TODAY

– May 22, 2015

Industrial vacancies down in Madera County

Industrial vacancies continued to decline in Madera County during the third quarter of the year as more manufacturers made claims there.

 

According to a recent report by TK Consulting, the vacancy rate dropped to 3.93 percent in the quarter compared to 4.04 percent the previous quarter and 8.83 percent a year ago and 13.24 percent the year before that.

Of the slightly more than 7 million square feet of building space for industrial purposes in Madera County, there is still 276,918 million square feet still available for manufacturers to fill.

The inventory includes multi-tenant and single tenant buildings with at least 5,000 square feet.

According to the report, monthly rental rates for industrial properties during the latest quarter averaged 36 cents per foot, with a high of 60 cents and a low of 26 cents.

Notable deals in the quarter included the $650,000 sale of a 12,050 square-foot warehouse with a showroom near Highway 41 and Children's Hospital Central California.

Also, the 99,000 square-foot former Oberti Olive facility sold for $2,356,000.
Available properties for sale or lease can be found on the Madera Economic Development

Commission website at maderaindustry.org.

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, 1:42 pm by The Associated Press
(AP) — Stocks are closing moderately lower in a relatively quiet day ahead of a holiday weekend. Trading volume was relatively light Friday ahead of the Memorial Day holiday in the U.S. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 53 points, or 0.3 percent, to 18,232. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost four points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,126. The Nasdaq composite edged down a point to 5,089. The price of oil fell $1 to close at $59.72 a barrel in New York. Traders were worried about supplies increasing. Campbell Soup rose 2 percent after its earnings came in ahead of what analysts were looking for. Bond prices fell after the government reported an increase in consumer prices last month. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.21 percent.
Written on 05/22/2015, 11:58 am by Gabriel Dillard
Remember the good old days when eating a burrito and screaming at your kids were the most distracting things you could do while driving? Times have changed, according to a new survey from AT&T on smartphone use while driving. These days some drivers are practically running their own marketing agency while puttering down the road, swerving into your lane or holding you up at green lights. While 61 percent of survey respondents admitted to texting while driving, that's the tip of the iceberg: • 33 percent send emails• 28 percent surf the Web• 27 percent view Facebook• 17 percent snap selfies• 14 percent Tweet• 12 percent shoot videos• 11 percent use Snapchat• 10 percent use video chat The survey also found that 33 percent of people who access social networks while driving cite addiction as the reason. And 27 percent of those who shoot videos behind the while think they can do it safely. Scary statistics. This Memorial Day weekend (and until the driverless cars save the day), let's all keep our eyes on the road.
Written on 05/22/2015, 11:31 am by 
REGINA GARCIA CANO, Associated Press
(AP) — Kasey Hayes hopped on the bovine beast trapped in the narrow holding pen like he'd done hundreds of times. He adjusted a tight rope on his left hand, found his balance and signaled he was ready to dominate the bull for the next eight seconds — or, at least, hoped to. The red metal gate swung open. The bull's spine rolled, the animal charged forward and stood on its rear legs. The crowd cheered as the first ride on this March evening appeared promising. After 3.72 seconds, Hayes lost control, hit the ground and got his head stomped on by the 1,600-pounder named Shaft. His hockey-like helmet split in two. The arena fell silent. "Come on Kasey. Come on son. Wake up," a woman in the stands said as Hayes lay surrounded by doctors and athletic trainers. It took about a minute or so before Hayes could be helped to his feet. He had a concussion — the third in a 12-month period. Serious injuries are occupational hazards for bull riders, but doctors, riders and researchers say the most pervasive injuries are concussions. The Professional Bull Riders' circuit provides a stable of doctors, requires helmets for anyone born after 1994 and insists concussed riders pass a test before getting back in the saddle. But in this era of concern about head injuries in the NFL and NHL, the circuit's lead medical staffer says he hasn't seen a drop in the number of concussions despite the widespread use of helmets. There are no multimillion-dollar contracts or unions in professional bull riding; if you don't ride, you don't eat, leading to athletes to push themselves back into action. Few researchers have looked into the number of rodeo injuries, and very little data is available to detail the rate of concussions. The largest available set, collected from 1981 through 2005 at nearly 2,000 Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association-sanctioned events, shows 859 concussions were registered during various competitions such as calf roping, bareback riding and bull riding. That amounted to 52.1 percent of all major injuries, and "anecdotally, the vast majority of them were bull riders," according to Don Andrews, a retired athletic trainer who established the first sports medicine program in rodeo and assembled the data. Concussions are the result of the brain banging against the skull. Side effects range from loss of balance, constant headaches, confusion, dizziness and vomiting. Recovery can take weeks or months, depending on the severity. More than a decade ago, a group of health care experts — including the PBR's longtime medical team leader, Dr. Tandy Freeman — developed a set of guidelines to prevent and manage concussions and encourage the use of protective head gear. Currently, all circuit riders must wear a protective vest, but only those born on or after Oct. 15, 1994, are obligated to use a helmet. Freeman said that the PBR, much like the NHL in the 1970s, decided to grandfather in helmet usage, though most riders wear them now. But helmets don't prevent concussions, Freeman said. "What I can tell you is that there does not appear to be a statistically significant difference between riders with helmets versus without helmets in the number of concussions received yet," Freeman said. Freeman and the athletic trainers who travel to the nearly two-dozen events a year gather baseline cognitive data at the beginning of the season, noting each rider's memory, balance and reaction time. If a rider sustains a concussion, the medical team administers the tests again. Freeman can sideline the rider if he fails. "About 16 percent of the injuries we deal with are concussions then from there everything is broken up pretty much into thirds," Freeman said. The only visible sign of Hayes' close encounter was a scratch extending from behind his left ear to his jaw. "It was my turn I guess," the 29-year-old Liberal, Kansas, native said. "When we get on bulls, things usually don't go bad; you usually do what you're supposed to do ... But when things go wrong for us, it's a little worse I think than in other sports." Hayes was ordered to take at least a week off from competition, an order he said he'd follow; he hopped on three bulls the following weekend. Hayes currently is sidelined after breaking three lumbar vertebrae in late April. Some riders lie about their symptoms to try to fool doctors into letting them ride again."If you don't compete, you don't get paid at all," said 26-year-old Stetson Lawrence, of Trenton, North Dakota, who last suffered a concussion a couple years ago. "Most guys, just to do a test on their bodies, ride a horse to get the movement and see if you can handle it and see if you are dizzy after, you get off." The most serious consequence of repeated blows to the brain is chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a neurodegenerative disease. Symptoms include memory loss, anxiety and progressive dementia, and can only be diagnosed after death. "We don't know if people who have had one concussion are at a higher risk to develop this or if it takes three concussions or if it takes a lot more than that ... some of the evidence that's out there showing that if you do sustain multiple concussions you are at a potentially higher risk to have CTE or issues later on in life," according to Dr. Richard Figler, co-director of the Cleveland Clinic's Concussion Center. CTE has been diagnosed in former NFL players (including Hall of Famer Junior Seau), NHL players (most recently, late defenseman Steve Montador) and boxers, but no research has shown whether former bull riders have been affected. If Thad Bothwell started his career all over again, he'd likely wear a helmet instead of a cowboy hat. Bothwell, who retired in 2002, broke several body parts and logged about a half-dozen concussions. "My son competes now and he wears a helmet," said the 46-year-old from Rapid City, South Dakota. "I recommend helmets. Now they are really trying to keep riders from really messing themselves up. "Back in my days, if you knocked your face, you got on. Back then, we didn't have someone making that decision for us."
Written on 05/22/2015, 11:29 am by BRIAN MELLEY, Associated Press
(AP) — The operator of an oil pipeline that broke and spilled thousands of gallons of crude across a scenic California shoreline says it could take weeks or even months before investigators find what caused the disaster. Bad weather slowed cleanup efforts early Friday at the spill site in Santa Barbara County, where gusty winds whipped up waves as high as 4 feet, the National Weather Service said. Several days of calm seas had helped crews, but oil skimming vessels were brought in late Thursday, Santa Barbara news station KEYT-TV reported. An estimated 105,000 gallons of crude spilled Tuesday, and about 21,000 gallons is believed to have made it to the sea and split into slicks that stretched 9 miles along the coast. As of Thursday, more than 9,000 gallons had been raked, skimmed and vacuumed up, officials said. The thick, powerful-smelling crude covered rocks and sand, and six oil-coated pelicans and one juvenile sea lion had been rescued. Crews have yet to excavate the broken piece of pipeline, which under the law must be done in the presence of federal regulators and a third party, officials with Plains All American Pipeline LP said at a Thursday news conference. "We have not even uncovered the pipe yet," said Patrick Hodgins, the company's senior director of safety. The company would not yet say whether part of the cause was two malfunctions that occurred shortly before the spill was discovered. "We were having some pump problems on the pipeline," said Rick McMichael, another Plains All American representative. "Whether it led to the leak or not is part of our investigation." The 24-inch pipe, built in 1987, had no previous problems and was thoroughly inspected in 2012, according to the company. The pipe underwent similar tests about two weeks ago, though the results had not been analyzed yet. After the spill, which closed a 23-by-7-mile area to fishing, many volunteers offered to help sop up oil and clean off animals, but they were being turned away and encouraged not to act on their own. "We just don't have enough positions," U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Jennifer Williams said. The latest spill is a drop in the bucket compared with a catastrophic blowout on the same stretch of coast in 1969, when a Union Oil platform blew out and spewed an estimated 3 million gallons of crude along 30 miles of coast. Some 9,000 birds died, new regulations were passed and a new era of environmental activism began in the U.S. Nevertheless, the new spill is being held up as another reason to oppose such things as fracking, the Keystone XL pipeline that would run from Canada to Texas, the moving of crude by train, and drilling in far-flung places. "What we see from this event is that the industry still poses enormous risks to an area we cannot afford to lose," said Joel Reynolds of the Natural Resources Defense Council. Plains All American and its subsidiaries operate more than 6,000 miles of hazardous liquid pipelines in at least 20 states, according to company reports. Those companies handle more than 4 million barrels of crude and other liquid fuels daily. Since 2006, the companies have reported 199 accidents and been subject to 22 enforcement actions by federal regulators. The accidents resulted in a combined 725,500 gallons of hazardous liquids spilled and damage topping $25 million. Corrosion was determined to be the cause in more than 80 of those accidents. Failures in materials, welds and other equipment were cited more than 70 times. Enforcement cases against the companies resulted in the collection of $154,000 in penalties, according to a federal database. Hodgins, of Plains All American, said the company has spent more than $1.3 billion since 2007 on maintenance, repair and enhancement of its equipment. He also defended the company's safety record, saying accidental releases have decreased as the number of miles of pipelines has increased. ___Associated Press writers Christopher Weber and Alicia Chang contributed to this report from Los Angeles.
Written on 05/22/2015, 11:27 am by ANNE D'INNOCENZIO, AP Retail Writer
(AP) — Wal-Mart's push to get its suppliers to give farm animals fewer antibiotics and more room to roam is expected to have a big impact on the food industry, experts say. Though the steps are voluntary, Wal-Mart, which sells more food than any other store, has a history of using its retail muscle to change the way products are made and sold across the retail industry. Wal-Mart told The Associated Press that it's asking meat producers, eggs suppliers and others to use antibiotics only for disease prevention or treatment, not to fatten their animals, a common industry practice. The guidelines also aim to get suppliers to stop using pig gestation crates and other housing that doesn't give animals enough space. They're also being asked to avoid painful procedures like de-horning or castration without proper painkillers. Other major companies, including McDonald's Corp., Nestle and Starbucks Corp., have already pledged to reduce or eliminate the use of gestation crates for pregnant sows and otherwise improve animal treatment. But activists hailed Wal-Mart's steps and said its guidelines would be one of the most sweeping and could become the blueprint for the food industry. Concerns are growing that antibiotic overuse is leading germs to develop resistance to the drugs, making diseases more difficult to treat. Shoppers are also driving changes. They want to know more about where their food comes from and are choosing foods they see as more healthy or natural. Wal-Mart said its own research showed 77 percent of its shoppers said they will increase their trust and 66 percent will increase their likelihood to shop at a retailer that improves the treatment of livestock. Activists have reported animal abuse at farms supplying Wal-Mart and other major companies, launched petition campaigns and staged protests at its stores. Kathleen McLaughlin, senior vice president of Wal-Mart's sustainability division, said Wal-Mart wants suppliers to produce annual reports on antibiotic use and animal welfare and post them on their own websites. It's also pressuring suppliers to report animal abuse to authorities and take disciplinary action. Animal activists groups praised the steps but want more. "This is a historic and landmark day for the protection of farmed animals in America," said Nathan Runkle, president of Mercy for Animals, an animal rights group that has pressed Wal-Mart for change. "We urge Wal-Mart to add greater teeth to this announcement by making the new guidelines a requirement rather than a mere recommendation and to set aggressive deadlines." Still, Wal-Mart's size — it accounts for 25 percent of the U.S. food business — gives it outsized influence on its suppliers' practices. When Wal-Mart asked its suppliers to reduce packaging about a decade ago, it spurred innovations. Procter & Gamble introduced tubes of Crest toothpaste that could be stood upright on shelves without boxes. "We think what's needed is a fresh look at how we can look at producing food. This is an industrywide change. It won't happen overnight," Wal-Mart's McLaughlin said. "It's about transparency." Wal-Mart said it has adopted the "five freedoms" outlined by the World Organization for Animal Health to guide its approach to animal welfare. They include freedom from pain and injury and freedom to express normal behavior. Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, called that "game-changing progress and signals to agribusiness that the era of confining farm animals is ending." Dr. Gail Hansen, a former practicing veterinarian and a senior officer of Pew Charitable Trusts' antibiotic resistance project, called Wal-Mart's move to curb the use of antibiotics a "big deal." Wal-Mart is asking its suppliers to keep accurate records of antibiotic use and have vets make sure antibiotics aren't given strictly to fatten up animals. "This will help us understand how antibiotics are being used in food production," Hansen said. Federal regulators keep an overall tally of antibiotic use but don't require detailed recordkeeping, she said. The guidelines apply to suppliers of both Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores. Mercy for Animals has conducted six investigations over the past few years on farms that supply pork to Wal-Mart. It found many instances of pigs being hit and punched with metal cans, according to Ari Solomon, a spokesman for the group. The group leaked a video of mistreatment at an Oklahoma hog farm in 2013. In that video, pigs were seen being pummeled with sheets of wood, and pregnant sows were caged in such small spaces they could barely move. After that, Tyson Foods and Wal-Mart terminated the contract with the supplier. In July 2014, Wal-Mart announced it was requiring its fresh pork suppliers to have video monitoring for sow farms and would be subject to unannounced animal welfare video audits by a third party. Wal-Mart spokesman Kevin Gardner said that requirement wasn't in reaction to the video, but to "address the industry topic in general." Tyson, one of the nation's largest meat producers, plans to eliminate the use of human antibiotics in its U.S. broiler chicken flocks by the end of September 2017. It's also encouraging hog farmers to focus on the quality and quantity of the space for sows when they remodel or build new barns, though it hasn't set a timeframe.
Written on 05/22/2015, 11:19 am by 
ELLEN KNICKMEYER, 
SCOTT SMITH, Associated Press
(AP) — Farmers along the river delta at the heart of California agriculture expected to get an answer Friday on their surprise offer to give up a quarter of their water this year in exchange for being spared deeper mandatory cutbacks as California responds to the worsening drought. Regulators with the state Water Resources Control Board promised a decision on the proposal by a group of farmers along the delta of the Sacramento-San Joaquin rivers — a rare concession by holders of some of California's strongest water rights. For the first time since a 1977 drought, California regulators are warning of coming curtailments for such senior water-rights holders whose claims date back a century or more. Earlier in the current drought, the state mandated 25 percent conservation by cities and towns and curtailed water deliveries to many farmers and communities with less solid claims to water. The most arid winter on record for the Sierra Nevada snowpack means there will be little runoff this summer to feed California's rivers, reservoirs and irrigation canals. As of Thursday, the U.S. Drought Monitor rated 94 percent of California in severe drought or worse. About 350 farmers turned out Thursday at a farmers' grange near Stockton to talk over the delta farmers' bid to stave off deeper cuts. "That doesn't necessarily mean they'll all participate" in the proposed voluntary cutbacks, said Michael George, the state's water master for the delta. But based on the farmers' comments, George said, he believed many will. If the deal offered by farmers goes forward, delta farmers would have until June 1 to lay out how they will use 25 percent less water during what typically is a rain-free four months until September. The delta is the heart of the water system in California, with miles of rivers interlacing fecund farmland. It supplies water to 25 million California residents and vast regions of farmland that produces nearly half of the fruits, nuts and vegetables grown in the U.S. Agriculture experts, however, say they would expect only modest immediate effects on food prices from any reduction in water to the senior water-rights holders. Other states will be able to make up the difference if California moves away from low-profit crops, economists say. State officials initially said they would also announce the first cuts of the four-year drought to senior rights holders on Friday. Water regulators said Thursday, however, that the announcement involving farmers and others in the watershed of the San Joaquin River would be delayed until at least next week. It is unclear whether the delta farmers' offer would go far enough to save drying, warming waterways statewide. Farmers use 80 percent of all water taken from the land in California. Senior water-rights holders alone consume trillions of gallons of water a year. The state doesn't know exactly how much they use because of unreliable data collection. The 1977 cutback order for senior rights holders applied only to dozens of people along a stretch of the Sacramento River. Although thousands of junior water rights holders have had their water curtailed this year, Gov. Jerry Brown has come under criticism for sparing farmers with senior water rights from mandatory cutbacks. Increasing amounts of the state's irrigation water goes to specialty crops such as almonds, whose growers are expanding production despite the drought. ___Knickmeyer reported from San Francisco. Fenit Nirappil contributed to this story from Sacramento.
Written on 05/22/2015, 11:17 am by BRIAN MELLEY, Associated Press
(AP) — The company responsible for a pipeline that spilled thousands of gallons of oil along the California coast was ordered to take a series of steps before it can restart the line, federal regulators said Friday. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration required Plains All American Pipeline to remove the damaged section of pipe, test it and empty the remainder of the line. The agency said it did not yet know the cause of the leak, which spilled up to 105,000 gallons of crude into a coastal ditch Tuesday. About a fifth of that amount is estimated to have flowed into the sea northwest of Santa Barbara. Investigators for the agency are looking into the cause of the failure and whether there was something Plains should have known about conditions in the underground pipeline and factors that could have contributed to the accident. The corrective action order said the 10.6-mile line had recently been inspected, but the results weren't known. Tests of the 24-inch pipe in 2012 found 41 anomalies mostly due to external corrosion, frequently near welds, the agency said. The company has said there were no previous problems with the pipe. A corrective action order is issued to protect people, property and the environment. If violations are found, the agency said it would issue a strong enforcement action order. Plains said it could take weeks or even months before investigators find what caused the disaster. Bad weather slowed cleanup efforts early Friday at the spill site in Santa Barbara County, where gusty winds whipped up waves as high as 4 feet. Several days of calm seas had helped crews, but oil skimming vessels had to be brought to shore late Thursday, Santa Barbara news station KEYT-TV reported. The thick, powerful-smelling crude covered rocks and sand, and six oil-coated pelicans and one juvenile sea lion had been rescued. Crews have yet to excavate the broken piece of pipeline, which under the law must be done in the presence of federal regulators and a third party, officials with Plains All American Pipeline LP said at a Thursday news conference. "We have not even uncovered the pipe yet," said Patrick Hodgins, the company's senior director of safety. The company would not yet say whether part of the cause was two malfunctions that occurred shortly before the spill was discovered. "We were having some pump problems on the pipeline," said Rick McMichael, another Plains All American representative. "Whether it led to the leak or not is part of our investigation." Plains All American and its subsidiaries operate 17,800 miles of crude oil and natural gas pipelines across the country, according to the federal agency. Since 2006, four subsidiaries of Plains All American have reported at least 223 accidents along their lines and been subject to 25 enforcement actions by federal regulators. The accidents resulted in a combined 864,300 gallons of hazardous liquids spilled and damages topping $32 million. Corrosion was determined to be the cause in roughly 90 of those accidents. Failures in materials, welds and other equipment were cited more than 80 times. Hodgins, of Plains All American, said the company has spent more than $1.3 billion since 2007 on maintenance, repair and enhancement of its equipment. He defended the company's safety record, saying accidental releases have decreased as the number of miles of pipelines has increased. ___Associated Press writers Christopher Weber in Los Angeles and Matt Brown in Billings, Montana, contributed to this report.
Written on 05/22/2015, 11:13 am by The Associated Press
(AP) — A $19 million deal between Target and MasterCard to settle lawsuits stemming from the retailer's pre-Christmas 2013 data breach has been scrapped, because it didn't get enough support from banks and credit unions. Under the settlement announced last month, Target Corp. agreed to set aside $19 million for banks and credit unions that had issued MasterCards swept up in the breach that compromised 40 million credit and debit card accounts. Banks and credit unions would have been able to use the money to cover related operating costs and fraud-related losses. But the settlement needed 90 percent of the issuers to accept the offer in order for it to go into effect. MasterCard Inc. says that not enough issuers approved the deal and that it's still working to resolve the matter.
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. 

Latest State News

Written on 05/22/2015, 11:19 am by 
ELLEN KNICKMEYER, 
SCOTT SMITH, Associated Press
(AP) — Farmers along the river delta at...
Written on 05/22/2015, 11:17 am by BRIAN MELLEY, Associated Press
(AP) — The company responsible for a...
Written on 05/22/2015, 10:14 am by BRANDON BAILEY, AP Technology Writer
(AP) — As PayPal prepares to split from...
Written on 05/22/2015, 10:00 am by The Associated Press
(AP) — The FBI says two Southern...

Latest National News

Written on 05/22/2015, 1:42 pm by The Associated Press
(AP) — Stocks are closing moderately...
Written on 05/22/2015, 11:31 am by 
REGINA GARCIA CANO, Associated Press
(AP) — Kasey Hayes hopped on the bovine...
Written on 05/22/2015, 11:29 am by BRIAN MELLEY, Associated Press
(AP) — The operator of an oil pipeline...
Written on 05/22/2015, 11:27 am by ANNE D'INNOCENZIO, AP Retail Writer
(AP) — Wal-Mart's push to get its...