEBER and BRIAN MELLEY, Associated Press
(AP) — Officials say more than 7,700...
Written on 05/21/2015, 8:21 am by DON THOMPSON, Associated Press
(AP) — A California inmate who is...
Written on 05/21/2015, 8:14 am by FENIT NIRAPPIL and SCOTT SMITH
(AP) — California farmers who hold...

Latest National News

Written on 05/21/2015, 1:25 pm by Associated Press
(AP) — U.S. stocks are closing slightly...
Written on 05/21/2015, 10:18 am by CANDICE CHOI, AP Food Industry Writer
(AP) — McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook...
Written on 05/21/2015, 8:45 am by Associated Press
 (AP) — Dollar Tree expects to reach a...
Written on 05/21/2015, 8:43 am by MICHELLE CHAPMAN, AP Business Writer
(AP) — Lumber Liquidators CEO Robert...